One more thing about the Bill Maher video.
Consider this my Christmas post.
In the video, Maher equates faith in Jesus Christ with belief in Zeus, Thor, and the Kraken and all the other “stuff that is not evidenced based.”
I love it when he gives us the circumstances by which he would become a believer. He challenges,
“Show me a God and I will believe in him. If Jesus Christ comes down from the sky during the halftime show at the super bowl” and starts doing miracles, then he will believe in God. Confidently he concludes, “But that’s not going to happen.”
But it did happen.
It is only in timing that God’s plan diverges from Maher’s. Other than that, the Incarnation of God on earth was exactly the sort of proof that he demands. If the Incarnation is what Christians proclaim, I don’t think that even Maher would insist that there ought to be some repeat performance just for his sake.
The issue for Maher is that he doesn’t trust the first century Jews and Romans who saw, first hand, the events as recorded in the Gospels. For some reason, he doesn’t trust their testimony. Perhaps he doesn’t think they were as smart as he is, or at least rational–too easily duped.
First century Jews were predisposed to unbelief.
A good argument can be made that first century Jews were less likely to believe that Jesus was the son of God than modern day atheists. They proclaimed every day that God is One–they refused to give up this tenet even in the fact of the most horrendous persecution by the likes of Antiochus Epiphanies. Still, they were convinced. Christianity started with a significant number of these very people willing to die equally horrible deaths at the hands of the Romans proclaiming what they had seen with their own eyes.
Granted, there were some who saw and did not believe. I wonder if Maher would be convinced even with his Super Bowl miracle. Then as now, to accept that God exists and that Jesus Christ is his son necessarily leads to submission to this God. For many, it’s this submission that is the issue, rather than the evidence.
Within Maher’s cynicism is an incredible testimony of how incredible an event the coming of Christ was. What actually happened, and convinced so many of the inconceivable, was much more wonderful than the trick of changing “nachos into loaves and fishes” at a football game.
Instead of changing a modern snack food into the ancient equivalent, he fed the hungry, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and made the lame to walk again; he offered forgiveness to all–shady businessmen, prostitutes cynical HBO talk show hosts, and me.
Evidence aside, this is a God of a different category that Zeus or Thor or the Kraken?