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7 Comments

  1. 1

    Juu San

    Very good article, but it should never be used as a point for argument.

    Reply
    1. 1.1

      Aaron

      Thank you, but what do you mean by saying it shouldn’t be used as a point for argument? It certainly isn’t relevant to many issues, but it is an interesting fact in its own right, and can be used to demonstrate how the Bible isn’t clear or consistent. (edit: and also it can show the peculiar priorities of the Abrahamic god)

  2. 2

    Lauren

    Hi Aaron,
    It’s also important to take into account that Deuteronomy was written much later than Exodus. It was passed down by orral tradition long before it was penned, so would have gone through various interpretations.
    As a Christian I’m disappointed that churches aren’t teaching this stuff properly, that it’s only now that I’m studying theology that I’ve realised how biblically illiterate I am. For example, I grow up being taught that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, which doesn’t really make sense, because how could he write about his own death? I’ve now learned it’s quite likely that Genesis was penned during the exile, Deuteronomy was pre-exile.
    I’m appreciative of the fact that none of this is set in concrete (or stone tablets) as Christians so often claim it is. Surprisingly, this has deepened my faith, not decreased it.
    Glad you’re willing to engage in discussion with people on both sides of the fence.
    Cheers,
    Lauren

    Reply
    1. 2.1

      Aaron

      Hi,

      I know that Deuteronomy was created at a later time, but that doesn’t change the issue (In fact, it’s related to the point). Those differences emphasize the point that the Bible is a man-made document, like all other religions, and the changes were likely the intentional result of changing cultural and political views. I’m not sure why you would refer to this as “various interpretations”, because what are they interpreting? If they are ones creating the Bible itself then they are not interpreting anything, they are just making their own changes. It shows that the Bible isn’t divinely created. It’s entirely an invented mythology like all others.

      I admit to not understanding why you would say you’re glad it’s not set in concrete (although it’s fine that you feel that way). Because that inconsistency is one of the factors which prove that it was not issued by a deity who was trying to reveal truth to the world.

      If the Bible is inconsistent and man-made then what is there left about it to have religious faith in? If the Bible is not the basis of your faith, then what is? I could understand remaining a religious person in a general sense, but I don’t see how someone would still identify as a Christian if the mythology that defines it has been debunked. No Bible, no Christianity. It’s like learning that the Discovery channel show on mermaids was fake. There is then no basis for believing what was said/shown/claimed in it.

      That’s my view on it at least and I don’t see any way around it to be honest. But I would be interested in what your reasons are.

  3. 3

    Don

    Hi Aaron,
    I would question whether or not you would apply the same reasoning for doubting any historical text or account because of the fallibility of humans. There are undoubtedly countless texts regarding historical events throughout history, including very recently, that have been recorded inaccurately, incorrectly or just in a biased manner in view of the authors life experiences. Certainly when much of history was kept through an oral tradition there was tremendous opportunity for inaccuracy in repetition. Even after written history began, translations from one language to another presented challenges again in preserving the original content of the events actual facts. Do we then throw out all recorded history as being useless? Do these inconsistencies and inaccuracies mean that the original event did not in fact take place in some form or another? I tend to think that much of even mythology has some basis in historical context viewed through the prism of the limited knowledge our ancestors possessed with regards to the scientific expression of factual knowledge. For example, we have many eye witness accounts of the existence of Bigfoot. We have many evidenciary accounts including footprints, hair samples, audio and video recordings, yet no actual physical specimens. Does that mean that they don’t exist? Did atoms exist before we were able to prove their existence?

    I’ll use one of your own arguments in your response to Peter Russell with regards to consciousness: “But this current inability to understand it or “witness” it does not mean we won’t in the future – nor would the inability to do so ever mean that consciousness is all that exists.”

    I think this same concept could be applied regarding events that would be defined as faith based or religious. I’m certainly not convinced in the accuracy of the Bible and don’t know that I’ll ever know any truths regarding these matters, but I could easily say the same with regards to the physics of parts of the universe light years away. Things may function totally differently there. We are basing all our science on observations of an infinitesimally small portion of our universe, or possible universes (M-Theory). Maybe God was just some incredibly advanced being who genetically engineered us and gave us a basic set of rules to keep us from annihilating ourselves and we’ve just let our flawed human nature get in the way of the basic premise of what is best for our own good. Basically, my point is that it is very “reasonable” to expect that we need “faith” to drive us, scientists and spiritualists alike, to keep seeking truth, as we may never be able to fully know all the facts of our universe.

