The Christian church teaches that the four canonical gospels—the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ birth, teachings, death, and resurrection—were written by eyewitnesses to the events they describe, or by persons with access to eyewitness testimony. Church history tells us that the gospels of John and Matthew, for example, were written by two of Jesus’ original twelve disciples. The Gospel According to Mark was written, we are told, by a follower of Peter, another disciple. Finally, The Gospel According to Luke was apparently written by a companion of Paul who interviewed disciples and other eyewitnesses. As a result, the church argues that these documents reflect direct, eyewitness testimony, and are reliable historical documents. Continue reading
The story of Jesus and the demoniac, as told in Mark 5, Matthew 8, and Luke 8 is a familiar one in which Jesus encounters a man possessed by a large number of demons. After a brief conversation, Jesus commands the “legion” to leave the man and enter a herd of nearby pigs. These pigs then rush down a steep incline and drown in the sea below.
To Bible critics, this story is a potential gold mine. Across these parallel accounts, they claim, we have both historical error and contradiction that clearly prove the Bible is neither inerrant nor even reliable. Continue reading