Challenge: The stories about Jesus’ resurrection are borrowed from earlier myths in various ancient religions
I don’t know about you, but I seem to bump into this objection from time to time, particularly online. The basic thrust of this objection levelled at the Christian faith is that the story of a god’s resurrection is nothing new. That, in fact, it is a popular feature of ancient religious beliefs. Therefore, because we can reject the many other ‘resurrection accounts’ it should follow that we ought to reject Christianity.
That in a nutshell is the logic behind this objection. So to answer the objection we need to tackle the logic. We need to ask questions to pry open assumptions. Questions like, “Should Christianity be placed in to the same bracket as other ancient religions?” “What cultural framework should we interpret these ancient stories by?” “Does the historical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ place that episode into a unique category?” etc.
Focus.org.uk have produced an 8-minute video on the objection that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was borrowed from pagan myths (embedded above). In the clip Focus interview four top scholars on this subject, who take this challenge and begin to respond with some helpful critiques of the question posed.
Each one of the four scholars has contributed to the subject in hand, some at considerable length (see below for further reading). Whilst the answers could fill hours of video, the scholars have cut to the heart of the question to give us a snapshot of the beginning of a response.
Ed: Have you come across this objection? Why not share your thoughts and experiences in dealing with this objection in the comments below?
- Michael Licona has written the mightily impressive The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach although the co-authored – and very good – The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus is a lighter introduction.
- Tom Wright has written 860 exhaustive pages on this subject in his The Resurrection of the Son of God. Leaving no stone unturned, Wright comprehensively covers all the angles to this and surrounding objections on the Resurrection.
- William Lane Craig offers a great introduction to the reliability of the case for the Resurrection in a chapter in his foundational work of apologetics, Reasonable Faith. Craig expands this in his book The Son Rises and a published write-up of a debate Craig took part in entitle Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment? is also available.
In addition, it’s worth noting that we have covered the 4 Minimal Facts of the Resurrection on this blog. These 4 facts underline the unique historical grounding for the the Resurrection of Jesus. In this way the evidence sets apart this resurrection narrative from the others found in ancient religions.
- Part 1: Jesus Died
- Part 2: The Tomb was Empty
- Part 3: The Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus
- Part 4: The Transformation of the Disciples
More Short Answers to Common Objections to Christianity from Focus
Focus have produced many short video responses to common objections raised against Christianity. You can find them online on their YouTube Channel.