April 05, 2016

Article at Authory

The Testimony of Women

The first witnesses of the Resurrection were women. Christ entrusted news of his Resurrection to women, saying to them, "Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God" (John 20:17). But according to at least one of the Gospel writers, initially the women were not believed—even by men who knew them well, and to whom some of them were related (cf. Mark 16:11).

We like to think mankind has evolved since then. That now we know better, and that of course we would accept and believe the testimony of women. That it wouldn't matter to us if there were minor discrepancies in their stories, or if they were overcome by emotion, or if they acted in ways that seemed strange. (Why did they go alone to the tomb, so early in the morning, without anyone who could move the stone for them? They said they were going to anoint the body of Christ, but why didn't they wake one of the men to accompany them? Hmm.)

Now, naturally, we don't doubt women's testimony like those chauvinists in the first century who did not consider the testimony of women to be credible. Or do we?

There have been a number of stories lately of testimony from female sexual assault survivors being considered not credible, resulting in men accused of sexual assault being acquitted. In one recent case in Canada, a judge based his decision of "not guilty" on charges of sexual assault against a former radio host in part because he found the women's testimony to contain "inconsistencies" and their behavior to be "questionable." (There were other factors in the decision, but those were two of the major reasons given by the judge for the "not guilty" verdict.)

Imagine now if Christians applied the same standards of credibility to the women who claimed that Jesus rose from the dead that they do to victims of sexual assault. I mean, come on! With all those differing details in the Gospel accounts—was it one angel, two, or just a guy in a white robe?—how can these people be trusted to give us the straight scoop on what happened to the body of the victim?

With all those differing accounts and contradictory details, you have to wonder if these were really eyewitnesses. After all, eyewitnesses never contradict each other or have personal issues that muddle accounts, do they?

Lent is now past; it is Easter. But that doesn't mean we can't make an Easter resolution or two. Might I suggest that an appropriate Easter resolution would be to commit to believing the testimony of women?

(Image: Eighth station of the cross, Jesus meets women of Jerusalem; Pixabay.)