What is the truth about Jesus Christ? This is the most important, and fundamental question every human being will ever ask. Jesus is quoted as saying in John 8:24, "If you do not believe that I am the One I claim to be, then you will indeed die in your sins." Everything hinges on how desperately we want to know the truth and secondly, but just as, and possibly ever more importantly, how we respond to the answer. Below I have prepared what I know of Jesus Christ, some from what I have seen and touched with my own hands and eyes , and some from what I have heard and learned from trusted sources. My desire is that the Holy Spirit would bring life to these words as you read them, as a spark tossed into kindling, and at the end you will be better equipped to accurately answer and appropriately respond to that question.
I would like to base my reasoning in part on the truth of the bible, and give special attention to the gospels which proclaim the death, burial, resurrection, ascension and Deity of the LORD Jesus Christ, because it is upon this fundamental truth that the whole Christian faith is built, and without this my faith and your soon to come faith would be in vain. I will be presenting evidence’s that support the validity of the gospels of Jesus Christ recorded in the new testament(NT) and the entire bible as a collection of books that are historically accurate and inerrant. Below you will find also, answers to common questions, namely; What evidence exists that Jesus Christ is real? Why aren’t there any direct eye witness accounts of his life? Why are the most current recordings of Jesus Miracles 100 years after the fact? And most importantly, What Evidence do I have that the Bible is accurate and trustworthy.
I believe it is here that I should interject that one indispensable prerequisite to a pursuit of truth is the honesty of intent. A mind that is bent on suppressing or hindering the truth will ultimately find the lie it is chasing. Let us pursue truth with a proper attitude, one of a childlike innocence, humility, awe, and hunger.
I would like to talk a little about evidence, and attempt to understand what it is and why we need it. Evidence is defined as an outward sign, something that furnishes proof, or one who bears witness. it comes in many different forms; Empirical, circumstantial, hearsay, indirect, anecdotal, testimonial, statistical, and analogical. Recently, a surge of “seekers” demanding empirical evidence has reared up like a horse trying to buck off the rider who is leading it in a direction the horse is unwilling to go, even if it is to a water hole and away from danger. The horse would seemingly rather the water hole be uprooted from its place and brought to it before the horse trusts the rider any further, a feat unrealistic and impossible, to the halting of both parties forward progress. This sort of show me the proof first attitude is known in the world of evidence as an Empiric, loosely defined as a Charlatan; a Quack or one making usually showy pretenses to knowledge or ability, or one who relies on practical experience. Empirical data is defined as originating in or based on observation or experience. Which leads us to empiricism which is defined primarily as quackery or charlatanry but in the context of the Atheist it may be more fitting under the secondary and tertiary definition as the practice of relying on observation and experiment especially in the natural sciences, and a theory that all knowledge originates in experience. These appear to be quite reasonable terms, however the problem that arises is that the Atheist makes the claim that outside of empirical, practical, natural and measurable data there is NO knowledge. In the words of Aristotle one of the fathers of logic, it is a fool who thinks he makes up his mind on important issues only on Logos. Hume wrote, “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”, This is a formulation of evidentialism. WK Clifford believed that, “It is wrong…always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” Although, he did not say what evidence he had for that belief. The only thing that is one hundred percent certain and not subject to doubt is death, outside of death everything else is subject to a certain amount of doubt. The evidence does stacks up and makes one side more probable than its negation and this is what we look for. It has been suggested that in order for evidence to be valid it must be objective. That anything subjective like an individual’s or a groups testimony can not be trusted as reliable evidence. Testimony as we know it may well be considered subjective, however that does not render it useless and subject to full dismissal, that is unless the subject/source has been shown to be unreliable. A heart attack may as well be subjective. " By what standards might we determine that faith in science is reasonable, but that faith in God is not? In short there are no such standards, the concept of sufficient evidence is infinitely elastic. It depends on context. Taste plays a role, and so does intuition, intellectual sensibility, a kind of feel for the shape of the subject, a desire to be provocative, a sense of responsibility, caution, experience, and much besides. Evidence in the court of public opinion is not evidence in a court of law. What a physicist counts as evidence is not what a mathematician generally accepts. Evidence in engineering has little to do with evidence in art, and while everyone can agree that it is wrong to go off half-baked, half-cocked, or half-right, what counts as being baked, cocked, or right is simply too variable to suggest a plausible general principle. When a general principle is advanced, it collapses quickly into absurdity. Thus Sam Harris argues that “to believe that God exists is to believe that I stand in some relation to his existence such that his existence is itself the reason for my belief” This sounds very much as if belief in God Could only be justified if God were to call attention conspicuously to Himself, say by a dramatic waggling of the divine fingers. IF this is so, then by parity of reasoning again, one might argue that to believe that neutrinos have mass is to believe that I stand in some relationship to their mass such that their mass is itself the reason for my