Then perhaps one could reason that maybe faith doesn't need to rest on historical fact?
An interesting concept, and one that has been explored.
You mentioned the possibility and likely unpopularity of alternative explanations for the resurrection.
Here's one that was put forth some years ago as a very serious alternative. It was intended to do what you describe: make the truth of the Christian religion palatable to those who cannot stomach the magical, superstitious aspects of being asked to believe that someone rose from the dead.
The idea is that Peter, crushed after his denial of his lord and best friend, went into the wilderness to commiserate with himself, perhaps (who knows, but this is a fictional, what-if narrative) to do himself in, as Judas did. As he stirred about in his anguish, he prayed, and prayed hard. He eventually came to realize that God, the heavenly father that his friend, Jesus talked about so fervently, did, indeed, love him, and even forgive him, in spite of the heinous act he committed.
This dawning epiphany was like new life to Peter. It was as though Jesus had somehow come alive in his heart.
He returned with the good news that God forgives even the greatest sins, and joyously shared with the other disciples and followers. They were stunned by the change in their friend, for whom they had feared, seeing as he went into hiding in such a morose and distraught state that he might even take his own life.
What to do? How to explain this? They asked Peter, who told them he had had a revelation from God. The author of this account supposes Peter saying something like this:
"It -- it's almost as though the Lord came alive again, right there in my heart."
The times being what they were, and the followers of Jesus being used to miracles and all, it was just a hop, skip, and a jump from this statement to "The Lord has risen! He is alive!"
Peter didn't have the heart to tell them otherwise. Perhaps he was even convinced himself, eventually. But he saw that God was using this idea to give hope where none was to be found otherwise, and who was he to stop the word of God from propagating just because of a simple misunderstanding?
~ ~ ~
Now, Salty (if I may call you that), does that invalidate the Christian religion?
Not at all. In fact, it's one beautiful possibility, IMHO.
So, if historical truth isn't needed for faith, then what?
It doesn't matter what you believe, right? As long as you're sincere?
Is that where we are led?
I must off to work in a bit, so you will likely not hear from me again for another ten hours or so.
Thanks for your insightful comments.