Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lesson from St. Thomas

One of the ancient apostles who has always intrigued me was St. Thomas, affectionally referred to by Christians as "Doubting Thomas"; an appellation he received because he vocally expressed his doubt as to whether or not Jesus of Nazareth had risen from the dead.

I do not believe that this appellation should rightfully be bestowed upon Thomas. If he were the only one among the 11 remaining apostles who expressed doubt, then perhaps this would be the case. But it is not. According to the gospel account of St. Matthew, the others doubted even when they saw Jesus (Matt 28:17). However, when Thomas himself he Jesus he exclaims "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28), the only apostle in the Gospels to testify of Jesus' divinity and station as God himself. Perhaps instead of calling him "Doubting Thomas" we should call him "St. Thomas, the apostle of honesty" since all that he really did was demand the same evidence for believing that the others did (John 20:25).

There is a great lesson in this short chapter. It that one should not believe without evidence. That is not what faith is. Faith is not infra-rational; rather it is supra-rational. Notice that Jesus does not call Thomas "faithless" when he appears to him. Rather, he tells to receive the evidence he has asked for and be what he has been called to be (John 20:27).

As people attempt to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, they should not be enraged or frustrated when the unbeliever, skeptic, or questioner is honest with them to ask for some sort of evidence before they will believe. If Jesus himself was willing to provide it to St. Thomas, certainly we mortals can work to have evidence to support our beliefs. This is why philosophy, science, reason, and argument are a part of true religion.

However, let us also remember that faith does not mean to know things perfectly, so there will be times when we do not have an answer to every question. However, we should spend time looking for an answer rather than simply accepting the fact that one is not currently available to us.

2 comments:

  1. I agree it isn't fair to call him doubting Thomas, especially since he was the only one at the time of his statement that hadn't seen Christ. I'm a fan of trusting our hope and our believes more than we trust our doubts and fears, but that doesn't mean that doubts and fears shouldn't be addressed. Sometimes we get uncomfortable with religious questions. We shouldn't. If we don't have questions about our religion, we probably need to study it more. Our lack of questions usually isn't due to a lack of questionable history or doctrine, but a lack of having studied enough to know what questions we have.

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  2. I think Christ rightly commends Thomas for seeing and believing, but we can't ignore his second statement that those who don't see and believe are also blessed.
    Seeking for signs and for evidence is fine, as long as we're not looking in places where God has already given us signs and evidence. If we continue seeking after the manifestation of His power, we get in deep water. That same water crushed and swallowed several people in the Book of Mormon which is one reason I think those stories are in there. They're for us.

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