Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27 “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
—Jesus of Nazareth, Gospel of Matthew 16:24-28
[During the process of my deconversion from Christianity] I came to recognize that my instinct for placing the redeemed—including apologists, the New Testament authors, and Jesus himself—in a special untouchable category was a fatal impediment to an honest search for the truth. Only after this realization could I come to terms with what should otherwise have been plain: Jesus did not return when he promised he would.
A skeptic could hardly ask for a more objective falsification of any religion: the religion’s leader prophesies a globally identifiable series of events within a specified time period, but the events do not take place within that time period. Yet Christianity did not fail after the first generation; there were already too many believers with too much at stake, and when the fuzzy boundary of one generation was passed, reason was not going to stand in the way of the movement, since reason was not the primary impetus for Christians to believe in the first place. Instead, various explanations arose to account for what appeared on the surface to be a failed set of prophecies, just as the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses later came up with explanations for their failed prophecies.
Those who expect Jesus to return and take them to glory appear to be resting on a false hope.
—Ken Daniels, former evangelical Christian missionary in his book, “Why I Believed”