All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2Tim. 3:16-17)
While fierce spiritual skirmishes have been raging all around us for many years, not enough Christians have been sounding the alarm or entering the fray. The time is therefore long overdue for the church to get fully engaged in the critical battle for hearts and minds before it’s too late. We should have learned from what happened during the earlier cultural clashes of decades past (prayer, Bible reading, and the Ten Commandments removed from our schools; the legalization of abortion) when the country was sent reeling by a sudden social upheaval that caught us flat on our heels. The average citizen shockingly woke up one day and discovered that the freedom-defending America they had come to know and love was fading fast. And subsequent seismic cultural shifts in our legal, political, social, educational and moral landscape are continuing to take their devastating toll on our Judeo-Christian underpinnings.
Tragically, many believers still remain largely unconcerned while they dangerously downplay the ominous storm clouds that have been gathering now for quite some time. The enemies of truth, on the other hand, show no signs of relenting, but are actually ramping up their assaults. So, the narcoleptic believers who warm the pews every Sunday in our local congregations need to quickly shake off their lethargic tendencies and get onto the battlefield before the criminalization of Christianity becomes a full-fledged reality.
More specifically, in America and the larger Western world, we are currently witnessing a mainstream, full-throttle attack upon the credibility of the Bible. A far-reaching network of Left-leaning media outlets and a substantial contingent from pop culture circles have vociferously functioned as a misinformation machine for the threefold juggernaut of militant homosexuality, abortion and secularization. And the younger, Millennial generation has unfortunately been one of the primary victims of their deceptive campaign to radically undermine core, traditional values. To validate preferred vices and undermine all sources of moral authority, the aggressive forces of corruption have been targeting Christianity by placing its foundational book in their crosshairs. God’s Word is the inspired repository of timeless truth, but its pages are being shamelessly treated like toilet paper by our numerous anti-religious opponents. To demonstrate the scope of the problem, what follows is only a small sampling of the disparaging comments made by well-known personalities about the Bible. Many more will be cataloged throughout an upcoming series of articles entitled Shattering the Lies About the Bible.
Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t!, the Emmy-nominated Showtime series, aired from 2003-2010. It was hosted by professional magicians/comedians Penn and Teller, who utilized the show as a profanity-laced platform to discredit an array of popular misconceptions and supernatural phenomenon. During Season 2 in an episode entitled The Bible: Fact or Fiction?, the ill-mannered duo were up to their usual, over-the-top antics. The entire profane presentation was devoted to hurling incendiary accusations about the Bible being historically, scientifically, and archeologically inaccurate.
The foul-mouthed Penn introduced the program by arrogantly declaring, “Tonight, we’re going to take you through the d*mn Bible and show you that it’s full of inaccuracies, inconsistencies and outright impossibilities; that it’s more fiction than fact and that ain’t bullsh*t.”
True to form, the atheist tag team of Penn and guest Michael Shermer performed their rhetorical theatrics with a flair that would make the organizers of professional wrestling’s WWE SmackDown proud. Both of them pompously rattled off a rehashed laundry list of straw man complaints and supposed contradictions which scriptural skeptics have exasperatingly lodged ad infinitum against the Bible. It was just another irreverent – and failed –attempt to impeach the veracity of God’s word. The episode’s blasphemous and predictable indictments included several patently false claims about the authoritative Word of God, asserting that among other things, it contains or endorses:
- Two contradictory Genesis accounts
- Genocide against innocent men, women and children
- Stoning a disobedient son
- Selling a daughter into slavery
- A death sentence for any and all types of work performed on the Sabbath day
Penn repeatedly ranted and raged about Christians who conveniently “pick and choose” which biblical commands they will or will not follow. However, the program actually presented nothing more than a non-contextual parody of the Bible to perpetuate the aforementioned and other common misrepresentations about its cultural, punitive, social, ritual and hygienic guidelines.
With his ever-silent sidekick Teller walking compliantly beside him and holding a hollowed-out Bible that contained a handgun, Penn concluded the segment by sacrilegiously spouting off, “Take some time and put the Bible on your summer reading list. Try and stick with it cover to cover. Not because it teaches history, we’ve shown you it doesn’t. Read it because you’ll see for yourself what the Bible is all about, it sure isn’t great literature. If it were published as fiction, no reviewer would give it a passing grade. There are some vivid scenes and some quotable phrases, but there’s no plot, no structure; there’s a tremendous amount of filler and the characters are … painfully one-dimensional. Whatever you do, don’t read the Bible for a moral code. It advocates prejudice, cruelty, superstition and murder. Read it because we need more atheists, and nothing will get you there faster than reading the d*mn Bible.”
