What is the probability that the book of Acts is a myth?

based on archaeological discoveries made since ~ 1850
... and analysis by Classic Scholar, Dr. Colin J. Hemer


The previous linked page shows an acceptable correlation between the book of Acts and the archaeological records based on research and analysis by Classic Scholar, Dr. Colin J. Hemer. This now permits us to calculate the probability of the book of Acts being an absolute myth.


Calculating the probability
. . . of the book of Acts being a myth.

If a so-called "holy book" is NOT a myth, then we will find that the names of cities, people, and other unique details will be supported by archaeological evidence. And if there are some written details that are correct, the work could still be considered to be fictional. But if there is overwhelming archaeological evidence, the probability of truth increases. Based on these concepts, we can calculate whether the book of Acts should be considered to be based on truth or simply a myth or perhaps just a good fiction story.

How can we calculate the probability of myth?

The statistical tool I used for this test is referred to as the chi-square test of independence. This requires a hypothesis to be stated that links the book of Acts to some type of supporting physical evidence. Then we can test whether the data supports if the hypothesis is true or false at a calculated confidence level.

Chi-Square Test of Independence

Atheists believe the book of Acts to be a myth. Based on the Atheist world view, we can formulate a hypothesis for this viewpoint. We simply state that "The book of Acts is a myth due to no supporting archaeological evidence." Having made that statement as the hypothesis, we simply calculate a level of confidence that the hypothesis is true or false.

Since the hypothesis is "The book of Acts is a myth due to no supporting archaeological evidence," we would expect to find absolutely no archaeological evidence that supports the book of Acts. This leads to a math-based problem in the chi-square test of independence. Since we are expecting zero events, we must be able to divide by zero, which is impossible. How can this problem be solved?

There is a viable math-based answer. Anytime the chi-square test of independence expects zero to be the answer, the inverse calculation must be done. Of course, the answer will need to be reversed when applied to the hypothesis after the calculation is done.

Since this method will most likely confuse most people, I will walk through this problem with you by example. We expect zero items since the hypothesis is that "The book of Acts is a myth due to no supporting archaeological evidence". But the research of Dr. Hemer shows that we have randomly uncovered 162 items that correlate to the book of Acts. The inverse calculation would be the same as expecting 162 items and finding zero items. Therefore, let's do the calculation using 162 as the expected value and zero as observed value, which is done below:

Hypothesis
The book of Acts is a myth due to
no supporting archaeological evidence

Chi-square
Value

Observed

unique items

Expected

unique items

(E O)

(Expected
minus
Observed)

(E O)2

(E O)2/E

0

162

162

26,244

162

The chart above shows that we expected 162 unique items and observed zero. This yields the following values of 0 (Bottom Left Corner Above). The difference between the expected (+162) and observed (0) is +162 units (Middle Column Above). The number +162 is squared to equal 26,244. The value of 26,244 is divided by the expected value of +162 to yield a chi-square value of +162 (Bottom Right Corner Above). What does the value of +162 mean?

The analysis supports that the hypothesis ("The book of Acts is a myth due to no supporting archaeological evidence") is false. We can conclude that the book of Acts is based on fact. The probability of the book of Acts being an absolute myth is less than 4 chances in a 10 billion, billion, billion, billion (4.13 x 10-37) based on uncovered archaeological evidence that matches the texts in the book of Acts.

Did Saul's blinding light experience on the road to Damascus actually take place?

This is where faith is required. We can state that the travels of the Apostle Paul were for certain. And it appears certain that Luke was there collecting the stories and sometimes traveled with Paul as they journeyed around the Roman Empire. However, the spiritual experiences of the Apostle Paul are subjective and cannot be confirmed.

Nevertheless, the archaeological confirmation of the Apostle Paul's mission travels serve to validate the spiritual experience of both Luke and Paul.

Comparing the Faith Level Required to be an Atheists to Christian Faith

But what about the Atheist world view?

This web site logically shows that it takes large amounts of faith to be an Atheist based on scientific discovery. Atheists are required to believe by blind faith that multitudes of "unseen" universes exist. No one has ever observed even one of these unseen universes.

Due to modern scientific evidence, this web page makes it viable to quantify the level of faith for various world views. Based on scientific discoveries since 1990s, we can logically conclude that the level of faith required to be an Atheist is gargantuan. You have to believe in unseen universes that will never be confirmed to exist. Atheism requires faith greater than the size of the only known universe.

In contrast, the archaeological evidence that correlates to the book of Acts supports that the stories related to the Apostle Paul's travels did in fact happen. Since the physical side of the book of Acts is credible, how credible is the spiritual side of the book of Acts?

The data and analysis support that only a small amount of faith is required to believe in the spiritual stories about the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Did Saul of Tarsus come face-to-face with the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus?

Saul of Tarsus, an early skeptic and terrorist of Christians, was radically changed by that experience. According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. The archaeological discoveries that parallel the written text in Acts infer that Christians only need a small amount of faith to believe Paul's testimony that Jesus did in fact die on the cross for the sins of humanity, then rise from the dead. The quantity of faith is the proverbial biblical saying, the size of a mustard seed (Ref: Luke 17:6). Christians placing their faith (complete trust) in Jesus is credible. Are you ready to place your faith in Jesus as your redeemer?


Return to Previous Page

Go to Next Page
Probability that the book of Mormon is a myth?

| Quick Overview: Science | Quick Overview: Religion |
| Home | Site Map | Frequently Asked Questions |
| Webmaster: Send Comments |

Based on the book:
"Gabriel's Faces: voice of the Archangel"
ISBN 0-9640404-2-5