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Old 09-30-2001, 10:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tercel:
<STRONG>
...
Because... ~gasp~ if it wasn't either entirely true or entirely false we would have to use our brains to carefully interpret which parts of it were what. . . </STRONG>
Well I thought that was in fact what we are doing here. We are using our brains, and very little of the Bible stands up to rational scrutiny. I haven't had any revelations from any supernatural deity that make sense of things, and I certainly don't trust most of those who claim to have had those special messages.
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Old 10-01-2001, 05:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tercel:
I see the atheist Fundies are at it again...
Yeah, the atheists, rather than the Skeptics, are 'at it again', because we all know that one must choose either the Christian version of God, or no God at all. If one isn't true, then by default the other automatically is. There is no middle ground.
At least, thats what the warped Christian mind dictates.
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"The Bible must either be completely and absolutely right or completely and absolutely wrong! ... After all, our minds simply cannot hold the concept that it might be literal in some places and only metaphorical in others, or that sometimes two different authors differ slightly in their theology, beliefs or narratives with it voiding the entire thing - or even that it might be factually true in some places and factually incorrect in others! Because... ~gasp~ if it wasn't either entirely true or entirely false we would have to use our brains to carefully interpret which parts of it were what. We would have to actually seek guidence in our interpretations - from other clearer passages in the Bible, from Commentaries, heck perhaps we even might need the help of God to interpret the Bible and that just wouldn't be right at all!
You did nothing but talk a lot of nonsense in a vain attempt to obfuscate the issue at hand: either the Bible is the word of God ('God' being a perfectly righteous, honest, omnipotent, omniscient being in this case--) given to all of humanity, or it is not. God is perfect, and so too should his word be. If God made a flawed document, then he is not only greatly lacking in honesty and intelligence, but we have absolutely no way of figuring out what is and is not his 'true' and 'false' teachings and claims in the Bible. You did not answer the question the first time, so here it is again: if the Bible has errors in it, how do you know the whole thing isn't wrong? If you can't trust one part, why trust any of it? Please detail the specific criterion you use to weed out the flawed verses from those that are not flawed.
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But not only that... If it turned out that the Bible did not have to be entirely right for Christianity to be true in its entirity, then it would threaten our comfortable atheism.
After all, we disbelieve in Christianity because we've found many contradictions in the Bible. Although that is not quite true - we disbelieve because we choose to and the contradictions are what we use to rationalise that decision. But if it was to turn out that Christianity wasn't even seriously hurt by those contradictions then we would lose our rationale for rejecting it! We would be forced to realise that we have no real reason for our unbelief! Not only would we realise it, but the Christians would realise it too! That cannot be allowed to happen: The contradictions must be concluded to disprove Christianity and the Bible in its entirely. Anyone who says otherwise must be accused of being simple minded: There is only black, and white - no grey areas, none!"
Jesus Unjustified Middle Initial Christ. do you have any idea how completely stupid that last statement of yours was? Astoundingly! It amounted to you saying this: "if we establish the fact that the Bible is a coherent book, it automatically proves that God exists, and the Christian version of him is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, correct!" Its ridiculous. So what if you show the Bible has no demonstrable flaws in it? How does that make it the word of God?
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And its equally simple to see the flaw in your logic: Reverse your statement. Thus equally, if I can find one thing correct in it (And there are certainly plenty of historically confirmed correct things) then how do I know the whole thing isn't right?
You could, provided that it didn't have so many questionable claims. For example, if you were reading a modern history book, and it had some definately true claims of certain events, such as the date of the start and end of the U.S. Civil War; Lincoln's assassination; the battle between the Merimack and the Monitor; etc., it would appear to be trustworthy, and all would be justified in reliance upon it as an accurate document. But what if it made some other, weird claims? Like saying the South occupied all of Canada; the Yankee army brandished heat-ray guns; 100 million people were killed in this or that battle; etc.? As well as contradicting itself in certain places (such as claiming John Wilks Booth assassinated Lincoln, then in a later chapter, saying Stonewall Jackson assassinated him)? Then, you would consider it questionable, would you not? Of course. And so it is with the Bible: though it has truth in it, it has much which is obviously false, and is therefore untrustworthy. Understand? Good. Now be a dear and answer my question instead of dodging it, ok?
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But how can you even entertain the notion of the whole thing being wrong? Because there are small contradictions and mistakes in some places,
No, not 'small' contradictions, entire theological concepts contradict each other, and very significant Bible events contradict history.
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we are justified in scrapping it all?!? All 66 books, and everything they say is completely wrong - or at least I suppose, so wrong as to make them worthless? That's just insane.
The insanity rests in the mind of whatever teacher passed you on to the second grade. You are failing to understand a simple concept here: determining if the Bible is or is not the "Word of God". If its flawed, then it cannot be the word of God, because God is flawless. And because we don't know which parts to trust. That doesn't mean there is nothing of any redeeming, interesting, or even factually correct value in it. It just means the Bible is disqualified as being divine.
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Don't be so narrow-minded. There are some things in the Bible that are true, and there are some things that aren't. "The Bible" is a single term for what is a whole collection of books ranging in dates of composition over perhaps one and a half millennia and its authors ranging from the most highly educated to the all but uneducated. It's authors made mistakes, yes they were human, but they did the best they could. The Gospel writers did their best to record accurately the actions of Jesus in this world as they saw it or as it was told to them. Paul did the best he could when writing his letters to guide the new Churches. The Old Testament prophets did their best to preach and prophesy the word of God as it was revealed to them. All the authors did their best to write about a God who no one fully understands, and they weren't all theology experts. Yet they were men who had knowledge about God, or about God's working's in the world that others didn't and they preserved that for us.
The Church recognises their writings as something special: We see in them a pointer to the living God and a testiment to His actions in the world. But it is more than that: What we know about God must come from His revelation of himself. Science and philosophy can tell us little, the truth about God must be revealed by God Himself. Thus behind these writings which reveal the truth about God, must lie spirit of God who works to reveal the truth about God. And so we say these writings are inspired by God or the "Word of God".
There is too much faith-soaked foolishness in that post for me to tackle at the present time (note: anyone else who wants to try to do it, though, should. It would be entertaining). Suffice to say its just a way to dodge the issue and not answer the question: if the Bible has errors in it, how do you know the whole thing isn't wrong? If you can't trust one part, why trust any of it? Please detail the specific criterion you use to weed out the flawed verses from those that are not flawed.

