Wednesday, March 4, 2015

More On Biblical "Authority..."

Here is a fair and balanced take on the same topic as last post from our friend, Neil, who also does not allow commentary from "false teachers" like me on his blog. Neil says...

They don’t say the word bad, but that is obviously what they mean.  As John Wesley notes below, that is one of the three options, and the “Christian” Left has clearly dismissed the other two.
This book had to be written by one of three people: good men, bad men or God. It couldn’t have been written by good men because they said it was inspired by the revelation of God. Good men don’t lie and deceive. It couldn’t have been written by bad men because bad men would not write something that would condemn themselves. It leaves only one conclusion. It was given by divine inspiration of God. John Wesley
The Bible claims to speak for God in whole or in part several thousand times.  So either the authors were correct or they were a bunch of blasphemous pathological liars. The text does not leave any middle ground.


Neil is, of course, simply factually mistaken. As are many who have apparently been blinded by too strong an allegiance to tradition (mostly modern tradition, at that).

Point by point:

Neil mocks the "Christian" Left (being sure to demonize and slander them/us with his scare quotes, indicating his rather arrogant stance that he is in a position to decide who is and isn't Christian) by saying that we claim the Bible was written by men.

Of course, when we claim that the Bible was written by men, our source for that is... the Bible. As a point of fact, the books of the Bible all are directly or indirectly attributed to human authors. The Book of Luke begins...

“With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

Who wrote Luke, according to the Bible? It is attributed to the Human, Luke.

Who wrote Psalm 23? According to the text, "a psalm of David..."

Who wrote 1 Corinthians? According to the text, "Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes..."

Now, is it possible, even likely, that some of the texts which attribute some of the epistles or other books to Paul or some other author are misattributed? That some other human author penned it? Sure, that's possible. But the point is, according to the text in the Bible, these books were written by humans.

So, setting aside the arrogance of a quasi-literalist mocking people for taking the Bible literally, it's just a silly and irrational jab to mock people for daring to say that the Bible's various books were written by humans when that's just what the Bible says.

Neil goes on to say, "The Bible claims to speak for God in whole or in part several thousand times."

This, too, is simply, factually wrong. "The Bible" does not make ONE SINGLE CLAIM about "the Bible." Not one. Now, no doubt, what Neil (and this is not to single out Neil, many in his camp do this) are trying to suggest is that various places within the various books of the Bible, claims are made such as "Thus saith the Lord..." or "God spake..."

But those claims, set in the context of a story, are not factually equivalent to "This is a claim that the Bible is making about itself..." They just aren't.

For one thing, as any of our conservative friends will agree with, before one interprets a text, one has to determine the literary genre and devices being used. IS this a text that is intended to make a fact claim? IS it written in a style that must be taken literally? Is it using figurative language? These are questions that must be answered first.

In order to answer those questions, we humans have to use our human reasoning to think these things through. The Bible comes with no "key" to insist upon interpretation points, it is up to our own human reasoning to sort that out and, for good and for bad, our human reasoning is not perfect.

The point remains: Neil is wrongly belittling "liberal" "non-literalists" for taking the Bible more literally than he is when it comes to the authors and making non-literal and extra-biblical demands on how we "must" interpret Scripture if we want to be "good" (read "conservative) Christians.

Unfortunately for Neil, et al, a literal reading of the Bible does not support his claims, nor does simple reason or reality.


Ed Dingess said...

Did you receive a grammy for the strawman construction? You should give it back. What you should have received is a grammy for your self-delusional pats on your back. They are striking.

Dan Trabue said...

Ed, you are welcome to make on topic comments. But empty, unsupported claims are not on-topic.

What strawman?

Empty claims only undermine your positions/weaken your witness. Come back if you have something more substantive.

What does the Bible say about biblical authors? Does it not say that these are books/stories/collections penned by humans?

The answer is yes. So, given that reality, people who merely note reality ought not be mocked for, in this case, taking the bible literally.

If you disagree with the point, make a case. WHY is it okay to mock people who note that the books of the Bible were written by humans, when that is the case?