OpEdNews » How We Know That Christianity Is Not True
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May 4, 2009
How We Know That Christianity Is Not True
By Ben Dench
Modern textual criticism has shown that no part of the New Testament was written by anyone who actually knew a pre-crucifixion Jesus1—if Jesus ever existed as a human being at all. We know this because of things like basic errors in geography and local customs that would be impossible for anyone that actually traveled where Jesus did to make. We also know that after a period of oral tradition there were many gospels and they were circulated without names. The names the accepted gospels were eventually given were only second century guesses—and of course we can show now that they guessed wrong.
That being said, if we place the works of the New Testament in the order that they were written (for our purposes: the works of Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John) as opposed to the order in which they were preserved, we can actually see the process of mythologization happening. Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong explores this in the fifth and sixth chapters of his book A New Christianity for a New World. As time goes on we see the resurrection transform from synonymous with the crucifixion and ascension and with no specific mention of a physical resurrection (or an empty tomb) to a distinct event and a definite physical resurrection, Jesus’s conception go from normal to divine, the miracles move from nonexistent to possibly merely symbolic (Spong found that the gospels of Mark and Matthew mapped onto the Jewish liturgical calendar and seemed to have been written to correspond to different celebrations during the year) to actual claims of miracles and then to more elaborate and miraculous claims, and Jesus go from a man to a powerful prophet to a godlike being. Spong concludes that: