Outrage, Biblical Inerrancy, and Why Are Christians So Slow?
- You know, the Internet really has no shortage of websites devoted to the ideas of biblical errancy, biblical intercontradictions, and biblical absurdities that pass for truths. Go to one website and upwards of 100 "contradictions" and difficulties will be listed. Go to another website and you'll see upwards of 300.
Now, there are still Christians out there who haven't bowed their knee to Baal and accepted the idea of biblical errancy. Every now and then, you may stumble across websites run by such Christians. The authors of these counter-errancy sites set out to explain away or disprove various claims of biblical errancy, but here is the thing: *not a single one of these websites has dealt with or disproved all or even most of these claims.* But any wise person knows that if you give your enemy an inch he'll take a mile--each, every, and any biblical errancy item/claim which is not addressed by Christian inerrantists will be held over the head of the latter, a means of taunting or at least of maintenance of the currency of biblical errantism.
Now, it takes a long time to begin to deal with each of the claims of biblical errancy and to come up with a counter-claim which is both plausible and actually true. (No, strike that last statement--it takes no time at all, if you're dedicated to coming up with a bunch of BS responses which don't actually interact with the claims of the errantists but rather sweep the problem under the rug in circumlocution; and I think we've seen more than one Christian who has succumbed to the temptation to do this on occasion.)
*Ahem* As I was saying, it takes a long time to begin to deal with the claims of biblical errancy, one by one, and to come up with a counter-claim which is both plausible and actually true. This is why the websites dedicated to disproving the likes of Skeptic's Annotated Bible or Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy *are never complete.* Again, these websites don't touch on all the issues, because to do so requires many dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of man-hours of labor.
So you would think that these Christian apologists dedicated to maintaining biblical inerrancy would think to optimize their efforts through a diversification of labor: a collaboration of the different inerrancy apologists, one person tackling the issues of Genesis, while another tackles the issues of Exodus, while another tackles the issues of the NT, and so on. You would think that these folks would have thought to do this, and also thought to wisely handle the inevitable divergence of theological opinions through various means (which I should not have to spell out). But if you have thought this, you may have thought wrong.
This weekend I got hold of email addresses to various Internet apologists who argue against various claims of biblical errancy. And here is what I basically told them: 1) You guys aren't getting the job done, at present rate; 2) If you diversify the labor, you'll work more quickly and accomplish more, as a unit; 3) Here's a way to deal with differences of theological opinions you all will have as you collaborate; 4) Hasn't anyone thought to do this before? That's what I said to them. Here are the responses that these folks were nice enough to send in:
[BEGIN QUOTE:]>>>>> "Kwame" == Kwame <[...]> writes:
Kwame> None of you, on the other hand, have covered and dealt with
Kwame> all alleged Bible absurdities and inconsistencies. Yet
Kwame> they all must be dealt with, eventually.
They will. I'm at 60% going through all issues. Give me a few years
Kwame> (You'll get a balanced look at the issues this way, a
Kwame> Calvinist answer for this or that verse and an Arminian
Kwame> answer for the same verse, for example.)
Truth can by definition not be balanced with lies. But we link and use
each other's work. Everyone has their own emphasis. I don't see value
in a single combined answer.[END QUOTE]
I went back and took a second look at the dude's website: he's nowhere near being 60% through all the issues! Maybe 6%, but not 60%!!!! Maybe has articles on 60% of the books of the Bible, but hasn't dealt with 60% of the issues to be found on the Internet!!!
Moreover, if you think it's too hard, too impossible, or immoral to juxtapose (for example) an Arminian and a Calvinist response to a certain text and to present both responses as plausible while not necessarily affirming one to the exclusion of the other--*sigh*--we're all in big trouble. And if you do not see the value "in a single combined answer" when it's taking you YEARS by your own admision to complete the relatively small amount of work that you've set out to accomplish--wow--we're all doomed.
Another response that I got:
[BEGIN QUOTE:]maybe you didn't read my website?
