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 #211

Post by Diogenes »

otseng wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:22 am
Diogenes wrote: Mon Nov 01, 2021 11:31 am But a worldwide flood with animals on a boat for a year? Nada. As for the general creation story, among other problems,
Diagoras has said discussing the flood is not necessary...

What are the details of, for example, the Jahwist version that features a talking serpent and woman being created from a man's rib, do you find "piles of evidence" for support?
I've never claimed either of these has piles of evidence for.
Of what relevance is it that Diagoras said it is not necessary to discuss the flood? You made a claim there is evidence for the Biblical creation and flood stories. I am asking you to support your claim.

You responded to "just as the evidence piles up that the Creation and Flood are not true"
with
"Well, of course I would highly disagree with this. IMO, evidence and reason would strongly support both of these."
According to your own rules, unsupported claims may be dismissed. I am asking for you to support your claims for the Creation and Flood as depicted in Genesis. Those claims include all land animals being kept on a boat for a year to allow re-population after a worldwide flood, and a talking serpent as well as contradictory orders of creation.
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #212

Post by TRANSPONDER »

otseng wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:26 am I came across an interesting video by Tim Mackie about the origin and authority of the Bible. As co-founder of The Bible Project, he has demonstrated more than a little knowledge of the Bible.

For Christians, the authority of the Bible is centered on Jesus.

"when we say the Bible is authoritative what we mean when we say that is Jesus is the risen King"
"Jesus has authority over me and that authority is expressed to me through the scriptures"


Most peoples' view of the Bible disregards the idea that the Bible is a human book. He illustrates how we should view the Bible by Drawing Hands by M. C. Escher.

Image

"The Bible is both a human book and a divine book. It's a human book it that was written by people."
"Somehow in our modern context that this has been framed as an either/or and I just think that's totally unnecessary and it's totally unhelpful and will lead you down dead ends."


He does not explicitly state this, but what a human book means to me is it will be subject to errors, just like all other human books are subject to. Accounts can have inconsistencies, things can be exaggerated, memories can fail, authors can add artistic license material, etc. But, the important thing is the core message. Historical accuracy on the trivialities is not the point of the Bible. The person of Jesus, his message, his example, and his resurrection is the core.
I don't get why we are going over the same ground. We know that Christianity is baed on the Bible. We get that it is a book written by humans and human books are subject to error. But the point is how much the error (not to say falsification) brings the book into question. I argue that there is enough evidence of falsification, Spin, fabrication and invention to make the basic claim of the Bible to tell us about God, Jesus and the resurrection (the point on which Christianity is founded) open to question.

At the risk of labouring the point, the contradictions in the resurrection (as in the Nativities) signal that they are invented stories intended to prove a doctrinal point by lying, to put it bluntly. Permissible human error is an excuse and an inadequate one.

You may not accept that. That doesn't matter. You may choose to contest that and that's fine. But you need a better argument than Human error or claims that the Bible (even if dubious) is nevertheless a reliable source for telling us about God. Rather the evidence that it is such a flawed piece of work makes one wonder whether there could be a god that (if it was any more than Deistgod) would allow that to happen.

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

Post #213

Post by TRANSPONDER »

POI wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 6:39 pm
otseng wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:22 am I assume you're referring to me. I'm hesitant to get into debating the flood for a few reasons. One is that is not really directly relevant to the OP.
The OP states:

"For debate:
How can the Bible be considered authoritative and inspired without the need to believe in the doctrine of inerrancy?
"

I'm not harping on insignificant errors. I'm going after the biggies... Such as "the flood", a "Tower of Babel", "the Exodus", etc... I trust we agree that a claim for a God provided global flood is not insignificant?

