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God new evidence

GOD: new evidence

Contents

Jesus Myths

What's in the series?

(1) Was Jesus a real person?

Did Jesus really exist? What evidence is there for his life outside of the Bible? First video in the series 'Jesus Myths,' exploring modern myths about Jesus.

 

(2) Are miracles possible?

Are miracles possible? One reason people do not believe the Bible's accounts of Jesus is because of the miracles in them -- he walks on water, he raises the dead, and so on. But we know from science that things like that don't happen. Or do we?

 

(3) Did Jesus do miracles?

One reason people do not believe the Bible's accounts of Jesus is because of the miracles in them. If you have already made up your mind that there is no God, no amount of evidence is likely to persuade you that Jesus did miracles. But if you think there could be a God, you are more likely to look at the evidence with an open mind. So just what is the historical evidence that Jesus did miracles?

 

(4) How many copies of the Gospels?

One modern myth is that we do not know what the people who wrote the Bible's accounts of Jesus said. Before printing was invented, these accounts were copied by hand, again and again, and mistakes and deliberate distortions have crept in. So how many hand-written copies of these accounts are there?

 

(5) How does the evidence compare?

How does the evidence for the documents in the Bible compares with the evidence for other ancient documents?

 

(6) How big are the differences?

One modern myth says that the differences between the hand-written copies of the Bile's accounts of Jesus undermine what we can know about him. So how big are these differences?

 

(7) Telephone game?

Skeptical scholars often compare the way the Bible's accounts of Jesus were passed on with the children's telephone game, where children whisper a complicated message from one to another. In the process the message is corrupted, and at the end everyone has a good laugh. But how good is the comparison between this game and the way the Gospel stories were passed on?

 

(8) The earliest hand-written copy

Skeptical scholars used to believe that the Bible's accounts of Jesus were written hundreds of years after he lived, by people who did not know anything about the historical Jesus. In this video professor Dan Wallace describes the discovery of the earliest copy of one of these accounts, the John Rylands Fragment of John's Gospel, known technically as P52. This discovery overturned the ideas of scholars, and showed that the accounts had been written much earlier than they thought.

 

(9) Real places in the Bible's accounts

The Bible's accounts of the life of Jesus name real places, like Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin, and real features of the city of Jerusalem, like the pool of Siloam and the pool of Bethesda. This shows that the writers had access to reliable testimony from people who knew the places first hand.

 

(10) Real people in the Bible's accounts

The Bible's accounts of the life of Jesus use the right names for people, and get it right which names were popular and which were unusual. This shows that they were about real people, and were based on reliable information from individuals who knew first hand about the people in the accounts.

 

(11) Eye-witness testimony

According to Professor Richard Bauckham, the people who saw and heard Jesus were still alive, and still telling their stories, when the Bible's accounts of Jesus were written. The Gospel accounts are based on the testimony of eyewitnesses.

 

(12) Minor characters

One modern myth about Jesus is that the Bible's accounts were made up and altered during a long period when they were passed on by word of mouth. According to Professor Richard Bauckham, people in the ancient world would have recognised the Bible's accounts as biographies. Such biographies had to be based on living memory. The writers of the Bible's accounts give us different clues that they are using eyewitness testimony. One of these is when they give us the name of a minor character who does not play a central part in the story.

 

(13) The main witnesses

The Bible's accounts of Jesus are based on the testimony of eyewitnesses -- they were biographies based on living memory. One way they show this is how they use names. The official witnesses to the life of Jesus had to be people who were with him from the beginning of his ministry, such as Simon Peter.

 

(14) Who wrote the Gospels?

For the past couple of hundred years, skeptical scholars have rejected the traditional authorship of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). They have said that these were probably added later to give credibility to documents whose authors were unknown. We do not know for sure who wrote the Gospels. There is a lot to be said in support of the traditional authors. But even if these names are not right, the Gospels are still based on reliable testimony.

 

(15) Did the writers spin their accounts?

One modern myth is that the stories about Jesus were made up to meet the needs of the Christian communities where they were told. The fact is that the writers applied the stories about Jesus to their situations, but this does not mean that they made up the stories, or altered the facts to fit their agendas.

 

(16) Contradictions?

One modern myth about Jesus is that the Bible's accounts are full of contradictions. The fact is that the Bible's accounts were written in line with the historical standards that were used at that time. So (for example) the order of events was not as important as the fact of the events. The Gospel accounts are not as precise as a modern historian would be, but we can still trust them.

 

(17) Did Jesus claim he was more than a prophet?

One modern myth about Jesus is that he was just a teacher or prophet, and his followers turned him into the Son of God many years later. What does the evidence say? Did Jesus claim or imply that he was anything more than a prophet?

 

(18) When did Jesus's followers first believe he was the Son of God?

The central claim of the Christian message is that Jesus is the Son of God. The last modern myth we want to look at in this series says that it took many years for people to start believing this. So how long did it take for Jesus's first followers to come to believe he was the Son of God?

 

(19) What difference does Jesus make?

What difference does Jesus make to us today? Jesus's followers believed that he was much more than a teacher or prophet - that he was the Son of God. If God really has come into our world in Jesus, what could be more important than to believe him and follow him? The most important thing you could do is to examine the evidence for yourself and make up your own mind about him.

 

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