Note to anyone travelling overseas: say you're an American playwright, and nobody bats an eyelash. Say you're an American *satirist*, and you're a rock star for the evening.
(Just don't mention that you're a *right-wing* American satirist. That tends to clear the party out rather quickly.)
One of the books I brought with me was Stephen Mitchell's "The Gospel According to Jesus", one of those projects akin to the Jefferson Bible that attempts to take the Synoptic Gospels and form a single coherent text out of them, excising passages that are contradictory, historically unsupportable, or that the editor didn't like. This seems like a perfectly acceptable process to me, since I suspect that this is how the Gospels were largely compiled in the first place.
Those who argue for the historical validity of the Gospels frequently say that they *couldn't* have been fabricated, because there were still some people who were alive during the ministry of Jesus when they were composed. I actually found this a reasonably compelling argument -- five years ago. I have since lived through two terms of the Bush administration, where they will say one thing, a year will pass, and they will then assert the complete opposite -- and everyone will nod their heads and say "Yes, that's correct."
We'll eat up any bullshit with a spoon if it's said to us confidently by someone in a position of authority. That's true of politics *or* religion.