There have been various behaviours, including environmental and human, that have baffled mankind for much of recorded history. Many of these mysteries have been subjected to rational analysis, and at this time in history, there are few mysteries that have not received a plausible explanation.
A conclusion should be preceded by an analysis of the evidence. Where a conclusion has been provided without the prerequisite analysis, then academics can be quite severe in their criticisms of the process. Their critical responses are appropriate given that various methods of analysis are taught at universities, and critical analyses can facilitate a high standard of research.
Sometimes the results of an analysis show that there is insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion. This can be difficult for some researchers to accept, especially those who believe that they are obliged to provide a conclusive statement by a specified deadline. This can lead to bad research where researchers make non-provable and improbable base assumptions, which, if unchallenged, can become the only significant evidence that is analysed in order to reach a conclusion.
Bad research can therefore occur when the integrity of the evidence is compromised. To reduce the risk of bad research becoming popular, qualified researchers generally critically review research work as part of the publication process.
The Bible has been the focal point of many conclusive remarks. The most derisive of them have come from university lecturers and their students, many of whom have concluded that the Bible is replete with erroneous statements and is an unreliable source of scientific and historical information. However, bad research is an increasingly common basis of their conclusive statements.
I have listened to, and been engaged by university lecturers and their students on discussions about the Bible over the past 25 years. To-date, I have not met a single university lecturer or university student who had criticised the Bible and who had actually read the Bible even once.
Their criticisms generally display an obvious misunderstanding that can easily be resolved if they would simply read the book. However, for some inexplicable reason they do not, but in the safety of their lecture theatres and classroom, they seem to use every opportunity to authoritatively make negative conclusive statements about the Bible that typically go unchallenged.
This is a great mystery. Why and how can persons who understand and teach analytical methods, and severely criticise those who do not use them properly, reach a conclusion while choosing not to review the evidence? How can such persons choose to boldly criticise what they have neither read nor understood? How can such persons choose to disbelieve what they simply do not know?
At a time when university students should be concentrating on their studies, university lecturers seem bent on influencing their students to reject their spiritual heritage and replace it with a selfish outlook on life. Why? What possible harm can believing the Bible, and the existence of God have on their studies or later careers? This must rank as another of the earth’s great mysteries.
The authoritative way in which some university lecturers criticise the Bible can leave some students disillusioned if they accept the view there is no God, no afterlife, no lasting meaning to life, and that all of life is by chance. They are encouraged to let go of the anchor that has benefited them and their communities so well and to hold on to nothing substantial in return. Those who have succumbed to this influence and have subsequently returned to God describe a life of regret and wasted years.
The criticisms and unfounded conclusive statements about the Bible will most likely continue. It is therefore prudent that persons read the Bible for themselves. It is also prudent that persons consider the cost of adopting a selfish outlook on life as they risk becoming old and immature due to the limited personal growth that occurs when chasing purely selfish objectives.
Grenville Phillips II