The Errancy Of Fundamentalism Disproves The God
Of The Bible Essay, Research Paper
The Errancy of Fundamentalism Disproves the God of the Bible
This essay will look into the often-made claim from Christians, that the Bible is the divine word of God, a corollary of which is that it is absolutely without mistake. This position is exemplified by the undermentioned statement of Jimmy Swaggart, a Pentecostal curate: & # 8220 ; One of the most basic renters of the Christian religion is that the Bibles are inerrable. Because the Bible is God & # 8217 ; s Word, it is wholly error-free. & # 8221 ; ( Swaggart, 1987, p. 8 ) [ 1 ] It will be argued that this position & # 8211 ; which will be referred to as Fundamentalism & # 8211 ; is the lone possible logical position of the Bible for a Christian, but that it is wrong and, hence, that the Christian God [ 2 ] does non be. More officially, the statement of this essay can be expressed in the undermentioned mode:
1. If the Christian God ( as defined in footer [ 2 ] ) exists, there is a being who is almighty, all-knowing, and absolutely good.
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[ propositonal map ]
2. If there is a being who is almighty, all-knowing, and absolutely good, his disclosure is error-free, unequivocally clear, and objectively verifiable as true. [ propositional map ]
3. The Bible is neither error-free, unequivocally clear, nor objectively verifiable. [ proposition based on observation ]
C. The Christian God does non be.
We shall get down by analyzing the nature of this God and what deductions it has for our analysis of the Bible.
2. The Logic of Fundamentalism
Let us, for the interest of statement, proceed under the premiss that the Christian God does, so, exist ( although there are converting grounds, independent of the statements of this essay, to reject a belief in his being ; see, e.g. , Smith, 1979, and Martin, 1990, 1991 ) . The Christian position of God is that he is almighty [ 3 ] , omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipresent and everlastingly bing. Furthermore, he is perfect in all of his being, every bit good as the uttermost cause and upholder of everything. [ 4 ] It is the belief of Christians that their God inspired some worlds to compose the 66 books of the Bible, a belief which is in line with the undermentioned statement of Paul sing the books of the Old Testament: & # 8220 ; All Scripture is God-breathed & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( 2 Tim. 3:16, NIV ) . Apparently, god wanted to do some information known to humanity, which is why he decided to do people convey it in written signifier. Let us now turn to an analysis of what the Bible would be like if it is the papers of the Christian God ; four theoretical statements spread outing on this will be presented.
2.1 The original text
Since God is perfect in every manner and, moreover, almighty and omniscient, it is merely logical to keep that his merely written disclosure is inerrable in every regard. After all, a perfect God could non perchance want to bring forth an imperfect disclosure, and since he can make anything he wants, he could non perchance conveying about an imperfect disclosure. Therefore, Fundamentalism is the logical position of the Bible, given a belief in the Christian God. If the Bible turned out to be less than perfect, that forcefully and unequivocally implies that the Christian God can non perchance be.
But, the more liberally inclined Christian may object, if we find one mistake in any other book, say a school book, we do non thereby throw out the entireness of what has been written in that book: while gaining the error, we do non automatically presume everything else to be wrong. So why do we non happen this attack appealing when covering with the Bible? There is a critical difference, and that is that the Bible is said to be the written disclosure of an Godhead and perfect God. Such a divinity can non, by definition, do a error. So if there is merely one error in the Bible, that mistake makes it clear to us that the Christian God can non be.
First, the Fundamentalist is right in believing that a perfect, almighty God would bring forth nil but an inerrable disclosure. But allow us go on to utilize this logic to its full extent and inquire ourselves, Does this philosophy of inerrancy besides use to interlingual renditions and subsequently original-language manuscripts of the Bible? The above-named Jimmy Swaggart has the following to state on this affair: & # 8220 ; So while the Bible & # 8217 ; s original text is without mistake, errors may hold crept into the translated versions. & # 8221 ; ( Swaggart, 1987, p. 8 )
Let us believe about this for a minute. The logic of the claim that the original text is inerrable is that an omnipotent and perfect God wanted to uncover some things to humanity, therefore his disclosure could non perchance incorporate any mistakes. Note that God used worlds to compose his disclosure. Now if god is interested in conveying his Godhead information to others than those who speak Hebrew and ancient Greek, he must see to it that his disclosure becomes available in other linguistic communications. Is at that place any ground for God to non utilize his omnipotence in bring forthing right interlingual renditions? Note that God could merely as easy usage worlds to interpret his word as he used worlds to compose it in the first topographic point & # 8211 ; he is, after all, almighty. And since he is perfect, it is non in his involvement to supply an imperfect disclosure in any topographic point or at any clip.
