How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Argue for and against Christianity

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18572
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #1

Post by otseng »

From the On the Bible being inerrant thread:
nobspeople wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:42 amHow can you trust something that's written about god that contradictory, contains errors and just plain wrong at times? Is there a logical way to do so, or do you just want it to be god's word so much that you overlook these things like happens so often through the history of christianity?
otseng wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:08 am The Bible can still be God's word, inspired, authoritative, and trustworthy without the need to believe in inerrancy.
For debate:
How can the Bible be considered authoritative and inspired without the need to believe in the doctrine of inerrancy?

While debating, do not simply state verses to say the Bible is inspired or trustworthy.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18572
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #611

Post by otseng »

Diogenes wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:42 pm Did you not write "... for the impact of Jesus in human history, since nobody has offered any other explanation, then the resurrection remains the only explanation?" What did you mean by this if not to claim that the great impact of Jesus in human history can only be explained by the resurrection?
I mean precisely what I wrote. I'm not arguing, "Because a majority of people believe in Christianity therefore it is true." I'm not even necessarily saying the resurrection was a historical event (though I do believe it was). All I'm asking is something must account for the fact Jesus stands alone in the scope of historical impact.

Suppose there was an elementary school classmate when you were in school. He was an average student, wasn't in any clubs, didn't win any awards, never got any special attention or treatment for teachers, came from a poor family, and mostly hung around the smoking clique. And now, people are writing books about him, making songs about him, painting pictures of him, and making movies about him, then something must've happened. There has to be some explanation.
Diogenes wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:04 pm
I maintain that showing the Bible to be essentially fictitious, particularly as regards the most doctrinally central point - the resurrection - would impact Christianity massively.
Would that it were so. The Bible already has been shown to be fictitious, particularly the resurrection fable, and it has not affected true believers.
This is the core issue - falsification of the resurrection. So, how has it "already has been shown to be fictitious"?
Facts rarely change religious or political beliefs. Those beliefs are tribal and almost immune to change. People rarely leave their tribes.
I'll also add non-religious and even "scientific" beliefs.

User avatar
Diogenes
Scholar
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 12:53 pm
Location: USA
Has thanked: 132 times
Been thanked: 251 times

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #612

Post by Diogenes »

otseng wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:05 pm
Diogenes wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:42 pm Did you not write "... for the impact of Jesus in human history, since nobody has offered any other explanation, then the resurrection remains the only explanation?" What did you mean by this if not to claim that the great impact of Jesus in human history can only be explained by the resurrection?
I mean precisely what I wrote. I'm not arguing, "Because a majority of people believe in Christianity therefore it is true." I'm not even necessarily saying the resurrection was a historical event (though I do believe it was). All I'm asking is something must account for the fact Jesus stands alone in the scope of historical impact.

Suppose there was an elementary school classmate when you were in school. He was an average student, wasn't in any clubs, didn't win any awards, never got any special attention or treatment for teachers, came from a poor family, and mostly hung around the smoking clique. And now, people are writing books about him, making songs about him, painting pictures of him, and making movies about him, then something must've happened. There has to be some explanation.
Diogenes wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:04 pm
I maintain that showing the Bible to be essentially fictitious, particularly as regards the most doctrinally central point - the resurrection - would impact Christianity massively.
Would that it were so. The Bible already has been shown to be fictitious, particularly the resurrection fable, and it has not affected true believers.
This is the core issue - falsification of the resurrection. So, how has it "already has been shown to be fictitious"?
Facts rarely change religious or political beliefs. Those beliefs are tribal and almost immune to change. People rarely leave their tribes.
I'll also add non-religious and even "scientific" beliefs.
Good points. Let me take the last first. Newly discovered facts DO change scientific beliefs; however, not immediately and not for all. We all are reluctant to change beliefs, including scientists and those who value science. We all have a certain (it's related to bigotry, prejudice, but different) intransigence or loyalty for what we already believe. We tend to overvalue some facts or principles. Scientists are not immune to this human foible. But at least science VALUES the modification of beliefs when the data justifies it. That is why they prize double blind procedures where even the experimenters do not know which is the control.
* * *
I agree that there are definitely reasons, explanations for why Jesus, why his life has become one of the most important biographies in history. But just as with your example of the classmate, who surprises (and I have specific former classmates in mind), first I apply Occam's razor. Why leap to a supernatural or mystical explanation when a simpler one will do? ... one that does not demand the suspension of basic physical laws?

In the case of Jesus, several of these simple, rational explanations are available:

His moral teachings are profound, universal, inspiring, surprising, and useful to the State or any civil society.

The CLAIM of divinity, magic, miracles, and such does inspire some to believe the story, or its authority.

The accident of war and geography, of Palestine being a crossroads, of the Roman empire expanding and starting a larger culture that included the printing press and other technological innovations as well as a military capable of enforcing religious practice.

Constantine giving the new religion his blessing and forcing the Bishops to compromise and unify.

Example: Why has English become the international language? For the same reasons that Latin was the language of scholars in Europe and beyond in an earlier age.

In short, there is no reason to leap into the unknown and the irrational and suppose a supernatural explanation.
Plutarch openly scorned Greek religious beliefs in resurrections "many such improbabilities do your fabulous writers relate, deifying creatures naturally mortal."

TRANSPONDER
Guru
Posts: 2011
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 269 times
Been thanked: 960 times

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #613

Post by TRANSPONDER »

otseng wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:01 pm
TRANSPONDER wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 9:23 amAnd even if you were to argue that the resurrection looked convincing and that contributed to the success of Christianity, that does not make it true.
I assume you mean it doesn't prove the resurrection is true. If so, yes, I could agree with that.
Quite so. Suppose for example, we Just had John's account. That could be taken as an eyewitness record. I did myself for a long time. But even then, the suspicion was that there could be some natural explanation. If so, even if it looked convincing to the people in Greece and Rome, that would not be evidence that it was actually true, no more than the numbers of Bibles printed would prove it true.
So far as I know, nobody has pointed up serious discrepancy as a reason to think it entirely concocted, but it is already known that looking (superficially) factual may account to for the appeal, sure, but does not make it true.
I would agree there's no serious discrepancies in the major points of Jesus's resurrection.


:D We saw what you did there. ;) Of course there are serious contradictions, never mind discrepancies, for all your saucy denial, and what I was saying was I know of nobody who is pointing them up as a way to doubt the reliability of the Resurrection accounts.
It is, but if there was no such tower at that time, then the dating is otiose.
You can claim there's no such tower that exists now, but how can you claim there was no tower back then?


Just the same way it can be claimed there was no Egyptian pyramid greater than all the others back in the 1st dynasty. Just as one can claim that the shipbuilding technique was not up to a seaworthy Ark, without iron hull-bracing. Of course there were Ziggurats before Babylon, but none that could be claimed to reach to the crystal dome that presumably you don't think Genesis is actually telling of. Ziggurat or not, you know that myth is nonsensical and does not account for the diversity of human language, as even at the time of the first Ziggurats of Sumer they were already speaking Egyptian (and writing it) in Egypt.
Have you a candidate with more substantial foundations that a myth within a book of Myth?
I already presented the dates of the first recorded languages fit with the dating of the Tower of Babel. If all the languages did not come from a single source, then how did they independently arise? If homo sapiens came about 300,000 years ago, why would languages independently arise only 5000 years ago? And also after the dating of the Tower of Babel?
But you can't produce a tower of Babel that fits with the time of the independent languages of Egypt and Sumer. And I already explained diversity. English and French have changed from The Roman language and Germanic. It is yet another evolutionary process and that is the better explanation of how it happened, not that ridiculous tale of a tower to reach a heaven that wasn't there and the foundations of which you have to show, like the Christians say - 'produce the body!' (1)
Also, there is commonality in worldwide cultures. One evidence we already discussed is commonalities in a global flood myth. This is better explained as coming from a single source than independently arising. I'll present another interesting commonality in another post.
Undoubtedly there is commonality not only in humans but in all creatures and organisms. It is called evolution. We have the same instincts that lead to common traits. We also have social evolutionary differences that show that ascribing them to a god destroying a Ziggurat is not a seriously credible explanation.
John's escaping into the hills because the people wanted to make Jesus a king by force has to be his version of the Transfiguration. They are undeniable the same event. They are undeniably different. Why?
That's a new one for me. Also, what do you mean by they are undeniably the same and different event?
Compare John 6.5- 20 with (say) - Luke 9. 10 -37.They are clearly describing the same event, and Yet Luke has a transfiguration and John doesn't. Mind Luke doesn't have a walking on water while Mark and Matthew have a transfiguration and walking on water. But it's confused by turning the loaves and fishes into two different events when (again :roll: ) they are the same. I'm sure you can capitalise on the confusion caused by the Mark/Matthew material. But I'm saying That Luke 9 26-36 is it should be at John 6.15 but isn't.
That he did not implies that he knew he had no time.
What basis do you believe that he had no time? I don't see this recorded in either the Biblical or Assyrian accounts.
They wouldn't, as both had to Spin the story. Sennacherib to make his agreement to terms look like a triumph and the Bible to Make Hezekiah's submission look like God saving them. That Sennacherib agreed to Hezekiah' offering to submit is only explainable if Sennacherib had his hand or arm forced. Judea was just one of a coalition of rebels (under Babylon, I believe) and Jerusalem was not an easy city to take. The Lachish siege was enough work but an object lesson, and the King went on to reduce Libnah - unless Hezekiah gave in, which he did. The implication is that Sennacherib did not have the time for a lengthy siege of Jerusalem, but clearly it wasn't because his army had been smitten. He still had an army that could conduct a campaign. .
What is clear is that the Bible says that Assyrians left Jerusalem intact because God smote them. But I argue that wasn't the reason and is polemic Biblical Spin.
Well, as I've argued, it is just saying they don't know what happened, like lawyers using the phrase act of God.
You know very well that 'Act of God' just means natural causes. And I'm arguing that the probable order of events which is as the Assyrian record has it is more coherent than the apparent Biblical account that claims that God smote the Assyrians whereas the (out of context) submission of Hezekiah (as the Assyrian account says) is the probable reason.

