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Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 01:54 PM
As a thought experiment, imagine a person with considerable wealth and/or vast unfettered access to professional printing services, to the point where this person can print up professionally-bound books of any desired content. This person prints up a (nearly) word-for-word copy of the New International Version of the Bible, with a few minor changes to Chapters 1 and 2 of the Book of Genesis, such that creation takes seven days and...

Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2:2 By the eighth day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the eighth day he rested from all his work.

2:3 Then God blessed the eighth day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

This would not be difficult at all to compose. Perhaps the creation on the fifth day, which in the NIV described God creating sea creatures and birds, gets spread out so on Day 5, it's fish, and on Day 6, it's birds, to be followed on Day 7 by land animals and humans, and Day 8 to rest.

Now, that person begins printing and distributing his new bible, handing it out for free, sending them by the tens of thousands all over the world without fanfare. Biblica incorporated may (and probably would) object as they are the copyright holders on the NIV, but beyond that what argument could anyone make that the seventh-day version is better than the eighth-day version? What evidence can they bring to bear, even hypothetically, that supports such a claim? And suppose a child in Peru or Gambia of Tasmania gets one of the new bibles as their first bible and accepts the eighth-day creation. What arguments can use to convince them they are wrong, assuming they are wrong?

In contrast, the person might also produce, say, a chemistry textbook which is in all respects identical to a standard textbook, except that in the new book's periodic tables, gold is element #80 while mercury is element #79, a reversal of the standard. Now, objectors have an avenue of evidence - they can subject gold and mercury to various experiments (indeed recreating the experiments that placed gold and mercury in the periodic table originally) and demonstrate that the new chemistry text is indeed in error.

In general terms, which beliefs, if any, within the western religions (by which I mean Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and if anyone can suggest a better term to cover the faiths that revere Genesis, they are invited to do so) are not subject to casual substitution? If one produces a bible in which "God" is replaced by a pair of cooperating gods who always work together and are never mentioned separately, and all text accordingly altered ("... have no other gods before us..."), does that bible have more objective merit or less objective merit than a standard version?

And even more generally, what aspects of religious mythology are not arbitrary? If all bibles were lost, what process could one hypothetically use to recreate one, as one might use a scientific process to recreate the periodic table if all chemistry textbooks were lost? If the recreated bible has a few minor differences (or a lot of minor differences, or a few major ones), how could one prove it?

Shodan
07-15-2011, 02:05 PM
How are you going to convince them that there are eight days in a week?

Regards,
Shodan

TriPolar
07-15-2011, 02:30 PM
Isn't this basically how it all started?

Snickers
07-15-2011, 02:31 PM
How are you going to convince them that there are eight days in a week?

Regards,
Shodan

Play a ton of The Beatles.

Lobohan
07-15-2011, 02:32 PM
how are you going to convince them that there are eight days in a week?

Regards,
shodanheretic!

xenophon41
07-15-2011, 02:33 PM
I think the OP is less a thought experiment than a restatement of the histories of all the world's major religions. You have to remember that "the Bible" isn't a monolithic document but a collection of books that have undergone schismatic, independent and ecumenical revision and addenda throughout the course of Christianity.

I'd say your scenario of the 21st Century Peruvian accepting an eighth day adventist revision is no different than a 4th Century Roman embracing the Nicene Creed.

How are you going to convince them that there are eight days in a week?

Regards,
Shodan
:smack: Gotcha there, Ekers! A hrr hrr hrr.

MEBuckner
07-15-2011, 03:44 PM
People would be able to produce convincing evidence that the Eight-Day Bible had been changed, and that the Seventh-Day Bible was the "original". The Gideon Bibles at the local motel, family bibles that had been around for generations, Gutenberg Bibles in museums, the Vulgate, the Septuagint, and probably the Dead Sea Scrolls--stuff from as far back as the late BCE, over 2,000 years old--would all contain the seven day language. So, your advocate of the Eight-Day Bible would clearly have the burden of proof if he was claiming that the original Bible said "eight days" and it somehow got screwed up or mistranslated along the way.

Of course, if he just said God had changed His mind last Tuenesday about the length of the week, it would basically turn into an argument along the lines of [one guy]"Did too!", [2 billion other people]"Did not!".

David42
07-15-2011, 04:41 PM
People would be able to produce convincing evidence that the Eight-Day Bible had been changed, and that the Seventh-Day Bible was the "original". The Gideon Bibles at the local motel, family bibles that had been around for generations, Gutenberg Bibles in museums, the Vulgate, the Septuagint, and probably the Dead Sea Scrolls--stuff from as far back as the late BCE, over 2,000 years old--would all contain the seven day language. So, your advocate of the Eight-Day Bible would clearly have the burden of proof if he was claiming that the original Bible said "eight days" and it somehow got screwed up or mistranslated along the way.

Of course, if he just said God had changed His mind last Tuenesday about the length of the week, it would basically turn into an argument along the lines of [one guy]"Did too!", [2 billion other people]"Did not!".

I asked Brian to start this thread and hoped he'd set stricter parameters.

Let's eliminate the easy answer, can we Brian, by supposing that an archeologist simultaneously uncovers two equally apparent ancient documents and one claims 7 days and one claims 8?

Brian, to clarify, is this the ONLY thing that is changed in your experiment, the genesis account from 7 days to 8 days, and no other text?

David42
07-15-2011, 04:48 PM
Of course, if he just said God had changed His mind last Tuenesday about the length of the week, it would basically turn into an argument along the lines of [one guy]"Did too!", [2 billion other people]"Did not!".

Although I would take issue with this part of your statement, Buckner.

I will wait and see what further parameters Brian wishes to set before I explain why, however.

straight man
07-15-2011, 05:19 PM
The correct comparison is not to science, but to history (since, after all, the issue is simply what happened in the past). Say you print a badzillion textbooks saying that Henry IX (rather than Henry VIII) founded the Church of England. How could anyone prove you wrong? What experiment could you do? None; you could only refer to older manuscripts — ideally contemporary ones, but for older history, not so much — to see that it was, in fact, Henry VIII. This is precisely the same as what you would do in objection to the 8-days claim; refer to older texts and say, "Well, this claim was clearly made up well after the fact, the earlier sources were saying something different".

Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 05:22 PM
I asked Brian to start this thread and hoped he'd set stricter parameters.

Bryan is spelled with a Y, damn YOUR IMPRECISIONS TO THE PITS OF HELL! [hard slap across the face]

Anyhoo...

Let's eliminate the easy answer, can we Brian, by supposing that an archeologist simultaneously uncovers two equally apparent ancient documents and one claims 7 days and one claims 8?

I don't see why this is necessary, unless someone can prove a bible written centuries ago has more evidentiary support than one written last week, but fine - let's assume someone makes (or claims to have made) a discovery comparable to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls which includes a eight-day version of Genesis.

Brian, to clarify, is this the ONLY thing that is changed in your experiment, the genesis account from 7 days to 8 days, and no other text?

Yes. Later text still includes references to every seventh day being a sabbath and day of rest, etc. That this does not line up nicely with the earlier chapters of Genesis is not commented on or explained. If this apparent inconsistency (and it's not even that big a deal, I figure - God rested on the eighth day, but he wants humans to rest every seventh day - I don't see this as a contradiction) is a "deal-breaker" that demonstrates eight-day bibles to be incorrect, I'm curious why other, much more significant inconsistencies in the NIV do not call it into question.

David42
07-15-2011, 05:35 PM
Bryan is spelled with a Y, damn YOUR IMPRECISIONS TO THE PITS OF HELL! [hard slap across the face]

Anyhoo...



I don't see why this is necessary, unless someone can prove a bible written centuries ago has more evidentiary support than one written last week, but fine - let's assume someone makes (or claims to have made) a discovery comparable to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls which includes a eight-day version of Genesis.



Yes. Later text still includes references to every seventh day being a sabbath and day of rest, etc. That this does not line up nicely with the earlier chapters of Genesis is not commented on or explained. If this apparent inconsistency (and it's not even that big a deal, I figure - God rested on the eighth day, but he wants humans to rest every seventh day - I don't see this as a contradiction) is a "deal-breaker" that demonstrates eight-day bibles to be incorrect, I'm curious why other, much more significant inconsistencies in the NIV do not call it into question.

Sorry about the Y, Bryan.

Ok parameters are set.

(BTW as far as translations go I don't much care for the NIV either)

Alrighty, then, Exodus 31:17 is inconsistent with Genesis in the 8th day version and the 7th day version is not, therefore, because of internal consistency, the 7th day version is more relaible.

"It [is] a sign 226 between me and the children 1121 of Israel 3478 for ever 5769: for [in] six 8337 days 3117 the LORD 3068 made 6213 heaven 8064 and earth 776, and on the seventh 7637 day 3117 he rested 7673, and was refreshed 5314."

(The numbers refer the word to Strong's Hebrew Lexicon)

But let's say also that all other accounts in the bible of creation and its time periods also claim 8 days in the 8 day version, shall we?

Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 05:42 PM
The correct comparison is not to science, but to history (since, after all, the issue is simply what happened in the past).

I disagree in that this particular proposed alteration is not simply a restatement of human history, i.e. changing the name of someone who did something, but is quite specifically about the creation of the universe and the life within it, something which (I would think) would touch on the fields of physics, cosmology, paleontology, chemistry, biology, evolution, what have you. Is there any conceivable test one could run that would support or disprove either version of Genesis? Is there any conceivable test that would demonstrate one version as "better" than the other? Does a person who grew up reading a seven-day version have any advantage over one who grew up reading an eight-day version?

David42
07-15-2011, 05:50 PM
I don't see why this is necessary, unless someone can prove a bible written centuries ago has more evidentiary support than one written last week, but fine - let's assume someone makes (or claims to have made) a discovery comparable to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls which includes a eight-day version of Genesis.

If the 7 day version claims to be originally ancient, and it does, and the 8th day version also makes the claim, the fact that there are ancient copies of the 7 day version and none of the 8 day version tends to prove the 7 day version is the reliable version.

Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 05:50 PM
Alrighty, then, Exodus 31:17 is inconsistent with Genesis in the 8th day version and the 7th day version is not, therefore, because of internal consistency, the 7th day version is more relaible.

Is internal consistency important? Heck, the NIV version of Genesis isn't even consistent with itself. What I guess would be needed would be independent corroboration, and I'm curious what form this might take.

But let's say also that all other accounts in the bible of creation and its time periods also claim 8 days in the 8 day version, shall we?

Sure. A muscled-up search-and-replace operation in which any reference to seventh-day rests and/or seventh-day sabbaths is modified for eight. The hypothetical publisher described in the OP could probably accomplish this over a weekend and start the presses rolling.

David42
07-15-2011, 05:51 PM
I disagree in that this particular proposed alteration is not simply a restatement of human history, i.e. changing the name of someone who did something, but is quite specifically about the creation of the universe and the life within it, something which (I would think) would touch on the fields of physics, cosmology, paleontology, chemistry, biology, evolution, what have you. Is there any conceivable test one could run that would support or disprove either version of Genesis? Is there any conceivable test that would demonstrate one version as "better" than the other? Does a person who grew up reading a seven-day version have any advantage over one who grew up reading an eight-day version?

If you mean a scientific test, I do not see what could be devised.

Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 06:09 PM
If the 7 day version claims to be originally ancient, and it does, and the 8th day version also makes the claim, the fact that there are ancient copies of the 7 day version and none of the 8 day version tends to prove the 7 day version is the reliable version.

Does age alone convey reliability? Something simply being ancient doesn't mean it is correct, is it?

David42
07-15-2011, 06:24 PM
Does age alone convey reliability? Something simply being ancient doesn't mean it is correct, is it?

Mere age alone does not make it correct, this is true, but we are comparing one document to another to determine which one is more likely true.

When both documents claim age, and one can back it up but the other cannot, this makes the one consistent with the ancient copies more reliable than the one without, because there is evidence of the claim of age for one and none for the other.

David42
07-15-2011, 06:40 PM
Sure. A muscled-up search-and-replace operation in which any reference to seventh-day rests and/or seventh-day sabbaths is modified for eight. The hypothetical publisher described in the OP could probably accomplish this over a weekend and start the presses rolling.

This is where it gets interesting, and far more difficult, but the easy to prove debates are also the dullest, eh? Or the most frustrating when ideology gets into the way.

Now we have a question of whether the bible otherwise, outside of the creation story, treats the number seven in a differing way to make it stand out from other numbers.

I suggest we disregard any numbers that are used in ordinary counting of ordinary subjects, such as Methusaleh lived to X number years, the census of the tribe of Judah was x hundred thousand, and the like, as it does not reveal much. But the counting of some things is important, so its not the mere counting we eliminate (lest we eliminate any debate over numbers in the bible at all) its the counting of mundane things.

Let's say that we attempt to find if there is any attachment to the concept of holiness for the number 7 vs. the number 8.

Take a moment and check out Blue Letter Bible, do a search for the written seven and then for the written eight (not numerals 7 and 8).

http://www.blueletterbible.org/

there are 463 occurences for seven and 80 for eight, but that includes mundane usage. so we know so far that seven appears about 5.75 times more often than eight.

