While Pascal’s Wager is the most idiotic argument, and Personal Incredulity is the most pervasive, this is the most frustrating to me. It’s frustrating to me, because most of the people who use it, (the Christians who were raised to believe the Bible is the Word of God) are incapable of understanding why I question it. Because they never did.
It goes like this: I ask them why they believe (insert claim). They say, “because the Bible says so”. I ask them why they believe the Bible. Then they get this confused look on their face because they never considered that they could be mistaken.
They are so sure that they are right, and their source material is accurate, that the very concept of it being inaccurate alludes them. The thought literally never occurred to them.
I’ve said before, that when talking about religion, there are three separate claims that are being asserted, and each relies on the previous. First, is the assertion that there is/are a god/gods. Second, is the assertion that you have the correct god/gods. Third, is the assertion that you know anything about the correct god/gods. Until you can demonstrate that a god/gods exist, you can’t even begin to speak of which god/gods, let alone tell me what the god/gods want.
It’s a huge circular argument. The Bible is the Word of God because the Bible says that it is the Word of God. Nice assertion. Can it be demonstrated? What about all of the other holy books that also claim to be the Word of God? Is the Quran accurate? Just like the Bible, some things in the Quran have been verified by corroborative evidence. If you ignore those, you’re engaging in the Special Pleading logical fallacy. If you don’t ignore them, then the Bible isn’t special. Just a book that got a few things correct.
None of that, however, addresses if it’s accuracy is the work of God, or the authors were smart, or if the authors simply guessed well. What about all the things that were inaccurate? Like creation, the sun revolving around the earth, the “miracles”. Funny thing about miracles. They only seem to help someone. You never hear of a miracle that hurts someone. How convenient.
Anyway. Even if the Bible were completely accurate (it’s not), that doesn’t demonstrate that God is the cause of it’s accuracy. That’s another claim that would have to be demonstrated. What if Zeus wrote the Bible, and the humans thought it was Yahweh? What if the devil tricked the authors? If the devil was able (according to the Bible) to convince someone who ACTUALLY SPOKE TO GOD to break God’s one rule, convincing illiterate goat herders that the he was actually God would seem quite easy. How can we determine it actually was God who inspired the Bible? Faith? I’ve ranted about that. Whatever argument you offer, without a demonstration clearly linking your concept of God to the accuracy of the Bible, you lose.
It’s important to base your beliefs (religious or otherwise) on justifiable evidence, even if that evidence later points to a different conclusion. I earlier mentioned the sun rotating around the earth. At the time, all of the available evidence pointed to that conclusion. Therefore, it was justifiable. Then, thousands of years later, we gained new information and evidence, that established that it was the other way around. The Bible does not revise itself. With the exception of translations, the Bible has been in it’s present form pretty much since the 1400s.
That’s another issue I have with this argument. How do you know which translation is the correct one? Douay Rheims (the one with which I was raised)? American Standard? King James? Oh. You use the one your parents used. Shoooooooooooocking. There are 43589342563456 versions of Christianity, each with their own set of beliefs and interpretations of the Bible. It makes sense because they can’t agree on which Word of God is correct. Doesn’t really help the credibility, does it?
Side Rant: You know, because the inerrant Word of God is open to interpretation. Let’s assume that the Bible is the Word of God, and that you have the correct God. What does it say about His ability to plan, if He can’t even get His own believers to agree with each other on the topic of His Word? If He actually wants to accomplish His goal of bringing souls into heaven, He clearly hasn’t planned this through very well. Use languages that die. Lose original copies. Not have any evidence outside of ONE ancient book, to verify the claims. Seems that God can’t see the big picture.
In a funny history lessen, up until the 1950s, each Christian sect hated each other. Or, at least, disliked each other. The Baptists fought with the Presbyterians. The Lutherans disagreed with the Anglicans. Then in the 1950s, the Evangelicals came up with a brilliant form of marketing called “Non denominationalism.” They started using the general term of “Christianity” as a title, instead of the individual brand. So when you see poll numbers that say that 70% of Americans identify as “Christian”, it’s accurate and makes it look like a majority. In reality, only 1.8% are Lutheran, 10.8% are Baptists, 23.9% are Catholics, etc. Atheists, by the way, are around 16% in the US, and up to 40% if you include agnostics or the “not sures”. I’ve ranted about the differences between atheism and agnosticism before, to explain why it should be able to lump them together. It’s probably higher, but the stigma of atheism is so strong, many are closet atheists for fear of rejection from their family and friends.
So in conclusion, one source is not enough to count as evidence. This applies to everything. If one dude came up to you and said he heard from a guy who know someone who saw someone fly, and wrote it down, so it must be true, you would be a bit dubious. That’s what the Bible is.