[Jesus said,] I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
“Modern philosophy has been inhospitable to the soul,” laments Alan Mittleman in the Harvard Theological Review.  No longer just the soul, but anything non-physical is called into question or explained as a consequence of material realities. (Love, joy, and pain are each given physical root in chemical responses.) How are we to deal with things of faith which transcend the concrete?
In some ways this isn’t just a modern problem. Timothy Keller explores a real philosophical challenge from the first century though a fictional conversation between a Roman and his Christian neighbor. Watch the disconnect between religious Roman life and Christianity, as well as the beauty of a faith which transcends the zeitgeist:
The [Roman] neighbor says, “Oh, you’re a Christian. That’s great. I love religion, all the pageantry. That’s really wonderful. Where is your temple?”
The Christian would’ve said, “We don’t have a temple. Jesus is our temple. He has fulfilled it. He’s the final temple. We don’t need temples anymore.”
The neighbor would say, “Well, you have no temple? Where do your priests operate?”
“We don’t have any priests. Jesus is our Priest. He’s the final Priest. He has put priests out of business. We don’t need any mediator. He’s the Mediator.”
“No temple? No priests? Where do you do your rituals, the things that make you acceptable to God?”
“Jesus is our sacrifice, so we don’t have any more sacrifices.”
Finally, the neighbor says, “What kind of religion is this?”
The Christian would say, “It’s no kind of religion at all, because we didn’t get a religion; we got a person. We don’t have a God so high up there we need a religion to sort of get in connection with him. ‘Come in, God. Come in.’ He came to us. He died for us. He came into our midst, and now we don’t have a religion. We have a person.”
God we are so thankful we’re not called to earn you, but called to know you. We acknowledge that your ways are beyond ours. Give us faith to trust and knowledge to understand. We want to know you. We want to be articulate about who you are — sometimes in conditions hostile to things of faith and spirituality. Give us grace, boldness, and wisdom as we have opportunity to share who you are and what you’ve done for us.
Miracles and Parables Among Skeptics
Part 1 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org
 Alan Mittleman (2014). Making the Case for the Soul in an Age of Neuroscience. Harvard Theological Review, 107, pp 485-493. |  Keller, T. J. The Lord of the Sabbath. The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive. New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2006.