What's At Stake On The Cross Each Easter

Well, it's that time of year again to look at why Christian apologists spend so much of our time and energy meticulously arguing dozens and dozens (and hundreds of dozens!) of little points in favor of believing that something happened in history and what it means in principle for people.

That may not sound like evangelism, especially to professional and gifted evangelists, but sceptics sure realize (and sometimes suspiciously resent, perhaps reasonably so) the evangelical character of such activity -- because they're sensitive (for better or for worse) about where all those big and little pieces are ultimately pointing.

Where those pieces are pointing is an idea that, like any good idea, can still be abused in various ways to hurt people and to promote non-fair-togetherness (or "injustice" or "unrighteousness" as the term in Biblical Greek is usually translated) between people.

It might be abused so that people get the idea that mutual cooperation between persons doesn't matter, whether between creatures and creatures or between creatures and the source of our existence. Or it might be abused so that people get the idea that fair-togetherness between persons is something that shouldn't be or ultimately won't be fulfilled.

Either way, people are hurt, and so is society. And in my experience, the people who reject the idea, often primarily reject where they think the idea is going: one of those different (yet ultimately related) ideas.

So when someone (such as myself) comes along to talk about how the incarnation of God Most High, if it's true, and how the voluntary suffering of God Most High, if it's true (in one way or another), are testimony by God that He does willingly choose to value persons, giving value to persons by making us persons at all, and treasuring persons --

some people will turn around and see that as a license for us to do whatever we happen to feel like doing (because God values us and our feelings, right?) --

and some people will dig in their heels because Christians often turn around and deny that God surely or effectively values persons after all --

and I am sad to say that some people (Christian as well as non-Christian) will dig in our heels because we'd personally prefer not to value persons, maybe not even ourselves, for what we think or feel are various conveniences of our own. I am also sad to say that this is my own category!

But all of us, in fact, fall into one or even (at various times and ways) more of those categories. If you don't think you do, I confidently say you haven't been paying enough attention to what you think and do -- or perhaps you're paying the wrong kind of attention to your self.

Yet the cross says, if trinitarian Christianity is true, that not everything we happen to feel like doing is right -- and God Himself voluntarily pays for letting us act out badly on our feelings anyway, by being reckoned with the victims of injustice.

And the cross says, if trinitarian Christianity is true, that even the worst doers of injustice are still beloved of God -- and God Himself voluntarily suffers along with such people, by being reckoned with transgressors.

And what about the empty tomb, and the resurrected body?

They say, if they're true, that despite immediate tragedies of injustice, God will eventually put everything right, even better than before: because He loves even corrupted Nature (though not the corruptions), enough to suffer with us through corrupted Nature and then to triumph over the corruptions by bringing Nature through and out of the corruptions.

What's at stake for Christianity's truth -- even somewhat literally "at stake", for the cross is after all a stake -- is whether people matter and just how much people matter.

Do people matter at all?

Do people matter at all to fundamental reality?

Do all people matter to fundamental reality, or only some people?

Do people matter enough to fundamental reality? -- enough to sympathize with us? -- enough to lead us to triumph over our griefs? -- enough to let people be enemies rather than puppets? -- enough to save the worst enemies of reality?

Enough to go the full distance, however far it takes, however long it takes, until we all agree that other people (not only ourselves) do truly matter?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
A thousand times YES, into the eons of the eons!

Or, no.

Yes, or no:
that is what is at stake,
each and every Easter.

God's grace to all our readers around the world, this and every Easter.

Jason Pratt
Easter Sunday 2014
"For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, Who was announced among you by us, did not become yes and no, but in Him has become Yes! For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes! -- therefore also through Him is our Amen toward the glory of God through us." 2 Cor 1:19-20


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