William Lane Craig Ministries:
Gary, I think you’re misunderstanding what Jesus was saying. Notice, for example, that he expressly appealed to evidence in order to substantiate his claims (John 5:39, John 10:38, John 13:19). Additionally it was his lead disciple that commanded Christians to be ready to provide reasons for their faith (2 Peter 3:15).I’m really not sure where you are going with this. Whatever you might think about faith is somewhat irrelevant. We don’t need to trust in Jesus without evidence…there is plenty of evidence. So even if some people do believe for spurious reasons…no one is asking you to believe for spurious reasons.
What exactly is the complaint?
As far as the reliability of the Bible, it is not widely disputed among the scholarship. If you want to learn more about this topic then I recommend The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible by Holden and Geisler. You can say that you don’t believe what they have written, but that they wrote it is not much in dispute. Even so…I wouldn’t appeal to scholars to tell you to believe in the reliability of the Bible (hence my recommendation that you read the book I recommended). Given the number, diversity, and dating of the manuscripts as well as the extensive quotations of it by the early church fathers and early manuscripts in other languages we can be very confident that what we have in our hands is what the original authors wrote.
“We walk by faith, not by sight.”
Walking not by sight, means walking blindly. Jesus and his disciples called for blind obedience, not belief based on a careful analysis of the evidence. But we will have to agree to disagree.
I have read MANY books on the subject of the authorship of the Gospels. I can give you a long list of quotes from prominent scholars who all state that the majority of scholars doubt the traditional authorship of the Gospels . But since this assertion is paramount to evangelical Christian apologetics, evangelicals will never acknowledge this fact no matter how much evidence is presented. So let’s move on. Let’s assume for a moment that most scholars do believe that associates of Jesus or associates of one of his disciples wrote the Gospels. Would that make a difference in the believability of the resurrection of Jesus claim? No, and here is why:
If another religion claimed that five hundred people living in the first century saw a cow fly through the air would you believe them? I doubt it. What if this other religion has four books, from four different authors alleging to be eyewitnesses, describing this alleged flying cow event? Would you believe it then? I doubt it. Why? Answer: Because it is a silly, preposterous story most likely based on religious hysteria, legend, and rumor.
Let’s get back to my original assertion: The trustworthiness of evangelical scholarship, and let’s add into that the trustworthiness of evangelical Christian apologetics. When you get down to the nitty gritty, historical and objective evidence is not the primary basis for belief among evangelicals. I know because I am a former evangelical. The assurance of salvation among evangelicals is not found in a book of apologetics. The assurance of salvation is found in “the testimony of the Holy Spirit”: the perception of the presence of Jesus/God/the Holy Spirit in one’s “heart”. Dr. Craig clearly laid out this position in his book, “the Son Rises”. To paraphrase, Dr. Craig said, “The simplest Christian can know that the resurrection of Jesus is an historical reality by the testimony of the Holy Spirit in his heart. Even if there were no historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, a true Christian can know it really occurred by the testimony of the Holy Spirit.”
No matter how much evidence I present to the contrary, you nor most other evangelicals will ever doubt the historicity of Christianity’s supernatural claims as long as you believe that the spirit (ghost) of Jesus has taken up residence somewhere in your body. Here is the key question, Matt: What evidence do you have that a spirit lives inside your body, giving you life direction and secret wisdom?
End of post.