Note: This was a comic I posted last week on my blog and meant to crosspost here. But with the recent server shuffling, I decided to wait. I happened to read the story again and saw a mention of the climactic finale happening eight days after Easter—so today seemed more appropriate.
Last Sunday was Easter, the day Jesus rose from the dead before dancing around and flying to heaven. But there’s a man who gets lost in the midst of the cheering and jubilation. I’m talking about early Skeptic, Doubting Thomas.
The story goes, as Jesus’ disciples were running around shouting that their lord had risen from the dead, Thomas scoffed. He said he wouldn’t believe it until he saw Jesus himself and fingered his wounds. Well, according to the book, eight days later, Jesus shows up, and the crazy claims made by his buddies proved true. Famous inventor of dramatic lighting, Caravaggio even chose the very act of wound-probing in his painting The Incredulity of Saint Thomas. Despite changing his mind in the face of new evidence, Thomas was forever painted (pun intended) in a negative light as an unfaithful lout and an unbelieving fool.
What a bad rap. This was the only guy who kept his cool—waiting for the evidence before believing a wild claim—and for his skepticism he is chastised in a story told to children about not being an incredulous, rational person. It’s funny because in class at catholic school, we would often do critical thinking exercises, and never once did I question the lesson of this story.
As skeptics, we should look up to Thomas as a model of how we all should act in the face of anecdotal claims. He did what a good skeptic should have done: He left room for doubt, and changed his mind when evidence was presented.
We could all learn from Thomas the Skeptic.
This post was brought to you by Cadbury Creme Eggs. Rather, the Chemistry of Cadbury Creme Eggs, thanks to the great folks at the University of Nottingham.