Posted by: Randall Niles | April 17, 2009

Resurrection

I get more emails of spiritual interest during the Easter season than any other time of year. The inquiries run the gamut — from ancient Ishtar to Roman conspiracies, Jewish Passover to Easter egg hunts.

 

In the end, most questions end up pointing to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most specifically, how can I trust that Jesus Christ really rose from the dead about 2,000 years ago?

 

As part of any spiritual journey, it’s important to examine the persecution and death that was such a dramatic piece of early Christian history. Any skeptic who holds to a notion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a man-made legend created after-the-fact by a group of religious zealots, should sincerely check out the legacy of martyrdom.

 

Eleven of the 12 apostles, and many of the other early disciples, died for their adherence to the Jesus story. This is spectacular, since they all witnessed the alleged events surrounding Jesus and his resurrection, and still went to their deaths defending them. Why is this so spectacular when many throughout history have died martyred deaths for a religious belief?

 

People don’t die for a lie.

 

Look at human nature throughout history. No conspiracy can be maintained when life or liberty is at stake. Dying for a heart-felt belief is one thing, but numerous eyewitnesses dying for a known lie would be quite another.

 

Does this make sense?

 

Can you think of any widespread example of an entire group of people knowingly suffering and ultimately dying brutal deaths in order to defend something they knew to be false? The September 11th suicide hijackers may have sincerely believed in what they died for, but they certainly weren’t in a position to know whether or not what they believed was true. They put their faith in religious doctrine passed down to them from their religious leaders. In contrast, the New Testament’s martyrs either saw what they claimed to see or they didn’t. Either they interacted with the resurrected Jesus or they made the whole story up. Dramatically, these witnesses clung to their testimonies even to their brutal deaths, knowing full well whether their belief was true or false.

 

Just something to Think About this week after Easter,

 

Randall Niles

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