The Gospel Stories Must Be True Because They Paint the Disciples in a Bad Light

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The Twelve Disciples of Jesus

Gary: If some detailed stories in the Gospels are not historical (dead saints walking the streets of Jerusalem) then why can’t other stories be non-historical (“Luke’s” Ascension Story, John’s Doubting Thomas Story, etc.)? If some stories in the Gospels are fictional, isn’t it plausible that although the empty tomb, women finding the empty tomb, and claims of appearances to some of Jesus’ followers are historical facts, the detailed stories about these facts are fictional embellishments? Maybe the “facts” are the bare bones account that we see in the Early Creed and everything else is fictional? How would we know otherwise?

It is therefore possible that people really did believe that Jesus appeared to them, but their claims of what they saw are not what we see in the Gospels. Maybe the original claims were the same as Paul’s claim (at least according to the anonymous author of the Book of Acts): they all saw bright lights.

Christian: Gary, none of the apostles expected to see Jesus either crucified or resurrected from the dead. That wasn’t on their radar at all, and in fact, when the women tell the male disciples they’ve seen the resurrected Jesus the men don’t believe them at first.

When Jesus encounters the two disciples headed back to Emmaus in Luke 24, not recognizing him as Jesus (a detail not likely to have been invented, either) they tell him that they thought they had found the Messiah in the person of Jesus of Nazareth however when Jesus was executed by the Romans they realized they’d backed the wrong horse. This too is not a story the early church would’ve invented.

Also, ancient people weren’t stupid; they knew the difference between a bright light and a person. The gospels insist that they saw a flesh-and-blood person, who they touched and could hear and who actually ate a meal with them. I’ve never heard of a light with an appetite for broiled fish, have you?

At the end of the day–as you yourself have agreed–believers and skeptics alike are left with an empty tomb. If there was no resurrection *what happened to the body*?

The fact the gospels make several embarrassing claims regarding Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (his disciples and family save John and his mother all fled; the Romans had to borrow a tomb to bury him; women were the first witnesses to the resurrection and the male disciples won’t believe them until they encounter him themselves; etc) argues that the story of the resurrection isn’t a literary invention, because–again–people don’t normally tell lies that could damage their credibility.

Gary:

“This too is not a story the early church would’ve invented.”

The “Church” has invented all kinds of tall tales. Did you know that the Church invented a document whereby Emperor Constantine allegedly donated the city of Rome to the pope? Even the Church now admits that it was a forgery. And please don’t tell me the “early” Church was any different than the Church a few hundred years later. Human beings are capable of telling whoppers when it serves their purposes and goals. Anyone who believes that the original disciples of Jesus and other early followers of Jesus were all “saints” is living in fantasyland.

“Also, ancient people weren’t stupid; they knew the difference between a bright light and a person.”

So was Paul stupid?

“The gospels insist that they saw a flesh-and-blood person, who they touched and could hear and who actually ate a meal with them. I’ve never heard of a light with an appetite for broiled fish, have you?”

This is a circular argument and conjecture: “The disciples really did watch Jesus eat a broiled fish sandwich because that is what the Gospels say, and the Gospels must be historically accurate because Christians would NEVER tell a lie or make up stories that make themselves look silly.”

Nonsense. Oral story tellers and book authors want to give their audience a good story. Inventing a story of the resurrected Jesus eating a broiled fish lunch is much more interesting than rattling off the bare bones story of the Early Creed. This is STORY TELLING. The authors were not lying but neither were they giving a history lesson.

“people don’t normally tell lies that could damage their credibility.”

You are thinking in black and white terms: either the Gospel authors were telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth or they were lying. How about something in between. They were telling STORIES, for evangelization purposes only.

What happened to the body? No idea, but my first guess would be that someone moved the body. Isn’t that the most probable explanation for most empty tombs/graves?

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End of post.

12 thoughts on “The Gospel Stories Must Be True Because They Paint the Disciples in a Bad Light

  1. Having spent most of my life immersed in Christianity and latterly on the fringes of it, I’ve reached the conclusion that the gospels are just stories. Starting with the nativity fantasies, down through the entirely symbolic miracles and the rewriting of Old Testament tales, so much within the gospels is fiction. The crucifixion (based on Isaiah 53) and the resurrection (a fleshing out of mystical visions) are likely to be just more of the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Given the dozens of made up writings -gospels and epistles and acts and apocalypses – that christians wrote that did not make it into the New Testament because they were not seen as legit, we can be sure Christians made up stories all the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very true. Ever read the Gospels about the Infant Jesus? They are hilarious! Now, who decided that these entertaining works of literature are not divinely inspired but yet “Matthew’s” tall tales of angels frightening Roman guards into unconsciousness and earthquakes rattling awake the dead is??

      Answer: Fallible human beings!

      The Bible is NOT the words of a god but the words of scientifically ignorant, superstitious, human beings. This is blatantly obvious to anyone who is not brainwashed.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. You don’t have to go outside the canon, Epi, to find fakes, forgeries and fantasies. They’re all there in the New Testament!
      The resurrection stories fall into these same categories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. While I agree with you, many Evangelicals would not, and that’s why I like to use the example of the aforementioned non canonical writings as I think it forces Evangelicals to admit Christians lie and make up stories to further their agenda.

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        1. It’s too easy for them to say, ‘that’s why those non-canonical stories didn’t make it into the Bible. They’re made up and the Holy Spirit made sure only the true, historically reliable accounts made it into the New Testament.’

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  3. These Gospel tales in the canonical New Testament—as well as others that were NOT sanctioned by (human & biased) Greco-Roman Church Fathers—would make for a few great blockbuster DC/Marvel Comic films though! Those are all the rage now… just like paranormal sensationalism that was rampant after Mary the Mother, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James (which would be the same mother of Jesus! 😆), and Salome found a man in a white robe at the tomb looking suspicious, weird, and Jesus’ dead body gone (Mark 16:1-6). Wikipedia’s explanation of these verses are sufficient to quote here:

    The two oldest manuscripts of Mark 16 (from the 300s) then conclude with verse 8, which ends with the women fleeing from the empty tomb, and saying “nothing to anyone, because they were too frightened”.

    The women fled, perhaps in fear of the suspicious white-robed man killing them as loose-ends that needed to be silenced… his/the ruse uncovered or simply stealing the body for Egyptian doctors? These four women—well, actually just 3 because the mother of James is also the mother of Jesus!—never said a word to “anyone, for they were afraid [for their own lives].” DUH!!! lol

    What is well established and factual, however, is that the oldest extant Gospel in the world, Mark, ends right there at verse 16:8. STOP. No more after that, right?

    No, not so fast DC/Marvel comic fans. By the 4th-century CE Greco-Roman Church Fathers (not Jewish Rabbis or Synagogues) start adding and subtracting oral and written testimonies that did not align with THEIR own political agenda—which I tried to drive home repeatedly to Christian theologian/apologist/bible scholar, et al Joel Edmund Anderson, to no avail—and therefore, in order to make the blockbuster story/film have a chance for multiple Oscar Academy Awards, BAFTA’s, Golden Globes… they had to keep retro-fitting various modified verses and passages. Then voilà!!!

    By 367 CE the final edited cut of the “official Gospels of the Greek Jesus Christ” was done and ready for gullible audiences and theaters around the world!!! 😉

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