There was a time more than a century ago when it was not uncommon to hear religion scholars argue that early Christians borrowed from common Middle Eastern pagan resurrection myths of their day to explain away Jesus’ death on the cross and the fact of His missing body.
But about the only place that claim is made today is on the Internet. That’s why, at least on a popular culture level, the claim is enjoying something of a revival among skeptics looking for reasons to reject Christianity. There are reasons, however, why reputable scholars stopped making the argument a long time ago.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’
“That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.” — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Roman and Judean officials are having a hard time Sunday explaining how or why the body of Jesus, the 33-year-old itinerant Galilean preacher crucified Friday for claiming to be God, has disappeared from a sealed tomb guarded by an elite unit of Legion soldiers.
Reports of an empty tomb began circulating throughout Jerusalem shortly after dawn today when two women who said they were hoping to complete the man’s burial preparations told friends the heavy rock that had been rolled in front of the entrance late Friday was removed a distance away and that his body was nowhere to be found.
In a rare display of political and judicial cooperation between leaders of the occupying Roman Empire and the conquered land of Israel, authorities in Jerusalem today condemned, flogged and crucified a carpenter-turned-itinerant preacher who claimed to be the Messiah.
Jesus Christ, 33, of Nazareth in Israel’s northern province of Galilee, was pronounced dead Friday following approximately nine hours of in extremis suffering as a result of being whipped and then nailed to a cross in the Golgotha district just outside of Jerusalem’s walls.
If you have followed the “This Is Us” tv series, you will recognize Chrissy Metz as “Kate,” daughter of Jack and Rebecca Pearson and sister to brothers Kevin and Randall.
What you may not recognize is Metz boldly declaring her Christian faith despite that often being a ticket to professional oblivion in tinsel town.
“It is hard I think, now, to just be really vocal about your faith, or what you believe in because people want to think ‘it’s not cool,’ but I’m like, I don’t care!” Metz recently told Faithwire’s Lindsey Elizabeth.
Unless there is some way to determine if the rock from which sprung Mithras — the ancient mythical god at the heart of the mystery cult known as “Mithraism” — was a virgin, that is.
That Jesus’ virgin birth was stolen from the Mithras myth is one of the many allegations raised by Christianity’s critics, ancient and modern. They contend the New Testament authors borrowed heavily from multiple pagan religions to elevate an obscure itinerant preacher named Jesus to divinity.
Not so, contends Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, an expert on such matters who teaches at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). Jones addresses a bunch of the supposed parallels.
“Conspiracy” is a word one hears regularly on Capitol Hill and it’s almost always in the context of somebody doing something they don’t want somebody else to know about.
After all, as Scripture says, darkness hates the light.
So there is invariably a sinister association with conspiracies, as well as with other words that can mean the same thing, including “plot,” “scheme” and “collusion.” The true purpose behind of any of these can actually be good or bad, but they are usually thought of as representing criminal or otherwise unpleasant purposes.
Which brings us to Jesus. People in high places and low have for millennia tried to dismiss the claim that Jesus was resurrected on the third day after his death on the cross as representing nothing more than a conspiracy among His disciples to fool the world to protect their own hides.
Cross-Examined’s Dr. Frank Turek often hears the claim, as he was recently by a Maryland college student. His response makes it clear that nobody needs a subpoena to get to the truth about the Resurrection: