Christian Research Institute Responds to: Why I Can’t Believe in Jesus Christ

Christian Research Institute apologist: Dear Gary,

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and thank you for contacting the Christian Research Institute! (See Gary’s questions for apologists, here.)

There is debate between experts on the eyewitness status of the gospel writings, but do the so-called experts who are skeptical of the eyewitness status of the gospel writings have a compelling argument? Have you ever looked into any expert who would contend for the eyewitness status of the gospel writings, like the research of Richard Bauckham in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony?

Have you studied biblical prophecies? Are the alternatives to the Christian interpretation of Old Testament messianic prophecies really convincing? See “Typological Fulfillment: The Key to Messianic Prophecy” by Hank Hanegraaff.

What is your explanation for why the disciples changed? Sure, many people have dramatic changes of opinion on matters, but we cannot dismiss them all as illegitimate? If a flat Earther rejected the flat Earth paradigm and testified to adopting a spherical Earth is the testimony invalid? There is more to the picture? Why were the disciples willing to have such a radical transformation in their views. They were Jews. They moved from strict monotheism to monotheistic Trinitarianism. They changed their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. They gave up requiring followers of Jesus the Messiah observe Jewish customs of circumcision, animal sacrifices, and dietary restrictions. None of them venerated the tomb of Jesus. They proclaimed the resurrection of Christ contrary to notions of the resurrection in Judaism (which occurred only at the end of history) and paganism (Romans and Greeks never expected anyone coming back in the flesh from the dead—not even Persephone did that). They did all this at the risk of being condemned to hell. Why would the first followers of Jesus have such a radical change?

Belief in the resurrection of Jesus traces back to the first century and arguments to the contrary are unpersuasive. See these articles “The FEAT that Demonstrates the FACT of Resurrection” by Hank Hanegraaff and “Explaining Away Jesus’ Resurrection: HALLUCINATION the Recent Revival of Theories by Gary R. Habermas.

What is your explanation for the rapid growth and influence of Christianity? If there was ever a pagan Europe, most modern White evangelicals with European roots are really absent of any recollection of the ancestors who were pagans, such as the Druids, Celts, and the like. How is it that their families for generations can only identify as Christian? Even if they are simply nominal in their beliefs, how is that they only have Christianity as their point of reference for their religious beliefs? What made Europeans identify with Christianity?

Who are the Christians that base their beliefs on subjective feelings, i.e., the “still small voice”? Did even the Scriptures tell them to just believe because of a burning in the bosom? There may be evangelicals who say such, but what if they are simply theologically illiteracy? Theological illiteracy never disproves Christianity per se. Cannot Christianity still be true despite the theological illiteracy of professing Christians? Basing beliefs on subjective experiences might be well for aberrant sects and heretical groups, but where in the mainstream of Christianity was that ever taught? Proof?

Lots of questions, but what are your answers?

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always!

In Christ,

W. N.

Gary: Hi W.N.. Thanks so much for responding to my questions!

Yes, scholars who reject the eyewitness status of the Gospels do have compelling evidence. (See Raymond Brown’s, “The Death of the Messiah”, for an in-depth review of the evidence.) The fact that even many Bible scholars who believe in miracles and the bodily resurrection of Jesus, such as Raymond Brown and NT Wright, reject or at least question the traditional/eyewitness authorship of the Gospels is compelling evidence in and of itself that the evidence for the traditional/eyewitness authorship of these ancient texts is not “strong”. Disputed eyewitness testimony is not strong evidence.

Yes, I have read Richard Bauckham’s book, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”. In the foreword to his book, he admits that his views represent a small minority of scholarship.

I believe it is important to read both Christian and skeptic sources on the claims of Christianity. How many books by skeptics have you read? Here is a link to all the books I have read on this subject:


Have I studied the OT prophecies? Yes, I have. I have studied them from both sides. Again, please see my reading list above.

What is my explanation for why the disciples changed? I believe that they sincerely believed that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to them! What was the cause of this belief? We will never know for sure. You believe it was probably due to a literal appearance of Jesus. I believe it is much more probable that this belief arose from the early Christians experiencing illusions, cases of mistaken identity, delusions, vivid dreams, and even hallucinations. While it is true that groups of people cannot experience the same hallucination or delusion, groups of people can experience the same illusion and case of mistaken identity.

Why would devout Jews believe in the resurrection of one person? Answer: Every new sect and cult starts by taking an established teaching of the mother religion and giving it a new twist. Resurrection was an established belief in Judaism. The Jewish followers of Jesus simply gave it a new twist. What explains the radical change in the disciples? Radical change has occurred in the conversions of many people of many different religions. It is not necessary, therefore, for me to explain why one particular group of people in history changed their beliefs dramatically, only to know that such dramatic changes in belief do occur.

There is no “strong” evidence for your beliefs, W.N.. All the evidence is disputed. So why do you believe it? Is it due to your own research of these ancient texts? Are you a textual scholar of ancient Near East literature? If not, why should anyone trust your non-expert opinion? Why should educated, modern people believe in a once in history bodily resurrection if the experts are divided on the eyewitness status of the only texts which detail this alleged event?

I look forward to hearing from you!









End of post.


2 thoughts on “Christian Research Institute Responds to: Why I Can’t Believe in Jesus Christ

  1. I just wanted to point out how absurd it is that this apologist thinks that belief in “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” can be justified through psychological analysis of the motivations of early disciples who we know almost nothing about, and 2000 years after the alleged events.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s