Dear Sam Harris: Yes, There Is Evidence for Christianity
by Matt Rawlings
Evidence:”the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.” (Oxford English Dictionary)
I’ve been reading through the works of Sam Harris, (who is a New York Times Best Selling author and leading atheist apostle) and one of his constant refrains is that no one is justified in being religious for faith is belief without evidence. But is this true?
Christianity claims to be based in history. So it is to historical evidence that we must turn to evaluate its truth or falsity. Harris states that all evidence are logical or sensory in nature. Yet, he seems to really believe that only that which can be brought into a lab and subjected to the scientific method truly produces
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evidence (this is despite the fact that the scientific method cannot be used to prove the scientific method itself!). If, however, he truly thinks the scientific method is the appropriate method then he is committing the logical fallacy known as a categorical mistake. It is like saying there is no such thing as beauty because I can’t measure it.
Let’s be charitable to Sam and assume he simply overlooked this fact. How do we evaluate a historical question? There are a number of factors such as evaluating the source/s (here it would be the New Testament); evaluating the witnesses who produced the source by asking such questions as whether they had anything to gain by fabricating their testimony and evaluating the documents and testimony against what we know about the culture at the time as well.
The Bible, especially the New Testament, easily passes all of these tests. For example, we have thousands of copies of ancient New Testament manuscripts that agree more than 99% of time (that’s amazing considering they were hand copied). While the Gospel writers have different theological agendas (much like different sermons preached on different Sundays) they agree on the general outline of the life, teachings, actions, death and resurrection of Jesus. This is despite the fact that they were written years apart…