The Bible broke my faith in God

It’s also worth noting that Jesus put himself above even the OT and even corrected it at times (oaths, divorce— I think Mark made up the interpretation about Jesus declaring all foods clean so I omit it here) which means you ascribe any sort of modern inerrancy to Jesus. If he felt the OT taught something incorrect he didn’t “fall in line” and apologize for it.

In fact, I believe Jesus fully corrected the idea of hating your enemies prevalent in the Old Testament. If you notice most of the parts of Matthew 5 where “you have heard it said but I say” Jesus either builds a fence around parts of the Torah, that is extends the Torah out of reverence, or corrects parts of it. Loving your enemies isn’t raping their women and killing their children. So one cannot assume Jesus took all these stories literally. He certainly appeals to them. But how else to teach at that time? I still leave open the possibility of Jesus being wrong on some facts of history, however.

Vinnie

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How did you make the giant leap from …

all the way to

in the same post with no justification whatsoever for the jump? That would be like your uncle telling you that there were a million people at Woodstock, and you react by telling him Woodstock never happened.

One might rightly question what “branches” you ever had to begin with if the only substance you are hoping to get from, or require of scriptures are some encyclopedic figures - and those apparently suspect. If that’s all the Bible is to you, then I suggest you don’t even have a tree, much less any branches to worry about sawing off.

One very good reason to see progressive revelation in the narrative (as Irenaeus did) is that it invites the contemporary reader to recognize their own place in an ongoing legacy of God’s work in the world, and that as terrible as people both then and now can be, God yet works with us and calls us to higher and more accurate visions of just who it is that our Creator is. And now in the Christian view, Christ is our highest and surest view into God’s heart.

Forgive me if I’ve already linked to this before, but here is an interview where Catholic Bishop Barron explains the difference between Irenaeus, Origen, and others, all of whom had some legitimate perspective on this in contrast to Marcion. I think it would address many of your questions.

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Way overdone and fictionalized dramatization can mean the same thing to me. There could be a core involved that is fictionalized in dramatic fashion. As I mentioned, the birth narrative in Matthew I alluded to serves as a fictional dramatization of the Exodus which itself is a fictionalized dramatization of whatever events occurred after we look at archaeology and logistic issues. The following is paraphrased from a listing by Raymond Brown in the Birth of the Messiah (pg 113):

    1. Joseph takes the child away as Herod sought to destroy him. Moses also went away as the Pharaoh sought to kill him (Matt 2:13-14 and Exod 2:15).
    1. Herod massacred all the boys two and under in Bethlehem and the Pharaoh had every male boy be cast into the Nile.
    1. Both Kings/Pharoahs died (Matt 2:19; Exod 2:23).
    1. Moses is told to return to Egypt by God and an Angel tells Joseph to go back to the Land of Israel. Both were told those seeking him are dead (Matt 2:19-20, Exod 4:19).
    1. Both Joseph and Moses take their wife and offspring back to the destinated commanded of them ( Matt 2:21 and Exodus 4:20).

The parallels here are quite strong and we must consider how Hosea 11:1 was taken out of context by Matthew and applied to Jesus as prophecy (out of Egypt I called my son). Or do we just have one heck of a coincidence? Matthew is intent on presenting Jesus as the new Moses (Sermon on the Mountain in Matthew 5 shows Jesus as a greater Moses who received the law on Sinai). Thus, this infancy narrative steeped in the Exodus is certainly questionable just as is Matthew calling Hosea 11:1 a prophecy, is exegetically speaking, bankrupt by modern standards. You could barely interpret a text any worse if you tried. The narrative also appears to be completely at odds with Luke’s. This is fictional dramatization. Is there some core in here? Are some of the details actually true? Maybe. Good luck finding it. What does this tell us about the Christian view of Scripture at the time? To quote Bruce Vawter at length:

