Recently, I've delved into articles about the canonical Gospels, their history, composition, and overlap (in the case of the three synoptic Gospels).
I'm also reading through the Gospel according to Saint Luke in the Oxford Annotated Study Bible.
First, I should say that I recommend foremost that anyone wishing to read the canonical Bible (or really, any Sacred Scripture) do so with a study Bible, and a scholarly study Bible at that. This grants a bit clarity on what's going on that might otherwise be glossed over by competing theological agendas.
Second, while reading about the synoptic Gospels, I read about organizations like the Jesus Seminar as well as the various kind of rebuttals that have been written against the stances of the Jesus Seminar.
What struck me as so incredibly strange was the sheer and utter lack of any middle ground. Where are the people suggesting that maybe the Gospels are generally reliable but not entirely reliable? Where are the people saying that maybe some of what is attributed to Jesus is historical, but other aspects are added later?
One thing I did find irritating was the complete and utter dismissal of the mystical and Gnostic perspectives and Gospels. That the extant copies we have were composed later isn't the same as saying there were therefore never any earlier copies; that the proto-orthodox Christians held an oral tradition that was then written doesn't mean the Gnostics weren't doing the same thing.
It's strange how people will always argue for their own perspectives, gravitate to what confirms what they already think, and never consider the counterpoints.
But as the title of the entry says, we've all got our reasons. No doubt people who are entrenched in the dogmatic lines of various Christian churches are going to find ways to defend those points in order to maintain their own power.
The question is whether that's a mark of integrity or not. In some cases, I think people generally are trying to remain faithful to what they understand the teachings to be. In other cases, I feel like people may be missing what the teachings are pointing to.
May we always live up to the meaning of the teachings.