Questioning the Bible

In h20’s post “Is God a Meany” the question of whether or not the Bible was credible or not could have been broached several times. As a branch off from that conversation I’d like to pose the question now.

Can we take the Bible as a serious reference book? Now the bible is many things; it is a history book, a biography, a song book, a proverb book, a law book, and much more. I’m refering to the historical and biographical books such as Genesis, Exodus, Acts of the Apostles, the Gospels, etc.

I know i’m taking this out of context but it’s aa awesome idea clementine put forth. Say that one views believing in the Bible as the same as beliveing in LOTR, or even believing in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!! :smiley:

Here is what’s so amazing about the bible that leads me to believe it isn’t a simple work of fiction.

I think the amazing thing about the bible is that it wasn’t written all at once. It was written through a period of over 3000 years by many different authors in many different places. I’ll even bet that just about all the authors had no contact with the others (especially the writers of the Pentateuch). When the Church placed together the bible it was from thousands of books collected from all over the known world. There were even several repeat books especially the ones in the Pentateuch (first five books, also known as the Torah - to the Jews- or the Law). Amazingly all the “stories” coincided pretty exactly. That is too much to be a coincidence for me. That leads me to believe that the Bible is inspired, not just a work of fiction.

Sounds like a fun topic to me. :smiley:

Here is a segment from the opening a chapter in Norman Geisler’s Systematic Theology.

Chapter Twenty-Seven
The Inerrency of the Bible

The doctrine of inerrency is not directly taught in Scripture, although it is logically implied. Two things, however, are directly taught:

(1) The Bible is the Word of God (see chapters 13-14).{Deut 18:18, II Tim 3:16}
(2) God cannot err (Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2; Rom. 3:4).

The logically necessary result of these two premises is that (3) the Bible cannot err.

So from this can we infer that if I find error that the bible is not “God breathed”? Is that a logical conclusion? (Of course, this would not include translation error.)

Well, here are a few quirks see if you can explain them. Too much typing to type out the entire verse, so get out your bibles!

Look at a statement by Jesus from Mark 2:26.
Here Jesus says that David entered the Temple in the days of Abiathar the high priest and ate the showbreads.

This event is recorded in I Samuel 21:1; “Then came David to Nob, to Achimelech the priest, …”

During this incident Achimelech was high priest, and not his son Abiathar. A high priest functions until the day he dies, and then his son takes over.

So only after the death of Achimelech, recorded in I Samuel 22:18, did his son Abiathar succeed him, as we can see in I Samuel 30:7; “And David said to Abiathar the priest, Achimelech’s son, …”

Why did Jesus use the wrong name? or was it Mark’s mistake?

Look them up. :astonished:

(and don’t give me any non-sensical answers. God may be mysterious but he sure as heck shouldn’t be trying to throw us off.)

I believe that the bible was rewritten to many times, and translatade to so many languages, that it’s impossible to be the same book as it once was. If in the 1st stage it was right, the word of God, or wrong, a product of fiction, we will never be able to tell.

… another things:

Suppose i create a religion today… like George Lucas created the Jedis and now i-don’t-know-how-many-thousads say their religion is ‘Jedism’. Sounds absurd, but it’s true. So… i create this religion ‘Clemenism’… obviously i will have followers… might be a few, but it grows with time.
Imagine a version of the future. There is a war and loads of humans die, most things are burnt,… but some of my followers survive… and they start preaching what they believe… which is Clemenism… do you agree that it will be taken as truth and that those survivors could create anything and keep adding facts that weren’t really true but sounded good… and after 5000 no one would think that it was created by a crazy woman?

am not saying the bible was created like that… just a possibility of creating something that is not true

I"ll bust out my ideas to reply to clem’s post a little later, but first I want to address something that jumped into my mind during skeptic’s post. A lot of the bible is metaphorical, which throws a lot of people off. There is something published not to long after Vatican Counsil II about the 4-fold interpretation. Of course this applies to books like Revelation and certain parts of Genesis. I mean… well… there’s a hell of a lot of interpretation. I smell another topic… :smiley:

I understand your reasons for thinking this but this is just not so. The Dead Sea Scrolls and other sources point to an unblemished and uncontaminated version of the Bible. There is some loss in translation but the original text in it’s original language remains intact.

