In the first half of the 18th century, two young men, Gilbert West and Lord Nyttleton, went to Oxford, England. They were friends of Dr. Samuel Johnson and Alexander Pope. These young men were determined to attack the very basis of the Christian faith. Nyttleton settled down to prove that Saul of Tarsus was never converted to Christianity, and West to demonstrate that Jesus never rose from the tomb.
“Some time later,” says author Michael Green in his book Man Alive (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL), “they met to discuss their findings. Both were a little sheepish. For they had come independently to similar and disturbing conclusions. Nyttleton found, on examination, that Saul of Tarsus did become a radically new man through his conversion to Christianity; and West found that the evidence pointed unmistakably to the fact that Jesus did rise from the dead.”
You may still find their book in a large library. It is titled Observations on the History and Evidences of Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and was published in 1747. On the fly-leaf they printed this telling quotation from the Bible, which might be adopted with profit by any modern agnostic: “Blame not before thou has examined the truth” (Ecclesiastes 11:7).