Did you know that some people don’t believe we landed on the moon?
Seriously. They think that NASA tried, couldn’t, and faked it on a TV soundstage to save face before Russia.
They’ll tell you there is “evidence” to prove it. They’ll pepper you with dozens of “facts” that will supposedly doom your beliefs about the Apollo program.
Some of these facts are actually intriguing and can catch the layman off guard. “Why aren’t there any stars in the lunar photographs?” “Why didn’t the lunar modules leave any craters?” “How could the astronauts’ air-conditioning work in the vacuum of space?” “Why is so much Apollo 11 telemetry missing?” “Why do the astronauts’ memories seem to contradict each other?”
Their strategy: to present an elephantine list of supposed problems with the Apollo accounts, and then hope you’re overwhelmed by the sheer length of the list.
And when you launch into a blow-by-blow rebuttal of each and every point, they spring their trap.
“OH, COME ON!!!” they say. “You look ridiculous. If there are this many holes, it can’t possibly be true!”
And yet…they’re still wrong.
Here’s why: their approach isn’t scientific. Dozens of unconnected, unrelated problems? It’s sloppy and amateur. Your rebuttals in defense of the moon landing, on the other hand, fall into broad but strong categories. The positive evidence for the Apollo landings. The differences between life on the moon and lief on earth. 1960’s technology. The quirky nature of personal recollections.
Apply those simple categories to the pile of “contradictions” and massive swaths of them go away. The remaining few aren’t nearly as imposing.
What does this have to do with the Bible?
By itself, it’s just good history.
But I bring it up today because you’ll get the same thing from skeptics of the Bible.
You’ll meet people convinced that the Bible was “debunked” as a reliable document decades ago and you just didn’t get the memo. That it’s filled with inconsistencies and errors of every type – literary, historical, archaeological, scientific.
Maybe you aren’t interested in apologetics (the intellectual defense of Christianity). Maybe the field seems daunting to you. I get that.
But if you think you’re overwhelmed now, wait until skeptics unload their wagon of “gotchas” on you. They’ll make no distinction between Christians who know how to defend the Bible and Christians who don’t. Once you’ve been put through a lecture on how Matthew records two Gadarene demoniacs and Mark and Luke only one, or how the Bible claims pi = 3, or how no third-party evidence of Jesus Christ exists, or whatever else they remember “just off the top of their head”…
Well, you’ll know a creeping, uncomfortable doubt.
Even if you can refute the first wave, they’ll spring the “OH, COME ON!” trap on you. “If the Bible were true, it wouldn’t need this much defense.” And then load on more gotchas. It’s a big book.
Don’t fall for it.
Weaksauce is the best word I can summon for this “throw everything at the wall and see what stucks”. It’s remarkably similar to the way conspiracy theorists go about “debunking” the moon landing.
The defenses are similar, too. Although it feels ludicrous to slog through a litany of supposed mistakes in the Bible and correct them one by one…well, if there are answers, then there are answers. Like the moon landing, the defenses are systematic while the criticisms are scattershot. (The reverse is true of the Book of Mormon, for example.)
Call skeptics on this lazy strategy. If they’re going to try being “intellectual”, they should at least take a rigorous approach. (Those don’t succeed either.)
And then share with them the love and salvation of Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, and authoritative Word of God. People have been trying for centuries to disprove that. It hasn’t worked. Don’t be thrown by how much of our society is built around the belief that it has.
We can trust the entire Bible, and we can trust its message of hope, deliverance, and life through Jesus Christ, “the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27)