The Big Question 62: Is It True That You Can’t Trust the New Testament Because It’s Biased?
May 18, 2021 300
Is it true that you can’t trust the New Testament because it’s biased?
This is actually one of the objections against the Bible that I hear the most from people who argue against Christianity. And what they’re saying is that you can’t trust what the Bible says about the life the death and the resurrection of Jesus because the New Testament was written by his followers. Therefore the authors were biased and you can’t trust a bar of what they say.
This sounds somewhat right at face value doesn’t it? But let’s dig a little deeper.
The reality is that unless you’re a completely objective robot everyone always has an opinion about everything. All history is written by someone and everyone has some kind of bias.
If you win the lottery you’ll be biased about it when you talk to someone about it won’t you? But that doesn’t mean that it never happened or that it wasn’t a good thing does it?
The reality is that if you’re going to throw away every document in the world that has some bias in it you’d basically have to do away with writing and with knowledge as a whole. You’d have to throw away the entire discipline of history.
The fact that the writers of the New Testament had an opinion about what they were writing doesn’t necessarily discount what they wrote or make it any less reliable. The fact that they were very positive about Jesus doesn’t mean that what they said about him wasn’t true. What you need to do is what every reasonable person would do which is to evaluate what they wrote on its own merits.
For example take Julius Caesar, another famous person from ancient history. He was an author too and he left us some writings but most of what we know about him is from people who were very favourable to him. But I’ve never heard anyone say that Julius Caesar didn’t exist or that the events that he was part of never happened. Instead what historians do is evaluate the evidence on its own merits.
But some people seem to treat the New Testament very differently. And I think the reason why people do that is because of the claims that it makes about Jesus and the implications that these would have on your life if you’re prepared to consider them.
The reality is that what the New Testament tells us can be corroborated at many points by many other external historical sources and so we have a starting point. So the question shouldn’t be “do I toss it out or not?” but instead “what do I do about it?”