Driven either by inconsolable fear or rage against the Deity, they twist like serpents to avoid the obvious.
Once such person recently alleged the New Testament was not written by the very men who claim to have written the gospels and the epistles: put their names on it, sealed it with their eyewitness testimony and recorded the words, wonders and wanderings they experienced.
Remember, these are skeptics. So we can anticipate their dissent: “No, no. All the evidence is illusory. The authors, the dates, the corroborations, the archival references, the quotes in other works from the same time—all that was forged by Second Century (and later) conspirators trying to deify an illiterate, babbling nomad who sold enough snake oil to trick the unsophisticated country folk of Palestine, plagiarize other pagan myths, and sit back and giggle before getting himself executed.”
You have heard this tired song and dance before: the documents, events, words, interactions, and certainly the authors are all fake.
After all, so goes their logic, the person who claims to have written the book, whose name is in the title, didn’t write the book but someone else, far removed, centuries after the fact.
Why do they believe this?
Against the swallowing tide of typological, typographic, referential, archival, social, linguistic and literary evidence that supports the document (in this case, the New Testament, only the most perfectly preserved manuscript in Human History—any nation, any era—of which we have more early manuscripts than any other document, nearly by an order of magnitude) do they persist in the fantasy that it was all an elaborate ruse?
Because they deny the very thing they themselves project into others.
No matter how irrational they claim the faith of others is, their own doubts, ever how contorted, are always permissible.
So, to spare you the vast terabytes of evidentiary work that confirms the New Testament on all fronts—only because today, in the age of the Internet, you can find all this out yourself if you are tired of being wrong all the time—I will share with you the best agreed upon dates and a major point I personally feel must be considered first.
James (50 AD), First Thessalonians (52-53 AD), Second Thessalonians (52-53 AD), Galatians (55 AD), First Corinthians (57 AD), Second Corinthians (57 AD), Romans (57-58 AD), Philippians (62-63 AD), Colossians (62-63 AD), Philemon (62-63 AD), Ephesians (62-63 AD), Luke (63 AD), Acts (64 AD), First Timothy (65 AD), Titus (65 AD), Second Timothy (66 AD), Mark (66 AD), Matthew (67 AD), Hebrews (67 AD), First Peter (67-68 AD), Second Peter (68 AD), Jude (68 AD), Apocalypse (68 AD), John (85 AD), Epistles of John (90-95 AD).
Now nestled in among these dates is 70 AD.
What is so important about 70 AD, you may ask? To any historian or archaeologist, the date of 70 AD is quite possibly the most established date in human history. Few dates are as precisely and authoritatively known as 70 AD, but why?
Because in 70 AD (around April 21st) the Roman Emperor Titus laid siege to, overcame and decimated the Jewish capitol of Jerusalem. The slaughter was legendary with over one million casualties (Josephus). Most famously, the Roman legions destroyed the Jewish temple, ending nearly 1,500 years of worship.
70 AD is one of, if not the, most important dates in all of history: the Destruction of Jerusalem.
“The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.”
Josephus, The Wars of the Jews VI.9.3
And naturally, the skeptic accepts the dates given for Josephus’ writing with nary a peep—but of course they do.
To this day the Jewish people have no temple in which they can dedicate their sacrifices. For nearly 2,000 years the deep and lasting scars of the Destruction of Jerusalem still linger in Jewish society.
Here’s my bigger question:
Do you really propose some cabal of second century (100 AD – 199 AD) conspirators who were so bent on deifying some homeless, executed preacher and creating a new cult that would replace Judaism, would not instantly leap upon, indeed seize the opportunity to point to the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD as a confirmation of God’s judgment on the Jews for killing His alleged Son?
Do you honestly feel these frauds would not remind their readers and repeat this single catastrophic event over and over, at every turn, and in every gospel and every epistle, to persuade us, the readers that came late (centuries and millennia later) that God was done with Judaism and that Christianity truly stood on the ruins of the displaced Jewish faith and the burnt rubble of its temple?
Do you seriously think these unpunctual hoaxers would choose the lie of them being first century eyewitnesses to the life of some random shepherd they haphazardly nominated to build a sect around to replace the oppression of the Mosaic Law, over the historical fact of the Destruction of Jerusalem which required no one being deceived into believing it actually happened, and which would have infused their work with infinitely more anti-semitic propaganda?
Do you really suspect these behind-handed con men considered the Destruction of Jerusalem the lesser of two available anti-Jewish options: 1) masquerading as first century writers; or 2) citing the utter annihilation of the Jewish capitol including the temple?
Or is it more likely, indeed far and away more credible a proposition, that the Jewish writers of the New Testament never once mentioned the Destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of their sacred Jewish temple in 70 AD simply because…
It hadn’t happened yet.
Hack Slaps are posts designed to prove most objections against Scripture are groundless. They’ve always been groundless, but ignorance is a most difficult thing to remove from the world. If you want to reject something, at least have the integrity to know what you’re rejecting.