I'm not finished, but I'll be back, I have band practice and some other stuff to do, so if you're willing, skim through some of those search results.

David42
07-15-2011, 06:54 PM
Is internal consistency important? Heck, the NIV version of Genesis isn't even consistent with itself. What I guess would be needed would be independent corroboration, and I'm curious what form this might take.

Yes, consistency is important. But let's debate what all is inconsistent or not in the bible some other time.

To demostrate the importance of consistency:

A history book claims a person took action A on X date. In another paragraph it denies that he did A on X date and instead claims he did B on Y date. Then later on it claims he did A on Y and denies he did B on Y. Then it denies all the foregoing and claims he did C on Z.

In contrast, another history book claims that a person did A on X, mentions it several times and never changes that claim, it is consistently the same claim, he did A on X date.

Which one, based on this alone, would you choose as the accurate history book?

Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 07:17 PM
Which one, based on this alone, would you choose as the accurate history book?

Ah, but my question is not "which version of Genesis has more internal consistency?", but "which version, if either, can be (even hypothetically) independently verified?" If I was interested in accuracy, simple internal consistency wouldn't be the best indicator. And if eight-day creation being inconsistent with other parts of the bible is a valid argument, I don't see why the existing inconsistencies in the seven-day version are not.

In the earlier example of a hypothetical Henry IX establishing the Church of England, we at least have some corroborating evidence in the form of documents that were written at the time but not in England. I'm not aware of comparable outside corroboration of Genesis, so calling it a "history" book strikes me a bit presumptuous.

Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 07:19 PM
Now we have a question of whether the bible otherwise, outside of the creation story, treats the number seven in a differing way to make it stand out from other numbers.

We do?

David42
07-15-2011, 09:21 PM
Ah, but my question is not "which version of Genesis has more internal consistency?", but "which version, if either, can be (even hypothetically) independently verified?" If I was interested in accuracy, simple internal consistency wouldn't be the best indicator. And if eight-day creation being inconsistent with other parts of the bible is a valid argument, I don't see why the existing inconsistencies in the seven-day version are not.

In the earlier example of a hypothetical Henry IX establishing the Church of England, we at least have some corroborating evidence in the form of documents that were written at the time but not in England. I'm not aware of comparable outside corroboration of Genesis, so calling it a "history" book strikes me a bit presumptuous.

I didn't call it a history book. I used history books as an example in illustrating detection of accuracy.

The whole proposition I was interested in debating was a comparison between the two documents, contesting the two against one another. I suppose I didn't catch it in your O.P.

If we can modify the thread to a comparison between the two, I'd be interested
in continuing. If not, I guess I'm not too interested in the same old same old prove the bible is true arguments or the inconsistencies of the bible. It boils down to just an argument over things that aren't necessarily possible to prove.

But I'll continue if we do make it 7 v. 8 documents alone.

Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 09:54 PM
But I'll continue if we do make it 7 v. 8 documents alone.
Okay, but I'm not sure what the foray into numerology is supposed to prove. Does it matter if "seven days" occurs more often than "eight days" in the rest of the text?

Besides, conformity with the original Hebrew is irrelevant. The hypothetical publisher in the OP prints an alternate bible in modern language. You could prove the NIV matches the Hebrew more closely, but how that lends support to a seven-day hypothesis is unclear to me.

David42
07-15-2011, 10:23 PM
Okay, but I'm not sure what the foray into numerology is supposed to prove. Does it matter if "seven days" occurs more often than "eight days" in the rest of the text?

Well, the frequency of the appearances in and of itself proves little, but its a bit of laying the groundwork. It does however slightly support an argument for a biblical preference for 7 over 8, however. But I'm not asking anyone to make any conclusions on that alone.

Besides, conformity with the original Hebrew is irrelevant. The hypothetical publisher in the OP prints an alternate bible in modern language. You could prove the NIV matches the Hebrew more closely, but how that lends support to a seven-day hypothesis is unclear to me.

I thought we had modified the parameters of the discussion to an archeologist who finds two identical manuscripts, each equally appearing authentic on its face, except for the content difference of the 7 or 8 day creation accounts. As has been demonstrated, the argument for the modern day substitution by a printer has been brought to its logical conclusion.

I am tired tonight but will begin the real meat of my argument tomorrow.

