Now you got a real problem. To assume the Bible is completely true, we're going to already have to believe in the existance of God.
To completely believe in God, and that he said the Bible was His Word, then we need to accept belief in the Bible.
While this statement most likely isn't 100% accurate for all people, we are looking at the general case, not the exceptions. I recognize that if you believe in 'a God' then you don't necessarily have to believe the Bible through and through. On the other hand, you can believe in portions of the Bible, and still walk away saying, "the history was good, but I don't swallow that moral stuff."
The biggest problem is in understanding the Bible. We can't get this from just having answers fed to us by something of 'Godly authority.' We need to look and seek our own answers, and we need to be able to confirm them one way or another. From what we can understand of the Bible and see from the world around us, we will need to see if that raises our vote of confidence in the Bible's validity.
None the less, Catch 22. To do so is going to be difficult.
Not quite. We're going to have to use our logic here for a second.
If we deduce the Bible is nothing but a bunch of hewey, then we can dismiss this whole thing and look for a new theory.
If we decide the Bible is accurate, then we should be concerned with what's inside it... because it holds the answer to our questions.
For the purpose of this discussion only, we shall assume a premis that the Bible is accurate and attempt to disprove it. This is actually easier to work with than it might seem. The Bible claims God is able to foretell the future precisely, and, in fact, He stakes His reputation on it. So a direct frontal attack on prophecy would seem like a logical place to begin. If man can't even tell what the weather is going to be like tomorrow with 100% accuracy, then we have a fairly strong foothold here.
Darwin's theory didn't have any checks and balances like these, just speculations of instances, we either had to accept it or reject it based on if the idea seemed somewhat sound... even then there were a lot of holes left unfilled, or at least contrary to genetics as we know it. Here at least we're given a fighting chance.
This is good and bad at the same time. The good part is that the Bible contains a lot of history and we can check that part out. The Bible also talks a lot about the future, so if the Bible says something will happen and it doesn't then we got it on this count too. Remember, for the writers in the Bible our present and past was part of their future. So things they say will happen may have already come to pass.
The bad part is that many parts of the Bible were written at a time when it just wasn't a cool thing to be writing. And so many things in the Bible are written symbolically. This means we're going to have to crack the code, and this means work. Luckily, we can do this with minimal effort.
17 of the 39 books of the Old Testament are prophecy. One whole book of the New Testament is prophecy. So we'll have a lot of resources regarding prophecy available. Hundreds of these prophecies have been fulfulled already, so we'll be bias in the extreme and ignore them. If the Bible said something would happen, and later the Bible said it did happen, for this moment only, we'll assume something could have been tampered with and that possibly "history was re-written." So we'll focus our aim at two books: Daniel and Revelation. Both books are very much misunderstood, and people have a lot of weird theories about them (which contain a lot of holes), and both have to do with our present time. The goal:
- DECODE DANIEL AND REVELATION
- FIND OUT WHAT MODERN-DAY PROPHECIES WERE WRITTEN
- CONFIRM OR DENY BASED ON HISTORY AND OTHER TEXTS
- IF EVERYTHING FITS, DECODE WHAT IS YET TO HAPPEN
The Bible will have to meet the following critera:
- Accounts of the past must be historically accurate
- Accounts of the future must, if the event has happened, be accurate and recorded somewhere
- The Bible must be consistent and not contradict itself or its message
- Have understandable and reasonable symbolism
For me, if this book accurately can state the past, I'm willing to read on. If it can foretell the future with blinding accuracy, then I will choose to accept what it is saying is for real, that something supernatural had a hand in foretelling knowledge that is just inaccessable to man without help of some kind.
Furthermore, I don't want a part of anything that is contradictory, immoral, or the like. I'd like to not feel like by being a part of a religion I'm losing anything (or anything I'd deem important) and I'd like to have a better understanding of the truth of what's happening around me and my purpose in it.
To date there are horoscopes, psychics, palm and card readers, etc... all of whom claim to be able to tell the future. There isn't a 1-900 number that wouldn't be happy to take your money. If someone really could tell the future, wouldn't it be far more specific than "you will see someone new today" and certainly wouldn't it be better to do it to help people than to bring in a buck? I'd certainly expect to see these psychics getting very rich in the stock market.
Fortelling the future is going to be a big topic of discussion here. If something can tell me a future, accurately, then I am going to assume it is fairly accurate (if not an amazing piece) of literature. And if it tells me that, as well as other things, there is evidence of a God that I can interact with (perhaps not see yet) and test, I'm willing to raise that faith index a little higher.
According to the Bible, God has inspired the text and to prove that there was a divine hand in it as He has provided events of the future; no other book can make this kind of claim. God has told us that we are not to tempt Him; we are not to manipulate God into doing our bidding or forcing Him to prove Himself by doing 'magic tricks.' He won't respond. However, we are told we can test God. If we take any promise given (watch out for conditional promises), and we put faith enough to act in it, or to make a request as to make a testimony of God's case, God promised to follow through.
Regarding prayer, God typically has three answers: Yes, No, and Wait. It's important to note that we are told to do God's will, which is a clearer and more important understanding than our own. If we say, "Make me rich, and I'll believe." You're putting demands on God. If we're unselfish and have a non-self-centered purpose for the prayer, God responds. We can't just jump in, "make a wish" and see if it comes true. But if we discover any promises during our exploration, we can hold God true to them. Note that some promises are conditional and demand something of us, usually something we find hard to part with. Yet, we're assured that what we gain will be far greater than what we think we're losing.
If at this point we can prove the Bible is a valid document; that it holds historic and future events, some already occured; that it offers a single united message; that it offers something worth having; and explains the way things are here and in the unseen, then there's good reason to moving onwards. If we disprove it, then we can abort this path early and look elsewhere. However it is important that we don't take pieces out of context or try to fit them into a mold, and if it doesn't work proclaim the Bible is false. We need to be fair and take it in evaluating each step as we go, deriving information from the Bible, not trying to match what we think we already know. This is where many who have come this path have faultered. Starting with a blank slate and an open mind is the only way we're going to see truth.
Evolution caught on because it seemed like a sound idea and showed pictures of a transformation from one animal to another [incidently the same can be done with vegtables and fruits ... how did those 'evolve'?]. Is a man-drawn picture more crediable than a past, present, and future unraveled infront of you along with many other wonders explained about improving your life.
What if the God-theory proves to be a valid once by offering more than just ideas? At this point we have to be willing to say to ourselves, "if there is a God, then let Him understand I am trying to find Him, and I am presented with a reasonable case, then I accept it." This is not a pushing off of relgion, but rather an appeal to say, if the theory appears sound then blanket rejection none the less would be illogical just because it involves the topic of what some call supernatural. ( The word supernatural has some Pagan connotations in it, regarding to spells and mystics. Perhaps the correct word to describe the topic is divine. )
Ready to move on? I hope so. There's no point in willing to try to prove a theory if one is deliberately set out with the mind set to reject it regardless of evidence, steps, and logic.