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Debunked in One Page
Among Evangelical Christians, it’s become popular to claim that Jesus’ resurrection can be proved with historical evidence. This is nonsense. Here’s why:
Non-Christian historical references toJesus don’t occur until about six decades after the time when Biblical scholars think he probably died. When these non-Christian sourcesrefer to Jesus’ miracles, there’s no reason to see them as anything more than a reportof what Christians of the time believed.
Most of whatthe Bible says about Jesus’ life and supposed resurrection isin the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, (a.k.a. the Gospels). But Biblical scholars now agree these books were originally anonymous, their names added later. The traditional Christian claims about who wrote them are now widely doubted by scholars.
Imagine someone trying toconvert you to another religion based on the “proof” of the miracles worked by the religion’s founder… in the form of a handful of anonymous tracts recounting hislife. Would you accept that “proof”? Of course not. Among other things, the stories could just be legends.
The passage is 1st Corinthians 15:3-9, and most Biblical scholars agree itwas really written by Paul. But again, would youaccept similar evidence in favor of another religion’s miracles? The Mormon church has statements signed by several people attesting tomiracles that are supposed to confirm the truth of the Book of the Mormon, but you probably won’t convertto Mormonism based on that. Also, Paul doesn’t tell us how he knows about all these appearances, so we can’t be confident his report is accurate.
Reports of the martyrdom of Jesus’ disciples do not occur in this historical record until long after their deaths would haveoccurred, and accounts sometimes conflict with one another. It could be that most, even all, of these stories are legends. In any case, not only do people sometimes give up their lives for delusions, even outright charlatans have been killed for their claims. Joseph Smith was probably a charlatan, buthe died at the hands of a lynch mob. So we can’t rule out deception among Jesus’ followers.
Even apparently sane people hallucinate for a wide variety of reasons and under a wide variety of circumstances. We can’t rule this out for people who claimed to have seen the risen Jesus.
There have been cases where a group of children have claimed to see the Virgin Mary, and been taken seriously by adults who should have known better. In many of these cases, the children were questioned individually and their descriptions of whatthey saw didn’t match, suggesting deception or delusion.
Part of me thinks that what I’ve said inthis one page is all that needs to be said on the subject. But if you want to know how I back up these claims, you can get my book UFOs, Ghosts, and a Rising God: Debunking the Resurrection of Jesus. The book also includes a crash course in New Testament scholarship, discussions of faith healing and Biblical prophecy, and plenty of tidbits about the strange beliefs people have had throughout history. It’s available on Amazon, and there’s more information, including links to reviews, on my website, UncredibleHallq.net.