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 #1141

Post by otseng »

Diogenes wrote: Wed Jul 20, 2022 11:18 pm So what is the point you are trying to make? Are you now agreeing that these Bible stories are not literally true? That they are metaphors for actual events? If so we are in agreement.
It is not all things in the Bible are either metaphorical or all are literal. What we're specifically talking about here is the dome depiction of the heavens. To be more specific, it is the rendering of the term raqia and does it really mean a firmament. I argued it is not. So, at a minimum it is not portraying the heavens as a solid hemisphere structure.
This is especially difficult for me to understand because the other stories are obviously metaphorical, whereas the description of a flat Earth covered with a dome of 'firmament' appears to have the form of a straight forward, factual description, a description consistent with the story of Joshua making the Sun stand still.
I've produced pages of empirical evidence supporting a literal global flood and the origin of languages and yet it's difficult for you to see it being interpreted as literal. And no evidence has been presented showing the author of Genesis actually believed in a firmament, yet you believe it should be taken literally. This I believe is harder to understand.

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

Post #1142

Post by Diogenes »

otseng wrote: Thu Jul 21, 2022 11:31 pm I've produced pages of empirical evidence supporting a literal global flood and the origin of languages and yet it's difficult for you to see it being interpreted as literal. And no evidence has been presented showing the author of Genesis actually believed in a firmament, yet you believe it should be taken literally. This I believe is harder to understand.
Yes, you have produced many 'pages' about a global flood, none of it 'empirical evidence.' I recognize you believe this, but it simply is not true. It has the same value as the 'evidence' you have produced purporting to refute evolution. Oliver, I respect you and you make the impossible case as well as anyone, but you are 'putting lipstick on a pig,' a pig that will not fly.

You have avoided the key point I thought I made clearly, that you arbitrarily decide the Bible's description of a flat Earth is, you agree 'metaphorical,' yet you insist on a literal interpretation of the flood, Noah's impossible Ark saving all species including penguins from Antarctica, and the Tower of Babel. All of these stories I agree you have vociferously and voluminously defended with what you think is evidence. Yes, you have made a grand effort. But you are backing a losing horse, a nag that can't even find the starting gate no matter how competently you marshall the limited resources available.
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #1143

Post by otseng »

[Replying to Diogenes in post #1146]

All I'll say is your opinion (as well as my opinions) do not really count for much. What really matters is the evidence to back up our claims. And readers can judge for themselves based on the evidence whether our claims are plausible. And so far, no evidence has been produced to demonstrate that the author of Genesis was making a claim that the universe is actually a dome shaped structure with the stars fixed in a solid half sphere.

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

Post #1144

Post by Diogenes »

Yes, people will make their own judgments. I just hope they make them on the basis of the words used, and what scholars say, rather than on what they want to believe.
Genesis 1 and 2 tell the story of creation, and it says things that are at odds with what modern people know to be true of the world and universe around us.

One of those issue concerns the second day of creation (Genesis 1:6-8), where God made the “expanse” or the “firmament.” The Hebrew word for this is raqia (pronounced ra-KEE-ah). Biblical scholars understand the raqia to be a solid dome-like structure. It separates the water into two parts, so that there is water above the raqia and water below it (v. 7). The waters above are kept at bay so the world can become inhabitable. On the third day (vv. 9-10), the water below the raqia is “gathered to one place” to form the sea and allow the dry land to appear.

Ancient Israelites “saw” this barrier when they looked up. There were no telescopes, space exploration, or means of testing the atmosphere. They relied on what their senses told them. Even today, looking up at a clear sky in open country, the sky seems to “begin” at the horizons and reaches up far above. Ancient Israelites and others in that part of the world assumed the world was flat, and so it looked like the earth is covered by a dome, and the “blue sky” is the “water above” held back by the raqia. The translation “firmament” (i.e., firm) gets across this idea of a solid structure.

Biblical scholars agree on this understanding of raqia. For some Christians, however, this is troubling. How can the Bible, which is the inspired, revealed word of God, contain such an inaccurate piece of ancient nonsense? Hence, some invest a lot of time and energy to show that the raqia is not solid but more like the atmosphere. Often, the word “expanse” is the preferred translation because it does not necessarily imply something solid.

