Wednesday, March 2

Interview With Author Kirk Hastings

In this entry, we interview author and apologist Kirk Hastings. Hastings has authored several books, such as The Infinity Man and What Is Truth?. A former skeptic, he has studied topics such as Christianity for over thirty years, coming to conclusion that it is the only religion grounded in reason, unbiased scientific evidence, and verifiable history. (Words by Troy Hillman, images courtesy of Kirk Hastings)

Troy Hillman: In your book, What Is Truth, you cover a plethora of topics, tackling the big questions. In a nutshell, what ultimately led you to write the book?
Kirk Hastings: There are many lengthy, detailed books out there that deal with the problems with Darwinian evolution, the historical evidence for the reliability of the Bible, the historical evidence concerning Jesus and His resurrection from the dead, etc. But I thought back to when I had once been a new Christian, and pictured the kind of book I would have liked someone to have handed me back then to get me off to a good start in the Christian faith -- a fairly short book, easy to read, that covered ALL the basic evidences for the Christian faith in one place. Since I knew of no book exactly like that, I decided to write one myself, using reliable sources that I had gathered in over 30 years of reading and studying!
Kirk Hastings

TH: Now, there are those who make the claim that Jesus never actually existed. What evidences do we have to prove the existence of Jesus, and did He actually rise from the dead?
KH: A whole book could be written on this subject -- and many have been! I devote a couple of chapters to it in my book as well. In 1968, writer Otto Belz stated that "No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus". That statement still holds true today. Modern critics (such as members of the "Jesus Seminar", who claim to be scholars but do not use scholarly methods in either their research methods or in forming their conclusions) who claim Jesus wasn't a real person, or that the historical evidence that he rose from the dead isn't adequate, promote shallow, biased personal opinions instead of scholarly conclusions based on solid historical evidence. A famous journalist named Frank Morison wrote a book in 1930 called "Who Moved The Stone?", where he asserted that the legal evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ would win any case brought against it in a modern courtroom easily. (He started out trying to disprove the resurrection using modern legal methods, but ended up accepting the historical evidence for it once he studied it!) In the same vein, respected jurist (and founder of Harvard Law School ) Simon Greenleaf wrote a book in 1846 called "The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence", where he applied the rules of evidence administered in courts of justice to demonstrate the validity of the Gospels as trustworthy and authoritative historical accounts. They more than passed. They still do.

TH: Agreed, any serious historian cannot question the existence of Jesus. There are some who question such things, asking for non-biblical historical sources that mention Jesus. Thankfully, we have several. What are some of the non-biblical sources that confirm the life of Christ?
KH: There are actually quite a few:
  • Cornelius Tacitus (circa 55-120 A.D.). Famous Roman historian
  • Lucian of Samosata (second century A.D.), Greek satirist
  • Suetonius (first century A.D.), Roman historian and court official under the emperor Hadrian
  • Pliny the Younger (first century A.D.), Roman governor of Bithynia , in Asia Minor (modern Turkey )
  • Thallus (first century A.D.), Roman historian
  • Phlegon (first century A.D.), historian
  • Mara Bar-Serapion (first century A.D.), philosopher
  • Josephus ben Mattathias (first century A.D.), Jewish historian
There are also a number of references to Jesus in the Jewish Talmud (a collection of Jewish writings from the first few centuries A.D.), as well as in the writings of Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius and Marcus Aurelius (all Roman emperors). 

TH: What makes Christianity different than any other religion?
KH: No other religion deals with the problem of human sin, and how we can be reconciled to God despite it. Whereas all other religions describe man's attempts to discover God, Christianity is about God reaching down to men  in order to reveal to us who He is (divine revelation). The Bible is also a completely unique book; there is no other book like it (this includes all other so-called "holy" books). There is also no other religious figure like Jesus Christ. All other religions center around so-called "holy" men who try to tell us who God is, or how we should live. Christianity centers around Jesus Christ, a Man of history who claimed not just to be a messenger from God, but to be God Himself, manifested as a man in order to walk among His own creation. And His life, teachings, miracles, and resurrection from the dead back up Jesus's claim. No other religion features a person anything like this.


TH: Are you planning on or currently writing another book?
KH: Yes, I'm planning another adventure novel. I'm working on the character and plot now.
TH: Why was the Scopes Trail so significant?
KH: In terms of historic Christianity, it wasn't that significant. In terms of the concept of Darwinian evolution catching the attention of the general public, it was extremely significant. It was a huge propaganda victory for Darwinism and the ACLU (yes, it was their first major national case!). The problem is, it was a complete set-up from the very beginning. The people from the New York City chapter of the ACLU who put the trial together were determined to do everything they could to make Biblical Christianity look bad and Darwinism look good, and they succeeded in that goal. But they had to use a great deal of deceit, animosity, and manipulation in order to achieve it. And they had the complete cooperation of Clarence Darrow (an outspoken agnostic and enemy of organized religion) and H.L. Mencken, a caustic, but famous, critic for the Baltimore Sun newspaper. What little the trial actually achieved has been both magnified and grossly distorted over the years by our mass media and the enemies of religion (particularly Christianity).

TH: Is the typical portrayal of "science vs. religion" accurate?
KH: As portrayed by our modern mass media? In a word, NO. As far as today's mass media talking heads are concerned, "science" equals anything that reflects the idea of naturalism (i.e., there is no supernatural, and anything we cannot see must not be real), and thus constitutes "reality", and "religion" equals anything that concerns the supernatural, and thus constitutes "fantasy". Most "science" today consists of broad assumptions, theories and personal interpretations concerning basic undeniable facts that are based on little more than a pre-existing bias against the idea of God and/or the supernatural. Up until about 150 years ago, this was not the case. In the past, science constituted any knowledge that objective, unbiased observation of the evidence might lead us to. Unfortunately, no more.


TH: Thank you for your time, Mr. Hastings. Is there anything else that you would like to say to - or share with - the reader?
KH: I devote a whole chapter of my book to "propaganda", and how almost all of our media outlets today grossly slant information and/or evidence in order to support their own personal anti-God, anti-religion, and anti-Christianity point of view. If I were to caution your readers about any one thing, I would say to them: don't believe everything you read or see or hear. Take the time to seek out real experts on the topics you are interested in (including the Bible, and Christianity!), and see what they have to say. And objectively review evidence from both sides of any argument. This will give you a much more accurate viewpoint on things, and will help you to understand what truth really is. As legal scholar Phillip E. Johnson has said, "Learn to tune up your personal Baloney Detector!"

You can hear Kirk Hastings as a recurring co-host on the Evidence 4 Faith podcast. Be sure to purchase a copy of Kirk's book, What Is Truth?, which you can find here. Thank you for reading this entry of "The Truth." Visit our facebook or our Ministry homepage, email vexx801@yahoo.com or thetruth.ministryweb@gmail.com, or comment below - yet please remain civil. God bless, dear reader.

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