In a previous essay, I surmised that our veneration of the Bible, to the extent that we casually place it above God in our belief ranking, might reflect our supposition that scripture is inerrant and infallible. This is the thought this essay now explores.
The terms biblical infallibility (the Bible cannot contain errors) and inerrancy (the Bible contains no errors) are close cousins of the same idea, one that scriptural religions – Christian and Muslim fundamentalists most especially – prize and promote. While individual Christian apologists have posited an infallible and inerrant Bible for millennia, it is only recently – 1970s and early 1980s – that entire Christian denominations have advocated for this position, a phenomena that peaked with the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. This statement grew out of a conference attended by over 200 global evangelical/fundamentalist leaders who were reacting to modernism and its critique of biblical historicity, accuracy and literalness.
Question - Bible - Contain - Errors - Errors
The central question is: Does the Bible contain errors? Or is it incapable of containing errors?
Of course the Bible contains errors, big and small, because its writers were human. Sometimes, the errors were "innocent," other times they were contrived, purposeful and made to fulfill an agenda. Anything that involves humans comes with a taint: and that includes products resulting from God’s use of human agents to reveal himself. Humans often hijack and distort God’s message. That’s how God in the Bible is made to promote genocide, regulate slavery and ban women from church leadership. But as Jesus’ ethic reveals, genocide, slavery and a host of other ungodly behaviors are inconsistent with God’s character. A good God does not endorse evil in one era and disavow it in another. And if this God promotes immorality, that is a bridge too far.
Process - Composition - Compilation - Canonization
The process of biblical composition, compilation and canonization involved...
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