Why don’t Atheists believe in the resurrection?

Atheists, or more specifically Naturalists, by and large will not accept that Jesus rose from the dead.  Dead people don’t just come back to life!  Add to that the seeming lack of sufficient evidence makes this fantastic claim all the more unbelievable, right?  Testimony isn’t enough to believe such things.  But after some thinking, they shouldn’t have any objection to Jesus’ resurrection.  In fact, they ought to be able to accept it even with the limited first century testimony evidence that the Gospels supply.

Naturalists have no problem asserting and accepting that life came from non-biological non-living matter.  It just happened.  No one knows how or what or where — it just happened.  The only ‘evidence’ for this miracle is that life exists — no witnesses, no nothing.  Talk about fantastic! In fact, it is one’s commitment to naturalism that has them believing life just poofed into existence.  Imagine that.

At least in the case of Jesus’ resurrection, we have a person who was previously alive come back to life.  It was done by someone and for a purpose.  And at least our claim purports to have witnesses.

Things that aren’t alive coming to life is already an accepted phenomena by the Naturalist community.  So why is it such a leap to believe someone who was alive to start, died, but then came back to life?  I’m not expecting this question or line of reasoning to change anyone’s mind.  It’s just that this isn’t that big of a stretch given already held beliefs about things coming to life.


  1. Your fascination with the quandary’s that you feel atheists must face has me worried. Your “ought” argument above is yet another example. You seem to spend an awful lot of time worried about what we think, how we think etc….why?

    I have to ask, why do you care if atheists believe in the resurrection? To what end? You spend a tremendous amount of time supposedly debunking arguments made decades or hundreds of years ago by non-theists.

    What is it about the wealth of those responses that leaves you unsatisfied?

    Your trying to find some contradiction that we believe life just went poof magically through evolution, an absurdly ignorant statement, since atheists don’t believe that at all. Abiogeneisis, coupled with shock synthesis produces aminos……over a billion+ years.


    This is another example of how the scientific method developed a working hypothesis to predict possible outcomes, and then ran experiments to verify. No poof, no magic.

    Maybe the resurrection is the result of him not being dead in the first place? I mean there was no coroner. Just yesterday we saw another article in which a guy woke up in a body bag. This happens a few times a year.

    Ken Ham would of course have to concede that there was no resurrection, {insert high pitched Australian accent} Beecause youu weeeren’t theeere!

    • The distance between an amino acid and a whole living organism is practically infinite.

      Second, I address complaints and arguments I personally hear.

      Third, Im looking for consistency and transparency from atheists regarding what they believe and why.

      Fourth, I write about what I do because the topics interest me.

  2. ” amino acid and a whole living organism is practically infinite.” but the difference between a collection of amino acids, with some proteins, and a simple replicator is not quite so far. further, there is inorganic replicating chemistry which is very interesting, so we have a precedent for such things. once you have a simple replicator, the processes of evolution take over and it’s straightforward to see where the complexity of current life could arise. At *every* step, we have plausible mechanisms, and in most of the steps we have definitive evidence. The *only* evidence we have for the resurrection is a story, possibly [but not likely] by eyewitnesses, but definitely written only in anonymous sources. The quality of the evidence could not be greater.

    • Brian

      Are you aware what needs to first be in place in order for amino acids to link and fold properly and in the correct sequence for form a protein? And then for the protein to to be specialized in such a way that it is in the right place serving the right function? It cant just be thrown in all together and work. Its not that simple.

    • Keep in mind amino acids *could* attach and fold with any other amino acid and fold in any way. But something needs to regulate the order. And it does. Its not just random. Thats the problem.

      • Did you read the paper John? This experiment has been replicated at two other labs. The findings were predicted. In order for it to be predicted there has to be some form of thinking that is attempting to proactively seek out problems like the ones you raise. This objective, redundant method is called chemistry. It’s called physics, it’s called mathematics.

        No one is claiming simplicity. The claim is chemistry.

        Let me ask you this: If I were to make a claim right here on your blog that 1284 years ago today my most great Uncle on my mothers side, on the island of Inisturk off of the west coast of Ireland, was trampled by sheep, dies, was buried, and 26 weeks later he arose, and his family was in awe, and there claims are as valid as I say they are….just how much validity do you give to these facts?

  3. “it’s not just random” – of course not it is called chemistry. it is still an open question, but there are at least plausible mechanisms and precursors. i can track down references, but i think you could do that yourself. there arent any plausible mechanisms for a resurrection.

  4. brycelancaster says:

    ^True. Ultimately, it boils down to which side has more evidence to support their theories. Theories supporting evolution and the start of life as we know it require us to believe in unlikely circumstances, (Such as the Amino Acids). But there’s evidence to back these statements up. Its not just a hypothetical “COULD” it happen, it’s a hypothetical “DID” it happen. Whereas religious claims are still stuck on the “COULD” part. Could somebody be killed and brought back to life by a divine being? There’s no real evidence to make us believe it’s possible.

    When it comes to making a leap of faith, I’d rather take the side which requires a much shorter leap.

  5. I haven’t read any of the links presented here as yet. But I doubt that any offer anything more than speculation. Even if an experiment could successfully create something living from something inanimate, we are still left with the fact that an intelligence caused that life to happen. The life did not occur of its own volition.

  6. brycelancaster says:

    The empirical evidence for the naturalists view on life is in all the links posted so far, as well as tested and proven theories about how life develops.

