Investigating Easter

By Lee Strobel author I saw plenty of dead bodies as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, but I’ve never … Continued

By Lee Strobel
author

I saw plenty of dead bodies as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, but I’ve never seen anyone come back to life. That was the stuff of mythology and legend. After all, we live in a scientific age. Belief in a resurrection was simply untenable.

At least, that’s what I thought until I checked the facts for myself. Using my legal training, I investigated the most audacious claim of history: that Jesus of Nazareth returned from the dead and thus authenticated his claim to being the Son of God.

After nearly two years of research, I found my atheism cracking. Here’s some of what I discovered:

First, there’s overwhelming evidence Jesus was executed. In addition to multiple, early, independent confirmation in the New Testament documents (which, incidentally, I gave no special treatment), there are also five sources outside the Bible. Even atheist historian Gerd Lüdemann called Jesus’ death by crucifixion “indisputable.”

Second, we have resurrection accounts that date back so early they can’t be legendary – because legends take time to develop. A.N. Sherwin-White, the great classical historian from Oxford, said the passage of two generations was not even enough time for legend to grow up in the ancient world and wipe out a solid core of historical truth.

Yet we have a creed of the early church, recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, that confirms Jesus died, was buried, rose and appeared to named eyewitnesses, including skeptics. Scholars from a wide range of theological belief have dated this creed to within a few years of Jesus’ death – and therefore its underlying beliefs go back even further. It’s like a historical news flash!

Concluded eminent scholar James D. G. Dunne: “This tradition, we can be entirely confident, was formulated as tradition within months of Jesus’ death.” It would be unprecedented for a legend to develop that fast and wipe out a solid core of historical truth.

Third, there’s the empty tomb, which is implicit in the early creed and reported in the earliest Gospel.

Scholar William Lane Craig points out that the site of Jesus’ tomb was known to Christians and non-Christians alike. If it weren’t empty, it would have been impossible for a movement founded on the resurrection to have exploded into existence in the same city where Jesus had been publicly executed and buried just a few weeks earlier.

Moreover, the empty tomb was implicitly admitted in the early claim that the disciples had stolen the body. Why would Jesus’ opponents manufacture such a cover story unless they were trying to explain away the inconvenient truth that the tomb was empty?

Nobody had a motive for stealing the body, especially the disciples. They wouldn’t have knowingly and willingly allowed themselves to be tortured to death for a lie.

Finally, scholars Gary Habermas and Michael Licona have enumerated nine sources reporting the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples:

• Paul confirms Jesus appeared to him, and then Paul met with the apostles and they agreed their teaching about the resurrection was the same as his.

• The early creed confirms the disciples (plus 500 others!) encountered the risen Jesus; indeed, many scholars believe two eyewitnesses cited in the creed, Peter and James, were the ones who gave the creed to Paul.

• Peter declared to a crowd in Jerusalem just weeks after Jesus’ execution that “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Three thousand people agreed and the church was born.

• Matthew, Mark, Luke and John independently confirm his post-resurrection appearances. These first-century, eyewitness-rooted Gospels have regained respect in recent years. Scholar Craig Evans, who has lectured at Oxford and Cambridge, said that “there’s every reason to conclude the Gospels have fairly and accurately reported the essential elements” of Jesus’ resurrection.

• Early church leaders Clement and Polycarp were taught by the apostles. Clement said the apostles had “complete certainty” about the resurrection; Polycarp repeatedly confirmed the resurrection.

So convinced were the disciples that they were willing to die for their conviction that Jesus had risen — not because they had faith in it, but because they were in the unique position to know for sure that it was true.

Even atheist Lüdemann conceded: “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”

He would claim these were hallucinations or visions, yet I don’t find that credible. Hallucinations occur in our brains, like dreams. People can’t share hallucinations, yet Jesus appeared to groups three different times.

Were these visions by grieving disciples? This wouldn’t explain the conversion of Saul, an opponent of Christians, or James, a skeptic. Neither was primed for a vision, yet each died proclaiming Jesus had appeared to him. Besides, if these were visions, the body would still have been entombed.

My books analyze objections that many skeptics, including myself, have raised. None, in my view, overcome the affirmative evidence. So I reached the verdict that the resurrection really happened – and that’s why I’m celebrating my 29th Easter as a follower of Jesus.

Lee Strobel, author of the bestselling “Case” series has created the new resources “The Case for the Resurrection” and “The Case for Christ Study Bible.”

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  • PSolus

    Well, I’m convinced.

  • peteglickenhaus

    I mean this as an honest comment: I find Strobel’s argument flawed on a number of levels. First, one has to already assume the veracity of the biblical accounts. There are very sensible reasons to question their Reality-TV-like narratives. Second, even if you do, it seems fair to recognize the validity of the same sorts of experiences that verify other religious traditions (like Islam, for example, but one could name many others). I should emphasize that I am not trying to weaken anyone’s faith here; I am simply making a point with respect to methodology. Strobel’s arguments can be applied with equal vigor to Joseph Smith’s account, and many other stories that involve divine experiences of one order or another. As for Strobel’s use of James D. G. Dunn (who does not have an “e” in his last name), the latter’s (quite excellent) scholarship comes to much different and murkier conclusions about orthodoxy and the early Christians than Strobel’s. Ludemann’s scholarship is likewise excellent, but his concession is rather generous, and ultimately lends nothing to Strobel’s argument. Muhammed, Mani, Valentinus, and many others had intensely divine experiences. Why deny theirs? It is one thing to say that one believes in the resurrection; but a huge problem confronts the Christian when s/he decides to claim–like Strobel–that there is excellent “evidence” for the resurrection.This is not where Christians should tread, for it reveals them to be quite unfair with respect to other accounts of divine experiences. Again, this isn’t an argument against faith as such, or faith in the resurrection. Rather, it’s just to say that, if Christians want to play the game of historicity and evidence, a symmetrical look at history requires the same sort of assumptions to apply everywhere or nowhere. To be fair, the same rigor that historians apply to other ancient texts must be applied to the Christians ones as well.Jesus himself was reported to have said: “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believed.” Applying this to the gospels themselves, we might say that the faith that Christians should boast is not one rooted in the certainties of the archaeological account, but in the communal body of the church and the bodies of each individual Christian. If Christians are living out their faith in ways that emulate the gospel message, then their testimony to the world will speak louder than any supposedly historical record could.

  • Craig_Colgan

    Ah, the On Faith blog, home to D.C.’s atheists. Why you people spend so much time hanging out here and haranguing Christians, is beyond me.

  • PSolus

    “Why you people spend so much time hanging out here and haranguing Christians, is beyond me.”Yes, it is beyond you.

  • skealh

    Atheists have a faith they are promoting – non belief in God is, in fact, a faith statement. As empirically unprovable as belief in God. Personally, I as a Christian applaud having a ‘marketplace of ideas’, as here in the Post. Freedom to express is what America is about. We should not be afraid of debating towards a better understanding of truth – and at the least, understanding the thinking of those who don’t agree with us.Our chains of logic are only as important as the assumptions they are built upon, which are invariably faith statements. A hard truth for some who would prefer a simplistic and reductionist ‘fundamentalism’ (which Atheist are certainly not immune to – look at Dawkins). The far more interesting question is what contributes to our convictions and beliefs? If we have the courage of honesty, a genuine attempt at objective evidence and analysis – as in the case of this article – can be enlightening.

  • jcubie

    The writer making his case against Stoebel’s article makes a good point. Many ancient and modern sources relate intense religious experiences. But let me offer this thought.The factness of the resurrection is only important because of the faith to it witnesses. The resurrection is not a gee-whiz event designed to convert the skeptic. The meaning for the resurrection is that our hope for a final victory of God over evil and death can trusted because God has given us a foretaste of the final resurrection in the resuurection of Jesus. Evil and death did not triumph on the cross.It is the combination of its factness and hope to which it witnesses that gives the resurrection its meaning and power.

