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?

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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 #121

Post by Mithrae »

tam wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:11 pm But listening to His voice takes faith (not just belief) and it is harder to walk by faith (which is based upon what one hears) than it is to walk by sight (based upon what one sees).
I think you've hit the nail on the head there. Compared against what might be a reasonable form of Christianity, Biblicism is a rejection of faith in at least three ways:

It lacks faith in 'salvation' - Even if there is a God, no-one truly knows what she has planned for humanity's future in general or each person individually, whether it be a literal or metaphorical kind of heaven or eternal life and what the other place (if any) might be and who is going to end up where. Seems to me that in those circumstances it would take quite a lot of trust in this God (the actual meaning of faith) to believe that whatever she ends up doing will be the best thing, even if we don't actually know what it will be. But bible-believers try to doctrinize their way around that uncertainty, insisting that because something was written down here or there God has to give them all the good stuff, most commonly redefining faith as something like blind, stubborn belief in order to make it a nice and easy step of gaining that 'assurance' of their salvation.

It lacks faith in God's guidance - As you've mostly discussed, the difference between Christians seeking God's guidance in the pages of a written tome and seeking his guidance in their hearts and minds is the difference between walking by what can be seen and walking in a sense of relational trust in God. It's a particularly striking point given how many biblical authors themselves emphasize the guidance of the Spirit of God, in some cases explicitly in contrast to the written code.

It lacks faith in God's provision - Again as you've kind of hinted at there's the interesting contrast between Jesus being (according to the authors of Revelation and gJohn) God's self-expression to humanity, the Word of God, versus the common Christian appropriation of that title for the bible. Why? Because the lifestyle, example and teachings of Jesus are scary stuff; especially sell all you have and give to the poor, stop working for money and trust in God for your daily bread. A religious variation on Cynicism in Jesus' day, or these days I suppose we'd call it a religious form of freeganism; a viable lifestyle, but still pretty frightening to contemplate. Christians who can't bring themselves to trust God's wisdom in the matter of their 'salvation' are even less likely to trust her in the more concrete matter of their daily bread! So instead they repurpose Jesus' title, putting the rest of their Book on the same level as the founder of the religion, and use verses from the Tanakh or the epistles to cancel out and ignore what Jesus taught and the example he set.

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

Post #122

Post by otseng »

TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:38 am Otseng has a rather original apologetic. Suggesting that God is NOT all - powerful nor (I suppose) all knowing, gets over the problem of a god that could fix anything and should know everything including everything that would happen before even beginning creation.
Yes, I'd agree my viewpoint is original. I haven't come across anybody else that has argued from this viewpoint. But, I believe I have a Biblical, philosophical, and rational justification for my belief.

I have no problem with God being omniscient, the only thing I've mentioned is God not being omnipotent.
Which of course throws up the problem of a changing god and the problem of evil.
The problem of evil is another huge debate topic. It's been many years ago, but I debated POE in The Problem with the Problem of Evil.
But it seems to me that it's like the innerrancy argument applied to omnipotence: just as the Bible has errors, sure, but it's still supposed to be believable as a reliable guide to God
Yes, I see no problems with that. O:)
But the problem is the gap between a Bible with some errors (can be blamed on men) and a Bible that is so errant, self - contradictory and wrong that it looks like just the work of men,
For sake of argument in this thread, we can assume the Bible IS a work of men. God was not directly involved in the creation of the Bible. God did not overrule anybody's personality, memory, muscles, etc when the authors wrote. Authors still had to perform research to gather facts and did not just sit in a corner while God directly relayed facts into their head. From an outsider's perspective, there appears to be no involvement from God whatsoever and everything appears to be normal like any other person who would write down something.

