I have recently begun studying the evidence supporting Christianity and
the alleged contradictions in the Bible and all that stuff… [my brain
hurts 🙂 ] I was wondering if you have any tips for me in my ‘journey’ of
intense study into Christianity, or provide cautions to stop me from
making mistakes (see below). I hope you can help me from your experience.
I am a Christian and I’m compelled to do all this investigation because I
don’t want to just accept that the Bible is God’s word because some person
says so. I need to research it for myself to be absolutely sure. I’m sure
you know what I mean.
One mistake I’ve already made is deciding to put my trust in Jesus ‘on
hold’ until I have investigated everything. I now understand that it’ll
take more than a lifetime to exhaustively investigate all the
evidence/accusations/alleged errors concerning Christianity. So, until I
come across something that without a doubt proves Christianity to be a
lie, I’m not going to stop believing in Christ and seeking Him (despite
the stress and anxiety that I have when going through all this evidence).
I appreciate your time and the website you’ve made for people like me who
are searching for the truth.
I respect your desire to ask the hard questions about the evidence for
Christianity. I have spent over twenty-five years studying the evidence
for (and against) Christianity. My experience is that belief in Jesus as
the Messiah and in the Bible as the inspired Word of God holds up
extremely well indeed. You seem to have a sense that you may want to have
some control on the kind and amount of evidence you look at. I believe
that some people take this too far–practically banning study of any works
which are critical of Christianity. However, some wise self-control of
the kinds of material we spend time studying is wise.
Let me use a scripture to explain. Psalms 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of teh wicked or sit in the way of
sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of
the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree
planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose
leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Bottom line, we have
more than enough evidence already to know that God exists. I assume you
agree. We have sufficient evidence from things like fulfilled messianic
prophecy, evidence for the resurrection and so forth to know that Jesus is
the Messiah and that there is evidence of biblical inspiration. Based on
this evidence and much besides, we ought to give the benefit of the doubt
to the Bible. It is good and even helpful to consider the claims and
evidence of the critics of Christianity, but a wise person will give great
precedence to reading the Bible and studying positive evidence. Proverbs
13:20 admonishes us that “he who walks with the wise grows wise.” In
order to deepen our faith, we cannot afford to ignore the
supposed “evidence” of the critics of faith. It is not a good idea to
simply ignore those with whom we do not agree. This is not intellectually
honest. It will also prevent us from being able to answer questions for
others who seek God (1 Peter 3:15,16). However, I strongly urge you to
spend the great majority of your mental time and energy studying the Bible
and the writings of those who respect God and the Bible.
I am married. I believe I owe it to my wife to think the best of her.
She has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt. I should not totally
ignore possible criticisms, but I am a fool if I spend hours considering
all of her faults. This will ruin our relationship in the long run. The
same holds for our relationship with God, with the exception that God is
perfect, while my wife is not. We should not refuse to listen to the
critics. In fact, we should familiarize ourselves with their arguments.
At the same time, we should focus on the wonderful attributes of God, on
the great blessings he has poured on us, on the sayings of those who
respect Him, rather than on the writings of those who do not respect of
love their Creator.
So, I strongly advise you to not put your faith on hold. You already have
more than enough reason to believe in God and in Jesus. It will be very
foolish for you to give the benefit of the doubt to the enemies of
Christianity. Listen to them, but remember that these people are
blatantly rejecting what you already know to be true. Jesus Christ was
raised from the dead on the third day. Surely this fact alone will tell
you to take with a massive grain of salt the writings of those who would
destroy faith in Him who created them.
With this in mind, I want to strongly suggest you get a copy of my books
on Christian evidence. You can go to www.ipibooks.com to get copies of
two of my books, From Shadow to Reality and Reasons for Belief. Both
provide dramatic evidence for faith in the Bible and in Jesus Christ. I
have two other apologetics books which will be reissued in new editions at
ipibooks in the next couple of months. If you do not want to wait, both
are available on line at www.greatcommission.com. The evidence for the
Bible is absolutely overwhelming. On balance it is absolutely irrational
to reject the evidence that Jesus is the Messiah. That is my conclusion.