My Testimony 2023-03-03

I’m grateful for the story and reality of Christ
my testimony

Sunday March 3, 2024

my testimony

It’s the first Sunday of the month, and it’s tradition in the church to publicly bear one’s witness of Christ should they feel inclined. I’ll do that here today…

The Myth of a Messiah

I just watched the movie Dune, part 2 last night. Having been slightly captivated by the story, I first watched the Dune Part 1 movie in November and then proceeded to read Dune and Dune: Messiah before just seeing Part 2. Frank Herbert’s main ethos in all the interviews he does is to show the horrors that arise when man puts his faith in heroes. He cites Hitler, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and others that seem mythic from human comparison and they’re only mythic because we made them so. That’s the problem. We made them mythic, he might argue.

Frequently, Paul Atreides says things like “these are my followers, but they used to be my friends.” In one moment he asks himself “have I lost you too, Gurney?”, who is his right hand man. He watched himself go from a 15 year old boy to a worshipped messiah. Paul keeps saying “they only see what they were told to see.”

Separately, I recently read The Inklings, which explains Tolkien and CS Lewis’s relationship, and how one of the turning points for Lewis in his atheist-to-Christian conversion was the argument over myth.

The myth of Christ

Lewis chides Christ as just a myth - something people wanted him to be. A story as old as time.

Tolkien’s viewpoint is of the effect “and why is that a problem?” He posits along the lines that myth is to creation as mathematical theory is to discovering theorems and proofs. It’s the imaginative, creative process to discovering truth. So while Lewis calls Christ a Pagan myth, Tolkien responds as follows:

Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God’s myth where the others are men’s myths: i.e. the Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the minds of poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call ‘real things’. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and the Idea of the “True Myth” | Russell’s Inspiration Daybook

What’s the relationship here?

I’ve often heard Lewis’ argument in my life - “why believe in Christ? it’s just a story that’s been told throughout the centuries.” Dune is one latest example of this, but for millenia there’s been a prophecy of some savior of sorts. It’s all just hogwash.

In Dune, there’s a prophesied messiah of the people. But he’s not deity - he’s the product of selective breeding, excellent combat training, and psychoactive enhancement through drugs. And Paul’s story is also just a story invented by an author. But reflects so many similarities of religious archetypes we hear. Herbert was likely not religious, or perhaps anti-religious, but i can’t find a direct quote.

The point is, where Tolkien espouses the virtues of a savior via Gandalf showing up in the Third Day on the east, and Herbert creating a powerful mortal messiah, we are left to wonder: who is this Christ whom we’ve never met?

Is he an invented story - one I want to desperately believe? A myth concocted to control the masses? # Stories that Lead to Christ

I’m going to diverge for a second and then come back to this point above.

Assume I have an eternal truth to teach you: 1+1=2. Let’s unpack the fact that we have this so deeply memorized that we forget how profound a concept it really is.

Assume I didn’t have numbers to teach you this truth. All I had was leaves from the backyard. One leaf and another leaf is…two leaves? And one blade of grass and another blade of grass is two grass(es)?…nvm. Two blades of grass?

Now imagine I’m a caveman - how do I recognize this story of “1+1=2” without inventing first the concept of “one” and “two”? Can you invent “two” without first inventing “one”? No!

So the caveman first must realize there’s this thing called “one”. Or maybe the caveman called one “oof” and two “doof”, but it’s the same thing. Take some oofs and you get a doof.

Get where I’m going?

The same story said in other languages is still the same story.

Meaning, Christ’s myth told in Tolkien’s fantasy or Herbert’s possibly pseudo heresy can tell the same story.

Let’s unpack some more.

What if that story is not just 1+1=2 but “999+345=1344”. Or the story is “999+344=1345” or “998+347=1343”.

Same concept: two numbers added together to equal a third.

Did you check my math above though?Which statement above is “true”? They’re all just stories. All three of them look correct. But if you check my math, you’ll see that one of those additions is a lie.

Only one of them represents valid truth. The other two aren’t added right, so the story of “+” and “=” doesn’t add up.

