Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why the Bible has to be Perfect

I respect many religious beliefs, but what do you do when someone believes something that can't possibly be true? Something that has glaring errors that anyone can see? And what if half of a nation believes it? What's a rational person supposed to do in the face of such beliefs?
We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses.
That's not some fringe ultra-conservative quote. No, it's from the official Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, endorsed by a large number of evangelical churches representing millions of Americans.

There are many defenses of the Bible's inerrancy, but the most amazing one – and I'm not making this up – is the "slippery slope" argument. It goes like this:
  1. There are appear to be lots of errors in the Bible, God is a jerk sometimes, and lots of good people get killed for dumb reasons.
  2. If we admit that there is even a single flaw in the Bible, then we must admit there could be two errors, or three, or...
  3. Therefore, we can't admit that there is even one error in the Bible.
  4. Which proves that there are no conflicts in the Bible, only things we can't understand.
Notice that this directly conflicts with everything we've learned about science in the last two thousand years. At its core, science demands that we never start from a conclusion and try to work backwards to make the facts fit. No matter what we want to believe, if the evidence contradicts a hypothesis, then that hypothesis can't be true.

This is the single most important "invention" in the history of the world: We must be open to the truth, and let the evidence speak for itself. Without this philosophy, we'd still be in the middle ages. There would be no medicine, no cell phones, computers or televisions, farmers would be growing just a fraction of what they do today, and 50% of our children would still be dying of diseases before they reached adulthood.

The problem with the theory of Biblical inerrancy is that the evidence flatly contradicts it. The Bible has many internal inconsistencies, geographical errors, astronomical errors, and historical errors. To a scientist, it's simple: The evidence contradicts the hypothesis, so the hypothesis must be wrong.

Unfortunately, those who believe in Biblical inerrancy flip this on its head: They claim that if the evidence contradicts the Bible, then the evidence must be wrong. That is the antithesis of progress and enlightenment.

Most of us believe in and practice tolerance and respect for each other's beliefs. But what do you do when faced with beliefs that just plainly and obviously wrong? And what do you do when they're justified by circular, illogical arguments like the "slippery slope" test?

There are limits to my respect and tolerance, and I have no patience for Biblical Inerrancy.


  1. There exists a very simple retort when presented with this issue.

    God is perfect, and also Holy, right? God never makes mistakes. He is the one and only God. We should not worship anything but God (in the form of the trinity, or in the singular creator form) - idols are bad.

    The "Holy" Bible, in being considered perfect, is being worshiped as infallible. This is idolatry - confusing the the word of God with God himself, and prostrating one's self before a golden-gilded calf.

  2. If you truly want to convince someone, you should list these... internal inconsistencies, geographical errors, astronomical errors, and historical errors that you mention.
    You have an opinion. You should try to support that opinion if you want to engage. Until then, most people will roll their eyes at you and move on to the next blog.

    And this new argument about scripture being an idol requires that we ignore what Jesus said about the scriptures Himself, as well as his apostles. Its a new trick to undermine the truth.

  3. Anon - I DID provide the information. See the links in the article above. It's a long list of inconsistencies in the bible. There are many other web sites with even more details. You might enjoy this site: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/intro.html

  4. To Anonymous, Craig doesn't actually need to prove anything is wrong in the bible (although this is errantly true). What Craig is pointing out is that the illogical and unscientific approach of the slippery slope argument as justification that the bible (or anything in fact) is correct or even that it makes the slightest sense.

    You could even remove the bible totally from the statement and replace it with "to prove anything".

  5. No doubt that Bible does have inconsistencies. That is because over time Bible has been changed and rewritten lots of times to benefit what human desires. You have to understand that Jesus ( peace be upon him) differentiated between him and God. He never said that he himself is God or son of God. the word father in the Bible is used as a matter of respect.
    Since there were so many changes that were made in the Bible, God chose to send down another scripture Which is the Quran. It confirms what the people before had and gave what we call religion a full form. The term religion is just a vocab we have given this. I would call it a way of life and a very beautiful and pure way of life.

    If one is very sincere about finding the truth and pick up the Quran and read it. I believe that people will find that there are no inconsistencies in it. It talks about scientific facts that could not have been proven at the time it was revealed. It talks about everything in very detail. For so many blessings that God has sent upon us, all in return what he asks for is a pure heart.


Dear readers -- I am no longer blogging and after leaving these blogs open for two years have finally stopped accepting comments due to spammers. Thanks for your interest. If you'd like to write to me, click on the "Contact" link at the top. Thanks! -- CJ.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.