Putting Christianity to the Test: Part 1.1 - The Bible

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This post has stuff about religion. My perspective has changed


I guess I should have started with some background before jumping right into the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.

One of the most common questions about Christianity is the validity of the Bible. Usually the question or statement goes something like this: “The Bible was written by humans, how can it be reliable,” or “the Bible has been copied and translated so many times, how can it be accurate.” These are great questions which basically assert that the bible is not reliable, to which I would whole heartedly disagree. My brief answer will barely touch on the subject and hardly do it justice, but for the sake of keeping this blog at least somewhat entertaining I’m going to keep it short (unless more questions come up regarding this topic).

According to Josh McDowell, Charles Leach, Bruce Metzger (and many more) there are more than 24,000 New Testament manuscripts in existence. The next best is Homer’s Illiad, which has 643 manuscripts. That’s not even close!

Here’s something else to think about. Some of the most respected classic literature written by authors such as Plato, Sophocles and Aristotle had more than 1,000 years between the original and the first copies. The New Testament on the other hand, had a mere 300 years before being copied.

Maybe this is a bad example, but ask yourself honestly, what would you trust more:

  • 240 people telling you the same thing about an event that occurred 3 minutes ago
  • 6 people telling you the same thing about an event that occurred more than 10 minutes ago

Last point for now. Since we’ve established the Illiad as the closest comparison to the Bible we’ll continue to use it. Both the Illiad and the Bible have gone through revisions. The New Testament has about 20,000 lines and the Illiad has about 15,600. Only 40 lines of the New Testament are in doubt whereas 764 lines of the Illiad are in question. Doh!

The conclusion is clear, if you can’t trust the Bible you can’t trust anything. If you want to accept the works of the classic authors you’ll also have to accept the work of the Bible. Otherwise you’re going to have to throw them all out. There really isn’t any middle ground.

Photograph by <cite>Muffet