During the first half of the 20th century, an entrepreneur by the name of Robert Ripley began writing a syndicated newspaper panel for the New York Evening Post called, “Believe It or Not.” The panel often featured illustrations of rare oddities and descriptions of bizarre events, and its popularity led to its adaptation into multiple formats including radio, television, comic books, and even a chain of museums that is still in operation today.
One reason for Ripley’s success was that people are much quicker to believe in the evidence of their own eyes than in things they cannot see. For instance, they willingly acknowledge the existence of ghosts because they believe they have seen them, but they write off the creation narrative and the flood as farcical tales.
This attitude isn’t anything new. In John 20, Thomas heard all kinds of fantastical reports about how Jesus had risen from the grave, but he determined that he would not believe these stories until he could see and touch the nail scars on Jesus’ body. Once he did, he exclaimed, “My Lord and My God!” to which Jesus replied, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (v. 29).
Today, society casts a lot of doubt on the legitimacy of the Bible, but we need to remember that our job isn’t to prove the Scriptures, it’s to have faith in them (2 Corinthians 5:7). In the end, it won’t matter whether we believe in the Loch Ness monster, but it will matter whether we believe in (and obey) Jesus.