Who Were the Apostles: Part I- Conspirators?

I’m going to begin taking a rational, evidence-based approach to answering the question: “Who were the apostles?”
I believe the options are strictly limited to the following:  conspirators, fools, lunatics, legends, or honest Jewish men.
Let’s start with first option. Were they conspirators? They were not.

Argument 1:

1) Conspirators always have a personal motive

2) The apostles were not in a position to gain anything by opposing all the most powerful people around them (Pharisees and Romans)

3) The apostles had ample opportunity during the course of their lives to recognize that their conspiracy was failing to obtain any personal benefit and was only likely to get them killed

4) Thus, the apostles had no motive to create or sustain an elaborate conspiracy of the kind that the New Testament would have to represent (were it a conspiracy)

Result: The apostles were not conspirators.

Argument 2:

1) When separated and unable to communicate, conspirators tend to begin to contradict one another

2) The apostles were eventually separated and unable to communicate as they went out into the world spreading the Gospel

3) There is no record of the apostles contradicting one another and producing different “variant strains” of Christianity on their travels

Result: The apostles were not conspirators.

Argument 3:

1) Conspirators tend to crack when put under pressure and threat of harm

2) The apostles were eventually put to the most intense tests possible: they were tortured and killed for their testimonies

3) There is not a single record of any apostle cracking under pressure and renouncing their story and ‘ratting out’ the conspiracy

Result: The apostles were not conspirators.

Argument 4:

1) The false stories of conspirators are fiction and represent a form of lying

2) The nature of the message of the New Testament is totally incongruous with its being the product of liars and con men- it is nearly universally regarded (at least in the West) as the highest work of moral literature ever written, and clearly condemns the very thing that these men would have been doing themselves. Con men do not write great moral treatises that turn the world upside down and change peoples’ lives for the better.

Result: The apostles were not conspirators.

Argument 5:

1) If the New Testament is the work of conspirators, it represents their fictionalized version of history

2) People writing fictionalized history with a motive to deceive others will tend to write things that flatter themselves and make their position as strong and credible as possible

3) The Gospels contain many elements which are not favorable to the apostles themselves, and make their persuasive position weaker than it could theoretically have been. Examples of this include:

-Humiliating stories about how the apostles failed to understand the clear and obvious teachings of Jesus multiple times

-Instances of the apostles having weak or no faith, and even denying Jesus

– The fact that the first people to discover the empty tomb were women, even though the testimony of women was not regarded with credibility in the male-dominated culture of the ancient Middle East

Result: The apostles were not conspirators.

Argument 6:

1) Conspirators collude with one another to “get their stories straight”, and this results in a unified narrative of events free of messy apparent contradictions and seemingly inconsistent statements

2) The Gospels contain details which seem, on the surface, to be inconsistent with one another (they actually can be harmonized); this indicates that they are not the product of collusion but represent independent eyewitness testimonies

Result: The apostles were not conspirators.

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