Christian blogger and apologist: Hey Gary, Sorry for the late reply. Unfortunately, I have too much going on with work, other projects, and raising two girls [to debate the truth claims of Christianity with you]. If you’re ever interested in putting your faith in Jesus Christ and want help following Him or understanding the forgiveness He offers and hope for our broken world, I’d be happy to help you.
Gary: Let me get right to the point out of respect for your busy schedule.
Christianity rises or falls on the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. If this event did not happen, “your faith is in vain”, wouldn’t you agree? The big question then is: What is the evidence for this claim?
- Eyewitness testimony? Experts are divided on the eyewitness status of the Gospels. The eyewitness status of 2,000 year old stories in which people see and hear a walking, talking resurrected corpse is therefore disputed. Regardless of what you personally may believe about their historicity and reliability, disputed eyewitness testimony is not strong evidence.
- The changed character of the disciples? Dramatic conversions accompanied by dramatic changes in behavior occur in all religions, sects, and cults. A dramatic change in behavior and character is therefore not strong evidence of the veracity of any particular religion or belief system.
- The disciples would not die for a lie? I agree. Most people would not die for a lie. But many people have died for a mistaken belief. It is entirely possible that the disciples of Jesus experienced illusions, false sightings (cases of mistaken identity), or even delusions which convinced them that Jesus had appeared to them. If hundreds of people believe that Mary, the saints, and even Jesus appear to them today, why should we be surprised that a small group of first century peasants and fishermen believed similar appearances occurred to them? Alleged sightings of a dead person, even by groups of people, is not good evidence.
- The rapid growth of Christianity proves it is true? This is a logical fallacy. Just because a lot of people believe a story to be true does not make it true.
- Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies? Most Jewish Bible scholars and even a significant number of Christian Bible scholars question the existence of “Jesus prophecies” in the Jewish Bible. For example, even some evangelical apologists such as Josh and Sean McDowell now admit that the “virgin birth” prophecy in Isaiah 7 was not about Jesus. Disputed prophecies are not strong evidence.
So a brief review of the historical evidence does not support the conservative Christian claim that there is “strong” historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Disputed evidence is not strong evidence.
What other evidence is there for the bodily resurrection of Jesus?
Answered prayer? Even Christians must admit that answered prayer is very hit and miss. Not every person who prays for healing is cured. Not every person who prays for recovery from cancer or other terminal illnesses recovers. Statistically, answered prayer is no better than flipping a coin.
The testimony of the Holy Spirit? As a former evangelical, I can tell you that for most evangelical Christians, the perception of the presence of Jesus within them is the strongest evidence for them that Jesus rose from the dead, is alive and well, and is the ruler of the universe. But how reliable are feelings and subjective perceptions of an invisible, inaudible presence? Not very! Feelings and perceptions are notoriously unreliable! That “still, small voice” you believe to be Jesus may well be…you: your inner dialogue with yourself!
So if none of the evidence for this fantastical, never heard of before or since event is “strong” by any rational, objective definition of that word, why do you and millions of other Christians believe it? I would venture to bet the reason is this: It provides you with so much comfort and security! But is that sufficient reason to be teaching gullible adults on the internet and your own children that this ancient supernatural tale is an historical fact? Please check your conscience, my friend.
End of post.
6 thoughts on “No, I Will Not Put My Faith in Jesus Christ. Here is Why:”
Disciples wouldn’t die for a lie gets a lot of airplay by apologists, yet we know very little about their later lives. Many Christians would be hard pressed to even name them all. Most disciples play insignificant roles in the gospels and pretty much disappear in Acts. There are of course later non canonical legends of their lives, but the fact that we have dozens of gospels, acts, apocalypses and epistles that never made it into the NT shows that Christians loved making up all kinds of stories about their heroes. Why should we think later stories about the disciples would be any different. We have no way of knowing how the disciples died, what they died for, or when they died. It’s even quite possible many of them left the movement and were written out of the story. This would help explain their absence in Acts and their portrayal in Mark as a bunch of dum dums who wouldn’t believe.
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In my long ago days in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, I don’t recall hearing the “die for a lie” apologetic. That may be because it required delving into the dodgy world of church tradition (and god forbid, Roman Catholic tradition), which was always to be viewed with suspicion. You know, sola scriptura and all. These sorts of martyrdom arguments always seem to evaporate when the apologist is pressed on specifics: who, when, where, by whom, for what? “The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom” by NT scholar Candida Moss is an interesting book on this topic.
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Yes, Moss’s book is definitely on my to read list.
Christian blogger’s response: Well I do agree that many evangelicals get a lot wrong. And I don’t think every argument for the resurrection is equally as strong. But none of your arguments dismiss what I believe to be a fact. And ultimately, you have to rely on faith as well. I’m sure you know Pascal’s wager which I won’t repeat here, but I pray you come to faith in Jesus and find true life and purpose.
Gary: But if the evidence is weak, why should I? Pascal’s wager is not just true for Christianity. It applies to every other exclusivist religion on the planet. How many night’s sleep have you lost worrying about spending eternity in the Muslim Hell? None, I’ll bet. Why? Answer: The evidence for the supernatural claims of Islam is weak. Well, ditto for Christianity!
You are an intelligent, educated man. Don’t believe something just because it makes you feel safe and comfortable. Believe due to good/strong evidence! What “strong” evidence do you have on this topic other than your own opinion of the historical evidence? None, I will bet. You are not a Bible scholar. You do not have expertise in textual criticism. For you to say that the historical evidence is strong for the Resurrection based on your own research is no different than the internet junkie hanging out in his basement who claims he knows better than the experts about climate change and Covid 19! That is not rational thinking, my friend.
You have been beguiled by this ancient cult.
I read both Pascal and Kierkegaard around the same time way back in a previous millennium. My thoughts about both were that they lived in a Christian bubble and didn’t seem to ask themselves why they were leaping to or gambling on one type of god among many. The world had opened up a bit by the time of their writing, but it was still fairly isolated and insular. Their views were still cloistered within their own communities.