Thursday, April 21, 2011

I harmonised the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection

Some time ago, I shared two harmonisations of the four Gospels' resurrection accounts that I'd found elsewhere, but for one thing I find them a little bit hard to follow, especially the one from Answering Islam.
So as a bit of a personal devotional exercise, I decided to see if I could figure it out more or less on my own, and here's the result. If nothing else, it helps me make sense of the accounts since it's undeniable that these four different accounts with different foci can be sort of confusing.

Before we launch in, it's instructive to recall that "these four resurrection accounts are mutually contradictory" is still a popular objection to biblical Christianity. In last week's edition of the Unbelievable? radio show, Bart Ehrman mentioned that very thing a few times, specifically at minute 34 and again at minute 44. As I was listening to it yesterday, I found myself shaking my head and smiling - once again, Ehrman demonstrates he is very poorly versed in biblical exegesis, or is simply unwilling to put forth the effort or perhaps to allow for harmonisation at all, which is a sign of severe bias. 
For the charge of contradiction to stick, the skeptic would have to demonstrate there is no possible harmonisation of the texts, not merely that it's difficult or that you don't understand it. And as I show here, this charge has no teeth. Glory to Jesus Christ.

1)  Angel, earthquake, stone is rolled away, soldiers faint.
Matthew here provides a bit of background information before continuing with his story of the women, begun in verse 1.
Matthew 28:2And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.

2)  Jesus exits tomb while soldiers are flattened.
Not specifically mentioned, but obvious deduction.

3)  Soldiers wake up, find tomb empty, scatter. 
Taken from later references, like:
Matthew 28:11Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 

4)  Still early in the morning, Mary M, other Mary, Joanna, Salome, and probably other women come to the tomb. 
Matthew 28:1Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.
Mark 16:1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 
Luke 24:1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
John 20:1a Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark...

5)  They find the stone rolled away.
Mark 16:4Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.
Luke 24:2And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
John 20:1b ...and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 

6)  Mary M at least runs to tell Peter and John that the stone is rolled away.
John 20:2So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

7)  Peter and John run to the tomb.
John 20:3So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb.

8)  John gets there 1st and doesn't go in. Peter gets there 2nd and does go in, sees the cloths lying there.
Notice that they only see the stone rolled away and the gravecloths lying in a heap and do not see an angel or Jesus.
John 20:4The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.

9)  John then goes in and believes but neither of them fully understand.
John 20:8So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 

10)  Peter and John return home.
John 20:10So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

11)  Mary M at least is at the tomb weeping, and the other women may or may not be around.
John 20:11But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb

12)  The other women come back at some point it would seem, though, and they all look into the tomb. They see two angels inside and they ask why they're crying and announce the resurrection.
A few notes here:
--Where there's two angels, there's always one. 
--In biblical angelophanies, they virtually always appear as men.
--There is no good reason to think that all of the conversations noted here did not occur.
Matthew 28:5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7“Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
Mark 16:5Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. 6And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7“But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’”
Luke 24:3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6“He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” 8And they remembered His words.
John 20:12and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

13)  Mary at least turns around, coming out of the tomb, conceivably drying her eyes, and encounters Jesus, Who talks to her.
A few notes:
--She doesn't understand right away that it's Jesus because she's been weeping hard this whole time and is still composing herself, and also she wasn't turned His direction when He first talked to her.
--There's also no indication of how far He was away, whether He was sort of calling to her from across a few dozen feet or behind a tree or bush or something.
--There's no indication of whether the other women are present. I think maybe they were, but John's account merely focuses on Mary M. Maybe He spoke to the other women too and it simply wasn't recorded.
John 20:14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 

14)  Looks like many or all of the women run off first of all and are so blown away by the experience that they don't say anything for some time.
Matthew 28:8a And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy...
Mark 16:8They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

15)  They eventually recover and go to tell the disciples that Mary M at least (and maybe the others were there too, standing around or something) actually met and talked to Jesus. 
Matthew 28:8b ...and ran to report it to His disciples.
Luke 24:9and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
John 20:18Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her. 

14b) or 15b) Jesus greets them on the way and they worship Him.
It's unclear whether they were on their way to tell the disciples and then Jesus met them and that really overwhelmed them, or whether they were overwhelmed first and went to tell the disciples and then were met (again) by Jesus, or whether they were already overwhelmed and on their way to recover and Jesus met them then.
Matthew 28:9And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

16)  The disciples don't believe the women's report (presumably, the report of actually seeing and talking to the risen Jesus).
Luke 24:11But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 

17)  Peter runs to the tomb and goes inside, sees the cloths.
Looks like this is his 2nd time to run to the tomb, probably b/c the 1st time he went, recorded in John, he'd only heard that the stone was rolled away and gone and seen only that and the cloths, but not Jesus Himself. Maybe he wanted to see if Jesus was still hanging around there, and though He wasn't, Peter still took another look into the tomb.
Luke 24:12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. 