(1) cue: appeal to 'the evidence will show up one day'. Not for a pre civilisation ziggurat it won't, no more than for a Pre pyramidic monster pyramid..

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18572
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #614

Post by otseng »

Diogenes wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:44 pm In short, there is no reason to leap into the unknown and the irrational and suppose a supernatural explanation.
Actually, I'm not in much disagreement with you about this, except, if there is no reasonable naturalistic explanation, then a supernatural explanation cannot be ruled out.

I've mentioned this before, but we see this with scientists proposing a multiverse to account for the fine-tuning of our universe. There is no reasonable naturalistic explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe, so to explain it, a multiverse is proposed.
The accident of war and geography, of Palestine being a crossroads, of the Roman empire expanding and starting a larger culture that included the printing press and other technological innovations as well as a military capable of enforcing religious practice.
There are even more "coincidences" of the appearance in time and location of Jesus in history that makes him ideally situated. It's almost as if he knew exactly when and where he should've appeared.

User avatar
Diogenes
Scholar
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 12:53 pm
Location: USA
Has thanked: 132 times
Been thanked: 251 times

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #615

Post by Diogenes »

otseng wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 9:57 pm
Diogenes wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:44 pm In short, there is no reason to leap into the unknown and the irrational and suppose a supernatural explanation.
Actually, I'm not in much disagreement with you about this, except, if there is no reasonable naturalistic explanation, then a supernatural explanation cannot be ruled out.

I've mentioned this before, but we see this with scientists proposing a multiverse to account for the fine-tuning of our universe. There is no reasonable naturalistic explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe, so to explain it, a multiverse is proposed.
The accident of war and geography, of Palestine being a crossroads, of the Roman empire expanding and starting a larger culture that included the printing press and other technological innovations as well as a military capable of enforcing religious practice.
There are even more "coincidences" of the appearance in time and location of Jesus in history that makes him ideally situated. It's almost as if he knew exactly when and where he should've appeared.
Have to say I agree with you on the 'multiverse' proposal. Seems like a lame way to explain away issues... and unnecessary. It is an unproved hypothesis. I should not get too presumptive since its rationale is way beyond my expertise, but as I understand it scientists in the field consider speculative at best.
Plutarch openly scorned Greek religious beliefs in resurrections "many such improbabilities do your fabulous writers relate, deifying creatures naturally mortal."

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18572
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #616

Post by otseng »

TRANSPONDER wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:47 am Of course there are serious contradictions, never mind discrepancies, for all your saucy denial, and what I was saying was I know of nobody who is pointing them up as a way to doubt the reliability of the Resurrection accounts.
If there are serious contradictions regarding the resurrection, then why would no one point to them as a way to doubt the reliability of the Resurrection accounts?
Of course there were Ziggurats before Babylon, but none that could be claimed to reach to the crystal dome that presumably you don't think Genesis is actually telling of.
Where does it say crystal dome in the Bible?

Here's what it says:

Gen 11:4 (KJV)
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

There is no need to take it hyperbolically and think they were trying to build something that could reach the gates of heaven and be able to walk up and shake hands with God. It's reasonable to take it as simply they wanted to build a tall structure that could stand out.

Further, it's even doubtful they completed it.

Gen 11:9 (KJV)
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
as even at the time of the first Ziggurats of Sumer they were already speaking Egyptian (and writing it) in Egypt.
Your evidence?
English and French have changed from The Roman language and Germanic. It is yet another evolutionary process and that is the better explanation of how it happened,
We both agree that English and French had origins in German and Latin. So, it doesn't help your case. The question is the origin of the first languages. Either they came about independently or from a single common source.

