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The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CH100:

God's word, the Bible, must be our ultimate authority. The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.

Source:


CreationWiki response:

This is not so much a creationist claim as it is a theological statement. As such Talk Origins' reason for mentioning it is for the purpose of attacking the Bible, and Christianity. This fact is evident from their responses. (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. This claim is dogmatism. It suggests no reason for its conclusion. The views of others, that the Bible is not God's word or is not an ultimate authority, have just as much validity.

The reason for the conclusion is that if the Bible is God's word, then it is the ultimate authority. Thus if Bible says something, it should be believe it, and that should settle it. If one starts with the assumption that the Bible is God's word, the the conclusion is totally logical.

Yes, if one assume that the Bible is not God's word then the opposite conclusion is equally logical.

The notion that "the views ... that the Bible is not God's word or is not an ultimate authority, have just as much validity" is what is know as a Relativist Fallacy. While they may be equally logical, they cannot be equally valid since they are mutually exclusive views.

2. The Bible says different things to different people. Beliefs that creationists take as gospel today, such as the fixity of "kinds" and the impossibility of life from nonlife, would have seemed absurd to creationists of centuries past, and those past creationists would have cited the Bible to support their views (such as Moses's staff changing to a snake and the plagues of Egypt appearing from nowhere), just as today's creationists quote the Bible to support their own views (Brewster 1927).

Yes, there are differences in interpretation; this occurs because as humans we do not always see things in the same way. However, the claim was not saying what the Bible said; rather it was saying that where the Bible says something (whatever that might be), that settles it.

Sometimes people will read what they want to see into the text, and often that involves taking the passage out context. One reason for the claim is to try to avoid this, to let the Bible say what it says apart from personal opinion.

And Talk.Origins has failed to demonstrate what it claims with its examples.

  • Fixity of kinds — Both past and present creationists believe(d) in fixity of kinds. The main difference was that past creationists equated kinds with species, but that is not something said in the Bible.
  • Life from non-life — Both past and present creationists believe(d) that life was created by God, rather than occurring naturally.
  • Moses changed his staff into a snake — Both past and present creationists believe(d) that this event occurred.
  • The Plagues of Egypt were miraculous events — Both past and present creationists believe(d) this.

So even though people can in some cases disagree with what the Bible actually does say, these are not examples of such disagreement. In any case, Talk.Origins' source is so old (1927) that it is unavailable, so it is impossible to evaluate its reliability or significance.

3. In practice, this claim really means, "My view of the Bible is the ultimate authority." (Since there are so very many different interpretations of the Bible, not to mention other religions, the claim would be meaningless otherwise.) In practice, then, this claim displays a great deal of arrogance, hubris, and closed-mindedness. It says that the final word on how the universe operates depends on one's personal decision of what to believe.

WRONG!!!! The claim means to let the Bible say what it says apart from personal opinion. Its intent is to avoid letting one's personal view influence one's interpretation of the Bible. The above Talk.Origins claim is a Straw Man., as the claim says nothing about which view—mine or someone else's—is correct. It is a statement of principle, not meaningless without knowing which view is correct.

4. This belief, when applied as a standard for others, is religious bigotry in its purest form. It shows contempt to others who believe that God's influence may be seen elsewhere than the Bible and the select few who are defined to interpret it correctly. This claim has started wars.

This contains the following fallacies:

5. The Bible says several things that you probably do not believe:

It needs to be noted that the Bible describes lots of things that are not supposed to be considered acceptable, and this is particularly true in the historical sections. Also God allowed for things in Israel's legal code that he really did not want to happen, but he allowed for them because of the hardness of man's heart.

In such cases belief only means believing that it happened or was allowed.

  • Slavery is acceptable. (Skeptic's Annotated Bible, n.d.).

In Israel's legal code, the Bible does allow for slavery under certain circumstances, such as:

  • Prisoners of war. In that day and age that was best way of dealing with POWs.
  • Punishment for crimes.
  • Payment of debt, but only temporarily.

Slavery in Biblical times was quite different to slavery as we understand it today.

The same law specifically forbade abducting people for purposes of slavery. Exodus 21:16 (AV)

Do Christians believe that this was the case? YES. That does not mean a belief that slavery is a good thing.

  • You should kill your child if he strikes you. [Ex. 21:15]

Israel's legal code did apply the death penalty to a child striking his or her parents. In pre-kingdom Israel there was little government so parents were authorized to carry out the sentence.

Do Christians believe that this was the case? YES. But this was not necessarily meant to be applied in a more ideal society such as that of the modern western world, merely a reflection of the world of the Hebrews.

  • If you work on the Sabbath, you should be put to death (Exod. 35:2-3).

This was part of the Jewish law which applied the death penalty to working on the sabbath. It was a judicial code not applicable outside of ancient Israel.

Do Christians believe that this was the case? YES. But this was not necessarily meant to be applied in a more ideal society such as that of the modern western world, merely a reflection of the world of the Hebrews.

This was about blasphemy, which was a crime under ancient Israel's legal code and the death penalty was applied to this crime.

Do Christians believe that this was the case? YES. But this was not necessarily meant to be applied in a more ideal society such as that of the modern western world, merely a reflection of the world of the Hebrews.

  • Happiness is smashing children upon the rocks. [Psalms 137:9]

This is a gross case of taking a verse out of context. The verse is speaking prophetically about the fall of Babylon. It is not justifying the act, but simply saying that it would happen.

Do Christians believe that this was the case? YES. But this was not necessarily meant to be applied in a more ideal society such as that of the modern western world, merely a reflection of the world of the Hebrews.

  • Women should be subjugated by their husbands. [1 Pet. 3:1-7]

First of all this verse is talking in the context of a wife witnessing to an unbelieving husband and is supposed to be a willing act to win the unbelieving husband.

Ephesians 5:21-25 (AV) also says that a believing wife should willingly subject herself to her husband as an act of obedience to the Lord. But it also says that they should be subject one to another, and Christians do believe this.

Neither passage is condoning the subjugation of women. It is only about a proper willing attitude of a woman toward her husband.

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