What Would Convince Me That Jesus Rose From the Dead?

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.

3 thoughts on “What Would Convince Me That Jesus Rose From the Dead?”

  1. I don’t know what would convince me, but I don’t have to know that. The christians are always telling me that there’s an all-knowing all-powerful god watching us all the time, that knows what we are thinking. Such a god would know what could convince me, better than I would know myself. A god that wants me to be convinced would know what to send, and would be able to send it. And an all-knowing god would already know that a lame internet apologist is not something that would convince me, ever, and yet that’s all that shows up. So their god is either not all-knowing, not all-powerful, or doesn’t care.

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  2. Agreed.

    My post, however, was specifically trying to answer the question of what would convince me that Jesus rose from the dead, because I think such a thing is possible and is independent of the existence of God. There could be a completely naturalistic explanation for such a thing without the need of God.

    I could (at least in principle) be convinced that Jesus came back from the dead, but convincing me that Jesus rose from the dead is a far cry from convincing me that Christianity is true. Christianity depends on Jesus rising from the dead, but Jesus rising from the dead says little about Christianity.

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    1. Indeed. But since the people who are constantly pestering us with this question are invariably christian, I think I’ll stick with my answer. A christian god could send me convincing evidence that Jesus came back from the dead, without any confirmation of the truth of the rest of christianity. Entirely possible. But if the christian god doesn’t exist, then there’s no need for me to spend any time speculating what a Roman-era Judean doomsayer did or didn’t do. In that case, it’s irrelevant.

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