Good point. I have often wondered this myself. You could not just make up anything though. It must be believable in order to gain a following. Of course anyone who has looked at Scientology would disagree with me on that.:unamused: Very good point though and I suppose that this is how every religion begins. (with a crazy person! :smiley: )

I must agree but only the parts of the bible that are clearly intended as metaphorical.

This is another problem that I find with the bible. Interpretation leaves the bible open to just about anything. If God intended clarity, he would have given us a very well laid out philosophy book. That is why I am a very firm believer in taking the Bible for what it says rather than (as most people do) bending the truth to fit their particular beliefs.

Again, what does metaphor and interpretation have to do with what I pointed out? Did Jesus have an intended metaphor in misquoting the book of I Samuel?


Indeed. Some of them might even be wrong. Is a material based in interpretations. There are many other religions now a days that are, some used only to get money out of ignorant people. I mean ignorant in the sense that they probably don’t understand a word of what the bible says. Also, there are always those ‘new’ bibles that use a more accessible language or even interpretations. Can’t things be lost in the way? If it’s an interpretation, what keeps the person who is interpreting it to miss something out or add something that isnt there? Not on purpose, but it can happen.


There are lots of people who don’t see the metaphors and really believe it literally. Like the Jehovah Witness people…


I just can’t believe it. I would have to read today’s bibles, the bibles of 2000 years ago and the bibles of 5000 years ago. In not probable that you can have the same ‘quality’ and material in a book that was written more than 5000 years ago…. And a book which is mainly used to be interpreted, and was translated to most languages you can imagine of. Is a dense book, and you need to consider that a translator probably learned either the language he is writing or the language he is reading as a 2nd language. Even tho the person knew a lot about the other language, it is still a second language, and there are many words that exist in one and not in the other. Little things, I know, but in 5000 years… it probably made a big difference.


How do you explain the Jediism then? They do exist. I would consider them ‘crazy’ in the sense of mental illness, otherwise they would be in a mental hospital. Is believed that 5.000 people in Australia are indeed followers of ‘the force’ even tho more than 70.000 said it in the census that they were Jedis. Check for yourself:

What if George Lucas is the messiah and he created the films so we could know the truth? Life is absurd you know.

May the Force be with you…

Take a look at this, Clementine.

And as for Jediism… It only proves that there are desperate people out there ready to hold on to anything that promises them freedom (I think Asimov once said that if you want to enslave people, tell them you’re leading them to freedom.) No wonder that capitalist societies (which actually base on alcohol consumers, smokers etc ) are so popular nowadays…

I checked out the jediism website. Interesting stuff, but it really doesn’t classify as a religion if you read their beliefs. It is more of a philosophy than anything and neither does it claim to be a religion. Nobody believes that Darth Vador is the Devil and Yoda is God or anything. They just took a bunch of philosophies from the movie and other religions and created a common organization, not a religion.

Good site h2o but it is way too much information to sit down and read in a few minutes.

First of all there was no bible 5000 years ago. Neither was there a bible 2000 years ago. To understand it’s accuracy, you need to first understand it’s stages. I will try and explain the stages and their evidence for accuracy in the following. (Keep in mind that this is all off the top of my head, so I may miss a few points or be a little bit off with the dates. So feel free to correct me if I miss something.)

Oral Stage (4000 BC - 1400 BC)
-From the time of Adam to the time of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt.
-Prior to Moses, the creation story and other pre-moses stories were passed down orally from generation to generation.

