"If the Bible is true, if it is scripture inspired by God, then it will be beneficial for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. It has demonstrated itself to be exactly that for thousands of years to the church as a whole, and to every individual Christian in a personal way."
This does not work, from a logic perspective: If a then b. b. Therefore, a. Yet this is exactly what you do. There could be a point that, at least in some cases, b does suggest a, but it's not as ironclad as (a -> b), a, therefore b.
What Tim fails to mention is that each and every one of the arguments that he puts forward for the veracity of the Bible is, and has been, put forward by Muslims for the veracity of the Koran.
Does anyone else find it hilarious that Tim goes on about evidence and logic when he has admitted that nothing could or would change his mind?
This isn't intellectual honesty, this is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing "Lalalala I can't hear you".
Tim, how about a straight answer to a straight question, just for a change? Can you give me one line from the bible (just one will be plenty, thanks) that could *not* have been written by an ordinary, non-divinely inspired human being? Thanks.
If by "the Bible" you mean the collection of writings inspired by God, then my answer is "all of them". If by "the Bible" you mean our translations of copies of copies, then my answer is "none of them". The KJV-only people will disagree with me here.
So...no, then? Yep, that's pretty much what I expected you'd say.
Tim, taking a line at random, from 1 Chron 6.
"And Azariah begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub".
Can you explain precisely what it is about that line that says it could not possibly have been written by an ordinary human being? What *specifically* identifies that line as being of divine, and not human, origin?
That you use a section you label "INDIVIDUAL, PERSONAL CONVICTION" in your defense of the Bible's objectivity is very interesting. A more polar opposite definition of objectivity would be difficult to come by. However, I do understand that from within the framework of the Christian worldview, that makes perfect sense. But it does not hold up to the standard of objectivity within the context of the question asked.
In the section "EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY," Jesus' own words appear to confirm some incredible claims made by groups of people over time. Things like Bigfoot, stigmata, UFO's, and Joseph Smith's Golden Plates come to mind. I find it hard to believe that this standard ("EVERY fact,") put forth by Jesus, is one that you live by and use in determining fact from fiction.
JS, thanks for the comment on Eyewitness Testimony. When I myself read the NASB version of the passage, I understood it very differently than you have. You seem to take it to mean "something is a fact if two people say it is". I see why you took it that way. I did not. I understood "confirmed" to mean "corroborated":
Corroboration supports a claim and makes it more convincing. Many Christians are convinced that the Bible is true due to its corroborating testimonies. That was all I was saying.
Looking at the Greek (and the Hebrew that Christ was referencing), it appears the NASB may not offer the clearest translation of this verse. It appears as though a better translation may be something like:
"...by the mouth of two or three witnesses, testimonies can become powerful."
(the verses I investigated)
Thanks again for pointing this out.
Tim, do the corroborating testimonies from multiple witnesses at the Salem witch trials make it likely that witches actually existed in that time and place?
Tim, aren't you blatantly contradicting yourself with this answer? In a previous answer, you said that knowing or understanding the bible isn't necessary for salvation. If that's the case, why bother with the bible at all?
Thanks for that clarification, Tim.
Re-reading your response to this question is it fair to interpret the following about your version of the Christian worldview:
1. The Bible itself creates the framework of all objectivity.
2. (Individual) human belief in the Bible is the product of predestination, or being "chosen" by God. One need only look between the Bible's two covers to justify its claims of absolute authority as the word of God. It is a self contained defense of truth, not needing to be, and not able to be, supported by any external defense.
3. Thus, belief in the Bible, and subscription to its framework of objectivity, is by definition an individual, subjective experience, the product of having been chosen individually by God.
Again, I understand the Christian belief that the Bible is absolute truth, error free, and complete. I'm also familiar with your definition of knowledge. No need to rehash any of that.
But it does sound as if you've laid out a very subjective, individual case for belief in the Bible.
A subjective experience leads to a framework of objectivity, correct?
"1. The Bible itself creates the framework of all objectivity."
To describe my view it would be more accurate to say the Bible "offers", "presents", "explains", "describes", etc rather than "creates". God's nature or essence "provides" the framework. The framework isn't really "created" per se, but it is a direct and inevitable result of the existence of the God described by the Bible.
"2. (Individual) human belief in the Bible is the product of predestination, or being 'chosen' by God."
"Chosen" to believe in the Bible, yes. That may or may not, for humans, equate to being among the "elect" -- those who believe the Bible and those who are saved are not necessarily the identical set of people.
"One need only look between the Bible's two covers to justify its claims of absolute authority as the word of God. It is a self contained defense of truth, not needing to be, and not able to be, supported by any external defense."
No, I would disagree, unless I misunderstand your meaning. Looking between the Bible's two covers requires the use of eyes, reading its words requires an intellectual processing of information. The Bible does not do these things for us. To a degree we learn how to do these things through experience, which factors in to our conclusions. When we process the information, we use tools God has given us (and presented or described in the Bible), like the laws of logic, the validity of using experiential evidence, eyewitness testimonies, etc. We do, can, and should use these tools ourselves, as we are directed to do by scripture, to understand what it teaches.
So the defenses offered are not purely "Bible, Bible, Bible". Rather, they are Bible + Logic + Reason + Experience, etc. The defense must begin with divine revelation to be epistemologically justified though, and the Bible is divine revelation. So, for the Christian, starting a defense of the Bible with the Bible is generally a good way to go, as absurd as it may seem to people who embrace non-coherentist epistemologies.
