Some religion(s) focus on telling us what to believe about God — this, that and the other thing.
And some religionists struggle with how to reconcile the beliefs of one religion about God with the beliefs of other religions about God.
But it is possible to look at this a little differently, and say that the big thing is what we believe about people. I get, or at least think I do, this idea from Jesus.
Jesus taught that all people should be loved, and that to live in love is to live in God.
But this is to believe something very different about people. It is to believe that something good can come of loving all people, instead of dividing people into those who can be loved and those who must be opposed and destroyed by all means necessary.
These two ways of looking at people are very different ways of looking at people, they reflect believing very different things about people.
And Jesus had this radical practice and idea of loving all people.
Those who killed Jesus opposed this way of looking at people and the practice of loving all people.
But those who accepted and attempted to follow Jesus believed that in some fashion Jesus did not stay dead for believing what he believed about people — that he and what he believed about people was “resurrected.” It lived on, it constituted an enduring way of life, a whole new way of relating to people and trying to run the world.
So, wow, the big miracle of the resurrection was not that Jesus came back just like he was before — a man alive on earth — but that it was the resurrection of a person who believed what Jesus believed about people and how to relate to them. The resurrection said that this particular dude and his way of walking through life were not dead ends, but a new and living thing to believe about people.
And it is interesting to suppose that the big thing that major religions hold in common is this belief that people should be loved, not demonized or killed.
John K. Stoner is a member of Akron (Pa.) Mennonite Church. He is co-author of If Not Empire, What? A Survey of the Bible. This post first appeared at bible-and-empire.net.