Saturday, March 28, 2009

What is The Bible?

SKEPTIC: I don't believe the Bible is anything more than an interesting piece of literature. Do you really think that a single book can represent the truth about the universe? If it could, wouldn't God have made it a whole lot easier to understand and not written a book open to a thousand different interpretations?

PREACHER: Aren't you kidding yourself? The concept that the universe is orderly and understandable, which you hold to, is from a Biblical world view. You, like much of the pseudo- sophisticated world of liberal academia believe you have a higher source of authority than the Bible (your own partially educated opinion) so you can pick and choose what parts you believe in. My contention is that unless you have received some sort of revelation, traveled back and forth through time, and made a careful search of the whole universe (to make sure that the supernatural truly does not exist), you aren't qualified to make such judgments.

SKEPTIC: Well, I don't believe that the Bible has ANY authority at all, other than that which believers are willing to give it. You keep insisting that I have to prove my disbelief, which seems odd to me. If you believe that Santa Claus is real and climbs down all those chimneys every year, it's not up to me to prove that you're wrong about that. You're the one with the irrational belief. Show me some real evidence that Santa is more than just a fun story, and then we can talk.

PREACHER: I get sick and tired of guys like Richard Dawkins always putting Jesus Christ at the same level of Santa Claus. For instance, I can go to the North pole and see that Santa's factory isn't there. Bringing up Santa Claus is rather inconsequential to the issue. He isn't involved in my eternal destiny, and we both agree that he is mythical. (However, there is a historical figure who may be the springboard for the myth of Santa Claus.)

SKEPTIC: Actually, I have written a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article explaining that I believe that God is just the grown-up version of Santa. But the truth is that I can't prove that God doesn't exist, and you can't prove that he does. That's why it's called Faith, right? Believing something that has no real evidence to back it up. By the way, I'm not an absolutist when it comes to God. I don't say that I KNOW he doesn't exist. I say I see no real evidence or reason to believe these supernatural myths and it's my considered opinion that gods and religions and supernatural beliefs and sacred texts are inventions of man that were created to try to understand a pre-science world and universe that made no sense to them. Someone reminded me the other day that the men who wrote the Bible also believed that the earth was flat. Amazingly, even though we now live in a modern scientific society and understand the world around us in profound ways, many Christians still insist that a 2000-year-old text trumps whatever Science might say.

PREACHER: Believing in the Supernatural One who is behind and upholds the natural, seem very rational to me. On the other hand, I find it very irrational to believe that order, beauty and complexity evolved simply by chance over billions of years from nothing. Jesus Christ, Moses, Abraham, Noah etc. were real men in history with real experiences. I think it is quite arrogant of us to believe that they were uneducated and gullible with imaginations that made up all of these stories from scratch. There is good historical evidence that suggests that ancient man believed in a spherical earth just as we do today. The flat earth belief was from the middle ages. Except for the ways of saying things "the sun rises, the four corners of the earth", that we find in the Bible, I think that you would be hard pressed to prove that the Bible writers were flat-earthers.

SKEPTIC: Well, I have my doubts that anyone in Biblical times was running around pushing the round earth theory, but if you have good historical evidence, I'd love to see it. I guess my point is that modern science has explained lots of things that were mysteries in Biblical times, yet Christians still insist on basing everything they believe to be true on this one "holy" book.

PREACHER: Science is a very good tool for observing our world today and figuring out how nature works. But, it doesn't tell us about the spiritual (what's that word doing in our vocabulary in the first place for) realm or tell us what happened in history. We are at the mercy of historical documents when it comes to determining what really happened back then. (Of course you may have the supernatural ability to travel back and time to verify. Sorry for being cheeky.)


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