We are all curious to know what will happen to us after death. When a loved one dies, we want to see him again as soon as our turn comes. Will we have a glorious encounter with the one we love or is death the end of all conscience?
Jesus taught us that life does not end after the death of our bodies. He made this impressive statement: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he is dead, will live; ” According to the eyewitnesses closest to Jesus, He demonstrated his power over death by rising the dead after being crucified and buried for three days. This is the belief that has given Christians hope for almost 2,000 years.
But some people have no hope for the afterlife. Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote, "I believe that when I die, I will rot and nothing of my ego will survive." Russel obviously did not believe Jesus' words.
Jesus' followers wrote that He appeared alive to them after the crucifixion and burial. They claim that in addition to seeing him, they ate with him, touched him and stayed together for 40 days.
So, is this simply a fiction that has developed over time or is it based on solid evidence? The answer to that question is central to Christianity. For if Jesus rose the dead, it would validate everything He said about Himself, about the meaning of life and about our destiny after death.
If Jesus rose the dead then he alone has the answers about the meaning of life and what we will face after death. On the other hand, if the story of Jesus' resurrection is not true, then Christianity is based on a lie. Theologian R. C. Sproul put it in the following terms:
“The truth of the resurrection is vital to Christianity. If Christ was raised the dead by God, then He has the credentials and certification that no other religious leader has. Buddha is dead. Muhammad is dead. Moses is dead. Confucius is dead. But, according to… Christianity, Christ lives. ”
Many skeptics have tried to contest the resurrection. Josh McDowell was one of those who spent more than 700 hours researching the evidence for the resurrection. McDowell made the following statement regarding the importance of the resurrection:
"I have come to the conclusion that, of two, Jesus' resurrection is one of the most malicious, cruel and inhumane scams ever imposed on human minds OR it is the most fantastic fact in history."
So, is Jesus' resurrection a fantastic fact or a cruel myth? To arrive at that answer, we must examine the evidence of history and draw our own conclusions. Let's see what the skeptics who investigated the resurrection discovered on their own Cynics and skeptics
Not everyone is willing to examine the evidence in detail. Bertrand Russell admits that his opinion about Jesus "was not based" on historical facts. Historian Joseph Campbell, without citing any evidence, calmly claimed to his viewers on the American television channel PBS, that Jesus' resurrection is not a factual event. Other scholars, like John Dominic Crossan, the Jesus Research Seminar, agree with him. None of these skeptics has provided any evidence to support their point of view.