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February 04, 2013

Comments

I think the Bible is completely reliable.

What's not reliable are some translations and interpreters/interpretations.

In other words, 'Pervasive Interpretive Pluralism', as Christian Smith calls it, is a huge problem.

Interesting stuff, but doesn't this approach only work for the New Testament? Is the idea that if the events of the New Testament has reliable eyewitnesses it automatically validates Old Testament? As a very strong agnostic the main problem for me is generally that the Old Testament contains lot of stuff that is clearly mythological and quite frankly, too "out-of-there" so to speak , like the idea of mankind originating from two people, Great Flood, people constructing a tower so big even God was offended, Jewish Exodus, David and Goliath, and so forth. Believing all this on the experience of few eye-witnesses seems like very tall order.

i know for positive Jesus the son, the holy spirit and God our father is very real and even more true than people really think. Jesus is my
reason of going from darkness to light, and I walk in his path he has the holy spirit create for me now. Ask for wisdom from God and he will give it in abundance. LeanneHendley God BlessYou!

Erkki S. - you asked "Is the idea that if the events of the New Testament has reliable eyewitnesses it automatically validates Old Testament?"

That is the implication and it is unpacked in the following way. If the NT is reliable and tells the truth about the events it records, then it tells us about Jesus and Jesus claimed to be God. Since God cannot lie, then whatever Jesus says is true. So when Jesus confirms the truthfulness of the OT, then it means that the OT is true.

Even if you could place the gospels within the early thirties of the first century, that is not compelling evidence. Anecdotal evidence never is. You don't believe "eye-witnesses" of alien spacecraft or Big Foot do you (even ones who have supposed video "evidence")?

Any one who has read the New Testament will quickly realize that the gospel writers and those who wrote the letters from Paul were cribbing off each other and were certainly cribbing off the Old Testament.

As for extra-biblical historical confirmations, none of the ones that Jim listed were contemporary and all of them had problems.

In the end, the New Testament reads exactly how we would expect if it were written by several people or communities (not inspired by a deity) with different agendas who were vying for their gospel to be the accepted standard in a time when most people were illiterate and in no position to refute or verify the voracity of the claims.

"In the end, the New Testament reads exactly how we would expect if it were written by several people or communities (not inspired by a deity) with different agendas who were vying for their gospel to be the accepted standard in a time when most people were illiterate and in no position to refute or verify the voracity of the claims."

What does that even mean?

I'm pretty sure that it means nothing at all.

Let's see. Would Peter, Erkki, and Jim testify to heart, kidney, lung, and liver transplants? Would they testify to a human fetus being formed outside a human body and implanted in a uterus, carried full term and born live? Would they be witness to man traveling in space, landing on the moon?

Let's suppose a disaster of great magnitude befell the earthly inhabitants. All practices and inventions of our modern world and almost the entire human population were wiped out. Let's say those three were among the survivors and they set about recording what life was before the disaster. Those who were born after the disaster would find their claims hard to believe. Additionally, none of them could perform any of the tasks, or recreate anything they claim to have existed. Furthermore, their words would be mundane, mere marks on a tablet of some kind, and not a door opening to a meaning available only by the Spirit. Their words would be as dead as any idol they managed to cast or carve or draw.

George Fox wrote that we make the way rough; we put up the barriers. Why cling so tightly to the barrier? What would you lose by letting yourself experience something beyond your imagination? What exactly do you fear? Hawkings?

Hi Rhonda.
I presume 'Peter' means me.

Have you read 'After Virtue' by Alasdair MacIntyre? His opening chapter begins with a thought experiment very like yours, and I agree with him. Alasdair MacIntyre and your argument supports my view.

I repeat. Scripture is inerrant.

The problem is when someone with no understanding of the Jewish milieu of the Bible times shoots their mouth off - based on a translation too as they don't know Hebrew or Greek - and then they proceed to tell me they know 'what the Bible teaches' and that all those guys who tell me they know, disagree.

Scripture is simply not perspicuous.

I think it is probably safe to say that not many Christians themselves obviously believe literally every testimony and hearsay. I would imagine typical writer/reader of STR doesn't believe in extra-terrestrial visits, most claims of ESP, whatever miracles this week some Indian guru claims to have done, Joseph Smith, Muhammad, and so forth. So even Christian must admit that there is certain reasonable doubt and burden of proof.

My question was specifically that how has Mr. Wallace or other writers of STR blog factored in Old Testament in the burden of proof? While it is one thing to believe one miraculous claim on what amounts basically to hearsay, it is quite another to acknowledge literally thousands of them. One might of course, like Shawn White above, say that one witnessed miracle proves them all, but one can also approach this question from alternate viewpoint: because it seems wildly unlikely that every event of the Old Testament has happened exactly like described, one should also suspect the miraculous claims of New Testament, because as the people of STR have many times noted themselves, events of New Testament and the concept of Savior do not make much sense if Old Testament is not also true.

Hi Erkki.

I think your issues are with fundamentalists, and I can sympathise.

If you're using 'myth' in the secular sense of 'fairy stories' I have to disagree. But if you mean myth in its theological sense, and through the correct interpretive lens (of the meanings the authors were intending and their readers back then would have understood), then these things shouldn't be an issue.

It seems your problems are only against these erroneous readings and interpretations which you point out, rightly, as nonsense, but not against Scripture, when read and interpreted properly.

Erkki-

I think Shawn's point was a bit more sophisticated than you portrayed it.

Since it is possible that you did not deliberately mischaracterize it in bad faith, I will try to explain it in a little different words.

For starters, he did not say or imply that one miracle proves them all. He did say that one miracle of a certain sort gives a lot of credit to the miracle-worker. It makes him an expert witness on the supernatural.

The contention then is that the resurrection of Christ is just such a miracle. And it makes Christ an expert on the supernatural. This, then, gives credence to the idea that Christ's own claims of deity were true. It also gives credence to the miracles of the OT, all of which He endorses.

As for your contention that the unlikelihood of the OT accounts counting as evidence against the resurrection, I don't think that thinking works. The fact that I understand event X in terms of event Y does not create any evidential link between X and Y. If there is excellent evidence for X, then there is excellent evidence for X however I choose to interpret X in terms of Y.

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