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.
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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?