I’m going to say something that might strike a lot of you as silly.
If God came down and showed His power and said, “I am God, and by the way, yes, Jesus is my son”…well, I don’t think everyone (perhaps not even the majority of folks) would start believing in God or the way of Christianity.
Mind you, if Vishnu came down or Zeus or Buddha or anyone else, I think they wouldn’t get as much respect as you’d think, either.
I’ve been thinking about this a bit as people have chided me in believing in a God who won’t show Himself more obviously. I also read a very interesting novel recently called The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson, and the main character in it, who’s more than a bit of a doubter, writes at one point, something to the effect of: “Just one flaming cross in the sky that everyone can see at the same time. That’s all it would take.”
But that’s a lie, really.
Think about it. If a flaming cross appeared in the sky, would you assume it came from God? Even if there was a booming voice saying, “Respect this cross, for on it my one begotten son died for your sins”? Or, would you be one of the people who claims it’s some sort of prelude to an alien invasion, and that aliens created religion as a way to come back and wield power over us with minimal resistance?
Or might you be someone who would claim that some government or coalition of governments seeking to institutionalize religious precepts had made the cross and voice appear with some hitherto hush-hush technology created in Area 51?
Or might you think you had lost your mind and were hallucinating or in a coma or something, and everyone around you who saw this was just part of your imagination, too?
Or, hey, God Himself steps out of the clouds, not just some fiery lightshow. You might use one of the theories above, or maybe you’d say, “Shit, some numbnut was born with the ability to reshape reality, and now we have a crazy mutant near-omnipotent nutjob who thinks he’s God almighty.”
These are not silly notions; that humans would doubt so much even then. Many people don’t like the idea of a God in Heaven. They will not accept that idea no matter how hard you hit them over the heads. Some people don’t want to have a God in Heaven, and even if they are made to believe He exists, those people may quite well reject Him because they don’t like His way of doing things.
So, in the end, even if burning crosses appear in the sky, well…I think we’re mostly left with faith.