Objective History.

Just read an article about Jesus with this quote:

“Each author had his own biases and agenda. The authors of the gospels weren’t writing objective history; they were trying to convert a particular audience…”


It’s quite a funny thing to say, really. This is one of the first things they teach us not to say in history class. They weren’t writing objective history because they were trying to convert a particular audience – that is, they were trying to convince the audience of something.

Nobody writes objective history. Everybody has an agenda; the question is whether their agenda is of truth or of falsehood.

I ask this question: does the fact that someone is trying to convince you of something make their claims unreliable?

It would be really strange if they did. Almost anybody who ever writes anything, writes it to try to convince people of something. All the ancients who recounted the events of their days were trying to convince you that something did or did not happen. They wrote it because they want you to believe something that you didn’t believe before. That’s why people write things. The early Christians wanted to convince people that Jesus was the Messiah. Many people have written things since that aim to convince people that he wasn’t. The gospel writers were upfront about their purposes in writing the gospels. They wanted to convince you. Of course they did. Why did they want to convince you? Because they believed it was true. What if their method of convincing you was by simply telling you what they had seen – what happened, and how it happened? What if their claim was true, and they simply attempted to present you with a series of true propositions that would lead you to a true conclusion? Maybe they were just trying to convert you to a believer in the truth.

Some decisions I just don’t know. When you have no-one to go to for advice, no books left to consult, what can you turn to? You’re left to your own devices. How do I know I can trust my intuitions? How do I know I can trust my reasoning? When you’re incapable of discerning what you want, let alone what you should want, how then can you know that your motives are pure, when you know that the deeper you seek within yourself, all there is to find is your own fallen, deceptive heart? What shall I convince myself to do? Of course, I shall convince myself to do that which I have been convinced is right. Well. I feel like I could persuade myself to take whichever path I choose.

I cannot trust myself. I dare not trust myself. But I must trust myself; there is no way to choose to do something I haven’t chosen to do. I cannot escape trusting myself.

All I can do is somehow trust God, that he is going to make something good out of whatever stupid thing I do next.

Any epistemology that rules out philosophy as a legitimate truth-detecting procedure is just that: it is an epistemology – which is an area of philosophical inquiry. You can’t use philosophy to devalidate philosophy. You just can’t.

“Religious belief is a nice little sentimental belief that gives desperate people meaning and hope, and also terrifies them into submission.

Wait a second.

Which psychological explanation will you buy into, atheists? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Are religious doctrines nice or nasty? Do people believe them because they find in them fulfillment and purpose? Or are they fearsome doctrines that instill terror in people so that they all fall in line?

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…

For by him all thing were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

Colossians 1:15-20