Atheist Taunts Christians With ‘Easter Challenge’



Norman Barker performed a duet with Judy Garland in the 1948 film “Easter Parade.” His son, Dan, became a pastor, before falling away from his Christian faith in 1984.

In 1990, Dan Barker, by then a devout atheist, published an essay, which he titled “An Easter Challenge For Christians.” And he has reissued his transparent attack on Easter every year since then.

This year, his challenge appears on a blog hosted by the so-called Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist hate group, based in Madison, Wisconsin, for which Barker and his wife serve as co-presidents.

In his anti-Easter essay, Barker writes, “My straightforward request is merely that Christians tell me exactly what happened on the day their most important doctrine was born.”

The atheist suggests that, since he first issued his challenge nearly a quarter-century ago, only an Assemblies of God pastor and Lutheran grad has ever taken him up on it. And neither ultimately got back to him.

But here’s the rest of the story that Barker, the deceiver, conveniently ignores: His challenge is not “straightforward.” Indeed, “The important condition of the challenge,” he writes, “is that not one single biblical detail be omitted.”

Of course, such trickeration is to be expected from those who shake their fists at God; who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ; who disbelieve that He conquered the grave.

Barker seeks to cast doubt upon the Easter story by deconstructing every jot and tittle of the four Gospel accounts of the Easter story, as well as the briefer accounts that appear in the book of Acts and I Corinthians.

He maintains that any putative discrepancy in the Biblical accounts, any apparent inconsistency in Biblical detail (however small, like the matter of whether visitors to Christ’s empty tomb on Easter morning saw one angel or two), is prima facie evidence that the resurrection was a fiction.

But that’s an absurd proposition. Sure there are discrepancies in the Gospel accounts. But no more than those to be found in reading the various biographies of, say, Abraham Lincoln. Does Barker question whether Lincoln truly served as president of the United States?

And while the atheist makes the case that the Gospel accounts of Easter were ahistoric, they actually were corroborated by the first century Roman-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.

In the Testimonium Flavianum, Josephus writes about “Jesus, a wise man” who was “a doer of wonderful works.” He attests that Jesus was condemned to the cross and that he appeared “alive again the third day.”

Barker can dispute Josephus’ historic account of the Easter story, as he questions the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But there is no dispute, no question that something miraculous happened on the first Easter Sunday.

For the frightened disciples who abandoned Jesus on the night he was arrested, who hid themselves away when he was crucified, were suddenly emboldened three days after Christ’s death.

In His name, they set out to make disciples of all nations. And it is no coincidence that, two thousand years later, Christianity is the world’s dominant faith.

This entry was published on March 31, 2013 at 11:40 AM. It’s filed under Holidays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

14 thoughts on “Atheist Taunts Christians With ‘Easter Challenge’

  1. Testimonium Flavianum
    A 1631 Testimonium page with commentary
    “ Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.[50]

    Supposedly written in 90 A.D. Does the above passage sound like a critical unbiased historian or a true blue believer?
    No one can say with certainty, but one thing I know with near certainty is that eternal Hell for nonbelievers is the idea of a vengeful mind.

  2. Tom Smith on said:

    Why doesn’t anyone try to prove Barker wrong? I tried to do just this several years ago. I didn’t know who Barker was. It can’t be done. The records are flimsy. How can anyone hold to anything they say as “gospel”? If the books are wrong in one place, or here in several places, where else are they wrong? Does God like manipulating his loved creation so much that he would only allow these weak accounts to survive?

  3. B.Spacek on said:

    Great! You have to approve of every message posted here. Typical.

    • When everyone`who posts a message does so under their real name (rather than a screen name, which allows anonymous ad hominen attacks) we will need not approve every message here.

  4. B.Spacek on said:

    Why do you label the man as the head of a hate group? Does that make it easier to justify being a jerk?

    • Barker is co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, which hates all things Christian. That makes it a hate group.

      • Tom Smith on said:

        Hogwash. If that is the case, Christianity must be a hate group. It hates all things not Christian.

      • True Christians are not haters. For the Bible teaches: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

  5. pastorjackwilson on said:

    Here is a question, when there is a negative response, how come most of the people are anonymous? Don’t they know God sees them anyway? 🙂

  6. pastorjackwilson on said:

    There will be no amount of facts to convince someone who is so blind that he can not see. I am sure this man was never a Christian even though he became a pastor. (little p) I think God would have taken him out by now, had he been saved because he would be an embarrassment.

    I think sometimes discrepancies are purposely there to show the stupidity of the non-believers logic. I do admit after studying the Bible for 40+ years I come across from time to time something that seems a bit off. I do not however let it shake me. I consider it a truth that has not yet been unfolded.
    “enlightened ones” said Ninevah had not existed until, of course, Archeologists proved it did. Then I believe it was Belteshazzar that did not exist but that was proven also.
    One day, this will come to pass:Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

  7. rturpin on said:

    Which biographies of Abraham Lincoln do Christians view as inspired scripture, as the truth given from God to man?

    • You miss the point friend. Barker holds the Gospels to an unrealistic standard of historocity that not even modern biographies manage to attain.

  8. What a frightened little man he is.

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