WINC: Alleged Resurrection – The Gospels

Continuing the journey – now we begin to get to the meat of Why I’m Not a Christian (WINC).

As mentioned in my first two posts, my angle of investigation for investigating the truth claims of Christianity was questioning the historicity of the alleged resurrection of Jesus.


A Digression on Citations

I’m totally going to look like a one source pony here – I promise I did read from various sources and perspectives (mostly online) on these issues, and I watched debates on YouTube – but some of Matt Barsotti’s posts are great summaries of the issues I’m discussing here; and a couple of them really helped me turn the corner in changing my mind on these things.

So, in light of that, my own desire for efficieny, and my new-found lack of patience for what I now consider to be nonsense and falsehood…at the risk of looking like a fanboi…muchos citations to Jericho Brisance follow, with limited summaries by yours truly.


Gospel Authors Unknown; Message Unauthenticated

The gospels are primary sources for the claims we have about the resurrection. Let’s start with some points of consensus among biblical scholars:[1]

  1. The gospels were all written decades after the alleged death and resurrection of Jesus.
  2. The earliest of them was Mark, generally dated around 70 CE.
  3. John is last, generally dated in the 90s CE.
  4. Matthew and Luke are dated after Mark, and before John.
  5. They’re all of anonymous authorship.
  6. The earliest known manuscripts do not include the titles by which we’ve come to know them (e.g. “The Gospel According to Mark”).
  7. They do not claim to be authored by eyewitnesses to any of the events they describe.
  8. They were written in Greek.
  9. Jesus disciples would have spoken Aramaic, and would likely have been illiterate – never mind being able to write in another language.

Matt put together a great summary of these items and more in his Infographic – Timeline of the New Testament Books.[2] (Click through to enlarge and read the post.)

Infographic – Timeline of the New Testament Books

The above points, taken together, strike me as a compelling argument[3] that not only do we not know who wrote the gospels; we do know that they were most likely not written by eye-witnesses to the events in question. That makes their claims hearsay.

Recall the extraordinary level of the claims, and that the burden of proof rests on the claimants. The tri-omni God of the universe wants to communicate a message of the utmost eternal importance to us, and he doesn’t even bother to authenticate his intermediate authors? Color me skeptical. However, in my mind, I still allowed for the possibility that there could be other indicators of divine inspiration, like amazing internal cohesion, prophecy fulfillment, or historically verifiable miracles.

But it gets worse.

“Apparent” Contradictions

JerichoBrisance Easter Infographic 04042015Drawing on the work of several biblical and historical scholars and the gospels themselves, Matt made another great infographic that illustrates many of the apparent contradictions between the various gospel accounts, as it relates to the Easter narrative in particular. (Again, click through to enlarge and read the post.) My survey of apologetic attempts to harmonize these types of differences makes me think that it takes some impressive mental gymnastics to do so. On balance, it looks more probable to me that the legends grew, and the stories evolved over time, with Matthew and Luke being separate (and somewhat disparate) attempts at making a “new and improved” gospel of Mark.

Even if it’s possible to stretch these things to reconcile all the “apparent” contradictions, it seems improbable to me that an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent god would allow such differences to remain, thus leading genuine searchers away from the Truth. But suppose he had done so; that seems irresponsible to me, for the same reason.

Immaculate Conception?

Matthew 1:23, quoting (part of) Isaiah 7:14, says,

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and his name shall be called Emman′u-el”

The short version:

  • Matthew refers to Jesus’s mother Mary as having conceived while still a virgin.
  • “Young woman” is probably a better translation of the Isaiah text than “virgin” here.
  • The original context in Isaiah had nothing to do with foretelling a messiah.

If the author of the gospel of Matthew even intended for this to be evidence of Jesus’ divine origin by fulfillment of predictive prophecy, it fails as such. It’s like taking a movie quote out of context, and using it to refer to something in your own life. The only possible way I see around that is the so-called “dual fulfillment” idea. I’ve read those harmonization attempts, and I say: bullshit.

Fuller explanations:

Who’s Flying This Thing?

