Poetic polemic.

Faith is the extrapolation of evidence.

Amidst Norways dark and rain, I glimpse hope through faint sunshine stain. I look and smile, and look again. I live no more in vain, for there is hope, and hope secure. Evidence shone; my hope’s compelling spur.¬†The sun will rise, yes rise for sure.

januarsola2
Glimpsing a better future.

 

Did you really think faith is intrinsically blind? I take it, then, that you have never seen and felt the evidence based hope borne by a sunshine ray amidst Mid-winter Norway’s cold darkness.

The poem in the picture is in Norwegian, and many of you will not be able to read it. As a poor comfort, however, most Norwegian readers won’t be able to understand its actual meaning either. ūüėČ

Tourists are happy because they smile.

I just came back from an altogether wonderful trip with my wonderful brother, visiting our wonderful cousin in wonderful Prague in all its wonderful splendor and medieval glory. It was great. Truly great, and as you’ll sooner or later realize, this blog-post has got nothing with tourism to do. On holiday, though, I often have an aching “but…”-feeling. After a couple of days in the midst of amazing architecture in Prague’s Old-town, we somehow managed to get bored, so we decided to take a day-trip to Dresden. ¬†Prague stretches 1100 years back along the arrow of time and has according to Wikipedia been a historical, political and cultural center in Europe throughout much of it. How we managed to get bored is an Easter mystery greater than any, but off we went. And there, in a relaxing cafeteria in the heart of Dresden, that same “but…” feeling struck me like the hunger strikes the tourist. No room for excuses of any kind this time. You don’t get bored of a city after having spent 2 hours in it! So what. Well — the question bothering me was “Why?” We fly in to Prague with big empty cameras on big empty stomachs and big (seemingly just as empty) heads on top of all the glory. ¬†We walk down streets surrounded by Rome’s ancient glory, Prague’s medieval splendor ¬†or London’s amazing, fallen political power. We shoot the same cheese-smiling photos that tourists have taken since the camera became mobile enough for instant photogramming and the later Instagram. We vomit money like food-poisoned tourists. We stop at the right local or even just “local” food shops (not at all questioning if dumplings really are Check or if pizza actually is British) and stuff ourselves with all kinds of food that the natives never eat — except when they go abroad for holidays. Yawning tourists flow through the streets of Budapest listening to a guide from England who once read a book about the city and since then has worked part time ¬†to support her studies. Surprisingly enough all the world’s seven wonders somehow seem to be connected to the past of the city you chose to visit. In Moscow they play the same game. In Paris. And Hong Kong. Me and my brother take the bus to Dresden and repeat the same procedure. We walk down the main street from the train station, exactly where the tourists are meant to walk to be told the happy lies they want to hear. ¬†Around us Asians with way too much money, Americans with way to big stomachs and Norwegians with way to small brains are all marching around¬†playing the same stupid game. We all follow the rules like fools fooling around in foolery, thinking we are happy. ¬†I sit on a cafe called Max and think these thoughts through. I might be exaggerating no less than the tourist guides I have met on my trips, but you get the point.

Illustrational -- A player in the tourist game.
The tourist game.

Perhaps I overstate because I got scared. When I first noticed my lack of ability to appreciate the game, I was scared and despaired ever so slightly. This whole game really gives me nothing. Rather it empties me much like a tourist empties his wallet. It is not that I take no interest in history lessons, culture or tasty food. Actually I really do. ¬†But that aching question of “Remind me; what is the point of this whole game, again?” becomes so overwhelming that I just want to cry. Think of all the money people spend playing this game. Seated in the second floor I look down at all the map-reading tourists, D√∂ner-eating tourists, guided tourists, photo-shooting tourists and culture-consuming tourists of all seven kinds.They are all players in the same game: The tourist game. It is a game strict with rules and with no meaning whatsoever. Everybody plays it. If you follow the rules you become a successful tourist, says the manual. Come home from Egypt without souvenirs and you loose 10 points on the spot. Fly back from Greece without a tan and receive a move-back-to-start penalty. You’ll have to take the holiday over again do make up for it (or buy a year membership in a solarium). Tourists are slaves of their freedom. I hope I am not the only tourist who keeps feeling this way. The name of the cafe reminds me of a friend of mine that I am well above hundred percent confident would be even more bored than me by this stupid game. The Max I know would rather make native friends, blend into the daily life or help an old lady in the midst of Paris’ tourist attractions, while the rest of us watch the astronomic watch in Prague waiting for the twelve apostles to appear above it and reveal some deep, hidden truth to us that we may marvel at and later disbelieve. Tell me — why do we play the tourist game, again? What does it give us? For just by the shear number of tourists on the market one is led to conclude that it must give something to most people. I am glad to know that there at least exist a few people who see the meaningless of this game.

