The resurrection of Jesus is the most fundamental belief to Christianity, as if Jesus never rose from the dead, there is no reason to believe it. Therefore, as the claims of Christianity are so huge, and so meaningful, it’s important to check whether they are correct thoroughly so that you can believe what is most true.
This is something that I had never investigated thoroughly before, but now I wish I always had. Not just because it’s a thoroughly interesting research area, but because when I was a Christian, I thought that the case for Christ was rock solid, but now, I’ve learnt facts that make me think almost the complete opposite.
In this post, I will detail facts about history as well as the gospels that shed new light on the case for Christ. Next, I will look at arguments for the case for Christ and highlight reasons why I don’t accept these arguments. After this, I will provide arguments of my own. This is why I don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
As I’ve been writing, the areas of research possible to explore have grown and grown. This has happened so much that it felt as if I would never be able to finish, I thought I had finished writing this so many times until one idea poped into my head and I had to explore that thoroughly too. However I simply have to draw the line somewhere, this is where it has been drawn.
I’ve given a table of contents below so that you can choose to read what is the most interesting to you, and so that you can know what will be covered in this post. As well as this, I will use asterisks to highlight (in my opinion) the most important sections if you would like to read a much shorter version of this, but are unsure of where to start.
- Part 1 – Facts About the Gospels and History
- The Gospels were Written Late*
- The Gospels were Written Anonymously*
- John was Written too late to be Written by John
- The Authors of the Gospels Almost Certainly Weren’t who we say they are*
- The Incentive to Create Forgeries
- We Don’t Know What the Original Gospels Said
- The Gospels aren’t Independent*
- The Gospels Don’t Agree
- Mark Doesn’t End Where you Think it does*
- The Details Between the Gospels Which Make Resurrection Difficult are Inconsistent*
- Jesus Doesn’t Stick Around After he Comes Back
- Resurrection was common in the gospels
- Was there even an empty tomb?*
- Part 2 – Arguments and Counterarguments
- Lack of Sources
- Liar, Lunatic, Lord
- The Minimal Facts Approach
- Jesus’ Prophecies
- But they died for what they believed in
- But How Could They Make it All Up?
- Any Natural Explanation is Better than a Supernatural one*
- Rising From the Dead Does not Mean You’re the Son of God*
Part 1 – Facts About the Gospels
There are numerous facts about the gospels which completely alter their interpretation and reliability.
For these facts, I’ve always left the source of this information from a place which is free to access or a place you can access with a free trial. If I’ve missed something, it’s because of one of the following reasons: It’s common knowledge, it’s in the bible and easily checked, or I’ve just missed it. If in doubt, please just ask.
To steelman the advacates for the case for christ, I’ve included as many Christian sources as possible. This is not because I believe everything the source says, but to make clear that the information doesn’t come from someone with a bias against Christianity, and that you can believe this without becoming an atheist. This often means taking the most generous version of the facts possible as well.
The Gospels were Written Late
The order of the gospels is not chronological. Mark is actually the first, written in 60-70 AD, followed by Matthew in 70-80AD. Luke was written between 80-90AD and John comes much later at between AD90 – AD100 
Jesus died in around 30AD  which means that there was a long period of time when nothing at all was writen. This gives a long time for the writers to forget the story and get it wrong, and grow like a legend.
Word of mouth is nothing to be underestimated for it’s unreliability, especially with a huge story like the ones in the gospels. Can you remember any story in precise detail from 30 years ago? Science says you can’t   Human memory is very unreliable, and is therefore not regarded highly at court despite witnesses being much closer to the events in time.
You also have to ask why the gospels were written late. Surely they would have wanted to provide as much evidence as possible for future generations that Jesus was real? It’s consensus belief that the early Christians believed Jesus would return in their lifetimes, and bring the kingdom of God with him (Matthew 24:25-34) so it wasn’t necessary. This confusion caused the gospels to be late, and therefore less reliable.
