In conversations with naysayers of the resurrection, I point to the historical fact that these apostles died for their claim. “Why would they die for a lie?”
They invariably argue that many die for lies, and they point to jihadists: “Not only do they go to battle for lies, they even kill!” They clump jihadism with martyrdom. That is like saying because apples are red, strawberry are also apples because they are red. It creates a false categorization.
Jihadists and martyrs are not taken from the same cloth. Jihadists blow themselves up to kill others because they have to make others believe what they believe. They live fanatically because it is the only way to sustain their claims, constantly stoking them through extremisms. Their very defensiveness makes them uncompromising and aggressive.
Martyrs, on the other hand, don’t kill themselves to kill others. The don’t strap bombs. But if they are threatened to recant or be killed, they will give their life because their belief is not based on their fanaticism but on truth, and truth is powerful enough to convict a man to be faithful. Cognitive dissonance did not lead the disciples to make up the story of resurrection, it was to avoid cognitive dissonance that they sang hymns to their risen Lord while the lions roared and the fires raged and began climbing up their legs.
Lies need fanaticism. Truth creates faithfulness. Jihadists need their claims to be true so they kill. Martyrs know their belief is true so they are ready to die, if need be.
The twelve apostles were not fanatics or jihadists. They were martyrs. They were witnesses, convinced of what they saw, and sticking to it. Then it make sense to consider their claim.