Probability of Jesus dying on the cross

based on archaeological discoveries made since ~ 1850
. . . and analysis by Classic Scholar, Dr. Colin J. Hemer

. . . and logical guidelines used by scholars


Probability that Muhammad is Wrong
. . . about Jesus dying on the cross

Muhammad lived 600 years (~220,000 days) after Jesus (no contextual reliability) yet claimed to know more about Jesus' dying on the cross than the disciples of Jesus that were present on that day. The disciples as eyewitnesses experienced Jesus by touching, listening, and seeing Jesus face-to-face. For example, the Apostle John writes about experiencing Jesus using physical senses. And Luke writes that the disciples had many convincing proofs of Jesus' death and resurrection.

Since Muhammad made his claim about Jesus more than 220,000 days later, why should anyone believe his words?

For example, if you claimed to know more about a person who lived in the year 1406 (600 years ago) than the people who lived then, why would any intelligent person believe you?


This page calculates the probability that Muhammad was correct about Jesus not dying on the cross. I have already stated that the probability of Muhammad being correct is less than 2 chances in 1 billion. This page gives the evidence in support of this calculation. I have divided the evidence into three categories as follows:

  1. People who knew Jesus on a face-to-face basis. Even more important, current archaeological evidence and literary evidence support their existence at greater than the 95% confidence level.
  2. Negative testimonies that support the biblical stories are true. For example, Jesus' brothers were skeptics in regards to their brother being the Messiah.
  3. Were the stories written by people who knew Jesus in person or at least by people who knew the disciples face-to-face?
Nineteen People Who Knew Jesus
probability greater than the 95%

Using archaeological evidence as a foundational basis, we can calculate that at least 19 people referred to in the New Testament witnessed Jesus being crucified. Fifteen of these people boldly proclaimed that Jesus arose from the dead. Two of them probably did join the ranks of the early Christians (Simon of Cyrene and Alexander). Below is a list along with supporting evidence for these 19 people with a calculated probability level.

In regards to archaeological evidence, each person listed below has archaeological support for their inclusion in this list. For example, a discovery was made that verified the person to have existed such as the high priest named Caiaphas or Pontius Pilate.

Others in the list below are referred to by Luke, who wrote the book of Acts. Classic scholar, Dr. Colin Hemer, has shown that the book of Acts correlates to the archaeological records. Because Luke has been proven to be reliable for historic information, his references to specific biblical characters makes that person credible.

  1. The Apostle Paul: Verified to exist due to 3 independent authors, the fact that Saul of Tarsus as an educated man who persecuted Christians (Dissimilarity Criteria), and that the 3 authors wrote within 20 to 34 years after Jesus lived. Probability that Paul existed as a skeptic and became the early leader of the Christians is high due to the correlation between Acts and the archaeological record. Classic scholar Dr. Colin Hemer correlates 162 archaeological records that match the texts in Acts chapters 13 to 28. The following chart gives a summary for the Apostle Paul.
  2. The Apostle Paul

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    3

    1
    educated, persecuted Christians

    13
    Wrote 13 epistles

    162
    Acts / Archeolog-
    ical records

    1041
    essentially
    100%

  3. James, the brother of Jesus: Verified to exist due to 8 independent authors, the fact that James did not believe in Jesus as the messiah (Dissimilarity Criteria), that the 8 authors wrote within 20 to 65 years after Jesus lived, and the James ossuary. The probability that James existed as a skeptic and became the early leader of the Christians is greater than 99.996%.
  4. James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    8

    1
    skeptic

    8

    1
    James ossuary


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.996%



    1040
    essentially
    ~100%

  5. Jude, the brother of Jesus: Verified to exist due to 4 independent authors, the fact that Jude did not believe in Jesus as the messiah (Dissimilarity Criteria), and that the 4 authors wrote within 20 to 65 years after Jesus lived. Probability that Jude existed as a skeptic and became one of the early Christians is greater than 99.7%. The following chart gives a summary for Jude.
  6. Jude, Brother of Jesus

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    4

    1 (skeptic)

    4

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.7%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  7. Simon, the brother of Jesus The following chart gives a summary for Simon.
  8. Simon, Brother of Jesus

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    3

    1 (skeptic)

    3

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.2%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  9. Joses, the brother of Jesus The following chart gives a summary for Joses.
  10. Joses, Brother of Jesus

