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Source: (consider it) Thread: biblical inerrancy
Nick Tamen

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Much better. Thanks!

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
One thing I find interesting about this particular mindset compared to others is how sticky it is and how it resists efforts to contextualise.

For example, I'm reading a novel where the main character is a Maasai living in the city. I don't know much about Maasai, but according to the novel they have a complex and well-developed mythical worldview including quite an odd (to our ears) Nativity-type birth narrative.

The character in the novel is depicted as being a bit torn by circumstance, but has obviously contextualised his upbringing - so he accepts the stories as being part of his identity without the rigid insistence that Ntemelua really did pop out of his mother's womb with full command of the language and then disappear up a cow's bottom to hide from bandits.

The details about the Maasai may be wrong, I have no idea. But I'm sure there is a truth here about how myths and traditions are held and contextualised in the face of other realities.

I remember Dawkins talking about a savage believing that a stream in the forest worked because of a hamadryad (he should have said a naiad, but I'm - wrongly I'm sure - sure he said hamadryad, which is a forest spirit admittedly). The savage is given a full scientific education all the way up to fluid dynamics which he passes with honours. When asked if fluid dynamics now fully explained how a stream in the woods works, the savage replied yes, that's how the naiad did it.

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Love wins

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Louise
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bumping up for housekeeping reasons

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Now you need never click a Daily Mail link again! Kittenblock replaces Mail links with calming pics of tea and kittens! http://www.teaandkittens.co.uk/ Click under 'other stuff' to find it.

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Jamat
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quote:
Gamaliel wrote on a different thread on July 10:
Here's a question ...

Why DOES the Bible have to be internally consistent?

How does it make it any less the Bible if it isn't?

Why should we expect it to be internally consistent? Because of divine inspiration?

If something is divinely inspired then does it have to be internally consistent at every conceivable point otherwise its divine inspiration can be called into question?

How does that work?

The Bible isn't the Quran or the Book of Mormon. It wasn't 'dictated'. It didn't drop from the sky ready formed.

I can see what Jamat is getting at when he accuses folk here of acting as if they have 'evolved' to a higher plane or level of understanding - but I'm not sure that's what's going on here.

It's more a case of Jamat's overly rigid and inflexibly literalist approach fitting the stereotype to a tee.

Or am I missing something?

Well, you have a list of the usual suspects most of which are not really what they seem when carefully scrutinised. One example is the differing genealogies in Mathew and Luke. Another may be the 14 generations in Matthew 1:17 that turn out to be 13 generations.

I think that if you can dent the Bible by proving it is self-contradictory, then you also dent its credibility so it is important.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:

I think that if you can dent the Bible by proving it is self-contradictory, then you also dent its credibility so it is important.

It dents its own credibility, no assistance necessary.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gamaliel
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The Bible's credibility doesn't depend on its being internally consistent at every conceivable point.

Why should it?

Why should the whole thing unravel if there are different accounts of the same event or if some of the details in the genealogies don't 'match' exactly?

How does that in any way undermine its status as the holy scriptures of the Christian faith?

It only does so if you insist upon it doing so.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

How does that in any way undermine its status as the holy scriptures of the Christian faith?

It only does so if you insist upon it doing so.

I've often thought that those who are interested in inerrancy have a very limited understanding of truth - to the extent that if it was possible to prove the bible incorrect on anything, in any way, that'd prove it wasn't really from God at all. But that seems to downplay the ability of things to be true without (for example) having happened.

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arse

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Gamaliel
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Indeed.

If it can be shown to be inconsistent at one point, however minuscule, then the whole edifice must come crashing down and great would be the fall thereof ...

Hence the constant attempts to shore things up by trying to squeeze them into place and make them fit.

My understanding of joists and beams is limited, but I suspect there has to be a bit of 'give' otherwise they'd collapse. I read somewhere about how much the Severn Bridge and suspension bridges of considerable span expand and contract during the course of a day - it was quite considerable.

If they didn't, they'd snap.

Inerrantists seem to want to ratchet everything to a high state of torsion such that any many adjustment makes the whole thing snap.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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lilBuddha
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IMO, it is a weak faith that can endure no test.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Brenda Clough
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A writer friend of mine insists upon seeking, deep in the texts of novels, sentences that he says will utterly undermine your faith if read. (His own books are, he says, free of this.) I suggested that he is a delicate daisy indeed, if his faith can be overset by such subtleties, and that most people are more robust in their religion. He hasn't spoken to me since.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Indeed.

If it can be shown to be inconsistent at one point, however minuscule, then the whole edifice must come crashing down and great would be the fall thereof ...

Blogger Fred Clark wrote a piece a while back about a classmate's crisis of faith when confronted with artifacts older than the Creationist universe, and touched on a similar theme.

quote:
The most dangerous thing about fundamentalism is not that it sometimes teaches wacky ideas, like that the world is barely 6,000 years old or that dancing is sinful. The most dangerous thing is that it insists that such ideas are all inviolably necessary components of the faith. Each such idea, every aspect of their faith, is regarded as a keystone without which everything else they believe — the existence of a loving God, the assurance of pardon, the possibility of a moral or meaningful life — crumbles into meaninglessness.

My classmate's church taught him that their supposedly "literal" reading of Genesis 1 was the necessary complement to their "literal" reading of the rest of the Bible, which they regarded as the entire and only basis for their faith. His belief in 6-day, young-earth creationism was not merely some disputable piece of adiaphora, such as …

Well, for such fundamentalists there is no "such as." This is why they cling to every aspect of their belief system with such desperate ferocity. Should even the smallest piece be cast into doubt, they believe, the entire structure would crumble like the walls of Jericho. If dancing is not a sin, or if the authorship of Isaiah turns out to involve more than a single person at one time, or if the moons of Jupiter present a microcosm that suggests a heliocentric solar system, then suddenly nothing is true, their "whole groundwork cracks, and the earth opens to abysses."

This was, roughly, what was going on in my poor classmate's head as he stared at those rocks, which had been carefully put in place by some ancient citizen of Jericho thousands of years before the tiny literal god of the fundies had gotten around to creating the universe.

The rest is worth a read.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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mr cheesy
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I've heard creationists describing what they do as evangelism. Which is.. um.. interesting.

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arse

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Soror Magna
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Even if the Bible were inerrant, people certainly aren't.

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Ricardus
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To me the interesting question is how the more obvious discrepancies didn't get edited out.

Faced with two competing genealogies of Jesus, the Church Fathers had the option of only selecting one of the gospels as canonical. Or they could have used a harmonised form of the gospels such as the Diatesseron, which omits the genealogies. Or they could have chopped off the verses with the genealogies in (I think there was some awareness of textual variation in gospel manuscripts even at that date).

But they decided to leave both genealogies in place. Which suggests either a.) the elaborate arguments to prove that there isn't a contradiction (e.g. because one genealogy is Mary's) are in fact correct, or b.) the aim of the game wasn't strict factual accuracy, so the Church Fathers weren't that bothered.

And similarly with the differences between Samuel and Chronicles. There must be a reason why, despite already having a comprehensive history of Israel and Judah in Samuel / Kings, the Jews thought 'Ooh, let's add this new-fangled Chronicles to the list as well'.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
or b.) the aim of the game wasn't strict factual accuracy, so the Church Fathers weren't that bothered.

Especially since all evidence points to this inerrancy/infallibility nonsense is extremely recent.

[ 11. July 2017, 05:35: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
To me the interesting question is how the more obvious discrepancies didn't get edited out.

Faced with two competing genealogies of Jesus, the Church Fathers had the option of only selecting one of the gospels as canonical. Or they could have used a harmonised form of the gospels such as the Diatesseron, which omits the genealogies. Or they could have chopped off the verses with the genealogies in (I think there was some awareness of textual variation in gospel manuscripts even at that date).

But they decided to leave both genealogies in place. Which suggests either a.) the elaborate arguments to prove that there isn't a contradiction (e.g. because one genealogy is Mary's) are in fact correct, or b.) the aim of the game wasn't strict factual accuracy, so the Church Fathers weren't that bothered.

And similarly with the differences between Samuel and Chronicles. There must be a reason why, despite already having a comprehensive history of Israel and Judah in Samuel / Kings, the Jews thought 'Ooh, let's add this new-fangled Chronicles to the list as well'.

There's a clue for the last one; the older conception seems to see God as the author of good and evil; there's a scene somewhere about God asking for a volunteer lying spirit to go and confuse one of the Kings; details elude me. Hence it's God who decides to bring trouble on Israel and move David to take a census. Chronicles represents a more dualist understanding; God is no longer author of evil and so it's Satan who gets this job in the parallel version in Chronicles.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The Bible's credibility doesn't depend on its being internally consistent at every conceivable point.

Why should it?

Why should the whole thing unravel if there are different accounts of the same event or if some of the details in the genealogies don't 'match' exactly?

How does that in any way undermine its status as the holy scriptures of the Christian faith?

It only does so if you insist upon it doing so.

When I think of what the Bible signifies to me no semantic ideas are complete enough to do it justice anyway. I do not doubt that it deals in facts but our realities go way beyond facts and defy language.

I find it more like a perfect storm. It tests you and finds you out. It rejects your complacency. It shows accuracy concerning extremes of human behaviour and it projects the ultimate reality of a being whom creation, including humanity, must either acknowledge or, to its cost, refuse to acknowledge.

[ 11. July 2017, 22:52: Message edited by: Louise ]

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Gamaliel
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Sure. What makes you think I don't have similar reactions, thoughts and impressions when I read the scriptures?

We don't have to have a completely internally-consistent set of scriptures to approach the Bible in the way you've just described.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Blogger Fred Clark wrote a piece a while back about a classmate's crisis of faith when confronted with artifacts older than the Creationist universe, and touched on a similar theme.

Thanks for this! Good reading.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Chronicles represents a more dualist understanding; God is no longer author of evil and so it's Satan who gets this job in the parallel version in Chronicles.

Indeed - and what interests me also is that having adopted this more dualist view, they kept hold of the non-dualist account as well.

It's almost as if they didn't regard either account as definitive or the last word on the matter ...

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Jamat
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure. What makes you think I don't have similar reactions, thoughts and impressions when I read the scriptures?

We don't have to have a completely internally-consistent set of scriptures to approach the Bible in the way you've just described.

I do not..and your second statement if I read you correctly is suggesting that no hermeneutical system is universally agreed? Well that is not exactly a newsflash.

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Jamat ..in utmost longditude, where Heaven
with Earth and ocean meets, the setting sun slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Gamaliel
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Fair enough.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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