Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby stargazer » Jun 20, 2014 1:13 pm

It's interesting that this topic would come up right now as I've recently read about it on a different forum.

That's why so many wait staff dread Sundays.


This point is certainly well-taken and would be backed up by people I know who have had those jobs.

But a bit of clarification for our friends Down Under:

-Many employers do pay overtime (penalty pay) for weekends, holidays, etc. However, as I understand it this doesn't necessarily apply to restaurant staff as they are part-time.

-As I'm sure they do Down Under, commodity prices vary a lot over the US. I pay less for gas (petrol) and milk than TOM mentions. But those figures give a general idea of expenses here.

-While the minimum wage for wait staff is indeed $2.13 per hour, the law requires employers to make up any shortfall between what is earned and the local minimum wage - that is, wait staff should make at least minimum wage. To be sure, there are ways around this (encouraging over-reporting of tips received, for example).

-Lastly, the $2.13 doesn't apply in all states. Many states have a higher wage and some have the same minimum wage for tipped and non-tipped workers (see a list here).

Despite these details, I agree with TOM's assessment that treating wait staff poorly on Sunday (or any other day) reflects poorly on the gospel we claim to preach.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby IloveFauns » Jun 21, 2014 12:15 am

$2.13? an hour no wonder you are all for tipping. Minimum when over 18 and not of an apprenticeship here is around $16/hour and i think $20 once you are 21. I knew you had to tip when I visited the states so my family did but I know a friend who didn't know this, and when they just paid with no tip they were not treated very well.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jun 21, 2014 10:05 pm

The Old Maid wrote:At the time of this writing a gallon of gasoline ranges from $3.83 to $4.25 US$. A gallon of milk ranges from $2.50 (on sale) to about $4.00 or just above. Organic milk is about $5.99 (on sale). The minimum wage in the States is $7.40 per hour.

The minimum wage for waitresses, etc. is $2.13 per hour. A waitress who works 10 hours a day can earn as little as $21.30 per day, before tips. Wait staff can in fact lose money working in a restaurant. The day that they are most likely to lose money is -- far and away -- Sunday. The restaurants get clogged with people bristling, "I was nice to Jesus; I don't have to be nice to you." And that's before they have to pay tax to the Internal Revenue Service for the tip income they "should" have received but didn't. That's why so many wait staff dread Sundays.


I checked our prices against yours. It isn't easy because we use metric and not imperial. A gallon is 3.78541178 litres. USD $2.50 for a gallon of milk is therefore cheap besides our AUD $2.00 for a 2 litre container of milk. This is a cheap rate from Coles. Other providers might charge more. We'd be spending $4.00 AUD or more for the same gallon of milk you get charged $2.50.

Petrol is also expensive. Thanks to the latest Iraq situation, it has gone up to $1.69 per litre of petrol. Multiply that by 3.785 and you get $6.39775 AUD per gallon. It is worse outside the big cities as in the countryside the chain of supply has to factor in the price of petrol or diesel that is needed to transport goods to some places. I don't know how you calculate your income tax, because tips down here can go through the cash register, along with the payments, and therefore the true picture is reflected in the night's takings, when they are compared with the cash register receipts.

There is a further difficulty in comparisons. An Australian dollar is currently 0.938 of 1 USD.

Like IlF I can see what you mean by the need for tipping. But wages as low as $2.13 an hour would still be considered slave labour here. I've earned more doing letter box drops years ago. And with that there is a chance to bundle up your deliveries to increase the money earned. Do "waitresses" earn the same as "waiters"? Because both men and women are called waiters here. You see, I wondered if the bad attitudes displayed by churchgoers at Sunday dinner were due to sexism. Would they treat a man the same way?

