The Instigator
jjmd280
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
DiablosChaosBroker
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

The Bible is not Inerrant.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
DiablosChaosBroker
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,342 times Debate No: 6287
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (73)
Votes (7)

 

jjmd280

Pro

I will start with the next round - I just want my opponent to be able to see the debate and agree on terms before we start.
Bible - KJV
Inerrant - without error.

If DCB has any additions, or wants me to change something, I ask him to let me know now.
DiablosChaosBroker

Con

I agree with my opponent's definition. The Biblical inerrancy means that in its original form, the Bible is totally without error, and free from all contradiction. Now my opponent can begin with his case.
Debate Round No. 1
jjmd280

Pro

Thank you to DiablosChaosBroker (DCB) for accepting this debate. Here's hoping for a spirited and good natured discussion.

My resolution is simple to prove without a doubt.

I'll start with a few confirmed errors present in the Bible -

(Cue Julie Andrews)
Let's start at the very beginning; a very good place to start -

GE 3:14 The serpent eats dust for the rest of his life.

GE 6:4 There were giants on the earth at one time. No evidence exists to supports this assertion.

EX 12:37, NU 1:45-46 The number of men of military age who take part in the Exodus is given as about 600,000. Allowing for women, children, and older men would probably mean that a total of more than 2,000,000 Israelites left Egypt at a time when the whole population of Egypt was less than 2,000,000.

PS 58:8 Slugs and/or snails melt as they move.

MT 4:8 There is a high mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world can be seen. (Note: This implies a flat earth.)

MT 26:52 All who take the sword will perish by it.

And never mind that rabbits chew cud, that donkeys can speak, the flood wiped out humanity (except for the Egyptians and Chinese), or that Kings 7:23 says Pi is = to 3.

Now, assume that we have a very old book, written in an ancient language, and it's been translated into English quite a few times, each time with different results, and often, wildly different meanings. There are also glaring contradictions in every translation. The book tells of magic, miracles, and fantastic creatures, and contains narrations of events, some clearly historical, others of dubious historical veracity. It contains some stories that can only be read metaphorically, and some that could be taken literally, and some that could be taken either way. It contains some stories that are highly reminiscent of stories told in earlier books, written by earlier civilizations. The primary character, in fact, so closely resembles a mythological character from another cultuer (Mithras, of course!) that without attaching names to the characters, you could easily mistake one for the other.

Now, which of the following is a logical conclusion?

A) This book is a man made creation, containing myths handed down from previous cultures, and it is naturally a bit mangled after 2000 years of translation.

B) This book, although it resembles other books of its time in virtually every way, is The Divine and Perfect Work of the Only God, and although it appears contradictory, it is actually perfectly accurate, but nobody in 2000 years has been able to translate it accurately enough to display the perfection. Furthermore, you must believe that it is perfectly accurate despite all appearances to the contrary. If you do not believe this, you will burn in a magical lake of fire for trillions and trillions of years, wasting away in agony. Because the perfect loving god who wrote the book wanted it that way.

Me, I pick option A.

And as I do not read Greek or Hebrew, and I am quite sure my opponent does not either, I use the KJV as reference.

I'll stop here- and tackle some other Biblical doozies in my next round.
DiablosChaosBroker

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate. Hopefully, we will learn something from this debate.

Let's start with my opponent's contradictions:

GE 3:14: The serpent eats dust for the rest of his life.

Bible describes that this "snake" was none other than Satan (1), who, being an angel, took on the form of an animal. As such, this event is clearly a description of a supernatural, rather than a naturalistic event. So Satan was told to eat dust for the rest of his life as a serpent. No contradiction or error here.

GE 6:4: There were giants on the earth at one time

Just because there is no evidence of giants necessarily mean that it is false. It is an argument from ignorance to assume it is false only because it has not been proven true. However, the Neanderthal remains are very likely the remains of Nephilim, which are the giants in context. (2) No contradiction or error here.

Exodus 12:37: And the children of Israel journeyed from Ramses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.

Numbers 1:45-46 All the Israelites twenty years old or more who were able to serve in Israel's army were counted according to their families. 46 The total number was 603,550.

No contradiction or error here. Can you verify your claims that including women, children, and older men would mean a population of more than 2,000,000?

Psalms 58:8: As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

The Hebrew word here is temec, and this is the only place where it appears in the Bible. Its main meaning here is liquefaction, with a root in a word referring to dissolution. It is not hard to observe that slugs and snails leave a trail behind as they move. It is obvious that this liquid comes from their own bodies and in a hot, desert climate like Palestine's, if a snail doesn't find a source of moisture to replenish itself it is definitely going to eventually shrivel away: hence the comparison to the "untimely birth of a woman." (3) No contradiction or error here.

MT 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.

Matthew's portrayal of the meeting between Jesus and the devil involves the supernatural. The devil represented to Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor by means of supernatural powers. Even a person living in ancient times would have realized that he could not see far enough, from any point of the world even when there are no trees or mountains or hills to obstruct your view. (4)

MT 26:52: Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

The verse is a warning to Peter. Peter was rash. Alone he had attacked the whole band. Jesus told him that his unseasonable and imprudent defense might be the occasion of his own destruction. In doing it he would endanger his life, for they who took the sword perished by it. This was probably a proverb, denoting that they who engaged in wars commonly perished there.

The Bible does say that rabbits chew the cud. (5) Rabbits don't regurgitate their food, but they do eat it a second time. That process is called coprophagy. (6) Rabbits send its food through the intestines, and then produce soft fecal pellets at night that it eats. It has been called pseudo-rumination similar to the process of ruminants. (7)

Another example my opponent state is that the donkey talked to Balaam. However, the passage clearly states that it was God who caused the donkey to talk. (8) This likewise was a supernatural event.

The Flood was local, not global. (9) (10) Peter qualifies the verse (11) by telling us that the "world at that time" was flooded with water. At the time of the flood, all humans were in the same geographic location in the Mesopotamian plain until Genesis 11:8. (12)

According to 1 Kings 7:23: He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits (about 15 feet) from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits (45 feet) to measure around it. (13)

Back in those days, measurements were not standardized as they are now. The cubit was the length from the elbow to the tip of the outstretched fingers. Since cubits are measured against a person's body, and since bodies vary in size, actual measurements (as opposed to "standardized" measurements) will vary from person to person. The Old Testament does not really say that the value of pi is three. An approximation that pi = 3 is better detected with the verse and since cubits actually vary in size, there is no way that the exact value of pi could be given. (14)

Although my opponent may think that that the Bible has been drastically changed over the centuries, in reality, the Bible has been translated into a number of different languages. However, the ancient manuscripts (written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) have been reliably copied over the centuries - with very few alterations. How do we know that the Bible has been intact for over 2,000 years of copying? In the past, our earliest Hebrew copy of the Old Testament was the Masoretic text, dating around 800 A.D. That was before we had the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament dating in the second century B.C. Then we also have the Dead Sea scrolls, and when we compare these texts which have an 800-1000 years gap between them we are amazed that 95% of the texts are identical with only minor variations and a few discrepancies. There are tens of thousands of manuscripts from the New Testament, in part or in whole, dating from the second century A.D. to the late fifteenth century. Most of the discrepancies are in spelling and word order. A few words have been changed or added. There are two passages that are disputed but no discrepancy is of any doctrinal significance (i.e., none would alter basic Christian doctrine) (15)

Sources:
1. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)
2. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net...
3. http://www.tektonics.org...
4. http://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com...
5. the rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; (Leviticus 11:6)
6. http://www.godandscience.org...
7. http://www.msstate.edu...
8. And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?" (Numbers 22:28)
9. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. (PSALMS 104:09)
10. when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. (Proverbs 8:29)
11. For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the land was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. (2 Peter 3:5-6)
12. So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. (Genesis 11:8)
13. http://www.biblegateway.com...
14. http://www.purplemath.com...
15. http://www.godandscience.org...
Debate Round No. 2
jjmd280

Pro

My opponent is a confident one. But so am I. Without further ado -

Rebuttals -

1. Serpent eats dust - While discussing the tale of the poor cursed serpent, I should add that there isn't the slightest evidence that the "serpent" had any connection with "Satan." That's a later Christian invention. "Satan" is not even mentioned in the whole book of Genesis, not when Cain kills Abel, nor when the "whole world" turns away from God prior to "the Flood," nor at "the tower of Babel" incident, which also "displeased" God. No mention of "Satan" anywhere. Compare the way Isaiah employed a very similar phrase to the one found in Genesis: "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and DUST SHALL BE THE SERPENT'S MEAT. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord." Isa. 65:25
In this verse the "dust" the serpent eats is its literal "meat," and not a metaphor at all.
And let us not forget, God curses the serpent, making him crawl on his belly - One wonders how he got around before -- by hopping on his tail, perhaps?

2. Giants- The Bible claims that before and after the flood there were "giants".
Genesis 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days;
Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, ... And we were in our own sight as grasshopper, and so we were in their sight.
A male Neanderthals average height was about 5'5", but there have been fossils discovered that were upwards of 6 ft. But I doubt that they were running around before AND after the flood- didn't God kill every living thing? Not to mention Neanderthals might have been scary, but unless humans were 6" tall, DCB, my faithful grasshopper, not even you could have seen them as giants. And I am pretty sure Genesis is more recent than 30,000 years ago, the age when the Neanderthal disappeared. Sorry, but theory fails.

Can you verify your claims that including women, children, and older men would mean a population of more than 2,000,000?
Even at a conservative 4 per family, (and you know how those Israelites loved to breed- The Israelite population went from 70 (or 75) to several million in a few hundred years. EX 1:5,7, 12:37, 38:26) - 603,550 x 4 = 2,414,200.

This population of Israelites for several centuries, survived attacks by armies larger than those commanded by Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the generals of the American Civil War, and even the massive forces of Prussia and France in 1870. Even Napoleon in his march through Russia only had 500,000 troops. Absurd..

I relent on the snail issue - but not on the flat earth issue. The only plausible reason for the "very high mountain" was that the altitude would make it possible to see to the ends of the earth. Only on a flat earth would this be remotely possible, so the New Testament writers were as ignorant as the Old. Although supernatural, the writers needed it to be believable, showing the ignorance of their time. And how exactly do we know what the ancients believed about the earth? The Bible.

Sword death - Metaphor -maybe. But Jesus clearly says ALL who live by the sword die by the sword. Exactly when are you to read the Bible poetically, and when is it to be read literally? Is there a Cliff Notes?

Recall that when the Bible mentions excrement, even cow's excrement (that Yahweh allowed Ezekiel to use instead of human excrement to bake bread over) the mention of the "excrement" coupled with disgust is quite evident. If an ancient Hebrew had seen animals eating their own excrement they would probably have mentioned that fact rather than disguising it as merely "chewing the cud" [sic]. And likewise I doubt that the Hebrews studied hares or rock badgers/coneys so carefully and employed such a wide definition of "chewing the cud/regurgitation in the Hebrew" as to include eating one's own defecation. Odds are they probably simply assumed that rabbits, like cows, chewed their grassy meals and "brought them up again" (isn't that the meaning of the Hebrew?) to chew them some more.
Glaring ignorance, and you'd think God would have been clear on this note. Poop wasn't a favorite substance of the ancients. There's even an obscure verse in the O.T. that contains a curse, about holding a "sh*t stick" up to one's nose.

Talking Outta Your *ss -
There are tons of these kinds of screwy stories. There's the ultimate tale of "put your trust in God" with the story of Doubting Thomas, who wouldn't accept that Jesus had risen until he actually poked his fingers into the deity's wounds. The bible is filled to the brim with these kinds of stories, teaching the "value" of belief without evidence is always superior than having evidence of belief.
It isn't.

The Flood was local, not global.
I must say you are the first apologist I have ever spoken with that states this. Most point to the Grand Canyon as evidence. BUT - I disagree with the all humans in Mesopotamia - Chinese, anyone? (No thanks, I'm not hungry - joking is so rare in this type of discussion.)

Pi = Cubit variations mean nothing - Note that the passage in I Kings explicitly gives both the diameter and the circumference. An estimate of pi is simply the ratio of the circumference to the diameter: 30/10 or exactly three. A circle cannot exist that uses this value.

Two key examples illustrate the critical nature of the variations in Scripture. Two of the most striking additions occur in the last 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark, and in 1 John.

The last 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark have been added on to the original text many years later, as even the New International Version, an evangelical favorite translation, notes. Unlike some other scribal errors that had little bearing on the major tenets of Christian dogma, this addition to the text has significant implications. In Mark, Jesus' reappearance to his disciples is mentioned only in the added verses. Bearing in mind that this is generally regarded as the earliest of the three synoptic gospels, and one of the primary sources for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the addition of these verses has an important effect.

In the First Epistle of John there is a passage often taken as an explicit reference to the doctrine of the Trinity. This section does not appear in any Greek manuscript before the 9th century.

Now onto more contradictions and absurdities.

1. Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic Prophecy -
The Messiah must be a physical descendant of David (Romans 1:3 & Acts 2:30). Yet, how could Jesus meet this requirement since his genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 show he descended from David through Joseph, who was not his natural father because of the Virgin Birth. Hence, this prophecy could not have been fulfilled.
2.The gospels (especially Matthew 21:4 and John 12:14-15) claim that Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. But the next few verses (Zechariah 9:10-13) show that the person referred to in this verse is a military king that would rule "from sea to sea". Since Jesus had neither an army nor a kingdom, he could not have fulfilled this prophecy.
3.Matthew (Matthew 2:17-18) quotes Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:15), claiming that it was a prophecy of King Herod's alleged slaughter of the children in and around Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus. But this passage refers to the Babylonian captivity, as is clear by reading the next two verses (Jeremiah 31:16-17), and, thus, has nothing to do with Herod's massacre.
4.In John 14:13-14 Jesus stated: "And whatsoever ye ask in my name I do, that the Father may be glorified in the son. If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it." In reality, millions of people have made millions of requests in Jesus' name and failed to receive satisfaction. This promise or prophecy has failed completely.

Out of room - glad I have 2 more rounds - Thank you.
DiablosChaosBroker

Con

>>>Counterarguments<<<

1. Serpent eats dust.

The Bible describes that this "snake" was none other than Satan (1) who took the form of an animal. That would explain why it could talk and tempt Eve, indicating a supernatural event rather than a naturalistic one. Therefore, it seems that the curse of the serpent does not necessarily apply to all snakes, but probably just to the snake called Satan.

However, if my opponent insists that the Bible says snakes do eat dust, I'll accept it. Snakes have the "Jacobson's organ" in the roof of its mouth that helps the snake smell. The snake picks up bits of dust and pulls them into its mouth with its tongue. A pair of sensory organs takes over once the dust is inside the mount and the snake is able to smell the trail for possible prey. (2)

2. There were giants in those days.

God did not kill every living thing: it was a local flood. The Neanderthals were physically very strong and unquestionably tough, a physically impressive race. (3) They may be considered giants if you consider their height, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

However, the Meganthropus may be better candidates. After all, some of their fossils indicate that they may be around 10 feet and as tall as 12 feet. (4)

3. Population of Egypt

So the total Israelite population of that time has been estimated at approximately 2 to 3 million. (5) There is no contradiction or error here since it is possible that in four centuries those Israelites became a nation of millions. Do you have any sources indicating that the population of Egypt could not be in the millions?

4. Flat Earth

Did you actually read my source? (6) Because if you did, you would have known that kings are elevated. It is the king who has the highest seat in a palace. It is the king to whom others lower themselves by bowing. So if the devil is going to tempt Jesus by offering to make him the king of the world, where else would be more appropriate than the top of a 'very high mountain?'

5. Sword Death

I already explained that this verse is a warning to Peter. The violent usually die violent deaths. It is perfectly plausible if used only within the context of Matt. 26:47-56. ALL meant all his disciples who were with Jesus at the moment of his arrest. If Peter were to put up a violent defense against them, all his disciples would have been killed. (7)

6. Rabbits chew their cud

Rabbits do not just eat ‘dung' which is probably why the Hebrew word for ‘dung' was not used here. The world gehrah means 1/20th of a shekel which is the smallest piece of money used among Hebrews. (8) Where the word for ‘dung' is used in the Bible, it implies something defiled, unclean, or useless. However, the 'dung' is not useless, because it contains pellets of partially digested food, which rabbits chew on. The pellets have some minute value, much as 1/20th of a shekel has some value. The phase 'chew the cud' is actually ‘bring up the cud' because ‘alah refers to ‘bring up'. (9)

7. Local, not global flood

At the time of the flood, all humans were in the same geographic location (the people of the world were not scattered over the earth until Genesis 11:8.) Based on archeological evidence, Mesopotamia is most likely the oldest civilization. (10)

8. Pi

There is no point in the Bible to say 3.14... Cubit variations do matter and if you were to measure the diameter of a circle and multiply it by 3, you would get an approximately estimated length of the circumference. Since there is no precise measurements back then, the Bible cannot be blamed to not say the exact value of pi. In fact, since pi in an irrational number, there is no way to say "the diameter of the circle is exactly 10 cubits and the circumference is exactly 31.41592654..."

9. The Last Twelve Verses of Mark

There is documentary evidence is that they were deleted later in the Alexandrian texts, not added subsequently. Westcott and Hort were not believers and opposed taking the Bible literally, therefore they deleted those verses. We can even find that the fingerprints hidden beneath the Biblical text that is still visible despite the veil of the centuries and proves the genuineness of the last twelve verses of Mark. (11) (12)

10. Comma Johanneum

All recent translations have removed this clause, as it is not present in the passage as quoted by any of the Church Fathers, who would not have had plenty of reason to quote it in their Trinitarian debates nor does not appear in older copies of the Epistle. Even though theology contained in the Comma is true, the Comma is not an original part of the Epistle of John. It may be that the Comma was introduced, intentionally or by accident, into a Latin text during the fourth or fifth century. (13)

11. Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic Prophecy

1. Christ is a descendant of David through His foster father Joseph. It may even be that Mary herself was descended from King David. Therefore St. Mary and St. Joseph are distant cousins, and both are physically descended from King David. Thus Christ is "of the seed of David" from his mother Mary, and "of the line of David" through his foster father Joseph. (14)

2. Huh? Those verses say nothing about anybody being a "military king." These verses simply use metaphorical language to describe the Messiah. He is someone who subdues military mentality for the message of peace (spreading God's message) for the heathen. It may be that the verses were referring to The Battle of Beth Zechariah. (15)

3. The Babylonian captivity can be inferred from those verses (16)? The prophecy fulfilled was the slaughter of children. No contradiction or error here.

4. Many people often read these verses without careful thought of the context, and we are seized by the tremendous possibilities of that word "anything." However, James reminds us otherwise. (17) What, then, does "in Jesus' name" mean? To pray in Jesus' name means to stand in Jesus' place. Where was Jesus standing when he said these words? He was facing the cross and the end. To pray in Jesus' name means that you accept the process of God, the process by which He brings matters (often) to utter collapse. To pray in Jesus' name means that you consent to that process and that you are aware that prayer is not merely a shield to prevent things from happening. Prayer is also a commitment to undergo the end and the collapse and the failure. But that is not the end of the story! It is only out of death that life comes. (18)

Sources:
1. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)
2. http://www.answersingenesis.org...
3. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net...
4. http://www.s8int.com...
5. http://www.keyway.ca...
6. http://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com...
7. http://www.piedmontfreethoughtassociation.org...
8. http://www.biblestudy.org...
9. http://www.answersingenesis.org...
10. http://www.classbrain.com...
11. http://www.khouse.org...
12. http://www.amazon.com...
13. http://en.wikipedia.org...
14. http://catholicism.about.com...
15. http://en.wikipedia.org...
16. http://www.biblegateway.com...;
17. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3)
18. http://www.raystedman.org...
Debate Round No. 3
jjmd280

Pro

I must forfeit this round due to current commitments - I apologize.
DiablosChaosBroker

Con

Extend all my arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
jjmd280

Pro

I'd like to apologize for my forfeit - the holidays have been busy in Trauma Nursing.
My opponent has done an admirable job in defending the Bible's supposed inerrancy. But it is ultimately futile. For only one fact must be shown to be contradictory or even untrue for the resolution to stand.
Instead of refuting his refutations, I would like to give some glaring contradictions I have yet to touch on, and then summarize my efforts.

Contradictions -

How many men did the chief of David's captains kill?
2 Samuel 23:8
The ... chief among the captains ... he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.
1 Chronicles 11:11
The chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time.

How long does God's anger last?
Psalm 30:5
For his anger endureth but a moment.
Jeremiah 3:12
I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever.
Micah 7:18
He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy
OR---
Numbers 32:13
And the Lord's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness for forty years.
Jeremiah 17:4
Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
Malachi 1:4
The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
Matthew 25:41
Depart from me, he cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
Matthew 25:46
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.

Can God do anything?

Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27
With God all things are possible.
Judges 1:19
And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

I have observed that the apologist's claim of scriptural inerrancy is really a claim of personal inerrancy. Even if I believe a book to be without error, I must rationally admit that I could be wrong about that. The only way to maintain a claim of inerrancy with absolute confidence, as many theists do, is to believe that I myself am incapable of committing error in that judgment - which is just what many believers do, even if they don't think of it in those terms.

But people are not infallible, and the claim of biblical inerrancy cannot be sustained. The Bible contains many verses that contradict each other, as well as others that contradict established facts of science or history. Whether in its original autographs or its modern translations, the text is plainly errant. Given this, we must consider what the implications are for believers - and for atheists. Can it make any rational sense to follow the dictates of an errant Bible?

Some Christians have said no - if the text has any errors at all, we must throw it away. For instance, the Methodists' founder, John Wesley:

" If there be any mistake in the Bible, there may well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth." http://www.alamosda.org...

And many modern atheists have taken this and run with it, asserting that if the Bible contains any errors, it cannot be the word of a perfect god and must therefore be valueless and should be discarded. Moderate believers, by contrast, hold that even if the text has faults, it still contains divine wisdom that we can use to our benefit. Is this a sustainable position, or should we side with the fundamentalists and argue that the Bible must be taken as either all or nothing?

I'm of two minds on this topic. I can see the logic in arguing that, if the Bible was the handiwork of a perfect god, it would itself be without error. I can't imagine why a deity who desired to communicate with us would permit the mistakes and prejudices of human beings to distort his message; that makes no sense to me. But to be fair, the psychology of the fundamentalists' god strikes me as equally irrational, just in different ways.

So are the two views, the fundamentalist and the liberal, equally implausible? Not quite: in my opinion, there is one small asymmetry between them.

I don't think that only inerrancy could justify belief in the Bible. Nevertheless, if you assume the text to be the product of divine revelation, it raises some serious questions as to why it would be imperfect. If God had a message he wanted to convey to humans, one would think he would want to communicate clearly. Surely, if God is benevolent, he would want humans to understand his will; he would not desire that we be confused or divided. The consequences of his leading us astray are terrible - just witness the rivers of blood spilled by people warring, persecuting, and torturing each other for the sake of their differing interpretations of God. Yet all this religious dissension also shows that the message is anything but clear.

So, did God not want to communicate his message more clearly? Or did he want to, but lacked the ability to do so? Either option poses a serious challenge to belief in a benevolent, all-wise deity. Why would God even write a book - a single book, one whose origins lie in a long-ago time and a very different culture, one that is prone to mistranslation, misinterpretation and deliberate alteration? Why grant some people special access to his word, and convey the message in such a flawed and imprecise format? Why not just speak to all of us directly, impress his message on everyone's heart?

For all their faults, the fundamentalists can deal with many of these questions more adequately. They would say that God did inspire a perfect book, one that conveys his message exactly as he wanted it, and it's only human fallibility that is to blame for all the religious dissension. But the liberal theology, for all its virtues, does not have satisfactory answers for these challenges. By positing that God has permitted human error to creep into the Bible and mingle with his own message, they can account for the Bible's errancy - but only at the cost of a more illogical and convoluted theology that has no answers for several obvious and vital questions. By far their best option, liberal or conservative alike, would be to stop making excuses for the Bible and adopt a more rational philosophy.

And decide, more importantly,once and for all - which version is the real Bible -
http://news.bbc.co.uk...
DiablosChaosBroker

Con

I forgive him for his forfeit. I do agree that he only has to provide one fact to be shown contradictory or false to fill his burden. Now my opponent has moved on to more contradictions:

2 Samuel 23:8
Note: The Tachmonite Chief Captain and Adino the Eznite together who slew 800 by the spear.
1 Chronicles 11:11
Note: Chief Captain Jashobeam the Hachmonite alone who slew 300 by the spear.

Answer: Thachmonite is the same as Hachmonite, the name given to Jashobeam. Where is the contradiction here? The two passages actually helped us know how many Jashobeam slew by the spear.

There is no contradiction.

How long does God's anger last?
Answer: How long anyone's anger lasts depends upon what the offender has done, and whether or not the offender has sought to make right that which was done. It is no different with God. The context of a statement always helps to understand why certain things are said. Let us consider each verse given:

Psalm 30:5 - God's anger is contrasted with his favor. God's desire is to save, to give us life. If we turn to Him, His anger over our sin gives way to comfort and life.

Jeremiah 3:12 - He called them home, assuring them that He would be merciful and not remain angry forever. Their turning to him would cause His anger to cease.

Micah 7:18 - God desires that His people turn to Him, that He might pardon their sins and show mercy. The prophet is praising God's forgiveness and mercy.

Numbers 32:13 - As a result of their disobedience, God, in His anger punished Israel. But the text did not say He remained angry for 40 years. Instead, He watched over them and continued to protect them, when they were faithful to Him.

Jeremiah 17:4 - It is man's disobedience which kindles God's anger. His anger with them would endure as long as their disobedience to Him endured.

Matthew 25:41, 46 - These texts are found in the judgment scene revealed by our Lord. Eternal (everlasting) punishment is given for those who were not faithful to the Lord. It is a simple matter of justice, not anger.

There is no contradiction.

Can God do anything?
Answer: Let's see what the text says: "So the LORD was with Judah. And they (NOT He) drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron." Who had trouble with the chariots, the LORD or the people of Judah? It does not say "He could not drive them out", but rather, "they could not drive them out". It was not the LORD who failed, it was the men of Judah.

There is no contradiction.

"I have observed that the apologist's claim of scriptural inerrancy is really a claim of personal inerrancy."
How is believing that the Bible its original form, is totally without error, and free from all contradictions a personal inerrancy? It is not my personal interpretation, but what the Bible actually says. The alleged Biblical contradictions are really misunderstandings of the verses in context.

"The Bible contains many verses that contradict each other, as well as others that contradict established facts of science or history."
Many verses? You didn't get even one contradiction of the Bible that I cannot explain why it is an error. It is your burden to provide any contradictions that I cannot refute. If the Bible is found to contain any mistakes or contradictions, the proposition of strict inerrancy has been refuted.

"Is this a sustainable position, or should we side with the fundamentalists and argue that the Bible must be taken as either all or nothing?"
Some moderate Christians believe in Biblical infallibility, the belief that the Bible is free from errors on issues of faith and practice, while minor possible contradictions can be overlooked as insignificant to its spiritual purpose. However, I believe in Biblical inerrancy, which is the belief that the Bible is free from all errors.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org...

"I can't imagine why a deity who desired to communicate with us would permit the mistakes and prejudices of human beings to distort his message; that makes no sense to me."
I don't see a mistake; neither do the proponents of Biblical inerrancy. I have refuted all your contradictions and have not seen a contradiction that would be a threat to Biblical inerrancy.

"So are the two views, the fundamentalist and the liberal, equally implausible?"
There are actually three views: the Bible is contradictory, the Bible has limited inerrancy, or the Bible is inerrant.

