Related to my earlier post about “What Would Convince Me That Christianity Is True?“, my friend Gary, over at Escaping Christian Fundamentalism, while reading “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by father-son apologists Josh and Sean McDowell, ended up with a headache. Gary offers his perspective about what would convince him of the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection. I’d like to offer my own perspective.
Here’s my problem with the resurrection. We’re now almost 20 centuries removed from the event in question. The people who made the claim are now long dead, and whatever they claimed has been shaped by later Christians who wrote the New Testament.
But, let’s suppose that Jesus really is still alive, as claimed by many Christians, and has been resurrected into a new body. What would it take for me to believe this miraculous claim? My short answer? I don’t know.
Suppose Jesus came before me and showed me the wounds he was supposedly inflicted with. How could I possibly know that the wounds are the same wounds that were inflicted all those centuries ago? Even if I could stick my fingers in the wounds, just like Thomas did, how do I even know that this person is the same man that was killed on a cross two millennia ago? There’s nobody alive who can verify Jesus’ identity. Nobody alive who assure me that Jesus was dead. Nobody alive who can tell me that who stands before me is really Jesus, and that he was really resurrected from the dead.
I suppose there are two ways this could happen. The first way would be to kill Jesus again, and have a resurrection demonstrated. There would have to be doctors, and other professionals, on hand who can verify that he’s died. Perhaps we could cut the head off the body, and wait. Wait for the magical resurrection when Jesus come back to life, complete and whole.
The other possible way would be if we start noticing people resurrecting from the dead. If somebody can establish that these resurrections would apply in the same situation that Jesus was supposed to be in, in the first century, I could be convinced that Jesus rose from the dead.
Short of some demonstration like these, with sufficient protocols in place to insure that we’re not being tricked, I don’t think there’s any way I’m going to accept that Jesus returned from the dead.