Saturday, March 8, 2014

Jesus' Resurrection

Q: What evidence do we have of Jesus' resurrection? Please don’t use the Bible.

A: Um...I'm not allowed to use the eyewitness testimony?  Okay,  What kind of evidence is possible, if eyewitness testimony doesn't count?  I'm guessing you won't accept second-hand information, either.

I mean, replace "Jesus' resurrection" with any other event that took place 2000 years ago, like Julius Caesar's death or Cleopatra's visit to Rome.  Really, our only proof that it happened is "people wrote about it afterwards". And even then, you can be skeptical and say they were lying. In fact, I would not be surprised if the people who wrote about Cleopatra were lying.

If eyewitness testimony and textual evidence are disregarded, I'm not sure what sort of evidence is left. Fr. Robert Barron made a video about this recently, so maybe he has some good ideas.

Hm. He's saying that Jesus rising from the dead wasn't a scam made up by the apostles, because they were 100% convinced it was true. Jesus' resurrection immediately became the center and focus of their lives, to the point that they were willing to die in brutal, horrific ways as a testimony to it. They would not have shown such dedication, if it was all something they made up.

I've also seen the argument that the story of Jesus' resurrection would be completely different, if it was a scam. After all, scams try to seem as legitimate and believable as possible. This is not the case with Jesus' resurrection; all the sources agree that the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene. Her testimony was so unreliable that the first person to call her a liar was Saint Peter, AKA the first Pope, AKA the man who holds the keys to the gates of Heaven.

If it was all a scam, why on Earth would it start with the least reliable witness? In the first century, even a slave's testimony would be considered more reliable than a woman's. The only good reason to start with Mary Magdalene's testimony is if it really happened. If Saint Peter was making it all up, why would he publicly spread this (and many other stories) that makes him look bad? (This goes for every story in the New Testament; the majority of them present the apostles as selfish, liars, idiots and traitors. Seems unlikely that they would fabricate such stories about themselves.)

Another argument I've seen is that Jesus performed many, well-documented miracles prior to the resurrection. This argument was more convincing to people at the time, who witnessed the miracles.


Anonymous said...

So, using your logic:

Russian communism must be right because millions of Bolsheviks died in forcing the revolution.

Hinduism must be right because tens of thousands of Hindus have given their lives in opposing Islam in India.

The Aztec religion must be right because thousands of followers died defending it.

Thousands of Muslims and Jews were tortured and put to death by Christian Crusaders. If their religions were not real, why would they have died horrible death for their beliefs?

If you believe the Bible is eyewitness testimony, then by that logic, you have to believe the Quran. It's full of eyewitness testimony to everything Muhammad did too, from ascending to heaven on a flying horse, to making water spring from a dry well.

LGelevator said...

The Bible's account is supported by secondary textual evidence, not only by church fathers but by non-believers as well (such as Roman historian Tacitus, Greek satirist Lucian, Jewish historian Josephus, etc.), who agree that Jesus was a real person, he was crucified, the spread of Christianity shortly afterwards, et cetera. Other religious texts such as the Qur'an do not have such external textual support.

Also, the disciples didn't just believe that Jesus rose from the dead; they were in a position to know so for sure. If they were knowingly scamming, they would not have been brutally killed for their faith, as no one goes to their death for something they know is a lie.

Nelli said...

Perhaps it's not best to get into the ethnocentric argument over which religion is superior. Historically, Christians have not treat my people well, (I'm 75% Mayan), but I'm not going to go on a tangent about how my people's native religion is "more" right then what Spanish conquistadors tried to force on us. Just let people believe what they want, or no belief if that makes them happy.

Emily in Wisconsin said...

I hope that this isn't to personal, but are you christian or catholic?

Anonymous said...

Uhm, actually that's not his logic at all. He didn't technically say "It's true because people believed it", he said "The fact that people died for it is evidence that they *thought* it was true and weren't making it up".
In fact the same could be said for the examples you put. Those things may not have been good, but they happened because the people who did them thought they were good.
And no you do not have to believe the Quran as well as the Bible because "they both contain eyewitness testimony". That's like saying if I read about a court case where there was a witness I should also believe my friend when he tells me he saw a UFO the other day…

Anonymous said...

Can I personally apologize for that, by the way, on behalf of the historical expression of Christianity?

Keep in mind, everyone, Religious people may have done that, and the Crusades, but that does NOT mean that it made the God we serve happy.

Anonymous said...

Emily in Wisconsin ... Catholics are Christians. I honestly don't know why people started isolating Catholics like that. Makes no sense.

goliah said...

"If it was all a scam" And no longer just a rhetorical question for mud slinging between atheist and religious, we are on the threshold of discovering that answer!

The first wholly new interpretation for two thousand years of the moral teachings of Christ has been published. Radically different from anything else we know of from theology or history, this new teaching is predicated upon the 'promise' of a precise, predefined, and predictable and repeatable experience of transcendent omnipotence and called 'the first Resurrection' in the sense that the Resurrection of Jesus was intended to demonstrate Gods' willingness to reveal Himself and intervene directly into the natural world for those obedient to His will, paving the way for access, by faith, to the power of divine Will and ultimate proof!

Thus 'faith' becomes an act of trust in action, the search along a defined path of strict self discipline, [a test of the human heart] to discover His 'Word' of a direct individual intervention into the natural world by omnipotent power that confirms divine will, law, command and covenant, which at the same time, realigns our mortal moral compass with the Divine, "correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries." Thus is a man 'created' in the image and likeness of his Creator.

So like it or no, a new religious teaching, testable by faith, meeting all Enlightenment criteria of evidence based causation and definitive proof now exists. Nothing short of an intellectual, moral and religious revolution is getting under way. To test or not to test, that is the question? More info at