First Principles

Mano Paul continues his latest series of posts about putting “first things first”, but has not yet honestly engaged with his own first principle of “the Bible is true.” From Know, one of five of his “first” things so far:

Many [in] the world have attempted and some still continue to attempt to discredit the authority and credibility of the Holy Bible, which is in reality a love story of God unto man. It is the autobiography of Jesus, from the beginning (Genesis) until the final unveiling of him in all of his glory (Revelation). I sometimes wonder how a love story can be hated so much and when vile and baseless words are spoken against the Bible, the followers of Christ need not be discouraged or dejected, but instead take solace in the fact that all Scripture (every word of God in the Holy Bible) is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and the holy men who wrote the words of God, wrote not out of their own will, but after being moved by the Holy Spirit of God (1 Peter 1:21).

So Mano’s evidence that the Bible is true is…the Bible says so? He should recognize a circular argument and argument of authority fallacy when he sees them. I wish there is more I could construct out of the corpses of these arguments to argue against, but I fear there is so little corpse left that I can do nothing without putting words in his mouth.

Mano apparently believes that historical scholarship is something akin to slander or libel; he seems to take some personal offense to claims that the Bible is just another book of fiction. We can even grant him 100% of his belief that the book is a love story, yet still have no reason to believe that it is actually true. We can even agree 100% that we love the story ourselves, yet still have no reason to believe that it is actually true. Christians’ personal offense does not count as a point of evidence in favor of the Bible’s truth, either.

Mano elaborates further to say that the Bible is what allows us to know Jesus’s character, and “upon knowing him…we can take him at his word.” He also warns us that “the words [sic] of God is not for private interpretation, for anyone who adds or subtracts from the scripture will be held accountable.” (Rev 22:19) Charitably, let’s ignore for a moment that this isn’t a circular argument trying to pull itself up by its own bootstraps, and pretend that the Bible gives us insight into Jesus’s character.

Jesus is vain and divisive. He would rather turn families against each other (Matthew 10:35) and make them each others’ enemies (Matthew 10:36) than allow them to love each other more than they love Him (Matthew 10:37).

Jesus approves of the capital offenses in Mosaic Law (Matthew 5:17), including the prescriptions for murder of disbelievers (Zechariah 13:3), women who can provide no proof of their virginity before marriage (Deuteronomy 22:21), and adulterers (Deuteronomy 22:22). This short list of crimes punishable by death only scratches the surface of the Old Testament evil of which Jesus must approve according to Matthew.

If this is the kind of god we should take at its word, it seems that we should only do so out of fear of wrath and punishment, not because we believe it truly loves us.

Points to Ponder

The Bible is full of evidence of the horrible moral poverty of our early ancestors. Fortunately, most of us have grown beyond the Dark Ages, and we don’t have to believe it is true. Why does Mano say we must? What reason or evidence can he provide us to persuade us to believe as he does? Mano agrees that he must not judge others before he is sure he isn’t guilty of the same crime: how does he know he is correct about the Bible before he judges us to be wrong about it? Shouldn’t he be sure his message is correct, before he hurries out into the world to repeat it?

 

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