It is hard to doubt the subtle—or perhaps not so subtle—attack on Christianity and those of the Christian faith in today’s culture. Over the past couple of weeks, Second Lady Karen Pence was singled out for volunteering at a Christian school and teenaged Catholic boys were approached and insulted at the Lincoln Memorial. Both stories made mainstream headlines across the country.
Many people commented on both of the stories (and so many others) with disparaging comments about those involved and others of the Christian faith.
On Saturday, a reporter from The Atlantic kept up the attack on Christianity when she responded to a tweet from Pope Francis from earlier in the day.
“With her ‘yes,’ Mary became the most influential woman in history. Without social networks, she became the first ‘influencer’: the ‘influencer’ of God,” the Pontifex said in a tweet.
The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz responded: “Jesus literally faked his own death for more followers though, so…”
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway responded to the tweet with a report which reads:
Christ’s triumph over death is the central historical event in the Christian faith. It is the source of Christian hope for humanity. It is recorded in multiple sources from the ancient world based on testimony from eyewitnesses and those close to the event. You can read about it in the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John, the letter of James, the letters of St. Paul, and the letter of Peter. This teaching accounts for the persona transformation in the lives of the apostles, and the spread throughout the world of Jesus’s teachings ever since.
Lorenz was dunking on Pope Francis for a tweet about Jesus’ mother Mary. It is a free country, for the time being, and she has every right to do so. I’m unclear what her religion is, but the notion that Jesus Christ couldn’t possibly have been crucified and resurrected is one with long lineage.
The Christian teachings of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection are central to the faith, but not everyone is called, as St. Paul puts it. And those who don’t believe view this central teaching as a stumbling block, as Lorenz does.
All that said, the mockery and disrespect in the anti-Christian tweet — and its favorable reception from other journalists — tell us something about the way many in the media treat Christians. As the media lean into their progressive political ideology, they are becoming more and more anti-Christian.
Certainly, Lorenz is entitled to share her own views, but her opinion stands against a matter of fact, Gary Habermas, a world-renowned New Testament scholar who specializes in the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ, previously argued in the Stream.
He wrote: “It might actually surprise you, unless you’ve been keeping up with these things: virtually all researchers, whether they are skeptical, liberal, moderate or conservative in their approach and beliefs, agree in recognizing a small but definite core of historical facts from the end of Jesus’ life. And this core of facts reveals a lot about the reality of the resurrection.”
Not too long ago I listed six of these events in a dialogue with an agnostic New Testament scholar. I used the historical facts that 1) Jesus died by crucifixion, 2) his early followers had experiences a short time later that they thought were appearances of Jesus, 3) and as a result, they were transformed to the point of being willing to die for this message. Further, two former unbelievers 4) James the brother of Jesus and 5) Saul of Tarsus (later the apostle Paul) both similarly thought that they had seen the risen Jesus, as well; and 6) This Gospel message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ began to be taught very soon after these events.
Some might be surprised to hear that the agnostic scholar with whom I was dialoguing not only agreed with the historical nature of these six events, without exceptions, but he even added that each one was very well-recognized.
As the Christian Post reports, Habermas said during an interview last month that Christians “have more evidence than they need” to prove the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
“But there’s an incredible amount of evidence for Christianity,” Habermas said during an interview on Alex McFarland’s “Truth for a New Generation” program on December 9th. “I mean, we have more evidence than we need, we frankly do.”
Here’s more from the Christian Post:
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
McFarland then mentioned the 2004 book The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, which Habermas co-authored with Michael Licona, when asking him about how 75 percent of scholars acknowledge the historical existence of the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.
“Michael Grant, the Roman historian, said that if we apply to the empty tomb the normal historical rules that we apply to any event, he says you really don’t have any options other than to accept the historicity of the empty tomb,” responded Habermas. “And that’s a secular historian.”