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

Argue for and against Christianity

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 20635
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 199 times
Been thanked: 344 times
Contact:

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

Post #1

Post by otseng »

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

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

----------

Thread Milestones

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 20635
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 199 times
Been thanked: 344 times
Contact:

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

Post #1931

Post by otseng »

Athetotheist wrote: Mon Feb 27, 2023 12:58 pm How many historical documents are supposed to be the basis for the belief that someone rose from the dead?
This is what you originally asked:
Athetotheist wrote: Sun Feb 26, 2023 10:41 am If you're not assuming inerrancy, then you can't assume the veracity of the accounts.
The point in my question is we accept the veracity of historical documents even when they are not inerrant. As a matter of fact, it is not a necessary condition for any historical document in order for it to be trustworthy. Nobody is expecting any document to be totally free from error.

As for the resurrection of the dead, that is what we are currently discussing. And I'm applying the same standard of determining the veracity of the gospel account of the resurrection like any other historical claim.
otseng wrote: Wed Dec 14, 2022 6:41 am The resurrection of Jesus is claimed to be a historical event and is not a make believe event that we should accept by blind faith. And if it is a historical event, then it should be able to be validated like any other historical event.

For any historical event, there are two main methods to demonstrate its historicity - artifacts and written records. We had talked about the account in the Bible of Sennacherib attacking Jerusalem. Without any artifacts or written records, there would be no corroborating evidence to support the Biblical claim. Then in 1830, Colonel Taylor discovered Sennacherib's Prism which is a written account that remarkably matches the Biblical account from the Assyrian perspective. So, there is no now doubt among historians that the Jerusalem siege actually occurred.

Like all arguments I've made in this thread, I'm not out to prove Jesus was resurrected, but I will attempt to show there are evidence to support it and that it is a reasonable position to hold.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 20635
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 199 times
Been thanked: 344 times
Contact:

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

Post #1932

Post by otseng »

After Marino and Benford presented their paper at the Sindone 2000 conference, Barrie Schwortz posted their paper on his shroud.com website. Ray Rogers, the lead chemist of STURP, read the paper and was mad at Schwortz for posting conspiracy theories, esp from amateurs. Rogers was one of the STURP scientists that accepted the 1988 C-14 dating and the claim it was a fake and stopped researching the TS. Rogers called Schwortz and said, "What the hell is this? This is nonsense and I can prove these people wrong in 5 minutes." Schwortz replied, "Well Ray, go for it." Rogers had a piece from the Raes sample in his safe. And after a couple of hours of analyzing it, he called Schwortz back and said, "Boy, I can't believe it. They're right." Later, he was able to get a part of the C-14 sample leftover and confirmed the hypothesis from Marino and Benford.



Ray Rogers published his findings in Thermochimica Acta, Jan 2005 - "Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of turin". He provided evidence the C-14 sample contained cotton and a dye was applied to the cotton.
On 12 December 2003, I received samples of both warp
and weft threads that Prof. Luigi Gonella had taken from
the radiocarbon sample before it was distributed for dating.
Gonella reported that he excised the threads from the center
of the radiocarbon sample.

To the right of that, some discrete lakes can be
seen adhering to the surface of a cotton fiber. Several ar-
eas of yellow-dyed gum can be seen. Four cotton fibers and
two flax fibers appear in the view. The radiocarbon sample
contains both a gum/dye/mordant coating and cotton fibers.
The main part of the shroud does not contain these materi-
als.

The presence of alizarin dye and red lakes in the Raes
and radiocarbon samples indicates that the color has been
manipulated. Specifically, the color and distribution of the
coating implies that repairs were made at an unknown time
with foreign linen dyed to match the older original mate-
rial. Such repairs were suggested by Benford and Marino.
The consequence of this conclusion is that the ra-
diocarbon sample was not representative of the original
cloth.

