Has the Bible Been Translated Accurately?

When it comes to the Word of God, one of the most common questions that comes up is about whether or not the Bible we have today is an accurate representation of what was originally written 2,000 years ago. This challenge tends to be less about whether or not the Bible is the inspired Word of God (we'll get to that in another post) but whether or not it was handed down through the centuries without major alterations and corruptions along the way.

One common analogy people make is to compare the transmission of the events of Jesus' life to the Telephone Game. You remember that game. You sit in a big circle with a couple dozen people. The first person whispers something to the second. The second person whispers the message to the third. This continues until the last person gets the message. Of course, when the last person says the message out loud, it is hilariously different from what the first person said.

Do atheists lack a belief in God?

A common rebuttal from atheists regarding their responsibility to defend their own view is to say that they simply do not have a belief. This, according to their view, absolves them from any obligation to shoulder a burden of proof. They claim that not believing God exists is substantially different from saying God does not exist.

One such atheist once explained this by using the illustration of a jar of jellybeans. He said if someone told him there were 500 jellybeans in the jar, he might not believe them. But that does not mean that he believes there are not 500 jellybeans in the jar. Therefore, this is an example of a lack of belief and is parallel to the atheist's lack of belief in God.

The problem with this illustration is, it is not parallel. The number of jellybeans in the jar does not have any implications in how a person lives his or her life. How I treat other people is not impacted by whether or not I believe there are 500 jellybeans. Even taking and eating a handful of the jellybeans is not affected by whether or not I believe there are 500 of them in the jar.