by Matt Karr
Last Wednesday at his general audience, Pope Benedict encouraged all Christians to be bold witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
He said, “The Resurrection is the greatest of God’s mighty acts in history; mysterious beyond all imagining, it is also a real event attested by trustworthy witnesses who in turn became messengers of this good news before the world.”
Why emphasize that the Resurrection was a “real event”?
To answer that question, I think it is important to have insight into a key dichotomy in our culture between a public world of facts and a private world of values that is identified by Lesslie Newbiggin. Newbiggin was a missionary for most of his life in India. However, he spent a number of his later years writing on the topic of the conversion of Western culture.
He writes about this dichotomy: “The public world is a world of facts that are the same for everyone, whatever his values may be; the private world is a world of values where all are free to choose their own values and therefore to pursue such courses of action as will correspond to them” (“Foolishness to the Greeks,” p. 466). So what belongs to the world of facts? Those things that are taught in our schools. Things like Western history, grammar, physics, the world is round, and that there are nine planets in our solar system (or eight, depending on when you went to school). These are things that we are expected to learn, commit to memory, and be prepared to answer on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, SAT, or ACT. They are facts and on them we all must agree.
Unfortunately, religion in our culture does not belong to the public world of facts on which we all must agree. Religious belief falls into the private world of values. In this private world of values, every person is free to choose as he or she wishes.
This brings us back to the pope asserting that the Resurrection is a “real event.” In other words, the Resurrection, along with the revelation of God’s purpose for our lives, does not belong in the private world of values! The Resurrection and God’s revelation of the purpose of humanity belong in the public world of facts! They are true! Of these truths, we are called to witness by our actions and words.
To learn more about the purpose of God’s plan in our lives and how to share it with others, please consider attending our Maryvale open house on April 24 at Savior Pastoral Center. More information can be found at the Web site — www.archkckecat.org — or by contacting me at (913) 721-1570.