You would never go to a pharmaceutical company that has the sole patent on a drug and who controls all of the information about its effectiveness to cure cancer and simply take their word for it about how good the cure is. You would never walk out of a room full of students taking a test who all have their notes and books sitting there in their backpacks and then just check with them about whether or not they cheating while you were gone. You would be foolish to get all of your information about how the war effort is going from the government who is waging the war and simply believe it without question. You don’t put a fox in charge of the henhouse and then go to the fox for a report on how the chickens are doing. Imagine if we simply accepted their claim of innocence every time an accused criminal passionately and sincerely denied his guilt.
For 2,000 years, committed, passionate, zealous believers have been the sole proprietors of almost the entire body of information we have about Jesus. Furthermore, they have openly and repeatedly made it clear that their goal is to do everything in their power to spread those stories and get everyone else to believe them to. In many cases they have killed, lied, cheated, stolen, extorted, and tortured in order to get people to profess belief. Does it make any sense to accept it when that same institution assures us that the stories are authentic?
"Oh but you are so suspicious and cynical, so distrustful!" will be the objection. "What a negative and pessimistic way to live. No one can live without some form of faith, without trusting others about something."
Fair enough. But I'm taking the claims that God exists and that Jesus is divine very seriously. If what believers would have us accept is true, it would simply be the most important single issue in human history. Nothing could matter more than what that would mean. The stakes are too high for the superficial, credulous attitude that so many people take about religion. At least the fundamentalists, the literalists, and I can agree about that much.