But in the end you probably know me right. I am not actually at all worried about how people spend their holidays or in front of which buildings they stretch out their selfie sticks. What made me so depressed in that cafeteria had nothing with tourism to do, really. It concerned deeper issues. Issues of true freedom slaves. What depressed me, was to think of all the dear and good friends I have, and all the talented people I have met and continue to meet, that are all so content with being tourists of life. They take the right education. They make tons of friends, go to parties, download the right apps, see the right TV-series, do sports, go on holidays and smile on all the pictures they shoot to prove their progressive success. Their well-meaning parents have taught them not to waste their time, and as a result they fill their every moment to the brim with all sorts of excitements, amusement and entertainment that today’s world offer them. Some of them do more during a week than I do in a whole year. And they seem happy. They probably are¬†happy. But not because they stopped at Max to check. Rather because they didn’t. Most of them will never do, either. After all — who wants to get depressed? Stay in the game: Apply for the right universities, work for the right funding and aim at the best jobs. Invest properly in the future. Snap, freeze, tweet and “cheese” all good moments from the past and delete all the bad. Find an intimate friend to get your daily dose of selfish love, or just outsource it to Tinder. Anyways; you are a looser if you don’t have a temporary life-long partner. Fill your life with tons of friends to occupy you in your spare-time and to make sure you don’t have any leftover moment to sit down and reflect on the meaning of the whole game. No-no; that’s already taken care of. Stay you in the game. Stay humble too and profess your lack of belief as an agnostic. Just don’t sit down to figure it all out. You loose time. Play. In short:
Experience. Chill. Relax. Have fun. And follow all the rules.¬†Congrats — you have just earned your share of success!

But remind me, tourist; what of worth does this game give¬†you?¬†¬†You walk the right streets, you buy the right hot dogs and shoot the right Big Ben pictures, smiling the right “cheese”. But the only reason you are happy is because you smile.

I could never be happy that way.¬†Enjoy your Bratw√ľrst.

 

Released

A friend of mine just passed away in a tragic road accident. My thoughts go to his closest ones. I am in grief with them, and I mourn. Yet — I rejoice with the believing ones among them, that he now has met the God in whom he profeessed belief; a God who judges¬†with righteousness.¬†Let us not forget whence we came into this world.

 

Released

Lights everywhere, red-eyed people¬†in deep grief.¬†What all of us see to be the contours of a priest enters the¬†room.¬†“He is with us no more,” he begins, as he smiles from ear to ear.¬†Silent snivel around the tables. Cries of helplessness break the peace. He is gone.¬†At such direct notice people are not able to contain themselves, and his nearest hold each other close¬†as dreary sobbing is heard across the little room of people in grey suits. Tears flow freely, and¬†people in grey become people in grey spotted¬†black and later people in black. He is gone. I sit a bit further behind in the room and contemplate the words. I see people cry. I see people who¬†weep, and I see faces inconsolable. Myself, however, I find that my brain must be instructed to shut down its most human parts when¬†tragedy hits.¬†The most sensitive parts are shielded from¬†exposure¬† to the worst storms. In retrospective¬†I shall gradually have to feel these parts unravel and¬†turn on again and start prosessing what has happened. First when the hurricane has left,¬†is it safe to view the¬†damages inflicted. ¬†But as for now — “He is gone.” –The words just drop dead to the ground. Unprocessed. Yet others, I observe, don’t know how to feel. There is nothing wrong or right about¬†how you feel, says a girl standing up to pass a last greeting to the passed away one.¬†You just feel like you feel. She sits down, and others follow her in sharing memories. The walls of the little room we are assembled in for his remembrance reveal that we are all imprisoned. Patches of paint has fallen off here and there and scattered on the cold concrete floor.¬†I raise up to tell¬†my friend farewell, too. Memories of how we used to talk together cross my mind and move my lips. Memories of how we could discuss and disagree about pretty much everything between heaven and earth and back and beyond. I remember how we held each other accountable for the hope of freedom that lived in us. I sit down with the others and try to keep the hope of freedom beating.¬†I look around me. In the corner I see the priestlike one again. The one who came¬†with the message that¬† he thought to be a message of joy. A¬†whisper that “God judge him for his lack of reverence and sorrow”¬†fills the room.¬†Not much of a priest, people murmur and look at a¬†happy man in grey clothes hiding in a corner.¬†He mumbles something like “I so long to the day when¬†I will be in freedom with him.” People accuse him of having a distorted view of¬† the 10 feet rock solid reality surrounding us; the prison walls.

