On the bible


A good friend of ours asked

I would like to know where the Bible-believers get the belief from that the Bible itself says it is true.

I know of no chapter or verse in the bible where it is explicitly stated the bible is true. And those of you who have studied a little of biblical history know that it is a collection of forged documents, anonymous writings, some wisdom books and made up history like the book of Mormon.

Christians have been working on this question longer than I have and the good people at AiG have answered this question. And the answer, dear friends is

only the Bible can make sense of the standards by which we evaluate whether or not something is true.

or to put it differently, they tell us

The proof of the Bible is that unless its truth is presupposed, we couldn’t prove anything at all

what this brings to mind is Arch’s napkin religion. It says so on the napkin.

Another group of Christians, focus on the family have this to tell us about the bible and truth. First, they dispense with what is truth, the one question if Jesus lived and was interviewed by Pilate, he refused to answer. They tell us

Truth is what corresponds to reality. Consequently, what is real is true, what is unreal is false.

which we can work with. But what they say after this left us wondering if the post was written by different committees.

The Bible makes some very distinctive truth claims. It claims, for instance, that God exists. It also claims that He has chosen to communicate with us through His creation, our moral conscience, and via the Bible. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh and that the only way for human beings to be saved is through Him (John 14:6). Moreover, the death and resurrection of Jesus are also key to Christian theology.

These claims the Bible makes either correspond to reality or they do not. Christians believe that they do correspond to reality, meaning that the Bible is true. God really exists, Jesus is not a myth, and the resurrection really happened. But how do we know this?

Here, we are told, belief makes something true. And because Christians believe the bible is true, the bible is true.

Another apologist tells us

We believe the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God, not only because it was handed down to the fathers through the prophets, not only because it has preserved and copied and translated, but also because of what it says about itself.

and then goes ahead to quote writings of Peter, writings which several scholars think are forgeries and which I don’t think matter anyway. The question we are asking is how do we know the bible is true, quoting from the same book is ridiculous. Reminds me of the claim that god/ Allah revealed the Koran in Arabic and I hear it says so in the Koran.

A bible expert, Sam O’Neal, quotes 2nd Peter, a letter that I think is among the NT forgeries. What expert he is, I wait to be told.

Jack Wellman tells us

If the Bible were indeed a work of man, then we would expect some of the words to say, “thus says the prophet Jeremiah” or “thus says Peter an Apostle of God” but it doesn’t.  From what I could count, “Thus says the Lord” is recorded 418 times.

And me thinks this is putting the evidential threshold too low. The question to ask, if god is all powerful as the goddites claim, why not just write the book itself. Why not I the lord command…..? There is no way of ascertaining that the person reporting heard correctly or wrote what they heard or if they had an agenda and couched it in god language to give it a veneer of authenticity?

From what I have seen, Christians believe the bible is the word of god and is true because they believe so.

 

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

66 thoughts on “On the bible

  1. carmen says:

    Mak, for many people, “For the Bible tells me so” seems to be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. All they need. It is as you say, just what they believe; nothing more.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. john zande says:

    That appears to be the entire scope of their faith.

    Like

  3. KIA says:

    Psalm 119 is a huge repeated message to the veracity and truth of the word of god. Napkin anyone?

    Like

  4. tildeb says:

    This is why I see such a robust connection how any woo-laden belief is formed: believers all use the same method for their justifications – imposing a belief ON reality and then claiming this is evidence FROM reality. This is how faith works.

    We find the identical method used in, say, denialism (anti-whatever… vaccines, wi-fi, climate change, wind turbines, evolution, and so on) to conspiracy ‘theories’, from alternative therapies and naturopathic ‘medicine’ to supernatural causal explanations for selected natural effects. Faith-based methodology is as ubiquitous as it is foolish (and often pernicious). The method is a guaranteed way to fool ourselves.

    And the mother ship of faith-based thinking is religion because this is the main source that promotes unjustified beliefs to be a virtue as well as the organ by which respect for unjustified beliefs is demanded… so much so, in fact, that these disconnected beliefs from reality should be promoted by the state and imposed on others by legal means (usually under the ludicrous idea of ‘freedom to choose’)!

    This is how black becomes another kind of white, you see… that ‘up’ when properly understood is really just a different version of ‘down’. We call this ‘sophisticated’ thinking and it is as prevalent in philosophy as it is in theology. It’s really post modern relativist foolishness but is the central feature of metaphysical reasoning. This is why this method of imposing belief on reality doesn’t produce knowledge about reality. Ever. You’d think more folk would glob onto this fact and see it as the clue it really is about how valuable are explanations based on belief.

