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Author Topic:   Catholics & Inerrancy
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 124 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007

Message 11 of 89 (613927)
04-29-2011 6:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by KellyWilson
04-28-2011 2:34 PM

False Positives
Hi Kelly,
It seems to me that your approach is guaranteed to produce a lot of false positive results. I'll explain.
Take the hypothetical example of a passage that, if read literally, contains error. It could be a geographical error or a historical error, whatever. Now assume for a moment that the passage is simply wrong. It was originally intended to be read literally. The author's intent is quite plain in the text, it is meant to be read in a straightforward way. The surface meaning is the intended meaning. And it just happens to be wrong. The author messed up. He was mistaken.
Now if we apply your method, we would approach this passage looking for a sort of poetic meaning, a non-literal symbolic meaning or a meaning that is read in between the lines. You are almost guaranteed to find such a meaning, not because the author intended for there to be one, but simply because it's very easy to read symbolism into a text, even if it's not really there.
The human mind is extremely inventive, especially when trying to find a pattern that we wish were there (but isn't). If you go looking for hidden meanings you will find them, but that doesn't mean that they were originally intended to be there. It's like looking at an abstract painting; every individual who looks at it might form their own idea of what it is about, but those ideas will rarely match each other and are very unlikely to match the artist's intended meaning - if there even was an intended meaning.
Another problem with this approach is that often the messages that the Bible seeks to communicate are vile messages, not the sort of thing that one would expect from a benevolent god.
Take the story of Job and his trials for example. This is a horrible story with a horrible moral. Do you really think that this is the kind of thing that God, in all his wisdom and glory, would consider important? Can you really read through the slaughters of the Midianites and the Amalekites and the rest and draw an uplifting moral message from all the butchery? I can't. To me, the main message seems to be "Don't mess with God or his people unless you want to die horribly.", not a very uplifting message.
I think that your approach is designed to read whatever you like into the texts. This approach must be very handy in propping up a shaky theology, but it does not strike me as a good way of accurately analysing an ancient document. I think that a better bet would be to simply accept that the Bible has a lot of errors in it and get the heck over it.
Mutate and Survive

On two occasions I have been asked, — "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by KellyWilson, posted 04-28-2011 2:34 PM KellyWilson has not replied

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