In his four part “Pontius, Our Pilotseries, among other things – again based on current scholarship (Ehrman, Borg, Price) and the biblical texts – Matt illustrates (spoilers):

  • The gospels have differing accounts of Jesus before Pilate. (Part 1.)
    • He is silent in the synoptics, which is alleged (in Acts) as prophecy fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7.
    • He is not silent in John, which is at odds with the alleged prophecy.
  • The depiction of Pilate is at odds with what we know of him from external sources. (Part 2)

These stories just don’t add up. Still not looking divine.

But What Do Other Sources Say?

In a perfect analogue to the grand assertions of every cult and religious fiction, not one of the astonishing claims regarding the life of Jesus – the Herodian slaughter, the great census, the heavenly star, the many miracles, the raising of Lazarus, the great earthquake, the hours of darkness, the rending of the temple veil, the hordes of walking dead, the mass post-mortem sightings, or the ascension – was recorded by a single contemporary outside of the faith tradition.

~ Jericho

The Upshot

Unauthenticated messages; unsourced miraculous and implausible historical claims; bunk alleged fulfillments of non- and out-of-context prophecies; clear religious bias; internal inconsistencies; and lack of external verification all lead me to believe that I cannot treat the gospels as reliable sources of historical data. There may be some kernels of truth beneath the more mundane (non-miraculous) parts, but my confidence level in even them is low.

I think this is the reason that contemporary Christian apologists retreat to “minimal facts” arguments  to support their claims of Jesus’ resurrection. And yet, these findings undermine the argument itself. Even if we treat the gospels in the same way as historians treat other primary sources:

  • Alleged miraculous events are (rightly) excluded from what we consider history.
  • History doesn’t demand our assent to propositions or tellings of events, or threaten consequences if we don’t accept them.

Status

At this point, I wasn’t quite “out of the woods” yet, on account of maybe another pillar and a half propping up my faith, and inertia. But the exit was coming into clearer view.


Notes

1. Some might say that I am making an “appeal to authority” here. That can be a logical fallacy. However, there seems to be little to no disagreement from both Christian and non-Christian biblical scholars on these points. As such, it is not an argument from particular hand-picked authorities, but from best-knowledge in the field.

2. As Barsotti explains, “The core timeline – which consisted of only the books and their dates – was drawn from [Biblical scholar] Raymond E. Brown’s Introduction to the New Testament (RC).”

3. A compelling argument, though probably incomplete as presented here. See also: “Strictly Speaking, the Gospels are Anonymous”.

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49 thoughts on “WINC: Alleged Resurrection – The Gospels

    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Heh, thanks.

      I didn’t plan it that way, but the opportunity arose, so it seemed appropriate. I thought about mentioning it in the post, but it was hard to make it flow, and I wanted it to be a bit more…”timeless”, if you will.

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  1. Professor Taboo

    Ratamacue, you’ve done a superb job here at condensing the “hinge” that all Christianity swings on or collapses from — and your/the conclusion is practically a no-brainer, unless of course one has the ever peer-pressuring of “blind faith.” 😉

    My personal attempts at revealing the problematic canonical gospels within historical context of Roman & Jewish provincial culture versus Rome (which became the Vatican soon after) are not done as well as you’ve done here. This will be one of my favorite post to reference on the resurrection story/myth!

    Thank you Sir!

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Of course, believers won’t call it blind faith. Even I still don’t think of my own former faith as blind, so much as having some (gaping) blind spots. But, perhaps I’m mistaken.

      Thanks for the praise, but I must point out how much more work Matt did compared to me here. It’s a lot of work to comb through so much scholarly output as he did. I just tried to condense some points that were pivotal for me.

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        1. Professor Taboo

          “Blind spots” is probably a better more accurate description. I was just using a popular term that I sometimes find useful in describing the psychological denial that takes place within modern Fundamental Evangelical bible-idolatry.

