PAbraham

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Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« on: February 07, 2019, 08:37:39 pm »
Hey everybody. Just wanted to say hello and to say how much I appreciate WLC. It was through reading his works and listening to his podcasts that I finally gave in and gave my life back to the Lord Jesus Christ. I left the church in 2008 due to some issues that I had with perceived scientific inaccuracies in the Bible and due to the numerous "errors" that I found in my study of the Bible, I became a member of the Thinking Atheist forum and was a frequent poster there. God in his wisdom allowed the forum owner to shut it down leaving me time and energy to explore WLC who we often discussed in the forum. I realized that I had never actually heard the man or read his works and was intrigued enough to read On Guard and found enough material there to shake my atheistic stand. I am now back in fellowship with my local church and growing to love the Lord daily.

I still have issues with the "errors" I see in the Bible and would love to discuss them but don't see a forum topic dedicated to the subject. Maybe. if the mods agree, I'll start one up.

Regards,
Phil

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Natus Regis

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2019, 06:02:20 pm »
Hey everybody. Just wanted to say hello and to say how much I appreciate WLC. It was through reading his works and listening to his podcasts that I finally gave in and gave my life back to the Lord Jesus Christ. I left the church in 2008 due to some issues that I had with perceived scientific inaccuracies in the Bible and due to the numerous "errors" that I found in my study of the Bible, I became a member of the Thinking Atheist forum and was a frequent poster there. God in his wisdom allowed the forum owner to shut it down leaving me time and energy to explore WLC who we often discussed in the forum. I realized that I had never actually heard the man or read his works and was intrigued enough to read On Guard and found enough material there to shake my atheistic stand. I am now back in fellowship with my local church and growing to love the Lord daily.

I still have issues with the "errors" I see in the Bible and would love to discuss them but don't see a forum topic dedicated to the subject. Maybe. if the mods agree, I'll start one up.

Regards,
Phil

It is easy, is it not, to be so guided so as to not even know a position of someone or something and still move against him or it? It is a temptation that may easily steer a man.

If the book On Guard shook your atheist stance, it may well shake others too. If you know On Guard well, you may very well be the one doing the shaking (for a good purpose of course) in the cases of other atheists.

I shall pray for you, that God may take care of business, that he may lead you, and that your relation with God will prosper.

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PAbraham

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2019, 09:35:36 pm »
Thanks for the encouragement, Natus. After the Thinking Atheist forum closed, many of the members fled to TTA Lifeboat, a forum created solely to keep ex-TTA members connected and to export material from TTA that Seth Andrews, the owner of TTA was unwilling to share after the forum shut down. Needless to say that decision made him extraordinarily unpopular. Some of us, myself included, had several years worth of posts that we wanted saved.

I have been debating posting my decision on TTA Lifeboat. I've no doubt it will come as a shock to some of my correspondents. But, maybe this was God's roundabout way of reaching some of them through me. I'm just grateful he did not allow me to die in my apostasy.

Phil

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Axe Elf

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2019, 03:15:12 pm »
I still have issues with the "errors" I see in the Bible and would love to discuss them but don't see a forum topic dedicated to the subject. Maybe. if the mods agree, I'll start one up.

I think a lot of the "errors" in the Bible exist only when trying to use the Bible in a way that it was not intended--as a science book or as a history book, for instance.

If one uses the Bible as it was intended--as a book of spiritual truth--one is likely to find it to be inerrant.  If one uses the Bible as a science or history book, however, it is likely to fare much worse--just as a book of poems may not be the best source for tasty recipes.

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PAbraham

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2019, 07:07:26 pm »
I agree, Axe. I'm not speaking so much about the scientific "errors" in the Bible so much as the discrepancies found within it. A simple example would be the feeding of the 5000.

After feeding the 5000, Mark 6:45 says:, "Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd."

But John 6: 16, says that "When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum."

Now Bethsaida and Capernaum are on opposite sides of the sea of Galilee. So, where did the feeding of the 5000 occur? We know it was the same event, because both accounts mention the little boy with five loaves and two fishes and the miracle of Jesus walking on the water occurred immediately after the feeding of the 5000 in both accounts.