I agree with ILF that wages here can be as low as $16 or $17 per hour, but less is taken out for a casual or part-time worker, such as provisions for sick leave and annual leave. Many university students depend on such casual or part-time labour to pay their way through university, so at the rate of pay you mention they probably would look elsewhere for work. If the Sunday diners can't afford tipping for weekend service, why don't they go home & cook their own Sunday dinner?
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Aslanisthebest » Jun 22, 2014 10:20 am

Mod note:

While the original topic ("Christians tipping poorly") was good for discussion in this thread, the conversation is getting off-topic for CRP and entering something more appropriate for the Cultural Curiosity thread (comparing different countries' wait staff policies). You can carry on a related discussion over there, but this is a reminder to redirect the conversation to something CRP-relevant.

Thank-you, :)

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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jun 22, 2014 1:53 pm

I ran across something interesting recently and figured I would post it here to see if any of you had any thoughts on it. :)

In 2 Samuel 24:1-10, we read that the anger of the Lord was burning against the nation of Israel, and God incited David against his people, saying "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah." David tells Joab and the army commanders to go and number the fighting men. They object, but David overrules them, and so they set off to carry out the task. After they return, David realizes that he has sinned in what he has done and asks God to take away his guilt.

Later, in 1 Chronicles 21:1-8, the same incident is recounted, except this time, the chapter begins with saying that Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take the census of Israel. Again, Joab objects to it, and again, David overrules him. (It says, however, that Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the counting, because David's command was repulsive to him, and that "this command was also evil in the sight of God".) Again, when the census is done, David realizes that he has sinned greatly and asks God to take away his guilt.

The same word is used for "incite" in both instances; those two verses are the only times that particular form of suth is used in the Bible.

What do you guys make of this seeming contradiction? The idea of God inciting David to sin seems to fly in the face of James 1:13. The second recounting of the incident makes it clear that the numbering of Israel was evil in the eyes of God and leads the reader to believe that the command didn't come from God at all. So, what's going on here? Are these verses indicative of evolution in the Jewish understanding of God, His ways and His nature?
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby The Old Maid » Jun 26, 2014 12:39 pm

I hope the mods don't mind if I redirect the "tipping" question away from the economics and cultural aspects and re-focus on the "why Christians are such a holy terror on Sundays" situation. The website I mentioned was so heavily trafficked that part of it crashed/has to be rebuilt or some such. The stories survived ... as a 27-page thread.

We who know long long a Christianity, Religion and Philosophy thread can get know just how long 27 pages is.

Twenty-seven pages of Christians behaving badly to those who can't fight back:

*they put the tip into the offering plate "to save your soul; you must be so happy about that." One waiter got 23 written notes stating that 23 people had done this ...

*it's "against their religion" to spend money on Sundays, so they visit the same bakery every Sunday (to eat free brunch in the form of eating all of the samples), and of course failing to return Monday through Saturday to purchase anything...

*showing up after the business is closed demanding to be served, then doing it again next week, and the next ...

*"forgot my wallet; will pay next time" and never do ...

*claiming the food was horrible (althought they ate it all) to try to get out of paying ...

*a customer/bully who intimidated so many employees that one of them maced her ... (I never heard if the macer got to ride in the car with the flashy lights to the Graybar Motel for that).

In the film "Life is Beautiful," a character observes that:

You're here serving, you're not a servant. Serving is the supreme art. God is the first of servants. God serves men, but He's not a servant to men.


As John 13:1-17 so beautifully illustrates.

I wonder if the Christians who behave so badly at Sunday brunch realize that Jesus is indeed in the restaurant with them, but He would be helping the wait staff to serve, rather than being at the table being served.

I say this as someone who was not innocent. I was never taught tipping as a child -- the parental units were going through a fundie phase at the time -- and didn't know what tips were until I was an adult and a waitress asked me what she did wrong (i.e., nothing). I didn't mean to rip off people, but I did. Wait staff, hairdressers, pet groomers, the lot. It's embarrassing.

As re. wagga's question, whether it was sexism, I think it's the helplessness of the wait staff first, gender second. About a third of the posters on "Sundays are the worst" are men.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Phosphorus » Jun 27, 2014 12:10 pm

The Davidic census is a puzzle that we may not be able to completely resolve. The verses concerning it are problematic, but perhaps not in the way that seems most obvious. The reason for the plague itself is explained by the command in Exodus 30:11-16. As for whether God or Satan inspired the disastrous census, that can be resolved one of two ways.

(1) "Satan" in 1 Chronicles 21 is not a proper noun (it often isn't--some would argue never is--in the Old Testament). It simply means "adversary" and refers to God, who was opposed to David during this period.

(2) Satan proper acted directly against David, but because God allowed it, he was attributed agency in 2 Samuel.

In either case, God is clearly designated the ultimate agent here, and hence the biggest problem is theological: whether God "incites" sin. The introduction of the adversary, by explanation (2), would seem to remove some of the natural theological difficulties--perhaps the intent of the chronicler. As final cause and omnipotent, God could be "blamed" for just about any happening, even if the immediate agent was acting through free choice and chose evil, because God permitted it within his Divine plan.

But it's still troubling. At the very least, God was intent on chastising David and Israel for some latent sinfulness; moving David toward the census may have been a means of exposing this, making the punishment more effective by attaching it to a clear action. David's very act of sin brought remorse, even before the discipline.

A Christocentric approach to the passage might parallel David's census and the census of Augustus.... But I've not read anything on it or thought much about it, so I probably shouldn't comment here.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby CaptainM » Jun 27, 2014 4:12 pm

Shadowlander wrote:The concept of infants going to hell is repellant to me. It was horrible before I had a kid but now the concept is horrific now that I do have one, and so I tend to be a bit more protective of my Sarah than I probably would be without. There's nothing in Scripture that really says one way or the other where the soul of a child goes, and it falls smack dab into a grey area of sorts. I have to believe in my heart that given Christ's special love for little kids that there would be a special grace granted to them that we just don't know about. The alternative is simply too awful to contemplate. :(



I Believe That if an infant dies it will not go to hell because it does not understand right from wrong, it is to young. I am not a parent so i do not know but when do children start to learn that sort of thing? I believe that as soon as they are the age that they can understand that will not "just not go to hell" that they will go to hell if they die. I can't say about what the bible says because I do notknow it that well...but that is what I think.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Lady Arwen » Jul 02, 2014 6:01 pm

* pokes the CR&P post with an eleven foot pole and eyes it warily *

This is not so much a theological question as...well, research. :P I'm currently working on rewriting my church's Sunday School curriculum for our Pre-K and K students. This is because the original curriculum is, frankly, a disaster, and each teacher has had to build their own curriculum based off of the original. The problem with this, of course, is that any incoming teacher suddenly has to build all of their own stuff, or augment it off of all the other teacher's resources. Great for building a strong teacher network, really bad for keeping new teachers for more than a month or two.

And, by rewriting the curriculum, I actually mean I'm creating a curriculum and adding some crafts and stuff from the resources of the teacher network.

I already have, of course, about two months worth of lessons covering the bare gospel essentials (read: the full Christmas story and the full Easter story), as well as probably another month covering the early church (the conversion of Cornelius and Peter's dream, and etc), but this leaves me with about 40 weeks of blank space. Obviously, I could start at the beginning of the Bible and work through it chronologically, but I was wondering (especially from those of you who might have younger children), what Biblical stories you feel are essential for kids to learn? Why do you feel they are so important? What sorts of things do you feel are missing from most curricula?
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 06, 2014 1:05 pm

The Old Maid wrote:I hope the mods don't mind if I redirect the "tipping" question away from the economics and cultural aspects and re-focus on the "why Christians are such a holy terror on Sundays" situation. The website I mentioned was so heavily trafficked that part of it crashed/has to be rebuilt or some such. The stories survived ... as a 27-page thread.


