Refutation of Ray Comfort’s “The School of Biblical Evangelism” (Part 3)
Lesson 53: The Bible Part 2
Kirk’s Comment: The Bible is our authority on God’s will. It is very important to know why we can trust it. It is also inevitable that a true seeker will ask you to answer some questions about the Bible.
This is what a dogmatic position looks like:
“Bhagitavita is complete. Vedic knowledge is infallible. Here is an example of how the Hindus accept Vedic knowledge as complete. Cow dung is sacred, according to Vedic scripture. If one touches the dung of an animal, he must bathe his whole body, and yet cow dung can purify an impure place or person, according to Vedic scripture. This means contradictory, but because it is a Vedic injunction, we accept it, and by that acceptance, we make no mistake. It has been found in modern chemists that cow dung is a composition of antiseptic properties. Vedic knowledge is complete, because it is above all doubts or errors.” – A.C. Bahktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(It is hard to see how ridiculous faith is when a lot of us have been brought up to embrace it.)
Kirk Cameron can call the Bible the “authority of God” and we can “trust it” but until he or Ray Comfort can provide any evidence to support it, he is wrong.
Men can cal their books “the absolute truth”, “without error”, “above all doubt”, “God’s authority”, “complete”, or even “infallible.” But despite their absolute convictions, they all lack evidence.
Answering the question “Didn’t men write the Bible?” Ray answers: Absolutely. When you write a letter, do you write the letter, or does the pen? Obviously you do; the pen is merely the instrument you use. God used men as instruments to write His “letter” to humanity. They ranged from kings to common fishermen, but the 66 books of the Bible were all given by inspiration of God. Proof that this Book is supernatural can been seen with a quick study of its prophecies.
As I will demonstrate, this evidence from prophecies fails to meet the burden of proof. For that matter, was man ever an “instrument” of some divine entity? Still have not received any piece of evidence anywhere in this whole book, let alone any book Ray Comfort has published. The only thing being presented here are baseless assertions that man was a tool in some divine publication. By that logic, we can assert that this “divine author” could’ve been a trickster, selling a book to fool as many gullible people as possible. Also, we can assert that if man can be a tool for publishing a book, we can assume Krishna and Brahma inspired man to write the Vedas thousands of years before the first book of the Old Testament.
We can assert as many fairy tale ideas daily, but all of them (even the failed God hypothesis) are worthless speculations without proof and evidence. Without these, reality will forever remain absent of things as god(s).
The Bible Stands Alone
Compiled by Jordan and Justin Drake, attempting to prove the uniqueness of the Bible.
Who are these Drakes? What are their credentials? How experienced are they? Have they ever posted their material in the academic fields, or use proper historical methods and tools to support their arguments? Multiple Christian websites contain the same exact material “The Bible Stands Alone”, but none of them post anything about the Drakes. It seems professional material does not matter, as long as it is coming from a source that agrees with their position.
1. It is unique in its continuity. If today just 10 people were picked who were from the same place, born around the same time, spoke the same language, and made about the same amount of money, and were asked to write on just one controversial subject, they would have trouble agreeing with each other. But the Bible stands alone. It was written over a period of about 1,500 years by more than 40 writers from all walks of life. Some were fishermen; some were politicians. Others were generals or kings, shepherds, or historians. They were from three different continents, and wrote in three different languages. They wrote on hundreds of controversial subjects yet they wrote with agreement and harmony. They wrote in dungeons, in temples, on beaches, and on hillsides, during peacetime and during war. Yet their words sound like they came from the same source. So even though 10 people today couldn’t write on one controversial subject and agree, God picked 40 different people to write the Bible— and it stands the test of time.
Does the Bible agree on controversial things?
2. It is unique in its circulation. The invention of the printing press in 1450 made it possible to print books in large quantities. The first book printed was the Bible. Since then, the Bible has been read by more people and printed more times than any other book in history. By 1930, over one billion Bibles had been distributed by Bible societies around the world. By 1977, Bible societies alone were printing over 200 million Bibles each year, and this doesn’t include the rest of the Bible publishing companies. No one who is interested in knowing the truth can ignore such an important book.
3. It is unique in its translation. The Bible has been translated into approximately 1,400 languages. No other book even comes close.