David42
07-15-2011, 10:41 PM
This is the relevant portion of the O.P.:

"Biblica incorporated may (and probably would) object as they are the copyright holders on the NIV, but beyond that what argument could anyone make that the seventh-day version is better than the eighth-day version? What evidence can they bring to bear, even hypothetically, that supports such a claim? And suppose a child in Peru or Gambia of Tasmania gets one of the new bibles as their first bible and accepts the eighth-day creation. What arguments can use to convince them they are wrong, assuming they are wrong?"

There is nothing here to limit us to external evidence only, anyway.

Bryan Ekers
07-15-2011, 10:50 PM
I thought we had modified the parameters of the discussion to an archeologist who finds two identical manuscripts, each equally appearing authentic on its face, except for the content difference of the 7 or 8 day creation accounts. As has been demonstrated, the argument for the modern day substitution by a printer has been brought to its logical conclusion.

I don't get why an old version of an 8-day Genesis has more authority than a new version (nor why either should have less authority than an old 7-day version). Establishing this authority, or even a hypothetical approach one might take to do so, is what I had in mind, but no matter.

Calculon
07-16-2011, 12:28 AM
The OP appears to be arguing from a position known generally as "verificationism". Here any statement, in order to have meaning, ,ust be able to be empirically verified. Thus scientific statements, such as "gold is the 79th element" are meaningful, where as statements like "God created the world in 7 days", and theology in general are not meaningful because they cannot be verified.

This epistemology is widely rejected by philophers of all kinds, simply because it is too restrictive. As has been alluded to, history fails the verification test. What experiment would one do to determine that William of Normandy conquored England in 1066 as opposed to 1067? What if all of the ancient manuscripts were destroyed and history books were printed up that said 1067. How would you know which is right. The same can be said for moral judgements, and also aesthetic judgements. Neither of these can be verified either and so become meaningless.

Worse still, you can easily turn it back onto itself and ask is the verification principle itself verifiable. The answer unfortunately is no, which makes the whole position incoherent. So we could ask what would happen if all science text books were lost and the scientific method itself was lost. What experiment would someone do to demonstrate that the scientific method necessarility reveals truth? There is no experiment that anyone has thought of to verify the scientific method. The whole OP really is a case of special pleading in the sense that it asks for verification of divine revelation, yet does not ask for similar verification of the scientific method. If that was considered then it would be seen that scientific statements are at heart as unverifiable as religious statements in this sense. So there is no reason to consider that science is any more objectivly true then divine revelation.

Calculon

Bryan Ekers
07-16-2011, 12:58 AM
Oh, I dunno. Even an alien civilization should be able to discern that gold is element 79.

Toucanna
07-16-2011, 04:12 AM
{snip}...and if anyone can suggest a better term to cover the faiths that revere Genesis, they are invited to do so...{snip}
"The Peoples of The Book"
If all bibles were lost, what process could one hypothetically use to recreate one, as one might use a scientific process to recreate the periodic table if all chemistry textbooks were lost?
There are eleventy bazillion people around the world who have memorized the entire Torah (and Talmud and Mishnah) and/or one of the many different permutations of the Christian Bible. If all printed copies of these works were lost, these folks would be more than happy to recite them to transcribers. Regards,

David42
07-16-2011, 08:09 AM
I don't get why an old version of an 8-day Genesis has more authority than a new version (nor why either should have less authority than an old 7-day version). Establishing this authority, or even a hypothetical approach one might take to do so, is what I had in mind, but no matter.

Having an archeologist discover identical copies eliminates old/new proofs. Now both claim oldness and now both apparently have proof they are old.

Because the 7 day version has claims that it was written in ancient times, and has ancient copies to back up the claim, and the 8 day version makes the same claim that it is ancient but has no evidence to back up the claim if a modern printer makes the 8 day version.

7 day claim is like a Doper with a cite

8 day claim is like a Doper who can't cite his claim

regarding age, that is.

Bryan Ekers
07-16-2011, 12:38 PM
There are eleventy bazillion people around the world who have memorized the entire Torah (and Talmud and Mishnah) and/or one of the many different permutations of the Christian Bible. If all printed copies of these works were lost, these folks would be more than happy to recite them to transcribers. Regards,

Fair enough, though I guess what you'd get would be the best consensus of what they remember the bible said.

Having an archeologist discover identical copies eliminates old/new proofs. Now both claim oldness and now both apparently have proof they are old.

Okay, though the importance of this escapes me. Ancient texts have been found that are nearly identical, one claiming seven-day creation, the other claiming eight-day creation. Now what?

David42
07-16-2011, 01:15 PM
Fair enough, though I guess what you'd get would be the best consensus of what they remember the bible said.



Okay, though the importance of this escapes me. Ancient texts have been found that are nearly identical, one claiming seven-day creation, the other claiming eight-day creation. Now what?

the importance is that now the debate isn't over per MEBuckner's answer.

fumster
07-16-2011, 01:34 PM
Okay, though the importance of this escapes me. Ancient texts have been found that are nearly identical, one claiming seven-day creation, the other claiming eight-day creation. Now what?I think you are missing the point. The question is given two religious manuscripts, each from about the same time, how would we decide which one to believe?

Belief in the Bible is a tautology: what is in the Bible is true because it is in the Bible and the Bible is true. But given two texts, one saying A and the other saying not A, how would we know which one is correct?

It's similar to the thought exercise that resulted in me no longer believing in God. There are multiple versions of religion, many of them very different from each other, and people who follow those religions are just as convinced they are right as I was in my Christian beliefs. If I had been born in a different country to a different family then I would have a completely different set of beliefs, so what is it that made my belief correct and those incorrect?

Lets make the OP a little different: there are two tribes with religious beliefs that are similar but differ in one significant aspect. If Tribe A dies out and Tribe B survives then our entire religious history goes one way, and if Tribe A survives instead, our set of beliefs goes in another direction. In both cases people could later point to the religious traditions of those before them to justify their beliefs. How could an observer back in time have decided which of those tribe's beliefs were correct?

To me it is a little like evolution. A horse was not destined to have evolved. A small change in the environment a million years ago could have produced different results. Are our religious beliefs also a product of chance?

Bryan Ekers
07-16-2011, 01:45 PM
the importance is that now the debate isn't over per MEBuckner's answer.

Sure, I guess. Though as far as I can tell, MEBuckner's point is that the eight-day bible is demonstrably different than the seven-day bible, which I thought was obvious enough. My question has always been how could one test which version is more accurate, not which version was older.

Of course, my overarching point (because there's no real need to be coy or disingenuous about it) is asking just how much of a religion's core mystical beliefs are arbitrary in nature, such that one could make tweaks and rewrites starting with trivial details like how long it took to create the universe and later on to changing the names and even numbers of deities.

David42
07-16-2011, 01:57 PM
Belief in the Bible is a tautology: what is in the Bible is true because it is in the Bible and the Bible is true.

I would take issue for the absolutist nature of your statement. I could agree that believing in some parts of the bible could be tautological. Perhaps the portions regarding the supernatural could be such. However, as the bible has served as an invaluable reference historically, and archeologists have relied upon it to make discoveries of cities otherwise unknown except in the bible. This is external evidence and believing generally that the historical parts of the bible have a good degree of accuracy is not tautological.

Lets make the OP a little different: there are two tribes with religious beliefs that are similar but differ in one significant aspect. If Tribe A dies out and Tribe B survives then our entire religious history goes one way, and if Tribe A survives instead, our set of beliefs goes in another direction. In both cases people could later point to the religious traditions of those before them to justify their beliefs. How could an observer back in time have decided which of those tribe's beliefs were correct?

It's interesting enough but I'd suggest another thread, perhaps?

Bryan Ekers
07-16-2011, 02:05 PM
It's interesting enough but I'd suggest another thread, perhaps?

Oh, I disagree. His comment looks on point to me, for what it's worth.

fumster
07-16-2011, 02:32 PM
I would take issue for the absolutist nature of your statement. I could agree that believing in some parts of the bible could be tautological. Perhaps the portions regarding the supernatural could be such. However, as the bible has served as an invaluable reference historically, and archeologists have relied upon it to make discoveries of cities otherwise unknown except in the bible. This is external evidence and believing generally that the historical parts of the bible have a good degree of accuracy is not tautological. Parts of the Bible match history and some parts don't, but there certainly are large numbers of people who take all of it literally. How would literalists determine which of two ancient texts to take as gospel? Right now they start with the assumption that one particular book and its associated beliefs are true and work from there. How could one choose one over the other if all the historical parts were the same?

David42
07-16-2011, 03:15 PM
Oh, I disagree. His comment looks on point to me, for what it's worth.

It's fine with me if that's what you want the thread to turn into. Its your thread. But shutting down my arguments by changing the O.P. doesn;t give me the chance to debate it that I wanted.

or the thread could contain both but I think that likely to be confusing.