“Whence did you¬†come in, then?” he replies.

The guards come into the room and dissolve the meeting. “Everybody back to their rooms — now!” Silent, sad and with¬†a broken¬†hope we return to our cells and sit our respective beds.¬†A distant whistle of joy from the cell of the priestlike. The one whos perception of reality, they say, is insane and wishful thinking. He still waits for his freedom. For the day when his transgressions have been atoned for.

And they are right — only the one who knows freedom¬†can be¬†imprisoned.

The more you know you are imprisoned, the less sorry you feel for the release of a fellow prisoner. Of course we shall mourn and be in grief for those who pass from this faint world and into reality. But let us never forget just that: Reality is beyond — not here — awaiting those who know that they are imprisoned.

The Window

NotaBird

 

I am sorry to not be sorry for writing a poem in Norwegian this time. I like to stick to one language on this blog (and I am more and more regretting it ain’t Norwegian!), but this is part of a longer poem that I am composing — in Norwegian, naturally. I will spare you all but this verse. A few months ago I woke up one lovely and happy morning just to learn, less happily so, that my garden bird had left for the south. Off for eternal pastures it was. So innocent, so fragile and so beautiful. Surely, you could tend it and it would trust you enough to hold your hand. To eat from it. Now dead on the ground, with its wings wrapped ¬†up nicely as if it had laid down with purpose. Perhaps for me to have the chance of a last goodbye. I imagined it was just the sweet morning slumber that had gotten hold of it for an extra moment. It would wake up any moment soon, for sure. ¬†I waited and waited, but it didn’t. Now I realize it won’t ever. It is dead. Further my imagination showed me how the sweet little bird had been escaping an eagles eyes and was seeking shelter in my protecting arms. How could it possibly know that an invisible wall separating us was to wipe it off the surface of this earth in the blink of an eye? Its route of escape turned out to be an ensnaring trap of death. I was the one who, in my careless caring, had fed it, for my own sake of pleasure, and with no thoughts of the potential consequences for the innocent one. The death bringing window: I was the one who put it there. My blame, then.

I shall stop before the imagination carries me off to a different world from which I might be slow to return to reality. For when it comes to the incident of a bird hitting the ground by my hand, I, as a mere human being, might not be capable of any compassion beyond that of perhaps a few seconds’ tilted eyebrows and a moment of sorrow, as I reflect on the puzzling beauty in the midst of the ugly happening. I wish it never happened, and I wish the little bird back. But the window is not going down. It seems I value my own needs over that of the bird. Rightfully I do so, and the fault is not with my values or with the window that surely I need. The fault is with the careless bonding that caused its sudden death.

In the end this works to make it all the greater, when the Bible claims that God, in his omnipotence, all his splendor and all his all, takes notice of every little bird that stoups to the ground. Innocence, purity and peace at heart to the very end in the midst of troubles. That is what we all are created for.

Till yonder, bird. Morning comes.

Perhaps 42 is too complicated.

