Comedian Bill Maher is well-known for his attacks on the Bible. For example, in his film Be More Cynical (2000) he said,
The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs.
Now in reply to statements like this, I could offer all my reasons for why I believe Bill Maher is wrong about the Bible. But rather than doing that, I thought I would share some quotes from leading lights in times past who thought highly of the Bible. I thought Iâ€™d match a quote with quotes, you might say.
Isaac Newton, 17th century English mathematician and scientist:
We account the scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.
John Locke, 17th century English philosopher and Father of Classical Liberalism:
The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting!
John Milton, 17th century English poet, best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost:
Let others dread and shun the Scriptures in their darkness. I shall wish I may deserve to be reckoned among those who admire and dwell upon them for their clearness. There are no songs comparable to the songs of Zion, no orations equal to those of the prophets, and no politics like those which the Scriptures teach.
Blaise Pascal, 17th Century French philosopher:
I prefer to believe those writers who get their throats cut for what they write.
Jean Jacques Rousseau, 18th century French philosopher, writer, and composer:
I must confess to you that the majesty of the Scriptures astonishes me; the holiness of the evangelists (Gospel writers) speaks to my heart and has such striking characters of truth, and is, moreover, so perfectly inimitable, that if it had been the invention of men, the inventors would be greater than the greatest heroes.
Immanuel Kant, 18th century German philosopher:
I believe that the existence of the Bible is the greatest benefit to the human race. Any attempt to belittle it, I believe, is a crime against humanity.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 18th century German writer and politician:
I look upon all four Gospels as thoroughly genuine, for there shines forth from them the reflected splendor of a sublimity proceeding from Jesus Christ.
Patrick Henry, American Revolutionary leader and orator:
There is a book [the Bible] worth all other books which were ever printed.
George Washington, 1st President of the United States:
It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.
John Adams, 2nd President of the United States:
Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a utopia, what a paradise would this region be.
John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States:
So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society.
Sir Ambrose Flemming, 19th century English electrical engineer and inventor:
We must not build on the sands of an uncertain and everchanging scienceâ€¦but upon the rock of inspired Scriptures.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States:
I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good of the Savior of the world is communicated to us through the Book.
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States:
A thorough understanding of the Bible is better than a college education.
C.S. Lewis, 20th century Oxford English professor:
In most parts of the Bible, everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with “Thus saith the Lord”. It is . . . not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite—it excludes or repels—the merely aesthetic approach. You can read it as literature only by a tour de force. . . It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms: it will not continue to give literary delight very long, except to those who go to it for something quite different.
I do not know about you, but even if I did not know anything about the Bible, I think the smart thing to do would be to go with the opinions of these leading lights from the past several centuries rather than Bill Maher.
Here are a couple books I would recommend on the Bible:
Available on Amazon in paperback here