||2017-02-20 19:43:34, 조회 : 895, 추천 : 152
| Abraham Yim|
Chapter Fourteen - The Circumstantial Evidence
Timothy McVeigh loaded two tons of fertilizer-based explosives into a rental truck. He drove the truck to the front of a federal building in Oklahoma city, and detonated the explosives inside, killing 168 people and injuring more. There was no video recording or pictures of Timothy McVeigh committing such an act. Yet he still got the death sentence. This was through circumstantial evidence. People reported him saying he wanted to bomb the building. Scientist found residue of the fertilizer-based explosives on his shirt when he was arrested. There were receipts for motels, chinese food, and truck rentals. So how can we find circumstantial evidence to bolster the case for Christ?
To find strong circumstantial evidence to corroborate the case for Jesus’ resurrection, Lee Strobel goes to go interview J. P. Moreland. Moreland has a highly scientific mind. Moreland is also a well-known philosopher and is very fluent in the ways of Kant and Kierkegaard. Moreland has a master’s degree in theology, and teaches philosophy and ethics.
The first piece of circumstantial evidence is the death of Jesus’ followers. When Jesus died, it seemed as if the death of Christianity was near. The followers and even the disciples were discouraged and depressed. They saw crucifixion as the worst thing anyone could go through, and God wouldn’t let anyone, let alone his own Son, to go through such shame and pain. However, after a short amount of time, we see the followers of Jesus Christ coming back together and spreading a message: “Jesus Christ was the Messiah of God who died on a cross, returned to life, and was seen alive by them.” What good did Christians get from spreading this message? In the sense of the material world, nothing at all. Due to this message they lived a life of hardship, and many died cruel and painful deaths. However, it was due to their unwavering faith and strong belief that Jesus did rise from the dead, that they were willing to die for the Word.
“So what? Just because people died for their faith doesn’t mean it’s true. For example, Muslims and Mormons have suffered for their faiths; are their beliefs true?” Moreland, tells us that this is a very common argument, but there is a very important distinction to be made: the early Christians had faith in what they saw, not what people told them. Muslims and Mormons base their faith on the words of other people, Christians, however, say, “I saw Jesus come back to life, and I am willing to die for what I saw and what I believe.” For Muslims, Muhammad went into a cave, and come out saying he saw God - it is a crude explanation but I hope you understand the jist of it.
The second piece of circumstantial evidence is the conversion of hardened skeptics after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The gospels tell us that James, and the rest of Jesus’ family, were skeptics. They were ashamed of Jesus Christ, and detested his actions. However, after the death of Jesus Christ, they suddenly became followers. We know this because Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells of James being stoned to death due to this belief in Jesus Christ. Let us also take the example of Paul. He was a prominent Jewish leader, and killed Christians when he had the time to. All of a sudden, he was filled with inspiration and love for Christ. He was willing to suffer a great deal and die for Him.
The third piece of circumstantial evidence are the changes in social structures. Jews have been oppressed for hundreds years. They were killed, enslaved, and brought to other countries. Yet the Jew’s oppressors are the ones who did not stand the test of time. This is because the Jewish people did not associate themselves with ethnicity entirely, but with their strict set of beliefs. Jews believed that upholding the law was what was most important; however, shortly after the death of Jesus, Jews became more lax about this. Jews also saw the Sabbath as extremely holy, but after Jesus’ death, Sunday was seen as a holy day, because that was when Jesus rose from the dead. Another belief that changed was monotheism. Although Judaism and Christianity are both monotheistic, Christianity hold the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as one God. Another change is the view of the Messiah: Jews believed the Messiah was going to be a political leader, but Christianity saw the Messiah as a compassionate spiritual leader. For Jews to give up their Jewish background and follow the ways of Christ is extremely scary. They risk the chance of going to hell, if they are wrong. It’s also very odd, if they were to stick with their old beliefs then they would just continue living their comfortable life, but their conviction to what is true is what forced them to become Christians.
Christian rituals are weird. Let me explain. Christians celebrate communion; most see it as a time where people eat bread, drink wine, and say “thank-you Jesus”. However, if you are to truly look deeper into this “ritual” it is the celebration for the public slaughter of Jesus Christ in a cruel, grotesque, inhumane, and humiliating manner. However, it is because we recognize the death of our Savior as necessary for the will of God and the carrying out of the salvation for his people. The next odd ritual is baptism. This comes from the Jewish background of Christianity. It was called proselyte baptism, when Jews would baptize Gentiles in the name of the God of Israel. However, Christians now baptize in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This is weird, because Jews were very against outside influences affecting their culture, especially something like baptism.
Another example of circumstantial evidence is that of the emergence of the Christian church. This Church went through a lot. It was under fire from multiple groups, the worst being the Roman empire. However, it was able to overcome and overwhelm the Roman empire, and the world.
After the interview between Strobel and Moreland was over, Moreland had one more piece of evidence to give to Strobel. The fact that Jesus Christ still affect many lives today. He gives man a sense of hope. Allows people to see the light in their darkest moment. To be raised up when they feel like they can’t even stand. Jesus gives us a very real experience that can not be paralleled.