Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 990902

Shown: posts 1 to 17 of 17. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Inerrancy - what do you think?

Posted by hyperfocus on July 13, 2011, at 8:24:40

I saw this topic on another forum and I thought I'd share it. Basically inerrancy is the view that everything that is recorded in books like the Bible or other major religious works is historically or scientifically or theologically true and accurate. I've always believed in seeking out Wisdom from wherever I can find it. I do not accept many teachings in the Bible like certain Pauline theology, or consider it to have any scientific validity on the creation of the earth or the origins of life etc. But somebody made the point that if you don't believe in Biblical inerrancy then what do you believe i.e. how then can you call yourself a Christian? The same argument I imagine can be used for other faiths. What do you think?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_inerrancy

 

Re: Inerrancy - what do you think? hyperfocus

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2011, at 11:05:03

In reply to Inerrancy - what do you think?, posted by hyperfocus on July 13, 2011, at 8:24:40

I think there are a good many Christians in many mainstream denominations who do not believe in inerrancy. I don't see any conflict with this. Believing that the Bible is divinely inspired, and contained God's wishes for us, doesn't mean that one can't believe that there is use of metaphor and parable, or that the writers are human and, even if divinely inspired, write from the understanding arising from their time and culture.

Moreover, the Bible serves more than one purpose. It is a history of a people as well as a guideline for God's wishes for us.

I think it's clear that Jesus used parables to illustrate a point. He didn't expect people to accept his stories as a completely factual tale of a single person. Was there really a Samaritan? A prodigal son? Does it really matter? Why does it matter if Bible writers also wrote to make a point?

I think that we might be applying modern standards of nonfiction to the Bible, and I'm not sure that's a fair standard.

Does the Bible tell us what God wants of us? Do the Bible stories illustrate those points, at least as far as the writers understood it? Which stories are history? How often does history, whether written at the time or years later, contain some factual inaccuracy? Does it really matter?

I don't see that the *truth* of the Bible depends on its inerrancy.

But I have no issue with those who feel differently, though I'd prefer that Christians refrain from claiming exclusive rights to the term.

Sigh. The wider world also often seems to believe that "Christian" means "Fundamentalist". Christianity includes a wide range of beliefs and attitudes.

 

Re: Inerrancy - what do you think?

Posted by hyperfocus on July 19, 2011, at 14:40:39

In reply to Re: Inerrancy - what do you think? hyperfocus, posted by Dinah on July 13, 2011, at 11:05:03

Well the article makes a point to distinguish inerrancy from literalism or fundamentalism. Different people can debate what a particular Bible passage means, but inerrancy says the ultimate meaning must be true and the divine will of God. From what I gather mainstream denominations like Catholicism believe in inerrancy as necessary to their faith. I guess it's a theologically stronger position to take an all-or-nothing view of the meaning and truth of the Bible.

The thing is reading New Testament books like Acts always triggers many WWJD moments in me - like this:

"1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wifes full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles feet.

3 Then Peter said, Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didnt it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasnt the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.

5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him."

-Acts 5

Somehow if you replace Peter by Jesus I can't see this happening. I could be wrong but Jesus never reproached anybody for what they did or didn't contribute financially to his ministry.

Personally I've found writings in the Gnostic gospels and other Apocrypha resonate in me more than this sort of TV action movie evangelism in Acts and elsewhere. I'm also very wary of Paul and to a lesser extent Peter and their interpretation of what Jesus said and did. But you're not allowed this sort of doctrinal freedom in mainstream Christianity, apparently.

 

Re: Inerrancy - what do you think?

Posted by sigismund on July 19, 2011, at 22:07:09

In reply to Re: Inerrancy - what do you think?, posted by hyperfocus on July 19, 2011, at 14:40:39

> I'm also very wary of Paul

Me too.

His work is an amazing intellectual and poetic achievement, of course.

Jesus seems to me much stranger or harder to define than the Jesus Paul gives us.

 

Re: Inerrancy - what do you think? hyperfocus

Posted by Dinah on July 22, 2011, at 9:07:29

In reply to Re: Inerrancy - what do you think?, posted by hyperfocus on July 19, 2011, at 14:40:39

It depends on what you mean by mainstream.

