Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flaws of Fundamentalism? You decide...

Fundamentalist Christians state that the Bible is perfect, inerrant, without flaw and infallible. They argue that tradition is not necessary for interpreting the Bible. Other Christians believe that, while the Bible is inspired by God, it is not inerrant, and should be interpreted in the lights of tradition and reason. I challenge you to read the following verses, and determine for yourself what you believe. Thanks for reading! :-)

Dead Sea Scrolls

First, I would like to say that the Dead Sea Scrolls and other discoveries have confirmed that most of the Bible has been translated accurately throughout history. However, this does not mean that the Bible is inerrant or without flaw. "Mostly accurate" is different than "entirely accurate".

Also, a mostly accurate translation does not necessarily mean that the subject matter is true (or false). That is a different debate. For example, the Qur'an has also been translated accurately, yet this fact alone will not persuade me to become a Muslim.

Different Versions of the Bible

Right now, there are 3 main versions of the Bible - Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.

The Catholic Old Testament includes the following books that are excluded from the protestant Bible: 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), additions to Esther, and the stories of Susanna and Bel and the Dragon which are included in Daniel.

The Orthodox Bible  is the same as the Catholic Bible, but also includes 1st and 2nd Esdras, Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151 and 3rd Maccabees.

Even Protestants Follow Tradition

In John 13:12-15, Jesus commands his disciples to wash each other's feet. Yet most churches today do not follow this ritual. Also, 1 Corinthians 11:7-16 commands women to wear head coverings at church. Most churches today do not follow this instruction.

Some Bloody Commands

Numbers 15:32-36 - A Sabbath breaker (who had gathered sticks for a fire) is stoned to death at the Lord's command.

Exodus 21:20-21 With the Lord's approval, a slave may be beaten to death with no punishment for the perpetrator as long as the slave doesn't die too quickly.

God orders mass executions of children (Leviticus 20:9, 1 Samuel 15:3, Psalm 135:8, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Exodus 20:9-10, 1 Samuel 15:11-18).

"Then Moses said to them, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’' The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, 'You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.'(Exodus 32:27-29)

Many verses also state that Christians should still follow the laws of the Old Testament (Link). Yet, if reason and / or tradition are allowed, we will know, with clarity, that it is a bad idea to stone someone to death for working on the Sabbath, beat your servants to death or butcher people of other faith backgrounds.

Added Verses

All of the following verses were not in the original Bible. Yet they are in the current Bible. To me, this alone negates the idea that the current Bible is inerrant.

John 7:53 to 8:11 - These verses were not in the Bible until around the 5th Century AD. These words were apparently written by an unknown author and inserted after John 7:52. Some scholars believe that the story may have had its origins in oral traditions about Jesus.

John 5:3-4 - Part of Verse 3 and all of Verse 4 are missing from the oldest manuscripts of John.

Revelation 1:11 - The phrase "Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and," (KJV) which is found in the King James Version was not in the original Greek texts. It is also found in the New King James Version (NKJV) and in the 21st Century King James Version (KJ21) The latter are basically re-writes of the original KJV.

Luke 3:22 - This passage describes Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist. According to Justin Martyr, the original version of this verse has God speaking the words: "You are my son, today have I begotten thee." Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Augustine, and other ancient Christian authorities also quoted it this way.

Luke 23:34 - This passage was not in the earliest manuscripts of the Bible.

A Flat Earth

Until the mid 17th century, a "flat earth" was the church's official position, and dissent was punishable by excommunication, forced silence and house arrest (Link). At the time, the church was practicing literal interpretation of the many Bible verses which strongly suggest that the earth is flat (Link).

Snake Handling

Mark 16:18 states: "They will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Note: dozens of churches in the U.S. have taken up "snake handling" in their services. This often results in death - Link. Some cults have sadly killed themselves by drinking poison - Link).

While Jesus said to not test God, other Christians have also said it is OK to test God, pointing to the following verse: "Then Gideon said to God...Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew...That night God did so."

