In light of ProfMTH's video I thought it apropos to expound on his idea. In his latest video ProfMTH's provocation was only extended to liberal and moderate Christians. I think his video should not only constitute those of liberal and moderate theology but those who also hold more of a conservative theology and the like. His challenge is both arduous and demanding, yes, but it is also most crucial and acute. This challenge unequivocally necessitates the need for answers for the vitality of your faith. I will be dealing with four areas: historicity, inspiration, inerrancy or infalliability, and the ugliness.
I have heard it said that when debating or conversing with creationists or inerrantists that it is a losing battle. I completely agree that it is hard to show a stubborn person the error of their ways but that doesn't mean all is lost. It reminds me of Dante's famous line in The Divine Comedy, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here." To me there is still hope because the burden of proof is still laid upon the creationist or inerrantist. They still have given us no evidence or proof. That is what I am asking for here. I am giving a chance to all the Christians around me to prove themselves right in their beliefs and in return proving me wrong. I will be posing some questions in the aforementioned areas. So let it begin!
So in Matthew 1:18 we have the author telling us, "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about..." and in Luke 1:3 we have the author saying, "I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you..." but if we read both accounts of Jesus' birth in Matthew and Luke we are faced with a nauseating fact. They aren't congruous. They are almost at complete odds with eachother. The only thing they share together is they both have Jesus born in Bethlehem but by totally different means. So I would like to know which one of these stories is false and which one is true? Remember both can't be true one has to be false.
Also within these narratives we have events that never took place in history like the supposed "world census" issued by Cesar. They have dates wrong and even historical figures wrong. So I guess what I am getting at is, how can these stories be trusted as history? There are numerous incongruous parts of the Bible. If you would like to know more please read Bart Ehrman's book, Jesus, Interrupted. This leads me to my second topic.
This brings up the fact that the Bible contains errors. The Bible is riddled with discrepancies and inconsistencies. Not only the above mentioned error but hundreds of others. Some even as important as getting the day of Jesus' death wrong. The synoptics have Jesus die on the Sabbath but John has him die the day before. These aren't mistakes an all powerful God would make when divinely inspiring the Good News, right? These are all too human tendencies. Surely God can't err, right?
As we can see by the numerous incongruous parts of the Bible we can't trust it to be historically reliable or error free. With that said how could it be divinely inspired? I mean certainly the God who created this world and the humans who inhabit it can remember the who, what, where, and whens of his ONLY SONS birth, right? I mean if God is Jesus and Jesus is God surely they wouldn't have differing versions of their own birth, death, and resurrection, right? So which is it, divinely inspired texts or falliable human written texts? Which leads me to...
4. The Ugliness
Have you read the Old Testament? Or did you skip over all the rape, pillaging, and murder? Here are just some examples of the divinely inspired work of God.
"If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives." Deuteronomy 22:28-29
"If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property." Exodus 21:20-21
"If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you." Deuteronomy 22:20-21
So with that out of the way, how do you reconcile verses like that with verses like Proverbs 30:5, "Every word of God is flawless" and Isaiah 61:8, "For I, the LORD, love justice"? Does the Bible give you the option or authority to reject such passages? On what, if any basis, do you believe you may legitimately reject portions of your scriptures? How do you reconcile your continuing to be a believer with this rejection with at least some of your faiths divinley inspired fundamental documents? And if you do accept each of the passages as accurately communicated words spoken by your God, how do you deal with serving a God who equated physical disabilities with spiritual defilement (Lev. 21:16-23)?
I do understand that I address alot of questions but it would be helpful to all if your responses were short, sweet and to the point.
I would like to thank ProfMTH for being ever so wise and giving me a basis to start upon.