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…”

(http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2011/who-killed-jesus)

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.

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