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Old 05-24-2002, 11:05 AM   #16
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Perhaps the Bible isnít so much infallible as are the interpretations of certain passages by people throughout history.
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Old 05-24-2002, 11:14 AM   #17
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Originally posted by melon:
There are many mainstream Christian sects that do not believe in Biblical infallibility. It is just that those who do often scream the loudest. I am often reminded of the Pharisees back in Jesus' day who screamed the loudest, but fell the hardest upon Jesus' first coming to Earth...

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Just how many thumbs up can I possibly give this comment??


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Old 05-24-2002, 11:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
Perhaps the Bible isnít so much infallible as are the interpretations of certain passages by people throughout history.

...and this one??
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Old 05-24-2002, 11:19 AM   #19
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Quote:
Just how many thumbs up can I possibly give this comment??
I'd go out on a limb and say 2, perhaps?

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Old 05-24-2002, 11:27 AM   #20
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btw, i think I mixed up my negatives. What I meant to say is more or less...maybe the Bible is infallible and our interpretations are fallible. lol.
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Old 05-24-2002, 11:27 AM   #21
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Supposedly the bible condems drunkenness, but Jesus turned the water to wine, and I'm willing to bet more than a few people got drunk at the party from it.
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Old 05-24-2002, 12:22 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2:
Supposedly the bible condems drunkenness, but Jesus turned the water to wine, and I'm willing to bet more than a few people got drunk at the party from it.
1. There's an obvious difference between drinking wine and getting drunk.
2. The Bible says don't get drunk on wine, but rather be filled with the Holy Spirit. It's saying it's better to let God change your demeanor than to let alcohol change it. I don't know if the Bible condems drunkeness as sin, but it certainly says it's a foolish thing to do. As Paul wrote: Everything is permissable, but not everything is beneficial.

Basstrap, I agree that this is a relatively trivial issue in the big picture. But I also have no problem believing that God would tell us getting drunk isn't a good thing. It doesn't seem to contradict the spirit or tone of Jesus's message. So this particular issue doesn't lead me to believe the Bible can't be trusted.

When someone says "you'll go to hell for getting drunk", I agree with Sula: The problem is not with the Bible, but with it's misinterpretation.
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Old 05-24-2002, 01:32 PM   #23
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I totally agree
and just so you know, I wasn't using that as a grounds for fallibility, I just drifted to that topic somehow.


this is my main agruement:

Quote:
God lets things run its course. Humans aren't robots that God controls from above. He has never done that, and to believe he did that with thousands of people over dozens of centuries can't be true can it? That is why bad things happen to good people that is why errors were made in transcribing and translating. We are free creatures and we make mistakes.
And I would just add to that that yes he has done greater miracles than ensuring bible validity but none of the other miracles involve manipulating human behaviour or somehow brainwashing them with their knowing to ensure they don't make mistakes.

Its like I said God never has treated us like robots and he never will.




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Old 05-25-2002, 03:55 AM   #24
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I hear you loud and clear, Basstrap. Here's my two cents:

As someone with an M.A. in Classics (the study of Latin and Greek), I know a thing or two about text transmission. Knowing how codices and then manuscripts have been transmitted over thousands of years, I cannot believe that the Bible is infallible. I recommend reading the book "Scribes and Scholars" to anyone who wants to learn more about text transmission, the plethora of errors that occur, and how a definitive manuscript is decided upon based upon the manuscripts that survived.

My favorite argument against the infallibility of the Bible is the fact that most protestant Bibles do not have the same amount of books in them as the Catholic Bible. If the Bible's infallible, why get rid of some of the books?

Third, there is the issue of translation. The only way for a person to really know what the Bible says is to read it in the original language. It may sound snobby of me to say, but unless you read Hebrew and ancient Greek, you can't know for certain what the Bible says. Even the best translations can't capture the nuances of the original languages, which becomes an important detail when people argue over how to interpret certain words. For instance, the story of Judas changes dramatically depending on how you translate the Greek word paradidomi. Thus, I don't think anyone can pick up an English Bible and truly know what it says. Unless, that is, you think God made all the translators infallible, too. Perhaps I'll do my own translation...