I've not read a satisfactory explanation of this discrepancy and any input would be welcome.

There are many other such discrepancies that used to bother me. While they don't bother my faith anymore, my intellectual itch needs to be scratched.

Phil

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Axe Elf

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2019, 07:36:32 am »
I agree, Axe. I'm not speaking so much about the scientific "errors" in the Bible so much as the discrepancies found within it. A simple example would be the feeding of the 5000.

After feeding the 5000, Mark 6:45 says:, "Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd."

But John 6: 16, says that "When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum."

Now Bethsaida and Capernaum are on opposite sides of the sea of Galilee. So, where did the feeding of the 5000 occur? We know it was the same event, because both accounts mention the little boy with five loaves and two fishes and the miracle of Jesus walking on the water occurred immediately after the feeding of the 5000 in both accounts.

I've not read a satisfactory explanation of this discrepancy and any input would be welcome.

There are many other such discrepancies that used to bother me. While they don't bother my faith anymore, my intellectual itch needs to be scratched.

Phil

You start out by saying that you agree with me that the Bible shouldn't be used as a history or a science book, and then you go right on and cite a historical discrepancy?

Once again, the Bible is a book of spiritual truths.  Use it in that way, and you can't go wrong.  Try to use it as a science book or as a history book, and you will fare much worse.

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PAbraham

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2019, 04:28:17 pm »
While I agree that the Bible is neither a scientific nor a history textbook, it still must at least be internally consistent, where editorial or scribal errors cannot be attributed. As I said earlier, the example I gave above is purely an intellectual query and does not impact my new-found faith in Jesus Christ. Any answer would be most welcome.
Cheers,
Phil

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Axe Elf

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2019, 07:58:55 am »
While I agree that the Bible is neither a scientific nor a history textbook, it still must at least be internally consistent, where editorial or scribal errors cannot be attributed.

It must be internally consistent?  Who says?  You?

Is it important that turtles and rabbits can't talk to learn something from the story of the tortoise and the hare?

Ask five different people what they saw at the scene of an automobile accident, and you'll get five different answers.  Different people interpret things differently, and attend to different things, and often get some of the details flat out wrong.  It's not important to me whether Jesus was headed east or west when He walked on the water, and to get caught up in that minutia is to miss the whole point.

Read the four Gospels and you'll get four different accounts of what happened at the empty tomb on Easter morning--who visited the tomb, how many angels were there, etc.--but the details aren't important.  The important thing to learn from the "internally inconsistent" accounts is that Jesus rose from the dead.

As I said earlier, the example I gave above is purely an intellectual query and does not impact my new-found faith in Jesus Christ. Any answer would be most welcome.

You have THE answer already.

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PAbraham

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2019, 04:47:05 pm »
While I agree that the Bible is neither a scientific nor a history textbook, it still must at least be internally consistent, where editorial or scribal errors cannot be attributed.

It must be internally consistent?  Who says?  You?

Is it important that turtles and rabbits can't talk to learn something from the story of the tortoise and the hare?

Ask five different people what they saw at the scene of an automobile accident, and you'll get five different answers.  Different people interpret things differently, and attend to different things, and often get some of the details flat out wrong.  It's not important to me whether Jesus was headed east or west when He walked on the water, and to get caught up in that minutia is to miss the whole point.

Read the four Gospels and you'll get four different accounts of what happened at the empty tomb on Easter morning--who visited the tomb, how many angels were there, etc.--but the details aren't important.  The important thing to learn from the "internally inconsistent" accounts is that Jesus rose from the dead.

As I said earlier, the example I gave above is purely an intellectual query and does not impact my new-found faith in Jesus Christ. Any answer would be most welcome.

You have THE answer already.

Axe,
I'm not sure why you're in attack mode. I already told you I'm a believer. I simply have questions about stories in the Bible that don't quite gel with each other. If someone has an explanation other than that the Bible is fallible, I'd like to hear it. There are explanations or harmonizations enough for some of the more well known discrepancies. I simply pointed out that the story of the feeding of the 5000 does not have a satisfactory explanation.

