Pastors are snake oil salesmen, pushing a product with no discernible properties and no measurable effect on the environment. Actually, I've overlooked the key benefit, which is of course the placebo effect.
Life can be scary, can't it? It's comforting to think that amidst all the uncertainty and grief there's somebody looking down on you that cares, that has a genuine interest, and even a specific plan for your life. And the real success of religion is to peddle this elixir of hope and do so in a way that is convincing and relevant for the modern age.
It's becoming a tougher sell, though, isn't it? Up until a few hundred years ago you literally had to believe. If you didn't, or if you failed to fake it then it was inquisition and death. And then came the 18th century and the enlightenment, along with the rapid advance of modern science. All the things we once ascribed to the Lord such as thunder and lightning and disasters we slowly realized we had natural answers for. Now of course religion fought many of these advances tooth and nail, but as Mark Twain deftly observed it eventually had to join the procession of knowledge, albeit at the back of the queue. As we move into the modern age it becomes increasingly evident that religion is running out of places to squirrel itself. We know how life evolves, and how life giving elements are forged within the interior or stars. And physicists are closing in on the first cause conundrum and helping us to understand how the universe came about. Combine this with only recently published data that adds plausibility to an eternal multiverse and we've pushed God back further still. First he was in the skies, and then somewhere out in the vastness of the cosmos. Then he was outside of time and space, and well now he's quite literally nowhere.
So where does this leave the average Pastor? Well they don't much concern themselves with any of the above; what they're about is Jesus, good old JC and the stuff he said in the Bible. At this point, there's not a great deal of point telling a believer that the Bible is in fact an infestation of revisionist history, plagiarism, contradiction, and just plain nonsense. Hard facts have no currency in the world of the average Christian, simply by virtue of the fact that they've bought into a feeling, an ethos, a lifestyle. We shouldn't be surprised that honest facts invariably hit a wall; the fact is that it was probably an emotional element that bought them to faith, and as such it would probably need to be an emotional catalyst to free them from it, too.
Let's be honest about one thing, however, and It was a shock to me to have to face up to this. The average Christian has absolutely no interest in truth. They are not truth seekers, unless you wish to rob the word truth of all meaningful value. So if you're a Pastor I'd suggest that you need to be punchy and emotive when delivering your Sunday epic. Keep it feelings heavy, bemoan the state of the world and extol the teachings of Jesus, and big up love and hope and mission. By the way, even if it were proven that Christ rose from the dead it still wouldn't mean that he was God. It would merely mean he was a zombie. Yes, that is what I just said. The person you worship as God would technically meet all the standard definitions of zombie-hood, and that makes you a Zombie worshipper.
I know, there are no such things as zombies, so at worst you can only accuse me of bad taste. As I've said before, I see real comedy potential in exposing religion. If people are offended by what they consider my bad arguments then all they need do is offer better one's. Post them in the comments if you wish. I've had my space here; feel free to have yours.