Consistent to the end
Although eyewitness reports were not enough to challenge his skepticism, Morison was still confused by the disciples' behavior. A fact of history that has left historians, psychologists and skeptics perplexed is that these 11 “formerly cowards” have come to be willing to suffer humiliation, torture and death. All but one of Jesus' disciples were martyred. Had they done so much for a lie, knowing they had stolen the body?
The Islamic martyrs of 9/11 proved that some can die false causes they believe in. However, being a martyr for a lie is crazy. As Paul Little wrote, “Men will die for what they believe to be true, yet it can be false. However, they do not die for what they know is false. ”24 Jesus' disciples behaved in a manner consistent with a genuine belief that their leader was alive.
No one adequately explained why the disciples would be willing to die for a lie that they knew. But even if they had conspired a lie about Jesus' resurrection, how could they maintain that conspiracy for decades without at least one of them selling the truth for money or position? Moreland wrote: "Those who lie for personal gain do not stay together for long, especially when difficulties diminish benefits."
The former Nixon administration's right-hand man, Chuck Colson, implicated in the Watergate scandal, spoke about the difficulties of a large group of people in maintaining a lie for an extended period of time.
“I know that the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate has proved it to me. Like? Because 12 men testified that they saw Jesus raised the dead, and then proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never denying it. They were all beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured this, if it were not true. The Watergate involved 12 of the most powerful men in the world — and they were unable to keep up with the lie for even three weeks. Do you want me to believe that the 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible. ”
Something happened that changed everything for these men and women. Morison acknowledged: “Whoever thinks about this subject will end up confronting a fact that cannot be easily explained. … This fact is that… a deep conviction reached this small group of people — an alteration that attests to the fact that Jesus rose the tomb. ”