Therefore, as a affair of logical consistence, it must needfully keep that God has provided error-free interlingual renditions. If one claims that God wanted to bring forth a perfect disclosure but that the versions which we can understand today are imperfect, one must explicate why God did non desire or could see to it that the interlingual renditions are besides error-free. Clearly, any such effort to an account is doomed to neglect while retaining the Christian construct of God. Therefore, if it can be shown that any interlingual rendition of the Bible contains merely one mistake, the Christian God can non be.
But does this mean that there is merely one right interlingual rendition in every linguistic communication? First, it is interesting to observe that the Bible has non been and still is non available in all linguistic communications in the universe. What this implies about a God who purportedly does non demo favoritism ( Acts 10:34 ) is left for the reader to chew over upon. In any instance, the logic of Fundamentalism does non needfully connote that there is merely one error-free Bible interlingual rendition in any linguistic communication ; but it does needfully connote that all Bible interlingual renditions are inerrable.
Now Jimmy Swaggart and his fellow Fundamentalists must explicate why a perfect and almighty God was able to bring forth an error-free original manuscript of the Bible piece at the same clip non desiring to bring forth error-free interlingual renditions of this original manuscript. Does their Gods merely want those fluent in Hebrew and ancient Greek to acquire his perfect disclosure? After all, he could make anything, including provide error-free interlingual renditions.
A related riddle for the Fundamentalist who claims that the original papers is inerrable but that subsequently manuscripts and interlingual renditions may incorporate mistakes is: How is it possible to cognize what the original papers said, precisely? After all, we are merely in ownership of perchance errant paperss today, and yet the Fundamentalist clings to these paperss as if they are inerrable & # 8211 ; which, by his ain admittance, they are non. ( Of class, given the true logic of Fundamentalism, as explained above, subsequently manuscripts and interlingual renditions must besides be inerrable. )
Let us go on our logical journey of Bible examination and inquire ourselves, Would it be in God & # 8217 ; s involvement and capacity to supply an unambiguous disclosure? That is to state, presuming for the minute that the Bible is error-free, could it credibly be the disclosure of God if its message is in any manner ill-defined? We know that the Christian God is almighty and omniscient: the former characteristic indicates that he could really good hold produced a disclosure without any ambiguity, and the latter characteristic indicates that god knew before bring forthing his disclosure that a less-than-unambiguous rendition would take non merely to internal battles amongst his followings, but besides to strong onslaughts from anti-theists. Both of these phenomena must be considered unwanted from the point of position of God, and if any of them can be shown to hold existed or be on the footing of Bible ambiguities, so the Christian God is non existent.
2.4 Competing disclosures
Let us inquire, Would god supply nonsubjective agencies to verify that his written disclosure is the lone Godhead disclosure there is? As he is almighty, he could make so if he wished. And since viing spiritual Bibles lure some people off from the truth of the Bible, it is doubtless in line with the Christian god & # 8217 ; s involvement to wish merely that. This means that if there is no nonsubjective manner to make up one’s mind upon the genuineness of the Bible, the Christian God can non perchance be.