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    3

    1 (skeptic)

    3

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.2%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  11. James, son of Zebedee The following chart gives a summary for this James.
  12. James, son of Zebedee, Apostle of Jesus

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    3

    1 (fled from Jesus at crucifixion)

    3

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.2%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  13. The Apostle John, son of Zebedee The following chart gives a summary for the Apostle John.
  14. The Apostle John, son of Zebedee

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    8

    0

    8

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.994%



    1040
    essentially
    ~100%

  15. The Apostle Peter: The following chart gives a summary for the Apostle Peter.
  16. The Apostle Peter

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    6

    1 (denied Jesus at crucifixion)

    6

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.97%



    1040
    essentially
    ~100%

  17. The Apostle Andrew: The following chart gives a summary for the Apostle Andrew.
  18. The Apostle Andrew

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    3

    1 (fled when Jesus arrested)

    3

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.2%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  19. The Apostle Philip: The following chart gives a summary for the Apostle Philip.
  20. The Apostle Philip

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    3

    1 (fled when Jesus arrested)

    3

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.2%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  21. The Apostle Bartholomew: The following chart gives a summary for the Apostle Bartholomew.
  22. The Apostle Bartholomew

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    2

    1 (fled when Jesus arrested)

    2

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    97.4%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  23. Doubting Thomas, Apostle: The following chart gives a summary for the Apostle Doubting Thomas.
  24. The Apostle Doubting Thomas

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    3

    1 (fled at Jesus arrest and doubted Jesus' resurrection)

    3

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.2%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  25. Matthew, Tax Collector and Apostle: The following chart gives a summary for Matthew, Tax Collector and Apostle.
  26. Matthew, Tax Collector and Apostle

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    3

    1 (fled at Jesus arrest / tax collector)

    3

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.2%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  27. The Apostle, James the Less: The following chart gives a summary for Apostle, James the Less.
  28. Apostle, James the Less

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    2

    1 (fled at Jesus arrest)

    2

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    97.4%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  29. The Apostle, Simon the Zealot: The following chart gives a summary for Apostle, Simon the Zealot.
  30. Apostle, Simon the Zealot

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    2

    1 (fled at Jesus arrest)

    2

    0


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    97.4%



    1038
    essentially
    ~100%

  31. Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus' cross: The following chart gives a summary for Simon of Cyrene.
  32. Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus' cross

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    2

    1 (Jesus not able to carry cross)

    2

    1 (Alexander ossuary)

    98.5%

  33. Alexander, son of Simon of Cyrene: The following chart gives a summary for him.
  34. Alexander, son of Simon of Cyrene

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    2

    0

    2

    1 (Alexander ossuary)

    97.4%

  35. Pontius Pilate, who sentenced Jesus to die on the cross: The following chart gives a summary for Pilate.
  36. Pontius Pilate

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    6

    0

    6

    1 (Pilate Inscription)


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.97%



    1039
    essentially
    ~100%

  37. Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest at the trial of Jesus: The following chart gives a summary for Caiaphas.
  38. Caiaphas, the High Priest

    Independently
    Attested

    Dissimilarity
    negative report

    Contextual
    Reliability

    Physical
    Evidence

    Confidence
    Level

    5

    0

    5

    1 (Caiaphas ossuary)


    Plus
    Acts
    162 records

    99.91%



    1039
    essentially
    ~100%


On the chart below, this list of literary and archaeological data from above is shown on the left side of the chart. The large amount of data dwarfs the sole voice of Muhammad 600 years later (one data point on the bottom right side), who claimed Jesus did not die on the cross. This chart illustrates the reality between those who personally knew Jesus and are supported by archaeological discoveries since 1941 compared to Muhammad.

To date, no archaeological discovery has been uncovered that supports Muhammad's view of Jesus NOT dying on the cross. Muhammad has less less than 2 chances in 1 billion of being correct due to archaeological discoveries. As new discoveries occur, Muhammad's claims about Jesus will continue to dwarf.


Calculating the probability
. . . of the Qur'an not being based on facts

The statistical tool I used for this test is referred to as the chi-square test of independence. This requires a hypothesis to be stated that links the Qur'an to some type of supporting physical evidence. Then we can test whether the data supports if the hypothesis is true or false at a calculated confidence level.

