Why should the disciples be trusted? Other religions had small groups that followed their respective leader and believed what the leader said was true

For example, Chuck Colson said,
I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.

As in the other religions, the disciples would believe that what their leader said is true (so even if it’s a lie they would believe it’s the truth). How can Jesus’s disciples be trusted over the other religions?

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Hi Ryan. An interesting question. I won’t say too much as I am interested to see what others respond, but just to point out something in your question:

‘…the disciples would believe that what their leader said is true (so even if it’s a lie they would believe it’s the truth).’

The main idea there is that the disciples were all about the message - that they believed in the teachings of Jesus, and whilst they did, that was not what transformed them. It was encountering the risen Jesus, seeing Him with their own eyes, touching Him and eating with Him AFTER He had been crucified, died, and buried - that changed everything! It was the risen Christ they preached and would not renounce, resulting in persecution, torture and death. For that reason their testimony is to be trusted. I hope that helps.

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You are correct that many people will die for something they believe is true. But I think one important distinction with Christianity is that Jesus’ disciples didn’t die for something they merely believed to be true; they died for something they saw. This is why the bodily resurrection is so crucial. If Jesus would have merely claimed to live on spiritually, the disciples could have easily taken that conviction to the grave honestly believing it to be true. But since they claimed to actually witness the risen Christ, their death makes for a much stronger testimony because it is a refutable claim. They are either lying or they are not.

You also have to consider Paul who was a non-believer. He had no reason to ruin his reputation and put himself in the line of persecution. He already has status and power because he was hunting down Christians. So one has to ask themselves what happened to Paul for him to convert. Another follower would be Jesus’s brother James who believed Jesus was crazy. He didn’t believe until after Jesus raised from the dead.

Even if you don’t believe the disciples you can believe history. The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) says Jesus was crucified and said he was practicing sorcery. While it isn’t saying nice things about Jesus it does confirm that he did miricles otherwise why accuse him of witchcraft?

Just a few of my thoughts :slight_smile:

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