Are Religious People Unable to Get History Right?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

In my frequent conversations with non-Christians, I hear the following kinds of statements: “I can’t believe what the Bible authors wrote because they were religiously motivated.”

The idea seems to be that if you are religious, you will not be able to tell the truth about historical events.  You will twist history to fit your agenda.

This may surprise some of you, but I can see where this viewpoint comes from.  I run into various religious groups who do monkey around with history and fail to get the facts right.  In fact, the very reason I could never be a Mormon is because Joseph Smith manufactured an entire history of the Americas that has absolutely no external evidence to support it.

But, just because some religious groups manufacture history does not mean that all religious groups manufacture history.  As I’ve written before on this blog, the writers of the Bible get their history right whenever archaeology can confirm it (see Did the New Testament Writers Record Fact or Fiction? Part 7).

At the very least, a skeptic should acknowledge this truth about Christianity and not lump it in with religions who do not accurately portray history.  The Bible deserves the benefit of the doubt as it has proven itself many times to be historically accurate.

The well-known scholar N. T. Wright explains that the New Testament writers were clearly trying to record accurate history alongside their theological teachings.  It is only modern man who struggles with the juxtaposition of the two.  Watch this brief video clip below posted by The John Ankerberg Show.

  • Boz

    “As I’ve written before on this blog, the writers of the Bible get their history right whenever archaeology can confirm it.”

    Except for Noah’s flood, the earth being flat, the earth not moving, The sun rotating around the earth, special creation, pi=3, rabbits chewing cud, suggesting that a bat is a bird, and the moon producing light.

  • Bill Pratt

    I would suggest you read the series of posts on how not to read the Bible, as you seem to be making many of the mistakes that I warn against. Scroll down the web page and find part 1 and then read through to part 6 as you scroll up the page. There are other posts in between that you can ignore if you’d like.

  • Ron

    Boz, its easier to have a debate if each person will cite the source of there claims. For example, “the earth being round” is found in Isaiah 40:22.

    New International Version (©1984)
    Isaiah 40:22, He sits enthroned above “the circle of the earth”, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

    Or the fact that rabbits really do re-chew their food.


    Herbivores (rabbits) do not have the complicated ruminant digestive system, so instead they extract more nutrition from grass by giving their food a second pass through the gut. Soft caecal pellets of partially digested food are excreted and generally consumed immediately. They also produce normal droppings, which are not re-eaten.

    Source: Encyclopedia Coprophagia