A Humpty Dumpty faith for Alice in Wonderland


When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.

Humpty Dumpty

A recent survey of Australians revealed that a surprising 54% of them believe Jesus rose from the dead. Nice to know Jesus is still ahead in the opinion polls.

This interview took place on ABC radio and reveals two very different understandings of the Christian faith. One, of the Alice in Wonderland variety, and the other based on historical reality.

JENNIFER MACEY: Ian Pearson is a minister at Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney.

He says he's not surprised by the findings [that 54% of Australians believe in the resurrection].

But he thinks many people believe in a metaphorical interpretation of the resurrection, rather than taking the story literally.

IAN PEARSON: Many Australians, although certainly not a majority, would see Jesus as metaphorically real, or his resurrection as metaphorically real, but would expect that the bones of Jesus would be found in Palestine.

And that's my own position.

But I think that the resurrection of Jesus is principally about the continuing reality of Jesus of Nazareth in this world.

JENNIFER MACEY: Yet the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen rejects this view.

PETER JENSEN: If he just rose metaphorically, well, it's Alice in Wonderland sort of stuff, and is not worth worrying about.

I wouldn't be a Christian if I thought that. Just wouldn't be worth the trouble.

But that's not what the New Testament says; that's not what the evidence says.

The evidence is really talking about a real resurrection from the dead.

Let's get this right. Ian Pearson is telling us that Jesus rose from the dead and you can find his bones buried somewhere in Palestine. No wonder the Uniting Church has fallen on hard times.

If "Jesus rose from the dead" can mean anything except that he rose from the dead, let's call that "humpty dumpty" theology and post a reward for the first person who can dig up his bones.

Alternatively, we could give three cheers for Peter Jensen and bow before Jesus—crucified, buried, risen and coming Lord!

What did happen to Humpty Dumpty in the end?

HT: Murray Campbell