26.3.08

bible skeptics

During a work celebration today the DaVinci Code was mentioned among the many topics of conversation. This was by far the most interesting of discussions as it reappeared throughout our gathering. As I sat and listened to each co-worker giving their 2cents worth, I was surprised by how predictable the discussion was. I almost wanted to finish their sentences like an impatient partner. The reasoning was as follows:

The Bible
    - was written down generations after the events
    - was changed over time to suit the church
    - had left out gospels that contradicted others
    - doesn't even agree with itself
Conclusion: the Bible can't be trusted and therefore it doesn't matter what it says.
How to respond? Every Christian knows how to respond because there are plenty of books, blogs, articles, and sermons that step through each of these objections, either refuting them or providing a better explanation. The average may not be able to articulate the truth easily, but the common understanding among Christians is that these skeptical views of the Bible are ridiculous. But if skepticism towards the Bible's reliability is so obviously wrong, why do the majority of people remain skeptical?

I chose to respond with the common ground of secular historians, pointing out how they poke fun at the DaVinci Code and consider the Bible very reliable even though they disagree with its message. The conversation continued back and forth with little progress. Towards the end I said:
Everyone needs to decide
    - who are the most trustworthy sources?
    - what do they claim about Jesus?
    - what is my response to these claims?
The conversation dwindled as another started so I'm assuming everyone will be unchanged in their skepticism.

So why don't I spend the rest of this blog refuting the objections?
    Simple, the answers are already out there.
If there are answers why are people still skeptical?
    Because of their bias towards a world-view
But aren't Christians the ones with a bias?
    Yes... but the Christian world-view claims everyone has a bias. As Jesus said "whoever is not with me is against me". To consider Jesus' claims seriously (including the one above) you must be willing to be skeptical about your own skepticism.

What does this have to do with commuting? Bible skeptics continually appear on my travels therefore I must deeply reflect on this topic more often.

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3 comments:

author@ptgbook.org said...

Generally, I find it is better not to try to refute Bible skeptics, tho there are some exceptions. Most who are skeptical about the Bible are that way because of attitude and choice. They may ask questions, but they are not sincerely looking for answers - just arguments. You can't convince those people.

But in a group discussion, that can be tricky because you might have 3 or 4 people who have a scornful attitude towards the Bible, but there may be one person in the group who is listening quietly and is sincerely looking for truth. So for the sake of the one who may have an open mind, I would answer objections to the Bible made by the critics.

jpj said...

Good thoughts ptg. Thanks.

Healyhatman said...

I've read large tracts of the bible, and especially with regards to the old testament I'm EXTREMELY sceptical. Especially about things like Garden of Eden (punished for doing wrong before they had knowledge of right and wrong) and Noah's Flood (which is a pretty ridiculous story in and of itself...). There's a lot of crazy shit that goes down in the bible, some of it outright insane.