Four Quick Arguments for the Resurrection

Either Jesus Christ rose from the dead or he didn’t.

If he didn’t there are only four options:

  1. The whole thing is a made up story
  2. The disciples made an honest mistake
  3. Jesus didn’t really die
  4. Jesus died, but something else happened to his body.

The whole thing is a fiction: In this group are the academics who think the early Christians like the pagan stories of gods dying and rising and decided to adopt them and adapt them for their hero Jesus. Problem: The early Christians were Jews and for both the Jewish and Gentile Christians the pagans were the big problem. The weeded out every scrap of paganism and died rather than offer even a grain of incense to the pagan gods. We’re supposed to believe they happily wove pagan stories into the story of Jesus?

Also in this category are the academics of the ‘de-mythologizing school’ who say, “In some beautiful way the teachings of Jesus continued to believed and lived by his followers after his tragic death, and isn’t this really what the resurrection is all about? Problem: the New Testament says it really happened. There were terrified, bewildered, confused and amazed working class people–not the sort who go around constructing meaningful fairy tales.

The disciples made an honest mistake: In this group are the people who say the disciples had a dream or thought they saw a ghost, or overcome by grief they imagined that Jesus was really alive again. Maybe they had a hallucination. Whatever happened, they made an honest mistake. Problem 1: These are hard headed working class people who know dreams from reality. Fishermen, a tax collector, a prostitute…C’mon. These people may have been weak and dumb, but they weren’t dreamers and visionaries. Problem 2: The enemies of Christ were intent on his death. They came to the execution to make sure. Had there been stories of a resurrection they would have produced the body. “Sorry guys. You were dreaming. Here’s your dead master, and he’s starting to smell bad.”

Jesus didn’t really die: This is the craziest alternative theory. The man was flogged with leather cords with bits of pottery and glass woven into them to tear great hunks of flesh out of his body. Then he was crucified in public by professional executioners (who’s own life could be risked if they didn’t kill their victim). The spear thrust entered the heart cavity and modern medical science says that water and blood only come out after death has already occurred. If the person was still alive only blood would flow. We’re supposed to believe that the first century author of the gospel had that kind of medical knowledge in order to fake it? Problem: Even given the possibility that somehow Jesus survived the flogging, the beatings and the crucifixion, we’re supposed to believe that, once wrapped in linens and placed in a tomb with a 2 ton stone in place he woke up, unwrapped his linen, folded them neatly, put his shoulder to the stone and rolled it back from the inside and stepped into the garden to meet his friends. So the man’s body is broken and wounded he’s staggering naked and barely alive and his disciples say, “Look! It’s the glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!” Uhh. I don’t think so. Wouldn’t they say, “Geesh! Yuck! He’s survived. Let’s get him to a doctor!”

Something else happened to the body: According to this theory they threw Jesus body on the trash heap and  dog ate it or the disciples went to the wrong tomb or they stole the body. Problem: the Jews were (and still are) very meticulous about burying their dead. There is no evidence that they threw the body away. Just the opposite–all the evidence is of a hasty, but careful and respectful burial. If this were not the case the eye witnesses would have corrected the fudged gospel account. Problem 2 the disciples stole the body? We’re to believe that these men who were too cowardly to follow their Lord to his death suddenly found their courage and organized a conspiracy in which they side stepped the Jewish leaders, outfoxed Pilate and overwhelmed the guards at Jesus’ tomb? Problem 3 If they stole the tomb they went on to suffer torture and martyrdom themselves to perpetrate a hoax? What was in it for them? They were going to be the founders of a new religion and make lots of money? They were going to become world famous by creating a hoax to get people to follow an executed criminal as their Lord and Savior?

No.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the turning point of human history. It is the fact around which everything else revolves. Decide again today to make it the turning point of your life and the fact around which your whole life revolves.

Your life could depend on it!

UPDATE: Go here for a more exhaustive defense of the Resurrection by Peter Kreeft

  • http://www.treesforlunch.blogspot.com JD Curtis

    Happy Easter to you Father D and to all here!

  • Gentillylace

    Christ is risen, dear Father! Indeed He is risen!

    What would you tell those Muslims who say that it was not Jesus (Whom they revere as a prophet, but not as God) Who died on the cross, but someone else (possibly Judas Iscariot) instead? Some Islamic traditions also state that He ascended to Heaven without being crucified. Of course, your blog is not directed primarily to Muslims (practicing or lapsed), but to people from a broadly Christian culture. Nevertheless, some Muslims might read your blog.