Torah Stage (1400 BC - 1300 BC)
-This begins with the inscription of the Ten Commandments by Moses at Mt. Sinai when the Hebrew people were in the desert.
-They are not sure who actually wrote this information down but it was written down and this is where the accuracy of Biblical inscription begins.
-The Torah consists of the first five books of the bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy)
-In Levitcus, it is explained how there is an exact and proper way to make a new copy of the Torah. It is a very methodical procedure detailing all the way to having to take a bath before sitting down to write.

The Rest of the Old Testament (1300 BC - 500 BC)
-This is the rest of the writings from the Kings and the Prophets
-King Ezra compiled all of the writings and this is what we know today as the old testament.
-Up to this point, we have no surviving copies but we do know the extent of the scribes who copied the texts and it was very accurate.

The Dead Sea Scrolls (100 BC - 70 AD)
-This is where we find evidence of accuracy.
-During the 1950’s, a large sum of scrolls were found in underground caves, containing the writings of the Old Testament.
-They were compared to modern day compositions of the Old Testament and there is a 99.9% accuracy. The .1% consisted only of “and’s, the’s, etc.”

The New Testament (50 AD - 90 AD)
-These books were written by the apostles around 20 years after the death of Jesus if not later.
-We don’t have copies of the original texts but we do have very early copies and the accuracy is 100% when compared to the texts of today.
-At the Council at Carthage in 387 A.D, the books of the new testament were put together and added to the Old Testament to give us the same exact bible we have today. Hasn’t changed since. Except for the Catholic Church who added the Apocrypha books during the Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther.

Just remember though that even if it hasn’t changed in 1500 years, that is no reason to add to it’s validity. There are plenty of holes throughout it’s entirety to invalidate it’s worth.

Which reminds me. Has anyone come up with a good reason for Jesus mistakedly misquoting the Old Testament?

The bible thing… I can’t argue about it as I’ve never read it… not entirely anyway. Being able to speak 2 languages I can say that I read bits of the bible in both languages and they were very different. In English it sounds much easier than in Portuguese because the latter has more words and tenses than English. That means that it have a difference between bibles and people can interpret it different because of that.

But yeah, the Bible may be accurate to what it was… so I guess its more about different interpretations and books which try to interpret it.


Actually, if you checked the website, it’s quite interesting. Its all about meditation and harmony with nature… very oriental, it’s a sort of Buddhism.


The capitalist society is not only based on that… it’s based is consumerism as a whole. Buy GAP jumpers with new coloured stripes and you will be an individual… everyone buys GAP stripes… everyone looks like everyone thinking they look like free individuals. Buy Nike trainers and you will be like Ronaldo an win the world cup…and be free to run… makes me sick! Oh… I hate this society.

Sorry… a bit or rage there.


I agree with you… it doesn’t. But it didn’t keep 70.000 people from saying they were Jedis


I think Jesus did it on purpose… hehe… kidding, I have no idea what you are talking about there, but I would think it was either a problem like I said before… which you said it wasn’t possible for it’s very accurate… or Jesus did it on purpose… he couldn’t be wrong, could he?

Anything that happened in the bible was just glorified stories about peoples friends, just think how many times you have glorified a person u know in a story or conversation just to make it more intresting, just think this over, “look my friend made a big boat and he saved some animals” That is boring, now think of the story of noahs arc much more intresting, same with Jesus, " My friend was smart and saved a few peoples lives", I dont think so, it doesnt work for me :unamused:

FrogPunk, you are a funny person… what we think about the bible is not in question tho… but whether it’s accurate or not.
I, myself, don’t believe it tells anything more than a story that tries to explain humanity from the eyes of people who lived thousand years ago.
If you think about the universe and about how and where it goes and how and where it came from… you go mad. Reason why most physics are quite ‘mad’…I remember spending whole lunch breaks with my physics teacher questioning about the universe… it was the most amazing thing but the answers I got from him would lead to more questions till it drives everyone bananas.
But at least we know many things today which they didn’t know in the past … so the bible was a way to explain it… from floods to human suffering.