This is not a valid argument. If tomorrow, the issue of Spiderman is translated to 2,000 languages, that does not mean that Spiderman or its stories are true.
4. It is unique in its survival. In ancient times, books were copied by hand onto manuscripts which were made from parchment and would decay over time. Ancient books are available today only because someone made copies of the originals to preserve them. For example, the original writings of Julius Caesar are no longer around. We know what he wrote only by the copies we have. Only 10 copies are still in existence, and they were made 1,000 years after he died. Only 600 copies of Homer’s The Iliad exist, made 1,300 years after the originals were written. No other book has as many copies of the ancient manuscripts as the Bible. In fact, there are over 24,000 copies of New Testament manuscripts, some made within 35 years of the writer’s death
If this was a valid argument, then every Christian should convert to Mormonism. Jordan and Justin argue that a texts validity is based on how many copies are made closer to the time it was originally made. The Book of Mormon was supposedly written (copied by Joseph Smith) in 1823 and first published in 1830, a gap of only seven years. In addition to Joseph Smith, there are signed testimonies of 11 witnesses who claim to have seen the gold tablets.
Though most scholars agree that the current edition of the Book of Mormon is a trustworthy copy of the 1830 version, few if any scholars consider it to be reliable history.
5. It is unique in withstanding attack. No other book has been so attacked throughout history as the Bible. In A.D. 300 the Roman emperor Diocletian ordered every Bible burned because he thought that by destroying the Scriptures he could destroy Christianity. Anyone caught with a Bible would be executed. But just 25 years later, the Roman emperor Constantine ordered that 50 perfect copies of the Bible be made at government expense. The French philosopher Voltaire, a skeptic who destroyed the faith of many people, boasted that within 100 years of his death, the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, but the Bible lives on. The irony of history is that 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society moved into his former house and used his printing presses to print thousands of Bibles.
The Bible has also survived criticism. No book has been more attacked for its accuracy. And yet archaeologists are providing more proof every year that the Bible’s detailed descriptions of historic events are correct.
Simply repeating that archeology supports the Bible does not change reality.
Lesson 54: The Bible Part 3
Ray attempts to counter the objection “Christians can’t use ‘circular reasoning’ by trying to prove the Bible by quoting from the Bible!” Ray responses with: The “circular reasoning” argument is absurd. That’s like saying you can’t prove that the President lives in the White House by looking into the White House. It is looking into the White House that will provide the necessary proof. The fulfilled prophecies, the amazing consistency, and the many scientific statements of the Bible prove it to be the Word of God. They provide evidence that it is supernatural in origin.
Nice try Ray, but this is not only illogical it is ridiculous.
I guess either Ray Comfort is being incredibly lazy or just demonstrating how uneducated he is towards basic philosophy. So I guess it is up to me to provide a proper education regarding circular reasoning.
Circular reasoning is basically saying “X is true because X says it’s true.” If you wanted to find the President of the USA in the White House, it would not be circular to look in the White House. Not a single piece of the White House has a sign or inscription or anything declaring to the world “Hey! The President is always here! This is so because this sign says so.” A child knows this ridiculous. The President could be anywhere, maybe in another country, and a sign on/in the White House does not validate or dictate where the President must be at any certain time.
Looking into a sacred book with the presupposed belief it is true, only to look and pick out bits that are correct or true, is called confirmation bias. Muslims do this with the Koran, Hindus with the Vedas, and so on.
Archaeology and History Attest to the Reliability of the Bible
Written by Richard M. Fales, Ph.D.
Dr. Richard M. Fales, Ph. D., Litt. D. Professor of Biblical Archeology, Education B.A. Universal Bible Institute, Georgia, 1974.
Manuscript Evidence. Aristotle’s Ode to Poetics was written between 384 and 322 B.C. The earliest copy of this work is dated A.D. 1100, and there are only forty-nine extant manuscripts. The gap between the original writing and the earliest copy is 1,400 years. There are only seven extant manuscripts of Plato’s Tetralogies, written 427–347 B.C. The earliest copy is A.D. 900—a gap of over 1,200 years.
What about the New Testament? Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30. The New Testament was written between A.D. 48 and 95. The oldest manuscripts date to the last quarter of the first century, and the second oldest A.D. 125. This gives us a narrow gap of thirty-five to forty years from the originals written by the apostles.
If this was a valid argument, then every Christian should convert to Mormonism. Fales argues that a texts validity is based on how many copies are made closer to the time it was originally made? If that were a valid argument, then Mormonism is perhaps the prime religion to date. The Book of Mormon was supposedly written (copied by Joseph Smith) in 1823 and first published in 1830, a gap of only seven years (compared to the Bible’s 35-40 years). In addition to Joseph Smith, there are signed testimonies of 11 witnesses who claim to have seen the gold tablets.
Though most scholars agree that the current edition of the Book of Mormon is a trustworthy copy of the 1830 version, few scholars if any consider it to be reliable history.
It is also very amusing to see Christians brag how many copies of their sacred book exist in comparison to other old classics or important texts. Considering that when Christianity was the dominate religion in Europe for centuries, many of these old texts where put to the torch or even written over. For example, only recently have we discovered an old copy of the works of Archimedes. His work was cleared from its pages, to then have Christian monks write songs and hymns all over it. Thanks to science and technology and the dedicated of scores of scholars and scientists have we uncovered the hidden lost works of one of the greatest minds of all time. What this displays was in Christian Europe, books of science, philosophy, and poetry were not well respect and disposable. It seems no surprise that we now have very few surviving texts of important thinkers, when you put it in the perspective of the dogmatic world they survived in, alongside centuries of prolific Bible-publishing to reach as many people beyond Europe through missionary work.
Corroborating Writings. Critics also charge that there are no ancient writings about Jesus outside the New Testament. This is another ridiculous claim. Writings confirming His birth, ministry, death, and resurrection include,
1) Flavius Josephus (A.D. 93)
2) The Babylonian Talmud (A.D. 70–200)
3) Pliny the Younger’s letter to the Emperor Trajan (approx. A.D. 100)
4) The Annals of Tacitus (A.D. 115–117)
5) Mara Bar Serapion (sometime after A.D. 73)
6) Suetonius’ ”Life of Claudius and Life of Nero” (A.D. 120).
Going in order,
- Josephus is not a contemporary source, since he was born after Jesus’ death. Most scholars admit that at least some parts, if not all, of the paragraph in Josephus’ work cannot be authentic,(Source: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/testimonium.html) even the Catholic Encyclopedia concurring. See Historicity of Jesus; Josephus to further see a closer inspection of this quote that directly points out exactly why it is a deliberate forgery.
- Pliny the Younger was a Roman official born in 62 CE In one letter he said “Christians were singing a hymn to Christ as to a god …” That is all. In all of Pliny’s writings, we find one small tangential reference, and not even to Christ, but to Christians. Again, notice, the absence of the name Jesus. This could have referred to any of the other “christs”(Source: http://www.livius.org/men-mh/messiah/messiah00.html) who were being followed by some Jews who thought they had found the messiah.
- Pliny’s report is only of what other people believed. Even if this sentence does refer to a group who followed Jesus it is not particularly enlightening as no one denies that Christianity was in existence at that time. Pliny’s report might be useful in documenting the religion, but not the historic Jesus.
- Tacitus depicts early Christians as “hated for their crimes” and associated with “depravity and filth.” This is not a flattering picture, so is less likely to be Christian propaganda. Tacitus claims no first-hand knowledge of Christianity, but is merely repeating the then common ideas about Christians.
There is no other historical confirmation that Nero persecuted Christians. There certainly was not a “great crowd” of Christians in Rome around 60 CE, and the term “Christian” was not in use in the first century. Tacitus is either doctoring history from a distance or repeating a myth without checking the facts. Historians generally agree that Nero did not burn Rome, so Tacitus is in error to suggest that he would have needed to blame Christians in the first place.
A more serious problem is that no one in the second century ever quoted this passage of Tacitus, and in fact it appears almost word-for-word in the writings in someone else, Sulpicius Severus, in the fourth century, where it is mixed in with other myths. The passage is therefore highly suspect and adds virtually no evidence even for early Christianity.
There is also the problem that there has been cases of tampering with the Tacticus source.