  • topwriter

    This is NOT an investigation. This is simply an attempt to support what you already think. Do some REAL investigation into the origins of Easter and you’ll find nothing about Jesus; it was a celebration of the return of the sun and marked the beginning of planting. It goes much further back than the Bible and is therefore known as a primary source or the zero point at which an event has its origination.So, sorry … Easter was simply a blending of tribal customs.Investigation finds truth; not support for bias.

  • paultaylor1

    Common sense tells you that adoration and devotion to Jesus of Nazareth, especially among his disciples, including Mary Magdalene, would have translated into the stuff of legends almost immediately with his crucifixion. He was close to being a legend in his own life time.If Jesus’ body “disappeared” after his death on the cross, we can readily believe that someone who loved him removed it for reburial. And they may have had no choice but to conceal their actions, if the officials had forbidden his removal. Furthermore, the circumstances of his removal would likely have been calculated to inspire awe and fear among the people and the officials of Jerusalem. As well as give a rationale to the “disappearance” of the corpse, thus deflecting the blame of his removal.

  • tojby_2000

    A very partial list of ancient gods and men who were also resurrected include: Osiris, Baal, Aristeas, Asclepius, Achilles Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, Melicertes, Cleomedes of Astupalaea (a legendary boxer.Ressurection was about the most powerful claim believers could make for apotheosis.

  • HakkaGuy

    Regardless of what you actually believe, Strobel uses the “Dan Brown” approach here. He acts like he formerly didn’t believe in the proposition, then brings in “experts” who give the “of course it’s this way” explanation and then reaches conclusions that are not logical or even well thought out. If I give credence to this drivel, then I’d also have to give credence to Dan Brown’s fun nonsense which at least is labeled as “fiction”. I think Strobel should take a course in logic.

  • miamihubert

    Mr. Sobel tries to paint himself with an aura of a hard nosed skeptic crime reporter, while the content of his post is noticeably simple minded. What makes him think his belief “is histories most audacious claim”. Dozens of ancient religons claim their gods rose from the dead. Some even claim a virgin birth.When you refuse to accept Sobel’s circular logic- using the bible to prove the bible- you have no historical evidence, either archaeological or eye witness written account, to even admit that the Historical Christian Jesus ever lived. And people, even dedicated disciples, do die for lies, ask any victim of an Islamic suicide bomber. The timetable for legends: they are launched in months and firmly sworn to the next year. Evidence the miracles of Pope John Paul, and the legendary/ myth beliefs of the Mormon church. Here in Miami within one news cycle a myth grew about a weeping tree that cured the faithful. Throngs of pilgrims lined up around the neighborhood for months.No Mr. Sobel your logic is weak, your evidence is scant, but your faith is commendable. Have a nice Easter.

  • Ynot1

    For the Resurrection to be false, the apostles would not only have died for a lie, they would have died for what they KNEW to be a lie.

  • ladyliberty1

    Thanks for the article Lee. We have had your book “The Case for Christ” on our bookshelf for a few years, and I just read it last year. You do a good job interviewing different scholars and presenting the factual case for the claims of Christ. History was made by the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2000 years ago. The calendar was changed to reflect “in the year of our Lord.” A change in cultures resulted from the teachings of Christianity wherever the word of the Lord was proclaimed. Peace came to societies where Christ reigned in the hearts of people.America was founded on the principles taught in Christianity. The founding of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale universities was to train young men in the seminary. How many know that 29 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence had seminary degrees? Of course, the Christian founding of those schools has not been taught, and the values of Christianity have long been replaced by secularism and multiculturalism.This morning as I listened to an audio of John’s Gospel of the crucifixion of the Lord between the two thieves with one believing the claims of the Lord, and one rejecting His claims, even in death, it was evident that there are two types of individuals – those who have ears to hear ‘truth’ and those who are deaf. Only when the Lord opens the minds of those who are both deaf and blind to truth, can a person hear and see. He is given a heart of faith to believe by God. Jesus came as the Good Shepherd to find the ‘lost sheep’ of the house of Israel. He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and they follow. They will not listen to a stranger.”Jesus’ mission in the incarnation was to go to the cross as the Passover Lamb of God, to Atone for the sins of the world, to redeem sinful man, and restore him to God. So, as the message of Salvation in Christ Jesus goes out this weekend, as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, may those who have not yet heard, hear and follow the Good Shepherd. He is ALIVE! Rejoice and be glad, all who belong to Him. He is coming again to judge the world in righteousness.

