I was recently asked, how I know the story of Jesus is true? The questioner added, isn’t it just like the story of Achilles or Krishna? In my reply, I outlined the 5 reasons when Christianity is true.
Achilles and the the Odyssey
We have, we have somewhere near nine manuscripts of the Odyssey And the closest we have to the original is nearly 900 years after the originals were written This means there is absolutely no way to know if we have eye-witness accounts. Also, the corroborating evidence is extremely sketchy.
The Hindu Sand Script with the stories of Krishna
The Sand Script has one single line of transmission and vast discrepancies with the text. The single line of transmission prevents any checking of which discrepancies are right and which are not. Again, there is no way of knowing what was written originally. Also, the corroborating evidence is mostly nonexistent.
The Bible with the store of Jesus
5000 Manuscripts with less than 100 years from the original. Multiple Streams of transmission, so we have something to compare. Vast amounts of corroborating evidence from Jesus’ time from all over the known world at the time. Today, no reputable historian, Christian or Secular, uncertain whether Jesus was real.
Undoubtedly it is correct that we cannot know in the case of Achilles and Krishna. Therefore, we are correct to dismiss them. Without some evidence, they even existed for sure they are just stories. On the other hand, the fact that Jesus lived within time and space is verifiable beyond any reasonable doubt. Therefore, we must take what he said seriously. Since there are less than 1400 viable textual variants in the New Testament (NT), we are confident within about 90% that we have those eye-witness accounts as they were written. (even the Secular scalars agree with that). In other words, 90% of what you see is certainly the eye-witness account. Also, for the record, I am being very conservative with the 90% number. In reality, it is more like 99%. So, what do we do with these eye-witness accounts? We would need some reasons to dismiss them. Comparing them to Achilles and Krishna does not work because there are no verifiable eye-witness accounts of those events. Jesus existed, so what about these eye-witness accounts is not credible?
Let’s say there is a murder trial, and we have different witnesses. How would we go about establishing the credibility of those witnesses? The first thing to establish credibility is that they were indeed eye-witness. That has been established. We know that we have eye-witness accounts. Next, we would cross-examine those accounts for contradictions. If we didn’t find contradictions, we would conclude those accounts are true and that the murder did happen.
When we apply these steps to the biblical accounts, we see that all the writers wrote at different times and to diverse audiences. So, there is no chance they collaborated with the store. Their stories cohere to each other and do not contradict, so they meet every standard we need to call them true.
Added to this, the story of Jesus fits directly into the Bible’s story as a whole. Jesus personally fulfilled 300 prophesies about himself. Where he was born, how he died, ETC. See Psalm 22 for an example of a prophecy that he fulfilled which was written nearly 1400 years before his birth.
No other account has this element of fulfilled prophesy. There was no prophesy about Achilles recorded before he was supposedly born. Moreover, prophies about Krishna don’t show up in the Sand Script until many years after the first account of Krishna is written. They were pretty clear written after the story.
4 Coherent Worldview
A worldview is something there everyone has. Your worldview is there to answer five fundamental questions. Everyone has to answer these questions in one way or another.
Why do I exist?
What is my Purpose?
What is wrong with the world?
How does what is wrong with the world get fixed?
Where do I go after I die?
The Christian worldview is the only worldview that coherently answers these questions with how we live our lives. Hinduism does not coherently answer those questions. For example, “Mother Earth took the form of a cow and went to Lord Brahma, the creator God of Hinduism, with her plight. Lord Brahma then summoned Lord Vishnu, who assured Mother Earth that he would take birth as Lord Krishna to end this tyranny.” (https://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/krishna-janmashtami-2019-the-story-of-lord-krishna-s-birth/story-4E62vFF3DszD9fwLMR7oPJ.html)1 This is not coherent.
We don’t have room here for a debate on the coherency of Hinduism. The bottom line is that Hinduism does not offer a coherent solution for those five questions, and Christianity does. Check it out for yourself.
5 Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit provides “an immediate and direct witness to the heart of a believer.” (Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones)2 I have God himself witnessing to the truth of his account. He will do this for you if you are humble enough to ask him for it genuinely.
1“Krishna Janmashtami 2019: The Story of Lord Krishna’s Birth.” Hindustan Times, August 23, 2019. https://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/krishna-janmashtami-2019-the-story-of-lord-krishna-s-birth/story-4E62vFF3DszD9fwLMR7oPJ.html.
2Kendall, R. T. Holy Fire. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2014.