Also, it would be nice for you to answer this one as well: tell me why God's message to all literate humans in existence (the Bible) would even have errors in it in the first place. He can create the entire universe, but can't write a coherent book?
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To say "there are mistakes and therefore the Bible is not the Word of God" seems to me to miss the point. Humans are always making mistakes. When flawed man is trying to discern Ultimate Truth, even with a degree of divine help, plenty of mistakes is hardly surprising. A few errors don't make it all wrong: they show nothing one way or another. It is the real truth that lies at the heart of the Bible: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Lord, and the Holy Spirit, which are the only things that could truly be said to make it all "right" or all "wrong" in any meaningful way.
A few errors hardly come into it at all. That the writer of Chronicles disagreed with the writer of Kings over the interpretation of events in the life of David is trivial when assessing the real questions about Christ and God.
See above.
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Old 10-01-2001, 10:47 AM   #13
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Tercel:

You misrepresent EOTU’s position as:

Quote:
"The Bible must either be completely and absolutely right or completely and absolutely wrong! ...
This misstates the problem. If the Bible contains a great number of things that are false, its evidential value is low. But the essential claim of Christianity is that certain events occurred, and its evidence that they occurred is that they are related in the Bible. But if many of the events related in the Bible did not actually happen, this is not exactly evidence of the highest quality. The problem is especially serious because the crucial events in question, such as the Resurrection, are miraculous in nature and thus require extremely strong evidence. A book of unknown provenance full of errors, absurdities, and contradictions doesn’t cut it.

