Friday, June 15, 2012

A Sick Experiment: The Resurrection Challenge

So I was thinking......

A lot of people apparently think that its no supernatural feat that 12 men could be convinced their friend had resurrected AND that they had seen him...all within less than 3 days after his death.

But I started to push this idea to its logical conclusion. There are some Christian groups that like to offer a monetary reward to people who can, for example, fulfill 8 Messianic prophecies.

But what if they did it with the resurrection? Obviously it would be an unethical sort of thing to do, so its going to be a thought experiment in this case, and not a real bet.

But what if???

The Big Bad Bet

What if we put out a $5,000 reward to any person or organization who could do the following:

The Goal*:

  1. Convince 12 Christians that a recently dead friend had been "resurrected." 
  2. Convince those 12 Christians (through drugs or delusions or whatever) that this resurrected friend wasn't just resurrected, but had personally appeared to each of the 12 Christians.
  3. The hoax has to be pulled off in less than 3 days........
  1. No holograms or modern technology allowed
  2. The Christians get to know the burial location of their friend
  3. Drugs ARE allowed, hallucinogenic or otherwise
CGI of Deceased "Tupac" Performing in Concert

Think about it.

Keep in mind you don't just convince the 12 Christians that their friend has resurrected. You have to convince each of those 12 Christians, through inducing false memory syndrome or hallucinations, that the 12 Christians themselves have seen their dead friend after his death. Convincing them that you are an eyewitness is not allowed. You have to convince THEM that they are eyewitnesses. 

(By the way, the appearances to the disciples and the belief that he had been "resurrected" are accepted among over 99% of scholars who are published on the historical Jesus. So my challenge is historically authentic.) (1)

Easier To Hoax Than Jesus' Resurrection

I am even making it easier to hoax than the resurrection of Jesus:

1) Christians are more open to the idea of a unique individual resurrection before the general resurrection at the end of time. Heck, they believe in one. So convincing this group that their dead friend was raised and appeared to them should be easier to convince than Jews. So any non-Christian group accepting the resurrection challenge is already at an advantage over Jesus' resurrection.

2) All things being equal, it is easier for something to happen if someone tries to make it happen, rather than it happen by accident. It is much more likely that two women will wear the same dress to an event if they try to wear the same dress, than if it happens by coincidence. Therefore, if we let a non-Christian team or organization accept this challenge, they will have yet another advantage over the circumstances surrounding Jesus' resurrection, since they get to try to hoax it.

3) Furthermore, whether it was 36 hours or 72 hours, the disciples were saying "three days later" or "on the third day." The traditional Christian belief is that it was 36 hours. But I am allowing 3 full days. Again, its a lot easier to convince people their friend has been raised when given 3 days instead of a day and a half, like it actually was. 

4) Whoever the "victim" is, its highly impractical that they be the victim of a public execution! The organization accepting the challenge would have to prey on some Christians who had a recently deceased friend who died by natural causes. But of course, doing away with the body is a lot easier when they haven't been publicly executed!

Hold Up....

Someone may not concede my challenge. Perhaps they disagree with the historical facts I am using. 

Perhaps they say that they think the disciples actually lied. OK, I can work with that. In that case, the "resurrection challenge" would be to convince the Christians themselves to hoax the resurrection of their friend....and face criminal charges as well. This may be harder than my challenge, because the idea that any friendly or semi-ethical person would try to hoax the resurrection of their recently deceased friend is just disturbingly immoral. 

What if they say that by "resurrected," the 12 Christians don't have to mean bodily raised from the dead? Fine. But there's the rub. "Resurrection" is not a metaphoric word in Christian subculture. So even if they mean it metaphorically, you have to get them to use the term "resurrected" or "raised from the dead" and fail to explain that it is a metaphor... This is exactly the situation the disciples were in, because for that time period, "resurrection" was not a metaphoric word. (2) If it was going to be used in this way, it was up to them to clarify as such. Which they didn't.....

So I've Been Thinking

So I have been trying to think of what I would do if I had to accept my own challenge. This seems like an extremely difficult task....perhaps impossible. I honestly doubt that I could pull it off, especially if I wasn't allowed to use any kind of modern technology. 

Seriously. Hoaxing a resurrection in three days is hard enough. But trying to convince the people that you are hoaxing that THEY are eyewitnesses......all in just 3 days.....well that's just absurd. 

....But if this is impossible when someone tries to hoax it, how much more impossible is it to happen by sheer accident?

Something to think about. 

*P.S. This isn't a real bet. I can't think of any ethical way to do this challenge without spending a lot of money on the hoax. 

3) Tupac Photo
4) Image for electric chair

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