I wrote this piece a while back for a profile on Medium.com. I am re-branding that profile and felt this piece was better suited for my personal blog. I hope you enjoy reading!
I am doubting Thomas.
Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of St. Thomas brilliantly depicts a dumbfounded disciple (Thomas) as he has his hand gently guided into an open wound in Jesus’ side. I have to admit, more often than not, I feel like Thomas. I doubt if the physical body of Jesus actually came out of the tomb. This doubt has cost me many dear friendships. When people discover that I have doubts, about this issue specifically, it is as if I become a leper and they don’t want to catch my doubt. Why is this issue the one that gets me cast out of my church communities quicker than any other? Why am I so awful for having some uncertainty around Jesus’ resurrection? I am desperately seeking answers to these questions because when I find them, maybe I will feel comfortable coming back to church. Until then, I feel safer with my doubt at home.
Church hurt is real… and it is even more real when you are going through deconstruction. For me, deconstruction was not some science experiment where I tried on different beliefs or ideologies, just for the sake of doing something different. Instead, it was a deeply personal confrontation of the theology I was given from a very young age. A theology that kept me small and desperate for approval. When I see the image of Thomas in the Caravaggio painting, I see compassion on the face of Jesus as he guides Thomas’ hand into his wound. It is almost as if he is guiding him into his doubt. Jesus is saying, “Here is your doubt. Touch it. See that it is real. Believe in it.”
This is the Jesus I know. He does not disapprove of doubt, doubt brings him out from the shadows. Doubt gives life to the dead. I know, I was spiritually dead. It was my doubt that brought me back to life. So if I think about it, I wasn’t wrong for doubting the physical body resurrection. Doubt helped bring the resurrecting into a light, a light I may never have seen had I not taken the time to question in the first place. So let’s ask the question again, “does doubting the physical resurrection of Jesus’ body no longer make me a Christian?” The answer is no, it does not. In fact, it might make me more qualified than before.