Sunday, April 3, 2011

On Skepticism

The reaction of the Pharisees in today's readings amuses me greatly. Contrary to the claims of modern skeptics, people were just as skeptical of miracles in Jesus' time as they are today. They accepted the possibility of miracles, but actual instances were met with criticism and the same rationalizations and outright denials that that we hear from the moderns.

In this case we have a young man (in theory given textual clues, no age is actually given) who has been blind from birth. Because of this he is looked upon as an outcast, either he or his parents had done something to invoke the punishment of God. Our attitudes toward the handicapped have not improved much (Down's Syndrome babies in utero are aborted around 98% of the time in this country for example).

But because of the young man's profession of faith, Jesus cures him. The reaction of the Pharisees and townspeople are all too famillar. How can this be possible? It doesn't make sense! One can see from the conversation that the Pharisees simply assume that he is wrong. The repeated questions are clearly an attempt to get the young man to change his story. Other Pharisees point out that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, something that doesn't fit into their little box of understanding.

Ironically, those who claim insight and knowledge are the ones who are immune to the truth. The man who was blind is the only one who allows himself to see the truth. For others, ti doesn't matter what the truth is. The evidence is dismissed out of hand. Those who trust in their own knowledge, their own concept of what God would do and what God is, are left with only to cast the man out, rather than adjust their thinking. How shocking, and yet how predictable. My last post talked about a professed atheist who stated that she could not come up criteria that would facilitate her conversion to the Catholic Faith. If God himself came down with a full blown orchestra announcing she was wrong it wouldn't matter.

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