belief. Just how are those neutrinos waggling their fingers? A neutrino by itself cannot function as a reason for my belief. It is a subatomic particle! What David Berlinski believes is a proposition and so an abstract entity –that neutrinos have mass. How could a subatomic particle enter into a relationship with the object of my belief? But neither can a neutrino be the cause of my belief. I have, after all never seen a neutrino: not one of them has ever gotten me to believe in it. The neutrino, together with almost everything else, lies at the end of an immense inferential trail, a complicated set of judgments. Believing that neutrinos have mass is based on the fundamental laws of physics and a congeries of computational schemes, algorithms, specialized programming languages, computer graphics, interpolation methods, nifty shortcuts, and the best efforts by mathematicians and physicists to convert the data of various experiments into coherent patterns, artfully revealing symmetries and continuous narratives. The neutrino has NOTHING to do with it. It seems that within mathematical physics, the theory determines the evidence, and not the other way around. "
" Now there are very many convincing proofs of the existence of God, in every form of evidence. For example circumstantial evidence has been found in the investigation of the supposed Noah’s ark found on Mt. Ararat that are beyond dispute; At about the 14,000 foot level on Mt. Ararat in Turkey, there is a very large wooden boat-like structure buried beneath many feet of ice and snow. A boat like structure has been mentioned as being on Mt. Ararat by explorers and historians of several civilizations beginning as early as 700 B.C. During the 1800s, this structure was observed by many local explorers including numerous Turkish military authorities who gave the structure official governmental recognition in the news media. In 1955, a filmed expedition recovered wood from the structure nearly thirty-five feet below the surface of an ice pack. The recovered wood, subjected to numerous type of dating tests revealing an age range of from about 1,200 to 5,000 years old. Early in the decade of the 70s, American spy planes, and weather and military satellites photographed the structure on Mt. Ararat. The only specific historical source that can be used to identify this artifact is the biblical book of Genesis which mentions the ancient landing of a large boat “on the mountains of Ararat” Considering the aforementioned facts, a good case can be made on circumstantial grounds, for the ark’s existence. Though by no means conclusive, the evidence is highly significant. The fact remains that something is up there. And whatever that something may be, it is thousands of years old, large, wooden, and hand-tooled. If it is not Noah’s ark, what then is it? This question must be addressed. Furthermore in considering Noah’s ark and the flood, There is a wealth of empirical evidence that confirms the Biblical flood account. First the process of fossilization itself is most likely evidence of a catastrophe. Normally when an animal dies whether on land or sea the body immediately begins to rot and biological scavengers begin to consume the carcass. These two agencies, bacteria and scavengers are very efficient at recycling the material contained in the body. The bones will either dissolve in the sea or be weathered away on land, so not even the bones themselves are preserved. These two agencies tend to prevent the fossilization of any animal. In order for an animal to be preserved, it must be buried deep enough so scavengers can’t get to it and deep enough oxygen, which bacteria need, is excluded. This implies also that the animal must be buried shortly after its death or there will be nothing left to preserve. It is estimated that there are about 800,000,000 skeletons of vertebrate animals in the Karroo formation. The Monterrey shale contains more than a billion fossil fish over four square miles. The mission Canyon formation of the northwestern states and the Williston Basin are estimated to represent at least 10,000 cubic miles of broken crinoids (deep sea creature) plates. Considering these and other unmentioned examples it is unreasonable to believe that slow deposition preserved these fossils. Rather a more reasonable assumption is a rapid deposit in a worldwide flood as described by the Bible. All over the world, footprints of various animals are preserved in the fossil record. Normally footprints are immediately washed away by tides or wind, and preservation couldn’t happen by covering sand with more sand, even more amazingly fossils of raindrop prints have been found. Another intriguing feature of the Coconino footprints is that they are almost always running uphill on steeply inclined bedding planes of sandstone. Why would animals be running uphill, they certainly weren’t running from a forest fire in the middle of a desert. It seems most likely they are trying to escape rising flood waters. Even with all the available evidence uncovered and presented before mankind, there is no logical reason to believe that if God made his existence MORE obvious that it would follow for more people to come into a love relationship with him. As a matter of fact it has been shown throughout the history of Israel who SAW God manifested through miracles, signs and wonders; such as the parting of the red sea, the plagues on Egypt, the cloud of smoke by day and pillar of fire by night, and the manna dropping from heaven yet they still continuously rebelled and disobeyed God. It is more pleasing to God that we take our time to seek him out and to pursue him with our WHOLE heart. God who knows our inner workings, who knows our thoughts a far off, is pulled by the gravity of our desire and is over-zealous to reveal himself to us. In our honest desire of Him, we are in a position to receive what he has prepared for us. We wouldn’t entrust our child to be babysat by a known child molester. Remember the very nature of man from birth is a rebellious one, a heart full of hedonism, children who do not need to be taught how to be bad, or to be selfish, but it does take a great deal of energy and time to teach a child the difference between right and wrong and we can see the evidence in society when this is neglected.
