Facts that only fit the resurrection.
If you have been reading apologetics, you have heard of the minimal facts argument for the resurrection advanced by Licona and Habermas. These facts are
- that jesus died by crucifixion
- there was an empty tomb
- people reported meeting the risen Jesus (Paul has 500 of them. And I just want to know the names of two of these people)
- conversion of skeptics
- the growth of the christian church
It’s interesting to note here that this was a tactical change in approach by the Christian apologists. When it was no longer tenable to demonstrate the existence of Jesus, they felt if an argument can be made for the death and resurrection, then it follows that for a person to die, he must have lived.
We know that before the edicts making Christianity the religion of the empire, it existed as an underground cult. And two, growth of a religion does not attest to the truth of its claims. The skeptics referred to here are Paul and James the brother of Jesus. Paul tells us he was a persecutor of the Jesus sect. Paul tells us he is the foremost evangelist. I have seen many of this type. May the real Paul stand up!
It is curious that Jesus after resurrecting, chose to appear to 500 anonymous people who only Paul knows but never once do we hear he was seen by the skeptics in the town or even paying a courtesy call to Pilate just for laughs. All who saw him were his followers. I could concede that he didn’t want to be crucified a second time, but this just doesn’t sell.
Walter Cassels again
[..]The actual occurrence of the Resurrection and ascension, however, is certainly a matter of evidence and, to retort, it is scarcely decent that any man should be required to believe what is so opposed to human experience, upon more imperfect evidence than is required for the transfer of land or the right to a title, simply because ecclesiastical dogmas are founded upon them, and it is represented that unless they be true our hope is vain.
[..] Proportionately, it should be as unparalleled in its force as those events are in fact.