Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The Truth About Easter
As many of you reading this would have ascertained by now, I am a Christian. I am not a Christian because I was raised in the church - I actually left the church as a teenager, returning after a search for the truth. No, I am a Christian because that is where the evidence lead me. As C.S. Lewis said, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
In a number of other articles I have presented some of the reasons why I believe my faith is reasonable. As it is the Easter season, though, I thought I would include a series of quotes about Easter and the Christian faith from a number of different people, most of whom you will recognize. Many of these started out as atheists, but after a search of their own, came to the same conclusion as I have - Jesus Christ is who He says He is. I hope this starts some conversations.
"Christianity, if false, is not important. If Christianity is true, however, it is infinitely important. What it cannot be is moderately important." - C.S. Lewis
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." - C.S. Lewis (Author, Professor, Former Atheist)
"Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander the Great, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of school, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times." – Philip Schaff (Historian)
"I may, I suppose, regard myself, or pass for being, as a relatively successful man. People occasionally stare at me in the streets – that’s fame. I can fairly easily earn enough to qualify for admission to the higher slopes of the Internal Revenue – that’s success. Furnished with money and a little fame even the elderly, if they care to, may partake of trendy diversions – that’s pleasure. It might happen once in a while that something I said or wrote was sufficiently heeded for me to persuade myself that it represented a serious impact on our time – that’s fulfillment. Yet I say to you — and I beg you to believe me – multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing – less than nothing, a positive impediment – measured against one draught of that living water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty, irrespective of who or what they are." - Malcolm Muggeridge (Journalist, Former Atheist)
"All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning."
- Oswald Chambers (Author)
"If Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead, there is not one glimmer of hope for the human race. When I leave office, I'm going to spend the rest of my life studying and writing about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's the most important event in history." - Konrad Adenauer (former chancellor of West Germany)
"These three great facts--the resurrection appearances, the empty tomb, and the origin of the Christian faith--all point unavoidably to one conclusion: The resurrection of Jesus. Today the rational man can hardly be blamed if he believes that on that first Easter morning a divine miracle occurred." - Dr. William Lane Craig
(Author and University Professor)
"The Watergate cover-up reveals the true nature of humanity. Even political zealots at the pinnacle of power will, in the crunch, save their own necks, even at the expense of the ones they profess to serve so loyally. But the apostles could not deny Jesus because they had seen Him face to face, and they knew He had risen from the dead. No, you can take it from an expert in cover-ups -- I've lived through Watergate -- that nothing less than a resurrected Christ could have caused those men to maintain to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive and is Lord. Two thousand years later, nothing less than the power of the risen Christ could inspire Christians around the world to remain faithful -- despite prison, torture, and death." - Charles Colson
(Former advisor to President Nixon, imprisoned for his role in the Watergate scandal. Author. Former atheist.)
"The foundation of our religion is a basis of fact - the fact of the birth, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection by the Evangelists as having actually occurred, within their own personal knowledge." - Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853), Harvard Law Professor & former skeptic.
“To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so convincing. As a lawyer I accept the gospel evidence unreservedly as the testimony of truthful men to facts that they were able to substantiate.”–Sir Edward Clark, British High Court Judge
"The cross is that centre of the world's history where all men and nations stand revealed as both enemies of God and yet loved by God." - Dag Hammarskjold (Second Secretary-General of the United Nations)
"For the Christian, the resurrection of Christ from the dead is the tour de force of his apologetic and guarantees his destiny. It is the lynchpin of his argument as he defends the Christian faith. It deals with the most painful of all of life's struggles - the agony of death, which cuts us all down and taunts any hankering we have for omniscience." - Ravi Zacharias
"I have found myself dislodged from one position after another, hauled out of each sanctuary; chased down Fleet Street, through Broadcasting House and the Television Centre, past Great Turnstile and Bowerie Street, Madison Avenue - from such cosy and easily accessible niches I am remorselessly driven. Where? To this symbol of our Christian faith which is also a gallows or a scaffold - the Cross; to this foolishness of men which is also, we are told, the wisdom of God; to these two stark pieces of wood nailed together." - Malcolm Muggeridge
"That Jesus succeeded in changing a snuffling band of unreliable followers into fearless evangelists, that eleven men who had deserted Him at death now went to martyrs’ graves avowing their faith in a resurrected Christ, that these few witnesses managed to set loose a force that would overcome violent opposition first in Jerusalem and then in Rome — this remarkable sequence of transformation offers the most convincing evidence for the Resurrection. What else explains the whiplash change in men known for their cowardice and instability?... One need only read the Gospel's descriptions of disciples huddling behind locked doors and then proceed to the descriptions in Acts of the same men proclaiming Christ openly in the streets and in jail cells to perceive the seismic significance of what took place on Easter Sunday. The Resurrection is the epicenter of belief." - Philip Yancey (Author)
"This is the great choice every human being has to make: Is the resurrection true or only a myth? If the latter, it is an abomination, taking away any validity to the Christian claim. Believing that the resurrection was merely symbolic doesn't create liberal Christianity or a more enlightened version of our faith as many argue; it reduces Christianity to something utterly vain, a belief system like paganism. For if we were to believe Christ was not bodily raised, then Christianity would rest on the belief in human sacrifice - offering an innocent man to die for our sins. This is not enlightened thinking; it is barbaric. It is why so-called liberal Christianity is untenable, no better than paganism." - Charles Colson
Finally, let me conclude with this video of the testimony of Lee Strobel. Lee was an atheist and a cigar-chomping, crime editor for the Chicago Tribune when his wife became a Christian. Here is his story:
The Great Paradox
What have you got to lose?
What Is A Christ-follower?