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There are approximately 3,000+ supposed errors, mistakes, and contradictions in the Bible. It would take us several volumes to consider such an undertaking. Please do not be disheartened by such a large number, because there are compelling reasons why we have so many Bible difficulties, not errors or contradictions. If we offer reasonable responses and satisfactory answers for these challenging passages, it can be inferred that there would be a rational answer for the few that may not have a reply as of yet as well. Moreover, struggling with questions such as the problem of evil (why would a righteous all-powerful God allowed so much suffering, old age, and death for so long?), why would God send ancient Israeli troops to kill women and children, is only reasonable.
One reason for having this new way of looking at the evidence is the new atheist. The unbeliever of decades past was satisfied to believe that everything came about by chance, through evolution, and not concern himself with what others believed. This is no longer the case. Sadly, today’s atheist is more involved in leading the Christian down the path of doubt, while the Christian denominations are almost entirely inactive in evangelizing the unbeliever. Hundreds of atheistic books and videos are flooding the market in an attempt to discredit the Bible, the foundation of the Christian belief system. Another enemy of God’s Word is found in the agnostic. An agnostic teaches that it is hard to know whether God exists and that we are unable to accept the Bible as a revelation of that existence. Below we better define how we should view available evidence.
The burden of Proof: The burden of proof falls on the one making the claims. If the Christian is witnessing to another, he has the burden to prove what he says is so if asked for proof. However, if the critic is challenging the Christian, the burden of disproving lies with the critic. The closer the claim is to socially accepted knowledge, less proof is needed, while the further one moves from conventional knowledge, the more evidence is required. I believe that the legal burden of proof offers the best answers to the witnessing of others. It has been refined over the last 200 years to the point of evaluating a life that is held in its balance, just as everlasting life is held in the balance. Below we will list the levels of legal proof and some percentage and wording to indicate the degree of certainty needed. We have used different Bible objects for each one, but any criticism could be plugged into that particular burden of proof.
Warrants Further Investigation
Reasonable (30%): This is a low-level burden of proof in that it is enough to accept something as reasonably likely, being so unless proven otherwise by a deeper look, which may bring in more evidence. For example, at this level, it is reasonably likely that Jesus Christ lived, died and was resurrected. This may be achieved in the first conversation with the one with which we are sharing the good news.
Probable (40%): This is also a low-level burden of proof in that it is enough to accept something as likely being so unless proven otherwise by a deeper look, which may bring in more evidence. At this level, it is probable that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. This may be achieved in the first 2-3 conversations with the one with which we are sharing the good news.
Conviction for Claim
The preponderance of Evidence (51%): This is a higher-level burden of proof that makes Noah surviving a worldwide flood more likely to be true than not true.
Clear and Convincing Evidence (85%): This is an even higher level of burden of proof that Adam and Eve were historical persons, created by God is substantially far more likely than not.
Beyond Reasonable Doubt (99%): This is the highest level of burden of proof that over forty major prophecies about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament came true, being beyond reasonable doubt. It must be understood that feeling as though we have no reason to doubt is not the same as 100 percent absolute evidence of certainty. If one has doubts that affect their belief of certainty, it is not beyond reasonable doubt. This too must be qualified, because it is reasonable to have doubts about certain aspects of the whole that does not have all the answers as of yet, but it does not affect the level of certainty as a whole.
Evidentialism (a theory of justification according to which the justification of a belief depends solely on the evidence for it) only becomes self-defeating the moment one tries to raise the level of certainty to the absolute instead of beyond reasonable doubt (sufficient evidence). The argument against the use of evidentialism that the principle simply does not account for the way we come to have most of our beliefs is no real argument at all. A belief that cold weather makes you sick is not the same as believing there is an Almighty God, Creator. Each of us has hundreds of thousands of core beliefs that are accepted as fact until we come across something that tells us otherwise. Ironically, we are told to investigate before buying a car, or especially a house, as it is a big commitment. Yet, are we to equate the acceptance and commitment to Christ the same way we do that a chair will hold our weight, or our car will get us to work?
The Bible critic generally exaggerates the level of his evidence, presenting it in a sly fashion. At the same time, he will arbitrarily dismiss the Christian evidence, by declaring that all who believes in God and the Bible are foolish and naive. The simple principle to be observed here is to ask, ‘which is more likely to be true based on what you know.’ Of course, as one grows in knowledge, one’s belief is subject to change, i.e., it is either strengthened (reinforced), or it is cast aside. A Christian that falls away due to atheism or agnosticism (like Dr. Bart D. Ehrman) will after that require absolute evidence rather than evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. From that time on, God must then show him all that his doubting heart desires. The common expression being, “God if you just ____________, I will believe.”
The Bible critic runs around like a scavenger looking for an error, not reason. As they come upon a pebble of doubt, they throw it out as though it were a boulder of truth against God. Six months later, an archaeologist digging in Bible lands somewhere finds something that utterly and entirely removes this critic’s evidence. Does the critic even lean a little closer to God? No, because Christian evidence, no matter how weighty, does not exist on the critic’s agenda, which is to sow seeds of doubt regarding the Bible’s authenticity. Even if the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments and Aaron’s rod that budded were to be located, the critic would still maintain their stand because the unearthing of these objects does not meet their agenda.
For example, the Bible critic will argue from silence, saying ‘Belshazzar of the Bible has not been found in secular history, we have no evidence that he ever existed.’ Now, say a year later, a piece of a tablet is found that mentions Belshazzar (this has actually happened), and in connection with the historical account in the Bible. Well, that critic does not draw closer to where the evidence is pointing; he throws it out, dismissing it as though he never raised the argument, and runs to look for another. This same Bible critic then argues that Shalmaneser never existed, ‘there is no evidence to support his existence,’ he says. A short time later, archaeological evidence comes to light that supports Shalmaneser’s existence. Yet, this critic is off to his next claim without even a hint of doubting his doubt. Sadly this circle of madness just keeps going.
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