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April 2015

“Why I Believe in Christ’s Resurrection and Not Dawkin’s Culture of Death”

by John J. Carter

I believe in Christ’s resurrection, not because of blind faith, but because of the facts of history.
Richard Dawkins believes that everything by itself came from nothing, order from disorder, cosmos from chaos, life from non-life, mind from molecules, and logic from chance.  He believes that death is the end of existence.  The famous Oxford professor is the celebrated high priest of a worldwide death culture, a way of thinking that I totally reject.
Christianity, contrary to Dr. Dawkins, is not based on ideas that lack credible evidence.  We believe because our faith in Christ’s resurrection is supported by the unbiased reports of many unlikely eyewitnesses.  This is the sort of evidence that would win the case in any respectable courtroom, presided over by an honest judge, with a jury of twelve decent citizens.
If you dare, look hard at the evidence for Christ’s resurrection.  Here it is:
1.     Christ was crucified and after six hours was found to be dead.  The people who initially examined the lifeless body and pronounced Him dead were not paid charlatans, but tough Roman soldiers.  To make doubly sure there was no life in the limp body, a Roman soldier plunged a spear deep into His side.  After Jesus was taken down from the cross, a man by the name of Joseph wrapped His body in a linen cloth and placed Him in a tomb.  Jesus was dead.
2.     On the Sunday morning, His tomb was found to be empty.  Peter and John visited the tomb and were astounded to discover that the body of Jesus was missing.  That same day, Jesus was seen by a woman by the name of Mary.  This Mary was no simpleton or naïve little churchgoer.  She had once been the village harlot — tough, worldly-wise, resilient, and cynical.  Jesus had transformed her life.  On that same Sunday, Jesus was seen by two astounded disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later by eleven incredulous disciples as they cowered behind locked doors.  A week later He was seen by the skeptic Thomas who actually examined the scars in His hands, feet, and side.  Some time later Jesus was seen by a band of fishermen who were invited by Christ to a breakfast of bread and fish.  It is recorded in the New Testament documents that Jesus was on another occasion seen by 500 persons.
How reliable are these New Testament documents?  More reliable than Time magazine and the Economist, and certainly much more reliable than CNN.  The people who wrote down these accounts were not paid reporters desperate for a scoop.  They were honest eyewitnesses handling historical dynamite.  Most paid for their honesty with their lives.
3.     “What happened to the body of Christ?” is a question that no skeptic like Dawkins has honestly or adequately answered.  There are only four possibilities:
                        i.         The disciples stole the body.  This is patently absurd.  How could a band of broken, dispirited men storm the tomb and overpower the Roman soldiers?  It is too absurd to seriously pursue.
                       ii.         The Jews stole the body.  They too would have faced the same obstacles the disciples would have encountered.  The Romans hated the Jews and would have yielded not one inch to these despised religionists.  Also, if somehow the Jews had obtained the broken body, why didn’t they produce it when the Christians proclaimed Christ’s resurrection?  The revealing of the mangled dead body of Jesus by the Jewish leaders would have destroyed the Christian faith forever.
                     iii.         The Romans took the body.  But why?  What was to gain?  And again, the Romans who likewise were no friends of the Christians would have dealt a deathblow to the infant Christian Church by producing the dead body of Christ.  End of case.
                     iv.         There remains one alternative. There was no dead body, because the dead body rose from the dead.  That is the only solution that makes sense.  When will we realize that the God who made the stars, the earth, and all things bright and beautiful, can do things we can’t understand?
4.     The reality of Christ’s resurrection was so powerful that it transformed a small group of defeatists into a mighty army that eventually conquered the Roman Empire.  One cannot explain the overwhelming success of the Christian Church during those terrible times of persecution without an acceptance of the one factor that was the engine that drove the ship through the storm.  That mighty engine was the historical bodily resurrection of Christ.
I do not believe in Christ’s resurrection because it makes me feel good.  I believe it because it actually happened.  My faith is built upon the mighty facts of historical reality.  Even the arch atheist Richard Dawkins accepts the fact that Jesus existed.  Then why not believe in His resurrection seeing both truths are dependent on New Testament documents?
This belief is not a fairy-tale.  It is real.  It assures me that Christ is alive, and because He lives, all who truly believe in Him will also live — for eternity.  Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  (John 11:25, 26 NIV) 
Come in out of the cold, Richard.

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