What's the Point

Jaden
Theist
Posts: 27
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
What's the Point

I have two (well three) questions for both Atheists and Theists.

What is the point of the Bible?

The second question needs a little explaining (and has two parts).  The point of this forum is Biblical Errancy, basically if an Atheist can show that the bible contradicts itself, then it is false.  (This by the way seems to be taken from Kuyper and Warfield idea of worldviews). 

What does it mean to self-contradict?  If I am a believer in the bible, I will find no error precisily because I can read it in context and interpret it in light of my basic beliefs.  If I am an unbeliever, then I shall do likewise, finding everything a contradiction, because it contradicts my basic belief.  With that in mind, should not we examine eachothers worldviews for the contradiction first? 

 


serotonin_wraith
serotonin_wraith's picture
Posts: 119
Joined: 2007-03-10
User is offlineOffline
Finding contradictions in

Finding contradictions in the Bible is not the same as finding contradictions between what the Bible says and what you believe.

If there are two sentences within the Bible itself that go against each other, it doesn't matter what anyone's thoughts on the verses are, the fact remains there is error in the Bible.


Vastet
atheistBloggerSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 13210
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Exactly.

Exactly.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


magilum
Posts: 2410
Joined: 2007-03-07
User is offlineOffline
1. How is anyone meant to

1. How is anyone meant to answer this? I can speculate, but why?
2. The bible contradicts itself early and often (starting with Genesis 1 and 2). I can easily imagine a first or second century writer gazing up at the sky trying to interpret what he sees, and coming to the conclusion that the moon is a "lesser light" rather than an object that reflects sunlight. I could imagine their knowledge of the world's animals to be small enough that Adam naming each of them, and each fitting on a big boat, could seem feasible. But most advocates of this book don't see it as a confession of the limited knowledge of its time, but something that's supposed to supplant your perception of the world around you. If fossils can be dated back millions of years, fossils are wrong. If evolution says we share a common ancestor with other primates rather than having been made from dust or otherwise being willed into existence, then evolution must be wrong. I simply don't see where a trust in one's senses and methodologies can be justifiably replaced with the dogmas of millennia past.
I don't see a contradiction in my views, but I could be wrong about that.


aiia
Superfan
aiia's picture
Posts: 1923
Joined: 2006-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Jaden wrote: I have two

Jaden wrote:

I have two (well three) questions for both Atheists and Theists.

What is the point of the Bible?

Realistically, there is none. But theologically the point is to show there's a god and that's were reality ends.
Quote:

 

The second question needs a little explaining (and has two parts). The point of this forum is Biblical Errancy, basically if an Atheist can show that the bible contradicts itself, then it is false. (This by the way seems to be taken from Kuyper and Warfield idea of worldviews).

Kuyper and Warfield are redundant to the fact that there are contradictions.
Quote:
What does it mean to self-contradict?
It means it is useless as a reference for truth.
Quote:
If I am a believer in the bible, I will find no error precisily because I can read it in context and interpret it in light of my basic beliefs.
But of course, a belief does not need to be truthful does it. One can believe he is Napolean and traveling to Neptune.
Quote:
If I am an unbeliever, then I shall do likewise, finding everything a contradiction, because it contradicts my basic belief.
That makes sense doesnt it; reality contradicts fantasy. Excellant observation.
Quote:
With that in mind, should not we examine eachothers worldviews for the contradiction first?
No.

You should compare your beliefs to reality.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


Jaden
Theist
Posts: 27
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
Quote: 1. How is anyone

Quote:
1. How is anyone meant to answer this? I can speculate, but why?

It seems that theists (hey I just got marked a theist on this board...God must hate me, or KrishnAllaJesBuddah  <I really like the B'Hai faith> who decides these things anyway...theist...) are in disagreement to what is the point of the bible.  Some say it is the Supreme Authority upon all truth is rested, others it is a literary account of redemtion leading to salvation.  Is there an OBJECTIVE point to the Bible?  or is it entirely up to interpretation?  That's all that I was asking.

But if I say that the point of the Bible is to show how God is both merciful and just, and how salvation and providence is working throughout history, then it matters not how many days the Earth was created in, or which was created first...  Those are details in a larger picture that are not contradictions to redemtion, then of no consequence.

