This is Part V in a series on apologetics between Camaron Smith and I. If you want to read the other articles click on the following links:
Part I What is Apologetics?
Part II People and Apologetics
Part III Christianity and the Questions of Right and Wrong
Part IV Reflections On Why the Biblical Story Makes the Most Sense
Part VI Deconstruction and Reconstruction: Questioning the Faith
There is a unique difference between Christianity and the vast majority of world religions. Christianity makes powerful, life-altering claims that can be examined through historical investigation.
Unlike certain religious philosophies (such as Buddhism or Confucianism) or ancient polytheistic beliefs (such as the Nordic myths or Hinduism), Christianity is not based on the teaching of a single “enlightened” philosopher or on events that occurred in the “time before time”.
Rather, Christianity is based on events that occurred in real time. For example, Jesus was said to be born during the reign of King Herod (Matthew 2). He performed miracles in particular towns such as the raising of the widow’s son in the town of Nain (Luke 7). Jesus was crucified and rose again during the governorship of Pontius Pilate (Matt 27:2).
These aren’t irrelevant details. When a Christian in AD 40 says “You can check out the facts for yourself”, the people of the day could do exactly that. And what happened?
Christianity exploded across the Mediterranean.
When a Christian in the 21st century says “You can check out the facts for yourself”, you can do exactly that.
For example, if Christ did not physically rise from the dead, then the Christian faith is futile, according to an early Christian leader named Paul (1 Cor 15:17). The Christian faith would be the greatest hoax perpetrated upon humanity.
But if Christ did rise from the dead, then everything changes. Christ really was who He claimed to be and has provided reconciliation between God and all those who would entrust their lives to Him. Jesus really is ruling and reigning over the world’s circumstances today and is wisely bringing all of human history towards His loving and just ends.
Here is the critical question that every human being must answer for themselves. Who is Jesus? Was He a liar? A lunatic? A figure of legend? Or was the Lord He claimed to be?
The personal stakes (both positive and negative) for each and every person reading this post are far too high to ignore.
So is there any evidence that confirms Christ’s claims? Well, even though we live roughly 2000 years after the events of Christianity, we have a large amount of historical evidence that we can examine today.
The discussions regarding this evidence range from “Everyday Jane” level to highly technical academic tomes. In this post, I’ve linked a number of “Everyday” introductory resources.
I’m always happy to discuss any of the evidence below. Also, if you would like more technical level gear I can provide that as well.
As you examine the evidence below it is natural for further questions to arise. I would strongly encourage you to catch up with a knowledgeable Christian and bounce some of your deeper questions by them. There is a very high chance they have asked the same questions themselves and they would be more than happy to pass on some of their discoveries and life stories with you.
ARE THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS HISTORICALLY RELIABLE?
Everyday level introductory article:
Excellent introductory book:
EVIDENCE FOR THE EVENTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The below video was filmed on a potato, but it is still good:
Good Intermediate Book:
THE EVIDENCE CONFIRMING THE RESURRECTION
The book listed below is an academic work, however it is widely considered the best defense of the Resurrection in contemporary scholarship:
BEST “ALL-ROUND” RESOURCES FOR EXPLORING THE EVIDENCE FOR CHRISTIANITY
Name it. The evidential question you have regarding Christianity is probably in this book. https://www.koorong.com/product/evidence-that-demands-a-verdict-anglicized-josh-mcdowell-sean_9781780788333?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.koorong.com%2Fsearch%2Fresults%3Fw%3Dthe%2Bnew%2Bevidence%2Bthatdemands%2Ba%2Bverdict#product-tabs
Name it. The evidential question you have regarding Christianity is probably in this website.
The Search Bar is your friend..