Why Is The World So Fair?

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If it be all for naught, for nothingness
At last, why does God make the world so fair?
Why spill this golden splendor out across
The western hills, and light the silver lamp
Of eve? Why give me eyes to see, and soul
To love so strong and deep? Then, with a pang
This brightness stabs me through, and wakes within
Rebellious voice to cry against all death?
Why set this hunger for eternity
To gnaw my heartstrings through, if death ends all?
If death ends all, then evil must be good,
Wrong must be right, and beauty ugliness.
God is a Judas who betrays His Son,
And with a kiss, damns all the world to hell,–
If Christ rose not again.

–Anonymous soldier killed in World War I,
from: Masterpieces of Religious Verse

What Changed These Men?

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What changed these very ordinary men (who were such cowards that they didn’t dare stand too near the cross in case they got involved) into heroes who would stop at nothing? A swindle? Hallucination? Spooky nonsense in a darkened room? Or Somebody quietly doing what He said He’d do–walk right through death?

–J. B. Phillips

Suppose No Resurrection Occurred

CehWt2oW4AAMVaXSuppose that no resurrection or miracles occurred: how then could a dozen men, poor, coarse, and apprehensive, turn the world upside down? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, declares Ditton, then either we must believe that a small, unlearned band of deceivers overcame the powers of the world and preached an incredible doctrine over the face of the whole earth, which in turn received this fiction as the sacred truth of God; or else, if they were not deceivers, but enthusiasts, we must believe that these extremists, carried along by the impetus of extravagant fancy, managed to spread a falsity that not only common folk, but statesmen and philosophers as well, embraced as the sober truth. Because such a scenario is simply unbelievable, the message of the apostles, which gave birth to Christianity, must be true.

Belief in Jesus’ resurrection flourished in the very city where Jesus had been publicly crucified. If the people of Jerusalem thought that Jesus’ body was in the tomb, few would have been prepared to believe such nonsense as that Jesus had been raised from the dead. And, even if they had so believed, the Jewish authorities would have exposed the whole affair simply by pointing to Jesus’ tomb or perhaps even exhuming the body as decisive proof that Jesus had not been raised.

Three great, independently established facts—the empty tomb, the resurrection appearances, and the origin of the Christian faith—all point to the same marvelous conclusion: that God raised Jesus from the dead.

― William Lane Craig,
Reasonable Faith

Who has witnessed the flying spaghetti monster?

imagesDear Richard Dawkins,

How Many Eyewitnesses of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
Have Willingly Died for Their Witness?

No group who has claimed to witness the flying spaghetti monster has died rather than deny their claim. Yet, early Christians suffered poverty, torture and death rather than deny they had witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No other religion presents such a set of claims.

The reason there is a church of Jesus Christ and NOT a church of the flying spaghetti monster is that those who walked with Jesus witnessed something that evoked such faith in them that they were willing to be impoverished, tortured and killed rather than deny what they have seen.

–Matt Rawlings
http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2014/03/how-many-eyewitnesses-of-the-flying-spaghetti-monster-have-willingly-died-for-their-witness.html?utm_content=buffer60d12&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

A broken dream and an empty tomb

NT WrightIt will not do … to say that Jesus’ disciples were so stunned and shocked by his death, so unable to come to terms with it, that they projected their shattered hopes onto the screen of fantasy and invented the idea of Jesus’ ‘resurrection’ as a way of coping with a cruelly broken dream. That has an initial apparent psychological plausibility, but it won’t work as serious first-century history. We know of lots of other messianic and similar movements in the Jewish world roughly contemporary with Jesus. In many cases the leader died a violent death at the hands of the authorities. In not one single case do we hear the slightest mention of the disappointed followers claiming that their hero had been raised from the dead. They knew better. ‘Resurrection’ was not a private event. It involved human bodies. There would have to be an empty tomb somewhere. A Jewish revolutionary whose leader had been executed by the authorities, and who managed to escape arrest himself, had two options: give up the revolution, or find another leader. We have evidence of people doing both. Claiming that the original leader was alive again was simply not an option. Unless, of course, he was.

–N.T. Wright