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?

 


GOSPELS WERE NOT READ BY PEOPLE WHO WERE IN A POSITION TO CHECK OUT THEIR VERACITY

Are the New Testament accounts of Jesus' life and death, the four gospels, possibly true or plausible?  One obstacle is knowing when they were made available to read.  They were written late and distributed later.

There is no evidence that anybody had a look at them who could vouch for them as accurate.  And even if there were, what if the person did not mean strictly accurate but accurate enough?  That is very subjective.  But there is nothing. 

LITERACY

Evidence that the gospels were read to the public does not exist.  The other problem is that who could get them and how many could read them?

Perhaps about ten to twenty percent of the people had “some form of basic literacy, but only about two percent could be regarded as fluent and sophisticated literates capable of reading and understanding the great works of Greek and Latin literature.” See Herring, Introduction to the History of Christianity  Shiner, Proclaiming the Gospel at 11 (citing Harris, Ancient Literacy at 22, 272, 259 (may have been as low as three percent); Dunn, Jesus Remembered at 314 (citing C. Hezser, Jewish Literature in Roman Palestine (Tubingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2001) at 496-97); Dever, The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel at 225 (“most authorities estimate that no more than about 1 percent of the population of Israel and Judah in the Iron Age was literate”).  Lost Christianities says, "The most persuasive estimates for the Greco-Roman world put the rates at around 10 to 15 percent of the populace in the best of times and places".

Freeman, A New Early History of Christianity at 22 (“it would certainly be unusual to find living eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life after AD 60 and it would be a matter of chance as to whether any of these survivors could provide accurate and valuable information”).

THERE WAS NO READERSHIP DEMAND THAT COUNTS

“Christians certainly expanded in numbers with astonishing speed, but not until the third century. One scholar has “guesstimated” that in AD 200, a mere 0.35 percent of the Roman Empire – perhaps two hundred thousand people – were Christians. Most Greeks and Romans had at this stage little awareness or understanding of the cult of Jesus. For example, Herodian’s historical account of the Roman Empire, written in the mid-third century, contains not a single reference to Christianity. – By AD 300, they accounted for 10 percent of the population - this massive expansion raises the question not just of why Christianity grew so rapidly but also – more difficult to explain in confessional terms – why it grew rapidly then” page 234, Battling the Gods, Atheism in the Ancient World, Tim Whitmarsh. Faber & Faber, London, 2016.

Christianity then was small.  And the numbers reduce when you consider other things.  Not that many cared about having accurate scriptures.  There were many versions of Christianity and many fake believers and hypocrites.   Some were cut off and wouldn't have even known what a gospel was.  And many defenders of the faith today want us to think that these people were interested avid New Testament students!!  Even if the New Testament was not hidden, then maybe it did not need to be?  Maybe hardly anybody cared.  There were no intelligent attempts to refute the faith then.


WRITINGS CONSULTED

Bible Dictionary and Concordance, New American Bible, 1970  
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008
Decoding Mark, John Dart, Trinity Press, Harrisburg, PA, 2003
Early Christian Writings, Translated by Maxwell Staniforth, Penguin, London, 1987  
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 – 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 D’Ancona, 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
WHO CHOSE THE GOSPELS? C E Hill, Oxford University Press, New York, 2010
 
THE WWW
 
WERE THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS UNABLE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN AUTHENTIC AND UNAUTHENTIC BOOKS? GLENN MILLER
www.christian-thinktank.com/dumdad2.html

THE GOSPEL OF MARCION AND THE GOSPEL OF LUKE COMPARED, CHARLES B WAITE
www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/3827/wait2.htm

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE SECRET GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK, SHAWN EYER
www.globaltown.com/shawn/secmark.html

The “Historical” Jesus by Acharya S
www.truthbeknown.com/historicaljc.htm