  • PSolus

    “How many know that 29 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence had seminary degrees?”And how many know that 2 signers of the Declaration of Independence had Computer Science degrees: Ebenezer Ethernet and Thaddeus Cobol?

  • tojby_2000

    Ynot1 wrote: For the Resurrection to be false, the apostles would not only have died for a lie, they would have died for what they KNEW to be a lie.

  • Chapel_Hill_Science

    There is some serious intellectual dishonesty in this essay and it is truly sickening. Let’s start with the claim that “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John independently confirm [Jesus’] post-resurrection appearances.” Say what? Since when are Matthew, and Luke independently authored gospels? It’s quite clear that they are both derived from the book of Mark and an unknown source that scholars refer to as “Q”. Mark is the oldest gospel, and both Matthew and Luke are based on derivations of Mark and “Q”. Look it up in any study Bible, or just google the “Four-Source Hypothesis”. At any rate, neither Mark nor Luke nor Matthew nor John were written by eyewitnesses named Mark, Luke, Matthew or John. In truth, we have no idea who wrote those books; those names were given many years after their authorship, yet Mr. Strobel writes as though that were not the case. Also of note is the fact that, in the oldest manuscripts of the oldest gospel (Mark), there is no mention of any single human eyewitness to the resurrected Jesus. As Mr. Strobel probably knows but fails to mention, the claims of eyewitnesses of a resurrected Jesus in Mark were added many, many years after the original text was written and are obviously a forgery (look it up–it’s right in the footnotes of practically any reputable study Bible). Furthermore, the “alternative” explanation that the tomb was empty because somebody “stole” it is an obvious straw man (which Strobel himself seems to recognize). But really, if you are going to suggest a plausible alternative to the empty tomb, how about the possibility that the “empty tomb” was merely the wrong tomb to have gone to in the first place? It’s not like the Romans had an incentive to keep laborious and honest records of every single convicted “criminal” they executed–what do they care what happens to the bodies of “criminals”?And finally, while I do agree that it would be odd for the apostles to die for a non-event, we cannot speak about them as though we have their death certificates and obituaries clipped from a reputable newspaper. Much of the basis for the “historical record” of the apostles’ martyrdom is based on the book of Acts, which, once again, is an anonymously authored book written ~50-60 years after the death of Jesus, thus it was written many years after the “events” of Acts would have taken place. ***On a semi-related note, Mr. Strobel carefully chose the “experts” for his book “The Case for Christ”. He knew perfectly well that the people he chose to interview would tell him exactly what he needed to hear to support his thesis. One has to wonder if his conversion from atheism was done under similar pretenses of knowing the answers before they are fully and rigorously investigated.

  • stephenrhymer

    Mr. Strobel is one of those people who takes an end result then uses information to prove his point.the Romans were famous for their detailed writings on all subjects.most of what’s in the Bibe seems to escape their record keeping. for someone who supposedly stirred up so much excitement, there’s no documentation supporting the life of Jesus or the commotion he caused.the Gospels were written after the death of Jesus. who wrote the rest of the New Testament is questionable at best.the real truth is that in order to believe in Jesus – you have to have faith because there is no proof he existed.

  • cornbread_r2

    Just one of many possible natural explanations for an empty tomb is that Jesus didn’t die on the cross and subsequently escaped the tomb. Using the Gospel accounts relating the circumstances of Jesus’s death and burial, Richard Carrier rather conservatively calculates the odds of that having occurred at 1 in 68,000. In other words, pretty danged unlikely. Yet, as unlikely as that may seem to be, it’s magnitudes more likely than the supernatural resurrection of a dead man.

  • Schaum

    Strobel:As you can see by reading the following, all your “arguments” are discredited. I’m curious about your “legal training”, to which you refer in your comments. What did you study? Legal Secretarial Science?

  • onofrio

    Reformed doctrine, to which Presbyterian Strobel adheres, is like the A and B Game (a pre-Python skit by Michael Palin and Terry Jones). Rules: Everyone is divided into two teams – Team A and Team B. Team B wins.According to TULIP – the Presbyterians’ neat little Dort-hatched acronym for divinely ordained atrocity – the atonement is made only for the prechosen elect, i.e. as it turns out, those who subscribe to A-Grade Geneva doctrine. The 98% of humanity that is unReformed is understood to have culpably rejected – from conception – the Reformed God, even if they don’t know it. By default, “those who reject God” include the Catholics, Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Vodooists, Wiccan environmentalists, et alii – men, women, and children – whether or not they’ve ever really got a proper glimpse of all that Genevan light. No doubt plenty of these folks hope for a version of Heaven-or-whatever, and don’t hanker for unceasing gnashing of teeth. In Strobel’s universe they’re gonna get a rude shock! And yet that’s all well and good and as it should be. Their destiny in Hell is absolutely integral to the “good news” of Strobel’s Easter.

  • onofrio

    Christian apologetic routinely deploys the notion of “eyewitnesses” when upholding the Gospels’ historicity. If “Matthew” and “John” were composed by members of Jesus’ inner circle of followers, then they are eyewitness accounts. If they are pseudepigraphic, then they are not definitely eyewitness accounts, but hearsay reportage at best. “Luke” claims to be based on eyewitness accounts, but we have no corroboration for that; it’s just “Luke’s” word against … silence. Assuming “Luke” is being truthful, the significant divergences of his resurrection account from those of “Mark” and “Matthew” would imply that his eyewitnesses were testifying differently to theirs. Or else, the same informants were being differently editorialised. This has serious consequences for veracity if “Matthew” was, in fact, written by the apostolic ex-taxman, since his “eyewitness” memoir completely omits major events (Jerusalem indoor Christophanies) to which Luke’s unnamed informants testified … or did they? Clearly, these sorts of questions don’t bother most Christians.

  • onofrio

    With regard to the resurrection narratives: I think the earliest kerygma was simply that the executed Jesus had been vindicated by God and was enthroned in heaven, i.e. “He is not here; he is risen” – no empty tomb, or dead-man-walking, or forensic wound exhibitions, or hilltop ascensions. What I call Christophany – i.e. visions of the post-mortem, vindicated Jesus – was a sort of authenticating epiphany claimed by some early leaders of the movement, eg. Paul and the Petrine circle. The Gospel accounts each represent an attempt to organise various Christophanic traditions into a coherent scheme. There were conflicting claims. For example, the mention of “doubters” in Matthew, and the detailed account in John of a turned “doubter” Thomas, suggest that there were some among the early leadership who questioned the Christophanies. It would seem that the original Christophany was associated with the mourning Mary Magdalene and her circle of female associates. Yet female-witnessed Christophany is entirely absent from Paul’s list of Christophanies in 1 Cor.15:5-7, which gives priority to Peter and the Twelve. And Luke makes no mention of the tomb-proximate female-witnessed Christophany recorded by Matthew and John.

  • onofrio

    The “empty tomb” is a piece of literary stage-setting for the earliest resurrection kerygma, namely “He is not here (i.e. dead); he is risen (i.e. to God’s right hand)”. Having appeared in “Mark”, the “empty tomb” is taken up by the Mark-dependent “Matthew” and “Luke” and tweaked in various (contradictory) ways. By the time “John” is written, the “empty tomb” has broken entirely from its literary moorings and become a free-floating historic *fact*.