Goodness, some of those stories are horrid. Probably the worst of it is the idea that some of the patrons are treating the wait staff with disdain because they're working on Sunday... good grief. If you really don't approve of people working on Sunday, then don't go to commercial establishments on that day.

Phosphorus wrote:The reason for the plague itself is explained by the command in Exodus 30:11-16.


Thank you very much for pointing that out; knowing some of the context is helpful. Also, thanks for the "adversary" theory—I had seen that Satan was translated as such in some Bible versions, but I'd forgotten.

Phosphorus wrote:In either case, God is clearly designated the ultimate agent here, and hence the biggest problem is theological: whether God "incites" sin. The introduction of the adversary, by explanation (2), would seem to remove some of the natural theological difficulties--perhaps the intent of the chronicler. As final cause and omnipotent, God could be "blamed" for just about any happening, even if the immediate agent was acting through free choice and chose evil, because God permitted it within his Divine plan.

But it's still troubling. At the very least, God was intent on chastising David and Israel for some latent sinfulness; moving David toward the census may have been a means of exposing this, making the punishment more effective by attaching it to a clear action. David's very act of sin brought remorse, even before the discipline.


When I ran across it at first, it reminded me a little of Pharoah in Exodus where God hardens Pharoah's heart and he persists in disobedience. Still, I get the impression from that incident that God wasn't "hardening" Pharoah's heart to do something contrary to what he would have chosen of his own free will, but rather the fortitude to do what he wanted to do, which was to prevent God's people from leaving Egypt at any cost. It seems that God did this to 1) perform signs and wonders to the people of Egypt, and 2) to show Pharoah the consequences of his sinful desires.

Still, that seems a bit different than the situation with David. It's possible that David already wanted to take the census, but just didn't have the nerve to do it, and inciting is tantamount to hardening. That's only speculation, though. Further, incite doesn't really seem to be a synonym for harden, but perhaps I'm nitpicking.

It's also possible that when God says, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah", it's like the parent that finally says to the disobedient son or daughter, "Fine, you haven't listened to me: now go and have your way, and see what happens." The freedom to make the choice, but not the freedom to escape the consequences.

But again, that's speculation. I think you're right when you say that this could be a conundrum that Bible readers may not be able to fully resolve. There just does not seem to be enough information to draw a strong conclusion.

CaptainM wrote:I can't say about what the bible says because I do notknow it that well...but that is what I think.


Hi there CaptainM! Welcome to CR&P. :) If you're ever interested in studying the Bible, I definitely recommend a site called BibleHub.com. It's a great resource and has been a tremendous help in my personal Bible study.

Lady Arwen wrote:Obviously, I could start at the beginning of the Bible and work through it chronologically, but I was wondering (especially from those of you who might have younger children), what Biblical stories you feel are essential for kids to learn? Why do you feel they are so important? What sorts of things do you feel are missing from most curricula?


Well, I definitely don't have any young children, but I do recall going to Sunday school as a little girl, and looking back, I've found myself rather disappointed. I don't think the experience did me very much good, at least in terms of introducing me to some of the teachings of Jesus. It's possible I was just too caught up in my own world to pay proper attention, but I think I would have liked hearing more of Jesus's parables, like the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, the Sheep and the Goats, et cetera. Obviously, presented in a way that kids can easily understand, but still, that would have been nice. Kids love stories, so it seems to me that they could be an especially effective way to introduce some of Jesus's teachings.

Edit: I had originally included a new discussion topic at the end of this post, but seeing as it relates to the theology of C.S. Lewis, Lady Arwen suggested that I post it in the Man Behind the Wardrobe subforum. In case the topic might be of interest to anyone, here's the link, along with a handy, self-explanatory title: C.S. Lewis's Views on Purgatory.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby The Old Maid » Jul 15, 2014 4:53 pm

Regarding The Rose-Tree Dryad's question on King David's census, I've heard two explanations, both Jewish. Both versions reference I Samuel 8, the chapter in which the prophet Samuel protests against a human king.

Meir Shalev (author of Beginnings: reflections on the Bible's intriguing firsts) argues that I-II Samuel, I-II Kings told the warts-and-all version of kingship in fulfillment of the prophet's warnings about the failings and dangers of mortal kings. Shalev then argues that I-II Chronicles was written to the exiles after the destruction of the Temple. The writers of that version were religious officials trying to recall a Golden Age.* Notice how Chronicles deletes not only most references to the Northern Kingdom -- which the chroniclers regarded as illegitimate** -- but also deletes almost all of David and Solomon's sins.

(*This doesn't necessarily conflict with Inerrancy, no more than the varying accounts of Christ's Resurrection would conflict. People wrote down the details that they knew, which aren't always the same as the details that other people know.)

(**In spite of the fact that any Messiah would have to be descended from both Judah and the Northern Kingdom. Athaliah -- grandmother of Joash the king of Judah -- was the daughter of Ahab and thus the granddaughter of Omri. It is uncertain whether Athaliah was the daughter of Jezebel; Ahab had many wives. Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary, is descended from northerners Athaliah-Ahab-Omni and the line of southerners through and including Joash.)

The other interpretation of the census, by Robert Pinsky (The life of David), is that the prophet Samuel warned the people that human kings count things. When things (and people) are counted, it is easier to tax them, draft them into your wars, and collect their maidens for never-you-mind.

Before there were kings in the land, families and tribes governed their own affairs. Kingship rocked the tribes by welding them into a society. The chroniclers seemed to believe that those changes weren't too bad, for the most part. (After all, as religious officials, they benefitted from those changes.) But, said Pinsky, when David began to count things i.e. people, as Samuel had warned, it was something even the adoring chroniclers of Chronicles noticed.

Put it into contemporary terms. [Note: this is not Pinsky's terminology, just an extension of it.] Let's say that the United States had begun with no legislative body to write the laws: the Bible (or Torah, Talmud, etc. in Israel's case) already contained all the laws anyone needed. Let's say also that the USA originally had no executive, no president: God is in charge and speaks through the prophets. There is still a court system in the form of the Judges. Samson, Deborah, and the rest handle anything from small-claims court to the Supreme Court functions.

Then a presidency is created, and a legislative body to pass laws that aren't specifically covered in the Bible. (For example, no-drinking-and-driving.) Suddenly you have a federal income tax (Woodrow Wilson), a draft registration for young men (Abraham Lincoln, revived by Lyndon Baines Johnson), and mandatory health insurance for all citizens (Barack Obama). Big change from living in the woods "shootin' at some food," as the song says. And none of those changes would have been possible to enforce without the census.

Saul, David, and Solomon's impact on the Israelites was bigger ... than ... that. That's not easy. That was why even the chroniclers had a problem with it, and probably why they phrased it the way they did. Certainly they believed it was bad because it split the nation. The census made it possible for Solomon to tax the nation, which resulted in Rehoboam's threat to tax them more, which resulted in the rebellion against Rehoboam. A large strong country became two small, weak countries, both of which were destroyed. So the chroniclers may have blamed the census for the chain of events which followed.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 28, 2014 3:26 pm

Thank you very much for your thoughts, TOM! They help to put the time and situation into perspective. I'll have to look into that book by Pinsky. :)

Your mention of Biblical inerrancy raised another question I've been thinking about for a good while. Being someone who was raised in a household where that was never really talked about, I don't have much of a grasp on the concept. When people talk about the Bible being the "inerrant Word of God", I can't say I know exactly what that means.

It's easy for me to see that the Bible contains the Word of God, that it is "the moon in our darkness," reflecting the light of God and allowing us to learn about Jesus Christ and study his teachings. However, when I try to wrap my head around the idea that the entire collection of books is 100% the inerrant Word of God, and more or less authored vicariously by God... that's where I start getting a little lost. (Especially when you have Paul saying things like, "This is my opinion, not a command from God" in his epistles.)

