Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H


The gospels say that a miracle healing man called Jesus Christ lived. They say he died by crucifixion and three days later he rose again. The tomb he was placed in was found wide open with the stone that had been across the entrance moved back and the tomb was mysteriously empty. His body was gone. Certain witnesses claimed that Jesus appeared to them as a resurrected being.


According to the swoon theory, Jesus Christ went unconscious on the cross and seemed to be dead and was thought to have been dead. Here, it is necessary to outline it to discount a supernatural reason for the tomb being empty.


Jairus daughter story where the girl was declared dead when Jesus said she was not could be a clue that his own rising from the dead was not literal. The story says he raised her from the dead.  It is strange that when the disciples knew that people were saying Jesus was John raised from the dead and when Jesus said he would rise that they couldnít recognise what rising from the dead meant.  That would only happen with a non-literal interpretation.  The gospels use the very literal sounding prediction that Elijah who went to heaven and didn't die would come back.  They use it to argue that it refers to John the Baptist who it is clear was not the literal Elijah.  That use of scripture could tell us that we must not take stuff too literally.


Some feel that Jesus could have been given a drug on the cross so that he seemed dead.  John took the story of Jesus getting vinegar to drink from Psalm 69:21.  But it also mentions the subjects food being poisoned!  John does not even mention that!  Do not forget that some think Jesus was poisoned on the cross to make him seem dead!  As the gospel says information about what must have happened to Jesus can be got from the "predictions" of the Old Testament it is unwittingly giving us the right to presume that Jesus got opium or something!  Cherry-picking prophecies is not an option!

The Gospels never prove that Jesus was dead or even nailed up. Many were simply tied to their crosses. The gospels only assume that Jesus was dead so there is no evidence that he was. If they had evidence it would have been based on Jesus seeming to have stopped breathing but that proves nothing. The centurion in Mark 15 saw how Jesus "died" and said he was the Son of God meaning he was taking it for granted that he was dead without checking any further. This was the boss and he would not have tolerated any of his underlings stabbing Jesus to test if he was dead so Johnís gospel lied when it said Jesus was stabbed. The gospel itself says the people who nailed Jesus were careless. It is no use saying that they could have been put to death for failing to put Jesus to death and they would not have been careless for the gospel says they did something stupid and people do stupid things. There is no evidence that everybody who made mistakes with executions was really penalised with death.
The awful Handbook of Christian Apologetics says that if any Roman soldier let a capital criminal escape they were put to death (page 183). This is supposed to prove that the swoon theory must be false. But how do you know that nobody was put to death? If the soldiers made an understandable mistake they would have got off. The Handbook should be arguing that if Jesus rose from the dead making it appear that he had been allowed to escape the soldiers would have been executed.

It also says that the soldiers were sure Jesus was dead when they did not break his legs which was done to make sure crucifixion victims died and died fast. If Jesus had been expected to rise again and they did not want that they would have broken his legs to make double sure he would not rise.

The not breaking the legs could be taken as proof that the soldiers had been slack. These things happen. The Handbook seems to think everybody is very reasonable!


The soldiers, the New Testament wants us to believe, took time to examine Jesus to make sure he was dead.  That is hard to imagine.  Surely they just broke the legs of men that seemed dead in case they were in a coma or ready to die and so looked dead?  Is it true that Christ's legs were not broken?  Who knows? 

Plus the Handbook does not really believe that the soldiers were incapable of letting a capital criminal go free when it believes the Matthew story that the soldiers were willing to commit the capital offence of accepting bribes to lie about how Jesus vanished from the tomb.

A soldier allegedly cut Jesusí side to see if he was dead. The flow of blood from the side indicates that Jesus was probably still alive after he was reckoned to be dead. When the soldier did not thrust him again it indicates that there was a plan afoot to save Jesusí life. John, the sole record of the incident, indicates that there was a plan to save Jesusí life. John, the sole record of the incident, would tell us if the wound was meant to be fatal but he doesnít. At Johnís time, some heretics denied that Jesus died. Then John hinted that the wound was just a test.

A person not breathing was assumed to prove that they were dead up to a few centuries ago (page 89, The Turin Shroud is Genuine). But it does not.
Val Grieve argues that Jesus could not have been buried alive for the Romans would have ensured with special care that this could not happen for he was their most important criminal for they would die for it if they didnít (page 12, Verdict on the Empty Tomb). But what more could they do than go by the seeming cessation of breathing? And the Gospels say that Pilate did not even want Jesus dead. If true, then the soldiers would have taken less care. If the Romans could be bribed to lie about what they did at the tomb they could have been bribed to falsely certify that Jesus was dead.


The earliest gospel, the Gospel of Mark has Joseph of Arimathea wanting to bury Jesus so while Jesus is "dead" on the cross he goes to Pilate and asks for Jesus's soma.  Soma means a body that is alive.  Pilate though surprised to hear Jesus is dead takes him as saying he is dead and replies using the word ptoma which is the word for corpse.  If Joseph was implying Jesus was not really dead as in resurrected on some other level of reality then that makes him the first to say Jesus is alive.  The context probably is how Pilate knew this man had found that Jesus was dead which is why he didn't contradict him when he used the word for a living body not a dead one.  It would be very serious if people are saying Jesus is alive as a man even when he is dead on the cross.  The Gnostics said that Jesus did not die for he was alive in some other sense.  Some interpreted that to mean that his death was an illusion.  Do we find in Mark then that Joseph was the first to suggest that Jesus was resurrected and this resurrection had little or nothing to do with the corpse on the cross?
Pilate is surprised when told that that Jesus died so soon. Obviously, Pilate despite having had thousands crucified never encountered anybody dying that fast. This would indicate that despite the lies in Catholic books, Jesus was not treated harshly enough for it to kill him that fast.
We do not know if Jesus was nailed. If he was he might not have been nailed in the feet. The gospel evidence indicates that Jesus could have went into a coma on the cross or even simulated death.
There is no need to believe that Jesusí crucifixion was fatal even if you pretend that the gospels are inerrant.


Christians stress that if Jesus came around in the tomb he would have been trapped and not got out.  This presupposes that he did get out only because he rose from the dead and was able to pass through the stone like a ghost.

Jesus could have been entombed alive. He could have got out of the tomb by himself or perhaps he was never buried in it in the first place.


It has happened, like with Aimee Semple McPherson, that a person who was thought to potentially have the power to rise from the dead that precautions were taken to let them escape from their graves.


Jesus allegedly predicted he would be back.  The apostles at the time would have thought he meant just reviving from death and all would be like it was before.  They did not imagine a magical body type of thing at that stage.  So if Jesus rose he needed to get out of the tomb.  Maybe that was why he was put in a private tomb in a private garden!


There is no evidence that the stone -


was not left ajar


that there was no lever so that if you were inside you could use it to shift the stone.


Perhaps somebody just went to the tomb to secretly get the stone to move in case Jesus needed to get out. Getting into a private garden and getting away again without being caught should have not been that difficult.
Jesus might have been laid to rest by people who were sure he was dead whereas he was still alive and got out of the tomb and met the disciples afterwards believing himself that he had risen from the dead.
Even many of the sceptics hold that Jesus was a healer and hold that he may have had strange but natural abilities. The gospels speak a lot about Jesus' healings. Curiously they seem more anxious to verify them than the resurrection of Jesus. They get a bigger focus. If the stories are true, then it means that we can shut the mouths of those who say that Jesus rose from the dead. It means we are dealing with a man who may have faked the resurrection using extraordinary powers. Indeed that is what we should think for the resurrection evidence is poor in comparison to the evidence for the healings.
Jesus could have been using yogic techniques and healing powers on himself to survive the crucifixion and heal rapidly and get strong enough to escape the tomb. The Roman Catholic Church reports thousands of cases of people who despite all the odds get better very quickly and in an amazingly short space of time every year. But because such cases are not instant and it makes no sense to imagine God doing a miracle of healing without it being instant the Church does not recognise such occurrences as miraculous. There you have it. The extraordinary can happen and still not be a miracle.
The stone could have been moved by the earthquake Matthew mentions Ė Matthew does not say how the angel moved the stone so he may have thought the angel caused the earthquake to shift it. Jesus might have hid when the women looked in and left when the coast was clear. Jesus could have moved the stone himself for sometimes you can shift a heavy stone more easily with a lever. And there is no evidence that the stone was that heavy. It would have been like a round flat flag stone.
If Jesus left the tomb alive he might not have been strong enough or brave enough to close the tomb again. The open tomb may suggest that he left the usual way or that whoever took him out was in a hurry to get him medical help and left the tomb open. If Jesus had died after they would not have been able to get him back. Perhaps the guards had been told though the tomb was sealed to keep checking up on it in case Jesus would come back to life so that he could be slain again and Jesus tricked them and sneaked out when they were not looking but were inside the tomb? Perhaps the guards were bribed by Joseph of Arimathea to let Jesus go in peace if he revived.
It seems Jesus hung around outside the tomb long enough for Mary Magdalene came along and met him. Magdalene must have seen Jesus, if that was who it was, with a hoe or something when she mistook him for the gardener (John 20:15). When he had such a tool it is suspicious especially that early in the morning. He was either leaning on it or he had used it to get out of the tomb or both. The gardener would have been probably an employee of Joseph who owned the tomb and could have been in the habit of putting his implements inside the tomb. It is doubtful that the stone was heavy.
The Jews did not close tombs properly for the first three days in case the person would revive (page 89, The Turin Shroud is Genuine). They would have done this especially in the case of Jesus if they thought he could raise the dead and heal. The stone for the tomb of Jesus would have been in place well enough to keep animals out but Jesus could have got out. Or maybe he called out to a passer-by through an opening who knowing that nobody would ever know that he helped Jesus out of the tomb after moving the stone and gave him some clothes helped him. But if everybody was sure there was no hope for Jesus the tomb might have been sealed completely. But then why seal the tomb completely if the women were coming on Sunday morning? Hoare says that the bereaved occasionally employed people to watch the tomb for them in case the person would come round (page 89, The Turin Shroud is Genuine). But the Gospels imply that this was not done with Jesus when Matthew says Roman guards were needed and when he and the rest say the women worried about getting the stone moved. The watchers might have helped Jesus out of the tomb.  Perhaps the Romans let them do the close watching while they just pranced about the area. By the way, the watchers would not have stayed inside the tomb to watch for the Jews thought that the tombs were religiously unclean. Ordinary Jews would have watched the tomb. The Romans would not have watched if they did for the watchers were near enough to the city to summon them at the first sign of trouble Ė it is possible that if the Jews got a guard that the guard was never intended to be very near the tomb all the time (a possibility that refutes the view that if Matthew is telling the truth about the guards then Jesus could not have been stolen and shows that Matthew failed to be convincing). The watchers would have probably been friends of Jesus and picked and paid by the filthy-rich Joseph of Arimathea and would have been happy to help Jesus to safety or steal his body and tell the Jews they fell asleep and some disciples stole Jesus.
Matthew does not say that anybody saw the stone being moved. He says that the angel appeared and moved the stone and make the soldiers faint but that is all. This can fit Mark who says the women came to find the tomb open. But Matthew is only guessing or interpreting and his interpretation is arbitrary and not binding on us. Donít think that the angel moving the rock means that Jesus could not have done it.
If there were Roman Guards at the tomb they might not have been looking when Jesus got out or were allowed to sleep when the watchers took over. The noise of the stone shifting would have been ignored for they were near the city and there was plenty of noise. Matthew tells just that the guards were careless even with regard to their own lives for the Jews could have had them accused of stealing the body when they were told that Jesus had vanished and a magic man appeared.
Christians say Jesus would not have been hanging around the tomb if he survived the normal way and was not a supernatural being who had no need to fear anybody. The gospels never say that he was hanging around but only that he was seen. He told Magdalene to let him go according to John so he was in a hurry to make himself scarce in case Roman guards would show up. He didnít give Mary a sensible reason to let him go. Jesus could not tell her if he survived non-miraculously in case guards would force the truth out of her.
In John 20:17 Jesus tells Magdalene not to keep touching him for he hasn't ascended yet to God. This implies that Jesus was not glorified. He was a suffering ordinary looking and ordinary man then. He tells her to tell the apostles that he was ascending to God as if he had no intention of meeting up with them. The John gospel certainly accidentally infers that Jesus somehow managed to survive the crucifixion. It would be very odd if God raised Jesus as if he were just a normal man again to turn him into a magical being later. We read that Jesus appeared to the twelve later which could have been a vision imagined by the apostles. If they suspected Jesus was alive they could have been caught up in mass hallucination. It is not even said that they experienced all the same thing during their visions.
Jesus was not seen rising from the dead. He is even presented as disguising himself after the resurrection which is surely strange behaviour for a man who had supposedly been turned into a magical being by the resurrection. Instead of explaining to the witnesses of the resurrection that his body is a real body with magical properties he uses tricks like eating fish to supposedly make this point. That would only confuse them. He was too real.

There is no evidence that if Jesus survived the cross he would have bled to death in the tomb. The wounds need not have been that serious. The cloths would have functioned as bandages and the sticky ointments would have stopped the blood and been antiseptic. But even without them he could have been okay.

Jesus could have walked despite his wounded feet for he had to walk for his life. That would have made him switch off the pain.
There is no evidence that nails pierced Jesus' feet so he could have walked out of his tomb. The New Testament picks out bits of Psalms as prophecies of Jesus disregarding the context. It might have done exactly the same with Psalm 22 which speaks of a man having his hands and feet pierced. It never says the whole Psalm is about Jesus.

His tacky wrappings might not have stuck to him like superglue especially if he was sweaty, dirty and bloody so he could have slipped out of them easily. He had plenty of time to get them off and he had to for they were an encumbrance. Jesus was buried in haste for the Sabbath was close so he might not have been well wrapped up in the bandages. He must have left the tomb naked or if the burial was just before nightfall on Friday because of the Sabbath which started on Friday night there could have been unused cloths in the tomb that he could have worn. There were plenty of clothes hanging out to dry for him to take. Jesus had to get help so nakedness would not have made him unable to leave the tomb.

If Jesus got out himself and the guards found him they might have taken Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea who had taken responsibility for the tomb. And even more so when he represented the Sanhedrin and if they were behind the attempted execution for it was their concern. He could have bribed them to say nothing and Matthew says they were corrupt. If Pilate had wanted to save Jesus and made no secret of it though the Jews fanatically hated Jesus, the Romans could not have allowed Jesus to be free for it would look as if Pilate had deliberately bungled the execution for fear of the Jews. They might have taken him to Joseph on Pilateís instructions to be concealed and eventually taken out of Palestine.

If Jesusí feet left blood marks on the floor of the tomb these could be explained otherwise. The funeral party had trod on bloody ground or blood dripped off Jesus as he was being interred. And Jesusí friends were at the tomb before it could be checked out after Jesus vanished so they might have covered the marks in case they would point to Jesus having escaped.

The women may have believed that Jesus probably survived when they went to the tomb laden with ointments to anoint Jesus if it had already been done as John says. They intended to treat his injuries.

Jesus allegedly predicted he would rise again as a sign from God. The problem is that he never actually said how he had risen from the dead or exactly what he meant by this when he showed up after the crucifixion. We donít have his testimony that he did indeed rise magically. The apostles wouldnít have believed him if he said he had not risen. Thus efforts to make the resurrection proof for Jesus being this or that are futile.

The dreadful book, The Resurrection Factor, claims that if Jesus had come round after a faint and this led to the resurrection story then this would be far more miraculous than a resurrection (page 120). But at least it is naturally possible. Strange things do happen and more easily than miracles do. They are more probable than miracles therefore if something could be a world record it should be taken to be one rather than to be a miracle for you must only believe in miracles when they are the only explanation. This silly book would have us believe that people have never mistaken dreams and shadows for ghosts! As we have seen, Catholicism studies thousands of alleged miracles every year that comprise rapid healings but which are dismissed as non-miraculous though real for a true miracle of healing is not rapid but instant.
The evidence for a magical restoration of life is dubious.
Conclusion: Christians insist that Jesus could not have got out of the tomb in his condition. Yet they contradict this by saying he had healing powers. They should not be so confident then that he really came back from the dead. He could have put himself in a healing trance and was mistaken for dead. Then he lied or thought that he rose.
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1996
In Search of Certainty, John Guest Regal Books, Ventura, California, 1983
Jesus and the Four Gospels, John Drane,ion Books, Herts, 1984
Jesus Lived in India, Holger Kersten, Element, Dorset, 1994
Jesus the Evidence, Ian Wilson Pan, London 1985
Mind Out of Time, Ian Wilson, Gollanez, London, 1981
Mother of Nations, Joan Ashton, Veritas, Dublin, 1988
The Bible Fact or Fantasy? John Drane, Lion Books, Oxford, 1989
The Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
The Jesus Conspiracy, Holger Kersten and Elmar R Gruber, Element, Dorset, 1995
The Jesus Inquest, Charles Foster, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2006
The Messianic Legacy, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1987
The Metaphor of God Incarnate, John Hick, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1993
The Passover Plot, Hugh Schonfield, Element Books, Dorset, 1996
The Resurrection Factor, Josh McDowell, Alpha Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1993
The Resurrection of Jesus, Pinchas Lapide, SPCK, London, 1984
The Truth of Christianity, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
The Turin Shroud is Genuine, Rodney Hoare, Souvenir Press, London, 1998HoarHo
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Vatican Papers, Nino Lo Bello, New English Library, Sevenoaks, Kent, 1982
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Raymond E Brown Paulist Press, New York, 1973
The Womb and the Tomb, Hugh Montefiore, Fount Ė HarperCollins, London, 1992
Verdict on the Empty Tomb, Val Grieve, Falcon, London, 1976
Who Moved the Stone? Frank Morison, OM Publishing Cumbria, 1997
Why People believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997

The Amplified Bible
Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker debates Mike Horner.

A Naturalistic Account of the Resurrection

Earliest Christianity, G A Wells, Internet Infidels

A Resurrection Debate by G A Wells,

Still Standing on Sinking Sand, Farrell Till,

Why I Donít Buy the Resurrection Story, by Richard Carrier

The Resurrection by Steven Carr
The Evangelical Apologists: Are They Reliable? Robert Price

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Dan Barker versus Mike Horner
Jesus Slept! This page asks if Jesus could have been doped on the cross meaning that the explanation for the resurrection was that he was never dead.
Beyond Born Again
Did Early Christians use Hallucinogenic Mushrooms? Archaeological Evidence. Franco Fabbro.
Blessed Easter
Craigís Empty Tomb and Habermas on the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus
The Case For Christianity Examined: Truth or Lies?
Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobelís The Case for Christ