I was just listening to a podcast between a Jew and a Christian. The Christian was an atheist for a long time and then became a Christian. But his theology is maybe lacking and he seems to consider philosophy more important than scripture sometimes and doesn’t consider himself a “literalist” (not sure exactly what he means by that). All this to say, there was a defense of the Torah, religion generally and God, but mostly on broad philosophical grounds such as meaning and morality. While these are tremendously important lines of argument I think, I was bothered by the fact that they aren’t defending scripture by letting it speak. In the conversation Jordan Peterson is mentioned. Peterson is someone who kind of wants Christianity to be true and wants the fundamental premises to be true but can’t bring himself to embrace it as literally true. But I would like to some feedback on why we don’t see more people defending scripture by using the text itself. Some things I have in mind:
-The 70 weeks prophecies in Daniel 9 about the nation of Israel and coming of the Messiah at a very precise point in time which did in fact take place
-The literal fulfillment of a captivity in Babylon as was promised in the Torah
-Isaiah 53 which points to Jesus as the Messiah
-The sacrifices in the Old Testament pointing to the ultimate sacrifice when God provides
-That Jesus was crucified very near Passover, fulfilling the Old Testament feast
-Psalm 110:1 which points to a greater than David given authority by Yahweh
-Jesus’ statement that Jerusalem will be trampled until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, which is remarkably what we see today.
-Daniel’s prediction of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires, before they come into being
-Isaiah’s giving the exact name of Cyrus before he had come into power
This is a very small list in comparison to what could be written and has been written elsewhere. I realize some believers may not agree with the interpretation I’m taking of certain passages. Regardless, I feel like we should be answering skepticism with respect to scripture with the remarkable things that are in it, pointing out as the apostles do in the book of Acts, Jesus is the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament. There is legitimate skepticism of some of the claims in the Bible, however, so much of the skepticism is completely unwarranted. I have a co-worker who was raised in a Pentecostal church and walked away from the faith, who told me he was skeptical of Jesus existence. I explained that was a bit of an absurd position. But that kind hard skepticism of Scripture is the norm in my workplace. How come things like fulfilled prophecies aren’t used as evidence to suggest to our non-believing friends, “hey maybe you are speaking a little too quickly with respect to the Bible?” When a new atheist type raises issues of scripture as if it’s something to be ashamed of, pointing out it’s curious accuracy or fulfillment’s that are clear from either a believing or non-believing perspective on certain topics might be a good way forward. After all that rambling I basically have two questions:
- Why is there so much skepticism of the Bible in our culture even from smart people who seem inclined to take it seriously?
- Is pointing to some of the prophecies in the Bible a good way forward with regard to the rampant skepticism?