Fraud 1: “The disciples lied or stole the body”
Gary: I don’t know of any skeptic who believes this.
“Every single one of the disciples insisted, to their dying breaths, that they had physically seen Jesus bodily raised from the dead. Don’t you think that one of those apostles would have cracked before being beheaded or stoned? That one of them would have made a deal with the authorities? None did.” —Charles Colson, conservative Christian, aide to Richard Nixon and ex-felon, quoted on page 94
Gary: False. This is one of the biggest Christian myths that exists. We have no proof that any of the Eleven were given an opportunity to escape death by recanting seeing a resurrected Jesus. In fact, other than James, we really don’t know for sure how, when, and where the Eleven died.
Fraud 2: “Someone other than the disciples stole the body.”
“All [this theory] can account for is the empty tomb. Jesus’ resurrection can account for all of the facts and, therefore, is a better explanation than theft.” —Habermas and Licona, p. 97
Gary: Come on! Don’t be ridiculous. The theft theory is a much more probable explanation than the Christian supernatural explanation. Here is a plausible scenario: Sometime Saturday night, someone steals the body. The women show up Sunday morning…and Jesus is gone. The women run to report this to the disciples. At first, all the disciples suspect that someone took the body. However, one afternoon Peter has a trance as he is sitting on top of someone’s house. Jesus appears to him in brilliant white clothing and tells him that he has risen from the dead just as he had promised. Peter excitedly shares this “heavenly vision” with the other disciples. Near hysteria breaks out. Soon other disciples are “seeing” Jesus, either in dreams, visions, false sightings, or in misperceptions of natural phenomena (shadows, bright lights, etc.). The Resurrection Belief is born! Soon the disciples see the Empty Tomb as a sign of the Resurrection, not of a theft.