Can we trust the bible? Obviously, Christians depend on the outcome of this question. If concluded yes, then Christians can confidently claim that their belief holds a greater degree of certainty than others. However, if it turns out that the bible does not have reliability, then Christianity itself could come crashing down. In this post, I would like to pose some points that the skeptic must explain to claim the invalidity of the bible. I would also like to propose that the burden of proof does not lie with the Christian, but instead the skeptic has the burden of showing the invalidity of the Bible.
I think it worth to note, that the Christian faith itself does not depend on the Bible. Conceivably, Christianity could exist without the bible. Christianity, depends upon the resurrection of Jesus. However, that said, the Bible provides us with the best account of the Resurrection of Jesus, and if not valid, has major consequences. Jesus certainly could have rose from the dead without anyone recording the event, and to some degree we could determine the validity of this statement. For example, oral tradition and the origin of the Christian faith point to the resurrection of Jesus. However, the most assured way in which to show the resurrection of Jesus, comes by showing the validity of the Bible. (The Resurrection of Jesus is just an example, we could also try to show the reliability of his birth.)
Of course, individuals have written books concerning the validity of scripture, and I do not have the knowledge nor the time to construct such a work. However, I think the following five points show that Christians do not have the burden of proof, rather the skeptic does. The burden lies with the skeptic to come up with explanations for these five points. (A skeptic must disprove these five points in order to claim that the NT is unreliable)
1.) Insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts. (Just not enough time for legend to enter the stories)
2.) The gospels do not relate to folktales or urban legends. Urban legends rarely depict actual historical events. (Paul Bunyan did not occur in Charleston of the Civil War)
3.) The Jewish transmission of sacred traditions was developed and reliable. People prided themselves on the ability to retain large tracts of oral tradition. (Jews memorized whole books of the old testament, of course they could remember what happened to Jesus)
4.) Between the time of Jesus and the time in which the events were recorded, the stories of Jesus had supervision of the apostles and survivors. (The apostles would have caught mistakes in the stories)
5.) The Gospel writers have a proven track record of Historical reliability. (Luke has been called one of the greatest Historians of the 1st century.)
I don’t have the time to go into and explain each of the claims. However, until otherwise proven wrong, these claims shift the burden of proof from the Christian to the skeptic. Moreover, these five points should spring you into further research of the topic. I hope this post sparks some good discussion, and new thoughts about the validity of scripture.