Another thing I don't quite understand is how a person goes from not having an opinion on Biblical inerrancy to fully believing in Biblical inerrancy. It makes me a little nervous, because it feels like too great—too serious—a claim to accept on solely on faith, especially when I'm not sure that it's even demanded of those who follow Christ. I'm having a hard time finding where the Bible says that holding this view is part and parcel of being a good Christian.

Do you guys have any thoughts of this, and would those of you who do believe in Biblical inerrancy be interested in describing what Biblical inerrancy means to you? Does anyone know of a comprehensive case for the Bible being the inerrant Word of God? Thanks. :)
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Phosphorus » Jul 29, 2014 7:11 am

I'll warn you ahead of time that my views do not represent that of most Evangelicals.

For the most complete and widely-accepted statement on the meaning of inerrancy, try the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago1.html

This statement offers numerous caveats and distinctions which allow inerrantists in agreement to avoid common pitfalls, by stating, for instance, that only the original manuscripts are inerrant, accepting the use of hyperbole and metaphor, and denying that the Holy Spirit dictated to or overrode the human authors.

Personally, inerrancy bothers me. It literally means "without error," but it is usually taken as a degree stronger than belief in infallibility, or the belief that the Bible simply teaches no untruth. Assertions of inerrancy often seem, historically, to be tied to great confusions about the Bible; the term came into fashion in the late 19th century and was strongly associated with the fundamentalist reaction to liberal Bible criticism. In a highly rational era, liberals took the approach that the Bible was factually incoherent, and fundamentalists took the approach that the Bible was absolutely, literally, factually correct. Inerrantism since has often had connotations of the dictation understanding of inspiration, and of strict Biblical literalism. You see in the CSBI the authors' assertion that the Bible is completely accurate on historical and scientific claims. Article XVIII is also very Biblicist.

In my opinion, this breaks down at a certain point, and we must embrace an understanding of the origins and proper interpretation of Scripture that is both Christocentric and catholic/orthodox (whole Church in time and space). The question of inerrancy, to whatever extent it is true, tends to distract from these matters. But at this point I do not have time to write out a full argument.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby aileth » Jul 29, 2014 9:03 am

No theologian here, and maybe not even answering your question properly, Rosie, but the verses that popped into my mind immediately were these:
II Peter 1:16-21 wrote:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (emphasis mine)


This is something I feel rather strongly about, I guess, partly because I have an uncle who thinks the Bible was just written by men who wanted to have their own religion. He acknowledges some sort of God, but refuses the divinity of Christ.

In very laic terms, if God said it, I believe it. Do I always understand what He meant or how it works out? Certainly not. But I think there are a lot of things that line up with the real world (science, in other words) that are only just now beginning to be found out.

Take "Jonah and the Whale," a common one for people to attack and claim that it is a parable, or the like. Leaving aside the quibble about "the whale" (which it doesn't actually say--it says "great fish") there was an episode in the 1800s of a man being swallowed by a large fish, a tuna or halibut, and being found four days later, much the worse for wear, but still alive when the fish was cut open. The happening was documented in the papers. That's just one example of what critics say couldn't possibly happen and therefore must be a myth.

Then there's the archeological record... But I could go on, and on, and on. I won't. I'll stop. And you probably know all this, and I've got the wrong end of the stick :)
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Ithilwen » Jul 29, 2014 4:28 pm

I've always believed the Bible was absolutely 100% inerrant... But then I actually researched it. ;)) Although, it depends on your definition of the word "inerrant".

