Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Keystone Cops

According to Bill Curry of DC,

“The issue that had the greatest impact on my thinking about the resurrection was the argument for inerrancy. The inerrancy of the Bible is affirmed by the major defenders of the Christianity including William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, and Norman Geisler. Members of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) must annually affirm their belief in inerrancy to maintain their membership (see here). If one is a Christian, it makes a great deal of sense to affirm this.”

Yes, and how do they demarcate the parameters of inerrancy? Here’s a standard formulation from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:

“We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.”

Continuing with Curry:

“However, I think it is quite reasonable for someone to believe that the Bible contains at least one error. Consider 1 Chronicles 24:14 and 1 Kings 6:2: ‘With great pains I have provided for the house of the LORD, a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron without weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided’ 1 Chronicles 22:14.”

Two problems for Curry:

i) It’s hard to “consider” the Biblical data when Curry manages to misquote two of the three citations. There is nothing in 1 Chron 24:14 or 1 Kgs 6:2 corresponding to issue at hand.

A word of advice for future reference: If you’re going to make a case for errors in Scripture, it’s helpful not to commit errors in your citation of Scripture.

All an erroneous citation goes to show is the ineptitude of the Debunker.

ii) If we turn to a standard Evangelical commentary on 1 Chron 22:14, this is what we find:

“The quantities specified here seem to be exceptionally large. One explanation is that it was a standard figure of speech for stressing the magnificence of the temple and drawing attention to David's vast preparations for the temple that was soon to be erected. This sort of hyperbole is often used in ancient literature and speeches, and the round numbers further imply that they are not to be taken literally. Our western propensity to be precise allows little room for a characteristic feature of the literary methods of the ANE,” J. A. Thompson, 1,2 Chronicles (B&H 1994), 165-66.

Other Evangelical commentaries on 1-2 Chronicles by L. C. Allen and Richard Pratt take the same approach.

So Curry’s case for the errancy of Scripture has established the following indisputable facts:

1.He’s too much of a slob to accurately cite chapter and verse.

2. He’s ignorant of how Evangelicals typically define inerrancy.

3. He’s ignorant of standard Evangelical commentaries on the verse in question.

No wonder he was recruited by Loftus for the DC—where systematic incompetence is a prerequisite of membership. That’s part of the job description over there.

12 comments:

  1. AGuyWhoDoesntLiveWithMom7/19/2006 8:17 PM

    The quantities specified here seem to be exceptionally large. One explanation is that it was a standard figure of speech for stressing the magnificence of the temple and drawing attention to David's vast preparations for the temple that was soon to be erected.

    Thanks, Steve. A friend of mine was asking for an example of an ad hoc argument and I couldn't think of a good one until I read this.

    Appreciate it, buddy.

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  2. Doc Holliday7/19/2006 8:49 PM

    Thanks Mama's boy. A friend of mine was asking for an example of logical incompetence within the atheistic community and so I'll juyst direct him here.

    Steve gave a possible *explanation.* If the explanation were *faulty* then it would be ad hoc. Stricyly speaking, this is a fallacy of faulty cause.

    All ad hoc means is "for this special purpose" and depending on how broadly "explanation" is defined, almost *any* explanation is ad hoc since we have to give answers for observed events, answers which special purpose is to explain some feature or answer some question.

    So, to be an example of the ad hoc fallacy you'd need to show how the explanation was faulty. The result of an ad hoc explanation is an "explanation" which is not very coherent, does not really "explain" anything at all, and which has no testable consequences. Thus it's not obvious that Steve's possible explanation was a species of this sort.

    I didn't see you show any of the above but, rather, tried to bully Steve with a big word your momma taught you.

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  3. Curry meant I Chronicles 22:14 rather than 24:14. That lists the quantities of gold and silver. I Kings 6:2 is relevant because it gives the dimensions of the temple. With that information and information about the density of gold and silver you can determine that the gold and silver don't actually fit within the dimensions of the temple.

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  4. Wow!

    "We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as ..., the reporting of falsehoods, ... "

    If Biblical Inerrancy is not negated by the reporting of falsehoods (like say, a false resurrection), what does inerrancy mean, and why do you bother to defend any Biblical claim?

    Why would you think the "inerrant" Bible does have falsehoods that are of a theological nature?

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  5. If Biblical Inerrancy is not negated by the reporting of falsehoods (like say, a false resurrection), what does inerrancy mean, and why do you bother to defend any Biblical claim?

    Why would you think the "inerrant" Bible does have falsehoods that are of a theological nature?


    You're equivocating on "the reporting of falsehoods" and what is meant by that statement in the context of the entire paragraph. Furthermore, you completely ignore the process of exegesis as well as the grammatical-historical hermeneutical method. We examine accounts in their own context and according to the original author's intent. We don't lump all of Biblical literature into one generic category and then blindly dismiss it altogether.

    The reason why we read the above formulation from the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is because it understands the inseparability of functional inerrancy with proper exegesis. We can't simply approach the text ignorant of what the author is actually attempting to communicate and think we've found error in his words. For instance, the Chicago Statement talks about "the use of free citations." It is important to know what the author intends to communicate in citing another person. Is he making the claim that his citation is some rigid, word-for-word, exact quotation of the other person? It is important to note his intent.

    So what do we do with other passages, such as the Resurrection of Christ? The answer is proper exegesis. That's how we know whether or not there is error in the Bible concerning these matters.

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  6. Then the doctrine of inerrancy "dies the death of a thousand qualifications."

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  7. I have always marveled at the fact that x-Christian-fundamentalists, while they give up their Christianity, never cease to read the Bible like a fundamentalist.

    Thanks Steve.

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  8. "You're equivocating on "the reporting of falsehoods" and what is meant by that statement in the context of the entire paragraph."

    OK. If he's equivocating tell us what the phrase means. Inerrancy is not negated by the reporting of falsehoods. What would negate inerrancy?

    And where has anybody denied that the text needs to be read in context and with regards to the authors original intent? Nobody here has claimed that errors in spelling or grammar are proof of errancy. Nobody has argued that an imperfect citation (if it properly conveys the meaning) is proof of errancy.

    What is proof of errancy is proof that the Bible reports falsehoods. At least that's what I've always assumed. Is that not so?

    Jon

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  9. Here's a report of falsehood:

    "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."


    This does not mean the Bible is in error. It simply "reported" the "falsehood" of Satan. Some people, whjo have a false view of ierrency, think that it means that every single thing the Bible reports is true. This is false, it truly reports false things, but those false things are not true.

    Anyway, this is basic stuff, guys.

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  10. Yea, stupid atheists! Here's another report of a falsehood:

    "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

    So don't try to argue that there is an error when Adam and Eve didn't die in the day they ate from it. The Bible is inerrant, it just recorded God's falsehood accurately.

    Morons!

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  11. Banana,

    1. Physically?
    2. Spiritually?
    3. Morally?
    4. Relationally?

    There are many ways 'to die'.

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  12. Yeah, stupid theists!

    Don't you know that there's only *one* meaning to any and all terms!

    Body politic

    Body of water.

    Fit body.

    All of those mean the same thing, since 'body' can't be used in more than one way!!

    Hahha, stupid theists, you'll never defeat us!!!

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