I have never understood people who claim to be Christian but don't believe in the resurrection. That surely is the whole point of Christianity and it demonstrates who and what Christ is. If it's not true, Christianity is built on a lie so why bother with it even if you think its moral teachings are helpful? I grant that the resurrection can be seen as a metaphor but it's a true metaphor. It's the point where myth and reality coincide. For the life of Jesus was the one occasion in history when something utterly real has happened on Earth. Everything else approximates, to a greater or lesser degree, to transcendent archetypal pattern but Christ is the pattern embodied in its perfection.
I see the resurrection as something you would never have thought possible before it happens but then when it does happen you realise it actually makes complete sense. We all suspect that death is somehow an offence to life, a cruel insult, and to see it defeated in this way has a kind of cosmic logic to it that goes far beyond mere earthly reason. It is confirmation of a truth felt in the heart but not known outwardly until it actually takes place when it seems (for Christ, it would not seem so for anyone else) almost inevitable.
The surrounding events of the resurrection also fall into a pattern of deepest truth. The ignominious death representing the nadir of disillusion and despair. All is lost, all hope and joy destroyed. We have reached the very bottom. But then the wonder of the resurrection and the confirmation that Christ really was who he said he was. You might say it's all too good to be true but that saying only has any rationale to it in the context of a meaningless universe. If the universe has meaning, which if course it must or we would not even have the conception of meaning nor would we feel the lack it, then nothing is too good to be true. Truth and goodness are one and the same. That is why we all crave goodness as we do truth, and recognise them as right.
And after the resurrection Christ didn't just disappear completely straightaway or else carry on teaching as before, making grand public appearances in Jerusalem. That too seems right. We have entered a new cycle. To return to his previous ministry would have somehow been vulgar and ostentatious. He has risen from the dead but he's not a show off! He doesn't want to force people to believe in him. He wants them to come to him because of an inner movement towards truth in their own hearts. So he stays and he teaches for a certain period and then he ascends into heaven with his risen and transformed body, leaving his disciples to spread his word. All is just as it should be. The important qualities of dignity and beauty are observed. There is glory but there is also reticence. There is no brash shouting about this momentous event but it is left to speak for itself. It is a sacred thing and is treated as such.
Nowadays many people apparently don't even believe that Christ existed never mind that he rose from the dead. The churches have not done this story any favours by reducing both it and Christ to a humanistic level in which the main message is to be nice to each other and treat everyone as equals in terms of this world. But this was not the message of Christ at all. He came to give us the life more abundant and save us from the spiritual death of a materialistic existence. He pointed us towards the higher life centred in the reality of God and demonstrated what this was by dying to his earthly self and then being reborn in a new spiritual state in which the old nature was not destroyed but transformed into something higher. But this old self could not be reborn until it had been allowed to die, and the lesson is that we cannot become like Christ until we too allow our old natural self to die, and this includes the relations it has to the world and to other people on its own level.
It seems to me that the modern churches don't emphasise this anywhere near enough when it should be central. They don't say that the old self must die to be transformed, but that it must just become better. Stay the same, keep its old centre but be more inclusive and brotherly. This was summed up by C.S. Lewis as the difference between nice people or new men. To be a new man requires the death of the old man not his improvement. He does not become better, he must become new. Not changed but transformed. Resurrection must always be preceded by death. Jesus taught this and he demonstrated it. It is the central fact of his life and mission.
If the resurrection were just a metaphor, it would be worse than a lie because it is purported to be true. Which is not proof it literally is true but if it is then that changes everything. You can reject it if you like but if you do you are rejecting something fundamental about God and his self-revelation to the world. You cannot say it is just a symbol and keep Christianity. It is a symbol but that of which it is a symbol is only possible for us because it was acted out in this physical world by Christ thereby creating the possibility of spiritual rebirth for all humanity. Without the energy released by his crucifixion and resurrection, we would still be living in darkness with escape from this world through the rejection of self the only spiritual possibility. Christ redeemed the material world because he sanctified it through first embracing it and then transforming its darkness, thereby making possible the salvation of creation and its eventual integration with spirit.
The resurrection is the triumph of spirit over matter but in this victory matter is not rejected, dismissed or denied but raised up and glorified in and by spirit.