It always amazes me how many arguments against Christianity base themselves on things that are NOT Christianity. For example, almost every single argument Dan Larimer makes in Why I gave up Christianity for his sad falling away from the truth comes from objections to what others who have fallen away have done or said. Non Sequitur.
Pointing to the overwhelming majority of humans who have made the same mistake he is making – devising their own inconsistent beliefs to suit themselves and seeking to convince others to validate those beliefs – merely proves that he is just like everyone else: probably wrong.
True Christianity is simply the compiled eyewitness accounts of those who knew Jesus and two of their personal assistants. That’s it. The Council of Nicaea’s job was only to weed out all the other merely human-generated content that didn’t meet those perfectly reasonable criteria. We deduce that God supervised that process since those eyewitnesses have testified that Jesus assured them that God supervised the writing of the true inputs to that process. Jesus did and said enough incredible things to convince those eyewitnesses that they should believe what He told them. If He could do those things, He is certainly capable of making sure that an accurate account of them is preserved for you.
Therefore, I consign to oblivion all arguments pointing to the subsequent inventions, deviations, hypocrisy and personal preferences of other deceitful or earnest men like Dan Larimer. The inventions of popes, preachers or libertarian cryptoanarchists are not Biblical Christianity and their heaped up errors do not prove that Biblical Christianity is false.
That gets rid of most of Dan’s article as a set of irrelevant objections – a mere excuse to proceed with making his own mistakes along with everyone else.
What sets Christianity apart from all other belief systems is that it insists that humans are incapable of meeting God’s standards and therefore qualifying for eternal life on their own. They need God’s help. That’s how you sort out God’s One Way from all the other ways people want to invent for themselves. So we all get the simple choice to accept or reject God’s help. What a blindingly simple criterion for who gets into Heaven!
Clearly, if there is a God, there is no reason at all why he should agree to any of Dan’s preferences about how things ought to be. As Owner of the Universe, he would presumably feel entitled to make the rules and decide if, when, and how to reveal them to mankind.
Failing to meet the expectations of each and every fallible human is the most bogus excuse I can think of for rejecting such revelation.
So out there among the infinite sea of Personally Preferred Beliefs, one can expect to find exactly zero or one version that represents God’s Official Revealed Truth. (Hint: It's probably not the personal beliefs of Dan Larimer.) So our challenge is to sort through that haystack of self-invented (i.e. wrong) beliefs to see if one can find any single well-documented set that might plausibly be the Actual Revelation of God.
One serious candidate is the Bible (in its original languages). Our task is to decide whether to believe it or not. Pointing to other people’s inconsistent or hypocritical interpretations and extensions of it as reasons why it is wrong is intellectually dishonest.
Now I could point out that the Dead Sea scrolls found in the Qumran Caves in the 1940s and archeologically dated to be over 2000 years old match the Old Testament on your mother’s bookshelf almost exactly. I could point out that the 5600 New Testament manuscripts dating to within a couple hundred years of when they were written and gathered from cities all around the Mediterranean all say the same thing. I wonder, how did they all get corrupted in exactly the same way? The medieval monks must have had a secret GitHub repository to publish their ongoing personal preference changes is all I can say. So there is plenty of evidence that Scripture was handed down to us unchanged over millennia. If you insist that that’s not possible without Devine Intervention, good for you.
But that's all noise, I’ll cut to the chase.
Everyone who reads the Bible either believes it or doesn’t. This is God’s explicitly stated intent. Those who prefer to place themselves on God’s throne and make up their own rules inevitably find an excuse to reject it. Those who are searching for God and willing to accept the fact that He is in charge, often accept it.
It’s a filter. You get to filter yourself out by deciding you’d rather invent your own rules and philosophy. The reason it is sometimes ambiguous or cryptic is explicitly to allow each of us the freedom to weed ourselves out if we want to. Jesus was very clear about this in Matthew 13:11.
Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do You speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “The knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.…
Alas, that’s what has happened to Dan. (But don’t worry, I’m praying for him. He’s “not dead yet!”)
Smart men like Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, and Stan Larimer studied the Scriptures and found them credible and consistent. Other equally smart men like Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking and Dan Larimer reached the opposite conclusion. So this is not an intelligence test. Get that arrogance out of your head. It’s a matter of the heart.
And that is what God is testing.