My father's attitude to religion was: "If they can't prove it they are wasting their time arguing about it."
Nevertheless, I attended church at 13 and 14 and then stopped.
In 1968 I began encountering criticisms of the Bible that were answered by subsequent discoveries.
For example, Bible points considered false but later proved right included camels domesticated by 2000 BC; existence of Hittites; the cud-chewing behavior of hares; writing in use in Moses' time; eagles find prey by sight not smell; Belshazzar was a king of Babylon; drunkenness as a behavior is reversible.
I wondered whether we could validly generalize from such examples of the Bible turning out correct and its critics wrong, to the conclusion that the process will continue and point by point the entire original Bible will be proved correct.
To generalize from particular examples to general expectations is a common sense approach, used by everyone everyday in every area of life, and is an application of Jesus' own words:He who is faithful in very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. (Luke 16:10)I obtained a New York Times article in which Dr David Macht, a leading authority on cobra snake venom, claimed cobras hear the music of snake charmers and that the Bible agrees with this but that biologists since the time of Shakespeare had taught that snakes are deaf. (1954 January 10 Section 4 page 9)
I remembered learning the "scientific" conclusion, "snakes are deaf", as a child in Year 1! I noticed that every reference supported this -- even the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Here was a test to test the validity of the generalization "The Bible might be entirely accurate". If the generalization is valid, then future, clearer evidence than that supplied in the New York Times would one day force revision in the Britannica besides also disproving all the other references opposing the Bible.
I presented these arguments to various university graduates between 1970 and 1974 including an adult theology graduate -- a "liberal" who did not believe the Bible. I also told them the prediction regarding the cobra.
No one could refute this approach to the Bible. All tried to point out statements that they felt surely must be false. But because there already was a trend of alleged false statements turning out true it was always rational to say: "Let's wait and see what turns up in future."
One topic in university philosophy was Inductive Logic -- the logic in which we infer general conclusions from particular observations. I incorporated the argument for the Bible into my main essay, scored 85% by the standards of the time, and afterwards asked the lecturer whether the argument is valid. He wouldn't commit himself except to say that it was subject to no clear disconfirming examples being found.
Bernhard Stett, now editor of Investigator was at university about the same time. We used the scientific literature to check some of the Bible's biological claims. Years later, after Investigator was started I began to contribute articles. An article about cobras (No. 22) was published in both names and subsequently presented to the Encyclopedia Britannica editor.
My method of finding scientific research to evaluate the Bible statement by statement is non-systematic. I merely keep alert for relevant information in newspapers, magazines and books.
Recent New Scientist articles, for example, report on ancient brick baking in Mesopotamia (perhaps relevant to the Tower of Babel), genes transmitted by eating (perhaps relevant to eating from the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil"), humanity being derived from an original "mother" and from an original male (perhaps relevant to the Adam and Eve account), etc.
Researching the accuracy of the Bible is potentially practical. Its health hints, for example, are relevant to the health and long life of individuals, as well as to the health and survival of civilization as a whole. (Investigator 48; 53; 57)
From the Bible I knew about the threat of asteroids and the threat of world-wide fire from asteroids fifteen years before the scientists knew this! (Investigator 62) Had governments and scientists taken the Bible seriously the systematic search for dangerous asteroids and for methods of defence against them could have started much earlier! Imagine a scenario in which an asteroid on a future collision course whizzed by in the 1980s but wasn't noticed because governments and scientists lacked vision to consider the Bible -- and therefore its orbit was not calculated and humanity is left unprepared.
Bible points proved correct -- despite in numerous cases having been called "false" or "erroneous" by skeptics -- number close to 1,000. (Investigator 68 p. 16) I predict the trend will go on to 2,000, 3,000, etc, and that skeptics and atheists cannot stop this.
Skeptics do not dismiss the Bible because they've disproved it, but out of habit, ignorance, peer pressure and moral failure. Their anti-Bible thoughts are familiar to them and they confuse such familiarity with being right. (Investigator 63 p. 50) They should consider that this document that always seems to turn out correct in the long run in many areas of study also presents the way of salvation!
(From: Investigator 70, 2000 January)