The story of the tortoise and the hare exactly demonstrates my point. The story is internally consistent (that the tortoise and the hare don't speak is immaterial - the fact that they were having a race is enough to anthropomorphize the animals). If, however, we read in another version (or chapter or gospel) that the hare won the race or that the hare turned into a wolf and ate the tortoise, then the story is internally inconsistent and must be investigated further.

Also, the point of internal consistency is vitally important. It is for precisely that reason that some heretical gospels and pseudoepigraphia were not included in the canon.  Their contents would NOT have been internally consistent with the accepted canon.

Peace,
Phil

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Axe Elf

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2019, 02:32:43 pm »
I'm not sure why you're in attack mode. I already told you I'm a believer.

I'm not sure why you think I'm in attack mode.  I'm in education mode.  Everyone is a believer, of something; I'm just trying to help you hold rational beliefs.

I simply have questions about stories in the Bible that don't quite gel with each other. If someone has an explanation other than that the Bible is fallible, I'd like to hear it. There are explanations or harmonizations enough for some of the more well known discrepancies. I simply pointed out that the story of the feeding of the 5000 does not have a satisfactory explanation.

But the Bible being "fallible" when it is used for a purpose other than that which it is intended IS the explanation.  As a book of spiritual truth, it is infallible.  As a science or history book, it is almost useless.

The story of the tortoise and the hare exactly demonstrates my point. The story is internally consistent (that the tortoise and the hare don't speak is immaterial - the fact that they were having a race is enough to anthropomorphize the animals). If, however, we read in another version (or chapter or gospel) that the hare won the race or that the hare turned into a wolf and ate the tortoise, then the story is internally inconsistent and must be investigated further.

Well, talking animals certainly aren't consistent with what we know about the world, but even in the sense of the story being told in contradictory ways, that's still exactly what we see in the Bible.  You just have to understand that the history of exactly what happened in every perfect detail is not the point of the account.

For example, the point of the accounts of the first Easter is that Jesus rose from the dead.  But the accounts of how that happened are completely inconsistent and contradictory.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.  --Matthew 28:1

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body.  --Mark 16:1

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb  --John 20:1

...and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"  But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  --Mark 16:3-4

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  --Matthew 28:2

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  --Mark 16:5

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  --Luke 24:4

but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  --John 20:11-12

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  --Matthew 28:8

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.  --Mark 16:8

Who went to the tomb?  Did they see the stone being rolled away with lightning and earthquakes, or was the stone already rolled away when they got there?  Was there one angel or two angels?  Were they inside or outside the tomb?  Did the women keep quiet out of fear, or did they run tell dat?

Who knows?  Who cares?  It's not important to the lesson of the Gospels.

I view the question of whether Jesus was headed east or west when He walked on the water in the same way.

Also, the point of internal consistency is vitally important. It is for precisely that reason that some heretical gospels and pseudoepigraphia were not included in the canon.  Their contents would NOT have been internally consistent with the accepted canon.

Well, consistency obviously wasn't an important criterion, or there wouldn't be so much inconsistency in the Bible as it is.  The only real criterion for a book's inclusion in the Bible is whether or not God appointed it for inclusion at that time or not.

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PAbraham

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2019, 03:24:45 pm »
I'm not sure why you're in attack mode. I already told you I'm a believer.

I'm not sure why you think I'm in attack mode.  I'm in education mode. 


OK. I'm glad to hear that. I did not want to initiate an argument with a fellow believer. 😊

Where we do disagree is in our view of the Bible. I see it as containing spiritual AND secular truths and as the inspired word of God, hence my desire to explicate my findings.

When I was an atheist I accumulated a lengthy list of Bible errors, discrepancies and inconsistencies, like the resurrection accounts, for example. For the most part, even as an atheist I was able to see where copying errors, editorial mistakes and eyewitness differences accounted for the problems I saw, but some of them escaped explanation.

Some difficulties are barely mentioned at all. For example, Judges 7:7, says that Gideon chose 300 men to go fight the Midianites, but a careful reading of Judges 7:19, 20 seems to show that he had 400 men with him. No one seems to know where the extra 100 men came from.

I agree with you that these minutiae make no doctrinal differences, but an explanation sure would be nice.

I'm going to stop here. Maybe, down the road, I'll start up a topic on this very thing, but I want to make sure that my motivation is correct and will ultimately honor God.

Cheers!
Phil

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Natus Regis

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2019, 12:29:11 pm »
Thanks for the encouragement, Natus. After the Thinking Atheist forum closed, many of the members fled to TTA Lifeboat, a forum created solely to keep ex-TTA members connected and to export material from TTA that Seth Andrews, the owner of TTA was unwilling to share after the forum shut down. Needless to say that decision made him extraordinarily unpopular. Some of us, myself included, had several years worth of posts that we wanted saved.

I have been debating posting my decision on TTA Lifeboat. I've no doubt it will come as a shock to some of my correspondents. But, maybe this was God's roundabout way of reaching some of them through me. I'm just grateful he did not allow me to die in my apostasy.

Phil

No problem, and I shall try to put in a prayer for you today.

I find the story interesting. Perhaps this Seth you write of has become a Christian (heh heh)? Is there any news (if you don't mind) about responses from that forum you mention? Who knows indeed? It may very well be that you are to shake them. Perhaps you will be a fisher of men in there.

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GlennRMorton

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2020, 10:15:03 am »
I am a geophysicist who worked the oil fields.  i have spent my life (I am now 70 and started at age 19) looking for a way to make science and Scripture match.  Long story story, I traveled through YEC, defeatism, ran with the atheists (but never became one) for about 17 years, rejected the modern view that it was never meant to be true (I consider that like the french in WWII just surrendering to the atheist position), and then gave up again for 10 years.  Then while looking at geological conference talks from the Eastern Mediterranean, I found good geologic evidence that the  rivers described in Gen 2:8-14 actually did interact with each other at a time Christians refuse to place Adam and Eve.  I know there are few to no geologists on this list, but the few christian geologists I have shown these rivers together just as the Bible says, are excited.  I put up a blog on this, get about 50-100 people per day, so not that many are interested. I am writing a book so that when I am gone (I am now on hospice, not looking for sympathy from anyone), my ideas will still be out there. 

The frustrting thing is that I have found a way for the Bible stories to be true, but no one likes the time nor the place, and no one in christian apologiests likes or knows geology--a perfect storm of things going against my ideas. 

This obviously is a philosophy site.  I left philosophy because it was really idealist and geophysics went to the heart of the problem wrt to the flood, the creatioin, Eden etc.  While this forum won't allow picutres, I will send you to a  slightly modeified conference picture from late last year showing what I know are the paleoTigris, PaleoEuphrates, PaleoNile and I added to the map the Paleo Pison which drained Arabia/Havilah--there is no doubt that Afiq canyon was the drainage pathway at this time out of Arabia (Havilah) 

Here is the page describing the geology  http://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-rivers-of-eden-blind-chance-or.html

And here is the picture alone, which still has some explanation
http://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-rivers-of-eden-blind-chance-or.html

I told this to my very secular sister and it was the first time in my life I had seen her even open to God--she chose divine inspiration from the choices. lol

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LCpl

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Re: Former atheist. Still have questions about biblical inerrancy
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2020, 11:46:20 pm »
The two passages are not necessarily contradictory.  While Mark says they sailed to Bethsaida, he does not say that they did not sail to Capernaum.  Similarly, while John says they sailed to Capernaum, he does not say they did not sail to Bethsaida. The possibility exists that each author decided not to mention those particular destinations in his recounting of events.

For the passages to be contradictory, at least one of the authors had to say that Jesus and His disciples did not sail to the destination mentioned in the other author's recounting. This does not occur.  Therefore, the passages in question are not contradictory, and this explanation remains a possibility.  Perhaps this helps.  God Bless!