Category Archives: Apologetics

The Bible: Just A Bunch of Fairy Tales?

Quick question.

What do Jack & the Beanstalk, Goldilocks & the Three Bears, Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel, Snow White & the Seven Dwarves, Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella, Peter Pan…and the Bible…have in common?

Apparently, a whole lot…at least according to many skeptics.

Placing the Bible in the same literary category as fairy tales has become a common way for some people to dismiss its credibility. And, to be fair, not everyone that does this has some nefarious intention. There are many who simply find it hard to believe that some of the more miraculous events in the Bible actually took place.

Of course, with God in the picture, anything can happen. But I assume that not everyone reading this shares my faith in the God of the Bible, so I’d like to come at this from a different angle.

Here’s one of the main problems with labeling the Bible as a book of fairy tales; it was around well before the term “fairy tale” was coined. The fairy tale label was introduced by a French writer named Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy…in the 17th century. In contrast, some of the earliest Bible manuscripts date back to the early 1st century.

Which brings up another interesting point: the Bible is, hands down, the most well preserved piece of ancient literature out there. The New Testament by itself has more documented manuscripts than any other ancient work. You don’t have to dig very far for information like this either; here’s a direct quote from Wikipedia:

“The New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work, having over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian.”

I obviously don’t consider Wikipedia as an authorative source. By all means, dig deeper…just be prepared to encounter a plethora of thoroughly documented historical  data, from both Christian and secular scholars.

In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find any serious scholars that would question the history that is present both in and outside of the Bible. There are plenty of people in the Bible that are documented in numerous extra-biblical sources, as well as countless archaeological finds that point to it’s historical accuracy. Again, don’t just take my word for it…do a little “digging” yourself. You’d be surprised what even a simple Google search will pull up on this subject.

But, beyond all of the information you will find, I believe the most compelling evidence lies in the millions of people, myself included, who profess faith in Jesus Christ. Granted, there are many of us who don’t always live consistently by His example…in fact, there are frankly a lot of phonies.

You have to admit, though…it wouldn’t make much sense for this many people to live their lives according to the teachings of a book that was simply fantasy. Factor in the countless lives that have been completely transformed through God’s word…

…and I’d say you have more than just a “book of fairy tales”.

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The Bible and Science: Friends or Enemies?

  • God creates the entire universe in six days (Genesis 1).
  • A worldwide flood destroys nearly all of human civilization (Genesis 7).
  • God parts the Red Sea using wind (Exodus 14:21).
  • A donkey talks to the prophet Balaam (Numbers 22:30).
  • The prophet Elijah outruns a chariot (1 Kings 18:46).
  • Jonah survives being in the belly of a whale for 3 days (Jonah 1:17).
  • The Hebrew boys survive being literally thrown into an oven (Daniel 3:23).
  • Jesus walks on water (Matthew 14:25).
  • Jesus rises from the dead (Luke 24).

 

If you’re a skeptic, these miraculous events would seem to support the notion that the Bible is just a book filled with the figments of people’s imaginations. In particular, those with a naturalistic worldview – who reject anything supernatural – are quick to try and explain away these phenomena as scientifically impossible and logically irrational.

And they would actually have a point…

…if God didn’t exist.

The primary definition of a miracle, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. Noted author Natasha Crain points out an obvious conclusion that we can draw from this definition: if God exists, then miracles are possible.

So, while such events recorded in the Bible may defy the boundaries of our scientific understanding, they don’t disprove God’s existence…they actually validate it. John Lennox, an Oxford mathematician and Christian apologist, puts it this way:

“God is not a prisoner of the laws of nature…God, who set the regularities there, can Himself feed a new event into the system from the outside. Science cannot stop Him from doing that. Unless you have evidence that the system is totally closed, you cannot argue against the possibility of miracles.”

Excerpt From: Crain, Natasha. “Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side.” Harvest House Publishers. iBooks.

Now…please don’t get it twisted…just because God makes miracles possible does not mean that we should believe every miracle claim we hear (you can watch some portions of “Christian” television and learn that rather quickly). But it would be equally reckless to conclude that the Bible and science are at odds with each other just because God isn’t limited by our scientific boundaries.