I'm a non-Pauline Christian, more of a Jamesian Christian, and non-Trinitarian. The pastor who welcomed me to the church knew it. There are those within the church who find that distressing, but others who are perfectly accepting. Another member of my church once confided to me that she was non-Pauline and non-Trinitarian too, but apparently she wasn't going public with it.

I think if you find a really mainstream Protestant church (Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, etc.) that values intellectual curiosity, that you won't have any problems at all. Though of course it likely depends on the congregants and the pastor. I'm perfectly at home in my mainstream Protestant church, even though I don't believe in the Trinity, and have no real liking for Paul. I accept that without his tireless activity Christianity may never have spread across the world. But I also see his personal issues riddled throughout his writing. And frankly his "wretched sinner" view of mankind makes me so angry. But that's me.

I spoke once with an ordained minister who smiled at my confession of distrust of Paul, and said that there are a lot of people who feel as I do in the theological community.

Catholicism and Mormonism, as what I call "revealed" religions, may be less open to intellectual divergence. But surely Protestantism is based on the idea that one *should* think about the Bible themselves, not slavishly accept church doctrine? Though I know more than a few active and devout Catholics who take a decidedly cautious view of the Bible.

I think it may be more the non-mainstream churches that would have issues with it. The traditionally mainstream churches have become fairly liberal. At least overall, though there may be pockets of orthodoxy.

 

Re: Non-Pauline Christians

Posted by hyperfocus on July 23, 2011, at 10:37:55

In reply to Re: Inerrancy - what do you think? hyperfocus, posted by Dinah on July 22, 2011, at 9:07:29

Wow. I didn't even know there was a name for people who think like that - thanks Dinah. It's got a Wikipedia article and everything: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Christianity

I guess that pretty much sums up the reservations I have about a lot of things in the New Testament. The whole worship of Jesus as a God-man and salvation through faith alone doesn't resonate with me at all. When Jesus said he was the way I think he meant how he lived his life and the knowledge he had of the world.

We live in an age where an enormous amount of knowledge and wisdom is at our fingertips. Just with a few taps of my fingers I can pull up something like the Book of Enoch or the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. I wonder if there will ever be a new denomination of Christianity that venerates wisdom and truth and lawfulness and good works alone.

 

Re: Non-Pauline Christians

Posted by floatingbridge on August 5, 2011, at 19:16:42

In reply to Re: Non-Pauline Christians, posted by hyperfocus on July 23, 2011, at 10:37:55

During my kid's swim class, there was a very lovely group of folks in the water as well. Mixed age.

It turns out they were a visiting church group from out of our area. I fell to talking with one of the gentlemen. They were Baptist, sort of, which personally made me shudder initially because of personal experience with family members who had converted to particular Baptist sects. However, we had a great discussion.

He did smile when I mentioned non-Pauline Christians, and then we launched into a great discussion. Particularly about the weight given repentance and what repentance is.

Anyways, he recommended this book, which I found used at
amazon. I think this is a popular author; I hope I am not aggravated by it. I appreciated his dogged fielding of my dogged questioning.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590520149h

 

Try this link

Posted by floatingbridge on August 5, 2011, at 19:22:39

In reply to Re: Non-Pauline Christians, posted by floatingbridge on August 5, 2011, at 19:16:42

http://www.amazon.com/Sense-Sensuality-Pursuit-Pleasure-Conversations/dp/1590528603/ref=cm_sw_em_r_dp_WHipob0JQBAJT_tt

 

Re: Try this link

Posted by Dinah on August 7, 2011, at 14:26:42

In reply to Try this link, posted by floatingbridge on August 5, 2011, at 19:22:39

It's a bit repetitious and sometimes pretty dry, but I actually disliked Paul a bit less after I read

"The First Paul"

But then I'm a huge fan of Borg and Crossan.

 

Re: Try this link Dinah

Posted by floatingbridge on August 8, 2011, at 19:39:53

In reply to Re: Try this link, posted by Dinah on August 7, 2011, at 14:26:42

I put it in my queue. Thanks for the recommendation.