There's no denying the Bible contains some factual errors and contradictions. So if that's what you mean by inerrant, then inerrant the Bible most certainly is not. However, you'd have quite some time proving scripturally that the Bible even claims to be inerrant in that way. You'll find verses like the one aileth quoted, that say the stories of Christ's ministry, death, and resurrection are stories of something that actually occurred in real life rather than works of fiction. You'll find verses that state all of the Bible is useful for teaching. And you'll find verses that state that scripture is something that the Holy Spirit led men to write, rather than something men decided to write all on their own. But a scripture that says there isn't even the tiniest of factual errors in the Bible? I really doubt you'll find that. In fact, the Bible doesn't need to be 100% factually accurate for the message to be 100% accurate.

To illustrate what I mean, here's a hypothetical story. Let's say that the Holy Spirit came to a young man and gave him a perfect message from God. The young man was told to deliver the message to a family in a remote part of the woods. God said that the Holy Spirit would guide his paths, so that he could safely deliver this perfect message to the family. Now, since the Holy Spirit is guiding his paths, does this mean that the young man will never once get lost in the woods during his process of searching for the family? Does it mean that he will never once trip over a rock and mildly scratch his knee? Because the Holy Spirit gave him a perfect message, does that mean he will never once stutter while repeating the message to the family? Does it mean he will never once pronounce something wrong, or jumble up his words when he speaks, because the original message given to him by the Holy Spirit was perfect? It seems to me that Biblical inerrantists would say yes, but I would say no. Just because the Holy Spirit gave him a perfect message and promised to guide his paths, I don't believe his journey or his delivery would necessarily be perfect. If the Holy Spirit is guiding his paths, I don't believe that means he would never trip or lose his way. I believe it means that no matter how many times he gets lost, he will eventually find his way; and no matter how many times he stumbles, he will never hurt himself badly enough to prevent him from accomplishing his task. Just because the Holy Spirit gave him a perfect message, I don't believe that means he'll deliver that message perfectly, and never jumble up his words or mess up in his speech. I believe it means that the meaning of the message will be understood by the people who were meant to hear it, no matter how imperfectly it is delivered. God is infallible, the Holy Spirit is infallible, and the messages He gives are infallible. But we are very fallible, and we were the vessels used to write down and spread those infallible messages.

The Bible was not meant, in any shape or form, to be used as a science text book. So if scientists discover something that seems to go against a part of scripture, it's okay. The Bible is a mostly accurate historical text. So if a few minor details of history don't match the Bible, that's okay. However, the message of the Bible is 100% true. So if people start saying things like, "Yeah, I know the Bible says X is a sin... but the Bible was written long ago and is filled with errors anyway... so I'm gonna do X, since it's probably totally okay..." then, no, that's not okay. That is the part of the Bible that scripture itself states should not be doubted, and that is the part of the Bible we should view as inerrant.


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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 29, 2014 11:36 pm

Phosphorus wrote:For the most complete and widely-accepted statement on the meaning of inerrancy, try the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago1.html

This statement offers numerous caveats and distinctions which allow inerrantists in agreement to avoid common pitfalls, by stating, for instance, that only the original manuscripts are inerrant, accepting the use of hyperbole and metaphor, and denying that the Holy Spirit dictated to or overrode the human authors.


Thank you very much for the link! Reading that statement was tremendously helpful. I feel like I have a much better grasp on what inerrantists generally believe now.

A few comments on the statement itself...

Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: Article III wrote:WE AFFIRM that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.

WE DENY that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.


Maybe I'm reading this wrong (which is probable, considering that I'm writing this at two o'clock in the morning ;))), but how can something be a revelation if there isn't someone to perceive it? It kind of reminds me of the "if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" debate.

Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: Article XIX wrote:WE AFFIRM that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ.

WE DENY that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.


This is one of the things that's bothered me about inerrancy over the years. It's one thing to say, "I have studied the Bible and I believe that Christ believed in Biblical inerrancy, so I do as well" and another to say "If you don't believe this, then there will be grave consequences to the soundness of your faith."

