Challenge: You Can't Trust the Christian Authors of the Gospels

Raphael Lataster, the author of There Was No Jesus, There Is No God has an article on The Washington Post’s website arguing that Jesus didn’t really exist. Here’s an excerpt from the article that I think makes a few mistakes in reasoning:

Did a man called Jesus of Nazareth walk the earth? Discussions over whether the figure known as the “Historical Jesus” actually existed primarily reflect disagreements among atheists. Believers, who uphold the implausible and more easily-dismissed “Christ of Faith” (the divine Jesus who walked on water), ought not to get involved….

The first problem we encounter when trying to discover more about the Historical Jesus is the lack of early sources. The earliest sources only reference the clearly fictional Christ of Faith. These early sources, compiled decades after the alleged events, all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity – which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources – which they also fail to identify. Filled with mythical and non-historical information, and heavily edited over time, the Gospels certainly should not convince critics to trust even the more mundane claims made therein.

Where do you think Lataster goes wrong with his argument against trusting the Christian writers of the Gospels? (It might help to make a list of all his claims in this passage, explicit and implicit.) How would you challenge his challenge? Tell us what you think in the comments below, then Brett will respond to this challenge on Thursday.

[Update: View Brett's video response. Explore past challenges here and here.]

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Amy K. Hall

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