I am curious what others think about his reasoning. What would be the motivation to fabricate the New Testament?
Certainly leaving something in the way of writing that some might regard as authentic wouldn't be nearly as miraculous as turning water into wine or any of that silliness?
Maybe carpenters were illiterate in those days.
Because the resurrection story was already a common element in many near-east religions. By appropriating it into the new Xtian myths, followers of other faiths could be convinced that maybe Jesus was another manifestation of their old deity, and it would be okay to go along with the story. They didn't invent the resurrection, they stole the idea. There is very little new to Xtianity.
Thanks Kir. But if he didn't exist, why start the myth that he did? What did the early Jewish and Roman converts gain from the creation of this myth? I think one could make the case that Islam unified many Arab tribes and provided justification for aquiring land. The same could be said for Judaism.
Yeah, I suppose that's possible. Shoot, I guess fishing would get old. Why not attempt global mind control by creating a new religion? ;)
Why are there stories of Achilles? What motivation did the Greeks have for believing he was some invincible son of Peleus? Was he a real person who did the deeds that the myths speak of or did someone fabricate them? Or is it just possible that Achilles might have been a real person- some strong warrior- whom was greatly respected; rumors started about him killing 30 people single-handed; 30 became 100; 100 became 1000...etc? Why are any mythical heroes made? And why are actual people often made far greater in tale than they ever were in deed?
If you read this entire post, you may notice that it is chock full of a priori assumptions. It is circular reason at its worst - like saying the Bible is true because the Bible says it is true. If you haven't read it, yet, don't bother.
I gave up on the first sentence of his first point. The idea that everything requires a creator is fatally flawed, in that whatever that creator was, would need a creator, and would've existed outside of the existence he had yet to create.
It would all be speculation. What did people nearly 2000 years ago do or think or how were they motivated when you have nothing in any historical record other than the NT? How do you go about determining what they REALLY believed if it was different from what is in the extent documents and why it changed; how exactly it evolved into what is in the extent documents?
There are, of course, the literary and form critics along with the textual critics who argue for pre-gospel written documents, none of which are extent and for oral tradition that predates those supposed documents. All of that is also speculation. Perhaps it is based on sound reasoning and cohesive principles but in the end, no one knows.
All we know if what is in the extent documents. Are the documents reliable to the point they can be traced back toward the supposed actual events? How far back is that? Are there any other independent, well attested, perhaps eyewitness reports, documented reports regarding any of the events other than general historical events. Not even those mentioned in the NT can be verified and some of them could be argued to be wrong.
So, the issue for me is what sort of evidence would it require for me to accept as fact that such an extraordinary event as someone rising from the dead as the satisfaction of a vicarious, propitiatory sacrifice to satisfy the justice of the deity that created the entire universe so he would not send most of the people who have lived to eternal torment. That that person was also actually God in carnate?
It would take more evidence that I might possibly be able to imagine and certainly far more than actually exists.
As for evidence, the Christians I'm used to (Presbyterians) say that the ultimate evidence is that one believes in spite of the lack of evidence, which itself is evidence of the grace of God in that person's life, since the message of the cross is foolishness to the perishing. It's quite frustrating, but in a sense liberating, at least in dealing with the Reformed. Now I just say I don't believe, and who's fault is that? If it takes a supernatural act of God to create the very belief I lack, then what am I to do? If his sovereignty trumps my will, as the Reformed understanding of scripture dictates, then I'll become a Christian whenever he chooses to bless me with his grace. Until then...