I received some interesting responses to my introductory statements about truth. Several people on Facebook expressed skepticism that the New Testament accounts were even reliable.
You can’t trust anything the Bible says about Jesus. No one who wrote about him even MET him and no one wrote anything about him any sooner than 30 years after his death. It’s all Chinese whispers.
– Warren Harding
I found this amusing, since I had not even begun to argue for the historical accuracy of the New Testament accounts on Jesus. However, I am at least glad of the fact that folks like Warren are committed to the truth, even if they disagree with me as to what is true and what is false. I replied to Warren that he ought to follow the blog, and as I built a cumulative case for Christianity, we might discuss the historical reliability of the New Testament once I touched on that point.
We must be committed to honestly seeking truth, and never be afraid to follow truth wherever it leads.
The idea of truth is part of the intellectual oxygen we breath. Whenever we state an opinion, defend or critique an argument, ask a question, or investigate one kind of assertion or another, we presuppose the concept of truth–even if we don’t directly state the word, even if we deny that truth is real or knowable.
– Douglas Groothuis
Sometimes the truth is simple, but most of the time it is complicated. We’re living in the information age, an epoch of unparalleled technological and scientific advances. We continue to discover new information every day. In such a time of complexity, we can no longer plausibly believe in a simple reality. Truth is that which corresponds to reality.
My case for the truth of Christianity will be thorough, systematic, and a little slower than some would like. Folks like Warren are already chomping at the bit to discredit the Christian worldview based on nothing more than the apparent gap between historical events and the written record. However, one truth about the Christian faith is that it has survived violent persecution and intellectual doubts for two millennia. It will take a lot more than a quip on Facebook to discredit it. The truth is not that simple.
However, this sword cuts both ways. The message of the gospel can be proclaimed simply enough, but then come the questions. Is Warren right? Is there even a God? If God does exist, how do we know? Does He really love me? If God is good, why is this world so full of evil? Is the Christian God the right God? Why not the Muslim God, or the pantheon of Hindu gods? Why can’t all religions be true? Or could they all be wrong? And what about those genocidal Canaanite wars?
It will take a careful cumulative case to answer all the questions posed by the skeptic. Glib proclamations and unfounded assertions have no place in the quest for truth. Will you have the courage to follow the truth wherever it leads, and will you have the endurance to thoroughly investigate the truth with me? Or will you just settle for believing whatever is convenient for you?
Ecclesiastes 7:19 ESV
Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.