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 7: The writers would not have created a lie that made them look so bad.
Have you read the New Testament? Peter is temperamental and undependable. Paul helps kill Christians. All the disciples fled at the first sign of trouble. James and John are self-centered self-promoters. None of them can figure out the simplest parable. Timothy deserts his mentor. Best friends Barnabas and Paul get in a squabble and split. The church in Corinth has a son that has an affair with his father’s wife. None of them believe Jesus rose from the dead when an eye-witness told them.
So you are willing to believe that the writers of the New Testament came up with this complex conspiracy in an attempt to gather followers and save their necks from execution…and were willing to make themselves look so bad? No one would do that! Admit it, you wouldn’t do that. It is absurdity.
Admittedly, people naturally want to make themselves look good. But any person guilty of multiple serious wrong doings isn’t going to portray themselves as an angel. No logical person would portray themselves better than they could get away with. If I have cookie crumbs on my face I might tell mom that I just walked in the room and ate the last 2 cookies that was supposed to be for the neighbors, but certainly not all of them!
It seems to me that perhaps Robin has again used a faulty analogy. If the New Testament is a lie, no one would have been accusing the authors of anything till after they wrote the lies because nothing “criminal” would have occurred. There are no cookie crumbs on anyone’s face, unless and until the tomb is empty, and the writers stole the body. Now if Robin concedes that Jesus existed, was executed, and the tomb was empty, he is admitting that the author’s testimony about Jesus is, at the very least, partially true, and he has stepped on to a slippery slope that requires much more to be explained. The stolen body theory is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to defend when other facts of the time are considered. I don’t think Robin wants to go there. For his own argument’s sake, he needs to stick with a 100% fabrication argument. If he insist that the writers had “cookie crumbs” on their faces, my job just got absurdly easy.
The analogy is also faulty in its purpose. It supposes that the cookies are gone, the person committed a crime, and wants to get a lesser punishment by admitting to a smaller crime, a plea bargain of sorts. The New Testament authors are admitting no crime at all. They show no interest in getting away with something and slipping off into obscurity. They in no way resemble a child with cookie crumbs and missing cookies.
A far better analogy would be a political race. The authors are telling the world their version of the story and trying desperately to win believers. Any politician will tell you he wants believers, and voters. The authors are looking for campaign workers (believers) and voters. They are out telling the world the tomb is empty, not hoping no one would notice the cookies are missing. Now, considering the American experience in politics, can you name 8 conspirators to a awful crime who all chose to tell the world about that crime, then ran for political office, and hoped to win workers and voters by telling them all how inept, foolish, ignorant, and cowardly they were? As a matter of fact, I challenge anyone to find a case of such a politician, doing the above, in all of history.
This point alone is not bullet-proof, but a realistic appraisal would say that, based on our experience of human nature, this point does lend some support to the honesty of the New Testament. It is another stone of the truth side of the balance.
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
- If I Were God: I would have made it impossible to think the New Testament was a lie.
- God Made It Clear That The New Testament Is Not A Lie
- The New Testament Is A Lie Because…# 2
- The New Testament is a lie because…# 1
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 1 – You Can’t Prove Anything
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 2 – Whether It Is A Lie Or Not Is Irrelevent.
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 3 – Just because it isn’t a lie, doesn’t make it true
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 4 – The conspiracy would have been immense and incredibly difficult to concoct and maintain.
- Are The New Testament Writers Lying? : A Point By Point Discussion
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 5 – No liar would have had Jesus appear to women first.
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 6 – The writers would not have any discrepancies in their stories.
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 7 – The writers would not have made themselves look so bad.
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 8 – The writers would use "Jesus said…" to solve their problems.
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 9 – Liars would never have created a religion that was so difficult to believe or follow.
- Is The New Testament A Lie: Point 10 – Liars would never imagine such a twist of belief.