Last night I watched a documentary by Bill Maher entitled Religulous. It was an interesting documentary, to say the least, but walking away from it I was rather disappointed in the message that it presented. Now it was no surprise the Maher portrayed the religions he investigated as incompetent, but what I found most disappointing was that he did not appear to give any of the religions a fair opportunity to present themselves.
The religions he investigated ranged from orthodox evangelical Christianity to Judaism to Islam, but with each group he took a very antagonistic, close minded approach that made it impossible to draw any conclusion other than his, if you do not have religious devotion of your own.
His main doubts surrounded the following areas:
1. The Bible is written by men, therefore it is unreliable.
Answers: Gospels Reliability
2. The Gospels differ in their reports of Jesus, therefore they cannot be considered reliable.
Answers: Gospels Reliability
3. Belief in miracles is absurd (ie. Jonah and the whale, etc.)
4. The events recorded of Jesus, mirror that of other pagan deities (ie. virgin birth, death by crucifixion, rose from the dead, performed miracles, etc.)
5. The New Testament writers had access to the Old Testament during their time of composition, therefore any claims to fulfilled prophecy, regarding Jesus, are simply the New Testament writers claiming fulfillment of prophecy, of which they were already aware.
6. Evolution is a scientific fact. To believe otherwise makes one a conspiracy theorist of the greatest kind.
7. The 10 commandments do not really give us much morality as the majority of them are in regard to our interaction with God. The divine is not necessary to know we should not murder or steal. (Morality does not require the divine.)
8. People that hear voices are mentally unstable. Religious leaders expect us to take their word in regard to communication with God. Why does God not just tell us all?
9. The Old Testament is filled with lots of killing. It makes God look like a petty jealous God.
Now these are all understandable objections. There is nothing wrong with considering these questions, nor with desiring the answers to them. Scripture tells us to love God with all are mind, therefore removing logical doubt is a necessity for obedience to that command. The problem with Maher’s documentary was not that he expressed these doubts. It was that he did so in a disrespectful manner and that he was not truly seeking the answers to these questions. The people he chose to interview were not ideal candidates for answering these questions. There are evangelical apologetic experts in each of the fields he questioned, yet, with the exception of bringing in Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, Maher largely avoided anyone that could speak intelligently on the matters he wished to discuss. He selected the unconcerned and the absurd as interviewees, in order to prove the presuppositions with which he entered this journey. He had decided his conclusion before he assessed the facts.
The reality is, there ARE answers to these questions and they do not entail blind faith. There are individuals that have devoted their lives to the quest for the answers to these questions. Over the next few weeks I will be writing a series of posts in the attempt to provide answers to these questions. For if we are to love God with all of our mind, we must allow Him to remove the doubts that are a stumbling block to the growth of our faith. I hope you will join me in this journey and I hope that it will renew and grow your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Blessings!