David42
07-16-2011, 03:21 PM
Parts of the Bible match history and some parts don't, but there certainly are large numbers of people who take all of it literally. How would literalists determine which of two ancient texts to take as gospel? Right now they start with the assumption that one particular book and its associated beliefs are true and work from there. How could one choose one over the other if all the historical parts were the same?

I am currently working on that argument in the terms of the proposed O.P. of how to tell the difference, in a word document. It is slow going, but I promise the answer tonight or tomorrow maybe.

Bryan Ekers
07-16-2011, 03:54 PM
It's fine with me if that's what you want the thread to turn into. Its your thread. But shutting down my arguments by changing the O.P. doesn;t give me the chance to debate it that I wanted.

I didn't shut your suggested modification down as much as fail to see its relevance. In fact, I specifically accepted it for the sake of argument and asked "Now what?" a few posts back because I thought you were going to expand on what you thought might happen if ancient and differing texts were uncovered.

As far as I know, I've never changed the OP; I've shown a reluctant and unenthusiastic willingness to indulge variations (mostly suggested by you, I might add). sh1bu1, with his "ancient tribe" idea, has suggested something which I thought was quite close to the principles of the OP, and I disagree with the notion that his discussion should be entertained elsewhere, but if he (or you, or anyone) does take it elsewhere, I will not (and indeed can not) do anything to stop it.

or this thread could contain both but I think that likely to be confusing.

The thread's not exactly a barn-burner with discussions being lost in cacophony.

David42
07-16-2011, 05:09 PM
I didn't shut your suggested modification down as much as fail to see its relevance. In fact, I specifically accepted it for the sake of argument and asked "Now what?" a few posts back because I thought you were going to expand on what you thought might happen if ancient and differing texts were uncovered.

As far as I know, I've never changed the OP; I've shown a reluctant and unenthusiastic willingness to indulge variations (mostly suggested by you, I might add). sh1bu1, with his "ancient tribe" idea, has suggested something which I thought was quite close to the principles of the OP, and I disagree with the notion that his discussion should be entertained elsewhere, but if he (or you, or anyone) does take it elsewhere, I will not (and indeed can not) do anything to stop it.



The thread's not exactly a barn-burner with discussions being lost in cacophony.

Reasonable enough.

Toucanna
07-17-2011, 03:57 AM
{snip}...these folks would be more than happy to recite them to transcribers.
{snip}...I guess what you'd get would be the best consensus of what they remember the bible said.
Actually, what you would get is several, if not many, versions of "the bible". While all (major) Jewish movements agree on which books constitute their Bible, different Christian sects consider different books canonical. See the section titled, 3--Christian Canons at this Wikipedipa page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible#Christian_canons) for an overview of the subject.

robert_columbia
07-19-2011, 03:14 PM
You would use archaeology and textual criticism.

You would probably find that no "8 day" Bibles predate the 21st century. All 20th, 19th, and older Bibles would have the standard 7 day creation. You might go to rare book rooms and consult 1st Edition King James Versions and observe that 100% of them have a seven day creation. Medieval essays and sermons that quoted from Genesis would always quote the seven day version.

You would observe that the 8 day creation only appears in English language NIV's. You would consult Spanish bibles, Japanese bibles, Czech bibles, Arabic bibles, and Cherokee bibles and you would find that all of them agree on a 7 day creation.

Bryan Ekers
07-20-2011, 05:39 AM
You would observe that the 8 day creation only appears in English language NIV's. You would consult Spanish bibles, Japanese bibles, Czech bibles, Arabic bibles, and Cherokee bibles and you would find that all of them agree on a 7 day creation.

Yes, but does that matter? Regardless of the ages of the differing versions, how could one establish which is the more accurate description of the creation, and if a child reads an eight-day version as his first bible and grows up believing it, is he wrong in any provable way for doing so?

fumster
07-20-2011, 10:15 AM
You would use archaeology and textual criticism.

You would probably find that no "8 day" Bibles predate the 21st century. All 20th, 19th, and older Bibles would have the standard 7 day creation. You might go to rare book rooms and consult 1st Edition King James Versions and observe that 100% of them have a seven day creation. Medieval essays and sermons that quoted from Genesis would always quote the seven day version.

You would observe that the 8 day creation only appears in English language NIV's. You would consult Spanish bibles, Japanese bibles, Czech bibles, Arabic bibles, and Cherokee bibles and you would find that all of them agree on a 7 day creation.You seem to have totally missed the point of the thought experiment.

