Kathy, a friend of mine who is also a teacher, shared with me a conversation she had with some of her students. One of them, William, made this comment, “Well, I don’t believe in the Bible because the Bible was written by men and men lie.” She shared that comment with me, knowing I enjoy answering tough questions and then blogging about them. Kathy asked me, “So how would you respond?”
My first response is one that Kathy actually mentioned as we chatted about it, but she shared she did not think of it till after the conversation. Typical of all of us, so often we think of responses after the conversation.
You could ask someone who made that comment, what lie are they talking about? Be specific and try to understand exactly what they mean. Someone might actually have a passage or passages in mind when they say that, but more often than not some might just be echoing what they have heard others say about the Bible being written by men and since men lie, the Bible must have lies.
Asking them what lie they are talking about places the burden of proof on them. They made the claim that the Bible has lies, so it is their responsibility to shoulder the proof of that claim. That is a logical fallacy called burden of proof : “The burden of proof lies with someone who is making a claim, and is not upon anyone else to disprove.” 1
People make statements or claims about the Bible all the time, and then expect you to disprove them. Remember, if they make a claim, clarify what they are saying. Make sure you understand what they believe and then work from there. It could be that you completely misunderstand what they are saying. Greg Koukle, a Christian apologist, says to ask, “What do you mean by that?” as a common way to clarify what they are saying.
Another question that came to mind is to ask does the fact that men lie, and they do, mean they are incapable of writing down something that is true? Of course not. Yes men lie, men lie all the time, but does it follow that men can’t tell or write the truth? No. Men also tell the truth; does it follow that they can only write something that is true?
Just visit a few web sites, magazines, or books, and you will find material that is true and you will find material that is false. Men are just as capable as documenting truth as well as a lie. In fact, when you consider the persecution the apostles suffered, from their new Christian perspective it would be obvious to anyone that they would have been better off changing their story to avoid beheadings, stonings, and crucifixions themselves.
Norman Geisler and Frank Turek listed several reasons they believed the New Testament writers told the truth. Here are a few to consider.
1. New Testament writers included embarrassing details about themselves. How many times did they fail to understand Jesus? Luke 24:25-27 is just one example. They fall asleep when Jesus asked them to pray for him. Mark 14:32-41 They run away and hide when Jesus is taken away, and Peter denies him after saying he never would. Matthew 26:33-35
2. The New Testament writers included more than 30 historically confirmed people in their written accounts. If they are lying, they would not have added in people that could prove them wrong. Yet the apostles included names such as Pilate, Caiaphas, Festus, Felix and others who would and could disprove their claims.
3. The New Testament writers abandoned their long held sacred beliefs and practices even under persecution and the threat of death. No doubt the lives of the apostles changed, and the lives of anyone who accepted Christ as their savior. If it was a lie, don’t you think at least one of them would have come clean to avoid death? It is obvious they believed that Christ rose from the dead. But someone might say, “Well the terrorists from 911 were willing to die for what they believed to be true also, and we have suicide bombers every day.” Yes, but the significant difference is they terrorists died believing in what they thought to be true. The disciples died for what they had seen and heard because they were eyewitnesses to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. 2
We can understand why a religion, or world view, would take hold and spread if it is imposed militarily. Stalin, Mao, and Hitler are examples of that. Yet, for the Christians whose humble beginnings started with their leader being crucified, and then for 280 years his followers were tortured and killed for their beliefs, suggests not only did they tell the truth, but were willing to die for it. “How else can you explain why scared, scattered, skeptical cowards suddenly become the most dedicated, determined, self-sacrificing, and peaceful missionary force the world has ever known?”3
J. Warner Wallace was an atheist for years. He is an L.A. homicide detective and investigated cold cases. He began with the intent of disproving the truth of the New Testament authors, but instead was compelled to become a Christian after his determined investigation. Wallace wrote, “The New Testament accounts repeatedly use words that are translated as ‘witness’, ‘testimony’, ‘bear witness’, or ‘testify’. They are translated from versions of the Greek words marturia or martureo. The modern word martyr finds its root in these same Greek words; the terms eventually evolved into describing people who, (like the apostolic eyewitnesses), remained so committed to their testimony concerning Jesus that they would rather die than recant.” 4
Finally, Robert Van Voorst wrote a book titled ‘Jesus Outside the New Testament’ In it he lists several sources that confirm the figure of Jesus, events surrounding his life, and his teachings. Pliny the Younger, Thallos a Greek historian, Tactius, and Flavius Josephus are a few he mentions. Josephus mentions James the brother of Jesus, and that Jesus was a wise man and able to do wonderful works.
Yes, men lie, but the evidence that supports the truth of the Bible is significant to say the least. Those that doubt the claims of the Bible need only to spend a little time investigating to see the the truth.
1. Richardson, Jessie. Smith, Andy. “burden of proof” Your Logical Fallacy is. Yourlogicalfallacyis.com, 2015. Web. 12 April 2015.
2. Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway, 2004. Print.
4. Wallace, James Warner. Cold-Case Christianity. Colorado Springs: David C Cook Publishing, 2013. Print.
Men Lie by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.knowingforsure.com.