    • Howard

      There are many ancient witnesses to the orthodox belief that Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. There really is no such witness to the Muslim view of things, neither in the form of surviving original documents or even polemics against such a view by any of the Church Fathers.

      The closest approach to this idea can be found among the Docetists. They would agree with Muslims that Jesus only appeared to suffer and die; however, they would disagree on more important points, since they made Jesus other than a true man (whereas Christianity insists that Jesus is *both* true man and true God).

    • http://4freedoms.ning.com/profile/Kinana Kinana

      Gentillylace, there is really no progress to be made with Muslims on this point because they must believe that what is in the Quran is true and anything contrary to the Quran is not true. It is simple really. Evidence, logic, history and science all take second place to the primacy of the Quran. Until Islam relinquishes its death grip (literally) on Muslims who want to be open to other belief systems or none, nothing can be said to change anything. We can only help them break free from that bondage of slavery called Islam.

  • SteveD

    There’s a NEW theory. According to an about to be released book, ‘ The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection’, the shroud is genuine and the image was taken to somehow represent the soul of Jesus and so the disciples reckoned that, in this way, He was still with them! The author had a ‘eureka moment’ in his garden and spent seven years (!) researching his theory. I spent 30 seconds dismissing it.

    • Babagranny

      Me too. I heard that this morning and couldn’t believe that any major news network would even give that guy any airtime. He might be a good salesman, but he is a crummy theologian and a worse historian. The Shroud may or may not be authentic, but not because of anything this fellow said.

  • Babagranny

    I know Christ is risen because Christ is within me and I am very much alive! I don’t always behave as though Christ is within me. In fact, most of the time I don’t. But I know better. That is the point.
    Thank you for your common sense and well educated comments, Father.

  • http://aodhagain.deviantart.com/ Jay E.

    Well put, Father! Happy Easter! The link to Kreeft is fantastic!

  • Scotty Ellis

    “The early Christians were Jews and for both the Jewish and Gentile Christians the pagans were the big problem. The weeded out every scrap of paganism and died rather than offer even a grain of incense to the pagan gods.”

    Actually, this somewhat romanticized vision of the past overlooks the intermingling of Jews and the wide variety of Pagan faiths to which they were exposed; Jews even went so far as to adopt pagan names and sometimes attempted to undo their circumcision. Christians too could not avoid intermingling with pagan traditions, and it is by no coincidence that many Christian worship rituals, such as the use of incense, were borrowed from pagan prototypes.

    It is honestly not surprising that a group of people would tell these sorts of stories and believe them even if they were not true: even recent history provides countless examples of sects who deified their quite human leaders, attributed miraculous or supernatural powers to them, and even continue their devotions beyond their death; such is the power of religious narratives, which seek to totally encompass the believer within a self-sustained world, that believers are inclined to actually believe what from an outside view appears incredible.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      You should read the Old Testament. Jews offered incense in their worship. It is much more credible to believe that the early Christians adopted the practice from the Jewish sacrificial system than from paganism. Offering incense wasn’t the big deal–it was who you were offering it to.

      Finally–you’re missing the elephant in the room: the resurrection. This was not a made up story, but the account of something that actually happened. An objective study of the historical evidence makes all the alternative explanations crumble. Why not examine the evidence and see if you can come up with some other explanation that accounts for all the evidence we have?

      • Scotty Ellis

        “You should read the Old Testament. Jews offered incense in their worship.”

        I totally agree, but this was hardly a peculiarly Jewish practice. I don’t disagree that Judaism was influential in shaping Christian worship, I am just noting that paganism was quite influential as well, even despite the explicit rejection of paganism by Christians (or, to put it more generally, religious movements are not totally free of appropriations of previous religious practices and beliefs; and with the Christianization of a once pagan empire, these appropriations are sometimes quite clear).

        “Finally–you’re missing the elephant in the room: the resurrection. This was not a made up story, but the account of something that actually happened. An objective study of the historical evidence makes all the alternative explanations crumble. Why not examine the evidence and see if you can come up with some other explanation that accounts for all the evidence we have?”

