Monday, July 28, 2008

Important to our prior discussions?

Nunblog had an interesting thought about Biblical inerrancy, something that I think is at least slightly important to conversations we've had in our comments before (Matt, Greg, etc.) As part of arguments for sola scriptura (see the article in a previous post from Apologetics Press), sometimes Protestants argue that they can know what books are "inspired" because of historical or scientific accuracy. If this is true, we might have to throw out the book of Matthew, because the mustard seed, indeed, is not the smallest of all seeds. Whether or not someone can make an excuse for this discrepancy is irrelevant. Anyone can twist anything to make it sound good with enough thought. More importantly is that we shouldn't be reading the Bible like a science text book. Remember that we should be looking for the theological arguments and the issues of faith and morals, on which it will be infallible (much like the Church and Sacred Tradition).


mattwatson said...

"Whether or not someone can make an excuse for this discrepancy is irrelevant."

I disagree. By saying this you put people on the other side of this argument in an impossible position. Can't you at least consider the "excuses"?

The mustard seed issue doesn't even strike me as any sort of contradiction. It only becomes an issue if you take every word somebody says in a very absolute way. I used to be like this when I was younger, and it drove my elders at church crazy.

I have never seen a real historical inaccuracy pointed out to me. From my perspective, when somebody says historical inaccuracy, I think about something big, not just some nit picky point that can easily be explained, as the person you linked to did quite well (and perhaps unnecessarily). For instance, as I've said before, the Quran has major historical inaccuracies concerning people, places and events. It compresses biblical narratives into one narrative in some places, making it historically inaccurate sometimes by thousands of years! Show me something similar in the Bible, if it is historically inaccurate.

Btw, that exorcism stuff is probably a bunch of hogwash. The fact that it's a movie for entertainment makes me feel that way. I've never seen someone possessed, and the Bible never really says that much about it. I don't know what I think about it really.

~Joseph the Worker said...

Just a couple comments, first about exorcism:

1) I agree that the Exorcist is probably a bunch of hogwash. The Bible does, however, address the idea of demons and exorcism quite extensively in the Gospels. Why these demons suddenly disappeared from the Earth is a question for you and other Protestant friends.

2) Again, my point is that if you want to explain something, we can explain away everything. Both of us can. You are setting up a straw man if you say, for instance, the world was created in 6 literal days. Then, when I show you that science disagrees, you say that I am wrong. Why? Because the Bible says so. (Note that what i just said has nothing to do with my opinion about Genesis, just like my comment about the mustard seed has nothing to do with my opinion about that). The flood would be another good example, as would the Exodus. Do a little more digging and I'm sure you will find other discussions about the historicity of the Bible. The fact that genealogies are different from place to place (Matthew to Luke?), that the list of Kings is different, that secular historical sources are different from the Bible, all these make it difficult or impossible to say that the Bible is "historical". I could show you a million other books that are just as historical. Read the North and South Trilogy about the Civil War.

Again, don't take this too hard because I'm not challenging the accuracy, just challenging the reason you claim that it is historical. It wouldn't hold up in a court of law or a scientific examination. If you accept that it is accurate by Faith, that is another issue.