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Old 10-26-2001, 04:16 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe, a comment

I notice in this article that the author makes the statment

"The myriad of errors and inconsistencies
in the Hebrew Bible and in the Gospels ought to deliver a death blow to
that belief"

I know you have philisophical reasons for needing to belive this, but do you ever have a really convincing set of examples. I've looked high and low for a really good set of biblical contradictions, and the best i can ever find are a collection of out of context, and heavily twisted verses. Typically from people that only read an english translation, without knowing any relevant history of the era the stuff was written in, and then confidently asserting ERROR!! Is this the best you lot can do. I'm willing to consider the possibility of error, or contradiction, but i stop bothering to check through enormous lists when the first 30 or so items are just crap, and show the authors ignorance rather than biblical errors. I look forward to the day that i find an articel on this web site that actaully has a convincing attack on the christian faith, and isn't just a collection of unsubstantiated assertions parading as evidence. Please if i've missed an article such as this let me know.

Jason
 
Old 10-26-2001, 11:09 PM   #2
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Thank you for your feedback regarding Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe by Matt Young. E-mail notification has been sent to the author. Although there are no guarantees, you might want to check back from time to time for a further response following this post.

Pending Matt Young's response, I have a few comments.
1.) One of the marks of a freethinker is that he/she has no need to believe anything, let alone religious dogma. As an example, had I not remained open to knew knowledge I would still be a Christian.
2.) What constitutes a convincing set of biblical problems (not necessarily "contradictions," but problems) is largely a matter of opinion. As a former Christian myself (a Christian who was inclined toward fundamentalism), I find my own collection of Biblical Problems convincing. It was this very sort of thing which convinced me that Christian doctrine is full of holes. If you don't, that is OK with me.
3.) Unless you were omniscient, you would have no way of knowing (other than direct testimony from the authors) whether those who have compiled such lists used only an English translation, knew no history of the era, or anything else. If you want to talk about "crap," such assumptions on your part represent true crap.

My suggestion would be for you to become a registered user, if you are not already, and discuss your viewpoints in an appropriate forum such as Biblical Criticism & Archaeology.

--Don--
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Old 10-28-2001, 05:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by <svensky>:
<STRONG>I notice in this article that the author makes the statment

"The myriad of errors and inconsistencies
in the Hebrew Bible and in the Gospels ought to deliver a death blow to
that belief"

I know you have philisophical reasons for needing to belive this, but do you ever have a really convincing set of examples. I've looked high and low for a really good set of biblical contradictions, and the best i can ever find are a collection of out of context, and heavily twisted verses. Typically from people that only read an english translation, without knowing any relevant history of the era the stuff was written in, and then confidently asserting ERROR!! Is this the best you lot can do. I'm willing to consider the possibility of error, or contradiction, but i stop bothering to check through enormous lists when the first 30 or so items are just crap, and show the authors ignorance rather than biblical errors. I look forward to the day that i find an articel on this web site that actaully has a convincing attack on the christian faith, and isn't just a collection of unsubstantiated assertions parading as evidence. Please if i've missed an article such as this let me know.

Jason</STRONG>
Well Jason, why don't you read Biblical Errancy or The Skeptical Review. After that, you can pick out some of the problems they chose, put up your solutions, and we can discuss them.

The many errors in the Bible are of so glaringly obvious a nature that only a tiny minority of Christians are inerrantists. The vast majority make their peace with the errors of the Bible one way or another, and go right on believing. You'll find on our boards that nobody defends the inerrantist position, because it is so hopeless. If you doubt that, just start an "errors solved!" thread in the Bible Criticism forum.

Good luck in your quest, Jason.

Michael
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Old 10-29-2001, 06:48 PM   #4
Matt Young
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Author's reply.

Jason has the cart before the horse. I have no a priori philosophical reason for wanting to believe anything about the Bible. To the contrary, I want to examine the Bible critically and figure out for myself what is true in it and about it.

More specifically, the Hebrew Bible is not a single book but an edited anthology. In the Book of Genesis, for example, a long, complicated story is told from two or more perspectives, all interwoven to form a more or less coherent whole. This fact is so apparent that the Anglican bishop John S. Spong has called it almost incontrovertible and thinks it is a tragedy that the typical worshipper does not know it.[1]

What about errors or inconsistencies? First, the Hebrew Bible is poorly edited. For example, the Hebrew word for "he" is transliterated HV', and the Hebrew word for "she" is HY'. There are many times where "he" appears even though "she" is clearly intended. These errors are reproduced faithfully in every Hebrew Bible printed today. An interesting sidelight: In Genesis 2:7, a verb is spelled VYYZR and in Genesis 2:19, VYZR. The physicist Gerald Schroeder [2] construes the extra Y to indicate that man was given a soul in 2:7 an interpretation that no dispassionate observer could accept unless he or she was already convinced of the absolute truth of the Bible and was willing to say virtually anything to support that conviction.

Consistency? Compare the first two chapters of Genesis. In 1:27, God creates man in his own image: "Male and female he created them," in the translation of the Jewish Publication Society. But in 2:18, God deplores that man is alone and in 2:21-2 makes a woman from Adam's rib. One myth from one tradition; one from another. How can they be made into a single, consistent story?

