Welcome back! In this, our blog series based on Josh’s best-selling apologetics classic: More Than a Carpenter, it’s time to ask, “Is Jesus a liar?” Or can we actually have confidence in Him? YES!
As Josh notes, Jesus claimed to be God, and it was of fundamental importance to Him that we believe Him to be who He is. Christianity does require our faith. But its foundations are historically factual.
Here at the Josh McDowell Ministry, we provide fact-based knowledge. Josh recognized early that many Christians don’t actually know the facts — so they easily crumble when skeptics push back. Once a skeptic himself, Josh took pleasure in causing Christians to question and lose their faith. But over the last 50 years he’s been educating Christians to be rock-solid in their faith. Just follow the facts!
Do The Facts Prove Jesus?
All religions need to provide truthful, objective history that distinguishes fact from fiction, myth, and legend. Specific to Christianity, a historian needs to ask, “Was Jesus a real, historical person?” — and see what the facts say about that specific question. One must, however, stay aware of the danger of viewing the facts through the lens of personal bias.
In this article, for example, the author shows his bias early by stating, “For most of my life, I had taken it for granted that Jesus, although certainly not a god, was nevertheless an historical personage – perhaps a magician skilled in hypnosis.” He asserts that the burden is on Christians to fully prove the claims of Jesus. But that expectation is also biased.
If we decide to reject Jesus as God … if we reject God … we alone take full responsibility for our decision. We don’t get to pass the buck or blame our choice on others.
Christians need to stop falling into this trap; simply recognize that many skeptics won’t believe because they hold Christianity to a standard they don’t hold for daily life or Science. “I haven’t met Jesus,” skeptics might say, “So I simply can’t know for sure that he lived, much less resurrected.”
Okay. Let’s follow that logic: Have you met Abraham Lincoln? Or Mother Teresa? What is your acceptable proof that they lived, or said and did the things attributed to them? After all, you weren’t there.
As intellectual as Josh is, he admits that he couldn’t meet God until he was willing to open his mind AND his heart.
Guidelines For Objective Study
Dr. Robert Price, an atheist and mythicist, suggests that Jesus should be seen as a mythical figure. Yet historian Bart Ehrman, who also rejects Jesus as God, counters that Price and other scholars skeptical of Jesus the historical person are choosing to disregard clear evidence.
If academics can look at the same facts and reach different conclusions, are they following the same guidelines for objective study? Here are three critical guidelines:
1) The historian should be clear about his/her guiding presumptions and biases.
2) The historian must detach from his/her biases, willing to confront data and arguments contrary to their preferred hypothesis.
3) The historian should submit his/her ideas to unsympathetic (critical) experts for review/feedback to reach accurate conclusions.
If a historian is skeptical of rational claims of knowledge — meaning he follows the assumption that what is “knowable” is only what he interprets to be real — it will be difficult to adhere to these guidelines.
The late historian Charles A. Beard asserted that we can’t expect to know, with certainty, that a historical event actually took place. Historians didn’t see the event for themselves, he said, so they can only subjectively view it through the lens of others. They can’t, he added, make definitive conclusions about an event.
Hmmm…. that’s like saying that we can’t label the Holocaust “horrific” after objectively reviewing the facts. Can you agree that’s absurd?
For many skeptics, their difficulty lies in accepting the miraculous. Jesus was born of a virgin? And walked on water? And resurrected because He’s God? Impossible x3. Their bias of viewing miracles as purely theological prevents them from accepting that the Bible holds authority for objective study.
What’s the “story” you’re telling yourself about the possibility of Jesus being God? What’s the story you’re telling yourself about God being real? Stay with us on this journey as we continue to chase the facts!
Jesus: He’s More Than a Carpenter!
> FREE download: Read the first chapter of Josh’s bestseller, More Than a Carpenter. You can buy the book here.
> Watch how More Than a Carpenter changed one reader’s life AND set off a chain reaction that introduced many others to Jesus. That’s how the truth of God’s love is shared: person to person!
> Want to learn more about starting YOUR personal relationship with Jesus? Click here.