Although I have just given these dates, it’s worth mentioning that the earliest copy of the entire new testament is from the year 400 and that anything before then is just fragments, and the earliest fragments we have are from over 100 years after the event is said to have taken place, so what we have found isn’t necessarily what they wrote down either 
The Gospels were Written Anonymously
The titles of the gospels are not in any of the original manuscripts. They were added much, much later by other people, and thus given names assigned by the church. How do we know they gave them the right names? We don’t, and they most likely didn’t. The anonymity means that we don’t know the city, country, name, source, or original copy of any of the Gospels. So we don’t know if they come from a trustworthy source.
Still, let’s look at what it means if they got the names right, as I know people are interested, despite the fact that these names are incorrect.
Mark would refer to John Mark who is mentioned in acts, making him a second hand witness. An actual first person account doesn’t appear until Matthew (assumed to be written by the disciple himself) and Luke is also assumed to be a disciple of Paul, making his account a second hand witness at best as well. John would also be a first hand witness here too, although it’s difficult to think of this source as that useful considering facts I’ll explain later. 
Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because their stories are very similar, and events happen in quite similar ways. John is not like this. His book is mostly metaphorical, and the messages also differ greatly. Why are these 1st person accounts from the two disciples who travelled together so different?
Another question which adds to the absurdity of these names, is why would first hand witnesses copy from a second hand witness? More on that later.
Now let’s talk about the reliability of John.
John was written too late to be written by John
90AD is the earliest John could have been written. To justify the dates people often say John would have been the youngest disciple and a small teenager or around 14 years old when Jesus started his ministry, however John was likely at least in his 20s at the crucifixion due to his extra responsibilities of caring for the mother of Jesus after his crucifixion (John 19:26–27) . But forgetting this, assuming he was 14 when he met Jesus and he had a three year ministry, he would be 17 at his death. Assuming this death was in 30AD that would make him 77 at the writing of John (but he could easily have been 87 as well) and that was extremely rare age to live to at those times.
To put this in perspective, the average global life expectancy in 2021 was 73 . Life expectancies in the times of Jesus were closer to half of this . Although it’s true a very tiny amount of people would live to the age of 77, John would not have lived a rich live, nor a safe one, making his chances of living this long significantly lower than others.
Although it’s a widely considered view that Revelation is written much late than 95 AD, I’ve seen agreement it was written in 95 AD  and also certainly by the same person who wrote John. So taking this to be true, this means he would need to be even older (79-89) at the time of writing, making John’s chances even harder.
This same argument can be made with all of the gospels, as Mark wasn’t a disciple he doesn’t have the same requirement to be so young, but if he was 14 when Jesus started his ministry, he would have had to have been at least 47 when he wrote Mark, an age still quite above the life expectancy at the time 
This bring us on to why…
The authors of the gospels almost certainly weren’t who we say they are
The gospels were written in Greek, extremely literate and sophisticated Greek. This is a problem when claiming that disciples and second-hand witnesses wrote the gospels because they didn’t speak Greek, they spoke Aramaic . Literacy was extremely poor at this time, and the disciples wouldn’t have been able to read or write in their own language, and never to a very high level in a different one.
With very little money, they would have needed to find a scribe and a translator. All of these point to literate well educated Greek Christians writing the gospels in order to make the world the way they wanted it.
The Incentive to Create Forgeries
Forgeries were very looked down upon in the ancient world, so why was there an incentive to create them? It wasn’t for fame or money, since the gospels never had names attributed to them, but to get your ideas out there. If you want to get your message out to the people, you are much more likely to claim that the document was written by a disciple of Jesus than yourself who had no relation to him in any way at all.
We have lots of forgeries that we know about. According to scholars there is a consensus of 5 epistles that are forgeries written in the name of Paul, and two that are highly debated  and many other books not included in the bible for the exact reason that they are suspected forgeries.
With all this information about the gospel according to John, as well as the fact that it is so clearly different to the others, it is completely reasonable to assume it’s a forgery. But not just for the book of John…
We Don’t Know what the Original Gospels Said
We don’t even know if what we’re reading is actually what was written originally. The only way of copying was by physically writing it down. This means mistakes are inevitable and build up over years of writing. Maybe someone tried to fix the copy, but fixed it to something incorrect, maybe someone thought there was a mistake and fixed it when there was no mistake originally. The people copying would have made copies from copiers, creating even more mistakes in addition to the mistakes that were there already every time. .