Arguing for a non-solid raqia in Genesis is extremely problematic, for two reasons. First, the biblical and extrabiblical data indicate that raqia means a solid structure of some sort. The second problem is a much larger theological issue, but is actually more foundational. Regardless of what one thinks of the raqia, why would anyone assume that the ancient cosmology in Genesis could be expected to be in harmony with modern science in the first place?
https://biologos.org/articles/the-firma ... -the-point
Early Hebrew conception of the cosmos. The firmament, Sheol and tehom are depicted.
The sun, planets and angels and the firmament. Woodcut dated 1475.

In biblical cosmology, the firmament is the vast solid dome created by God during his creation of the world to divide the primal sea into upper and lower portions so that the dry land could appear.[1][2] The concept was adopted into the subsequent Classical/Medieval model of heavenly spheres, but was dropped with advances in astronomy in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today it survives as a synonym for "sky" or "heaven".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firmament
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #1145

Post by otseng »

When the authors of the Bible describes something, it is not necessarily stating things are literally that way, but rather simply describing things as how they observe it.
Much of the Bible comes to us with language that describes the way things appear to the naked eye. The language used is descriptive of the ways things look from our perspective and is not necessarily asserting precise scientific fact. An example of this is the description of the sun rising. Unless we understand the use of phenomenological language, we might think that the Bible teaches that the earth is at the center of the universe. When we realize that the Bible describes things according to appearance, we see that the Bible is not really saying that the sun revolves around the earth. Rather, it is merely saying that the sun rises because, to our naked eye, it looks like the sun moves and the earth does not. This use of language is still current. The meterologist gives us the time of sunrise, but nobody assumes he is teaching that the sun revolves around the earth.
https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotion ... ry-forms-i

Is it wrong to use phenomenological language? No, as modern, advanced people, we do it all the time.
Why does the language of physical detail have superiority over the language of ordinary human experience? Usually that question is not even asked because it has become an assumed fact that the language of physical science is useful and accurate in a sense that ordinary human language is not. Yet accuracy and usefulness are measured by the uses to which something is put. There are areas in which the language of physical science is not useful, which is proved by the fact that it is not the language we use in ordinary human experience.
https://henrycenter.tiu.edu/2018/09/tru ... -language/

There is even an entire field of philosophy that studies this - phenomenology.
The discipline of phenomenology may be defined initially as the study of structures of experience, or consciousness. Literally, phenomenology is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience. Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view. This field of philosophy is then to be distinguished from, and related to, the other main fields of philosophy: ontology (the study of being or what is), epistemology (the study of knowledge), logic (the study of valid reasoning), ethics (the study of right and wrong action), etc.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/
Phenomenology, in Husserl's conception, is primarily concerned with the systematic reflection on and study of the structures of consciousness and the phenomena that appear in acts of consciousness. Phenomenology can be clearly differentiated from the Cartesian method of analysis which sees the world as objects, sets of objects, and objects acting and reacting upon one another.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomeno ... hilosophy)

The details of phenomenology goes way into the esoteric for me. But the basic concept is understanding what people observe, rather than approaching things with a rationalistic and reductionistic mindset.
As envisioned by Husserl, phenomenology is a method of philosophical inquiry that rejects the rationalist bias that has dominated Western thought since Plato in favor of a method of reflective attentiveness that discloses the individual's "lived experience."
At a minimum, the field of phenomenology as a serious discipline shows there can be a dichotomy between what we observe and what is reality.

"In its root meaning, then, phenomenology is the study of phenomena: literally, appearances as opposed to reality."
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

I'll touch more on this later, but even in the world of science, there is a dichotomy between what we observe and what is reality. Though we base science on what we observe, how do we know what is actual reality? We might theorize what is reality based on what we observe, but we cannot say with certainty how things really are.

