Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ignorance of the Bible

Nicky Gumbel writes a lot for the Alpha Course, a worldwide evangelisation course.

On page 40, of his book 'The Da Vinci Code - A Response', he writes 'The teaching of Jesus is widely acknoweldged to be the greatest teaching that has ever fallen from human lips. Some who are not Christians say 'I love the Sermon on the Mount; I live by it.' If they were to read it, they would realise that that this is easier to say than to do, but they acknowledge that the Sermon on the Mount is great teaching'.

One of Jesus teachings in the Sermon on the Mount is as follows :-

Matthew 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

Most people are horrified by the view that people who marry a divorced woman are committing adultery.

Do apologists who praise the Bible do so , safe in the knowledge that not even many Christians actually read it?

I read a survey saying that many American Christians could not name the 4 Gospels.

Many defenders of the Christian faith rely on such ignorance of the Bible.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Can the New Testament be believed?

The New Testament is impossible to take seriously as an account of how real people would have behaved in the situations that the New Testament says they were in

Take Acts 23, where Paul has been arrested and there is supposedly this letter about him.

He wrote a letter as follows: Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

From Lysias' point of view, Paul was a follower of somebody killed for sedition. He is now claiming that this person is still alive, is the real king and lord, and is still at large. (like we believe Paul's story of the ascension...)

We are not quite sure how this Jesus figure escaped death, and is still at large. But we can kill his followers for their treason now and then look for the ringleader later.

Instead, Claudius Lysias finds Paul guilty of nothing like that, and the only charge that has been brought against Paul is to do with matters of the law (perhaps the dispute over circumcision that Paul mentions in Galatians 6:12)

If the Romans had really heard stories of an historical Jesus somehow escaping death and still being alive, Paul would have been a dead man.