Introduction to Why Christianity Study
| Section 1 | Section
2 | Section 3
In this series of articles, it will be our task to examine
why the Christian religion stands alone above all other religions
as an accurate view of God, the universe, and man's relationship
to both. As such, this article series will pick up where we
left off with our article series entitled, "Atheism vs. Theism."
In order to conserve time and avoid being redundant, we will
not spend much time reiterating the conclusions of the "Atheism
vs. Theism" study here. But, since the conclusions of the
"Atheism vs. Theism" study provide the starting premises for
this series of articles, we highly recommend reading the "Atheism
vs. Theism" articles before moving on to this particular topic.
At the end of our "Atheism vs. Theism" articles, we list eight
points summarizing the conclusions of that study. For the
purposes of this study, it is only necessary to list 2 of
those summary conclusions now at the start of this article
series. (The two points below are listed as points No. 6 and
7 at the conclusion of our "Atheism vs. Theism" study.)
As a result of our "Atheism vs. Theism" study, we concluded
1) Theism has been shown to be scientifically acceptable,
while Atheism and Agnosticism must be rejected as unscientific.
Theism is the only empirically supportable, scientifically
acceptable theory for the origin of life.
2) The empirical evidence offered by science demands
the acceptance of God's existence. Or put simply, with no
other available acceptable theory to consider based upon the
empirical evidence science tells us that God must exist.
Thus, the conclusion of our examination of Atheism and Theism
is that God must exist. And with that firm conclusion in mind,
we now turn to the next logical question: What view should
we adopt concerning God? This question could be worded in
a variety of ways, but answering this question is the primary
focus of this series of articles.
Standard of Proof
"Philosophy - study of the ultimate reality, causes,
and principles underlying being and thinking." - The Columbia
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
"Religion - 1a. Belief in and reverence for
a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor
of the universe." - The American Heritage Dictionary of the
English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
It could be said that a "religion" by definition is simply
a philosophy or worldview, which includes God as one of its
premises. Since this article series is picking up where our
"Atheism vs. Theism" study left off, it is most appropriate
that we would turn our attention to an examination of all
philosophies or worldviews that include God as a premise in
order to determine the merits of each. A survey of human geography
and history will quickly reveal that there is certainly no
shortage of ideas and claims about God. So, how are we to
know which ideas and claims are accurate and reliable, which
have merit, and which do not?
Our goal is to determine 2 things. First, by what criteria
can we judge if the claims of a particular religion are accurate
and reliable? Second, using these criteria, which religions,
if any, possess claims, which are accurate and reliable?
Of course, once we have determined what criteria we can use
to assess the accuracy and reliability of religious claims,
it will also be necessary to employ some standard of proof
as to what does and does not qualify as "accurate and reliable."
This standard and how it applies to the main question of this
article series will become clearer as we continue forward.
But for now, it is important to state that we are looking
for is the most reasonable assessment of the available
evidence. Whether we are trying to determine the accomplishments
of Alexander the Great, who killed John F. Kennedy, or whether
or not Mohammed was a real figure, no one can go back in time
to observe past events directly. Nor does any one of us possess
the omnipotence necessary to observe and examine first hand
all the figures and events under consideration.
As such, no one can declare any historic conclusion (religious
or otherwise) with the kind of certainty that would come from
knowing and examining all figures and events with first hand
intimacy. Instead, because we are neither omniscient nor time-travelers,
as examiners of human history, we must rely upon the most
reasonable assessment of the available historical evidence.
And that in turn, requires relying upon the historic accounts
provided by observers who were there at the time - a concept
that we will discuss in greater detail as we proceed ahead.
Regarding this standard of proof, it is important to state
that it is not arbitrary and has not been invented to conveniently
favor one religion over another. Instead, by "most reasonable
assessment" we are simply applying an existing standard, which
is already employed by historians and other members of the
academic and scientific community when examining and verifying
other historical and scientific claims.
In order to be clear we should also state briefly what is
meant by "reasonable." We simply define reason (or reasonable)
in the simplest, most basic terms. We mean reason as opposed
to nonsense, madness, or absurdity. We mean the same type
of reasonable standard that is commonly employed by scholars
of history and the scientific community. (To deny the plausibility
or utility of reason, defined this way, is to forfeit anything
and everything that is claimed to be known or understood about
anything by human civilization collectively or by us, personally
as individuals, not only in the area of theology, but technology,
science, history, and in our personal, practical everyday
And, using this common, reasonable standard of proof, we intend
to test the claims of various religions. Essentially, we will
be asking what does the most reasonable assessment of the
available evidence tell us about the claims made by the world's
In closing, we should also explain what we mean by "assessing
the evidence." What evidence is it that we mean to assess
in order to determine the accuracy or reliability of religious
claims? Specifically, we mean to examine any evidence that
each religion possesses or might offer to support the validity
of its claims. After determining some of the criteria by which
we can evaluate this evidence, the primary focus of this study
will be to assess the evidence that could be offered to demonstrate
the reliability and accuracy of each religion's claims.
Introduction to the Criteria of Assessment
The criteria for determining whether a religion is accurate
or reliable involves assessing historicity.
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, defines
historicity as follows:
"Historicity - n (1880): historical actuality." - Merriam
Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition
Commonly defined, historicity is whether or not a person or
event actually occurred in the course of human history. Something
or someone that is not considered to be historic may be categorized
as a myth or a legend. By contrast to persons and things,
which are considered historic, persons and things, which are
considered to be mythological or legendary are not said or
cannot be said to have actually lived or occurred.
When we seek to determine a religion's historicity we can
ask several crucial questions. Does the religion claim to
have founder(s)? Do we have any historical evidence that the
founder(s) of a religion actually existed? Does a religion
claim origination within certain historical events? Do we
have evidence from the historical record that these events
actually occurred? Do we have evidence that the claims attributed
to that person actually originated from them?
All of these questions are very important for providing us
with evidence that we can evaluate to determining the accuracy,
reliability, or validity of religious claims.
When it comes to assessing whether or not the claims of a
particular religion are valid, we can address this aspect
of the investigation on two levels. On the lower level, there
is the question of "Where did this religious claim come from?"
This question addresses the historicity of a founding figure
or figures as well as the historicity of any events surrounding
the formation of the religion and its claims. But simply assessing
the historicity of founding figures and events does not in
and of itself prove that the religion's claims are true. For
example, the fact that Mohammed existed does not automatically
demonstrate that Mohammed's religious claims are true.
Here we arrive at the higher level of this investigation.
For, it may be the case that a religion was founded by a real
individual who experienced certain real events. But do those
historic realities in some way provide evidence or demonstration,
which supports that religion's particular claims about God
and the universe?
While this higher level of investigation is really where the
heart of the assessment resides, it is not possible to arrive
at this higher level in the case of those religions, which
do not meet the criteria presented on the lower level. Or,
in other words, for those religions, which for one reason
or another cannot be traced to actual historical figures or
events, it is impossible to assess whether or not those hypothetical
historic events lend supportive evidence to the claims of
The result is that we are required to answer these two questions
in this order. First, can a particular religion be traced
to verifiably historical figures and events? And second, do
those historical figures and events provide evidence in support
of the claims of that religion? It is with these questions
in mind that we now turn our attention to examining the historicity
of the various religions. These two questions are the two
criteria we will use to evaluate any evidence offered to substantiate
the accuracy of a religion's truth claims.
It should be stated that we will be looking for evidence that
can be evaluated in an objective (unbiased and reasonable)
manner to see if it provides support for the acceptance of
particular religious claims as valid. In order to assess the
validity of religious claims, it is critical for us to be
able to perform such an objective evaluation of any potential
evidence. In order to do this we must attempt to find or identify
what (if anything) is offered as the evidence or basis for
the claims of each religion. This means that an evaluation
of validity is only possible for those religions, which at
least offer some sort of evidence in support of their claims.
Religions, whose origins are not available through historical
documentation offer no evidence and therefore provide for
us no means by which we might objectively (or reasonably)
verify the reliability or accuracy of their claims. Since
such religions are unavailable to a reasonable evaluation
of evidence, we will be forced to reject their religious claims
on the grounds that there is no objectively verifiable reason
to accept those claims as accurate or reliable.
The simple fact is that any person can come forward and say,
"God is like this," or "God is like that." But how are we
to know whether or not their claims and ideas about God are
accurate? Are they delusional? Are they just guessing? Are
they sent from God? Are they pretending for personal gain?
Are they just plain wrong?
Sure, we could just accept their claims without explanation
or evidence. But if we want to determine what is objectively
true about God then we need to perform a reasonable assessment
of fact and reality regarding religious claims. We must be
able to examine what rational evidence exists that warrants
or even indicates that a person's ideas about God are correct.
Otherwise we might accept a view of God that is without merit
or that is not accurate.
The Criteria for Assessing Evidence and Reaching Conclusions
As we turn our attention to criteria used in this study, the
first question we must ask is this. How do we determine if
a person or event is, in fact, historic? How do we know whether
a person accomplished the works ascribed to them by the historical
record? How do we know that they said what it is recorded
that they said or taught what they are said to have taught?
The lives, actions, and words of ancient persons are established
for us through ancient documents. We can get an understanding
of what it takes to establish the historicity (or historical
actuality) of ancient persons and events by taking a look
at some non-controversial and universally accepted examples.
Through these examples we will learn what evidence is required
and considered sufficient to establish that figures lived,
did what they did, and said what they said.
The first example we will look at is Alexander the Great.
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great lived between 356-323 B.C. During his
short 33-year life he conquered a leading empire of his day
in ancient Mesopotamia and established his own vast Macedonian
(or Greek) Empire from Greece east to Iran and south toward
Egypt. Quite an accomplishment for a man of any age. But how
do we know of Alexander the Great? Why do we accept his life
and accomplishments as historical facts?
The historic evidence for the existence of Alexander the Great
and his accomplishments rests on five ancient sources. The
first two provide the more complete documentation. The remaining
three give shorter, less comprehensive information.
1. The History of Alexander the Great of Macedon,
written by Quintus Curtius Rufus in Latin during the first
2. Anabasis of Alexander, written in Greek by
Arrian, during the second century A.D.
3. Diodorus Siculus, the first century B.C.
4. Plutarch, first and second centuries A.D.
5. Justin, the third century A.D.
On the basis of these five documents, historians confidently
conclude that Alexander the Great is a real historic figure
who conquered ancient Mesopotamia and established the Greek
Empire that has influenced the development of western and
world civilization for millennia.
Yet, if we take a close look at these documents we can see
that none of them are anywhere close to being written near
Alexander's lifetime or by anyone of personal acquaintance
with him. In fact, the earliest, surviving record of Alexander
the Great was written no sooner than 300 years after his death
(by Diodorus Siculus in the first century B.C.) Additionally,
the first comprehensive historical record available on Alexander
the Great does not occur until over 400 years after his death
(by Quintus Curtius Rufus in the first century A.D.)
Not one of these historical works constitutes a first-hand
testimony of the person and life of Alexander the Great. Instead,
all were compiled centuries after Alexander is said to have
lived and died, by those who did not know him personally or
directly witness his existence. Nonetheless, these records
are considered sufficient to establish that there was a man
named Alexander the Great, who lived during the fourth century
B.C. and who conquered ancient Mesopotamia by the age of 33
and established the Greek Empire that has influenced the development
of western and world civilization for millennia.
Socrates and Plato
Socrates was a Greek philosopher who lived and died in Athens
between 469 B.C. and 399 B.C. He was accused and tried for
impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens. Rather than defend
himself in a manner that would have won the favor of the court,
Socrates instead challenged the court defiantly resulting
in his eventual conviction and being sentenced to death by
drinking the poison hemlock. Instead of cowering to avoid
his fate, Socrates boldly held to his convictions and complied
with his punishment.
Plato was a student of Socrates who was born and lived between
427-347 B.C. He is the author of several influential works
of classical literature on philosophy and government, including
perhaps his most famous work, Republic. But, we must
also note that it is mostly through Plato's writings that
we have come to know of the life and death of Socrates.
Plato wrote Republic somewhere between 427-347 B.C.
But the oldest manuscript copy that we have of this ancient
document comes from nearly 1300 years afterward, in the year
900 A.D. The total number of manuscripts that we have for
Republic from about this time is seven. Because of
the late date, none of these manuscripts were penned by Plato.
