Which one are you going to trust?
Often objectors to Christianity will say something like:
‘You Christians claim the Bible is holy but that the holy books of other religions are not! But the Hindu Vedas and the Qur’an of Islam, for example, are claimed by Hindus and Muslims to be holy—why should I listen to you and not to them?’
Whenever someone challenges me with this, I usually answer by saying,
‘Good point. What you say is entirely logical and fair. But what does “holy” mean?’
‘Of divine origin.’
‘Right—so each of these religions claims that their “holy book” is true, having come not from man but from some divine being(s)? But they can’t all be true, because they contradict one another. For example, the Bible contains the claim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life [John 14:6], and that he died for our sins but was raised on the third day [1 Cor. 15:1–4], and that no-one comes to the Father except through believing in Jesus—which contradicts every other “holy book” that I know of. Many people think that “all religions are the same” and/or “there are many paths to God”, but it’s very clear that Christianity is starkly different from all other religions. For one thing, Jesus Christ is a live Saviour—after having been raised from the dead, he appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses [1 Corinthians 15:6]—while the founders of other religions decayed in their tombs.1 So that is already very strong support for the uniqueness of Christianity/the Bible. Are there any other ways you could test to see which “holy book” is true?’
Most challengers normally appear bewildered at this point, so I continue:
‘While we are here on earth, it’s hard for us to test what each “holy book” says about heavenly things. But where books make claims about earthly things2 … aha! Here’s something we can test. Which book best explains the earth’s geology: why we find mountainous layers upon layers of sediments that look like they were pushed up and folded while still wet, and with dead animals and plants buried in them, all over the world? The Bible! Which book best explains biology: why plants and animals reproduce “after their kind”, why we have male and female, why women have pain in childbearing, why we have an ever-increasing number of mutations and genetic disorders—as if the creation is in “bondage to decay” [Romans 8:20–22]? The Bible!
‘And what about the number and distribution of humans around the world—calculating backwards using standard population growth rates gives us a handful of ancestors around 4,500 years ago, somewhere in the Middle East—doesn’t that fit with what the Bible says?3 Doesn’t it explain why scientists now say “race” is biologically meaningless, as if we are of “one blood” [Acts 17:26]?
‘And agriculture: is it just coincidence that many of our crop plants have been traced back to the “Fertile Crescent” between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which just “happens” to be where the Bible says Babel was located?
‘But here’s the linchpin: no other “holy book” that I know of describes death as an “enemy” [1 Cor. 15:26], which is what it clearly is. Just watch mourners grieving over the death of a loved one; it’s obvious that something’s wrong, death is an intruder, just as the Bible describes. And the Bible not only accurately describes the problem, but also the only logical solution.4 So, if in things that we can test, the Bible wins hands down, which “holy book” are you going to trust?’
In every case when I have put the comparison to questioners in this manner, they have said something like, ‘Wow. I never thought of it in those terms before … thank you!’ They have then realized that of all the different versions of our origins ‘doing the rounds’—whether atheistic evolution or a creation account in a ‘holy book’—there can be only one true account of history, and that account will outmatch its rivals when tested against the evidence in today’s world.
For those who are truly searching for truth and life, Jesus promised that ‘he who seeks finds’ (Matthew 7:8). Now there’s a promise anyone can put to the test. For the Creator of heaven and earth created from one man every nation of men, determining the times set for them and the exact places where they should live, ‘so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us’ (Acts 17:24–27). Why not reach out for Him, and find Him, today?
References and notes
- Thus Jesus uniquely validated His claims to divinity and exclusivity. The articles at Q&A: Did Jesus Christ really rise from the dead? provide supporting evidence. Return to text.
- Cf. John 3:12. Return to text.
- See Batten, D., Where are all the people? Creation 23(3):52–55, 2001. Return to text.
- See Here’s the Good News. Return to text.
There is one other thing about Christianity and the Bible that is unique -
Christianity is the only religion where the God dies for the people, not the people to appease the god.
And the Bible is the ONLY book that explains salvation and presents a God of love.
The Bible is the ONLY book that presents a God of forgiveness.
The Bible is the ONLY book that not only tells the past but prophecies accurately things still to come.
Thank God for the Bible!
Good points. And I would add - why should we trust any pronouncements, whether they claim to be holy/divine or not? The answer is the same - how can we tell what's true? Who best lines up with what we can prove to be true?
Good one. There also are some new-age intellectuals who respond with "Ahhh, we have to move beyond mere logic and reach out with our hearts for the truth..." and they begin to say that all religions have a seed of the truth, but not the whole truth.
These types of people usually are wealthy and not suffering any pain at the moment: when they later fall ill or become poor they often change their minds on this point.
“For those who are truly searching for truth and life.…” This is so true when discussing the truth of the Bible. “For those who are TRULY searching.…” The arguments you put forward, as valid as they are, will fall on deaf ears if the “seeker” is not really seeking. I have come across people who ask questions which, in themselves, are valid questions, but when the questioner is asking in order to mock rather than to seek the truth, no matter how valid or strong the case you put forward, they will not listen. And when they have no way to counter what you say in a truthful or logical manner, they turn to insults. I find that so frustrating, so I can only imagine the frustration the people of CMI, being in the front line, must find it. God bless your persistence, patience and hard work. Thank you for your fantastic insights.
I like this approach in handling holy books in conversation with other worldview followers. The Bible also provides not only cosmos history but also world history because super powers like Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Media, Persia, Greece and Rome in those days affected Israel. No other worldview books, including evolution science, provide the real history account this way.
Fantastic article… I will have to study it so that I can present it as strongly when the same question is asked of me. I agree with Damien S. on how frustrating but also victorious it can be when someone asks the question but ends up mocking or insulting you when you are able to comeback with such a strong answer. It’s like the Jesus said, “Remember, if they hate you they hated me first.” And, “Blessed is he who is persecuted for My name sake." I personally feel victorious in my beliefs when someone mocks me for having been able to confidently answer their question and of course even more so when they are thankful. Again, fantastic article and God bless everyone working in the name of our lord Jesus Christ.
For me, it is prophecy that proves the Bible as infallible. What other 'holy book' has said what will happen in the future, and then it happens?
Great article! Let's stop trying to find "common ground" between Christianity and Islam etc., which there isn't, and show that Christ is the only way to the Father, just as He said He is.