Further, would it be logical to surmise that if it should turn out that a God provided flood did not take place, when the Bible clearly states that it did, this would be a rather large blow to the credibility to the claim of an all knowing God?
otseng wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:22 am Another is it is a huge topic and I've spent a long time debating this in A Deluge of Evidence for the Flood?. So, it's not like I'm unable to engage in this debate.
Well, this is not my first rodeo either :) I trust we can at least partially agree that one can streamline their points, the more you argue for the same position? Rather than me sifting through pages of a debate, give me some highlights? And in turn, why the counter arguments to these given highlights do not hold water for you?
Yes. Genesis, the Flood and indeed Exodus, which one I was prepared to accept as based on some recognisable historical event. I now think it's an invention, through a small but significant (I think) clue in timing. Rather like the well - known detective story device (1) where a discrepancy in the wristwatch or town clock puts the Perp behind bars :D The detour into Sinai rather than head straight for Canaan was to avoid disturbance in the land of the Philistines. But given that the Merneptah stele mentions his attacking Israel in his Canaan campaign before the attack of the sea peoples that Ramesses V (I think) defeated and settled them in Gaza where they later became the Philistines, it makes no sense that Moses went to Sinai to avoid a people who weren't there yet. I also not a small clue that the Moses in the Bulrushes story is strikingly similar to the story of Sargon of Akkad. And I have a pet theory that the writers used a record of Ahmose the first kicking the Canaanite Hyksos out of the Delta as a basis for Moses leading them out.

Archaeology indicates rather than The Hebrews were an Amorite tribe (the OT indicates a culture of herding and a contempt for farming) who came from the north east mountains after the devastation of the 11th c collapse and set up a sate with other newcomers like the Moabites, Amorites and so on.

So I've got strong doubts about Exodus too as well as the 'destruction' of Tyre and Babylon and of course, the Biblical spin on the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem.

(1) almost as popular as the one where, the writer knowing who dunnit but has no idea how to prove it, has the hero bluff the suspect who panics, whips out a gun and cries: 'You clever devil! How did you get onto me? But you'll never take me alive!!'

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Case study of Hezekiah

Post #214

Post by otseng »

benchwarmer wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 3:47 pm Yet how does one know what the core is and that it is not itself somehow corrupted? I think the basic objection in this thread is that given all the errors we find in the Bible, how does one determine what's true anymore within the text? There has to be some method or it's all just hopeful guessing isn't it?
This is a good question. One thing I've mentioned is just because we read something that looks skewed, it might not be because the Bible is skewed, but our perspective is skewed. Another thing is we need to be aware of is the context, genre, literary style of what we're reading. If something is written in an apocalyptic or poetic style, I don't think we should always take it literally. The Bible is also a human book, and so it's subject to human errors.

But, to find out what is the truth, it requires digging in and uncovering it. It's like being a detective. You have to look at the facts and piece together the truth. Facts can be both internal and external to the Bible. It's like being a lawyer. You listen to the witnesses and judge what actually happened. We have four accounts of the life of Jesus from different perspectives to draw from. It's like being a medical examiner. We see a body of text and we have to come up with a reasonable guess what happened. It's like being a researcher, we have to gather all the facts and examine the evidence.
An often used example is the Spider-Man comics. Within them we can find truths.
Unlike comics, the context of the Bible is in history. There's so much history in it that it's easy to fall asleep reading those parts (names of people, places, cities, etc). We also have archaeological evidence to back up Biblical claims.
The real person of Jesus is lost to history.
Depends on what you mean. If you mean there are many other things Jesus has said and done that we don't know about, yes, I agree. If you mean Jesus was actually quite different than what the Bible portrays, then I'd disagree.
We can only read what the gospel authors wrote. There is nothing else to fact check it with.
If there are four witnesses that testify in court, it would make a fairly good case. Does it prove what they all testify to is true? No, but it would be reasonable to believe that it is true.
TRANSPONDER wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:07 am Of course there's spin on both sides of the account of the Assyrian siege. But The Bible actually agrees with the Assyrian version. Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem and Hezekiah was able to do a deal with the Assyrians and pay tribute, which was a bit of a face - loss for Assyria. The Bible agrees this but separates it from the account of the siege that claims that the Assyrian army was smitten by God. Virtually vanished.
Let's use this as a case story for digging in and trying to find out the truth.

There are 3 accounts in the Bible of the siege on Jerusalem:
Isaiah chapters 36 and 37
2 Kings chapter 18
2 Chronicles chapter 32
Isa 36:1-2
1 Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, [that] Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defensed cities of Judah, and took them.
2 And the king of Assyria sent Rab-shakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army.