    Of course, the main defense used by people who empower their beliefs with unjustified confidence – and then expect others quite often to not just respect them but help fund their promotion and support – is to create a double standard for what constitutes explanatory knowledge: that anything less than ‘certainty’ means there’s enough wiggle room to insert some highly improbable belief – even if the explanatory belief is completely incompatible with and contrary to an understanding we have that is demonstrated by applications, therapies, and technologies based on this understanding that just so happen to work for everyone everywhere all the time. The True Believer (TM) then insists that the likelihood scale for their incompatible or highly improbable beliefs has to be shifted by doubters away from unlikely to likely to somewhere between ‘agnostic’ and ‘agree to disagree’. This shift must always be made by those who respect knowledge adduced from reality, who expect a link to be used to connect effects from claimed causes, who think an explanation that can be applied to stuff that then works reliably and consistently just so happens to matter more than believed stuff that doesn’t.

    How very militant, strident, and hateful of the non believer.

    The shift must be made, apparently, in order for the doubter to be politically correct and socially acceptable and earn little hearts and ‘likes’ on social media. Anyone who dares to step outside of this re-framing from what is demanded to be seen as ‘acceptable disagreement’ is then fair game to be called another ‘practitioner’ of ‘scientism’, a devout follower of ‘materialism’ as well as an intolerant asshole suffering from as much faith for his or her religious belief as any woo-laden credulous and gullible idiot immersed in the love-in of Groupthink.

    This is why belief in belief is a methodological failure in whatever knowledge area it arises.

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  5. exrelayman says:

    Well, they do stretch a passage in one of Paul’s letters that states that all scripture is profitable for instruction. Of course that passage: a) could not be referring to the New Testament as it preceded the writings of the gospels, b) says profitable, not true, c) could even include scriptures of other beliefs, the key work being ALL.

    But that is atheist nitpicking, of course. That is what atheists do. I know it is true, because if it were not true, the special snowflake which is me would not go to heaven, and all those horrible people who don’t agree with me and who I hate would not go to hell. So it just has to be true. So there 🙂

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  6. This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first:

    John: “Hi! I’m John, and this is Mary.

    Mary: “Hi! We’re here to invite you to come kiss Hank’s ass with us.

    Me: “Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who’s Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?

    John: “If you kiss Hank’s ass, He’ll give you a million dollars; and if you don’t, He’ll kick the shit out of you.

    Me: “What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?

    John: “Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can’t until you kiss His ass.

    Me: “That doesn’t make any sense. Why…

    Mary: “Who are you to question Hank’s gift? Don’t you want a million dollars? Isn’t it worth a little kiss on the ass?

    Me: “Well maybe, if it’s legit, but…

    John: “Then come kiss Hank’s ass with us.

    Me:   “Do you kiss Hank’s ass often?

    Mary: “Oh yes, all the time…

    Me: “And has He given you a million dollars?

    John: “Well no. You don’t actually get the money until you leave town.

    Me:   “So why don’t you just leave town now?

    Mary: “You can’t leave until Hank tells you to, or you don’t get the money, and He kicks the shit out of you.

    Me:   “Do you know anyone who kissed Hank’s ass, left town, and got the million dollars?

    John: “My mother kissed Hank’s ass for years. She left town last year, and I’m sure she got the money.

    Me:   “Haven’t you talked to her since then?

    John: “Of course not, Hank doesn’t allow it.

    Me:   “So what makes you think He’ll actually give you the money if you’ve never talked to anyone who got the money?

    Mary: “Well, He gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you’ll get a raise, maybe you’ll win a small lotto, maybe you’ll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street.

    Me:   “What’s that got to do with Hank?

    John: “Hank has certain ‘connections.’

    Me:   “I’m sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game.

    John: “But it’s a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don’t kiss Hank’s ass He’ll kick the shit out of you.

    Me:   “Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him…

    Mary: “No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank.

    Me:   “Then how do you kiss His ass?

    John: “Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl’s ass, and he passes it on.

    Me:   “Who’s Karl?

    Mary: “A friend of ours. He’s the one who taught us all about kissing Hank’s ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times.

    Me:   “And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?

    John: “Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here’s a copy; see for yourself.

    Me:   “This appears to be written on Karl’s letterhead.

    Mary: “Hank didn’t have any paper.

    Me:   “I have a hunch that if we checked we’d find this is Karl’s handwriting.

    John: “Of course, Hank dictated it.

    Me:   “I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?

    Mary: “Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people.

    Me:   “I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the shit out of people just because they’re different?

    Mary: “It’s what Hank wants, and Hank’s always right.

    Me:   “How do you figure that?

