"I certainly agree that “faith” cannot and should not be used as an excuse to rewrite history (Letters, “America’s Collective Craze to ‘Trust God,’” Oct. 3-10). This is something Christians ought to accept: as I often point out, Hebrews 11:1 says “faith is the evidence of things not seen” — it doesn’t say that faith is a basis for believing that things seen do not exist.
It is unfortunate that Corya, rather than adhering to his stated principles, simply substitutes one faith for another: faith in the sort of claims found in The Da Vinci Code instead of faith in the Bible. Neither sort of faith reflects the approach historians take to their sources. Historical study is not an all-or-nothing enterprise. Corya’s claim that all the biblical documents are “the least reliable historical documents on Earth” is no more true or false than the opposite claim that they are accurate in all their details — the latter is just as easily shown to be false.
The truth is that even excellent historians make errors, and even works of fiction can include accurate information in describing places, customs and so on. In historical study, each piece of evidence, each claim, must be assessed on its own merits. There is at least one thing about which there is no doubt whatsoever, however, namely that Christianity existed prior to the time of Constantine. We have New Testament manuscripts that are significantly earlier than that.
I am certainly a strong believer in the need for Christians to accept the historical evidence and not dismiss it or rewrite it. But I also believe that the same rules apply to everyone else, including atheists.
Dr. James F. McGrath