Testing For Truth

What is Objective Truth?

Hi

Are you aware that by supporting the bible as inerrant scripture, you are propagating a mode of thought which has contributed towards ignorance, superstition, deception and fear for thousands of years? In our society we have been surrounded by the influence of Deception in many ways. Some purposeful and some propagated by those who have been fooled. We are all human and naive in many ways, and have let false beliefs have some control over our lives. I would hope that you are someone not purposefully contributing to the GREAT DECEPTION of the inerrancy of the bible. It would be more appropriate for Christians to call themselves Biblicans in most cases, as I believe instead of concerning themselves with TRUTH, they are more concerned with interpreting the bible and using they're interpretations for various purposes. If a person with adequate reasoning faculties and a reasonable morality TRULY studies the bible with a view to finding the TRUTH, I believe he/she would find that it is full of contradictions and the work of men. If the human race had spent the time searching for the TRUTH instead of propagating a delusion, I believe we would all be better off today. I have done research and have personally found many, many contradictions as would be expected of the works of men. In addition to the contradictions, the God portrayed in the old testament is what most would call EVIL. Have you read the old testament and seen the acts that were purportedly done by the God of the Jews? I would never want to worship such a God! I wonder how many Christians are aware of what the Old Testament God behaved as portrayed in the Old Testament! It is disgusting! I am someone who is interested in TRUTH and not deception, I have had enough of it!

Kevin

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for writing. I disagree with your assessment of the Bible as contributing towards ignorance, deception, and superstition. These assertions you made are quite encompassing and quite serious. If they are to be taken in a thoughtful manner, I would ask that you back up your claims with specific arguments as to how Christianity leads people in the "great deception." Before we get started though, I do want to ask what your criteria for determining truth is. How do you judge whether something is true? What rules do you use? I hope we can discuss these issues in a thoughtful way, so that we both may learn something.

Lenny Esposito

Thanks for your response.

First of all I didn't say the bible contributed towards ignorance, deception, and superstition. I said that by supporting the bible as inerrant scripture you are propagating a mode of thought which contributes. The bible itself provides stories which are used by man for various purposes. Their may or may not be God breathed inspiration in the bible. That is something I don't know. In regards to how to I determine what is TRUE? Unfortunately, I am not currently aware of any way for a human to do such a thing. The only thing I KNOW is that I KNOW NOTHING!! When I speak of KNOWLEDGE I mean certain knowledge. We as humans have beliefs and faith and working knowledge, but certain knowledge I am not confident we can have. We as humans tend to want to support our hopes. We look for facts which indicate that they may be true. However, I believe ONE TRUTH underlies reality regardless of our beliefs. You I assume look for facts which support your hopes, and those of the Islam faith probably look for facts which support their beliefs. Many scientists probably look for facts to bolster their beliefs and hopes. The bigger a belief structure becomes the more resistant it becomes to being shaken and dislodged. As long as a person is relatively content their is less incentive to examine the reality of ones beliefs, but TRUTH goes on regardless of mens beliefs. In my mind one way to help determine truth is to look for patterns, and one way to help determine UNTRUTH is to look for inconsistencies. And in my view the BIBLE has many, many inconsistencies, and the CHRISTIAN faith when combined with the inerrancy of the bible has many inconsistencies.

If you read the old testament, you will find many stories inconsistent with a LOVING God! If we assume they are true and the theory of inerrancy as true then the God of the OLD Testament is EVIL, and christians are worshipping an evil GOD. The old testament seems to support a GOD which condones violence and deception. Also a GOD which is not omnipresent and all knowing. These are beliefs which Christianity supports, however not beliefs that are supported by the Old Testament.

In addition the bible has many, many apparent contradictions. I believe many of them are probably REAL contradictions. In doing research on my own, I found many myself. Others have found more. If you are interested here is a web page which some links to contradictions in the bible, along with some links to stories from the bible which are not consistent with a LOVING GOD. 

Biblical Errancy

One thing to remember when searching for the TRUTH is that our hopes and established beliefs and FEAR will hinder us from finding it. Motivation is what drives humans and where there is little motivation, things will tend to go on as they have before.

Kevin

Claims of Inerrancy are not Necessarily False

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for the clarification. I'd like to take your comments one at a time and discuss them. I understand that you feel those who hold to the inerrancy of the Bible - that is the Bible is God's Word to us and because of this it contains no contradictions in its original form - makes others who are taught this more ignorant, more deceived and more superstitious. However this view would only hold true if the Bible were not in fact the inerrant Word of God. If it is God-breathed, then proper understanding of such a fact would in no ways contribute to such a case. 