Skeptic, I’ve been thinking about what Norman Geisler said in his Systematic Theology.
I don’t know. But as soon as I’ll have any clue, I’ll let you know.

Just so you aren’t confused, Norman Geisler only said that “the Bible is inerrant”. I said the rest. Geisler is a Christian theologian. Here is another good one for you:

There is a contradiction in geneology charts for Christ in Matthew 1:1 and Luke 3:23.

In the book of Matthew the father of Joseph is Jacob, whose father is Matthan, whose father is Eleazar.

In the book of Luke the father of Joseph is Heli, whose father is Matthat, whose father is Levi. How can this be? Was Mary married to two Josephs? If you give up, I have more.

:evilfun: I think the devil may have planted them there to trick us.

Skeptic, I think this is all related to the different meanings of names, or the different places where the gospels were initially preached.
If I come to think about it, Jesus had also had a lot of names. I don’t quite remember now, but He did. :unamused:

God dictated the bible but never proof read it, so I think the bible is just full of publisher typos! :slight_smile:

But seriously…

The bible is little more then a history of a small tribe of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Who lived a cross the river so were called the ‘Hebrews’. The bible is somewhat historically accurate about places, people, and dates. It’s also a book about the tribe’s genealogy through history. Their God is a tribal God, who is very threatened by other tribal Gods. The strength of each tribes God was tested on the battlefield, so the real victor in battle wasn’t the tribe, but the tribe’s God.

When the Hebrews lost their land and were slaves to the Egyptians, the only thing that kept them a single people was there belief in a their tribal God. The same is true when the Jews were forced to leave Jerusalem, which is biblically their home. Most people would normally define themselves by there country of birth. But because the Jews kept losing their country, they had no choice put to define themselves by their tribal God. So anyone seen not worshiping this God was believed to have left the tribe. To them you’re Jewish because you worshipped the Jewish God, it had little to do with were you where born.

What has this to do with the original question?

Up until the time of Jesus it was only the Jewish people who could be saved by their God. Other people were mostly seen as evil from a biblical perspective, as they were Gentiles. It wasn’t till the New Testament did the Jewish God, through the teaching of Jesus become accessible to other cultures. But to help with the spreading of Jesus’s teachings it became necessary to weaken the Jewish roots, so guess who are the bad guys in the New Testament?

The spiritual aspects of the bible are just Jewish thought on the subject of God. Just like Buddhism, or Hinduism. If these religions where more accessible back then I would say that the western world would be worshipping a different God to day. As if you ask me the Buddhist views of the world hold up better to scrutiny then any of the other world religions.

Pax Vitae

This is non-sense. Jesus only had one name. In Aramaic it sounded something like this, “Jeshua”. However, he was referred to as the messiah, the teacher, the savior, etc. But his name was Jesus of Nazareth.

The people that had multiple names were the people that Jesus gave a new name to. Jesus renamed Simon to Peter. In Greek, Peter would sound like “Petra” which means “the Rock”. It was kind of like today, what we would call a nickname.

The contradiction in geneology is, to this day, an unexplained error.

Here’s another:

Has man ever seen God?


Genesis 32:30, "So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

Exodus 24:9-11, “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.”

Genesis 16:13, "She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Judges 13:22-23, “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!” But his wife answered, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”

Isaiah 6:1 and 6:5, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Exodus 33:11, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.”

Job 42:5, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”


John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

Exodus 33:20, “But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

John 6:46, “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”

1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

and another:

Has anyone ascended into Heaven besides Christ?

2 Kings 2:11 - And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Luke 24:51 - And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.

John 3:13 - No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.

It seems that John had not consulted Luke nor the Old Testament before he wrote.

Need I continue?

So they saw Jesus, not The Father.
As for the one about ascending into Heaven, i’m working on it.

Need you continue? Give it all. I don’t think anyone would mind.