The four Gospels of the New Testament of the Bible tell us, that some 2000 + years ago a particular man who was actually the son of the creator of the universe was executed in a terrible fashion by the Roman empire. The story goes on to tell, that after three days he resurrected from the dead. There are millions of people in the world who think this story is true. That it is an historical description of actual events.

Who knows, if he was dead?

Who knows, if he was dead?

The story describes how after the execution the body of Jesus was taken to a tomb prepared for Joseph of Arimathea. There were some women who alledgedly saw this happen. Incidentally, Joseph and these women were the only people apart from the Roman soldiers present at the aborted execution. Were there no servants of Joseph to carry the body? Where there no political enemies of Jesus to see out, that his execution is executed? Who asked the Romans to bring the executions to an end because it was the Passover? Surely not the same people who had just few hours earlier demanded Jesus to be executed in celebration of the Passover? What happened to Joseph? He does not appear in the story any further, but if someone had any idea wether Jesus died and resurrected, or simply survived the cross,  it was Joseph. He was a rich merchant, a council member and a secret supporter of Jesus. He, if anyone, had a good reason to hide the fact that Jesus had survived the cross and he had the means to do so. According to the Gospels.

One Gospel has an elaborate description of a conversation between the Jewish high priests and the Roman commander and how they decide to put guards at the tomb and seal it. This is an obvious fabrication, as how would the gospel writer know anything of the private conversations of the priesthood and Roman officials? And why did the other Gospel writers not find it significant enough to mention the tomb was sealed and that there were guards there?

The Gospels agree, that some women (alltough as to wich women they do not agree) went to the tomb after the Passover festivities to enbalm the body of Jesus, but if the story about guards and a sealed tomb was true, their trip there would have been totally futile. Jesus had not been embalmed because of the passover festivities. But the women find the tomb empty of Jesus. Instead there are either some young men, or one young man, or angels, or an angel who has stunned the Roman soldiers. Are angels indistinguishable from humans, or why is there a mixup about this? If we are to reduce the story to what propably happened (as if the Gospels were historical and not mythical sources), it seems the tomb was empty and someone (a young man) over there told the women, that Jesus was no longer to be found from there. This got them very upset as they had thought he was dead.

The Gospels do not tell wether Joseph of Arimathea left from the tomb with the women on the evening of the execution, nor do they tell if he returned there later to recover Jesus. Anyway, Jesus could have left the tomb, unhindered, at any point after he was put there, but as men were crucified naked and his shrouds were at the tomb when it was later found empty, it is obvious, that he was taken from there by someone who treated his wounds and gave him new clothes. Joseph perhaps? Or should we assume he recieved new clothes from the mythical and supernatural world of the dead he briefly visited?

All this, if the story is not a fabricated myth all together.

Historically, something seems to have happened to a bunch of men, who had been following a man who basicly told people the unoriginal, but rather obvious stuff about how to be compassionate. This is thought to have happened in a time when their country was being occupied by an empire, divided by many different religious affiliations, ethnic cultures and a civil strife. This group of men seemed to await divine intervention from their god on behalf of their nation against the empire. But their leader could not beat the empire, but was executed. But, by surviving the execution their teacher and ascetic leader, seemed to win even a greater enemy, than the empire, that is death itself.

Of all the possible explanations to this story, the claim that Jesus actually rose from the dead, is the least plausible, or propableIs it not?

It is appealing to the modern believers for completely different reasons than the ones, that appealed to the contemporaries. Modern people take this story from the perspective, that it is a tradition, kept sacred, even if some new evidence, or modern requirement for evidence would challenge it. To the modern man the idea of a son of god seems so unique, that it lends the story some credence in addition to the cultural tradition.

To the contemporaries the idea of a son of a god was not so unique. On the contrary, the idea of flesh and blood sons of gods were common in the mixed cultures of the Roman empire. It was common knowledge, that the Pharaos were practically sons of gods, and that many other rulers in the past had been sons of gods, like Alexander the Great for example. The Roman emperors and barbarian kings could trace their ancestry to gods. Myths like Osiris/Horus, Serapis and Hercules/Heracles were common and many of these gods also had a resurrection cult attached to them, so not even that was a very unique idea.

All sorts of supernatural claims were also common explanations of the natural world.  These were hardly ever challenged, and certainly not in the arenas of the common people. For those who did, the stories were embellished with all sorts of miracles, wonders ( guards and seals) to make it even more impossible to be explained by natural reasons. To these ignorant people, a resurrection was just as good explanation as, that a guy just survived an execution. To many it was even better, because it pleased them. It was scandalous, that there were some higher powers, than the mighty Roman empire and their god-like emperors. That not all gods were in the pocket of those powers that be, who could pay for the sacrificial animals.

Many myths have some truth to them. Not the magical parts, but the meaningfull parts, like Jesus telling people to be compassionate and being executed by imperialist invaders. As so often happens. Why should we think that the message of compassion came from a divine source before believing it? Does the source make the message any more, or less significant? What a silly notion, that the main message of this Jesus character was not to be compassionate and have a clear concscience and as a result a better life, but that by faith alone a person may magically recieve eternal life? What a ripoff?

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