It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we as a culture celebrate mythical egg-laying rabbits and are bombarded on with ‘earthshaking special reports and documentaries’ that proclaim the latest (or rehash old) ‘discovery’ that supposedly disproves the resurrection of Christ.
There are a LOT of resources (some linked to at the bottom of the page) that explain and refute the popular theories about the resurrection, but I don’t have a lot of time to write this week, so I’ll just give a brief summary of what Gary Habermas calls the ‘Minimal Facts’ approach to showing that the most probable and reasonable explanation for the resurrection story based on the evidence is that it actually happened.
The argument is that the historical, eyewitness evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is even better and more contemporary than the accepted historical accounts of other events of the time – and can be demonstrated using ONLY those minimal facts that are generally accepted by the great majority of even the most skeptical scholars of ancient history. Continue reading
The single most prevalent objection to Christianity I hear from atheists as well as those from the pagan ‘roll your own religion’ community is the objection based on the presence of evil. It is usually stated like this:
“ If there is an all-powerful, all-knowing and good God, then he would not only be able but willing to prevent evil. But there is evil, therefore God doesn’t exist.”
The dictionary definitions of evil can be summarized by this: “Evil is anything that is morally wrong, or is a cause or source of suffering or destruction.”
In other words, evil is the absence of good, and the degree to which something is evil is directly related to the degree to which it reduces that which is good. For example, calling someone ugly is usually considered mildly bad (or evil), but torturing a child to death just for ‘the fun of it’ is the epitome of evil – or at least close to it. Continue reading
Recently at a Bible study, one of the guys there made some (for me) very frustrating and adamant statements. They weren’t really arguments, as he offered nothing to support his statements; he just repeated them, sometimes in a slightly different way. Here are the two that bothered me the most, especially coming from one who professes to be a Christian: Continue reading
One of the most difficult core beliefs of the Christian faith is the doctrine of the Trinity. Not only do skeptics and adherents to major religions misunderstand it, but many followers of Christ do as well!
The objections to trinitarianism, in simplest terms, come in one of two forms:
1. The doctrine of the Trinity is false because nowhere in the Bible is the term ‘trinity’ used. It is nothing more than something made up at the Council of Niceae to solidify Church power and serve the political ends of Constantine.
2. Belief in the Trinity is nothing more than polytheism, and is clearly condemned in the Bible (or Koran, if the objector is Islamic).
I will grant that the doctrine of the Trinity is difficult to understand; the concept that there is only one God, and that the one God is made up of three distinct Persons who are also wholly one being appears at first glance to be self-contradictory. Continue reading
In part 1, I started a point-by-point rebuttal of Kurt Eichenwald’s Newsweek article entitled The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin. I dealt with his misunderstanding of both the transmission and translation of the Biblical text, and I’ll start out part 2 with his rather lengthy assertion that many of the core doctrines of the faith are not found in the Bible.
Eichenwald starts out this section of his article by stating that both the deity of the Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity are not found in the Bible. He does so by postulating that the passages identifying Jesus as God are all mistranslated, and that since there is no verse explicitly stating, “God is a Triune God” or “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all the same” that therefore the Trinity is non-Biblical.
Eichenwald once again makes another basic common to the majority of skeptics pontificating in the popular press. He ignores both context and reason. Continue reading
It seems that at least once a year, the editors of Newsweek feel compelled to publish yet another arrogant, condescending, misinformed, and poorly researched article proclaiming to the world that those idiotic Christians are all wrong.
Last year was no exception. The latest, written by Kurt Eichenwald, was published on Dec. 23rd and is a prime example of the kind of anti-Christian arguments found spewed throughout the popular press and across the internet. You can read it here. I’m not nearly as upset over the arguments as I am about the attitude with which they are presented. Mr. Eichenwald presents his “The Bible : So Misunderstood it’s a Sin” article with the apparent expertise of a high school student who has just watched a Hogan’s Heroes marathon and on the basis of what he has learned from the series can confidently lecture any and all about how the history texts are all wrong about WWII.
In this post, I’ll start a point by point analysis of his screed, and show how sloppy both the research and the thinking of the modern pop-culture pundits really are. Continue reading
Now that what is for most families the whirlwind Christmas season has wound down, I thought it would be appropriate to step back a bit and take a look at how we as Christians can be assured of the authenticity of the virgin conception of the Christ.
I will point out right away that other than the resurrection of the Christ, the virgin conception is the most attacked fact presented in the Gospels, precisely because it is one of the hardest to defend if you do not take a thorough, open-minded examination of the evidence to support it. I’ll summarise much of that here.
(Sorry for the long time it took to post this article; I had some family medical AND computer problems this last week)
Previously, I outlined how the most reasonable conclusion about the dating of the Gospels was that they were written within 20 – 60 years after the events chronicled, and possibly even earlier.
In this post, I will tell you why I’ve concluded that the Gospels are not only historically accurate, but show evidence that they were written either by eyewitnesses, or are accurate documentation of events gathered from eyewitnesses.
First, a brief discussion of what seems to be one of most New Testament apologist’s favorite subject – archaeology.
There are many books and websites defending the Bible that adamantly proclaim that “Archaeology has proven the Bible to be 100% historically accurate” and an equal number from the opposing side declaring “there is NOTHING in archaeology that confirms the Bible, so we can discount all of it”.
Both sides are guilty of gross exaggeration. The truth of the matter is that archaeology, which is concerned with historical documents only as one of many kinds of artifacts which may be useful for dating other artifacts found with them can provide confirmation that people, places, or customs existed as depicted in the Bible, but historical confirmation can really only come from textual documentation. Therefore, archaeology can provide incidental support, but cannot be used to disprove or confirm the historical record except for the discovery of documents or text carvings that can do so. Continue reading
When looking at the historical reliability of the Bible, I’ll first concentrate on the Gospels since the accounts of the life of Jesus are the linchpin of the Christian faith. Falsify that, and everything else falls apart as well. Confirm the historicity of the gospels, and you cannot avoid the truth claims of the faith.
There are many attacks against the historicity of the gospels. The most popular today include the assertions that the gospels are a bunch of stories made up to deify a man who may or may not have actually lived in order to advance some nefarious agenda, that the gospels were written in order to solidify the political power of Constantine, or that the gospels are nothing more than a retelling of other savior myths. There are many others, but the vast majority of them depend upon an easily disprovable premise: that the gospels originate hundreds of years after the time that Jesus lived.
If it can be shown that it is reasonable to conclude that the gospel narratives originate early enough that they could have been easily disproven by eyewitnesses to the events, then these ‘late date’ based arguments are falsified, and the gospels must be taken as at least as accurate as other contemporary histories.