To all those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus ...
Suppose a person (named Trevor) was recently arrested and placed on trial for a crime committed 40 years ago. Let's say the charge was that Trevor murdered someone as they left a night club. At the trial the prosecutor sums up the case as follows:
- There is NO physical evidence, no DNA evidence, no smoking gun, no fingerprints, no tire tracks, no footprints, and no pictures or security tapes which link Trevor to the crime;
- There are NO eyewitnesses to provide direct testimony in the case;
- However, there is a note that says Trevor was the one who shot the victim;
- The author of the note was not an eyewitness, but was written down by an anonymous author who knew somebody that knew someone else who was around 40 years ago when there were rumors around town that Trevor might have shot the victim;
- The note was not the original document, but rather a 4th generation copy that was created from scratch by another anonymous writer who claimed to be copying the original;
- The only other piece of evidence was a letter that some person wrote (named Paul, who has since passed away) which claimed that the ghost of the victim appeared to Paul in a vision and told him that Trevor was the person who shot the victim.
If you're on this jury would you vote guilty or not guilty for Trevor? I think a vast majority of rational people would vote not guilty and would only take about 2 seconds to even think about the decision because the case was so ludicrous.
So it boggles my mind that, with equivalent scant evidence, a reasonable person would strongly believe in the resurrection of Jesus. There is certainly no physical evidence available (no security camera footage, no DNA evidence, etc). Additionally, the accounts in the New Testament would never be considered evidence in a court of law because they are hearsay. In fact, they are very bad hearsay because the Gospel writers were anonymous and were not eyewitnesses. In fact, they were not even written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; those names were assigned hundreds of years later by the Church out of tradition. Moreover, the alleged accounts were not written about until decades after the events were thought to occur, followed by centuries of likely manipulation from other anonymous authors. Contrary to the popular view, the accounts in the Bible are not like newspaper reports. Instead, what's written in the New Testament Gospels was based on oral gossip and rumors that got passed around for decades before they were finally written down, which makes them subject to embellishment and opens up the potential for fabrication of ancient history.
Two-thousand years ago there were no TV cameras to record events, no news reporters, and no forensic scientists to validate bizarre claims. Moreover, there were very few skeptical thinkers and the scientific method would not be fully developed until centuries later. Furthermore, ancient people were highly superstitious, believing in demons, ghosts, magic, fortune telling, and astrology. So combining all these factors it is easy to see how myths and legends could arise so easily among ancient people, and how stories about empty tombs, resurrections and postmortem appearances could arise and spread.
Just something to think about the next time you decide to put money in the collection bin at church ...