Therefore, the case for historicity of Socrates and Plato
is similar to that of Alexander the Great. The available records
are considered sufficient to establish where and when Socrates
lived, how he died, and what he said and taught. Likewise,
we know Plato was a student of Socrates, who also lived in
Athens, that he is the author of Republic, and we know
a great deal about the philosophy he developed, which has
also been greatly influential on the development of western
and world civilization for several millennia now and counting.
Julius Caesar and the Gallic Wars
Julius Caesar, the first Roman emperor waged a campaign against
Gaul between 100-44 B.C., which led to the subjection of Gaul
as a territory of the Roman Empire. The historical record
of these events comes from documents written by Julius Caesar
himself. We accept the historicity of these events, that it
was Caesar who wrote them, and that Caesar's description of
them is accurate based upon ten ancient manuscripts of Caesar's
work, Gallic Wars. The earliest copy of these was written
at around 900 A.D., nearly 1000 years after Julius Caesar
lived and fought against Gaul, and was copied by someone who
was very far removed from the people and events described
in the work.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who lived between 384-322
B.C. and was a student of Plato. He is credited with a work
known as Poetics, written in 343 B.C. There are five
ancient manuscripts of this work available today, the oldest
of which is from the year 1100 A.D. We accept these manuscripts,
written at least 1400 years after the fact, as sufficient
evidence for establishing Aristotle's authorship of Poetics
as a historical fact.
Homer and the Iliad
With the exception of the shear number of available manuscripts
the historical evidence that Homer wrote the Iliad
is similar to that of Aristotle and Poetics and Plato
and Republic. Though most of the 643 copies that we
have of this work date from around 500 A.D. the oldest fragments
are dated at only 500 years after Homer is said to have originally
penned the work in 900 B.C. These 643 manuscripts are enough
to establish Homer and his authorship of the Iliad
and enough to make the Iliad the second most historically
established work of antiquity.
Other Ancient Persons and Works
Besides those we have already mentioned above we might mention
a few more examples. All but three of these examples are ancient
historians from whom modern historians draw much of their
information in order to create our understanding of ancient
Xenophon, was a ancient Greek historian and student of Socrates.
He was born in 431 B.C. and died in 354 B.C. In between he
wrote Anabasis (or March Up Country), which
chronicles the events surrounding the Greek attempt to take
the throne of the Persian king Artaxerxes between 401-399
B.C. The earliest manuscript of Anabasis that we have
today is dated to 1350 A.D., nearly 1750 years after Xenophon
lived and the events and persons he wrote about.
Herodotus also wrote a work entitled History. He lived
between 485-425 B.C. and wrote of events that took place 50-125
years earlier in 546-478 B.C. Yet the earliest of the eight
copies of his work that we have available today dates from
900 A.D., 1400 years or so after the life of the author and
the events described.
Thucydides' work History was written between 430-425
B.C. The events that he describes took place 0-30 years before
he wrote. But the eight copies of this work that we have today
all date at around 900 A.D., 1300 years after the author and
the events he described.
For Lucretius, a Roman poet and philosopher who lived between
99-55 B.C. we have just two copies of his work On the nature
of the Universe. These copies were written between 1100-1400
years after his life and writings.
Polybius was a Greek historian who lived between 240 B.C.
and 122 B.C. His work, entitled History records events
that occurred between 220-168 B.C. The earliest copy of Polybius'
History that we have today is from 950 A.D., nearly 1100 years
or so after the persons and events that Polybius wrote about.
Tacitus, was a Roman historian who wrote a record of history
between 56-120 A.D. His work, entitled simply History
(or Annals) covers the period of world history occurring
between 14-68 A.D. meaning that Tacitus was writing of events
that took place 30-100 years before he recorded them. The
earliest manuscript we have of Tacitus' History comes
from 850 A.D., approximately 750 years after the events he
describes occurred and after Tacitus lived and wrote the original
text. There are a total of 20 ancient copies of this work
available to us today.
Seutonius a Roman historian, lived and died between 70-130
A.D. He wrote a history of the twelve caesars from Julius
to Domitian called the Lives of the Twelve Caesars.
The people and events he describes took place between 50 B.C.
and 95 A.D., 25-170 years before he wrote of them. The earliest
of the eight copies that we have of his work are dated 750-1500
years after the events occurred.