And if the Bible has God saying and doing things that He not only did not say and do, but which give a completely false picture of God’s moral nature – of what kinds of things God considers “right” and “wrong” – how is the Bible of any use at all? If we reject the “census” story on the grounds that it doesn’t square with our notions of justice, rather than concluding from it that our concept of justice is mistaken and modifying it to conform more closely to God’s concept of justice, then we are not using the Bible for moral guidance. Instead, we are using our own moral beliefs to decide which parts of the Bible to believe.

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After all, our minds simply cannot hold the concept that it might be literal in some places and only metaphorical in others...
Oh, my mind has no trouble “holding” this concept. But it does pose a serious problem, which you seem to be completely blind to. If there is no reliable way to distinguish the literally true parts from the allegories, parables, or myths, we are left to try to figure out which is which on our own. Which is exactly what’s happened. And Christians themselves are unable to agree about this. The disagreements aren’t exactly minor, either.

But in many cases (like the passages which are the subject of this thread) it’s hard to see how one can argue that a story was not meant to be regarded as literally true without destroying any possible basis for believing that anything in the OT is meant to be taken as literally true. It is part of the main narrative; it resembles, for example, the story of how the Ten Commandments came into existence in all relevant respects. There is nothing about it to suggest that it is meant to be interpreted as an allegory or parable or myth. It is a completely straightforward account of one of Jehovah’s direct interactions with the people of Israel. It does not differ in any obvious way, from a literary standpoint, from dozens of other such accounts in the OT.

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... or even that it might be factually true in some places and factually incorrect in others!
Skeptics have no problem with this idea; in fact it’s what they believe. Among the bits that we consider to be “factually incorrect” are the four stories of the Resurrection.

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... if [the Bible] wasn't either entirely true or entirely false we would have to use our brains to carefully interpret which parts of it were what.
But that does pose a teensy weensy problem, doesn’t it? The whole point of God’s creating the Bible is that unaided human understanding is incapable of discovering the Truth; hence revelation. But if the revelation is itself so confusing or ambiguous that reasonable people cannot agree on what it means, we’re back to square one. And if parts of it are flat-out false, it offers no help at all. Not only do we have to figure out what all the ambiguous passages mean; we have to sort out the true parts from the false. And how do we figure out which is which? Why, by using our unaided human understanding, whose inadequacy to the task not only is demonstrated by the huge differences of opinion among Christians on these questions, but is the very raison d’etre for the Bible in the first place.

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... we even might need the help of God to interpret the Bible and that just wouldn't be right at all!
If we need help from God to interpret the Bible, and the help that is forthcoming is of the same kind and quality as the Bible itself, we are in a hopeless quandary.

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After all, we disbelieve in Christianity because we've found many contradictions in the Bible.
No. We disbelieve in Christianity because it’s absurd, and because there’s no evidence worth mentioning that it’s true. The real point of talking about contradictions and absurdities in the Bible is to wakes up a few Christians from their doctrinal slumber and help them to realize how totally irrational their beliefs are.

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Although that is not quite true - we disbelieve because we choose to ...
That’s exactly what you’re doing. You disbelieve certain parts of the Bible because you choose to, not because there is any evidence that they are false or were not intended to be read literally.

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...and the contradictions are what we use to rationalize that decision.
This is not a rationalization for disbelief; it’s a rational basis for it. Let’s say that Smith tells a lot of interesting stories. Since they’re about things that happened long ago in a far off land, I have no way of checking any one of them directly. But I notice that a great many of them are extremely implausible, and many of the stories contradict others. Would it be rational to put much stock in Smith’s tales?

The fundamental contradiction in your position is this. On the one hand you say that the Bible is a human creation, and thus should be expected to be full of errors:

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Humans are always making mistakes. When flawed man is trying to discern Ultimate Truth ... plenty of mistakes is hardly surprising.
On the other hand, you say that the Bible is God’s revelation of truths that are otherwise inaccessible to human understanding:

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Science and philosophy can tell us little, the truth about God must be revealed by God Himself.
But mere humans “doing their best”, recording hearsay of unknown reliability, and making plenty of mistakes do not seem to be an adequate vehicle for conveying truths that can only be known through revelation. If God intended to convey information about the fundamental nature of reality which we cannot discover for ourselves, and which is essential to our salvation, it is absurd to suppose that He would go about it by having a lot of anonymous authors create a book full of errors, absurdities, and contradictions, which in many places conveys a totally false impression of God’s essential nature, and then fail to give any clear indication that the book in question is His revelation. You say that God is omnipotent, omniscient, wise, and just. Surely He knows how to choose suitable means to achieve His ends? If He wants rational creatures to believe something, He will give them evidence designed to produce rational belief. To do otherwise would be both unwise and unjust.

