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?

 


Longer and Shorter Endings of the first gospel Mark are not genuine 
 
The Gospel of Mark seems to just stop rather than end. It looks like it was lost or left incomplete. This panics the Church as it means Mark gives no grounds to hold that Jesus rose. And in the earliest gospel too!
 
So in the absence of a proper conclusion some forgers kindly tried to help out.

There are two endings for Mark, the Longer Ending and the Shorter Ending.
 
As it seemed the gospel ended abruptly, two endings, the shorter ending and the longer ending, were created to deal with it. The endings were written because people felt that as the resurrection of Jesus is central to the Christian faith that it seems strange that Mark would write nothing about the resurrection appearances. However, many scholars believe that both endings are fake.
 
In relation to the verses that comprise the Longer Ending “Most contemporary scholars reject these verses as original” and “there is a very awkward grammatical transition between Mark 16:8 and 16:9”.
 
The fact that the Longer Ending 3 for Mark is suspect, as the even less credible Shorter Ending 4 might opens the way for that correctness of that view.
 
Most scholars believe that the Longer Ending that is Mark 16:9-20 is an addition to the gospel. If it is, it is a very early addition. It is not evidence against the possibility that Mark meant to write only as far as 16:8. This ending is really only a compilation of what is in the other gospels and other New Testament writings. For example, verse 15 outlines the great Commission which is borrowed from Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8. And verse 20 speaking of signs being done to confirm the gospel message. That has come from Acts 14:3.
 
The longer ending, though fake, fails to give any evidence that Jesus was bodily raised and he has to promise miracles of healing and speaking of tongues so that people will know the believers are right. It allows for the notion that the apostles had to use other miracles to show Jesus rose - the resurrection itself was not self-authenticating. The writer might have known what Mark really wrote. If so given the emphasis on convincing people to believe and how there is no salvation for unbelievers the original account might have read that maybe Peter and a few others believed but the rest of the apostles maintained they were talking rubbish. In fact despite the lies of Christian apologists, the apostles all believing firmly that Jesus rose from that Sunday on matters more to them than vanishing bodies and empty tombs and Jesus appearing. The allegation that Jesus was seen by people even if they were not convinced was enough to start off a resurrection meme or go viral. Equally unusual and undeserving things have gone viral.
 
GAR

Mark's Gospel as it stands ends with an unusual word, a conjunction (gar), which does not appear as the last word in any work, with the possible exception of a work of the pagan author Plotinus. It would be a very unusual word to end a work on; it amounts to ending a work with the word "because" or "for." There are sentences and paragraphs that end with this word (i.e., including John 13:13), but to end an entire work with gar is otherwise unverified, except for Plotinus -- and that may also have lost its original ending!

My comment is that if it has been happening it could have inspired the author of Mark to end on that note - Mark could do that if Jesus is seen as alive so its poetic and more or less saying - TO BE CONTINUED. The to be continued would convey the sense that rather than another gospel or ending for Mark the presence in the Church is the rest of the story.
 
The text ended with this word originally for Matthew knew of nothing after it when he picked over Mark to make his own gospel.
 
You would expect Matthew to have elaborated on Mark's version. But Matthew's account is far-fetched with loads of other resurrections at the time of Jesus and the outrageous story of the soldiers at the tomb covering up how angels attended the tomb and were prepared to say the disciples stole the body. Leave out this obvious legend stuff you don't have much left just Jesus appearing to tell his followers to baptise all nations and that he will be with his disciples forever. There is nothing tame enough to pass for having come from Mark.
 
The verse that ends Mark is replaced in Matthew's revision with one that claims that the women rushed away from the tomb awestruck and joyful and run to tell the disciples. This is to thwart how Mark writes that they told nobody. 
 
APPENDIX
 
PW van der Horst, in his work Can a Book End with ΓΑΡ? A Note on Mark XVI.8.” Journal of Theological Studies 23 (1972) states that there are examples of books deliberately ending with it and in any case it is okay to end a book with it anyway. Plotinus ended his 32 Treatise that way. Against that it is said that he did not end his work that way but only his treatise. Plotinus and Mark could have intended their ending not be as abrupt as it looks but as saying "unfinished business."
 
Bibliography

Barclay, W. Gospel of Mark (The Saint Andrew Press, 1954) 
Bolt, P. G. The Cross from a Distance (IVP, 2004)
Brown, R. The Virginal Conception and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (Paulist Press, 1973)
Donahue, J. R. and Harrington, D. J., Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of Mark (The Liturgical Press, 2002)
Edwards, D. and Stott, J., Essentials (Hodder & Stoughton, 1990)
Edwards, J. R. The Gospel According to Mark (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002)
Hooker, M. D. The Gospel According to Saint Mark (Hendrickson Publishers, 1991)
Scrivener F.H.A. A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, fourth ed. (George Bell and Sons, 1894)
Strobel, L. The Case for Easter (Zondervan, 2003)

The World Wide Web
 
JP Holding Did Mark's Gospel end at 16:8?
http://tektonics.org/lp/markend.html
 
Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to St Mark
http://christianbookshelf.org/burgon/the_last_twelve_verses_of_the_gospel_according_to_s_mark_/
 
Mark 16:8
http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/mark-16-8.html
 
The Marcan Endings
http://www.textexcavation.com/marcanendings.html
 
Young's Literal Translation
http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Bible.show/sVerseID/24882/eVerseID/24882/RTD/rwpnt/version/YLT