As you trace gospels back in time, the mistakes get more inconsistent instead of less. So the earlier the gospel the more likely it is to be different to the others. Wikipedia has a great resource on the earliest manuscripts that we have if you want to check this . This information can be found in Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman, however his lecture  is free to watch with the same information.
You can argue that the bible is the best kept book from antiquity, having thousands more copies of it at the time than any other classic work from antiquity. However all of these copies are just one copy one of the many copies that existed many years after the event took place, how do you know that this copy was the correct one?
The answer is that we don’t, and that they probably didn’t get it right. We have massively varying new testament texts, imagine how much more there would have been when they were just starting to copy, there would have been a huge amount that we could never have even find as time would just have destroyed them. The chances are so low.
We have small fragments from 100 years after his death, only get a nearly complete gospel of John from around 200 years after, and a complete version of Mark until around 350 years after  so there is a huge margin for error.
“Why should one think that God performed the miracle of inspiring the words of the bible if he didn’t perform the miracle of preserving the words of the bible?” Bart Ehrman
The Gospels are Not Independent
In a court case decided by witness testimony alone, it’s most reliable when the sources are independent, all verify the same details of the story, and are reasonably near to the event (not 30 years later). In other words, if four people saw a crime, it would be more compelling if they never talked to each other, didn’t know each other, and didn’t reference each other, everything was written in their own words as near to the time as possible.
So how can we apply this logic to the gospels? Well they all reference each other constantly. The image above shows this, however you can open any study bible and it will show you the equivalent passages in the other gospels on every page. Mark was the first gospel , and it’s abundantly clear that Luke and Matthew reference it heavily, and while John isn’t a synoptic gospel, it still references the other three making it not an independent source.
Effectively what you have here, is just one independent source, from a person who is only a second hand witness (at best).
The lack of Independence, reduces the believably of the claims, and the significance of all the gospels other than Mark. There was also no need for first hand witnesses to copy from a second hand witness, but they did.
The gospel’s don’t agree
When you read the gospels for yourselves, this fact is not apparent because you read them vertically one at a time. When you read the resurrection story horizontally (all four at the same time comparing passage by passage -something I myself have done) so many details of the story are completely different.
The events after Jesus is brought back, the day Jesus died, the time he died, the person who carried his cross, the point of time when the curtain ripped in half, the people who found Jesus, the beings (because in some cases an angel is there as well) who were there at the tomb when they found Jesus, and the people who the woman talked to about the resurrection are all different depending on which gospel you read. These key details are important, major. Having these discrepancies really makes them harder to consider reliable. They also weren’t independent and still managed to get all of this information wrong. This shows that there was disagreement of the facts of what really happened.
Mark doesn’t end where you think it does
The problem with Mark being the best independent source for the events of the bible, is what it contained originally.
The ending of Mark completely changes once you realise the implications of that odd section between Mark 16.8 and Mark 16.9 where it says “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.” (the last verse of Mark is verse 20)
What does it mean if all of the first, most early manuscripts don’t contain this passage? It means that this passage is definitely a forgery, and this fact is not contented by scholars. The original writer didn’t write Mark 16:9-20, someone else did. So none of the events after Mark 16:8 took place. So what happened in the real ending of Mark?
3 women go to the tomb, find it empty, run away, and then never tell anyone because they’re scared.
This means, in the best and only independent source Jesus…
- Does not appear to anyone
- Is not seen by anyone
- Is only said to be resurrected by one person
- Is not in the tomb
This is seriously important to consider.
The Details Between the Gospels Which Make Resurrection Difficult are Inconsistent
The most common argument I’ve heard for Jesus coming back to life is the elimination of other possibilities. However due to the historical unreliability of the gospels, we can’t even be sure that the facts that would have stopped the other alternatives from being true are true.