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Yet [the authors of the Bible] were men who had knowledge about God, or about God's working's in the world that others didn't ...
Isn't the fact that these men thought it reasonable that God would murder 70,000 innocent people because David took a census evidence that they did not have any such knowledge? There’s lots of such negative evidence in the OT. What evidence do you have that they did have such knowledge? And even if they had such knowledge, the point was to convey this knowledge to us. So why are practically all of them anonymous? Why have we not been provided with clear evidence of who the authors were, and that they really had such knowledge? Without such evidence, what they say is not knowledge to us; it’s just a lot of words.

In summary, you say that “... the truth about God must be revealed by God Himself.” OK, so when is He going to reveal which parts of His revelation are true?

[ October 03, 2001: Message edited by: bd-from-kg ]
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Old 10-01-2001, 12:04 PM   #14
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Tercel,

You've initiated quite a feeding frenzy.

I believe that it is because you fail to understand the meaning of: "there ain't no truth like a lie".

joe
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Old 10-02-2001, 09:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor 0f The Universe:
You did nothing but talk a lot of nonsense in a vain attempt to obfuscate the issue at hand: either the Bible is the word of God ('God' being a perfectly righteous, honest, omnipotent, omniscient being in this case--) given to all of humanity, or it is not. God is perfect, and so too should his word be. If God made a flawed document, then he is not only greatly lacking in honesty and intelligence, but we have absolutely no way of figuring out what is and is not his 'true' and 'false' teachings and claims in the Bible.
You are confusing the Bible as the "word of God" and "inspired by God" with "dictated or written directly by God". The Bible, unlike say the Koran, does not alledge to be a direct, or semi-direct (say with an angel in between) communication between God and man. Thus, in the sense you mean: I do not consider the Bible to be the Word of God. To consider the Bible as dictated by God through its authors is a Fundamentalist position and naturally they formulate their doctrine of inerrancy from this. But the rest of Christianity rejects both dictation and inerrancy.

Quote:
You did not answer the question the first time, so here it is again: if the Bible has errors in it, how do you know the whole thing isn't wrong? If you can't trust one part, why trust any of it?
But in what sense do you mean "trust"? When reading a story in the Bible I trust that the gist and meaning of what I am reading is conveyed with at least reasonable accuraccy. I don't trust that what I read is exactly what happened or necessarily a complete account. Of course my trust in the accuracy changes depending upon what book of the Bible I am reading. eg I trust the writer of Luke/Acts (he appears to be a competent writer and a thorough researcher) to a degree which I would not do to Matthew.

Quote:
Please detail the specific criterion you use to weed out the flawed verses from those that are not flawed.
If you had understood my explanation about what the Bible is - in brief the sum total of all that mankind has observed about God - you would see that the answer is obvious: Insofar as a verse disagrees with the general nature of God as shown by the rest of the Bible is the degree towards we consider it flawed.

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No, not 'small' contradictions, entire theological concepts contradict each other, and very significant Bible events contradict history.
That depends on your point of view. I would say that the contradictions are small, the theological concepts do not contradict each other and that no significant Bible events contradict history.

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You are failing to understand a simple concept here: determining if the Bible is or is not the "Word of God". If its flawed, then it cannot be the word of God, because God is flawless.
No you are misunderstanding the simple concept of the "Word of God" which does not mean that God dictated it. Your logic is fine - using your terms I would agree that it is NOT the "Word of God". I tried to explain what was really meant by Word of God in my previous post and you accused me of talking nonsense and trying to obfuscate the issue at hand. The thing to me which separates the Bible from any religious book who adherents claim is divinely dictated eg the Koran, Book of Mormon etc is that the Bible is human writings about God, not God's direct message to us. I think if God wanted to tell us directly about him then he wouldn't waste time writing an inerrant book He'd just zap the information into His followers or what-not.

