In her book, Not God’s Type, former atheist English professor, Dr.Holly Ordway recounts of how during her journey from Atheism to Christianity, she came to a point where she had to consider if Jesus Christ really was who He claimed to be. As she studied the Gospels she realised that they were either, “sophisticated works of fiction in the modern realistic style, approximately seventeen hundred years ahead of the development of the genre – which as a literary scholar I knew was ludicrous – or the Gospels writers were describing what the man named Jesus of Nazareth had really said about himself.”
Jesus had claimed to be divine and had provided a way to put his claim to the test. The Resurrection. “There were many miracles I could think about, but they all paled into insignificance next to the singular miracle of the Resurrection. Had it rally happened? Because if it had, then Christianity was true.”
She “had to admit that [the Gospels]…were historical narratives. I’d been steeped in folklore, fantasy, legend, and myth since I was a child, and had studied these literary genres as an adult. She found none of the “stylistic fingerprints” which are a part of these genres present in the books of the New Testament. Instead, in the writings of St. Paul she, “heard the strong, clear voice of a distinctive personality speaking of what he’d seen and done. The Gospels had the ineffable texture of history, with all the odd clarity of detail that comes when an author is recounting something so huge that even as he tells it, he doesn’t see all the implications.” Another detail she found supporting the authenticity of the Gospels as genuine historical documents was the testimony of Mary Magdalen, that she had seen Jesus risen from the dead. “The testimony of women would undermine the credibility of these accounts in a male-dominated culture, and yet we hear of Mary Magdalen bringing the news of the risen Lord to the rest of the disciples.”
Another is when Christ, having risen from the dead eats some fish. “Nobody thinks to offer Jesus so much as a drink of water. He has to ask. That makes them look bad…One can imagine the disciples, seized by embarrassment, casting their eyes over the disarray of supper dishes. They offer him a piece of fish, and he eats it, and they have another confirmation that this is truly the Resurrected Lord.” For after all, she adds, “no vision eats a piece of fish.” Surely it would have been “more convenient to tidy up the narrative and make it more impressive. The only reason to include an embarrassing scene like this” she says, “would be that it was the way it happened.” By the end of her research, Dr. Ordway was convinced that Jesus had really and truly risen from the dead. That the Resurrection was a historical fact. She is now a Catholic.
Read the first chapter of her book, Not God’s Type here.