No doubt it seems strange to many of my fellow Christians– indeed, I must seem intentionally obstinate and confrontational, even –when I (often) press a skeptical point of view when it comes to scripture and to the historicity of some of the core elements of the gospel narratives. The reason that I do this is not to encourage doubt or disbelief but to drive home the point that the REALITY of Christ– the REALITY that Archimandrite Roman is pointing to in the interview, below –this REALITY is with us always and is accessible whether or not we are skeptical about the scriptures or the historicity of certain aspects of the tradition. Thus, rather then insisting that the skeptic believe what (s)he doesn’t believe, I think it would be better (at least in some cases) to encourage people to bracket their questions about historicity and, instead, to look within for the living Christ (with an open heart) as suggested by Archimandrite Roman. Then, once the REALITY that is Christ-in-you is experienced, the question of historicity is no longer a big issue. If every jot and tittle of the the narratives are true, well and good. If not, their symbolic value remains. Glory be to God for all things!
NOTE: This is the last question and the first part of the answer from a 2012 interview republished a few days ago in the wake of Archimandrite Roman’s passing:
What are some ways we can find Christ today, in American society?
“Well, first of all, Christ is in you. Christ is not just some nice guy. He is God, and God is within you. God is in our consciences, in our hearts, in our minds. He is not something material you see outside of yourself. You find God in yourself. You descend in your personality. We are eternal, we never die, the body goes to the cemetery but the conscience, the person, is continually alive. So when you descend into yourself, your conscious is infinite. And this infinity is the temple of the Living God. Saint Paul says many times that you are the temple of the Living God because God lives within you. You find God when you know yourself, when you know who you are. If you neglect that, when you say, ‘I don’t have time to think about myself,’ you will never find God, because God is not something material. You do not find him in a specific place. God is always with you if you want Him to be with you. You find God when you find yourself. ‘Who am I?’ Pay attention to these verses of the Scriptures—’you are the temple of the Living God because God lives within you,’ and as Jesus said, ‘remain in Me and I in you. I am the vine and you are the branches,’ and if you do not remain in me you do not have the sap to feed yourself, and you will dry up. People who complain that they do not feel God are dry branches. They have to remain in Christ and to accept Christ by saying, ‘Lord, come, I am here. You created me. Open my heart because You created this heart. You created the door, enter please.’ ” [More]