The sentiment that I find expressed the most when someone finds out I am not a Bible believing Christian is usually a query into how I can be so sure that it’s not true. It’s not always put quite that way, but there is sort of a smug assurance on the part of the Christian that I’m just not getting the message. It’s as if I’m taking some sort of shot in the dark, with awesome and terrible consequences at stake. Most people take a lot of things on faith. They don’t run around and investigate every news story themselves…or check and make sure the score of the game is exactly as reported. They haven’t tested scientific theories or modern technology to make sure the books are correct. They either believe it or they don’t…other people, it’s presumed smarter people, do the hard work. So in turning to religion they get it, they totally respond to the idea of faith in the unseen. It’s a puzzle to them why I seem to have confidence that they are wrong…is there something I know that they don’t?
First, let’s answer the question…can I know for sure that there isn’t a God (super-being, creator of the universe)? The answer is no. As with most things there is always a percentage involved. I am 90% sure of it, but I can not prove it. The next question is where I trip up a lot of people….do I know for certain that the New Testament story of Jesus, his atoning death and resurrection, and claims made by later Christians that he was a god and that my personal salvation hinges on whether or not I believe this are NOT TRUE? The answer is emphatically…YES. I can and do know that with certainty! It’s not a guess on my part, or some evil agenda to reject a Biblical God. I know it because I have learned how to use critical thinking, logic, and deductive reasoning to study the problem and arrive at a satisfactory conclusion with an almost 100% certainty.
The New Testament is a lot of things…repository of early Christian sayings, apocalyptic myth, a collection of Pagan and Jewish ideas…but it is not some eternal TRUTH. The fact is clear when one studies the books of the New Testament that it is filled with inaccuracies and contradictions, as well as sections borrowed from other sources of the time. This does not point to the hand of God, but very human hands were involved in the crafting of the Jesus myth. That is not to say that a human Jesus did not exist, but the miracle working god-man of the Christian Bible did not. The contradictions and logical inconsistencies are not imaginary, nor are they regarding unimportant details. They cancel out whatever truth there is to be found as surely as an unreliable witness presents testimony that is often thrown out of court.
But often enough I have been challenged, as if I am to be spooked with the threat of Hell (an idea that does not originate in the Bible), “Are you sure?” The answer is still, and will remain, yes…