Don’t leave your post-Enlightenment worldview too far behind

A note for all those in the half-intellectual apologist wing of evangelical Christianity who the worldview wars above all else:

The challenge for any historian, when faced with the question of the rise of Christianity, is much more focused than is often supposed. It is not simply a matter of whether one believes in ‘miracles’, or in the supernatural, in general, in which case (it is supposed) the resurrection will be no problem. If anyone ever reaches the stage where the resurrection is in that sense no problem, we can be sure that they have made a mistake somewhere, that they have constructed a world in which this most explosive and subversive of events — supposing it to have occurred — can be domesticated and put on show … in the church’s collection of supernatural trophies. The resurrection of Jesus then becomes either ‘a trip to a garden and a lovely surprise’, a happy ending to a fairy story, or a way of legitimating different types of Christianity or different leaders within it. No: the challenge comes down to a much narrower point, not simply to do with worldviews in general, or with ‘the supernatural’ in particular, but with the direct question of death and life, of the world of space, time and matter and its relation to whatever being there may be for whom the word ‘god’, or even ‘God’, might be appropriate.

N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (712)

[To be true to Wright, nothing is special about post-Enlightenment worldviews as a foil to cozy comfort with the resurrection; as he often repeats, the classical and first-century Jewish worlds knew as well as we do that dead bodies do not come back to life, and resurrection was as theologically, epistemologically and politically explosive in the first century as it can be in the 21st.]

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