The Bible is Just a Story! Like Harry Potter is Just a Story!

Yesterday, I set-up an evangelism table at Saddleback Community College.  I had a Contradict poster taped to the table with print-outs of the Contradict page of explanation with me to hand out to people who seemed interested in the sign on the table.

A long conversation was sparked with a student who recognized that the religions contradicted each other and that they can’t all be true.  When I began to share about why I believe Jesus is God and the Savior of mankind, he objected, saying that the Bible is just a story.  He argued that the Bible was written by a person a long time ago, and it’s just a story, similar to how J.K. Rowling writes stories.  People eventually believed the Bible to be a true story, and he had no problem if people wanted to believe it was true, becuase the stories that form religions help keep society in order, by giving people a purpose and direction life, something to live for.

I noticed in his explanation that he referenced again, and again, that it was just “a person” who wrote the Bible. I corrected him on that point, that the New Testament was not written by “a person” but at least 8, likely 9, different authors.

I then told him that those 8-9 people suffered and were persecuted for their writings.  Some argue that we only know by tradition that the apostles died, not good hard historical evidence, and this is likely true, that it’s only in tradition that they died as martyrs.  But we do know for certain that they were persecuted, jailed, robbed, and many were executed for the Christian faith from the NT writings themselves, as well as from the writings of early Church fathers, and from historians of the 1st-3rd centuries outside of the Christian circle.

But he made no argument against my claim that the Bible had multiple authors, or against my claim that they were persecuted for their message.  He still wanted to argue that it was a story, so I drew a parallel to his Harry Potter comparison.

Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter an...
Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I said, we know that J.K. Rowling wrote the Potter books.  We also have her own words explaining how she created the characters and conducted research into the practices of magic and the occult to write her books.  We records of interviews with her, and we have critics who have read and critiqued her work, both in praise and against it.  I told him that we have similar works with the BIble.  The Talmud mentions Jesus and claims that he performed his work through the Devil.  Other authors outside of the Christian refer to Jesus as a historical person who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

What we find is that the apostles did not recant their beliefs when confronted to say that their story was fiction.  If J.K. Rowling claimed her Potter universe was real, and there was a gun put to her head, and she was told that she had to admit that her work was fiction or a bullet would be put into her head, would she maintain that Potter and his friends and his school actually exists?  He said no, of course not, at which point I told him that the disciples didn’t reject their “story.”
He responded that they could have been crazy.  I quickly refuted that argument, at which point he jumped to explain that Jesus probably had a twin brother!  Really?  I had heard that this was a natural argument to explain the resurrection, but I had never met someone who actually argued that it’s most likely that Jesus had a twin brother, than a bodily resurrection occurring.

I’ll share more about the Twin discussion in a post to come very soon.

Key Points of Chapter 20 of Without a Doubt Part 1

I apologize for any spacing, numbering, and alignment errors that occurred from copying from Word into WordPress for this blog post, but here is the first part of an outline of Kenneth Samples’ book, Without a Doubt:

Key Points from Chapter 7 Part 1: Historical Reliability of The Gospels

The Christian faith depends on the historical nature and accuracy of the unique claims, character, and credentials of Jesus Christ! – Page 91

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-18. Christianity hinges on the resurrection of Christ.

Support for the Historical Reliability of the Gospels

  1. 1.       The New Testament documents are the best attested documents of antiquity in terms of total number of manuscripts. 

 

  • Check out this website: http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/bib-docu.html
  • 5,000 individual Greek Manuscripts
  • 8,000 copies of the Latin vulgate
  • Without these there are still thousands of manuscripts from commentaries and sermons that can be used to piece together the entire New Testament and these are from the early church fathers in the second to fifth centuries. – Page 92
  • Textual criticism exists because of the Bible.

 

  1. 2.       The interval of time between the date of the original authorship and the date of the earliest New Testament manuscript copies is extremely short.
  2. 3.       The historic statements made about Jesus by ancient non-Christian authors for the most part matches well with the Gospel record.
  • He was a provocative teacher, a wise and virtuous man from the region of Judea.
  • He reportedly performed miracles and made prophetic claims.
  • The Jewish leaders condemned him for acts of sorcery and apostasy.
  • He was crucified by Pontius Pilate at the time of the Jewish Passover, and during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius.
  • Jesus’ followers reported that he had risen from the dead.
  • The Christian faith spread to Rome were the Christians were persecuted and tried for crimes.
  • First-century Christians worshiped Jesus Christ as God and celebrated the Eucharist in their services.
  • Even though these Romans ridiculed the Christians as being morally weak, they were often times known for their courage and virtue.
  1. 4.       The authors of the four Gospels were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life themselves, or were closely associated with the eyewitnesses. 

John 19:1-4
1 John 1:1-2
Luke 1:1-4
Galatians 1:11-12
2 Peter 1:16

  1. 5.       The Gospel writers intended to convey factual and historical information and the writings of their historical content have been confirmed to a significant degree.
  2. 6.       The apostles’ testimony becomes more credible when it is considered that they had nothing to gain from it and everything to lose. 
  • They received no monetary reward or power from their message.
  • They received only beatings, imprisonment, and death.
  • Adversaries could have exposed their message as a lie, but they couldn’t.
  • We can trust their message because they had no motif to lie or deceive.
  • If they did lie and deceive they violated everything Jesus taught about honesty and truth.