Tercel
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Old 10-03-2001, 01:38 PM   #16
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Tercel:

I think your concept of “what the Bible is” needs a little more explaining. You say:

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... the Bible is ... the sum total of all that mankind has observed about God.
Really? Then no man has observed anything whatsoever about God in almost two millenia? He has never offered guidance or inspiration to anyone in all that time? I cannot believe that you really mean this.

Quote:
The thing to me which separates the Bible from any religious book who adherents claim is divinely dictated, e.g., the Koran, Book of Mormon, etc. is that the Bible is human writings about God, not God's direct message to us.
But so are the Confessions of St. Augustine, Kempis’ Imitation of Christ, Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain. Surely you believe that the authors were in touch with God, that they knew something about God which they communicated to us, that their books contain observations about God? What is it that distinguishes the Bible from them? In what sense is it a sacred book while these others are not?

You say:

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"The Bible" is a single term for what is a whole collection of books ranging in dates of composition over perhaps one and a half millennia and its authors ranging from the most highly educated to the all but uneducated. It's authors made mistakes, yes they were human, but they did the best they could.
Quite so. But there would seem to be something missing from this account, because is fails to explain why Christians accord this motley collection a special authority not possessed by any other book. For example, when any other book relates miraculous events, you are properly skeptical. But the Bible claims that quite a few miraculous events occurred, and you are not skeptical of at least some of them. Why? What is it about the Bible that makes its miraculous claims believable when they would be considered quite unbelievable if they were found in any other book?

You say:

Quote:
The Church recognizes [the Bible] as something special: ... a pointer to the living God and a testament to His actions in the world. But it is more than that: What we know about God must come from His revelation of himself. Science and philosophy can tell us little, the truth about God must be revealed by God Himself. Thus behind these writings which reveal the truth about God, must lie spirit of God who works to reveal the truth about God. And so we say these writings are inspired by God or the "Word of God".
But if the Bible is full of errors He must not have worked very hard to “reveal the truth about” Himself. It seems legitimate to ask why. If His purpose was to reveal His true nature, and His true nature is such that He would never kill 70,000 people with plague because someone dared to take a census without His express consent, how does one explain the fact that this book, whose whole purpose is to “reveal the truth about Him”, says that He did?

You say:
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... you are misunderstanding the simple concept of the "Word of God"
But this concept is apparently not so simple, since you say elsewhere:

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Insofar as a verse disagrees with the general nature of God as shown by the rest of the Bible is the degree towards we consider it flawed.
So apparently we have to read the entire Bible, decide what its general tenor is and how it depicts God on the whole. Then we either ignore all of the passages that depict God differently or reinterpret them to mean something quite different from what they actually say. This is simple? By this standard, only a dedicated Bible scholar has any hope of learning the true nature of God from God’s own revelation. And even for such a scholar it is only a hope. In reality Bible scholars disagree radically about the nature of the God depicted in the Bible, and the “true” meaning of any number of passages.

By this standard, even the clearest, most unambiguous passages in the Bible must be doubted. After all, they might be inconsistent with the way the “rest of the Bible” depicts God; if so, they are “flawed” and must be rejected.

You say:

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I think if God wanted to tell us directly about him then he wouldn't waste time writing an inerrant book. He'd just zap the information into His followers or what-not.
What’s this – a Christian daring to guess how God would go about doing things? But in any case you’re wrong. As all good Christians know, when God wanted to tell His followers directly about Himself, He did so by becoming incarnate.

But since you raised the question, just why doesn’t God want to tell us directly about Himself? And since He did choose to reveal Himself to us (at least partially) in the form of a book, why an errant one rather than an inerrant one?

