My second set of questions deals with this quote:
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If I were to take my bible to a construction site, and no other tools, and attempt to build an ice skating rink with nothing but my bible, how would that work out?
It wouldn’t. Why? Because in that context, the bible is ERRANT. It is wanting. It offers no help. It cannot be used to hammer nails, or to install drywall, or to lay ice. So, how, pray tell, can the bible be both inerrant and errant at the same time?
The answer is: it cannot.
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I assume that you are using the term context in its technical philosophical meaning (I had to look it up):
“Context is the idea that a statement or thought has meaning in relationship to its setting or background.”
Okay, given that definition these paragraphs don’t sound that profound. Let’s take Jesus’ statement that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Using your definition of inerrancy, that statement is not inerrant since I can’t hammer a nail or install drywall with it. Fair enough. What matters to me is if you believe that statement is reliably true. Can anyone other than the people that heard Jesus say that take it to be true? Is it true for me, you, the man down the street, all people at different times and places? Can you even take it for a given that Jesus said that?
If all the statements in the Bible are not true individually and collectively then where does that leave us? Do we use our reason, however defined, to determine what is individually true for us?
Again, great question. Thank you.
“Let’s take Jesus’ statement that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Using your definition of inerrancy, that statement is not inerrant since I can’t hammer a nail or install drywall with it. Fair enough. What matters to me is if you believe that statement is reliably true.”
Something being “reliably” true is not the same thing as claiming that it is inerrant. A cookbook is “reliably true”. The DMV website is “reliably true”. So why do we not claim inerrancy for these sources like we do the Bible?
Well, my answer to this and the question overall is in three parts:
The first is simple: in Christianity, mysticism/cultism has replaced reason as a means for interpreting reality. The phrase “biblical inerrancy” is thus used as a bulwark for absolute ecclesiastical authority (and for the “authority” of any other “lesser” tyrant on the street who wants to claim the right to use violence (force/threats/punishment/terrorism) rather than reason to force other human beings into his subjective reality). It is used as a means of implying that the Bible ITSELF is the primary consciousness to which all humanity must sacrifice itself…and/or be sacrificed. Of course the Bible cannot interpret itself, so the mystics must conveniently claim “divine gnosis”; the special, direct-express revelation concerning what it “really” means. The appeal to inerrancy then is nothing more than an appeal to the idea that Pastors and Priests OWN their laity. Biblical inerrancy is “proof” of their divine mandate to rob and murder in service to their own power (worldly lusts).
Next, there is no reason to claim “biblical inerrancy” if reason and rational argument can show the Bible to be demonstrably true. This of course requires a standard of TRUTH outside the Bible, however. And since Christians are philosophically Platonist almost to a man, with every doctrine rooted in the simple idea that all actual reality (read “morality” and “truth”) is completely exclusive to man’s existence due to his “fallen nature”, they cannot possibly conceive of any such standard. God alone is “absolute TRUTH”, which means, ipso facto, that whatever is perceived and confessed to be a direct, non-contextual function of God MUST be as inerrant as God is. As John Immel would then say, “Alakazam, poof!”, the Bible is inerrant as well. Which is just another way of saying that the Bible, like God, defies ALL external contexts as proper venues for vetting its TRUTH. And since the only relevant context is man’s life, man becomes utterly subservient to whatever the Bible says. But the problem which logically follows is: who is in the position to know what the Bible really says, since we have already conceded that its inerrancy precludes it from being interpreted according to any standard other than itself?
See point one.
Once again, “inerrancy” becomes nothing more than a cudgel used in service to the absolute power of the mystic despots who claim unopposed and absolute power over the barbarian masses.
Further, the obvious (well…it should be obvious) problem with the notion that absolute TRUTH is outside of man’s existence is that as soon as man is introduced as a character within the cosmic play of divine whimsy, absolute TRUTH is no longer absolute, by definition. An absolute truth must demand the destruction of anything NOT itself in order that it may continue to be absolutely true. In other words, if absolute truth must be contextualized (to man), then it can no longer claim to be absolute. Which means that man must, somehow, integrate himself into what is already perfectly absolute without him.
This is naturally impossible. The ethical and epistemological conclusion thus must be: man’s death = man’s greatest moral good, since an absolute truth can only really be absolute when man is completely out of the picture.
“Inerrancy” itself, like every other conceptual abstraction man uses to organize his environment, and to express the relative relationship between himself and other objects/people, is an utterly meaningless idea when taken out of the context of MAN’S life. The logical contradiction is that the concept of inerrancy defies this necessary contextual relationship. Inerrancy thus is an absolute concept without context. Understanding that inerrancy means “incapable of error”, you will notice that within this definition there is no context implied, ever. Contextualizing inerrancy results in logical gibberish…because as soon as you contextualize what is “without error” you are contradicting the very definition. You are claiming that “inerrancy” has inherent ERRANCY within its conceptual definition because inerrancy must be contextualized (to the Bible, for instance). This means that out of its purely abstract “self”, inerrancy becomes wholly errant; so again errancy is implied within the general definition. Which makes “inerrancy” in any and all contexts patently false; irrelevant; useless. This rationale is the presumption behind my “you can’t build a house with the Bible” example. The notion of inerrancy is in and of itself patently absurd. There is no context where it has any efficacy or reason. It can only have one purpose: to promote the destruction of the many in service to the power of the few.
Inerrancy is a wholly irrelevant concept all together. There is no such thing in the context of man’s life…and if there is no such thing in the context of man’s life then there is no such thing, period. Because outside of man’s life no concept has any meaning whatsoever, and thus can never be defined as “inerrant” by definition. Everything must conform to a standard of TRUTH (individual LIFE), and as soon as this becomes the philosophical foundation then nothing NON-CONTEXTUAL to the standard can be claimed to be “inerrant” because its “inerrancy” can never be verified, first; and even if it could, it would be completely irrelevant to man since inerrancy is only inerrancy as an absolute OUTSIDE of man. The very concept of “inerrancy” has no efficacious purpose to either man or God. It is purely a tool of the tyrant; a means to coddle the barbaric, despotic, violent, and disdainful inclinations of the devotee to Augustinian/Lutheran/Calvinist theological madness.
If you say the Bible is inerrant, then you are on the hook for explaining WHY it is inerrant. Any denial of the necessary explanation makes one a rank liar and an advocate of evil, because this can only mean one thing: you concede that there is no “why” necessary, because man is wholly besides the point.
But if one must declare why the Bible is inerrant then its inerrancy must be qualified…it must be measured against a standard in order that its inerrancy can be validated. But as soon as that is conceded then it is proved that the Bible then is not inerrant, again because inerrancy can only be inerrancy when it is absolute, and NOTHING absolute can be qualified/contextualized. So…if anything is truly inerrant–that is, incapable of error in and of itself with absolutely no context required because it, itself IS the context–it is individual human LIFE. There is no other rational standard anywhere in the universe.
So, the question I have for you Glenn, since you asked me so many, is:
What is the standard of TRUTH you proclaim?