Saturday, April 9, 2011

Jesus’ Resurrection, According to the New Testament

By Garrett Fogerlie

Keep in mind that the New Testament is a highly questionable source, and should be looked at with scepticism! The majority of its books, if not all, were not written by their namesake but by descendants many, many years later. (One reason for this is that most people though that the apocalypse was going to come in their lifetime, as Jesus said, so why bother to write it down)

Nevertheless, let’s assume for a moment that it is true. The books say Jesus died for our sins, and three days later came back to life. This is thought by many to be the pinnacle argument for why to believe that he is the son of god. According to the New Testament, resurrection is almost commonplace. Both Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus were resurrected. Albeit it was supposedly Jesus that resurrected them, who’s to say someone didn’t resurrect Jesus after his death. Resuection was such a commonplace at that time, that apparently nobody seems to have thought it worthwhile to follow up with either Lazarus or Jairus’ daughter after they came back from death. You would think that they would have been hounded with questions and that these questions would defiantly have been worthwhile to include in the bible. It must have been so common that nobody cared about their extraordinary experiences. Nor does anyone seem to have kept a record of whether or not, or how, these two individuals re-died. Or if they stayed immortal? Perhaps they are still wandering around to this very day? Who knows perhaps that’s where the vampire myth comes from? They may be in complete misery, condemned to eternal life on earth. How can they get into heaven? This misery being inflicted upon a mere bystander in order to fulfil the otherwise unfulfilled prophecy that Jesus would come again in the lifetime of at least one person who had seen him the first time around.

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Matthew 16:27-28

When Jesus was put to death, according to the Gospel of Matthew 27:52-53,

"the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

This seems incoherent, since the dead corpses apparently rose both at the time of the death on the cross and of the Resurrection. Oddly enough history has no record of corpses rising form graves. It must have scared the hell out of everyone around the world, but yet no one seems to written it down. Not even the many historians whose records, while meticulous, apparently deemed that corpses’ crawling up everywhere was not as important or interesting as the suns rise and set time, or the yield of a particular crop and such.

The bible records the taunts and comments of the Roman soldiers, at the time of Jesus’ death, and not a single one said, “Holly shit, corpses are coming out of the fucking ground! Run!!!”

Resurrection is apparently so frequent, that no one pays any attention to the dead rising from their graves. This undermines the uniqueness of the resurrection by which all of mankind’s sins were forgiven.

There is no cult or religion before or since, from Osiris to vampirism to voodoo, that does not rely on some innate belief in the "undead." To this day, Christians disagree as to whether the day of judgement will give you back the old shitty, abused, wreck of a body that has already died on you, or will you be given some new form. If it’s the latter, people will have to come up with a new way in which they can recognise one another.

For now though, we can say that resurrection would not prove the truth of Jesus’ doctrine, nor his paternity, nor the probability of still another return in fleshly or recognisable form. The action of a man who volunteers to die for his fellow creatures is universally regarded as noble. The extra claim not to have "really" died, because he was back in three days, makes the whole sacrifice tricky and meretricious.
Thus, those who say "Christ died for my sins," when he did not really "die" at all, are making a statement that is false in its own terms. Having no reliable or consistent witnesses, in anything like the time period needed to certify such an extraordinary claim, we are finally entitled to say that we have a right, if not an obligation, to respect ourselves enough to disbelieve the whole thing, unless or until superior evidence is presented, which it has not been. Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence!

-- Garrett Fogerlie


  1. I enjoyed that, a nice bit of thinking, Garrett. I like the point about no historians recording a plague of zombies - it does seem unlikely that they'd 'overlook' it :)
    If you're interested I had a ponder on an aspect of the resurrection you raised ("If it’s the latter, people will have to come up with a new way in which they can recognise one another.") in my post The True Shape of Your Soul

  2. poor arguments based on primarily ignorance and serious naivity.
    praying for you :)

  3. Lazarus' death and resurrection was one of the causes people started following Jesus and rhe conspuracy started with Lazarus' resurrection for the powers that be wanting Jesus dead. It was a big deal, read John 12. They were not zombies they were raised alive, and though not mentioned they did die again. They will rise physically again, but not as zombies, they will be like Jesus who is alive forever, Rev 1.

    Have a good day, hope all is well with you

    1. Oh, really? People rise out of their graves, and you're concerned with clarifying that they were not zombies? Nevermind the fact that dead people are DEAD, and don't just come back to life and come out of their graves. What are you, stupid or something?

  4. This is one (of several) points that led to me leaving Christianity. I like you, was raised in a born again Christian household.

    There's this giant uproar that God/Jesus sacrificed so much for us. BS. He took a weekend nap and was good to go. There are humans who endure far worse on a DAILY basis yet barely get a mention in a newspaper. God takes a bit of a flesh wound and is somehow world hero #1. Really? We are on the crap end of that whole deal (just playing along that its real).

    As a human, I am somehow railroaded into this whole "sinful by lineage to Adam" deal and thus require me to use my free will to choose God. What if I don't want to play that game? Where is the opt out?

    Second, God/Jesus didn't sacrifice didly. He's supposedly in control so the whole transaction was a pretty minor one on his part. We are the ones with everything on the line/ Eternal damnation and all that rot. Thanks God for setting up such a crappy situation.

    Wouldn't God have been better off just skipping the whole creation thing than setting up a situation where billions of his created souls are sentenced to eternal torment? What's that all about? Seems like kind of a jerk move if you ask me.

