Question: Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has been getting so much attention lately that I picked up his book, The God Delusion. In one chapter he questions the historical accuracy of the four gospels, points out many supposed contradictions, even says the gospel writers are unknown and "almost certainly never met Jesus personally," and finally declares the gospels to be fiction! I'm a simple person (Dawkins would call me "unsophisticated") and have no trouble resting on Bible verses such as "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God," and "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar," but I'm concerned that there are a lot of folks whose faith could be shipwrecked by Dawkins' lies. They need evidence to rescue them with the truth. Is it a worthwhile pursuit for a simple Christian with the Bible and a high school diploma even to try to stand against this educated atheist?
Response: Of course it is! Christ declared, "If ye continue in my word...ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John:8:31-32). Your confidence is not in your education or intelligence. Remember David's rebuke of the armies of Israel, who were trembling before Goliath and afraid to confront him one on one: "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine to defy the armies of the living God!" He did not approach the giant cautiously in awe or fear but ran toward him with bold confidence. As the Philistine derided him, David shouted, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand." We need that same unshakable confidence in the Lord today!
If you truly know the Lord, know His Word, and are walking with Him, you have all you need to put Dawkins to shame. Don't be awed by this man. He's bluffing. He is no expert on the "historical accuracy" of the four gospels. He has read some critics who start with the assumption that the Bible is not what it claims to be and then try to prove it.
Plenty of books have been written proving the historicity of the Bible that clearly reveal the lie in Dawkins' libel of God's Word. I've written much about the overwhelming proof for the authenticity of the Bible. But let's take an even simpler approach. Think with me for a moment.
The claims of critics who attack the authorship of the Bible are preposterous. They literally charge that the Bible is a deliberate fraud from beginning to end! They say, for example, that Daniel didn't write the book that bears his name. It was written centuries later by an imposter. Where is their evidence?
They are sure that miracles can't happen, so the story of the three Hebrews walking about in a blazing furnace without so much as their hair being singed couldn't possibly be true. Nor could Daniel have survived in a den of hungry lions, so that story must also be fiction. Such is the "evidence" the critics offer. Of course, this is just what Dawkins is looking for, and he passes it along as though he has verified everything alleged by the critics he quotes.
The Book of Daniel contains accurate prophecies concerning events recorded in history that actually occurred four centuries after Daniel's time. The critics don't believe in God-inspired prophecy; therefore what the Book of Daniel says about Antiochus Epiphanes, for example, could not have been written by someone named Daniel who lived in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, who was an eyewitness and participant in the events recorded in the book bearing his name, and who received the prophecies in that book from God. "Daniel" had to be some unknown imposter living 400 years later. The Book of Daniel must be discredited, or readers would begin to believe in Bible prophecy and miracles and thus in God. Discrediting the Bible is what Dawkins is interested in, not the truth that would expose his atheism for the folly that it obviously is.
So it must be, say atheists, with the entire Bible. The level of preposterousness is beyond belief. It would mean, for instance, that there is not an honest author among the biblical writers; they are all liars! It must be one long spoof from Genesis to Revelation. The disciples must have been fictitious characters; Jesus probably never existed; Paul made up a different gospel from that which Jesus preached...and on and on this nonsense goes.
For such a huge fraud to be so well coordinated, century after century, someone must have been in charge to oversee the deceit! This being must be timeless and must have at least intermittent access to men's minds. Who could that have been?
The deliberate lies and duplicity that atheists attribute to the authors, who claimed to have been inspired by God to write down the Scriptures, are beyond credibility. Yet the biblical writers sound genuine. Peter solemnly swears, "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables...but were eyewitnesses..." (2 Peter:1:16). John says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes...and our hands have handled...declare we unto you..." (1 John:1:3). He solemnly swears, "This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true" (John:21:24). Atheists insist that this was written centuries later by a liar pretending to be John! What could his motive have been, and who paid him?
Luke also testifies, "Many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses...it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee...most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed" (Luke:1:1-4). Luke, too, is lying? It would take more faith to believe this ridiculous conspiracy story than to believe the truth.
Furthermore, if these are all liars and the prophecies were written after the fact, why didn't they make the fake prophecies clearer, as cheats surely would have done?