Renee asked:

I was having a conversation with an atheist friend of mine and I brought up the point that the apostles scattered to the ends of the earth, and later gave their lives in defense of Jesus and the Church and why would they do that if Jesus didn't exist? My friend said that people from other religions gave their lives for their beliefs so would you make their claims valid too?

Fr. Paul Keller replied:

"... I'm not aware of many Buddhists dying for Jesus or other religions dying for Christ or even just for their own leader. They may have died for their beliefs and their own religions so we have to make that little distinction first.

... there's another bigger distinction that's being lost here and it is this: we're talking about the founders of the religion, and so if the religion is true it's true because it's been handed on to us not just because I want it to be true in the twenty first century. In other words I believe in Christianity because Christ has revealed himself to us and that that testimony has been handed on to the very people that he chose to have as his followers and they have handed it on to others.

In other words the apostles are not just some several centuries subsequent who kind of decided that Christianity is a really nice religion and they'd like to believe in it and they'll even die for it. Rather they witnessed Christ. They saw Christ. And not one of them ... denied that Jesus had risen from the dead after having experienced that resurrection power. In other words they were able to give up their lives based on what they had experienced in the life of Christ. Seeing him crucified, seeing him buried and also seeing him alive again at the resurrection. No other religion can make that claim about any of its founders. They don't have any of those kinds of experiences because nothing like that has ever happened."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. For the complete response download the podcast.

Click icon for archived podcast answering this question in its entirety.

Show air date: March 27, 2014

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Fr. Paul Keller

Question appeared in show: 17:35

Social: Share:

This site is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

"...and upon this rock I will build My Church..." Matthew 16:18