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liamconnor
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:55 am  Bible Mistakes Reply with quote

Popular attacks against the Bible point out discrepancies among the details.

But then, there are discrepancies in detail among other ancient historians: Plutarch, Josephus, Livy etc. etc.

Historians continue to use these works in order to reconstruct the history of Greece and Rome; and it seems that most members here trust those reconstructions.


But when a single discrepancy is found in the Bible, it is regarded as earth-shattering.

Should the contents of the bible be treated differently from the contents of any other ancient document? Should it be held to a higher standard for historical reliability?

Why? Why not apply the same methods of historical inquiry to it as to any other historical source?
MPG Recipient Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 31: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:06 am
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Re: Bible Mistakes

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Liamconnor:
If you construct an historical criteria that suspiciously strains out the supernatural. you are irrational.



And if you construct an historical narrative that suspiciously smuggles in the supernatural, you are irrational.

What's the difference between you accusing us of being hypercritical and us accusing you of being.. hyper-generous to the material?

Is it because you claim to be the superior historian and none here understand how history works? Over and over you make these threads where you want to contrast miracles with pedestrian events, then act mystified when no one agrees the miraculous claims are on par with someone existing. Or a city existing. Or a battle occurring.

Your only response to us patiently pointing out that yes, there IS a probabilistic difference between Joe Shmoe being a general and a supposed demigod flying into space after being reanimated is to accuse us of a bias against supernatural claims we have zero precedence for.

What of your own obvious and apparent bias against naturalistic and statistically more probable explanations? You are not the neutral historian you sell yourself as, following the evidence where it leads in a righteous battle against the unreasonable atheist. You are detonating atomic bombs inside your glass house accusing people of a priori discounting the supernatural while you apparently hold the door wide open for it in the next breath.

What credentials do you possess that make you an historian fit to judge the motives, conclusions, or perspectives of anyone? Repeatedly implying your methods and approach are superior in each new thread that sets out to accomplish the same basic idea is getting tiresome.

Where are these world histories that agree with you on these claims? What criteria is at our disposal to treat ancient claims that appeal to the supernatural? Why are your complaints against non-theist bias any more important than the atheist's complaints against yours?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 32: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:34 am
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Re: Bible Mistakes

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OpenYourEyes wrote:

However, we should factor in that being able to do something doesn't mean that you will do it or that you have to do it.

What possible reason would God have for not perfecting what is supposedly his message to all of humanity, especially since this will take literally no effort?

Cons of allowing flaws in his holy text
- Reduces credibility
- Results in unbelievers

Pros of allowing flaws in his holy text
- ???

OpenYourEyes wrote:
Therefore, not all of Scripture is God's message, and furthermore, we should not expect flawless historical details.

Here's my argument
- If we cannot rely on the mundane historical claims in the Bible such as how many horses Solomon had, how can we be expected to believe the extraordinary claims?
- 1 Kings 4:26 tells us Solomon had 40 000 stalls of horses. This is a perfectly believable claim. Except Chronicles 9:25 tells me this is not true (or vice versa). Now if this perfectly believable claim is not true, how can I be expected to believe claims like Jesus walking on water?
- Even if there were no such flaws in the Bible, the claims of the Bible are still hard to believe as there is no evidence for any of the extraordinary claims. A Bible containing confirmed contradictions and inaccuracies just adds to all the reasons to doubt the Bible as a whole

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 33: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:46 am
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liamconnor wrote:

If you assume prior to historical analysis that miracles are impossible. You are irrational.

I would substitute "impossible" with "improbable". Improbable claims require more evidence than probable ones. If I told you I had bacon for breakfast (a probable claim) you would likely believe me. But If I said I had dragon eggs for breakfast (an improbable claim), you would likely doubt me and ask for proof. The same applies to historical claims. I take it you are also far more likely to believe historical claims of the battle of Thermopylae than the claims of Hercules slaying the Lernaean Hydra.

Also you have yet to answer OnceConvinced's request for evidence of good evidence for Biblical miracles as you said yourself...
liamconnor wrote:
I take anything seriously if there is GOOD EVIDENCE for it.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 34: Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:06 pm
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Justin108 wrote:

OpenYourEyes wrote:

However, we should factor in that being able to do something doesn't mean that you will do it or that you have to do it.

What possible reason would God have for not perfecting what is supposedly his message to all of humanity, especially since this will take literally no effort?

When you say that all of the Bible is God's message to mankind, you're making an overgeneralized statement. I say this because in my previous reply to you I clearly explained that not all of the Bible is God's message to mankind. For instance, the end of Deuteronomy talks about Moses' burial place not being known and of course this has no value in terms of teaching or spirituality - it's just a simple fact or information.

Some of the authors even mention that certain information is not from God but from opinion, like in 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul speaks his opinion about a man remaining single or a married couple not depriving each other of sex for too long, etc. Again, using a broad brush to paint the Bible a certain way while skipping over details that shows it's not as simplistic as you make it out to be (ALL Bible = God's word), is an overgeneralization and gives an unrealistic/false picture.

Justin108 wrote:
Cons of allowing flaws in his holy text
- Reduces credibility
- Results in unbelievers

Pros of allowing flaws in his holy text
- ???

I don't think anyone knows why but I also don't see that God needs to make such a book. I believe we have enough in the Bible, based on the authors specifying what came directly from God, to know about God's message. Imagine God telling Adam and Eve to not eat from a specific tree in the Garden of Eden. Then later on some other person comes along and writes additional information, like about the history of the Garden, the plants, fruits, etc, and some info. they get wrong and some they get right. Adam would have enough info. to follow by the simple fact that he has an instruction from God, even if it's within a bunch of other details. So at best, perhaps you should revise your point to say why does God allow his infallible message to be put in with a bunch of additional details from man's perspective.

Justin108 wrote:

OpenYourEyes wrote:
Therefore, not all of Scripture is God's message, and furthermore, we should not expect flawless historical details.

Here's my argument
- If we cannot rely on the mundane historical claims in the Bible such as how many horses Solomon had, how can we be expected to believe the extraordinary claims?
- 1 Kings 4:26 tells us Solomon had 40 000 stalls of horses. This is a perfectly believable claim. Except Chronicles 9:25 tells me this is not true (or vice versa). Now if this perfectly believable claim is not true, how can I be expected to believe claims like Jesus walking on water?
- Even if there were no such flaws in the Bible, the claims of the Bible are still hard to believe as there is no evidence for any of the extraordinary claims. A Bible containing confirmed contradictions and inaccuracies just adds to all the reasons to doubt the Bible as a whole

Liamconnor opening post answers this point of yours. Do you expect the histories about Julius Caesar and other famous Roman/Greek people to be infallible? The historians don't expect that and yet they are still able to reconstruct what they determine to be probable historical details which they accept and most importantly YOU and other atheists tend to accept. Seems here we have a double standard when it comes to the Bible!


Last edited by OpenYourEyes on Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 35: Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:11 pm
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Julius, this point of mine might help you:

OpenYourEyes wrote:

In terms of history, I agree with your points. Even if the Bible claimed to be from God then we should still treat its purported historical details just as we would any other historical source.

If it's not infallible, then at best that's a theological problem. However, biblical errors are not a rational basis to dismiss the Bible entirely from a historical standpoint.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 36: Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:13 pm
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liamconnor wrote:

You are irrational.


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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 37: Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:59 am
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OpenYourEyes wrote:

When you say that all of the Bible is God's message to mankind, you're making an overgeneralized statement. I say this because in my previous reply to you I clearly explained that not all of the Bible is God's message to mankind. For instance, the end of Deuteronomy talks about Moses' burial place not being known and of course this has no value in terms of teaching or spirituality - it's just a simple fact or information.

The Bible still includes God's message to humanity. God chose to place this message in a book that (albeit in other places) is flawed. Why would he do this? If I knowingly run a story in a newspaper that is infamous for reporting fake stories, how can I expect people to believe my story? Surely I would rather run my story in a newspaper with a good reputation for credibility.

So while we can agree on the fact that not the entire Bible is God's message, God still placed his message in this otherwise flawed book. Why would God do this?

OpenYourEyes wrote:
Some of the authors even mention that certain information is not from God but from opinion, like in 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul speaks his opinion about a man remaining single or a married couple not depriving each other of sex for too long, etc. Again, using a broad brush to paint the Bible a certain way while skipping over details that shows it's not as simplistic as you make it out to be (ALL Bible = God's word), is an overgeneralization and gives an unrealistic/false picture.

Many people mistakenly believe Paul's words are God's words simply because it is in the Bible. Surely God knew people would make this mistake, so why didn't God simply make a book dedicated to his message and only his message? Currently, people mistakenly take every word of the Bible as God's word. This was an oversight on God's side. He must have known this would happen, yet he allowed it.

OpenYourEyes wrote:
I don't think anyone knows why but I also don't see that God needs to make such a book. I believe we have enough in the Bible, based on the authors specifying what came directly from God, to know about God's message.

Yes, we have enough detail to get the gist of God's message, but we do not have enough reason to believe the Bible. This is not a matter of "do we know God's message?", this is a matter of "do we have enough reason to believe it is a message from God?". Flaws in the Bible subtract from the already-lacking reasons to believe this is God's message. Flaws in the Bible makes the Bible's believability worse than it already is.

OpenYourEyes wrote:
Imagine God telling Adam and Eve to not eat from a specific tree in the Garden of Eden. Then later on some other person comes along and writes additional information, like about the history of the Garden, the plants, fruits, etc, and some info. they get wrong and some they get right. Adam would have enough info. to follow by the simple fact that he has an instruction from God, even if it's within a bunch of other details.

Yes, because he received the instruction to not eat the fruit directly from God. We, on the other hand, have only what the writers gave us. If Adam was given indirect instruction from a flawed book to not eat the fruit, then I would not blame him for ignoring this flawed book.

OpenYourEyes wrote:
So at best, perhaps you should revise your point to say why does God allow his infallible message to be put in with a bunch of additional details from man's perspective.

Yes, that is my new question

OpenYourEyes wrote:
Liamconnor opening post answers this point of yours. Do you expect the histories about Julius Caesar and other famous Roman/Greek people to be infallible?

I already addressed this.
- The history of Julius Caesar does not contain God's message to humanity.
- I would expect God to oversee his message to humanity, and so I do not expect God to oversee the history of Julius Caesar.
- My salvation is not dependent on whether I believe the history of Julius Caesar

OpenYourEyes wrote:
The historians don't expect that and yet they are still able to reconstruct what they determine to be probable historical details which they accept and most importantly YOU and other atheists tend to accept.

I generally accept these historic accounts because these historic accounts do not claim anything supernatural. I even accept most of the mundane claims of the Bible. There probably was a guy named Jesus who was killed by the Romans. I do not accept, however, that this guy came back from the dead. Similarly, regarding Greek history, I believe the battle of Thermopylae to be historic fact but I do not believe that a man named Hercules, son of Zeus, slayed a Lernaean Hydra

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 38: Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:53 am
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Time for me to weigh in.

I see liamconnor doing his usual "treat the Bible just like any other history book" line, completely ignoring that this is him wanting to eat his cake and have it too.
If the book is the product (whether inspired or directly written) of an omnipotent and/or omniscient God, then OnceConvinced, can you tell us what that would mean...?
OnceConvinced says
Quote:
If it's considered the word of god, then yes. A bible that is supposed to be gods word should have to meet higher standards. If we are to make life decisions on it, it should be accurate. It should provide accurate information. We are talking about life or death here aren't we? Whether we end up in hell or heaven?

Also if people are going to insist that we should live by this book, if our laws should be made based on this book, then yes, it should be reliable. There shouldn't be errors. Anything put together by a god should be infallible.


But if I do like liamconnor demands and treat it like any other history book...

Quote:
Regarding historical accuracy, Bible stories should be examined critically with the same standards as applied to other ancient texts -- and given no special consideration in any direction.

Those parts that can be shown to be accurate by historical study standards should be treated as such.

What parts have been shown to be historically accurate?

Notice that outside the Gospel authors (whoever they were) and Paul (who almost certainly knew the Gospel authors), no-one at the time writes anything about a Jesus who rose bodily from death. In fact, according to Dan Barker, the translation from Greek of Paul mentions nothing about a bodily resurrection, but 'merely' some sort of spiritual awakening (and since Paul is the earliest writing we have on the subject...)
Beyond that, Z has mentioned several times that if he were to treat the Bible like any other book from history (or a book talking about history) he is NOT then expected to make life or death decisions on it.

Liam...as far as I can see, you CANNOT have it both ways.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 39: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:00 am
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[Replying to post 33 by Justin108]

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But If I said I had dragon eggs for breakfast (an improbable claim),


What if you had said dragon fruit? We sell them at the store I work at


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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 40: Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:19 am
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[quote="liamconnor"]

Have you read any of the historical arguments (Raymond Brown) for its historicity?

[quote]

I will assume you are referencing Fr. Brown’s work Death of the Messiah. I am familiar with his take and you would do well to summarize the pillars of his case rather than facilely state his name. Moreover, it would probably be better to display this kind of erudition in the thread you created devoted to this narrow question, the historicity of Joseph of Arimathea. As for Brown, we can briefly mention that his characterization is not without problems and, in fact, implicitly raises issues about the reliability of the narrative. For example, in Death of the Messiah, Brown argues that JoA is a ‘pious Sanhedrenist’ that desires to see Jesus buried before sundown in accordance with The Law (p. 1218). His response to the question as to why JoA takes no action with respect to the others crucified in Jesus’ company is both apologetic and brings the straightforward historicity of the narrative into question (i.e. he claims details were dispensed with for sake of the narrative p.1216).

We can talk about Brown’s arguments and how/if they are deficient, but that would probably be better discussed on a thread devoted to the topic (I think there is one). However, what we should not do is name drop a scholar without stating what they say and hope it lends us any credibility.

Take care,
TFV

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