First post in this series can be found here.
The previous 12 posts are the articles that first gave me cause to question the Bible. Until I happened upon them, I had always believed that the Bible was the inerrant word of God, that it contained real prophecies that had actually come true, and that history, science, and archaeology had always confirmed the stories in the Bible. It had never even occurred to me that I should verify those things. I never thought to do a simple internet search for information that offered a different view. Looking back, I don’t know why none of that ever occurred to me.
But luckily, that changed sometime at the beginning of 2010 when I was searching the internet for information on why we knew the Bible was true. It’s rather ironic that I found these articles in this way. And if my personality were different, I may have ignored the articles or viewed them as dangerous. But my belief in Christianity was absolute — I knew it was true. So why should I fear these articles? In fact, maybe I could help answer the problems this person thought they saw with the Bible’s inspiration. Maybe I could help explain how wonderfully and miraculously the entire Bible fit together without error. So it was quite a shock to discover that there were real issues that could make someone skeptical of the Bible.
I had always known that history was silent on some things. We would never be able to confirm every detail of the Bible through archaeology and history. But I never realized that history and archaeology actually contradicted the Bible in places. That is, I never realized it until I read these articles. If Belshazzar was not Nebuchadnezzar’s son, why did God have Daniel write it in a way that would be so misleading? If Darius the Mede was actually a governor under Cyrus — like Gobryas, for example — why didn’t God have Daniel use the name that history would remember, instead of using the name of a real king who came much later? If God wanted all people, including those of other faiths, to believe that the Bible was true, why in the world would he inspire Daniel to create so many difficulties in his narrative?
I was unable to find any answers that made sense. So these articles on Daniel started me on a personal quest to find out if the Bible — the thing I had based 30 years of my life upon — was actually true. I must admit that I was almost maniacal in my obsession with this. It was a horribly difficult time for me and my family. But within just a few months, I felt like I had found enough problems with the Bible that I could safely conclude it was no different than any other religious text man has come up with. That wasn’t an easy realization to make. I’d had a very clear picture of the world and how everything operated within a theistic worldview. Rethinking all of those things was a disorienting, nightmarish process. It made me realize how fragile life really is, because there’s no supreme being out there holding things together. That was a frightening prospect! But only for a while. Eventually, things began to make so much more sense. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, even house fires became so much easier to understand. These are natural events that are horrible — but they make sense within a naturalistic framework. They don’t make sense when there’s supposed to be a loving God out there somewhere who sincerely cares about our misfortune.
So my entire journey from faith to skepticism was kicked off by these articles on the Book of Daniel. Many people might read that and think it’s such a tragedy. But I feel like my eyes are finally open. I’m very thankful that I ran across these articles when I did — I hope you’ve found them useful as well.