Next week I’m off to give a talk at an evangelical Christian conference that is dealing with contradictions in the Gospels; the other speakers will be explaining either why they don’t actually exist or why they are completely insignificant or how they can be comfortably explained given ancient writing practices or … or some other point that will assure their committed Christian audience that there’s nothing really to worry about.  It will be in Chicago and is called the Defenders Conference.

I quite admire the organizers of the conference because they genuinely want to hear the other side from me.  As y’all know, I think there are serious contradictions in the Gospel that cannot be reconciled or explained away, and these demonstrate that the Gospels are not historically reliable.  I’m not saying (I’m NOT saying) that there is *nothing* reliable in the Gospels.  Of course there are lots and lots of reliable materials in the Gospels (the key is figuring out which ones they are).  But anyone who thinks they give a fully reliable account of what Jesus really said and did — not just in small details but also in very big matters — I think is completely wrong.

I’m known to have that view, of course, and am regularly attacked as the Bad Guy (or rather, the Scion of Satan) by Christian “apologists” (= defenders of the faith), since I was once one of them and then went over to the dark side.  Or as I tell them, I finally “saw the light”!  (If they’re friends, they laugh about it.  I have one friend, a decidedly *not* evangelical Methodist minister, who says I went from being “born again” to being “dead again.”)   I don’t expect to be attacked personally at the conference.   I told the organizers that I’d be happy to present my views thoughtfully but I didn’t want to do so if the point was to rip me apart in my absence.

That happens sometimes.  Just recently I’ve had a number of blog members ask me about comments made about me by theologian William Lane Craig, where he says things that in fact just aren’t true.  Just now I was browsing through the blog looking for old posts on something else (my next thread: how we can establish what the authors of the New Testament *originally* wrote, and how close I think we can get to the “originals”) when I inadvertently ran across this post from many years ago, which I’d forgotten about.  It’s worth posting again, ’cause I feel the same way still and it keeps happening.  Why don’t people who want to attack false views simply tell the truth?

Here’s the post.  As you’ll see, I was in a bit of a mood….


I have to admit, I sometimes get a bit tired of being the whipping boy for fundamentalist and conservative evangelical  Christian apologists.   If they would deal with my views head on and actually get the facts of my life right, it would be one thing.  But when they publicly accuse me of holding, or having held, positions that I never did – when they are flat our wrong in what they say about me — it gets under my skin.

The first time I noticed this in a big way was when …

The post gets a bit hot after this.  Those who belong to the blog can see it.  Those who do not, not.  Why not join?  You get five posts a week, almost all of them directly on the history and literature of early Christianity.  Tons of information, for a very small fee – and the entire amount goes to charity.