What evidence do you have that the first languages originated independently?
Undoubtedly there is commonality not only in humans but in all creatures and organisms. It is called evolution.
And like evolution, all life came from a common ancestor. Similarly, all languages came from a single ancestor.
The implication is that Sennacherib did not have the time for a lengthy siege of Jerusalem, but clearly it wasn't because his army had been smitten.
Well, since you have no evidence of this, then it's just your conjecture.
You know very well that 'Act of God' just means natural causes.
And it could very well be there's a natural cause for the sudden death of Sennacherib's soldiers.

TRANSPONDER
Guru
Posts: 2011
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 269 times
Been thanked: 960 times

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #617

Post by TRANSPONDER »

otseng wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:22 pm
TRANSPONDER wrote: Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:47 am Of course there are serious contradictions, never mind discrepancies, for all your saucy denial, and what I was saying was I know of nobody who is pointing them up as a way to doubt the reliability of the Resurrection accounts.
If there are serious contradictions regarding the resurrection, then why would no one point to them as a way to doubt the reliability of the Resurrection accounts?
I've wondered about that, also. It's not hard but I haven't seen anyone do it. Nobody has mentioned that Luke tacitly says that Thomas was not absent, nor that Luke altered the angelic message or denies that the women ran into Jesus. But the 'one angel or two' seems an almost iconic 'objection'. I suspect that Bible criticism is just not organised or funded as well as Biblical apologetics. I have seen a lot of '2nd census' stuff but, now I come to think of it, only through apologetics refuting criticism of the Nativities. I have never seen anyone fill the Governorship gap with a second term of office for Varus (as said by Josephus, pretty much), nor that Joseph lived in Judea according to Matthew, not Nazareth, nor that the Census didn't apply to Galilee or that the Egyptian Census document makes the town of home and work where they needed to register, not some ancestral city. I have seen a couple of refutations of the claim that ''when Quirinus was governor' should read 'before Quirinus was governor' on grounds of Greek grammar as well as (what I could do myself) it makes no sense in the context. So people do spot these things. But it looks to me that we lack iswhat the Bible apologists have in spades: apologetics websites where this stuff (assuming that others have done this kind or work) can be accessed at the click of a mouse.
Of course there were Ziggurats before Babylon, but none that could be claimed to reach to the crystal dome that presumably you don't think Genesis is actually telling of.
Where does it say crystal dome in the Bible?

Here's what it says:

Gen 11:4 (KJV)
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

There is no need to take it hyperbolically and think they were trying to build something that could reach the gates of heaven and be able to walk up and shake hands with God. It's reasonable to take it as simply they wanted to build a tall structure that could stand out.

Further, it's even doubtful they completed it.

Gen 11:9 (KJV)
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
I'm always amused at the blinkered view of Bible apologists when a bit of thinking is required but they won't like the result, cornpared with the ingenious, far -fetched, convoluted and fantastic stories invented by them to prop up something in the Bible they do like.

The Snow -dome cosmology of the Bible conforms with the Mesopotamian world view of a flat circular earth surrounded by mountains (holding back the waters) and a dome with the stars and planets trundling around on the inside, and God on his throne, on top. Since later astronomy saw that one dome wouldn't do but there would have to be several, crystal (or glass) is what they'd have to be. Of course Bible apologists swear that it is the round earth, Copernican system and expanding universe that the Bible is talking about, even though the Bronze age snowdome cosmos fits it better. But then the tower of Babel Myth makes even less sense. I can understand why Bible apologists might try to make Genesis work and God's plans and actions be believable, but I just do not get why it is needful to maintain the stories of Genesis as factual when it seems the element of a god being involved is already gone.
Why, if there is no credible way for humans to build a tower to heaven, would its being unfinished (for whatever reason) be considered a motivator for divergence of human language? It makes no sense and it being some action by God seems pointless as well as contrary to all the evidence. Again, I suggest that you seriously consider giving up trying to maintain Genesis as historically reliable and just accept it as a book of myths.
as even at the time of the first Ziggurats of Sumer they were already speaking Egyptian (and writing it) in Egypt.
Your evidence?
"Since the 1990s, the above-mentioned discoveries of glyphs at Abydos, dated to between 3400 and 3200 BCE, have shed doubt on the classical notion that the Mesopotamian symbol system predates the Egyptian one. However, Egyptian writing appeared suddenly at that time, while Mesopotamia had a long evolutionary history of sign usage in tokens dating back to circa 8000 BCE." (Wiki)
English and French have changed from The Roman language and Germanic. It is yet another evolutionary process and that is the better explanation of how it happened,
We both agree that English and French had origins in German and Latin. So, it doesn't help your case. The question is the origin of the first languages. Either they came about independently or from a single common source.

What evidence do you have that the first languages originated independently?
The natural evolution of language makes that the default hypothesis for the earlier languages, just as modern tectonic movement is the default hypothesis for the ancient continental drift rather than the improbable floating about on water, and just as the catastrophism of the hydroplate theory (you did ask where I had refuted this) does not fit the rolled over strata, but deep time movement does, the predating by Egyptian and Sumerian in written form predating (as I recall) even your mythical tower of Babel, let alone any actual ziggurats, that the myth might have constructed a fantastic lie about makes divergent evolution of languages from the earliest times the more probable and evidence supported hypothesis and not that absurd tale in Genesis.
Undoubtedly there is commonality not only in humans but in all creatures and organisms. It is called evolution.
And like evolution, all life came from a common ancestor. Similarly, all languages came from a single ancestor.
Possibly, but it had already diverged into numerous written languages by the time Babylon built its' ziggurat and at least written Egyptian and Sumerian predates (as I recall) your mythical date of your mythical tower which I will bet my pension you cannot produce any hard evidence for. All the evidence is against any factual basis other than - as I argue - a myth loosely based on an actual ziggurat lied about frankly by the Bible.
The implication is that Sennacherib did not have the time for a lengthy siege of Jerusalem, but clearly it wasn't because his army had been smitten.
Well, since you have no evidence of this, then it's just your conjecture.
I do have evidence of this. Both Bible and Assyrian accounts agree that Hezekiah submitted and paid tribute. That was why Sennacherib marched away, not because his army had been smitten. Sennacherib was already besieging Libnah when the report came back. He still had an army. (I suspect The army and he only sent his ultimatum to Hezekiah with a couple of officers and an escort, not an army) and there was still the rest of the campaign to get on with. It has to be thought out, but the evidence is that submission then a siege makes no sense. The Assyrian account does.
You know very well that 'Act of God' just means natural causes.
And it could very well be there's a natural cause for the sudden death of Sennacherib's soldiers.
If the Biblical account made sense and the Assyrian record agreed with it, I could agree - that Hezekiah's resistance plan worked and God had nothing to do with it and thus the Biblical spin makes it unreliable even in the most historically credible chapters. But the evidence, thought through reasonably rather than accepted without question just because the Bible says so, will support the explanation that No natural causes - disease, running out of supplies or mice gnawing through the tent ropes, had anything to do with it and Hezekiah surrendered - just as the Assyrians say. You may dismiss that evidence, but that version makes it clear what the correct order of the Biblical account was-
Seige and sack of Lachish. Sennacherib sends an ultimatum to Hezekiah.
Hezekiah, knowing that Sennacherib will reduce him if he does not submit, takes the offer. The officers report back and Sennacherib drops the siege of Libnah and marches away. God has not smitten him or anyone else.

That's the unreliability of even the historical parts of the Bible. I honestly think there in nothing in the Bible that's reliably reported, even if it isn't sheer myth.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18572
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #618

Post by otseng »

TRANSPONDER wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:54 pm The Snow -dome cosmology of the Bible conforms with the Mesopotamian world view of a flat circular earth surrounded by mountains (holding back the waters) and a dome with the stars and planets trundling around on the inside, and God on his throne, on top.
Possibly, but there is no Bible verse that says they were trying to build a tower to "reach the crystal dome".
Again, I suggest that you seriously consider giving up trying to maintain Genesis as historically reliable and just accept it as a book of myths.
Note that all the evidence I've provided so far to support the reliability of the Bible have come from outside the Bible and most of them from secular sources. So, what's there to give up?
"Since the 1990s, the above-mentioned discoveries of glyphs at Abydos, dated to between 3400 and 3200 BCE, have shed doubt on the classical notion that the Mesopotamian symbol system predates the Egyptian one. However, Egyptian writing appeared suddenly at that time, while Mesopotamia had a long evolutionary history of sign usage in tokens dating back to circa 8000 BCE." (Wiki)
Well, if you accept that date of 3400 to 3200 BCE for Egyptian glyphs, it immediately says Mesopotamian writing existed before that at 8000 BCE.
What evidence do you have that the first languages originated independently?
The natural evolution of language makes that the default hypothesis for the earlier languages, just as modern tectonic movement is the default hypothesis for the ancient continental drift rather than the improbable floating about on water, and just as the catastrophism of the hydroplate theory (you did ask where I had refuted this) does not fit the rolled over strata, but deep time movement does, the predating by Egyptian and Sumerian in written form predating (as I recall) even your mythical tower of Babel, let alone any actual ziggurats, that the myth might have constructed a fantastic lie about makes divergent evolution of languages from the earliest times the more probable and evidence supported hypothesis and not that absurd tale in Genesis.
You did not provide any evidence, but simply just made more claims.
Possibly, but it had already diverged into numerous written languages by the time Babylon built its' ziggurat
I've never referred to any Babylonian ziggurat as being the tower of Babel mentioned in the Bible.