[ October 03, 2001: Message edited by: bd-from-kg ]
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Old 10-03-2001, 08:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by bd-from-kg:
<STRONG>... the Bible is ... the sum total of all that mankind has observed about God.</STRONG>

Really? Then no man has observed anything whatsoever about God in almost two millenia? He has never offered guidance or inspiration to anyone in all that time? I cannot believe that you really mean this.
You've got me there. I did say that was a brief summary of my point though.
Perhaps a rephrase to "the Bible is the group of the most complete and authoratitive writings of what mankind has observed about God" would be better. Even that looks insufficient because by that definition we could include great works of theology in the Bible. But I hope you know what I mean.

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<STRONG>The thing to me which separates the Bible from any religious book who adherents claim is divinely dictated, e.g., the Koran, Book of Mormon, etc. is that the Bible is human writings about God, not God's direct message to us.</STRONG>

But so are the Confessions of St. Augustine, Kempis’ Imitation of Christ, Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain. Surely you believe that the authors were in touch with God, that they knew something about God which they communicated to us, that their books contain observations about God? What is it that distinguishes the Bible from them? In what sense is it a sacred book while these others are not?
That's up to the Church to decide the cannon. The Church choose what they choose because they believed the books to be authoritative. The OT is the same as what the Jews at the time accepted as authoritative and the NT is the writings which the Church at the time believed to have been written by the apostles or on apostlitic authority (ie by companions of apostles). The books you mentioned clearly do not fit the criteria of apostlitic authority.

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There would seem to be something missing from this account, because is fails to explain why Christians accord this motley collection a special authority not possessed by any other book. For example, when any other book relates miraculous events, you are properly skeptical. But the Bible claims that quite a few miraculous events occurred, and you are not skeptical of at least some of them. Why? What is it about the Bible that makes its miraculous claims believable when they would be considered quite unbelievable if they were found in any other book?
I am a Christian who believes in the Christian God. It seems to me logical then to accord the Bible with a reasonable degree of authority. Especially when I recognise the authors of the NT as writing with apostlitic authority. (Most of them, anyway)

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But if the Bible is full of errors He must not have worked very hard to “reveal the truth about” Himself. It seems legitimate to ask why.
He doesn't want to make it too easy.
As I mentioned earlier, if God really wanted to tell everybody about himself directly he has far better methods at His disposal than to write a sacred book. Clearly He doesn't want to magically give everyone direct knowledge of Him or what He is about.
One prominent theme in Christian revelation is that God hides himself. One obvious reason for this is the boring old "to give us free will", but I have no doubt its more than that. (I've got a link - somewhere - on the subject of divine hideness if you're interested) Final Judgement will be based on our deeds in this life, that is a crystal clear testament of Biblical revelation. (Which is what makes Fundies, with their "everyone who doesn't believe will go to hell" crap, so funny)
Jesus' parable of the servants provides, I think, a good explanation of this life. The master goes away leaving his servants with Talents (being the word for "coins" but at the same time giving us a rather appropriate pun). When the master returns he judges the servants on what they have done with what they are given, and gives them appropriate power depending on how well they handled things without him. Thus in an analogous way, I see this life as somewhat of a test. God is testing how good His servants are with what they have been given to see how much more he can give them. (Which is rather scary to us who have been given much for "to whom much has given, much will be required")
To reveal himself too much in a universal way would rather defeat the purpose of the exercise as I see it.
But when his servants need the master's help to carry out the master's will then he is there to help.

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So apparently we have to read the entire Bible, decide what its general tenor is and how it depicts God on the whole. Then we either ignore all of the passages that depict God differently or reinterpret them to mean something quite different from what they actually say. This is simple?
I think it is. We are not dealing with definitive revelation here. What we have is a group of pieces of what various people have been able to observe about god. Unsuprisingly some of them were mistaken in some places, and so to claim things like inerrancy is simply laughable. What we can do however is get close to the truth by taking and overview. We can be sure the general trends are accurate, and when all writers are agreed we can be sure we are on solid ground. The obvious next step is to let these general trends helping us with specific passages. If a specific passage agrees with and complements the general trend we can accept that passage without reservation. If a specific passage disagrees in meaning with a general trend then we have several options. We could outrightly reject the passage as wrong, though this is pretty harsh treatment and I only recommend this in very extreme instances where something else (eg textual criticism or traditional interpretation) supports rejection as well. Alternatively we could try and modify our interpretations of the passage and if we found an interpretation which fitted our general trend and did not do any serious injustice to the text then we could accept the interpretation. Alternatively we could hold a state of revered agnosticism which is my preferred choice if no alternative interpretation can be found. We admit that this passage seems to tell us something that we see as contrary to what we thought we knew. But we also admit that God is beyond our comprehension and it may really be that God does indeed encompass both apparently contrary truths.

