Tell me if I’m wrong, but in this whole Kavanaugh fiasco, does anyone really want to know what happened?  Does anybody really want to know the truth?

Instead of reserving judgment until all the facts are in, most people have already made up their minds.  Democrats presumed him guilty right from the start.  Republicans immediately declared the accusations a liberal witch hunt.

No matter how compelling Ford’s testimony was; no matter how impeccable Kavanaugh’s work record has been, this whole thing may end up boiling down to a “he said, she said”.  We may never have any certainty about what happened—which calls for humility, not unequivocal condemnations or complete exonerations.

But that doesn’t seem to matter.  The facts, or lack thereof, don’t seem to matter.  Just look at the hysteria surrounding this issue.  If you’ve tried to have a rational conversation about it, you know what I mean.  You know that the vast majority of people on both sides are reacting more out of raw emotion than reasoned argument.  There’s a lot more yelling and shouting and vilifying the other side than open-minded discussion or a quest for truth. 

I even saw a Facebook post that threatened something like this: be forewarned, I will immediately defriend anyone who makes a comment in support of Judge Kavanaugh (of course, the post used more colorful language to say it!).  This person wasn’t even willing to hear the other side of the issue, which, unfortunately, isn’t unique to either side.

Why all this hysteria?

Because this whole thing isn’t really about Judge Kavanaugh and whether or not he’s fit to be the next Supreme Court justice.  This is really about a number of deeply emotional and divisive issues that our country and culture struggle with mightily: Roe v. Wade, the Me Too movement, the silencing of sexual assault victims, gender equality, and so on.  Issues that people are deeply invested in and have already made their minds up about.

That’s why people have made up their minds about Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford without knowing all the facts. 

That’s why people aren’t interested in finding the truth of what really happened between them.  

The sad truth the Supreme Court nomination fiasco has exposed is that we are often so invested in a particular position that we aren’t really interested in finding the truth.   

There’s a poignant scene in John’s Gospel (18:33-38) where Jesus, bloodied and beaten, stands before Pontius Pilate, who is about to condemn him to death.  Pilate questions Jesus about his pretention to be a king.  Jesus responds by saying that his kingdom is not of this world and that he came only to testify to the Truth.

In what amounts to a sarcastic deflection, Pilate responds: “Truth?  What is Truth?” 

Pilate isn’t sincerely asking Jesus if there is such a thing as Truth.  Or what that Truth might be. 

In his own mind, he believes he already knows the Truth: it’s a harshly hierarchical world where shrewdness, strength, and brutality reign.  He’s so completely invested in “his truth”, in his power, position, and prestige in the Roman Empire, that he isn’t willing to consider any other truth; he doesn’t really want to know the Truth.

In our modern world, we do this all the time.  We deflect the question by cynically declaring that there is no such thing as Truth—everyone has their own truth.  We don’t want to know the Truth because it might upend what we’re living for.  We are so invested in a particular worldview, a particular way of living our lives, that we won’t even contemplate the idea that there could be a Truth larger than our own.

Just picture this scene: The Truth—i.e., the absolute Truth about existence itself—is staring Pilate right in the face and Pilate is completely indifferent to it.  He refuses to see it. 

The irony is breathtaking: The one person in all of history who could reveal The Truth to him is ready and willing.

But instead of looking deeper, he makes a sarcasm-laced remark designed to avoid the question. 

Of course, it’s only ironic IF Jesus is who he claimed to be, God in the flesh.  Otherwise, Pilate’s “truth” is just as good, just as true, as anything Jesus ever taught.

Anne Rice is famous for her best-selling The Vampire Chronicles novels.  One of the things she is best known for is the extensive historical research she does for each novel.  She is very familiar with how historical scholarship works. 

For most of her life, she was an atheist.  Though she hadn’t looked into the evidence for herself, she believed skeptical New Testament scholars had powerful evidence and arguments to show that  Christianity was a fraud.

But when she finally got around to looking into the historical Jesus, the evidence pointed in a different direction:

What gradually came clear to me was that many of the skeptical arguments—arguments that insisted most of the Gospels were suspect, for instance, written too late to be eyewitness accounts—lacked coherence.  They were not elegant.  Arguments about Jesus himself were full of conjecture.  Some books were no more than assumptions piled upon assumptions.  Absurd conclusions were reached on the basis of little or no data at all.

In sum, the whole case for the nondivine Jesus who stumbled into Jerusalem and somehow got crucified by nobody and had nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and would be horrified by it if he knew about it—that whole picture which had floated in the liberal circles I frequented as an atheist for thirty years—that case was not made.  Not only was it not made, I discovered in this field some of the worst and most biased scholarship I’d ever read.

I saw almost no skeptical scholarship that was convincing…(Anne Rice, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2005, pp. 329-330)

As she continued her quest for the historical Jesus, Rice found that the evidence he was, in substance, who the Gospels present him to be, who they say he claimed to be—the Son of God—was utterly compelling.  As a result, she became a Christian.  

Subsequently, Rice has “quit Christianity” over issues with the Church. 

However, she’s made it abundantly clear that she hasn’t “quit Christ”. 

The historical evidence is just too good. 

In fact, even though some of her views have diverged from traditional Christian doctrines, such as original sin and the Church’s teachings on sexuality, she remains fiercely committed to Jesus, who she still believes is the Second Person of the Trinity, God incarnate, and bodily risen from the dead. 

This only serves to make her conclusions about the historical evidence all the more credible—she clearly isn’t sympathetic to or interested in defending Church!

As someone who went on a similar quest for the historical Jesus, I initially presumed that the skeptical scholarship was air-tight; that much of what is found in the Gospels is just legend and myth, especially things Jesus said and did to suggest he was divine. 

For a while, I even held this position myself. 

But as I dug deeper, I found exactly what Rice and many others have found.  If you bother to look, if you’re willing to look, if you really want to find the Truth, the historical evidence shows that Jesus was who the Gospels claim him to be.

In future blogs, I will present this evidence for the “real Jesus” according to the latest and best historical Biblical scholarship, evidence that will show that he is The Truth.

Please go to the Contact E.J. Page and let me know what you think about this blog and please consider following Raising Jesus on Facebook.

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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