The Bible suggests that Jesus rose from the dead and made appearances to hundreds of people before ascending into heaven. It is unlikely that this would have escaped the notice of Herod and Pilate and the vast majority of the Roman occupiers, not to mention the Jews, who would have either directly witnessed this amazing phenomenon or heard about it from credible sources. This would have provided proof that Jesus was a divine being, prompting Herod and Pilate to convert along with the Romans and the Jews, with Christianity then becoming the official religion of Judea.
Obviously, this did not happen, and the fact that it didn’t suggests strongly that Jesus did not rise from the dead.
How would you respond to this challenge? Perhaps answering this needs more of a knowledge of human nature than anything else! Give us your answer below, and Alan will post his answer on Thursday.
Here’s a challenge from an atheist who says Jesus’ baptism has three serious implications for our view of Jesus:
In the gospel of Matthew (3:11), Jesus presents himself to John the Baptist and is baptized. This presents several problems for Christianity. First, baptism is a ritual that claims to remove the stain of original sin, but according to Christian dogma, Jesus was sinless and therefore should not have required this rite.
Second, to present oneself for baptism is a subservient action, implying that the person performing the baptism is of a higher station, though, according to Christian theology, Jesus was certainly superior to John the Baptist.
Third, the scripture states that John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the promised savior, and yet, inexplicably, he does not become a follower of Jesus, but remains the leader of his own group of followers.
This is an embarrassment to the faith because if this event has any historical validity, it is apparent that Jesus considered himself a sinful mortal man needing baptism and was probably a disciple of John the Baptist. He likely followed him for awhile, and only became an independent religious leader after John’s arrest and execution.
You’ll need some knowledge of the Bible and theology for this one. Tell us how you would answer this challenge in the comments below, and come back here on Thursday to hear Brett give his answer.
This atheist thinks you’re committing a “logical and hypocritical fallacy” by believing Christian miracles and rejecting the miracles of other religions:
Christians accept without reservation that the miracles described in the Bible were actual historical events. However, at the same time they discount the miracle stories of other religions, such as:
Mohammed’s night journey to Jerusalem and then to heaven
Mohammed splitting of the moon
Mohammed’s food and water multiplication
The spider web protecting Mohammed in the cave….
What should be evident to an objective person is that the evidence for the Christian miracles is no more convincing than the evidence for non-Christian miracles. To selectively believe one religion’s miracles while discounting all of the others is a logical and hypocritical fallacy. It is highly unlikely that all of the world’s proclaimed miracles are true, still unlikely that the miracles of one religion are true and the others false, but otherwise it is very likely that they are all false.
How would you answer this objection? Give it a try in the comments below, and we’ll hear Alan’s answer on Thursday.
[E]xclusivity is petty and dangerous. Many people do get upset when told their religion is not as good as the next guy's—this is why Jews, Muslims and Christians have been slaughtering each other in Palestine for centuries. So it occurs to me that exclusivity runs contrary to the general moral character of Christ, as people tend to portray him at any rate, and I can't imagine him being particularly happy with his followers preaching it with such vehemence.
Is preaching Jesus as the only way “contrary to the moral character of Christ”? How would you respond to this challenge? Give us your answer in the comments below, and we’ll post Brett’s video response on Thursday.