Muslims are taught and believe that Jesus did not die on the cross. Based on the Muslim world view, we can formulate a hypothesis for this viewpoint. We simply state that "It is a fact that Jesus did not die on the cross according to the Qur'an and that no other evidence exists to refute the Qur'an." Having made that statement as the hypothesis, we simply calculate a level of confidence that the hypothesis is true or false.

Since the hypothesis is "It is a fact that Jesus did not die on the cross according to the Qur'an and that no other evidence exists to refute the Qur'an," we would expect to find absolutely no evidence of skeptics becoming Christians or evidence of people who were eyewitnesses to Jesus dying on the cross.

The same method used to calculate the probability of James is used to calculate this hypothesis. Muslims would expect zero items to counter the Muslim world view. But the research cited above reveals there are 5 skeptics became Christians, 19 eyewitnesses with greater than 95% probability of witnessing Jesus' death on the cross, numerous dissimilarity statements that make the biblical viewpoint more realistic over the claims of the Qur'an, archaeological discoveries that verify people existed who were eyewitnesses of Jesus, and most importantly that the New Testament books and Josephus were recorded between 18 to 65 years of Jesus' death. The proximity of authoring books close to Jesus lifetime is in stark contrast with the fact that the Qur'an was recorded more than 620 years after Jesus lived.

The total items used for the calculation sum up to 41 due to 19 people who knew Jesus in the early years of the Christian faith, 14 of these people were either skeptics of Jesus or denied him, and 8 books were written to provide contextual reliability. Therefore, the calculation is done using 41 items as the expected value and zero as observed value as shown below:

Hypothesis
It is a fact that Jesus did not die on the cross according to the Qur'an and that no other evidence exists to refute the Qur'an

Chi-square
Value

Observed

unique items

Expected

unique items

(EO)

(Expected
minus
Observed)

(EO)2

(EO)2/E

0

41

41

1681

41

The chart above shows that we expected 41 unique items and observed zero. This yields the following values of 0 (Bottom Left Corner Above). The difference between the expected (+41) and observed (0) is +41 units (Middle Column Above). The number +41 is squared to equal 1681. The value of 1681 is divided by the expected value of +41 to yield a chi-square value of +41 (Bottom Right Corner Above). What does the value of +41 mean?

The analysis supports that the hypothesis ("It is a fact that Jesus did not die on the cross according to the Qur'an and that no other evidence exists to refute the Qur'an") is false. We can conclude that the Qur'an is not based on factual information. The probability of the Qur'an being correct about Jesus is less than 2 chances in 1 billion (1.52 x 10-10).

Comparing the Faith Level Required to be a Muslim to Christian Faith

It is very important to understand that this calculation reveals problems with the Qur'anic view of Jesus. If you are a Muslim, I recommend that you study the evidence for Jesus' death and resurrection with an open mind. I would recommend that you read the scholarly work of Dr. Colin Hemer's to gain insight into discerning spiritual truth.

The purpose of this web site is not to bring out bad emotional feelings. Rather, the purpose is to find spiritual truth and to unveil spiritual deception. Quoting the Qur'an does not prove anything since there is no EXTERNAL proof for what the Qur'an claims about Jesus. To date, not one archaeological item has been uncovered that supports the view of Jesus not dying on the cross. Without external evidence, the Qur'an has no foundation for truth. To be a Muslim requires that a Muslim place blind faith in the Qur'an. And blind faith is the basis of deception in all religions.

In contrast with the Qur'an, archaeological evidence supports that only a small amount of faith is required to believe the conversion story from Saul of Tarsus. Did Saul of Tarsus come face-to-face with the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus?

Saul of Tarsus, an early skeptic and terrorist of the early Christians, was radically changed by that experience. According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. The archaeological discoveries that parallel the written text in Acts infer that Christians only need a small amount of faith to believe Paul's testimony that Jesus did in fact die on the cross for the sins of humanity, then rise from the dead. The quantity of faith is the proverbial biblical saying, the size of a mustard seed (Ref: Luke 17:6). Christians placing their faith (complete trust) in Jesus is credible. Are you ready to place your faith in Jesus as your personal redeemer?


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Based on the book:
"Gabriel's Faces: voice of the Archangel"
ISBN 0-9640404-2-5