Surely, you must be joking

What's that you say? They believe what? They believe God sent His only son to be born on Earth so that He could grow up to be tortured and executed? You must mean that as it turned out He was executed, but surely ... Come on! ... you're telling me He was tortured and executed because that was the whole point of His being born in the first place?

OK, OK, have it your own way, but why did God want His son to be tortured? As a punishment for His sins? Huh. Those must have been quite some sins. I'll say! What's that again? As a punishment for somebody else's sins? You're joking, of course. No? Well, whose sins was He being punished for? Adam's. Who's Adam? Adam didn't really exist? You're telling me God deliberately had His only beloved son tortured to death as a punishment for the sins of a man who never even existed? Wow, that's quite some God you've got there. I mean, didn't He ever hear of the laws of evidence?

Well, anyway, what were these sins that Adam, who never existed, was supposed to have committed? There was only one sin? Well, let's hear it then. What was the charge? This had better be good. Don't tell me, let me guess. He was caught scrumping apples.

Oh no, this I cannot bear. You are not serious! He was caught scrumping apples? Only one apple? And that was it. Well I'll be darned. What was that again? It may not even have been an apple, it is just described as a fruit? Well I guess it didn't really exist either, so it doesn't matter what kind of fruit it wasn't.

Run that by me again. Yeah. Yeah. OK, that sounds a bit less gross - it wasn't really Adam's sin; that's just a metaphor for all the sins of all mankind. Fine, fine. I suppose next you're going to tell me that includes those sins that hadn't yet been committed. Oh, it does? Yes, I reckon by now I should have expected that.

But if God had wanted to forgive us for our ancestors' and our descendants' sins, why didn't He just go right ahead and forgive us - or them? What's with the beatings and the crucifixion? I guess He just loves capital punishment, huh?

That's quite some role model you've got there.