Book Discussion Day 12: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

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Chapter 11 – The Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament Writers Told the Truth

The top ten reasons we know the New Testament writers told the truth.66

  1. The New Testament writers included embarrassing details about themselves.
  2. The New Testament writers included embarrassing details and difficult sayings of Jesus.
  3. The New Testament writers let in demanding sayings of Jesus.
  4. The New Testament writers carefully distinguished Jesus’ words from their own.
  5. The New testament writers include events related to the resurrection that they would not have invented.
  6. The New Testament writers include more than thirty historically confirmed people in their writings.
  7. The New Testament writers include divergent details.
  8. The New Testament writers challenge their readers to check out verifiable facts, even facts about miracles.
  9. New Testament writers describe miracles like other historical events: with simple, unembellished accounts.
  10. The New Testament writers abandoned their long-held sacred beliefs and did not deny their testimony under persecution or threat of death.

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Three radical beliefs adopted by New Testament Christians after abandoning their old beliefs.67

  1. Sunday, a work day, as the new day of worship.
  2. Baptism as a new sign that one was a partaker of the new covenant in place of circumcision, the sign of the old covenant.
  3. Communion as an act of remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for their sins.

Communion is especially inexplicable unless the Resurrection is true.  Why would Jews make up a practice where they symbolically eat the body and drink the blood of Jesus?68

 

Pre-Resurrection Belief Post-Resurrection Belief
Animal sacrifice Unnecessary because of Christ’s sacrifice
Binding Law of Moses Nonbinding because it was fulfilled by Christ’s life
Strict monotheism Trinity (three persons in one divine essence)
The Sabbath Replaced by Sunday worship
Conquering Messiah Sacrificial Messiah (he’ll conquer when he returns)
Circumcision Replaced by baptism and Communion

 

Finally, in addition to abandoning long-held sacred institutions and adopting new ones, the New Testament writers suffered persecution and death when they could have saved themselves by recanting.  If they had made up the Resurrection story, the certainly would have said so when they were about to be crucified (Peter), stoned (James), or beheaded (Paul).69

Summary

In chapters 9 and 10 the authors proved we have an accurate copy of the early and eyewitness testimony found in the New Testament documents.  The question for chapter 11 is whether the documents were invented, embellished, or exaggerated.  The chapter proves that they were not.  The writers simply had no motive to lie, and every motive to admit they were lying if they had.  The lasted remaining objection by skeptics then is that the New Testament writers were deceived.  They sincerely though Jesus had risen from the dead, but they were wrong.  Chapter 12 deals with that theory.70

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Discussion point

How much faith does it take to believe the New Testament?  Faith is often a missunderstood word.  The faith that Christianity is based on is basically belief that because Jesus is God, committing to Him results in an eternal existence based on forgiveness of sins we committed.  Sins that were judged and punished with the crucifixion of Jesus.  Do you think the book makes a persuasive case that believing the New Testament is actually true takes a lot less “faith” than disbelieving it, as atheists and others choose to?

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66 Geisler & Turek pages 275-290 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

67Geisler & Turek pages 292 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

68Geisler & Turek page 292 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

69Geisler & Turek page 292 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

70Geisler & Turek page 297 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

 

 

 

 

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