Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Scam

One of the possible explanations given to explain Jesus Christ and what He did is to claim the whole thing was some sort of con game. This ranges from the idea of a kind of Passover Plot, where Jesus somehow faked His own death, to the idea that the disciples stole the body. This has the advantage over the idea of a legend because it does not have to slowly grow up over time. It also has the advantage that it does not require Jesus' followers to have totally changed His basic message, which is extremely implausible. Under this view Christianity is what Christianity always was; it was just a lie from the beginning. But will this view hold up to examination?

I believe the best answer for this one comes from Chuck Colson. He draws from his own experience with the Watergate scandal. He explains how a small group of men, with all the power of the presidency, who were not in danger of death but only imprisonment, were unable to keep the events involved a secret. Are we then to believe that a group of insignificant men with no power were able to pull off the perfect conspiracy about the nature of Christ and His resurrection without blabbing?

Also, it is totally unclear what they expected to gain from the scam. Generally scammers expect some tangible reward: money, women, power. It is difficult to see how Christ or His apostles could gain anything out of this but ignominy and trouble. That is something we might expect from honest men, even men honestly deceived, but not from con men. Nor does the ethics taught by Jesus and His disciples accord well with this opinion of their character. The Apostle Paul, in what would be, if false, a colossal bluff, repeatedly appeals to the fact that he is not in it for the money to hostile audiences. The indication is, though some accounts are more well documented than others, that the majority of Christ's prominent original followers died for their faith, not uncommonly after being given many opportunities to deny it. Now people will die for beliefs that are false. But will they die for a faith that they know to be false?

Even if we totally discount the Christian accounts of these events, my question is, Where were the critics? Christianity from the very first had critics who accused them of extreme things, like mixing baby's blood in the Lord's Supper and having orgies during their services. But where are the accounts of Christian leaders indulging themselves with money and sex at the expense of their followers? The silence on this is highly significant. And it makes the claim of some sort of scam extremely dubious.       

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