File photo of the image of Christ Resurrected carried in Malaga on Easter Sunday. SUR
A sceptic who became a believer
The Resurrection

A sceptic who became a believer

The debated authenticity of the story of Christ returning from the grave transformed one doubter into a staunch Christian

Thursday, 6 April 2023, 13:48


This Easter children in all parts of Central and Eastern Europe will be removing the cardboard packaging and silver foil from their Easter eggs, a symbol that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. Although eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth, Easter eggs symbolise the empty tomb from which Jesus was resurrected, a happening that has been the pivotal axis of the Christian faith. This is a phenomenon that has been fiercely debated for centuries, both by the faithful, and the sceptics, and yet no one has ever produced evidence to support or to refute the mythical occurrence.

British journalist Frank Morison was an atheist who set out to prove the story was a myth, and ended up a believer. In his 1930 publication Who Moved the Stone?, Morison tried to decipher what actually happened that started a movement that has made such a profound impact on the world.

He worked on a set of basic theories to try to decipher whether there is any truth in the story. These included ‘Jesus did not die on the cross’; ‘Jesus’ body was stolen’; ‘the disciples were hallucinating’; and the account is legend. The last theory is that the story is true.

He began by attempting to verify that Jesus was actually dead when placed in the tomb, researching what is known as the ‘swoon theory’, an account that claims that Jesus did not die on the cross, but merely lost consciousness. All of Morison’s research seemed to confirm that, as he said, “Christ died on the cross, in the full physical sense of the term.”

Morison next followed the angle that the disciples had faked the resurrection story by removing Jesus’ body, and then claiming he had returned from the dead. However, he felt certain that someone would have known about this and that his enemies would have quickly exposed the resurrection as a fraud. Morison accepted that Jesus’ body had somehow mysteriously disappeared from the tomb.

Ruling out theories

Morison quickly realised that the hallucination theory was not even a remote possibility, seeing as hallucinations are individual occurrences. He had at first believed that the apostles, and possibly the hundreds of other people who claim to have seen Jesus after he had died, had been emotionally distraught and imagined the resurrection, but it would have been impossible for them to have all witnessed the same hallucination.

This left the sceptical Englishman just two alternatives: the story was simply a myth, or it had really taken place.

Many non-believers attribute the resurrection to a simple legend that has, like all folklore, evolved over the years, but, as one historian pointed out, legends do not usually develop while multiple eyewitnesses are alive to refute them. It is also thought that the story spread too fast for it to have been a legend.

The legend theory also did not adequately explain the empty tomb, so Morison’s assumption that the story was made up did not seem to coincide with his findings.

Having eliminated the main arguments against the resurrection, Morison began to question whether it had actually occurred: he concluded that the numerous sightings of a risen Christ by so many of his followers would have been virtually impossible to fake.


Reporta un error en esta noticia

* Campos obligatorios