“The Christian community’s conviction that the prophetic spirit of the OT was the source of its own kerygma and its consequent disposition to re-read or to read into the OT in the light of the kerygma a message that the OT had not of itself possessed admittedly led to a relative lack of concern over historical human authorship and personality and literary form. But it also testified to the refusal to be governed by the letter of any text, however sacred, in the face of what was convinced that the Spirit was saying: through the witness of the Spirit it transformed the OT word into a living message for the Church of God. Clearly this was not done out of any belief that the prophetic word that it adapted so plastically was in any sense the oracular utterance of a delphic spirit, a word voiced from heaven fixed and immutable, once for all. “( pg 16-17 Biblical Inspiration)

We aren’t talking about numerical figures being different between books. That is a caricature. Large portions of the OT are rejected as they stand. Very large potions. Some significant, such as the Exodus narrative itself–the one where God kills a bunch of first born children including babies after hardening a hardened pharaoh’s heart.

I don’t disagree with you on progressive revelation. I think the prophets very clearly at times are at odds with some of the earlier statements in the Law. I also think the NT and Jesus is at odds with the OT. The problem is calling this revelation. To what extent does the newer revelation contradict the older revelation? Or would you suppose the older and newer revelation from God is all harmonious? How can God be the author of both? To me it looks a lot like correcting the errant theology of one’s predecessors as well as bringing the Bible alive in new times. I for one have difficulty imagining God writing errant theology and then correcting it later. I have a difficult time thinking “God said it was okay to rape women and murder babies” back in 1100BC but changed his mind in 300BC." Progressive revelation is just errancy by another name or basically explaining why God’s word doesn’t appear to agree with that we think is true today. As one who has dispensed with inerrancy, I can fully attest that that is a very slipper slope. The line between knowing what’s right and wrong in your heart and letting scripture serve as conscience and corrector is easy to miss.

The best case I can think of for progressive revelation is Jesus saying Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. We can imagine God establishing a covenant with Jesus in mind. Thats progressive. I just don’t think progressive revelation is adequate at explaining errors or moral atrocities. A different model of inspiration is needed for that.

Vinnie

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Perhaps we are talking about different Bermans?

Indeed! That is the question I keep trying to steer you toward asking. But then in the very next sentence … you get sucked back into …

Showing that your former question was a momentary lapse on your part … where you actually asked a really good question; but then you quickly came back to your “senses” (shown by your follow-up question) as the fundamentalist chains yanked your mind back into that tight orbit around the lie that the Bible must be a collection of 100% true detailed facts, or else it is worthless and cannot be considered revelatory at all. As long as you are in that theological prison, the Bible is already lost to you [you will be laboring under an obfuscating (at best) hermeneutic].

Only by you and certain scholars who share your focus on hoping to “fact check” the Bible to either “redeem” it or alternately “disprove” it. I have no trouble accepting that large sections of scripture (both testaments) include narrative gloss, exaggeration, or even insertion or rearrangement and retelling of some events with aggressive agenda in mind; and despite all that I do not “reject large portions of the OT as they stand”. In fact - it is precisely the opposite: I strive to accept them exactly where they stand. And I take an interest in that context so that I can better understand them.

What about humans writing theology that, while not fully accurate [and certainly not complete] about God, nonetheless moves them closer toward accuracy than where they were before?

Good. That shows that you actually have been looking past all the details to pick up at least some of the really important messages of the whole narrative!

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Are the details historical true or is the meaning of the story true are two different questions. Did Joseph really take Jesus to Egypt? No. Is Jesus a new and greater Moses? Yes.

The difficult with many OT passages is it’s hard to even find a good reason that isn’t grasping at straws as to why some things are in there. As a fully human work it’s understandable. If you belief it’s inspired by God, even without inerrancy, it’s difficult to surmise why much of the OT is in our Canon.

Vinnie

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After having read Berman’s Inconsistency (which posits that there are various contradictions in the Torah, that Gen. 1 and Gen. 2 may have been cobbled together from earlier texts, etc), I’m highly skeptical of this claim by the Post. I’ve seen media outlets like these get scholars wildly wrong enough times (in order to gain clicks) that I’m rather skeptical of this article. Apparently, this claim is made in his most recent 2020 book. If he does claim that, I’d like to see him being directly quoted as saying so.

EDIT: When I search up Berman on Moses authorship, the only thing that comes up stating that is that Jerusalem Post article. Very suspicious.