My main argument is there existed a single language source located in the Mesopotamia area around 3500-3000 BC (according to secular sources) that gave rise to other languages. And again according to secular sources, the oldest written records came relatively quickly after that. These by itself fits with the Biblical narrative. Couple this with similarities in ancient myths across cultures, then it all points to a single source.

I'm not saying this is proof the story of the tower of Babel is therefore true, but there are at least evidential and rational grounds to believe in it.
If the Biblical account made sense and the Assyrian record agreed with it, I could agree - that Hezekiah's resistance plan worked and God had nothing to do with it and thus the Biblical spin makes it unreliable even in the most historically credible chapters. But the evidence, thought through reasonably rather than accepted without question just because the Bible says so, will support the explanation that No natural causes - disease, running out of supplies or mice gnawing through the tent ropes, had anything to do with it and Hezekiah surrendered - just as the Assyrians say. You may dismiss that evidence, but that version makes it clear what the correct order of the Biblical account was-
Seige and sack of Lachish. Sennacherib sends an ultimatum to Hezekiah.
Hezekiah, knowing that Sennacherib will reduce him if he does not submit, takes the offer. The officers report back and Sennacherib drops the siege of Libnah and marches away. God has not smitten him or anyone else.
Really I think you're just quibbling over minor details over interpretation. Who really cares about how they died? The fundamental point was there really was a siege on Jerusalem by Sennacherib. It was not some made up story. And it could actually be claimed it was... until the discovery of the Taylor prism, which proved it was a historical event. Comparing the Biblical account and the Assyrian account have a significant overlap. Yes, of course there would be differences since each side has their own perspective. But, both sides agree it was an actual historical event.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18572
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 212 times
Contact:

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #619

Post by otseng »

No one yet has excavated any ruins of the tower of Babel, so we don't have any physical evidence of what it looked like. But, pretty much consensus view is that it was a tall ziggurat.

"The biblical account of the Tower of Babel has been associated by modern scholars to the massive construction undertakings of the ziggurats of Mesopotamia"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat

Of course, we have examples of ziggurats all across the Mesopotamian region.

"Ziggurats were built by ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, Elamites, Eblaites and Babylonians for local religions."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat

Ziggurats were centers of worship and religious rites were performed there.

"The Sumerians believed that the Gods lived in the temple at the top of the Ziggurats, so only priests and other highly respected individuals could enter. Society offered them many things such as music, harvest, and creating devotional statues to leave in the temple."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat

One famous ziggurat is the Ziggurat of Ur.

Image

"The Ziggurat (or Great Ziggurat) of Ur (Sumerian: 𒂍𒋼𒅎𒅍 é-temen-ní-gùru "Etemenniguru",[3] meaning "temple whose foundation creates aura")[4] is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat in what was the city of Ur near Nasiriyah, in present-day Dhi Qar Province, Iraq. The structure was built during the Early Bronze Age (21st century BC) but had crumbled to ruins by the 6th century BC of the Neo-Babylonian period, when it was restored by King Nabonidus."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat_of_Ur

The oldest Egyptian structure, the Pyramid of Djoser, was based on the ziggurat.

Image

Chogha Zanbil is a ziggurat in Iran.

Image

"Chogha Zanbil (Persian: چغازنبيل; Elamite: Dur Untash) is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestan province of Iran."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chogha_Zanbil

But, ziggurat-like structures are not only found in the Mesopotamia, but all across the world.

"Despite the towering reputation of Egypt’s Great Pyramids at Giza, the Americas actually contain more pyramid structures than the rest of the planet combined. Civilizations like the Olmec, Maya, Aztec and Inca all built pyramids to house their deities, as well as to bury their kings.