2 Kgs 18:17
And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rab-shakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which [is] in the highway of the fuller's field.

2 Chr 32:9
After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he [himself laid siege] against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that [were] at Jerusalem, saying,
If someone read these passages 200 years ago, it would be mostly on faith in the Bible to accept these to be historically factual.

In 1830, Sennacherib's Prism (Taylor Prism) was discovered that records the siege by the Assyrians. This pretty much proved the event as recorded in the Bible occurred and it was not a story pulled out of thin air.

So what do we know actually happened? Both accounts agree there was a siege on Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah by the Assyrians by Sennacherib. There was a tribute given to Sennacherib by Hezekiah. Assyrians tried to take Jerusalem, but failed and left.

Something also seemed to have happened to the Assyrian army to cause them to give up attacking the city. The Bible simply says the angel of the Lord smote them.

Isa 37:36
Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

Sennacherib's Prism gives no reason why they left. Most likely, whatever the reason, it would've been too embarrassing for them to record it. But, it's already quite embarrassing for them to give up attacking a city. Their account spins the story by saying they trapped Hezekiah "like a caged bird." But, what's the point of saying this when he's obviously free when they gave up attacking the city?

What does it actually mean that "an angel of the Lord smote them"? I don't think we need to take this literally as in some giant floating spiritual being with wings got a giant sword and slashed everyone. Just like if an insurance company write down an act of God caused my car to be demolished, it doesn't mean that God directly caused my car to crash. My guess is they didn't really know what caused the army to die and called it an "act of God".

There is another source that records the event from an Egyptian perspective. Herodotus writes mice caused the death of the Assyrian army.

"Some Biblical scholars take this to an allusion that the Assyrian army suffered the effects of a mouse- or rat-borne disease such as bubonic plague. Even without relying on that explanation, John Bright suggested it was an epidemic of some kind that saved Jerusalem."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_ ... _Jerusalem

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

Post #215

Post by TRANSPONDER »

...
TRANSPONDER wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:07 am Of course there's spin on both sides of the account of the Assyrian siege. But The Bible actually agrees with the Assyrian version. Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem and Hezekiah was able to do a deal with the Assyrians and pay tribute, which was a bit of a face - loss for Assyria. The Bible agrees this but separates it from the account of the siege that claims that the Assyrian army was smitten by God. Virtually vanished.
Let's use this as a case story for digging in and trying to find out the truth.

There are 3 accounts in the Bible of the siege on Jerusalem:
Isaiah chapters 36 and 37
2 Kings chapter 18
2 Chronicles chapter 32
Isa 36:1-2
1 Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, [that] Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defensed cities of Judah, and took them.
2 And the king of Assyria sent Rab-shakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army.

2 Kgs 18:17
And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rab-shakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which [is] in the highway of the fuller's field.

2 Chr 32:9
After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he [himself laid siege] against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that [were] at Jerusalem, saying,
If someone read these passages 200 years ago, it would be mostly on faith in the Bible to accept these to be historically factual.

In 1830, Sennacherib's Prism (Taylor Prism) was discovered that records the siege by the Assyrians. This pretty much proved the event as recorded in the Bible occurred and it was not a story pulled out of thin air.

So what do we know actually happened? Both accounts agree there was a siege on Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah by the Assyrians by Sennacherib. There was a tribute given to Sennacherib by Hezekiah. Assyrians tried to take Jerusalem, but failed and left.

Something also seemed to have happened to the Assyrian army to cause them to give up attacking the city. The Bible simply says the angel of the Lord smote them.

Isa 37:36
Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

Sennacherib's Prism gives no reason why they left. Most likely, whatever the reason, it would've been too embarrassing for them to record it. But, it's already quite embarrassing for them to give up attacking a city. Their account spins the story by saying they trapped Hezekiah "like a caged bird." But, what's the point of saying this when he's obviously free when they gave up attacking the city?

What does it actually mean that "an angel of the Lord smote them"? I don't think we need to take this literally as in some giant floating spiritual being with wings got a giant sword and slashed everyone. Just like if an insurance company write down an act of God caused my car to be demolished, it doesn't mean that God directly caused my car to crash. My guess is they didn't really know what caused the army to die and called it an "act of God".

There is another source that records the event from an Egyptian perspective. Herodotus writes mice caused the death of the Assyrian army.

"Some Biblical scholars take this to an allusion that the Assyrian army suffered the effects of a mouse- or rat-borne disease such as bubonic plague. Even without relying on that explanation, John Bright suggested it was an epidemic of some kind that saved Jerusalem."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_ ... _Jerusalem
[/quote]

Yes. This is as good evidence of a Biblical event confirmed by an extra - Biblical source as you could wish. The Bible and the Assyrian records agree that Sennacherib attacked the coalition, smashed Babylon, clobbered Egypt and demolished Lascheish (or Laschish) after a siege and then ...well I'd always credited that there was a siege of Jerusalem as Isaiah said. It may be that Sennacherib sent a surrender demand to Hezekiah backed up by an army. Sooner or later, Hezekiah gave in and paid tribute. Bot sources, Bible and Assyria, agree that. So either God or mice had demolished that army...why did he submit? True, Sennacherib still had his army investing Limnah and could have taken it to Jerusalem. Sure, he might have been afraid his army would suffer the same fate as the one he'd sent under his messengers, but if so, why did Hezekiah submit? If The Lord has smit one army it could smite another.

The answer is that Hezekiah knew he's get the same as Sennacherib had dished out to Lascheish and he couldn't count on God to save him. Sennacherib didn't even need to go to Jerusalem. So the point is, as I said: Biblical spin - Historical fact; Biblical Lie. On all reason whether something befell the army sent to Jerusalem or that's a lie and Hezekiah just gave in and paid tribute - which both sources agree - that was the reason Sennacherib marched away. I suspect that Sennacherib ha,d been reluctant to conduct another siege, but he would if Hezekiah didn't cave in. In fact that Hezekiah did rather than take his chances suggests that nothing happened to the Assyrian army and Hezekiah simply saw it was all up.

That's how the evidence leans, as I see it. And even if it was a camp disease, or mice, why does God have to have anything to do with it? I know - it's Biblical apologist spin again. They think that perfectly natural occurrences can't be proven to not have God behind it (even though the evidence is against it) and that leaves the God -claim intact. But rationally, if there is a natural explanation (disease or mice) there is no reason to suppose God in the first place.

The point is that even true events, places and persons in the Bible do nothing to validate the God -claim. To make it quite clear, even if some events in the Bible are true but naturally explainable events, there is no more reason to suppose a god behind it than in finding your car keys. You may say that you are only making a case for some true events in the Bible (even if no reason to suppose a miracle) but if so, such a discussion is proper to the history forum, not here. This is about the God -claim, essentially.

This is really the same as the empty tomb. The credible crucifixion - if taken at all literally - hints that, IF there was an empty tomb (and all 4 agree that) then it was because:
(a) Jesus was drugged (given wine and conked out immediately)
(b)Arimathea pushed past the women and buried Jesus himself (He's done a deal with Pilate who - the Bible says - wanted to release Jesus but was pushed into the execution by the Sanhedrin under Caiaphas)
(c) the disciples (Arimathea and a helper, perhaps) came and took the body, as Matthew says. I'm obliged to note that the women found it open and you'd expect Arimathea to close the tomb but I can think up excuses with the best of them :) .

But the point is that the Bible having a true or at least credible event having a mundane explanation does not do a thing to help the God -case. That remains purely a Faith -claim.

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

Post #216

Post by POI »

Otseng, you have skipped me again. Please let me recap our prior brief conversation....

We seemed to agree, that if the 'flood' did not happen, this would render the Bible unreliable, or not trustworthy. You then stated that after MORE investigation, using the right tools, you now think the flood did indeed happen.

Well, I too have investigated both sides of the 'flood' argument. I currently conclude that it's very unlikely such an event happened, as claimed from the Bible.

You directed me to a link, which involves this direct topic (about the flood). However, I do not know what your take-away is, regarding that link/topic?

1. What points of contention remain compelling for you, regarding a claim for a global flood?
2. Why do the given counter arguments leave you unshaken in your current belief?

The reason I ask, and persist, is because logic would guide one to move towards the following... If the Bible is right about a global flood occurring, then the reader can simply move on to the next BIG claim. If the Bible is incorrect about a global flood claim, then the reader can render the Bible untrustworthy. Further, if it should turn out the Bible happens to be wrong about more than one BIG claim, what is the reader to do, by the time (s)he gets to the unfalsifiable claim of a resurrection -- (which is arguably the BIGGEST claim of them all)?
In case anyone is wondering... The avatar quote states the following:

"I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness."

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

Post #217

Post by benchwarmer »

otseng wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:41 am Unlike comics, the context of the Bible is in history. There's so much history in it that it's easy to fall asleep reading those parts (names of people, places, cities, etc). We also have archaeological evidence to back up Biblical claims.
Well, there's certainly a lot of claimed history. I can grant you that. It's only by comparing claims in the Bible to extra biblical sources that we can discern which claims may be valid or invalid. If a claim is only available in the Bible, we have nothing to confirm or deny it and given the number of problems many of us find within the texts, it's hard to place much trust in the unconfirmed claims.
otseng wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:41 am
The real person of Jesus is lost to history.
Depends on what you mean. If you mean there are many other things Jesus has said and done that we don't know about, yes, I agree. If you mean Jesus was actually quite different than what the Bible portrays, then I'd disagree.
It's not so much about agreeing or disagreeing, it's about confirming what we find in the Bible. The Bible itself is contradictory in some of what Jesus is claimed to have said or done. That right there means pieces of the real Jesus are lost to history. In fact, some will argue there may not have even been a real Jesus due to the lack of extra biblical evidence. Regardless of that particular debate, the point is that details of the Jesus portrayed in the Bible are only available in the Bible. Again, due to all the issues discussed in the inerrancy thread, it's hard to say who the real Jesus was. i.e. did He do things that fulfilled prophesy or was that 'laid on Him' by the authors of the gospels? Certainly the author of Matthew is guilty of trying to retrofit a prophesy on Jesus. Laughably so when the author has Jesus ride two animals at the same time.
otseng wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:41 am
We can only read what the gospel authors wrote. There is nothing else to fact check it with.
If there are four witnesses that testify in court, it would make a fairly good case. Does it prove what they all testify to is true? No, but it would be reasonable to believe that it is true.
The problem is that I don't think we have 4 witnesses here. I think we have 1 witness at best and 4 apologists piling on afterwards. There is clear evidence that some of the 'witnesses' were copying word for word from previous 'witnesses'. I call that a chain of hearsay, not 4 actual witness accounts. It actually makes the story all the more suspect when it's clear (to me anyway) that the authors seem to be more concerned about putting their own theological spin on things rather than just reporting what they themselves saw. In fact, not a single one of them says "I saw/witnessed ....<insert direct witness about Jesus here> ...".

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

Post #218

Post by otseng »

POI wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 6:39 pm Further, would it be logical to surmise that if it should turn out that a God provided flood did not take place, when the Bible clearly states that it did, this would be a rather large blow to the credibility to the claim of an all knowing God?
I stated:
otseng wrote: Sun Oct 10, 2021 3:30 pm I do believe Adam, global flood, etc to be literal events. But, there are true born-again Christians that love Jesus that do not believe these to be literal events. Are they still going to heaven? Yes. So, ultimately, it doesn't matter if a Christian takes these literally or figuratively.
It's my personal belief that I believe in a global flood. I do not claim, nor believe, that belief in a global flood is necessary to accept the Bible as authoritative. There are many Christians that do not believe in a global flood and still are saved. But, for myself, if the Bible makes such a large claim of a global flood and it is actually not true, then it makes the Bible more suspect. Judging from how many have clamored for me to debate these, it looks like we all feel the same way.
Diogenes wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:50 pm I am asking for you to support your claims for the Creation and Flood as depicted in Genesis.
I will eventually get to the creation and the flood. But, I ask everyone to stop repeatedly asking for us to cover these. I will get to it.
POI wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:12 am Otseng, you have skipped me again. Please let me recap our prior brief conversation....
You have to wait in line. Pretty much I'm single-handedly debating everyone and trying to address everyone sequentially. My last post #214 was addressing post 209. Your last post was 210, which I've just addressed above.
TRANSPONDER wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 2:16 am I don't get why we are going over the same ground.
The post was not specifically addressed to you. Only posts that contain a link to your post would be specific to you. If I do not include any link to a previous post, then it's targeted to the general audience.
I argue that there is enough evidence of falsification, Spin, fabrication and invention to make the basic claim of the Bible to tell us about God, Jesus and the resurrection (the point on which Christianity is founded) open to question.
We can continue our discussion on the Jerusalem siege to see where we draw the line on whether the Bible is reliable or not.
TRANSPONDER wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:03 am This is as good evidence of a Biblical event confirmed by an extra - Biblical source as you could wish. The Bible and the Assyrian records agree that Sennacherib attacked the coalition, smashed Babylon, clobbered Egypt and demolished Lascheish (or Laschish) after a siege and then ...well I'd always credited that there was a siege of Jerusalem as Isaiah said. It may be that Sennacherib sent a surrender demand to Hezekiah backed up by an army. Sooner or later, Hezekiah gave in and paid tribute. Bot sources, Bible and Assyria, agree that.
To me, this is the bulk of the story. If you accept these as historically factual, then I pretty much rest my case.
So either God or mice had demolished that army...why did he submit? True, Sennacherib still had his army investing Limnah and could have taken it to Jerusalem. Sure, he might have been afraid his army would suffer the same fate as the one he'd sent under his messengers, but if so, why did Hezekiah submit? If The Lord has smit one army it could smite another.
Not sure I see the sequence of events the same as you. Hezekiah gave the tribute to Sennacherib while he was at Lachish and before he attacked Jerusalem.

2 Kgs 18:13-17
13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
15 And Hezekiah gave [him] all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house.
16 At that time did Hezekiah cut off [the gold from] the doors of the temple of the LORD, and [from] the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
17 And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rab-shakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem.

None of his army was "smitten by God" yet when Hezekiah gave the tribute.
Hezekiah just gave in and paid tribute - which both sources agree - that was the reason Sennacherib marched away.
Yes, both sources agree Hezekiah paid tribute. Hezekiah paid what Sennacherib demanded to not attack Jerusalem. But, even though he got what he demanded, he still attacked Jerusalem anyways.
And even if it was a camp disease, or mice, why does God have to have anything to do with it? I know - it's Biblical apologist spin again.
No more than insurance companies also "spinning" things and say things happen because of an "act of God".
They think that perfectly natural occurrences can't be proven to not have God behind it (even though the evidence is against it) and that leaves the God -claim intact. But rationally, if there is a natural explanation (disease or mice) there is no reason to suppose God in the first place.
I don't believe they knew what happened to the Assyrian army. But, even if it was a plague or some natural cause, God could've been the secondary cause of it. And so it's fine for them to attribute the cause to God.

I do think God did have a hand in destroying the Assyrian army while at Jerusalem. If Jerusalem fell, I personally think that would've been the end of Judah as a nation, and the end of the Jewish race. And there would be no Jesus or Christianity. But, that's just my opinion.
The point is that even true events, places and persons in the Bible do nothing to validate the God -claim.
I would disagree. It would make the Bible stand out among other religious texts and also confirm the reliability of the Bible.
To make it quite clear, even if some events in the Bible are true but naturally explainable events, there is no more reason to suppose a god behind it than in finding your car keys. You may say that you are only making a case for some true events in the Bible (even if no reason to suppose a miracle) but if so, such a discussion is proper to the history forum, not here. This is about the God -claim, essentially.
I don't think you can have it both ways. I offer natural explanations and then you say it must have a spiritual explanation. And if I offer a spiritual explanation, then it's rejected because it's not a natural explanation.
benchwarmer wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 1:17 pm Well, there's certainly a lot of claimed history. I can grant you that. It's only by comparing claims in the Bible to extra biblical sources that we can discern which claims may be valid or invalid. If a claim is only available in the Bible, we have nothing to confirm or deny it and given the number of problems many of us find within the texts, it's hard to place much trust in the unconfirmed claims.
I can sympathize with that. I do believe there are extra-Biblical sources to affirm the claims of the Bible, but this is not the case for everything in the Bible. It will require a level of faith. Just like the example of the Jerusalem siege, it would've been hard to prove it was true 200 years ago, but it turns out the Bible was reliable.
it's about confirming what we find in the Bible.
It could also be about how we interpret the Bible.
Laughably so when the author has Jesus ride two animals at the same time.
I guess you could interpret it that way. But, there's a more sensible way to interpret it. More at Did Jesus ride a colt, a donkey, or both?
I think we have 1 witness at best and 4 apologists piling on afterwards.
Not sure what you mean here. I mean witness as in four accounts. Yes, Luke and Matthew had Mark as a source. But, it's not like they are totally the same. They each present their accounts from their own perspective and each with material not in another.

