Baseball practice was over. Nannygranne’s new friends gathered around to enjoy a snack of pizza bites and cookies. The boys’ practice sessions had evolved into snacks and conversations. The boys appreciated being heard and encouraged to admit their curiosity about Jesus. And it helped that their questions were taken seriously. Unafraid, they’d pulled out all the stops.
“Mrs. NG, these are good! Thanks for doing this for us,” Nate said. He had been the first to allow an older lady to chime in on an overheard conversation about God’s existence. Since then, their conversations had become a discussion about the physical resurrection of Jesus. The boys focused on objections they’d heard that piqued their curiosity.
“OK, guys. Your thoughts challenged me and I’ve done some checking and thinking. Would you like to hear what I found out?”
Nate spoke up. “You mean about the aliens taking Jesus out of his grave? The same ones that came and helped the Egyptians build the pyramids and stuff?” That had been Nate’s idea from last week.
“Yes. Exactly,” Nannygranne said. “The first question I had to ask myself was whether an alien abduction idea is more reasonable than the Jesus’ physical resurrection idea.”
“Well, both are pretty hard to believe,” offered Bart.
“And that’s the reason I wanted to sit down and think each one through,” Nannygranne responded. “I looked for scientifically and historically acceptable evidence for aliens.” She paused, tilting her head thoughtfully. “I found articles and even History channel videos that talk about aliens. But none of them were substantiated by numerous scholars, historians, and scientists. Alien abduction remains a fringe hypothesis without serious support.”1
Bart wasn’t going to go easy on the issue. “But what about Jesus’ resurrection? What scientists or historians support that?” He was demanding reasons for changing his mind, explanations for going contrary to what his parents had said about religion.
Nannygranne was encouraged by Bart’s curiosity, knowing that if he was interested in facts and truth, he would be open to her explanations. If convinced, he would be just as ardent about that belief as he was trying to be for his present beliefs. She considered his skepticism a good thing.
She replied, “Actually, the majority of even agnostics or skeptical historians and scientists accept the ancient accounts about the events surrounding Jesus’ death and what His followers believed. Even those who do not accept the New Testament as supernatural, accept the writings as historically accurate and unimpeachable. Scholars, scientists, and philosophers from such institutions as Cambridge and Duke University agree that the recording of events in the New Testament started within six months of Jesus’ death and that those closest to Him were convinced that Jesus was raised from the grave.”
“Why then don’t they believe in the miracles?” Bart was following her thoughts.
“Well, those same academics say that the followers were either hallucinating or were lying.” Nannygranne let that sink in to see if anyone remembered earlier conversations about that particular viewpoint.2
Dewayne spoke up. “Wait a minute. I remember something about this. How could five hundred people hallucinate all at once, and other people hallucinate at other places and times? How could people who were scattered all over be hallucinating for forty days? That doesn’t make sense.”
Leon got in on the discussion. He ducked his head and said, “And I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve lied a time or two . . .”
The boys laughed and punched his arm. One said, “Yeah, like you told the coach you didn’t eat junk food!”
Leon grinned and continued, “But seriously, I might exaggerate but I can’t imagine dying like those Christian martyrs did—beheaded, crucified, fed to the lions.” Shaking his head, he muttered, “No way, man. No way would I die like that for a lie.”
Nannygranne nodded. “And thousands of people did exactly that, Leon. They died rather than deny what they’d seen with their own eyes.”
Bart looked confused. “Then why don’t those scientists just believe, then. I don’t get it.”
“Bart, sometimes people don’t want to believe in God because they don’t want to admit they could be wrong in the way they live and think. It’s extremely rare for anyone to be true to what they know to be facts if it involves admitting they might have been wrong before. More than one atheist has stated that even if Christianity was found to be absolutely, unquestionably true, they still didn’t want to be a Christian. It is too limiting.”
She spoke gently. “My personal opinion is that if they would be honest enough to investigate Jesus’ history and teachings critically, they might feel very differently. Others have been honest enough to do that and found themselves surprised: Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Nazis, Communists. But it requires an honest and critical investigation. Some just aren’t up to it.”3
Silence fell over the group. Nannygranne knew the point she’d made was heavy, but it was important. Who would be honest in considering God?
“Uh, Ms. NG . . .” Adrian spoke hesitantly, but he didn’t want Nannygranne to forget his comment from the week before. “. . . what about that Greek gods thing? You know, the myth that said some of the gods rose from the dead and that the story of Jesus was a spin-off of that?”
“Oh, Adrian! I almost forgot! Yes! I checked on that, too. It turns out that the stories of the Greek gods coming back to life were something different. They were made into another god or creature or moved to another realm. Some died again. None of the stories said they rose from the dead, lived and moved in the same realm as before their death. Only Jesus did that. Further, the oldest written documents about the Greek gods we have were written 1000 years after Jesus lived.4 So maybe they copied Him. I’m glad you reminded me. It was interesting reading.”
Nannygranne waited to see Adrian’s response. He simply nodded, his lips pursed, his eyebrows raised in surprise.5
“Well, what do you think, guys? I’ve certainly got plenty of material for my project. In fact, thanks to you guys and your input, I’m more and more convinced that what I believe about Jesus’ resurrection is really true. So, I’m just going to keep learning more and more. At my age, I try to be sure.”
Leon grinned. “Aw you’re not old, Mrs. NG. You’re just a teenager stuck in a well used birthday suit!”
The boys engulfed him with head slaps, back slaps, head scrubs, and name-calling. Tapping on the top of his head, someone said, “Hello? Is anybody in there?”
Nannygranne smiled. “Come on, guys. Leon was trying to be nice. And he’s got a point. The tread on my tires is growing thin, but there’s still plenty of compression in my engine.”
The boys cheered and did a round of high fives.
“Guys, seriously, thank you again for your time. I appreciate getting to do this.”
Adrian spoke up. “You’re all right, Ms. NG.”
Nate smiled and nodded. “Yeah, Ms. NG. You’re all right.” He joined his buddies heading for the parking lot.
“God bless you. Go with God,” Nannygranne whispered prayerfully.
She gathered her tote and chair and walked to her car, humming, “I Serve a Risen Savior, He’s everything to me . . .”
1 Dr. Layne Craig addresses the question of Jesus’ abduction by aliens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW97epVeN7Y
2 Regarding scholarly views of the Resurrection, Habbermass https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay_Db4RwZ_M
3 Muslim convert to Christianity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKSuGHXUY_0
5 Jesus’s resurrection like the Greek god myths?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrCYVk6xrXg