Turning our attention to the Holy Bible, where we find the most evidence for God’s existence, we need to carefully examine it and in order to assess the bible we have to know what is included in it and what is not. We also need to consider the roots of the bible’s testimony and sources, the role and character of memory in Jewish culture and what inspiration means. Some people have the idea that the New Testament has been translated "so many times" that it has become corrupted through stages of translation. If the translations were being made from other translations, they would have a case. But translations are actually made directly from original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic source texts based on literally thousands of ancient manuscripts. For instance, we know the New Testament we have today is true to its original form because: 1. We have such a huge number of manuscript copies--over 24,000. 2. Those copies agree with each other, word for word, 99.5% of the time. 3. The dates of these manuscripts are very close to the dates of their originals (see link at end of this section). When one compares the text of one manuscript with another, the match is amazing. Sometimes the spelling may vary, or words may be transposed, but that is of little consequence. Concerning word order, Bruce M. Metzger, professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, explains: "It makes a whale of a difference in English if you say, 'Dog bites man' or 'Man bites dog'--sequence matters in English. But in Greek it doesn't. One word functions as the subject of the sentence regardless of where it stands in the sequence." Dr. Ravi Zacharias, a visiting professor at Oxford University, also comments: "In real terms, the New Testament is easily the best attested ancient writing in terms of the sheer number of documents, the time span between the events and the documents, and the variety of documents available to sustain or contradict it. There is nothing in ancient manuscript evidence to match such textual availability and integrity." The New Testament is humanity's most reliable ancient document. Its textual integrity is more certain than that of Plato's writings or Homer's Iliad. The Old Testament has also been remarkably well preserved. Our modern translations are confirmed by a huge number of ancient manuscripts in both Hebrew and Greek, including the mid-20th century discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls hold the oldest existing fragments of almost all of the Old Testament books, dating from 150 B.C. The similarity of the Dead Sea manuscripts to hand copies made even 1,000 years later is proof of the care the ancient Hebrew scribes took in copying their scriptures. The Term canon means a measuring reed referring to a standard that is applied to any particular topic. The books of the Bible were written over a period of about fifteen hundred years, up through the first century AD. The new Testament Canon contains 27 books. The 39 books of the Old Testament, have been recognized as canonical in Judaism almost since the time of Christ. The Church did not pick the books of the canon but undertook a process to recognize them. They received only those books they regarded as giving evidence of divine authority. There were many books that were deemed worthy to be read (Shepherd of Hermas, epistle of barnabas, and the didache) however they did not meet the standard to be included in the canon of scripture we see today. Several tests had emerged for considering a text as worthy, among them were the requirement that there was a connection to the apostolic roots of the church, which excluded works that were later in origin, preventing the “production” of scripture after the second generation after Christ. The New Testament should be and was rooted in the earliest history of the church. Consider the first biography of Alexander the great which was written over 400 years after the fact. A.N Sherwin white of oxford university did a study of the rate @ which legend grows in the ancient world, he determined that the passage of 2 generations was NOT enough time to distort historical truth. All of the gospels were written within the lifetime of the eye-witness’s. 1 Corinthians 15 is a faith statement that scholars have dated back 24 to 36months after Christ’s crucifixion. Secondly I would like to look at the concept of inspiration which entails a claim that God has involved himself in the process of producing Scripture. God speaks through the human writers. However, the Bible also discusses how this claim for a divine role works. It does not mean that God is dictating the words of scripture, but that HE has motivated its content down to the wording of its message (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Like the wind drives a boat through its sail, God gave the scripture its initiative, path, and direction; but there still is a human author who mans the helm. The possibility of man going off course is there, however, God chose men he knew would fight to keep that ship on course despite external conditions. What about the sources of its message and the nature of the traditions that are tied to that message then? Concerning the texts surrounding Jesus, the role of eyewitnesses as being at the root of the tradition is strong. Luke speaks about how those who began to circulate the stories about Jesus, were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word (Luke 1:2). Many writers of the Bible, especially in the New Testament, were people at the events described, or who had access to others who were there. Again, many of these works were written within the lifetime of participants in these events. The distance between event and recording is not great – less than a lifetime, a small distance of time by ancient standards! Many other great works of ancient history (as seen in the example above) involve a separation time of centuries from the events. Another example is the first century Roman historians Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus who were centuries removed from many of the events they chronicled as opposed to decades in the case of the NT (new testament). Within Judaism we know that there existed the ability to pass on things with care from one generation to the next. This does not mean that one necessarily passed on the contents word for word, but it does mean that the recounting of events was done with care for the core of the story. Some variation in telling of an event that took place is obvious by comparing the gospels accounts or Samuel-Kings-Chronicles to one another. However, what we also see in general is a recognizable core to the account. Even the copies of Isaiah found at the caves of Qumran were virtual matches for their thousand year younger descendants, proof that the text of the OT (old testament) was passed on with a stability that speaks credibly for the traditional process. Judaism and the Christianity that grew out of it, was a culture of memory, where the basic elements of an account were retained. I am confident that the text of the Bible accurately reflects the text as it was produced. This is certainly the case with the NT which has far better manuscript evidence for its wording than ANY OTHER ancient document. Where most ancient works such as Plato, Herodotus and Aristophanes, have from a few to twenty manuscripts (many have only one), the NT has about 5,400 Greek manuscripts that we can compare to determine the wording, not to mention the 8,000+ ancient Latin manuscripts. These show how fundamentally stable the reproduction of the text was over hundreds of years in a time before Xerox machines. Furthermore, if one will judge the NT documents with the same standards or tests applied to any one of the Greek classics, the evidence overwhelmingly favors the NT. Not only does the NT text