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View Poll Results: Is the Bible Infallible?
Yes! Everything about the Bible is 100% infallible 4 9.76%
Yes! But I ignore most of the Mosaic Law, so I really mean "No" 1 2.44%
No! The Bible, while "inspired" by God, was written by imperfect humans 32 78.05%
No! The Bible is no more important than toilet paper, and I look forward to burning in hell 4 9.76%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 07-21-2002, 10:35 AM   #1
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The Bible: Infallible?

Dearest Interferencers,

During these troubling times, we must ask each other the most important of questions. This way, I can figure out who will get an invitation on my "Highway to Heaven" ferry when the Rapture arrives.

XOXO

Love, Whortense
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Old 07-21-2002, 12:01 PM   #2
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Gosh!!!

Choices seem a bit all or nothing, love it or hate it!!

I believe the Books are inspired by the Spirit, but each needs to taken in its own context, some literal and many figurative.

Which choice would that be?????
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Old 07-21-2002, 12:04 PM   #3
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Melon, get a life.
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Old 07-21-2002, 01:32 PM   #4
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Old 07-21-2002, 03:28 PM   #5
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Hmmm...I wonder which one I should choose...
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Old 07-21-2002, 04:59 PM   #6
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OK, so who's the person I'm gonna burn in Hell with?

Oh and Speedracer --->
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Old 07-21-2002, 05:30 PM   #7
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Old 07-21-2002, 08:30 PM   #8
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Old 07-22-2002, 12:30 AM   #9
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I thought bubba wrote the bible... inspired by the image of melon?
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Old 07-22-2002, 01:25 AM   #10
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I think the Bible was never meant to be perfect. I think that's part of its beauty and part of the plan. It is a book written in collaboration between the divine and us humans. God tells his story. The Jews and Christians tell theirs. It couldn't be any other way. For me God's story is not brought down by being mixed with human stuff or vice versa because whenever two are united they become an even stronger unit.

I love The Bible not because its perfect but because its faithful. I love it not because its infallible, but because among other holy books its peerless.

And I have read most of the major holy books. So I base that statement on some experience. Not for me is a book that's too holy to have any human contribution in it. Any book that claims to be 100% the work of God goes against the inclusive "everyone's invited" God that I believe in. What book can be holy in which humans are not good enough to contribute to its writing?

How holy can a so-called perfect or infallible book be?

So for me the Bible is holy for all of the reasons most people reject it for. It's holy for it's democracy in that dozens of people freely expressed themselves in its pages. It's holy because it never attempts clean up the truth even when it stinks. It's holy because it tells the story of the human family with God as The Parent and because its heroes are everymen and its people, the Jews are everypeople. Its holy because its great religious debates and disagreements are on full view. And its holy because even the process that transformed the Jewish perspective from its narrow tribal focus to one which embraced love for all nations is faithfully preserved.

You can watch the spiritual progress of the human race play out from Genesis to Isaiah to The Gospels. And its in technicolor and uncensored.

I believe that all the books of the Bible were chosen for inclusion according to God's plan, because it works and because no human would have thought to make a holy book like the Bible. (We would have cleaned it up and made everything tidy like the conmen we are) I believe that God made sure that all we needed to know was in it and that what was important to know was perfectly preserved. For me God could NEVER lose control of what he wants us to know.
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Old 07-22-2002, 01:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer
I thought bubba wrote the bible... inspired by the image of melon?
No, I am but an humble student of the Word of God.

In response to this thread and its rather flippant question, I personally believe that, while the authors WERE otherwise imperfect humans, their minds and hands were guided by God Almighty.

What I am talking about here is not divine inspiration in the normal sense - God creating the universe and man being inspired by the creation. I am talking about direct inspiration, something much closer to the following ideas:

- direct transcription of His Word
- the revelation of specific imagery
- a supernatural insight into God, His nature, and His law
- guidance so that words and deeds are more-or-less faithfully recorded

Can I explain how this occured? No, but I believe that it did occur, and I believe I am moved by the Holy Spirit to draw that conclusion.


So, the original manuscript was, I believe, precisely as God intended it to be. Certainly, the manuscript can be mis-copied over time, and it can be mistranslated into modern tongues, but that's an entirely different issue.

(First, different manuscripts (mss.) say different things; since they cannot ALL be right, error in copying mss. must be possible. Second, different translations can say vastly different things; again, they can't all be right, so error is possible in that area as well.)

But, I believe the Bible is, despite all this room for error, more or less as it should be. We have litterally thousands of mss. to compare and two millenia of scholarly research. I don't believe there are any serious errors in the more trustworthy translations of this age: the message of the book is too consistent for egregious error.

(In addressing whiteflag's well-written post, I too believe that God allows the personalities of the books' authors to shine through - that goes a way to explaining the different perspectives found in the Gospels. In movie terminology, God may be the writer, director, and editer; but the human is the cinematographer, and I believe God allows him to make his mark.)

(In passing, whiteflag's also absolutely right about the lack of censorship in the Bible. The Bible was most influenced by Moses, David, Peter, and their "groupies." And yet, Moses is still an exiled murderer who reluctantly accepted God's command and - in the end - STILL faltered. David's family life was perhaps TOO twisted for Jerry Springer. And Peter frequently looked before he leapt, and he denied he ever knew Jesus after He was arrested. That certainly doesn't SEEM like propaganda.)


All of this does not really address the question of whether we should take the Bible literally - and how we should do so.

(If I may be so bold, many people confuse the idea of believing the Bible to be infallible and the idea that it is literal.)

I believe the Bible is "the literal Word of God," but this could mean a LOT of different things:

- It could mean that God Himself literally took pen to papyrus. Given that many of the New Testament letters have authors mentioned, I find that impossible to believe absolutely. (Otherwise, the "letters from Paul" would really be "letters from God claiming to be Paul," and that would make the ever-honest God a liar.) I also don't think it necessary to believe at all; it's possible (nay, likely) that every book - including the most obscure Old Testament text - had a human author.

- It could mean that the words on the original mss. are literally as God wanted them to be. If you can believe in divine intervention to the degree mentioned in the Bible - SPECIFICALLY the Incarnation (God becoming man) - then God guiding man to write His Word is a trivial matter. It is what I personally believe. I imagine this belief is shared by many Christians here. And it is not a thing to be mocked by other Christians.

- It could mean that God meant each word to be taken literally.

I don't think the last case applies absolutely; there is a spectrum. At one end is the Revelation: I believe that the apocalyptic vision of the Revelation is to be taken as a prophetic metaphor.

As you move to the other end, you start with Genesis 1 and move forward. I believe the details of the early chapters of Genesis are probably metaphorical (though it won't upset me if I find out that God DID create the world in six days of 24 hours). The purpose of early Genesis is probably the broader truths about who we are and Who made us.

As you get closer to Abraham, then Isaac, then Joseph, I think you must start taking things more literally. By the time Exodus opens, I believe we have stepped fully into literal history: God DID free the Isrealites after many terrible plagues. He DID guide them through the wilderness (with pillars of cloud and fire), parting the sea, and giving them His Law on the way.

Then, at the other end of the spectrum, you get to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The bare essentials of the Gospels MUST be taken literally by every Christian: that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God and the Messiah of prophecy; that He was crucified for our sins; that He rose from the dead and is now STILL risen, residing with God the Father; that anyone who believes in Him as Savior and Lord will be with Him for all eternity.

If the above is one giant fairy tale, then - to paraphrase Paul - we Christians are the most miserable people on this planet.

As per the details, there ARE some discrepencies among the Gospels: which women found the empty tomb? what did they find? Those details aside, the Gospels agree: women went Sunday morning and found the tomb empty.

So if the events of the Gospels aren't exact history, they are close enough to be trusted. If the words of Christ aren't verbatim, they are "close enough."


More specifically, before I close, let's look at how one can apply the word "literal" to Matthew 5:29: And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

There are several ways to apply the word "literal" to this passage. First, let's apply "literal" to the fact of whether Jesus actually said it. Here, we could mean two things:

1. That He literally said, word for word, the above quote. If we mean the English words, well, we're not very bright. If we mean the original Greek, we're probably still wrong; Christ likely spoke in Aramaic. But we COULD reasonably mean that Christ's words literally translated into the above.

2. That He literally said something with the same meaning. There are verses in one gospel that closely match verses in another in meaning, but not EXACTLY verbatim. In this case, we can take it that the two authors are paraphrasing as best they can what Jesus said at one time... OR they could be exactly noting what He said at different times, during two similar sermons.

Beyond applying "literal" to the fact of the matter, we COULD apply "literal" to its meaning. In other words, we could believe that Christ wanted us to ACTUALLY pluck out our eyes. That seems VERY unlikely. As He did throughout the Gospel, He was probably speaking in metaphor. We shouldn't ACTUALLY pluck out our eyes, but we should recognize the command as a metaphorical truth, that we should stay away from temptations that consistently get the better of us.

To summarize my beliefs:

- The Bible was written by imperfect men directly guided by the will of God.
- Thus, the original mss. written by the Bible's authors were infallible, written exactly as intended.
- However, these mss. can be corrupted through errors in transcription and translation.
- That said, I believe the Bible still says, more or less, what God intended it to say.

- Some parts of the Bible - like the Revelation - are almost clearly metaphor.
- Other parts - like early Genesis - could be metaphorical or literal, but either way contain truths about God.
- Still other parts - particularly the Gospel of the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ - must be taken ABSOLUTELY literally.

- The details of the Gospel may be slightly off, but not to the degree that any Biblical truth is corrupted.
- Finally, like God did in the Revelation, Jesus Christ often spoke metaphorically; what His parables lacked in fact they made up for in absolute Truth.
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Old 07-22-2002, 08:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by whiteflag
If the above is one giant fairy tale, then - to paraphrase Paul - we Christians are the most miserable people on this planet.
I recall reading this verse before but can't figure out where, exactly, it's from. Care to share, Bubba? It makes me laugh.
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Old 07-22-2002, 08:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba


No, I am but an humble student of the Word of God.

In response to this thread and its rather flippant question, I personally believe that, while the authors WERE otherwise imperfect humans, their minds and hands were guided by God Almighty.

What I am talking about here is not divine inspiration in the normal sense - God creating the universe and man being inspired by the creation. I am talking about direct inspiration, something much closer to the following ideas:

- direct transcription of His Word
- the revelation of specific imagery
- a supernatural insight into God, His nature, and His law
- guidance so that words and deeds are more-or-less faithfully recorded

Can I explain how this occured? No, but I believe that it did occur, and I believe I am moved by the Holy Spirit to draw that conclusion.


So, the original manuscript was, I believe, precisely as God intended it to be. Certainly, the manuscript can be mis-copied over time, and it can be mistranslated into modern tongues, but that's an entirely different issue.

(First, different manuscripts (mss.) say different things; since they cannot ALL be right, error in copying mss. must be possible. Second, different translations can say vastly different things; again, they can't all be right, so error is possible in that area as well.)

But, I believe the Bible is, despite all this room for error, more or less as it should be. We have litterally thousands of mss. to compare and two millenia of scholarly research. I don't believe there are any serious errors in the more trustworthy translations of this age: the message of the book is too consistent for egregious error.

(In addressing whiteflag's well-written post, I too believe that God allows the personalities of the books' authors to shine through - that goes a way to explaining the different perspectives found in the Gospels. In movie terminology, God may be the writer, director, and editer; but the human is the cinematographer, and I believe God allows him to make his mark.)

(In passing, whiteflag's also absolutely right about the lack of censorship in the Bible. The Bible was most influenced by Moses, David, Peter, and their "groupies." And yet, Moses is still an exiled murderer who reluctantly accepted God's command and - in the end - STILL faltered. David's family life was perhaps TOO twisted for Jerry Springer. And Peter frequently looked before he leapt, and he denied he ever knew Jesus after He was arrested. That certainly doesn't SEEM like propaganda.)


All of this does not really address the question of whether we should take the Bible literally - and how we should do so.

(If I may be so bold, many people confuse the idea of believing the Bible to be infallible and the idea that it is literal.)

I believe the Bible is "the literal Word of God," but this could mean a LOT of different things:

- It could mean that God Himself literally took pen to papyrus. Given that many of the New Testament letters have authors mentioned, I find that impossible to believe absolutely. (Otherwise, the "letters from Paul" would really be "letters from God claiming to be Paul," and that would make the ever-honest God a liar.) I also don't think it necessary to believe at all; it's possible (nay, likely) that every book - including the most obscure Old Testament text - had a human author.

- It could mean that the words on the original mss. are literally as God wanted them to be. If you can believe in divine intervention to the degree mentioned in the Bible - SPECIFICALLY the Incarnation (God becoming man) - then God guiding man to write His Word is a trivial matter. It is what I personally believe. I imagine this belief is shared by many Christians here. And it is not a thing to be mocked by other Christians.

- It could mean that God meant each word to be taken literally.

I don't think the last case applies absolutely; there is a spectrum. At one end is the Revelation: I believe that the apocalyptic vision of the Revelation is to be taken as a prophetic metaphor.

As you move to the other end, you start with Genesis 1 and move forward. I believe the details of the early chapters of Genesis are probably metaphorical (though it won't upset me if I find out that God DID create the world in six days of 24 hours). The purpose of early Genesis is probably the broader truths about who we are and Who made us.

As you get closer to Abraham, then Isaac, then Joseph, I think you must start taking things more literally. By the time Exodus opens, I believe we have stepped fully into literal history: God DID free the Isrealites after many terrible plagues. He DID guide them through the wilderness (with pillars of cloud and fire), parting the sea, and giving them His Law on the way.

Then, at the other end of the spectrum, you get to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The bare essentials of the Gospels MUST be taken literally by every Christian: that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God and the Messiah of prophecy; that He was crucified for our sins; that He rose from the dead and is now STILL risen, residing with God the Father; that anyone who believes in Him as Savior and Lord will be with Him for all eternity.

If the above is one giant fairy tale, then - to paraphrase Paul - we Christians are the most miserable people on this planet.

As per the details, there ARE some discrepencies among the Gospels: which women found the empty tomb? what did they find? Those details aside, the Gospels agree: women went Sunday morning and found the tomb empty.

So if the events of the Gospels aren't exact history, they are close enough to be trusted. If the words of Christ aren't verbatim, they are "close enough."


More specifically, before I close, let's look at how one can apply the word "literal" to Matthew 5:29: And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

There are several ways to apply the word "literal" to this passage. First, let's apply "literal" to the fact of whether Jesus actually said it. Here, we could mean two things:

1. That He literally said, word for word, the above quote. If we mean the English words, well, we're not very bright. If we mean the original Greek, we're probably still wrong; Christ likely spoke in Aramaic. But we COULD reasonably mean that Christ's words literally translated into the above.

2. That He literally said something with the same meaning. There are verses in one gospel that closely match verses in another in meaning, but not EXACTLY verbatim. In this case, we can take it that the two authors are paraphrasing as best they can what Jesus said at one time... OR they could be exactly noting what He said at different times, during two similar sermons.

Beyond applying "literal" to the fact of the matter, we COULD apply "literal" to its meaning. In other words, we could believe that Christ wanted us to ACTUALLY pluck out our eyes. That seems VERY unlikely. As He did throughout the Gospel, He was probably speaking in metaphor. We shouldn't ACTUALLY pluck out our eyes, but we should recognize the command as a metaphorical truth, that we should stay away from temptations that consistently get the better of us.

To summarize my beliefs:

- The Bible was written by imperfect men directly guided by the will of God.
- Thus, the original mss. written by the Bible's authors were infallible, written exactly as intended.
- However, these mss. can be corrupted through errors in transcription and translation.
- That said, I believe the Bible still says, more or less, what God intended it to say.

- Some parts of the Bible - like the Revelation - are almost clearly metaphor.
- Other parts - like early Genesis - could be metaphorical or literal, but either way contain truths about God.
- Still other parts - particularly the Gospel of the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ - must be taken ABSOLUTELY literally.

- The details of the Gospel may be slightly off, but not to the degree that any Biblical truth is corrupted.
- Finally, like God did in the Revelation, Jesus Christ often spoke metaphorically; what His parables lacked in fact they made up for in absolute Truth.
i think this thread was meant to be a joke, but thanks for the written chapter .
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Old 07-22-2002, 09:00 PM   #14
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i think this thread was meant to be a joke, but thanks for the written chapter .
shouldn't it have been funny then?
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Old 07-22-2002, 09:10 PM   #15
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Originally posted by Se7en


shouldn't it have been funny then?
don't look in the book, detective Mills.
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