Friday, April 16, 2010

Doubting Thomas or Natural Inquirer

John 20: 19-28:
19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."

I'm sure we all know this story, after Jesus' resurrection, Thomas had to see Him and actually be able to *touch* Him before he would believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. It's where we get the phrase 'Doubting Thomas' (and didn't *I* feel old when I used that in class and none of the kids knew it...) Anyway, 'Doubting Thomas' is a term that is used to describe someone who refuses to believe something without direct, physical, personal evidence.

And, in my experience, it's treated as something bad.

But, really, where's the line between being a 'doubting Thomas', and being naturally inquisitive? I mean, let's all be honest. If you were Thomas, would your first reaction to the news of the other disciples be, 'Ah! Wonderful, He has appeared to you. Great. I'll take it on your word alone.' Or would it have been, like mine, 'Okay, guys, the stress has gotten to you. We're all under a *lot* of pressure, and it's understandable. And maybe you should lay off the wine.'

Don't get me wrong, I take literally 'Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.' Christians, past the first couple of generations, haven't seen Christ. They haven't even seen those who did know Christ personally. We take it on faith. But it's not meant to be a *blind* faith.

If we can't question things, if we can't ask for evidence, historical or otherwise, we're just blindly following, without using our brains. And that's not how it was meant to be. Christianity, in my opinion, is meant to be a mix of faith, but also reason. That doesn't mean that we have to nitpick and reason down to the last iota everything that happens.

Faith needs to be, to a certain extent, fluid. Accepting of mystery. We're never going to understand it all. And the...the need to justify our faith to the secular world, to the skeptics, is playing their game! To be able to say, 'scientifically' that this, that and the other thing happened. I don't see the need for *that*. However, we must also be free to question our beliefs. A religion that refuses to allow it's adherents, or even non-believers to study it's history and pick at it, has something to hide. If you don't believe that your faith, your religion, can hold up to scholarly scrutiny, there is something wrong.


  1. Amen!!! I couldn't agree more. Thanks, Amber!

  2. Good point. Its human nature for us to question. I mean someone had to check to make sure it was him, its just the natural thing for us to do. Thomas needed to use his way to make sure that was Jesus (as) in front of him. Makes sense to me.

    I think part of the reason this is one of the more memorable stories of the Bible is because you can relate to it so well. Its a very human thing for us to inquire about things.

  3. LK,

    That's just it. I think that St. Thomas' reaction was perfectly reasonable given the situation. *I* certainly would have thought they were having me on, or delusional. Then again, I'm a fairly suspicious person anyway...probably a character flaw of some kind. :)


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