The case often presented by Christians combines things from many gospels which would make Jesus’ resurrection the most plausible, however, this is an extremely liberal interpretation of what the gospels actually say and what we can actually know historically.
Let’s take Mark, which is argued to be the best source we have. What does it say?
Jesus is not stabbed to make sure he is really dead, in fact this only happens in John. His body is then given to someone described as “waiting for the kingdom of God” meaning he was likely a supporter of Jesus. The stone in front of the tomb Jesus was burred in was so small, the three woman who were walking there were wondering which one of the three should open it. The tomb has no guard, and somebody else had already broken into the tomb when they arrived.
In Mark’s version of events, it’s very easy to see how there are many other alternative scenarios that could have happened.
What about in Matthew?
Well the same person takes the body, this time he is described as a disciple of Jesus and takes the body himself to his own tomb. He rolls his own rock, meaning that the rock can be moved with the strength of one man. The day after they put Jesus in the tomb, Pilate sends one guard to guard it and makes sure nobody can get in or out. Then Jesus is able to escape without moving the tombstone. Then the angel moves the tombstone showing them that Jesus isn’t there. Matthew then tells us that the guard was paid to say that he had stolen the body of Jesus during the night.
In Matthew the case is a little stronger. But the guards didn’t even arrive until the next day and the disciples were in full control of both the tomb and the body. Jesus is once again not checked to be dead as well. There are also accounts here of first hand witnesses claiming to have stolen the body themselves.
So what about Luke?
Once again a disciple named Joseph buried him, but this time it wasn’t in his own tomb. Then, when the women found the tomb it was left open. Then two men in lightning clothes stopped them and told them that he had raised from the dead. Once again there is no guard, nor did they check if Jesus really died.
What about John?
In John, Jesus really is stabbed to check he is dead. In this book, Joseph of Arimathea is actually a secret disciple, he once again takes his body and with a man named Nicodimus wraps it up. They then lay him in a different tomb. Then Mary Magdaline comes the next day and tells two disciples what happened, afterword they come running to the tomb. Then he only appears to Mary outside of the tomb and not the others. There is no guard for the tomb.
John has the best case for Christ. But John is also the least reliable and the latest, providing a strong case to not take this gospel over the others.
I could give countless natural explanations for these events, but the problem with all of this is that it gives the gospels far too much credit for historical reliability. We don’t really know if any of it panned out this way at all considering everything we know about the gospels already.
The disciples were in fear and lived in states of paranoia and fear of persecution, living like that, combined with hearing rumours of a resurrection is enough to make anyone go crazy. When you live like that, I could easily see it as possible for them to believe he had come back without any activity taking place in the tomb at all. Though since many robbers would have wanted to rob the tomb, and considering the lack of guard and the fact that the three woman thought they could move the tomb, I see no reason why the body could not have been stolen as well.
There is also credit to the idea that they believed Jesus only rose from the dead spiritually. This is from what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15 and also from the spiritual nature of the events that happened after they thought Jesus came back. In this way, there would be no elaborate set up necessary. They could just believe he rose from the dead while at the same time his corpse is rotting. This is because there is no way to tell the difference between a spiritual resurrection and a corpse just rotting. Some people say that discovering the body of Jesus would be enough to disprove Christianity, howver I disagree for the reason that to Christians, it would then become clear his resurrection was spiritual.
Jesus Doesn’t Stick Around After he Comes Back
When people talk about Jesus coming back to life, they often make it sound like he was hanging out with them 40 days and everything was back to normal. This is completely mistaken.
Jesus only appears a select few times and in very strange circumstances. Why? If you had 40 days to convince people you had come back to life, you wouldn’t leave any doubt at all. Why would you only appear a select few times, and not just stay there, what was he doing the rest of the time?
When Jesus was killed, the disciples were naturally very scared and very worried, constantly. They were hiding, paranoid, and their complete world view had changed. In this state of mind, it is completely reasonable to think that some of the disciples may have become convinced that he had come back to life due to the stress and pressure of the situation. It’s a well known phenomenon that people have more encounters with the supernatural when they believe in the supernatural and they’re not in a right state of mind e.g. scared and in hiding for 40 days straight. This is more in line with what we would expect to see if Jesus didn’t come back, rather than if he did.
