I’m wading through books and web material from two writers of religious books. One is from a large state university’s Department of Religion. He has spent his career studying and writing about the Bible for both the public and academic peers. He is an agnostic.
The other is a preacher who is a popular author, does lectures and is in public exchanging ideas with broad audiences. He has sound academic credentials as well. He is a believer, but falls into the liberal end of the spectrum, far from literalism.
I’m curious as to whether I, a rank amateur, can discern where these two professionals split, one coming down on disbelief, the other belief. This would be easy if one were a literalist and the other a nonbeliever. But both reading the Bible with skepticism, I’ve wondered why, how or when did they come to different conclusions?
While, I’ve only read some of their works, it seems to boil down to what each believes about the accounts Jesus was alive after he was dead.
One wrote once a person accepts a dead person coming back to life, the door is wide open to embellishment and myth. But if the resurrection story is considered merely one of the many hero-comes-back-to-life stories, the rest of Jesus goes hollow.
The agnostic professor refers to followers of Jesus who “claimed” to see him alive. The preacher is not so sure how it happened, but is sure did.
Where they split isn’t much different than the rest of us.