Thursday, June 09, 2005

Is the Bible Absolute Truth?

Fundamentalist Christians believe the bible is the unerring word of God. But is it?

If the bible is anything, it is not an absolute. If it were, why would there be so many denominations, religious clubs all calling themselves “Christians,” yet disagreeing on virtually every point about salvation?

Consider this parable (not by Jesus):

A young woman is given a cookbook by her mother and told that it contains the best recipes. The young woman reads the introduction which states, “The recipes in this cookbook are the best and tastiest on the planet.”

The young woman grows up and uses her cookbook religiously, thinking all along that she has prepared the most flavorful dishes possible. But at pitch-in dinners, her friends bring competing recipes. She does not try them, knowing they are inferior.

When challenged to try them, she brings out her cookbooks and shows her friends what it says in the introduction. She tells them she knows her recipes are best because her cookbook tells her so.

Now, the bible is not a cookbook, but the analogy holds. Fundamentalists believe that the bible is unerring and is the infallible word of God. How do they know this for sure? Well, the bible tells them so. It’s the epitome of circular reasoning.

Fundamentalists say that God gave us the bible centuries ago. Actually, the early Catholic Church gave us the bible in the fourth century AD. A conclave of church bishops and lawyers got together under the command of Constantine I to decide which of the many manuscripts concerning Jesus would become part of their canon.

They left out many historic manuscripts and even destroyed them because they went against church dogma. Some of these were the Gnostic Gospels, a copy of which was found in Egypt in the mid-twentieth century.

So, does the bible reveal absolute truth?

Consider these passages:

Concerning theft, the bible says, “Thou shalt not steal.” (Ex. 20:15) And also, “And ye shall spoil the Egyptians.” (Ex. 3:22)

Concerning being “saved” by grace, it says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith...not of works.” (Eph. 2:8, 9) And then again, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24)

Concerning calling people names, the bible tells us, “Whosoever shall say Thou fool, shall be in danger of hellfire.” (Matt. 5:22) But then Jesus said, “Ye fools are blind.” (Matt. 23:17)

Has anyone actually seen God? John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at anytime.” But Gen. 32:30 tells us “For I have seen God face to face.”

And why does God punish Adam and Eve for eating from the tree of knowledge, then praise King Solomon for choosing knowledge as his gift? Does God want us to use our knowledge or not?

The bible can be used to enhance our knowledge and strengthen both our spirits and our minds if we realize that it represents a disparate view of history from many perspectives. It makes for great philosophical debates.

But it can also be used to “prove” almost anything. When one religious zealot takes a single translation and dogmatizes it as absolute truth, he has done a grave disservice to his flock.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jerry, I was wondering were you got your info. concerning the date that the bible was put together

Beena Jain said...

Because God uses a person to send His word as a revelation and because that immediately makes His word conditional to the limitations of the human body, I have reason to believe that a revelation can be interpreted wrong. Since God is all logic, all intelligent and all wise, the revelation would be right but the interpretaion could be wrong. Therefore, if a said revelation does not seem logical, intelligent or wise, I have reason to ignore it. Which is perhaps why there are many branches of the same faith. Essentially, I'll believe whatever my heart and mind tells me seems right.

chris said...

Jerry,

Just because you have read the Bible doesn't mean you understand it. You took small pieces of scripture to prove your points but didn't use the whole passage. IE: Faith vs Works.

All are save through Faith only. Works are used to justify Faith. Take time to research your points and God will speak to you. May He be with you in your struggles.

"I am the way, the Truth and the Light. No one comes to my Father but through me."

Chip said...

I don't know your spiritual condition as to whether you have been born again. The Bible is very clear that to things of the Spirit are only discernable through the Spirit, thus Spiritual truths are on comprehensible to those who have been "born again". I can appreciate skepticism as long as it causes on to seek for truth. In John 8:31, Jesus states that "If you hod to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free. May you receive the grace that God offers to you and receive the discerning ability to understand and know "absolute truth". I once knew a man who would put into application the word of God to "try" it and see if it was "true". When he tried it, he would place a "T" beside the verse. When it proved itself he would place a "P". When he died, his wife found his bible and noticed for every "T" he had scribbled in the margin beside a verse, there was an accompanying "P". God Bless.

JamesGuillory said...

Jerry, You used to scriptures out of Context. Ephesians 2:8 For by Grace are ye saved through faith;(you left this part out) and that not of yoursel: it is the gift of God: Verse 9 not of works, lest any man should boast.
Jerry it was by God's unmerited favor that we are saved through our faith. The faith that God has given every man a measure of(Ro: 12,3). We are not saved based on what we can do on our ownself, we need a savior Jesus Christ. The text says not because of works referencing to the fulfillment of the Law's demands.

James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. A man is justified pronouced righteous before God through what he does and not alone through faith. (through works of obedience as well a by what he believes. Works that line with obedience to God's word is faith expressed outwardly and is a derivative of the inward faith that comes from God.