Although I took a while to explain the above, and did it rather unsatisfactorily, it is something I see as common sense. Our method of interpretation is simply something which must follow once we recognise the text for what it is: Inspired and authorative, with mistakes.

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By this standard, only a dedicated Bible scholar has any hope of learning the true nature of God from God’s own revelation. And even for such a scholar it is only a hope.
Not really. Anyone can read the Bible and get the general gist of it. A dedicated Bible scholar could obviously get more, but a normal person armed with a couple of commentaries could generally get quite enough I would imagine.
But as I mentioned before, if God really wanted to teach us about Him: He could use a instant zap method. The Christian equivalent of which is the Holy Spirit who according to Jesus in the Gospel of John, "reveals the truth about God". One of the tasks of the Spirit is said to be teaching, to bring us into the knowledge of God. Such teaching of the Spirit is where the Bible gets it's inspiration from.

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By this standard, even the clearest, most unambiguous passages in the Bible must be doubted. After all, they might be inconsistent with the way the “rest of the Bible” depicts God; if so, they are “flawed” and must be rejected.
Yup. If there was an extremely clear, unambiguous passage which was dead against the rest of the teachings of the Bible the passage would have to be rejected.
It's like a contradiction question I discussed on this forum a while ago: Does God change His mind?
There are two meanings we use when we talk about changing our minds. The first is when we decide to do something, think about it some more and then decide it's actually not a good idea. (aka indecision) The second is when we decide to do something, but then circumstances changes making our previous decision inappropriate so we "change our mind". (aka respond to a changing situation)
Now from my knowledge of the general trends of the Bible I can say right now that indecision would not be a quality possessed by God, but God would respond to a changing situation. Now if we actually look at the Bible verses which talk about God changing his mind we can examine the context to see if they agree with our general trend or not. In this case they do, (ie when God is said to "change his mind" it is to a changing situation and where it is said that he doesn't change his mind it is most probably referring to indecisiveness - or that it at the very least a plausible non-conflicting interpretation) and so the "contradiction" vanishes. Of course that was much to the dismay of those alledging the contradiction, but I figure they've got plenty anyway. But if they had not agreed with the general trend, say if there was a verse that said "God is indecisive" then we would probably want to reject it, or at least strongly consider it.

Quote:
As all good Christians know, when God wanted to tell His followers directly about Himself, He did so by becoming incarnate.
Jesus certainly choose to teach people about God as one of the things he did. It seems reasonable though to suggest that he did this for the specific purpose of founding the Church which would seem to be a vastly more specific and planned purpose than to simply tell people about God.
Anyway as every good Christian knows the primary purpose of the Incarnation was the crucifixion and the resurrection.

Tercel
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Old 10-04-2001, 01:31 AM   #18
Bob K
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Without standards for analyzing/evaluating/judging [A/E/J or a/e/j] people/things/events [P/T/E or p/t/e], anything goes, emotionalism reigns: if it feels good, it must be true/if it feels bad it must be false; if it is wanted, it must be true/if it is not wanted, it must be false; etc.

Here is a list of potential standards for the analysis, evaluation and judgment of holy books:

1. The gods, if they exist, must be subject to the same laws of logic as are men.

2. Holy books not only in their original form but all copies and translations must be inspired, written, guided, etc. by gods, not written by men.

Eyewitness books/reports ought to be separate from holy books, clearly marked, and their authors clearly biographed.

As men write, we might expect them to make mistakes; but when the gods inspire/write/etc., we should be able to expect that they should not make any mistakes.

