In fact, there is nothing new about New Atheism. None of their arguments are original with them. Yet they are undeniably effective to some degree in quashing inquiring minds from exploring the tenets of theistic faith, probably nowhere more effective than here in the United States.
|That the tomb was empty is not the big deal. That the body lived again is.|
And nothing is frankly what increasing numbers of Americans think we've got. On Good Friday, the respected polling firm Rasmussen Reports released a poll that showed that the number of Americans who believe that Jesus rose from the dead has dropped 13 percent since only last year. The poll question was the same this year as last, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?” Last year, 77 percent said yes. This year, 64 percent said yes.
Of the 36 percent who did not affirm Jesus’s resurrection, 19 percent rejected it outright, a staggering 12 percentage point jump from last year. Seventeen percent said they weren't sure.
Christian faith is founded on historical facts, verifiable facts, facts that even non-Christian historians and scholars agree are true. And yet probably only a small number of typical mainline Protestants, including Methodists, would be able effectively to recount and relate what they mean.
So on April 7, I will begin a sermon series on the factual, historical bases that Jesus arose from the dead.
The series will address these topics:
April 7 - Overview and discussion of, "What is truth?"
April 14 - The Easter story itself and why it is solidly historical.
April 21 - The various alternative explanations that have been offered over the last couple of centuries attempting to show why the Easter proclamation is actually false.
April 28 - What the apostles meant by resurrection in the first place and what it has to do with us.
May 5 - Conclusion and maybe even a few minutes for discussion.
I hope you will join us!