Misconception concerning the “die for a lie” argument.
The die for a lie argument is an argument that points to the fact that most of the twelve disciples died for preaching that Jesus resurrected from the dead. The argument states that while many people would die for what they believe is the truth, no one would die for what they know is a lie.
The misconception is this: “You are saying if someone dies for what they believe in, it must be true. But plenty of people die for causes they believe in, that doesn’t mean what they believe is true!”
Clearing up the misconception: We are not saying that “if someone dies for what they believe in, it must be true”. Lets reread what I said earlier: “Many people would die for what they believe is the truth, no one would die for what they know is a lie.”
We are acknowledging that many people do die for a lie, but our point is that they think it is the truth. Islamic extremists who commit suicide for their beliefs, think that they believe the truth, but they do not know. The point in the die for a lie argument is that the twelve did not just believe Jesus resurrected from the dead, they claim to have seen him resurrected. So the point is that if they taught Jesus resurrected from the dead, but he didn’t, the twelve would have known their teaching was a lie. Yet they still died refusing to renounce that truth. So while some may die for what they believe is true, people simply do not die for what they know is false. If the twelve were martyred for a belief that wasn’t true, it was a belief that they didn’t even believe in. It was a belief they fabricated, and yet they still died refusing to recant.
To what end? They were stoned, thrown off a building, beheaded, boiled alive, etc. for what? So that they can knowingly trick some people into believing a guy who taught everyone deserved hell, that believing in him is the only way to know God, and then was publicly executed, resurrected from the dead? What good does that do? What does it accomplish? It resulted in both the twelve, and all of their followers being shunned and hated by most, both Roman and Jewish. It resulted in charity sure, but there are plenty of ways to get people to live charitable lives that don’t require you being slaughtered. They were basically spreading a lie (telling the Pharisees themselves that they saw Jesus resurrect -a bold move if it wasn’t true-) in order to turn everyone they know against them and ultimately get murdered. All the while knowing that the man they are proclaiming as God was nothing more than a madman who died a humiliating death for no purpose. They would have died for something they knew was futile, meaningless, and a lie. That seems incredibly unlikely.
Thats the argument, I hope it cleared up our misconception.