I do not think we can argue starting points or certain types of evidences.  We have to interpret evidence in LIGHT of our basic belief.  Pulp Fiction, for example, both John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson were shot at 16 times at short range, and lived.  JT said that it was a freak occurance, SLJ said it was a God D***ned Miracle.  Both had the same experience, and the same evidence, yet different conclusions.


Jaden
Theist
Posts: 27
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
Quote: No. You should

Quote:

No.

You should compare your beliefs to reality

I absolutly agree.  Reality must match beliefs for it to be true.  So tell me is there anything that we can know about the reality of the world?  Such as the most basic thing, what is etenal?


aiia
Superfan
aiia's picture
Posts: 1923
Joined: 2006-09-12
User is offlineOffline
What does eternity have to

What does eternity have to do with basics?

Eternal - existence, the universe, time 


AmericanIdle
Posts: 414
Joined: 2007-03-16
User is offlineOffline
Jaden wrote: What is

Jaden wrote:

What is the point of the Bible?

Are you asking what its purpose is ?  If so, what is the purpose of any sacred scripture (and there are thousands)? 

- It certainly gives the followers of said scripture a worldview/ideology to follow. 

- It often gives authority to a few and demands obedience from the many.

- It separates or excludes those that belong and those who do not.

- It divides humans into groups based on belief/worldview systems (most of which contradict each other) and demands conformity from its adherents.  

- Most importantly, these worldviews rarely, if ever, question themselves as to their own truth, it just claims to be exclusive truth, and all beliefs are not equal.  

If we accept that all beliefs are equal how do we stand up to tyrrany ?  If all beliefs are equal how can we possibly determine the truth ? Objective examination of our beliefs is crucial to the survival of humans.

The more important questions then become not "what is the purpose" but .........Is it true ? and does it harm us?   

{clarity edit}

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell


Jaden
Theist
Posts: 27
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
can you then tell me what

can you then tell me what is the most basic thing?

I was under the impression that existence is the most basic thing, it is the most basic thing that can be said about a thing.  So the question is regard what we can know about things.  Can we know what is temporal or eternal?

(should this thread be moved, I feel that this is off subject of the original post?)


Jaden
Theist
Posts: 27
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
Quote: If so, what is the

Quote:
If so, what is the purpose of any sacred scripture (and there are thousands)?  
 

Does the bible specifically have that purpose though?

 I do like other scriptures too... I like the Upanishadas the best.  But they have a specific focus, to tell the state of existence and build consistancy for Hinduism, Atman is Brahaman.  But because this is mainly an Atheist vs Theist forum, I don't talk about them. 

Quote:
The more important questions then become not "what is the purpose" but .........Is it true ? and does it harm us? 

I absolutly agree about this as well, and that is my point.  If I do not know what the bible is really trying to say, how may I defeat it?  Pointing out verse inconsistancies out of context does not prove a contradiction.


aiia
Superfan
aiia's picture
Posts: 1923
Joined: 2006-09-12
User is offlineOffline
The bible is also used as a

The bible is also used as a staging prop for churches


magilum
Posts: 2410
Joined: 2007-03-07
User is offlineOffline
The bible makes specific

The bible makes specific claims about the way things are and the way people ought to behave. I can understand the impetus for believers to distance themselves from those specific claims as our body of actual knowledge broadens to the exclusion of those claims. What I've yet to hear from anyone is how rejection of parts of the bible can be seen as anything but an exercise in subjective morality, defeating the purpose of having a supposedly absolute moral guide.
Where is it written that the bible ought to be taken so broadly? Why should we suppose that its writers were so much more clever than us, and that they'd hidden meanings to be discovered thousands of years later? Why should we not suppose the more plain conclusion that it was written by people who knew less than we do? We see cults spring up all the time to worship insipid things. We know this wasn't different two thousand years ago, but why do we suppose it was different in just one case?


serotonin_wraith
serotonin_wraith's picture
Posts: 119
Joined: 2007-03-10
User is offlineOffline
Jaden wrote: But if I say

Jaden wrote:
But if I say that the point of the Bible is to show how God is both merciful and just, and how salvation and providence is working throughout history, then it matters not how many days the Earth was created in, or which was created first...  Those are details in a larger picture that are not contradictions to redemtion, then of no consequence.

You'd be lying or deluded to think the Bible shows a merciful and just God, and scientific data showing God to be a liar when it comes to creation can't be a good thing either. Furthermore, reality showing a God wasn't needed at all does kinda go against the idea of salvation of the cruelest form.


BenfromCanada
atheist
BenfromCanada's picture
Posts: 811
Joined: 2006-08-31
User is offlineOffline
Jaden wrote: I have two

Jaden wrote:

I have two (well three) questions for both Atheists and Theists.

What is the point of the Bible?

To attempt to explain things, to control people, to tell stories, to preserve (some) ancient history, and to unite the Jewish people and shore up national pride.

Jaden wrote:
The second question needs a little explaining (and has two parts). The point of this forum is Biblical Errancy, basically if an Atheist can show that the bible contradicts itself, then it is false. (This by the way seems to be taken from Kuyper and Warfield idea of worldviews).
That's what I gather.

 

Jaden wrote:
What does it mean to self-contradict? If I am a believer in the bible, I will find no error precisily because I can read it in context and interpret it in light of my basic beliefs. If I am an unbeliever, then I shall do likewise, finding everything a contradiction, because it contradicts my basic belief. With that in mind, should not we examine eachothers worldviews for the contradiction first?

There are a lot of self contradictions IN CONTEXT. That said, to self contradict, you must say one thing, then say a contradictory statement, then assume that both are true...without displaying that your mind has changed. For example, if I said "there is a god" and then several weeks later "there is no god" and meant both statements, and didn't say "I used to think this, but now believe this" then I am self contradicting.


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1521
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
Jaden wrote:

Jaden wrote:

Reality must match beliefs for it to be true. So tell me is there anything that we can know about the reality of the world? Such as the most basic thing, what is etenal?

Reality must match beliefs for it to be true? So I have my beliefs and then make reality conform to them?

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


kmisho
kmisho's picture
Posts: 298
Joined: 2006-08-18
User is offlineOffline
Technically,

Technically, self-contradiction is redundant. All contradictions are self-contradicitions. The term itself means "against the word" but is better translated to make the point as "against itself".

So, as someone pointed out, saying the bible is contradictory is to say it goes against itself.

Here's one of my preferred examples:

Psalms 14:1 and Psalms 53:1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

and

Matthew 5:22 But anyone who says, "You fool!" will be in danger of the fire of hell.

***

I am aware offhand of 2 ways christians try to appologize for this contradiction.

1) The Psalms excerpt is god himself calling people who do not believe in him fools. The Matthew excerpt is Jesus (qua god) saying that PEOPLE cannot call others fools. The problem with this is that apparently god can call people fools but people can't. God is a hypocrite who says "do as I say and not as I do."

2) The other is the idea that Jesus established a new law and that the New Testament supercedes the Old Testament. This is simply an admission that the the 2 testaments contradict each other. If the whole bible is supposed to be the word of god, then god is illogical as he contradicts himself. He goes against his own word. If we take New Testament objection at face value, why not eliminate the OT from the bible as it is no longer valid? Or was it EVER valid?

As you can see, these appologetics fail to explain away this biblical contradiction.


Hambydammit
High Level DonorModeratorRRS Core Member
Hambydammit's picture
Posts: 8657
Joined: 2006-10-22
User is offlineOffline
I won't address point one

I won't address point one because it calls for speculation, and I don't care to.

Self contradiction is based on the idea that some things are deductively true through retortion. In other words, if I question the thing, I must employ it to ask the question. Descartes is famous for noticing that questioning my own existence proves that I exist. This is an example of a deductive truth. You should note that Descartes also tried to prove the existence of god, but he was piled on by philosophers in a manner that resembled the boys team playing the masters in rugby in Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life."

Anyway, I digress.

Since I know that I exist, I also know that I do not "not exist," for, if I do not exist, I cannot ask the question of whether I exist or not. After a little bit of deep thought, we come to the conclusion that it is a basic, undeniable truth that a thing cannot be contradictory and true at the same time.

So....

How does this relate to the bible?

Well, for starters, there are blatant, undeniable contradictions in the bible. If you haven't noticed any, you could look here to find some of the more glaring ones:

http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/

Christians will often say that these are only "apparent" contradictions, and that there is a perfectly good explanation for them. The problem with this answer is that there are numerous explanations for the errors. Without a reason to assume differently, the most logical explanation is that the bible, like all other books in the history of the universe, was written by men who lacked a scientific or even historically accurate account of the events they were writing about. Furthermore, there's no reason to assume that any of the miraculous events described in it are anything but fiction.