  • onofrio

    There is a process of literary development evident in these canonical resurrection accounts – involving divergence, invention, conflict, and attempted harmonisation. In “Mark”, only women visit the tomb; the risen Jesus does not appear. A Galilee Christophany is implied.In Matthew, the risen Jesus appears 1) at the tomb to women only; 2) in Galilee to eleven male disciples. In “Luke”, the risen Jesus does not appear 1) at the tomb to women, or 2) in Galilee to anyone. In “John”, the risen Jesus appears 1) at the tomb to a woman (Peter and the Beloved Disciple visit the empty tomb); 2) in Jerusalem to assembled disciples (who may include women); 3) in Galilee to seven male disciples who have gone fishing. It’s clear that there are major differences bewteen “Mark”/”Matthew” and “Luke”, which “John” attempts to harmonise and embellish. He tries to integrate the Matthean women’s Christophany at the tomb with “Luke’s” Petrine tomb visit (adds Beloved Disciple!); he features “Luke’s” indoor forensic wound-exhibitions in Jerusalem, but tacks on a curiously atemporal Markan/Matthean Galilee gone fishin’ coda. I believe these differences are not as inconsequential as many Christians make out.

  • darkglobe5

    I heard all these arguments back when I was in Catholic high school in the ’70s. This guy is just recycling old, old information (much of it skewed) and marketing it as a new “case for resurrection.” I guess it’s a free country, and there’s a sucker born every minute, so have at it.

  • Emmetrope

    Eye witnesses are notoriously undependable.

  • Emmetrope

    The Judo-Christian God is a tricky God. If I ever decided to create a God, it’d be a straight forward God.I’d have such a God teach that teaching too many people to fish leads to less fish to eat.

  • onofrio

    If one examines the tomb-proximate Christophanies in isolation, a clear progression emerges, highlighting the “Matthew”/”Luke” fissure.”Mark”: 1 young man (νεανισκον) at tomb, seen by 3 named women (incl. Mary Magdalene) = 1 male, 3 females”Matthew”: 1 angel + 1 Christ at tomb, seen by 2 named women (incl. Mary Magdalene) = 2 males, 2 females”Luke”: 2 men (δυο ανδρες) at tomb (no Christ), seen by at least 5 women, 3 of them named (incl. Mary Magdalene); 1 disciple (Peter) visits empty tomb = 3 males, 3 named females (at least 5 in total).”John”: 2 angels (δυο αγγελους) + 1 Christ at tomb, seen by 1 woman (Mary Magdalene); 2 disciples (Peter and Beloved) visit empty tomb = 5 males, 1 female.Three broad trends are evident from Mark to John:1) The number of named women remains several in the Synoptics, but decreases dramatically in John – Mark 3, Matthew 2, Luke 3, John 1.2) The number of supernatural/kerygmatic males increases – Mark 1, Matthew 2, Luke 2, John 3.3) The number of visiting male disciples increases – Mark 0, Matthew 0, Luke 1, John 2. Luke and Matthew both feature 2 kerygmatic beings at the tomb; for Luke it is simply “two men”, for Matthew it is an “angel”, followed shortly afterward by Jesus himself. The only constant figures in the whole scheme: at least one messenger (human or angel?) at the tomb itself, and Mary Magdalene. How to interpret this pattern? Clearly the fact that the primary Christophanic witness was that of a FEMALE was something of an embarassment. So there’s a progressive increase of males, both divine and apostolic, in proximity to the “empty tomb”. Also embarassing was the fact that the leadership of Jesus’ movement fled back to Galilee, probably soon after his apprehension by the Romans. Mark and Matthew deal with this by sending the resurrected Jesus to Galilee to rendezvous with the apostolate there. Luke deals with the problem more ruthlessly, because he needs his Christophanies to occur in Jerusalem, to suit his literary/polemical agenda of presenting a clear progress of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome. The sort of vaguely reported Galilee events implied by Mark and sketched by Matthew are no good to Luke, so he simply relocates them all to Jerusalem, and adds forensic wound exhibitions by the Risen Christ to strengthen the “it wasn’t a ghost” counter-polemic. By the time “John” was being composed, both the divergent Matthean “Galilee” and Lukan “Jerusalem” Christophanic traditions had become sufficiently entrenched to require harmonisation. “John” tackles this rather lumpenly by simply appending his gone fishin’ Galilee coda to his primary – largely Lukan – Jerusalem wound exhibition. He even repeats the latter especially for those who suspect it, summarised in the apostolic figure of the wound-probing Thomas.Strobel has not even begun to investigate.