A gum/dye/mordant coating is easy to observe on Raes
and radiocarbon yarns. No other part of the shroud shows
such a coating.
Additionally, vanillin tests cooraborate the shroud with a 1st century date.
The fact that vanillin can not be detected in the lignin on
shroud fibers, Dead Sea scrolls linen, and other very old linens
indicates that the shroud is quite old. A determination of the
kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud is between
1300- and 3000-years old. Even allowing for errors in the
measurements and assumptions about storage conditions, the
cloth is unlikely to be as young as 840 years.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 3104004745

http://www.shroud.it/ROGERS-3.PDF

Athetotheist
Prodigy
Posts: 2715
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:24 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 487 times

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

Post #1933

Post by Athetotheist »

[Replying to otseng in post #1931
The point in my question is we accept the veracity of historical documents even when they are not inerrant. As a matter of fact, it is not a necessary condition for any historical document in order for it to be trustworthy. Nobody is expecting any document to be totally free from error.

As for the resurrection of the dead, that is what we are currently discussing. And I'm applying the same standard of determining the veracity of the gospel account of the resurrection like any other historical claim.
"Historical" claims are not all the same. Legend holds that young George Washington chopped down his father's cherry tree. If the historicity of that can be questioned, it could be questioned all the more if it were further claimed that he then healed the tree by laying his hands on it.
For any historical event, there are two main methods to demonstrate its historicity - artifacts and written records. We had talked about the account in the Bible of Sennacherib attacking Jerusalem. Without any artifacts or written records, there would be no corroborating evidence to support the Biblical claim. Then in 1830, Colonel Taylor discovered Sennacherib's Prism which is a written account that remarkably matches the Biblical account from the Assyrian perspective. So, there is no now doubt among historians that the Jerusalem siege actually occurred.
Artifacts and written records are not the only things which go into establishing historicity. When an extraordinary claim is put forth as historical, plausibility is also a factor.

Suppose that thousands of years from now, archaeologists exploring the ruins of our ancient civilization come across the crumbling shell of the Empire State Building. From that archaeological discovery, they could reasonably conclude that New York City had existed. Could they also reasonably conclude from it that King Kong had existed?

Athetotheist
Prodigy
Posts: 2715
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:24 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 487 times

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

Post #1934

Post by Athetotheist »

otseng wrote: Tue Feb 28, 2023 6:04 am After Marino and Benford presented their paper at the Sindone 2000 conference, Barrie Schwortz posted their paper on his shroud.com website. Ray Rogers, the lead chemist of STURP, read the paper and was mad at Schwortz for posting conspiracy theories, esp from amateurs. Rogers was one of the STURP scientists that accepted the 1988 C-14 dating and the claim it was a fake and stopped researching the TS. Rogers called Schwortz and said, "What the hell is this? This is nonsense and I can prove these people wrong in 5 minutes." Schwortz replied, "Well Ray, go for it." Rogers had a piece from the Raes sample in his safe. And after a couple of hours of analyzing it, he called Schwortz back and said, "Boy, I can't believe it. They're right." Later, he was able to get a part of the C-14 sample leftover and confirmed the hypothesis from Marino and Benford.



Ray Rogers published his findings in Thermochimica Acta, Jan 2005 - "Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of turin". He provided evidence the C-14 sample contained cotton and a dye was applied to the cotton.
On 12 December 2003, I received samples of both warp
and weft threads that Prof. Luigi Gonella had taken from
the radiocarbon sample before it was distributed for dating.
Gonella reported that he excised the threads from the center
of the radiocarbon sample.

To the right of that, some discrete lakes can be
seen adhering to the surface of a cotton fiber. Several ar-
eas of yellow-dyed gum can be seen. Four cotton fibers and
two flax fibers appear in the view. The radiocarbon sample
contains both a gum/dye/mordant coating and cotton fibers.
The main part of the shroud does not contain these materi-
als.

The presence of alizarin dye and red lakes in the Raes
and radiocarbon samples indicates that the color has been
manipulated. Specifically, the color and distribution of the
coating implies that repairs were made at an unknown time
with foreign linen dyed to match the older original mate-
rial. Such repairs were suggested by Benford and Marino.
The consequence of this conclusion is that the ra-
diocarbon sample was not representative of the original
cloth.

A gum/dye/mordant coating is easy to observe on Raes
and radiocarbon yarns. No other part of the shroud shows
such a coating.
Additionally, vanillin tests cooraborate the shroud with a 1st century date.
The fact that vanillin can not be detected in the lignin on
shroud fibers, Dead Sea scrolls linen, and other very old linens
indicates that the shroud is quite old. A determination of the
kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud is between
1300- and 3000-years old. Even allowing for errors in the
measurements and assumptions about storage conditions, the
cloth is unlikely to be as young as 840 years.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 3104004745

http://www.shroud.it/ROGERS-3.PDF
Even if the fabric is old, couldn't a medieval artist put an image on an old piece of fabric?

TRANSPONDER
Savant
Posts: 8706
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 1008 times
Been thanked: 3757 times

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

Post #1935

Post by TRANSPONDER »

[Replying to Athetotheist in post #1934]That sounds really odd. When you consider the clumsy patching done to repair fire damage, the idea of a time consuming 're-woven' that only 'experts' can detect seems hard to believe. I can credit the argument that the dated samples came from a later repair, I can accept that they came from a corner or edge where later handling contaminated the C14 reading. But this just sounds like straining for excuses to reject the C14 date. We don't even know the samples came from the supposed re -woven areas (nobody seems sure where they actually came from). I have to suspend crediting this argument.

Iknow the 'Rae' piece is supposed to come from the actual shroud plus the edge, but I'd always heard that the church would not want the shroud to be touched and only separate fragments could be C14 dated. The references seems to relate to a 'paper'(like it was peer -reviewed in a science journal) but was 'presented' at a sindon conference. If it was a apologetic to believers as a believers cnoference you could write that the same way.

some doubts here about the Methodology. Never mind a housewife passing on her theory to her husband, who I suppose was some kind of scientist?

https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/n14part2.pdf

Even if the sample happened to come from an area where a cunning reweave had been done, wouldn't the main dating come from original material? The contamination might move the date but not make a 1st c shroud look medieval.

TRANSPONDER
Savant
Posts: 8706
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 1008 times
Been thanked: 3757 times

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

Post #1936

Post by TRANSPONDER »

otseng wrote: Sun Feb 26, 2023 5:39 am
TRANSPONDER wrote: Sat Feb 25, 2023 4:15 pm Even if,as is sure to be argued, it's a logical sequence, the passage (aside alterations) looks and reads like a common text they used as a basis.
Of course. Practically all Biblical scholars agree there is a literary relationship between the synoptic gospels. So, some base text is common to the three.
This strong parallelism among the three gospels in content, arrangement, and specific language is widely attributed to literary interdependence.[3] The question of the precise nature of their literary relationship—the synoptic problem—has been a topic of debate for centuries and has been described as "the most fascinating literary enigma of all time".[4] While no conclusive solution has been found yet, the longstanding majority view favors Marcan priority, in which both Matthew and Luke have made direct use of the Gospel of Mark as a source, and further holds that Matthew and Luke also drew from an additional hypothetical document, called Q.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synoptic_Gospels
And it's not about whether john was written by the apostle, it's about whether the writer (whoever he is) is giving or at least using (as he claims) an eyewitness account. I argue that the vivid narration could be taken as eyewitness and the sermons and debates, the polemics of the writer. But I argue that the lack of Lazarus' resurrection in the synoptics is best explained if they never heard of it, and how likely is it that Matthew at least, never heard of it or that he would not mention it, if he had? The raising of Lazarus is, on courtroom witness analogy, a made - up tale.
It would make sense if Lazarus himself wrote the fourth gospel, which is what I believe.
What you believe doesn't matter.What can you present as evidence for this? I argue that no synoptic gospel even mentions the raising of Lazarus.How do you explain that other than 'John' inventing it?
otseng wrote: Sun Feb 26, 2023 5:41 am
TRANSPONDER wrote: Sat Feb 25, 2023 4:22 pm
Athetotheist wrote: Sat Feb 25, 2023 4:08 pm ......or the alleged resurrection of Jesus.
Or indeed, we could do a deep dive into that. :)
Which is what we're currently doing... if it can remain on topic.
Ok. we can confide ourselves to the resurrection -claim and not talk about Lazarus, though really overall gospel - veracity and doubts about is relevant. I don't see that you should get to decide what evidence is presented and what is not (though it should relate to topic), even if you do own the forum.

