Do You Want to be Right?

dr philOr do you want to be happy? Much as I hate quoting Dr. Phil, I think it might apply in last week’s dust-up involving Tony Jones and Marcus Borg over the character of the  Resurrection. To be fair, it wasn’t as much between Jones and Borg as it was all the people who read the various blog posts on the subject. Those posts generated a rather spirited theological discussion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing theological discussion; I think it’s great. But, discussion has a nasty habit of turning into argument, which then becomes more about being right than exchanging information. And, there lies a trap: when we’re arguing, we’re not doing. Now, I realize I’m not quite as smart and well-educated as some of the folks involved in this kerfuffle, but I was under the impression that doing was the important part of the Jesus way. Unfortunately, it seems to fall by the wayside more often than any of us should be comfortable with.

I didn’t really get into the discussion, mostly lurking, although I did throw in a few likes and a comment or two (hey, I was on vacation, don’t judge me). But, at several points during said lurking, I thought “This argument might be worth having if it was actually about the resurrection.” While it may have started out that way, it didn’t take long for it to devolve into a bunch of middle-schoolers fighting over whose guy got it right.

I noticed that most of the people who disagreed with Jones aren’t exactly what you’d call his biggest fans. Not everybody likes Tony and that’s okay; we don’t all like the same stuff. That’s why Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors, you know. But, here’s the thing: If you know what Tony says is going to piss you off so much, why do you bother reading him? Seems like a lot of unnecessary stress, if you ask me.

Before we go any further, I suppose I should say where I stand on the issue of the Resurrection.  If you were to press me, I’d have to say I’m stuck in the middle. While I struggle mightily with mysteries like the resurrection, I’m not all that comfortable with the idea that it’s metaphorical and not physical. I reconcile the conflict by telling myself that something must have happened in the tomb, but I don’t understand what it was.

One question occurred to me over and over, as I followed this debate and that was “Does it really matter what I believe about the Resurrection?” I think the answer to that is yes and no. Yes, it matters in the way that belief influences how I live my life, i.e. doing everything in my power to help make it on Earth as it is in Heaven. And, no, it doesn’t matter because God, in all God’s wisdom(?), decided to grant us free will and all that jazz. My point is we all get to believe whatever we want. That means Tony gets to believe he’s right and Marcus Borg is wrong. Is that dickish on Tony’s part? Maybe, but even if it is, who among us can cast a stone on that score?