  • bobtich

    What’s so hard to believe? We see zombies on TV and the movies all the time.

  • zoomie95

    Happy Easter everyone!

  • Leeps206

    Obviously, an 850-word column can only present a very brief summary of the evidence for Christ’s resurrection. Such a short piece can’t do justice to all of the evidence or answer all of the typical challenges that are commonly raised – like the ones offered in these responses. Virtually all of these objections, however, are answered in my books “The Case for the Real Jesus” and “The Case for Christ.” Mythology, legendary development, apparent discrepancies, the Gospels – they’re all in there. I’d suggest that anyone with legitimate questions should do what I did – check out the facts for yourself. Keep an open mind. Make it a front-burner issue in your life. And in the end, reach your own verdict in the case for Christ. May God bless you this Easter! Lee

  • onofrio

    Lee Strobel,Thee:Hey, nice dodge, Lee, and with a sales pitch too! A lot hangs on that “virtually” though.Done, done, done, and done. It was following the path you suggest that led me to abandon Christianity, after my own close study of the resurrection accounts. I would recommend that anyone who wants to “reach their own verdict” about the resurrection should read the Gospels closely, carefully, and critically for themselves, and be ruthlessly honest. If you are already a believer, be wary of books like Mr Strobel’s, which will only tell you exactly what you want to hear. They trade in arguments from authority, straw-manning, quote-mining, and appeals to incredulity, and offer no serious treatment of opposing views. They’re apologetic rhetoric dressed up as a “search for the facts”. Strobel is committed to a theological system in which God has predestined everyone who has ever existed to eternal conscious torment, unless God sees fit to let you fulsomely subscribe to certain “correct” propositions about who Jesus was. God so loved the world that he’s sending 98% of it to perdition, just to show his “wrath”.SOME “GOOD” NEWS!

  • onofrio

    Why did “eyewitness” Matthew – the ex-tax-collecting disciple – say nothing in his gospel of Jesus’ indoor wound-exhibition to the Eleven (plus others) in Jerusalem on Easter Sunday, or of Jesus’ wondrous, cloud-wrapped departure to heaven 40 days later – all found in the Gospel of “eyewitness-informed” Dr Luke? MATTHEW WAS THERE, but apparently, thought none of this worth mentioning. Why does he, instead, relate a sketchy, ascension-less Christophany (at which “some doubted”) in Galilee, some unknown time after Easter, of which ace investigator Dr Luke says nothing?These and other fissures are not bridged by Lee Strobel.

  • YEAL9

    For atheists and agnostics, “Easter, like the spring season it graces, is associated with birth, renewal and fertility.”Ditto for Christians but “Easter also marks the Resurrection of Jesus three days after his historic crucifixion. Sandwiched between the 40 preparatory days of Lenten penitence and the seven weeks of Eastertide, it is the most important and most joyous holiday on the Christian calendar.In 2010, Easter Sunday falls on April 4 for both the Western Church and the Eastern Church, a rare concurrence.”Many contemporary historic Jesus and NT exegetes and even some contemporary Catholic theologians do not believe there was an historic Easter.

  • Schaum

    FYI:DanielTheHomicidalCharlesMansonWannabeLiar has, on Main Page, proclaimed that he would be willing to shoot atheists.Frankly, I see no reason to disbelieve him.