Yes, God Can Even Use Pink Floyd To Bring You To Truth

Rock legend Pink Floyd probably isn’t the first name that would come to mind if you were to ask 100 randomly selected professing Christians working on Capitol Hill or anywhere else who led them to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The Poached Egg founder Greg West isn’t just anybody, however, and here he explains the role of one of the cuts on the band’s classic album, The Dark Side of the Moon, played in his journey from atheist to one of this generation’s most significant Christian apologists.

But before you click on the “here” link above, watch and listen to the cut below and see if you can detect what it was in the lyrics that launched West on an epic spiritual journey. Yes, there is a hint in the above photo, which is by George Fitzmaurice on Unsplash:

Which Are More Reliable, Aristotle and Plato, or Matthew, Mark, Luke And John?

One of the most frequently mentioned myths about the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) is the claim they cannot be historically accurate because they were written decades after the events they purport to report.

Several of the commenters to yesterday’s post here — “Are Christians The Biggest Fools Of All Time?” — repeated variations of the claim the Gospels are unreliable because so much time elapsed between the events and the writing of the individual books. The actual facts, the critics argue, were lost to the myths and legends that grew up around the events related in the Gospels.

The German higher critics of the 19th Century made this claim a standard argument in the conventional wisdom scholarship of the 20th century among those who reject the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ and His claim to be the incarnate creator of the universe and everything in it. And the argument continues in popular culture and debate to this day, as seen in the comments to yesterday’s post.

There has been a tremendous amount of scholarship on the accuracy and reliability of the Gospels in recent decades. Below is a link to a recent podcast of Frank Turek’s interview with Dr. Craig Blomberg, who is one of the most respected scholars in the world on this issue. I highly commend it to anybody on any side of the debate.

But more immediately, let’s address the question posed in the headline above. Nobody today doubts when they read Plato’s “Republic” or Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” that they are reading what the Greek philosophers actually wrote, even though what they hold in their hands are copies of copies of copies … stretching back centuries.

Even so, when was the last time you heard anybody say Plato’s discussion of the shadows on the wall of the cave cannot be trusted as what Plato actually wrote or believed because so much time elapsed between his original manuscript and the earliest copies used by copyists in the millennia before Mr. Gutenberg invented the printing press? Or that Aristotle’s Golden Mean as the key to human virtue was a creation of a later copyist and thus was not the philosopher’s original view?

Nevertheless, that’s a commonly expressed argument whenever the Gospels are under discussion.

But guess what? There are far more copies of the Gospels, written much closer to the original authors, than there are for any other of the ancient classics, including Plato and Aristotle.

Aristotle’s works were written between 386 B.C. and 322 B.C. The first copies came along in about 1,100 A.D., or roughly 1,400 years after Aristotle did his thing. As for Plato, he wrote between 427 B.C. and 347 B.C, and the first copies date to 900 A.D., for an interval of roughly 1,200 years.

Compare that to the New Testament, which, regarding the Gospels, the critics claim were written, at the earliest, around 70 A.D., with copies first appearing around 130 A.D.

In other words, if the same standards of reliability and accuracy are applied to the New Testament that have long been accepted without question for other ancient authors, then the Gospels must be viewed as among the most reliable of the ancient classics. You can check out this post by Matt Slick of Christian Apologetics and Research for more specifics on this angle.

And as I always say, a great place to start in assessing these issues is “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh and Sean McDowell. Just tell me your address and I’ll get a copy of MTAC for free.

Now, here’s Frank Turek’s extended audio conversation with Dr. Craig Blomberg:

https://crossexamined.org/?powerpress_embed=72550-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio

What Is HillFaith and Why Should You Care?

If you work on Capitol Hill, you and I likely have a great deal in common. You, like me, love this country and want to make it better. You are passionate about politics, the campaign trail and the legislative process. You worry about the future, of America and of you and your loved ones. You probably grew up somewhere else, most likely out there in “Flyover Country.”

Doesn’t matter which political party you identify with or where on Capitol Hill you spend your workdays. Your hours are long and odds are good you could be making more money working somewhere else (maybe a whole lot more if you’ve been here for a few years). But you get to rub elbows with many of America’s most important and best-known leaders, and your work affords endless opportunities to meet and work with interesting and amazingly smart, skilled people. Money can’t buy the satisfaction that can come with that, right?

Fact is, for better or worse, the Hill is the center of your world. Maybe not tomorrow, but for now, most of your friends also work here, including people you socialize with, enter into (and out of!) romantic relationships, and compete with to grab that next rung up the success ladder. Many of them you like, some of them you can’t stand, and a few of them will probably be your friends for life. You see traits in some of them you admire and in others things that either make little sense to you or that you would never want to characterize you.

But Are You Happy?

You tell yourself and others you are. As happy as you think you should be or want to be or thought you would be by now? I know the feeling. My first four years here were spent on the Hill, initially on the House side as a press secretary, then as a chief of staff and finally as communications director for a senator. It was dazzling, exhilarating even; the powerful men and women, the receptions with the free food and booze, making a difference on important issues, growing in influence, position and importance.

Or so I thought. When I left the Hill for an executive branch political appointment, there was something not quite right. I kept telling myself I was happy, but in my most sober, reflective moments, I knew better. In the years ahead, I “fixed” it with better jobs, starting a different career, divorce and remarriage, even fulfilling a childhood dream (becoming a race car driver, running a Formula Ford for three years at Summit Point).

On the outside, I looked like a success. On the inside, no way.  Eventually, it all came apart and my world was shattered. Sobriety and humility are wonderful and I’ve been blessed in the decades since with a wonderful wife and family, a career that I absolutely love, a deepening awareness of life-changing facts about history, faith, science, people and living, and, most important, a growing relationship with the Lord who created us and indeed the whole universe.

Here’s “The Ask”

Maybe you’d like to know more about how this happened for me and consider whether it’s something you’d like for yourself. Don’t worry, it’ll just be friendly conversation, no judgements, no preaching, just two people talking about how to make it on the Hill and everywhere else. Let’s meet for a few minutes of honest conversation and coffee. Senate or House side. Whatever works for you.

And keep an eye on HillFaith blog. It’s the heart of a new apologetics ministry that in coming months will share with Hill staffers the endless, fascinating evidence from science, history, archeology and logic for the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ and the life-changing truth of His Gospel that can change your life for the better. God bless.

Mark Tapscott is HillFaith’s editor, IT jockey, spiritual guide, chief bottle washer and overall Jack-of-All-Trades. Email him at mark.tapscott@gmail.com