- There is a fragment of a personal letter from a Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapion (circa 73 CE) to his son in prison that mentions that the Jews of that time had killed their “wise king.” However, the New Testament claims that the Romans, not the Jews, killed Jesus. The Jews had killed other leaders; for example, the Essene Teacher of Righteousness. If this truly is a report of a historical event rather than the passing on of folklore, it could have been a reference to someone else. It does not mention Jesus by name. It is near worthless as evidence for Jesus of Nazareth.
- A Roman historian, born in 69 CE mentions a “Chrestus,” a common name meaning “good,” used by both slaves and free people and occurring more than 80 times in Latin inscriptions. Apologists assume that “Chrestus” means “Christ”, which it generally does not. But even if Suetonius had meant “Christ,” it still says nothing about an earthly Jesus.
Suetonius wrote a biography called ”Twelve Caesars” around the year 112 CE, mentioning that Claudius “banished the Jews from Rome, since they had made a commotion because of Chrestus,” and that during the time of Nero “punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief …” Notice that there is no mention of Jesus by name. It is unlikely that Christianity had spread as far as Rome during the reign of Claudius, or that it was large enough to have caused a revolt.
Note that “Chrestus” was not only a familiar personal name, but a name of the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis, who had a large following at Rome, especially among the common people. Hence “Christians” or “Chrestians” may be followers of Serapis. Historians know what evil repute the Egyptian people, which consisted mainly of Alexandrian elements, had at Rome. While other foreign cults introduced into Rome enjoyed the utmost toleration, the cult of Serapis and Isis was exposed repeatedly to persecution. The lax morality associated with their worship of the Egyptian gods and the fanaticism of their worshipers repelled the Romans, and excited the suspicion that their cults might be directed against the State.
Another point of contention arises when Bible critics have knowingly or unknowingly misled people by implying that Old and New Testament books were either excluded from or added into the canon of Scripture at the great ecumenical councils of A.D. 336, 382, 397, and 419. In fact, one result of these gatherings was to confirm the church’s belief that the books already in the Bible were divinely inspired. Therefore, the church, at these meetings, neither added to nor took away from the books of the Bible. At that time, the thirty-nine Old Testament books had already been accepted, and the New Testament, as it was written, simply grew up with the ancient church. Each document, being accepted as it was penned in the first century, was then passed on to Christians of the next century. So, this foolishness about the Roman Emperor Constantine dropping books from the Bible is simply uneducated rumor.
An uneducated rumor? This coming from a man who used hearsay accounts as proof for Jesus.
Unfortunately for Fales, the rest of the academics disagree. The Bible was indeed specially constructed by religious men who filtered out books that did not fit their views. There is no doubt that new material has been inserted and some deletions occurred in Scripture. For instance, the story of Jesus and the condemned adulterer does not appear in the Bible until approximately 400 years after Jesus died. The examples of forgeries and interpolations in the Bible are numerous.
How could Fales miss the Codex Sinaiticus? It is the world’s oldest surviving copy of the Bible. Only 300 years away from the original manuscripts of the New Testament, it is highly important and considered a “very accurate copy as opposed to most of the later copies” which have “far more mistakes”. It contains the complete New Testament and most of the Old Testament. Originally it contained the whole of both Testaments. The Greek Old Testament (or Septuagint) survived almost complete, along with a complete New Testament, plus the Epistle of Barnabas, and portions of The Shepherd of Hermas.
Fulfilled Prophecies. Prophecies from the Old and New Testaments that have been fulfilled also add credibility to the Bible. The Scriptures predicted the rise and fall of great empires like Greece and Rome (Daniel 2:39,40), and foretold the destruction of cities like Tyre and Sidon (Isaiah 23). Tyre’s demise is recorded by ancient historians, who tell how Alexander the Great lay siege to the city for seven months. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had failed in a 13-year attempt to capture the seacoast city and completely destroy its inhabitants. During the siege of 573 B.C., much of the population of Tyre moved to its new island home half a mile from the land city. Here it remained surrounded by walls as high as 150 feet until judgment fell in 332 B.C. with the arrival of Alexander the Great. In the seven-month siege, he fulfilled the remainder of the prophecies (Zechariah 9:4; Ezekiel 26:12) concerning the city at sea by completely destroying Tyre, killing 8,000 of its inhabitants and selling 30,000 of its population into slavery. To reach the island, he scraped up the dust and rubble of the old land city of Tyre, just like the Bible predicted, and cast them into the sea, building a 200-foot-wide causeway out to the island.
