I agree that it is difficult to be unbiased, but that goes both ways. I don’t think someone who has chosen atheism is any less biased than someone who has chosen Christianity. Of course, the the author never said that wasn’t true and he may agree with me. However, being biased doesn’t mean one can’t examine the evidence. It also doen’t mean the evidence does or does not exist and is or is not convincing. Very few scientist are unbiased when they begin an experiment. They are usually out to prove something. Yet we do not let that keep us from considering the results of their research.
As far as the author’s points, they are good points about the New Testament, but very few address the topic of whether it is a lie or not. I don’t think the author, or very many people, understand the importance of this question. If the New Testament authors were not lying, then many, many things become extremely difficult to explain. The author also only really addresses the Gospels, which leaves out over half the New Testament and many letters that were written prior to the Gospels. I will however take this opportunity to address the author’s points as they are extremely relevant to Christianity as a whole and some are relevent to the topic at hand.
The dates of the Gospels appear to be mostly accurate, though many historians think it is impossible that any of them were written after 70 A.D. as that was the year the temple was destroyed by Romans and it is not mentioned by any of the NT authors. I’m wondering if the author thinks that 50 A.D. means “After Death”. It does not. It refers to the later term Ano Domini which is the traditional year of Christ’s conception. Christ death occurred between 30 and 34 A.D. which, by the authors dates, means the Gospels were written from 16 to 70 years after the events. This is well within the lifetime of witnesses who would have been able to confirm or deny the facts. Furthermore, many letters that Paul wrote predate the Gospels. As ancient historians go, these writings are extremely close to the time of the events which adds considerably to the credibility.
To state that none of the authors of the Gospels were eyewitnesses is to state as a fact something that is highly contended. Many, many historians believe Matthew was written by the apostle name Matthew who was an eyewitness. John is thought to be written by an eyewitness by the majority of historians. Luke and Mark both make it clear that they were not eyewitnesses so there is no argument there. Liberal teachers seem very willing to teach a liberal point of view as if it is a fact and without clarifying just how disputed their statements may be. Secondly, while eyewitness accounts would be best, we accept many ancient writings as true that we know are not eyewitness accounts and are written many more years after the events than the Gospels. Lastly, and most importantly, much of the New Testament was written by Paul, Peter, and James, all of whom were indisputably eyewitnesses and who wrote their letters prior to any of the Gospels.
As far as the Gospel writers using each other’s work as sources, I agree and that adds to the credibility of them not being a lie. It is a common practice among investigators to separate suspects and ask them questions looking for different answers to their questions and thus catching them in a lie. This strategy depends on the suspects not having the time or ability to get every detail of their story figured out and agreed upon between them. The fact that the Gospel writers had access to previous Gospels makes destroys this strategy. If Matthew were lying and he had Mark’s gospel in front of him, he would agree with Mark on every point just as two suspects in the same room would be careful not to disagree about their cover story. But this is not what happened. Matthew and and Luke do have discrepancies with Mark which leads one to believe they were trying to tell the truth, rather than a lie. If they were writing a lie, they would not disagree with an previously written testimony that they had access to. The fact that John clearly was making no attempt to mirror the previous writers again adds to his credibility. These are not the likely actions of conspirators.
The “Q” source, if truly a source, would mean that the first writing of the events of Christ’s life was even earlier. This would eliminate the possibility of myths creeping into the stories as it is agreed among historians that myths only surface after 2 generations because the eyewitnesses need to have all died and the people they directly taught need to have passed away. If Mark was written from 15 to 30 years after Jesus’ death, “Q” would have done his work even earlier. If we are discussing whether the NT is a lie or not, the earlier the writing the harder it would be to tell a lie as there would be too many witnesses. Mark and Matthew having the same source but telling differing details would also make the lie even less likely because of the reasoning in the previous paragraph.
The next two paragraphs have to be addressed together as they are completely contradictory. First the author says that when the gospels were written there were only 20-40 Christians alive and they are “very desperate pieces of writing”. In the very next paragraph he says that they could have been lying for personal gain because their writings made them extremely popular like modern day “Jobs, Zuckerberg or Gates”. Now you cannot have it both ways. No one would describe Jobs, Zuckerberg or Gates as desperate with only 20-40 followers. The two paragraphs are mutually exclusive. They are also both incorrect.
The authors of the NT, except for John, were all executed. Most spent much of there time in prisons which were nothing like the palaces of Jobs, Zuckerberg and Gates. They lived in poverty and endured incredible hardship, and not just by their own accounts but by the accounts of the opposition. While it is true that people want to be remembered after they died I would challenge the author to find any other group of 8 people who died for something they knew for sure was a lie. Not something they believed was true but turned out later to be untrue. No, find historical examples of people dying for something they themselves knew for sure was a lie when telling the truth would have likely saved their lives.
Lastly, regarding the complexity of the Bible, I love the author’s comparison to 400 strings in a tangled ball. The NT was written by 8 different men at many different times and in many different places and there was no way for the authors to quickly communicate with each other yet they manage to create such a complex set of writings that are all woven together with a high degree of agreement on all the major facts. This is possible if they are all writing about real events etc. but the tangle of 400 strings is impossible to construct as a conspiracy of the 8 men considering the time and places of the writings. Thanks for helping me make my point.
For me, your case just doesn’t add up.