Have we reached the limit on responses here? I can say only that this person’s conundrum is one that most or many will and do face eventually. How was the Bible composed? How was it given by God to man — if at all? There is an extreme perspective on both sides though — one that says “it was dictated or God breathed word for word” — and “it is all myth developed by fallible humans long after the fact.” Both sides are a bit off. Without going on and on too much at length, I recommend that you stop and focus on what you are reading in a particular book or passage — and ask yourself and then a few commentators and a few historians etc – what the range of views are for a passage and whether there actually IS historical data to back up such-and-such a description. The answer is “Yes” there is historical data for a good deal of the text, lots of discussions about much of it, obscure details that have been found to have a basis in ancient social contexts, etc…Nothing is black or white in this. OK…gone on longer than you want!

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What is extreme at all about this with regard to the OT? It’s not even that extreme with regard to the NT. @Vinnie pushes the boat out further than I’d believed, yet he believes. As do I.

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Thanks Klax…I will have to read the Vinnie Trail, I suppose. But I did say that it is worth looking into the culture, social mores, and general history of “the life and times of…” when reading/dissecting the biblical text …and checking out the thoughts of commentators and others (probably mean “qualified others” or “respected others” etc here). The OT gives a commentary on certain aspects of life and history that reflect the mores of the biblical prophets — of God, too, if you want to remember Him in all this (!!) – and in that sense, it is interesting to get a handle on some aspects of regional history – in order to understand what the biblical text says-- and means.

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Hello. I read your submission and I had the same problem as you, so I had to do my own search. And I am so glad as I ended up meeting God. I am now in process of getting a book series together doubting Thomases like yourself. I have the scientific proof that supports the Biblical record about creation. Hang tight as God is real. Einstein was the key. He fits the profile of a Prophet/Priest. The environment wears on one’s faith. Just consider this observation from science:

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it just transforms to another form.

That was the crux of the message thousands of years ago with the crucifixion before science understood it. Life is energy. Hang tight and I will post the name of book here when its done. Have a Blessed Day.

Pale

Screenshot_2020-05-31 Don knotts - Google Search

The first formulations of the doctrine of inerrancy had not been established according to the authority of a council, a creed, or a sect, until the period after the Council of Trent in 1563.

Reference: Hendel, Ronald. “The Dream of a Perfect Text: Textual Criticism and Biblical Inerrancy in Early Modern Europe,” in e.d. Collins, J.J., Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls: John Collins at Seventy, Brill, 2017, 517-541, esp. 524-531. On pg. 529, Hendel writes “The doctrine of uniform inerrancy in the literal sense across all details is an innovation of the Catholic-Protestant polemics after Trent.”

Council of Trent only held that the Bible’s authority was “in matters of faith and morales”,

For Martin Luther (1483-1546), “inspiration did not insure inerrancy in all details. Luther recognizes mistakes and inconsistencies in Scripture and treated them with lofty indifference because they did not touch the heart of the Gospel.”

Reference: Bainton, “The Bible in the Reformation,” in e.d. Greenslade, S.L., The Cambridge History of the Bible Vol 3: The West from the Reformation to the Present, Cambridge University Press 1963, 12-13.

Erasmus (1466-1536), was also unconcerned with minor errors not impacting theology, and at one point, thought that Matthew mistook one word for another.

Reference: Woodbridge, John. “Evangelical Self-Identity and the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy, in Understanding the Times: New Testament Studies in the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of D. A. Carson on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, Crossway, 2011, 111.

Eventually it was the Protestants who gave emphasis to the doctrines of inspiration and infallibility as the basis for the position that ultimate authority is found in the Bible to counter the position that authority resided in the Roman Catholic Church.

The theological discourse about inspiration and inerrancy is a modern one arising from the aftermath of the critique of religion during the Enlightenment (18th & 19th centuries).

RESOLUTION:
Discover the only hermeneutic that matters. The creation exists for what purpose? The answer to this query should determine the answers for every legitimate question concerning God and His revelation.