        It is no more amazing than any other resurrection story in religious history – or, indeed, than any other supernatural religious belief. The Muslims believe as a matter of history that Mohammed was visited by Gabriel; the Mormons believe as a matter of history the meeting between Joseph Smith and Moroni and the finding of the golden plates; Scientologists believe as a matter of history that the spirits of believers were once alien beings. Religious beliefs are often very difficult to dispel amongst believers, to the point that self-delusion really is possible (not, however, necessary: I am not saying that all religious believers are delusional). I is clear that, for the Apostles, Christ really did rise from the dead – it is as clear a point of history for them and their spiritual successors, regardless of the lack of positive evidence, as the revelations of Gabriel to Mohammed is a clear point of history for the Muslim. And, as your post (and numerous others’) suggests, the historicity of the belief is so clear that you will accept as valid evidence a variety of circumstantial pieces of information that, given a different context, you would likely reject – as you reject, no doubt, the similar “evidence” produced by other religions. My point is that history is full of cultures and religions who has equivalent supernatural claims that were believed to be historically true, even by individuals contemporary to the claimed events, but which you would reject.

        I don’t know and don’t particularly care how sincere the Apostles were in telling their story – the fact is, it was (and still is) a powerful story, one powerful enough to evoke belief in and of itself among an oppressed people (as well as powerful enough to legitimate the social power of the privileged). I am personally agnostic on the issue of the resurrection; sure, it is possible, but so it is also possible that Mohammed split open the moon as a sign to nonbelievers. Possibility on its own is not convincing.

        • Scotty Ellis

          Forgive the typos. “I is clear…” (slaps forehead)

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          Thank you for your reply. Catholics don’t deny that there are similarities in religious customs. What we reject is the idea that some critics put forward that Catholicism adopted pagan customs purposely. Often the Christian missionaries found connecting points with the pagan cultures and ‘baptized’ the ideas and customs showing that they were pointers to a fulfillment in Christ.

          The second part of your comment skirted the issue. We don’t deny that other religions claim supernatural events at their heart. We claim that there are no other historical resurrection stories. Can you supply any? Also can you supply any credible alternative to the simple claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead? I have yet to hear one. My short summary in an earlier post supplies four quick answers to those who do not believe the resurrection of Christ was a historical event. There is a link at the bottom to a more detailed article by Dr. Peter Kreeft. That you say this is ‘circumstantial evidence’ is not good enough. The New Testament records hundreds of eyewitnesses and the documentary evidence (and the lack of Christ’s body) need to be answered.

          You seem to be an intelligent and honest enquirer after truth. I challenge you to examine the evidence we have for the resurrection of Christ and come up with any alternative answer which can account for what happened on that Spring morning. You see, it is more than a ‘powerful story’ which was ‘sincerely believed.’ It is a historical event with many witnesses. Being ‘agnostic’ about the resurrection is simply not good enough. Nor is it comparable to Mohammad splitting open the moon–an event which one (to my knowledge) does not purport to be place in history at a particular time and place.

          • Howard

            Precisely.

            There are plenty of resurrection myths that take place in “the Dreamtime”, but not in history. Alternatively, there are humans who are considered to be deified after their deaths, such as the pagan Roman emperors, Imhotep, and perhaps Asclepius (though the details of his life have been so lost as to push him essentially into “the Dreamtime”).

            In the case of Jesus we find something very different. There is a resurrection story as supernatural as anything out of the myth of Asclepius, but it took place at a known time and at known locations. Before his death, Mohammed was already in political command and exterminating those who disagreed with him, but Christians did not gain political power until centuries after the Gospels were written, so we have records as to the arguments that Jews and pagans advanced against Christ. They never denied that Jesus existed; they denied the origin of His miracles. As for the idea of Jesus being just like Osiris or Tammuz, if that had been the case, the pagan Romans would have had no objection to Christianity; paganism is almost always very “tolerant” and syncretistic.

          • Scotty Ellis

            “What we reject is the idea that some critics put forward that Catholicism adopted pagan customs purposely.”

            I think this is splitting hairs to a degree; to “baptize” a tradition is to appropriate it in one way or another. But, sure, they didn’t purposely do it, I’ll be willing to grant: they simply did it.

            “We claim that there are no other historical resurrection stories. Can you supply any?”

