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I hope you have read John Cooper's article and looked at the outline of the lessons. We live in an age of extreme doubt. The political circus going on in Washington, D.C., is destructive in many ways. It challenges our confidence in our leaders. It makes us realize that honesty and dedicated servitude are even rarer than we thought. It may even cause us to question some of our beliefs about institutions. Associated with that is growing doubt about God's existence and the credibility of the Bible.
For many senior citizens, belief in God and the Bible as his Word was an inherited faith. I was a rebel back in the 1950s because I was an atheist. When I challenged people to tell me why they believed in God and accepted the Bible as his Word, I usually got a shrug at best or a shove at worst. Those were questions you did not ask. Some of my peers went to church, but their lives did not show that they saw any value in what the Bible said about how we should live.
The same things were true in the time of Jesus Christ. The Pharisees that Jesus disputed and condemned were students of the Hebrew Bible. They spent much time studying and teaching the Scriptures and could quote them. The Jews were not ignorant of what the Scriptures said, but they simply could not apply it to their lives. Religion was a vehicle of expediency to promote social structure and provide a platform for power struggles.
Things have not changed much. As an atheist, I had no difficulty pointing out the hypocrisy of organized religion. Preachers could quote Scripture just like the Pharisees did. Just as the Pharisees engaged in power struggles and compromised their morality, many modern preachers make the headlines for the very same thing.
So do we REALLY believe the Bible is the Word of God? The scientific evidence is very strong that there is “something out there” that orchestrated creation. We can even demonstrate some characteristics of that something, but why should I believe that the Bible is the “Word” of that something. In addition to our personal doubts, so-called scholars bombard us with charges that the Bible is full of contradictions and mistakes. We do not know enough to check out their claims, but we tend to accept anything that relieves us of responsibility for how we live our lives.
My training is in physics, chemistry, and geology. I never took a course in ancient history in high school or college. I had one history class as a sophomore in high school that was very superficial and very secular. I know enough not to get involved in trying to prove or disprove the integrity of the Bible. I have listened to atheist professors. I have seen the attacks on the Bible in the media and have read books by skilled writers who do not believe in God. Rarely have I checked out the claims of these authors, nor have I visited the Holy Land. I became a Christian because I saw the futility and frustration of the atheistic way of life and the wisdom and beauty of the teachings of Christ. Still, I wanted answers to the attacks of atheists and skeptics.
I saw the work of John Cooper, which he presented in a way that I could understand. I knew that people who claimed that the Bible was just a bunch of myths with no academic support were wrong. John Cooper's teaching gave me a much better understanding of why I believe what I believe. He has had significant experience in traveling in the Holy Land and visiting a vast number of archaeological sites. He has listened to and answered challenges from opponents of Christianity in the United States, Russia, and the Middle East.
I urge you to study this series. You can watch it free of charge on our doesgodexist.tv website. You can get it from us on loan or at our cost, or you can purchase it online at www.powervine.store. There is a study guide available for personal use or group discussions. We hope that this series will be a valuable educational tool so we will all know more fully why we believe what we believe.
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Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.