2.5 Some possible expostulations
Before inspecting the grounds refering the inerrancy and truth of the Bible and the Christian God, it is proper to analyze four possible expostulations to the theoretical exercising of logic presented above. First, if human existences have a free will, is it non logically impossible for the Christian God to utilize his omnipotence to bring on, or & # 8220 ; force & # 8221 ; , people to compose his disclosure without mistakes? That is, is Fundamentalism non unlogical at its nucleus? The reply is & # 8220 ; No & # 8221 ; , for the undermentioned three grounds. ( 1 ) The philosophy of the general being of a free will is at odds with the Bible & # 8217 ; s instructions. Suffice it to advert that the Bible instructs us that no 1 can avoid sinning, i.e. , interrupt some moral regulation pronounced by the Christian God ( see, e.g. , Rom. 3:23, Rom. 5:12 and 1 John 1:8-10 ) . Hence, if any human being needfully commits wickedness, there is no general being of a free will. [ 5 ] ( 2 ) If a free will by and large exists, there is nil that prevents a individual to desire to be an instrument of the Christian God and therefore volitionally submit to functioning him in composing down his disclosure absolutely. In fact, we would anticipate any Christian to be willing to lend to the proviso of a perfect Godhead disclosure. And since, with free will, it is absolutely legitimate for person to depute influence over one & # 8217 ; s actions to person else, such as the Christian God, the statement above falls. ( 3 ) If, so, human existences have a free will ( which we argue is non the instance, if we adhere to the Bible & # 8217 ; s learning ) , and if this precludes the authorship of an inerrable disclosure from the Christian God ( which we argue is non the instance, if Christians can be shown to desire to help in bring forthing a godly disclosure ) , so we must reason, on the footing of this God & # 8217 ; s features, that he would hold used some other agencies of bring forthing this disclosure, so that it could be perfect ( e.g. , he could hold allow a absolutely written manuscript sail down from heaven on a cloud ) . This he did non make. Thus, the decision is that the philosophy of free will is wrong: it is at odds with scriptural instruction and, to the extent that it implies that the Christian God could non bring forth an inerrable written disclosure, it violates the logic of how an omnipotent, perfect God would move. If he could non bring forth a perfect disclosure by allowing work forces compose it, he would hold used another method.
Second, a related point, which unlike the old one deals non with the issue of homo will, but with the character of human existences, provinces that since God worked by utilizing fallible and frail human existences, is it non to be expected that the authors of the Bible may hold made some errors? It needs first to be stressed that if one accepts the thought that the original manuscript of the Bible does non incorporate any mistakes, it is non logically possible to claim that interlingual renditions of the Bible may incorporate errors. But it is logically consistent to believe that both the original manuscript and subsequent interlingual renditions are inerrable or errant. However, this latter position of general errancy violates the nature of the Christian God. Remember: this God is perfect and almighty. Why would he convey forth a written disclosure with mistakes in it? The reply is: he would non make that.
Even though the authors of the Bible were worlds, as was and is the instance with transcribers, God is able to steer them and forestall them from doing any errors. Remember: he is all-powerful and can make anything.
Third, are non the demands that are put on God excessively heavy? Surely non, if we take Gods to be almighty, all-knowing, perfect, etc. These words are non merely empty footings but they entail a precise significance. For case, being almighty agencies being able to make anything which is logically possible, without any imaginable exclusion. Therefore, because of these infinite qualities of God, it is in no manner possible to set excessively heavy demands on him, in the sense that he is non in any manner limited ( except by logic ) .
Fourth, are we non limited in our wisdom and capacity to grok Godhead affairs? Even if the logical thinking above appears right, we may non be able to swear it. This is a instead frequent statement from Christians when they encounter things which they are unable to understand ; these things are so termed & # 8220 ; mysteries. & # 8221 ; However, if we surrender our ability to ground and do things apprehensible, what can we perchance fall back to in its topographic point? Blind religion in & # 8220 ; enigmas & # 8221 ; unsolved? That barely seems a more dependable attack. Let us alternatively continue to do usage of logic and rational discourse to analyze the claims of mystics and others, and allow us go on to make it in a critical mode. In that spirit, we turn to some uncovering grounds.
3. The Evidence
We have now arrived at a brief albeit lighting analysis of how the theoretical analysis above can be used to turn out that the Christian God can non perchance be. As the reader knows by now, the footing for this statement is that the qualities ascribed to the Christian God assist us in finding what sort of written disclosure he would convey approximately and compare it to the Bible. If it can be demonstrated that the Bible violates any of the basic demands on a godly disclosure, so the Christian God can non be. If we do non win in showing this, this still does non intend that the Christian God exists, but that other methods ( aside from the epistemic one of this essay ) shall hold to be used if we are to confute his being. [ 6 ] However, we boldly assert that the undermentioned presentation is so sufficient to turn out the Christian god & # 8217 ; s non-existence. There will be one point matching to each statement above.
