Allegation: the Bible is not the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God. It was produced solely by humans who believed they were inspired. Therefore, it is NOT a reliable and credible source for those things that contradict science and rationality.
Evangelicals are notorious for using a courtroom analogy to prove Jesus rose from the dead. They toss around words like “evidence” and “eyewitnesses” to support their defense. Having been on both sides, I can tell you unequivocally either they know they are intentionally misleading people or they themselves are deluded.
There is no independent unbiased evidence to support the claim of the resurrection. If this was a trial, and evangelicals appealed to the Bible as their “key witness,” the judge would not allow it. However, for the sake of argument, we will treat the Bible as a “perfect” source and subject it to vigorous cross examination.
The question some might ask is, “Why put Jesus or the Bible on trial?”
Christianity has a long and storied history rife with atrocities which continue to this day. American evangelicalism, a subset of Christianity, boasts an unwavering trust in the Bible as the inerrant or infallible word of God. With this conviction lodged firmly in place, they use their interpretation of the biblical text to justify moral, social and political action. Since their affiliation with the Trump presidency, their influence and reach has only grown and strengthened.
The fact evangelical Christians have infiltrated so many levels of government and influenced so many spheres of society is both astonishing and disheartening. Favorite targets include the LGBTQ community, women’s advocacy groups, Feminists, minorities, immigrants, political stability in the Middle East and the environment. Where did we go wrong?
Christianity, and most religions for that matter, prey on our deepest, darkest fears. It offers a remedy for the thing that terrorizes us the most –death. Hope in a blissful afterlife free of pain and sorrow is a powerful promise, and one which when embraced is hard to let go.
Evangelicalism in particular is primarily a fear based faith which puts a premium of experientialism over intellectualism. I’m not saying evangelicals cannot be intelligent, but when push comes to shove, most evangelicals will reject science, reason, logic and common sense it it means preserving their faith. And what is it that is so compelling to make them reject all these authorities and elevate the Bible to supreme status as The Word of God? A living, dynamic and personal relationship with the God of the universe. How can you argue against that!?
I am under no false illusions when it comes to the immense challenge facing those of us seeking to dethrone God and coronate rationality as supreme ruler. God or divine revelation has enjoyed an uncontested reign for all of history in every part of the world. It will be no small feat to topple him.
I believe it is more a question of chipping away at his throne until it crumbles. It begins with the source of authority upon which belief in him depends — the Bible. Our interest does not lie in the fruitless debate of God’s existence which seems to date unproveable definitively either way. Rather our focus will be an objective, critical, unflinching analysis of the person of Jesus as portrayed in the Bible.
Taking the same hypothesis as most evangelicals, we will assume divine verbal inspiration (inerrancy) and test this theory against internal consistency, factuality and plausibility. In short, we will use biblical data to prove (or disprove) itself. The Bible will serve as its own witness, reason will be its judge and the court of public opinion will be the jury who ultimately decides the verdict of true or false.
I will keep these articles relatively short due to the immense volume of data to sift through. I challenge those readers who espouse the Bible as having divine authority to carefully ponder the evidence objectively before making a decision. One must resist the faith reflex that automatically discounts or ignores arguments which challenge it. Emotionalism has no place in the search for the truth.
Let the trial begin.