I look around myself on the parking lot. What on earth is this tent? It is completely dark and I can see nothing. Earlier the same day I had been crossing the same car park on my way back from the university gym, and I noticed a handful of dog owners training their dogs there. Sit here, walk there. Good dog, bad dog. Anyways, as I now found myself on the parking lot again, it slowly dawned on me — like stupidity dawns on a student — that I somehow had bewildered myself into one of these dog owner’s tents. That was the only rational I could extract from the otherwise bizarre situation I found myself in. Scared to have gone into somebody’s private, I wanted to back out with superluminal speed. I panicked as I slowly realized that I had no clue where the exit was. I saw a bed somewhere to the front and completely freaked out with fear. What would the owners of the tent say if they woke up and found me lurking around in their most private chambers in the middle of the night? I desperately looked around and saw a window. The yellow light from the street light shone faintly out in the dark-blue autumn night. I knew I somehow had to get out there again. But I didn’t dare to cross the room. From experience I knew that if I tried to walk, I would stumble into something that I couldn’t see. Things I knew were there, which¬†I just couldn’t see. Like dark matter in a galaxy, really. Quite real, but impossible to see with the eyes. The walls of the tent were flapping in the warm breeze. I discretely sank down into something meek underneath me, as I quietly screamed “no-no-no!” and continued to imagine what would happen if the owners woke up. Who could I go to for help? And what did a big camping tent do in the middle of a huge car park anyway? With a bed inside? As my eyes got used to the dark, I spotted a desk over on the other side of the room. None of my observations actually corresponded well with what I expected to find in a camping tent, and it suddenly dawned upon me that with such strange observations, I couldn’t actually be sure that I truly was in a tent on a huge parking lot in the middle of the night in the first place! My eyes were now bigger than tennis balls and my spirits lower and lower for each moment. My overloaded brain trying harder and harder to remember. To make at least some sort of sense out of the surroundings. To interpret. So far it hadn’t done me any more good than forcing me to realize I didn’t actually have the slightest clue about nothing. Not even the¬†faintest knowledge of where I was, how I got there or what my purposes there were — if any.¬†The tent-in-a-parking-lot theory had proven so filthy that I was now willing to abandon it all together. I was all of a sudden thrust into what seemed like an impenetrable well of complete despair. I felt so utterly lonely and helpless that I could cry. Had I remembered that I had a mum, I would have called for her. If you have never had the panicking experience of not having the faintest clue on all those fundamental issues… well: You surely¬†have missed out on something inherently terrible. I can’t think of something more awful. It is the ultimate state of confusion. You feel so lost. So lost and alone in the big void of no nothing. I think many people are there all day long — if they dare open their eyes to think. To see with their minds and conceive with all their human capacity to do so. Where did you come from? What is this place? What meaning is there to it all? No much fortitude in 42.

Illustrational
Don’t be deluded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then. All of a sudden, I saw the solution. Like the last riddle solved before you deliver your thesis. It never even occurred to me that I could have been so wrong. I was never in any tent!¬†I was in my own bedroom in the middle of the night and I had been there all along. I was merely having an extremely spirited experience of sleepwalking. More vivid than usual this time. The solution was so easy I could barely believe it. The relief I felt was tremendous and overwhelming. If it hadn’t possessed such explanatory power, I think I couldn’t have accepted such an easy explanation. For myself, I never actually questioned that I was on that parking lot. It was my brain that forced me to realize how badly that explanation corresponded with my observations of the surroundings. My wrong starting point was the reason why I “couldn’t see” the bag on the floor, or the box that I would stumble into each time I tried to make a step. ¬†There was no room for them in my interpretation of reality, and thus I simply couldn’t see them — even if they were right in front of me! ¬†Now, however, that the right frame of interpretation had been presented to me, it all made such inherently beautiful sense, and I realized that the tent I thought I was in was just the walls in my bedroom. The flapping of the tent in the wind was the curtains in front of my windows. The dark matter on the floor was just a box and a bag! I could see it now. I realized the truth about where I was. By that I immediately also knew how I got there and why I was there. I could go back to sleep. Such an easy way out. Almost too easy to be true. It felt so… undeserved. ¬†Thanking the God I suddenly remembered the existence of, I¬†grinned and went back to¬†rest in peace.

Do you rest in peace?

Moments like these.

I had the opportunity to go camping in the wild with a few good friends this weekend. As I write, I am so tiered that I should perhaps let my pen rest for the night, but bear with me for this one picture. Image, really. Imagery indeed. For amidst the cold and the rain, the sun and fire stain, we glimpsed one of those precious moments of ¬†sheer wilderness beauty. The clash of dark with light. Hope’s struggle to survive the chaos of despair.

