In my previous post, I started to explore the question of “historical reliability” but got sidetracked into a variety of related issues. To recap, there’s a spectrum of thought about whether historical accounts in the Bible are completely reliable or totally useless, or something in-between.
My own faith in Jesus Christ is built on the Gospels having met, in my judgment, enough of the criteria for historical reliability to make me believe that the main events (the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the basic outline of His teachings, the idea that He worked miracles) actually happened. I don’t claim perfection for these documents, but as the phrase goes, if even half of what they said about this guy is true, Continue reading “How do we determine historical reliability?”
The title of this post is a bit odd for a blog about Christianity. After all, I believe Jesus exists (present tense) so the question is a bit like “have you stopped beating your wife?”.
Well, it wasn’t the original title, but I let myself wander a bit with this post, as you’ll see at the end.
Regarding the historicity of the Bible, there’s a spectrum of thought. On one end, we find Continue reading “Did Jesus exist?”
In my preceding post, I examined the question “Is Christianity falsifiable?“. In that post I talked about how each new piece of evidence I come across has the potential of revising my beliefs on specific questions, and how my encounters with significant new information became less frequent over the years. This is not surprising, as very little new relevant information is produced; my own thinking evolves mostly because I come across information that has been out there for years (or even centuries) that I am processing either for the first time or from a new perspective.
However, there is Continue reading “Is the Talpiot Tomb the tomb of Jesus?”
In the philosophy of science, one of the big questions is what criteria are used to distinguish the scientific from the non-scientific. One prominent view, often attributed to Karl Popper, is that falsifiability is the key characteristic of scientific claims. I’m not going to explore that the topic directly here. My interest is not in labeling particular claims as “scientific” or “non-scientific” in a technical sense, but in exploring in more general terms the perceived conflicts between reason and faith in the search for truth.
I often hear non-believers (and many believers too) speak of statements of faith as if they are completely divorced from or immune from the process of reason or the consideration of evidence. From this perspective, Continue reading “Is Christianity falsifiable?”
Yes, there are contradictions in the Gospels. It is common for atheists to compile a list of contradictions and other difficulties, and for a Christian to respond. See here and here for a good example of the back-and-forth. Some Christians will try to defend each and every alleged contradiction as not being a contradiction at all, since they have committed themselves to the proposition that scripture is free from error (I have not). I think that a fair-minded reading of any of these debates will result in Continue reading “Are there contradictions in the Gospels?”
No. It is different in some very important respects, all of which point to it being true. Here are a few points to consider.
1) Christianity is one of only a few candidates that has stood the test of time. The vast majority of religious movements die out quickly or never reach any kind of critical mass. If God has a true message at all for the world to hear, wouldn’t one expect it to have survived in one of the major religions? If not, each of us has little hope in finding it anyways, so it makes sense to focus on the major candidates. There are four great world religions to which over 1% of the world’s population belongs: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. I will also discuss Judaism since many readers are familiar with it. These five cover about 75% of the world’s population. Continue reading “Isn’t Christianity just like all the other man-made religions?”