Yesterday, I wrote this letter to approximately 15 conservative/orthodox Christian apologists and pastors telling the story of my very recent loss of faith, and asking them for evidence to restore my belief that the Bible is truly the Word of God, the Creator, and not just a collection of fables. Below is one response:
Thank you very much for your email to johnlennox.org and for sharing a bit about your personal journey. …I would be happy to make some comments, for what they are worth, although I’m afraid your message was cut off, so I only have a little bit of what you were starting to say. Do you have a record of the rest of it?
I suppose the one obvious question from your email is how you evaluate the historical evidence for Jesus. Do you see that as more attested or do you write it off because of it being linked to the Old Testament? The reason I ask is of course that we inevitably have more documentation about that period – and of course there are the kinds of scientific/philosophical arguments for a (unspecified) creator, as well as the issue of personal experience. By the same token, do you think people’s experience of faith today is simply a delusion based off what you consider to be the invention of superstitious, ignorant middle-eastern nomads?
If you are interested in reading up more on a Christian perspective of the archaeology, then I would recommend K. A. Kitchen who has done quite a bit of work on this. You can read some of his material here. History is my subject – though definitely not ancient history – so I am less enamoured with archaeology as it is so fragmentary and, to me, less precise (and of course it’s particularly tricky in places where civilizations have continually lived for thousands of years).
So those are just a couple of initial comments, based off a fragmentary(!) email, but do come back to me as I would be happy to try and help respond to the points you are making. I certainly don’t pretend to know all of the answers, but it’s always good to discuss these things – and I do know a few people who are experts on different parts of the Bible, so I can usually find someone who can do a better job than me in answering things.
Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you in due course,