Rainbow
Contrasted moment.

 

 

The photo was taken with my mobile camera, but hopefully at least parts of the contrasted moment shine through. Twist your head around the poem and dare its interpretation.

Thanks for a lovely trip, friends! Never forget, though, the stars we saw. The berries we picked and the cold we felt. The sun in our faces. The fire we fought and tamed and the talks we shared.
Truth is a choice, but it cannot be chosen away with.

Over my dead body.

Life is utterly strange – and short. Over my dead body shall some day rest a stone. I found myself tarrying around in a graveyard yesterday. Around me a thousand dead bodies. I couldn’t see the bodies, and I smelled no sent of death. What met my eyes, rather, was nice carved stones with beautiful flowers surrounding. I can’t stop reflecting on the irony of how the garden of death can produce such nice flourishing flower beds. My grandpa was buried here some 7 ¬†years ago, and as I walk around to locate the stone that keeps him under the earth, I take notice of the many sayings and words written on the tomb stones.

 

"Where roses never die."
“Where roses never die.”

I guess, if you want to extract one sentence to summarize a person’s life, it be the one written over his tomb. Save those 50 percent going “Rest in peace”,¬†“Thanks for everything”, “Remembering you with joy” or the like of typical words. Saying the same as all the others, your words loose information. It is that which stands out from the rest that conveys meaning. The essence of information must be its deviation from triviality.¬†I passed a woman’s tomb with a simple

 

Thanks.

and went humm… Strange how you can take away a couple of words, and all of a sudden what you are left with says more than what you started from. To me it spoke of a husband truly grateful to his dearly loved wife now gone. She had been¬†of great value to him. Perhaps she helped him a lot. Of the loving and serving kind, maybe. Overbearing and magnanimous, I imagine, always valuing his life over her own. Who knows what gratitude was spelled in that one word? A truly great word to put on a tomb.

I pass a tomb with a long story of small bear resting in big bear’s arms. Interesting but indeed strange to put on a tomb stone. It probably says a lot about the departed — or the remaining family. More likely it conveys information about both parties. On I wander and wonder. The treasures hidden in the graveyards are the kinds you have to dig deep for. They are like pearls enclosed in oysters. ¬†You have to take the work to look for them, and when you find one, you have to realize its value. Ah — another book spelled out in one sentence:

Nobody knows the day before the sun has set.

Choice words from a non-believer, I take it. Sad words. A screaming voice of hope that something is awaiting yonder. A voice that isn’t on terms with the divine or the heavenly realms. A shout for justice; a prayer hoping for good times for a struggling, good soul now gone.¬†Must have been a good funeral. Utterly sad though. He is lost into the big void of nothing.¬†Oh — I walk on.

"Nobody knows the day before the sun sets."
“Nobody knows the day before the sun sets.”

Talking of nothing; here’s a grave with no inscription. Wow; the subtlety of¬†nothing. How it shouts against me. How it screams everything but “nothing”. As if it wasn’t already weird enough, the grave is set in order! Flowers and nice stone tiles surrounding it. How odd. What can the meaning of this be? A mindful soul left behind in speechless grief. Where words seemed futile. Or perhaps the deceased was a man of facts? A man relented with the terms dictated by every life’s eventual fate? Confused I walk on. I pass a “Where roses never die” — save graveyards?¬†— and finally reach my destination;

All by grace.

IMG_2771
“All by grace.”

So true. I think nobody would give him the testimony of being an easy person, or that of a person having led a perfect life. As humans we tend to forget the good sides of a person as he or she is around, and then, when the person is wiped off the surface we are otherwise bound to, we praise him or her far beyond that of truth. But I think the words my grandma chose for grandpas tomb were perfect.They reflect how he would approach strangers: Without judging and with grace. ¬†The result of having had to learn the hard way himself. Harsh upbringing. No recognition despite of his great many talents. ¬†All by grace.¬†The words reflect what as a result of his background inevitably was needed in his own life; grace. Those words were perfect — and beautiful! They tell the story of a believer. There is hope. They pass the knowledge of judgment and righteousness. Of eternal salvation for every repenting sinner. Truly wonderful.