TRANSPONDER
Savant
Posts: 8706
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 1008 times
Been thanked: 3757 times

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

Post #1937

Post by TRANSPONDER »

otseng wrote: Mon Feb 27, 2023 7:59 am
TRANSPONDER wrote: Sun Feb 26, 2023 8:50 am
otseng wrote: Sun Feb 26, 2023 8:20 am So, you'll need to provide testimony that directly counters the resurrection. As far as I know, there is only one reference to that in the Bible. I'll leave it to you to find it.
The discrepancies are more than minor - there are terminally serious contradictions. Many of them omissions which by all reason should have been at least hinted at by one of the others.
You brought up more non-doctrinal issues and did not even address my challenge of providing a single reference that counters the claim Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Again, what you appeal to is inerrancy of scripture in which every statement in the Bible must be factually correct or else the Bible is entirely false. Inerrancy is not assumed to be true in this thread. We can even assume all the gospels are incorrect in their recollection of how many angels were at the tomb, how many women went to the tomb, and how many guards were at the tomb, and it would still not falsify the resurrection. All of these are incidental to the resurrection.
Athetotheist wrote: Sun Feb 26, 2023 10:41 am
This would be true if inerrancy is assumed. But, in this thread, inerrancy is not assumed.
If you're not assuming inerrancy, then you can't assume the veracity of the accounts.
How many historical documents are inerrant?
That is an irrelevant point. You would not expect a polemic arguing for the resurrection to contain claims that it didn't happen. However there is the story that Matthew recounts that the the Jews said that the disciples stole the body. I have mentioned the principle of embarrassment (which has the variant that you don't invent an argument that one has to explain away), so that story is probably the actual Jewish claim, though I suspect they just made that explanation up rather than had actual knowledge. But to use your methods, you prove it isn't true - that Arimathea and Nicodemus didn't remove Jesus from the tomb - which would explain why the tomb was left open (if that claim is true).

You see, even if the accounts are true, they point at a removal of the body, not a resurrection, which is why Matthew recounts a tomb guard that, as we so often find with contradictions, nobody else even hits at. These are not minor differences but major contradictions that pour cold water on accounts that are supposed to be first or 2nd hand. If we must digress into other histories, then doubts about the veracity will come up. 'Inerrancy'(perfect or pretty sound) is not the issue. The topic should long ago have been read as veracity (is it true, or reliable?) rather than (perfect) inerrancy.

I mentioned Josephus and Philo on Pilate (1).They describe the tough character more convincingly than the weak appeaser of the gospels. Historians have noticed that. They also note that the images (Josephus) and the tinsignia (shields) in Philo do seem related though differ in the telling. Historians work with that, but they would not credit a story that Pilate turned into an eagle and flew to Rome to get instructions. They just wouldn't. Nor should we just accept the resurrection claim unless it was at least as agreed as the crucifixion, which I do credit.

Not the resurrection, for reasons given. The empty tomb is the last thing agreed. John deflates the angelic message. John and Luke undermine Jesus appearing to the women. Nobody has the tomb - guard (I suggest invented to counter the suggestion that the disciples took the body), and nobody has Jesus appearing to Mary after the disciples look in the tomb.

