We disagree on many things. I believe the Bible is true. You do not.
You are very blithe on this subject. “One doesn’t need to take it literally,” you say. “It could be taken as man’s search for meaning.” You do not seem to realize that it isn’t just my religion that is wrapped up in the Bible; it is my entire belief about God.
Where does a belief about God come from, if not from the Bible?
There is no other book that tells about God’s nature and character as Christians believe in Him. In much of the world, the Bible has formed humankind’s basic understanding of God, for Christian and non-Christian alike.
If you take the Bible away, I have no real reason to believe in God, except what I see in nature. Nature is pure and beautiful, but also cruel and cold. I would have absolutely no reason to believe God cared in any way about me, absolutely no reason to believe that a supreme being had any personal interest in humankind, if it wasn’t for the Bible.
You seem to think the Bible is about religion. For me, the Bible is a book that shows me God.
Rip the Bible away from me; you rip away God.
Do you see how high the stakes are for me? To you, it doesn’t matter. You don’t care about God. You put your highest trust in yourself.
I am hungry for God in a way that is trembling, physical. Not a religion. I want God, to worship, adore, be made complete in.
It’s not about God, but a search for meaning, you say?
I do not need a search for meaning. There is meaning in every act of love, in every flower, in every sunset, in every breath I gulp of this beautiful and mysterious life. Meaning in living. I don’t need to search for it.
I do need God. The Person of God, not a vague idea of Him.
You and I start from such very different bases. You place your own reason and moral judgment at the top. I place God there. You trust scientists and their hypotheses. I trust the Bible.
I believe you are wrong in where you choose to put your trust. The Bible is not just backed up by faith.
It is not.
Research, if you don’t believe me–and don’t just research the variable and confusing hypotheses of Biblical scholars. They begin their study assuming the Bible to be a book of myths, and of course everything they hypothesize backs that up. Look at what Christians are saying, real Christians who actually believe the truth of the Bible. They are not stupid people, and they do not have weak arguments.
The Bible is not just a religious book. It is history. Its content has been confirmed to an amazing degree in these areas*:
- Textual accuracy
- Literary cross reference
Archeology and History: No established archeological finding has ever proved any verse in the Bible wrong, and archeological findings have confirmed its historical accuracy thousands of times. Hittites were thought to be an imaginary people, until someone dug them up. Sargon the ancient king was mentioned no place in history but a single verse in Isaiah. He was thought to be imaginary until someone dug him up. Luke was thought to be full of inaccuracies until archaeologist William Ramsay started digging up Asia Minor and every detail of Luke proved true. He did not start out a Bible believer, but he ended that way.
Science: The Bible talks about the water cycle, the paths of the seas, the circle of the earth, the earth’s position in space: “He hangeth the earth upon nothing.” This was in the years when ancient cultures believed the earth to rest on the back of a giant turtle or something similar.
God gave the children of Israel very specific laws of sanitation and diet and said if they followed them, they would have “none of these diseases” of other nations. They didn’t know about germs back then. Following God’s guidelines protected them.
Prophecy: The Bible stands alone in this. I read recently that there are approximately 2500 prophecies in the Bible and so far 2000 have been fulfilled with one hundred percent accuracy. Those remaining deal with the end times.
There are many prophecies in the Old Testament of Jesus, giving the place of his birth, the place of his growing up years, the command Herod issued to kill all the baby boys, the lots the soldiers cast for his clothing when he hung on the cross, the manner of his death, where he was buried, the fact that a soldier would pierce his side. These are all things he had absolutely no control of.
Textual accuracy: “Parts of the New Testament have been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work, having over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages.” (from Wikipedia) The ancient book that takes second place for manuscripts is The Iliad, with 643. Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars claims 10 manuscripts, Plato 7, Aristotle 49–and the list goes on. Most ancient books, though considered reliable, have relatively few discovered manuscripts.
The earliest complete manuscript of the New Testament we have is dated to 300 years after the apostles. The earliest manuscript of Josephus, a respected historian, is dated to1300 hundred years after his death, and Gallic Wars to 900 years after Caesar’s death. No ancient book remotely compares to the New Testament.
We also have the writings of the early church fathers, who quoted whole passages of the New Testament. The entire New Testament but 11 verses could be constructed from just their writings.
The newly discovered “gospels” we hear so much hype about are in no way as documented or as reliable as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John or the other New Testament books. All the New Testament books were written by AD 70, within twenty to forty years of Christ’s death. That is during the same generation of those who knew Christ.
Literary cross reference: The Bible was written over a period of 1500 years by many different authors, and it is cohesive, one continuing story from beginning to end. Some books comment and build on other books. So when you study the Bible, you are not reading one book or two books. You are reading 66 books that span centuries.
There is so much more I could write. You say you go by reason and evidence, but it seems to me you are influenced far more by numbers than by evidence. You trust the intellectuals–and their opinions are constantly fluctuating. You trust the people who have the most supporters. Don’t. Use your own mind and look at the evidence. Look at both Christian and non-Christian points of view, and see whose conclusions are more backed by evidence. Real, common-sense evidence, not hypotheses or pipe dreams.
I honestly believe that a God such as I believe in has a Word such as I believe in. Here’s what He said, “I have magnified my word above my name.” Jesus said, “One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” Peter said, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, but are eyewitnesses of these things.” Luke talked about “many infallible proofs.” The apostles did not make up Jesus’ resurrection or work on earth. They preached it during a time when it was hotly contended and any inaccuracy or lie would have been pounced on by their opponents. In the end, they died for it.
If there is a God like I believe in, the record He left of Himself is in the Bible. If the Bible is not true, God is not true. But if there is a God such as the Bible speaks of, the record of the Bible will speak for Him. And I honestly from my heart believe it does, in every way: historical accuracy, textual accuracy, spiritual truths that actually work.
And don’t think I’m saying all this in defense of Christianity. I’m not. I don’t care about a religion! I believe the Bible because it taught me about God, and I want God.
More than anything else in the world.
*The facts and statistics given in this article were taken from the following books, DVDs, and video clips:
1. Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.
2. Scripture Under Scrutiny and Why 66? The Canon of Scripture featuring Brian Edwards.
3. “Fulfilled Prophecy: Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible” by Dr. Hugh Ross.
4. “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict” featuring Josh McDowell.