Tuesday, February 17, 2009

God would not cease to exist if the Bible is flawed

God would not cease to exist if the Bible is flawed

To some, including me the first time that I heard it, the idea that God’s existence is dependent on an inerrant Bible seems bizarre. Yet many creationists claim that such a thing is true.

Here is a small sampling of quotes that I have received arguing that case. I will leave the typos and the capitalization intact. They add something to the flavor of what is being said:

> …we cannot force people to believe in just one law or
> sayings but this issue simply means-those who believe
> in creation believe in GOD the CREATOR and acknowledge
> HIM .but to those who choose evolution means they did
> not accept GOD and all HIs [sic] works and trying to make
> themslves [sic] a diety [sic] and rule themselves separately
> from the natural laws set by GOD for humans.

> Then why do you use science to disprove the exsistence [sic]
> of a God having created this earth?

> Does a hypocrite prefer Science rather than God?

> If a philosophy or theology can be proven right (in this
> case the Bible vs atheism [sic])...

These are all literal quotations taken from posts sent to me by creationists.

You have to understand some of the code words. But, relevantly here, when a creationist speaks of “CREATION” (generally in upper case characters) he or she is speaking of the creation stories in Genesis. Also, when they speak of the “CREATOR” they are referring to God as depicted in Genesis.

Note especially phrases such as “Bible vs. atheism” or “Science rather than God”. The people who wrote those things are insisting that anyone who doesn’t believe that every word in the Bible matches their own interpretation or anyone who believes what mainstream science, as opposed to the Bible, tells them is an atheist. They cannot comprehend a version of God different from the image that they have formed based on how they interpret the Bible.

As I’ve already described, my own experiences falsify these claims. I quite literally grew up around people with strong religious beliefs and faith in God who did NOT insist in an inerrant Bible.

Simply put:

God is a supernatural being.

The Bible is a book.

How can they be mistaken for each other?

Why, in fact, does this insistence on an inerrant Bible even exist?

I often point to the parables of Jesus when making this point. According to the Bible, Jesus preferred to teach using parables. The Good Samaritan is a parable that almost all of us are familiar with.

Is it important that the story of the Good Samaritan be literally true?

Surely it is quite conceivable that Jesus heard an eyewitness account of this story during his youth and filed it away in his memory for later use.

But maybe Jesus just made up the entire story as well.

Does it make any difference?

I don’t know of a single theologian who even gives any thought or consideration to whether or not this story or any of the parables is literally true. Jesus never insisted that the parables were true and the lessons learned from them are not diminished if you consider them to be merely made-up stories.

So why do the other stories in the Bible have to be literally true in order to be important?

Supposedly God inspired the Bible.

Jesus, the Son of the very God who inspired the Bible, chose to teach primarily through parables that may or may not have been true.

Why wouldn’t God teach using similar methods to those used by his Son?

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