Of course, tradition and / or reason clearly tell us that Jesus was correct - it's not a good idea to test God. Snake-handling is a bad idea.

Inconsistencies?

God desires animal sacrifices to forgive and atone for sin: "And he shall do with the bull as he did with the bull as a sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them". (Leviticus 4:20)

God does not desire animal sacrifices, because they can never take away sins: "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Hebrews 10:4) "You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings" (Psalm 51:16)

God is seen: "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent" (Exodus 33:11). Some other examples where God is seen are found in Genesis 12:7Genesis 17:1Genesis 32:30Exodus 6:2-3Exodus 24:9-11,

God has never been seen "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known" (John 1:18). Other verses that say God was never seen are found in Exodus 33:20, 1 John 4:12

God orders mass executions of children (Leviticus 20:9, 1 Samuel 15:3, Psalm 135:8, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Exodus 20:9-10, 1 Samuel 15:11-18).

God orders protection for all children: "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged" (Colossians 3:21). "But anyone who harms one of these little ones who believes in me, it would be better for him that a stone is hung around his neck, and that he is drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6).

RE 8:7 All of the grass on earth is burned up, and then ...
RE 9:4 An army of locusts, which is about to be turned loose on the earth, is instructed not to harm the grass.

JN 1:1, 10:30 Jesus and God are one.
JN 14:28 God is greater than Jesus

MT 27:44 Both of those who are crucified with Jesus taunt him.
LK 23:39-42 Only one taunts Jesus, and he is rebuked by the other for doing so.

MT 5:17-19, LK 16:17 Jesus underscores the permanence of the law.
LE 10:8 - 11:47, DT 14:3-21 The law distinguishes between clean and unclean foods.
1TI 4:1-4 All foods are clean according to Paul.

MT 5:17-19, LK 16:17 Jesus did not come to abolish the law.
EP 2:13-15, HE 7:18-19 Jesus did abolish the law.

MT 7:21, LK 10:36-37, RO 2:6, 13, JA 2:24 We are justified by works, not by faith.
JN 3:16, RO 3:20-26, EP 2:8-9, GA 2:16 We are justified by faith, not by works.

AC 10:34, RO 2:11 God shows no partiality. He treats all alike.
RO 9:11-13 God hated Esau and loved Jacob even before their birth.

AC 10:34, RO 2:11 God shows no partiality. He treats all alike.
RO 9:18 God has mercy on whoever he chooses, etc.

JN 5:22 God does not judge.
RO 2:2-5, 3:19, 2TH 1:5, 1PE 1:17 God does judge

MK 1:23-24 A demon cries out that Jesus is the Holy One of God.
1JN 4:1-2 Everyone who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. (Note: This would mean that the demon is of God.)

MK 3:29 Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin.
AC 13:39, CN 2:13, 1JN 1:9 All sins are forgivable.

MT 27:37 The inscription on the cross read: "This is Jesus the King of the Jews."
MK 15:26 "The King of the Jews."
LK 23:38 "This is the King of the Jews."
JN 19:19 "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

MT 7:21 Not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
AC 2:21, RO 10:13 Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
AC 2:39 Those God calls to himself will be saved.

MT 5:22 Anyone who calls another a fool is liable to Hell.
MT 7:26 Jesus says that anyone who hears his words and does not do them is a fool. (Note: The translation now prevalent, "like a foolish man," in MT 7:26 is a dishonest attempt to alleviate the obvious inconsistency here in that the oldest Greek manuscripts use the same Greek word translated "fool" inMT 5:22 and "like a foolish man" in MT 7:26.)
MT 23:17-19 Jesus twice calls the Pharisees blind fools.
MT 25:2, 3, 8 Jesus likens the maidens who took no oil to fools. (Note: This is the same Greek word translated "fool" in MT 5:22 and MT 23:17-19.)
1CO 1:23, 3:18, 4:10 Paul uses "fool" with regard to Christians becoming fools for Christ. (Note: Again, this is the same Greek word translated "fool" in MT 5:22 and MT 23:17-19.)

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