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Can we be Objective when Examining the Bible?

Why I Know the Story of Jesus Wasn’t Changed Over TimeWe would all like to think that we can be objective when researching or examining a topic but, can we be objective if the topic has implications toward our current worldview? If we were reading about historical battles by Alexander the Great it would be easy to be objective. Alexander either lived or he didn’t. He either did what the historical records reflect or he didn’t. We really wouldn’t question much of the historical record or facts and we probably wouldn’t get emotional about them. That’s because to most readers it would be very inconsequential if Alexander the Great did the things history recorded.

What about the Bible? If the Bible is true it has great consequences to the reader? I think it would be hard to find anyone without an opinion about the Bible whether they have read it or not.  When the day comes and we finally want to read the Bible and examine the truth of it’s contents, can we do it objectively? I would suggest that it can be done but that it requires effort. We all have a tendency to come to the Bible with our own pre suppositions about it being true or false depending on our worldview. How than can we ever examine or read the Bible and come away feeling like we gave it the objective once over? I would say look at it though an Investigator’s eyes.

 Investigators also carry with them a pre suppositional worldview when arriving at a crime scene or reading an arrest report. For instance, it would be easy for an Investigator to see a gang member who had been shot and not give their statement any credibility. After all maybe the Investigator arrested this person last week and now the Investigator has to switch gears and see this person as a victim.

 So how do Investigators do it?  Investigators have received tricks of the trade over time that can be used to push personal opinion aside and get to the facts. The following are three things that will help you attempt to remain objective while determining the truth or fallacy of the Bible.

 1.     Try and Prove the Opposite of your Opinion. When I went to homicide investigation school in Los Angeles, one of the suggestions I walked away with was that if you are given a suspect at the beginning of your investigation (a physical pre – supposition if you will) try and prove them innocent. Many times by trying to prove a contrarian view you gain a new perspective that will get you out the tunnel vision of pre supposition. Also when using this technique you may feel more satisfied with your conclusion because it came from an intellectually honest starting point.  

 2.     Get an Understanding of Evidence. Whether you read Jim’s book to get this understanding (which I strongly recommend) or go somewhere else, get familiar with the two types of evidence Direct and Circumstantial. Evidence is what investigators use to make cases and determine what is reasonable or not. An understanding of the nature of circumstantial and historical evidence will help you stay away from opinion.

 3.     Look at all the Evidence. After all would you want to be the defendant in court and half way through the jury trail, have the jury foreman come out and declare they have reached a verdict?  Of course not and this may sound like a no brainer however it’s not rare for people to declared things about the Bible without having read it or done the smallest study on it.

 No matter what your position on the Bible, it is some of the best evidence left behind for us to examine. It is hard to examine however, without be cognizant of our own bias while doing it.

Posted by Jassen Bluto

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