Thinkers, Knowers, Believers – special definitions

Believers just accept the Bible and their faith as a given – unquestioned. Other Christ followers will not dispute with these believers. The old man will cause these faithful some anxiety and doubt just to show off his supposed superior spirituality. The old man might be a believer, a knower, or a thinker. Most Christians are believers.

Knowers are exuberant with certainty. They are sure that they understand the truth and everyone else is wrong. They proclaim their truth loudly. Knowers are the old man. Listen up Reformed novices.

Thinkers ask questions and are always learning. Thinkers make interesting insights and present theological views that depend upon reason and academic research. Often this leads to doubting or disbelief. Those who have confidence in their own intellect often become unbelievers. On the other hand, those who find such thoughtful endeavors to expand the role of faith can attain a spiritual peace. Thinkers also may become evangelist of unbelief like Bart Erdmann while others quietly become secularist. However, the thinker who follows the Lord Jesus never uses what he thinks to damage the faith of believers because he recognizes believers have individual relationships with the Lord. His role is that of the judicious mediator between the doubt or question and an answer for fellow believers.

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But what does one do in the market place of many loud voices of believers, knowers, thinkers? Where to say anything is to dispute, be disputed? Where many if not actually all believers and knowers and even thinkers proclaim incomplete, brittle, incoherent, pathological, irrational, harmful above all dualistic things. This believer-knower-thinker doesn’t know what following the Lord Jesus means in this context. Because the Lord Jesus certainly damaged the faith of believers. And a believer’s relationship with the Lord is predicated upon where the believer has ceased to enter in to a phenomenological discourse with texts, others and themselves; that is their ‘relationship with the Lord’. The Lord is in their almost invariably devolved, degenerate, apostatic, enculturated, helplessly, innocently, ignorant image. And they knoweth it not. Which doesn’t invalidate the Lord in Himself in the slightest. What is reinforced here for this believer-knower-thinker is that. That less than a handful here yearn openly. And all one can learn is how deeply and completely cognitive bias warps epistemology. What a filthy rag the work of faith is. For us all.

Perhaps you don’t mean that quite the way it sounds to me… otherwise I would say…

However effective you may find a hermeneutic founded on your answers to that particular question, there is little justification for making that question (let alone your answers to it) the definition of what matters. Seems to me that is more a matter of convenience to you and your thinking personally rather than what is actually justified.

Once again, you may not mean this quite the way it sounds to me…

The “old man” or “old self” of Paul’s epistles was never used in such a manner to condemn thinking which you do not approve of. In Roman 6:6 the reference is clearly to sin and not theological disagreements. Colossians 3 is more specific in naming the sin: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk. In Ephesians 4 it is about a “former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts.” None of this supports using this “old self” terminology to condemn thinking or believing in a way you don’t approve of.

No disagreement with subjectivity dominating epistemology – “For all of us.” Without endorsing Friedrich Schleiermacher’s anthropological metaphysics, his elaboration on Immanuel Kant’s the “thing-in-itself” might speak for my feeble trilogy of spiritual knowledge.

Reply to the criticism of “the only hermeneutic that matters.” Starting at a very naïve position, the believer holds a group of bound texts as the record of the completed, inspired, divine revelation. Therefore, “the only hermeneutic that matters” might just as well been asked of divine purpose of the Bible as it was asked of the creation. The answers ought to be the same for either. The same question could be asked of the Incarnation which should produce the same answer as asked of the Bible or of the creation. It just seems that the purpose of creation is where the correct understanding of divine revelation is first to be understood.

The criticism of “the only hermeneutic that matters” is correctly described as personal. Is not religious faith and belief personal? The believer’s answer to the purpose ought to operate as a lens through which all interpretations of the Bible is understood. If a Bible student hears or comes up with an interpretation, the interpretation ought to be understandable in its relationship to the divine purpose. In this scheme of hermeneutics there is a thesis statement about divine purpose to which debaters may examine as to its appropriateness. Debates may occur at the foundation for interpretations rather than on isolated passages. The opponent in debates is not always other than oneself.

The intended “old man” was meant to describe the Pauline “old man” in exactly the way it sounded to you – an unregenerate attitude and behavior – not about theological beliefs.

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