Why Biblical Inerrancy Is A Thing

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

There’s a good discussion going on over on Nate’s blog about how strict the bible can be interpreted (and even getting into what it all means). Each position questions the consistency of particular outlooks on the bible, with side issues getting raised about possible errors within the text. If those errors exist, then it means the bible is not reliable, and consequently it is useless as a guide for Christian faith.

This matters, because inerrancy is the actual foundation of the faith.
One can see this in the way churches can organize together; similar denominations will confess a similar view of the bible. Convince people of holding the same outlook on faith, and one can engage in fellowship with them. As churches grow and shrink, it’s a literal manifestation of each specific view’s popularity.

Outside of that, holding people to their own standards matters as well. It makes no sense to say “this means something” and then act against that meaning. When you get two people who are looking at the same thing and come up with different meanings, this can be exceptionally frustrating. Who gets to be right, and who gets to be wrong?

The answer to this question hits at why biblical interpretation has gotten relaxed in recent years.
To put it bluntly: read the bible wrong, and you go to hell. Over the course of Christianity’s history, there have been many attempts to change and modify what it means. Indeed, the canon of the bible got settled because of various other churches that taught things way outside the official Roman consensus. One of Roman Catholicism’s first duties was to make sure everyone was on the same page, because souls were at stake.

After centuries of wars, murders, and executions to keep one view of the faith, this gave way to a more civilized interpretation of things. Nowadays, there can be multiple paths to heaven. Everyone doesn’t have to use the same version of the bible in their church pews. Some beliefs might be out of bounds, but fellowship is the answer, not burning someone at the stake.

Of course, Christians still pay lip service to the idea of an inerrant bible. It’s still necessary, because there are still people outside the faith. People like me need to get told that I’m misunderstanding the faith, getting it wrong, and going to hell in a handbasket filled with broken glass.

Can people have it both ways here?
That’s an issue getting danced around on Nate’s blog and in many other places. Putting it differently, if non-Christians will go to hell for not believing the wrong things, then so can Christians. The label itself doesn’t protect anyone from divine judgment. Faith and grace are what allegedly save people if we’re to take reading the bible seriously.

Thus, while moderate interpretations of the bible might sound nice, they still don’t escape the notion that the right beliefs matter. Either a belief is correct or incorrect, and it cannot possibly be both. When one set of Christians says music in church is wrong (I’m looking at y’all, Church of Christ), and another says it’s totally okay (Lutherans are guilty as charged on that one), which one is right? Not resolving the matter could mean some people end up going to hell despite trying their damnedest to get it right.

On the opposite side of things, the problem only goes away if the bible is not held as an authority on the faith at all. It must not carry any weight, or else logically people must find out what exactly it commands. The bible becomes only a device for inspiration rather than a manual on doing Christianity correctly. If it has the force of any law, then that force must control.

As a deconvert and an atheist, I’m kind of happy I don’t have to worry about it anymore.
When I was a Christian, I’d sometimes hear people say that their god told them some really specific things. Such revelations concerned me, because I wanted to get my faith right. All I could rely to keep away from believing these things was a belief that the bible would tell me which was right or wrong. But in a world where divine revelations used to happen all the time (the Old Testament was FULL of them), I sometimes had to take extra study time. Importantly, if they were wrong, there was a chance they might end up convincing people of the wrong things too.

I have to question whether that was a healthy state of affairs at all. Disagreements happen over many things. As it turns out, my desire to do right by others got used against me. This was rough on me, as I’m sure it’s rough on many practicing Christians today. The consequences of some parts of the faith can extract more than a pound of flesh.

I don’t miss it at all.

