The gilded “Emaciated Buddha statue” in an Ubosoth in Bangkok representing the stage of his asceticism
By Spencer D Gear PhD
I’ve written extensively on this topic. See:
The Bible passes the test of reliability, using the tests any ancient historian uses. Some historians call them indices while others call them criteria.
See my articles that investigate this topic to demonstrate the Bible is a reliable book:
Can you trust the Bible? Part 1
Can you trust the Bible? Part 2
Can you trust the Bible? Part 3
Can you trust the Bible? Part 4
Secular assaults on the Bible: The inerrant Bible battles
Bible bigotry from an arrogant skeptic
The Bible: fairy tale or history?
Why Christianity is NOT a religious myth promoted by dim-witted theists
In On Line Opinion this “comment” stated: ‘The Bible is no more reliable than the Muslim Koran, the Buddhist Tripitaka or the Hindu Bhagavad Gita’.
How historically reliable is the Quran?
Matthew Wong, Christian, answers questions on the Bible:
Just look at the crucifixion of Jesus and you already see where the evidence leads.
Islam vehemently denies the crucifixion as a historical event while most historians, both secular, Jewish and Christians find it to be an almost indisputable part of Jesus’s life – in fact perhaps the most verifiable event in his life, other than his baptism.
Islam instead proposes that Jesus never died on the cross but that it was made to appear that way, and someone else was put on the cross instead to look like him. According to the Quran, Allah did this to trick the Jews into thinking they killed him:
That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.
Quran, Surah 4:157–158
Of course this already has problems in the very verse. First, why on earth would Jews admit to killing not only Jesus as a person, but to killing the Christ and Messenger of Allah? Those involved would not have made such confession that he was the Messiah and prophet from God, because they didn’t believe him to be such.
Muslims believe this account because it has been written in the Quran but all other historical sources say the crucifixion happened and the resurrection has strong support as well. There are no sources outside the Quran and Islamic works to indicate their version of things (emphasis added). Certainly, one would think if someone else had been switched with Jesus, that person could not possibly say the things on the cross like, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” or “Into your hands I commit my spirit”. Also, who was standing before Pontius Pilate up to the accusations of the Sanhedrin and High Priests? Would not such a person protest. Jesus remained silent for much of the trial before Pilate. And certainly the person who switched with Jesus would certainly have to undergo the scourging that took place BEFORE Jesus was raised onto the cross. Or did Allah allow Jesus to be scourged and then decide to replace him before the cross?
To explain away the following events afterwards, namely the resurrection and teaching of the death, resurrection and deity of Christ, Muslims claim the gospel was then lost and corrupted and that Muhammad had the final revelation of Allah in its perfectly preserved form. This leads to problems though in understanding reliability of Allah’s revelations.
If Jesus is proclaimed by Muslims to have been the Christ, born of a virgin, righteous and having performed so many miracles, how it is that he barely leaves a footnote with his mission and none of his disciples could transmit the gospel (Injeel) that Allah intended to give to the people? The truth is that this Jesus could be none other than a failure as he (and Allah) lead to the start of a false religion. Is Allah not strong enough to preserve past revelations and then suddenly gained powers to preserve these through the Quran after learning from past mistakes? This video presents clearly why Islam shoots itself in the foot through their version of the crucifixion and what the Quran says about Jesus:
Muslims deal the same way towards the Torah and other writings of the Old Testament. They were revelations from Allah which Muhammad is told to verify the Quran is correct by, and also state Muhammad was promised in these past revelations, yet the revelations were corrupted.
I have also encountered various Muslims responses’ in relation to the Ahadith, collection of writings about Muhammad and expands on some of the Quranic revelations. While Ahadith is considered important to Muslims and certainly they get a lot of their customs including the Five Pillars from there, many accounts Muslims will say are simply fabricated or da’eff (weak). Thus less than kind reporting from various narrators of Muhammad’s life in the Hadith are dismissed as being tales and not to be taken seriously, despite some of these hadiths being from Sahih (verified) sources:
Islam’s revelations from Allah lack consistency and distort the revelations from Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, i.e. it cannot be trusted as a reliable revelation of the Islamic religion.
Reliability of the Buddhist Tripitaka
The Pali tipitaka was an open canon for several hundred year after the Buddha’s death, so later developments were added to the canon. Even after the cannon (sic) was closed there has been extensive editing. Additionally, many of the oral texts were not in pali, but were in other prakrit languages and had to be translated to pali.
The Abhidhamma is a later development. Some early schools rejected the Abhidhamma system, because they felt it was not the Buddha’s teaching. Additionally, the Theravada Abhidhamma shares very little in common with other existent Abhidhammas.
The Pali Suttas are very similar to the early cannon (sic) preserved in other languages, e.g. Chinese. Some Suttas are though to be older for a number of reasons. One is simplicity of doctrine, e.g. no lists. Another is, it is unlikely the sutta was added to the cannon (sic) at a later date, because it doesn’t fit into Theravada orthodoxy. Signs of editing help date texts or understand what an earlier version looked like. The Sutta Nipata is thought to be some of the of the oldest texts by both academic and religious scholars.
The vinaya is felt to be an early text, because existent versions are very similar.
At this point in time it is very unlikely we can tell what suttas are the original words of the Buddha. The critical textual study of the Suttas is just starting and is immature compared to critical biblical studies.
