Suspend your belief a while…
…what have you got to lose?
Take a walk with me for a moment – I’m not asking you to change your views, just to let your mind wander into hypotheses for a while. The Roman occupation was a difficult time and Jews were very open-minded about messiahs and were actively looking and praying for him. There were a number of messiah claims and rumors of messiahs at that time.
Jesus had, of course, come as a Jewish messiah. He was Jewish, and he was the man prophesied in Isaiah (or so you claim). He was there as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies – he had come to redeem the children of Israel, god’s chosen people. Yet the overwhelming majority of good, god-fearing, open-minded, ‘messiah wanting’ Jews decided, based on the evidence, that Jesus wasn’t the one. So much so that Paul and the other apostles decided that god was telling them to go preach to the gentiles. A cynical man would say that they came to that conclusion because the Jews were having none of the ‘messiah’ talk – so therefore god was ‘guiding them’ to try somewhere else (in the same way god guided me not to go out with Kate Moss).
How did the Jews come to this conclusion? They used the tools given to them by god (you’d say), their rationale and their reasoning. For them there was not enough evidence, even in the days, months and years after the event so intelligent, god-fearing, praying Jews came to the conclusion that Jesus was not the messiah. He was just another one of the ‘maybe he could be’. What would be the point of Jesus not leaving convincing evidence that he was truly the messiah?
Now think about what you’re asking of someone today in the early 2000’s. You’re asking us to examine the same evidence which did not convince the people who WANTED to be convinced, who waved him in to Jerusalem with palm leaves, and you’re asking us to examine this evidence through the distortions of time, translation and probable well intentioned re-remembering to fit the mission.
Now continue on this walk with me, and really ask yourself what it was which first made you move from a position of never hearing the name Jesus to deciding that the evidence was good enough to come to an earth shattering conclusion that he was the son of god. Think about the times in your life since when you’ve felt that god was speaking to you, guiding you, when you’ve felt “god’s hand” on a situation. Ask yourself whether there is an iota of a chance that in actual fact there is no father-figure god watching over you – or if there is – there isn’t enough evidence for it. Believing things on insufficant evidence is what leads to David Koresh, Scientology, Reiki, Astrology and the rest.
I submit that you must at least acknowledge that even if the resurrection did actually happen, it’s REASONABLE to come to the conclusion that it did not, and consider the implications of that. The implications for you will be too much for you to accept – but I humbly submit that as a thinking man you must give the notion some room, and that the notion can never be given room while you continue with the faith affirming rituals of the church and the logic-loop of praying to the god you only know through Jesus for wisdom to understand if/why Jesus is his son.