If you wanted to find out if Jesus really did come back at the time, you would want proof that he died, and also proof that he came back. What’s the best way to do that? Show the guy who came back to life!
But that was quite difficult to do when most of the time, according to the gospels, Jesus wasn’t around.
In Mark, due to it’s abrupt ending, Jesus doesn’t appear to anyone at all. In Matthew, he appears to the women in the tomb, and to the disciples once on a mountain. In Luke he appears to someone on the road to Emmaus, and then the next time people see him is when he goes back to heaven. Then in John he appears to Mary Magdalene, and then the disciples twice (one with Thomas there and one without) and then to them when they’re fishing.
It’s not a massive amount of times, and as time progresses, and the records become more unreliable, the number of times they see Jesus increases. It grows just like a legend.
If he was really around he should not have been appearing in odd flashes of time, he should have been there constantly. The fact that in every gospel there is only one or two chapters after the death of Jesus is pretty bad. It makes it look rushed and like there wasn’t much to talk about.
Resurrection was common in the Gospels
People have come back to life without being the son of God according to the bible. It does not follow that if someone dies and comes back to life they are the son of God.
Lazarus comes back to life as well. He’s not the son of God.
According to Matthew 27 verse 52-54 “the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
So I guess a lot of people came back to life, and not just Jesus.
Considering that resurrection is supposed to be a rare event, why is it so common and trivial in the bible? The sheer amount of it’s resurrection claims for other people really hinder the belief in the resurrection claims of the most important person, as it was clearly a frequent cultural discussion at the time.
Was there even an Empty Tomb?
If Jesus never had a tomb, then obviously none of the claims of his resurrection would be valid.
It was a roman practice to not allow crucified prisoners a decent burial. They were left to rot on their cross as a punishment, for days. Romans normally buried criminals themselves, and when they did, they would be in a common grave. It’s hard to see why Jesus would have been treated any differently to this, in fact, in light of the work of Josephus, who portrays Pilate very negatively, it seems even less likely an exception would be made for him .
This means that the case for Christ is even weaker, as it’s fairly likely that the huge detail of the empty tomb wasn’t correct. This is extremely significant.
Part 2 – Arguments and Counterarguments
Despite the facts about the gospel, and the unreliability from history, people still make arguments about why the case for Christ is more likely despite this. I would like to use this section to give some arguments of my own and also talk about other arguments that I’ve seen.
Lack of sources
When assessing history to try to establish historical fact I think there’s a tendency to equate good evidence “for the time” with “therefore it means it really happened” – sure the evidence may be better than other things at the time, however is that evidence actually good enough?
As Paul doesn’t really talk about the life of Jesus, and more the aftermath/consequences, these 4 books are the only ones we really have about Jesus’ life that the church actually considers to be true. Only one of them is independent.
Historians value agreeing information from as many sources as possible, there is no good source, and there is no large amount of sources.
The apocryphal books do exist, however they tend to be from 200 years after the event itself, and therefore contribute very little to the historicity of Jesus , besides this, there is the gospel of Thomas which is a sayings gospel only, and considered heresy at the time (although it’s commonly thought to be written around the same time as the rest of the gospels), and then there is Q for the commonalities between Matthew and Luke, as well as proposed additional sources for the parables.
Of these, Q is considered the most likely, however respected scohlar Mark Goodacre has a strong case against this, and the following debate convinced me against Q . This topic is huge, so I highy recommend you investigate this independently if your interested, as it would likely require an article of length similar to this to address thoroughly.
Besides that, I must address the other source used to argue for Jesus’s divinity: Josephus.
Josephus was a very famous historian living before the first century, in the time when Jesus would have been around.
He does talk about Jesus in a very small passage of a much larger book called the ‘Testimonium Flavianum’ and it goes like this:
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.” 
