Over on the very smug Christian web-site, Triablogue, which I discovered via Gary’s Escaping Christian Fundamentalism blog, a commenter poses the question, ‘What evidence would it take to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?’ This is the answer I left:
If the Son of Man came back through the clouds with a heavenly host of angels in full view of the tribes of the Earth to judge the nations and separate the righteous from the unrighteous; if this Son of Man then established God’s Kingdom on the Earth for the meek and righteous while consigning the unrighteous to eternal punishment; if he and those he appointed to rule alongside him then reigned over this Kingdom for ever and ever, and if all of this happened within the lifetime of Jesus’ original followers, as he promised and predicted it would, then, and only then, would I be able to believe in him.
After all, this was Jesus’ good news (Luke 4.43). When none of his predictions/prophesies/promises came to pass then, as always happens with failed cults and failed cult leaders, those who followed came up with alternative explanations. They hoped, and no doubt believed, that these would do instead of the original ‘good news’. In many ways they weren’t wrong, given the later success of these interpretations, but these were not the cult’s original message and were no more true than Jesus’ Son of Man/Kingdom of God fantasy.
* * * * * *
Just in case you don’t think Jesus promised all these things here’s a mere sampling of where he does:
The Son of Man coming through the clouds: Mark 13.26
with a heavenly host of angels: Matthew 16.27
in full view of the tribes of the Earth: Matthew 24:30
to judge the nations: Matthew 16.27
and separate the righteous from the unrighteous: Matthew 25.32
The Son of Man establishing God’s Kingdom on the Earth: Matthew 19.28, 25.34
for the meek and righteous: Matthew 5.3
while consigning the unrighteous to eternal punishment: Matthew 25.46
Those he appointed ruling alongside him: Matthew 19.28, Luke 22.30
and reigning over this Kingdom for ever and ever: Matthew 6.13, Revelation 11.15
all of this to happen within the lifetime of Jesus’ original followers, as he promised and predicted it would: Mark 1.15, 9.1, Matthew 10.23, 16.28; 24.34, Luke 9.27 etc
I apologise for the strong language in the picture above, but c’mon, how can Christians reasonably explain the out-and-out failure of all of Jesus’ promises and predictions, while still maintaining he was somehow a manifestation of the God of the Universe?
Another easy one: Jesus prayed to the father that all his followers would be “one”. That clearly hasn’t happened, not even right from the beginning of their church. If all the “Jesus followers” ever got together and came to an agreement about all the details of their religion, and abolished having separate denominations, then I might be prepared to listen to them. Because that wouldbe a miracle.
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Exactly. There could be a whole series of these ‘why I can’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Why can’t Christians see the discordance? Must be the Holy Spirit, I guess. Or cognitive dissonance, fear (of being ostracised and of death) and their willingness to absorb the propaganda of whichever sect they’ve aligned themselves with.
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It is a religion of excuses. When every prophecy fails, they either change the meaning or push the date back. When the Bible said that things would happen such as “Jesus is coming soon” Christians say that to God soon might be thousands of years. But Jesus wasn’t talking God when he said he’d be back soon. He was talking to his followers. These men would have understood “soon” to mean within their lifetimes, not thousands of years later. His mouth wrote a check his body couldn’t cash.
When things don’t add up, Christians change the rules and move the goalposts. When Jesus failed to qualify as the messiah because he did not fulfill the obligations the messiah was said to fulfill, they changed the story. The Messiah foretold in the OT was to bring about peace, restore the temple and return the Jews to their homeland in his lifetime. When Jesus died (oops), the story in the NT became “the messiah is allowed a do-over”. There would now be a second coming. He’ll do all those things when he comes back. How convenient.
That’s exactly what happens – and has happened from the beginning. We see it too in more recent cults; ‘what the leader really meant was what I say he meant’; see Watchtower Society, Latter Day Saints, Scientology and the like. I have a theory that it’s the second generation of religious leaders who do the most damage; Paul, for example, reinterpreting Jesus’ (failed) mission in order to save face and make it more palatable/less demanding.
(slight edit to remove a repetition.)
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If it was a religion of truth and evidence then everyone would believe now wouldn’t they? But they don’t. Saving face and covering up is a full time job and certainly keeps the clergy busy.
Great post by the way.
The Lord thinks that he lives in a world crucified for our sins so that we are sinners. He did all that he suffered on the cross when he died three days later he rose to heaven and sat down to the right of his father to return to the world. the world is going to be hell. All is ready.
Not really, Lapat. This is how Jesus’ mission has been interpreted since he died (most noticeably by Paul) but it’s not what Jesus himself said about it. The End Times, Final judgement and Hell have been just about to arrive for the last two thousand years. They haven’t and they’re not going to now, however much Christians want them to.