Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Bible Increasingly Under Siege

As we discussed previously the Bible is increasingly under siege. This is present in a very visible way through people like Bart Ehrman who is succeeding in his mission to shake the faith of multitudes. He even seems proud to be causing the faith of many of his students in the classroom to waver. He says, “the more conservative students–– resist for a long time, secure in their knowledge that God would not allow any falsehoods into a sacred book. But before long as students see more and more of the evidence many of them find that their faith in the inerrant and absolute historical truthfulness of the Bible begins to waver.”[1]

As this professor has managed to shake the faith of multitudes in the classroom, he’s now bent on shaking the faith of multitudes in the culture. He has systematically forwarded the notion that Bible is not only hopelessly contradictory, but from his perspective a dangerous book in which to believe. In fact, he’s gone as far as to intimate that had we embraced the Gospel of Judas, a Gnostic gospel, instead of the Gospel of John, a canonical gospel, we might well avoided, nothing less than the holocaust itself. [2]

So in light of this onslaught by Bart Ehrman and many others like him in the media, I’ve developed a booklet in order to expose the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie. In this new booklet entitled, The Bible Under Siege, you will encounter the memorable acronym L-E-G-A-C-Y as an apt means of remembering factors that credible historians consider in determining the historical reliability and meaning of the Bible. It’s also includes the acronym S-H-A-F-T as means of unearthing and undermining contentions of the Bart Ehrman’s of the world. The “shaft” of the archeologist’s spade is a method by which you can remember that contra Ehrman, what has been discovered in the soil corresponds to what is detailed in the Bible. In addition to exposing the sophistry and scriptorture of professors and pundits the booklet systematically demonstrates that the Bible is divine rather than merely human in origin.

[1] Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (New York, Harper One, 2009), 6.

[2] Gospel of Judas, National Geographic Channel, aired April 16, 2006, see (accessed April 9.2009).


Boris said...

Divine Inspiration

I occasionally see a bumper sticker that says, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” My response is always, “What if God didn’t say it? What if the book you take as giving you God’s words instead contains human words? What if the Bible doesn’t give a foolproof answer to the modern age – abortion, women’s rights, gay rights, religious supremacy, Western style democracy and the like? What if you have to figure out how to live and what to believe on our own, without setting the Bible up as a false idol – or an oracle that gives us a direct line of communication with the Almighty?” There are clear reasons for thinking that, in fact, the Bible is not this kind of guide to our lives: among other things in many places we (scholars, or just regular readers) don’t even know what the original words of the Bible actually were.
It is one thing to say that the original words were inspired, but the reality is that we don’t have the originals – so saying they were inspired doesn’t help much, unless we can reconstruct the originals. Moreover, the vast majority of Christians for the entire history of the church have not had access to the originals, making their inspiration something of a moot point. Not only do we not have the originals, we don’t have the first copies of the originals. We don’t even have copies of copies of the originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals. What we have are copies made later – much later. In most instances, they are copies made many centuries later. And these copies all differ from one another, in many thousands of places. These copies differ from one another in so many places that we don’t even know how many places there are. Possibly it is easiest to put in comparative terms: There are more differences in our New Testament manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.
Some of these differences are completely immaterial and insignificant. A good portion simply show us that scribes in antiquity could spell no better than most people can today (and they didn’t even have dictionaries, let alone spell check). Even so, what is one to make of all these differences? If one wants to insist that God inspired the very words of scripture, what would be the point if we don’t have the very words of scripture? In some places we simply cannot be sure that we have reconstructed the original text accurately. It’s a bit hard to know what the words of the Bible meant if we don’t even know what the words are.
The problem for the view of divine inspiration is that it would have been no more difficult for God to preserve the words of scripture than it would have been for him to inspire them in the first place. If he wanted people to have his words, surely he would have given them to them (and possibly even given them the words in a language they could understand, rather than Greek and Hebrew). The fact that we don’t have the words surely must show, that he did not preserve them for us. And if he didn’t perform that miracle, there seems to be no reason to think that he performed the earlier miracle of inspiring those words.
2Timothy contains the text which fundamentalists have often idealized, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for corrections” (2Timothy 3:16). The translation is arguable, as is the texts authority. It is a pleasant measure of the complexities in the Bible’s truth: the text which has been used to support a literal view of the entire Bible’s inspiration is itself the work of an author who lied about his identity. - Bart Ehrman

Chris said...

Hi Hank.

I used to listen to you all of the time, and loved every minute of it.
Thank you for those times.

I moved on and discovered that the bible is indeed not the word of God, but the words of men in a different time and place intended for a different culture than ours. What well intending people like yourself are doing is the very same thing that Bart Ehrman is doing. Bart is also trying to expose the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie that Christianity has offered for over 1700 years. I know it's your belief that you are defending, and Bart is defending his as well.
But long before ever even hearing of Bart Ehrman I ran across the same problems with the bible as He has. Bart hasn't even gone into depth with the problems the bible has, but again he is careful not to say too much because too much might not be good for the common reader as his books are aimed at.
As to your booklet you say will systematically demonstrate that the Bible is divine rather than merely human in origin.

That is a outright lie Hank.

No one here or past can ever "Systematically demonstrate" that the bible is divine.

The bible has to be believed in by each one who reads, and chooses to have "Faith" that it is divine.
Your booklet sounds like it's more about your own personal struggles with faith than "to expose the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie"
In any event thanks again for the evenings listening to the Bible answer man