There are as Many Skeptics About the Bible as There are Believers.

How can it be that even though the Bible is said to be “the word of God”,  there are now as many skeptics as believers?  Surely, if it is the word of God, one cannot be skeptical.

In my thinking, what opens the door for skepticism is semi literalism.  This is a term I made up for people who believe some of the Bible must be taken literally but not all of it.

For example, take two items from the New Testament, one is where it says Jesus died for your sins and the other that long dead corpses walked out of their graves when Jesus died and were seen by many.  Then, you conclude the part about Jesus dying for our sins really happened but the many corpses walking out of their graves did not.  This opens the door for someone to conclude both might be fiction. It will be hard for any rational person to conclude both are true.

Another variable is the role of critical thinking taught in schools today.  Just a few minutes ago a preteen granddaughter told me about her homework assignment for tomorrow.  It is to find two opposing views about global warming and to write a paper comparing them.

I’m guessing eventually this granddaughter, now an enthusiastic Christian, will find herself doing the same kind of analysis of the Bible.  When she and millions of other young people do this, it is inevitable a significant number will recognize the circular reasoning of Christianity.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/09/bible-study-skeptics_n_5120549.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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57 Responses to There are as Many Skeptics About the Bible as There are Believers.

  1. Henry says:

    Jon:“This is a term I made up for people who believe some of the Bible must be taken literally but not all of it.”

    Jon, you are full of beans.

    • entech says:

      Is that the Heinz 57 varieties on toast that he had for breakfast, or the 49 beans in every cup of coffee he had after breakfast.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 12:40 “Jon, you are full of beans.”

      You, yourself, have confessed to being semi literal. I recall you saying you do not take all the Bible literally. Is my recollection wrong?

      • Henry says:

        I consider the Bible inerrant, and like to distinguish between literal language and allegorical/metaphorical language.

        I see your compadre demonstrated his hyperliteralistic bent in his 12:43.

        Jon:“In my thinking, what opens the door for skepticism is semi literalism.”

        There you go again. You are speaking in a semiliteral fashion using a figure of speech. According to your views, that will drive your followers away with your usage of semiliteralism.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 1:59 “I…like to distinguish between literal language and allegorical/metaphorical language.”

          You and nearly every other believe thinks they can make that distinction. All of you just differ in one way or another. In any case, you are all experts in knowing the mind of God.

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“In any case, you are all experts in knowing the mind of God.”

            That isn’t what was said.

          • entech says:

            Jon, I don’t think the mind of god comes into it. If they agree and it is convenient it is literally true. If they don’t agree and it is not convenient it becomes allegory and/or metaphor. The thing with some of these stories/parables whatever is that they can be interpreted in such a way that they become acceptable and can be agreed upon.

            In this way the Bible is always inerrant, it just depends on the result you want when you read it. Of course, this is a charge thrown at us, you don’t believe because you don’t want to believe. No, no, we don’t believe because we think it is unbelievable.

          • Henry says:

            Your conclusions are unfounded, as usual.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 2:29 “Your conclusion are unfounded, as usual.”

            I’m like Joe Friday of the old Dragnet TV show, Just the facts, mame, I just want the facts.

            There is no universal standard for deciding which part of the Bible are historical and which metaphor. Everyone can make whatever distinction serves their particular purpose. As more people recognize this, there are more skeptics.

          • entech says:

            Henry, your desperate need to be contradictory leads you to foolishness.

            Henry says:April 11, 2014 at 2:20 am
            Jon:“In any case, you are all experts in knowing the mind of God.”
            That isn’t what was said.

            Of course it was what was said, Jon is the one that said it.

          • Henry says:

            You are confused and have digressed so far, your point is unintelligible.

          • entech says:

            H 2:29 It is your statement that is without foundation. It is quite clear that interpretation plays a huge role in what is considered true and by whom it is so considered.

            Take you and FJ, you read whatever and say this means God hates fags (sorry i would never associate you with those crazies) homosexuality is a sin. That can’t be right, we are all God’s children after all, not acting it out though, it is the behaviour that is a sin, after all we are encouraged to love the sinner (metaphorically of course).

            Ignore that little aside and being a bit serious it would not be possible to take everything seriously, the injunction to genocide, sometimes including the animals – the suspending of time so that a favourite could win a battle, not to mention the actual participation in a follow up campaign, killing more with his hailstones that the Hebrews did with their swords. Unless you think this is an actual historical and factually correct account of an event or must make up some story to explain it.
            Of course, there is an alternative that I am sure you would not like, being something of a slippery slope, you could simply deny it happened, that this and other “events” found their way into the body of work for reasons obvious at the time but completely incomprehensible to the modern mind.

          • Henry says:

            More digression.

          • entech says:

            Henry 2:47 The truth is you never had a point, you just wanted to say Jon was full of nonsense but wanted to say it in vulgar way and used a euphemism.

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“In any case, you are all experts in knowing the mind of God.”

            That isn’t what was said.

            That is contrary to scripture.

          • entech says:

            3:13 You keep saying little things like that because you have no real argument just contradiction.

          • Henry says:

            More muddling.

          • entech says:

            3:15 Haven’t you got the message yet, Jon thinks and I agree (as a good compadre) that the scripture you keep on about are not considered valid testimony. That is virtually the point of this topic.

          • entech says:

            3:21 You keep saying little things like that because you have no real argument just contradiction.

            QED

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“Jon thinks and I agree (as a good compadre) that the scripture you keep on about are not considered valid testimony.”

            That isn’t what the point was. Jon’s 2:09 point was that Christians know the mind of God. Again, that is contrary to scripture.

            You are going in circles.

          • Henry says:

            Do you have any focus and logic to show your new atheist recruits? You are striking out tonight. Maybe you should take a nap or go for a bike ride and get some fresh air.

          • entech says:

            OK. enough is enough, I have wasted enough time today.

        • entech says:

          No, no, Henry the literalism is all yours, my post was just a little attempt at humour, i said that to save myself from saying, “And you Henry are full of shinola” which not have been nice but perhaps easier for you to understand.

      • entech says:

        Jon, this is fun! With a bit of training Henry could advance from his present level and become another Father James, or at least his compadre.

        • entech says:

          Starting at 2:20 am I think we were talking at cross purposes, while I thought we were talking about Biblical scepticism and such and Jon had referred back a couple of topics saying that a lot of Christians think they know the mind of God you slipped in your little “That isn’t what was said”. Not till some time later did you say and not until then did I realise that you were saying that that is not in scripture. If you had quoted something like Corinthians 2:11 all would have been clear. Never mind I was wrong and you had your fun, it reminded me, though, to read what you say more carefully, being more subtil than any other in the blog you can be devious.

  2. Michael Ross says:

    “long dead corpses walked out of their graves when Jesus died and were seen by many.”

    “The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Matthew 27:52)

    I believe this happened Jon. This was literal, not symbolism.

    Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”(Ephesians 4:8)

    When Jesus died and before He was resurrected he brought the Old Testament believers from paradise into heaven into the presents of God the Father. They stopped off on earth and inhabited their bodies that were lying in the grave as a mockery of Satan and show Christ’s victory over death. Of course those bodies went back to their grave and will await the final resurrection at the end of history when they will be raised for eternity.

    “In my thinking, what opens the door for skepticism is semi literalism.”

    I think I am one of them, a “simi- literalist” The Bible has much literalism and much symbolism. I believe in both. But all symbolism has a literal application. Now I know what I am. Thanks Jon

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 12:41 “I think I am one of them, a ‘simi literalist’”.

      That you seem to be. And, it that helps you in some way, don’t change. My point is semi literalism opens the door to skepticism.

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      Alright let Me get this straight. I’m going to attempt a timeline. 1. They were born on earth. 2. They died 3. They went to “Paradise” 4. They stopped by Jerusalem and re-inhabited There former bodies temporarily on Their way to 5. Heaven 6.Then off to Gods presence. 7. Back to earth to re-inhabit The original bodies 8. Then off to Heaven? Paradise? Do We put the bodies back in the ground for a third time at this point? Please feel free to correct My timeline if I misunderstood any details.

      • entech says:

        It was only possible because they were saints and saints don’t decompose, or is it just the bones that don’t rot, this stuff is so confusing when you are not a faithful believer. Popular movie theme now, the living dead.

      • Jinx says:

        Yes Adam,I must say it does smell to high heaven! (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

  3. entech says:

    Jon, the piece seems to be talking locally, if you take the entire world this is, as some of your posters love to say, old news, time to move on. In most of the world it is discredited as factual to any large degree, even the parts that are real history have many errors in geography and chronology.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 12:49 “this piece seems to be talking locally…”

      You are correct. In the U. S. its progress if even 50% are skeptical. It’s history is one of a gullible citizenry.