  1. Why are the events of #12 not placed after your #5? This seems more logical and flows better.
    Why do you assume Peter went to the tomb twice?

  2. What happened to papalinton's 2 comments? They were here earlier.

  3. When in doubt, consider the spam filter.

  4. Papalinton's other 2 comments didn't add anything and didn't take my post into account, so we didn't clear the spam filter. If he wants to have his comments stay, he needs to contribute, not copy and paste from Dick Dawk and other poor exegetes.

    I put #5 and #12 the way I did b/c it seems that's the most natural way to take the events John describes.
    And I don't assume Peter went twice. ISTM it's the most natural way to take the accounts. But I'm open to alternatives.

  5. Papalinton said:

    I understand now why there are so few comments ever recorded at Triablogue. The religious police work overtime

    While our current village atheist's idle hands (or should we rather say "the hands of a man of not so busy leisure after retiring early"?) are the devil's play things. Although even Old Scratch might not be too pleased considering the most play he'll get out of Papalinton is perhaps a penny dreadful or two.

    As for Papalinton's latest cut-and-paste job from his fellow feebleminded denizens of habitat for the hopeless (e.g. John Lofty Not Crafty, Richard No Academic Career), actual NT scholars like Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, and D.A. Carson (to name a few) have dealt with these and much more in their voluminous publications. Of course, Papalinton would be aware of this fact were he inclined toward virtues such as the use of reason, objectivity, and so forth. But, alas! He's not. I suppose that's why it takes a village of atheists to raise a single IQ point. Although it only takes a single atheist to raze rationality to the ground. Anyway, thanks, Papalinton, for putting your hand to the plow in service to infidel groupthink! Surely your irreligious townsfolk will be almost as proud of you as they are of themselves.

  6. I think the second journey of peter from lukes account will have to be placed earlier as Luke records that Mary went to the eleven and they reacted incredulously which prompted peters run.

    Assuming that they gospel writers knew each other and fellowshipped together (at least at some stage) why didn't they fill in the details of each others accounts?

  7. To clarify. I think the second journey of peter really is his first one. As the apostles couldnt have been incredulous if peter and John had already gone.

  8. My favorite line is:

    "--Where there's two angels, there's always one."

    Talk about reconciliation by omission. Ha!

    How many donuts did you eat?
    "I ate one donut"
    "I ate twelve donuts"

    Are these statements
    contradictory? Absolutely not!! Where there's 12 donuts there is always 1 donut ... I just didn't MENTION the other 11 I snarfed down. No contradiction at all.

    Thanks for the chuckle Rho! I'm going to have to give your harmonization an 'F'. (and since I didn't mention any other letter grades feel free to replace that with whatever works for you - you're clearly a pro at it!!!)

  9. If anyone else has other links to harmonizations of the resurrection, I'd be interested in having them posted here.

    Here are two by by Justin Taylor & Matt Perman.

    Harmony of the Resurrection Accounts OR


    Resurrection Harmony by Matt Perman. This is just another version of the above in a more narrative form. OR

  10. Meh. Sorry, fellow atheists, but this is a tempest in a teapot. Imho, finding "contradictions" between the four Gospels is akin to finding "contradictions" between any four accounts of Leda and the Swan. Obviously, all the Gospels are variations on Mark, and are just the sort of variations one might expect in oral traditions. Most likely, there's one story that is the origin of all four Gospels- in that, I agree with the apologists.

    The real problem is twofold: why are all four Gospels regarded as the Gospel truth, when they are not logically reconcilable; and why should we accept the truth of the original story, whatever it was? People make up stuff all the time, and embellish upon old stories, do they not? In the absence of evidence for the truth of any of the Gospels, while it's an interesting question for literary scholars what the original story said, it needn't concern us in our search for what really happened, unless there's independent evidence for its truth.

  11. Here are more related links

  12. Today being Good Friday, I heartily recommend Steve's review of the skeptical book "The Empty Tomb".

    "This Joyful Eastertide: A Critical Review of The Empty Tomb (2006)" by Steve Hays

  13. Zilch, the four Gospels have four different aspects of Jesus they are conveying. Matthew presents Jesus as a King, Mark as a Servant, Luke as a man, and John as God.

    For instance the two genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke differ and confuse only if you don't know they are typical in the first case for a King and in the latter case for a common man.

    The King's genealogy starts with the founder of the Kingdom, in this case Abraham who was called by God to become the people of Israel.

    The common man's genealogy starts with the man himself and goes back as far as possible. With Jesus back to Adam.

  14. Space Bishop,

    Yes, the 11 reacted incredulously, and as I've hypothesised above, it was b/c the running theory was probably that the Lord's body had been taken away by someone, and yet here these women come, probably pretty hysterical, and tell them about talking to Jesus Himself, bearing no ill effects from the extremely torturous death He'd just suffered a few days before.

    Now, you ask a good question.
    Here is what I know - as demonstrated on my harmony above, the oft-repeated claim of contradiction between the accounts is false.
    Here is what I do NOT know - why the accounts vary so widely. This is where faith comes in - there is no good reason to disbelieve, but I am a sinner and my natural inclination is to disbelieve until some threshold (that I've arbitrarily set in my own mind) of evidence or whatever is met. Yet God has given me faith to believe in that which is rational though not fully explained.
    The mockers and blasphemers, of which I used to be one, are so biased against the truth of Jesus that they make false accusations of irrationality and contradiction where none exist, and that's b/c they have no faith. Ironically, they are the ones who end up with blind faith: blind faith in their accusations b/c they cannot substantiate them. Papalinton is a prime example. He's just pasting a bunch of stuff that has little to do with the post itself, and where it is relevant it is merely naked assertion.

    What I maybe should have put in the post is that it seems like there were two angels present, but only one spoke, so it's recorded as one in Mark. Or maybe the women only noticed the one. Or maybe the woman/women that Mark interviewed or from whom he got his info only noticed or focused on the one. That's what I think happened.
    But you have a long way to go before you prove contradiction.

    Why is it obvious that all of them are variations on Mark? B/c someone told you and you trust them?

  15. Papalinton,

    Email me please.

  16. I've expanded on Rhology's post and addressed some of the objections here.

  17. David,

    you said:

    My favorite line is:

    "--Where there's two angels, there's always one."

    Talk about reconciliation by omission. Ha!

    How many donuts did you eat?
    "I ate one donut"
    "I ate twelve donuts"

    Are these statements
    contradictory? Absolutely not!

    Do you not see the disparity between your analogy and the Gospel accounts?

    In the Gospel accounts the question How many angels were at the tomb? is never asked. Thus you can't jump to your conclusion that someone was trying to answer it. The context in which information is presented is key to determining what is actually being claimed.

    I suspect that is why you inserted the question in your analogy - it is significantly weakened without it.

  18. David,

    how about the following alternative analogy:

    Mary: "I saw a bird outside with blue feathers"
    John: "I saw 5 birds outside"

    Ha! Contradiction!

    Not that this analogy is perfect, but it simply demonstrates the slant you can put on something with a false analogy.

    At the root of your claim lies an assumption that both Gospel accounts were explicitly claiming to make a statement about the total number of angels at the tomb, rather than (like Mary above) singling out certain details for a purpose.

    Until you show that your assumption is true and consider these nuances, your charge of contradiction will continue to be like the dog that will not hunt.

  19. Halo

    I was giving an example of reconciliation by omission. Without tricks and tactics like this there is no logical way to harmonize the gospel's account of the supposed resurrection. 2000 years have passed and still apologists are writing columns saying "LOOK! I think I can make it work!!". That in and of itself tells me all I need to know.

  20. David,

    thanks for your reply, I hope you don't mind if I make a few further responses:

    I was giving an example of reconciliation by omission.

    But unless you can show how the Gospel accounts are guilty of this in the same way as your donut example, your argument doesn't achieve anything.

    Without tricks and tactics like this there is no logical way to harmonize the gospel's account...

    Are you really saying that it is 'tricks and tactics' to say that Mary and John do not necessarily contradict each other in the bird analogy I gave? You can't justly dismiss perfectly fair reading analysis as 'tricks and tactics'.

  21. David,

    one more thing, as an illuminating exercise I hope you don't mind if I engage in some ham-fisted reading analysis of my own on parts of your most recent comment:

    2000 years have passed and still apologists are...

