I want to take this time today to answer this question I get a lot: why don’t I believe in the gospels.
Um — the first big problem I have with the gospels is that they are anonymous — a lot of people don’t know that, but it’s true.
Um, and no good skeptic, atheist, freethinker should ever accept any anonymous report just offhand; aah especially when we’re talking about something truly awful — I mean, the gospel writers have Jesus doing some pretty ugly stuff. Umm, killing a tree for no reason, which makes him look completely insane; they have him claiming to be God, which would have been a major blasphemy within Judaism at the time; and they have him turning water into wine, which we all know is just a tactic to get the ladies drunk — right? — I mean, no-one turns water into wine for any reason that’s not just completely nefarious!
But if you’re gonna talk [whoopee noise] about someone like that, you can’t do that anonymously — and if you do, what is that? What are we talking about?
That’s nothing more than gossip.
And I think that as good skeptics, atheists, freethinkers, we should all know how absolutely toxic, disgusting and beneath us it is to repeat and or report mere gossip.
[Person with wine bottle approaches wineglass-holding Mr. Deity: "would you like a refill?" "Um, no. Thank you."]
Now. See how easy that was?
Here’s another little tip: if you find it hard to say no to the refill, you can just leave the glass full! Don’t take another sip!
That’s my friendly little piece of advice to those of you without a backbone, or any sense of personal responsibility!
The other problem with the gospels is that these anonymous reports are made years after the fact; some scholars say decades. Ah, that gives Jesus no opportunity to refute the claims — I mean, there isn’t a decent justice system in the entire world that doesn’t give the accused the right to confront his or her accuser. That’s just basic justice.
And in many cases, even the witnesses of the witnesses are anonymous.
Really?! C’mon! We’re skeptics! We don’t take stuff like that at face value!
The other problem here is confirmation bias: the tendency to see only what we wanna see.
That’s clearly what the gospel writers were doing here; they wanted a hero (or a villain, depending on your perspective), and they found one!
But, as good skeptics, we should all know the power of confirmation bias — I mean, for heaven’s sake, they found witches in Salem, and Joe McCarthy found the communists under every bed — as skeptics, we need to stand up to these anonymous gossipal authors and those who would repeat such gossip and say “have you no sense of decency, Sir! At long last, have you left no sense of decency.”
Of course, if you’re completely divorced from the skeptic community, I don’t expect you to understand these basic principles — but the rest of us should know better!
Remember: “do unto others”