            No, I can’t right off the bat (although Christianity supplies several resurrection stories other than Jesus). But, then, I can’t think of any other religion than Islam that claims its prophet really did split the moon in half; but I don’t see this as positive evidence of its truth. I am willing to agree it is THE resurrection story in western culture, supplanting all the mythological resurrection stories (and, indeed, Jewish-zealot-revolutionary resurrection stories) that came before it.

            “Also can you supply any credible alternative to the simple claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?”

            None that are any less credible than a dead man coming back to life. Again, I cannot and will not say that Christ did not rise from the dead definitively: I can only say that if a man on the street came up to me and told me that someone he knew claimed to be God and rose from the dead, I would have a fairly substantial need for evidence to corroborate the fantastic nature of the story (I suspect you would, too).

            “You seem to be an intelligent and honest enquirer after truth.”

            Thank you. I grew up believing the resurrection, and I am not at all unfamiliar with historical apologetics and the like. Is the resurrection story presented by Christianity unique in many ways? Yes. But it is not unique in being a claim about a supernatural event that is genuinely believed by contemporaries and supposed eyewitnesses of the event: people really can and do believe that things have occurred around them which are not objectively real.

            “Nor is it comparable to Mohammad splitting open the moon–an event which one (to my knowledge) does not purport to be place in history at a particular time and place.”

            I think it depends on the Muslim (just like it depends on what kind of Christian you are whether you believe Jonah really did get swallowed by a whale or whether you believe that Christ really is going to come back knee high in a sea of blood). There are those who believe it to have been a real historical event, a bit like the sun dancing in the sky at Fatima.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            I know you won’t mind if I press my point somewhat. You are not aware of any other resurrection stories that claim to be historical. Nor have I ever heard of any. There are some in the gospels and in Christian history where it is claimed that a person was raised miraculously from the dead (like Lazarus) but they eventually died.

            You also acknowledge that there are no other credible alternative explanations for the events witnessed and recorded by the apostles and other disciples at the time. You are familiar with the arguments of the apologists on these points–that all the alternative options are less credible than the proposal that Christ really did rise from the dead.

            We are therefore left with the supposition that this miraculous event is really no more significant than other unexplainable phenomena like the miracle of the sun at Fatima or a supposed miracle from another religion.

            There is, however, a unique quality to the miracle of the resurrection of Christ. No one before or since has risen from the dead and stayed alive. An acceptance of the resurrection therefore, (even only as a possibility) must lead to a consideration of the rest of the Christian claim–that Jesus Christ also ascended–and what that might mean and why it happened–that he was the Son of God–the incarnate Deity–whatever that may mean.

            I am not saying the resurrection necessarily proves these claims, but once one even acknowledges its possibility, it’s uniqueness must raise other questions which demand a verdict.

            Ultimately, of course, one comes to the question of personal faith. Do I have enough evidence to commit to a belief, and more importantly–will this belief alter the rest of my perceptions and behaviors? The Christian religion–as I expect you are aware–is the process of examining these questions with a properly enquiring mind and then finally making an educated and intelligent choice.

          • Scotty Ellis

            “You also acknowledge that there are no other credible alternative explanations for the events witnessed and recorded by the apostles and other disciples at the time.”

            That’s not exactly what I said. I said that that none of the other explanations are less credible than the explanation that a man rose from the dead, which is to say that they are, in fact, more credible.

            “No one before or since has risen from the dead and stayed alive.”

            That’s fine from a standpoint of faith, but the evidence conveniently (or inconveniently, depending on your point of view) disappeared: if Jesus did come back to life and stayed alive, He chose to not stick around, which means that He left future generations in a rather awkward position vis a vis the miracle. Or, to put it in another way, the whole thing is carefully rendered unfalsifiable, which I find suspicious.

            “Do I have enough evidence to commit to a belief, and more importantly–will this belief alter the rest of my perceptions and behaviors?”

            That is the question, and I must say no. I would not believe the story if someone told it to me right now – that is, if a man on the street, or a dozen, or five hundred said that they saw a guy come back to life, especially if their story ended in the convenient ascension into heaven of the most important piece of corroborating evidence. I appreciate your candor, but if I am to believe such a story, I would need to really believe it – which means it would need to be subjected to a similar level of evidence and criticism as any of my other beliefs of a similar quality.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            I would be interested to know which of the alternative explanations for the resurrection you find credible. I may be wrong, but I think there are really only four: 1. The early Christians made up a myth story 2. the disciples had some sort of paranormal experience and made an honest mistake 3. Jesus didn’t really die 4. Something else happened to Jesus’ body.

