BORN ATHEIST
QUESTION EASTER: TAKE THE JESUS RISING QUIZ

    Christ’s resurrection is the central event of Christianity, a fundamental truth that
    must be reaffirmed with vigor at all times, as to deny it in different ways, as has
    been attempted and continues to be attempted, or to transform it into a merely
    spiritual event is to make our faith vain. If Christ has not been raised, then our
    preaching is in vain and . . .  faith is in vain.(1) Pope Benedict XVI


The Jesus coming-back-from-the-dead story is Christianity’s most important myth. You might think
they would have their story straight, especially since they had years to rehearse it before writing the
Bible. But if you think so, you are wrong. Take this multiple choice quiz about the Jesus rising story:

1. What time of day was an empty tomb found?
A.         While it was still dark (John 20:1)
B.         Very early in the morning (Luke 24:1)
C.         At dawn (Matthew 28:1)
D.         After sunrise (Mark 16:2)
E.         All of the above

2. Who first went to Jesus’ tomb?
A.         Mary Magdalene (John 20:1)
B.         Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matthew 28:1)
C.         Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome (Mark 16:1)
D.         Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and the others with them (Luke
             24:10)
E.         All of the above

3. Did the woman or women meet anyone at the tomb?
A.         Yes, a young man dressed in white was already sitting in the tomb (Mark 16:5)
B.         Yes, two men in clothes that gleamed like lightening were not there initially but quickly
              appeared (Luke 24:4)
C.         Yes, an angel who rolled away a stone from the tomb entrance and some guards who
              were standing there (Matthew 28:2-4)
D.         Not at first, but later that day two angels appeared inside the tomb and talked to Mary
             Magdalene (John 20:12)
E.         All of the above

4. To whom did Jesus speak first?
A.         Two disciples (Luke 24:13)
B.         Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matthew 28:9)
C.         To Mary Magdalene alone (Mark 16:9)
D.         In the presence of two angels, to Mary Magdalene, who first thought Jesus was a
             gardener (John 20:14-15)
E.         All of the above

5. How long did Jesus hang around before heading up to heaven?
A.         Only one day (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51)
B.         An unspecified period of time, but at least long enough for his disciples to get to
             Galilee (probably several days walk)(Matthew 28:16)
C.         More than a week (John 20:26, 21:1-25)
D.         Forty days (Acts 1:3)
E.         All of the above

My guess is that you answered “all of the above” to each. That means either you are a cynic, a Bible
scholar, or you figured the citations next to each answer means that I read the Bible passages and
reported the answers accurately. The correct answer is “all of the above.”

It is difficult to believe that almost one-third of Americans(2) think the Bible is the inerrant word of god
when the story tellers cannot even keep their most important story straight. If the “testimony” of the
Bible were presented in court, the case would be dismissed for lack of reliable evidence. Religion
requires faith because it lacks facts. The great mystery is why so many people let these poorly
constructed ancient myths dictate their modern behavior.

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1. “
Pope Benedict on the Resurrection,” Catholic Online, May 1, 2006, (sub-quotation marks omitted).

2.  “
One-Third of Americans Believe the Bible is Literally True,” Gallup News Service, May 25, 2007.