Is it a requirement of the faith that all adherents must believe in the literal flow of events as conveyed by the Bible surrounding the life of Jesus Christ? Is it possible for someone to accept his teachings as presented, while still doubting or even disbelieving entirely some or all of the events presented therein? Is it necessary to be fully convinced in the events of the Passion, the betrayal of Judas, and all of the events contained therein to be a Christian? If not, were is the line drawn? Is it necessary to believe that Jesus actually walked on water, or can that tale be accepted as a morality tale without accepting that it literally happened?
Is Belief in the Historical Accuracy of Gospels a prerequisite to Christianity? [closed]
Personally, I do believe all events portrayed actually happened.
However I do not think there is any requirement in Christianity that you understand or even believe everything just perfectly so -- cross your t's and dot your i's -- in order to be saved. You can not be convinced of the exact details in the gospel accounts and still believe in Jesus as savior. Do you or do you not believe that He is Lord, the only way to the Father, the one who secured God's forgiveness for your sins? If so then there is lots of grace for our doubts and confusions.
My question in return would be: Why? What is the point? Also, how did you get there? Let's take the walk-on-water example. If you believe Jesus is who he said he is, something had to convince you of that. If the accounts we have of His miracles are to be distrusted and discarded, how are we to trust the accounts of His teachings about being the only savior of men? If his disciples fabricated the story of His walking on water, what business have we to trust the teachings they spread throughout the area in the years following?
There is room in Christianity for all manner of mis-directed beliefs. Our salvation depends on the person and works of someone else, not our own. We would all be damned if we had to get every detail right. However, if we HAVE been saved, I think it is part of our calling to learn as much about Him as we can as rightly as we can. There is no excuse for deliberate disbelief or being picky-choosy just because you don't LIKE something that He taught.
I think much doubt can be found/encountered in the fact that even if you completely believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the stories of his life and times have been passed down to us via your everyday fallible human being. It seems natural to assume that things could be lost/distorted/misinterpreted over 2000 years of history; the fear is that some of those mistakes/errors may affect some fundamental tenet of the faith.– GWLlosaSep 3, 2011 at 15:11
6@GWLlosa: 2000 years is irrelevant, the part that's a concern is the first 80 years or so. After that we have a large corpus of copied texts that all indicate the same thing. However, this is actually one of the best explanations for "why are there 4 gospel accounts"? The assorted witnesses we have to the events of Christ's life and teachings -- all in different words and styles -- point us in EXACTLY the same theological direction. The lack of doctrinal conflict between them in spite of the varied viewpoints is one thing that helps us trust their historical as well as doctrinal accuracy. Sep 3, 2011 at 15:17
4@GWLlosa: The number of manuscripts and their the lack of deviation between them for the NT record is actually in a league of it's own as far as textual criticism goes. Here is one link I just found on the subject. Sep 3, 2011 at 15:21
Weren't there other texts from that era? I hear about gospels of everyone from Judas to Mary Magdalene from time to time. So isn't it possible that the 4 gospels agree so well because some later fallible humans picked the 4 that agreed and discarded the rest?– GWLlosaSep 3, 2011 at 18:05
3@GWLlosa: Actually there are dozens of them. About every other year National Geographic does some special on a new one. The thing is, none of them are relevant to Christianity. They all trace to sources or secs outside Christianity, often several hundred years later after the reliable original texts that we have. They almost almost all have agendas other than representing who Christ was and what he taught. They are not first-hand reports. If you have questions about a specific one of these that would probably be an appropriate question to ask here. Sep 3, 2011 at 18:25
I guess you can take the bible on blind faith. It is not the most potent witnessing tool though (Blind faith that is).
The historical basis should be the starting point for any talks with non believers as the take a logical stance on these matters of facts. Something that usually garners respect from the naturalist in the crowd.
We are lucky that we have a religion that intersects with the physical world in a very real way. It does give it a great deal of credibility. So it should be every Christians ace up his sleeve.
I once had a deacon say to me "Everything in the Bible is true. And some of it actually happened."
Basically I believe most of what is in the New Testament happened, or something close to it.
In the Old Testament, I believe some of the historical stuff like where they are talking about which kings did this and that (it seems as believable as any other history), but in the earlier books like Genesis where they talk about Noah and the Ark and Jonah and the whale and those stories, not so much.