3. The presence of contradictions of any kind in a book shall be evidence that the book was not inspired/written/guided/etc. by gods and is therefore not an holy book.

Contradictions shall include (1) differences of temporal sequences; (2) exclusions/inclusions wherein details excluded in one story or account are included in another story/account, and vice versa.

Holy books should not contain multiple stories of the same people/things/events existing/occurring at the same timepoints and in the same locations. Multiple stories are unnecessary; one story should be sufficient to give all the details which are true.

The presence of multiple stories containing contradictions concerning the details of the same p/t/e's existing/happening at the same timepoints and location logically means (A) one story is true and (B) all others are false or all stories are false, because all (C) stories which contain conflicting/contradictory details could not possibly be true. Thus, the presence of conflicting/contradictory multiple stories shall be proof/evidence that they were written by men and not inspired by gods.

4. The presence of historical inaccuracies in a book shall be evidence that the book was not inspired/written/guided/etc. by gods and is therefore not an holy book.

5. The presence of archaeological inaccuracies in a book shall be evidence that the book was not inspired/written/guided/etc. by gods and is therefore not an holy book.

6. The presence of hypocrisy by the gods in a book shall be evidence that the book was not inspired/written/guided/etc. by gods and is therefore not an holy book.

Hypocrisy shall be (A) saying one thing [setting standards/guidelines/commandments/etc.] and doing another or (B) doing one thing in one situation and something else in other similar situations.

Gods should be logical and free of hypocrisy. They should be consistent in all that they say and do. Inconsistencies shall be clear and obvious evidence of the hypocrisy of the gods, or else that the stories/accounts in which inconsistencies of the gods are presented are written by men and not inspired by gods.

7. The gods should inspire/etc. the writing of holy books in a simple form comprehensible to all people of all cultures/ethnic groups [so any translations
would have the exact meaning] so that any possibility of having to be a scholar of ethnic literary devices as a qualification for who should be able to read
accurately and effectively holy books is eliminated--so normal people [nonscholars] would be qualified to read the holy books, not just priests/scholars.
http://www.bobkwebsite.com/stndrdsholybks.html
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Old 10-04-2001, 09:25 AM   #19
Metacrock
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cracker:
<STRONG>1 Chronicles 21:1 - "Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel."
1 Chronicles 21:7-8, 14 - "
2 Samuel 24:1 - Indifferent</STRONG>
Meta =&gt;Such contradictions simpley do not matter. They are only important if you have the verbal plenary model,and that is not the only model of revelation.

Read the link please.

http://www.webspawner.com/users/apol...evelation.html
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Old 10-04-2001, 09:31 AM   #20
Metacrock
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Quote:
Originally posted by Emperor of the Universe:
<STRONG>
A simple answer for one of such a simple mind as yourself. Its so simple to see the fatal flaw in your reasoning: if the Bible has errors in it, how do you know the whole thing isn't wrong? If you can't trust one part, why trust any of it? Please detail the specific criterion you use to weed out the flawed verses from those that are not flawed.

Then tell me why God's message to all literate humans in existence (the Bible) would even have errors in it in the first place. He can create the entire universe, but can't write a coherent book?</STRONG>
Meta -&gt; ok now let's be clear about this. You are indulging in the all or nothing fallacy, either every single bit of it is litterally true, it can't have one mistake or the whole thing is off, and he is the one with the simple mind?

Like you never heard of the concept of literature? There can't be different senses in which things are true? That would be the case if you assume that the Bible is one monolythic work and that the whole purpose of it is to import facts about history and science and other things that must be understood in a literal sense. But why should we assume that?

The verbal plenary view (all the verbage is inspiried--the fundie notion--the whole thing is literally true in every way) didnt' even exist until the 19th century.

Before you undertake to criticize a few point you should try to know something about it. You dont'. You don't know brown mucky stuff about it.

All the book were written before they were in the canon. So they dont' have the same purposes, they have different senses in which they communicate truth and they communitate their truths on different levels. The simplistic approach is to decide that it all has to be this one big monolythic literalism.
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