Ever get a text from a friend about seeing a famous person or being at a place you share a mutual love for?
My favorite response is "Pics or it Didn't Happen".
I love the compounding aspect of disbelief. By asking for visual proof I'm agreeing that the thing they're seeing or doing is amazing. It feels playful and linked to my friend's experience.
The other side of that coin is that it can be construed as dismissive. That I fundamentally don't believe them and have placed a burden of proof on them to convince me that they're not a liar.
I wonder what the first century equivalent of this would have been? If you had been present to a miracle of Jesus would you have been met with a "Scribal Account or it Didn't Happen" from your friends? Would you have been believed or doubted and would it even matter?
One of the fallacies that influences us is the "happily ever after" nature of our modern storytelling. We can believe that we are one undeniably miraculous event away from being a true believer in God. I understand and validate the appeal of having a personal experience beyond just a learned experience, but what if you play that scenario out over decades?
Would you be compelled by a 70-80 year old's miraculous encounter in their 30's? I think it would make me sad for the 40-50 years of responding to a singular event. I'm more drawn to individuals with vibrant experiences that aren't just in the rearview, but are tied to this present moment. I think there's something that feels true about their engaged life here and now that isn't centered in the past, no matter how incredible it was.
If we can read the stories of Jesus while understanding the the truth of the narrative isn't centered on proving or disproving that these events, I believe it would better inform this present moment.