Unlike almost all other revealed religions, however, Christianity bases the truth of its claims on objective historical events rather than on purely subjective truth claims. These amazing events – Jesus’ execution, his burial in a tomb, the finding of the tomb empty, and the subsequent appearances of the risen Christ to many individuals and groups of people over a period of 40 days afterward - are the foundation of the claims of the authors of the New Testament.
As N.T. Wright, author of the voluminous scholarly work “The Resurrection of the Son of God” observed, there were about a dozen or so other messianic movements in Judaism for the period of 200 years or so around the time of Christ. All of those movements, with the exception of Christianity, ended with the violent death of the leader. The Jewish messiah was to overthrow Roman rule and free the Jewish people from Roman oppression. Death at the hands of the Romans was thus a sure-fire indicator that this person was not the messiah.
The followers of these other would-be messiahs had the choice to either abandon the movement or find another messiah. The early Christians did neither, but instead began to proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth, who had been executed by Roman authorities, nevertheless was the awaited Jewish Messiah as well as Lord of all the earth. They insisted that this bizarre statement was true because God had raised Jesus from the dead, and they had seen the evidence with their own eyes: the tomb was empty, and Jesus himself had appeared to them, announcing his Resurrection in person.
So how important is the Resurrection? Well, Paul certainly considered it important when he wrote
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.
1 Cor. 15: 14-15
Furthermore, Paul proclaimed to the philosophers in Athens these words:
Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-- an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.
The Resurrection is the proof of the pudding as far as the Gospel is concerned. If Jesus really rose from the dead, then everyone should be a Christian. If he did not rise from the dead, then no one should be.