Can You Trust the Bible? (Part 3 of 3)
By Joel Greenwood
One of the biggest obstacles for those deciding if they want to look further into Christianity is the question, “Can I trust the Bible?” For the past two weeks, we’ve examined different aspects of manuscript and historical evidence. Today, in our final approach to this question, we’ll lean in the opposite direction to see why, if you were going to make up a religion, Christianity wouldn’t be the one to stick.
Not a Compelling Case for a Fabricated Religion
If you were going to construct an ancient religion, much like adding ingredients to a recipe, there would be certain things you would want to add, and others to keep out. Contrary to other popular ancient religions, the Bible includes several details that wouldn’t be desirable if any traction were desired.
In ancient Greece, women weren’t allowed to leave their homes without a male to escort them. Christianity becomes problematic, because, after Jesus is raised from the dead, the first person he appears to is a woman. Mary Magdalene becomes the first person who knows the full message of the gospel. That’s not a great start for a fabricated religion. Add two Bible books named after women, prostitutes becoming direct ancestors of Jesus, and a Savior who often associates with women, and your newly-made religion is off to a rocky start.
In ancient near-eastern nations, the goal was to overtake land and eradicate any foreigners, either through forced slavery or execution. Then comes the nation of Israel, who brought several foreigners directly into the main narrative of Scripture. Rahab and Ruth come to mind, as well as the direct command in Leviticus to not enslave or kill foreigners, but instead to treat them as you would treat yourself.
3. The Law
Finally, if you want to create a cohesive ancient religion, you need a set of rules to follow. The first half of the Bible seems to follow this (see Genesis through Deuteronomy to read all 613 laws), but it all gets thrown out in the second half when Jesus tells his followers to only follow two commands. This doesn’t seem to make sense from the standpoint of other religions, so how is it that Christianity gained followers, rather than lost them?
With the way it treats women, foreigners, and even its own laws, the story of the Bible rejects many of the norms of other religions. This raises one question in particular: how has Christianity, which includes women, foreigners, and broken laws, stood the test of time? The two choices we’re left with are that Christ was a lunatic with a crazy story, or he was indeed the Savior and Son of God he claimed to be.
The past three weeks have by no means been a conclusive study of the trustworthiness of the Bible, but for anyone who may be questioning their faith, they might hopefully serve as a conversational springboard. As we finish up, may we remember one thing, if nothing else: regardless of where you are in your personal faith, please understand this about Christianity— We don’t love people because they’re Christians. We love people because WE’RE Christians, and because Christ loved us.