I'm curious to hear why you think most creation-believing people are victims of conartists? I like your comment about the apostles that they died for what they knew first hand vs what they believed. Yes, they knew Christ Jesus. They walked with Him side-by-side to the places they traveled. But they also had to be believers themselves. They didn't know how Christ calmed the storm when they were on the boat, they didn't know how Christ healed the sick, and they didn't know how Christ caused the fig tree to whither. These apostles were amazed to see what He did. Christ even seemed to become annoyed with the apostles because at certain times, they themselves didn't understand what was going on. My point is they themselves, even though they witnessed Christ doing the things He did with their own eyes, had to believe themselves without knowing how it all happened. They had to believe themselves that He was the Son of God. The apostles could have chosen to believe He was a sorcer or a trickster, but they chose otherwise. It was still a matter of faith for them as well. C.S. Lewis made the comment, "Christ is either 1 of 3 things, He was a liar, a lunatic, or He was the Son of God".
On the note of conartists, (which i'm assuming you're considering the apostles to be in that category as well maybe?), con artists by definition are people who trick people through deception and swindling, but they do so for some sort of personal gain; whether it's money, power, etc, they're in it for something. The apostles had NOTHING to gain on the this earth by preaching and teaching the gospel. As you stated they died for what they saw and knew. They died with nothing to gain. They died as martyrs. They were persecuted and killed. Think about Paul (aka Saul) for example. He was some big shot of the Roman empire. He had wealth, he was a leader, a commander of sorts. The Roman empire was vast and wealthy. He had it made. But he changed. When Christ came to him, he gave it all up. He stopped his rein of persecuting Christians and became one. In our society today, to think a man would give up such wealth and prosperity would be nuts. But he did. So we classify him as a nut. But was he really crazy, demented? He was a very adamat man. He believed in Christ, in spreading the Gospel, he even went through the same persecutions as he once ordered others to do. Dr. John Stott made this comment: He stated, "If anything is clear from the Gospel and the Acts it is that the apostles were sincere. They may have been deceived, if you like, but they were not deceivers. Hypocrites and martyrs are not made of the same stuff".
The apostles themsevles were fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector. They were not high priests or pharisees. They were ordinary, down-to-earth individuals.
You also commented: "It is a book written by humans, with many things in it that are now known to be factually incorrect
Can you give 1 example of what is factually incorrect? Granted for a long time there have been questions about certain people and places in the Bible. For instance, it wasn't about in the 1980's, there was still questions about Pontius Pilate and his existence. In the 1980's they finally found Roman doctrines all about the governship of Pontius Pilate (i might be incorrect on the time frame.), but the point is that as archaeology and other professions dig further and further, they keep finding evidence towards persons and places of the Bible. There are also several external references to the life of Christ and His crucifixion. I'll be happy to cite references if you'd like. =)
Going back to authors of the Gospels, one thing to realize is that Luke, for example, didn't walk Christ as did the first 12 apostles did. He was classified as a physician and a historian. His writings were based on interviews of eye witnesses that were with Jesus during his teachings and sermons. So even Luke himself during that time never saw Christ visually, but through eye witness testimony. He didn't have that first hand experience as the first 12 apostles did. Luke was in a position where we are.. where we don't see Jesus face-to-face. He went out did the research, talked with people and presented the evidence.