have far superior evidence for reliability than the classics, it also is in better shape textually than the thirty-seven plays of William Shakespeare written in the seventeenth century after the invention of printing. In every one of Shakespeare’s plays there are lacunae (gaps) in the printed text where we have no idea what originally was said. This forces textual scholars to make a conjectural emendation (a fancy term for “good guess”) to fill in the blank. With the abundance of manuscripts of the NT, nothing has been lost through the transmission of the text. The testimony of the historical evidence is that the Bible can be trusted as an accurate document. Consider this as well, if you selected ten people today living in the same geographical area, with the same basic educational background, speaking the same language, and you asked them to write independently on the conception of God, the results would be anything but a united testimony. However the biblical writers not only agree on these subjects but on dozens more. They have complete unity and harmony. There is only one story in the Scriptures from beginning to end, although God used different human authors to record it. Here is another assumption Bible readers often make: difference = contradiction, error, or lack of credibility. However Differences often reflect differing perspectives, concerns or more literary choices – not historical error. This is also known in logic that a difference does not always equal contradiction. A true contradiction is one where one idea Negates the other, this is not found anywhere in scripture. For example, a well-known difference in the gospels exists in the healing of the centurion’s slave accounts between Matthew and Luke. In Matthew 8:6-9, the centurion asks Jesus directly to heal his slave, while in Luke 7:3-8 Jewish emissaries make the request and the centurion is never physically present before Jesus. One option is simply to say the accounts are in hopeless contradiction, using the formula that difference = error. However, another option is to realize that in that culture, speaking to a commissioned representative is like speaking to the person being represented. Matthew who is writing to a Jewish audience about Jewish issues, his perspective is focused simply on the fact that Jesus did reach out o Gentiles. These Gentiles as represented by the centurion, showed exceptional faith that excelled most of the Jewish response. His perspective was limited to concerns tied to Israel. In contrast, Luke’s gospel was for a mixed audience. It was probably written to a God-fearer, a Gentile who found himself in what was originally a Jewish movement. Part of Luke’s concern was no doubt fueled in part by the passage of time and the move of the church into Gentile regions. What this even could underscore was not only that Gentiles had contact with Jesus but that a relationship had emerged between Gentiles and Jews as a result. For Luke the extra detail of Jewish elders being commissioned to speak on behalf of the Gentile spoke to this racial harmony that was a part of the event. Matthew, writing with Jewish concerns as primary, was not interested in this additional detail. Now the details told in the accounts do differ, but no because of error, but because of a difference of perspective which has led to different details surfacing because of the slightly different historical angles each writer has undertaken. Keeping the core historical account intact and inerrant. Sometimes differences are the result of differing editorial choices on how much detail to present about an event and the literary perspective taken in telling it. Such is the case with the healing of Jairus’ daughter. In the Marcan and Lucan accounts, she dies about the time the woman with the hemorrhage is healed. In Matthew, she is dead before the healing begins. This difference of detail is one of literary choice. Matthew tells the account much more compactly. He has “telescoped” the story to keep it brief. Thus, his emphasis is on the fact that the daughter was dead by the time Jesus acted on her behalf. Mark and Luke have the full and precise detail. Such summarizing of the story is hardly to be considered error once we recognize how much briefer the Matthean account is. Another example is the word of the centurion at the cross. Did he say as Mark 15:39 reports, “surely this man was the son of God?” Or was it as Luke 23:49 has it, “Certainly this man was innocent?” One solution here would be that each gospel writer chose what the centurion said, assuming that the centurion simply made both statements. But it is also likely that Luke took the confession and brought out its import – namely, the centurion recognized that Jesus was innocent of the charges he was just executed for ( and so he was God’s Son ). In other words, Luke, who highlights Jesus’ innocence as he recounts the Roman and Jewish leaders’ trial examination scenes in Luke 23, closes with the focus on Jesus’ innocence, an innocence that also means he was the Son he claimed to be. The alteration allows the gospel writer to highlight the presentation of a genuine historical implication in the intent of the saying. We could go on and on but the point here is that difference does not equal error. The result is that the Bible’s credibility is sustainable. There are tests one can apply to examine the trustworthiness of the scriptures; NT scholars speak of these standards as the “criteria of authenticity.” The first standard often noted is the criterion of multiple attestation. It looks for events or teaching that is multiply attested, that is, events that have more than one source strand that speak about them. For example if one looks at Jesus’ claim to be the Son of Man, a key claim about who he is, it is attested at every level of the gospel tradition, making its claims for authenticity strong. A second standard is dissimilarity. It argues that if a teaching is unlike a person’s cultural roots or unlike what came after the person, then it is likely to be authentic, for example Jesus’ use of the Semitic term ABBA, referring to God as His own Father is often presented as fulfilling this criterion. A third standard is coherence. Anything that coheres with what the other standards suggest as authentic has good reason to be accepted. Thus, claims of authority that are similar to the way Jesus uses the title Son of Man become acceptable by this standard. Also, if we can make a coherent whole from the evidence a text gives us, then it has good reason to be accepted. Here we are showing the trustworthiness of the Bible. Looking at a few pieces of archaeological evidence for confirming the trustworthiness of the Bible it was once claimed that the Hittites of the OT (old testament) were a mythic people. The reason was that no documents had been found naming them. But their reality was confirm in 1906-12 when archaeologists found a Hittite legal code dating from 1300 BC and illuminating practices seen as far back as Genesis 23. In the nineteenth century it was popular to question the existence of the Assyrian Empire. In the Bible, Assyria conquered the ten Northern tribes of Israel in the eighth century BC. Early in the 20th century, Sir Henry Layard found Nineveh, the Assyrian capital of what was clearly a powerful empire of its time. The art of writing was said to be late, not pre-dating the time of David and certainly too late to allow Moses to be an author of the first 5 Old testament books….In fact, just recently proto-Sinaitic inscriptions have been found dating back to 1900 BC, long before Moses. For a long time there was a debate about the description in John 5:2 of a pool with five porticos in Jerusalem called variously Bethesda or Bethsaida. Many questioned its existence despite its wide attestation in ancient tradition because of its being characterized as