The following is a clip from an interesting debate between Dale B. Martin, a professor at Yale University, and Christian apologist Michael Licona. In this video, Dale B. Martin absolutely demolishes the foundation of Christian faith, which is that Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross and was resurrected from death on the third day. Keep in mind that unlike Christianity, the Holy Qur’an teaches that since Jesus never died on the cross he was never resurrected on the third day (Surah 4:157):
Often times, Christians argue against the swoon theory (the belief that Jesus simply fainted on the cross and later recovered from his injuries), by insisting that it is implausible and lacks any historical evidence. However, let the reader decide which of the two scenarios is more “plausible”:
1. A man is put on the cross and dies within a few hours. He is supernaturally resurrected after three days. The only evidence presented for this view are anonymous writings written many years after the supposed fact.
2. A man is put on the cross, falls unconscious within a few hours. He is taken down the cross unconscious but still alive. He is placed in a cavern to rest where he later recovers and emerges in full health after a few days.
The evidence for the latter view is based on many facts mentioned within the Gospel accounts themselves. For example, the fact that Jesus was only on the cross for a few hours. When the report of Jesus’s alleged death reached the Roman governor of Judea province (Pontius Pilate), he expressed surprise and amazement at how a man could have died on the cross within a few hours (Mark 15:44). This is because it is very unusual and extrordinary for a man at his prime (Jesus was in his early thirties at the time of his crucifixion) to have died within a three hours of being hung on the cross. Usually crucifixion took many days even a full week for the victim to die.
Jesus was put on the cross on Friday, which meant the Sabbath was fast approaching as it begins on Friday evening. So the Jewish elders requested the Romans to take down the people being crucified so as not to profane the Sabbath. The Roman guards therefore broke the legs of the two criminals being crucified alongside Jesus in order to cause their instant death, but the legs of Jesus were never broken (John 19:33). Had Jesus’s legs been broken, the debate would be decisively concluded in favor of the Christians that Jesus did indeed die on the cross.
There are many other powerful reasons to believe that Jesus did not die on the cross but merely fainted and appeared to have died. According to the principle of Occam’s razor, the most logical and plausible explanation of any problem is that explanation which has the fewest assumptions. If the problem is how was Jesus seen alive and well after his supposed “death” on the cross, then the best possible and most logical explanation is that he never died in the first place, rather than to believe in a supernatural explanation.
The other possibility that is considered is of course that Jesus really did die on the cross, but unlike what the Christians claim as part of their devotional literature, which does not carry any weight from a historical or scientific perspective, Jesus was never raised from the dead. This is what most atheists, Jews, and secular historians and scholars believe. However, if it is true, it means that Jesus was a false messiah and died a cursed death (God forbid). Obviously, Muslims and others who believe in the truthfulness of Jesus and that he was a God-appointed Prophet and Messiah, cannot accept this hypothesis.
The Sign of Jonah
When Jesus was asked by his enemies to perform a Sign so that they should be convinced that he had been sent by God, Jesus responded: “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 13:39-40)
Now the reader need only consult the Book of Jonah in order to be properly acquainted with the details of the Sign of Jonah. According to both the Bible and Qur’an, the Prophet Jonah was never killed or resurrected from the dead. He was thrown overboard by his fellow passengers in order to calm a dangerous storm. Tossed into the raging sea, he was swallowed by a great whale, in whose belly he remained for three days and three nights, until the whale vomitted him out and he drifted ashore. Throughout this wonderful ordeal, the Prophet Jonah was alive, i.e., he was alive when he was thrown overboard into the sea, he was alive when he was swallowed by the whale, he was alive for three days and nights in the belly of the whale praying to God, and he was alive when he was vomitted out of the whale and cast ashore
Hence, in order for Jesus to fulfill the Sign of Jonah, he too could not have died but remained alive throughout the ordeal.
It is interesting that Christians believe that Prophet Jonah was alive for three days and nights in the belly of a whale (which virtually every atheist and secular skeptic belie, saying it is impossible for a human being to remain alive in the belly of a whale in the sea for such a duration of time). The Christians take a leap of faith and affirm the text of the Book of Jonah that Prophet Jonah was alive when he was tossed into the sea and swallowed by the whale, in whose belly he remained for three days and nights. However, the same Christians argue it is “implausible” that Jesus of Nazareth simply fainted on the cross and was recovering in the cavern for three days and nights!