|Paul the Persecutor by Vridar|
Christian apologists often state that the martyrdom of the early Christians, and specifically the martyrdom of the original disciples, those whom Christianity claims were the eyewitnesses to the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus, is strong evidence for the historicity of the Resurrection.
“The Disciples wouldn’t die for a lie!” Christians boldly proclaim.
But how strong is this claim, really?
What Christians are saying is that if the alleged witnesses of the Resurrection were willing to die for this belief, this should be strong evidence to any rational, thinking, intelligent person that they were telling the truth. They were not lying. These appearances did not happen in visions or hallucinations. No one would die for something that they knew was not true. Therefore, we today should believe this Christian supernatural claim as historical fact.
Would most Christians consider Paul, otherwise known as Saul of Tarsus, to be a rational, intelligent person?
I would bet that a very high percentage of Christians would say, yes.
Well, dear Christians, if we are to believe the accounts in Acts and in his own epistles, Saul of Tarsus did not believe that “Would not die for a lie” was sufficient evidence to believe this supernatural tale. He did not buy it. Prior to his personal vision experience on the Damascus Road, he continued to persecute and execute Christian after Christian, many of whom would have claimed to have seen this resurrected messiah with their own eyes, and this did not convince him of their story.
As another skeptic once wrote on his blog, “Would not Die for a Lie Doesn’t Fly”, and I would add, for more reasons than one.