          Indeed, the task of sifting through the (obvious) 4th century CE Greco-Roman glossing-over and repainting even amputating the facts of a violent early 1st century CE Jerusalem and Levant and a fledgling neo-Judaic pseudo-apocalyptic Movement, into a more favorable Gentile social-political-economic Movement with an epically powerful Roman version and then 313 CE Roman law, turning the historical task gargantuan! Prior to Emperor Constantine, the two opposing cultures were like oil and water, yet Constantine and his bishops tried (unsuccessfully) to make it a harmonious union. But it’s really impossible to marry Jewish Messianism into Roman social order as evidenced by the unreliable New Testament and synoptic Gospels — and works like Matt Barsotti shows this impossibility well.

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  2. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

    As someone new to atheism, I haven’t had much time to explore this on my own yet, so I find this post extremely helpful. In online conversations I’ve heard other atheists talk about how the much of the bible was written long after the death of jesus, but wasn’t sure what they were talking about. This is very damning information.

    Have you had any christians respond to this, and if so, how do they defend it? I suppose my defense when I was a believer would have been to say you’d been looking at anti-christian sites and were beguiled by the devil (sorry, that’s just how catholics work). I was forcefully taught the gospels were timely eyewitness accounts of jesus. Your information is rather shocking news.

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Have you had any christians respond to this, and if so, how do they defend it?

      I haven’t really gotten into any meaty discussions with Christians about this stuff as of yet (unless I’m forgetting something). I’m not so inclined to push that conversation on an uninterested person – unless they’re proselytizing – though I haven’t simultaneously had the time and opportunity so far.

      I searched through the threads on the posts I linked to, to see if any Christians were answering. Not really. However, this discussion might be of interest to you, where I posed a similar question to Matt, and he responds in two comments.

      I personally also found this comment of mine to be quite interesting to re-read now, as I was in the thick of my doubts and research at the time. Matt’s response was interesting, too.

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    2. Peter

      Hi Violet

      I have found that if you try hard enough you can explain away any difficulty. The explanation is plausible to someone who wants to, with all their heart, believe in the Bible. The following is a very good example of such an explanation:
      http://evidenceforchristianity.org/can-you-explain-the-contradiction-between-acts-9-and-galatians-122-about-what-paul-did-in-jerusalem/

      But at some stage you have to ask yourself, if God was behind the Bible why would he allow so many issues to be included in his Word? The casual Bible reader tends not to compare accross books of the Bible so these sorts of errors pass them by. It is the serious Bible student who tends to be troubled by them.

      At an individual level the type of explanation in the above link might seem satisfactory. But cumulatively it just wears you down. Part of what wore me down was my growing realisation of the sheer number of these problems. I have a copy of The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. It is almost 500 pages long and does not even address most of the issues I have come across in my reading of the Bible and associated research.

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      1. Nate

        Peter, I couldn’t agree with you more. Yes, it’s the sheer number of these “difficulties” that does it for me. It just strains credibility too much to keep having to invent bridges across the divides. My friend William, who frequently comments on my blog, has often responded to Christians with something to the effect “yes, you can find some way to explain away this problem — but could you give me an example of a contradiction where that can’t be done?”

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  3. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

    Ratamacue, I’m sorry if this comment is all over the place, but I’ve been chewing on your post all morning and find myself unexpectedly upset. As you’ve read on my blog I didn’t deconvert specifically over bible issue, so reading this post is like running into a wall headfirst and getting giant concussion.

    These biblical scholars you refer to…you say they are both christian and non-christian, but if they’re christian, how come I never heard about these facts in my (former) church? Can these sources be trusted? I mean if the christians have known this information and yet have been teaching people contradictory information for a long time, how can anyone be trusted? How long has this information been available…is it fairly new?

    This material totally destroys everything I was ever taught about the gospels. Of course as an atheist I came to the conclusion that much of the bible was myth anyway, and was aware of the many contradictions. But the gospels being written in GREEK, long after the death of jesus, and by anonymous authors? How is this possible? How is it possible so many people have been duped?

