God doesn’t need humans to defend Him.
Christianity is an ancient religion, over 2000 years old. In the new world of science and intellect, either Christianity can stand up to intense investigation or it should be rightfully dissed as a relic of the past and a hoax. Everywhere you go on the internet, debates kick-off about whether Christ is real or not or whether Christianity is a copy of other religions or traditions. Philosophers, atheist and skeptics battle to be the ones to scratch your itching ear, I understand because I’ve been there.
Dr. Simon Greenleaf (Harvard University) said, “According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of Jesus Christ and his resurrection than for just about any other event in history.” Here’s some facts that may help you make an educated decision.
Despite all the internet chatter, Christianity actually does have mountains of evidence to support it.
Here’s 11 facts that support it.
1.) In ancient times, the existence of Jesus was never denied by even those who opposed Christianity.
Christopher Tuckett states that the existence of Jesus and his crucifixion by Pontius Pilate seem to be part of the bedrock of historical tradition, based on the availability of non-Christian evidence. Graham Stanton states that “today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed”.
A number of ancient non-Christian documents, such as Jewish and Greco-Roman sources, have been used in historical analyses of the existence of Jesus. These include the works of 1st century Roman historians Josephus and Tacitus. Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman has stated that “few have doubted the genuineness” of Josephus’ reference to Jesus in Antiquities 20, 9, 1. Bart D. Ehrman states that the existence of Jesus and his crucifixion by the Romans is attested to by a wide range of sources, including Josephus and Tacitus. In fact, almost all modern scholars consider the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion to be the two most historically certain facts about him. (Interestingly enough, no one ever seems to have denied the historicity of Jesus until around the 18th or 19th centuries.)
2.) Jesus made claims about himself
In the Holy Bible, Jesus makes many claims. His claims about himself are so extraordinary that the only rational conclusion is that he is either who he claims he is (and therefore certainly not a mere man or a myth) or he was a madman or a blatant liar. (either way he can’t be both God in the flesh and a liar!)
3.) At least eight of the apostles were killed for their faith
Even at the moment of their death, not one apostle recanted their story, including the public claims of Jesus. Who do you know would purposely die for a lie? I don’t know any. Hundreds, to thousands of Christians died brutal deaths for their conviction. Again, who purposely dies for a lie?
4.) There are solid proofs of these martyr deaths.
Hard evidence has surfaced from Josephus regarding apostle James’ murder, and the unanimous testimony of the early church fathers regarding Paul and Peter’s murders. This not only proves these mens existence and death but also their faith and willingness to die for Jesus. Again, who purposely dies for a lie?
5.) Jesus did miraculous deeds.
An important point is that so many of his deeds were done in the public (“as you yourselves know” Acts 2:22). The fact that Jesus worked miracles was even attested to, at least indirectly, by Josephus and authors of the Talmud. The miraculous acts are completely consistent with the claims that Jesus made and with Old Testament predictions about the coming Messiah. This is very important especially knowing that the Jews generally denied His divinity and would have delighted in proving that he never did miracles.
6.) Jesus is the Messiah
Jesus is the prophesied Messiah because, even as he claimed in (Luke 24:44) he fulfilled the expectations of the Jewish Messiah as recorded in the historical prophecies and in the many historical foreshadows in the Old Testament. One can mention many specific historical prophecies, including Zechariah 9:9, Zechariah 12:10. Psalms 110, Daniel 7, Isaiah 52, 53 and others are messianic, even by Jewish standards. Their fulfillment is a matter of historical record. Plus, the evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls leaves no doubt that these Messianic expectations come from hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
7.) Jesus was bodily resurrected
This seems to put the nail in the coffin of both the man and the myth conclusion. The facts remain to be explained. Why was the tomb empty and why did hundreds of eye witnesses see Jesus? The other proposed explanations (stolen body, swoon, etc.) simply do not work. The supernatural explanation is not mathematically proved, but it is easily the most reasonable explanation of the facts, in agreement with the miraculous deeds of Jesus and with the prophecies about the Messiah.
8.) Jesus Christ has transformed more lives than perhaps all other notable humans combined.
His presence in the lives of believers is throughout the ages noting less than astounding! People claiming to be transformed and some of the biggest leaders ever have claimed the same. (Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Abolitionist, almost all U.S. Presidents) and these transformations demand a reasonable explanation. The emergence of the Jesus movement demands a respect of the reality of the biblical Jesus.
