After the terror attack on 9/11, many people started having questions about the religion of Islam. And since Dr. Andy Bannister did his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, he was one of the go-to guys for clarity and reason in the midst of uncertainty and fear.
Christians with an expertise of Islam have something to offer here. Many of our Western leaders are groping around clueless because they have abandoned theology as a category. They have bought into what Dr. Bannister termed as the "Marxist View" of religion - that religion is just about economics.
Religion is a theology, an ideology and a worldview. That is why the extremists are doing that they are doing. They are not lunatics. They are actually dangerously rational; there is a rationality behind it. As Dr. Bannister points out, when religion goes wrong, it can go poisonously wrong.
And unless we begin to understand why they are doing what they are doing, we can't begin to combat it effectively. We cannot write it off as an irrational action. We have to deal with it by addressing it face on.
Similarly, Dr. Bannister had to address his faith face on back in the 1990s when he was trying to evangelize to Muslims on the streets. The Muslims he spoke with at the Speakers Corner in London would usually attack his faith as a Christian by attacking the reliability of the bible since they are usually taught to believe that the bible is being corrupted and is unreliable.
Yet if we look to the records, the antiquity of the biblical manuscripts cannot be denied. One example will be the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the most important books in the world that was handwritten more than 1600 years ago. It is often known as the world's oldest bible. The scribes who were copying that text were probably in contact with the first generation of manuscripts! In other words, there wasn't a huge gap between the old and the new copies. The scriptures were passed down from one generation to the next.
The bible is actually a library of many different books written by different authors over about a 2000 years period. For the gospels, we have more than one account of Jesus. That is how we can compare and sift out the truth from the lie - through the testimonies of the various witnesses.