    I’m trying to figure out much of the last 41 years of my life was based on bullshit, and I fear the percentage is climbing frightfully high. 😦

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    1. Nate

      Hey Violet,
      I know you’re talking to ratamacue, but I had a few minutes and thought I’d weigh in.
      Yes, this information has been known for a long time. I highly recommend reading Jesus, Interrupted or Misquoting Jesus, both by Bart Ehrman. They’ll give you a great synopsis of the issues.
      I come from a fundamentalist / evangelical upbringing, so I can’t speak to how Catholics would treat these problems. But in my denomination, we claimed to base everything on the Bible, and we were pretty good Bible students. I knew a lot about what was in the Bible — much more than any of my friends. But I had still never heard any of this until I started looking into it on my own several years ago.
      Most hardcore Bible believers (like the kind that believe in inerrancy) will say that we can still believe Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all wrote the gospels attributed to them, but their reasoning isn’t very sound. They refer to a quote from Papias about the gospels of Matthew and Mark (you can read more here), but there are some potential problems with this. For one thing, it’s not even certain he’s talking about the same gospels we think of. In fact, it’s very likely he was thinking of a different one when he refers to Matthew.
      There are some other ancient quotes they’ll point to as well. And they’ll say that if four witnesses gave testimony of something (like a car accident), we’d expect some details to differ. If all 4 gave exactly the same account, it would point to collusion. It’s not a bad point; however, the problems in the gospels are about more than just details that two observers could see differently. Also, other parts of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are verbatim copies of one another. It strains credibility hugely to say that the gospels are still inerrant.
      For Christian scholars who accept these as legitimate problems, most of them believe that God could inspire the writers without causing them to relay all the information perfectly. Others will look for symbolism in the differences to say that each author was trying to get across a truth much deeper than fact. This has never sat well with me, but there you go.
      And almost all Christian scholars will assure you that these issues wouldn’t have troubled a 1st century audience. But from what I can gather, that’s just BS. For instance, the Diatesseron is a second century work by a guy named Tatian, and it’s an attempt to pull all 4 gospels into one telling. You can see that some of the discrepancies didn’t sit well with him, because he either omits them, chooses one over another, or tries to conflate them in some way. But he’s obviously not okay with the variances sitting right next to one another.
      I don’t have time or space to go into any more detail right now, but I hope this helps a little. All I can say is, congrats on seeing the Matrix for what it is. It’s shocking… but it gets much easier. 🙂

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      1. Peter

        Yes Nate, Papias says Matthew was written in Hebrew. We have no record of it in Hebrew, all our texts are written in Greek. Indeed we do not have what Papias himself wrote, rather we have other second hand reports of what Papias wrote: In court it would be called ‘hearsay evidence’.

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      2. ratamacue0 Post author

        Thanks for laying this stuff out, Nate.

        Others will look for symbolism in the differences to say that each author was trying to get across a truth much deeper than fact.

        Of course, they don’t know what those “deeper truths” are. Or if they think they do, they can’t agree on them.

        So much for revelation.

        This has never sat well with me, but there you go.

        Me either.

        And almost all Christian scholars will assure you that these issues wouldn’t have troubled a 1st century audience. But from what I can gather, that’s just BS.

        I would hope it would bother them. It looks like there are at least some that it didn’t. But regardless, as a whole, humanity has learned a lot since then. I don’t think “what would bother a first century audience” is a useful metric for weighing particular god claims.

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    2. ratamacue0 Post author

      Hey Violet,

      I’m still chewing on this comment of yours, and I need sleep now, but another quick thought: your surprise and anger are understandable, and they are things that many of us have also had to deal with. However, I hope you can also see this as a sort of vindication or validation of your own apostasy/disbelief.

      Not that you should take our words for it. Please do feel free to do your own research, and challenge any of these findings.

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      1. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

        Ratamacue, you are quite correct that my sudden realization of the SERIOUS problem with the bible only affirms my atheism is the right place to be. It is surprising to me that I’m so upset about these things, as obviously I concluded that the bible wasn’t to be trusted when I declared atheism. Yet biblical problems were not something I’d researched much on, and I’m shocked to see the vast number of issues with the scriptures. I’m left feeling like my church and the people I trusted LIED to me about even the most basic facts I was taught about the bible (such as the gospels being timely, eyewitness accounts of jesus). It makes me think my former life was based on not a little bit of bullshit, or even a moderate amougnt of bullsit, but a HUGE amount of bullshit. Egads, that’s a hard pill to swallow.