9.) The Bible has transformed more lives than perhaps all other notable books combined.
The bible is basically the most printed and purchased book of all time. It has been sifted, studied, commentated upon and dissected more than any book in history. (Nah…for real!) Volumes of books have been written about it and if they were stacked on top of one another they would reach to the sky. (This has actually been measured by some very bored people)
Here’s an excerpt from acclaimed writer, author Jim McGuiggan:
Even if the non-believer can’t accept the Bible as “the inspired word of God” it makes no sense to dismiss it as shallow and of little account. On anyone’s estimate it is a profoundly influential volume that has shaped nations down the centuries and enriched their understanding and pursuit of social justice and personal transformation. I confess it irks me greatly to hear talk-show hosts silence those who quote scripture and then ask for Freudian opinion for some other guest. One doesn’t have to believe in the verbal inspiration of scripture before he or she can recognise that the Bible is the most profound book in Western literature. (Thomas H. Huxley, the agnostic, was a perfect illustration of this truth.) And to dismiss scripture as though it hasn’t changed the world for the better but give (almost amusing) credence to the latest psychological theorising is little short of ludicrous. (The most trenchant criticisms of the whole psychology enterprise these days come from professionals within the field. They’re helping no one, they say, and least of all the practitioners.) So we should let the Bible be heard because, at the very least, it has earned that right as surely as Freud or Maslow or Fromm. (That last sentence strikes me as amusing on the one hand and stupid on the other. Imagine putting these men in the same league with the Hebrew-Christian scriptures, even for comparison sake?)
10.) The New Testament descriptions of Jesus, various rulers and places are very matter of fact.
Luke (one of the authors of the gospels) is a historian of the highest order. He records more than ninety places and dozens of rulers. In every case we can verify from outside sources, he gets the name of the person and even the title right, when these are very difficult to get right in the confusing world of Roman rulers in the Near East. At least nine non-Christian authors in the first and early second century, such as Tacitus, Josephus, Suetonius and others mention Jesus. In point of fact, there are about an equal number of historical references to the emperor Tiberius and no one questions the general accuracy of these references to the emperor who ruled during the ministry of Jesus.
This last one is important for me. I hear so many reports that Christianity has been stolen from ancient Egypt. I did some research and these claims started falling apart the more I studied.
11.) Claims that Jesus, his birth, mission & life was copied from ancient Egyptian stories have been proven false.
After detailed study, you find that a large majority of the claimed parallels are plain old ordinary lies. The small proportion which can actually be found in ancient sources comes from after the Christian age, and was almost certainly borrowed from Christianity and not vice versa.
Attis – died and been resurrected on the third day – it is simply not true. I challenge anyone to find an ancient source which says this. There is none.
Horus – Believers in him never believed that he died and was resurrected on the third day – Anyone claiming his believers did is simply not telling the truth!
Mithra – Some Mithraites believed that he had 12 followers, but the idea of 12 disciples of Mithra came AFTER the gospels were written. The religion of Mithraism was begun after Christianity. The Dec. 25 birth dates was clearly applied to Mithra and others AFTER it was already assigned to Jesus.
Krishna – The oldest sources we have on Krishna come from hundreds of years after Jesus. By the fourth century, Jesus was the dominant religious figure in the Mediterranean and the Near East. Believers in other religions borrowed from Christianity. NOT vice versa.
Dionysus – The oldest sources we have on Dionysus also come from hundreds of years after Jesus.
Mithra, Krishna, Dionysus, Horus, etc. These are not real people. We do not know where they lived, we do not know when they died. We know absolutely nothing about them as historical figures because they are NOT historical figures.
Jesus was a real person. We know where he was born, where he lived, where and how he died, the names of his father, mother, brothers and more than 25 of his closest followers. We know the apostles names and many are mentioned in non-Christian sources. Most of them were killed for believing in Christ.
Buddha was a real person. We know approximately when and where he lived and when he died. Of course, there are few if any parallels between Buddha and Jesus because he was a real person, and therefore harder to mythologize. These other Egyptian characters are easy to parallel simply because they didn’t exist, therefore there’s no one to argue the comparisons.