Prop 8 – The Musical was a controversial 2008 comedy skit that boasted a star-studded cast of actors including Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Margaret Cho, John C. Reilly, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones, Allison Janney, Craig Robinson and many more familiar faces. During the farcical drama presented by the “Sacramento Community College Players,” Jack Black “miraculously” appeared center stage as Jesus to distort the Bible and lampoon the supporters of traditional marriage.
John C. Reilly, who played a caricatured version of a leader of “hate”-spreading religious zealots, approached Jesus and inquired of him, “Doesn’t the Bible say these people are an abomination?”
“Yeah, but you know, it says the exact same thing about this shrimp cocktail [holding up a wine glass containing shrimp and cocktail sauce]. Leviticus says shellfish is an abomination,” Black lyrically continued, “The Bible says a lot of interesting things like you can stone your wife or sell your daughter into slavery … Friend, it seems to me you pick and choose. Well, Please choose love instead of hate…”
In a mocking response to Gov. Mick Huckabee’s comment about not being able to “just evolve” on the biblical mandate regarding marriage, Jon Stewart, comedian and satirical host of The Daily Show, scoffed, “I can’t just change with the times if it means deviating from biblical law. It’s why Huckabee never mixes fabrics in his clothes, or trims his beard or sleeps with another man’s slave – it would be wrong.”
In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama also took a few swipes at the sacred during a speech at a Sojourners’ conference in Washington, sneeringly asking, “Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay and that eating shellfish is an abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?”
On MSNBC’s the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell in 2013, the host discussed the removal of Pastor Louie Giglio as a benediction speaker at President Barack Obama’s second inaugural ceremony due to a nearly 20-year-old “anti-gay” sermon. Then, O’Donnell launched into a Bible-trashing tirade, crassly dismissing it as an antiquated book that virtually nobody can agree with in its entirety.
“No one accepts all of the teachings of the Bible — no one. There are no literal followers of the word of God as presented in the Bible left on earth,” O’Donnell sneered, “If there were any, they would have to be burning people at the stake all day, every day.”
Next, after contemptuously claiming that true Bible believers are required to execute prostitutes, adulterers and Sabbath breakers, O’Donnell resumed his derisive diatribe, “The Bible has more death penalties in it than Texas law … This time, as it was last time [at the first inauguration] for the first time in history, the book will be held by a First Lady who is a descendent of slaves. But the holy book she will be holding does not contain one word of God condemning slavery. Not one word. But that same book, which spends hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages condemning all sorts of things and couldn’t find one sentence to condemn slavery, does indeed manage to find the space repeatedly to condemn gay people, as the now banished Louie Giglio said it did. As the First Lady is holding that book for the President, sitting somewhere near them will be a pastor who the Inauguration Committee will make sure is much more adept at hiding what that book actually says than Louie Giglio was.”
Not to be outdone, Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s Real Time, got in on the obscene action during a 2013 episode of his show. “The Bible is so flawed … I mean, it’s just so full of either nonsense or viciousness,” Maher seethed as he unleashed another one of his epic rants, “Explain to me how a book that’s written by God who’s perfect has so much – it’s pro-slavery, pro-polygamy, it’s homophobic. Yeah, God in the Old Testament is a psychotic mass murderer. You know, this, I mean, there’s so many things in it. And I always say to my religious friends, you know, if a pool had even one turd in it, would you jump in?”
Prominent and best-selling English author Richard Dawkins really laid the scathing, anti-God smears on thick in his heretical book The God Delusion when he wrote, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
In a 2012 open letter written to Pastor Margaret Court and published in Australia’s Herald Sun, tennis great Martina Navratilova penned the following words to her former on-court opponent and fellow Wimbledon champion, “You frame the whole gay issue in religious terms and quote the Bible. While I am not a theologian, I do know these same Bibles have been used in the past to justify slavery, to deny men of colour [sic] the right to vote, to deny women the right to vote and to try to deny inter-racial couples the right to marry.”
