Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
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our presuppositions are sometimes hidden in a way that makes them hard to uncover and recognize.
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many of these same historians simultaneously reject the historicity of any of the miracles described in the New Testament, in spite of the fact that these miracles are described alongside the events that scholars accept as historical. Why do they accept some events and reject others? Because they have a presuppositional bias against the supernatural.
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Anyone who tells you that he (or she) is completely objective and devoid of presuppositions has another more important problem: that person is either astonishingly naive or a liar.
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If there was a God who could account for the beginning of the universe, lesser miracles (say, walking on water or healing the blind) might not even be all that impressive.
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science (the systematic, rational examination of phenomena) and scientism (the refusal to consider anything other than natural causes).
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The forces in our universe, both small and large, appear to be fine-tuned to make life possible.
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Darwinian evolution cannot produce truly objective morality.
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When we treat circumstantial evidence as though it is not evidence at all, we do ourselves a disservice as ambassadors for the Christian worldview.
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The New Testament accounts repeatedly use words that are translated as “witness,” “testimony,” “bear witness,” or “testify.” They are translated from versions of the Greek words marturia or martureo. The modern word martyr finds its root in these same Greek words; the terms eventually evolved into describing people who (like the apostolic eyewitnesses) remained so committed to their testimony concerning Jesus that they would rather die than recant.
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Not all memories are equally important or memorable.
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the more we understand the importance of words, the better we become at discerning their meanings.
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read the Gospels for yourself and examine every word. We each have the obligation to do the heavy lifting for ourselves.
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We all have enough expertise to begin to question the use of specific words and develop a richer understanding of the biblical text if only we will become interested readers of Scripture.
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In the vast majority of textual additions that have been made to the Bible over the centuries, the changes have been so insignificant as to have very little effect on the content of the narrative and virtually no impact on the important doctrinal claims of Christianity.
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All ancient documents also contain textual artifacts. If we reject the entirety of Scripture simply because it contains artifacts of one kind or another, we had better be ready to reject the ancient writings of Plato, Herodotus, Euripides, Aristotle, and Homer as well.
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Our martyrdom would therefore be a demonstration of this trust, rather than a confirmation of the truth.
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While it’s reasonable to believe that you and I might die for what we mistakenly thought was true, it’s unreasonable to believe that these men died for what they definitely knew to be untrue.
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distinctions between reasonable doubts (that are grounded rationally) and possible doubts (that are grounded emotionally).
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A world in which people have the freedom to love and perform great acts of kindness is also a world in which people have the freedom to hate and commit great acts of evil. You cannot have one without the other.
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Don’t expect someone to respond to your reasoned arguments when the evidence wasn’t that important to him or her in the first place.
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Tolerance used to be the attitude that we took toward one another when we disagreed about an important issue; we would agree to treat each other with respect, even though we refused to embrace each other’s view on a particular topic.
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Tolerance is now the act of recognizing and embracing all views as equally valuable and true, even though they often make opposite truth claims.
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Skeptics often have an advantage in communicating their opposition and alternative theories simply because they are more aligned with the culture they are trying to influence.
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The broad and general elements of the Gospels are imaged for us by the ancient nonbiblical authors of the first and early second centuries, and they are confirmed by the archaeological record.
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These councils did not create the canon or the current version of Jesus we know so well; they simply acknowledged the canon and description of Jesus that had been provided by the eyewitnesses.
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The disciples were consistently described as having chosen a life of material poverty in pursuit of spiritual truth.
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The disciples were not prejudicially biased; they were evidentially certain.
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The most reasonable inference is that the gospel writers were present, corroborated, accurate, and unbiased.
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The gospel eyewitnesses had something very specific to say about Jesus. They did not give their lives sacrificially for personal opinions about God; they gave their lives because their claims were an objective matter of life and death.
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While only some of us are gifted and called to be evangelists, all of us are called to be case makers. It’s our duty as Christians.