Jesus had a brother. This brother doubted there was anything divine about Jesus (a great guy, but God? He ain’t heavy… he’s my brother). But after Jesus’ death his brother—James—lead the Jerusalem Christians. Why would he turn from a doubter to a believer?
On a related note, I received a junk email from a girl named Adrianna. Adrianna suffers from a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. Adrianna has tried everything and her credulity has been stretched. Adrianna is now incredulous and doubted St. John’s Wart was the answer. But, in desperation, she tried it anyway. And now Adrianna is cured. And I’m in luck, because now it’s for sale at a discounted price. (I don’t actually have fibromyalgia; I must have been put on the junk-mailing list when I was researching for a lost friend that has it.)
The ‘I was lost but now I’m found; I was blind but now I see’ testimony is a very old one. And in the Bible, for the ‘conversion’ of Jesus’ brother James, all an author has to do is fake the “I was lost”—i.e. James was a doubter—bit or fake the “but now I’m found”—i.e. James believes—bit. And in a Book that my two debaters both admit is full of flaws and human error this is the most reasonable explanation. The debating Christian can’t start saying the book is inerrant now; he’s been calling on human and author error throughout.
James is not the only question. What about the empty tomb? I like the idea that Jesus survived the crucifixion. The longer one is on the cross, the further towards 1 the probability of death becomes. People survive shorter crucifixions (it’s a devotional practice, don’t you know). A crucifixion can kill a person slowly over up to 5 days. I’m also curious about Jesus’ bitter wine in Matthew 27:34. I’m also very curious about the testimonies of the people that found the tomb empty; after reading the Gospels I wouldn’t know who to ask (apart from Mary). The Gospels don’t agree on who went.
Our atheist lines himself with the Jews that lived around Jesus; the earliest bulk conversions to Christianity were in the Greco-Roman world (not Jerusalem). Why weren’t the Jerusalem Jews, by and large, not convinced by the thing that happened on their doorstep?
There is also a conspicuous silence on behalf of Philo, Josephus, rabbinic or Roman literature.