The Oscar Wilde book is okay so far. Easy reading but sad. I am enjoying the format which is listening to a few converstants. I've only just begun it.....

I am now wondering if the fellow who recommended it to me was trying to save me, however nicely.... An odd feeling.

 

Re: Try this link floatingbridge

Posted by sigismund on August 8, 2011, at 23:42:00

In reply to Re: Try this link Dinah, posted by floatingbridge on August 8, 2011, at 19:39:53

What's this Oscar Wilde book?

I had been going to do (and perhaps I did, or perhaps not) a post on Bing Crosby reading the Happy Prince and (I think) Orson Wells reading The Small One.

We had the old 78 when I was growing up. I doubt that anything influenced me as much as the Happy Prince.

I tried to read it to the kids. It was hopeless. They couldn't understand why I was crying, and so early in the story.

 

Re: Try this link floatingbridge

Posted by 10derheart on August 9, 2011, at 19:08:34

In reply to Try this link, posted by floatingbridge on August 5, 2011, at 19:22:39

Dr. Zacharias? He is one of my all time favorite radio show hosts and Christian apologetics. I can't tear myself away from one of his broadcasts. I think he is a wise man with quite a gift.

Never read any of his books but wish I had. Just not enough hours, days or years to read all the books I want to read.

 

Re: Try this link 10derheart

Posted by floatingbridge on August 9, 2011, at 19:32:03

In reply to Re: Try this link floatingbridge, posted by 10derheart on August 9, 2011, at 19:08:34

> Dr. Zacharias? He is one of my all time favorite radio show hosts and Christian apologetics. I can't tear myself away from one of his broadcasts. I think he is a wise man with quite a gift.
>
> Never read any of his books but wish I had. Just not enough hours, days or years to read all the books I want to read.

I wonder if he is available in podcast?

If so, then I'd have to figure out how to access a podcast :J

 

Re: Try this link floatingbridge

Posted by Dinah on August 12, 2011, at 8:01:24

In reply to Re: Try this link Dinah, posted by floatingbridge on August 8, 2011, at 19:39:53

Well, I confess that that type of reading isn't really to my taste. I like the dry theology, and I also like religious music, or Touched by An Angel, or the books of Rabbi Harold Kushner. Those things touch my soul and give that wonderful feeling of joy that comes when I feel close to God.

But I suppose I haven't the heart of an evangelist.

 

Re: Try this link

Posted by floatingbridge on August 12, 2011, at 9:17:06

In reply to Re: Try this link floatingbridge, posted by Dinah on August 12, 2011, at 8:01:24

> Well, I confess that that type of reading isn't really to my taste. I like the dry theology, and I also like religious music, or Touched by An Angel, or the books of Rabbi Harold Kushner. Those things touch my soul and give that wonderful feeling of joy that comes when I feel close to God.
>
> But I suppose I haven't the heart of an evangelist.

I did order another book of his at the same time:
Htt://amzn.com/0849943876

We'll see. The Oscar Wilde book is painful.

 

Re: Try this link floatingbridge

Posted by Dinah on August 12, 2011, at 12:12:44

In reply to Re: Try this link, posted by floatingbridge on August 12, 2011, at 9:17:06

You might want to try something by Harold Kushner. His "To Life" really changed my life, although it might not be the best introduction to his work. Or Karyn Kedar. I loved her "Dance of the Dolphin". I recently ordered "Talking to God" by Naomi Levy, and think it looks like it will be moving to me. I always talk about my disappointment that we haven't invited God to be in our home on a regular basis.

It's true that my favorite inspirational and every day life religious books tend to be written by Rabbis, even though I'm not Jewish. For some reason what they say tends to resonate with whatever wavelength my soul is tuned to.

 

Re: Try this link Dinah

Posted by floatingbridge on August 13, 2011, at 11:04:47

In reply to Re: Try this link floatingbridge, posted by Dinah on August 12, 2011, at 12:12:44

A Kushner book is side by side in the queue with Paul.

"How Good Do We Habe To Be?"

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316519332

Thanks :-)


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