It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
I believe many things with varying degrees of confidence and defensibility. It is very easy for me to claim that time had a beginning of some kind. The physical laws that we can observe with a high level of confidence logically demand it. I can also say that I believe that Jesus was this universe’s creator, is its rightful governor, and is temporarily not its governor. But can I offer the same confidence in these beliefs? Are they defensible?
The simple answer is no, not in the dialectic sense. I can claim to have supernatural guidance, inspiration, or intuition regarding these things, but these fail to satisfy me (or a separate critical mind, for that matter). To be satisfied, I would need evidence to establish some previous claims. Fundamental stuff.
In addition to all this, I believe that the modern method of Christian evangelism is foolishly designed for mass appeal. It’s facile and emotional, and so prevalent that evidence and logic are hopelessly lost in the morass of tracts offering Pascale’s wager. A cynical person, which I am, would call it manipulative. And I would, except that I recognize it as a cultural artifact.
Recall that the power of the original gospel’s testimony was its claim to be four first-hand accounts of a man’s resurrection from the dead. There was no question of “believing without seeing” or the authenticity of Josephus as a secondary source to prove that Jesus was a real person made of meat like us. And that is the context in which they should be understood and studied.
But modern Churchians try to imitate them, albeit with mystical, hand-wavy claims to their very own divine inspiration. “I’ve experienced Jesus in my life.” Bullshit. (Actually wait, I’ve got this great placebo to sell you…) This approach kinda makes sense in a culture where everybody wants to be a special snowflake and a prophet and a strong, independent woman—et cetera ad nauseum—and it seems to work enough of the time for Christendom to add mindshareholders. Most people are convinced by feelings and spirituality. And I would be remiss to add MPAI, and not only because they were public schooled.
But there is a critically underserved group of agnostics and skeptics who are looking for valid arguments replete with sound evidence. Many will be reached in no other way (no Calvinist am I). Where should such people turn to answer their questions about Christianity?
I don’t know. So I’m going to find out. Here are some fundamental (and very general) statements I need to establish:
Jesus was a man, and also God.
To prove the latter beyond doubt, I will try to prove beyond doubt that he performed at least one miracle (probably his resurrection) that would otherwise be impossible.
The Bible is trustworthy, epistemology and interpretation aside.
All men (or at least the reader) must be rescued from the consequence(s) of sin.
All men (or at least the reader) must believe something and/or act in some way to be rescued.
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list. I’ll be trolling some agnostics to find out which questions are necessary, which are sufficient, and which arguments are demonstrably invalid.