I think there are 2 kinds of people. For brevity I will call them Bible thumpers and Christians.
Bible thumpers grab every word and phrase of the Bible and use them where they need them in an effort to support THEIR personal beliefs.
Christians are those who follow the teachings of Christ. Those are NEW Testament books.
Most Bible thumpers live by the Old Testament.
Some of the best Christians I know are homosexuals. They attend church. Some are even ministers.
Exactly which teachings of the New Testament? Jesus was a jew that kept the law. By your definition, Jesus was a "Bible Thumper". Ignoring several problems here with your statement that are part of the origin and reliability issues, what teachings
? Consider the following concerning salvation:
Paul taught the following:
Ephesians 2: 8 - 9
"for by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God - not the result of works, so that no one may boast."
While Jesus said this:
"Thus you will know them by their fruits. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.' "?
". . . a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law" ? Gal 2:16
"For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law." Rom 3:28]
Jesus is reported as saying:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
"You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire. " Matt 5:17-22
" The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of Yahweh is preached, and every man presseth (forces his way) into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." Luke 16:16-17
"One day an expert on Moses' laws came to test Jesus' orthodoxy by asking him this question: "Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?" Jesus replied, "What does Moses' law say about it?" "It says," he replied, " that you must love the lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself. " "Right!", Jesus told him. "Do this and you shall live!"" Luke 10:25-37
While Paul clearly taught that we are saved by being passive beneficiaries of what Christ did, JESUS clearly taught that our salvation hinges on what we do (our "works"), along with what God does ( God's "grace")
"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matt 4:17-19
" "Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's foes will be members of one's own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Matt 10:32-36
Again, which should we obey and which should me ignore? I could go on with numerous other passages. If the New Testament does not present a unified message in how one is saved, which is the whole point of being a christian, why should we believe anything it says?
Consider the internal discrepancy concerning the resurrection:What time did the women visit the tomb?
Matthew: "as it began to dawn" (28:1)
Mark: "very early in the morning . . . at the rising of the sun" (16:2, KJV); "when the sun had risen" (NRSV); "just after sunrise" (NIV)
Luke: "very early in the morning" (24:1, KJV) "at early dawn" (NRSV)Who were the women?
Matthew: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (28:1)
Mark: Mary Magdalene, the mother of James, and Salome (16:1)
Luke: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women (24:10)
John: Mary Magdalene (20:1)Was the tomb open when they arrived?
Matthew: No (28:2)
Mark: Yes (16:4)
Luke: Yes (24:2)
John: Yes (20:1)Where were these messengers situated?
Matthew: Angel sitting on the stone (28:2)
Mark: Young man sitting inside, on the right (16:5)
Luke: Two men standing inside (24:4)
John: Two angels sitting on each end of the bed (20:12) What did the messenger(s) say?
Matthew: "Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead: and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you." (28:5-7)
Mark: "Be not afrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you." (16:6-7)
Luke: "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen:
remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." (24:5-7)
John: "Woman, why weepest thou?" (20:13)Where did the ascension take place?
Matthew: No ascension. Book ends on mountain in Galilee
Mark: In or near Jerusalem, after supper (16:1912)
Luke: In Bethany, very close to Jerusalem, after supper (24:50-51)
John: No ascension
Paul: No ascension
Acts: Ascended from Mount of Olives (1:9-12)
These are just two small examples of key doctrines that christianity teaches from the NEW TESTAMENT. There are hundreds of additional examples of such discrepancy. If the bible is the inerrant "word" why didn't God take more care to make sure and present a consistent message?
In the final analysis, the best thing we can do is set all of this aside and trust our own abilities to reason.