Pliny the Elder, another ancient historian, lived between
60 and 115 A.D. Writing at around 110-112 A.D. he covered
current events that took place between 97-112 A.D. in his
work, Letters. However, the earliest manuscript that
we have from Pliny is from 850 A.D., nearly 750 years after
Pliny's life and the events he recorded. We have a total of
seven copies of Pliny's Letters.
Plutarch, who lived between 46-130 A.D., was also an ancient
biographer and historian. His work Parallel Lives of the
Famous Greeks and Romans discusses persons and events
from 500 B.C. to 70 A.D. However, the earliest copy of this
work that survives into modern times is dated at 950 A.D.,
which is 850-1500 years after the lives and deeds of the persons
Plutarch wrote of in his original.
Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian was born in 37 A.D. and
died in 101 A.D. He wrote Jewish War and Jewish
Antiquities about events, which occurred between 200 B.C
and 65 A.D., 10-300 years before he wrote the record. The
earliest copies of these two documents date from around 1000
A.D., 900-1300 years after the events described and the life
of the author.
Sophocles the Greek poet who lived between 496 and 406 B.C.
is known to have written several plays including Antigone
and Oedipus the King. We have 193 manuscripts of his
works, which date from 1400 years after his life and writings.
Euripedes, another of the ancient Greek poets, lived between
480-406 B.C. and wrote many popular plays. We have nine manuscripts,
all of which are dated at least 1300 years after his life
and writing, but all of which are attributed to him as the
The above examples demonstrate what is sufficient to determine
that persons and events actually lived and occurred in history.
All of these ancient figures, events, and writers are considered
to have actually lived and occurred in history. They are taken
to have said what is attributed to them, done what is accredited
to them, and wrote what is ascribed to them.
Yet the evidence that compels us to accept the historicity
of these persons, their words and works, and these events
is pretty limited.
Therefore, from the examples cited above, we can determine
if a religion is historic, and therefore open to objective
verification, by assessing whether or not the person(s), event(s),
and teaching(s) of a particular religious view are documented
in history according to the following three requirements:
1. At least two copies of supposed original manuscripts
must survive into modern times.
2. Surviving copies of the original manuscripts must
be written within 1400 years or so after the figures and events
3. The supposed original documents can be written by
people who were first, second, or third-hand witnesses to
the events, or who were more than two generations or even
five hundred years removed from the actual persons or events
that they are describing.
We will revisit these three criteria for historicity later
when we examine various religious views. But before we begin
our evaluation of various religious views, we should first
discuss a few views of God, which often play a role in the
evaluation of that potential evidence.
Views that Cannot Be Used as Criteria to Evaluate Evidence
In our "Atheism vs. Theism" study, we discussed the definitional
form of Agnosticism. The Columbia Encyclopedia provided our
definition of Agnosticism.
"Agnosticism - form of skepticism that holds that
the existence of God cannot be logically proved or disproved...Agnosticism
is not to be confused with atheism, which asserts that
there is no God." - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.
Having disproved this more "technical" form of Agnosticism
in the "Atheism vs. Theism" study, we must now address a less
"technical" but perhaps more common form of Agnosticism. Even
though Agnosticism technically refers to the belief that "the
existence of God cannot be proved," in modern society the
term "agnostic" can also carry a different but related meaning.
The key to understanding the shift in meaning is first understanding
the meaning of the word "agnostic." The word "agnostic" is
derived from the two Greek root words "a" and "Gnostic."
"agnostic - ETYMOLOGY: a-1 + Gnostic."
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
Fourth Edition. 2000.
"a - PREFIX: Without; not: amoral. ETYMOLOGY:
Greek." - The American Heritage Dictionary of the English
Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
"Gnostic - ETYMOLOGY: Late Latin Gnsticus, a Gnostic,
from Late Greek Gnstikos, from Greek gnstikos, concerning
knowledge, from gnsis, knowledge. See gnosis." - The
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth
"Agnostic," from which we get the term "Agnosticism," simply
means "without knowledge." As we have seen from the definition
provided by the Columbia Encyclopedia, on a technical, definitional
level, Agnosticism has traditionally referred strictly to
being "without knowledge" concerning the specific question
of whether or not God exists. However, many modern persons
claiming the title of Agnostic have shifted the exact question
for which they believe we are "without knowledge."