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        1. Nate

          If it helps at all, most of them probably weren’t lying. In fact, regular church members are mostly unaware. And even many clergy members realize there are “difficulties,” but they think they’re either minor, or there are “explanations” for them. In other words, they’ve rationalized it to themselves. It’s little comfort, I know. It’s endlessly frustrating, and I do think there are at least a few who know better but remain silent.

          It’s such a crazy feeling when you first start finding all this stuff out!

          😉

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

          I think you’re correct, Nate. I imagine the vast majority of laymen catholics were taught exactly as I was, and then taught the story to other people in the same way. I remember thinking that surely the church leaders had worked out all these little problems in the bible, and I just wasn’t smart enough to figure out how they did it. Oh dear…what happens when we turn off our brains and allow others to think for us. It’s a mistake I won’t be making again.

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        3. Nan

          Oh dear…what happens when we turn off our brains and allow others to think for us.

          This is exactly what’s happening in the vast majority of churches today. IOW, what comes from the pulpit is pretty much “gospel” to many believers. VERY few ever take the time and effort to investigate the claims for themselves. It often reminds me of the children’s game of Follow the Leader.

          It’s a mistake I won’t be making again. Once you begin reading and researching, I think you’ll discover these words will become even more relevant.

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        4. ratamacue0 Post author

          I second Nate’s thought that most believers/teachers are not intentionally lying to others.

          OTOH, I think there is a tendency not to question once you think you’ve found the truth, and have become personally invested in it – defining your identity in part by it, etc. That sort of mindset can make it easier to miss problems like these, or to sweep them under the rug. Especially when you come across them in isolation, one at a time, and you’re not looking to answer the question of whether the claims are really true.

          For me, dropping the assumption that I should expect to have or know the metastory of universal and human existence was pretty key.

          Still, yes, a hard pill to swallow. Sunk costs and all. But better late than never. And better to be free of falsehood and superstition.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

          “…and have become personally invested in it…” —>Yeah, I can attest to the fact that it doesn’t do much for critical thinking. At all.

          I remember also being told that God will work everything out in heaven so we don’t have to worry about the details down here. Of course that made sense when I was a christian…now that sentence wouldn’t get past me without me cutting it to pieces with a chainsaw!

          I do love the theory of “sunk costs.” It applies to so much of life 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

    Thank you Nate for your helpful information. I think I’m still too stunned to grasp it all, but I’ll be coming back to this post over the next couple weeks to I digest it. I left the catholic church 6 months ago and am trying to remember how these very serious issues regarding the gospels were handled…like you, I don’t believe they were ever even mentioned. For more minor inconsistencies I definitely heard the excuse about “4 different people seeing four different things” arguement. Yet I would say that the information in this post is so profoundly contradictory to what I’ve been taught, that in no way can the “4 different people” thing satisfy me.

    “Also, other parts of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are verbatim copies of one another.” What the hell?!

    While Catholics are not totally into the inerrancy of the whole bible, they do hang their hats on the inerrancy of the gospels, because the resurrection is the the whole focus of christianity. I think my biggest problem here is that the gospels were not written by Matt, Mark, Luke, and John, but by anonymous authors…that seems like a REALLY BIG DETAIL to ignore or suppress. If this information has been out for a long time, how could it not possibly have been brought to light?

    I guess to see everything pulled together in this way is beyond shocking. Of course I knew there were problems with the bible, but I could never have imagined there were problems to this degree. I fear I’m rather gobsmacked by the whole thing.

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  5. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

    I’d done some superficial research about the basic info you guys have written, and looked at it from the catholic perspective (since that’s what I’m familiar with). One easy search on google will show that indeed, the gospels were written anonymously and quite some time after jesus death, and this information is NOT new, as you both have stated. I have looked for the catholic answers to these basic issue, and this is my paraphrase of the answers: it doesn’t matter who wrote the gospels or when they were written. They were divinely inspired by god, and any difficulty with the scriptures were put there by god to keep us humble. Sit down, shut up, and stop thinking you’re smart enough to ask questions. 😦 😦 😦

    This answer is not surprising to me…but it’s still pretty disappointing.

