Re: virus: Why people cling to faith

Tim Rhodes (
Wed, 27 Jan 1999 03:47:29 -0800

Bill wrote:

>As time goes on, the stories in the Bible and Torah are being
>disproven as reality almost daily. Oh sure, there are few historical
>that these books help shed light on, but by an overwhelming majority - the
>cannot be considered anything but metaphor.

I heard a panel of biblical scholars and theologians talking the other day about discrepancies between the four gospel stories of Jesus. They noted that three of the four (Matthew, Luke & John) were written after, and borrowing whole passages from, the first text which was written (Mark). Mark's gospel had been around for 50-some years before the other gospels were penned and the other three authors obviously knew Mark's account well. And yet they each contradict that account in their own works and seemingly without it giving any of them much pause.

At the same time, if you look at the gospels as works of literature, you see that the only other works with similar diffusion throughout the Mediterranean at the same time are the cheesy soap-opera style stories being passed around by traders. The gospels that lasted were, by comparison, quite well written and constructed novellas in their own right.

So if the authors didn't seem to mind contradicting one another, the panel concluded, that meant that either the authors understood that these were fables and somewhere along the way we've come to misunderstand their original intent, or that we have the correct interpretation now and the authors didn't know what they hell they were writing when they wrote it.

Of the two, the former seems much more likely.

-Prof. Tim