Instead of being "without knowledge" regarding whether or
not God exists, some modern Agnostics instead use the term
to refer to their belief that we are "without knowledge" when
it comes to the question of what God is like. In shifting
the "agnosticism" from a question of God's existence to the
question of whether or not God can be known or understood,
this alternate form of Agnosticism is able to survive even
after God's existence is proved.
Furthermore, this alternate form of Agnosticism is asserted
with just as much certainty as traditional Agnostics assert
that God's existence is absolutely unknowable. Or in other
words, this alternate form of Agnosticism is absolutely certain
that we cannot know anything about what God is like in any
way. Therefore, this alternate form of Agnosticism is opposed
to any religion, which makes any assertions or claims about
what God is like. Since this is the case, just as we dealt
with traditional Agnosticism in the "Atheism vs. Theism" study,
it is now necessary for us to deal with this alternate form
of Agnosticism as we begin this series of articles.
And this alternate form of Agnosticism is easy enough to address.
The first thing to note about this alternate Agnostic position
is that categorically speaking it is a conclusion.
Consider this question: how does a person determine that God's
attributes and character cannot be known or understood? Before
reaching such a position, one would first have to examine
the suggested evidence and conclude either that the evidence
is contradictory or does not support any of the various existing
For a person to assert that God is unknowable without consideration
of the evidence is a completely irrational act. To examine
evidence and determine that the evidence is lacking or contradictory
would be a rational conclusion. But simply concluding that
no sufficient evidence exists without an examination of suggested
evidence is simply a groundless assumption and a textbook
case of circular reasoning. Whether you are making assumptions
about what God is like or assumptions about how well we can
know God, assumptions are just assumptions and they have nothing
to do with rational analysis or facts.
Like all religions or worldviews, Agnosticism must result
from an assessment of the evidence. Therefore, because the
Agnostic view must be a result of assessing the evidence,
an Agnostic worldview cannot determine the results of
the very assessment that leads to it as a conclusion.
If the suggested evidence is shown to be lacking or contradictory,
then an Agnostic position might be warranted. But you cannot
use the conclusion that the evidence is unsatisfactory as
a basis for assessing that the evidence is unsatisfactory.
As we have said already, to do so would be circular reasoning.
The evidence must be evaluated or dismissed on its own merits
without reinserting the Agnostic conclusion among the premises
or among the criteria by which we make the assessment.
And because that is the case we must withhold reaching an
Agnostic point of view until after we have examined the suggested
evidence. And because we are withholding reaching an Agnostic
worldview until after the assessment of the evidence is complete,
we cannot use the tenets of the Agnostic worldview as a basis
for dismissing evidence as we go about our assessment. To
do otherwise would constitute forming our beliefs based upon
unreasonable processes including circular reasoning.
So, as we continue forward to assess the evidence involved
in the various religions of the world, we will not be able
to discount evidence based upon the Agnostic grounds that
"God is unknowable." Instead, we will have to let the evidence
speak for itself. If all of the suggested evidence is found
to be unsatisfactory based upon its own merits, then an Agnostic
conclusion will be justified. But if evidence is found that
is satisfactory, then we will be not be able to reach an Agnostic
conclusion. Instead, we will have to believe and conclude
what the most reasonable interpretation of the evidence requires.
We might also point out an additional problem within Agnosticism
- an inconsistency regarding what amount of information is
sufficient to generate an understanding of a topic. As we
saw earlier our understanding of history is often built upon
a very limited amount of information. Nevertheless, despite
what is at times very scant evidence, Agnostics are comfortable
adopting the popular understanding of history.
On the other hand, Agnostics adamantly reject any understanding
of God, citing as their objection that we do not have sufficient
information to generate an understanding of God. Given their
acceptance of a very limited set of information from which
we construct history it is hard to see how they could then
automatically dismiss as absolutely insufficient the potential
information about God that is available in that very same
It seems that the same standard should be applied consistently
when we go about the task of understanding figures and events
beyond our personal experience. If there is adequate information
to provide us with a reasonably accurate understanding of
history, then it must be at least possible that the same historical
information is capable of providing an understanding of God.
If the Agnostic cannot consider the possibility that sufficient
information about God exists from the available historical
documentation, then it seems that they must also reject any
possibility of understanding ancient history.