Viewing the Gospels as myth…

Popular culture, abetted by some outspoken critics and commentators, either suggests or insists that the Gospels are, to one degree or another, mythical or at best legendary accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. The following considerations, including time and other practical factors, argue to the contrary.

  1. Because of the early emergence of the Gospels and the sources behind them, myths and legends did not have sufficient time to develop and be recorded in their accounts.
  2. The theory that the Gospels are myth is only plausible if several generations existed over which mythology concerning Jesus could grow.
  3. The apostles of Jesus recognized the difference between myth and factual eyewitness testimony, and they solemnly asserted that they were eyewitnesses of historical events.
  4. If the Gospel writers had departed from historical fact (either by exaggeration or outright invention), hostile witnesses familiar with the events of Jesus’ life could have and would have exposed them.
  5. The Gospel stories do not correspond in style or in content with other known mythical writings.
  6. The arguments for rejecting the Gospels as history are circular.

Typical reasoning for viewing the Gospels as myth is fallacious, usually based on circular argument: The divinity of Christ is rejected because the Gospel text is rejected. The Gospel text is rejected because it supposedly is based on myth. The Gospels are thought to be myth because of the miraculous events that speak of God becoming man (that is, the divinity of Christ). This reasoning clearly begs the question (the premises illegitimately depend upon the assumed conclusion) and exposes a presumed antisupernatural bias. The problem is one of presuppositions, not of historical fact.

Kenneth Richard Samples, from Without a Doubt, kindle location 1088

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