Mesoamerican peoples built pyramids from around 1000 B.C. up until the time of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century."
https://www.history.com/topics/ancient- ... in-america


Great Pyramid in La Venta:

Image

"One of the earliest pyramids known in Mesoamerica, the Great Pyramid is 110 ft (34 m) high and contains an estimated 100,000 cubic meters of earth fill. The current conical shape of the pyramid was once thought to represent nearby volcanoes or mountains, but recent work by Rebecca Gonzalez Lauck has shown that the pyramid was in fact a rectangular pyramid with stepped sides and inset corners, and the current shape is most likely due to 2,500 years of erosion"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Venta

Tikal temple in Guatemala:

Image
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tikal_Temple_I

"Pyramids" in China:

"The existence of "pyramids" in China remained little known in the Western world until the 1910s. They were documented in large numbers around Xian, first in 1912 by the Western traders Fred Meyer Schroder and Oscar Mamen, and also in 1913 by the expedition of Victor Segalen."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_pyramids

Image

Some paintings of the tower of Babel:

Image

La Tour de Babel, Van Valckenborch, 1594
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:La_T ... ,_1594.jpg

Image

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Tower of Babel (Rotterdam)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Piet ... edited.jpg

Image

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Tower of Babel (Vienna)
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... edited.jpg


Image

Hendrick van Cleef, La tour de Babel
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... Babel.jpeg

Image

Marten van Valckenborch the Elder - The Tower of Babel
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... roject.jpg

TRANSPONDER
Guru
Posts: 2011
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 269 times
Been thanked: 960 times

Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #620

Post by TRANSPONDER »

otseng wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:54 pm
TRANSPONDER wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:54 pm The Snow -dome cosmology of the Bible conforms with the Mesopotamian world view of a flat circular earth surrounded by mountains (holding back the waters) and a dome with the stars and planets trundling around on the inside, and God on his throne, on top.
. Possibly, but there is no Bible verse that says they were trying to build a tower to "reach the crystal dome".


You're quibbling over irrelevant details of what the sky -dome was supposed to made of and that the findings of planetary movements showed it had to be several separate domes which meant they had to be transparent.

The real point though is the Biblical spin put on what is called 'Babel' which seems to tie up with Babylon and its' ziggurat which is long after diversified speech is noted in writing. Though now I come to think of it the 8,000 BC claim seems a lot. But it's before your Babel -tower date anyway. I note that you don't have any problem with relying on the hope of finding of supportive evidence eventually but seriously, you think you are going to find a tower of Babel foundation predating Sumer and the Egyptian first dynasty? About as likely as finding that the sun goes round the earth and could have 'stopped'after all!. Isn't going to happen,get over it. I suggest that you accept that this is a silly myth that has no connection with reality other than (I suggest) being written in Babylon and claiming its' ziggurat as part of the God of Israel narration of Genesis and exodus. l also suggest that you have something to learn about Pyramids and Ziggurats. The Egyptian step pyramid was based on a flat tomb unfortunately called (mastaba) which in the 2nd dynasty was modified into a series of tombs one on the other (with just one chamber below) and that was smoothed off with the white limestone pyramid shape in the following dynasty. Despite superficial resemblance it is nothing to do with ziggurats. Nor are the raised Temples of the Maya which are of A.D date anyway. These are nice pictures but do hot help (rather hinder) you case for a tower of Babel which is really shown a myth already.

You don't help your case with with these 'Oh- that looks vaguely like (an ancient tower or ancient erosion) so that is evidence for the Bible!'. I suggest you give up Genesis literalism and accept that it is a book of Myth.
Again, I suggest that you seriously consider giving up trying to maintain Genesis as historically reliable and just accept it as a book of myths.
Note that all the evidence I've provided so far to support the reliability of the Bible have come from outside the Bible and most of them from secular sources. So, what's there to give up?
Ah...denial and self delusion? All the myths, polemics, fabrication, falsification and myth- making can be related to Something outside the Bible. Just as the most verified event, the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem, can be shown to make no sense other than as a spin on the event to turn a surrender into a victory for God. So the defeat of Tyre (twice) is turned into a (failed) prophecy to make it look like evidence for the god of the Bible, the Ziggurat of Babylon is given a silly myth to make it look like Biblegod was the top god (or by that time the only real one) and the actual crucifixion of a failed messiah is spun to look like a vindication of messianic expectation that is going to happen, just wait and see...another thousand years... :roll: I suggest you give up believing these myths and polemics and trying to make them work by fiddling the evidence.
"Since the 1990s, the above-mentioned discoveries of glyphs at Abydos, dated to between 3400 and 3200 BCE, have shed doubt on the classical notion that the Mesopotamian symbol system predates the Egyptian one. However, Egyptian writing appeared suddenly at that time, while Mesopotamia had a long evolutionary history of sign usage in tokens dating back to circa 8000 BCE." (Wiki)
Well, if you accept that date of 3400 to 3200 BCE for Egyptian glyphs, it immediately says Mesopotamian writing existed before that at 8000 BCE.
So what? It still means that Egyptian is known to exist before your (claimed) date of this (claimed) tower which you can't show and seems (like Ark -sized shipbuilding) to be long before any such buildings were known. You have no evidence for the tower of Babel and the only evidence is really against it. Even though that 8,000 BC date sounds too early to me. I can believe 4,000 + BC years.
What evidence do you have that the first languages originated independently?
The natural evolution of language makes that the default hypothesis for the earlier languages, just as modern tectonic movement is the default hypothesis for the ancient continental drift rather than the improbable floating about on water, and just as the catastrophism of the hydroplate theory (you did ask where I had refuted this) does not fit the rolled over strata, but deep time movement does, the predating by Egyptian and Sumerian in written form predating (as I recall) even your mythical tower of Babel, let alone any actual ziggurats, that the myth might have constructed a fantastic lie about makes divergent evolution of languages from the earliest times the more probable and evidence supported hypothesis and not that absurd tale in Genesis.
You did not provide any evidence, but simply just made more claims.


