Easter came and went with nary a peep. For many, if not most, Easter became nothing more than a day off, a chance to sleep in. The power of what Christians call the greatest event in the history of the world and the main reason why western civilization had the wherewithal to become the most peaceful and prosperous civilization in the history of mankind, is almost forgotten. Or are we wilfully giving it the heave-ho?
Easter is the Christian celebration of Jesus Christ’s rising from the dead. His powerful message to love one’s neighbour as yourself has endured 2,000 years. His message opened the possibility that people could behave well enough to live under democracy, rule of law and free-market capitalist economies.
As the Western world moves on from Christianity, democracy and capitalism don’t work so well anymore. Too many unions and companies fuelled by greed and governments, rather than working to make things run better, constantly get in the way.
When Christians celebrate Easter, all of Canada and the Western world should celebrate. But no, instead we get open disdain of Christianity. Maclean’s magazine poked the eyes of Christians during Holy Week with a front cover article titled “Did Jesus really exist?” Nor does the government of Canada have much respect for Christianity. It recently closed its office for religious freedom and don’t forget the prime minister’s undemocratic act of banning pro-life candidates from the Liberal Party. Christians are now the bigots for simply supporting traditional marriage.
And guess what? Christians here have it easy. The United States acknowledged last month that the Islamic state is committed to the genocide of Christians in Syria and Iraq. A Muslim extremist detonated a bomb that injured hundreds and killed 72 Christians on Easter Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan.
Christianity is not for wimps but you’d think that Christians would just give it up. Who needs all this suffering? But Christians wilfully suffer in solidarity with the God-man because they believe his every word and that includes supernaturally redeeming our world through self-sacrifice.
If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christian faith is a farce. The historical accounts argue otherwise and their evidence is strong, though of no interest to 21st century cynics. The historians of the day were just telling it as it was. Jewish historians wrote about Jesus’ followers who saw him alive after he was cruelly tortured and killed. The number of witnesses are legion. The first Christians walked the sands of the Holy Land proclaiming the message of the Risen Christ. For their hard work and dedication, they were beaten, stoned, tortured, imprisoned and executed. The first 25 leaders of the first Christians were martyred. Who allows themselves to be tortured and murdered for a lie?
Eyewitness accounts of miracles by Jesus and his closest friends spread far and wide. It was simply hard to say no when you saw a blind man given his sight.
The prevailing “wisdom” today scoffs at Jesus and proclaims that God does not exist, asking “Who made God?” — a slick sound bite but not an argument.
If a watch needs a watchmaker, then this vastly superior and fantastically-ordered universe we live in requires a much bigger brain. Everything in it points to God, an intelligent designer who lives outside of time and space. Nothing points to an accidental universe. You can’t get something from nothing. Who seriously believes that there was nothing and then — poof! — in the space of minutes, hydrogen and oxygen formed? And within no time we had the laws of physics with no guiding creative force? Things that reveal intelligence and design need an intelligent designer. We don’t call a table an accident. It was designed. The simple single-celled organism — let alone a complex plant like corn or soybeans — is incredibly more complex than a table. An honest scientist would follow the evidence, even if it points to God.
Today, there is a crisis of unbelief. The cause, a priest told me, is that we have a crisis of saints, that is, a crisis of heroes, of Christians with courage. We’re not inspired anymore.
Now that Christians worldwide have celebrated Easter, they must continue their challenge, seeking inspiration from their persecuted brethren in other parts of the world and throughout history. To make the difference they desire, they will need to renew their efforts of prayer, good works and self-sacrifice, to rekindle their own fire, then get back to the work of re-saving the world.
Patrick Meagher is editor of Farmers Forum and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.