Although it’s talked about commonly, the majority of scholars at least consider it to be a partial forgery. There are many reasons for this, however there is too much to talk about and none of it would be my own work. Instead, if you are interested, I recommend the Wikipedia page about Josephus on Jesus, because it really goes into all the arguments in much more detail that I ever could here.
The essential takeaway that I found was: Josephus was a Jew (undisputed), and this is nothing at all like what any Jew would write.
Liar, Lunatic, Lord
C.S Lewis proposed that if Jesus was a great moral teacher, he couldn’t have been a liar, and if he was a great moral teacher he couldn’t have been a lunatic, therefore he was the messiah.
Obviously it’s more likely for someone to both be a great moral teacher and also a liar than the son of God. Jesus may have pretended to be the mesiah just to get his morals out there, or he may have been mistaken.
But generally in my opinion, Jesus wasn’t as great as people make him out to be for the following reasons:
- Turn the other cheek is generally something that will make you painful and miserable and allow people to take advantage of you.
- Spare no thought for the morrow is horrible financial advice.
- Let he who is without sin cast the first stone would make criminals never go to jail.
- The last will be first and the first will be last punishes people who work harder to get ahead in life.
- He trashes the temple, and damages possessions that other people own.
- He told the rich to throw all of their possessions away, and made it so that being rich will make it practically impossible to get into heaven.
- Generally the whole purpose for his existence doomed the majority of humanity. Before Jesus came, when you died nothing would happen. After Jesus came, you must accept him, or you must burn in hell forever. This dooms the majority of humanity to eternal suffering. Thanks Jesus.
So even if he was God, I still think he’s a lunatic.
However there’s something that is often forgotten when three options are presented; the many other options. Due to historical unreliability, there are many factors that could have influenced this story and we can’t really be sure that anything was like this at all.
I would prefer to add an additional L to the liar, lunatic, lord series of options, and that is legend, which is probably the closest to what I believe.
There is another major thing to consider. Did Jesus actually call himself God? Or was this added later? This is a very complex question, as there are very few instances of Jesus claiming to be God in the gospels, almost none until John’s gospel which is written much later, and very few times in the epistles as well, most commonly appearing in those that are known forgeries. You cannot propose this question fairly, when we don’t even know for certain if Jesus claimed to be God.
The Minimal Facts Approach
I’ve heard the argument from the perspective of a minimal facts approach, where facts are presented and Jesus being the son of God is the best explanation for them. Generally it will go something like: The majority of scholars agree on these 4 facts….
- Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea in a tomb.
- Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of women
- On different occasions and under various circumstances different individuals and groups of people believed they experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.
- The original disciples suddenly believed that Jesus rose from the dead when they had every predisposition to the contrary.
This method of argument is flawed from the beginning. The best model of the truth is the model that satisfies the most facts, aren’t we forgetting the numerous others that would be completely broken by a model that satisfies just these four?
As well as that, statistics are often misleading. The actual percentage of scholars that believe these facts is roughly 75% (The case for the resurrection of Jesus, Habermas and Licona), and this generally isn’t considered high enough in terms of deciding what is historical, especially in a field so often entered into by those with a bias. The fact that so many scholars disagree with these facts is enough to confidently say that it isn’t a fact at all.
There is a large opportunity for error as well when you talk about what people believed as facts. These books were written late, anonymously, and in very literate Greek (which the disciples would not have been able to have write) so who can be sure what they believed or more importantly why they believed them. The fact that people believed something does not make it true.
Some people say that Jesus’ prophecies prove he was the son of God. But I’ve never understood why this argument gets so much credit.
Fulfilling prophecies isn’t really that special when you know what they are and are deliberately go out of your way to fulfil them. There are also a series of prophecies that Jesus certainty does not fulfil.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
Well this post wasn’t titled “Why I don’t believe Immanuel rose from the dead” so I guess that never happened. His name is Jesus, not Immanuel. But actually this passage contains a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for young woman, and isn’t in reference to the messiah at all, so there is no possible interpretation that makes this is a valid prophecy for Jesus 
That was a quick example but the best example was the certain historic fact that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem. If there was a census there should be a record of it, but there isn’t, and the idea of people needing to return to their hometowns for a census is preposterous.
