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Old June 19th, 2018, 08:47 AM   #1
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The Truth of the Bible

In an irrelevant distraction someone recently made an irroneous statement about my opinion of the Bible in order to distract from the discussion on that thread. Another poster pushed the discussion further down that errant path. I did not want to contribute to the distraction and at the same time did not want to shy away from an opportunity to discuss the Bible so I’ve elected to start this thread to open that discussion.

The original distracting post implied my opinion could be dismissed out of hand since I was the type of person who believed the Bible was literally true and therefore my thinking is impaired.

There was also made mention of things like “factual”, and I believe an implied assumption of objectively true.

So, “what is truth?” As an infamous biblical character once asked.

I believe the Bible has truth in it and is true. Some truths I have verified by objective reasoning, but the better truths are subjective.

“Literally true”? , I believe the question understates the case. Literal truth is limited, while the Bible is an expression in words , the truths it is attempting to elucidate are much more profound than the meaning of words can reveal. Consider the very nature of words, for example common nouns. Suppose I say the word “farm”. The utility of my expression arises from a shared understanding of what a farm is. But even with a shared culture and similar experiences our mental images of a farm will have differences. In reading the Bible this small problem is expanded exponentially by thousands of years , culture , and translations across languages. Plus, if the meaning of a simple word like farm can be distorted how much more words describing abstract concepts?
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Old June 19th, 2018, 09:02 AM   #2
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The Bible is not truth, it is a description of truth. And there are limits to the quality of that description. “Now we see through a glass darkly”.
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Old June 19th, 2018, 09:12 AM   #3
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The Bible is not truth, it is a description of truth. And there are limits to the quality of that description. “Now we see through a glass darkly”.
I've taken that to mean that we don't have the complete picture, but what we do have is accurate. When you say that there are "limits to the quality," do you mean that some of the description of truth might NOT be true?
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Old June 19th, 2018, 09:28 AM   #4
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Consider also that much of the Bible is written in poetry. And there are many stories recorded told by Jesus called parables. There are great truths in these parables are true regardless of the objective reality of the persons and circumstances.

And further, it is known that the Bible makes use of 6 different forms of figures of speech. One of which is idiomatic expressions which by definition are not literally true as in the direct meaning of the individual words, but nonetheless true in their intended meaning.
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Old June 19th, 2018, 09:35 AM   #5
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I've taken that to mean that we don't have the complete picture, but what we do have is accurate. When you say that there are "limits to the quality," do you mean that some of the description of truth might NOT be true?
There are limits to our understanding. If you are traveling and there is a road sign in the distance that your eyes cannot quite make out the words , you might make guesses based on the context and/or shape of the sign.

You might guess , caution falling rocks, but later find it says, deer crossing . The sign was,is, and will always be true. But our undstanding can be flawed.
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Old June 19th, 2018, 08:09 PM   #6
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I believe the Bible literally. I know close to (I don't know much I know that) 1% of the Bible. Jesus said I had to come to him with the trust of a baby or I would not know the kingdom of God......With the help of the Holy Spirit, I am trying to expand my knowledge...
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Old June 20th, 2018, 04:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by webguy4 View Post
In an irrelevant distraction someone recently made an irroneous statement about my opinion of the Bible in order to distract from the discussion on that thread. Another poster pushed the discussion further down that errant path. I did not want to contribute to the distraction and at the same time did not want to shy away from an opportunity to discuss the Bible so I’ve elected to start this thread to open that discussion.

The original distracting post implied my opinion could be dismissed out of hand since I was the type of person who believed the Bible was literally true and therefore my thinking is impaired.

There was also made mention of things like “factual”, and I believe an implied assumption of objectively true.

So, “what is truth?” As an infamous biblical character once asked.

I believe the Bible has truth in it and is true. Some truths I have verified by objective reasoning, but the better truths are subjective.

“Literally true”? , I believe the question understates the case. Literal truth is limited, while the Bible is an expression in words , the truths it is attempting to elucidate are much more profound than the meaning of words can reveal. Consider the very nature of words, for example common nouns. Suppose I say the word “farm”. The utility of my expression arises from a shared understanding of what a farm is. But even with a shared culture and similar experiences our mental images of a farm will have differences. In reading the Bible this small problem is expanded exponentially by thousands of years , culture , and translations across languages. Plus, if the meaning of a simple word like farm can be distorted how much more words describing abstract concepts?
To believers there must be some literal truth to the Bible or else the Christian religion is pointless. If there is no God, if there are no “wages of sin”, if Jesus was not real, if the ressurection never occurred then the Christian religion is meaningless.

The “truths” you speak about we do not need the Bible to discover. The Enlightenment movement/philosophy is about discovering those truths on our own. There is no need for divine revelation in the form of a Holy text to find them.
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Old June 20th, 2018, 04:37 AM   #8
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'The Bible' is an anthology of historical documents, and of these only parts of the Gospels and Acts are worth serious consideration as 'truth', surely?
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Old June 20th, 2018, 11:20 AM   #9
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To believers there must be some literal truth to the Bible or else the Christian religion is pointless. If there is no God, if there are no “wages of sin”, if Jesus was not real, if the ressurection never occurred then the Christian religion is meaningless.

The “truths” you speak about we do not need the Bible to discover. The Enlightenment movement/philosophy is about discovering those truths on our own. There is no need for divine revelation in the form of a Holy text to find them.
Perhaps you should define what you mean by “literally true”. I suppose you could say it’s that the words mean what some dictionary says. But none of us walks around with a perfect memory of some dictionary in our heads, most words mean to us what we have picked up from our life experiences and no two persons life experiences are exactly the same.

The “literal” truths essential to the Christian religion is that we are all sinful, and that our only hope of rescue from the consequences of that sin is the saving grace of Jesus , made possible through his sacrifice and resurrection.

Words like sinful, grace, forgiveness, sacrifice are all abstract and subjective.

I surmise that where your skeptical (and you tell yourself objective) mind is really tripped up is on the resurrection. Somebody was cold stone dead, all biological life function stopped, and life is restored.
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Old June 20th, 2018, 11:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by webguy4 View Post
<snip>

I surmise that where your skeptical (and you tell yourself objective) mind is really tripped up is on the resurrection. Somebody was cold stone dead, all biological life function stopped, and life is restored.
And amazingly enough, some people believe that.
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