This is one just one post that is part of a point by point discussion regarding whether the New Testament writers were lying or not.  Each point being its own post.  All the points that I’ve published so far are found in this post: Are The New Testament Writers Lying? :  A Point By Point Discussion.  This is an ongoing discussion, so please be patient and com back often

Robin Harrison comments in blue
Dan Muhlenkamp in black

Point 2: Whether the New Testament is a lie or not is irrelevant.

Further, even if we could prove that the new testament was not a lie, the result would be irrelevant. Stating that the New Testament is not a lie, reveals nothing about the New Testament’s validity. If the New Testament is completely correct and 100% accurate, I think we can all agree that it is not a lie. However the inverse statement (if the New Testament is not a lie, then there are no errors), holds no logical truth to it (as you admit). Aristotle was not lying, when he stated that continuous force was necessary for there to be continuous motion, and he was completely wrong. Since this article makes no attempt to support the validity of the New Testament, it provides no support for the validity of Christianity.

If I go to the hospital with chest pains, there are many possible explanations: heart attack, gas, heart burn, and asthma are the most common. If we eliminate heart attack as a possibility, we have not found the cause, but I don’t think either the patient or the doctor would view the elimination of that possibility as irrelevant. If a detective has 5 suspects, and eliminates 1, is that irrelevant? In any investigation the elimination of a possible explanation is paramount information! (I thought the “tion” s were fun).

Not only does the elimination of a possibility decrease the possibilities by 1, it also usually causes a domino effect which makes other possibilities either more, or less likely. That is the case with the New Testament, almost to an extreme. If the New Testament is a lie, you can dismiss it, and Christianity, without further discussion. However, if it is even just probable that it is not a lie, then the thoughtful person is suddenly transported to the I.C.U. of a heart hospital.

You see, if the authors are NOT lying, you need to try to explain why they would believe what they wrote, and some of the things they wrote are absurdly difficult to explain if lying is not likely.

  • If they weren’t lying, Jesus certainly existed.
  • He was crucified by Romans in Jerusalem. It is about impossible to be “mistaken” or “inaccurate” about your close friend being crucified. (Remember most of the letters in the New Testament are written by eye-witnesses and apostles even if some of the gospels are not.
  • It is extremely likely Jesus died on the cross. The Romans executed tens of thousands of people through crucifixion. They were experts. They knew how to kill and if there was any doubt, they broke the victims legs. There is only one recorded survivor of an Roman crucifixion, and he was pardoned by the district procurator. If the authors are not lying, it is only reasonable to assume Jesus died on the cross.
  • If they weren’t lying, the tomb was most certainly empty and the body was not stolen by the authors. The wrong tomb explanation doesn’t work because the Jews and Romans would have simply produced Jesus’ body.
  • The authors saw someone or something they believed to be Jesus alive after the tomb was discovered empty. The Jesus they saw was not someone who survived a crucifixion. Had that been the case he would have been in such horrible physical shape no one would have, for even an instant, thought he was resurrected. No, if the authors were not lying, you need to come up with an explanation for repeated appearances of an incredibly healed person, over a period of 40 days, to groups as large as 500 people.
  • If the authors were not lying, the only logical explanation that fulfills ALL the above criteria, is a resurrection.

So you see, not only is the question about the honesty of the New Testament writers relevent, it is the absolute fulcrum question. It is the heart attack option, the slippery slope, the cliff, Niagara Falls. If they are lying, Christianity is dead. If they are not lying, Christianity is not only alive, but the odds on favorite to be life itself.

I wrote a post explaining why I believe the New Testament is NOT a lie. I received 2 thoughtful responses from Thomas Muhr and Robin Harrison. Thomas’ response was shorter and more general, but very good. Robin’s response is a point by point essay. I believe each point and his comments are worth considerable discussion and decided to make each point its own post by merging the two papers and adding my comments. Additional comments by Robin or anyone else is encouraged. Links to all related discussions are in the discussion center post below.

Other Posts In This Series