Get out of hell free card

John 20:24-29

This passage occurs after the resurrection and Jesus’ appearance to his disciples. All except Thomas was present  with the disciples when Jesus shows himself to be a walking ghost, zombie or whatever. The disciples excitedly tell Thomas later that  “the Lord” had been seen. But Thomas has doubts and does not believe.

Verse 25: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Thomas was a skeptic that wanted verifiable evidence for the claim that was being made. He would not just take their story on FAITH!

Later Jesus appears before Thomas to give him his solid evidence that Thomas required before believing. “Stop doubting and believe.” Jesus says to Thomas. “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

My question is, was Thomas condemned to an eternity in hell at that moment? The rest of us sure are. Billions of people have the same doubts about whether Jesus is who an ancient book says he is. I would like to see some kind of evidence just as Thomas did. Other peoples stories of faith is not evidence. There are many many other stories of messiahs, gods, and so called miracles in many different religions. None of which can be verified with testable evidence. The claims can ONLY be taken on faith.

If Thomas is not destined to roast in hell like the rest of us doubters and skeptics are, what kind of justice is that? Did he get a free pass? Did he receive a get out of hell free card?

Religion is a bad word for the religious

Religion:
1.a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects. 2. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices. 3. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

I know you’ve heard it from christians before. “Its not a religion, its a relationship!”

I used to say it myself. The word “Religious” is like a cuss word in the christian community. For some, it is like an insult to the status of their faith. Most believe they have a one on one hook-up and exchange with god, Jesus, or whoever. They want to distance themselves away from the word as much as possible.

The word Religion to the believer is like a set a rules that keeps the believer in bondage. It keeps their belief un-free to worship the way that their own version of their faith wants them to worship. It us just a word that they would rather not use or associate with.

Until….

They feel that their beliefs are being infringed upon. Then the word Religion is embraced in the form of the 1st Amendment. Religion become a pretty darn good thing when the religious want to keep their rights to worship however they see fit, or when they want to push their beliefs and faith onto others. Suddenly its not about “relationship” but all about religion.

 

Did John the Baptist doubt Jesus?

The mothers of Jesus and John the Baptist both had some remarkable events happen at the time when they conceived. Both were visited by angels and told the details of their soon to come offspring, even down to what to name them. One of them was to come into the world magically.

I understand that John and Jesus may not of been around each other while growing up. Of course…there is no record of these cousins being together until the day Jesus went to John to be baptized. Though John didn’t greet him as a family member, but as someone who’s sandals John was unworthy to carry.

According to Matthew 3:14 (But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”) it is very clear that John knows who Jesus is. At least the god like nature that Jesus was supposed to be. Johns whole purpose was to “prepare the way” for Jesus’ coming. What a day it must have been when Jesus finally did show up on the scene. And even came to John to be baptized.

So there are a couple of passages that I recently read that are a bit puzzling.

Matthew 11:2 When John heard in prison what christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Luke 7:19 he sent them to the lord to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

When I read this, I picture John sitting in prison saying, “Damn…I wonder if all this crazy magic stuff is true after all. Why hasn’t Jesus broke me out of here yet?!” I wonder if during Johns time in prison, he began to doubt if there was a god or began to doubt Jesus.

Reading further in the texts, I found no resolve to Johns questions or possible doubts. I found no passages where Johns disciples reported back Jesus’ response. Only that John is beheaded later.

Now then, I can already hear possible believers response to all of this. Things like, “John knew he was going to die, and wanted his own disciples to start following Jesus.” or “John wanted his disciples to be re-assured from Jesus himself.” But where does it say that? The bible never says that. Conclusions like this can only be made up. Christians can make up whatever they want in these gaps to make it all fit together. Regardless of wether the text actually says it or not. I can only conclude what the text itself says and it reads to me like John began to doubt the divinity of Jesus.

This is a perfect example of how the bible can be contradictory, confusing and an incomplete, fragmented text. If our very souls are dependent on what is written in it, why make it so difficult to understand. Just another reason to not believe it is the inerrant word of a god.

So, did John the Baptist doubt Jesus?