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      If you’re looking for recommendations on additional sources for research, you might want to read the comments that people left for me on Begin the Questioning: On the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus, as I asked for recommendations myself.

      (Sidenotes:

      You’ll see very few “liked” comments there, since I didn’t have that feature enabled at the time.

      Following his first comment there, my conversation with ProfT at the bottom is mostly off-topic to these questions.)

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  6. Nan

    It’s my understanding the Catholic church teaches that bible reading and interpretation is best left to the clergy. Laypeople are, in essence, discouraged — or at least not encouraged — to read the scriptures. If true, it’s no surprise that you are “rather gobsmacked.” 😉

    Nate’s book suggestion is very good. And there are many other resources as well that go into considerable detail on these issues. Suggest a look around Amazon or a library visit.

    Blog owner ratamacue0 will undoubtedly offer more when he has time.

    Good luck on your new pathway!

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    1. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

      I will definitely be reading some books…thanks for all the suggestions!

      About the catholic church: back in the day it’s true that only clergy were allowed to read scripture, but in the modern church members actually ARE encouraged to read the bible. Sometimes in the 60’s they even started doing mass in English instead of latin, so you could understand what the hell was going on (before you say anything, I agree it was stupid not to do that a long time ago). So there actually have been great improvements in this area. However, it’s obvious the average catholic is not being given the entire story. If you look online, the church *fully acknowledges* that the gospels were written anonymously and well after jesus died, and they’ve known this FOREVER, but not a peep of this was spoken about in the 41 years I was a member.

      On top of that I find out there’s pseudographics, which has been mentioned to me by other atheists, but I was not sure if I should take that seriously (seems I can). And to discover that all of this is COMMON KNOWLEDGE to not only those outside the church, but to the church officials themselves! I feel sick.

      I apologize if I sound like a raving lunatic, and I’m sorry for eating up so much comment space. Clearly I’m not as “fine” with my deconversion as I thought I was…but then I had not yet looked into biblical issues. Thanks for the help and information…I have much thinking to do.

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      1. ratamacue0 Post author

        Disclaimer: I only read/skimmed parts of the links in this comment, as they relate to concepts I’m already familiar with.

        pseudographics

        I think you mean pseudepigrapha? Yeah, the first of Matt’s two infographics that I linked to summarizes on that a very little bit. Also, a quick search yielded this page as a for-instance: The Deutero-Pauline Letters. (Since you like them catholic sources so much. 😉 ) And I think you’ve already found more on your own.

        And then there’s the apocrypha… The question of which writings are “from God” and which aren’t has not been entirely settled. You’d think he’d want us to know. (See also, Biblical apocrypha.)

        I apologize if I sound like a raving lunatic, and I’m sorry for eating up so much comment space. Clearly I’m not as “fine” with my deconversion as I thought I was…but then I had not yet looked into biblical issues. Thanks for the help and information…I have much thinking to do.

        No apologies necessary. We all process in our own ways, and I’m glad you’re finding my thoughts and others’ useful. 🙂

        How are you feeling today? Any less shell-shocked?

        I’m interested to know how your research goes. Perhaps you’ll share on your own blog? If not, feel free to comment here, or just drop me a line.

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        1. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

          Yes…the pauline letters…forgeries! This is another thing the church failed to mention to me! I only discovered them last week when Archeopteryx mentioned them when debating with a christian (and I almost fell over dead). And all that other stuff that is so uncertain, but the church made it SOUND certain…ugh. Will let you know ratamacue how the studies go, though I’m exceptionally slow since I have my son to care for. I’ll be coming back to your blog for info a lot.

          Thankfully I’m feel better, in no small part due to my online community giving me some of their wise perspectives and words of support. After you get over the shock of some of this biblical stuff, it’s really just more of the same…I already knew I was duped by christianity, and there were certain reasons I stayed duped for awhile. As Ark said in his rather forward way, “ignorance can be remedied, stoopid cannot, and you chose to leave stoopid and stupid behind.” I think that’s a fine way to put it.

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        2. Peter

          Violet, if you really want a shake up listen to some of Richard Carrier’s work on the New Testament. His position is that Jesus most likely did not even exist.

          Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein argues that most of the Old Testament never occurred. Most Archaeologists have long since written off the Patriarch’s and Moses. The real debate now is whether David and Solomon were real figures. There is one piece of extra biblical evidence that confirms there was a ‘House of David’, but there is no evidence outside of the Bible for King Solomon.

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        3. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

          Just wanted to say ratamacue that if you feel you need to edit or delete my comment with stoopid in it, please feel free. I think it’s inflammatory enough that it might start some drama in this thread…I’d hate to cause trouble for you.

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        4. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

          Peter, I have heard rumblings of some research that suggests jesus didn’t exist ever, or that he was a composite figure/hero legend completely. As I have time I plan to look into that more…there’s is a lot I have left to learn.

          Hope you’re feeling ok as you search for the truth.

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        5. Peter

          What is fascinating is that so many apologists hang onto the testimony of Papias regarding the the Gospel of Mark in particular. Papias said Mark was the scribe of Peter and based his Gospel on Peter’s testimony. This is cited in virtually every text that deals with the Gospels.

          However it is worth bearing in mind that Papias’ credibility is in question. Eusebius (the first definitive church historian) writing in the 4th century concluded that “Papias was a man of very small intelligence”. If you are wondering why that conclusion might have been reached just consider what Papias wrote about Judas. He noted Judas did not die after his hanging but recovered and then, well see the quote below – well you be the judge!

          “Judas walked about as an example of godlessness in this world, having been bloated so much in the flesh that he could not go through where a chariot goes easily, indeed not even his swollen head by itself. For the lids of his eyes, they say, were so puffed up that he could not see the light, and his own eyes could not be seen, not even by a physician with optics, such depth had they from the outer apparent surface. And his genitalia appeared more disgusting and greater than all formlessness, and he bore through them from his whole body flowing pus and worms, and to his shame these things alone were forced [out]. And after many tortures and torments, they say, when he had come to his end in his own place, from the place became deserted and uninhabited until now from the stench, but not even to this day can anyone go by that place unless they pinch their nostrils with their hands, so great did the outflow from his body spread out upon the earth.”

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  7. Howie

    This is a good summary Ratamacue0. Apologists could argue details of course, but overall much of this is accepted among many scholars, so it’s not unreasonable to be skeptical, especially since the claims are for supernatural events.

    My own search on this topic was basically comprised of listening to a whole bunch of youtube debates, and reading a few books on the subject. I found both Carrier – Licona debates to be by far the most informative (Habermas’ debates were good too) and it was very clear to me after watching those that the case for the resurrection was far from convincing. Then I listened to Luke Muehlhauser’s interview of Mike Licona and Lincona’s response to Marian appearances made it even clearer to me that the evidence is very weak for this 2000 year old story. In that same interview Licona touted Dale Allison as one of two most unbiased scholars in the field. So I decided to read Allison’s “Resurrecting Jesus” and that was pretty much the end for me. I felt Allison’s approach was quite honest and it was clear to me after reading the book that the case was very weak for resurrection.

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  8. Pingback: There is no R.A. in A.S.D.

  9. Pingback: Attempting To Throw Off Indoctrination | There is no R.A. in A.S.D.

    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Yeah, it’s kind of funny how conversion happens so quick, but deconversion is such a process – lots of indoctrination to unlearn, and new things to learn.

      Is “congrats” OK to say?

      Which brand? How’s it going?

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      1. mike and brandy

        Posted a not so brief article on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we may be headed.Thx for the encouragement.

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  10. Pingback: WINC: Alleged Resurrection – Paul | aspiretofindtruth

  11. TheCovertAtheist

    Good post! Interesting to know that the Gospels were probably not written by eyewitnesses. The Book of John wasn’t written till around 90-110 AD, that’s quite a long time after Jesus which should raise eyebrows for any skeptics.
    If Christianity started today, I wonder if it would be written off as a cult. A crazy group of people alleging that this Jesus guy is divine, but nobody outside the religion claims to see anything miraculous from the guy.
    That’s just my opinion of course, would be interesting to know how the whole Christian religion started – outside of what is written in The Bible such as Acts.

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