a place where many gathered for healing. Different spellings of the locale in the NT manuscript tradition added to the tendency by many to reject the claim. In 1871 a French architect C. Mauss was restoring an old church and found a cistern 30 meters away. Later excavations in 1957-1962 clarified that it consisted of two large pools able to hold a large amount of water and people. Sometimes it takes years for a site to develop and reveal what it holds. Today virtually no one doubts the existence of this site. " Just these few findings enhance the case for the Bible’s trustworthiness. Diminishing the reasons for doubt. I would also like to examine the claim of miracles in the scriptures. We see mainly when miracles happen, they leave a wake of results as their effect, I will illustrate this in the paragraphs to follow. Lets start with the historical account of the origin of Israel as a nation. What caused them to be formed and to be drawn together, willing to live their lives with distinct practices and a unique monotheistic faith in comparison to their neighbors? The exodus accounts explain the move to the promised land as part of a series of great, direct acts by God on behalf of Israel, including acts of revelation and judgment. Strict history can only confirm that Israel emerged out of obscurity to become a national force in Palestine. The biblical account claims that the liberation of Israelites out of slavery and from the hands of Egypt had a miraculous dimension to it. We can see the impact of the belief that took place. Looking forward to the resurrection is a similar situation. Here we have the advantage of events that are recorded within the lifetime of several of those who claimed to have the experience. Perhaps the greatest evidence for the resurrection is again seen in the change and reaction of those who claimed to experience it. The most outstanding example was the former chief persecutor of the church, Paul. What caused Paul to be transformed from hostile to apostle? His own testimony is that he had an encounter with the risen Jesus (acts 9) We can even look at my life that has been dramatically transformed from years of drug abuse, bitterness, depression, poverty, and sexual promiscuity to a drug free, depression free, Joy filled lifestyle. My roommate who has an even more amazing testimony of transformation goes from living a cut throat (literally), gang banging and drug dealing lifestyle to living a life totally sold out to Jesus Christ. These are direct results of encounters with the Risen Jesus Christ. The gospels indicate that the resurrection was not embraced as a given when it took place (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20) Most of the disciples reacted much as a modern person might to the initial news, with doubt and disappointment. YET, when they encountered the risen Christ and some only with the empty tomb and the mass transformation of a host of inept disciples into convinced believers this was the only credible explanation Jesus was now raised and is still alive! The promise of everlasting life and an encounter with the risen Jesus led (and is still leading) the disciples to be willing to face death. All of this evidence adds to the persuasiveness for the claim of the Bible’s credibility. It also explains the call to faith in Jesus that the Bible makes. A call that you will soon be answering. There is also a false accusation that goes, “How could fallible men produce an infallible Bible?” However as much as Human beings do make mistakes, and make them often, they do not necessarily make mistakes in all cases, and they do not necessarily have to make mistakes. It is not impossible for a human being to perform a mistake-free act. It is not impossible for fallible man to correctly record both sayings and events. Even more so, God using fallible man to receive and record his infallible Word so that it would reach us, correct and without error. It sounds difficult, however difficult never means impossible and with God it is never will be. It may as well be called a miracle. Luke 1:37 states for nothing will be impossible WITH GOD!!!! 2 Peter 1:16-21 Ends by saying for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. This work is by no means all inclusive, however my hope is that it has strengthened the case for the authenticity of the bible and has given you the means by which to make an informed decision. Another interesting question that has been proposed is; Why hasn’t God come down and Said, HEY, everybody. You’ve got it totally wrong…what I actually meant was….! This is such a beautiful question in that It highlights mans weakness in understanding and our tendency to interpret with a bias. I can remember asking myself this same question in school when asked to interpret the authors intent in particularly difficult to understand literature. In this case many authors had already passed on and left us with only our imagination to make conjectural emendations. However in the case of the Bible, the author is very much alive and provides us with something much better than, “cliff notes” to understand his intent, namely the Holy Spirit. I digress. Yet He has, as a matter of fact. This is precisely what God has done through his son Jesus Christ. We can see many examples of this throughout the NT. In Mark 12:23-25 Jesus Corrects many of the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes ( A Pharisee was a member of a Jewish sect of the intertestamental period noted for strict observance of rites and ceremonies of the written law and for insistence on the validity of their own oral traditions concerning the law, A Sadducee was a member of a Jewish party of the intertestamental period consisting of a traditional ruling class of priests and rejecting doctrines not in the Law such as resurrection, retribution in a future life, and the existence of angels. And a Scribe was a member of a learned class in ancient Israel through New Testament times studying the Scriptures and serving as copyists, editors, teachers, and jurists.) Saying, is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the scriptures or the power of God?” Again in Luke 24:36-45 even the disciples who had been with Jesus and witnessed the miracles and signs that were performed who were now looking into the face of the risen Christ began doubting in their hearts. Even after Jesus showed them the evidence of the wounds in his hands and his feet, he even went as far as to eat in front of them to prove he was not a Ghost. Some still doubted until in verse 44 Jesus reminds them that everything written about him by Moses and the prophets must be fulfilled Then in verse 45 HE opens their minds to understand. Their response in verse 52 is illustrated where we see them in the temple continually worshipping and praising God. In John 3: 1-21 Jesus explains to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews and a teacher of Israel that in order to see the Kingdom of God one must be born again, Jesus goes on to ask rhetorically, “are you a teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?” In John 8:37-59 the Pharisees thought they were righteous because of their carnal heritage but Jesus corrects them and proves that they are actually of their father the devil. These same Pharisees are from whom moments earlier Jesus had saved a woman from being stoned to death because they thought they were justified by the law. I could go on and on but the point has been made that God has indeed come down and said, “Hey, guys, you’ve been doing this the wrong way!” Through his son Jesus Christ, the way, truth and the life. Those who were pure in heart and were seeking righteousness received him and those who were merely misusing the law for their own advantage and not concerned with truth most comfortable in their sinfully lavish lifestyles, rejected him.
