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the next best thing

"I want the truth!"

"You can't handle the truth!"

Tom Cruise & Gene Hackman (A Few Good Men)

Of course, not everyone wants the truth.  The Christian Truth in particular comes with a set of tiresome demands.  "Pick up your cross and follow me." - "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength and all your mind."  Quite honestly, who can be bothered with all that?  I mean what's the worst that could happen?

However, for those of you who would prefer not to believe the truth, you'll need something to help you to refute all the evidence.  And, just so you don't think I'm at all one-sided, I have prepared the poor apology "next best thing" as an alternative to salvation, eternal life and Christ's perfect peace.  Please see below.

Jesus' Death

It's actually pretty undeniable that there was a Jesus and that he was executed, so I think you'll just have to go along with the story as far as it goes to that point.  After all you're only trying to fool yourself, not make yourself sound like a grand fool!  So, he's dead, but we don't have to accept that he got a private tomb.  Much easier to lose a body in a mass grave (which were more common for executed criminals, after all).  The graverobbing stories and the decree banning it found in Nazareth could just be a coincidence.  Matthew's story about a bunch of guards at the tomb can be disregarded because only one of the four gospels mentions it (and thus it's obviously an invention).  The story about Joseph of Arimathea's tomb can be disregarded because all four of the four gospels mention it (and thus it's obviously an conspiracy).  Okay, so far, so good.  What's next?

Jesus' Resurrection

Okay, well here's where things start to get serious.  Obviously, we can't believe in that, or the game's up!  And then we'd have to, I dunno, pray; stop going to B&Q on a Sunday; and go on a mission to Zanzibar or some such.  Must be denied at all costs.  Fortunately, modern medical science is now beginning to suggest that dead people don't normally get up and walk.  This knowledge puts us at an advantage when compared to the less civilised folk of Bible days.

The main difficulty with denying the resurrection is that there are a number of people who claim to have met with Jesus after his death.  Obviously, this kinda contradicts the whole "dead people don't get up and walk" argument.  The best rejoinder to this is to say that people who make these kind of claims are clearly mad.  It is best to leave it at that, as I find that getting into this argument in any detail is just asking for trouble.  One good tip, although you have to learn some big words, is to claim that the disciples were suffering from cognitive dissonance.  That should do the trick.

Documentary Evidence

As has been seen above, you can usually disregard the Biblical or other sources by claiming them to be either uncorroborated or evidence of a copying conspiracy (depending on how many sources agree).  Also, a general rule is that the longer the gap between Christ's death and the writing of the gospels, the better.  Think of the gap as the space into which your scepticism can squeeze.  Ignore the fact that this gap is painfully small.  The evidence doesn't actually support any other conclusion, but you will be amazed at how many people will believe you (perhaps you will even believe yourself) when you blindly assert "Anyway, the gospels were written four hundred years after Jesus by the Catholic church.".  It's a lot easier just to accept that fiction that to explain the truth.  Just as it's a lot easier to live the lie than to accept Christ's painful truth.

The Only Drawback with this Plan is ...


In real life, there are no prizes for second best.

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Second Best

1. One True Voice
2. Al Gore
3. Highlander 2
4. Celtic (vs. Porto)
5. Hare (vs. Tortoise)

Nearly True

1. No new Taxes
2. I did not have sexual relations with that woman
3. No whitewash at the White House
4. 45 mins WMD
5. Of course I love you