Argument: The original papers of the Bible is inerrable. Counter-argument: There is a job with the confirmation of this claim, and that is that we are non in ownership of the original papers of the Bible. But allow us go on to look into the statement, utilizing available interlingual renditions ( e.g. , the KJV, the NIV, the NASB, the RSV, the Darby, and the YLT ) . In combination, they use the available paperss, including the Masoretic Hebrew text, the Septuagint, and the Dead-Sea Scrolls. Hence, our method brings us every bit near as we can perchance acquire to the original text. We will look at three Bible transitions: Acts 13:17-22, 1 Chron. 29:27-28 and 1 Kings 6:1. The first two in concurrence inform us that Solomon & # 8217 ; s reign began at least 530 old ages after the Hebrews left Egypt. But 1 Kings 6:1 claims that Solomon & # 8217 ; s reign began 476 old ages after the Hebrews left Egypt & # 8211 ; a disagreement of at least 54 old ages. [ 7 ] Hence, the original manuscript of the Bible contained at least one mistake ( no affair if the Septuagint is right with mention to 1 Kings 6:1 or if all the other interlingual renditions mentioned above are right ) , which means that the Christian God can non perchance be.
Argument: Any Bible interlingual rendition is inerrable. Counter-argument: One illustration which disproves the just-made statement will be provided from the King James Version ( the same mistake is provided in the RSV, the Darby, and the YLT ) . 2 Chron. 9:25 says, & # 8220 ; And Solomon had four 1000 stables for Equus caballuss and chariots, and twelve thousand equestrians & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; while 1 Kings 4:26 says, & # 8220 ; And Solomon had forty thousand stables of Equus caballuss for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. & # 8221 ; This contradiction is de facto in topographic point in the KJV, which renders that interlingual rendition progressive. Hence, the Christian god & # 8211 ; omnipotent and perfect & # 8211 ; can non perchance be. ( It is to be noted that the Masoretic Hebrew text contains this contradiction, but some Septuagint manuscripts do non. Therefore, it is possible that this contradiction is non in the original text, although we do non cognize that ; but it is surely in most Bible interlingual renditions. )
Argument: The Bible is clear and unambiguous. Counter-argument: To claim this is rather blunt, because history Tells us that Christian integrity on doctrinal issues, even cardinal 1s, every bit good as converting anti-Christian challenges, have been copiously present. This is one of the issues debated between Michael Martin and John Frame ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www.infidels.org/library/modern/ michael_martin/ ) , and Martin convincingly states, & # 8220 ; Let us remember that there are differences among Christians over, among other things, the morality of the decease punishment, war, abortion, prenuptial sex, homosexualism, private belongings, societal imbibing, and chancing. Most of these differences are based on different readings of Christian disclosure. To say that there is a rational manner to accommodate these contentions by appealing to revelation stretches credibleness to the breakage point. & # 8221 ; And the list of intra-Christian contentions could be made much longer: suffice it to advert the pontificate, the philosophy sing Mary, the three, baptism, speech production in linguas ( where, interestingly, Fundamentalist Baptists and Fundamentalist Pentecostals disagree ) , the issue of creationism, predestination, purgatory, consciousness after decease, and so on. Since the Christian God is perfect and almighty, could he hold produced the Bible, on which perfect understanding can non be reached by worlds? No. In add-on, these type of ill-defined affairs give anti-theists plentifulness of ammo, which god certainly would hold prevented, should he hold existed. In all, it is clear that he can non be.
Argument: There is an nonsubjective manner of finding which papers is the written disclosure of God. Counter-argument: There is no such nonsubjective manner of finding whether the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavadgita, the Book of Mormon, the Edda, or Homer are true godly disclosures. It is frequently possible to turn out that a certain papers is non a true disclosure of a certain God ( which is what this essay is making with mention to the Bible and the Christian God ) , but to turn out that a papers is genuinely godly in an nonsubjective mode, one would necessitate some type of extra disclosure from God, which in itself must be unambiguous. However, if this God can supply such an unambiguous disclosure, the inquiry is why he did non bring forth such absolute lucidity in the first topographic point. Without such self-contained grounds, one could ne’er be certain that a papers is genuinely godly. ( As an aside, necessary but surely non sufficient conditions for true Godhead inspiration are complete logical consistence and inerrancy with respect to all facts external to the papers itself. ) And since such grounds is non in being, the Christian God can non perchance be.
Any one of these points is, in itself, sufficient for us to understand that the Christian God can non be. Take together, they constitute overpowering grounds to this consequence.
