Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This statement is true.

Do you believe it? It seems to me to be a form of the liar's paradox. There is no way to assign a true/false value to such a statement.

The bible asserts itself as true, and many churches state as the first part of their beliefs to be that the bible is true and unchanging, because the bible says it is. For example:

We believe that The Holy Bible is The Word of The Living God; true, immutable, steadfast, unchangeable, as it's author, The Lord Jehovah; that it was written by Holy men of old as they were moved upon and inspired by The Holy Spirit.

This is all based on 2 Timothy, chapter 3, verse 16:

Paul's Charge to Timothy
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

This came to mind today as I was reading a rather interesting review of Bart D. Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, a book about some of the history of the bible, where Brown compairs the bible to Wikipedia.

Of course I am already well aware that the bible has many versions, was compiled by different scribes at different times from different written & oral traditions. But upon checking the reviews on Amazon for Misquoting Jesus, it is clear that many people are willing to stretch their faith a little; even if all the words aren't the same, they're still inspired, written by inspired men, goddamnit!

History and physics clearly conflict with the bible in more than a few passages. What I want to know is; how do people rectify their statement of faith with the facts? Of course, this is a silly question on my part, the obvious answer is just that many people ignore the facts. It's either that, or they don't really believe in their heart the bible is perfect.

People seem to think that their faith in the bible is all-or-nothing. Believers are assumed to believe it all; atheists are assumed to think it's all BS.

When their own declaration of faith declares that the bible is infallible, and when many believers look down on those who treat the bible as a buffet (picking what they like from it), I can see how all-or-nothing becomes a natural conclusion for many people. They conclude that they either ignore the facts of the world, or they don't truly believe.

What if I were to give you the following statement:

Bunnies are cute, one plus one is equal to three, there is life on Mars, an objects speed is the distance it travels over time, and this sentance is true.

Of course, not everyone agrees on bunnies, 1+1=2, we don't know for sure about life on Mars, speed does equal d/t, and that statement isn't completely true. But can't we say it's true since it was partially true? If it's not completely true, does that make it completely false? Can we even know for sure?

Even being atheist, I can't discount everything the bible says; I like some of the moral stories, I like some of the songs/poetry, I even like a lot about Jesus with his whole do-unto-others philosophy and I always liked many of the parables. But I can't see it as any more inspired than Harry Potter, The Odyssey, or Macbeth. A little truth, a little myth, a little magic, a bit of death, and a lesson for all of us to learn from.

Still I wonder why there are so many christians still so afraid to acknowledge that their chosen version of the bible has any faults at all? Is their faith so unsteady that one gust of wind might reduce it all to rubble?


Blogger Intergalactic Hussy said...

If they admit that anything in the bible is illogical, immoral, or paradoxical...I suppose it would make them feel silly and confused. If a part of their treasured text is inaccurate, then it can't be something to "live one's life by" so they tend to use circular logic to keep themselves happy.

8:02 PM  

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