What do you call Christ being incarnated, dying on the cross then being raised from the dead, for which many early Christians have been ready to die for their faith in God? Is this not evidence at all? I mentioned fulfilled Old Testament Prophesies but do you have an opinion on these?
“I call it a story – and stories are not evidence.”
I think that is being a bit unfair:
1.) You are probably judging this first century document by 21st century standards. One would need to make sure that equal criteria is used when comparing all early manuscripts from the same period.
2.) You could not possibly expect an opportunity to examine this evidence in person when all the witnesses are dead. We therefore must treat these as Historical Evidence and not subject to tests that cannot possibly be answered.
3.) If we are ignoring all archaeological and Textual Criticism (similar to forensics in textual studying) which again points to the accuracy of the Bible, then we miss a great opportunity to understand the quality of the text.
4.) As CS Lewis puts it (and he should know for he was an expert in ancient texts) the Bible reads completely differently from old world legends.
5.) Early Church history (1st and early 2nd century) is full of texts that are found around the Roman Kingdom that confirm New Testament accounts. There are even those that are in direct opposition to the Christian faith (between 15 and 20 in total) that point out that Jesus was a historic character and explains what first Century Christians believed.
These do not make unreasonable demands on us to believe any old rubbish. One does not have to be a forensic detective (as most of the work has already been done) to have all the necessary information before he/she could make his/her mind up. I know that we are predisposed to distrust some of these sayings as we watch some appalling Christian TV, but you have to remember that whenever there is a fake, there also must be an original. I do grant you that on some of the stories by today’s standards they may feel like fairytales and you may think that the Bible is full of such stories.
However, we must remember that the Bible is a compilation (a library of religious documents for those who are non Christians, if you like) of material that captures God’s work but in cosmic time and history these are still rare events. They find their way into the Bible precisely because they are rare and are seen as good examples that we need in order to understand what the message is that God wants us to understand. For example “parting of the red sea” shows that God loves his people. Other Biblical Healings again show God’s compassion and love for us and his desire that we should be restored to him.
Thanks for being honest and I do appreciate that this belief in miracles can be a problem but if you study the resurrection of Christ, even here on this blog, I hope you will be able to understand the Christian point of view.
This work is compiled by me on Resurection of Jesus
Video by Anglican Bishop who is also a professor of Theology on Resurrection of Jesus
Is supernatural real by JP Moreland
Prophecies about Jesus from Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament
The Search For The Historical Jesus – J.P Moreland
A Summary Critique: Questioning the Existence of Jesus By Gary R. Habermas
Does Archaeology Support the Bible? By CLIFFORD WILSON
Philosophical Objections to Miracles By Norman Geisler and F Turek
Whilst I can’t guarantee that any of this will change your mind, I hope that some of this will help you to understand the logic and reasoning behind what Christians think in justifying their faith in the Bible and in Christ.
Defend the Word