We began this essay by liberally allowing the Christian the premise that the Christian God does, so, exist. We so used logic to deduce what the feature of this God & # 8217 ; s disclosure would be like, and found that ( I ) the original text must be inerrable ; ( two ) all ulterior manuscripts and interlingual renditions must be inerrable ; ( three ) this disclosure must be unequivocally clear in every regard ; and ( four ) there must be some nonsubjective manner for worlds to cognize that this papers is & # 8220 ; the existent thing. & # 8221 ; These four demands follow straight from the features of the Christian God, most notably those of flawlessness, omnipotence, and omniscience: this God non merely must desire his merely written disclosure to be inerrable in all dimensions, he is besides capable of seeing to its being produced in such a manner.
We so proceeded by size uping how the Bible does on these four points. The consequence was overpoweringly clear: the Bible is non inerrable in its original text, to the best of human cognition ; it is non inerrable in all its later manuscripts and interlingual renditions ; it is non unequivocally clear ; and there is no manner to find objectively if it, instead than, state, the Koran, is godly.
The lone possible decision from this is that the Christian god & # 8211 ; i.e. , the God of the Bible & # 8211 ; can non perchance be. If one assumes that he does, as we did, and looks at the deductions of this premise, one finds that the deductions are such as to go against what we detect in the existent universe.
Now it does non take much cognition of psychological science to understand that the statement of this essay is really upseting to a Christian. He may flex over backways to seek to deliver his specific version of theism, but he must, if he is to retain rational credibleness, explicitly indicate out how a perfect and almighty God can supply a disclosure which violates his very nature. Or he may fall back to the classical manner out: misology, i.e. , to claim that his God is a enigma which can non be understood. One wonders why one should believe in something which can non be understood when it is possible to choose for the option: to believe merely in things which are apprehensible.
So where does this go forth one? Clearly, with some utile cognition, viz. , that Christianity is false. It is so advisable for one to continue by analyzing the larger issue, if theism is true or false. Reading Smith ( 1979 ) is one manner of making this, and that leaves one an atheist & # 8211 ; and a footing for covering with life as it is.
1.For a similar statement, see Baptist curate Jerry Falwell ( 1987, p. 150 ) . 2.It should be noted at the beginning that & # 8220 ; the Christian god & # 8221 ; is tantamount to the divinity presented in the Bible ; and this is the lone God being discussed in this essay. This implies that it is non possible to state that the Christian God exists without any relationship to the Bible. This attack is shared by ( Fundamentalist ) Christians, who refer to the Bible to acquire information about what and who their God is. 3.The term & # 8220 ; almighty & # 8221 ; and the footings & # 8220 ; almighty & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; almighty & # 8221 ; are used interchangeably. It is, following standard Christian thought, defined as being able to make anything which is logically possible. There are definite jobs with & # 8220 ; omnipotence & # 8221 ; in its relationship to logic, as discussed by philosopher Michael Martin in a argument with theologian John Frame at hypertext transfer protocol: //www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/ , but we disregard that expostulation for the interest of statement. 4.This description of the Christian God is in line with that of Robertson ( 1987, pp. 45-46 ) . 5.On the constructs of free will and original wickedness, see philosopher Ayn Rand ( 1961, p. 168 ff. ) . 6.That is, neglecting to turn out not-X does non needfully connote X. 7.It should be noted that one interlingual rendition, the Septuagint, puts the figure 440 alternatively of 480 in 1 Kings 6:1, but that need non concern us here, for the undermentioned ground. If all other interlingual renditions are right, so the disagreement of at least 54 old ages holds. If the Septuagint is right, so this disagreement does non disappear, but it is made greater ( in fact, at least 94 old ages ) .
1.Falwell, J. ( 1987 ) . Strength for the Journey. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. 2.Martin, M. ( 1990 ) . Atheism: A Philosophic Justification. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. 3.Martin, M. ( 1991 ) . The Case Against Christianity. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. 4.Rand, A. ( 1961 ) . For the New Intellectual. New York, NY: Random House. 5.Robertson, P. ( 1987 ) . Answers to 200 of Life & # 8217 ; s Most Probing Questions. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 6.Smith, G. H. ( 1979 ) . Atheism: The Case Against God. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books. 7.Swaggart, J. ( 1987 ) . Straight Answers to Tough Questions. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & A ; Hyatt.