Saturday, August 13, 2011

Making the case for the Bible.

I have often found myself debating with atheists and skeptics alike on the validity and truth of the Bible, as well as the Christian faith in general.

Most of the time people who argue against Christianity do so out of denial, disgust for organized religion in a historical context, and dislike of the modern day "American Christian". You may very well be one of these people. I am here to say I understand you. It is a shame what reputation modern evangelical Christians have given themselves in America. Sex scandals, hypocritical behavior, political priorities, and an overabundance of cult-like denominations all accumulate, brick by brick, in the wall going up between the saved and the lost.

I am here to make a few points. First of all, true Christianity is not an organized religion. In fact, I hate the word. Christianity, in its purest form, is a personal relationship between Jesus Christ and the believer. It is what separates the "religion" shall we say, from all other religions. It is all dependent on one thing and one thing only: Belief in Jesus, and a 100% desire to follow him! Many try to make the point that Christianity and the other main religion of the world, Islam, are essentially the same. This couldn't be further from the truth. If you want to get to the root of that debate, compare Jesus and Mohammad according to historical fact and their beliefs and writings. If you truly do this with an unbiased, open mind, you will find that Jesus was unlike any other spiritual figure in the history of the world, including Mohammad.

Central to the argument for Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus. If this event never happened, the whole belief system falls apart. From a historical perspective, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after his execution by the Romans two thousand years ago is as established as any other event in history. Why is it you have no trouble whatsoever believing any given fact about Nero, Alexander the Great, or Napoleon but when it comes to Jesus, all of a sudden historical FACT is a fairytale?

Let's get to the Resurrection. I will start by introducing you to a man named Simon Greenleaf. Greenleaf was a professor of law at Harvard University during the late 17 and early 1800s. He was also a skeptic who doubted the validity of the Bible. Greenleaf sought to disprove the Resurrection of Jesus but came to the opposite conclusion instead. You can read his entire conclusion here. One of his arguments involves the twelve disciples of Jesus. Put in layman's terms it goes something like this...

Why, if Christ had never risen from the dead or never exhibited traits of being the son of God, did his disciples continue years after his death to preach the gospel to the point of death?

I still have yet to hear a solid argument. Peter was crucified upside down in the year 64 AD. Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross, by his own choice. James was executed by the sword in the year 44. Bartholomew was skinned alive and beheaded. Thomas was speared to death. Paul was beheaded around 67. More important than the deaths themselves is the fact that the disciples continued after the death of Jesus to preach, as far east as India and as far west as modern day Spain. More so, the fervent followers of Jesus within the Roman empire and beyond continued to worship him and die for him in the decades after his death. Why?

To put these historical events into context...

The death of Jesus and subsequent persecution of Christians from approx 1 to 60 AD is the same as if John F. Kennedy rose from the dead in 1963 after being shot, galvanizing a religious following into the late 60s all the way until today. We all know of course that this is preposterous. Why then did people worship Jesus to the point of horrible death and martyrdom if Jesus was just another man and didn't raise from the dead? 

According to the Gospels, Jesus was seen alive after his death by approximately 500 people, including the disciples. Most atheists and agnostics will immediately dismiss historical documentation simply because it is included in a religious text. This is both narrow minded and stupid. What about secular Roman historian Flavius Josephus who also wrote..."When Pilate, upon the accusation of the first men amongst us, condemned [Jesus] to be crucified, those who had formerly loved him did not cease [to follow him], for he appeared to them on the third day, living again, as the divine prophets foretold, along with a myriad of other marvellous things concerning him." 

Often, the denial of the truth written in the Bible is ignorance of historical fact and a refusal to accept it, simply because what is written, what has survived for thousands of years and flourished despite numerous attempts to destroy it, is a "religious" document.

If you choose to believe what is written in the Bible, specifically the Gospels, is not true, then you choose to accept that the Bible is the greatest hoax in the history of mankind. You choose to believe that 40 different authors spanning a period of roughly 1400 years all were in on the same hoax, and all had the same message, with no apparent motive. You also choose to believe that these same people willingly died horribly for this hoax. You believe the prophecies of Micah, Daniel, and Zechariah which were fulfilled is recorded history hundreds of years later were simply false. I say, you have an imagination I thought never existed.

And now I get to the original intent of my post. This video of Ravi Zacharias is what I originally wanted to share. Whether you are a Christian, an Atheist, a Muslim, or just someone in search of truth, I urge you to watch.


Kincsem said...

FANTASTIC. So many are afraid to even approach the subject anymore. I had never even thought about the argument of the disciples. Great post. Ravi is awesome, I feel like he could rip anyone's logicless argument apart.

Anonymous said...

A great post. There really is no figure in all of human history like Jesus. He held no political title or office. He had no great wealth. He was involved in no acts of conquest. Yet, billions of people, in every nation, structure there entire lives around his teachings.

Hack said...

Thank you!

Pumice said...

I don't often watch videos to the end but this one really grabbed me. Good post, strong finish.

Grace and peace.

Michael said...

I actually found this post quite interesting .Very enjoyable and educational read.Ty.Oh I like Ron Paul btw