In 1919 The New York Globe began running a cartoon feature by Robert Ripley called “Believe it or not!” It specialized in publishing facts that seemed too strange to be true. It took off like wild-fire! In 1933 Ripley displayed his collection at the Chicago World’s Fair. Currently, there are 29 Believe It or Not! “odditoriums” located across the United States and in several other countries. For many decades it has attracted the attention of people interested in curiosities that, while true, are very difficult to believe.
Believe It or Not! is essentially a whimsical offbeat approach to entertainment. But it does remind us that there are things in life that are true, even though these things seem to violate our logic or our common sense.
On a more serious note, the Bible is a thing that, on the surface, seems to violate the logic and common sense of many people.
Those of us who claim to be Bible-believing Christians had best be prepared for some ridicule for what we believe. Because much of what we believe flies square in the face of folks’ ability to reason it out.
Many reject the truth about Jesus Christ and the Bible on the basis that it seems to violate their logic, or their perception of good science, or their common sense.
For example, a popular way for atheistic comedians to ridicule Bible believers is for them to find ways to evoke laughter at the expense of those who believe in the “snake in the garden thing,” or the “Noah thing,” or the “Jonah thing,” or the “six-day creation thing.” The Bible is certainly full of reports of supernatural events. Miracles. Things that make no sense to people whose world view excludes the supernatural from the start.
God created the universe and life by simply speaking them into existence?
We have a sin nature because of one man?
There was no death in the world until Adam sinned?
Jesus death on the cross paid for our sin?
Jesus literally, physically, and historically rose from the dead?
When we start with the presupposition that we will only believe the information that our five senses send to our brain, or what we can logically conceive with our own brains, we will quickly discard the Bible as a book of ridiculous myth and fantasy.
But for some of us, there is a stirring within. It may start with the notion that there must be more to life than meets the eye. There is an inner nudging that… just maybe… our senses don’t quite pick up everything that there is to be understood about life.
We may find ourselves dissatisfied and unfulfilled and having an “is-this-all-there-is?” feeling about life.
We may find ourselves dumbfounded by the millions of people from all walks of life (from the intellectually dull to the intellectually brilliant, from the poverty stricken to the ridiculously wealthy, from all nations and cultures and languages) who claim that this absurd Book has radically changed their lives forever… and who are willing to give their lives up to torture and death rather than renounce their faith.
And it may begin to dawn on us that there just may be more to this Book… which we have so quickly dismissed on so-called intellectual grounds… than we thought.
And gradually it may occur to us that the really ridiculous and silly thing would be to think that, from the earliest days of the church, these people would be willing to die for their conviction that Jesus is alive from the dead rather than simply renounce their absurd claims, if their convictions were not based on truth!
And, often, if we give Him a chance, we hear an inner Voice whispering to us, “You have sinned. You have been outrageously self centered! You have messed up big time! You are a selfish, egoistic, egotistical, proud pig! You need to be cleansed! And you can’t do it yourself!”
And eventually, this Book that contains records of all these outlandish supernatural claims… claims our attention.
And as we devour its pages, we begin to learn why we are here! We begin to find our real purpose in life! We learn that in Christ we can be forgiven and forever changed! We discover what real peace is all about! We begin to realize that it was not the Book, but we who have been absurd!
We begin to thrillingly discover that in the place of inner turmoil, emptiness, meaninglessness, resentment, bitterness, hopelessness, and despair, there can be an unanticipated and delightfully surprising peace, joy, and love. We begin to understand that “grace” means so much more than just having elegant good manners!
And Jesus turns our foolish sense-limited world right-side up. He turns our life completely inside-out. We gladly own Him as our Living Lord and Master of our lives. He has captured our hearts and minds. Now we love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. And, in His power, we choose to follow Him throughout life, through death, and into eternity!
Irrational? Illogical? Absurd? Yes! But certainly true!… And incredibly wonderful!
Stay in the Battle!