“As we all now know,” Navratilova remarked, “the Bible was wrong on these issues and perhaps more importantly, fundamentalists have been on the wrong side of history over and over again; it seems to me they are on the wrong side when it comes to equal rights for gays and lesbians.”
The Amazing Randi, a famous Canadian-American stage magician and paranormal debunker, relishes the opportunity to cast anti-Bible aspersions at believers. “We find religion in so much of our history, our philosophy, our everyday lives, and our legal system. Miscegenation was banned based on Biblical rules, slavery was justified by the same book. It’s convenient to have an ancient set of rules to back up odious actions and behavior,” he once fumed.
Former Fear Factor host, Ultimate Fighting Championship commentator and comedian Joe Rogan expressed his disdain in the most vulgar way, blasting Bible-believers with this colorful invective, “They’ll talk bad about homosexuals while they’re eating a shrimp cocktail. Yo, dude, you’ve gotta read the whole book, because there is more sh*t about not eating shellfish than there is about being gay. You’re not supposed to eat shrimp, you’re not supposed to eat pigs — there is a lot of sh*t that you’re doing wrong — you’re not supposed to work on Saturday. You’re not supposed to have religious tattoos, you f*ckhead. You’re not supposed to tattoo your body. That is in the Bible. People have religious tattoos. Talk about not reading the whole book.”
There has regrettably been a never-ending, pseudo-intellectual barrage of assaults made upon the integrity and factual nature of God’s Word. The forthcoming articles in this series are written in direct response to the coordinated defamation being carried out by the anti-theist intelligentsia, mainstream media, homosexual operatives, Left-wing activists, spineless politicians, Hollywood liberals, a rogue judiciary and biased pundits. This virulent cabal of Bible loathers, is unconsciously colluding to undercut the moral authority of the Bible, and their relentless efforts are contributing to cultural rot and are also accelerating our momentum towards a godless abyss. However, when proven apologetic methods are utilized, the typical falsehoods and Scripture-twisting interpretations are eviscerated, and the Christian’s arsenal is equipped with an overwhelming preponderance of Bible-supporting evidence, facts and information. In the end, the Scriptures are always revealed as God’s magnum opus, displaying a masterful internal consistency despite the fact that it was composed by numerous, unique authors over the course of several centuries. Every objective, clear-thinking individual will therefore ultimately arrive at a resounding verdict regarding the Scripture’s enduring reliability and morally superior standards.
As the noteworthy father-son apologists Josh and Sean McDowell wrote in their co-authored book The Bible Handbook of Difficult Verses,
“Conservative Christian theologians do say that the Bible is without error (inerrant), but what they mean is, when all the facts are known, the Scriptures as they were penned by the authors in the original writings and as properly interpreted will be shown to be true not false in all they affirm. This would naturally be the case if God is actually the author of Scripture. It stands to reason that if He inspired certain men to reveal His words, He would be sure not to contradict Himself, so that his Word would be error-free.
“There were 40-some authors of the 66 books of the Bible. It was a complex process for God to communicate his message through such a diverse group of men over the span of about 1,500 years. Yet, He miraculously brought his Word together. It was as if He were composing a perfect musical masterpiece using a 40-piece orchestra […] In a similar way, God used the different authors to impart His message clearly to us, no matter who we are or how varied our human experience might be” (pgs. 11-12).
The late Biblical scholar and theologian Gleason L. Archer, Jr. really hit the nail right on the head when he contended, “As I have dealt with one apparent discrepancy after another and have studied the alleged contradictions between the biblical record and the evidence of linguistics, archaeology, or science, my confidence in the trustworthiness of Scripture has been repeatedly verified and strengthened by the discovery that almost every problem in Scripture that has ever been discovered by man, from ancient times until now, has been dealt with in a completely satisfactory many by the biblical text itself – or else by objective archaeological information. The deductions that may be validly drawn from ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, or Akkadian documents all harmonize with the biblical records; and no properly trained evangelical scholar has anything to fear from the hostile arguments and challenges of humanistic rationalists or detractors of any and every persuasion. There is a good and sufficient answer in Scripture itself to refute every charge that has ever been leveled against it. But this is only to be expected from the kind of book the Bible asserts itself to be, the inscripturation of the infallible, inerrant Word of the Living God.” (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pg. 12)
What is Apologetics?
Dr. Norman L. Geisler, dean and distinguished professor of theology and apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary, provided the following succinct definition: “Apologetics is the discipline that deals with the rational defense of the Christian faith” (Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, pg. 37).