In other words, the story of Christ’s can be spun in any direction or it can be told in other forms that appear similar. And they do - lots of religion have a belief in chosen people, a final glory for the “righteous”, etc.

So which is true?

The Story of Christ

There are many moments in Dune that approximate the story of Christ. But there are crucial components that don’t add up. Paul is a fallible human (though not fallible to his followers). Instead, Christ was actually infallible, regardless of whether he was believed in or not.

He was and is the chosen Messiah. Chosen by Heavenly Father. Chosen to lead. Chosen to redeem. To save. To suffer. To die. To rise. To return.

But why is His story true?

A few years ago, a friend said “the universe opens doors when you ask for it”. I responded “yea, there’s a scripture ‘ask and ye shall receive’”. He responded “that’s great we both come to the same truth but with different belief systems”. 1

Though I agree that we both got to the same destination and piece of wisdom, my perspective requires in my mind Christ to either have existed or not. Either he was the messiah or not.

Why do I believe in the Messiah?

I have a deep and abiding respect for the beliefs of others. I’m merely stating my own, and wish all the privilege of worshipping how, where, or what they may. In that spirit, I want to share my belief.

Frankly (pun intended), it doesn’t matter what Tolkien says or what Herbert says. Doesn’t matter what CS Lewis says. These guys were all just humans - like you and me. And none of them can prove or disprove the existence of Christ.

I believe in logic - it’s a form of learning truth. One plus one is two, by definition. Meaning, one plus one is two because that’s how we defined it to be. We have that concept a name.

Also by definition Christ either existed or didn’t exist - regardless of the world’s opinions about His philosophy and theology. It’s simply illogical that He could be both my Messiah but not someone else’s, because someone can choose to believe the earth is flat but it can’t be flat for someone and round for another.

So why am I convinced Jesus Christ is the Messiah of the world He created, the Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd, the Mediator and Redeemer? Why do I know Him to be real and not just myth?

I can’t describe in words what I feel and know to be true. But I know He lives the same I know one plus one is two.

I’ve read His words in the Bible and The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I’ve pondered His teachings. And while some say they present a good social contract, they’re more than that. They bring joy because there is light. Treating others with kindness and dignity is more than just a good feeling. It is truth.

Choosing to love one another instead of finding fault isn’t just what a Philosopher taught 32 AD. It’s truth.

Even more than these things though - the reality of Christ isn’t just the presence of good feelings according to following a good teaching, I testify He’s a worker of miracles.

Yes, I believe not only in the good teachings of Christ, but the Living involvement of Him in my life. And this is where I’ll be sparse in my speech, but I’ll recount that miracles have happened in my life in ways only explainable by the existence of a God. Things like praying for guidance and a friend calls me thirty minutes later saying “I don’t know why I felt to call you…” Or, praying for power over the obstacles I face in my life and as I turn to God in prayer a door opens suddenly.

There have been enough of these events that I can only testify He lives. And it’s not just confirmation bias or a set of coincidences. Because people have seen Him. Have been ministered to by Him. They wrote His teachings. They prophesied of His arrival and the manner of His arrival, and so He did arrive. And what more, they were wrong about what he came to do - he didn’t come to free them from the Romans. He came to free them from themselves.

How else can you know truth other than to be guided to it, and experience it yourself as promised you’d experience it?

He loves all of us. And He is seeking all of our happiness by showing us the way to truth. I believe he loves all religions, even those who don’t believe in Him, because he practices what He preached: love thy neighbor. And I also believe He is the Savior of the world.

I’m grateful for a Lord who teaches us all. I’m grateful for His truth taught in stories all around the world in different forms. It’s not evidence of some irrelevant myth. It’s the myth surrounding the incomprehensible truth that He did come, and He did rise on the third day, and He did prepare the way for all of us to live with Him again after this life.

  1. The book How to Win Friends and Influence People mentioned another example, things like the Golden rule appeared centuries before Christ?[↩︎


Bryan lives somewhere at the intersection of faith, fatherhood, and futurism and writes about tech, books, Christianity, gratitude, and whatever’s on his mind. If you liked reading, perhaps you’ll also like subscribing: