Historicity and Inerrancy: A Conversation With a Friend

Andrew Bushさん 4月25日 13:06
There is a shitload of errors in the Bible. There's just recently a book out about this called "Discrepancies in the Bible" and another called something like the Untold Story of Jesus or something like that. Even within Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...none of the books agree on who was actually there at the tomb. Some say 1 guy some say two. Some say 1 angel some say 2. It's fucking ridiculous because it's supposed to be eye-witness accounts of the greatest story ever told and simple stuff like that doesn't even hold. There's ALL kinds of stuff like that. The Bible is inconsistent. I'm sorry if I offend someone but it would be good if you would notice it if you haven't already. This comment is not so much for you, Friend, but for your audience.

Friendさん 4月26日 1:01
your post is exactly the flipside of what scares me about fundamentals.

First I would like to say, I think you missed my thesis completely.

This is not really a note about inconsistencies in the Bible.
Its a note about how that doesnt matter.
No one expects any other grouping of eye witness accounts in the world to match up evenly. For that to be the case, both the 5 senses and memory of all 4 writers would have to be flawless...at least.

What this note is about is how imposing the idea of perfection on the bible is an irrelevant in the debate.

The presence of discrepencies or errors does not prove validity or invalidity, as it does not for any other historical account ever given. I would encourage you to read my main arguement again.

Your arguement suffers from the same fallacy that the fundamentalists' does.
errors are irrelavent, what is the realy issue is the degree of reliability of over all historicity.

Friendさん 4月26日 1:12
i would encourage you read more of the objective (as possible) scholarship on the formation of the texts.

If for no other reasons than one, as an outspoken opponent of Christianity it is your ethical and intellectual duty to do so -

as well as out of just a deep appreciation of the religious history of mankind - much as i study other religions - not to be polemical or apologetical per se- but just out of respect and the search of knowledge. - Youmight find this to strengthen you polemics...or to form an apologetic.

As a personal side note, your opinions are always welcome here, no matter how antagonistic.

I love dialogue with disbelief.

but please interact with me, as I want to interact with you...lets use this as more of an intellectual forum as opposed to a soapbox.
ive never cared much for hard edged preaching - christian or anti-christian.

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 1:17
I re-read it your post. I have to admit that I skimmed it the first time. Sorry about that. I like to just blur things out sometimes. I still don't see what you're saying when you say that "reliability of overall historicity" is important but errors are not. I understand that the gist is there but my main position is that under my definition the Bible is not perfect and definitely not in the case of consistency. If you could clarify for me what exactly you mean by "reliability of overall historicity" and errors and how exactly these two are separate, I think I would be able to understand more. Thanks for the conversation.

Friendさん 4月26日 1:37
what im saying is that if nothing else the gospels (and that is really the specific part im talking about right now)
-if nothing else they are historical documents.
now as historical documents we have to decide wether or not they are reliable.
to do this it is better to try to forget eveything you ever learned from both christians that are ignorant and are trying to push an agenda on you as well as the anti-christian feelings that years of having christianity dumped on you has casued.

- Instead...I propose that we just read them as historical writings and try to figure out whether, flawed or not, do they give a somewhat reliabile picture of events that happened 2000 years ago. Academically there is a really good case to say that the text has been relatively unaltered since it was written down..so the original message is there.
we cant appeal to it being altered or changed...that argument is invalid, becasue due to the number of manuscripts...etc,

Friendさん 4月26日 1:45
we have more of reason to think that the New Test is a better depiction of what early Christianity actually looked like than much of other history...Christians are prolific...and from the perspective of history the more writings you have and the further thaey go back...the more accurate picture you are likely to have.

Now alot of people are going to look at the accounts and say it is likely that some of it is true, but miracles do not happen, so all of it cannot be true.

I would say that this is really more of us projecting our preconceptions on the texts.
To be honest, scientifically we dont know if miracles happen.
Because lets be honest, agnosticism is a better choice that atheism. and when it comes down to it if someone tells you they know theres not a God they are either lying or decieving themselves. We cant know things like that by ourselves...we dont have the capability.
Now of someone says they know there is a God, they are either lying, decieving themselves, or

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 1:45
I think that there have been some changes here and there throughout history but for the most part they are probably left fairly unchanged from their original states....based on my knowledge. I am willing to of course look at these documents as historical. I look at the Epic of Gilgamesh as an historical document. The problem for is when people try to say that these documents are true. Being "historical"...or, in my definition, something written down a long time and having some impact on society, has nothing to do with what was written being true or not. I recognize these are historical texts but I do not think a lot of it actually happened.

This is the sidenote of what we're talking about but some research I've come across is that one of the things that was altered was the story of Lazarus. Jesus, apparently, did not raise him from the dead in the first version. He de-excommunicated him which made church officials even more angry iwth Jesus and could explain how it could have been

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 1:47
changed into "raised from the dead" (cast out of excommunicaton). The guy's name, that I forget now, that made this change is also recorded...somewhere....I can get to that later if it comes up again...

Friendさん 4月26日 1:54
they are right, because He or it or whatever, could have actually initiated a relationship with that person. Our faculties of knowledge are small, but if He exists then He is probably capable of talking to us, and he most likely capable of doing miracles.

I kind of got sidetracked, but i think it is relevant.

-What Im trying to say is that if we believe that the supernatural is at least a possible possiblity (think about that terminology), then when we look at the life of Jesus in the gospels, we can begin to ask how accurate they are academically...which is pretty accurate...the least we can say is that the people who wrote these things lived and died for thier accuracy...they thought them to be accurate.

when taken together there is a good case for a high level of the material in the 4 books as being accurate.

The last important note is that having no errors or contradictions is not a legitamate criterion for any historical document...

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 1:54
It is impossible for any rational man to say without a doubt that there is no God just as there is a God. This is throwing it kind of offtopic anyway. Proving that there is a God is one thing. Proving which one it (It?) is another. For me, if God exists religions are just humans' filtered looking at the same thing. The other side I come from is the fact that fairies and imps could be true too. There's no way to REALLY prove they don't exist. I don't think God is much different...at least the one in question now. If you were to say that God is a metaphysical force that ties the universe together ...like gluons (physics term) then I'd say that's more believable than the biblical version.

All this said, we can still have morals and a good life. Life is not meaningless without God, we just have to redefine our lives...which can be difficult depending on your background. You should check out my other blogs: http://eastcastles.blogspot.com/ and http://universethinktank.blogspot.com/

Friendさん 4月26日 1:56
all historical documents have some level of error in them...especially ancient ones.
this does not mean that they do not represent a certain level (even an extremely high one) of historical accuracy.

If perfection was a criterion of knowledge, we would know nothing.

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 2:01
Living and dying for religion is debatable. We can't use that as proof for accuracy of the texts. Look at Islam. How many people die for that. How many Christians will say that they're right too based on those actions. Also,

Just because these texts say they died doesn't mean they actually did. The writers could have just put that in there to enhance the effect. That's one way...or this kind of motif is common in literature at that time. The people at the Council of Nicaea could have changed things up from the get-go. Or maybe they really did die...but not for faith but for some political cause. We have to really examine this further before it can be used in an argument, I think.

Friendさん 4月26日 2:12
we have manuscripts that go back much earlier than Nicea.
As are their many writers who go back further.

What I am saying about living and dying is that the same people who were eyewitnesses were martyrs.

It does not prove that the texts are accurate, what it does mean is that the same people who were there...most notably John and possibly Mathew (Luke and Mark were not even direct eyewitnesses and do not claim to be - which leaves more room for minor discepencies)
those same people who saw it wrote it - and would die for it then. - The martydom of John is much different than the martyrdom of say someone today.
Because he there...he was not tricked about what happened.

-like i said (this is why are wide range of scholastic reading is good before making either dogmatic or antagonistic claims...
its important to have a good grasp of the real sources.
-the claim that Nicea changed things is clearly fallacious with this info in mind...we have to much early writing to compare

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 2:12
I posted this conversation on the East Castles. I don't mention your name. I hope you don't mind.

Friendさん 4月26日 2:15
their writing to.

Maybe they were all crazy...maybe the whole thing is wrong.
what im saying is that to make a really good call either way its gonna take some disciplined study.

- sorry if I write stupid sometimes...im not much of a proof reader..

this is the kind of discussion i like though...and appreciate it.

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 2:15
Well that Nicea thing was just speculation on my part on the kinds of possibilities. What texts say that John was an eye witness? What validity do these texts have. If it's just John saying John saw it, it's a little suspicious to me.

Friendさん 4月26日 2:23
when i say historicity i mean that it is a reconrd of actual historical events.
-i would be interest in the Lasurus info...i would like to see who wrote it, and look at the originals myself.

but i will say in advance...even if the Lasurus story is unoriginal, it changes little.
-its one of many - the rest is still there - particularly Christ's resurrection which is unanimous to the begining.

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 2:27
The Lazarus thing was basically an example that I think doesn't go against you but does go against a lot of what "normal" Christians believe. People that believe that every single letter and grammatical item in the Bible is inerrant might be surprised to find out that in actuality it's totally not the case. Now, you say that the overall account of Christ's resurrection is fairly solid. I have no problem with that statement at this time. It changes little for my position though. It just mean that several historical texts have a correlation. It does not mean that the event actually happened.

Friendさん 4月26日 2:35
sure, but that the arguement...that i think there is a good case for at least a large amount of truth being there...and that i some to this through historical probablity...not through inerrancy or scripture.
i think that people who come to the conclusion opposite of mine, should get there for the same reasons if they can.

Andrew Bushさん 4月26日 2:39
I fully recognize that there is some possibility for the existence of an historical Jesus. The historicity of the resurrection is also worth a closer look. However, for me at this time, this possibility of either does not yet warrant belief in it.