Jesus came from Nazareth. A huge reason why he isn’t called Jesus of Bethlehem.
I’ve never found a good prophecy, and found many to be incorrect, not prophecies, or just not that impressive, i.e. anyone could have fulfilled them. I’ve not found any that are good. But if you’re reading this and do have a good prophecy, feel free to surprise me!
But They Died for What They Believed In
Many people have died for what they believed and been wrong. People can be mistaken. Let’s not forget that the records of the deaths of these people are in the same unreliable books in which Jesus died, and therefore have a similar reliability.
But How Could They Make it All Up?
If you are sitting here thinking I’m crazy because they had no reason at all to make this up, then I’ve got a question. Do you believe Apollonius of Tyana could do miracles as well? Chances are you’ve never heard of him. He lived in a small part of the roman empire, he was alive at a similar time to Jesus, he performed miracles and he also healed the sick  How could they have made up so much information on Apollonius of Tyana?
Much like Jesus, we have documented sources on Apollonius claiming very similar things including The Life of Apollonius of Tuana written by the sophist Philostratus at the request of empress Julia Domna 
How is it ok to assume that one was made up while the other wasn’t when we have very similar information on both of these people? It’s clear that at most only one of these two people could have been divine, meaning that for whatever reason, incorrect stories of miracles happened. And if this is the case, we have even more reason to doubt both of them.
The section on “The incentive to create forgeries” also addresses this point.
Any Natural Explanation is Better than a Supernatural one
Have you heard of the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? Although Occam’s razor would have you believe that Jesus Christ rising from the dead is the best explanation, this isn’t really the case as the supernatural has never been proven to be possible, and in every other situation where we’ve found the right answer to a claim, it has always been the natural answer rather than the supernatural one.
Although I don’t believe in the swoon theory, the one that says Jesus didn’t really die when he was crucified, I would believe it over the resurrection. This is because although it is ridiculously implausible, it is still possible within the laws of physics, whereas resurrection after three days is known to be impossible within the laws of physics.
You could argue that due to this, I would accept anything instead of believing that Jesus rose from the dead. This is not the case. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which means, if the correct level of evidence is there, I’d believe it.
Rising From the Dead Does not Mean You’re the Son of God
“As mentioned previously simply rising from the dead does not make you the messiah, it could make you Lazarus, an alien with future technology, a scientist who has surpassed current technology or person with a mutation that made it possible.
This is the kind of thing that we mean when we say extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. When it comes to the supernatural, we really need such a huge amount as it’s never been observed, or a way of observing the supernatural.
This is also why saying things like “The Romans were very good at Crucifixion” and “The tomb would have been guarded” isn’t really good enough.
All of this may sound narrowminded, but it’s also worth noting that if the son of God really knew everything, they would know what it would take to convince me that he was the son of God. They would be able to design their own test to show this conclusively, and it would probably be something that I couldn’t imagine. I also became an athiest after a life of belief through studying, so I really don’t accept this accusation.
The case for Christ is not as strong as it would first seem. Re-examining commonly used arguments, facts about the gospel, and it’s historicity reveal gaps which make many other explanations more likely. Even if you disagree, I hope you can see that the case against the resurrection of Christ is not necessarily weak.
I don’t want it to end here. If you are interested, I would really like to discuss your thoughts regardless of what you believe. I appreciate that it would be near impossible for anyone to respond to a substantial amount of what I’ve written here because of how long it is, however if there are specific sections you’d like to talk about, I’d be very happy to.
This is a huge post and a lot of research and work over months has gone into it. If you could like, share or comment with your opinion, that would go a long way towards justifying writing things like this in the future. Thank you very much.
This post wouldn’t have been possible without the help of online sources. Here are the ones I used to write this post. I highly recommend researching this issue for yourself rather than just following what I say, here might be some good places to check.
9 – Reading the new testament, an introduction, Pheme Perkins
19 – The Triumph of Christianity, Bart D.Ehrman