How smart does one have to be to know Jesus?
Lately, Christians have been challenging me on the intellectual case for Christ based on the evidence for the resurrection and his miracles. For most/all Christians their faith hinges on the resurrection, so I find that it’s best to concentrate on this as opposed to the water-to-wine or heal-the-blind events. However, apparently I’m not intellectual enough to grasp this evidence.
Here’s the main points of the evidence/proof they proposed (unfairly I’m sure they’ll say):
- The disciples claim to have seen him alive and later died for this belief – ‘people just don’t do that’
- 513 (or so) saw him alive after the resurrection.
Before I get to the main point of this, let me give my simplistic and probably ignorant assessment of these points.
The disciples saw him alive?
Says who? Would they have any reason to exaggerate? Is it possible they were traumatised? There are plenty of metaphors in the NT, are you sure it wasn’t a metaphorical resurrection they were convinced about. Then, over the decades and translations it was written as physical fact? Because for them, the ‘visitation’ they had could have been as good as physical. Possible?
Of the 500+ people who apparently saw him:
I may be wrong but I believe that 500 of them were at one meeting mentioned in one of the epistles. Now, are we sure it wasn’t 501 or 499? Are we sure it wasn’t actually 300 or 50? And of those 500, how many were 100% convinced that it was him? Do we have at least letters of confirmation from them all? Or do we just believe this because 50 or so years later St. Paul wrote it in a letter to encourage an early church?
Now as I said, I’m not too much with the smarts! Maybe it’s just that I don’t get it. But the hundreds of thousands of god-fearing, child-loving, charitable reasonable people at the time in Israel weren’t exactly falling over themselves to believe the resurrection eithe. They quite reasonably probably asked – “Well ok, if he really is risen again then can we see him? Is he going to come to Jerusalem again to say hi to Pilot and the Pharisees?” OH THEY OF LITTLE FAITH!!
Again, it could well be that I’m not smart enough to understand the evidence, I admit this. The problem is however, how smart does one have to be to be a Christian? Is Jesus only for the really smart people who understand why the evidence is good enough and should be believed? If not, then are we saying that we should teach our children to accept certain things on less than empathic evidence? Not only that but they should accept ‘unlikely’ things like resurrections on less than emphatic evidence?
I think I know where that leads… and it’s nowhere good.