Resurrection Challenge Winners

Congratulations to ReligionFreeDeist and evangelical1 for winning the Resurrection challenge.

Why are naturalistic explanations preferred?

(hover the mouse pointer over the scripture references)

What happens if you do acknowledge the evidence for the resurrection?

Then you have to take Jesus seriously… (Jn. 18:37)

Jesus taught that man is hopelessly sinful and lost. This is an inconvenient truth, also it’s not a likely human invention. (Jn. 8:34)

It’s also extremely distasteful if you believe you are a ‘good’ person.  (Mrk. 10:18)

He taught that the penalty for sin is eternal separation from God in a place called hell. This is radically different from Judaism it was Jesus’ new teaching — another inconvenient and very unattractive idea from a humanist perspective — why would human beings make this up? (Matt. 10:28)

Jesus dies for our sins, and this seems weird to us, even unjust. Yet it has coherence with the Torah’s sacrificial system and especially with the account of  Abraham taking Isaac up on the mountain.  The concluding message was that God would provide the lamb for the sacrifice. (Gen. 22: 8, 22:14)

Then John the Baptist comes along and declares Jesus as “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn. 1:29)

Jesus teaches that this is not something you can earn with your good behavior, but salvation is a free gift from God (Jn. 15:16). This is an idea that appears in no other world religion, unmerited grace.  We like to take pride in our accomplishments. This is just not something men would come up with. (Eph. 2:8)

To receive this free gift of salvation,  it is a requirement to acknowledge the resurrection.(Rom 10:9)

If the message of Jesus has opened you to the need for forgiveness and to the reality of God… then perhaps the anti-supernatural dogma might lose its power over your mind. The evidence is there and it is compelling.

After all… who are you? what are you?  your mind, your consciousness, your sense of self is an immaterial reality that transcends naturalistic explanation. So why the insistence on only naturalistic explanations? (1 Cor 2:14)

Could it be that openness to a supernatural explanation is not prejudice to believe in the resurrection, but freedom from prejudice against it?

History 101 – Resurrection Challenge

These are just a few principles that historians use to make determinations about sources and testimony. I learned these from Habermas and Licona’s book The Case For the Resurrection of Jesus. Many of the replies I have received on Youtube reveal that skeptics resort to attacking the bible rather than accounting for the historical evidence. When a critic attempts to simply dismiss the bible out of hand, he is committing what is known as the genetic fallacy. The genetic fallacy is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on its origin. Basically because the bible is a religious book they dismiss it as a historical source. Yet the truth is the New Testament has proven itself reliable over and over again. For instance, skeptics used to claim Pontius Pilate was a fictional character until archeologists uncovered a stone monument bearing his name. There have been many such vindications. A 19th century archeologist,  Sir William Ramsay , set out to expose the book of Acts as a work of fiction but after thorough investigation he ended up being so impressed by Luke’s accuracy that he converted from skeptic to christian believer. He wrote,

    Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense…in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.1

The New Testament is regarded as historically accurate as far as its mundane claims, thus the skeptic cannot simply dismiss its testimony to the miraculous. The evidence is abundant and compelling. How do you account for it?


1 Sir William M. Ramsey, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, Hodder & Stoughton, 1915.

Fact One : Jesus Died by Crucifixion

A few skeptics like ReligionFreeDeist on YT have questioned why Fact 1 is part of the 5 fact argument. They are missing the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions. While not sufficient, Jesus death by crucifixion is a necessary precondition to the resurrection. It is only denied by a few fringe skeptics. This video unpacks the historical data from various sources, assessment by medical professionals and establishes that the most plausible hypothesis is that Jesus did indeed die an excruciating death by crucifixion.

Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case For the Resurrection of Jesus. Grand Rapids MI: Kregel Publications, 2004.