‘I can understand the frustration of the skeptic when he encounters a Christian defending his convictions by merely citing the Bible with no quantification. It frustrates me too. Why would the Christian expect the skeptic to grant the Bible the same level of authority as does the Christian? Regardless of how situationally inappropriate ‘because the Bible says…’ is, the skeptic’s objection that because it’s the Bible, it is therefore disqualified from being a source, is equally misguided.
The problem is that the dismissal lacks justification. For example, “you only believe homosexuality is sinful because the Bible says so”, or “you only believe in Jesus’ resurrection because it says so in the Bible” are given regularly, but what is left unexplained is why the Bible doesn’t count as a source. This dismissal is applied to nearly every truth claim made by Christians.
The objection requires too many unsubstantiated assumptions to be true and which must be justified in order to conclude that the Bible is not a reliable source of moral or theological information. Some examples:
- God does not exist therefore it cannot be a reliable nor authoritative source.
- The Bible is written by unreliable and/or biased authors.
- Because the Bible is a religious text it is disqualified as an authority.
- The Bible, due to its age, is unreliable.
- Because the Bible contains supernatural events it is unreliable.
These implicit assumed-to-be-true conclusions must be argued for, not simply presumed. For some skeptics, these are asserted as though they are undisputed truths. And in fact they would be good reasons to reject the authority of the Bible if they were substantiated.
I’m not suggesting that the authority of the Bible shouldn’t be argued for. But if it is going to be automatically impeached only because it is a religious text, the skeptic is going to have to demonstrate why its being a religious text disqualifies it. Skeptics aren’t free to dismiss out of hand the Bible as a source simply because it is the Bible without any substantiation.