Since it was ‘an open canon’ where words were added, it cannot be a reliable document related to the original document. Quartz India indicated the atheism of Buddhism:
While Buddhism is a tradition focused on spiritual liberation, it is not a theistic religion.
The Buddha himself rejected the idea of a creator god, and Buddhist philosophers have even argued that belief in an eternal god is nothing but a distraction for humans seeking enlightenment.
While Buddhism does not argue that gods don’t exist, gods are seen as completely irrelevant to those who strive for enlightenment.
A similar form of functional atheism can also be found in the ancient Asian religion of Jainism, a tradition that emphasises non-violence toward all living beings, non-attachment to worldly possessions, and ascetic practice. While Jains believe in an eternal soul, or jiva, that can be reborn, they do not believe in a divine creator.
Reliability of the Hindu Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita (“Song of God” or “Song of the Lord”) is among the most important religious texts of Hinduism and easily the best known. It has been quoted by writers, poets, scientists, theologians, and philosophers – among others – for centuries and is often the introductory text to Hinduism for a Western audience.
It is commonly referred to as the Gita and was originally part of the great Indian epic Mahabharata. Its date of composition, therefore, is closely associated with that of the epic – c. 5th-3rd century BCE – but not all scholars agree that the work was originally included in the Mahabharata text and so date it later to c. 2nd century BCE.
The Gita is a dialogue between the warrior-prince Arjuna and the god Krishna who is serving as his charioteer at the Battle of Kurukshetra fought between Arjuna’s family and allies (the Pandavas) and those of the prince Duryodhana and his family (the Kauravas) and their allies. This dialogue is recited by the Kauravan counselor Sanjaya to his blind king Dhritarashtra (both far from the battleground) as Krishna has given Sanjaya mystical sight so he will be able to see and report the battle to the king.. . .
The Gita combines the concepts expressed in the central texts of Hinduism – the Vedas and Upanishads – which are here synthesized into a single, coherent vision of belief in one God and the underlying unity of all existence. The text instructs on how one must elevate the mind and soul to look beyond appearances – which fool one into believing in duality and multiplicity – and recognize these are illusions; all humans and aspects of existence are a unified extension of the Divine which one will recognize once the trappings of illusion have been discarded.
How accurate is the Gita?
P. R. Sivakumar wrote:
All versions of Srimad Bhagavad Gita is (sic) correct. There is nothing like accurate or inaccurate Bhagavad Gita. It is the interpretation that differs. And even if you read the original verses of Srimad Bhagavad Gita, you are not understanding its meaning – instead, you are forming your own interpretation of the Sanskrit verse.
Personally speaking, I would try to understand an acharya’s (like Adi Shankara, Ramanuja or Madhvacharya) interpretation, rather than my own, given my limited knowledge of Sanskrit and spirituality.
My suggestion will be for you to seek a guru, as per your spiritual inclination and try to understand the message through them. As far as Sanskrit verses go, there are many websites. You can also find them here – http://www.bhagavad–gita.org/
Therefore, it is impossible to speak of the accuracy of the Gita.
I have confirmed the reliability of both Old and New Testaments. However, Got Questions Ministries summarised it concisely:
The books of the Bible were written at different times by different authors over a period of approximately 1,500 years. But that is not to say that it took 1,500 years to write the Bible, only that it took that long for the complete canon of Scripture to be penned as God progressively revealed His Word. The oldest book of the Bible, according to most scholars, is either Genesis or Job, both thought to have been written by Moses and completed around 1400 BC, about 3,400 years ago. The newest book, Revelation, was written around AD 90 (Got Questions).
There is a 400 year gap between the end of OT revelation and the beginning of the NT. During this time, God was not revealing himself to his people – for his reasons (Got Questions).
Both OT and NT deal with historical facts and spiritual reality.
With Islam, it is based on a ‘revelation’ to Muhammad but includes too many inaccuracies when compared with the Bible (see above).
For Buddhism, the Pali tipitaka was an open canon for several hundred year after the Buddha’s death where writings were added that did not come from Buddha. In addition, Buddhism is an atheistic religion.
For Hinduism, “there is nothing like accurate or inaccurate Bhagavad Gita,” we can’t discuss the reliability of the Gita as it is outside the realm of Gita’s parameters. Interpretation is what matters for Gita.
 Got Questions Ministries 2021. “How long did it take to write the Bible?” accessed 15 September 2021.
 Available at: Posted by david f, Friday, 20 September 2019 7:23:54 PM, https://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=20505&page=5, accessed 14 September 2021.
 Reddit, bucon, “How much of the tipitaka is reliable, and be reliable i mean true to the buddha’s words?” accessed 14 September 2021, https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/28dj7v/how_much_of_the_tipitaka_is_reliable_and_be/.
 Quartz India 2019, “The ancient connections between atheism, Buddhism and Hinduism,” 3 April, accessed 14 September 2021, https://qz.com/india/1585631/the-ancient-connections-between-atheism-buddhism-and-hinduism/.
 Joshua J Mark 2020, World History Encyclopedia, “Bhagavad Gita,” 15 June, accessed 14 September 2021, https://www.worldhistory.org/Bhagavad_Gita/.
 Quora 2016. “Where can I find the most accurate book on Srimad Bhagavad Geeta?” accessed 14 September 2021, https://www.quora.com/Where-can-I-find-the-most-accurate-book-on-Srimad-Bhagavad-Geeta.
Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 September 2021.