          • Scotty Ellis

            “I would be interested to know which of the alternative explanations for the resurrection you find credible.”

            My point is they are all more credible in themselves than the alternative. Once again, if the dozen men came to you on the street this very moment with the story that their dead friend came back to life (but then disappeared), I suspect even you would find one of those four explanations, fabrication, delusion, misunderstanding, or mistake, more intrinsically plausible, all things being equal. You would need evidence in any other situation – except, as it were, the religious situation, which for some reason you grant a much lower standard for justification.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            This is precisely my point. I would like you to consider the evidence without a pre conceived religious construction, but being open minded enough to allow for a unique miracle to have taken place.

            When we consider the four options: 1. The early Christians made up a myth story 2. The disciples were sincerely deluded 3. Jesus didn’t really die and 4. Something else happened to the body–and we look at the four seriously–taking in what we know of all the facts and circumstance–the four alternatives are less credible than the proposal that something unique and miraculous took place.

            I am happy to admit that Christians have a religious bias in believing in the resurrection, but I have yet to find any credible alternative that seriously stands up to examination.

            I think the objective observer, who is also a religious agnostic, should probably conclude, “A unique inexplicable event took place which defies the human understanding of the laws of nature.” What that event means, and what its implications are, may remain to be decided, and this is where the religious interpretation attempts to provide the answer.

            I too am a serious searcher for truth and I would be interested to hear which of the four–or some other explanation I have neglected–provides a credible answer for the reported events.

          • Scotty Ellis

            “I too am a serious searcher for truth and I would be interested to hear which of the four–or some other explanation I have neglected–provides a credible answer for the reported events.”

            As I said, any of them are more credible than the explanation that a dead man actually came back to life. If someone told you that a dead friend came back to life, which would you think more likely: A) he is lying, or mistaken, or B) the friend rose from the dead. Likely, A, because in itself the resurrection explanation is far less likely than fabrication or a mistake. Additionally, you will likely accept that there have been countless examples of what might be called religious delusion throughout history – that is, individuals or groups of individuals who claim and truly believe to have experienced some event – even a vivid and specific event – which in all likelihood did not really happen. Actually, contemporary alien abduction stories are a good example: abductees are often quite convinced of the reality of their experience, which can often be quite poignant, specific, and detailed, although we have reason to believe that their experience does not reflect an objective reality. It is a perfectly reasonable explanation for something like the resurrection story – the disciples really did experience something that they subjectively took to be a resurrection, whether that was due to intentional fabrication, some sort of allegorical or spiritual experience, a coping mechanism, etc. Such a thing may have been prompted by a mistake, something as seemingly simple as visiting the wrong tomb or the body having been held in a transitory graveyard prior to burial, thus resulting in an “empty tomb” experience. These things are known to happen; they are ordinary even if unusual. Why evoke a supernatural or extraordinary explanation for something with an ordinary explanation?

            In any case, I do not feel that I need to have a carefully crafted explanation in order to be skeptical of the supernatural explanation. I believe you mistake where the burden of proof lies in cases such as these. To bring the matter back to a non-religious context (because I believe to some extent that you cannot help but assume a lower justificatory standard for your religious beliefs as a matter of faith), if a group on the street came up to you claiming they saw their friend risen again from the dead, you might, somewhat skeptically, ask for some evidence to back up the claim. You would be rightly annoyed if their response was, “You explain what just happened, then!” You don’t really know, of course – but, then, you don’t need to know what really happened to still require a high level of justificatory to believe their specific claims.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            Now we are getting somewhere. You are correct. Once an astounding claim is made we must look first for every natural explanation. Only when the natural explanations prove more incredible than the supernatural do we allow for the supernatural explanation. Those of us who have come to believe in the resurrection have done just that.

            You suggest a visit to the wrong tomb. However, the claim of resurrection is so astounding that anyone would simply double check that they had gone to the right tomb. A transitory burial place? We know Jewish funeral customs of the first century (as even now) demand burial of the body within twenty four hours of death. Furthermore, we know that Jewish funeral customs were that the body was treated with great care and respect and the burial, even if hurried, was done so carefully and the tomb marked with care. We have archeological evidence from Palestine from the first century that Jewish burials were done just like this. When we examine the evidence the option of the disciples going to the wrong tomb or misplacing the body simply don’t stand up.

            The example of alien abductions is an interesting one. These experiences indicate occurrences that take place in ‘dream time’–the psychological transitional space where normal consciousness and dream consciousness seems to overlap. Despite their seeming physicality–indeed some ‘physical signs’ of the encounter are manifested–they still seem to exist within the realm of the mind.

            It is possible that the disciples experience of resurrection were of this sort, and certainly what St Paul experienced as the resurrection would fall into this category. He saw a vision of the resurrected Lord–he did not have a physical experience. However, the pre-Ascension resurrection experiences seem to be of a different order from alien abduction experiences. First of all, the encounters were experienced by hundreds of witnesses. They were experienced in full consciousness–not during sleep or at night. They were experienced by those who doubted as well as those who were credulous. Finally, there is the fact of the empty tomb and the missing corpse. The enemies of Christ and the doubters only had to produce the corpse to prove them wrong.

  • http://thecatholicbeat.sacredheartradio.com/ Gail Finke

    The problem with these is that people don’t care whether something is true or not. To say something isn’t true is a very strong statement for your modern American. I remember being shocked when I first started listening to Catholic radio and someone on a show said that either Mohammed made the whole thing up, he was crazy, or someone really did talk to him but it sure wasn’t God. I was literally sick to my stomach. Not that I ever believed in Islam… but it seemed so wrong to me to question not just the teachings of another religion, but the sanity or truthfulness of its founder. The whole “someone else talked to him” possibility was too far beyond the pale for me to even contemplate. As a typical person brought up in a very secular home, I thought that kind of thing was all very well to say about Christians, but about other religions? It just wasn’t RIGHT. It was impolite and nasty and crude and upsetting. I could not stand to even think about it. Obviously, I can now. But I think that part of the relativist package people are sold today is never too think too hard about anything when it comes to truth. It’s okay to know what another religion teaches, and laudable to admire it. But don’t think about whether or not it’s true, because you will have to come up with an answer. It’s okay to say all religion is made up. But it’s not okay to say that one isn’t and the rest are. That will make you a bad, judgmental person. So people are not used to thinking about truth.

  • Charles E Flynn

    CBS Sunday Morning has located the current frontier of silliness:

    Controversial new theories on the Shroud of Turi

    • http://thecatholicbeat.sacredheartradio.com/ Gail Finke

      HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Who can accept that as an actual argument???

  • RichardC

    Happy Easter father and to everyone who reads this blog! Well said post.

  • shieldsheafson

    St. Augustine wrote, 16-centuries ago:-

    It is incredible that Jesus Christ should have risen in the flesh and ascended with flesh into heaven; it is incredible that the world should have believed so incredible a thing; it is incredible that a very few men, of mean birth and the lowest rank, and no education, should have been able so effectually to persuade the world, and even its learned men, of so incredible a thing. Of these three incredibles, the parties with whom we are debating refuse to believe the first; they cannot refuse to see the second, which they are unable to account for if they do not believe the third. City of God XXII. 5

  • Linus

    Still, at the end it is an act of faith to believe in the Resurrection or in the rest of the events in Scripture, old and new. If they were facts capable of ” scientific ” proof, then only a few deranged people would deny them. The Trinity always allows room for faith. Thomas said “…unless I put my finger in the wounds I will not believe…” And Our Lord said ” … blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe…” The arguments for the events of Scripture are powerful and should convince open minded people, yet people do doubt. Who knows why really. Who but God could have written the Scriptures? For me that is the greatest argument of all. It seems impossible to me that human minds could have concocted such a history of events, such an awsome unfolding of events and truths, such a vaunted spiritual philosophy. I think such a human creation would be impossible, that is why I believe. Then you have all the supporting arguments which flow out of that. All of it can be denied, but not reasonably so.

  • TeaPot562

    IF the story was made up by the eleven surviving apostles, does anyone think that they would have been willing to submit to torture and eventual death rather than recant? The pagans of the day had tortures available for more painful than waterboarding, for example.
    What other religious group has a set of disciples of the founder who, to a man, showed themselves willing to submit to extremely painful deaths in witness to the truth of what they were teaching? Unlike Islam, Christianity was not spread by a well-led army with good officers.
    TeaPot562


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