I think it puts a lot of strain and pressure on young and/or new Christians who are reading the Bible for the first time. Instead of just reading with an open mind and an open heart, and letting the Spirit come to you, you're focused on "making sense" of everything and being able to defend it to the skeptics. You can end up feeling guilty if you find anything in the Bible difficult to believe, as though your faith in Jesus is lesser because you have doubts about the interpretation of something in the Old Testament.

While I think it's completely okay to believe in Biblical inerrancy (maybe someday I'll surprise myself and adopt the doctrine; who knows), it seems to me that it's better not to scare new Christians with the you're-not-going-to-have-the-right-relationship-with-God-unless-you-believe-this thing. Just keeping encouraging them to read and study the Bible, explore all the different viewpoints, and learn a lot and pray a lot. They'll turn out all right. :)

Thank you for pointing out 2 Peter 1:16-21, aileth! I'll have to take a closer look at that one. I've been trying to gather verses that relate to this discussion.

aileth wrote:Take "Jonah and the Whale," a common one for people to attack and claim that it is a parable, or the like. Leaving aside the quibble about "the whale" (which it doesn't actually say--it says "great fish") there was an episode in the 1800s of a man being swallowed by a large fish, a tuna or halibut, and being found four days later, much the worse for wear, but still alive when the fish was cut open. The happening was documented in the papers. That's just one example of what critics say couldn't possibly happen and therefore must be a myth.


Ooh, that's interesting! If you find a link that talks about that particular example, I'd be really interested to read it. I was able to find, via Google, a mention about a man who had allegedly been swallowed by a whale, but the details don't match up with what you described. Regardless, though, stories like Jonah aren't really something I have a huge problem with, because miracles are usually supposed to seem pretty impossible anyway. ;))

Even so, though, I did run across an interesting theory a couple of weeks ago that suggested Jonah had actually died when he was in the belly of the fish, and then resurrected when the fish threw him onto the beach. The reason they suggested this was because Jonah actually says he's in Sheol—the realm of the dead—in Jonah 2:2. In some ways, this makes even more sense when you consider that Jesus compared the three days he lay dead to the three days Jonah was in the belly of the fish. Anyway, I don't know for sure what's the correct interpretation of exactly what happened to Jonah, but it's interesting to think about it. :-?

Ithilwen wrote:To illustrate what I mean, here's a hypothetical story. Let's say that the Holy Spirit came to a young man and gave him a perfect message from God. The young man was told to deliver the message to a family in a remote part of the woods. God said that the Holy Spirit would guide his paths, so that he could safely deliver this perfect message to the family. Now, since the Holy Spirit is guiding his paths, does this mean that the young man will never once get lost in the woods during his process of searching for the family? Does it mean that he will never once trip over a rock and mildly scratch his knee? Because the Holy Spirit gave him a perfect message, does that mean he will never once stutter while repeating the message to the family? Does it mean he will never once pronounce something wrong, or jumble up his words when he speaks, because the original message given to him by the Holy Spirit was perfect?


That's a very good analogy. :ymapplause: Sometimes I feel like even the original message isn't perfect, though. As in, it's not what God would say in completely ideal circumstances.

Imagine that you're an omnipotent being and someone comes up to you and asks what the quickest route is for going from one mountain to another. Since you're omnipotent, you know that the person who needs directions is deathly afraid of heights and will never use the bridge. So, you tell them the quickest route via the valley, and they go on their way. Someone who overhears this exchange accuses you of not actually knowing the best route, or of deliberately misleading the person asking for directions, but in reality, you're just trying to do the best you can for them while taking into account their current limitations.

I feel like this is somewhat analogous to the law for divorce in Deuteronomy and Jesus's explanation for it, and possibly other aspects of the Old Testament that seem to contradict Jesus's teachings as well. While something may be a Word from God, it may not be the exact word He would choose if He had His druthers and His children were in a state where they were ready to receive it and use it properly. ;)
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