“If it’s not in the Bible, I won’t believe it.” Any arguments against this line of thinking?

Thanks Jennifer… Well said in every way. Also, I am not sure how your “context as a Canadian” would be different, but that must be my own ignorance. I would love to hear someone with a different context and that would not necessarily be bad! Keep on keepin’ on!


For me I guess one way to put it is I look for really two major things when it comes to this subject.

  1. Does the idea undermine and ignore the doctrine set up in scripture concerning truth and righteousness. There is a growing idea for example that waiting until marriage for sex is stupid and that it’s just this ancient mindset that really has no bearing on if you care about someone or if you’re a good person. Which is in part true from a secular position. So for many, they can easily dismiss the regulations on sexual purity by saying it’s just their old view and it has no place in this time or age really. Anything that someone does not agree with can easily be swept under this rug. I’m not ok with that. I don’t believe humans set the standard for righteousness.

  2. The other thing I look for is if the idea is at all related to theology. When I read genesis 1-11 for example I see it being wrote clearly as mythology. Same as for how I see the clear evidence that Job and Jonah was fictional stories. So I don’t have any contention between things like evolution and the creation myths of genesis. I also recognize in scripture the use of hyperbolic language or language that dives into concordism vs accommodation. I believe that scientific accommodation is evident in the Bible in the form of pep talks about things like weather and I see historical fictions from things like Esther and Jonah and so on. But I don’t see an accommodation for morality and doctrine. I don’t believe that morality changes with the culture or that doctrine is done away with as society advances. If I did, then for me it would mean the Bible was just barely above useless and nothing more than one beautiful religiously focused philosophy that can be added to and taken away from as we see fit. It could easily become What buddhism has become for many. The whole “ it’s not a religion but a lifestyle” because they cherry pick what they want and disregard things like reincarnation and hungry ghosts. I’ve seen atheists even say they are Buddhist because it’s not a religion but a set of principles they agree with.

I don’t see christianity as that. I see Christianity as the one true religion handed down by God through the Holy Spirit using prophets and the 13 ( including Matthias and Paul ) to teach us truth and doctrine using many different writing styles and techniques.

Thanks, @MarkD. That really helps to explain what you were getting at. I appreciate you sharing that.

I pray that you might find what you are looking for on your spiritual journey. The BioLogos forum is a good place to go because you get exposed to a wide variety of viewpoints. But in full disclosure, I must add that the beautiful core of the Gospel is the idea that it is not we who seek after God, but rather, it is God who seeks after us.

That fits as I see it too. It is very easy to take for granted that we are the sole author of all our experience.

I have never known a creationist to argue against evolution because it is “not in the Bible.” Sounds like a straw man argument to me. They may argue that it is contrary to the Genesis account, but that is much different.


That position may not be universal, but it is held by some creationists and some creationist organizations.

How so? . . .

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As a Brit I’m next door to Jennifer culturally and on another world to the Bible Belt, further than the Oort Cloud. Even though one of its comets captured me in to its orbit for thirty years. Thank God the comet skimmed the atmosphere down to Earth and mainly evaporated, painful though that was. That was over twenty years ago and the process took at least fifteen. These memes are remarkably tenacious.

I read an analysis decades ago that explained American religion; uneducated circuit riders, tent meet’n’ revivalism and so on: the pioneers left civilization behind basically and had to develop a new one. By the time it caught up, it was too late.

Here’s a good definition of straw man argument: “A strawman is a fallacious argument that distorts an opposing stance in order to make it easier to attack . Essentially, the person using the strawman pretends to attack their opponent’s stance, while in reality they are actually attacking a distorted version of that stance, which their opponent doesn’t necessarily support.”
Young Earth Creationists do not reject evolution because “it is not in the Bible.” So to attack them for holding that position is attacking something they do not hold.
They may reject evolution because it is contrary to their understanding of what Genesis 1 and 2 say–God created in 6-24 hour days about 6000 years ago. Of course, without deep time, evolution is not even plausible. But that is much different than saying “it is not in the Bible.”

That was quite a trip beyond the Oort Cloud!!

I would suspect that your characterization of “American religion” is somewhat akin to watching reruns of “The Lone Ranger” and thinking that is Western US history. Life on the prairie and in the US West was hardly so romantic (near starvation situations at times, soup or stew made of weeds for sustenance, high rates of depression and mental illness due to the loneliness of prairie isolation, children spending whole days in bed while their one pair of clothing dries on the line after weekly washings, but yes the land and its flora and fauna was beautiful and in most cases still is, etc), and the good guys did not always wear white — which probably was not a color that lasted long, given the dust and etc.

What you see on television is just fiction. As for uneducated circuit riders, tent meetings, revivalism and etc…there is probably truth mixed in with the fiction there, as elsewhere. Uneducated --or at least illiterate, could not read or understand the Latin they used in prayers, etc.–is also what I have heard used to describe European clergy in the Middle Ages…again, something you might disagree with. Probably true of some and not others…

All those “phases” – circuit riders, tent meetings ,etc – had their moments. They were probably useful and necessary in their time. For example, small scattered populations that cannot support a local clergy means someone goes from church to church in a “circuit” was probably the best way to minister to a larger region. Whether uneducated or not — probably an individual thing, but most of our major “Ivy League” universities (Yale, Princeton, Harvard, more) were founded for theological purposes. So you cannot say that education has had no place in “American religion” or its development…

And yes, I suppose pioneers left something of civilization behind and built a new one…

Well, if scripture is God’s Word, and as such, infallible, then if our understanding (interpretation) of the evidence from nature (science) contradicts the Bible, then it is our understanding that is wrong, not the Bible. In this way, Kurt Wise is correct. But there is a caution–our understanding of scripture as fallible humans may also be wrong.

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Your fallacy fallacy demonstrates my point. How much more a distortion can YEC et al be? If evolution were in the Bible a la Anaximander, a rough contemporary to the writers of Genesis, then however it was figuratively formulated would become the same type of distorted dogma. 6023 isn’t it? To YECists evolution is not a meaning that can be extracted from their literal interpretation of a metaphor. I.e. it’s not in the Bible.

For now, all I am asking is how God’s existence is made plain in the creation. To me, it reads like an empty platitude.

How many fallacies is that?

You might want to let the poor guy know that the reason you sound irritated is that he is reminding you of you had bought into as well. :wink:

I’m sure you’re right MarkD. I was enmeshed by fundamentalism from the age of 15, nobody’s fault. It had me in its intensifying then latterly diminishing grip for 40 years [10 years in attitudes and beliefs I found hard to shake off despite pulling and being pulled away]. The worldwide knowledge explosion it was always on about finally put paid to the Worldwide Church of God. Yep. Been there. But after at least 300 years, Enlightenment dawned. And the loss of identity hurt, yes.

‘He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world —AESCHYLUS, Agamemnon


If you have a specific fallacy in mind, then please let us know. If you are simply disagreeing with a premise, that’s fine, but it is not a fallacy.

That’s an awfully wordy way of saying, “I disagree, and so you must be wrong.”

I doesn’t matter how you couch it, it’s fallacious, full of Walrus and Carpenter.

And what does this nonsense have to do with the gospel of universal reconciliation again?

It came from my wife’s Open University humanities material as I now recall. Fascinating. Not Kimosabe. Hugely important vein of Americana though that be. My American studies encompass a tad more than that. Fell in love with Lincoln three years ago while reading Team of Rivals.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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