Carey: Miracle is hard to swallow

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The Independent Online
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury has acknowledged that one of the church's most fundamental beliefs - the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion - makes little sense to those outside the faith.

"I can tell you frankly that while we can be absolutely sure that Jesus lived and that he was certainly crucified on the Cross, we cannot with the same certainty say that we know He was raised by God from the dead," Dr Carey says in his millennium message. "(It) goes against human experience and our first instinct is incredulity."

Dr Carey's office denied yesterday that the archbishop doubted the resurrection. "He was merely acknowledging that, for some people, it doesn't make sense," said his spokesman. And in Jesus 2000: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Millennium Message, Dr Carey says: "`Archbishop Doubts Resurrection' is an attractive headline but put your pen down. I firmly believe that God raised Jesus from the dead."

However, he has chosen to examine a subject which many within the Church of England believe is beyond debate. "If you take away the resurrection, there is no point in being a Christian." said Oxford University theologian Dr David Cook.

Dr Carey further concedes that the church has often been a stumbling block to peace and has contributed to the oppression of women and to imperialism and slavery. But while his frankness might appeal to people outside the church, it could anger many within it. "The millennium is a time for birthday celebrations," Dr Cook said.

Leading article, Review, page 3