I stated earlier that i typed faith wrong. And please watch the video instead of just insulting my religion, ignoring my post in almost every way.
I did go ahead and listen to the entire set of videos that you posted. I can tell you that it is not especially compelling or new but Mr Baucham is certainly a powerful, articulate speaker with a passion for what he preaches. I can see why it would be compelling for someone who already believes or wants to believe in the Bible or someone who is easily persuaded by slick talkers. However, we have dealt on this forum with each issue he raises many times and they don’t provide any good reason to believe the Bible is true.
I would guess that what we are supposed to find interesting about Voddie Baucham's video is his set of reasons to believe in the Bible which can be found first at about 1 minute into the second segment of the series. He starts by saying that believers usually give poor reasons for believing in the Bible like "I was raised that way" or "I tried it and it worked for me." He says that to be taken seriously they need to have a reasoned response when people ask them why they choose to believe in the Bible. So he starts off well but then he doesn’t really do what he says he’s going to do. He says that he has a reasoned response and this is it, "I choose to believe the Bible because it's a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report to us supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claim that their writings are divine rather than human in origin."
Of course, anyone who has checked out the conversations on this forum knows that we have already dealt with all of these claims. While it may be a more specific and detailed response, it really isn’t a reasoned response. It is still essentially just believing what others have said without evidence. He gives no well reasoned arguments although I suppose he might actually think he does. The claim that the stories in the Gospels are eyewitness testimony is very weak and we have discussed it at length in several threads. And even if some of the words in the Bible came from eyewitnesses, the words were heavily embellished as they were handed down by word of mouth for decades until they were written down. We can tell this because even within the books of the Bible we can see a progression of increasing mythic grandeur from the newest to the oldest writings. We also have writings of others from the time of Jesus that don’t mention him or any of the events that should have been earth shattering if they had actually occurred. Where is the reporting of people rising out of their graves when Jesus was crucified?
Mr Baucham uses 2nd Peter 1:16-21 as his proof that the Bible is authoritative eyewitness accounts of supernatural events of a divine origin. To sum up his assessment of this passage, he believes the Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents because the authors say it is. The authors say they witnessed supernatural events that were divine in origin. Apparently he thinks people who claim to be eyewitnesses are undeniably telling the truth. He also doesn’t seem to realize that eyewitness accounts are typically rather unreliable. If this were not so, we wouldn’t ever need courts or trials. All we would need to do is go ask an eyewitness what happened. In his world, it appears that no one ever lies or makes mistakes when they claim to have witnessed something. He talks about eyewitness testimony and never provides any other evidence - not a single thing. He just believes what the Bible says because it claims to be written by eyewitnesses who claim to be telling the truth and claim to know that what they saw was divine (not human) in origin. How hard do you think it would have been to pull the wool over the eyes of a person living in first century Galilee? This was an age where superstition was everywhere and scientific knowledge was virtually nonexistent. These were credulous people willing to believe in all sorts of cockamamie nonsense. And how in the world does one say that something had a “divine origin”? What standard is used to tell if something is divine or human in origin? I just wonder what these people would think of David Copperfield.
Mr. Baucham says we can be sure that no one changed any of the manuscripts of the Gospels because “we can get as early as 120CE with some of the copies that are in existence” while copies of documents referring to other historic figures can be thousands of years after their life. Apparently no hanky panky can go on in just a century. He says that for the Bible we have more extant manuscripts that were written much closer to the events than we do for other historic figures but we don’t have a problem believing that they existed. How many times have we heard that canard? This claim is true in some cases but it is only part of the story. There is a lot more to say about those manuscripts than just how close they were written to the events in question.
How many of those other historic figures demand that we live our lives based on their teachings and threaten us with eternal torture if we don’t? How many of those other figures have followers who control and manipulate millions of people and cause them to indulge in hatred, bigotry and murder? There is a lot more reason to be skeptical of some historic figure that demands your worship and total obedience than for other historic figures no matter how important they were in their day. It is also interesting that he fails to mention that for other historic figures there are many contemporaneous corroborating documents while for the life of Jesus there are precisely zero contemporaneous documents corroborating the stories. There was absolutely nothing written about Jesus during his life. He also fails to mention that there is physical evidence of many other historic figures but none for Jesus. Mr. Baucham makes a big issue out of minor facts about the Bible but completely glosses over or ignores many important questions about it.
When it comes to changed texts in the Bible, he came up with a strawman to argue about. In this strawman some overzealous monks changed the gospels secretly and replaced the real ones as if anyone thinks that is how changes got into the Bible. He thinks that in a time when only a few highly educated people could read and write, when all documents had to be written down by hand and there were seldom two copies of the same document in any given location that it would have been impossible for anyone to change what these documents say. But even though this is a nonsensical argument, it isn’t even relevant because it isn’t how the theology of the Bible was changed. He doesn't mention that all of the gospels were written anonymously in different countries and in different languages than that of the participants (read eyewitnesses). It doesn't bother him that the earliest date we can ascribe to any of these documents is many decades after the supposed events and they were clearly derived from oral traditions. He doesn’t mention the hundreds of inconsistencies in their stories about the same events. In fact, he calls them internally consistent. I have to ask, what Bible is he reading?
