Monday, December 24, 2007

Apples and Aircraft Carriers

I do not think a week goes by in which I don't see some conservative Christian blogger talking about how the manuscript evidence for the New Testament is so much better than that for other ancient writings like the Illiad. I have never found this comparison particularly meaningful. It seems to me to be not just a case of comparing apples to oranges, but a case of comparing apples to aircraft carriers.

Suppose for an example that I was quite happy with my barber, but I were to find myself in need of an operation on my brain. In seeking out a brain surgeon, I would not be impressed by someone who recommended a particular surgeon on the grounds that he was just as reliable as my barber. I would simply not measure the reliability of a barber on the same scale as the reliability of a brain surgeon. By the same token I don't see the sense in comparing the reliability of a document that purports to be the inerrant and infallible message of God to humanity to the reliability of a document that purports to be nothing more than an ancient work of fiction.


  1. I couldn't agree more. Some career paths remain mostly the same (i.e. barbers, money lenders), while others dramatically improve over the millennia. Kudos on a great blog, and thanks for the comment!

  2. I've been reading through, and I like your excellent scholarship and real answers. Thanks for the insightful comment on my blog. (Out of curiosity, how did you come to read it?) Keep up the good work, and keep going for truth.