Christianity has been under attack from the very first days of its existence. Those attacks have been relentless – even vicious – and yet it survives.
Modern critics such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens – commonly known as ‘The New Atheists’ – continue the tradition.
It seems to me that most of their attacks have been directed at the wrong target. You’d think they’d learn after all this time.
But they continue to attack on the same fronts that have proved impregnable for centuries: the existence of God; the reliability of the Bible; creation vs ‘Big Bang,’ the hypocrisy of Christians, and more.
And every attack fails. But there is a weak spot that they should attack, there is one vulnerability. If you can tear down this, then the whole of Christianity will collapse like a house of cards in a violent storm.
And to help their cause, the Bible even tells them where to attack.
The apostle Paul spells it out for them in 1Cor 15:12-19, and it really is quite simple. It’s a mystery why they can’t seem to get through here.
That vulnerable point is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you can show that Jesus was never raised back up to life, then nothing else in Christianity can stand.
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied [1Cor 15:13-19].
How much easier can Paul make it? Prove the resurrection never happened, and everything about Christianity is proven to be false. And so, it all falls down.
Why? What are the implications if the resurrection never happened? Several, according to Paul.
- Preaching is a waste of time and waste of breath.
- Our faith is meaningless.
- Paul – and every other preacher of the gospel – is a liar.
- We are all still in our sins, and so have no hope.
- Those who have already died are lost eternally.
- We are pathetic, pitiful human beings who deserve to be mocked and ignored.
None of these are good prospects. But they are all the natural consequence if Jesus was not resurrected.
Happily, none of these apply. For Christ is risen! He was seen by more than 500 people at the time (see 1Cor 15:5-8).
And He has been ‘seen’ – experienced 1st-hand – by untold millions since. So we don’t have hope in Christ for this life only; we have hope in Him for the next life too – for eternal life.
No, we have nothing to fear from the New Atheists. If they could have debunked Christianity on the resurrection, they would have done so a long time ago.
The fact that Christianity remains – and grows stronger in the most unlikely places – means they’ve failed. And they will continue to fail, for Christ is risen!
And more, it means Christ is doing exactly what He promised to do: I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it [Matt 16:18].
He is risen indeed. You can stake your life – your eternal life – on it.