Saturday, May 14, 2011

The New Testament Is A Fake (And Other Stuff That Will Make Christians Angry)

The oldest profession in the world is not prostitution, it is ghostwriting.

I say this because in ancient times only a select few people could write. If you were a powerful leader, chances are you never took the time to learn to read and write. Instead you worked on whatever it was that made you popular--killing, preaching, converting, whatever.

So, it comes as little surprise to me to hear the New Testament is mostly forgeries written by early Christians to settle theological debate. This is the theory put forth by noted biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman in his new book, "Forged."
I don't understand why this would come as a surprise to anyone who has read the bible. It reads like a movie script. Unless they were writing as they were walking, working, preaching, eating, sleeping--oh, and using some sort of digital recorder to get every word in every quote exactly right--there is simply no way it is original.

I suppose, if you believe in God you could make the argument that He had something to do with the text. That His hand guided their pen, or whatever. The problem I see with that argument is that God likely has more important things to do than choose one religion over any other, and spend any time writing anything down.
He is God. What else do you expect?

Forgery in antiquity was not as big a crime as it is today. People had a lot more common sense back then. They knew a yarn when someone spun one for them, and they could extract the moral without much effort. They didn't need the New Testament to be written by Paul, Mark, Matthew or John in order to understand the message it contained within.

Times have changed. For many people, if the New Testament was not written by the people it claims to have been written by, then it must be rubbish. But I beg to differ.
The Lord of the Rings was a great book. If we discovered tomorrow it had actually been written by Barry Smithson of Waterloo, it remains just as it was before. The only thing that changed was the author. Not the story. Not the words on the page. Not the concept.

So, for true Christians, they shouldn't care who wrote the New Testament, but they will anyway. In fact, they will likely take exception to me comparing their holy text to the Lord of the Rings, too.

As the writer of this post, that's my prerogative. And unlike the New Testament, at least you know who wrote this post.

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