In reality, aside from the miraculous, the Bible also presents an abundance of practical scientific information as well. Here are just a few from livingwaters.com:

  • Only in recent years has science discovered that everything we see is composed of invisible atoms. Here, Scripture tells us that the “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).
  • Medical science has only recently discovered that blood-clotting in a newborn reaches its peak on the eighth day, then drops. The Bible consistently says that a baby must be circumcised on the eighth day.
  • At a time when it was believed that the earth sat on a large animal or a giant (1500 B.C.), the Bible spoke of the earth’s free float in space: “He…hangs the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7).
  • The prophet Isaiah also tells us that the earth is round: “It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22)
  • Job 38:19 asks, “Where is the way where light dwells?” Modern man has only recently discovered that light (electromagnetic radiation) has a “way,” traveling at 186,000 miles per second.
  • Science has discovered that stars emit radio waves, which are received on earth as a high pitch. God mentioned this in Job 38:7: “When the morning stars sang together…”
  • God told Job in 1500 B.C.: “Can you send lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, Here we are?” (Job 38:35). The Bible here is making what appears to be a scientifically ludicrous statement—that light can be sent, and then manifest itself in speech. But did you know that radio waves travel at the speed of light? This is why you can have instantaneous wireless communication with someone on the other side of the earth. Science didn’t discover this until 1864, when British scientist James Clerk Maxwell suggested that electricity and light waves were two forms of the same thing.

 

There is plenty more that can (and will) be said, but the main point is this: the Bible and science are actually pretty good friends…maybe even BFFs.

No need to ruin a good friendship, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing With the Bible…

The Bible is just a book of myths and fairy tales.

The Bible is full of errors and contradictions.

The Bible was not inspired by God, but written by corrupt men in order to manipulate people.

The Bible is not compatible with science.

The Bible supports racism, slavery, and rape.

The list goes on…and on…and on…and on.

These accusations aren’t exactly anything new. The Bible has been under attack for centuries on end, and it is by far the most scrutinized work of literature in all of history.

And yet it still stands.

But I’m not writing this as a clap-back to skeptics of the Bible…my heart actually goes out to them. While there are obviously those who are deadset on destroying the Bible’s credibility, there are others who actually have sincere, legitimate questions and concerns that need to be addressed.

In reality, I feel the need to write this specifically for my fellow believers.

Why? Because it seems to me that when shots are taken at the Bible, far too many of us are either baited into “mousetrap” arguments, or we feel ill-equipped to give any kind of response at all.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You don’t have to be a seminary student or seasoned theologian to give thoughtful, logical answers to a Bible skeptic. Nor do you have to lose your cool when some of them are simply looking to pick a fight.img_0433

God’s Word has stood and will continue to stand…whether we choose to defend it or not. But I don’t believe that any true lover of God and His Word is willing to just sit on the sidelines while the Bible is continuously mocked and misrepresented.

So, having said all of that, I’m beginning a series of posts that deal with some of the common misconceptions and accusations that are being thrown at the Bible nowadays. I hope to provide skeptical readers with food for thought that will provoke a hunger to dig deeper. And I hope to inspire confidence in any believing readers who may feel intimidated, and reluctant to enter the conversation.

As I said before, God’s Word has stood…and will continue to stand.

And we can confidently stand with it.

 

Does God Care About Justice?

Injustice.

That seems to be a recurring theme lately.

One of the latest examples is in the case of Walter Scott, a young black man who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Charleston, SC by a white police officer. According to multiple reports, the judge declared a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury.

Many are angrily shaking their heads at this, seeing it as just another example of racial oppression and inequality within our justice system. And it’s not an isolated case; several related trials over the last few years have ended in the same way, with the officer going scot-free, and the family being left to pick up the pieces.

But injustice is not limited by race.

Injustice infiltrates every aspect of society…race/ethnicity, gender, personality, religion, social/financial status, geographical location…none of these factors are void of injustice. Actually, I think it’s safe to say that anyone reading this has experienced injustice on some level.

It makes you wonder at times why injustice is so widespread. It makes you wonder if we’ll ever see a time where there will be “justice for all.”

And it also makes some ask whether or not God even cares.

Because in the eyes of many angry and hurting people, if an all-powerful and all-knowing God really cared about justice, then He would make sure that justice is swiftly served in every instance of wrongdoing.

But…wouldn’t that apply when we do wrong too?

This is a pill that most of us are not willing to swallow, because we are inclined to prefer our own standard of justice…a standard that is much stricter on people other than ourselves. In contrast, God’s standard of justice demands personal accountability above all else…which is why I believe His standard is largely rejected in our society today.

The Bible makes it painstakingly clear that God cares about justice.

Leviticus 19:15 –Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.

Psalm 33:5 – The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Ecclesiastes 3:17 – I said to myself, “God will bring into judgement both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”

Romans 12:9 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

To make it even clearer, God the Father orchestrated the brutal death of Jesus, His only Son, in order to execute judgement on the sins of the entire world.

Does God care about justice?  Maybe we’re asking the wrong question here. I think the real question is…do we care about justice?

Because if we did, we’d take our cues from Him. After all, justice was His idea to begin with.

Where Was God?

This is a question often asked in relationship to our pain.

We ask this question when a loved one dies, when we get a devastating doctor’s report, when our best friend gets involved in a car wreck that leaves them paralyzed, when we lose a job unfairly or unexpectedly, when we lose a home to foreclosure.

Or, perhaps we ask this question in light of tragic events that happen around us…natural disasters, sex trafficking, rape, murder, suicide, school shootings, gang violence, police brutality…the list seems endless.

The shooting in Orlando is obviously fresh on everyone’s mind at the moment, and my heart certainly goes out to the families of the victims…but my aim in writing this is not to draw more attention to that specific event.

Instead, I want to try and tackle the question referenced in the title.

Not an easy task, because most of the time this question is asked in anger and frustration. And it’s directly connected to an older and even more difficult question:

Why does God allow evil?

As much as we would like to, believers can’t shirk away from this kind of stuff either…because whether we like it or not, it is a fair question. I obviously can’t answer either of these questions completely, but I want to at least offer a few points that can serve as food for thought. I’ll be borrowing heavily from an awesome book that I recommend to every parent by author Natasha Crain, entitled “Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side”.

The fact that evil exists is one of the biggest arguments that atheists attempt to use against God. Their basic premise is, “If there is a God, and He’s completely good, then He wouldn’t allow evil“. This seems logical at first glance, but there’s a huge catch: doing away with evil would also do away with free will. If God made everyone do good, no one would be have the freedom to chose otherwise.

Well, that still doesn’t explain natural disasters.

The typical Christian answer to this is the fall of man, and that Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden corrupted not only humanity, but all of creation as well. Granted, that is the correct answer, but to a non-believer with little to no faith in the Bible, it really doesn’t mean much.

In her book, Crain states this very effectively, and gives an interesting take on the issue of natural disasters. She points out that natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, are actually “the byproduct of good processes”. For example, earthquakes come about as a result of the shifting of the Earth’s tectonic plates, a process that is necessary for our survival, but also a process that, unfortunately, does hurt and kill innocent people at times.

These are amongst a long list of answers that make sense logically, but let’s be honest: anyone who has just experienced a traumatic event in their life will not be comforted by logic. What can we as believers do when hurting people are overcome by their emotions and angry with God?

The answer is simple: we demonstrate the love of Jesus.

You see, we may never answer the question of where God was to a hurting person’s satisfaction, no matter how right or logical our answer may be. But no one can argue against genuine, Godly love.

Who knows? Maybe your loving presence could be the very tool that God uses to explain His “absence”.

Which Jesus?

This could just be me…but it seems like there are large chunks of Jesus’ character and personality that don’t get a lot of press nowadays.

You know what I mean?

It’s as if both secular society, and unfortunately much of the church, is on some kind of desperate PR campaign aimed at making Jesus as politically correct and agreeable to everyone as possible.

The “Jesus” being propagated today is all love and no bite. He’s never said a sharp word to anybody; He’s incapable of getting the least bit angry. He’s not confrontational…in fact, He’ll only get in your face on FaceBook, when He pops up on your newsfeed occasionally with a cheesy grin to say “I love ya”.

He’s pretty chill, too; all He requires of you is that you be the nicest person you can be. Just live your life and let Him be a part of it every once in awhile. Don’t worry too much about the “S” word…you know…sin. It’s not as big a deal as some people make it out to be.

And this whole “Son of God” business? Well, Jesus didn’t really mean that literally. He’s simply an excellent moral teacher, maybe even a prophet, who only taught about love, equality, non-discrimination, and good works. He’s a great example amongst other great examples, a philosopher whose teachings are applicable to certain life situations…but He’s not really someone that we are accountable to.

Or is He?

Please don’t believe the hype. Jesus is so much more than a lovey-dovey, people-pleasing pacifist whose goal is to get people to like Him and to make us happy. This weak, anemic “Jesus” is not the one I know.

The One I know indeed epitomizes love…and that same love is demonstrated both in meekness and in righteous indignation. He graciously reaches out His hands to those who are dubbed as rejects by society, and He has a sharp word or two for those who hypocritically look down their noses at others, without first considering their own faults. He can condemn sin and yet pardon the sinner, all in the same breath…in fact, He’s the only judge who’s ever handed out a death sentence, and then got up from the judge’s bench to take it Himself. His words are not just words to live by…they are the words of life itself. Oh, yeah…and as far as confrontation is concerned, He confronted death itself on mankind’s behalf…and made a fool out of it.

Speaking of confrontation, I’d like to confront you now with a question…which Jesus do you know?