Human beings are funny aren’t we?
What does it take for us to believe?
For the unbeliever it takes a lot I guess.
Let me give you an example I used to use with my teaching in speech class. A key element in persuasive speaking is reasoning. For us to believe, someone needs to reason with us. For us to be persuaded, someone one needs to reason with us.
One of the most common ways for a person to be persuaded is to throw facts at them. Fact after fact after fact after fact can be delivered to the skeptic until they finally say “Ok, I believe.” That is called making an inductive leap.
I get in the car to go to work and I am not sure about the time. I am supposed to be at work at 9:00 A.M. I am not sure if I am going to make it on time or not. I turn on the car and see on the car clock it is 8:56. Oh Oh! I am going to be late. Maybe not, the car clock is notorious about being inaccurate. Then I pass Hucks on the road to work and I see they have a big digital clock in the window that says 8:57. Oh Oh! Maybe I am going to be late. Then as I travel down the road, I go by a fast food restaurant and I see their big clock on the wall and it says 8:58.
I believe I am going to be late…I make an inductive leap.
How many pieces of evidence did it take for me to believe…three.
How many pieces of evidence does it take for an unbeliever to become a believer that Christ rose from the dead?
From the day of the Resurrection to the Ascension [a forty day period] Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene in Mark 16:9 and in John 20:14, to the women returning from the tomb in Matthew 28:9,10, to Peter later in the day in Luke 24:34 and 1 Corinthians 15:5, to the Emmaus Disciples in Luke 24:13-33…. Are you beginning to believe?
I could go on to recount the dialogue Jesus had with the “show me” Disciple Thomas when Thomas had to touch Jesus’ hands. I could go on with the Luke 24 appearance when Jesus not only appeared but took fish from the Disciples and ate it.
How many appearances does it take for you to believe?
Some may say these are hallucinations?
I don’t know about you but most of the hallucinations I have heard about have occurred in situations where a person saw the hallucination alone. Maybe they are distraught, maybe they are lacking nutrition, maybe they are under the influence of some substance or maybe they are mentally unstable but the idea of hallucination is “a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind.” [from Dictionary.com]. In First Corinthians 15, Jesus appears to five hundred people. Have you ever heard of five hundred people hallucinating the same image all at the same time?
To say that hallucinations produced the appearances of Jesus is to ignore the evidence.
Something changed the group of frightened Disciples into men who were not afraid to speak out with courage and conviction. They did more than that; they became men who suffered for the message that they were inspired to deliver. They became men who gave of their lives; being stoned, crucified, burned and clubbed to death.
They changed the world.
They all made an inductive leap.
I don’t think their inductive leap was based on hallucinations.
I think it was based on facts.
Next week’s posts will deal with the following doubt:
Is the Bible God’s Word?