Evidence for the resurrection you find powerful


(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #1

Hi friends! I’m curious about which evidences for the resurrection you find powerful and why? Maybe you can give us some insights about your background as well if it’s a factor why you consider the evidence as powerful. Maybe it can help us in knowing which evidence is best to share when having a particular conversation with a particular person.

Let me share some of the pieces of evidence which are powerful for me:

  1. Strong evidence for theism. The weight of evidence for theism makes it enormously more likely that the resurrection is possible to occur. Even Gary Habermas cited Anthony Flew agreeing with this logic in their dialogue, and Flew did not contradict it.

  2. The attitude of the disciples in his death and resurrection. They were first afraid and went into hiding. Suddenly, they became people who were willing to die for their beliefs.

  3. The conversion of James and Paul. If a skeptic and a persecutor suddenly became believers, I would not discount what they have to say outright, I would want to know why they became believers.

  4. Non-Christian or Anti-Christian sources. It’s amazing how their attestation gives more credibility to the historical events being presented in the New Testament.

Here are brief descriptions of my reasons why I consider the pieces of evidence powerful:

  1. Each individual basically presupposes axioms, which becomes their lens in how they interpret the world. For me, being aware of this fact can help us share our view in such a way that they’ll be able to at least see the world in our lens and see it as viable or rational, even if they won’t believe it as the state of affairs. It’s a good start for me for good discussions.

  2. The attitude of the disciples makes it reasonable for us that they are at least sincere and trustworthy. They shared embarrassing details of how they reacted to Jesus’ death, which in historical tests could be considered highly probable in being true. We can see that their attitude changed, and the way they word their conviction is that they are eyewitnesses. That means that they expect us to treat what they are saying as something that really happened.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” ~1 John 1:1-4

  1. Although it’s logically possible that a persecutor and a skeptic would be converted to a false religion, it begs the question why they became believers in the first place. For me this invites us to seek further if the evidence or the reason they became believers is really compelling. It’s inviting since both people are the least people you would think of as someone who would become a believer.

  2. Part of the historical tests is enemy attestation. If an enemy or a source not sympathetic to you admits things, it is highly probable that this is true. For example is the empty tomb. The religious leaders indirectly admitted that the tomb was empty by saying that Jesus’ body was stolen. Other sources outside the Bible would confirm the events too.

Proof of an afterlife
(Jessica Helena Sutedjo) #2

Hi @omnarchy. Great post. I couldn’t agree more with that. So I just want to add more interesting facts as well.

I would say that the second argument, if we remember about the Prisoner Dilemma. it could turn to be one of strongest argument as well. If the disciples actually lied about resurrection than the Good News should crumble instantly. Because they are separated to everywhere and even persecuted in where they share the Good News. They don’t have any technology like us (such as internet and www) but they still defending their faith even led them into death and their message is the same.

And in term of gaining something, there is nothing that the disciples will get from lying about Jesus resurrection except persecution. So, bailing in sake of saving themselves might be the best choice but they didn’t do it.

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #3

I appreciate your contribution, @jessicahs. About number 2, I agree that the Good News would crumble if they lied about it. There are people who doubt their sincerity, since they believe that the disciples want power over the people. What power did they get anyway? Another factor that them lying can’t hold water is the Jerusalem factor, since if Jesus did not really rise from the dead, and the tomb is not empty, their enemies will just parade Jesus’ body to stop the movement.

Them being firm for their belief until the end makes us not question their sincerity. Aside from that, monotheistic Jews who would start to believe Jesus’ divinity would intrigue us. It would beg so much questions for us to see why they were willing to die for this belief.

(Jessica Helena Sutedjo) #4

@omnarchy Yes, that’s why. People can’t help but started to think: why? If they choose to get reputation, being a disciple of Christ, certainly not a very good option to begin with. First of all, they came from Jewish background. They already knew about the True God of Israel, and why bother making another one? The second one, it was started in Roman Empire, which certainly punish a group that potentially led into riot or any coup.

Even though, it still proven difficult to share the overwhelming facts into muslims actually (they not even believe that Jesus/Isa dead in the cross). The concept of defeat is not common in their belief. What do you think?

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #5

@jessicahs This seems to be for another topic for me. We can discuss this further in another thread, but for a brief answer, I believe that aside from the answers we give, if they assert something different, we can keep them accountable by letting them provide their burden of proof. This will make sure that we don’t let them get away and make them think hard of what they assert. This could be used as an avenue to help them show why their counter-assertion is not a good argument against the evidence we have.

Aside from that, in your comment about the concept of defeat not common in their belief, I suddenly remembered what Abdu Murray talked about before in connecting with Muslims, that is, we connect with them in a sense that they come from the view that they view that God is great, we need to show then how God is greater in our view. What happened on the cross is not defeat, but triumph isn’t it?

(Jessica Helena Sutedjo) #6

@omnarchy Yes. it will be great to put into a new thread. However, I agree that the cross is not shameful but actually, a symbol of triumph. Here, we are called to proclaim the Good News and also the Cross :smiley:

(Dale Barta) #7

I fully agree. as William Layne Kraig said, The jewish polemic to explain the empty tomb (the disciples stole him away,) is one of the compelling reasons that one of the great critics of Christian thought, I think it may have been Rudolph Votman, acknowledges the resurrection.

(Jimmy Sellers) #8

Not on you list, but I have always thought that the best evidence was the lack of concern (at least no record of concern) by Jews and the Romans for the resurrection of Lazarus. Had Jesus been just a man in the eyes of the Jewish and Roman leadership I don’t think that would have cared one bit but he wasn’t just a man his claim was King and Lord of Glory. :grinning:

(Dale Barta) #9

Very interesting, I hadn’t thought of that. Wow!, Dale Barta

(Jennifer Judson) #10

Jimmy – I want to be sure I’m clear on what you are saying here. The Jewish leadership implemented their plan to eliminate Jesus because of the resurrection of Lazarus–so there was definitely concern. Do you mean that the miracle Jesus performed is not mentioned in the Gospel account of the interchange between Pilate and Jesus? Just seeking clarification.

(Jennifer Judson) #11

Since I was raised in a Christian home, I don’t think I ever doubted the resurrection. It was a given. So I think that puts me at a disadvantage to truly understand a skeptics mindset – other than in the abstract.

For me compelling evidence of the truth of the gospel (a.k.a. the resurrection), is the “work product” of the apostles. Paul was by his own admission, a Pharisee’s Pharisee, yet his epistles show a complete turn from a person bound by the law. His encounter with Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit rocked his world completely. Not only do his writings enlighten us to God’s ways and purposes (albeit they are God-breathed), he physically endured countless trials in his relentless efforts to spread the “good news.”

Fishermen…tax collectors…etc – all unlikely candidates to carry the flame that was lighting the world on fire. From the moment of Pentecost, Peter was no longer the “foot in the mouth” follower, but a leader who spoke with the conviction and authority in the name of Jesus. In Acts 2, he heals a man and speaks boldly to the people of Israel. Before the crucifixion, in fear he denied Jesus three times, but after Pentecost when he’s brought before the Council he proclaims the name of Jesus and when warned to not speak of it again tells them they “cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

It’s an under statement to say the were changed men. They became empowered men, willing to take on anyone and anything. They were not emboldened by the crucifixion–it led them to hide and scatter. It was the resurrection and seeing the risen Christ that confirmed all Jesus had told them and then they were ignited by the Holy Spirit.

The other compelling argument to me is the writings of centuries of Christians, who have encountered Jesus (not necessarily talking about in a physical presence) and been changed dramatically. We all know persons who time and again proved unable to change until they surrendered their life to Christ. All of these have in common the same change agent–the risen Lord. As I understand it with science, the ability to repeat an experiment and get the same results offers proof of the premise. Countless changed lives seem to me to be this very proof.

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #12

@Apologetico Thank you for your insight Dale. Though the empty tomb is not something that nearly every scholar would believe, a great majority of critical scholars would say that there is strong evidence for it.

The Jewish polemic you said about the disciples stealing Jesus’ body is what we would call in historical methodology as an enemy attestation. Though the Jewish leaders were not friendly in any way with the Christians, their explanation telling about the disciples stealing the body is an indirect admission of the empty tomb. We could say that it’s highly probable that the tomb is empty due to the accounts we could see from those hostile and friendly to Christianity. From there, we could debunk their claim, since it does not fully explain the phenomenon about the empty tomb, and what happened with the Christian movement.

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #13

@Jennifer_Judson I appreciate your contribution Jennifer. The Apostle Paul’s conversion is one of the evidences in Gary Habermas’ minimal facts argument. This argument is solid according to nearly every critical scholar, including the skeptical ones.

Regarding Peter, it reminded me of Amy Orr-Ewing commenting on someone who believed the Bible because of fishermen, since for the person, fishermen were not the type of people who see unbelievable things. I can’t appreciate the reasoning, since I’m not very familiar with the life of fishermen, but it’s something I’m thankful about, since it made another person believe.

I don’t find personally the changed life in itself as compelling though. It seems to me that changed lives could be argued in other religions as well. It’s like they would all claim that they encountered something, then they changed. I’m not trying to discount it as evidence though. Changed lives are still something good to consider.

(Jimmy Sellers) #14

Sorry for the delayed response. Let’s see if I can further confuse this. When I say lack of concern for the resurrection of Lazarus I was taking into account the chief priests plot. (I don’t think the plot to kill Jesus was predicated on the resurrection of Lazarus. I would be interested in more infor on that if you could point me to it) Lazarus alone was just a novelty and certainly no threat to Rome or for that matter the chief priests. His only irritation to the priests was that his resurrection was an event that did cause certain Jews to believe in Jesus. Had it not been for his association with Jesus I think he would go the way of the resurrected on Good Friday, basically a footnote. Another way to look at this is to compare the crucifixion of Jesus with the thousands that went before him. If Jesus was not been who he said he was God and King then who cares? Certainly not the Jewish leadership nor for that matter the Romans.

This might be a good place to point out that that from the Bible the miracles of Jesus were never themselves challenged maybe a better word would be critiqued (the lame guy still walks with a limp or the blind guy doesn’t have 20/20 or Lazarus is acting weird). What was challenged was the disregard of Jesus for these “traditions of men” a cornerstone doctrinal issue with the Pharisees. They would have agreed in principle on God, the elect, temple, on eschatology (the rescue of God’s creation which includes resurrection) and the written Torah but not the oral or “traditions of men” this is what drove the Pharisees to want Jesus dead not the miracles that he performed including Lazarus.