Matthew does not have Jesus turning up in the evening and Luke and John do not have this pointless trip to Galilee. Mark of course has none of these stories,at all. You cannot excuse these glaring contradictions as minor differences. I know that it had all been swallowed as real events. Even by historians in general or at least they haven't fallen over themselves to point up the problems.

But I shall, and while I accept that you and many others would shrug off the contradictions, and appeal to other discrepant histories, how about you give good and persuasive reasons why these big contradictions actually aren't or can be explained, or don't matter.

I mentioned doctrine. This was to make sure that the red herring of doctrine didn't come into it, it is recorded contradictions that call the accounts into question that matter.

(1) Wiki on these writers.
According to Philo's Embassy to Gaius (Embassy to Gaius 38), Pilate offended against Jewish law by bringing golden shields into Jerusalem, and placing them on Herod's Palace. The sons of Herod the Great petitioned him to remove the shields, but Pilate refused. Herod's sons then threatened to petition the emperor, an action which Pilate feared that would expose the crimes he had committed in office. He did not prevent their petition. Tiberius received the petition and angrily reprimanded Pilate, ordering him to remove the shields

In fact Philo is contemporary (supposed 20 BC to 50 AD) but he did live in Alexandria., not Judea.

Wiki again According to Josephus in his The Jewish War (2.9.2) and Antiquities of the Jews (18.3.1), Pilate offended the Jews by moving imperial standards with the image of Caesar into Jerusalem. This resulted in a crowd of Jews surrounding Pilate's house in Caesarea for five days. Pilate then summoned them to an arena, where the Roman soldiers drew their swords. But the Jews showed so little fear of death, that Pilate relented and removed the standards

So these incidents might be related, but differ. But not so much that the historical record can be dismissed.

Athetotheist
Prodigy
Posts: 2715
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:24 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 487 times

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

Post #1938

Post by Athetotheist »

[Replying to TRANSPONDER in post #1935
That sounds really odd. When you consider the clumsy patching done to repair fire damage, the idea of a time consuming 're-woven' that only 'experts' can detect seems hard to believe. I can credit the argument that the dated samples came from a later repair, I can accept that they came from a corner or edge where later handling contaminated the C14 reading. But this just sounds like straining for excuses to reject the C14 date.
I was proposing a simpler explanation for the image. You should appreciate that, since you tend to go for simpler explanations.

User avatar
oldbadger
Guru
Posts: 1940
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:11 am
Has thanked: 327 times
Been thanked: 242 times

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

Post #1939

Post by oldbadger »

otseng wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 7:35 am 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.
Of course we can trust in some stories, accounts, reports and depositions in the bible, even if we find that parts of those books are wrong, mistaken, errant or even outright fibs. Humans make mistakes or even tell fibs, but we don't chuck the baby out with the bathwater....well I don't, anyway.

If we binned every report, statement or account with an error in it then we wouldn't have much to read at all. A simple example is the average bundle of Statements by witnesses after a car crash; very few of these statements support any of the others exactly, even the make and colours of the vehicles involved can alter with individual statements, etc But all of these statements are considered by a court before it decides upon verdicts.

I particularly love the statements of expert witnesses at some trials. Two experts can write completely opposite reports about the same evidence. So we need to be our own investigators about mostly everything.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 20635
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 199 times
Been thanked: 344 times
Contact:

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

Post #1940

Post by otseng »

Athetotheist wrote: Tue Feb 28, 2023 9:59 am Artifacts and written records are not the only things which go into establishing historicity. When an extraordinary claim is put forth as historical, plausibility is also a factor.

Suppose that thousands of years from now, archaeologists exploring the ruins of our ancient civilization come across the crumbling shell of the Empire State Building. From that archaeological discovery, they could reasonably conclude that New York City had existed. Could they also reasonably conclude from it that King Kong had existed?
That's a strawman example with King Kong. Instead, can you give a real example where there existed a written record and an artifact and it was rejected as historical because someone believed it to be implausible?

Post Reply