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Skeptical New Testament scholars argue that the Four Gospels in our New Testament are anonymous. There was no original “Gospel According to Matthew,” and the same goes for Mark, Luke, and John. Their titles were left blank originally. Or so the theory goes.

These four gospels allegedly were distributed without titles for almost a hundred years before scribes attached them to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, well after these apostles were dead. Names got assigned to give the four gospels more prestige. …


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George Park Fisher (August 10, 1827 — December 20, 1909) taught theology at Yale and was a noted historian. He was president of the American Historical Association while he also served as the pastor at the College Church at Yale.

His book, A Manual of Christian Evidences, is an awesome, short introduction to historical apologetics that I highly recommend. Below was Fisher’s take on the hallucination hypothesis, which had become one of the more popular naturalistic explanations for Jesus’ resurrection during Fisher’s time.

Fisher on The hallucination theory

“Were the Apostles deceived? …


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CS Lewis famously remarked that “the gates of hell are locked from the inside.” In other words, the residents of the damned are there based on personal preference. It’s not because they’d rather be in heaven but only lacked sufficient information.

Echoing Lewis, Christian philosopher Dallas Williard wrote that hell isn’t “an ‘oops’ or a slip. One does not miss heaven by a hair, but by a constant effort to avoid and escape God.”

But are these famous Christian thinkers correct? Doesn’t it seem crazy that anyone would prefer hell? Based on the statements of many influential skeptics and atheists, the answer might surprise you. Many hardheartedly reject the Biblical picture of God. …


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One of the most popular arguments for God’s existence is the moral argument. It can take different forms, but a popular version runs like this:

  1. If God doesn’t exist, there are no objective moral values or duties.
  2. But moral values and obligations exist — objectively.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

It’s not unusual for someone to say, “Are you saying that all atheists are bad people? Rude!” The Christian apologist will often reply that the issue isn’t about belief in God but whether or not God exists. After all, we all know moral atheists.

It’s true that this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the argument. But do we really know of many good atheists? …


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Bart Ehrman says that the author of Luke can’t seem to get the story of the Ascension of Jesus right. In his Gospel, Luke says that Jesus ascended into heaven the day of his resurrection. In The Acts of the Apostles, Jesus hung around for 40 days before leaving his disciples. Dr. Ehrman writes in his blog:

“In Luke 24 (you can read it for yourself and see) Jesus rises from the dead, on that day meets with his disciples, and then, again that day, he ascends to heaven from the town of Bethany. But when you read Acts 1, written by the same author, you find that Jesus did not ascend on that day or that place. Jesus instead spends forty days with his disciples proving to them that he had been raised from the dead (it’s not clear why he would have to prove it! Let alone do so for forty days!), and only then — forty days after his resurrection — does he ascend. And here he ascends not from Bethany but Jerusalem. Luke tells the same story twice, and in two radically different ways. …


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Photo by Enrique Vidal Flores on Unsplash

Noted agnostic NT scholar Bart Ehrman says that the Gospels are cannot be reliable eyewitness accounts because they’re riddled with contradictions. The very center of the Gospel message is that Jesus was crucified. But according to Bart, the evangelists can’t even agree on what day exactly Jesus died. Ehrman brought this objection up in his debate with William Lane Craig.

“[When you read the Gospels] you come up with major differences. Just take the death of Jesus. What day did Jesus die…? Did he die on the day before the Passover meal was eaten, as John explicitly says, or did he die after it was eaten, as Mark explicitly says?” Is There Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus? …


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Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Skeptical New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman says that Mark and Luke tell two irreconcilably different stories about Jesus’ death. In his book Jesus, Interrupted, Ehrman describes Mark’s account:

Jesus is silent the entire time, as if in shock, until his cry at the end, echoing Psalm 22…Mark is trying to say something by this portrayal. He doesn’t want his readers to take solace in the fact that God was really there providing Jesus with physical comfort. He dies in agony, unsure of the reason he must die. Jesus, Interrupted p 65–66

Ehrman says this stands in sharp contrast with Luke’s calm and collected version of…


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The New Testament has archaeological and historical evidence in spades, lame pun intended. For example, we have Caiaphas’ ossuary, an inscription of Pontius Pilate, the discovery of the pool of Siloam, and a lot more. We also have external confirmations of Jesus’ existence found in Tacitus and Josephus, among others.

When Christians share this information online, untrained skeptics will snarkily accuse believers of committing the “Spider-Man” fallacy. The ever-reliable and usually offbeat Urban Dictionary defines the ‘Spider-Man fallacy’ like this:

“Often used to illustrate the flaw in the assertion by evangelical Christians that archaeologists unearthing biblical cities today “proves” that the Bible was written by a supernatural force. The Spiderman Fallacy is committed any time the discovery of a mundane element from a myth, legend, or story is taken to mean that ALL other parts of that story, even the supernatural, are also true.” …


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Skeptical Biblical critics like John Shelby Spong say that it’s impossible that the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John. Spong writes:

“There is no way that the Fourth Gospel was written by John Zebedee or by any of the disciples of Jesus. The author of this book is not a single individual, but is at least three different writers/editors, who did their layered work over 25 to 30 years.”

Spong isn’t alone in this criticism, even some conservative evangelical Christians have cast doubt on the traditional authorship of John for various reasons. But there are quite a number of reasons to think that John the Son of Zebedee really wrote John. …


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Agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman says, “the book of Acts in the New Testament contains historically unreliable information about the life and teachings of Paul.” In his book, Jesus, Interrupted Dr. Ehrman provides five examples of contradictions that exist between Paul’s letters and Acts.

Ehrman writes,

“These are just a few of the discrepancies that one can find when one reads Acts horizontally against Paul’s letters. Many more can be discovered. What they show is that Acts cannot be relied upon for completely accurate detail when it describes the mission of the early apostles such as Paul.”

Since these contradictions are the five he handpicked for his book, he must feel like they’re some of the best. If the strongest examples aren’t even really contradictions, then that gives us a good reason to doubt Ehrman, not Luke. …

About

Erik Manning

I am the Reasonable Faith Chapter Director in Cedar Rapids and the writer for isjesusalive.com. I’m interested in the intersection of Christianity and history.

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