I get questions and comments once and a while like, “How can you be sure that the Bible is legitimate? How can we know what Jesus actually said? How can the earth be created in only 6 days? The Bible has wisdom, for sure, but I just can’t believe the factual claims.”
I’m giving a very simple answer to this. Questions deserve answers and evidence demands respect.
Firstly, for anyone who asks these questions seriously, who is interested in these ideas—not just looking for a fast excuse to invent personal religion—you need to familiarize yourself with two books: The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and The Evolution Handbook. That should be a good enough start to decide whatever you want.
Responsible research means hearing from credible sources in favor of a belief—not only credible opposition, not only ignorant believers either! There are a lot of Christian idiots out there. Good ideas may be hard to find near your home or school. You may need to get a book in order to find good ideas in favor of the Bible.
Secondly, with other authors, such as Ravi Zacharias and Josh McDowell, and an objective look at Creation Science (scientists who believe in a Creator God based on factual evidence), one will quickly find the same answer time and again: The Bible says it that way because that’s how truth works.
For a few examples, Mark and Matthew use different words for Jesus’ dialog, but the same meaning. This is because writers in those days didn’t try to record anything word for word. The Gospels are not exact manuscripts of conversations. If they claimed to be, they would be false. For another example, Genesis has two accounts of Creation because one is an introduction, the other is the long version. Tolkien did the same thing when he wrote, and that doesn’t mean that the Bible is fiction, but that it was really written by a credible writer, not made up. As a last example, the societies that God commanded genocide against, in the Old Testament, were so evil and horrid, Indiana Jones would have considered the Temple of Doom a walk in the park compared to them. It really was that evil and unimaginable, which you will see that the Bible says it is, if you take the time to look. When God flooded the earth, He was doing the world a favor. Earth today is nowhere near so evil that God would flood us. If He did, that would make Him a cruel God, but He doesn’t.
Thirdly, when it comes to questions of whether God is good when He allows bad things to happen—all in all, things could exist no other way. We don’t like pain and suffering. But, if you sit and think about it, any other way for the world to exist would be too good to be true. There are bad people in the world and God always offers solutions to people who are willing to learn. Freedom has a price, which includes free will and choices with consequences. His wisdom helps us, if we aren’t our own worst enemies. That said, God never claimed that our world was perfect. But He invites us to learn here and join Him in the world that is eternally perfect. I wouldn’t say no to Him, no matter how much I want to complain about the present pain—and I complain to Him about the pain of this world often!
In conclusion, I’m no expert. Just make sure that you don’t pretend to be either. And if you really want to be objective and responsible, give the defense a fair trial also. Read the Christian experts, not just their opposition. Those two books are a good place to start.
God’s speed in your research!