Now, the problem becomes compounded when we understand that the Bible claims to be the word of God. If it claims such and is not, then we have a book which cannot be trusted because of its obviously erroneous origin. Oh, we may learn a few things about the human condition from such a manual, but we could never take seriously any new knowledge. In fact, we should conclude that since the Bible purports inerrancy, and we teach it to be inerrant, then it is the Bible leading people to ignorance, deception, and superstition. We are merely accurately conveying the intent of the authors. So, the question does become "Is the Bible REALLY from God?" If not, it is just one of many books and holds no special truth value. If it is, however, it is a completely unique work and must be viewed differently.

The Problem of Requiring Certain Knowledge

So, in all the above we see really there are truth claims that are in dispute. Is the Bible TRULY the word of God? I had asked how you determine truth and you had answered, "In regards to how to I determine what is TRUE? Unfortunately, I am not currently aware of any way for a human to do such a thing. The only thing I KNOW is that I KNOW NOTHING!! When I speak of KNOWLEDGE I mean certain knowledge"

By "certain knowledge" as opposed to "working knowledge" I assume you mean objective truth as opposed to that which one may claim is true for them. But truth doesn't change. It is outside the opinions of man and would be true even if no one held it. We may thin we have the truth, but we are mistaken, but truth itself is something different than that. It is simply what corresponds to the waty things really are.

To believe that we cannot know objective truth leads to many contradictions. For example, if we cannot know anything for certain, then you cannot know for certain that the Bible is not what it claims to be. You cannot state emphatically (as you seem to have done) that "by supporting the bible as inerrant scripture you are propagating a mode of thought which contributes towards ignorance, deception, and superstition." That may not be true with certainty. If it isn't certainly true, then there is a possibility that it is false. However, no one can assert even a probability of your statement being true because saying "this has a possibility of being either true or false" is itself a statement which must be taken as certainly true, and we've denied that option.

How Can it Be Certainly True that Truth Isn't Certain?

Further, the idea that one cannot know truth with 100% certainty is itself illogical. You see, your claim that no one can know objective truth cannot itself be objectively true. If you cannot know truth, then you can at least know SOME things for certain (the fact that you can know nothing), and you then know your statement is false. If it is not true, then you also know the statement is false and that again proves you can know some things for certain. The statement is what they refer to as "self-defeating" in logic. It is much like me typing "I cannot type this sentence in an e-mail" and sending it in this e-mail. Well, I just did it so the statement must be false on its face. I think you understand this when you write "However, I believe ONE TRUTH underlies reality regardless of our beliefs." To have that belief, though, one must believe it as a certainty, otherwise it makes no sense to question any beliefs at all! For if nothing can be known as true with certainty, then what is the point of claiming that these beliefs are right and those beliefs are wrong?

You had written that, "In my mind one way to help determine truth is to look for patterns, and one way to help determine UNTRUTH is to look for inconsistencies." Do you see the inconsistencies in a relative belief in truth? If, as you say that there is one truth which underlies all of reality, then as rational beings we should be able to have a justified belief in certain principles as objectively true. I do agree that inconsistencies are a good place to start, for the primary laws of logic we take to be true a priori otherwise our world would make no sense at all.

As to your objection that the Bible shows "real contradictions", I would like you to be very specific. Such a claim is very difficult to argue intelligently without understanding your specific difficulty. Now, it does happen that most of the objections quoted in the website you cited (Bible Errancy) have been answered hundreds of times. Realize also, that this particular website has a very specific bias and an anti-Bible agenda. As a "Seeker of Truth" I would hope that you would withhold any biases of your own, investigate scholastic works on both sides of the issue and then come to a rational conclusion. If you do have any specific instance I would be happy to answer it, but note that an actual contradiction is very hard to prove. Let me demonstrate. 

One thing you had mentioned is that Old Testament shows a God that condones violence and deception, while the New Testament God is a God of love. This is not true, for the New Testament shows a God who judges people (Acts 5:3-5, John 2:13-17, Revelation 4-19) and the Old Testament shows a God of mercy (Jonah 3:10, Numbers 21:9). You see, one can confuse judgment, which a part of righteousness, with cruelty and assume this is a contradiction. You cannot have love, though, without judgment, because evil and error unchecked IS true cruelty. It would be crueler to open up all our jails and fire our police than to punish offenders. As for deception, I've never seen an instance in the Bible where God condoned it. Some of His followers DID deceive people, but they were not lauded for it. In fact it is those "warts" showing on the Biblical character that gives MORE credibility to the Bible as telling the story of real people in real situations.

I hope that before doing anything else you will stop and ponder the ideas that I've written here. Don't jump to a conclusion right away. Then, carefully reexamine the basis for your beliefs and see if the possibility exists that you could be wrong. I am open to the possibility that I could be wrong, but the evidence has been overwhelming in showing otherwise. I'll pray for your investigation. I hope that you will pray that if there is a God, He would enlighten your search for truth. If there isn't, then you haven't lost anything (and are just talking to a wall :-) but if there is and you earnestly seek the Truth through Him, you might get an answer you weren't expecting.

References

Image courtesy Gabriel RodrĂ­guez and licensed via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.
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