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

Post #1146

Post by Goat »

otseng wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 2:17 pm [Replying to Diogenes in post #1146]

All I'll say is your opinion (as well as my opinions) do not really count for much. What really matters is the evidence to back up our claims. And readers can judge for themselves based on the evidence whether our claims are plausible. And so far, no evidence has been produced to demonstrate that the author of Genesis was making a claim that the universe is actually a dome shaped structure with the stars fixed in a solid half sphere.
The thing is , there are certain claims that would be needed that are physically impossible. You also have to point to evidence, and then show WHY that data is evidence for your proposition. Just pointing to data, and saying it is evidence of xyz without convergence of evidence and a testable model doesn't make that data evidence of any specific proposition.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

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

Post #1147

Post by The Nice Centurion »

otseng wrote: ↑[Replying to Diogenes in post #1146]

All I'll say is your opinion (as well as my opinions) do not really count for much. What really matters is the evidence to back up our claims. And readers can judge for themselves based on the evidence whether our claims are plausible. And so far, no evidence has been produced to demonstrate that the author of Genesis was making a claim that the universe is actually a dome shaped structure with the stars fixed in a solid half sphere.
Some questions from my side here, if thats ok:

I would rather say "authors", than author of genesis.
No matter.
Can you tell me whom you suppose to be the author?

I say that bible verses prove that genesis author(s) believed in flat earth.
No matter.
How would a bible verse have to be written, to be sufficient for you to concede it "claims" a flat earth?

("Claim" might be an irritating term here for something people back the saw as common truth.
Does a round earther today put "claims of a sherical earth" in a book".
References to earths shape is a better term.)
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Re: How can we trust the Bible if it's not inerrant?

Post #1148

Post by otseng »

Goat wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:45 pmYou also have to point to evidence, and then show WHY that data is evidence for your proposition. Just pointing to data, and saying it is evidence of xyz without convergence of evidence and a testable model doesn't make that data evidence of any specific proposition.
Of course. I've argued from the text and the historical background of our translations in post 1134 of why I believe raqia is better translated as "expanse" rather than "firmament". I think how we interpret raqia is fundamental in the debate of the dome cosmology. If raqia is translated "expanse", I highly doubt skeptics would then be so insistent the ancient Hebrews were making unscientific claims. It would be obvious they were just simply giving an account of what they saw than making any "scientific" claim.

Again, all the major modern translations translate raqia as "expanse". People who argue raqia should be "firmament" base their arguments on the early translations. Why would early translations use firmament? Because they would be most familiar with the Latin Vulgate, which had translated it as "firmamentum".

Another reason we should doubt the skeptics' argument that the Biblical authors were claiming the universe is actually a snow dome is the skeptics have made similar claims that the church, in particular during the Middle ages, believed the earth was flat, which in reality is a straw man argument. When digging deeper into the claim, it turns out it was all a myth.

So, we should go back and examine what the text actually says and the historical development of the text to find the truth.

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

Post #1149

Post by otseng »

The Nice Centurion wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:10 pm Can you tell me whom you suppose to be the author?
This is a major debate in itself. But I believe Moses wrote the Torah. I've touched on this during the debate on archaeology.
How would a bible verse have to be written, to be sufficient for you to concede it "claims" a flat earth?
In the book of Genesis, please present all the verses that claims the earth is flat and we can debate those verses.

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

Post #1150

Post by Diogenes »

otseng wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 7:12 pm
The Nice Centurion wrote: Sat Jul 23, 2022 11:10 pm Can you tell me whom you suppose to be the author?
This is a major debate in itself. But I believe Moses wrote the Torah.
This is the traditional belief. It is wrong. Scholars know it is wrong.
"For thousands of years people believed that the five books of the Pentateuch were written by Moses. But it couldn't have been, academics say.... the Torah could not have been written by a single person – because of differences in style, language and contradiction in the texts, among other things."
https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/2014-10- ... ffaf3a0000
Why would a single author include two contradictory versions of the creation story?

'Genesis 1 starts with the earth inundated with water (Gen 1:2), so that God has to separate the waters for the dry land to emerge (Gen 1:9), Genesis 2 begins with the earth as a dry wilderness (Gen 2:5), until a stream or mist emerges to provide water (Gen 2:6).

Then, attending to just those creative events mentioned in both chapters, the following divergences are evident. Genesis 1 has water first, then land, followed by plants, animals, and finally humans (’adam, consisting in male and female together). By contrast, Genesis 2 begins with the existence of land, then comes water, followed by a human (’adam, later specified as a man, ’iš), then plants, animals, and finally a woman (’iššâ).'
https://biologos.org/articles/what-is-t ... is-1-and-2
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