For far too long, we have allowed the foundation of faith to be relegated only to metaphysical “truth” rather than actual “facts.” Indeed, many shy away from talking about the facts of their faith, preferring instead the personally emotive, distinctly modern and substance-free “personal truth” as a guide for conversations.
I’ve grown weary of people talking about their “truth,” when what they mean is their disjointed and often irrational opinion. To steal a line from the late John Nance Garner, that “truth” isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit.
Frankly, a faith that isn’t built on a foundation of facts isn’t worth much – no matter how much “truth” we feel is behind it.
For generations, we have been told to think of faith as a purely metaphysical experience, something in which we can “believe” without the burden – or support – of facts. This is emotional hogwash, driven by an intellectual inferiority complex that is foreign to the pages of Holy Scripture.
In 1 Peter 3:15, for example, the faithful are told “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” And, I’m sorry, but your emotions don’t really count for much as a “reason.” Like the proceedings of a court case, solid facts are the reasons that matter most.
There is actually very little in the Old and New Testaments that we are asked to accept on “faith” without a lot of attending evidence. Time and again, Scripture makes bold claims of things that happened in reality. And thanks to advances in the science of archeology, we have greater evidence than ever before for the factual reliability of those biblically recorded events.
Pharaoh wasn’t asked to explore his emotions for the “truth” of Moses’ words, but instead was given very public evidence for the demands of God. Jesus didn’t lounge around saying, “Trust me, I’m the promised messiah” – He offered signs and performed miracles as proof.
Over the years, the intellectual elites mocked Scripture as fairy tales, claiming there was no proof for any of it. And so, the various schools of divinity and theology retreated, treating the stories of Scripture as allegorical rather than literal.
Unfortunately, facts keep intruding on the carefully constructed disbelief of the fallen world. Here’s just a couple of examples.
It was fashionable, up until a few years ago, for the anti-religion crowd to claim there was no evidence, apart from the Bible, for the existence of King David. Pretty basic, right? If King David was a mythical figure, then most of Scripture – Old Testament and New – is little more than fan fiction for a non-existent God.
Except… an ancient tablet was uncovered in the city of Dan referring specifically and unambiguously to the Davidic line of kings. One cannot have a Davidic line without a David…
Now, archeological digs taking place under modern Jerusalem are almost daily finding more evidence of life in the court of King David and his immediate successors.
Among my favorite recent discoveries are those of seals for two royal administrators from Israel 3,000 years ago. Ordinarily, such finds would have been little more than a curiosity, attesting to an ancient royal court. Yet these two names appear next too each other in Jeremiah 38:1, each mentioned just that one time. In context, the discoveries powerfully attest to the overall reliability of Scripture in delivering verifiable facts.
It is almost as if God ordained their names to be placed in the Bible so that the discovery of their seals would serve as signposts to the skeptical three millennia later.
The list goes on and on and on.
(As an aside, Texas Scorecard leads trips to the Holy Land every other year to explore the biblical roots of American self-governance. We’ll be announcing our next trip soon, so watch for those details.)
Every time the intellectual elite claim the Bible cannot be true because there is no physical evidence of such-and-such, it seems another discovery is made dashing their faithless claims. For all who sincerely seek, God makes evidence available so that their faith can be anchored to facts.
As evidence mounts for the factual reliability of Scripture, those who deny its basic truths are the ones clinging blindly to a false faith.
Yes, Scripture makes extraordinary claims – but backs them up with details that can be tested in the real world for those with patience to do so. Facts are the foundation of Holy Scripture, which we disregard at our peril. An honest faith is found in how one chooses to apply those facts.