When asked for evidence to support the foundational claim of Christianity—the bodily resurrection of Jesus—conservative Christian apologists will frequently point to The Twelve Minimal Facts Argument formulated by evangelical Christian theologian Gary Habermas.
Are these “facts” convincing?
I don’t think so, but maybe I’m biased. Let’s use the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF) to see if these facts really are strong evidence for a bodily resurrection, or, do only Christians find these facts convincing simply because these facts are about the founder of their religion. What will happen if we substitute the name of the founder of a different world religion in the place of Jesus’ name in these “facts”? Let’s see how many Christians will find these “facts” convincing for the supernatural claim of a bodily resurrection when the facts involve some other religion’s founder. We could substitute “Mohammad” or “Joseph Smith” for this exercise but let’s use the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, otherwise known as, the Buddha.
- The Buddha died by crucifixion.
- The Buddha was buried.
- The Buddha’s death caused his disciples to despair and lose hope.
- The Buddha’s tomb was found empty.
- The Buddha’s disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Buddha.
- The Buddha’s disciples were transformed from doubters to bold proclaimers.
- The resurrection of the Buddha was the central message of this new religious belief system.
- The disciples of the Buddha preached the message of the Buddha’s resurrection in the largest city in India.
- Buddhism was born and grew.
- Devout Vedics (the dominant religion in India at that time) changed their primary day of worship.
- The brother of the Buddha converted to Buddhism when he saw the resurrected Buddha (The brother was a family skeptic).
- A Jewish scribe and elder converted to Buddhism. (He was an outsider skeptic).
Dear Christian: Would these facts convince you that a man living in India thousands of years ago really did come back from the dead? I doubt it. So why do you believe the same weak claims about Jesus of Nazareth??
Abandon ancient superstitions. Embrace reason and science!
End of post.