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

Post #219

Post by TRANSPONDER »

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TRANSPONDER wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 2:16 am I don't get why we are going over the same ground.
The post was not specifically addressed to you. Only posts that contain a link to your post would be specific to you. If I do not include any link to a previous post, then it's targeted to the general audience.
I argue that there is enough evidence of falsification, Spin, fabrication and invention to make the basic claim of the Bible to tell us about God, Jesus and the resurrection (the point on which Christianity is founded) open to question.
We can continue our discussion on the Jerusalem siege to see where we draw the line on whether the Bible is reliable or not.
TRANSPONDER wrote: Thu Nov 04, 2021 11:03 am This is as good evidence of a Biblical event confirmed by an extra - Biblical source as you could wish. The Bible and the Assyrian records agree that Sennacherib attacked the coalition, smashed Babylon, clobbered Egypt and demolished Lascheish (or Laschish) after a siege and then ...well I'd always credited that there was a siege of Jerusalem as Isaiah said. It may be that Sennacherib sent a surrender demand to Hezekiah backed up by an army. Sooner or later, Hezekiah gave in and paid tribute. Bot sources, Bible and Assyria, agree that.
To me, this is the bulk of the story. If you accept these as historically factual, then I pretty much rest my case.
So either God or mice had demolished that army...why did he submit? True, Sennacherib still had his army investing Limnah and could have taken it to Jerusalem. Sure, he might have been afraid his army would suffer the same fate as the one he'd sent under his messengers, but if so, why did Hezekiah submit? If The Lord has smit one army it could smite another.
Not sure I see the sequence of events the same as you. Hezekiah gave the tribute to Sennacherib while he was at Lachish and before he attacked Jerusalem.

2 Kgs 18:13-17
13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
15 And Hezekiah gave [him] all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house.
16 At that time did Hezekiah cut off [the gold from] the doors of the temple of the LORD, and [from] the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
17 And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rab-shakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem.

None of his army was "smitten by God" yet when Hezekiah gave the tribute.
Hezekiah just gave in and paid tribute - which both sources agree - that was the reason Sennacherib marched away.
Yes, both sources agree Hezekiah paid tribute. Hezekiah paid what Sennacherib demanded to not attack Jerusalem. But, even though he got what he demanded, he still attacked Jerusalem anyways.
And even if it was a camp disease, or mice, why does God have to have anything to do with it? I know - it's Biblical apologist spin again.
No more than insurance companies also "spinning" things and say things happen because of an "act of God".
They think that perfectly natural occurrences can't be proven to not have God behind it (even though the evidence is against it) and that leaves the God -claim intact. But rationally, if there is a natural explanation (disease or mice) there is no reason to suppose God in the first place.
I don't believe they knew what happened to the Assyrian army. But, even if it was a plague or some natural cause, God could've been the secondary cause of it. And so it's fine for them to attribute the cause to God.

I do think God did have a hand in destroying the Assyrian army while at Jerusalem. If Jerusalem fell, I personally think that would've been the end of Judah as a nation, and the end of the Jewish race. And there would be no Jesus or Christianity. But, that's just my opinion.
The point is that even true events, places and persons in the Bible do nothing to validate the God -claim.
I would disagree. It would make the Bible stand out among other religious texts and also confirm the reliability of the Bible.
To make it quite clear, even if some events in the Bible are true but naturally explainable events, there is no more reason to suppose a god behind it than in finding your car keys. You may say that you are only making a case for some true events in the Bible (even if no reason to suppose a miracle) but if so, such a discussion is proper to the history forum, not here. This is about the God -claim, essentially.
I don't think you can have it both ways. I offer natural explanations and then you say it must have a spiritual explanation. And if I offer a spiritual explanation, then it's rejected because it's not a natural explanation.

I'm sure you can't be missing the problem here.

Yes - the event is surely factual/historical. The circumstances are agreed by both sides.

But the Bible has an additional claim that God smote the Assyrians and that was why they marched away, and with no mention of tribute.

Thus Isaiah contradicts what we have in Chronicles and in that respect of Biblical spin, not to say lies. And the spin is that God effectively helped Hezekiah to beat the Assyrians and yet Chronicles makes it clear that they didn't.
The point is to lie to make a case for God.

The point about ending the Jewish race is not even hypothetically valid. Since Hezekiah submitted, Sennacherib didn't raze Jerusalem, so your point is Hypothetical. But later, the 2nd Babylonian Empire did just that, and yet the Jews came back from Exile and became an effective nation again under the Persians.

You strawman my argument, to put it politely. I don't say it must have a 'spiritual' (I suppose you mean God -advocacy) 'explanation'. It is Isaiah that argues that and the facts agreed by both sides are evidence that the God - claim is false. No, it is not 'fine' for them to attribute a hypothetical problem for the Assyrian army to God, even if there was some such problem. If there had been a camp sickness problem, then (hypothetically) Hezekiah (who history/Archaeology tells us prepared his defences well) would have toughed it out. But the Bible says the army was smitten and the King marched away and there would have been no submission or tribute. And evidence of the Bible and the Assyrian records shows that there was.

The Bible is thus trying to bamboozle us about God being real and intervening. There is no reason to see God having anything to do with it, even of some kind of camp sickness is true. And the submission and tribute suggests that it isn't.

I agree your point about the Bible standing out amongst other Holy Books because of the amount of historical record it contains. But the relevant point here is that it does not have any more credibility in its' God/ Jesus claims than any other Holy Book has for their own gods.

The 'Insurance' analogy is not the same. 'Act of God' means that no human agency is responsible for an accident. Here, the evidence is that no 'accident' (e.g camp disease) actually happened. Even if it had, there is no more evidence that God is real than the Insurance claim of an accident for which no human is responsible actually shows that a god is involved.

This is the case no matter the order of events. It seems likely that Sennacherib did not take his army to Jerusalem himself (he attacked Limnah) but sent his deputies with an army. Whether there was an actual siege or not Hezekiah gave in and paid tribute. I can see a scenario where the deputies invested Jerusalem, there was disease or some other problem and Hezekiah offered terms which Sennacherib accepted. That was a climb -down for him, too which is why (I suspect) he had to put out public propaganda about how Hezekiah grovelled. I even suspect that Sennacherib left it to others to conduct the siege because he thought that it might fail.

But the point here is that there is no reason at all to see a hand of God in it. It is no more than attributing successful surgery, a winning goal or finding your car - keys to God. The Biblical story is spun to look like there is no explanation for Hezekiah's unexpected win. there was no win - He gave in and paid tribute.

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

Post #220

Post by TRANSPONDER »

I had to pick up a point here. Just in case it skews the argument, though it probably wouldn't have any impact.

"But, to find out what is the truth, it requires digging in and uncovering it. It's like being a detective. You have to look at the facts and piece together the truth. Facts can be both internal and external to the Bible. It's like being a lawyer. You listen to the witnesses and judge what actually happened."

The job of the detective is to find out from the evidence what happened. The job of a Lawyer is not; it is to argue the best case for the side that pays him. It is the Jury that listens to the case being argued and comes to a conclusion. We apologists are the lawyers for either side. That doesn't matter. What matters is the best case to convince the Jury. The aim is never to convince the Lawyer on the other side to admit he was wrong. He won't do that.

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