"If God does not exist, as atheism asserts, then objective moral values do not exist. By objective I mean it is valid and binding whether or not anybody believes in it or not. For example, to say that the holocaust was objectively evil whether or not the Nazi’s who carried it out thought that it was good and would have still been evil if they would have won WWII and succeeded in brainwashing or exterminating everybody who disagreed. Morality has no value unless it has something transcendent to itself that gives it the value. Think about it, a moral code NEEDS to be beyond human power to alter, this is the only way to obtain absoluteness. Most people would agree across all societies and cultures that sexually molesting an infant is wrong. This is empirical evidence that morality is objective and absolute. Furthermore, morals must be defined by a moral entity, mankind is NOT moral, therefore morals were defined by a non-human entity. It has been presented that morality is a subjectively inherited trait from our ancestor’s and is objectively evolving along with mankind. To say that morality is learned from our parents does nothing to invalidate it, or to say that it did not come from God. It was commanded by God to the children of Israel that they teach their children what God had done, and to meditate upon his word. This was passed down from their parents, however it was still the truth. To say that I am a Christian because I was born in the west in the 1980’s neither does anything to invalidate Christianity or the Morality built upon it. Following the logic of the Atheist he may well negate his own atheism by saying that had he been born in Italy 500 years ago he would have been catholic. Logic says that if Not Q then Not P you can logically conclude that If P then Q. Objective moral values do exist, therefore, God does exist. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche You cannot rescue the beneficial aspects of Christian morality while doing away with Christ. The western culture was built upon Christian morals, if you want to destroy the books of Moses, then you must also destroy the 10 commandments. The Atheist also tends to mistake inferior codes of “common decency” for absolute moral systems. The Golden Rule, or doing to others as you would have done to you, is an example. The fact that a person can arrive at the Golden rule without religion does not mean that they can arrive at the Christian moral code without religion. Christianity requires much more and, above all, does not expect to see charity returned. To “love thy neighbor as thyself” is a far greater and more complicated obligation, requiring a positive effort to seek the good of others, often in secret, sometimes at great cost, and always without reward. This is difficult, but not superhuman nor impossible, there are many examples of people living out this commandment today if you look around at the devotion of some mothers to their children, doctors and nurses risking infection and death in the course of caring for others, husbands caring for sick, incontinent, and demented wives (and vice versa) at their lives ends; through the heartrending deeds of courage on the battlefield, of men actually laying down their lives for others." Looking at the story of James, 45 year old homeless HIV victim. Who was taken in by a man named Chris who was looking to emulate the life of Christ. Eventually the man took advantage of Chris’s charity. The natural response would have been to give up on him or in a secular society to kill him because he is a threat to others and not a contributor, however because of the Love of Christ shown through Chris and others this man has now been transformed. We all know that these things happen. If we are honest they make us uncomfortable because we are not sure that we could do such things, though we know them to be right and admirable. As it should be, there is fear in the Christian constitution, just as there is in any system of law and justice. I would be discouraged if deliberate, unrepentant wickedness did not lead to some kind of retribution. More than the fear, there is far more love offered for those who attempt to follow and unbounded forgiveness for all who seek it. " What makes men good? The short answer, nothing. “…whatever is the cause of human corruption, men are evidently and confessedly so corrupt, that all the laws of heaven and earth are insufficient to restrain them from crimes” As quoted by James Boswell in his biography of Samuel Johnson. Men are not good by nature, this is proven in the behavior of children, who need no training in disobedience, and if left untrained grow to become men and women of undisciplined character. Unlike Richard Dawkins who seems to believe the people would remain good when unobserved and unpoliced by God, on the contrary people hardly remain good when unpoliced by the police. Even Himmler, one of the Nazi’s senior party officers, after accepting some treaty obligations wondered out loud, “What, after all, compels us to keep our promises?” In short if morality is not commanded by God’s will, and if they are not in some sense absolute, then what ought to be is a matter simply of what men and women decide should be. This is just to say, If God does not exist, then everything is permitted. The reality of ideas and their consequences is too serious to trifle with, and mere linguistic surgery will not do. The coats of philosopohical paint lavishly put on by atheistic brush cannot hide the foundational cracks engendered by the storms of life. Any attempt at such a cover-up is the ultimate repression, and the inescapable future of an illusion. The death of God will produce no sanitized supermen (as Nietzsche described) to pull us up by our cosmic bootstraps. More likely is the scenario envisioned by the late English journalist Malcolm Muggeridge. “If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Heffner.” Muggeridge’s conclusion that either a power-monger or a sex peddler would take the reigns in the place of God is very much in keeping with the disarray of society today. Hitler unleashed on the world one of the mindless, blood-letting orgies of hatred and sadism-the superman solving the problem by getting rid of what he saw as the inferior. The Heffnerian credo has explicitly degraded the dignity of women, while implicitly asserting pleasure and sensuality to be the supreme pursuit of life. In Nietzschean terms, the cause-atheism and the result-violence and hedonism, are as logically connected as the chronological connection between Hitler’s announcement of his intent in Mein Kampf and the hell ushered in by the Third Reich. The deep tragedy of the hour is that this is neither recognized nor studied by those who proclaim atheism as a benefit to and a victory for the human spirit. One might be forgiven for thinking that some new discoveries have rendered belief in God untenable. Curiously, this drama is unfolding in the same era in which perhaps the world’s leading defender of atheism, Antony Flew, has declared that recent scientific discoveries point to the fact that this world cannot be understood apart from the work of God as its Creator. This is no small matter, for Flew has been preaching atheism for as long as Billy Graham has been preaching the Gospel. Unlike Flew and others, the new atheists seem to forget that the success of their mission hinges solely on the strength and veracity of the reasons they give for repudiating religion. Venom and ridicule may carry the day in an age of sensationalistic sound bites, but false beliefs will eventually bounce off the hard, cold, unyielding wall of reality.A good example of a claim against religion that does not sit well with the facts of reality is issued in the form of a challenge to the believer to “name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever.” We are expected to agree that no such action or statement exists and then conclude that morality does not depend on God.The problem is that the conclusion (morality does not depend on God) does not follow from the premise (that no ethical utterance/action done by a believer is impossible for a non-believer to perform) The fact that a non-believer can utter moral statements and even act morally does not logically lead to the conclusion that morality does not depend on God, much less that God does not exist. This challenge misunderstands the believer’s position on the relationship between morality and God.The Christian claim is that the world owes its existence to a moral God. All human beings are moral agents created in God’s image and are expected to recognize right from wrong because they all reflect God’s moral character. The fact that human beings are the kinds of creatures that can recognize the moral imperatives that are part of the very fabric of the universe argues strongly against naturalism.Unlike the laws of nature, which even inanimate objects obey, moral imperatives appeal to our will and invite us to make real decisions on real moral issues. The only other parallel experience we have of dos and don’ts comes from our minds. Thus when the atheist rejects God while insisting on the validity of morality, he is merely rejecting the cause while clinging to the effect.Without God, morality is reduced to whatever mode of behavior human beings happen to favor either because of their genetic makeup or conventional accords. There is no action that is objectively right or wrong. Rape, hate, murder and other such acts are only wrong because they have been deemed to be so in the course of human evolution.Had human evolution taken a different course, these acts might well have been the valued elements of our moral code. Even Nazi morality would be right had the Nazis succeeded in their quest for world dominance. Unless the world contains behavioral guidelines that transcend human decisions and genetic determinism, there is no reason why anyone should object to such conclusions.Though some religious people do not live up to the moral principles they espouse, it is not true that genuine religious devotion makes no difference to one’s moral commitments. It is missionaries, and not atheists, who regularly give up their own comforts and accept unbelievable amounts of pain and suffering to better the lives of societal outcasts, not just through preaching but also through education, technology, and humanitarian relief. Our failure to live up to what we know to be right provides empirical evidence for the need for God’s intervention in our lives.Those who insist that objective morality makes no difference to human autonomy still expect morality to guide the behavior of others. That our society is saturated with transcendent moral sentiments accounts for the popularity of some television programs that arrest our attention night after night. Perhaps ninety percent of the shows depend exclusively on our ability to apply objective moral standards to the actions of the characters. Should the Judeo-Christian moral bank close its doors to our cultural psyche, the bankruptcy of human-centered morality would eventually send our spiritual tentacles scouring for an alternative transcendent anchor.Thus were the new atheists to succeed in their quest, the result would not be the elimination of religion but the entrenchment of a different religion. As Ravi Zacharias has warned in his book The End of Reason, eventually, the real choice for the West will not be between Christianity and atheism but between Christianity and another religion."
"There are few fallacious claims on the motivation of a few major wars and conflicts that have risen out of the atheistic regime that need to be addressed. There are conflicts fought in the Name of Religion but are they really conflicts about religion? Is religion itself a cause of conflict? This is a crude factual misunderstanding. There are some conflicts fought in the name of religion that are specifically religious. Many others are no, or cannot be so simply classified. There is an argument that says man is inclined to make war on man when he thinks it will gain him power or wealth or land. We will see shortly that the majority of the slaughter of man has come from a lack of religion. As predicted by Fredrich Nietzsche a 19th century philosopher and maybe the father of Modern Atheism, who said that the because God had died in the nineteenth century the twentieth century would become the bloodiest century in History. He was right, the twentieth century was not an age of faith, and it was awful. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot will never be counted among the religious leaders of mankind. With the century ending and totaling in approximately 190 million deaths as a result of conflicts where the largest contributors being conflicts fueled by atheist ideologies. First lets look at some conflicts that were clearly motivated by religion; for example The Thirty years war in the 17th Century where one side’s Calvary sang Psalms as they charged and the other side took Holy Communion as they prepared for battle was clearly a conflict about religion and had about 7.5 million deaths, that’s about 250,000 deaths every year because of religious ideas. Another is the Spanish inquisition from about 1560-1700 where the death’s totaled at a high estimate of 5,000 executions. This was a conflict that was clearly motivated by religion. These are all deaths that are tragic and should have been avoided. I would also like to point out that those who, in the name of Christ, have sought to kill in order to propagate their belief, were acting in serious contradiction to both the message and the method of the gospel. Both of these conflicts were also pre “death of God” era. In contrast the demagogues of the Nietzschean and Sartrean stripe were operating in total harmony with, and in some cases the direct injunction of the ideology behind their actions. For example Soviet Communism which is organically linked to atheism, materialist rationalism and most of the other causes the New Atheists support. It used the same language, treasured the same hopes, and appealed to the same constituency as atheism does today. Soviet power was as it was intended to be the opposite of faith in God. It was faith in the greatness of humanity and in the perfectibility of human society. It was the Soviet teachers who authored how best to destroy the religious instinct among children, teaching that God and Christ must be treated as equivalent to fairytale figures, ghosts and goblins. Passing laws making it illegal for parents to pass on their faith to their children. Stalin’s regime from 1924-1953 claimed the lives of 20 million people, that was almost 700,000 people every year dying because of the logical outworkings of Atheism. The Nazi regime may have appeared to have allies within Christianity but it was as I will point out in a moment merely a superficial relationship, had they had time Nazi germany would have come into every greater conflict with believers. Clearly, the Hitler Youth and the general propaganda of National Socialism were increasing rivals to family and church – meetings of Nazi youth deliberately timed to clash with church services and festivals, message of sexual promiscuity and rebellion against parental authority contrary to Christian teaching. I would like to point out that even while nazi germany was gathering its power, the Christian religion did not fight as fiercely or as bravely as it out to have done. The behavior of the Christian church toward National Socialism was variable as the behavior of men and women always is when they are frightened or confused. There were total fawning, surrenders, and revolting attempts to create a Nazified Christianity in which the Jewish heritage of the faith was expunged and denied. The Jewish Jesus was replaced by an Aryan super human and Paul was demonized, the Old Testament removed from the Bibles. There were also great acts of courage by Christians of all faiths. There were moments of shameful compromise and also of miserable persecution. Does this reveal that Christianity as a religion sympathized with the National Socialists? Hardly. It does reveal undoubtedly that Christians often failed in their duty. There is no organic connection between the Nazi’s and Christianity or vice versa, only that the Nazi’s saw the church as a means of propagating itself to the german people. Hitler like Stalin may have used some of the outward forms of religion, but to claim that the outward form is more important that the inward character is plainly false. It is precisely the inward character – submission to an earthly authority instead of an eternal authority – that makes all the difference. This is illustrated by Hilter when he is quoted saying, “we do not want any other God, only Germany”. This is further expressed in the actions in the early days of the Nazi advance into Eastern Europe when Nazi extermination squads would sweep into villages, and after forcing villagers to dig their own graves, murder their victims with machine guns. On one such occasion somewhere in Easter Europe, an SS officer watched casually, machine gun cradled as an elderly and bearded Hasidic Jew laboriously dug what he knew to be his grave. Standing up straight he addressed his execution. “God is watching what you are doing,” he said. And then he was shot dead. What Hitler did NOT believe and what Stalin did NOT believe and what the Gestapo did NOT believe, what the commissars, functionaries, executioners, Nazi doctors, communist party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did NOT believe was that God was watching what they were doing, and as far as we can tell very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either. That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society. "
I would like conclude this with a call to repentance. That if you have ever had or have any form of religion. If you have or had attended Church, a mosque, synagogue, or temple. You've only heard and known what the preacher, imam or your parents have told you about God. If you ever had or have faith in a God, but you've never experienced God's presence, you've never heard his voice, you've never experienced answered prayer, you've never cast out demons, spoken with new tongues, laid hands on the sick and seen them recover. You're life has not been transformed, you have not been forgiven for your sins against God and man. Even the devils believe, and tremble. Take this time, if you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, to call on Jesus Christ in faith that he is able to save you from your sins and make you whole. Depart from iniquity, become a vessel of honor meet for the masters use and prepare yourself for good work.
All questions and comments are welcome and any comments that are viral, uncivil, profane, disrespectful, not capitalizing the name of God or Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. Will be deleted.
I would also like to give a lot of credit to the following resources that i gathered the majority of this information from;
Ravi Zacharias' the real face of atheism, David Berlenski's The devils delusion, Peter Hitchens the Rage against God, Darrel Bock's Can i trust the bible?, What is Atheism by Douglas E Krueger, How can i know God Exists by Group, Josh McDowell and Don Stewarts Reasons skeptics should consider christianity, www.reasonablefaith.org, www.rzim.org,http://www.shoaheducation.com/aaaa.html,.