Historical Truth or Holy Fiction: Did Herod really order the Massacre of the Innocents, or did Matthew just make up a story?

When we think of the Christmas story, our minds go to some dingy, yet warm and cozy places. We picture Mary, Joseph and a swaddling baby in a manger. We see angels, shepherds and the Magi bearing gifts. I can almost hear “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” now. But smack dab in the middle of the Christmas story is a grim and gory tale. In Matthew 2:16 we read of Herod learning of the Messianic king’s birth, feeling threatened and then ordering the slaughter of all the male children 2 and under in Bethlehem. It’s a grizzly story, but it’s a part of the account of the birth of Christ nonetheless. But not everyone believes … Read more

John Allen Chau’s death has sparked questions about the morality of Christian missions. Is missionary work full of “cultural imperialism and insane arrogance?”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now you’ve heard about the death of John Allen Chau. The 26-year old missionary traveled to a remote Indian island in hopes of sharing his faith with an isolated and uncivilized tribe called the Sentinelese. This group was known for their aggression towards outsiders and even fired arrows on his approaching boat. Unmoved, Chau made it to the island only to have been killed the next day. To avoid conflict with the Sentinelese, local authorities have given up trying to recover his body. Chau’s death has sparked a lot of debate about the morality of Christian missions. Let’s just say that the reaction has not been all that … Read more

Critics say that Jesus never predicted his resurrection. These statements were allegedly put in Jesus’ mouth to further their theology. There are two big reasons why that’s false.

Over and over in the Gospels, we read that Jesus predicted his own death and resurrection. Like Babe Ruth, he called his own shot. This prediction may have fallen on deaf ears, but nevertheless, his disciples should not have been surprised on the first Easter. Yet critical historical Jesus scholars tell us that he never really said those things. These were sayings put in Jesus’ mouth after belief in the resurrection. It’s a bit like the story of George Washington admitting to cutting down the cherry tree. It probably never happened even if you did hear it in elementary school. This fun little story was projected backward to make Washington look like he was a … Read more

No, the resurrection accounts in the Bible are not “fake news” because they are written by biased sources. Why the “Biased Testimony” objection fails.

This is the age of fake news. Distrust of the media has never been higher. There aren’t all bad reasons for that. We’ve all seen the press skewing things to suit a political narrative. Both sides have been guilty. It’s gotten so bad, you even have social media companies trying to combat fake news. Funny enough, they often reveal their own biases in the process. And to add to the irony, on those same platforms, we have the President constantly calling out certain members of the press for fake news! So yeah. We got some trust issues. This is the cultural background we’re living in. In this age of hyper-awareness of bias, Christians have the … Read more

Why does the Biblical God need our worship? Is he some sort of egomaniac? Was David Hume right when he said God has a “restless appetite for applause?”

The Biblical God requires worship. Some find that repulsive. Isn’t someone who wants constant adoration prideful? Is God some kind of narcissist? David Hume was a famous 18th-century philosopher. He was also no fan of Christianity. He wrote: “It is an absurdity to believe that the Deity has human passions, and one of the lowest of human passions, a restless appetite for applause”. Before becoming a Christian, even C.S. Lewis struggled with the idea of a God who required worship. While reading the book of Psalms, he thought God was longing “for our worship like a vain woman who wants compliments.” So what’s the deal here? Is God an egomaniac? An egomaniac is someone would … Read more

Skeptics say “You’re only a Christian because you grew up in America. If you were born in Iran, you’d be a Muslim.” While this is wrong, it should make us think.

“How thoughtful of God to arrange matters so that, wherever you happen to be born, your local religion turns out to be the true one.” Richard Dawkins How are you so sure your faith is the right one? Isn’t religion only a reflection of culture? Some might say that you’re just a Christian as an accident of birth. If you were born in Thailand, you’d be a Buddhist!  If you’ve noticed, Atheists and other skeptics of religion bring this up a lot. As if the same type of reasoning doesn’t apply to them. What’s sauce for the goose… Think about it for a second. In the West, Christianity is predominant. But not completely so. Not … Read more

Atheists like Sam Harris say that the Bible advocates chattel slavery. To say that’s an uncharitable reading is an understatement.

Is the Bible pro-slavery? “If God loves us and wanted to guide us with a book of morality, it’s very strange to have given us a book that supports slavery.”  Anti-religious atheists like Sam Harris love making statements like these. They do carry a lot of rhetorical force. And they do seem to throw the character of the God of the Bible in question. Is the “Good Book” not so good after all?   When modern people think slavery, our minds go to pre-Civil war times in America. We’ve all heard the horror stories of the horrible chattel slavery in the South. And the sad reality of it is, there were clergymen who condoned and even promoted … Read more

If believing in Jesus is such a huge deal, why doesn’t he do whatever it takes to show himself to me?

Back in New Testament times, Jesus supposedly worked miracles. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. He has even resurrected himself. He said he did these things so we might believe. (John 14:10-11) Shouldn’t he do the same for me if it’s so important that I’m persuaded? Have you ever heard questions like these? Philosophers and theologians have a fancy term for this. It’s called the problem of divine hiddenness. The problem goes something like this: If there’s a God, he knows everything. He has all power. And he is all good – meaning he loves everyone. If that’s true, he’d know what it would take to convince me. He’d have the power to … Read more

Are you defining faith the same way Richard Dawkins does or the way Jesus does?

There’s this really annoying thing that I see many atheists do. Not to overgeneralize, but I’ve heard it far too often. And it’s that they will persist in defining faith as belief without evidence. Here are some notable examples: “Faith is pretending to know what you don’t know” – Peter Boghossian “Faith is belief without evidence and reason; coincidentally that’s also the definition of delusion.” — Richard Dawkins “Faith is generally nothing more than the permission religious people give one another to believe things strongly without evidence.” – Sam Harris   There’s also this thing annoying thing I see Christians do. And it’s that they’ll basically agree with the atheist. The famous reformer Martin Luther … Read more

There’s one terrible reason to believe the gospels were written late, and there are 7 historical reasons to believe that they were written early

Here’s a question that’s raised by skeptics from time to time. Why were the gospels written a generation after Jesus died? I mean, it’s only the “Greatest Story Ever Told.” Why did it take them so long to write this thing down if it was so important? One terrible reason to believe the gospels were written late: The consensus of critics tells us that the first gospel was written around 70 AD. The other three followed within the next 5 to 20 years. But where does this consensus come from? I’ll be straight up here. This dating comes from historians who rule out the supernatural. You see, Jesus had a lot to say about the … Read more