    Marshalart, I have a hard time answering you question, because I would think that the answer would be obvious. Just because intelligent scientists put certain elements into the right conditions to create life does not mean that those elements wouldn’t be able to create life in the exact same circumstances on their own. That’s the crux of every scientific experiment. We, intelligent human beings, put elements into certain scenarios to see how they would react, and we can infer that the same elements would react the same way in the same circumstances in nature without our interference. I mean… that is essentially what the scientific experimentation IS.

    And where is the empirical evidence that Jesus was resurrected? I find it astonishing that you demand evidence for a scientifically verified theory while at the same time admonishing atheists for not taking a leap of faith when it comes to the idea of resurrection. YES, there are some things which is science isn’t able to answer yet. Such as, what happened before the Big Bang. But science DOES offer a hell of a lot more answers than religion does when it comes to our origins. If you want to take that leap of faith with no real evidence, than feel free to. Feel free to teach your kids to do the same thing, (though I’ll feel sorry for them). But I don’t see how you could admonish others for choosing to follow the path with the most evidence behind it.

    • Whats been tested are maybe possibilities. There is no empirical evidence for how it happened

      • Richard Nash says:

        Why even ask for empirical evidence John for an even that happened 3 billion years ago? Why? Why ask when you already know the answer? The most wondrous thing about deductive analysis, is that you are allowed to arrive at “We don’t know”, which is an impossibility for the religiously/faith affected to do.

        The paper posted above is more than just eyewitness evidence, more than anecdotal, more than analogical. It uses, before the experiment is even conducted, Bayesian inference/probability, Popper has fleshed out Aumann’s agreement theory. The priori is it’s greatest strength. The peer review is the quantitative analysis afterwards…..all ways of thinking about something that may happen in an experiment, or something that has already happened, and predicting those events. Faith disallows this. It is built on singular weak inference, hence we call it faith, which is built on abductive leaps. Even Dr. Craig concedes this point. It’s prima facie or presumption built on presumption.

        Deductive reasoning is the opposite of the insulated and circular thinking required for making a leap of faith and explaining away everything with supernatural cause.

        Here’s the difference. The christian approach just merely accepts every event as having supernatural causality. You just dismiss evolution, abiogenesis, etc out of hand because it all must be god. That’s a huge leap. It ignores the deductive rationale that put us on the Moon, or cured polio, etc. There is nothing wrong with coming to the conclusion: We don’t know, let’s try and find out.

        Ask yourself this: Could you prove god as causation without any faith or defeasible presupposition or reasoning? What tests could you conceive that would present at least an outcome worth discussing?

        This is just rhetorical of course but it explains the chasm between deductive rational and faith based assumptions.

  7. brycelancaster says:

    Again, I find it astonishing that you admonish the scientific explanation for the origin of life for not being absolutely proven, and only a “Possibility”, and then refuse to answer my question about the evidence for the resurrection. I’m disappointed in you John, I thought you had better critical thinking skills than that. But I guess when society indoctrinates you into a way of thinking which discourages critical thought, the results shouldn’t be surprising.

    If there are two sides of the debate…. one with some evidence and one with none, which should we choose to side with? I’d rather take the one with some evidence, at least I can stand behind that one and actually ANSWER questions directed towards me. And you asked why we don’t believe in the resurrection? There’s you answer.

    • Lol. I havent been indoctrinated. Maybe you dont know by story but you should read it.

      Nothing linked here is a definitive empirical declaration of how life originated, and somehow had the ability to reproduce already in place. Its speculation based on some recent expiriments. You want me to laud some expiriment and shut the book. Thats fine. Youre ok with speculation and maybes.

  8. brycelancaster says:

    AGAIN, you admonish us for being okay with “speculation” based off of verified experiments and yet you’ve refused to admit so far that your argument lacks even that much basis.

    You critique us for choosing to follow the path with the most evidence and then act as if it’s then perfectly reasonable to follow a path with NO evidence. And then you risk looking even more ridiculous by asking us why we don’t believe the same way you do.

    For the final time…. Some Evidence > No Evidence.

    Now, will you finally answer my question about what evidence you have for the resurrection? Why should we believe that a man died and came back to life when a situation such as that hasn’t even been replicated ONCE? You ask us why we don’t believe in the resurrection and then don’t acknowledge any evidence to back yourself up, all the while criticizing any evidence from the other side as being not enough.

    Don’t try to turn this into a “Why do you believe in evolution and the BB Theory” discussion when the original question was, “Why don’t you believe in the resurrection?” Because we ask for evidence and then nobody gives us any. And then you have the audacity to ask for MORE evidence about the BB theory?

  9. Actually there are at least one other instance of resurrection, possibly two. Jesus brought Lazarus back to life after Lazarus had been dead for a day or so, and there was also the story of the little girl Jesus resuscitated. Since Christ, not so much. Of course, witness testimony has no value to those who do not like the testimony. But experiments used to speculate about that for which there are no witnesses, well, that’s legitimate.

  10. Yes, John, I see your point here, but let’s look at the bigger picture.

    What are the asserted consequences said about not accepting the scientific conclusion? Nothing

    What are the asserted consequences of not accepting the resurrection story? The threat of eternal damnation and the constant intervention by those who believe it. Not to mention the constant denial and rejection of any other scientific conclusion that contradicts religious dogma.

Any Thoughts?

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