>If you are skeptical, consider this: Thousands of people saw Jesus die on the cross.
I don't imagine a lot of people would come on down to Golgotha every day to ogle the dead. It was probably just the roman guards and a few morbidly curious folk.
>And thousands of people saw him alive after he was resurrected from the dead.
His posse of followers saw him. That's a dozen people. They're the only ones testifying he came back.
>Hundreds of early Christians were tortured to death for following their faith and proclaiming Jesus as their Lord. Do you really think they would do that just for a hoax?
They'd do it for a cult. Belief can make people adamant that it'll all be worth it. Doesn't mean they're correct.
>God has bent over backwards to give people eternal life, but if they persist in worshiping the Golden Calf and burning up their children alive as sacrifices to Baal, then God has no other choice than to destroy those people.
I really see no reason why a golden calf leaves him no choice. They do have a right to make the wrong choice. As for burning children, I am incredibly sceptical of that, as it sounds like the established priesthood are merely slinging mud at other faiths because they do not want their thralls to abandon them for another religion, and will craft lies about believers of other faiths to maintain their power. It's common even today, let alone when such blatant lies were even harder to challenge.