Alexander’s death and the murder of his two sons was also foretold in the Scripture. Another startling prophecy was Jesus’ detailed prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction, and the further spreading of the Jewish diaspora throughout the world, which is recorded in Luke 21. In A.D. 70, not only was Jerusalem destroyed by Titus, the future emperor of Rome, but another prediction of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:1,2 came to pass—the complete destruction of the temple of God.
Here is a little detail Fales left out of this supposed fulfilled prophecy: it specifically said that King Nebuchadnezzar would be the one who destroyed Tyre. Here is the full prophecy;
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee. And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water. And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
In this block of text God states quite blatantly that Nebuchadnezzar would sack and destroy completely the city of Tyre. However the events given in this passage never did come to pass. After a 13 year siege Nebuchadnezzar withdrew his forces. Tyre survived quite prosperously after that for another 240 years until it was done away with by Alexander the great.
The additional prophecies Fales links to Alexander are not prophecies, rather it is something called literacy analysis, where one can connect a event with that mentioned in a text to make them seem linked. Rather, the supposed “prophecies” and Alexander are two unrelated events. Fales does not even mention where in Scripture did it prophecized the death of Alexander the Great. The death of Alexander is not a impressive prediction, since he is a mortal man and commander of an army – so he was likely to be killed in combat, or gather a large sum of enemies on his road to power.
Finally, the prophecy regarding Jesus predicting the destruction of the Temple is another example of an inevitable outcome. Given Israel’s history and growing number of enemies, the destruction of the Temple is a likely ending.
What about the obvious failed prophecies not mentioned? Ezekiel 30:10,11 said Egypt would be completely destroyed and then in verse 12 predicts the Nile River will dry up. Neither of these ever happened.
Messianic Prophecies. In the Book of Daniel, the Bible prophesied the coming of the one and only Jewish Messiah prior to the temple’s demise. The Old Testament prophets declared,
*He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
*to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
*be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12,13)
*die by crucifixion (Psalm 22)
*and be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9).
There was only one person who fits all of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament who lived before A.D. 70: Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary.
Because fulfilled prophecies are so beneficial in showing the supernatural origin of the Bible, and are lacking in other religions, we will look in depth at prophecies in upcoming lessons.
Going in order,
- The gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:5-6) claims that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfils this prophecy. But this is unlikely for two reasons.
A) “Bethlehem Ephratah” in Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb’s second wife, Ephrathah (1 Chronicles 2:18, 2:50-52 & 4:4).
B) The prophecy (if that is what it is) does not refer to the Messiah, but rather to a military leader, as can be seen from Micah 5:6. This leader is supposed to defeat the Assyrians, which, of course, Jesus never did. It should also be noted that Matthew altered the text of Micah 5:2 by saying: “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah” rather than “Bethlehem Ephratah” as is said in Micah 5:2. He did this, intentionally no doubt, to make this verse appear to refer to the town of Bethlehem rather than the family clan.
- The Hebrew word “alma” in Isiah 7:14 (for which “parthenos” is an erroneous translation) simply means “young woman,” without any implication of virginity.
- Matthew 27:9-10 –“Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value.” Matthew attributes this quote to Jeremiah, but Jeremiah has no verse that is even similar to the words given in Matthew. Matthew confused Jeremiah with Zechariah. Zechariah 11:12-13 –“So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.”
- Fundamentalists have always claimed that the latter part of Psalm 22:16 “They pierced my hands and my feet” (which we shall designate as Psalm 22:16b) is a direct prophecy of the crucifixion; with the “piercing” referring to the nails going through Jesus’ hands and feet. Although this is not the reading found in the Hebrew Masoretic text, support is claimed from the readings found in a Dead Sea Scroll fragment and in ancient versions of the Bible such as the Septuagint and the Vulgate.
This proclaimed Messianic prophecy is false, for a few solid reasons:
The Hebrew Text Behind the King James Version: Despite the claims of its accurate rendition of the original text, the Hebrew equivalent for “they pierced” was ”not” found in the manuscripts available to the translators of the King James Version. Indeed the word rendered in those manuscripts means “like a lion”.