As I walked off, it struck me that there was one tomb I still hadn’t seen. That one tomb I will spend more time by than any other tomb, but yet never will see — save from beneath. My own tomb. What story will it tell? I might not be the one choosing the words, but I can dictate the terms. I am 26 years of age, and I can barely imagine that I some day will join the resting party of the dead. But I will. What story will then be carved in stone above me?

Now is the time to tell.

The last supper

You sit there on the edge of your bed with an empty look on your face. Furrows of concern that weren’t there before the verdict was reached, have now made their way unto your face. A soft trembling accompany your arm as you release the tension with which it was forced down into the bed out of sheer stress. You lift it to rub your face. Before you in the room a table is set with the most wonderful dishes.

Fate is fixed and lot is laughing.
Fate is fixed and lot is laughing.

Dishes you never tasted and dishes you never even knew. Candles are lit to create the perfect atmosphere for you to enjoy, all as you asked for. Yourself you are dressed up in the very best of suits. Vine of the finest sort is in your cup. Beethoven’s 5th is playing as fate is knocking harder and harder on the door. You tilt your head and clench your fists. The same empty look on your face is now starring at the table. At the delicious meals. Even the most picky would find his way with this table. Pleasures to lift any starving soul out of the pit. But for your own destiny there is no remedy. You take a long, deep sigh. Shake your head. What pleasure is there in the finest dishes when you are dying? When your own death is carved in stone — soon quite literary so? What liberty is there in pleasure when you know it is soon ending? What delight is there in fancy meals when your guts and mind constantly keep working on an ever increasing awareness of the three shots¬†being injected tomorrow? “Enjoy” the jailer had said as he left the room and locked. What an insult. What fool would sit down to feed in such a situation? What idiot could be occupied with pleasure in such circumstances? At the thought of it, you realize how bizarre ¬†a position you are in. All this splendid food on the most expensive service, and you can’t possibly find any enjoyment in it. The situation is getting more and more tense. The point of despair is long surpassed by now. Cortisols, adrenalins and the like are racing through your system at such high rates that you are starting to wonder if you at all will live through to the execution tomorrow morning. There really is nothing you can do to change anything. The ¬†sentence is passed, and all you can do is to wait for its fulfillment. You crawl on the floor and scratch your finger nails against the floor until blood decorate the situation with deep, dark red. Again. For hours you just lay there. Stare down into the floor on which you drivel. Gaze at the roof as if you saw directly into heaven’s secrets. Then. Finally you lift your head and stare down to your feet and the table of lookers beyond. You take a last deep sight, shake your shoulders, wipe off your by now dirty face of despair and walk over to the table. What fool sits down to have his fill in such a situation, you angrily mumble as you throw yourself over it all with the worst of manners.

If the last supper wasn’t already eaten during Passover in Palestine two thousand years ago, life is but a big insulting pleasure. Nothing but a last meal. What fool could sit down to enjoy it?

Youngs and Olds

The being raised from the bench and walked slowly down the road. A grey jacket. Grey boring shoes and a hat. It seemed to have troubles walking. One foot slowly to the front of the other. I lifted my head to have a better look. It noticed and slowly moved its eyes to the side where I sat. Experienced eyes, it seemed. Well, well and have a nice day you too; I nodded and smiled. A wooden stick accompanied its right hand. It had two hands, just like me. Shivering legs. Suddenly it paused. The back was crooked, and it had to lean backwards in order not to fall when standing without the support from his stick. Unshaven cheeks revealed that it was a he. He coughed.

Illustrational
Illustrational

A content look he had. Perhaps that was about the only nice feature I could find with him. His hand went into the pocket fishing out a handkerchief. He blew a runny nose and slowly put the handkerchief back into the same pocket. He stumbled a couple of steps more and sat down on a bench¬†towards the other end of the road I was looking down. In the dead end he sat, and he was an Old. Suddenly it all felt so unfair.¬†There are two kinds of humans on¬†earth, beyond male and female. Youngs and Olds. I was born a Young, and luckily so. I mean; I sat there and praised myself lucky to not be born an Old. Sadly that’s what I really did, I think. After all they are so different from us Youngs. So slow and…. dead. Olds and Youngs. So unfair to be partitioned that way. Especially when there is nothing you really can do to change the way you are. Deep inside I did what I think all Youngs do in meeting an Old: I pitied him. Pitied him for being so unlucky in the¬†lottery of life. ¬†Felt bad for him to not be a Young like me. How unfair. What would an Old know about the joys of life? Youngs and Olds. The difference between the two could hardly be any greater.

