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 #2901

Post by otseng »

Justin Brierley on the Unbelievable program moderated Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona on the debate of the resurrection on April 2011.



Ehrman gave his opening at 3:20
Well there are a number of things for I was the strong evangelical for a long time. And in part my biblical scholarship showed me that my earlier views that the Bible was without mistake was wrong that in fact there are mistakes in the Bible and there are mistakes in the resurrection narratives. There are contradictions between the different accounts about how Jesus was raised from the dead this eventually led me to become a more liberal Christian who didn't hold to the inerrancy of the Bible. What ended up leading me to be a non-christian all together was unrelated to that it really had to do with the problem of suffering and how to explain why there can be so much pain and misery in the world. If there's a god who's in control of it and I came to a point where I simply didn't believe that there was a God who was active in the world and that necessarily had implications for beliefs from the resurrection. Because of course there there can't be a miraculous resurrection of Jesus. If there's nobody who's performing miracles and so I don't I don't believe that that God is active in the world in such a ways we allow for something like the resurrection of Jesus.
So, there's two main reasons that led to his deconversion - contradictions in the Bible and the problem of suffering.

One of the main reasons I created this entire thread is to address his first argument. Ehrman had believed the Bible was inerrant while he was a Christian. As he studied the Bible deeply, he discovered many contradictions in the Bible and it uprooted his belief in inerrancy. My claim is the entire notion of inerrancy is fallacious and should be discarded. And even if the Bible is not inerrant, the Bible can still be considered reliable and authoritative, even to the point of still holding to fundamentalist beliefs.

The problem of evil is a very strong argument against the Christian God and will require another topic to address, perhaps after this thread has concluded.

He gives examples of contradictions at 39:00
What happened when on the morning of the Resurrection the the alleged resurrection and and to compare their notes and they're struck by just how different they are. Who actually goes to the tomb that morning is it Mary Magdalene by herself or with other women? If with other women how many other women what are they named it depends which gospel you read? Was the stone rolled away from the tomb one before they got there or after they got there? Depends which gospel you read. What did they see there did they see a man there did they see two men there did they see an angel there? Depends which gospel you read. Do they are they told to go to get to tell the disciples to go to Galilee where Jesus will meet them or are they told to tell the disciples what Jesus had said to them while he was in Galilee? Depends which gospel you read. Do they tell anyone Mark's Gospel says they didn't tell anyone Matthew says they went and told the disciples? Well which is it depends which gospel you read. Did the disciples go to Galilee or not in Matthew's Gospel Jesus disciples go to Galilee they see him day of Pentecost they never go to Galilee at all. So I mean up and down the line when you look at these accounts there are there are massive differences precisely the kind of differences that would make any any historian of any other account simply scratch his head and throw up his hands and say we have a problem here because there are so many contradictory
accounts.
These are all minor contradictions and really don't affect the doctrine of the resurrection. You can throw out all these claims and it still would not impact the claim Jesus rose from the dead. What Ehrman is arguing here is against inerrancy, not against the resurrection.

He is also wrong to say because there are discrepancies in the accounts then historians should simply dismiss everything. All historical accounts have discrepancies between them, esp when there are multiple witnesses testifying. Even the same person can contradict himself at different points in time and still be reliable. It is the job of the historian to sift through it and separate the wheat from the chaff and reconstruct a possible narrative, not just dismiss everything as person says because of alleged contradictions.

Contradictions is a massive topic by itself. Licona has written a book on explaining differences in "Why are there differences in the Gospels?" He does not address it like other apologists do by trying to reconcile them, rather he analyzes the gospels and compares it contemporary historical documents and argues they both use the same literary devices. So, the gospels were written and to be read like any other historical document and are just as reliable as any non-Biblical text. If you discount the reliability of the gospels, then you should reject all secular ancient historical documents as well.

You can hear his 12 part series on it at:
https://www.perimeter.org/pages/connect ... ast/#2022p

Ehrman states, fundamentally what he rejects is any supernatural causation at 45:16
The bottom line I think is one we haven't even talked about which is whether there can be such a thing as historical evidence for a miracle and I think the answer is a clear no and I think virtually all historians agree with me on that.
I can agree with Ehrman on this point that historians should not invoke a supernatural causation. The resurrection is beyond what historians can reach to using their methodology of the assumption of naturalism. Ehrman claims one has to use faith to come to the conclusion of the resurrection.

At 59:40
That is that he actually rose from the dead you want to leave the cause of the resurrection as a question mark. It's fine with that know you've moved from history to faith so you can show historically that people claim they saw him alive afterward. You can draw the conclusion that they probably believed it. But if you yourself agreed that Jesus was raised from the dead you're saying that is an act of God in history and you've already agreed that historians don't invoke God when they come up with their explanations so what you're doing is not history anymore it's faith.
It depends on what Ehrman means by faith. The resurrection is not "blind faith" where there is no evidence. However it is faith in the sense that the resurrection cannot be proved to be 100% true. But nothing can be proved to be 100% true. In all historical claims, nothing can be proven to have actually occurred. So, by Ehrman's own criteria, even he would be using faith if he claims anything in history actually occurred.

The resurrection in the gospel accounts goes beyond what historians can go to and the resurrection with the Turin Shroud goes beyond what scientists can go to. But we can still use the principles of logic. Given all the evidence, what is the most reasonable explanation that aligns with all the data that we have? If a supernatural explanation fits with the data the best and there are no viable naturalistic explanations, then it is rational to accept the a supernatural causation. For the skeptic, if they do not want to accept a supernatural explanation, the only option is "a question mark".

At 1:01:04
We just agreed that every historian and every research university in North America would refuse to invoke miracle or reviews to talk about divine causality and yet you're saying that in this one instance we're going to make an exception. Actually I said just a moment ago that we could say Jesus was raised and leave a question mark pertaining to the cause of his resurrection.
I can sympathize with the skeptic argument that textual evidence alone would leave the resurrection explanation as a question mark. However, given the artifact evidence of the resurrection with the TS, it is no longer a question mark. All historians should agree that there's only two ways to confirm the historicity of an event - through textual evidence and artifact evidence. Since the textual and artifact evidence agree on the resurrection and there are no viable counterarguments or viable counterevidence, then the question mark is now an exclamation mark.

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

Post #2902

Post by Athetotheist »

[Replying to otseng in post #2900
I fail to see any relevance of this to the resurrection.
Is a false messiah going to be resurrected as a real one?

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

Post #2903

Post by otseng »

Athetotheist wrote: Thu Jul 13, 2023 10:38 am [Replying to otseng in post #2900
I fail to see any relevance of this to the resurrection.
Is a false messiah going to be resurrected as a real one?
Please present your argument with scriptural evidence that Jesus was a false Messiah.

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Start discussing Bible and resurrection

Post #2904

Post by otseng »

It is acknowledged by Biblical scholars the creed in 1 Cor 15:3-7 originated very early in the Christian movement.

15:3 - For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
15:4 - And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:
15:5 - And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
15:6 - After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
15:7 - After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

https://simple.uniquebibleapp.com/bible ... s/15#v15_3
The strong majority of historians acknowledge that the creed dates back to AD 30-35.1 A very small minority go to AD 41.
https://beliefmap.org/bible/1-corinthians/15-creed/date
“In the pre-Pauline formula of I Corinthians 15:3ff. alone we have an extraordinarily early tradition, arising within a very short time after the events themselves, reported by an apostle, who could very well have received it from other apostles who followed Jesus during his earthly ministry.”
https://www.str.org/w/an-early-and-reli ... surrection
A popular argument that is wielded by Christian apologists, at both the scholarly and popular level, is based on 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, taken by many contemporary scholars to represent an ancient creedal tradition that goes back to within only a couple of years of Jesus’ death. Indeed, Michael Licona states that “In nearly every historical investigation of the resurrection of Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 weighs heavily and is perhaps the most important and valuable passage for use by historians when discussing the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.”
https://crossexamined.org/the-evidentia ... urrection/

Even skeptic Richard Carrier acknowledges this creed is early.
In fact the evidence for this creed dating to the very origin of the religion is amply strong; and there is no reasonable basis for claiming otherwise.

the essential elements of the creed (especially verses 3 to 5), even if we have to account for some transmission error (in verses 6 and 7), still dates to the sect’s origin. It’s what distinguishes Christianity from any other sect of Judaism.

So the Corinthian Creed, at least verses 3-5, definitely existed and was the central “gospel” Christians were preaching in the early 30s A.D. That’s definitely no later than a few years after the purported death of Jesus. And since the sect’s formation only makes sense in light of this being its seminal and distinguishing message, it must have been formulated in the very first weeks of the movement. We can’t be certain how soon that actually was after the death of Jesus (though the creed says Jesus was raised on the third day, it conspicuously does not say how much later it was when he appeared). But it can’t have been more than a few years, and could well have been mere months (though one can’t then assert that it was mere months; that would be another possibiliter fallacy).

So, yes, 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 is almost certainly a pre-Pauline text composed within a few years of when Jesus was believed to have died.
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11069

Of course, even though Carrier accepts this creed as early, he does not accept the resurrection actually occurred, but believes it can be explained by "ecstatic experiences". However, the evidence of the shroud is not an "ecstatic experience". All of us can see the shroud. We are all not having mass hallucinations about it.
If Jesus was a god and really wanted to save the world, he would have appeared and delivered his Gospel personally to the whole world. He would not appear only to one small group of believers and one lone outsider, in one tiny place, just one time, two thousand years ago, and then give up.
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11069

The TS is available for the entire world to see. It is the gospel in a single artifact that proclaims Jesus's passion, death, and resurrection for the whole world.

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

Post #2905

Post by Athetotheist »

[Replying to otseng in post #2903
otseng wrote:Please present your argument with scriptural evidence that Jesus was a false Messiah.
This is my rundown on the issue in question:
Here's what the law of Moses says about divorce:

When a man takes a wife, and marries her, then it comes to pass, if she finds no favor in his eyes, because he has found some unseemly thing in her, that he writes her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and goes and becomes another man's wife, and the latter husband hates her, and writes her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, who took her to be his wife, her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord; and you will not cause the land to sin, which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

And here's what the law of Moses says about itself:

And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them. (Deuteronomy 1:3)

You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
(Deuteronomy 2:4)

....when you hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord your God.
(Deuteronomy 13:19 [v.18 in Christian translations])

Here's what Jesus said about divorce:

"Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.
(Matthew 19:7-8)

Notice the difference between why Jesus says Moses allowed divorce and why Moses says he allowed divorce. If Jesus believed the passages from Deuteronomy above, then when he told them that Moses permitted them to divorce their wives because their hearts were hard, he was actually saying that Jehovah permitted them to divorce their wives because their hearts were hard. But if that's the case, why does Deuteronomy repeatedly say that everything allowed in the law is right in Jehovah's eyes? The logical conclusion is that Jesus's take on the law of Moses is incompatible with what the law of Moses actually says.

And that would constitute disproof of Christianity, since the Jewish Messiah would not contradict Moses.
And this is just one issue.

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

Post #2906

Post by otseng »

Athetotheist wrote: Fri Jul 14, 2023 12:03 pm Notice the difference between why Jesus says Moses allowed divorce and why Moses says he allowed divorce. If Jesus believed the passages from Deuteronomy above, then when he told them that Moses permitted them to divorce their wives because their hearts were hard, he was actually saying that Jehovah permitted them to divorce their wives because their hearts were hard. But if that's the case, why does Deuteronomy repeatedly say that everything allowed in the law is right in Jehovah's eyes? The logical conclusion is that Jesus's take on the law of Moses is incompatible with what the law of Moses actually says.
This has nothing to do with the claims of the resurrection, but only with the alleged contradictions of the Bible. This charge is a general attack on the Bible that skeptics commonly give in debates in practically all discussions that involve the Bible. I already pointed this out in the Ehrman and Licona debate:
otseng wrote: Thu Jul 13, 2023 5:19 amAnd in part my biblical scholarship showed me that my earlier views that the Bible was without mistake was wrong that in fact there are mistakes in the Bible and there are mistakes in the resurrection narratives. There are contradictions between the different accounts about how Jesus was raised from the dead this eventually led me to become a more liberal Christian who didn't hold to the inerrancy of the Bible.
Fundamentally, what you are bringing up is the charge against inerrancy. Since this thread does not assume the Bible is inerrant, it is not relevant.

If we want to discuss the views on divorce, then that's for another thread.

If we want to discuss if Jesus is the Messiah, passages that directly relate to the claims of him being the Messiah would have to be presented.

Rationalwiki comments several times the connection with inerrancy and the resurrection:
When evaluating the historical arguments for the resurrection, one must keep in mind that Evangelical religious scholarship is tightly controlled by sectarian and political pressures; even the most respected scholars and apologists, such as New Testament scholar Michael Licona, can lose their jobs at institutions that insist on Biblical inerrancy if they make statements or come to academic conclusions that don't toe the party line.[5] Conservative censorship means that scholars are not free to speak; thus, although many Christian scholars are honest people outputting high-quality scholarship, there remains a chilling effect at work. The evidence provided by such a field should be subject to extra scrutiny, and arguments based on consensus should be questioned due to the political and doctrinal factors at play that serve to bias scholarship and skew the consensus.

If Jesus did not actually predict his resurrection, then skeptics will have to do more work to explain how Jesus's first followers came to believe that they did see him, as hallucinations are rendered less likely, but Biblical inerrancy goes out the window.
https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Resurrection_of_Jesus

I grant Biblical inerrancy is out the window. But as I've argued in this massive thread, even if inerrancy is out the window, the Bible can still be reliable, trustworthy, and authoritative and holding to fundamentalist beliefs can be rationally supported.

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

Post #2907

Post by otseng »

In the debate between Trent Horn and Matt Dillahunty on the resurrection in Pints with Aquinas, Dillahunty stated:
25:54
The claim needs to be extraordinary because of the narrative so you know extraordinary claims require
extraordinary evidence. Oh wait a minute is that actually true? Everybody's heard that. I've said it, other people said it.
I accept that aphorism for what it means. But not as it's written because all claims require sufficient evidence
and then and what what counts as sufficient evidence to believe a claim is going to differ based on how consistent that
claim is with reality.

That's what's being reported as this actually happened so what evidence do we have copies of
copies of translations of copies from unknown sources that may have been but probably weren't eyewitnesses.
And even if they had been eyewitnesses it wouldn't be sufficient to confirm that someone actually rose from the dead
what sort of evidence would we expect for a claim where someone rose from the dead? It depends on the time frame.
Sure back in first century Judea probably not a lot how you don't have a way to
test for sure that somebody's dead. You don't have like x-rays you don't have DNA.
Well what's the question is what sort of evidence could a god provide?
Well god could provide the best evidence possible such that there would be no reasonable debate to be had at all.

It is unreasonable to believe it because there isn't sufficient evidence. No physical evidence nothing about this
claim would pass muster today. There's no body no tomb no blood no sword no cross no dna no burial rags
despite the fake shroud of turin. No witnesses to question currently no crime scene investigators
no findings of fact at all.


Interestingly he mentioned the TS. But I would highly doubt he knows much about the shroud since he just casually dismisses it.

He also makes the common charge from skeptics that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". This is regularly asserted by skeptics in debates on the resurrection.
Even if the promoters of the resurrection concept could provide plausible explanations why everything except the 1980s tracts was hushed up, ordinary people would still be skeptical. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Resurrection_of_Jesus

I would answer this charge by saying the Shroud is Turin is your extraordinary evidence.

First, it is artifact evidence that is empirical evidence. It is not textual evidence that all debates, discussions, books, papers, videos, and podcasts on the resurrection have focused on. With the shroud, we can hold it, measure it, study it, and scientifically analyze it.

It is extraordinary because it is the most scientifically studied artifact in human history. The shroud has been intensely studied by scientists and hasn't really been studied much by Biblical scholars. I've tried to find any material from Biblical scholars on the shroud and the only thing I can find are from Gary Habermas and Dale Allison. Whereas if you want to find papers from scientists and shroud scholars, just go to shroud.com and you can spend forever reading all the materials there.

It is extraordinary because it is the only evidence that we have that dates to the first century. We have no original manuscripts of the gospels or Paul's writings that date to the first century.

It is extraordinary because it is the only thing that is claimed to be present at the moment Jesus resurrected from the dead. There were no eyewitnesses inside the tomb to see Jesus resurrect except the shroud.

It is extraordinary because every single feature of the shroud is a mystery and inexplicable. We really have no idea how the body image got there. We have no full explanation how the blood stains were formed. We have no full explanation of the photographic negative effect, the x-ray effect, the depth encoding effect, the halftone effect, superficiality of the image on the topmost fibers, etc.

It is extraordinary evidence because it has survived to this day. Even none of the original manuscripts of the Bible have survived. There were many moments the shroud could've been lost in history, but it somehow escaped all of them.

The Shroud of Turin is the extraordinary evidence that supports the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

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

Post #2908

Post by Athetotheist »

[Replying to otseng in post #2907
The Shroud of Turin is the extraordinary evidence that supports the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Shroud of Turin." (Osteng 1:1)

otseng wrote:This has nothing to do with the claims of the resurrection, but only with the alleged contradictions of the Bible.
Even while rejecting Bible inerrancy, you refer to the Bible's contradictions as "alleged".

This isn't about a mistake the Bible makes; it's about a mistake Jesus makes in his interpretation of the law of Moses. To dismiss that, you have to conclude that either the law was misquoted or Jesus was. If the law is misquoted, why doesn't Jesus say so? If Jesus is misquoted about the law, what else might he have been misquoted about? Either way, "hearing by the word of God" becomes meaningless.

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

Post #2909

Post by earl »

Gen.2.24 -gives women equal standing.
Deut.24.1-4 -Women are property and cannot divorce a man.No equal standing here.
Seems Moses made a well intended one sided law.
Mt.19-Jesus reflects on Gen 2.24 as the beginning of marriage
And I see editing at the end of his reply.
Marriage ,a social institution,has experienced tremendous social changes .
Women are no longer property and can divorce and vote.
The burden to justify divorce law is on Moses for an unequal social law of divorce.

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

Post #2910

Post by otseng »

Athetotheist wrote: Sat Jul 15, 2023 2:09 pm [Replying to otseng in post #2907
The Shroud of Turin is the extraordinary evidence that supports the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Shroud of Turin." (Osteng 1:1)
Actually, it should be "Faith comes by seeing, and seeing by the Shroud of Turin". O:)
This isn't about a mistake the Bible makes; it's about a mistake Jesus makes in his interpretation of the law of Moses.
There are many things Jesus said about the law of Moses. The question is whose interpretation is correct? The Pharisees', Sadducees', ours', or Jesus'?
To dismiss that, you have to conclude that either the law was misquoted or Jesus was.
Jesus already explained why Moses gave the law of divorce, because of the hardness of peoples' hearts. There is no misquoting of the law from Jesus. The religious people back then (and even now) were more concerned with the letter of the law, whereas Jesus was focusing on the heart of the law.
If the law is misquoted, why doesn't Jesus say so? If Jesus is misquoted about the law, what else might he have been misquoted about? Either way, "hearing by the word of God" becomes meaningless.
Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish the law.

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