The Dead Sea Scrolls: The evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, is ambiguous at best. The word found there, kaaru, has no known meaning and may actually be meaningless.
:A) Before looking at the readings of the ancient versions, it is important to know some preliminary background information about them first.
:B) A careful analysis of the readings given in the ancient versions does not support “they pierced” as the correct translation. Indeed the analysis shows that there were two extant readings in the Hebrew text, one being kaari (like a lion) and the other kaaru. The very fact that translators did not translate the latter word consistently showed that even by that time, the meaning of that word was no longer known.
- Nowhere in Isiah 53 does it claim regarding the Messiah. Isiah 53 was written in the past tense.
Lesson 55: The Bible Part 4
Kirk’s Comment: The Dead Sea Scrolls are a wonderful archeological discovery. They show quite clearly that the Bible we have today has not changed over the centuries.
The Dead Sea Scrolls don’t name Jesus or Christ; the protagonists are different; and several characters are changed or added. Does that sound like “not changed”?
Ray tries to explain why people who read the Bible do not understand it. He uses an analogy that one not born in a Chinese family won’t understand Chinese, so if on wishes to understand the Bible one must be born again, and then “The moment you become part of God’s family, the Bible will begin to make sense.”
In other words, if you want to understand the tomes of our faith, you must join the cult.
Well too bad for you Ray, but nobody has to join your organized deluded group of head-bobbing, mouth-breathing, glassy-eyed wanna-believers to read and understand your book of fables.
Comparing the message and contents of the Bible to a single language like Chinese is ludicrous. There is only one language of Chinese, that anyone can learn to speak and understand. The Bible, on the other hand, has over 30,000 different denominations of Christianity, each claiming they correctly know how to properly understand the Bible and God – and many times they find themselves in direct contradictions over a wide variety of issues or tenets of Christianity.
The fables of the Christian book is easy to read, to which any person can interpret and stretch as they see fit. From the Catholics, Protestants, Lutherans, Nazi’s, Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Lords Resistance Army, and so on, any group of self-proclaimed Christians can mold the same single book to meet their preference views to form their own worldviews.
For that matter, any single book that can form and maintain such a wide variety of different beliefs can no doubt be full of competing (perhaps conflicting) messages in its tomes. A single book that claims to be the single source of truth that supports this many conflicting worldviews cannot possibly be a single source for truth to start with.
The Dead Sea Scrolls: “The greatest manuscript discovery of all times”
By William F. Albright
Dating the Manuscripts. Carbon-14 dating is a reliable form of scientific dating when applied to uncontaminated material several thousand years old. Results indicated an age of 1917 years with a 200-year (10 percent) variant.
So here we have Ray using someone who argues for the validity of carbon dating, and yet in the Evolution section of this book, Ray argues that carbon dating is useless. It seems either Ray is wrong or Christians pick and choose when to accept carbon dating whenever it supports their case.
Archaeology Confirms the Bible
In 1968, for example, the skeletal remains of a crucified man were found in a burial cave in northern Jerusalem… There was evidence that his wrists may have been pierced with nails. The knees had been doubled up and turned sideways and an iron nail (still lodged in the heel bone of one foot) driven through both heels. The shinbones appeared to have been broken, perhaps corroborating the Gospel of John. A hidden burial chamber, dating to the first century, was discovered in 1990 two miles from the Temple Mount. One bore the bones of a man in his 60s, with the inscription “Yehosef bar Qayafa” —meaning “Joseph, son of Caiaphas.” Experts believe this was Caiaphas, the high priest of Jerusalem, who was involved in the arrest of Jesus, interrogated Him, and handed Him over to Pontius Pilate for execution.
Granting these are both accurate repeats of the reports and not another misrepresentation by Comfort (which he is very skilled at), this piece shows us two things,
1) a crucified man was discovered in northern Jerusalem
and 2) a priest is found in a tomb.
Here is what that is NOT revealed:
We do not know when the crucified man died (could’ve been in 3 CE, saying “first century” isn’t clear enough)
We have no estimation of when he lived is provided (he could’ve been alive prior to the “first century.”)
We found the bones of a priest’s son, but we do not know if his father was ever involved in such a court case (which frankly, such a case in of itself goes against everything we know about history).
