The Great Fabrication?
Could it not be that the gospels were just made up? Jesus was just a good teacher, it was the disciples or someone else who made up ridiculous stories of miracles and so forth, it was just a story that turned into a legend that turned into a myth. We see myths in almost every ancient culture, this is just the Jewish myth that has gotten to much credence over the centuries.
There are a few terribly decisive items that allows me to intellectually put this fear to rest. I am confident that there is no way that the Gospel story could have been merely a fabrication.
For one, there are the witnesses. True, there are no witnesses left today, that is not what I am pointing out. The gospel’s were not written hundreds of years after the fact though, as we would suspect if it were fabricated or legend. It was written within the lifetime of those who personally knew and had been with Jesus. Jesus was not a fabrication himself and we know this because there are secular sources that account of Jesus and the events of his life, ancient historians like Josephus, Eusebius, and Seutonius.
The importance of the New Testament being written within thirty years after Jesus’ death on the cross cannot be overlooked. Too many eyewitnesses would still be alive at the time for something so excrusiatingly false to crop up. It would have been killed before it spread, the gospel narrative would have been labeled as a fabrication and leveled before it had time to spread across the globe. It was not, in spite of persecution.
Another point of strength for the gospel narrative, from its inception, it was met with vehement persecution from the Jews and not too long after from the Romans as well. Great persecution - death, stoning, etc. You would be put in jail just for admitting to being a Christian, and yet Christianity spread within that first year like a wildfire, spreading across all of the Roman empire and perhaps even further. It spread to Asia Minor, Egypt, perhaps south toward India, and to the heart of Rome. It was everywhere and everywhere it was met with persecution.
The twelve, the closest to Jesus during his life, the twelve disciples, every single one but John died a martyrs death. Every single one died a tormented death on account of believing in Jesus. Not one denounced Jesus or Christianity. Let me ask you this, who dies for something they know to be a lie?
Another interior piece of evidence I take as evidence of authenticity is the brutal humiliation depicted in the gospel narratives of the twelve disciples. Countless times Jesus has to baby them and spell out for them in laymen’s terms what his parables meant, sometimes condescendingly asking them if they still did not understand. Jesus reprimanded Peter, the leader of the twelve, and Peter denounced knowing Jesus three times on the night of Jesus’ death. It is also in the small details, such as the women finding Jesus first, that was very counter-cultural. In that culture, the witness of a women was little accounted for, so for the women to have found Jesus first was not only a huge embarrassment in the eyes of that culture, but it would not be trustworthy, so why would they fabricate a bunch of women finding Jesus first after he arose from the dead?
I must go back to the Jewish persecution of the Christians, I cannot emphasize this enough, Christianity rose out of persecution on all sides. If there was ever any signs of falsification, it would have been hoisted, fostered, and articulated greatly to squelch this new religion. The Jews could not, they had nothing. They could not discredit Christianity in any way. There was the empty tomb to contend with, the twelve disciples and many others who knew and had followed Jesus during his life, over 500 people who saw him after he died, and great feats and miracles of the disciples and the witness of the Holy Spirit.
This adds up in my mind, I cannot give any credence to the idea of the Gospels being fabrications, not because of my faith, but because of the evidence. As always, you must decide for yourself what you think. Just know, evidence is out there. Trust is up to you.