I have an old friend from when I was in college. He used to be a Bible-Thump-er. You know the kind of ‘fundamental’ Christian everyone likes to make fun of.
He would argue with you. He would tell you “You have to believe,” or, “If you don’t believe, you will burn in Hell.”
Well …. while I went from being a drunk GI, he went to being an atheist.
Ironically, you could have met him in Dallas preaching on street corners about 30 years ago.
Yet, “Jesus is dead. I am telling you, Jesus is dead,” is something he could say to you today.
That or, “Jesus never lived.”
13 men were close to Jesus; and 12 of them died violent deaths; because they believed Jesus rose from the dead.
Hundreds of people who witnessed Jesus on the Cross were persecuted, because they believed he rose from the dead. And many were tortured and executed.
Even Polycarp was executed. And he was a gentle old man.
Not a young man, ready to die over any insult.
No. The many men, women, and children who died professing Christ as risen believed in someone greater than themselves. They truly believed Jesus had risen.
Those closest to Jesus believed he had risen from the dead.
Roman Emperors believed the Christian ‘cult’ considered Jesus risen from the dead. So, from those closest to the event to those farthest away from the event, almost everyone knew about Jesus rising from the dead.
Not everyone believed upon Jesus and His Resurrection. But, they knew about the event.
So, why do so many deny the event today?
Power. Greed. Control.
Power. The Church has always been powerful. Christians have followed Pastors and Priests for 2,000 years. Many want that power. And yes, that desire would be a form of greed.
Many want what Christians have, so they envy the happiness they see in Believers. Greed makes people do and say strange things.
Control. While some people want to get away from what they see as too much control of their lives, many more want some of that control over other people.
Just google and read some of the Atheists’ blogs. You will see many have become priests of the Atheist order.
OK. Did He rise from the dead? What do you believe? What do you think I believe?