When he asked everyone to turn to Psalm 22 he mentioned that back in Jesus day, if he wanted to ask you to turn to Psalm 22, he would not have been able to tell you to look it up by the numbers because the verses have only been numbered for a few hundred years. He said he would have to tell you to look it up by the title of the section which was “the first line of the verse.” Then he wowed the audience by quoting the first line in the original language (a nice bit of misdirection). He didn’t mention that no one had copies of these documents in which to look up anything - well no one except Priests or other church leaders. He didn’t mention that most people (perhaps over 90%) were illiterate. He seems to think that people in Jesus’ day went around with their own copies of scrolls they could read. This kind of anachronistic thinking is a key problem in everything he says. It is the very reason his strawman argument makes sense to him. He thinks nothing in the books the Bible came from could have been changed because everyone would notice it didn’t match what their Bible scroll said. Listening to him one would get the impression that he thinks the books of the Bible were linked together from the beginning or at least a few decades after Jesus death. He wouldn’t want to mention that they were selected from hundreds of possible candidates for the canon by church leaders hundreds of years later based on nothing but what they personally believed. The real history of the formation of the canon is nothing like what most Christians seem to think happened. They seem to believe that God decided what books should be included or that each book was written to be specifically included in the canon. They think we know who wrote these books and when they wrote them. They also think there are no forgeries in the Bible. It appears that Voddie Baucham has never heard of the textual critical method because he says we should determine the validity of the Bible like we determine things in court. He also says that science can’t help us to determine if any of it is true because the scientific method can’t be applied to history. However, it can be applied to many of the claims in the Bible and every time it is applied, the Bible loses.
I thought it was funny when he quotes Psalm 22 and is so amazed that the story of Jesus in the Bible matches with so many of the details. It apparently never occurred to him that those who wrote the New Testament wrote these things about Jesus specifically so they could say that his life matched the prophecy. Even at that he went through some extreme linguistic contortions to make some of the words in Psalm 22 match Jesus death. For instance when it says “a band of evildoers encompass me” he says “one on the right and one on the left.” Apparently being between two thieves is being encompassed by a band of evildoers. I think it is clear to any serious scholar of the Bible that what is said in the New Testament about Jesus was intentionally retrofitted to the Hebrew Bible. The early Christians needed authority to support their claims and the only way they could get that was to steal it from an older religion. But in this case, as with all of the others, the Hebrew Bible wasn’t talking about Jesus in Psalm 22. It was talking about Israel as often was done in the Hebrew Bible.
When he says the Bible is corroborated he says "What's corroboration? Oh I don't know, maybe three languages (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic), three continents (Asia, Africa, Europe), over forty authors most of whom never met one another
, who wrote over a period of some 1500 years, and tell one singularly woven together story. How's that for corroboration?" I don’t know about you but I would answer him that it is pretty lame corroboration because it just isn’t true. The Hebrew Bible does not remotely tell the same story as the New Testament and even in the New Testament, the authors don’t tell a consistent single story. The Gospels contradict each other all over the place. The other books in the Bible introduce even more contradictions and inconsistencies. I want to make a point here that this is a Christian who is clearly saying that the Old Testament is valid and important to the Christian religion. He’s not throwing it under the bus. I suspect he will do that if the right argument comes up. But for this one he is happy to include it as “corroboration” for the story of Jesus and his version of God. Just try talking about Numbers 31 with him.
The kicker is in the last segment where he says, “We have no external evidence that would argue against the Bible’s claim to be the word of God.” Does that sound familiar? We are constantly being asked to prove their claims wrong. There is no evidence that would argue against unicorns existing but we don’t just accept such claims. There is no evidence that would argue against Zeus being the creator of the universe but we don’t accept those claims either. There is no evidence that Mohammad wasn’t visited by the angel Gabriel or that Joseph Smith wasn’t visited by the Angel Moroni (as well as God and Jesus) but we don’t accept those claims (well, most of us don’t). In any case, I think that is a pretty bold statement even if you go by Voddies’ standards. If eyewitness evidence is always reliable and valid, at least when it is in the Bible, what about all the people in the Bible who believed in other god’s and said that the Hebrew God or the Christian God was false. If we can believe the Bible, these people were there and witnessed the events. They did not believe the claims of Christians or Hebrews were true. Maybe that’s why he said there was no external
evidence to prove the claims of the bible are untrue.
Well, this is too long so I’ll stop now although I could go on talking about prophecy and other aspects I missed.
Now, I have listened to your “evidence” and have found it wanting. What else do you have?