Since the Bible is a work of men, why then should it be expected to be perfect and without any contradictions?
I'd repeat that I do not care for the god -paradox arguments, like God cannot make a curry too hot for him to eat.
Very good.
The way we theists and atheists talk past each other is because theists think that any excuse to avoid admitting that This or That apologetic, problem or error 'disproves' God (including excuses that aren't, but are just a response, really (1) :) allows them to continue believing that God -belief has been protected. Atheists think differently: if the better explanation is that the Bible is wrong, the God - claims to not stack up and there is no valid reason to believe in the god -claim, then theism has no case and there no reason to believe any of it. It comes down to this basic logical fallacy in theism - assuming a god (name your own) exists until disproven. Logically there is no good reason to believe in a god until the evidence makes 'God' the more probable answer.
Well, what makes atheists exempt from your #1? Your arguments allow you to not to believe in God. Should then those arguments be simply dismissed?

So, ultimately, everything boils down to evidence and arguments. Sure, if you can produce evidence and arguments the Bible is not authoritative, please present. But, presenting arguments that the Bible is not perfect is not relevant to this thread since it's already accepted it is not inerrant.

I do realize this debate can be challenging because this is a novel debate. If anyone comes across any place else on the internet that has debated this before, please let me know. We are all entering uncharted territory here and things are not familiar. We all hold many assumptions and preconceived ideas coming into this debate and it's hard to step outside of those.
Understanding the difference between Faith -based and evidence - based thinking is the key to sussing how Bible -apologists argue, and why they apparently waste time on apparently silly arguments.
If I've appealed to faith in any of my arguments, please point it out and I will retract it. I believe everything I've presented so far is based on objective evidence and rational argumentation.

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

Post #123

Post by TRANSPONDER »

otseng wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:02 am
TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:38 am Otseng has a rather original apologetic. Suggesting that God is NOT all - powerful nor (I suppose) all knowing, gets over the problem of a god that could fix anything and should know everything including everything that would happen before even beginning creation.
Yes, I'd agree my viewpoint is original. I haven't come across anybody else that has argued from this viewpoint. But, I believe I have a Biblical, philosophical, and rational justification for my belief.
Biblical is irrelevant - that assuming as evidence what you are trying to support with evidence. Philosophical - unless we are talking on informal logical fallacies, you can keep it. 'Philosophy' in Theist terms seems to means making logic stand on its' head
I have no problem with God being omniscient, the only thing I've mentioned is God not being omnipotent.
Well, we run into a problem right away, unless you reject Genesis as not being factual. Unless you have another original theory with God needing Eden to happen to make man sinful. But then we have God doing a flood and regretting that he'd done it. I don't see how that squares with omniscience.
Which of course throws up the problem of a changing god and the problem of evil.
The problem of evil is another huge debate topic. It's been many years ago, but I debated POE in The Problem with the Problem of Evil.
It is another discussion and does get very deep. I have debated it too but it comes down inevitably to 'God knows best'.
But it seems to me that it's like the innerrancy argument applied to omnipotence: just as the Bible has errors, sure, but it's still supposed to be believable as a reliable guide to God
Yes, I see no problems with that. O:)
I think you left out the next bit which would be, that one falls down because the errors are big ones and that calls into question the idea that it's a reliable guide to anything. That's why I say serious errors, not just errors, are a valid question about Bible reliability. I imagine you'll say they can be explained, but this can only be with less plausible explanations, like Noah collecting dinosaur eggs to the Marys splitting up so we could have one meeting Jesus and the other not - an apologetic we saw here not long ago.
But the problem is the gap between a Bible with some errors (can be blamed on men) and a Bible that is so errant, self - contradictory and wrong that it looks like just the work of men,
For sake of argument in this thread, we can assume the Bible IS a work of men. God was not directly involved in the creation of the Bible. God did not overrule anybody's personality, memory, muscles, etc when the authors wrote. Authors still had to perform research to gather facts and did not just sit in a corner while God directly relayed facts into their head. From an outsider's perspective, there appears to be no involvement from God whatsoever and everything appears to be normal like any other person who would write down something.

Since the Bible is a work of men, why then should it be expected to be perfect and without any contradictions?
That is indeed an original approach. I'm convinced that many Bible apologists I've debated believe that their Faith allows God to download the truth into their heads, even if it seems to conflict with Fact. But just a humanly reliable Bible would depend on how reliable the sources were. On my former board, a long two - debate discussion of the nativity led to questioning Josephus. After I'd explained a supposed problem about the doings of the High priest Joazar in the time of Archelaus, the opponent changed tack and questioned his sources. This in fact made his writing on the Hyksos look better than I'd originally thought it was, but the material about the 5th c BC to 7th c AD was suggested (by historians) to come from Nicholaus of Damascus, who was a pal of the Herodians, so he should know. Thus the evidence weighed against the nativity and in favour of there being such contradiction that the stories should be doubted. It is not minor mistakes that can be waved away. And the more these serious errors mount up the less the Bible can be considered reliable.
I'd repeat that I do not care for the god -paradox arguments, like God cannot make a curry too hot for him to eat.
Very good.
I thought you'd like it. ;) You may also like it that I don't use the 'miracles don't happen' apologetic to doubt the resurrection. They don't normally happen, but Jesus was a one - off son of God; there was no -one like him or on the other hand, he was the only one that God would raise from the dead...apart from Lazarus....and the son of Nain...and Jairus' daughter, though she might not have actually been dead.. and the saints resurrecting and legging it around Jerusalem. So it really comes down to how much we can trust those records. We have had them sold to us by Christian preachers as a single integrated tale, but when one realises how contradictory elements have been selected to make one story, we should have serious doubts. Just like the nativity. Just like the Flood and Ark, the prophecies of Babylon and Tyre, Daniel 1- 10, the sermon on the mount material Luke 6.20 - to ch 17 pretty much....and most of the rest of the Book.
The way we theists and atheists talk past each other is because theists think that any excuse to avoid admitting that This or That apologetic, problem or error 'disproves' God (including excuses that aren't, but are just a response, really (1) :) allows them to continue believing that God -belief has been protected. Atheists think differently: if the better explanation is that the Bible is wrong, the God - claims to not stack up and there is no valid reason to believe in the god -claim, then theism has no case and there no reason to believe any of it. It comes down to this basic logical fallacy in theism - assuming a god (name your own) exists until disproven. Logically there is no good reason to believe in a god until the evidence makes 'God' the more probable answer.
Well, what makes atheists exempt from your #1? Your arguments allow you to not to believe in God. Should then those arguments be simply dismissed?
They often are, or ignored and claimed wrong on Faith. But perhaps you meant the Theist arguments. Obviously not, as we have been debating them even since the Internet was connected up :) you have to recall that a LOT of doubters used to be believers but they came to see that their belief was based on bad evidence. So bias towards their present position is understandable and even reasonable, no? On the other hand I recall you said you'd been persuaded by the evidence. Such as feasibility studies for the Flood. But hadn't you seen the refutations? (1) . Haven't you seen them now? A link was given.
So, ultimately, everything boils down to evidence and arguments. Sure, if you can produce evidence and arguments the Bible is not authoritative, please present. But, presenting arguments that the Bible is not perfect is not relevant to this thread since it's already accepted it is not inerrant.

I do realize this debate can be challenging because this is a novel debate. If anyone comes across any place else on the internet that has debated this before, please let me know. We are all entering uncharted territory here and things are not familiar. We all hold many assumptions and preconceived ideas coming into this debate and it's hard to step outside of those.
As I recall I've presented a lot several times and I haven't seen a proper rebuttal, just juggling with ways of interpreting the evidence, modes of thinking and weighting the discussion towards easy stuff to dismiss, like understandable slips when it's actually about real problems.
Understanding the difference between Faith -based and evidence - based thinking is the key to sussing how Bible -apologists argue, and why they apparently waste time on apparently silly arguments.
If I've appealed to faith in any of my arguments, please point it out and I will retract it. I believe everything I've presented so far is based on objective evidence and rational argumentation.
That's one I've seen before. :D "I didn't actually use those words". You haven't appealed to faith as I recall (that is 'The Bible says so, that's good enough for me',) and I was talking generally about Bible apologetics. The Faith comes in when the better case raises real doubts about the Bible claims and the theist side will not accept them. That's when it gets faith -based. We shall see. I've given some examples of doubtful claims. The animals would die after the flood unless God does a miracle (2). And where indeed would the water come from and where would it go? There are no hidden oceans under the ground. The Eden of Pangea did not split into continents with all the diverged animal types neatly herded onto each one. Millions of years of evolution and Geology were not crammed into about 1,000 years before Shinar appeared c 3,000 BC and had the ziggurat of Babylon, (significant for dating the writing, eh?) built.

We are dealing with Mespotamian myths here in Genesis and in Exodus, too, I believe.

(1) I had been tempted to cite the 'Strobel Syndrome' but hadn't, but again it pops up as the perfect example of biased 'evidence'. His story, book and film claimed that he ..'used to be a an atheist doubter, like you, until...' he looked at the evidence and was convinced. His evidence? Totally from Bible apologists and apparently nothing from the other side. And this is endemic. So often I hear of claims that they as an atheist was persuaded by the evidence for the Bible, but they are unaware of the atheist arguments, so at best, they never got to hear the atheist side - until they were so biased they dismissed it.

(2) ;) it always seemed to be an Unwritten Rule that God could not solve with magic any but minor problems with the Flood, because otherwise a Flood would be not be needed at all. It had to be made to work without magic. This is why the apologetics think -tank has to work overtime to make the unworkable look as though it works. Some have bitten the bullet and had God manufacture food in their stomach but that's just on the edge of 'why have a flood at all then?' To which the only answer is 'God knows best'. Faith -based.

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

Post #124

Post by TRANSPONDER »

erratum Sorry folks I just realised I'd written 5 BC to 7 AD as 5th to the 7th centuries. . Silly slip.

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

Post #125

Post by Mithrae »

otseng wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:02 am
TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:38 am Otseng has a rather original apologetic. Suggesting that God is NOT all - powerful nor (I suppose) all knowing, gets over the problem of a god that could fix anything and should know everything including everything that would happen before even beginning creation.
Yes, I'd agree my viewpoint is original. I haven't come across anybody else that has argued from this viewpoint. But, I believe I have a Biblical, philosophical, and rational justification for my belief.

I have no problem with God being omniscient, the only thing I've mentioned is God not being omnipotent.
Actually all that tangent about omnipotence has felt like old, old news :shock: You've rejected omnipotence under the definition of "having unlimited power"; but even on this forum I've got posts at least back to 2013 asking critics what they think the term should mean and noting that "There's a bit of a gap between "has all power" and "can do anything" (though that depends on what 'power' means, I imagine), and more importantly another leap again before we reach "can do absolutely anything no matter how absurd or contradictory."" While rejecting 'omnipotence' you maintain that God is 'almighty,' suggesting that it's more an issue of what these words mean rather than envisaging a weak deity. I'd suggest that pretty much the same applies to omniscience, as from a 2019 thread a few months before your omnipotence thread: "All-powerful, in that view, means having all power that there is. . . . An all-knowing God knows everything that there is to know; he presumably knows everything that Tolkien wrote or even thought about Middle Earth, but that hardly implies that he must know what Frodo's great-grandmother had for breakfast on her wedding day!"
otseng wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:02 am So, ultimately, everything boils down to evidence and arguments. Sure, if you can produce evidence and arguments the Bible is not authoritative, please present. But, presenting arguments that the Bible is not perfect is not relevant to this thread since it's already accepted it is not inerrant.

I do realize this debate can be challenging because this is a novel debate. If anyone comes across any place else on the internet that has debated this before, please let me know. We are all entering uncharted territory here and things are not familiar. We all hold many assumptions and preconceived ideas coming into this debate and it's hard to step outside of those.
Again, there's probably similar threads on this very forum. Once upon a time we had a Jewish member (cnorman perhaps) with a signature line saying something like "The Torah is the word of God... and some of it is even true!" In other words, it is errant but still the 'word of God.' Untold millions of people have grown up with ideas about their religion which were (obviously) childish, often inculcated by parents and preachers whose own views have been rather simplistic. "God is the biggest and greatest and bestest, there's nothing he can't do! The bible is the bestest too, absolutely nothing wrong about it!" When confronted with the hard fact that those views are quite obviously incorrect many reject their religion entirely, or plenty of others just double-down on a stance of blind faith and disingenuous apologetics; but a significant fraction look for a more moderate response to newly-learned facts/logic, including me once upon a time.

The problem I see is that for the kind of person willing to bow in the face of facts, once biblical errors are frankly acknowledged in any capacity, it's probably not going to stop there. "There's a few minor errors in the bible but it's still reliable and authoritative" isn't an end-point, it's just a beginning. For those unwilling to resort to disingenuous apologetics they are not just minor errors, not even merely factual errors; biblical endorsements and even direct commandments and supposed divine engagement in genocides, slavery and eternal torture and so on are pretty much the most evil things in human history and human imagination, and it takes a very special kind of pretzel logic to try to pass them off as not only okay but actually good and holy and teaching us to love one another! Once there is a recognized hole in the veil of religious dogma about biblical perfection, I don't believe that trying to cling to its increasingly tattered remnants is going to work for honest, critical thinkers; in my case these major problems eventually led to my loss of 'faith.'

That's why I think it's important to emphasize the fact that even many biblical authors themselves pointed to something better than the written word: The option is there for honest, critical thinkers with a Christian background to tear down the veil of dogma entirely rather than trying to cling to its tattered remnants. Searching our own hearts and minds for anything worthy enough to maybe be divine guidance is not the sort of thing which most churches or preachers historically or at present have wanted to encourage in their tithes-paying congregants, of course, but especially in the 21st century it seems like a much more beneficial, reasonable and common-sense way of approaching a relationship with God (regardless of whether or not that God even exists).

As Tam has noted it takes a lot more faith to adopt that approach - to wholly put one's trust in a hitherto silent God rather than in a book which can be seen and held - but what if a probable alternative is a path leading to eventual loss of what little 'faith' exists in Biblicism?

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

Post #126

Post by Purple Knight »

otseng wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:02 am
I'd repeat that I do not care for the god -paradox arguments, like God cannot make a curry too hot for him to eat.
Very good.
Correct. These are a construction of language and not a failure of hypothetical omnipotence.

It's like asking an artist to draw a square circle, and when he cannot, claiming he sucks as an artist, because aha, here is a thing you cannot draw.

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

Post #127

Post by otseng »

TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:51 am You may have persuaded yourself that the intent of the Bible is to 'promote human welfare' but that you have found a way to insulate your Faith from doubt and question is irrelevant.
Yes, I've only made a claim without justification. I'll present arguments to support it later.
nobspeople wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:01 amI've been told by christians that god can do anything, but purposefully limits its ability and power (as this would, according to them, answer your proposed definition and limitation). So it seems, this 'god' is so out of the reach of human understanding most, if not all, definitions of it, are, at best, guesses to fit one's chosen lifestyle agenda.
Just because someone told you something, why should it be true, esp from a Christian? O:) Yes, a lot of Christians claim God is omnipotent, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's true.
Diagoras wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 5:13 pm To address this, the claim is that this direct communication is only optimal for such recipient(s), therefore it’s not at odds with rejecting the second-hand messaging of such a person to a non-recipient by posting about it here.
My position on this is direct communication between God and man is possible. I'm not so sure it's "optimal", because we have instances of people directly hearing from God and didn't result in any change in belief. And accepting the testimony of a single person who has claimed to have heard from God is definitely not optimal.
otseng wrote: Sun Oct 10, 2021 3:25 pmI do believe other cultures have had independent knowledge of God and other historical events in the Bible (such as the global flood).

One book that talks about this is The Discovery of Genesis: How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language by C. H. Kang. He goes though many examples of how the early Chinese knew about YHVH and how it's recorded in the Chinese language.
Correlation does not imply causation, as I'm sure you know. The rather slight coincidence of using the same number as found in one particular Bible story is hardly any kind of proof. Apophenia is also a thing.
Never claimed there was only a single example. As I mentioned, the book contains multiple examples, not just one. I guess I could go through the book and present more from it if necessary.
So, yes, God has and does speak directly to other cultures and is not "limited in his communication skills".
These two things are clearly not equivalent.
How are they not examples of God directly speaking to disparate cultures? Now, you might not accept these claims, but it is an example of the Chinese and Muslim cultures knowing about God independently from the Bible.
The Bible is best thought of as an anthology by multiple authors and not just a single (human) author. We have multiple people attesting to what God has done. And not only that, it has gone through a "verification" process in which only the books that has been de facto accepted has made it into the canon.
<bolding mine>

Surely a circular argument?
To be clear, I'm not arguing the books selected to be in the Bible are authoritative because they were selected to be in the Bible. All I'm saying is there was popular opinion at work in what books was selected as top tier. Books such as the NT apocryphal books were not considered top tier so were not widely accepted.
Two comments: Plenty of people seek God directly through prayer. Yet surprisingly few are ‘rewarded’ by being directly communicated with. Why would that be? Secondly, if God wasn’t wanting to be obvious, why dictate the Ten Commandments, appear to Job in a whirlwind, etc.?
What constitutes a "reward"? Is God a Santa Claus in the sky that rewards all good people who ask for things?

As for God revealing himself, it's not an either/or scenario. It's not either God revealing directly all the time or revealing indirectly all the time. Yes, there are times where God directly speaks to people, like Moses or Job.
If it doesn’t matter how someone interprets the Bible then, it sounds awfully like “searching their own hearts and minds - their own conscience and reason - for whatever they consider worthy enough to maybe be divine guidance”, doesn’t it?
Like I said, the core doctrines are pretty clear. Ancillary views like how long is a day in the days of creation, how much water covered the earth during the flood, should we be premillennial or postmillennial, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, etc. are not of critical importance.
What evidence can you provide to show that God will never directly speak to you until you are in heaven?
It's certainly possible, but not probable. In all my Christian experience, I have never met anyone that has audibly heard from God. So, I do not consider it likely I would.
Have you any evidence for God decreeing that everything need not be ideal and perfect now?
Never said God "decrees" an imperfect world. But, it is a core Christian doctrine that we live in a fallen world. And the only time where things will finally be restored to perfection is at the end when Jesus returns. In the meantime, we live in an unredeemed world. Jesus said, "in the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering" (John 16:33).
Furthermore, you’re claiming that some trivial coincidences between disparate cultures provide proof that he did indeed communicate with each of them.
The ancient Chinese and modern Muslims are just two examples I've brought up. And I'm sure if I bring up more it'll just be chalked up to coincidences.
I’m left thinking that you are ascribing to God unverifiable qualities in order to now excuse his ‘standoffishness’. To wit: a desire to ‘not be obvious’, and an acceptance of things ‘not having to be perfect now – only in heaven’.
I think this hinges on the word "unverifiable". Yes, God's qualities are not verifiable in the sense we can't put God in a lab and run tests on him. But if God does exist, how can we know any of his qualities? I think there are two ways. One is for God to directly communicate with humans (God speaking audibly) and another is to reveal himself to humans (God incarnating himself to man). And these have been recorded for us in the Bible. In the Old Testament, it's primarily a record of the former. In the New Testament (the gospels in particular), it's a record of the latter of Jesus's life and teachings.

But why should we take what they wrote as trustworthy?

Taking the NT first, we have multiple people recording the life of Jesus not too long after Jesus's death (70-110 AD). Paul, though he did not see Jesus, was a contemporary of the disciples, also recorded the ministry of Jesus. And though their testimonies might not align 100%, it's close enough for us to discern what Jesus was like and what was his main teachings.

So, for seekers of the Christian faith, the Bible as we have it is the best we have to know what are the qualities of Jesus through the testimony of authors who lived in that time.

Could it be Jesus never existed and everything is just a vast conspiracy by NT writers? Could it be just a coincidence that they wrote what they wrote? I guess that could be possibility, but I think highly unlikely.

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

Post #128

Post by nobspeople »

[Replying to otseng in post #127]
Just because someone told you something, why should it be true, esp from a Christian?
Can be said for anything, especially when dealing with a belief. But that doesn't mean it's not true. Are you saying christians aren't truthful?
Yes, a lot of Christians claim God is omnipotent, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's true.
Just like it doesn't necessarily mean it isn't true, either.
Ya' know: belief and all that!
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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

Post #129

Post by otseng »

TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 6:20 pm Yes. The Flood was extensively debated on my previous forum and any number of far -fetched hypotheses were thrown up so as to explain away the problems, from a supposed sea of flood water under China (there isn't one) to removing the animal waste with a mechanical system powered by a dinosaur on a treadmill (1). In the end, the most persistent dude could not explain the problem of feeding the animals after the Ark landed, despite arguing that olive trees can survive under water and had in the end to resort to 'God can find a way' and that the Flood happened despite the evidence against, because the Bible says so. It's where we always end up.
One of the longest threads on this forum is A Deluge of Evidence for the Flood? in which I debated this awhile ago. Yes, there are unresolved issues with a global flood. But, I still maintain it is the best explanation so far that we got to explain many geological features (and that includes secular theories).
tam wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 11:11 pm Sure, but I do want to reiterate that I do not want to stand in your way on your journey; I just wanted to make the same reassurance about 'authority' as you did about 'inerrancy' .
The thread is about the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible, not authority in general, which would be a good topic for another thread.

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

Post #130

Post by otseng »

TRANSPONDER wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 10:51 am Biblical is irrelevant - that assuming as evidence what you are trying to support with evidence.
Suppose we did throw out the Bible, how would you know what God is like? Is he omnipotent or not? Is he omniscient or not? We could rely on the testimony of people who hear directly from God who post on this forum, but would that be an acceptable source? We could read an article in an encyclopedia, but where did they get their source? For Christians, we would ultimately need some material that is as close as possible to those that have seen and heard Jesus. And one argument why the Bible can be considered authoritative is that these testimonies have been collected into what we now call the New Testament.
Philosophical - unless we are talking on informal logical fallacies, you can keep it. 'Philosophy' in Theist terms seems to means making logic stand on its' head
When I refer to philosophy, I'm referring to the standard view of philosophy.
"Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy
I have no problem with God being omniscient, the only thing I've mentioned is God not being omnipotent.
Well, we run into a problem right away, unless you reject Genesis as not being factual. Unless you have another original theory with God needing Eden to happen to make man sinful. But then we have God doing a flood and regretting that he'd done it. I don't see how that squares with omniscience.
I do not believe it's really relevant to this thread - whether God is omnipotent or omniscient. I'll just say I do believe God is omniscient, but one can reject omniscience and still accept the Bible as authoritative.
I imagine you'll say they can be explained, but this can only be with less plausible explanations, like Noah collecting dinosaur eggs to the Marys splitting up so we could have one meeting Jesus and the other not - an apologetic we saw here not long ago.
Neither of these examples you gave here I would consider "serious" errors. But, as for the flood actually occurring or not, I do consider that as an impediment for the acceptance of the Bible as authoritative for myself. And it has been a topic that I've debated the longest on.
You may also like it that I don't use the 'miracles don't happen' apologetic to doubt the resurrection.
You're right, I like that too!
So it really comes down to how much we can trust those records.
Yes, I agree.
We have had them sold to us by Christian preachers as a single integrated tale, but when one realises how contradictory elements have been selected to make one story, we should have serious doubts.
We should return what they have sold, esp if they claim everything recorded in the Bible is perfect and without error.
you have to recall that a LOT of doubters used to be believers but they came to see that their belief was based on bad evidence. So bias towards their present position is understandable and even reasonable, no? On the other hand I recall you said you'd been persuaded by the evidence. Such as feasibility studies for the Flood. But hadn't you seen the refutations? (1) . Haven't you seen them now? A link was given.
And a lot of skeptics as well have become believers. Yes, we all have biases, whether we realize them or not.

No, I have not clicked into that link. It's enough of a challenge to juggle all the balls of simply responding to what people have actually posted. And I don't have time to also run down every side trail that is presented. But, if we want to debate about the flood here (hopefully briefly), I'm willing to do it.
Totally from Bible apologists and apparently nothing from the other side.
It is difficult to find a balanced perspective from any side.

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