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16 thoughts on “Why Biblical Inerrancy Is A Thing

  1. Great post for someone like unklee to read. He’s fuzzy, shifty, dodgy and all over the map in order to maintain his Faith in light of admitted biblical inconsistencies and inaccuracies. This post is for him and all christians like him

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Inerrancy lies in the majesty of Christ not words or interpretations. In 2016 I gave myself the task of hand writing the entire New Testament. I did not find any question spawned about it’s inerrancy

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      • Hey Ark,

        I know this is off-topic, but I’m wondering if you have a link to any clear statement UnkleE’s made about Acts being reliable. Also, has he ever quoted a specific historian which supports his views of the bible?

        I don’t know if you’ve been following my conversation with him, but he might be starting to contradict his own position. At the least, he seems like he might be confused (and I don’t know if it’s real or feigned). Since you’ve read his writing the most, I was wondering if he’s done that with anyone else. I do know he claims mistake a lot (i.e., someone is mistaking what he’s saying), but in our recent conversation it’s only resulted by moving the goalposts on me.

        Basically I’m wondering if he’s got a pattern with this. It would be nice for me to figure out if he’s discussing in good faith.

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      • Example:
        He has stated on several occasions that Luke is considered ( paraphrase) a very good historian – I forget who he cited? Maybe AN Sherman White? I can’t recall.
        If memory serves, he has mentioned this during dialogue/posts regarding Nazareth, for one.

        He has also cited the late Maurice Casey re: Matthew having a Hebrew origin when talking about when the gospels were written ( I think… )
        I don’t know if he still cites Casey, whose view is a minority one.

        After all this time, please don’t ask me to reference which posts for the gods’ sake!

        He has never admitted a direct error as far as I am aware, or admitted his view is incorrect.

        He was taken to the cleaners by a bloke name Bernard over supposed archaeological claims regarding Nazareth.
        He refused to acknowledge the points made by the bloke and backed out.
        If he feels he is being manoevered into a corner or realizes he’s about to have his arse handed to him on a plate he will extricate himself citing polarization of views, but will ensure he exits leaving you in no doubt that while he may say he respects your right to your view, he seems a bit bemused that you will not accept the evidence of all the ”relevant scholars” and in fact you are wrong and must therefore, be a bloody idiot.

        My view is shared, more or less, by a number of those who have engaged him.
        As he has stated he cares little to nothing for the Old Testament as far as it has any bearing on his faith, (unless he can use it to further his argument) I consider his presence here shows little more than gross hubris and all he wants to be is argumentative.

        My views on his approach to Apologetics and his interpretation of biblical exegesis etc are reasonably well known. I am sure … and as this a Family Friendly blog, I will not bother extrapolating,
        πŸ˜‰

        Have fun.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve never been accused of running a family friendly blog before.

        I might have made all the headway that I can make. At least now he’s alluding to the possibility that Christians who technically adhere to his points can be mistaken. Really, discussions like that are more about educating the audience than trying to convince another person of what’s right. Hopefully any Christians reading it will see how divine inspiration can be quite problematic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have just read your latest exchange .I may be wrong , but I am getting the sense he is going to pull the plug on you after his next reply.
        If he doesn’t, may I suggest you narrow the focus of your argument a little more?
        Your phrasing is excellent,by the way and I am surprised this line has not been used before.
        I have not come across it at any rate.

        I reckon your assertion re: the Apostles Creed left too many loopholes for him to wriggle out of.
        But there have been notable additions to it, I read on Wiki. So it has certainly been changed/updated.
        I hope he doesn’t back out. Although we all know this is merely preaching to the choir, it is crucial o demonstrate just how fallacious his arguments are, and ultimately, ow untenable his position truly is.

        I await the next round with more than a little interest!
        πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello S.B. I have been thinking of the divine relations you were talking about. I ask why if God could just talk to or appear to so many back then, what changed? Maybe cameras? I ask why God doesn’t do it now. A lot more people. Think of how many converts god could get with one visit to a major city. It is a question I ask about space alien abductions, why always deep in the country where no one can see. They want people hey major cities are full of them. Easier pickings. I am glad you are out of the dog eat dog world of religions. Best wishes. Hugs

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