Only if you ignore or deny the evidence which not only shows the Babel story for the divergence of language does not work, just as the strata evidence shows that your Flood -model does not work, and the surrender before the demand for surrender does not work, but the evidence of the diversification of modern languages is the credible explanation, just as deep time tectonic creep (shown in modern research) is the better explanation and a surrender after the demand for surrender (as the Assyrians say) makes more sense than the Biblical polemic spin of God smiting anyone. I actually have the extra -Biblical evidence; you don't.
Possibly, but it had already diverged into numerous written languages by the time Babylon built its' ziggurat
I've never referred to any Babylonian ziggurat as being the tower of Babel mentioned in the Bible.]/quote]

Perhaps you should, as the evidence does not support the mythical pre Sumer tower you are claiming which, even if it existed, was not the reason language diversified (as there was already Egyptian and Sumerian). You cannot make this myth work, even if you had the evidence that you hope will turn up which really is unlikely. I earnestly suggest you stop trying to make these myths work by fiddling the evidence (or claiming that it will turn up one day) and just take Genesis as a book of Fables. ,
My main argument is there existed a single language source located in the Mesopotamia area around 3500-3000 BC (according to secular sources) that gave rise to other languages. And again according to secular sources, the oldest written records came relatively quickly after that. These by itself fits with the Biblical narrative. Couple this with similarities in ancient myths across cultures, then it all points to a single source.

I'm not saying this is proof the story of the tower of Babel is therefore true, but there are at least evidential and rational grounds to believe in it.
You would need to make a case for ancient Egyptian being derived from Sumerian (Akkadian and the Babylonian being different and later languages) let alone relating other languages like Chinese to it. Despite your hopefully airy claim of 'similarities in ancient myths' in hopes to pull totally different myths, languages and cultures together to fit the Biblical narrative, you have nothing that actually supports Genesis even though the Biblical writers and the Biblical apologists try to make it look as though it does.
If the Biblical account made sense and the Assyrian record agreed with it, I could agree - that Hezekiah's resistance plan worked and God had nothing to do with it and thus the Biblical spin makes it unreliable even in the most historically credible chapters. But the evidence, thought through reasonably rather than accepted without question just because the Bible says so, will support the explanation that No natural causes - disease, running out of supplies or mice gnawing through the tent ropes, had anything to do with it and Hezekiah surrendered - just as the Assyrians say. You may dismiss that evidence, but that version makes it clear what the correct order of the Biblical account was
- Seige and sack of Lachish. Sennacherib sends an ultimatum to Hezekiah.
Hezekiah, knowing that Sennacherib will reduce him if he does not submit, takes the offer. The officers report back and Sennacherib drops the siege of Libnah and marches away. God has not smitten him or anyone else.
Really I think you're just quibbling over minor details over interpretation. Who really cares about how they died? The fundamental point was there really was a siege on Jerusalem by Sennacherib. It was not some made up story. And it could actually be claimed it was... until the discovery of the Taylor prism, which proved it was a historical event. Comparing the Biblical account and the Assyrian account have a significant overlap. Yes, of course there would be differences since each side has their own perspective. But, both sides agree it was an actual historical event.
Really, I think you're quibbling over minor details of interpretation. The point here - and the topic - is that you can't rely on the Bible to tell the truth. Even when it relates its' myth, spin or lie to something real, you can'rt rely on how it tells it. " Who really cares about how they died?" The point is - can we believe the claim that they died at all? It's coming to something when you can trust the Assyrians better than you can trust the writers of the OT for telling the truth.

Post Reply