    Reply
    1. 3.1

      Aaron

      I read your comment but upon finishing, I am not sure of what exactly you are taking issue with. Could you be more specific? I feel like perhaps you have misunderstood what my views are? I admit to thinking I may be misunderstanding yours.

      I responded as best I could based on my understanding of what I thought you meant:

      **

      Doubting what aspect of them? I don’t believe any other texts are given by any gods, if that’s what you mean.

      And regarding the non-divine events, I apply the same reasoning, yes. For example, some of the events and numbers given in accounts of the life of Alexander the Great are clearly unreliable. That is why scholars do not take any one of them at their word, nor even assume that the truth lies in an average/compromise of the accounts. I’ve debated people about the reliability of such accounts before, so I do not have a unique grudge against the Bible in particular when it comes to that issue.

      And as regards the Ten Commandments, we have conflicting accounts as I described. So is there any other option than to doubt it? What would it mean to believe two conflicting ideas at once?

      **

      “Do we then throw out all recorded history as being useless?”

      Of course not, and I certainly don’t think that’s what i was implying. But also note that the recorded history can indicate more than what actually occurred – it can indicate more about the intent of the authors.

      **

      “Do these inconsistencies and inaccuracies mean that the original event did not in fact take place in some form or another?”

      As proof? No, we must look at the collection of evidence.

      **

      “For example, we have many eye witness accounts of the existence of Bigfoot. We have many evidenciary accounts including footprints, hair samples, audio and video recordings, yet no actual physical specimens. Does that mean that they don’t exist? Did atoms exist before we were able to prove their existence?”

      I’m not sure that’s a good comparison. The evidence alleged for bigfoot is very weak. Hearsay and alleged eyewitness is not evidence because people’s own preconceived ideas often impact what they think they saw. Also, much of the physical evidence for Bigfoot (possibly all of it that has ever been presented AFAIK) have been proven hoaxes. And regarding atoms, we had evidence to believe in atoms ages ago that did not rely on hearsay. We did not know the details of them regarding electrons etc and how they worked. but we could discern the basic concept of the atom.

      It is irrational to believe in something until there is sufficient reason to consider it more probable than not. otherwise we end up simply believing everything, or believing contradictory things. In that case we are then going to be wrong about the vast majority of what we believe.

      For example, you mentioned atoms. But you only say that now that we have essentially proved atoms exist. But were you to make the same argument regarding unicorns then you can see the flaw in the reasoning.

      **

      “I’ll use one of your own arguments in your response to Peter Russell with regards to consciousness: “But this current inability to understand it or “witness” it does not mean we won’t in the future – nor would the inability to do so ever mean that consciousness is all that exists.””

      That comment was regarding his claim that he could know for certain. I do not claim that nothing in the Bible is true. Also, I did not merely use that one line to make an argument from ignorance for my own side. I supported my view with further evidence. That totality of evidence is what makes one view more probable than another.

      **

      “I’m certainly not convinced in the accuracy of the Bible”

      If we’re in the same boat, then what are you taking issue with?

      **

      “Maybe God was just some incredibly advanced being who genetically engineered us and gave us a basic set of rules to keep us from annihilating ourselves and we’ve just let our flawed human nature get in the way of the basic premise of what is best for our own good.”

      I’m not sure how to respond to that. It’s speculation without evidence. So why should I believe it?

      And regarding the set of rules, how would they keep us from annihilating ourselves? The rules were only given to one group, the Israelites, and according to the Biblical story they went about murdering their neighbors by the thousands, as well as executing their own people under the authority of the theocracy. In my view such a god would have a quite flawed nature as well.

      **

      “Basically, my point is that it is very “reasonable” to expect that we need “faith” to drive us, scientists and spiritualists alike, to keep seeking truth, as we may never be able to fully know all the facts of our universe.”

      But if faith is belief without evidence, or contrary to evidence, then faith dissuades us from seeking truth. It perverts honesty and reasoning. The inability to know the absolute truth of everything is not an excuse to make assumptions about it that are contrary to the evidence. If one wishes to have faith then that is their choice, but they should not expect others to use the same flawed reasoning.

  4. 4

    Aaron

    What operating system are you using? Or are you on a tablet or phone? I am using Windows 7 right now and the site appears correctly on IE, Firefox, and Chrome for me (all the ones I tested).

    Reply

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