The historical-biblical Christian faith is a bit ridiculous.
Many basic doctrines have a built-in absurdity to them that offends the natural mind.
Don’t believe me? Just have someone tell the elementary tenets of the Christmas story back to you:
“So the God of the universe gets a young virgin girl pregnant, she gives birth to His infant divine Son in a stable in the middle of nowhere, angels rejoice and hardly anyone else in the world notices?”
“thirty years later this same God Man all of a sudden starts walking on water, multiplying food, and healing all diseases while claiming authority over everything in the world. Despite all this most people reject Him and He goes to a Roman cross to die a brutal death that shakes the earth. Then he raises Himself up from the dead through a tomb, walks and talks with people for a few days, and finally floats back up to heaven to be with the God that sent Him down here. Oh yeah, and this dude’s gonna come back with fire and stuff a second time?….
And I’m supposed to believe all that and follow Him right?”
To which we say: “Amen!”
We could say, to blunt the force of the rejection, “Our modern sensibilities are conditioned to reject such claims because of strict scientific rationalism.”
But that’s not the total story. Watery new age Oprah-ism rejects biblical Christianity too, and it has nothing to do with a naturalistic worldview.
This is no modern phenomenon. The ancient polytheistic Romans rejected the Christian witness also, mostly on the grounds that it rejected all of the Roman’s gods and the Lordship of Caesar. Read the Roman scribes take and you almost get the snarky flavor of a Bill Maher commentary:
Lucian of Samosato said of Christians in 165 AD:
“These deluded creatures, you see, have persuaded themselves that they are immortal and will live forever, which explains the contempt of death and willing self-sacrifice so common among them. It was impressed on them too by their lawgiver that from the moment they are converted, deny the gods of Greece, worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws, they are all brothers. They take his instructions completely on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods and hold them in common ownership.
In the fourth century the Roman Emperor, Julian, equated Christianity with atheism and lamented over its influence:
“Atheism [I.e. the Christian faith!] has been specially advanced
through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.”
Other scribes of that day call the primary Christian doctrines unfit for a child’s nursery rhyme or on par with the drunk “etchings” of an old mad woman.
And I say: This is how it should be.
The Bible predicts such chagrin. Paul calls the message of the cross “foolishness” to the world (1 Corinthians 1:18). Read the Roman accounts again: Self sacrifice, love for neighbor, good deeds, etc., was the mark of the early church and that still wasn’t enough to convince the Roman writers of Christianity’s validity.
These truths aren’t just absurd to the mind, they are flatly impossible for the mind to submit to apart from the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:7-8) A prerequisite regeneration of heart must occur before the attractional wonder of the cross becomes apparent (Titus 3:3-6).
Without the supernatural power of this heaven-sent “wind”, sharing the gospel would be akin to commanding a pile of fossilized bones to get up and file into army ranks (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
With man it is impossible/absurd/incredulous/laughable. But with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)
Blind men see.
Deaf men hear.
Dead men live.
And the ancient account of the baby God-Man can become absurdly beautiful.