A while back I read an article in USA Today by evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne called Science and Religion Aren’t Friends. In this angry article, he vilifies religious faith for supposedly being incompatible with science, evidence, and then blames it for causing much of the violence in the world. I wanted to bring up something he said about faith and evidence:
“Note that almost all religions make specific claims about the world . . . But rather than relying on reason and evidence to support them, faith relies on revelation, dogma, and authority . . . Indeed, a doubting-Thomas demand for evidence is often considered rude.”
I’m only going to focus on what he says about Thomas. He is right that Thomas, one of Christ’s disciples, is often times seen in a negative light by the church because of his demand for evidence of the resurrection. Often in church history Thomas has been condemned or looked down upon in some way for having the lack of faith to believe or having the audacity to ask for evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. He’s received the title “Doubting Thomas” and is known because of his lack of belief.
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and place my finger into the mark od the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe. (John 20:24-25)
However, was it wrong for Thomas to want evidence? Was Thomas more doubt filled than all the other disciples? I think not. Instead of looking at how people have thought about Thomas in history, in part two I will look at what the Bible says about Thomas and this episode of his life.