Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Christ's resurrection was a witnessed fact, not a later fantasy’

Return to article »

Published: Thursday, March 28 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Somewhere in Time, UT


Tyler D
Meridian, ID

“Modern people commonly assume that pre-modern people were stupid… unenlightened by science and awash in superstition.”

Well, they were not stupid, but they were in fact “unenlightened by science and awash in superstition.” To suggest otherwise is the height of intellectual dishonesty.

Stories of people rising from the dead (as proof of magic powers) were common place in the ancient world. As was virgin births, prophecy, miracles, and all sorts of other “evidence” of someone’s divinity.

The story of the rise of Christianity is not so much an account of incredulous apostles, but rather the credulity of subsequent followers who believe in the only written record of this story - a story that defies everything we now know about how the world actually works (and that was written decades after the “facts” – play the “telephone” game with 10 friends for an easy demonstration as to why this matters).

So believe it if you like, and more power to you if it impacts your life for the better. Just don’t call your belief anything that is based on good evidence… it is a leap of faith, period.


@Tyler D

Very well said.

Salt Lake City, UT

What the article fails to mention is that these "eyewitness" accounts in the Bible were not recorded until decades after the event. This greatly reduces their reliability.

Salt Lake City, UT

Keep in mind the presence of Mohammed and Buddha were also witnessed and documented. By the author's logic - this makes them just as legitimate as Christianity.

Phoenix, AZ

@Tyler D

Well said: Good reasoning and thought makes for a much healthier and stronger society better protected against fraud and exploitation .

layton, UT

RE: Tyler D, Just don’t call your belief anything that is based on good evidence… it is a leap of faith? Fulfilled prophecy 2 examples :
…because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Is 53:12)See Mark 15:27-28. Side pierced (Zec 12:10) see John 19:34

It is not true that we do not possess the original text of the Bible. What we do not possess are the original manuscripts
We have accurate well- preserved Copies of the original text. There are some 5,700 early N.T. MS, and they contain all or nearly all of the original text . The original text can be reconstructed 99% accuracy. There is a distinction between the text and the truth of the text. While we have 99% of the original text, 100 % of the truth comes through.

Over 26,000 N.T. quotes from the(2nd c) disciples of the apostles and early church fathers can reconstruct the N.T. less 11 verses.

Phoenix, AZ

Is it possible that there are significant variations between the original manuscripts and the text as with the translation of the Book of Mormon. Also, most of the original manuscripts were interpretations of hearsay, or personal believe. The extant witnesses of the times were the general population of Jews and Romans and scholars of the times, none of whom left witness to the events of the Bible story. It is a basis of faith and wishful thinking of hope. To manufacture authentication is not beneficial to the search for truth.

Westland, MI

Agree completely with the views expressed by Dr. Peterson in his article, with these very important elaborations and clarifications:

The Lord's Supper & Feetwashing - Tuesday April 4, 30 A.D. [13 Nisan].

Crucifixion - Wednesday April 5, 30 A.D. [14 Nisan], 9am until 3pm. Age 34 years+4 days per the Book of Mormon (3rd Nephi 8:5).

Christ in the Paradise of God - Wednesday 3pm until 5am Thursday April 6 [15 Nisan] per Luke 23:43. 15 Nisan Thursday was a special sabbath day ("feast day" or "high day" per John 19:31).

Christ preaching the Gospel to the spirits in the spirit prison in the heart of the earth from this time until 5am Sunday April 9, 30 A.D. [18 Nisan]. "3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth" per Matt.12:40.

Resurrection - 5 am Sunday April 9, 30 A.D. [18 Nisan].


utah bill; I don't think that anyone that I know would dispute the fact that both Mohammed and Buddha lived. I don't think that anyone would dispute the fact that they both died. Now, we come to the crux of the issue. Jesus was resurected. Neither of the others were. there's the difference.

Chandler, AZ

The case for Christ's resurrection is actually quite robust. It has been identified by Antony Flew as the most plausible miracle in history. For those critics who are genuinely interested in not being superficially dismissive, I'd recommend the following two works:

1. The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N. T. Wright
2. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, by Michael Licona

The general consensus of New Testament scholars, both conservative and critical, is that either the resurrection actually occurred or that we do not in fact know what happened. The latter view is telling, because scores of critical theories have been proposed to explain the resurrection. All of them have been roundly rejected by the majority of scholarship. The universally accepted facts among NT scholars just don't support the theories.

One work that I will be reading this summer is Craig Keener's Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts. I will let you know if I recommend it after reading it, but from the reviews it looks like it will be the book for critics to refute when it comes to miracles.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Accounts of Jesus’ resurrection come early in the timeline of Christianity. Precisely how early is not known. The gospel narratives were written a full generation after the fact. But they were relating well-known oral traditions that include skepticism that the miraculous event had actually occurred.

The four gospels do not completely harmonize on details of an empty tomb, appearances of the risen Christ and to whom, etc. Whether or not one regards it as likely or even a rational belief, the tradition that God raised Jesus from the dead does seem to have come very early in the story.

Chandler, AZ

I'd also like to briefly address this prattle that all of the sources on the resurrection come "decades" after the fact. 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 is a very old tradition that is universally recognized by NT scholars (again, critical and conservative) to go back to at least 36 AD, about five years after the resurrection would have occurred. And this is simply when Paul would have received that tradition; it could very well be even earlier than that. I trust that our amateur critics on this forum will cease to use this as an argument in light of this rebuttal.

In any event, "decades" after the fact still stands as very strong evidence in itself. The synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written between 15 and 30 years after the resurrection. And it is nearly universally acknowledged by NT scholars that part of the source material for Mark (the theorized document "Q") would be even older than this. The tradition for the resurrection is in fact quite close to the event, and not nearly as dubious as those unaware of the facts would have us to believe.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Tyler D is correct. You can't call it fact. It's a belief. Not fact.
Too many times we hear people claim to "know" something that is merely faith or belief. That isn't knowledge.
This culture has co-opted the meaning of "belief" with "knowledge. They are not one in the same.

Salt Lake City, UT

How novel to acknowledge that belief in Christ is a "leap of faith." The apostle Thomas learned that ~2000 years ago, but being 2000 years late is better than never. Perhaps in Meridian, ID you want something scientific like dialectical materialism. It didn't work for Marx, Hegel or Engels but then their "religion" was less evidence-based than Christianity.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY


I agree. Good reasoning and thought do make for a much healthier and stronger society better protected against fraud and exploitation.


To a degree, yes (which is why some of the details vary). But to the central fact I think the nature of the act would be sufficient to be burned into the memory for a lifetime.

Tyler D

Though I agree a bit reference science, I hesitate to think about what my great, great grandchildren will think of me and my quaint scientific beliefs or even whether they will consider what I “know” now to even be science.

As to the facts of the gospels, yes, they were written well after but as related by first person witnesses – diminishing the effects of the telephone game.

Ultimately, the physical evidence can only tell us if someone was, not what they were in the divine scheme. That is the realm of the Holy Ghost.

Salt Lake City, UT

Nope. People were just as gullible then as they are now.

Eldersburg, MD

For all skeptics of God’s works including the mortal ministry and eternal mission of Jesus Christ, how enlightened is the world of today having accelerated the abandonment of religion, faith, and morality for the pursuit of self-indulgence, self-gain, and the praise of the world?

How far has human intelligence and worldly achievements progressed with respect to unprecedented widespread contention, conflict, violence, breakdown of the family, degree of unhappiness, emulation of celebrity vanity and hedonism, children practicing dangerous adult behaviors, and many other dramatic shifts in culture done in the name of intellectual freedom and enlightenment?

Never before in recorded history have the teachings of Jesus Christ been abandoned so much by "enlightened" modern thinkers. But who can see the consequences of losing spiritual protection by abandoning real truth over distractions and deceptions of rationalization and the intelligence of worldliness?

To suggest that the works of humanity today have "enlightened" the world, is to ignore how these trends are a sad example of a failure to believe in God, which has the same type of consequences as written in the scriptures. Such is walking in darkness where truth becomes relative.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@brokenclay – “I trust that our amateur critics on this forum will cease to use this as an argument in light of this rebuttal.”

Not quite…

Paul was not an eyewitness to the events of the gospels so I don’t think hearsay counts as good evidence (unless you believe one man’s vision counts as good evidence… oops, sorry - I just realized the irony of that comment on this forum).

And the best (non-biased) evidence we have regarding the dates of each gospel is as follows:

Mark – 65-70AD
Matthew – 80-85AD
Luke – 80-85AD
John – 90-110AD

And it’s worth noting that the Jesus most Christians identify is the one depicted by John (the Jesus who proclaimed his power & glory in full from the get go). The Jesus depicted in Mark (the earliest and perhaps most reliable gospel), by contrast, is a far more mysterious figure that confounds everyone (even his own disciples until very late) about who he is.

And so we can actually see the telephone game happening from one gospel to the next. We can only imagine how things evolved in the ~30 years before Mark.

Phoenix, AZ

It is amazing how those who hanger for the good old days apparently have so little understanding or appreciate the terrible human conditions of past history. Things are way better today and improving all the time.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments