Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H

Christians believe that Jesus Christ left his message in the care of the twelve apostles. If the four gospels of the New Testament which are the only accounts we have of the alleged life of Jesus are anonymous or cannot be linked firmly to the apostles they cannot be depended on as the word of God. The Church only accepted the gospels as authoritative on the basis that they were thought to be written or commissioned and sanctioned by the apostles. This basis was extremely weak. To listen to the gospels is not to listen to Christ. Scholarship broadly agrees that none of the gospellers wrote from Judea or Galilee or wrote for people in those regions (page 120, Everything You Know About God is Wrong, The Disinformation Guide to Religion, Edited by Russ Kick, The Disinformation Company, New York, 2007). That should disturb people most. The Church seems to want to keep the focus away from this and on the authorship to block the insight that if these books were really God's word God would have made sure they were written among people who witnessed the events and for these people.
There are a number of Bible books that are forgeries. Some people wrote letters as if they were written by Paul or Peter for example. The gospel of John is another. Christians say this is not forgery or deceit for they only wrote what these people would have written anyway. But can a person really write for somebody else? No. Also the ancient world was in unison that this practice was forgery and deceit so see page 172 of Why I Became an Atheist (John Loftus, Prometheus Books, New York, 2008). It is suggested that these writers thought the spirit of Paul or Peter or John was in them inspiring them so they were honest. But the Bible condemns such spiritualism for only God inspires. Also, there is no evidence that they thought that way. Also, the authors had a Jewish background and would have been repulsed at such necromancy. The Jewish religion was sternly opposed to communication with the dead. Passing off a writing as somebody else's work is more likely to be forgery than anything else. The odds are stacked against it being merely pseudonymous as the Christians prefer to call it.
There is no hard evidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke or John wrote or were the final editors of the gospels attributed to them. The hints that they could have done are just hints. And the hints are controversial and could point to any number of other people having been the author instead. The main evidence that they did not write the gospels is the hiding. Why didn't they name themselves?

Now to the internal evidence that the John Gospel was not written by the apostle John.


The disciple Jesus loved is mentioned a few times in this gospel. He is given no name. The author says that he is the disciple Jesus loved. He never names himself.


The apostle John would not have called himself the disciple Jesus loved for that implies that he was a favourite and the gospel stresses humility.


Why has John not much in common with the other three gospels?


Some say that he did not know these gospels. Others say that he did know them and that was why he had to be as different as possible from them which is very unlikely for he never said they should be looked at though he expressed a wish to write more about Jesus than he did so that people would know more about him but he had to consider space.


John records the baptism of Jesus and the cleansing of the Temple and a story of a miraculous catch of fish (21) that is similar to Lukeís (5) and the multiplication of food and walking on water all of which are in the other gospels. If he took them from a gospel of some sort Ė not necessarily from the ones we have now - then he was not an eyewitness. It is too much of a coincidence for them not to have come from the gospels.


The gospel ends with the author asserting that he knows that what he says is true and is writing to bear witness to Jesus Christ. Then why did he mention that Jesus did many things he did not write about and omit to direct people to the other gospels where they could get filled in on the rest? He did not know of any other gospels.


He said that the disciples forgot that Jesus said the Temple would be destroyed and he would raise it up in three days until Jesus rose (John 2:20) and then he says that Peter and the beloved disciple believed Jesus was missing from the tomb because they didnít understand the scripture saying he would rise. That is not believable and shows that the author was not a disciple.


John uses a fishermanís word, opsarion, for the pickled fish Jesus multiplied (Jesus, page 49) suggesting that he was John the fisherman. But the author knew Palestine and would have talked to fishermen there. He wants to stress that it was edible fish unlike the other gospels which just call it fish and do not tell us if it was cooked or not. It is evidence like this that some use to prove John wrote it but what words used only mean that the writer heard of them and that is all. It is the strongest arguments that matter and they donít want to think about them for the strongest ones are anti-authenticity. Modern scholarship coming up with new reasons to believe in authenticity is far too late. If the gospel were inspired the proofs would have been preserved by God and he would have made sure that us and our forefathers could have had easy access to them. The pro-arguments for any Bible book are too complicated and that is enough to prove that the books they defend are not from God.


John 18 is supposed to say that the High Priest knew the beloved disciple. But it only says a disciple and there is no evidence that this was the beloved disciple. Would the high priest know a Galilean fisherman?


John 5:31-35, has Jesus saying that witnessing to himself is useless but John the Baptist witnessed to him being the revelation and Son of God so John helps make Jesusí claims plausible. Jesus cites this testimony of Johnís so that we will be saved he says. And then he says it is not because he accepts human testimony. But the John Gospel is human testimony. It never claims to be divinely inspired though it does claim to report about a divinely inspired man which is a totally different thing. (Even if it did claim to be inspired that would prove nothing for you only have a manís word for it that God inspired him. Many think they were inspired and were wrong.) This tells us that an apostle did not write the gospel. The author was writing in what he saw as disobedience to Christ but he did not care. He let it slip that he was opposed to the historical Jesus or at least the one the Church said it believed in and wanted the mythical one to take his place. It is difficult to see why an apostle would want to do that so he was a hoaxer.


Jesus even says that the Baptist should be believed not because human testimony is any good but because Jesus himself knows the Baptist is right. The gospel recognises that Jesusí word alone is not enough (John 5:31) and says we need the witness of the Baptist for his word is verifiable. But that is no good to us or of any use to the people living then for the Baptist was dead. It is especially no use when it is just the one saying he needs the Baptist gives only is word for it that the Baptist verified him! That is a right obvious conjuring trick. But at least it shows that when Jesus said that nobody could convict him of the sin of lying therefore what he was saying about himself was true and should be believed (John 8:46) he was contradicting himself for he just said his own word is not enough. Strange that a sinless or exceptionally holy man should need the word of a more sinful prophet like John! Another incoherence!


If Jesus told the truth that does not prove that he can complain about us not believing him for we donít know. He even went as far as to say we should believe him for his testimony is reliable for he is not making it for himself but for God (John 5:30). All this desperation to get us to believe shows clearly that the gospel was written when there were no historical indications of what Jesus was like were left for if there had been there should have been no need for all that stupidity. It also indicates that the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke were unknown or regarded as nonsense. Their being unknown would show they were nonsense as well so it is a no-win situation. No sane apostle would have carried on like the gospeller who wrote John did so this man was not John the Apostle. He had no experience of dealing with critics and no experience of defending the faith which an apostle would have. It indicates that anything that the gospel has that seems historical was made up and locked into the setting of real people times and places to make it look more believable. Even more bizarrely, the gospel though it accuses non-believers of sin just because they donít believe still dares to argue that there is an excuse for the Jews if Jesus did no great works among them to show that he was the unique revelation of God (John 15:24). If that is so then there is an excuse for the people the gospel was written for for they never met Jesus. This suggests that the gospel was perhaps a reworked mystical novel that was just taken too seriously. The totally preposterous claim made by Jesus that the Holy Spirit could not come unless he left the world to send him (John 16:7) shows the author had a sense of humour. Of course Jesus being on earth would not stop the Spirit coming. The Spirit would not need to be sent. It is Godís power or it is God, according to most Christians.


The Jesus of the gospel made the mistake of saying that anybody who hears his word will know it is of God and that is why those who do not believe cannot be saved (John 8:47; 18:37). (The gospeller spouted the same drivel in 1 John 4:6 where he claimed that if anybody will not give Christians a hearing then that person has no inspiration from God in them and wonít allow it in.) But philosophically speaking, there are literally millions of objections to Jesusí teaching. Nobody can be blamed for rejecting it. The gospel is simply aware of the weakness of the case for Jesus and resorts to blackmail and the silly theory that God will show the prospective convert that the gospel is true by some kind of psychic revelation. The God of Deuteronomy 18 says you have to use your head and test the prophets and make sure every word is what God would say and that every prophecy has come to pass and not just depend on an inner light telling you that what you hear is true. Every kind of religionist thinks he hears that light but every religion contradicts the next. What we glean from this is that the gospel was not produced by a Jew or former Jew at all. John would not have said the things the gospel says for they are too heretical and fanciful and superstitious by Jewish standards. They are too subjective.


John just says that the beloved disciple saw the empty tomb and never says he saw a risen Jesus. It is interesting how he says that Peter and the beloved saw the tomb but does not say that the disciples including the beloved saw the apparitions. He refers to the disciples as them as if he was not one of them (John 20:24). The real John would give his own witness to the appearances. Some will say this is an indication of his honesty but maybe he was in a hurry and perhaps he could not forge a testimony allegedly from an apostle in case he would get found out?

His Jesus trusted nobody not even believers (John 2:24). A real apostle would not have made the mistake of saying that Jesus was a cynic. A cynic wants to see only the bad in people and that would reflect badly on the disciples.


John would have been a Jew and well drilled in the Law so he would not have written that Jesus said that the Jews were evil because they did not believe Moses (John 5:47) when he wrote about Jesus for Moses did not. The man who wrote John was not a real Jew and never had been.


The Law of Moses required two witnesses for or against a man and yet Jesus said that he was a witness for himself and his Father another and that was in obedience to the Law (John 8:14-18). But the real John would have known from his Jewish religious instruction that that was no good and would not have put this story in. He was determined to urge people to believe at any cost or price. He was going to employ any lie or distortion towards that end.


It is interesting that John was supposed to be a son of Zebedee and the gospel of John mentions the beloved disciple and the sons of Zebedee but never says the beloved disciple who wrote it was a son. The gospel plainly says no sons of Zebedee had anything to do with the gospel. It talks as if the sons were other people.


The gospel mentions a disciple who Jesus loved who was next to him at the last supper and who was told to look after Mary by Jesus crucified and who saw the blood come out when Jesusí side was pierced. Finally, the author says that he is that same disciple (John 21:24). Again the author forwards himself alone as the testifier which is a conflict with the Law of Moses yet again. This testimony is worthless when he could not say outright who he was. If an apostle wrote this gospel then it shows that Jesus choose a failure and a rogue to write about him.  Worse, that bit occurs in a portion of John that was stuck on to the John gospel by a forger.


If John wrote John it would say more about Jesusí activities in Galilee. The name John never comes up at all in the gospel except when the Baptist is mentioned (page 345, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail). Also, the Jew John would have known that prophetic ability was extremely important to the Jews and the Gentiles and so his Jesus would have made some predictions. The Gospel places little emphasis on proving that Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament which in the Synoptics was the main reason for asserting that Jesus was from God and rose from the dead. So to fill this gap it would have been necessary to verify that Jesus was a prophet. That is what the readers would have expected. The author was not a Jew when he failed to do this. He did not know a lot about Jews. He did not know much about Jesus either. He was not John the Apostle.


Ian Wilson observed that the gospel is geographically accurate regarding the layout of the land before the destruction of 70 AD (Jesus, The Evidence, page 40). But that would only prove that the author could have been using a book about the land to construct the gospel story around. It does not prove that he was ever in the Holy Land.


The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail argues that Lazarus of Bethany wrote the fourth gospel because the gospel stresses how much Jesus loved him and because he disappears from the story by name after Jesus raised him and because the beloved disciple took Mary into his home to look after her and Lazarus had a house.


These feeble reasons are terrible.


First, we are told that Jesus loved Lazarus a lot but not that he was the disciple Jesus loved. If the disciple was the one raised then why didnít he substitute the title the beloved disciple for Lazarus?


The gospel is short and there would have been no time to write about all the exploits of Lazarus. He was not the only one to disappear and he did not appear until the middle of the story so why assume there has to be another reason for his disappearance? If the small amount of attention indicates the author then John the Apostle would be a better candidate for the author because he is never mentioned at all. John could have had a house that he never used in order to travel with Jesus. Perhaps he rented it at the time Jesus was arrested.


The gospel has two ends (20:30-31 and 21:24-25) suggesting that no apostle wrote it for somebody tampered with the book to make a second end and nobody would tamper with a prophetís writings to put in final summing up testimonies to the gospelís veracity and especially ones that are uncontroversial. Whoever fabricated knew the author was not an apostle. The forged ending says that the disciple Jesus loved wrote the gospel. Christians say that this does not mean it was he who was holding the pen. But we have to take it literally here for we have no reason to take it otherwise. You might say that if Pilate said he wrote the sign over Jesus on the cross that he did not write it personally but commanded it that is fine for the context allows you to think that Pilate would not go to that trouble. But there is no hint here of non-literalism. John is unquestionably a forgery.


A childish argument that John wrote the gospel is based on its final chapter where Jesus tells Peter that what John will do if John is to live forever on earth has nothing to do with him and the gospel complains that this led to the incorrect idea that John would never die indicating that John was correcting this misconception. But anybody could correct it. Perhaps John died and the gospel had to account for that by saying Jesus was misunderstood. Moreover, the real John would have explained why he let Peter broadcast the error for so long. The real John would have explained why his all-knowing Jesus did not realise Peter was misinterpreting. The real John would have known that an anonymous writer could not say Peter misunderstood for anonymous claims are useless. When a major gospel that says that Jesus said the spirit of truth would dwell with the apostles and remind them off all he said meaning help them to interpret as well and then says that an apostle misled the people then this smacks of serious dishonesty. The apostles were not reliable and this gospel even says that Peter loved Jesus the best and bragged that he did to Jesus who approved which does not say much for the rest and stands as proof that the gospel did not originate with any apostle but with a clumsy forger. And the gospeller saying he is a witness to Jesus and he knows his witness is true is as good an admission of lying as you will ever come across for he is saying, ďTake my word for itĒ, which is always what liars do. He knows of no other gospels or living apostles or evidence so that is all he can say. He is telling us it is enough for him to know he is telling the truth but it is not for we donít know. We are not him! His last few words that Jesus did so many things that the world probably could not hold the books if they were written down is craziness. Jesus could not have done that much in the space of three years. The gospeller then has to be inferring that Jesus was doing strange things all his life. That would make more sense. The fact that we have only heard about a few of them proves that there was no Jesus and that the gospeller was making his stuff up and was lying about all the existence of all these stories.




It is argued by many that the gospels must be at least reasonably historical for they have such detail both relevant and irrelevant. The gospel of John in particular seems to pad itself out a lot with detail that does not seem to matter such as that somebody had to bend to get into the tomb suggesting the entrance was low. That cannot help authenticate anything for it cannot tell us where the tomb was Ė a very telling omission.

Irrelevant detail is a feature of obvious frauds like the Book of Mormon. It helps make the work more readable.

How much of the aftermath of the crucifixion can be described as irrelevant detail? In John for example there is detail about which disciple got to the tomb first. It is said that such specifics are what you would expect from eyewitness accounts. Oddly he is not named which ruins the argument.  If the story were true there would be no point in hiding anything.


We canít know for sure if a detail really is irrelevant. It could be very relevant to the author who had his own reasons for including it.

Traditions going back only to the time of Irenaeus say that John the Apostle produced the anonymous gospel that now bears his name (Biblical Dictionary and Concordance, John, Gospel of), Irenaeus said that he got this information from Polycarp who was allegedly a disciple of John. Irenaeus stated that John wrote it in Ephesus when Trajan was Emperor which was from 98 to 117 AD.


In the first half of the second century, the bishop Papias, wrote that if he wanted to know what Jesusí apostles, and he names John, taught he had to ask some presbyters to find out! Read Eusebiusí History of the Church (3:39). If there had been a gospel of John or one that was ever thought to have been from John this wouldnít have been happening. A bishop would have to have had his books especially when that bishop was also a religious writer.


Papias said that John and James, his brother, were assassinated by Jews. We have to go to the writings of Philip of Side in the 400s for that quote (page 220, Putting Away Childish Things). This could only have taken place before the Jews were crushed in 70 AD for after that they were in enough trouble of their own to worry about hurting Christians. The Syrian list of Martyrs of 411 AD tells us that it had been believed for ages that the apostles John and his brother James had been martyred (page 221, Putting Away Childish Things).


The first person to claim that the fourth gospel was the apostle Johnís work was Theophilus who was bishop of Antioch (page 129, The Canon of Scripture). This took place in 180 AD. This guy was an apologist. He evidently made this up because he cited no evidence from people who knew the author and did not attempt to explain why nobody else was saying it was John but him. So we have a late ascription by an unreliable source.


Many Gnostics admitted they believed they could make up whatever religious doctrines they liked as long as they believed the basics of Gnosticism. Religious fantasy was even surmised to be a sign of having attained gnosis or mystical anti-rational knowledge. It was not written by John the Apostle and the way it was accepted reluctantly and so slowly (page 128, The Canon of Scripture) among true Christians shows that. Also, the Gnostics fell madly and deeply in love with the gospel and they liked to keep their teachings secret so John was kept secret. It was not written by an apostle for apostles would not pass on a book to be kept by heretics.


A prologue to the gospel of John dating from the second century appears to claim that John dictated the gospel to another John (page 43, Why Believe?). Heaven only knows what the other character did with what he heard or if the first John even seen the final edition.
The Church depends on late ascriptions and unreliable traditions to be able to hold that the gospels can be linked with the apostles and be considered reliable vehicles of the message they had to transmit to people from Jesus.
Bible Dictionary and Concordance, New American Bible, 1970  
Early Christian Writings, Translated by Maxwell Staniforth, Penguin, London, 1987  
Everything You Know About God is Wrong, The Disinformation Guide to Religion, Edited by Russ Kick, The Disinformation Company, New York, 2007
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995  
Evil and the God of Love, John Hick, Fontana/Fount, Glasgow, 1979  
Handbook to the Controversy with Rome, Karl Von Hase, Vols 1& 2, The Religious Tract Society, London, 1906  
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha, Cumbria, 2000  
Jesus Ė One Hundred Years Before Christ, Professor Alvar Ellegard, Century, London, 1999  
Jesus and the Four Gospels, John Drane, Lion, Herts, 1984  
Jesus the Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985  
JR Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1988 (from 1891 Edition published by Macmillan and Co. London)  
New Age Bible Versions, GA Riplinger, Bible & Literature Missionary Foundation, Tennessee, 1993
On the True Doctrine, Celsus, Translated by R Joseph Hoffmann, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987  
The Apostolic Fathers, B Lightfoot and JR Harmer, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1988, from 1891 Edition published by Macmillan and Co. London  
The Bible Fact or Fantasy, John Drane, Lion, Oxford, 1989  
The Canon of Scripture, FF Bruce, Chapter House, Glasgow, 1988
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick Pelican, London, 1987  
The Encyclopaedia of Unbelief, Volume 1, Gordon Stein, Editor, Prometheus Books, New York, 1985  
The First Christian, Karen Armstrong, Pan Books, London, 1983
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, Penguin, London, 1990
The History of Christianity, Lions, Herts, 1982  
The History of the Church, Eusebius, Penguin, London, 1989  
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982  
The Jesus Event, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Jesus Mysteries, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, Thorsons, London, 1999
The Jesus Papyrus, Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew DíAncona, Phoenix, London, 1997  
The Lion Concise Book of Christian Thought, Tony Lane, Lion Publishing, Herts, 1984  
The Nag Hammadi Library, Edited by J A Robinson, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1990
The Newly Recovered Gospel of St Peter, J Rendle Harris, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1893  
The Original Jesus, Tom Wright, Lion, Oxford, 1996
The Reconstruction of Belief, Charles Gore DD, John Murray, London, 1930  
The Secret Gospel, Morton Smith, Aquarian, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1985  
The Strange Case of the Secret Gospel According to Mark by Shawn Eyer Alexandria: The Journal for the Western Cosmological Traditions, Volume 3, 1995  
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The ďHistoricalĒ Jesus by Acharya S