Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to destroy Christianity

Christianity is a worldview that has been in existence for around 2000 years.  During those years many have attempted to discredit the Christian message.  The attempt to discredit Christianity began early, but how does one destroy Christianity?

The earliest attempt to destroy the Christian message came from the Jewish community.  Upon discovery of the empty tomb the Jewish leaders spread the story that the followers of Jesus stole the body.  This attempt to destroy the early Christian message failed, for many claimed to have encountered the resurrected Jesus.

The next attempt to destroy Christianity was wrought by the Roman Empire through persecution.  According to the Roman method, all you need to do is simply murder and suppress all Christians. Persecution of Christians by torture and killing also failed to stop the movement.  As early Church Father, Tertullian, once said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."

Many years passed until the Age of Enlightenment.  At this time and prior, people were starting to question long held beliefs of God and the Christian worldview.  Science and reason was pushed to the forefront as to how one acquires knowledge and answers to life's big questions.

Some in the scientific realm came to believe that it was the holder of all knowledge that could known.  Theories started to develop and still do today to try and explain away the existence of God. Science was seen by many as pitting itself against the Christian worldview, primarily because the supernatural realm can't be investigated by way of scientific testing.  Therefore, on this view, the supernatural must not exist, nor miracles which operate outside of natural explanations.  The route of the naturalist was simply to destroy God, and then Christianity and all other religions would fall.  However, this approach failed to destroy Christianity.

Also, during the "Enlightenment" alternative theories developed to explain away the empty tomb.  The disciples belief they had encountered Jesus after his death is part of historical bedrock belief  by most scholars whether they are Christian or not .  "Not a few, but rather a majority, of contemporary scholars believe that there is some historical kernel in the empty tomb tradition." [1] Some of the counter theories to explain away the empty tomb include: the Swoon Theory, Hallucination Theory, Twin Theory, Myth Theory, Spirit Body Theory, and others failed to explain with more explanatory power than the bodily resurrected Jesus.

The Apostle Paul has provided the best method for the destruction of the Christian worldview by saying, "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men (1 Corinthians 15:13-19)."  


Paul is absolutely correct when trying to destroy Christianity.  Science can never come close to destroying the Christian worldview, for science is limited to the natural answers.  If Christianity is ever to be destroyed it will be by debunking the empty tomb message of early believers.  Some will say, people will always be willing to believe a lie, and most would agree with that, but the early followers of Jesus actually believed they had encountered the risen Jesus, and therefore, were willing to die for what they thought was true as opposed to a lie.  


To destroy Christianity, the resurrection story must be shown untrue and false.  Evidence must be given to show that the bodily resurrection of Jesus did not happen.  This means that arguments that tip the scales against the bodily resurrection must be weightier that what the Christian worldview proclaims.  It is one thing to believe in any thing, but can your belief be justified?  When someone can show that Jesus never rose from the dead, then Christianity is officially dead.   The burden lies directly at the hands of those who want to destroy Christianity, and even Jesus offers a challenge to those opposed to the Christian worldview, when speaking about the Church, by saying, "the gates of Hades will not overcome it (Matthew 16:18)."  


If the bodily resurrection theory cannot be destroyed, then perhaps it is true.  Until the resurrection story is destroyed it offers the best explanation as to what happened to a dead Jesus three days after the fact.  The burden of proof falls directly in the lap of those who believe otherwise.


[1] Habermas, Gary as quoted in "The Resurrection of Jesus" by Michael Licona, p. 461, 2010


4 comments:

Michael said...

This is shifting the burden of proof. It's up to the person making the claim to show that it is true. It is intellectually dishonest to make a claim and attempt to make others disprove it.

Can you image a world where the claimant never had the burden of proof? Disprove the Loch Ness monster. Disprove alien abductions. Psychic pets. Elvis is still alive.
And for every claim, the person doubting it must show it is false...or else the claimant gets to assert that is must be true.

reasonsibelieve said...

Well written and thought-out. Thanks for posting.

John Hill said...

Michael,
Actually, the empty grave and hundreds of eyewitnesses did testify to the resurrection. It is the claims of the stolen body, the theory of mass hallucination, the theory of twin that make no offering of credible proof.

Do not mistake the dismissal of the claims and testimonies of the followers of Jesus by the weak counter offerings as a shifting of the burden of proof. Each of these claims needs to present the evidence that supports its belief, not just the presentation of an opposing idea.

Matt Burger said...

Not bad. A McScientist, though, would argue that science deals with what we can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch/feel. We are limited to those five senses. What we INTUIT is based on the brain's advanced ability to put two and two together quickly and quietly in the background. Therefore, what is this "supernatural" of which you speak? Even those who spoke of God didn't speak of anything that can't be accounted for by scientific and reasonable explanations. "God" speaking to someone's heart is just simply a projection of their own inner psychoses interacting with other ideas about what God is like. So not too unlike an imaginary friend that has definite boundaries a community might subscribe to.