You can observe the atheists working overtime to dismiss the resurrection. It proves Christianity. Here’s why:
- The disciples had great fear (as manifested by primary sources) before it and were emboldened by it to give their lives.
- The disciples, being uneducated, would have been incapable of inventing it.
- The primary sources agree that none of the disciples thought of resurrection before Jesus’ death. They clearly expected Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom. Peter used sword to defend Jesus from his crucifiers, then denied Christ three times to protect himself. This supports the idea that the resurrection surprised and transformed them.
- It is true that religious groups have given their lives for delusions before, but an important difference must be made between those who have been duped, and those who are imposing the hoax. The atheists allege the disciples committed fraud by making it up. The trouble with this is is that it is highly unlikely they would then give their lives to martyrdom — separate from each other, with no one around to egg them on. If you create a delusion, it usually is to achieve some self-serving end, not to die for it. If you know that the resurrection is fake, it is highly unlikely that you will die for it. Maybe one would dare to give his life for a fraud, but eleven?
- It is true that religious leaders have possessed genius to invent fantastical accounts inventing religion, but these have been individuals — Mohammed, Joseph Smith. With Christianity, it is a group of 11 disciples. How could they agree unless they had actually seen Jesus resurrected?
- How did Christianity progress under persecution? The Romans were killing Christians. You don’t just convert to your death sentence — unless you know that the resurrection trumps any death sentence. Islam, by contrast, was an easy ticket to join because it was a booming success militarily and politically. The early believers joined Christianity not because they were signing with the winning team.
- It is nearly impossible to allege that the 11 disciples fell under some sort of collective psychosis. The evidence shows the contrary: Thomas was missing from the initial meeting with the resurrected Christ and was determinedly decided against believing in His resurrection.
- If the disciples got together and concocted the account, they surely would not have made women, in their patriarchal times, the first witnesses.
- Even a non-Christian historical source, Josephus, tells of Paul’s switch from persecutor to promoter. How can you possibly account for this unless he really did see Jesus?
Resurrection Day is a great holiday for Christianity. Though I’m not a professional apologist, I believe the raw, unadulterated evidence is highly in favor of the resurrection being true. My blog has hosted some pretty lively discussion in the past and welcomes all comers to join the debate, though I ask everyone refrain from curse words and treat each other respectfully. I believe in comparing ideas, not ad hominem attacks.