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

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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.

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

Post #51

Post by Difflugia »

Eloi wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:09 pmI do not understand what are you trying to say. Any book you read, you need to make some effort to understand. Don't you agree?
Absolutely. If, however, in the course of that effort, one were to dogmatically exclude such reasonable possibilities as "one author's theology contradicts that of another," or "the author was mistaken about reality," then we might reasonably conclude that the primary goal isn't to "understand." Don't you agree?
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #52

Post by Eloi »

Difflugia wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:07 pm
Eloi wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:09 pmI do not understand what are you trying to say. Any book you read, you need to make some effort to understand. Don't you agree?
Absolutely. If, however, in the course of that effort, one were to dogmatically exclude such reasonable possibilities as "one author's theology contradicts that of another," or "the author was mistaken about reality," then we might reasonably conclude that the primary goal isn't to "understand." Don't you agree?
Whatever you are talking about is assumptions and personal opinions. Can you name one specific example?

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

Post #53

Post by Difflugia »

Eloi wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:45 pm
Difflugia wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:07 pmAbsolutely. If, however, in the course of that effort, one were to dogmatically exclude such reasonable possibilities as "one author's theology contradicts that of another," or "the author was mistaken about reality," then we might reasonably conclude that the primary goal isn't to "understand." Don't you agree?
Whatever you are talking about is assumptions and personal opinions.
What?

Do you agree or disagree that disregarding the possibility of a mistake would limit ones ability to understand?
Eloi wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:45 pmCan you name one specific example?
From your earlier post:
Eloi wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 12:45 pmIt is not Ok if somebody thinks the Bible has mistakes ...
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #54

Post by Eloi »

I won't continue talking about assumptions. Can you name one specific biblical example?

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

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Eloi wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 9:02 pm I won't continue talking about assumptions. Can you name one specific biblical example?
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #56

Post by Difflugia »

Eloi wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 9:02 pmI won't continue talking about assumptions. Can you name one specific biblical example?
We were discussing methodology until you apparently tried to change the subject.

You said that "[w]hen we investigate them in depth we realize that there is no real contradiction or error, but that some information had not been taken into account," implying that this is different than harmonizing contradictory texts.

What's the difference? Or isn't there one?
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #57

Post by Eloi »

The better way to talk about anything is with examples.

I'll give you one example about what I told you before:

If you don't know that there were two parts of Jericho near Jerusalem that were separated about a mile from each other (the older city and the newer Roman city) you may think that Matt. 20:29 contradicts Mark 10:46 and Luke 18:35. That is why you need to investigate.

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

Post #58

Post by Difflugia »

otseng wrote: Thu Sep 30, 2021 6:13 amAnd I'm still on this road. One reason I created this thread is to go deeper on this path by debating others about this.
To actually address what this thread is about, I'm curious how much of your view of Scripture you've worked out. What about the Bible do you think God has preserved?

I have no logical problem with a lack of inerrancy, but I don't think a fallible Bible is compatible with any sort of biblical authority. In fact, as you point out, I think the the Chicago Statement already admits too much by accepting that the "autographs" may be materially different than what we have now. I'm OK with God allowing literary license with whether the sermon was on the "mount" or "a level place," but is it doctrinally necessary that the sermon happened at all? You asserted the following:
otseng wrote: Thu Sep 30, 2021 6:13 amTo Christians I'll say, it's OK. It's alright to throw away the belief of inerrancy; everything will still be the same. God is still on the throne and worthy of our trust and allegiance. Jesus is still Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit still lives in us. The Bible is still authoritative and our rule in faith and practice. We should still keep the law. We should study the scriptures. Jesus rose from the dead. God created the cosmos. The flood was still a literal worldwide flood. Adam and Eve were real people. God's kingdom will be established. Jesus will judge all the nations.
How did you arrive at these particular doctrinal conclusions if the Bible might not be inerrant? The main reason often given for a literal Flood and Garden of Eden are that Jesus mentioned both of them. Why isn't it possible (or even probable) that those were allegorical, but the assumption of historicity was put in the mouth of Jesus by evangelists that were mistaken about history? Or could Jesus himself have been mistaken?

I guess I'm trying to find out what you think the Bible is. What kind of errors or mistakes do you think God has allowed into and about the Bible and what has God prevented?
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #59

Post by JoeyKnothead »

...
...
Difflugia wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:42 pm
otseng wrote: Thu Sep 30, 2021 6:13 amTo Christians I'll say, it's OK. It's alright to throw away the belief of inerrancy; everything will still be the same. God is still on the throne and worthy of our trust and allegiance. Jesus is still Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit still lives in us. The Bible is still authoritative and our rule in faith and practice. We should still keep the law. We should study the scriptures. Jesus rose from the dead. God created the cosmos. The flood was still a literal worldwide flood. Adam and Eve were real people. God's kingdom will be established. Jesus will judge all the nations.
How did you arrive at these particular doctrinal conclusions if the Bible might not be inerrant? The main reason often given for a literal Flood and Garden of Eden are that Jesus mentioned both of them. Why isn't it possible (or even probable) that those were allegorical, but the assumption of historicity was put in the mouth of Jesus by evangelists that were mistaken about history? Or could Jesus himself have been mistaken?

I guess I'm trying to find out what you think the Bible is. What kind of errors or mistakes do you think God has allowed into and about the Bible and what has God prevented?
It is kinda weird to note that some claims are dismissed as errant, while others are accepted as not.

Especially in light of supernatural claims.

If we can dismiss the mundane, oughtn we consider dismissing the fantastical?
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #60

Post by otseng »

Difflugia wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:42 pm
otseng wrote: Thu Sep 30, 2021 6:13 amAnd I'm still on this road. One reason I created this thread is to go deeper on this path by debating others about this.
To actually address what this thread is about, I'm curious how much of your view of Scripture you've worked out. What about the Bible do you think God has preserved?
Not sure what you mean how much I've worked out. But, like I said, I'm on a journey and far from completing the path.
I don't think a fallible Bible is compatible with any sort of biblical authority.
Many people have this viewpoint, including many very smart people, both Christians and non-Christians. I realize my viewpoint is in an extreme minority, but I think my position is a reasonable position.

A major part of the problem is definitions and terminology. In this thread, I have not mentioned the terms fallible or infallible. Rather, I'm talking about inerrancy, and even more specifically inerrancy as defined by the Chicago statement. If we can address the issue of compatibility of authority while not being inerrant, then can address other issues such as infallibility.

According to the Chicago statement, inerrancy of scripture technically only applies to the autographs. It does not apply to any of our translations (or to any original language manuscript). And even what constitutes an autograph is not so clear. Since we do not have any of the autographs or even know what autographs refers to, what does it really mean to believe in inerrancy?
How did you arrive at these particular doctrinal conclusions if the Bible might not be inerrant?
Fundamentally, by choosing to believe in it. Yes, I know it's not an intellectually satisfying answer. But, perhaps later can get into more details about this.
The main reason often given for a literal Flood and Garden of Eden are that Jesus mentioned both of them.
Actually, I believe in a literal worldwide flood because empirical evidence points to it. I've debated this in several threads in S&R and never referred to Jesus's words as evidence.
Why isn't it possible (or even probable) that those were allegorical
Sure, it's possible the flood and Adam and Eve are allegorical. I have no problem with people believing that. Though personally I believe in a literal worldwide flood and a literal first human couple that were supernaturally created.
I guess I'm trying to find out what you think the Bible is. What kind of errors or mistakes do you think God has allowed into and about the Bible and what has God prevented?
I believe the Bible is a work written by humans with God involved through secondary causation and not primary causation. God used fallible people with their skills, intellect, personalities, weaknesses, limited memory to write down things. God did not create the Bible so that it'll be defect free and everything to be factually correct. The Bible is meant to learn about God, how to have a relationship with God, how to live, etc. It is the absolute standard for Christian doctrine and life. It is how we learn what God is like and how to love God. It is our comfort, hope and inspiration for life.

The model I currently view the Bible is like the sun. It has a core, but as you go farther out, it becomes less defined. It is not something that can be defined with clear boundaries. It is not like a rock where you can say this is part of the rock and not part of a rock. Like the sun is central to the solar system, it is central to the Christian faith and gives life and light. But, it is not something to be worshipped like we should not worship the sun.

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