Similarly, we are told (Genesis 6:19) that Noah took one pair of each kind of animal into the Ark. In 7:2-3, we learn, by contrast, that Noah took seven pairs of clean animals (animals that are ritually fit for sacrifice) and seven pairs of birds. In Genesis 7:8-9, however, we learn that Noah took one pair of all animals, including clean animals, and 7:14,16 reiterates one pair. Adonai tells Noah one thing; his alter ego Elohim, something else. What does Noah do? Both, if the account in Genesis is accurate. Did Noah build two arks?

Other books in the Bible, most particularly Jonah and Esther, are fictions, designed to make a political or religious point. Esther takes place well within historical times, very roughly at the time of Socrates. Yet there is not a single historical record of a rebellion by the Jewish community of Persia. Jason may read about these matters in greater detail in my book, No Sense of Obligation, if he is open-minded and wants to learn more. [3]

We do the Bible no honor by insisting that everything in it is true. Indeed, we dishonor the Bible when we intentionally misread it and twist logic and common sense in order to make it appear that this very human book was dictated by God. In one respect, at least, Spong is right: it is high time we rescued the Bible from the fundamentalists.

References.

[1] J. S. Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1991.

[2] G. L. Schroeder, The Science of God, Free Press, New York, 1997.

[3] M. Young, No Sense of Obligation: Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe, 1stBooks Library, Bloomington, Indiana, 2001; www.1stBooks.com/bookview/5559.
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Old 10-30-2001, 12:25 AM   #5
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Well i'd like to say a number of things about your reference to spong, but it would take a while and go no where.

However, where may one find copies of your book ? I'd be interested to read it, however i lacka credit card, so when can i expect to find it in book shelves in oz ?

Jason
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Old 10-30-2001, 12:29 AM   #6
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Matt i would question one of your statements in your reply.

You dont have an aprori reason to doubt the claims of the bible. Excuse me if i missed something in your book review that was linked too, but you do seem to be an athiest, and have a completely unsubtle commitment to naturalism.

This does of course make me question of your claim of neutrality, what with the odd supernatural claim or two in the bible.

At any rate, i hope to get a chance to read your book at some point.
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Old 10-30-2001, 12:36 AM   #7
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Don,

can i just make one observation about your list of biblical contradictions/absurdities et al.

If it is so obvious why not just quote the verses ? There are a couple in your list that are way way out of context, or you've taken the verse to mean the opposite of what it means in context.

Matt 7:2 no judging spring immeditaly to mind. Go and read the next several verses. It isn't, "no judging" , but "judge, but not hypocritally".

So i would appreciate it if you would remove such a blatantly inaccurate citation. It removes rather than adds credibility to your position.

Jason
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Old 10-30-2001, 01:03 AM   #8
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Svensky:

Surely the biggest Biblical problem is the falsehood of the entire Genesis creation account! The Earth is several billion years old, and creatures evolved gradually in a sequence which contradicts Genesis (no birds, whales or grass before land animals, for instance). All attempts to reconcile Genesis with the real world (so-called "creation science") have failed. If you doubt this, start a thread in the Evolution/Creation forum.

I suggest you also check out the thread The "Inerrant" Bible, *Again*. Some of the Biblical contradictions are huge, striking at the very core of Christian doctrine: such as God's endorsement of the genocidal slaughter of innocents, human sacrifice to the Christian God, and the existence of other Gods.
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Old 10-30-2001, 02:26 AM   #9
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Jack i would question most of your assumptions there. I have started threads in evolution/creation which go in circles, with the evolotuionists insiting that science proves this, and that i should look it up in a text book. Which i tried, but it just seemed to be a waste of time to persist when ones opponets where a priori regarding you as a deluded idiot.

Jason
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Old 11-01-2001, 02:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by svensky:
Don,

can i just make one observation about your list of biblical contradictions/absurdities et al.
You don't need my permission in order to do so.

Quote:
If it is so obvious why not just quote the verses ?
What is the "it" that is "so obvious"? Where have I said that something is "so obvious"?

But to answer your question, quoting verses verbatim requires considerably more space than does paraphrasing the meaning. Originally, this material was published in printed form and there were constraints on the number of pages deemed feasible.

Quote:
There are a couple in your list that are way way [sic] out of context, or you've taken the verse to mean the opposite of what it means in context.

Matt 7:2 no judging spring immeditaly [sic] to mind. Go and read the next several verses. It isn't, "no judging" , but "judge, but not hypocritally [sic]".
You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but you have not demonstrated your claim. MT 7:1 says this: "Do not judge so you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get." This verse was taken to mean in the numerous Bible studies that I attended that one should not judge. If you want to argue about that, so be it, but I tend to believe that the interpretations which I learned from conservative, Bible-believing, seminary-trained pastors was a plausible interpretation. Taken in context with other verses (e.g., LK 6.37-38, 41-42, and MK 4.24), MT 7.41-42 contrasts with the criteria given for judging so-called false prophets (which criteria, by the way, Jesus fits quite nicely).

Quote:
So i would appreciate it if you would remove such a blatantly inaccurate citation. It removes rather than adds credibility to your position.
It would add to your credibility if you would admit that there are, in fact, problems which detract from the credibility of the Bible.

--Don--

[ November 01, 2001: Message edited by: Donald Morgan ]
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