Excavations at Caesarea Maritama, the ancient seat of Roman government in Judea, uncovered a stone slab whose complete inscription may have read: “Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judea, has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.”
Simply revealing that a governor in a story is true does not validate the entire story. Homer’s Illiad tells of king and towns we have verified were real, but that does not mean cyclopes, sea monsters and Greek gods are also real? Of course not.
A discovery in Israel in 1993 of a stone containing the inscriptions “House of David” and “King of Israel,” Time magazine (December 18, 1995) reported, “This writing—dated to the 9th century B.C., only a century after David’s reign—described a victory by a neighboring king over the Israelites . . .The skeptics’ claim that David never existed is now hard to defend.”
Bearing in mind, Time magazine can publish whatever they wish. That aside, the story of the united kingdom of Israel under David and Solomon also seems to be unraveled by archeology. According to the Bible, David’s kingdom consisted of a united Israel and Judah along with other kingdoms he conquered—Syria and Hamath to the north; Moab, Ammon to the east; Philistine to the west; and Edom to the south (2 Samuel 8:3-13; 10). Surely such a vast empire would have left immense archaeological evidence of its existence. The date normally ascribed to King David’s reign is 1005-970 BCE. And although no one doubts the existence of King David, there is no archaeological evidence for his kingdom beyond his existence.
As archaeologist John Laughlin noted: “[T]here is little in the overall archaeological picture of the tenth century BC that can be connected with David.” Whatever evidence there is points to the fact that the story about the grandeur of David’s empire is a myth of a fictional golden age created by later writers. David’s “vast” empire is a myth. If David was indeed king, he never ruled over the vast regions described in the Bible.
Quotes Dr. Nelson Glueck, “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.” Example: the Scriptures make more than 40 references to the great Hittite Empire. However, until one hundred years ago there was no archaeological evidence to substantiate the biblical claim that the Hittites existed. Skeptics claimed that the Bible was in error, until their mouths were suddenly stopped. In 1906, Hugo Winckler uncovered a huge library of 10,000 clay tablets, which completely documented the lost Hittite Empire. We now know that at its height, the Hittite civilization rivaled Egypt and Assyria in its glory and power.
The Hittite Empire is estimated to have lated from 18th to 12th century BCE.
Who were these “skeptics”? It is interesting to note, apologists who often use the Hittites as examples to prove the historicity of the Bible, they never cite or identify who these “skeptics” were. Here is the real picture; for some time, scholars debated whether the Hatti or Kheta on Egyptian inscriptions might be identified with the Hittites. This is not the same as denying that the Hittites ever existed, but is simply associating the Hittite identity with the name identified on Egyptian inscription. It seems the only voice in Hittite denialism comes from M. G. Kyle, who wrote in an essay in The Fundamentals, but he does not name this mysterious denier, but he hints he was one of the best archeologists of his time. This mysterious archeologist may have been E.A. Wallis, but throughout his work he never denied the existence of the Hittites. He just stated that the identification of the Hittites with the Kheta is yet unproved and the association is made on unfounded grounds. This is not the same as denying that the Hittites ever existed.
After 1906, as additional discoveries proved the existence of the Hittites, Wallis updated his work. Wallis was only waiting for the sufficient evidence to become available. This is what ought to be the norm: the time to accept a proposition is when reason and evidence supports it, not before.
Ray Comfort portrays scholars and “skeptics” as a bunch of people who will not believe in anything so long as it’s in the Bible, which is utter nonsense. These are dedicated scholars who are smart enough not to draw conclusions until the evidence is sufficient. While small parts of the stories in the Bible may be somewhat accurate, this does not validate the entire book. There are many huge stories in the Bible that never happened.
Quoting Dr. Joseph P. Free stated, “Archaeology has confirmed countless passages which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts… Yet archaeological discoveries have shown that these critical charges… are wrong and that the Bible is trustworthy in the very statements which have been set aside as untrustworthy… We do not know of any cases where the Bible has been proved wrong.”
Here is the actual quote:
ballat were unhistorical. Yet archaeological discoveries have shown that these critical charges and countless others are wrong that the Bible is trustworthy in the very statements that critics have set aside as untrustworthy.