I realize that this topic morphed into a general place for debate and argumentation on the Bible, spirituality and/or lack thereof.
If anyone has an idea for a new topic that also addresses these issues in a more focused fashion, please feel free to add such a suggestion to your summary and we can all move over there.
My personal summation is as follows:
I believe that the Bible can be used to teach and edify people or it can also be used to make a case for whatever type of world view one has.
I have found that for me personally, trying to defend inerrancy through apologetics is futile and time wasting.
I have my beliefs because they work for me. Critics may accuse me of ignoring evidence to the contrary and they have a point...but I am unconvinced that such evidence is conclusive.
Saying, "I don't know," is the same as saying, "Maybe."~ZombieRingo It's easy to see the speck in somebody else's ideas - unless it's blocked by the beam in your own.~Ringo If a savage stops believing in his wooden god, it does not mean that there is no God only that God is not wooden.(Leo Tolstoy)
The evidence is overwhelming that the Bible is simply the words of man and can only be the inerrant words of God if the God is a liar, delusional, a conman or cheat.
There is the vast body of historical evidence.
The Solar System is Heliocentric The Earth is billions of years old There has never been a Biblical Flood while humans existed The Exodus didn't happen The Conquest of Canaan never happened as described in Joshuah Man is not the product of Special Creation but simply evolution and has been around far longer than just 6000 years.
There is the vast body of textual evidence.
The Bible is filled with contradictions and mutually exclusive passages; if one is true then the other must be false There are many mutually exclusive descriptions of the God that are based on regional variations Tales in the Old Testament are told from specific cultural points of view There are different voices intermingled, just mushed together
There is the vast body of evidence showing redaction.
The very beginning of the Old Testament shows evidence of redaction the story in Genesis 1 comes from a totally different era, culture and tradition than the story found in Genesis 2&3 The first Gospel (Mark) shows evidence of later editing and insertions with both the beginning and ending modified. Matthew and Luke drew from two earlier Gospels, Mark and one that has not yet been found but was a collection of sayings of Jesus The final Gospel presents an entirely different picture of Jesus with editorial insertions
There is additional outside evidence. For example not a single so called Prophecy of Jesus in the Old Testament has stood up to examination.
There is the fact that God seems to have been unable to even create a single universal Table of Contents rather there are Canons that vary from only five books to over eighty.
The only reasonable conclusion is that the Bible is not the Inerrant Word of God.
Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
I don't think a summary can be made that makes more sense and includes all areas, better than what Jar did. I wish I wrote it:-)) I just want to say thanks to all posters and even those I adamantly disagree with.
And the signs of what believers can do:
Mark.16:17-18 "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
I went back over my posts to see what my opinion on the topic is and I discovered that I said a lot of clever things. That isn't just an empty opinion; there are approximately twenty-four cheers to support it.
The reason is inescapable: I was clearly inspired by God.
2 Peter 3:16: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist, distort], as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Psalm 56:5 Every day they wrest [twist, distort] my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil.
But the history of the Church is of groups of people deciding what will be accepted as dogma, finding support for that position and then declaring the other side as heretics.
The question in my mind is what influenced the decisions to accept some beliefs and reject others.
I maintain that People become "believers" through a definite change of mind/heart and though their are many phonies and fakes, there are also some who have been transformed.
Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. —RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." —Mark Twain " ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith