1.1 Can the biblical authors' claims be verified?
Introduction to Veracity
"We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact."
- Robert G. Ingersoll
"I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."
- Isaac Asimov
Author of Isaac Asimov's Guide to the Bible
If today's scriptures are an accurate recording of that which was written long ago, then are they also true? Just because something was written long ago does not mean that it's true. Indeed, many writings of the past reveal just how little knowledge ancient man had of science, medicine, and the world around him. Therefore, when we discover a particularly insightful writing from the past, it becomes an object of wonder. Is the Bible one of those wonders? Is the ancient Bible true?
In investigating the truth of any subject, one needs to do more than prove it true. There should also exist the inability to prove it false. If the Bible is true, then archaeology, for instance, should be able to provide proof of the cities and cultures that the Bible claims existed. But it should also be unable to find evidence that contradicts and refutes those same claims.
Archaeology, just as an example, has certainly done much to enhance our assurance of the Bible's credibility. However, there are cities and peoples cited in the Bible of which archaeology has yet to find evidence; perhaps some never will be found. In light of the fact that no evidence has yet been discovered that indicates the Bible is fraudulent, the affirming proof that is available does compel one towards accepting the Bible's veracity.
Some people are content to hold their beliefs (or reject the beliefs of others) with little or no tangible proof. This described the basis of my own initial rejection of biblical standards. It was not based on any positive proof that the Bible was wrong, but on personal feelings and on consensus among my peers that tolerance was the greatest virtue. While this kind of social diplomacy certainly attracts friends from all lifestyles and religions, the logic behind such thinking does not hold up.
An old Monty Python sketch illustrates how the stalwart advocacy of tolerance can actually be the most intolerant position of all. I recall a crowd of people are celebrating their mutual respect and tolerance of one another by joyfully chanting, "We're all different! We're all different!" Then, one solitary little voice meekly differs, "Not me, I'm the same". The crowd first goes silent, then erupts and angrily chases him off.
How accurately this describes the hypocrisy of certain groups today who attempt to force others into tolerating their beliefs or practices. Their so-called tolerance is more often arrived at by subjective feelings and emotionalism rather than by historical precedents, logic, or facts.
Until we know the objective facts and evidences for our own beliefs (or doubts), those will only remain opinions; and opinions are subjective, indefensible, and insufficient testimony to convince others of the value of what we think. Our beliefs must have foundations, and the best foundation for rational belief is that of facts and evidences. The facts and evidences for the veracity of Scripture is where we turn next.
NEXT: Does the Bible even claim to be true?
What is truth?
Faith: the foundation of logic
The war of philosophies
WHY THIS CHAPTER?
An overview of the second of four divisions methodically evaluating the Bible.
In short, how to test whether or not what we read in the Bible is true, or really happened, etc...