    But, alas, fortunately for us, clearly the whole thing is a stone age farce. I feel bad for those who are not able to see that.

  5. Pastor Todd,
    The government in the time of Jesus wanted him dead for several reasons; attacking the money changers at the temple, mocking the Pharisees by riding into town on a donkey, and questioning the authority of the prophets and priests. He was brought to Pilate and charged with treason. So there were far more relevant reasons why ‘the powers that be’ wanted him dead. We may not agree with them but even nowadays other countries don’t agree with America’s death penalties. As for the second part, that you have no knowledge that the people Jesus resurrected died again! You believe that based on NO evidence! Thank you for your input.

    Yes there are humans who endure far worse and even ones who help so many more people. Like Norman Borlaug, who improved agricultural productivity and crop quality, in 1970 when he won the Nobel Prize, they said he had saved a billion people! He is far better than Jesus in my mind.
    Also who was Jesus to forgive people for things that didn’t involve him? Like if my son was murdered, forgiveness would be mine to give or not, not someone else’s!
    Your idea of God creating us just to sentence us to eternal punishment, reminds me of The Simpsons’ Itchy and Scratchy Show where he makes a cloning machine that sends the clones straight to an execution machine. Thanks

  6. Of course the pharisees wanted him dead for all those reasons but their official reason was blasphemy, Matthew 27 I believe. They had no power to charge him with treason. The entry into Jerusalem on a donkey was mocking the Roman way not the Pharisees.

    As far as the NT not being historically dependable, if it is not then no bit of history is. I don't really feel like discussing all that now, but I would recommend Lee Strobles books Case For Faith Case For Faith.

    You are right no proof that all those died again, i think they did. But I do have proof who had the power to raise thwm originally, Jesus. So I will worship the one who raised Lazarus and the others, including himself from the dead. That is the ulitmate promise for believers, resurrection from the dead. It was a big deal then; today, and for the future

    1. Proof who had the power? Actually , you have proof of nothing, except that you don't understand what "proof" means, or that you do understand what it is, and are making an untrue statement on purpose. All that you have, maybe, is a bible which gets proven to be more and more misleading, innacurate, impossible , and just plain full of lies, everday by more and more people. Do you believe in WWF wrestling, as well? Just kiddin, I know it's real.

  7. Anonymous, I meant mocking the rulers by riding a donkey; not Pharisees, thanks for the correction.

    Did you know that there are still laws against blasphemy in many countries? And is punishable by DEATH? Saudi Arabia executed someone for it a little while back. That's outrageous!

    The New Testament, and Bible as a whole, is not historically dependable though, unlike many of the records kept by Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and others at that time. The historic events that it talks about, like earthquakes, whole cities being destroyed, and migrations, are not found in the dependable records of the time.

    And of course thinking that you can obtain eternal life will drive the majority of people to do many things they wouldn't do otherwise! Like genocide...

  8. Great post man! Death is a natural thing, and it should be. This eternal life crap makes all Christians silly , pathetic and damn right hypocritical.They do the good things that Jesus wanted them to do because of this reward. Where's sincerity then?

  9. Hi! Here's my opinion on your article. I like your website and your Twitter but I don't think this piece is too great. If your interested, I can send you something I wrote as well. Peace!

    Your argument is distracting from the main points and it actually makes our extremely conclusive argument seem a lot weaker than it is. I think the body of your article should rather be reduced to an interesting side note for literalists. You should focus in on the fact that the resurrection is absolutely the corner stone, the most fundamental bit, of so-called "evidence". And yet, there is no real evidence at all, but, rather, the event seems stupendously unlikely for many reasons. Let's talk about the negative example of morality that we can draw from this human sacrifice and the twisted and illogical motivation, which prompted the formation of this plan, of all possible alternatives, in the mind of an all-powerful God. Why did God finally choose to forgive our sins and to redeem the world, after his previous tyranny? Too late! Why did he decide that the best plan was to send his own son to a remote corner of the Roman Empire, where he would have a very limited audience? Why select some lucky people and test us in this cruel way with faith, when he could have spoken to the whole world? Why was it necessary to sacrifice his son in the most horrific way to prove to us… that he loves us and to redeem our sins (which he allowed to happen in the first place and then proceeded to damn us for)? For me, the clincher is that the motivation makes no fucking sense.

  10. Doctorthorne, I agree, there is so much that can be said on the subject, but for this article I mostly wanted to focus on the Resurrection (although I digress a lot.) I wrote it after a conversation with my father who said that the "resurrection of Jesus" is what made the entire life of Jesus "undeniably real and proved he was the son of God."

    Another good point to make is that this same born to a virgin, son of God, died and rose again story was so popular in that area many, many lifetimes before it was bestowed to Jesus. It's shocking that it caught on!

    Thanks, and I would be interested in reading what you wrote, you can post a link here or email me at

  11. The view at the time was that heaven was just up in the sky.
    Now just where did Jesus go moving at a snails pace without a spacesuit?
    Why bother with such a farce.
    Like god stopping them from building the tower of bable, was god really afraid they could build it to heaven?
    People today do not believe heaven is up in the sky, but only because science has enlightened us on the nature of the solar system.

    The bible says some people saw this, the bible could say 1 person to 1 million say this and since it is not recorded anywhere else but the gospels there is no way to check it.
    This means it is worthless as far as evidence.


  12. For the ppl that disagree with this article, etc. This article remains... In memory of Christopher Hitchens!