Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

August 10, 2005

Liar, Lunatic or Lord. Those were the choices we g…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 3:29 am

Liar, Lunatic or Lord.
Those were the choices we got from the evidentialist apologists. Look at the evidence and decide for yourselves. They reasoned that nothing about Jesus’ life, conduct, morals, etc. could possibly allow for his being a liar or a lunatic. He must be a Lord. They never mentioned some of the other options. Two of which are that he either never existed or that he never actually said or did any of the things that the Bible credits him with saying or doing.

If you believe either of the latter options, you would be at home in the age of the Enlightenment. In the mid-eighteenth century, the reigning intelligentsia glorified their own reasoning powers and concluded that the New Testament gospels were fabrications of one sort or another. It was the miracles they could not stomach. Any person who held the miracles as factual was either stupid or superstitious.

Theologians of the day, since they trafficked in Bible matters, were caught in a bit of a bind. How could they walk in two worlds at once? They needed to maintain their credibility as reasoning folk and at the same time they wanted to sustain their income off of religion. What to do?

Easy. They put forward the idea that the gospel writers were novelists. They maintained that their writings addressed life situations that arose in the Christian communities. As needs arose within Christian groups it became clear to the evangelists that a document that spoke to those needs should be written. For example, the direction to the rich, young ruler to give all of his possessions to the poor and follow Jesus could have been inspired by growing economic inequities within the community. The story we read in Mark, then, was the evangelists attempt to shepherd Christians through those challenges.

Another explanation they put forward was the idea that the evangelists were fledgling theologians in their own right. They spun the gospels out of their own creative imagination. The opening of the Gospel of St. John would be a prime example of that sort of writing.

Unfortunately, this brings us sort of back to where we started. Now we have to decide the same choice regarding the evangelists: Liars, lunatics or apostles of the Lord. You decide.

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3 Comments »

  1. My only comment to those out there that question the various writers of the Gospel is 2 Tim 3:16.

    Comment by out of thin air — August 10, 2005 @ 5:02 am

  2. Dating the gospels vs. dating Paul’s letters is tricky if not impossible. It is unlikely that all of the gospels were written at the time of the writing of 2 Tim. If you want to take Paul literally, then you have to conclude that he was referring to Scripture that was already written. The context of that verse seems to strongly indicate that by “all Scripture” Paul was referring to the sacred writings in verse 15.

    Forcing Paul to be including the gospels when referring to Scripture is also difficult because of the canon issue. Whereas the OT canon was well formulated in Paul’s mind, the NT canon didn’t exist yet.

    Also, one explanation given for Paul’s not mentioning a single story from Jesus’ life other than the cross and the last supper is that he hadn’t read ’em yet, since they weren’t written yet.

    Finally, the liberals out there don’t have much nice stuff to say about Paul either. E.g. he didn’t write most of the books, they were written in the second century AD, etc. etc.

    Comment by Bruce S — August 10, 2005 @ 5:30 am

  3. To the unwise, ungodly (liberals?) the gospel is foolishness. I guess it comes down to faith.

    Comment by out of thin air — August 10, 2005 @ 5:56 pm


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