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The Problems with the Crucifixion

By Wertbag ~ 

The crucifixion of Jesus is seen by many as the core of Christian beliefs. He died for our sins and rose after 3 days back to heaven having proven himself the Messiah. However, there are competing explanations which make a fair case for more mundane causes for this event. Historically we know that most victims were thrown into mass graves, their lack of dignity in burial being part of the punishment. If Jesus had suffered this common result, then there would be no body, but the Christians of the time would have had the very common grief hallucinations as well as a strong heaping of confirmation bias and sunk cost fallacy to make them want to find alternative answers that explain why having the guy they thought was the Messiah died, wasn't actually the failure it appeared. The OT had said that Jesus would ascend to David's throne and yet he had died having never become king on earth. This failure proved to the Jews that Jesus was not the Messiah, but for the Christians who had followed him for years they needed a way to save their sect from the disaster, and hence several follow up stories of meeting Jesus later were made up, thereby proving he was now in heaven awaiting his chosen people.

Another possibility that a couple of small Christian sects believe, is that Jesus survived the crucifixion. Otherwise known as swoon theory, this is the idea that Jesus was taken down early, having only been up on the cross around 6 hours and having never had his legs broken which was the normal way to kill the victims. With a rich supporter given the time and resources to aid the injured Jesus, it took 3 days of medical treatment to get him able to walk, but once up he quickly fled to make sure the authorities didn't have a second try at his execution. There are sects in both India and Japan who have stories of Jesus coming to their lands and living out his life preaching there, and both have graves they claim are where he was finally buried.

There are discrepancies between the different gospels and what they claim occurred. For example, what was written on the cross is different between versions as are what were Jesus's last words. Only one gospel mentions guards, but it was nonsensical for them to be there as no one would expect a resurrection and therefore why pay the cost of guarding a relatively unknown preacher's body? Some gospels mention an earthquake and the graves of Jerusalem opening so the dead could walk the streets, events that would have been stunning for the world and yet not mentioned anywhere else. There's not even mention of what became of these hordes of dead.

To this day we have no confirmed tomb, no body, no contemporary writings about the events, and while Paul wants to tell us there were more than 500 who saw the risen Jesus, he provides no names or the possibility of ever proving his claim. We can't be sure there was a Jesus, if there was, we can't be sure he was crucified, if he was, we can't be sure there was a body given to his followers, if there was, we can't be sure it reached a tomb, if it did, we can't be sure some invested party didn't remove it, if he was raised we can't be sure that wasn't via surviving the ordeal and medical assistance, and even if he was resurrected from the dead we still couldn't show that it was the Christian God that did it rather than Satan taking the form to lead people astray, Aliens using technology to raise him, a glitch in the matrix, or a trickster God like Loki doing it for a laugh. Even though these other ideas sound farfetched, can it really be said they are any more implausible than an invisible all-powerful superbeing raising his son after sacrificing him to himself?

Originally posted in the Reasons for Disbelief thread on Ex-Christian.Net