Denial is the refusal to believe what our senses are telling us, of seeking an alternate explanation. Thomas wanted didn’t trust his eyes. One of the earliest heresies faced by the apostolic church was the claim that Jesus humanity was only apparent (docetism). This came from a kind of rationalism. People knew (or thought they knew) that Jesus could be God or man but not both. If Jesus is God, they argued, then his humanity cannot actually be true humanity. Thus, the apostles refuted these errors by affirming the goodness of creation (against the error that material world is inherently evil), by affirming Jesus’ true humanity, and the general reliability of human sense experience—even after the fall. In the post apostolic period, in the early 2nd century, the Christians faced social pressure to conform to Roman socio-religious expectations, to conform to existing norms by saying, “Caesar is Lord” and by renouncing Jesus. Mostly they were not expected to believe these things but they were expected to be good citizens by playing along. When the Christians didn’t conform, they paid for it with their lives. Today we may face less violent challenges but we face the temptation to conform nonetheless. We’re tempted not to trust our senses and we’re tempted to keep our mouths closed when we should speak up.
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