"So, did God not want to communicate his message more clearly?"
The message of God's Word is perfectly clear. Otherwise, how do you expect young children to understand Bible stories? In fact, I will oversimplify the message of the Bible: Read the Bible and believe in what it says. Follow the Ten Commandments and attempt to not commit sin. If you do, repent and pray to the Lord. Accept Jesus as your Savior and you'll be saved. Praying does not get you everything you want, but it will help you on your spiritual journey. Have faith in God and worship him.

It is not that hard to understand that message. I think that even young children in churches can understand what the message of God's Word is.

"They would say that God did inspire a perfect book, one that conveys his message exactly as he wanted it, and it's only human fallibility that is to blame for all the religious dissension."
I say that God inspired the writers that recorded in scripture that combined makes a perfect book, one that conveys his message exactly that He wanted it and it's only unbelievers that's to blame for all misunderstandings when they try to interpret scripture. This is not an excuse - I can refute any contradiction that I can't explain. It is your burden to provide a contradiction that is a threat to Biblical inerrancy. If you cannot, the Bible is automatically inerrant. It is innocent until proven guilty.

Which version is the real Bible?
I have provided you an answer already, but I will repeat myself not because I need to but in hope that my opponent understands.

Answer: Although my opponent may think that that the Bible has been drastically changed over the centuries, in reality, the Bible has been translated into a number of different languages. However, the ancient manuscripts (written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) have been reliably copied over the centuries - with very few alterations. How do we know that the Bible has been intact for over 2,000 years of copying? In the past, our earliest Hebrew copy of the Old Testament was the Masoretic text, dating around 800 A.D. That was before we had the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament dating in the second century B.C. Then we also have the Dead Sea scrolls, and when we compare these texts which have an 800-1000 years gap between them we are amazed that 95% of the texts are identical with only minor variations and a few discrepancies. There are tens of thousands of manuscripts from the New Testament, in part or in whole, dating from the second century A.D. to the late fifteenth century. Most of the discrepancies are in spelling and word order. A few words have been changed or added. There are two passages that are disputed but no discrepancy is of any doctrinal significance (i.e., none would alter basic Christian doctrine).
Source: http://www.godandscience.org...

In short, if you wanted the oldest known Bible translated into English, you can go to: http://www.amazon.com...

Thanks for the debate from a challenging atheist and vote Con!
Debate Round No. 5
73 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Hope that helps.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Laws of Logic -

Law of identity
A=A
Principle of contradiction
A is B and A is not B are mutually exclusive.

And the law of excluded middle, which isn't relevant.
Posted by DiablosChaosBroker 5 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
Me: I'm a mammal. I cannot be a human at the same time I'm a mammal.
You: A human is an animal.
Me: So is a fish, bird, lizard, etc.
You: Your point?
Me: This means a mammal an attribute - not a thing. It describes. Just like how you said that intelligence is an attribute.
You: So what?
Me: So the phrase: "A cannot be B at the same time it is A" must be wrong because you are point to attributes, not things.
You: You cannot be a human and a baseball.
Me: Those are attributes like intelligence, not things.
You: What?
Me: Just like intelligence.
Posted by DiablosChaosBroker 5 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
So you say that letters are things, not attributes. Should have cleared this up.

"A is A
A cannot be B at the same time it is A."

I'm a mammal.
I cannot be a human at the same time I'm a mammal.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Now you are being ridiculous - being smart is an attribute - not a thing. It describes. Can you be a human and be a baseball?

Learn what logic is before you try to refute it.
Posted by DiablosChaosBroker 5 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
I'm a human.
I cannot be smart at the same time I'm a human.
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
Logic is the study of the principles of valid demonstration and inference.

A is A
A cannot be B at the same time it is A.

Its exactly the kind of backwards argument that you are using, which 'people of faith' use all the time, to equivocate belief based on evidence to belief based on... well... no evidence. They are two different things.
Posted by DiablosChaosBroker 5 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
How do you demonstrate logic again?
Posted by jjmd280 5 years ago
jjmd280
So what? It is demonstrable, UNLIKE God.
Posted by DiablosChaosBroker 5 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
You can't measure it. Logic is immaterial like God.
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