The believer will respond that if you believe in Jesus, or God, or Yahweh, that you will then be able to understand the infallibility of the bible. This, in logic, is referred to as circular reasoning, and it is not a good argument. To illustrate, imagine if we had the following conversation:

Me: I'm invisible.

You: No, you're not. I can see you.

Me: No, you can't. You just think you can see me.

You: But, you're as plain as day! I'm looking right at you!

Me: You can't be looking right at me, because I'm invisible.

You: How do you know you're invisible?

Me: Because if I wasn't, I'd be visible, and then you could see me.

It's ridiculous, isn't it? Obviously, I can't use the statement, "I am invisible" to prove that I am invisible! In logic, this boils down to "I am invisible because I am invisible." This is circular logic. This is different than a self evident truth such as "I exist." It does not make sense to say that I would need to be invisible to ask if I was invisible, does it? Therefore, invisibility does not pass the test of retortion, and can't be called an evident truth.

Now that you understand retortion and non-contradiction, let's look at the bible.

You: The bible is 100% true.

Me: No, it isn't! Look here... here's a contradiction, plain as day!

You: It's not a contradiction.

Me: But look! It can't be this and that at the same time.

You: No, it means something else.

Me: But how would you know that? It clearly says this, in plain words. What would make you think you're supposed to read it any other way?

You: Because it's true!

Me: How do you know?

You: Because it says it's true.

Me: Um... I'm confused. So, why should I believe it's true just because it says so?

You: Because it says so, of course!

You see how this could go on for days? Essentially, you must first believe the bible to be true before you can make the assumption that a contradiction is anything but a contradiction. The problem, of course, is that the same thing could be said about the Koran, the Babalonian Genesis, Joseph Smith's writings, or the Mayan Calendar that says the world is going to end in just a few years. Yet... all of them can't be true! So, how do we decide which text which claims to be true is true? Well, evidence, of course! Unfortunately, the bible offers none, nor does Intelligent Design, or Thomas Aquinas, or C.S. Lewis, or (heaven forbid) Pat Robertson. There is none. Nor is there any proof for any of the other texts.

Therefore, kiddo, the correct response is:

D) None of the Above.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism


Jaden
Theist
Posts: 27
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Reality must match

Quote:
Reality must match beliefs for it to be true? So I have my beliefs and then make reality conform to them? 
 

I do not quite follow this...

If I really believe the sky is green, or that I can breathe in water... or whatever. If I cannot do these things in reality, my beliefs must be false. They cannot be true, or else these things would be this way.

That's all I was saying.

 


Jaden
Theist
Posts: 27
Joined: 2007-02-07
User is offlineOffline
Quote: You'd be lying or

Quote:
You'd be lying or deluded to think the Bible shows a merciful and just God, and scientific data showing God to be a liar when it comes to creation can't be a good thing either. Furthermore, reality showing a God wasn't needed at all does kinda go against the idea of salvation of the cruelest form

Well that's a lovely opinion. Come back when you have something of value to add.Does anyone else have a response to the context of the bible's main purpose and focus to show how God COULD be both just and merciful? This is a historic position of Christianity. 

I was taught (in a public university, not some backwater church) that to go to the bible, one must assume a lot. Such as:

1. God exists, and wants us to know Him.

2. That we know of Him in some other way. John 1 describes these other ways.

3. If all men are without excuse for not knowing Him, there must be some way that all men CAN know him, or else there is no accountability. This would mean that the bible is not the way to prove God exists, or tell us about the world.

If these are true, then the bible has another focus.

Not the way to live our lives (reason being: there are passages in the bible that the Law is written in all hearts, meaning it is in our nature) this would mean that the 10 commandments are explicit and only part of the whole law. And to keep all men accountable for their actions, all men, including the ones who have never read the bible, must know the law.

Not to tell us how we came to be (reason being: that it is vague and not all that important, besides that God created. Unlike other mythologies who say the purpose of creation.)

Not for control (reason being: Zeus far better, Dante's Inferno, way more scarier, in fact, a person must know what heaven and hell are before they read the bible, there are not a lot of things written about it {except for there will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth..... not very scary}