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Faith and the Resurrection

By Daniel out of the Lion's Den ~

I was in the 5th grade when I came to the realization that Santa Claus was not real. Even in 1973, eleven years old was ancient in terms of believing in Old Saint Nick. But why should I not believe? Every year I wrote a letter to Santa, and the presents appeared. Maybe not exactly what I asked for, but close enough to keep me believing. My mother taught me that Santa was a real person who knew who was naughty and who was nice. When I came home from school telling her that classmates had become unbelievers, she acted appalled, and assured me that those who stopped believing would no longer receive his gifts on Christmas morning. Believing that Santa Claus was real gave me a sense of joy - a magical being cared so much about me that he gave me gifts! So it came as quite a shock when my younger sister outed my parents for lying to me all the eleven years I had spent on this earth. I was played the fool. A seismic jolt had altered my worldview. I didn’t want to stop believing, but when presented with the observations, evidence and rational facts which demonstrated that Santa Claus could not possibly exist, I had no choice but to face a reality without him.

The entire premise of the Christian faith is based upon belief in a singular event: The bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. I never completely understood the “rose on the third day” thing, since a simple calculation from the gospels shows it was less than 39 hours. Nevertheless, in order to receive the gift of everlasting life, one must choose to believe in this event. A person must choose to believe in this event with the same mind that decides to not believe that the earth is supported on the shoulders of a primordial Titan named Atlas, or that lightning bolts are thrown down from Mount Olympus by Zeus, or that the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith from divine gold plates with the help of an angel named Moroni.

We are taught that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were divinely inspired and written in order that the generations of humans that would follow, for centuries and millennia, would benefit from the observations of the original followers of Jesus. More specifically, that these followers observed the event: the resurrected Jesus. We are to choose to believe in the event because in A.D. 367, the Bishop of Alexandria “canonized” the Gospels into the 27-book New Testament. Yet, in these divinely generated and preserved writings, the observations recorded by the original witnesses are enough to conclude that the event was at best a misunderstanding, and at worst a fraud.

There are many theories put forth by non-believers to explain how it is that the followers of Jesus came to believe that he resurrected from the dead. I won’t rehash them here. I will only make an observation from the very writings that are intended to produce belief in the event. The observation is this: that in many instances where followers encountered the resurrected Jesus, they did not recognize him. This leads me to lean toward the Impostor Theory, one of the many aforementioned theories. Here are the instances that I reference:

1) In the Gospel of John, at the tomb on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene first encounters angels, then encounters a man who she presumes is a gardener. She has a conversation with this man, asking him where he took the body of Jesus. The man reveals himself to be Jesus. Are we to believe that Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus, hanging on to every word he spoke, who cured her from seven demons, could not recognize him after only 39 hours?

2) In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus appears to his eleven disciples, but some doubt that it is truly Jesus. Such doubt, after spending every waken moment with him for the last three years – when not three full days had past when they had broken bread with him?

3) In the Gospel of Luke, on the road to Emmaus, Jesus appears to two disciples. I have heard commentaries that the journey was seven miles and that the conversation Jesus has with the two was approximately two hours long. Yet the two did not recognize that this was Jesus. It isn’t until the man revealed that he was indeed Jesus that they believed.

I conclude that the original followers of Jesus wanted to believe so badly that Jesus resurrected from the dead that they believed an impostor.According to the Bible, Jesus took his last breath at around 3:00 PM on a Friday. He was found resurrected by 6:00 AM on Sunday. This was 39 hours later. After being beaten and crucified, he had to look like hell - if you’ll pardon the expression. I’m talking scars, bruises, and open wounds. It never states that the body of the resurrected Jesus exhibited all these scars. Are we to believe that all these scars miraculously healed, except for the holes in his hands and side – which he kept for nostalgia sake? Observation, of the very testimony meant to substantiate belief in the resurrection, condemns it. In order to believe, one must add conditions and assumptions to the Bible – yet the Apostle John warns against adding anything to this book in his Revelation.

I conclude that the original followers of Jesus wanted to believe so badly that Jesus resurrected from the dead that they believed an impostor. Further, I will render a guess that Mary Magdalene had something to do with arranging the impostor. I will leave the details of that theory to a future post. With this Impostor Theory, it’s important to note that the resurrected Jesus became pissed off, so to speak, when his disciples did not recognize him right away, or did not believe he had risen from the dead when others reported it. This just reeks of a deceptive cult leader using anger as a tool for power and control. It’s a well-documented characteristic of cult leaders to frighten followers with social-psychological influence, and anger plays a monumental part of their character composition.

Knowing that Jesus resurrected from the dead gave me a sense of joy - he loved me enough to die for me, giving me the gift of everlasting life. But observations from the Bible itself reveal that the resurrection story, something I have believed most of my 50 years I have spent on this earth, is a lie. I was played the fool. A seismic jolt has now altered my worldview. I didn’t want to stop believing, but after finally coming to terms with observation, evidence, and the rational facts which demonstrate that Jesus could not have possibly resurrected from the dead, I had no choice but to face a reality without him.