Yet — there wasn’t more than an Old mans short walk separating us, but I couldn’t see it. I simply didn’t see it.

Stupendous claims indeed.

The Skeptics Week is currently going on at NTNU, and I have found myself defending my faith many times already.¬†A faith I have been examining quite intently on my own over the course of the last year or so – a process that seems to just have started. A healthy process, I believe. But like anything healthy in this wicked world, it doesn’t always taste so invitingly pleasant.

Photographer: Cathrine Lindberg
Photographer: Cathrine Lindberg

And what exactly is it, that I defend? I claim to believe that somebody rose from the dead about 2000 years ago. Nothing less. On a cabin trip this weekend, where candles, darkness, the guitar and squeaking walls seemed to create just the right atmosphere, the topic of God versus science; arrogance versus ignorance came up. How can we possibly know? According to some, Gödel destroys the battle ground even before the battle gets started. A lovely discussion indeed it was, though, with some jolly good British accent. A good warm up for the Skeptics week, and after the debate between dr. Payne and Law yesterday, I went down to ask the agnostic part in the debate Рmr. Law Рhis opinion on my stupendous claims as a Christian.

“Is there any way I could possibly convince you that somebody rose from the dead for say – quite hypothetically – 2000 years ago?” I asked.
“No,” he answered, just as honest as I had hoped for him to be, and then seemed to feel obliged to add a ¬†“well, I couldn’t rule it out as a theoretical possibility, but I think it is going to be tough for you.”

Quite frankly no, then. There is no way I could possibly convince mr. Law that somebody did this.¬†At this point, as a good Christian I should probably fold my hands and shake my head at such a shockingly arrogant position. In fact the topic of the debate was; “Accused of arrogance; is Jesus the only way?” a good topic for a debate, except many Christians would at this point wonder if the accusation was addressed to the right part. To be a bit more fair with him, and in the same spirit of honestness (or hotness, as my spell-checker suggests) as he answered me with, I quite frankly understand his position, and on logical grounds I might even respect it. And perhaps so should (or do) you?

What if somebody came along and preached that as a matter of fact Caesar himself rose from the dead 2000 years ago. As a Christian you wouldn’t believe it for a second. Or say a Muslim woke you up at night and said Muhammad came about 1400 years ago preaching as a prophet from God. You wouldn’t even have to wake up to shake your head, turn around and sleep on. Not because you are arrogant. No, not at all, but because you QUITE FRANKLY¬†wouldn’t believe it. You couldn’t, and you shouldn’t. And why is that so?
“The evidence that this claim is true simply isn’t good enough! ” you shout in my ears.¬†And this is where the philosophers start dancing around mr. Law, because that is exactly what he claimed about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead;

“There simply isn’t enough evidence – and how could there possibly be?”

I think that is a fair question to ask, and we as Christians could ask ourselves the same question. Is there any way that I would believe that Caesar rose from the dead if somebody came along in a professors suit and tried to convince me with historical facts, dates and a convincing voice? Or, to be more self-examining and less pleasant;

is there enough evidence to believe that Jesus rose from the dead 2000 year ago – which indeed is a rather radical claim?

After all that strikes at the very core of the Christian faith, and thus it better be true. As Paul puts it:

¬†“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty. Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep ¬†in Christ have also perished. For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.
(NET 1Cor 15,13-19)

So I find myself asking why it is that I so strongly have believed up till now. Not believed as in “I think perhaps…”, but as the Bible puts it; with¬†full certainty (Heb 11,1).¬†In fact I have believed ¬†so strongly that if somebody came to me only a couple of years back and said they didn’t believe there was a god, I would write him off as a liar and think he just didn’t want there to be a God ( of course that¬†is¬†true for many, but not everybody, I believe – or is it?).

I have my own answers to the boldfaced question, but it seems as if at the moment I prefer just asking questions, and not giving away my answer, so in the spirit of Socrates you will have to give birth to the answers on your own.

How can you possible believe that somebody rose from the dead 2000 years ago? What is your evidence?

If you know God, I think you know the answer.