Wednesday, April 1, 2009

god is not Great chapter 8: For real this time.

In chapter 8, as noted in my previous post, Christopher Hitchens addresses the topic of the New Testament, and with it the issues of Christianity. Much like the previous chapter this does all seem somewhat abbreviated, but Hitchens nonetheless makes a good case against the veracity of the book.

The first problem, unsurprisingly is the inconsistencies in the principle documents: the gospels. He notes that they are contradictory on accounts of the virgin birth, the genealogy of Yeshua, the infanticide of Herod, etc. This alone is a huge argument against the truth and reliability of the gospels, but even moreso are historical inaccuracies like the governorship of Quirinius, the lack of evidence for a census; many things were fairly obviously hashed together after the fact to adhere to the Jewish messianic prophecies.

He does address the apocryphal and heretical and gnostic gospels in this chapter, but only briefly, but does make a good point about them. It would would have taken very little in the course of history, particular in the councils deciding what the canon would be, to have a completely different version of Jesus, and having no proof or evidence of who authored any of the texts, none is more reliable than another, especially given inaccuracies.

Later in the chapter he gives a cursory refutation of C.S Lewis' Lord, Lunatic, or Liar false trilemma for the divinity of Jesus.

That said, there's not alot to this chapter to support Hitchens' thesis overall, but he does make a good case against the accuracy of the New Testament. There's not much here to say religion poisons everything, however it gives a good picture at how well grounded the faith is, and how little it has to stand on in reality.


  1. But . . . but it's all consistent! All of it! What doesn't match does! They were talking about something else. That's it.

  2. "...many things were fairly obviously hashed together after the fact to adhere to the Jewish messianic prophecies."
    More accurately, many things were ad hoc'd by the writer of Matthew to "fit" with a Hellenized Jew's misreading of what he thought were Jewish messianic prophecies (cherry-picking the Tanakh for passages that fit, many grossly out of context, like the "virgin birth" that wasn't a virgin from Isaiah 7:14, itself from a greater story about their present situation, not some vague time in the far future). Voila Etc. I read a biblical concordance that called it "acceptable use of prophecy". I'm sure that Muslims think the same thing about the couple of vague passages that could point to Mohammad.

  3. You certainly put it better than I did, and you are very much correct. And you strike upon what really bugs me. They use the same kinds of proofs that Muslims use, but refuse to see it, and by extension make themselves greater hypocrites. And of course the muslims do the same.

  4. Theology is the only science where you're always right.