Author and founder/director of the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Apologetics Project, Dr. Gannon Murphy explains further, “Since Christianity posits a certain knowledge and understanding of God, it is the task of the Christian apologist to demonstrate the grounds of biblical revelation and to establish why placing one’s faith in Christianity is not only reasonable but also existentially vital.
“Christians have a biblical mandate to engage in apologetics. Peter said, ‘Always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence’ (1 Pet. 3:15). The word translated here as ‘make a defense’ is the Greek, apologia. The apologist par excellence from biblical times was the apostle Paul himself. The Bible tells us that Paul ‘reasoned’ with unbelievers to explain the truths of Christianity to them. Paul used terms and arguments his contemporary audience could understand, and he provided ‘reasoned’ responses to their objections (e.g.: Acts 17:17). Paul instructed others to carry on the apologetic task, saying that we must ‘demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God’ (2 Cor. 10:5).
“One need not possess great intellectual gifts such as Paul’s to engage in apologetics. Christians rather should make use of the particular gifts God has given them while providing answers ‘for the hope that is in [them].’ The goal of apologetics is not to win arguments for the sake of winning arguments or to engage in some kind of intellectual one-upmanship. It is, instead, to offer to unbelievers — with ‘gentleness and respect’ — that which helps them see the light of Christ more clearly. The apologist is charged with removing obstacles, especially intellectual ones, which hinder a faith commitment to Christ. We must recognize, however, that it is ultimately the work of God through grace alone that results in one’s salvation. Paul asserted this truth: ‘It is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God’ (Eph. 2:8). Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623–62) once wrote that ‘it is the conduct of God, who disposes all things kindly, to put religion into the mind by reason, and into the heart by grace’ [Pensees, 185]. Along with Pascal, it has been the firm conviction of apologists throughout the centuries that arguments do not, in and of themselves, convert; rather, true Christian conversion is rightfully attributed to the work of God in grace.”
Dr. Frank Turek is a popular speaker, debater and the President of the very effective apologetic ministry CrossExamined.org, which airs on numerous radio and television stations across the country.
“Why would anyone, or why should anyone become a Christian? Why should anyone place their faith in Jesus Christ – a man who lived over two-thousand years ago?,” Turek pondered, “There have certainly been various and sundry answers to this question throughout this history of Christianity. Christian apologetics is the both the science and art of answering this question by using reasons and evidence.
“The word apologetics first appears in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:15 where the Apostle Peter addressed early Christians in Asia Minor (a Roman province) who were suffering persecution because of their faith in Christ. He writes:
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason (logos) for the hope that is within you: yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV).
“Within this one verse, Christian apologetics is summarized nicely. Christian apologetics can be summarized in two parts: (a) objective reasons and evidence that Christianity is true (it corresponds to reality) and, (b) the communication of that truth to the world.”
From a biblical standpoint, the Christian apologist has three overarching goals, which can only be achieved through the supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit.
- Evangelizing Purpose: To provide intelligent responses to what unbelievers think are insurmountable obstacles to Christianity.
- Equipping Purpose: Ground believers and equip them with an effective rationale to mount a reasoned defense of their faith.
- Explaining Purpose: To provide coherent answers to the world’s contemptuous allegations and attacks upon the Bible.
A culture in its death throes desperately needs the beleaguered Bride of Christ to boldly and courageously march back onto the front lines of this, the most crucial battle for souls. And remember too that nothing and no one can defeat the fully equipped and mobilized church of Jesus Christ. Not even “the gates of Hades will … overcome it” (Matt. 16:18). Our Heavenly Commander-in-Chief has graciously seen to that fact by supplying every single believer with His formidable armor: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:10-13).
While there are certainly human foes marshaled against us, the real “struggle” is spiritual in nature. The true enemies of Christ and His church are Satan, his demonic minions, and the spiritual forces of wickedness active in the world. One of the essential articles of armor listed in Ephesians 6 is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (vs. 17). This “double-edged sword” is the principal offensive weapon given to each faith warrior (Heb. 4:12). By adeptly wielding the unblunted Scriptures, we are empowered to cut the evil one and his lies down to size.
For God has powerfully promised through the prophet Isaiah, “No weapon forged against you will prevail” (Is. 54:17). So, let’s advance in tight formation and utterly shatter the lies about the Bible!