484043_525266910844883_568565617_nThe supposed resurrection of Christ is arguably the most important doctrine of the Christian Church. Paul says:

if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins (1Cor 15:17, NASB)

The notion of dying and rising gods along with the necessity of a god requiring a blood sacrifice are not new to Christianity (Dying-and-rising god, Sacrifice, Animal Sacrifice, Human sacrifice). No Christian believes in those myths and in those gods; however, when it comes to the their god and their god’s resurrection, it is “obviously”  true because their holy book tells them so.  Well, it’s not “obvious” and it’s highly unlikely that it is even true.  Here are three reasons why I believe the resurrection never occurred:

  1. The first and most obvious, is that we have no experience of anyone coming back from the dead. (Sorry a near death experience is not the same as being dead for 3 days.)  Since our own experience tells us that people do not come back from the dead and that death is permanent, any claim contrary to this has to be backed by extraordinary evidence. A few words in someone’s holy text does not amount to proof. Christian’s don’t believe the miracles recorded in another religions holy book and, frankly, theirs is no exception. I can’t believe the miracles recorded in a holy book because such a book is, by necessity, a propaganda piece. Unfortunately for the resurrection, there is no contemporary eye-witness evidence for the event. Even in the Bible, there are no eye-witness accounts and the accounts recorded there are decades after the even and contain contradictory, irreconcilable accounts of the event.
  2. As mentioned above, the Biblical accounts were written decades after such an important event, were not written by eye-witnesses and are contradictory of each other. Dan Barker at the Freedom From Religion Foundation has had since 1990 an Easter Challenge for Christians to attempt to reconcile the resurrection accounts.  It can’t be done without a lot of Hocus Pocus.  (See Easter Challenge  for the details.) Briefly, the accounts differ by: the time of day the women visited the tomb, who the woman where, what their purpose was, when they arrived, who arrived at the tomb, who the messengers were and how many there were, what they said, and the list goes on and on.  Now remember, this book was supposedly inspired by an omniscient, sovereign god in order to give us a record of what happened so we may believe and be saved. The discrepancies are difficult enough when dealing with the human element but if you add the doctrine of inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, well, it doesn’t bode well for a god to get so much wrong.
  3. While not directly related to the resurrection, the Theory of Evolution has an indirect impact on the Christian doctrine that requires the death and resurrection of Christ. The death and resurrection of Christ was required as a sacrifice for a sin that supposedly taints the entire human race – Original Sin.  This sin entered the world because of the sin committed by Adam and Eve.  As Paul says:

    For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come…So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (Rom 4:6-19)

    What does the Theory of Evolution have to say about this doctrine? First and foremost, it says that man evolved. Man wasn’t specially created with a soul and placed in a garden by a god. The Theory of Evolution indirectly denies the historicity of a literal Adam and a literal Eve.  If Adam and Eve were not literal people then there was then no literal Fall.  Without a literal Fall, there is no “Original” sin tainting all mankind.  Without Original Sin, what the heck would Christ have to die for? Literally nothing.  Of course, all of this can be taken as allegory, and this is all well and good but few evangelical Christians would say that Christ died for an allegory!

This doesn’t mean that a lot of pen and ink has been spilled by those attempting prove the resurrection of Christ and show how it is a reasonable and historically valid hypothesis.  It is not. The only history we have is from biased religious writings reported decades after the event supposedly happened. The only secular accounts we have are not eye-witness accounts and they are also decades if not hundreds of years after the event and simply report the religious belief. Like so much in Christianity, belief in the Resurrection comes down to simple, plain faith. I can no longer belief these fairy tales as lovely as some of them may be.  Without evidence, which is the opposite of faith, the Resurrection remains another unprovable, popular religious doctrine celebrated by millions without really thinking about the implausibility of such an event.




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  2. Hi, Alan (or, Dr. Fusco, as I think I called you last time I saw you.) Glad you’re alive and well and hope Mike and Matt are doing well, too!

    Interesting blog. I think that if humans were ‘grown’ through evolution of genes (and I don’t see why not), it wouldn’t change that there would be considered a ‘first’ of our race. I wouldn’t have a clue where to draw the line, but you can see how God, if he exists, would have a better idea. It’s an interesting thing to consider.

    I also don’t find Jesus’ life, death and resurrection to be an extraordinary claim in the sense that there is an unverifiable objective evidence threshold that must be met. Literally, says who? There aren’t very many claims of resurrection worth looking into, and of them, one is rather well documented for the times. I am not saying that alone mandates you must believe in the resurrection, but the beginning of Christianity is a highly unusual and important event in history so it seems likely that *something* happened back then. I don’t like to make assumptions any more than you, but I would rather assume that significant causes cause significant effects than not, and a resurrection would be a significant cause. I don’t care to do the math on it, but I rate the odds that something that big started Christianity higher than you rate them.

    Anyway, hope this finds you well. I wonder if you have seen The Man From Earth. It’s a low-budget, conversational sci-fi that contains an entertaining fictional explanation for most major religions. I liked it — maybe you would too.


  3. Alan

    Hi Michael,

    It’s been a long time. I’m glad you are well. Mike is in Maryland and Matt is in Phoenix and both are married and have children.

    As far as the resurrection goes, it really isn’t all that well documented. As mentioned, the biblical accounts are irreconcilable and are not given by eye-witnesses. In fact, they are hearsay. What is worst is that here was a person the supposedly did marvelous miracles, healed the sick, spoke words of wisdom, had thousands of people come out to hear him speak, caused such an uproar that he had to be put to death and there is not one contemporary account written by the historians of the period. That, my friend, stretches ones credibility, especially when the whole point was to declare “god with us” and salvation from our sins.

    Something did start back then, but not because of a miracle any more than any other religion that you don’t believe in. Look at Mormonism. It’s one of the fastest growing religion and it is based on lies and myths and demonstrably false history. Scientology is rapidly growing and has no basis in science or fact. The Unification Church is another one based on nothing factual but also has gained a following and traction. Something happened yes. But then so did it with the above religions as well as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and all the rest you don’t believe in. Christianity is special only because it is the religion we were brought up in and its myths seem true to us because we grew up with them and people we trust told us they are true.

    There is something called the Outsider Test for Faith (http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/03/outsider-test-for-faith.html) , which basically says you need to step out of your religion and view its claims from the perspective of an outsider who has never heard the claims before. I don’t think the foundation of Christianity fares very well with such a test.

    I did see The Man From Earth and enjoyed it. I even showed it to my Atheist Meetup group and most found it enjoyable too.


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