[URL omitted by me, Kwame]
if you did, but still hold to your email.. well, what more needs to be said?.. (rhetorical)...[END QUOTE]
When I first read this response, I experienced a feeling of horror in thinking that I had accidentally sent my email to a wrong address and person, even an errantist. But then I checked the email address again and checked out the website that this person mentioned. And I figuratively scratched my head in bewilderment. Perhaps there was something in his Web site to indicate that he was unwilling to work with Christians who hold false views, perhaps he thought the others I emailed held various false views, and perhaps this was what I missed. But then after thinking about it, I don't see this in his Web site, and even if it is there there are ways to work around theological differences in a responsible fashion, if you keep in mind what specifically and precisely the goal of collaboration would be: to establish *at least* the plausibility of alternate explanations to Scriptures which supposedly contradict each other or are absurd. In other words, you're darn
tootin' I "still hold to [my] email," sir.
Here's the other response I got:
[BEGIN QUOTE:]...If I were to accept help from those I would have to accept their apostate teachings, which I can not do.
Otherwise you would have a good suggestion and execution of it as well.
He didn't get it. It's not about him; it's not about an effort at making *his personal Web page* against biblical errancy to be more complete. It is *precisely* about addressing each and every one of the claims made by the biblical errantists.
So after thinking about it, two conclusions on the matter are justifiable:
1) If we are all waiting around for someone to put together a comprehensive, cost-free, toll-free, Internet resource and encyclopedia dedicated to biblical inerrancy apologetics, we're gonna die waiting for this to come to fruition.
2) Even if these different persons I emailed were to work together, that may be tantamount to each one of them carrying around dead weight: these folks are not as quick-witted as they should be.
It so happens that after I sent my email and got my responses, I headed over to the Triablogue blog to keep up to date on goings-on there. Steve Hays had a post at http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/08/primer-on-inerrancy.html where he listed different resources on the issues of biblical inerrancy. Each item mentioned was a scholarly work, and a book: a physical item not to be found on the Internet.
[EDIT: On second thought, now that more books are being posted as e-books on the Internet these days, I'll have to see if some of these works actually are on the Internet after all though it may not matter in the first place if these works are still not free of charge and not accessible by all.]
But this is one of the problems within Christendom today: all the tomes and encyclopedias on biblical errancy are going straight to print but are not finding their way onto the Internet. Now, suppose we all had the money to buy these books and to put them to use. It wouldn't matter. The damage being done by the apologists of biblical errancy today is done on the Internet--this is the battleground of errancy and inerrancy. And the forces of biblical errancy have everything to their advantage: numbers, tactics, everything. If their generals want to launch a blitzkrieg, they can do so by just copying & pasting virtual reams and reams and reams of supposedly inter-contradicting pairs of Scriptures into the Internet bulletin board, chat room, or forum of their choice. If their generals want to attack the left flank of inerrancy, they can do so by exposing the absurdity of post-Arminian philosophy and using that against the Scriptures. If their command wants
to attack the right flank instead, they can do that too by various means. Along the way, however, they attack with overwhelming force and insuperable numbers. Their war factories and boot camps run 24/7, as one e-apologist trains another and one e-apologist launches one redundant counter-errancy website after another.
And their work is largely but essentially rhetorical. With that in mind, let the record show that one does not win points or win battles for biblical inerrancy by responding in an Internet forum with, "Oh yeah? Well just go and read "When Critics Ask" by Geisler and Howe! That'll show you!!!" Again, when you're in an Internet forum where someone has just copied & pasted a hackneyed list of 30 Bible contradictions by detail, much of the force of the attack is either rhetorical or visual: if some errantist throws a long list of detailed "proofs" at you, you'd better come with something just as impressive or else just go home. In other words, be prepared to spell out how each of the Scriptures of the list is misunderstood or misapplied, or you shouldn't bother responding at all since otherwise you'll look like a fool.
Again, the battleground is the Internet, not the library and not even the ivory towers of academia. Now sure, one of us could get the idea to begin to transcribe a book such as "New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties" and post that to the Web as a quick, easy resource we can all use to copy from or refer to. But the transcription process will forever. It's too much work for one person; it has to be a multi-man project. And even after the work is done, it should be checked to see if it is truly comprehensive or which errancy claims or set of Scriptures it fails to take into account.
So my question for inerrantists is this: Why are we still wasting time like this? Or when does this nonsense finally end?
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