"3. Thus, belief in the Bible, and subscription to its framework of objectivity, is by definition an individual, subjective experience, the product of having been chosen individually by God."
No human can arrive at any conclusion on a personal level (no one can honestly say "I have come to the conclusion that...") apart from going through some sort of subjective process involving the personal interpretation of facts / information / evidence, etc. If that is all you are saying, then yes. However, only Christianity offers an objective (absolutely true) foundation or epistemological justification for this subjective (or personal and individual) process.
"But it does sound as if you've laid out a very subjective, individual case for belief in the Bible."
The question was about the criteria that I individually utilize. I also offered in my example criteria that many other Christians individually utilize. If every Christian individually utilized the exact same criteria, it would still be individually utilized, and each individual would still draw their own conclusion, even if everyone's conclusion was the same. This is true for all conclusions drawn by humans.
"A subjective experience leads to a framework of objectivity, correct?"
God's nature or essence provides the framework, so it exists objectively. Our subjective usage of that framework leads us to conclusions and sometimes our conclusions are about the very objective framework that makes our conclusions viable. But if our subjective conclusions lead to a rejection of the objective framework that was used to develop them, they have denied their own epistemological justification. Such a conclusion has made itself unjustified.
I've been reading Tim's responses on these pages for quite some time but this sublime and spectacularly meaningless and outstandingly tautologous drivel surpasses even his usual superlative gobbledegook. That's not ad hominem by the way - I think most reasonable people would call it fair comment.
Which part of it didn't you understand, Neddie?
Come now, Tim. You and I and everyone else reading this knows that it's not that I don't understand. It's that there is almost nothing *to* understand. Casuistry abounds. Questions are avoided. Words are given meanings depending solely on your whims. It's pointless.
I would observe that the level of intellectual dishonesty you display is almost worthy of William Lane Craig, if I weren't worried that you would take that as a compliment.
I prefer to maintain some level of civility, even in strong disagreement. No need for insults.
Tim, my statements around the idea of predestination and its role in defining objective truth for your version of the Christian worldview were based on your statement, "If He has chosen you to receive His mercy, you will also recognize His message." Hence, my assessment and request for affirmation of your position as stated by me, "A subjective experience leads to a framework of objectivity, correct?"
I appreciate what sounds like your acknowledgement of the subjective nature of the Christian position on the defense of the Bible's truth.
We likely stand in disagreement over acceptance of what "objectivity" truly is, however.
Thanks for your reply.
tim-since you accept the (un) holy bible as authoritative, does that mean we should bring back slavery, since the god of the bible advocates owning and beating slaves? (ex 21)
FAO Moose - Tim said in previous comment that...
"One human treating another as property is in itself perfectly acceptable from a moral perspective (Leviticus 25:44). This does not mean that every example of slavery throughout history was perfectly acceptable".
Good luck making sense of that...
Scripture makes it clear that we are all either slaves to sin or slaves to Christ (John 8:34; 1 Corinthians 7:22). Slavery is alive and well, and always will be. The claim that any human is free from all forms of slavery is nothing less than a claim to their absolute divinity.
Further, a morally proper response to foolishness is a beating (Proverbs 26:3, 10:13). For this reason, for example, the spanking of children is a long-held, much-valued, and highly effective parental disciplinary measure (Proverbs 22:15).
The concept of being owned and at the same time having to love the one who owns you is repugnant and repulsive.
Many civilised people decided long ago that it is not acceptable for one human being to own another as property. That the Christian faith leads some people to the opposite conclusion is even more evidence of that faith's corrosive effect on basic human decency and its innate barbarism.
Thanks for sharing your feelings, Tony.
You're welcome, Anonymous. I particularly love it when the Christian bible is very clear about how you are permitted to treat your slaves. For example, it's OK to beat your slave to death, as long as he/she lives for a day or two after the beating (Ex 21:20-21). Presumably this applies to child slaves too. It puts Tim's spiel about the morality of beating children into perspective doesn't it?!
I, too, have been a patron of this site for quite a long time. (I even had a private exchange with Tim at some length)
Tim has been instrumental in confirming my skepticism and giving me more and more reason to remain an atheist. I believe that Tim is a true believers, and a part of the "people of faith" out there, and he makes no pretense to explaining his beliefs so long as you read between the lines when he doesn't answer directly. It is informative to read his views here, to understand how closely they mirror those of the cream of the crop theists, and just how inapplicable they are to the reality outside of a brainwashed childhood.
This is especially so when put side by side with Richard Carrier's responses which are clear, concise, and a breath of fresh air. I just wish Shaheed Williams posted answers more often.
It is an old canard to pull isolated statements from the Torah as if they represent Christian views.
Christians were in the leadership of anti-slavery movements, including Wilberforce, and President Lincoln (following his conversion in 1863).
Christian legalities differ drastically from the Old Testament system.
Dan - the problem is that Christians themselves are well-known for cherry-picking from the bible whatever suits them and ingoring what is inconvenient, embarrassing, barbaric etc etc. So trying to determine what "Christian views" are is about as useful, and productive, as nailing smoke to the wall.
In a similar vein, you yourself blithely ignore the many, many Christians on the pro-slavery team and who quoted from the same holy book in support of this view.
Finally, if Christian legalities (whatever they might be) differ so drastically from the OT system, why is homosexuality still such a problem for so many Christians?
Just a comment. It would really help to have dates by posts. Coming to this website for the first time, I do not want to comment on something that is months old, etc.
Frank - I agree, although if you check the GodCon Twitter feed, the latest comments are listed chronologically.
Yeah, I see that now. Thanks, Tony.