Don’t forget today that Jesus gave up his weekend or your sins… If Jesus was divine, then at some point, he knew exactly what was going on and allotted three whole days for this supposed great sacrifice — not exactly inspirational. But if he was just some guy, then maybe he did die for a noble cause, at least in his own mind. Ironically, Jesus is only an inspiration in an atheist world.
a) There was never any Jesus person. It’s just made up. The point is moot.
b) Jesus was and is God, as per the devout Christian understanding of the matter. He chose the sin, chose the punishment, chose his convoluted path to salvation, and chose those whom he would save and whom he would burn. And he woke up on the third day and went back to heaven, no worries. Nothing noble about any of that, especially not for an all-powerful god.
c) Jesus was just some guy trying to help people out. In the face of death, he accepted an arguably unjust conviction and suffered through terrible punishment up to and including crucifixion. No big sacrifice at all for a God especially when the God didn’t really die and if that’s just what the God decided to do. But for someone who suffered and then died, gone forever, leaving only his sacrifice behind, that is something impressive. Maybe it was an empty sacrifice but maybe not. He chose to give up his life for his convictions, and those convictions were altruistic. So if he was just a guy, then he was a good one.
d) Less impressive is a crazy god-bothering self-proclaimed prophet who got scourged and crucified to prove his god complex. That’s impressive purely as an exercise in determination but it’s not exactly noble.
So we atheists might respect a misguided, regular-guy Jesus with good intentions who went through a lot of suffering. Sacrificing oneself for one’s convictions can be respectable. Christians have a dilemma that any actual or proclaimed god-Jesus deserves no respect whatsoever, especially not for a few days’ sleep.