  4. Dan says:

    Tonight, I’m no longer in question. I experienced something that convinced me and I have proof. 2 pictures. This evening, I went to bed. As soon as I laid down, I couldn’t breath or move. I heard what sounded like a lion speaking and saw a terrible face. I tried to recite the lords prayer as this face kept moving towards me then away but my speech was slured and weakened. I kept trying to recite it and when I said amen, I saw this face move away as a black shadow across my ceiling and I could move and breath again. After this, I got up, came into the living room and turned on my TV. The symbol that appeared in the center of the screen was a picture of a cross with a x over it. I took 2 pictures of it. When I looked closely at the picture, I can see the partial face of the same thing I sam in my bed room. I’m more than happy to send the picture to anyone. Just post your email addresd. It is 1:30 am now. I’ll be going to church this Sunday.

  5. Long John says:

    Michael and Dan; What the heck are you guys smoking?

  6. Candyman says:

    the New T is either 100% literally and accurately true or 100% fallacy, hog wash. But, if it’s false, Josephus the early historian, who’s accounts of all early history must be false too? Josephus must have picked and chose what he wanted people to believe too? Then, majority of the apostles were martyred after the account of the resurrection but just hours before they had all denied they have anything to do with Him? When was the last time you known anyone to die to maintain a lie? …Your theory here Jon doesn’t hold water.

    • entech says:

      It is widely thought that there is something dubious about Josephus reference to Christianity. His antiquities is highly regarded apart from the doubtful bit.

  7. Fr. James says:

    Some believe and some do not. That says nothing about whether something is true. Some think atheism is true and others are skeptical. We have freedom to believe or not.

    As I have constantly pointed out to Jon, we have sophisticated ways of interpreting and understanding scripture. He refuses to examine that kind of scholarship. If he did he might find belief much more convincing. That is probably why he refuses to look further.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Provide a standard outline of what books, chapters, and verses are to be interpretted metaphorically and which ones as fact. Release it to all churches to claim they are christian across the world and get them to sign off that they agree with the scriptural definitions as laid out. Only then could their be one body in christ.

      Right now it’s thousands of little bodies that all think and are 100% convinced they are the body of christ.

      • entech says:

        Wolfy, that is an impossible thing to ask, the words of the father and his friends are the infallible and inspired word, everyone else is wrong. Even if they agree :lol:

      • Fr. James says:

        I refer you to the catechism, again. Also there are some fine commentaries. I agree that all those “little bodies” should come into full communion with the Catholic Church.

  8. Fr. James says:

    Holy Week starts this Sunday, Palm Sunday. Feel free to visit one of the Catholic Masses in your local area.

    • entech says:

      Make sure it is only Roman Catholic though, none of the others are authentic. :lol:

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      Fr. James I actually am a little curious about exactly what and how Catholics believe about Palm Sunday and what is Mass. I tried to look on the internet to find the Catholic Encyclopedia and there were what I believe are counterfeit sites. Is there an authentic site for The Catholic Encyclopedia?

      • Fr. James says:

        Adam, on Palm Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and prepare for Good Friday and Easter. Everyone receives blest palm branches at the Mass.

        The Mass is the representation of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in an unbloody manner. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. When we receive Holy Communion we are united to Christ in a most special manner. I realize that is very brief, but that is the basics. Here is the catechism reference: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c1a3.htm

        Also I recommend the book by Scott Hahn called The Lamb’s Supper.

        Have a good Holy Week.

        • entech says:

          The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ Literal transubstantiation? If you believe that you must believe in miracles :)

          But seriously, it was this that was part of the reason for the persecution of the early church by Rome, it was interpreted (that word again) as cannibalism, the continued use of brother and sister as forms of address was again interpreted as incestuous marriage. But the main reason for the persecution, that you so dearly love to dwell on, is that they were considered a danger to the safety and stability of the Roman state, of the Roman empire even. When you consider that the Roman empire of the Caesars fell to become the Holy Roman empire of the popes indicates they were justified.

          • Fr. James says:

            entech, in fact it was not Christianity that led to the fall. Gibbons was wrong. I refer you to the Rise of Christianity by Stark and Constantine by Stephenson. The Church actually saved much of the ancient world. You’re welcome.

  9. H.P.D says:

    Maybe I can find James at the Easter Egg hunt!

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