I am a former believer-in-Christ who became a non-theist because of the Bible (see Why I am not a Christian and The Real Reason I Am Not A Christian). I desperately want to believe again, but I can’t. Can you help me? If you’re a Christian, I’m calling on you to fulfill 1 Peter 3:15, “ …Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”
I need help overcoming my stumbling block, which is the Bible itself. I used to find it trustworthy, but I no longer do. It was during my attempt to fulfill 1 Peter 3:15 that I lost my faith, completely. My hope was based in large part upon the Bible, which I thought was inerrant.
The reason I say I can’t believe any longer is that my belief, like everyone’s, is based on weighing evidence in favor against evidence in opposition. I used to believe because I had significant evidence in favor of the Bible being wholly true (I believed in inerrancy which explained away things that seemed like errors, my authority figures were convincing, and the Holy Spirit – which was probably just my own mind – confirmed my beliefs). As I examined the reason for my faith I took a closer look at the Bible and the errors I saw caused me to drop Biblical inerrancy. Then the scales shifted so that there was more evidence in opposition to the Bible being trustworthy than there was for it. After that, while my faith was in jeopardy, I learned about the fallacies of the mind that lead to false beliefs, and I understood how all the supernatural claims of the Bible could have come about and how generations of people could have held those beliefs for millennia, even if they were false. The way I see it now, this scenario is far more likely than even one of those supernatural claims being true.
So what’s the problem I found it scripture? It’s not that easy. It wasn’t just one. I still go to church and almost every church service and Sunday school class leaves me scratching my head at the obvious problems that nobody else seems to recognize (or at least speak-up about). I will get to them in this blog, but at this moment, I have a different question. The problem is, I could list out all the errors I can think of, but even if I could find a possibly resolution for all of them (extremely unlikely) it wouldn’t bring me back to faith. For that I need some objective justification (e.g. some evidence) that the Bible is not only trustworthy, but sufficiently trustworthy to take its word on supernatural claims. It is full of statements that are far more likely to be made up than true. So why should we believe they are true? What is the reason for that hope?
This is where I need your help. Can you justify why you trust the Bible that much? Why is it more likely that Jesus rose from the grave than that such an event was made up? What evidence is there to outweigh the natural evidence against it? Is the Bible really inerrant? Is that claim objectively justifiable?
Belief in Biblical inerrancy is not justified without sufficient supporting evidence. Most writings are not inerrant. Inerrancy is an unusual state for any complex assembly of ideas. As such, the default belief about any such complex work is that it contains errors. Pick any book you can think of. Especially a non-fiction work such as a history book. You probably assume it is capable of having errors, and likely does have some. What about the holy book of a religion not your own? Don’t you assume it has errors? So what objective justification do we have for the belief that the Bible is without error, and therefore we should trust it even in supernatural claims?
I’ve been writing here with a great friend and amazing person, who is a genuine follower-of-Christ. Pascal is working through some things with me, but we think differently and I would be missing a great opportunity if I didn’t reach out to you. You may have an insight that could save my soul and those of my family and beyond.
Please understand, many of the arguments you may come up with are not new to me. I’m familiar with some apologetics and have read books on the subject, but I haven’t seen anything convincing enough to justify belief in the Bible’s supernatural claims. Maybe you know of some evidence I haven’t seen. If you want to reference a book or article, please do, but please explain the arguments you think are compelling in the comments.
Pascal, I know you want to move on, but I also direct this to you. We’ll get to more specific reasons I don’t trust the Bible. You’ve mentioned why you believe, but can you tell me why you do trust the Bible enough to believe its supernatural claims in spite of the evidence against it?
Gentleness and respect,