Article XV: The Verdict

Written by:
Jacob King

All this evidence started to leave me with the same conclusion as one of the eye-witnesses of the resurrection named Paul: 

“...if [the Voice] has not been raised [from the dead]… [And] if for this life only we have hoped in [the Voice], we are of all men most to be pitied.” If the resurrection wasn’t true, as Paul states, John and the others were to be the most pitied of all men. 

As I discovered, there was no gold to be hoarded by John for making this wild claim, there was no demi-god-level fame to be had as witnessed by John’s almost-cringy willingness to present himself in the most non-Kardashian way possible, and for a spiritual eunuch such as himself, there definitely was no sex-buffet to be had among his followers like David Koresh. All he could claim in first-century A.D. Rome was suffering, persecution and, ultimately, death. It was either true, and John was rich in truth and eternity, or the resurrection was fake news and even the sick and the homeless of the empire could have pitied him. 

But in all of this, there was another point being massively overlooked: if John and the others were spreading a “resurrection deception” that would mean…

 they masterminded the whole story themselves. 

A story that has proved year-in-and-year-out to be the most captivating chronicle ever recorded, a narrative that has convinced some of the most brilliant minds, and a tale that leaves the stories of Shakespeare and Hemingway in the dust... 

How could a bunch of lower middle-class fishermen and prostitutes, with no previous experience nor training in storytelling, create an account that would not only dominate the best sellers list from some two thousand years (even in 2022 A.D.) but also have the consistent power to thaw the most animalistic and Darwinian of ape-hearts and lead them towards a life lived in love? How could they do that, especially if they were evil, narcissistic liars who faked it all for personal gain?

It seemed to me to be an impossibility without the exception of a possibility. 

This brought me to the experience of Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.). Augustine was raised by a mother who was a devout follower of the Voice, but he never took to the faith of his biological inheritance. He famously wrote about the time as a tween when he and his friends stole fruit from his neighbor's tree, not because they were hungry but for the sheer thrill of doing something evil: “It was foul, and I loved it”. At seventeen, Augustine was sent to a very prestigious school in Carthage to study rhetoric (the ​​art of effective or persuasive writing and storytelling). Despite the school’s prestige, the boys were known less for their persuasiveness and more for their sexcapades. And Augustine began to dream of a Casanova-kind-of-life. 

Augustine was indeed brilliant, and in due course he became a master of the written word. And at thirty years old, his brilliance was recognized, earning him the most visible academic position for rhetoric in the Latin world. He was also able now, with his new found prestige, to fully live out those dreams of revelry.

Yet upon arriving in Milan amidst his current playboy lifestyle, he heard of a spiritual eunuch that was winning minds and changing ape-hearts on behalf of the supposed risen Voice, and it deeply intrigued him. Augustine was the master of persuasion in the Roman Empire, so he decided to pay this believer a visit. It was while listening to the sermons of Ambrose of Milan that Augustine was presented with evidence for the Voice, and it forever changed him. Ambrose soon adopted Augustine as a spiritual son and helped him pore over the body of proof for the claims of the resurrection. He claimed his eyes were opened because of this experience and he became a believer shortly thereafter. 

But giving up that sexcapade lifestyle wasn’t easy for Augustine, to say the least. He famously lamented: “God give me chastity, but not yet.” (Just for clarification, “chastity” wasn’t a stripper but the virtue that moderates the sexual appetite.) 

And I discovered that a huge turning point in the evidence for Augustine, as a master of storytelling, was the impossibility of John and the others being able to invent such a tale:

“Had not the Resurrection been a fact, the conversion of the world to belief in it by a few Galilean fishermen would have been as great a miracle as the Resurrection itself.”

This also inspired me to turn to one of the greatest wizards of the written word and the father of fantasy: J.R.R Tolkien. If anyone would be able to sniff out any fantasy in the claims of this possible faker, it would be Tolkien.

But despite Tolkien’s magnitude of talent in all things penned, he couldn’t find a trace of fake news in John, echoing the same sentiments of Augustine in a letter he wrote to one of his sons who was struggling with doubt about the resurrection:

“It takes a fantastic will to unbelief to suppose that Jesus never really ‘happened’, and more to suppose that he did not say the things recorded all of him – so incapable of being ‘invented’ by anyone in the world at that time. We must therefore either believe in Him and in what he said and take the consequences; or reject him and take the consequences.”

Yet both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, juggernauts of narration that they were, saw themselves inferior to the genius of another writer of their time: G.K. Chesterton.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton is considered by many not only to be the greatest writer and thinker of the 20th century but also the most prolific. He wrote a hundred books, made contributions to 200 more, and published over 4,000 newspaper essays. (To put it into perspective, four thousand essays is the equivalent of writing an essay a day, every day… for 11 years.) Not only did he write, but his writing changed history. He wrote a novel called The Napoleon of Notting Hill, which inspired Michael Collins to lead a movement for Irish Independence. He wrote an essay in the Illustrated London News that inspired Mohandas Gandhi to lead a movement to end British colonial rule in India. He also wrote a book called The Everlasting Man, which inspired C.S. Lewis as a young atheist to become a follower of the Voice. But he wasn’t always a believer. Quite the contrary.

Chesterton’s parents were Unitarian and he was raised with no religious belief. As a teen, he became fascinated with the Occult, frequently using Ouija boards to indulge his intrigue. It wasn’t until meeting Frances Blogg as a young adult that he was introduced to the evidence for the resurrection. When this once-in-a-lifetime-type-of-mind scoured over the evidence, he was shook. And soon after, he became a believer. He said this about his about his encounter with the resurrection evidence:

“But my belief that miracles have happened in human history is not a mystical belief at all; I believe in them upon human evidences as I do in the discovery of America. Upon this point there is a simple logical fact that only requires to be stated and cleared up. Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way… The early Christians were by no means credulous in respect of the greatest and all-important miracle of Christianity, namely, the Resurrection of Christ. They were most unwilling to believe it. They accepted it… only when overwhelmed by the evidence…”

Que the holy 💩 moment. 

The evidence had been piling up, heap upon heap, and, like C.S. Lewis, I now felt like there was nowhere else to run. 

With all the evidence before me, now came the verdict: it was most reasonable to believe Jesus of Nazareth did, in fact, resurrect from the dead, which would also mean it was the Godman upon that Sign, the cross; the same Godman who possessed miraculous power and really was the Voice from another realm sent to testify to Their existence. That would also mean John was right in claiming God had pursued us like the Armenian father, and there is an eternal family seeking to reunite with us. And since the resurrection wasn’t fake news, we and Joe Rogan can also know for sure, here-and-now, that we aren’t simply ape-descendants roaming around aimlessly “on the surface of a rocky world orbiting an unremarkable middle-aged star,” just awaiting our inevitable slip back into nothingness — with nothing to discover after our bodies become tree fertilizer. Far from it. The evidence was now overwhelming that we are, in fact, children of this very involved Father who loves us amidst this weird and limited spiritually-ape existence we find ourselves in, and is seeking to bring us to an everlasting one.  

But if the resurrection was true, it would mean this Voice is still present among us today. And if he is here, this miracle-worker must still be performing his magic in order to communicate Their existence to us scientific-age skeptics.

Because if we're being honest… there is a little scientific atheist in most of us that needs to see some real science involved.

The Next Article: Aftermath: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Is this the first INE article you've read? If you're curious and want to read more, click here to start at the beginning: No One Knows?

Subscribe to get the next drop