The above scriptures do not contradict themselves. It is only your interpetation that contradicts itself.

Jerry I only responded to you to draw you to the Love of Christ. Just open your Jerry and let him in and he will come into your heart forver. He loves you unconditionally.

Deondra Forland said...

Deondra Forland... King Solomon did not ask God for knowledge but for a understanding heart to judge his people so he can discern between good and bad. 1Kings 3:5-12 God gave it to him 1Kings 3;16-28 verse 28 reads KJV[And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.]God did not punish them for knowing good and evil read verse 22 Genesis ch;3 also Adam and Eve knew God and God is good(Luke 18:18-19). Is was because they disobeyed his command not to eat from that particular tree (Romans ch 3:19). Examples of this type of disobedience can be found if you would read (1Samuel ch 15) also (1Kings ch 13) and (1Kings ch20:35-36). Jesus the Son of God who also is the head of the church said it's those who obey God who are blessed (Luke ch11 27-28). Amen! to you Jerry christian are also commanded to, Prove all things: hold fast that which is good. (1Thessalonians ch5:21)also the bible teaches; The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. (Proverbs ch14:15)

Eliot Wasmund said...

"Getting Real"? Not exactly. Here is truth for you: You have never done a comprehensive study from a pro-Biblical perspective on the inerrant truth of the Bible. It is very clear that ignorance does not belong to Christians alone.

Jerry Wilson said...

Elliot...
You can't do that because the bible has stories that have no other historical corroboration. And since it was not specifically written as history (most of it), then you can neither prove nor disprove it. You accept it on faith and faith alone, which a rational person simply would not do.

Eliot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eliot said...

Jerry, you are quite mistaken. ALL knowledge whatsoever is accepted by faith. We accept basic axioms, asummption, laws, theories, etc all with the understanding that they may not be true though they may be practical. This is probably one of the greatest developments in modern philosophy; you must have missed it. It began with the advent of rationalism, was followed by skepticism, and refined by pragmaticism. Check Descartes, Berkely, Hume, James, Dewey, Russel and more for agreement. The very fact that philosophers have been arguing about the nature of truth since the beginning of time is enough of a hint to accept this stance. The fact that you cannot be 100% certain of anything you know is even more. Only individuals who cannot peirce the depths of their minds and discover all their assumptions are unable to accept such a view yet when pressed further and further for more information, they too will end up with no answer that is found at the premise of their argument. Believe it or not, every rational person accepts all he thinks on faith and faith alone, for the first cause of all possible knowledge, as we know it, is faith.

Socrates was right. The best position we can ultimately take is that we don't know.

Ben McKeag said...

Jerry

Right on man. I couldn't have said it better. I think it's funny how religious people are so quick to jump in and defend themselves and their beliefs. (Although I highly doubt the things they believe in are truly their reality and not someone elses) The main point of your article did not seem to be to disprove the bible, but rather help us all to maybe think outside the box a little... to get outside of the illusions that have been created for us by those in power. Here's an idea for us all: Instead of going to church and wasting our energies singing, rolling on the ground, speaking in tongues.... why don't we try expending that energy in some way that will actually contribute to society. I think it's a fantastic idea... Let's try creating our OWN reality...

By the way I do believe in Jesus Christ...just not the Jesus Christ of christianity. He's one hateful, judgemental dude from what I've experienced at least...and damn those first century folks were some scared, guilt ridden fools for sure...(Oops I called them fools, I guess I'm going to burn in hell now)

Probably the best thing you all can do right now is to remember this: There is a God and you are not him...now go live YOUR life for a change...stop worrying about who or what God is, He's probably getting pretty annoyed with it all ;)

rjk said...

Well after reading the comments on this page and trying to determine what actually is being said; there is only one thing I seem to agree with is the fact that we accept most everything we learn on some faith. As pertaining to the scriptures, Jerry has greatly erred with his contradictory ideas. Eph 2:8 is talking about what Paul revealed to a group of people that had no hope (Gentiles) which would become a part of the Body of Christ. If you keep reading the rest of the chapter you will understand the context. James 2:24 is referring to the new covenant with Israel that Jesus was establishing when he came to the earth. Two distinct peoples; one that were the chosen people of God and the others that were without hope in the world until Christ died on the Cross. My point for writing in is to make sure that people go back and take a look at the entire chapter or book so they can understand context. If you just take one verse and compare to another you are comparing ignorantly. Just like any book context must me understood. And for those that haven't take a look at 1Cor15:1-4, Rom 3 and Rom 10. God Speed.

Shane Wolff said...

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry...do you really want to know the truth? If you do do what I did and try to prove the bible is not the word of God. Try to prove that Jesus is not God.
If you do this with an open mind and solid research you will come up with the truth.
Good luck with the journey. I hope you end up where I ended up.
Shane