Saturday, April 26, 2008
But anyhow, that's whats on tap for tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The authenticity of Christianity is greatly affected by the reliability of the New Testament documents. If they are reliable, the Christian faith is really bolstered. If they are not dependable, then Christianity does not count for a whole lot.
The first proof of the New Testament documents’ reliability comes from the accuracy of the copies that we have. Now, when a historian is doing a textual criticism, there are two things that he would look at: how many handwritten copies are in existence and how close are the copies to the original. Let us compare the New Testament to other similar historical documents. Tacitus’ Annals has 20 copies currently in existence, the oldest of which dates back to 1,000 years after the original was written. Caeser’s Gallic Wars currently has 10 copies, and the oldest copy is also dated at 1,000 years after the original came into existence. The Illiad still has 643 handwritten copies around, the oldest of which is dated within 400 years of the original. Looking at those three, the Illiad seems to be impressively preserved throughout the passage of time. So how does the New Testament compare? There are currently 24,000 handwritten copies of the New Testament in existence, 5,000 of which are Greek and 19,000 of which are in other languages. In addition to that, the oldest copy of the New Testament is dated to less than 50 years after the original! Now, compare the statistics of the New Testament to those of the other three books that I mentioned. The New Testament “blows them out of the water!” Since there are so many copies of the New Testament to look at, it is relatively easy to cross examine them and find mistakes. If you were to talk to an honest textual critic, he would tell you that there is only about 1 percent of the entire New Testament that is disputable at all. And of that 1 percent, there is not a single doctrine that finds its basis in those texts.
Secondly, the original writers were qualified eyewitnesses that recorded current events of the time, and not events long past. How do I know that the writers are eyewitnesses? Well to begin with, the writers claim that they are either eyewitnesses or that they have had in-depth interviews with eyewitnesses about the events that took place. Additionally, the writers include a great many facts that have been verified historically. Luke includes 80 historical facts in the books of Acts, all of which have been independently corroborated. Also, the writers of the New Testament include internal evidence that proves that these accounts were written rather recently following the death of Jesus Christ. For instance, the book of Acts ends with a cliff-hanger: Paul in jail, waiting for his sentence. If it had been written after Paul’s execution, his death most certainly would have been included in the account. In Acts Luke states that his other book was already written, so the Gospel of Luke predates the book of Acts. The vast majority of the prominent critics agree that the Gospel of Luke quotes material from Mark, so Mark must predate Luke. This proves that both Luke and Mark were written only about 20 or 30 years after Jesus’ death. In addition to that, the Gospel of John was most likely written before Jerusalem was destroyed, because John fails to mention this monumental occurrence despite the fact that Jesus predicted that it would happen. So these books most definitely were written shortly after the death of Jesus, and not hundreds of years later. Therefore, it would have been impossible for legend to mingle with the facts because people reading the books would have known what had taken place!
Finally, some atheists assert that the disciples did not tell the truth when they wrote the gospel accounts. But if the gospels had been fabricated, the writers would have to have cast themselves in a good light to add credibility to their tale. That is not how the writers are presented however. The writers are shown to have been cowards who would not stick with Jesus when times got hard. Also, the writers were very careful to distinguish Jesus’ words from their own. If the disciples had put words in Christ’s mouth, they would definitely have including certain items that would have cleared up controversy in the early church. However, that is not what we find. We find that the controversial issues in the early church are issues that Jesus did not discuss. That does not fit with the assertion that the disciples put words in Jesus’ mouth. In addition to those two points, the disciples eventually died for their beliefs. Almost all of them died horrible, torturous deaths. There is no way that they would have gone through the torture that they did indeed go through if they had completely made up the tale of Jesus’ divinity. If you think about these things, the disciples most definitely were telling the truth.
In conclusion, the New Testament documents are reliable. The accuracy of the documents themselves, the fact that original writers were eyewitnesses, and the truthfulness of the disciples all prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. That gives enormous weight to Christianity!
Monday, April 21, 2008
I think that I really needed to hear what Nick Vujicic had to say. Often times, I do tend to focus on how bad things are, and not how I can serve God despite the “circumstances” that I have in my life. Nick learned how to persevere despite the horrible handicap of having no limbs. He innovated, and trusted God to make his life worthwhile. Who of us has any right to complain after seeing all of the things that Nick has endured? It pains me to see somebody so helpless, and so challenged by simple tasks such as putting shampoo in your hair. But how often have I complained? How often have I complained about the fact that I am dirt poor and have absolutely nothing to my name, complained about loneliness, complained about lack of direction, complained about difficulties in my own life, complained about not getting to do what I would really want to do at a given point in time, or complained about not getting something that I think I am entitled to?
However, after seeing Nick and how he deals with his myriad physical trials, it makes me just praise God for everything He has given me. I mean, I could not imagine living life without a single arm or leg, and Nick does it without any! I seriously do not think I could handle the loss of both of my legs. If I lost one, depending on where it was amputated at, I could possibly get a prosthetic. But both? I really don’t know what I’d do. I mean, no more skiing, no more biking, no more running, no more physical activity of any major sort PERIOD! I could maybe race wheel chairs or something… but how boring would that be? No, I could way more easily take the loss of my arms. I still couldn’t bike or mountainboard, but I could easily continue to ski and run. Yeah, you really don’t need arms to ski. They’re helpful, but you can do without. But being totally limbless? I just praise God for the fact that I have full use of all my extremities! I really do not think I could cope with the “circumstances” that Nick was placed in. Praise God for what he has given me!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
(I'm going to need to come up with a way to abbreviate that. JDX1? No. My new Jamis? Eh, its ok. Jamis it is.)Anyhow, its dirt season, but we still have a 130 some in. base at the summit of Big Mtn., with almost 60 in" in the village at roughly 4000'. The valley floor is at 3000, and is only mostly clear of snow. I have heard of some trails down lower in the valley, but I'm guessing even those are going to be way too soupy to ride, especially not knowing the trails in the first place (it could make for a looong, grueling ride... which I have had several of already this year.)
So I've already got 10 days in the saddle, all of which have been road rides, and frankly, I'm ready to rip singletrack. But no singletrack to be had.
So I wander, not like a lost alley cat without a home, but more like a mountain lion on the roam. I suppose it depends on the time of day.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
It makes me sad.
At least all the snow could melt so we could get on with the bike season.