Why the Gospels are embarrassing


You may have never thought about it before, but if you have ever read the biblical Gospels they’re actually quite embarrassing. Not that the gospel itself is embarrassing, but the four biographies of Jesus’ life—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are embarrassing.

While that might sound controversial to some, it’s actually not. The fact that the four biblical Gospels are embarrassing—that is, that their content would have made the early church a little uncomfortable—is one key reason that we know they are reliable and authentic.

This is what historians have termed the “criterion of embarrassment.” In other words, when historians are trying to measure and establish the truthfulness of written historical accounts(1), it is generally accepted that when people fabricate, exaggerate, or embellish stories, they don’t tend to incorporate facts that would make the author or the author’s key protagonists look foolish or leave room for the loss of their credibility.

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