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By: Richard Firth

Re-Viewing the Resurrection

Pages: 110 Ratings: 5.0
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The title of this book speaks for itself. The Resurrection is foundational for the Christian faith and an integral element of its doctrine, which is why we need to get as close to the truth as possible. The evidence for the Resurrection is reviewed, seeking to get into and behind the texts of the four gospels, and the minds of those who were there or who wrote about it, with what is believed to be a fresh approach to the events of that third day and whether or not they are an essential part of the original good news of Jesus Christ.

Richard Firth is a methodist minister/presbyter with a breadth of experience in a wide variety of situations: city centre, overseas, inner city, commuter town, urban and rural areas, and retiring to the seaside. He has always had a concern for the integrity of the Christian message and clarity of exposition and communication. This book is the culmination of a lifetime’s thinking about this important subject and deliberation upon a wide reading of commentaries and theological works to which he is indebted for their stimulation. He trusts that readers will be encouraged in their own thinking to arrive at truth meaningful for themselves. He is a graduate of Leeds, Greenwich (USA) and Birmingham Universities, and married with a grown up family.

Customer Reviews
5.0
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  • Joseph A. Cronin ( tcronin48@bigpond.com )

    By Joseph A. Cronin

    In this very interesting work by methodist minister Richard Firth, the resurrection story in the New Testament becomes the central focus. I was more than surprised by the author’s admission that it never actually happened.
    The Rev. Firth plainly states on a number of occasions throughout his short book that Jesus did not rise from the dead on the third day after he was crucified, “That it was scientifically impossible for the dead Jesus to be brought back to life.” (Page 13). He challenges the idea that the resurrection was a real event. A literal, historic resurrection is impossible, he states on page 41. According to the author, “the body of Jesus was possibly taken from the tomb by Roman soldiers and flung onto the continuously burning heap outside Jerusalem known as Gehenna.” (Page 33)
    He goes on to question the stories of Jesus appearing to numerous people in the days that followed. These could not have happened either, it seems.
    Here is a man of the cloth challenging the very foundation of Christian belief. It’s no wonder I read on, fascinated.
    It all boils down to the grieving process according to the author. “Bereaved people often imagine that the dear departed loved one is still with them. Absent in body they are present in mind and just as really so” (Page 37). The appearances of Jesus “are recollections in times of grief” (Page 38). “During the grieving process, the minds of the disciples/apostles were filled with memories of their times with Jesus which gave the impression of a concrete reality which is not actually the case” (Page 40). These are bewildered people trying to make sense of their grief. He goes on to claim that “the unseen presence of the living Christ felt so real to the apostles and the other disciples” that they claimed they actually saw him alive and interacted with him. Grief stories - a phrase he often uses - explain everything. “The physicality of Jesus is imagined to emphasize the reality of his spiritual presence” (Page 49). They’re imagining they saw him!
    The writer also dismisses the notion of a life after death on page 60. The Kingdom of God is here and now, on earth. We have to make it better through justice and fairness. “These things (the resurrection and ascension) belong in the world of fantasy, Harry Potter and The Game of Thrones, the realm of imagination and not of reality” (Page 65).
    You would think that now the good reverend has come to terms with all this religious mythology and has become a knowledgeable, confident atheist. Not so. He believes, “the spirit of Christ is alive and at work in the world both then and for always” (Page 69). He tears it all down and then goes about trying to build it back up. But the task proves too difficult.
    He comes up with colorful explanations using words and phrases bordering on psychobabble. Expressions like: “using imagination as a tool of understanding” (Page 16); “sanctified speculation” (Page 21); “sheer enlightenment” (Page 85); “sublime consciousness” (Page 85); “corporate visionary experience” (Page 92); “neurotheology” (Page 94); “metaphysical interpretations” (Page 100) etc. Unfortunately, he’s not very convincing.
    He should have taken the time to examine the texts of the Old Testament as I do in my book, Reflections of a Catholic Altar Boy - My Slow Journey to atheism, ( also published by Austin Macauley). He would have found there in plain view that the Biblical God was created by the various scribes. Man created this God and gave him human faults and values. In fact, they created quite a monster as Richard Dawkins points out on page 31 of his book, The God Delusion.

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty, ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
    I found evidence to support every claim made by Dawkins.
    Man-made gods do not have sons who are sent to save us. The New Testament cannot be a foundation text for faith when examined in light of this statement.
    So what explains Richard Firth’s book then? The answer can be found in Chapter 13 where the author references his religious indoctrination. In my own case, I was brainwashed by the Catholic system but eventually examined closely all the claims that religion made. My findings led me to atheism. The Rev. Firth, who obviously has a sharp intellect, was exposed to a slightly different indoctrination but so far has been unable to escape from the clutches of those false ideas imprinted on his mind. He almost got there in this book but made a sharp U-turn back to trying to make sense of the early teachings of his young life.
    Rev. Firth encourages his readers to arrive at truth meaningful for themselves. The truth I found has set me free. I too wish him well in his search for meaning and may I respectfully invite him to read a copy of my book and feel free to comment on where I might be in error.

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