This is an old post adopted from M.M Mangasarian’s book The truth about Jesus: Is he myth and I think given that some Christians will soon be wailing that their lawd has been crucified, I thought this would be good entertainment for those who find the narrative wanting in accuracy and significance..
Mangasarian has this running as a conversation between the apostles and a skeptic.
How long have you known Jesus?
I have known him for one year.
And I for two.
And I for three.
Has any of you known him for more than three years?
Was he with his apostles for one year or for three?
No, for three.
You are not certain, then, how long Jesus was with his apostles.
How old was Jesus when crucified?
No, about thirty-three.
No, he was much older, about fifty.
You cannot tell with any certainty, then, his age at the time of his death.
You say he was tried and crucified in Jerusalem before your own eyes, can you remember the date of this great event?
Were you present when Jesus was taken down from the cross?
We were not.
You cannot tell, then, whether he was dead when taken down.
We have no personal knowledge.
Were you present when he was buried?
We were not, because we were in hiding for our lives.
You do not know, therefore, whether he was actually buried, or where he was buried.
We do not.
Were any of you present when Jesus came forth from the grave?
Not one of us was present,
Then, you were not with him when he was taken down from the cross; you were not with him when he was interred, and you were not present when he rose from the grave.
We were not.
When, therefore, you say, he was dead, buried and rose again, you are relying upon the testimony of others?
Will you mention the names of some of the witnesses who saw Jesus come forth from the tomb?
Mary Magdalene, and she is here and may be questioned.
Were you present, Mary, when the angels rolled away the stone, and when Jesus came forth from the dead?
No, when I reached the burying place early in the morning, the grave had already been vacated, and there was no one sleeping in it.
You saw him, then, as the apostles did, _after_ he had risen?
But you did not see anybody rise out of the grave.
I did not.
Are there any witnesses who saw the resurrection?
There are many who saw him after the resurrection.
But if neither they nor you saw him dead, and buried, and did not see him rise, either, how can you tell that a most astounding and supposedly impossible miracle had taken place between the time you saw him last and when you saw him again two or three days after? Is it not more natural to suppose that, being in a hurry on account of the approaching Sabbath, Jesus, if ever crucified, was taken down from the cross before he had really died, and that he was not buried, as rumor states, but remained in hiding; and his showing himself to you under cover of darkness and in secluded spots and in the dead of night only, would seem to confirm this explanation. You admit also that the risen Jesus did not present himself at the synagogues of the people, in the public streets, or at the palace of the High Priest to convince them of his Messiahship.
Do you not think that if he had done this, it would then have been impossible to deny his resurrection? Why, then, did Jesus hide himself after he came out of the grave? Why did he not show himself also to his enemies? Was he still afraid of them, or did he not care whether they believed or not? If so, why are _you_ trying to convert them? The question waits for a reasonable answer; Why did not Jesus challenge the whole world with the evidence of his resurrection? You say you saw him occasionally, a few moments at a time, now here, and now there, and finally on the top of a mountain whence he was caught up in a cloud and disappeared altogether. But that “cloud” has melted away, the sky is clear, and there is no Jesus visible there. The cloud, then, had nothing to hide. It was unnecessary to call in a cloud to close the career of your Christ.The grave is empty, the cloud has vanished. Where is Christ? In heaven! Ah, you have at last removed him to a world unknown, to the undiscovered country. Leave him there! Criticism, doubt, investigation, the light of day, cannot cross its shores. Leave him there!