Sorry for the edit, but I thought this Greek proverb fit nicely with this discussion...

"The believer is happy, the doubter is wise."
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[This message has been edited by HeartlandGirl (edited 05-24-2002).]
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Old 06-04-2002, 02:05 PM   #25
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I'm going to have to agree with people here who have said that the Bible itself and God Himself is infallible...

But rather certain translations that are inaccurate and misleading are NOT infallible.

I, personally, have the New Living Translation. Exodus, that famous passage with God saying "I am what I am"? That is acually more accurately translated as "I will be what I will be."
It's in the footnotes at the bottom.

Big difference. But anyway...

The Scriptures themselves are reliable and should be a foundation for faith, but certain translations throughout history are not necessarily accurate.
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Old 06-05-2002, 06:07 PM   #26
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A few rebuttals just to keep things going.

---"As someone with an M.A. in Classics (the study of Latin and Greek), I know a thing or two about text transmission. Knowing how codices and then manuscripts have been transmitted over thousands of years, I cannot believe that the Bible is infallible. I recommend reading the book "Scribes and Scholars" to anyone who wants to learn more about text transmission, the plethora of errors that occur, and how a definitive manuscript is decided upon based upon the manuscripts that survived."---

I have no doubt that text transmission is a sketchy thing. However the Bible is the exception to the rule when it comes to early manuscripts. The number of early manuscripts of the gospels and letters in the New Testament are astounding. There are way more than there are for several Greek historical manuscripts and way more than is required for a text to be considered historically accurate. This means that if we are to take Greek history as factually correct, then we have no choice but to do the same for pretty much the entire New Testament. The high number of originals is one of the things which drastically reduces the amount of errors that would normally occur when reproducing documents like this. To say that there is a "plethora" of errors is an unfair statement, as it can't be clarified, and can't necessarily be applied to every text.

Take for example the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were ancient manuscripts of writings that we have today in the Old Testament of the Bible. They were uncovered in the 50s, and scholars found that the Bible we had today was still amazingly accurate... the errors and problems that many speculated were simply not there. It was as if the Bible of the day had been translated directly from those scrolls. That's amazing.

---"My favorite argument against the infallibility of the Bible is the fact that most protestant Bibles do not have the same amount of books in them as the Catholic Bible. If the Bible's infallible, why get rid of some of the books?"---

You're slightly off-base here. The protestant church didn't just decide to axe a bunch of books because they didn't like them. There were several canons of the Bible established (such as the Latin Vulgate) during it's trip from a bunch of letters and books to the complete work it is today. The writings had to be judged against themselves and against the teaching and foundation of the Church at the time... those that didn't make the cut were left out. To the best of my knowledge, the extra books in the Catholic Bible (the Apocrypha) were in fact ADDED to the Holy Bible which is more readily known and available in the world.

Even still, the difference between the different versions does not disprove infallibility. Suppose I tell a group of people that I have blue eyes, brown hair, and stand 6'4". You meet up with two of them. One says I have blue eyes and brown hair, but chose to leave out my height. The other says the same two things but also mentions that I'm 6'4". Because one person gave less information, is he incorrect, or not to be believed? And vice versa, just because one person mentioned something the other didn't, does that make his statements incorrect? No.

---"Third, there is the issue of translation. The only way for a person to really know what the Bible says is to read it in the original language. It may sound snobby of me to say, but unless you read Hebrew and ancient Greek, you can't know for certain what the Bible says. Even the best translations can't capture the nuances of the original languages, which becomes an important detail when people argue over how to interpret certain words. For instance, the story of Judas changes dramatically depending on how you translate the Greek word paradidomi. Thus, I don't think anyone can pick up an English Bible and truly know what it says. Unless, that is, you think God made all the translators infallible, too. Perhaps I'll do my own translation... "---

This is the sticky part, and to a degree, you are correct. There are passages where translations are sketchy, due to the greeks having like 4 words for "peace" while we have just one. Thankfully, editions of the Bible are available where a person can see when a word like that is present, and they can refer to the original greek word to get a better idea of what the verse is talking about.

However, this doesn't mean we can just say "Translations are useless, the Bible is vague and inaccurate, and as a result, meaningless" because that would be incorrect and unfounded. If someone is translating a sentence, they may have to change the structure, and may not be able to match things word for word, but they still get the point across. For example: The french translation of the Hobbit probably lacks much of the poetic and literary flow of that book... but the hobbit is still named Bilbo, he still meets Gandalf, he still meets Gollum and gets the ring, etc. The crucial and most important parts of the story remain intact, along with the order, the style, quantities, descriptions etc. The exact diction may change, or the sentence structure, but you still can understand the book, what's going on, and what it's trying to communicate to the reader.
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Old 06-05-2002, 07:01 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by KingPin

I have no doubt that text transmission is a sketchy thing. However the Bible is the exception to the rule when it comes to early manuscripts. The number of early manuscripts of the gospels and letters in the New Testament are astounding. There are way more than there are for several Greek historical manuscripts and way more than is required for a text to be considered historically accurate. This means that if we are to take Greek history as factually correct, then we have no choice but to do the same for pretty much the entire New Testament. The high number of originals is one of the things which drastically reduces the amount of errors that would normally occur when reproducing documents like this. To say that there is a "plethora" of errors is an unfair statement, as it can't be clarified, and can't necessarily be applied to every text.
Just to clarify...first, we don't take Greek history to be factually correct. At least most classicists don't, and what the general public believes to be the truth about ancient history is often incorrect. Besides, Greek history isn't only based on textual evidence. Many disciplines are brought in to verify information. The same should be true, imo, of biblical information, but I know plenty of Christians who refuse to take archaeological evidence, etc., into account when verifying or disproving claims made in the Bible. The evolution argument is a perfect example. And again, what many people believe to be true of Biblical archaeology is incorrect as well. I should know. My archaeologist husband has clarified many a thing for me as to what has and has not been found to support the text of the Bible. Secondly, when I said "plethora of errors," I was not referring to the Bible, I was referring to the sheer number of types of errors that can occur. All these errors have fancy names, too, and it's quite a science to trace manuscript transmission. More manuscripts only complicate the process, not simplify it.

Quote:
You're slightly off-base here. The protestant church didn't just decide to axe a bunch of books because they didn't like them. There were several canons of the Bible established (such as the Latin Vulgate) during it's trip from a bunch of letters and books to the complete work it is today. The writings had to be judged against themselves and against the teaching and foundation of the Church at the time... those that didn't make the cut were left out. To the best of my knowledge, the extra books in the Catholic Bible (the Apocrypha) were in fact ADDED to the Holy Bible which is more readily known and available in the world.

Even still, the difference between the different versions does not disprove infallibility. Suppose I tell a group of people that I have blue eyes, brown hair, and stand 6'4". You meet up with two of them. One says I have blue eyes and brown hair, but chose to leave out my height. The other says the same two things but also mentions that I'm 6'4". Because one person gave less information, is he incorrect, or not to be believed? And vice versa, just because one person mentioned something the other didn't, does that make his statements incorrect? No.
It is true that each church establishes its own canon. I simply think it's interesting that if the Bible was written by God, certain books "failed to make the cut" with some religions. As for whether books were added or cut from different versions canonized by different religions, I think the only way to prove or disprove this is on a book by book basis, which I'd love to do, but I have other stuff planned for this evening. I appreciate your argument about the two people, one giving less information than the other. However, if people claim that God works through the authors or the Bible, thus making their writing infallible, I'd think the writer would write down everything God told or inspired them to write. But why would God have one write one thing and another write another? I'm not sure I have an answer--just food for thought.

Quote:
This is the sticky part, and to a degree, you are correct. There are passages where translations are sketchy, due to the greeks having like 4 words for "peace" while we have just one. Thankfully, editions of the Bible are available where a person can see when a word like that is present, and they can refer to the original greek word to get a better idea of what the verse is talking about.

However, this doesn't mean we can just say "Translations are useless, the Bible is vague and inaccurate, and as a result, meaningless" because that would be incorrect and unfounded. If someone is translating a sentence, they may have to change the structure, and may not be able to match things word for word, but they still get the point across.
The Greeks certainly did not have four words for peace while we have one. It is very much the other way around for most of the ancient Greek language. Also, I have not claimed that translations are useless and that the Bible is vague, inaccurate, and thus meaningless. If I thought that, I doubt I'd own a copy of the Bible and some commentaries on it. My point with translations is that many people I know base their entire lives and their judgments of others based on what they "think" the Bible says. Sometimes this comes down to the meaning of a single word, as with the Judas story. Unless you can read and understandthe Greek (not just what some handy footnotes tell you) I feel it is dangerous to run around acting as though you "know" what the Bible says.

Edit: typo
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Old 06-06-2002, 11:07 AM   #28
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Good points... quick responses...

- Archaeological evidence is certainly very important, and it quite often verifies the Bible's legitimacy. I believe that up until a hundred years ago, people claimed the Bible was false due to it's mentioning of a people called the Hittites, and no anthropological or archaeological evidence showed that the people even existed. And then one day there was a massive discovery which showed that the Hittites were a real people... the Bible was the only source that mentioned these people. I've yet to hear anything concrete from the Archaeological community that disproves the Bible on anything, but I do admit that I'm not totally up-to-date in this field.

- More manuscripts would complicate translation if they were all different. But when they're all extremely similar, and you've got a whole bunch of them, then it's more likely to be accurate.

- As for evolution, Macro-evolution is viewed as totally ridiculous by physicists, chemists, and mathematicians. It's been disproven several times, however, it's still being taught in school. Micro evolution does have significant scientific basis however, and as a result, I don't question it. BUT, what we do know about the age of the earth, the appearance of life, and all that jazz is that it actually does more to verify the Bible's creation story that it does to disqualify it. For more info read "The Science of God" by MIT head physicist and Hebrew scholar Gerald Schroeder.

- My comment on the number of Greek words for Peace was a simple guess, an example of the differences in language. My apologies. I simply meant to communicate that while we often use one word that can communicate many things, they were more likely to have specific words for different uses and situations.

- Like I said, the Greek is important, and translation does get sticky. But I do know what the Bible says... I'm not just guessing or half-sure. When it says Jesus died and rose again, there's no two ways about it, that's what it means. So there isn't always room for interpretation or confusion.

- Have you read The Message? It's a modern english paraphrase of the original greek and hebrew text. Done by a guy with degrees in both languages. It's written in a casual relaxed style (like the originals), without numbered verses, etc. It's DRASTICALLY different from the normal Bible translations, and is often much closer to the intended point of the scripture. Check it out. It's even Bono-approved!
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Old 06-06-2002, 11:20 AM   #29
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Kingpin, this has been an enjoyable debate, and I appreciate your civility! That's kind of rare around here.


There's only one more thing that I thought was worth mentioning. Overall, I think we both make good points, but neither one of us is a total expert. Last night I showed my husband this thread and he mentioned something important.

Biblical archaeology is an unreliable field in the opinion of many archaeologists. Why? People fall into two camps--those trying desperately to prove the Bible is right and those trying desperately to prove the Bible wrong. He said that because of this bias, almost all Biblical archaeology in either direction is skewed, biased, and unreliable. He also mentioned that the carbon dating of the dead sea scrolls shows that they are not nearly as old as people originally thought. He thinks the date officially came out that the scrolls were written during the time of the Crusades.

Anyway, discussions like this make me wish I had time to become a biblical scholar. I think the bottom line is that we've both made valid arguments on both sides of the coin, and as long as people can recognize that there are two sides to this, both quite valid I believe, then truly we are all freeing our minds. That's what this forum is for, right?
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Old 06-06-2002, 11:37 AM   #30
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Absolutely. Very interesting point about the two biases in Biblical Archaeology. And I'll look into that Dead Sea Scrolls thing.

I still highly recommend that book by Gerald Schroeder though. He's an expert in both sides of the fence on this issue, and writes without the biases you mentioned... and as a result, finds a logical and verifiable solution.
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