    Mary: “Item 7 says ‘Everything Hank says is right.’ That’s good enough for me!

    Me:   “Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up.

    John: “No way! Item 5 says ‘Hank dictated this list himself.’ Besides, item 2 says ‘Use alcohol in moderation,’ Item 4 says ‘Eat right,’ and item 8 says ‘Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.’ Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too.

    Me:   “But 9 says ‘Don’t use alcohol.’ which doesn’t quite go with item 2, and 6 says ‘The moon is made of green cheese,’ which is just plain wrong.

    John: “There’s no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you’ve never been to the moon, so you can’t say for sure.

    Me:   “Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock…

    Mary: “But they don’t know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese.

    Me:   “I’m not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon was somehow ‘captured’ by the Earth has been discounted. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn’t make it cheese.

    John: “Ha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!

    Me:   “We do?

    Mary: “Of course we do, Item 7 says so.

    MeYou’re saying Hank’s always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That’s circular logic, no different than saying ‘Hank’s right because He says He’s right.’

    John: “Now you’re getting it! It’s so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank’s way of thinking.

    Me:   “But…oh, never mind. What’s the deal with wieners?

    Mary: (She blushes.)

    John: “Wieners, in buns, no condiments. It’s Hank’s way. Anything else is wrong.

    Me:   “What if I don’t have a bun?

    John: “No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong.

    Me:   “No relish? No Mustard?

    Mary: (She looks positively stricken.)

    John: (Shouting.) “There’s no need for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!

    Me: “So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up in it would be out of the question?

    Mary: (Sticks her fingers in her ears.) “I am not listening to this. La la la, la la, la la la.

    John: “That’s disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant would eat that…

    Me:   “It’s good! I eat it all the time.

    Mary: (She faints.)

    John: (He catches Mary.) “Well, if I’d known you were one of those I wouldn’t have wasted my time. When Hank kicks the shit out of you I’ll be there, counting my money and laughing. I’ll kiss Hank’s ass for you, you bunless, cut-wienered, kraut-eater.

    With this, John dragged Mary to their waiting car, and sped off.

    [This page is http://www.jhuger.com/kisshank Copyright © Rev. James Huber, (james@jhuger.com) All rights reserved.]

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  7. niceatheist says:

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  8. I hear Hank wiped his arse with the napkin upon which the napkin faith was found thus wiping (get it, wiping) out the napkin religion. Now there is only Hank left and a shit stained napkin. If only we could do the same with the bible.

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  9. nannus says:

    The bible is claiming that god created the world. We learn this god is omniscient and omnipotent. Fine.
    If that is so, any information we might discover in the world ultimately comes from the creator. What scientists are doing is to read out that information. Scientists might be wrong sometimes, but science is a self-correcting process and there is a lot of evidence that they have found out a lot of true stuff.
    Now if the world is the creation of a creator god (as is claimed by the bible) then the information scientists read out of the world must be considered coming from god, i.e. science must be considered divine revelation (not a new idea, for example, Galilei was arguing in that direction). Now, if science is divine revelation and science contradicts the Bible (and it does) then that is bad news not for science but for the Bible. The only evidence for the truth of the Bible is an old tradition that is just like a number of other traditions saying some other holy books are ture. With other words, there is no real evidence at all, just belief (i.e. brainwashing). The evidence for science, on the other hand, is overwhelming.
    So if the Bible is true on the divine origin of the universe from a omniscient and omnipotent creator, it implies that the Bible is wrong.
    However, if you start from science alone, you don’t need the Bible and its god at all.

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    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      …science must be considered divine revelation (not a new idea, for example, Galilei was arguing in that direction)

      “I do not feel obliged to believe that some god who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.”
      — Galileo Galilei —
      (1564-1642)

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    • makagutu says:

      nannus my friend, the goddites have a retort for that. If it is not in the bible, it is not relevant. If god wanted them to know, it should have made it to the bible and with that they reject all scientific discoveries even if their lives depend on those discoveries.
      You are right in your conclusions. If you start from science, the bible and it’s god are irrelevant

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “If the Bible were indeed a work of man, then we would expect some of the words to say, “thus says the prophet Jeremiah” or “thus says Peter an Apostle of God” but it doesn’t. From what I could count, “Thus says the Lord” is recorded 418 times.”

    This is such bullshit. Of course the authors say “thus says the lord”. It certainly sounds better than saying “Hey, Fred the wooly bear caterpillar said this.” It’s nothing more than a classic appeal to authority. Looky, God says this. Honest and for true.

    😛

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      What do you do when you have no argument? Make things up and say a god has said them. If your crowd is a bunch of uneducated, superstitious goat herders, they will assent to everything you say

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  11. Peter says:

    A detailed study of the variant texts of the New Testament should be enough to prove to any objective person that there is no one text of the Bible.

    Apologists argue that the Bible was correct and inerrant when handed down by ‘God’, but not necessarily in its transmission.

    As Bart Ehrman observes this is a real cop out. Why would an all powerful deity go to all the trouble of giving humanity ‘the truth’ and then not ensure that truth is preserved in its transmission?

    The apologists argues that any differences are trivial, but this is another case of rationalisation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      What about translation errors? Wouldn’t an omnipotent god make sure there weren’t any?

      From my old website:

      Also on this day, god told the waters to bring forth, “fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” (1:20).

      I have before me a book, entitled, “HOLY BIBLE.” Under that title, in smaller gold leaf print, the words, “KING JAMES VERSION.” Inside the flyleaf, the book assures me that it is, “TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES: AND WITH THE FORMER TRANSLATIONS DILIGENTLY COMPARED AND REVISED, BY HIS MAJESTY’S SPECIAL COMMAND.”

      I also have another copy I found online from the Electronic Text Center of the University of Virginia Library, for comparison. (* (Lansing State Journal, January 29, 1992) http://www.pa.msu.edu/sciencet/ask_st/012992.html) Both texts agree with my above quotation of Genesis 1:20, “And god said, let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” – word for word.

      But I also have a copy of the same verse from the Latin Vulgate, the original source for the King James version, which says: “dixit etiam Deus producant aquae reptile animae viventis et volatile super terram sub firmamento caeli” (emphasis, mine). Translated, – and yes, I’ve studied Latin – the italicized portion says: “over the earth under  (not “in”) the firmament of heaven” – “super,” meaning “above,” “sub,” meaning, “below.”

      These two copies of the King James Version of The Bible have incorrectly translated one Latin preposition, “sub,”  to read, “in,” thereby changing the context of the entire sentence, placing heaven inside Earth’s atmospheric envelope. Yet the King James version is an English translation of the Latin Vulgate, which is a translation of the Hebrew Pentateuch, which is a translation of a number of different languages, based in part upon stories handed down verbally from generation to generation for hundreds of years. We’re only twenty verses into the first book, yet I, who basically just fell off a turnip truck, academically-speaking, have already discovered a translation error that changes the context of an entire verse – how many more of those would you expect there are in the whole book? Here’s another Latin phrase for you: “caveat emptor” – ”Let the buyer beware.”

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    • makagutu says:

      Hello Peter, hope you have been well.

      Only a person with an agenda or ignorant of the history of the texts would insist they were handed down by a god.

      The real question that must be answered about the bible is how do we prove divine inspiration. This is the test.

      Like

      • Peter says:

        “Only a person with an agenda or ignorant of the history of the texts would insist they were handed down by a god”

        Unfortunately that covers a fairly broad group.

        I had one of those lightbulb moments yesterday when I suddenly saw clearly that Christianity as portrayed in the Gospel of Matthew is a different religion to that taught by the Apostle Paul.

        If Christian doctrine was derived solely from Matthew’s Gospel it would involve continued observance of the Jewish Law and be based salvation by works.

        The reasons Christians differ so much on theological dogma is simply the Bible, especially the New Testament is rife with contradictions.

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      • Peter says:

        ‘how do we prove divine inspiration

        I don’t think this is something that can be proved or disproved. But what we can do is look at matters that would tip the balance of evidence one way or the other. I mean factors like:
        – accurate history;
        – reliable prophecy;
        – prescient scientific understanding;
        – moral perfection;
        – internal consistency.

        The flood story alone is enough to prove the Bible is not literally true. Anyone who thinks the flood actually happened as described in the Bible cannot have objectively looked at the evidence.

        But there remains a case (though a weak one) for saying that a deity used make believe stories to pass on greater truths.

        So it is pointless to discuss the reliability of the Bible with any apologist who suggests the Flood actually happened as by that position alone the person has demonstrated that they have started with the conclusion not the evidence.

        So you won’t get far unless a person is prepared to put aside their conclusion and to look at the evidence and see where it leads. But that is a big ask for people who hold as a matter of faith that the Bible is God’s inerrant word.

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        • makagutu says:

          I agree it is not possible to prove or disprove. Maybe I could rewrite to ask if there is a way to demonstrate divine inspiration?
          That case you present, is really weak. Anyone who takes it will have to dispense with the charge of god being intentionally deceptive.

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  12. Peter says:

    Turns out there is an answer to how some of the evidence was planted:

    Like

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