The manuscript fidelity of the New Testament according to F.F. Bruce
Many atheists suggest that the Gospels can’t be trusted. A key reason for this is the unreliable textual transmission process. For example Richard Dawkins claims that the Gospels, once written, were ‘recopied through fallible scribes’. Sam Harris suggests the texts have not retained their integrity over time. Christopher Hitchens suggested the New Testament shows, ‘unmistakable signs of having been tampered with’.
Yet this is misleading.
Renowned New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce applied the same criteria for assessing the reliability of other ancient documents to the New Testament. He highlights the overwhelming numbers of extant manuscripts and their closeness, relative to other ancient historical documents, to the time of the events they purport, as a powerful argument for the manuscript fidelity of the New Testament. Bruce notes, ‘[t]here is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament. He concludes, ‘if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.’
 Dawkins, The God Delusion, 93.
 Harris, The End of Faith, 20; The Moral Landscape, n82, 252.
 Hitchens, God is not Great, 110.
 F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, (5th Ed.; London: IVF, 1960), 5.
 Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, 14-16.
 F.F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments: Some Chapters on the Transmission of the Bible, (2nd Ed.; London: Pickering & Inglis, 1953), 170.