A fellow over at Vox Day asks a pertinent question: How do I know that Christianity is true?
Here’s his full question:
“Thank you for your blog. I started reading it through WND then over the last several months have learned a lot about being a beta. I was raised in Christian churches and accepted Christ at an early age but looking back I was playing church. After [many] years of a rocky marriage my wife filed for divorce. We hadn’t attended church in about 14 years and I decided to go to a local congregation.
For the first time I’m actually going because I want to learn about having a better Christian walk. The trouble I’m having is I want to know what I’m talking about when I talk to someone, (e.g., ex-wife) about Christ and the Bible. I am no Bible scholar and I only have basic answers to her talking about discrepancies in the gospels and the story of a virgin birth savior being included in other religions.
I believe God’s word should stand up to legitimate scientific scrutiny but I can’t say, “well, it is a fact that this or that original text confirms what the modern Bible translations say.” I really want to know what I’m talking about.
Are you able to direct me to sources so I can start to really know I’m basing my faith on a sound foundation? Maybe I’m not showing faith by asking this question but I think I need to know for me.”
A commenter below recommends Strobel. Barf. Strobel is terrible stuff. Unless you’re a midwit it won’t satisfy you.
Here’s what you need: Josh McDowell’s “A Ready Defense” and “Evidence that Demands a Verdict.” Available on Amazon.
If you want to go beyond those, there are copious footnotes to follow.
McDowell is an atheist who set out to disprove Christianity and wound up converting based on the evidence.
It’s primo stuff. It converted me at age 9-ish when I challenged my faith, and it’s withstood every subsequent check.
Here’s a link to some attempted refutations of Josh McDowell. I’m going through it. So far, not impressive.
Here’s an answer prompted by a question from Frost:
Well “Evidence that demands a verdict” is 800 pages, whereas “A ready defense” is 400 pages of the “best of”. So start with “A ready defense.” There are really only a couple of critical sections; the rest is optional.
The only thing that McDowell isn’t good for is fitting the Genesis account into a scientific account of the big bang from the standpoint of an earth observer, factoring in relativistic time. But you don’t need any of that to convert. Let sleeping leviathans lie… there are plenty more like that one when you’re ready.
After you convert, read the 4 gospels, and NOT the rest of the New Testament, until you properly appreciate their standing relative to Jesus’ own words. Feel free to read the Old Testament as well. However, the next step after reading the Gospels would be to read Vox Day’s Wrath Trilogy. Be forgiving of the slow beginning, like Tolkein he takes a bit to get going. After that, read Milton’s Paradise Lost and Shakespeare’s collected works and Tolkein’s collected works. Then you’ll have an understanding of Christian civilization, spiritual principles, and worldview .
Then it’s time to understand the Bible more deeply, which requires understanding Church and Biblical history. I’m still working on this stage myself. Just reading the Bible by itself will expose you to many potential errors, and I say that as someone who has read it multiple times.
Optionally, you can choose the advanced course in Christian civilization and ancient history by reading Texas Arcane and Cambria Will Not Yield. You should also read Voice of the Martyrs for an idea of what’s currently going on. And Vox Day is a good all round source.
And of course, if you have any respect for atheist attacks on Christianity, you should begin with Vox Day’s The Irrational Atheist before reading anything else.