    This is a false claim. Since the Gospels were all most likely written down after 55AD it has only been a maximum of 1956 years that have passed. So that is an error in what you just wrote. And that proves your are an untrustworthy writer and I can now dismiss all your claims.

    apologists are writing columns saying "LOOK! I think I can make it work!!".

    I just googled the phrase "LOOK! I think I can make it work!!" and there is no Christian apologist who said those words. So that is another error in what you just wrote which confirms what I already knew from your previous error - you are not a trustworthy writer - you just make things up and quote them as fact.

    Although you may laugh at this kind of reading analysis, both examples are commonly used by critics of the scriptures. They regularly don't allow for approximation (as in '2000 years' vs 1960) and neither do they consider loose citation conveying just the general jist of what was said rather than the exact words (as in you quoting apologists as saying 'LOOK! I think I can make it work!!').

    I think it is helpful to be aware of the inconsistency here since we do not read any other texts in such a ham-fisted way, nor should we.


  22. Halo

    I was giving an example of reconciliation by omission. Without tricks and tactics like this there is no logical way to harmonize the gospel's account of the supposed resurrection. 2000 years have passed and still apologists are writing columns saying "LOOK! I think I can make it work!!". That in and of itself tells me all I need to know.

    This shows your own disingenuous approach to the issue. I've never heard an apologist say "I think I can make it work," as though they can now finally reconcile the apparent contradiction, after 2000 years of failure.

    Blomberg provides a more accurate picture:

    "The early church fathers, writing in the second through sixth centuries, studied the New Testament closely enough to recognize all the apparent discrepancies in the text that modern critics emphasize. Augustine’s famous fifth-century commentary, entitled Harmony of the Gospels, deals with a large number of them…" (Making Sense of the New Testament, 37).

    In other places (e.g. "Jesus and the Gospels") Blomberg offers his own harmonizations.

    Yet you would have us believe that Blomberg (et al) is going "LOOK! I think I can make it work!" But that's your own caricature(or naivety?). Blomberg isn't necessarily saying the earlier harmonizations don't work, and he finally has the solution to let Christians have a non-contradictory faith, but that he has his own to offer with its own merits. There is more than one way to harmonize a story.

    And all the Christians are supposed to have their faith undermined by poor caricatures?

  23. The women leave to bring the news to the disciples (Matthew 28:8). [AGAIN ONLY IN MATTHEW'S EMBELLISHMENT]

    The guards, having roused themselves, report the empty tomb to the authorities, who bribe the guards to say the body was stolen (Matthew 28:11-15). [DITTO]

    What's the significance of pointing out things like "this is only in Matthew's account" (minus the rhetoric)?

    I think we all already knew that Matthew records some things not recorded in other gospels.

    So isn't this just an exercise in time wasting on your part? Pointing out the obvious under the guise of scoring a point for fundy atheism?

  24. Rho- it's the scholarly consensus that Mark is the earliest Gospel, and the closest to the presumed original account ("Q", as you know). Yes, I believe that because I trust the scholars, and because it seems logical. This is the way old stories tend to be recorded, and literary sleuthing can help reconstruct such genealogies.

    Why do you believe the four Gospels are four different eyewitness accounts of events that actually transpired by Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John (who of course are not named as the authors in Scripture)? Because you trust in the veracity of the Bible and/or teachings of the early Church, right? Sorry, I don't have your faith, so I will stick with the scholars for now.

  25. Cutting out the fluff, your response is simply :

    The significance is that Matthew took Mark's story and embellished it with his own thoughts. The significance is that whatever is said only in Matthew cannot be corroborated through any other source, therefore unreliable as a historical source

    How do you know Matthew "embellished" (which I guess you mean with false info) Mark rather than simply added things Mark didn't mention?

    Why should I buy the claim that "uncorroborated" = "unreliable"? I'm not a historian, but I seems more reasonable to reserve the charge of "unreliable" for cases where descriptions of the same particular event don't match up, not for cases where there is simply one witness to an event.

  26. Zilch wrote:

    “Why do you believe the four Gospels are four different eyewitness accounts of events that actually transpired by Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John (who of course are not named as the authors in Scripture)? Because you trust in the veracity of the Bible and/or teachings of the early Church, right? Sorry, I don't have your faith, so I will stick with the scholars for now.”

    As I mentioned in a post Friday that responded to some of your earlier comments, we’ve written about such issues on this blog many times. Why do people like you and the other non-Christians posting in this thread so often make comments like yours above, yet don’t interact with the arguments on such subjects that are frequently posted here? You ask why we believe in something like the traditional authorship attributions of the gospels, yet you don’t interact with the many posts we write on the subject. You also don’t interact with the arguments that have been presented many times in books, in journals, at other web sites, etc. You just ask for evidence and make a dismissive comment about how you “don’t have our faith”. We don’t have your faith, and we’ve explained why. You ought to interact with those explanations.

    And I want to see documentation that a scholarly majority supports the conclusions you’ve outlined above. I don’t dispute that a majority erroneously rejects the traditional authorship attributions of Matthew and John, for example, but I’ve seen New Testament scholars claim that half of more of modern scholars accept the attributions of Mark and Luke. On issues of historicity, the position of the majority varies from one aspect of the gospels to another. Are you claiming to accept whatever the majority believes across the board?

    Christians who accept the traditional authorship attributions don’t claim that Mark and Luke were eyewitnesses.

    And the early evidence for the gospel attributions comes from non-Christian sources as well, not just Christian sources.

    There are a lot of problems with your assessment. You don’t seem to even know much about what Christians believe on some of these subjects. But you know what the scholarly majorities are on all these issues?

  27. "The significance is that Matthew took Mark's story and embellished it with his own thoughts." [PAPALINTON'S EMBELLISHMENTS WITH HIS OWN THOUGHTS, HERE-SAY]

    "Jason Engwer, your 'scholarship' and academic credentials are not worth a damn.


  28. Bart Erhman is probably one, if not the foremost of NT scholars....

    A start,

  29. You see, Papalinton, this is exactly what I mean when I say your intellect is rivaled only by garden tools! :-)

    On the one hand, you get all hot and bothered because you think we're deleting your comments. So let's say for the sake of argument that we are indeed deleting your comments.

    On the other hand, this entire time you've been trying to disprove Christianity and prove atheism. So let's say for the sake of argument that God does not exist and that human beings are the product of a macroevolutionary process driven by natural selection.

    Given all this, what's objectively immoral or unethical about deleting your comments?

    What a pathetic reference. Not only can the article not stand on its own merits as a genuine reflection of the evidence, it has also to resort to censorship of any alternative perspective.

Two comments wiped off the map by censorship from the Triablogue...

    After having read many of your comments, Papalinton, I don't see what the big deal is in deleting your comments anyway. I mean, you don't offer anything like an argument in any of your comments. All you do is psychologize your opponent and try to bully with rhetoric.

    Case in point, you say the article is a "pathetic reference" and "stand on its own merits as a genuine reflection of the evidence," yet you give us absolutely nothing to support that. Apparently, you think I should be persuaded by your naked assertion?

    You then go on in your comment to psychologize.

    This is all I've seen you do here. Step 1: unfounded assertion shrouded in rhetoric. Step 2: psychologize.

    If this was my blog, not only would I delete your comments but I would ban you for being such a waste of time. Who wants to waste their time reading what amounts to baseless ranting?

  31. Jonathan said:

    If this was my blog, not only would I delete your comments but I would ban you for being such a waste of time. Who wants to waste their time reading what amounts to baseless ranting?

    Thanks, Jonathan. It may very well come to that. After all, I'm sure others feel the same way as you do, that Papalinton is just wasting everybody's time with his unreasonable comments and behavior. He doesn't argue in good faith. He doesn't respond to our counterarguments in a fair and balanced manner. He doesn't acquaint himself with scholarship outside of what he hears over on his mentor John Loftus' Debunking Christianity blog. (BTW, Loftus and his peeps have deleted or should I say "censored" comments in the past but I don't see Papalinton taking issue with them.) Rather Papalinton just posts drive-by comments where he doesn't expect a response but does expect us to listen to him. Indeed he has a sense of entitlement about posting comments here. He thinks we somehow have to put up with his comments and behavior, even though it's mainly his rantings and ravings directed against us and readers like yourself. If we don't, then he calls it "censorship." Given his irrational behavior, it's ironic he used to be a teacher. In any case, thanks again for your comment. It's good to know what others think here.

  32. Papalinton,

    if the historical reliability of the gospel is so .... obvious ... why have so many scholars failed to appreciate the incontestable nature of that evidence?

    Because of the doctrine of sin, specifically the noetic affects of sin, which you are displaying quite vividly right here. Have you read Romans?

    For your benefit, I suspect I am not the only onlooker here who does not read your comments with a serious eye because you come across like a village atheist who is wilfully ignorant. If you want people to take you seriously I would recommend a little less arrogant triumphalism and a lot more hard work and careful attention to understand the arguments and books that have pre-empted you.