Below are three pretty good reasons to doubt the resurrection of Jesus:
- First, no agnostic or atheist needs to prove a negative. Burdens of proof fall upon those making a spectacular claim. If someone claims, for example, that an intelligent civilization once existed on Mars, the burden of proof rests with the person making the claim, not upon the person who finds the claim ridiculous.
- Second, academic scholars tend to agree that Matthew and Luke used Mark and the sayings source Q to write their gospels, and so, strictly speaking, only ONE of the three synoptic gospels functions as a fully functioning primary source. Further complicating the “testimony” is this: we don’t know who wrote Mark, and we don’t know where or when, exactly, the book was written. We don’t even know where the material for Mark’s gospel comes from. Also, Mark is written in Greek, not Aramaic (the language spoken by Jesus). And so we have problems of translation at work with Mark (in terms of language, culture, time, and space). As for the Gospel of John, it was written even later than the synoptics and, in many details about the resurrection, does not agree with them.
- Lastly, the recent discovery of the so-called Gabriel Revelation Tablet (a dying and resurrecting messiah tradition within Judaism prior to Jesus) obviously puts contemporary Christians in the precarious position of at least wondering whether the gospels are, in fact, written as “self-fulfilling prophecies.” And since we know so little about the authors of the gospels, we are unlikely ever to find out whether or not they knew of the Gabriel Revelation tradition and molded their narratives in accordance with it. It is a point on which agnosticism functions as the most reasonable position.