D. CLAY PERKINS
Denial of Christ's resurrection biggest fake news ever
By D. Clay Perkins
Saturday, April 15, 2017
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” — Matthew 28:6 (The Bible, New International Version)
Fake news is not new. Spreading fake news is an old strategy of repeating a lie over a long period, loudly and with a straight face, until it is hard to know the difference between the truth and a lie. This strategy often works, especially if we lay aside our critical thinking skills.
You will find fake news in politics, entertainment, sports, business and elsewhere. Careful citizens need to verify everything we hear through multiple sources. Discerning between credible sources and propaganda is paramount. Think. Reason. Listen to every side and perspective. Only then can you evaluate and make a logical decision.
Fake news even made its way into the very tenets of our faith. The biggest event in human history — the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ — was subjected to well-financed propaganda by a religious organization seeking to spread fake news.
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priest everything that had happened. When the chief priest had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If the report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Matthew 28:11-15)
So the guards took money, to save their own skin from the consequences of dereliction of duty and to promote a lie — fake news — about what happened to the body of Jesus. Even to this day many theories abound seeking to invalidate the resurrection of Jesus: swoon/resuscitation, hallucination, impersonation, theft, wrong tomb, conspiracy, legend/spiritual, etc. Each of these theories can be attributed to the currently popular term, “fake news,” when logic and reason are applied.
All news should be viewed with a grain of salt. Question the facts. Evaluate all evidence. Let’s reason together on the facts around the resurrection of Jesus — the core of our Christian faith. Many witnessed the resurrected Jesus: Mary Magdalene, other women, Peter, two on the road to Emmaus, 10 disciples, 11 disciples, seven disciples, 500 followers, James, and the 11 at the ascension (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, Acts 1, 1 Corinthians 15). Many witnesses were killed when they refused to recant their eyewitness testimony. The empty tomb, a broken Roman seal, soldiers AWOL, the rolling of the heavy stone, and more events add validation that Jesus rose from the dead. The very calendar system we use to this day, B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini, in the year of the Lord), give credence. A plethora of non-Christian historians, many of whom were noted hostile pagans, reference the Christian cult (Thallus, Tacitus, Mara Bar-Serapion, Phelgon, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Lucian of Samosata, Celsus, Josephus, Jewish Talmud, The Toledot Yeshu, etc.) and serve to reinforce the core assertions of Christianity.
You can be confident this Easter and every Easter that the resurrection is real. Jesus Christ lives. Evidence abounds. The good news, the truth that we celebrate at Easter, is not fake news. Jesus is alive. He has risen.
Dr. D. Clay Perkins is president of Mid-Atlantic Christian University.