BigT
06-25-2012, 04:28 AM
I don't get why an old version of an 8-day Genesis has more authority than a new version (nor why either should have less authority than an old 7-day version). Establishing this authority, or even a hypothetical approach one might take to do so, is what I had in mind, but no matter.

And I don't understand why you don't get this. If one document suddenly is different from another, which is more likely: new information was discovered that proved that it really was eight days, or that someone arbitrarily changed what originally said seven days? So we know for sure the eight day one is inaccurate. We don't know how the seven days proposition was decided, and thus there is still a chance of it being accurate.

You want to not treat the Bible as a history book, but the authority comes from its historicity. Even if not 100% factual, the Bible is supposedly inspired by God. Any change to it without any reference to such inspiration is inherently going to be less authoritative.

This, by the way, is the reason KJV only adherents believe that the King James Version is authoritative. They believe that the translators also received inspiration from God, and thus, even if you find more information to help you interpret the original languages more closely, that information is not inspired and thus inferior.

As davidm says, the only way to make your eighth day Bible work is to have claims that it has been newly inspired. Placing it in the past accomplishes this by possibly making the seven-day Bible an arbitrary change. Having it changed in modern day does not.

BigT
06-25-2012, 04:37 AM
I think you are missing the point. The question is given two religious manuscripts, each from about the same time, how would we decide which one to believe?

Belief in the Bible is a tautology: what is in the Bible is true because it is in the Bible and the Bible is true. But given two texts, one saying A and the other saying not A, how would we know which one is correct?

It's similar to the thought exercise that resulted in me no longer believing in God. There are multiple versions of religion, many of them very different from each other, and people who follow those religions are just as convinced they are right as I was in my Christian beliefs. If I had been born in a different country to a different family then I would have a completely different set of beliefs, so what is it that made my belief correct and those incorrect?

Lets make the OP a little different: there are two tribes with religious beliefs that are similar but differ in one significant aspect. If Tribe A dies out and Tribe B survives then our entire religious history goes one way, and if Tribe A survives instead, our set of beliefs goes in another direction. In both cases people could later point to the religious traditions of those before them to justify their beliefs. How could an observer back in time have decided which of those tribe's beliefs were correct?

To me it is a little like evolution. A horse was not destined to have evolved. A small change in the environment a million years ago could have produced different results. Are our religious beliefs also a product of chance?

This is where you have to investigate the consequences for lack of belief. It is fortunate that there are very few instances where one group believes X and the other believes not X, with both believing in eternal punishment if you disagree. In those cases, your only choice is to pick the one that makes the most sense. But, in every other case, such as the same beliefs but only one believes in a "hell," all you have to do is go with the one that is more advantageous. The hard part, of course, is, after doing all this, convincing yourself to believe what you've rationally decided is best to believe.

foolsguinea
06-25-2012, 04:57 AM
If you're rejecting older source documents as having authority, yeah, you're going to be at sea when it comes to all the humanities.

Want to read my new original Shakespeare? The Tragedy of Errors, Much Ado About Something, Hambone, and Titus Andronicus: A Romantic Comedy. I assure you it's quite authoritative! :rolleyes:

Bryan Ekers
06-25-2012, 05:45 AM
And I don't understand why you don't get this. If one document suddenly is different from another, which is more likely: new information was discovered that proved that it really was eight days, or that someone arbitrarily changed what originally said seven days? So we know for sure the eight day one is inaccurate.

We do?

Any change to it without any reference to such inspiration is inherently going to be less authoritative.

It will?

As davidm says, the only way to make your eighth day Bible work is to have claims that it has been newly inspired.

It is? Anyway, I suggested that would make an eighth-day bible "work", to the extent that a bible can, is widespread distribution. It the hypothetical publisher prints and ships tens of millions of eight-day bibles, what's to stop him? What to stop said bibles from gradually displacing seventh-day versions? If someone says "that's is not a true bible, this is!", can he bring any rational arguments to prove it, or does it tend to fall back on "we've always done it this way."

My larger point in starting the thread initially (and I'm surprised anyone would bother to bump it at this late date) was to suggest how arbitrary the bible is, even on basic information of cosmic significance, i.e. how long it takes to make a universe.

Fake Tales of San Francisco
06-25-2012, 06:48 AM
It is? Anyway, I suggested that would make an eighth-day bible "work", to the extent that a bible can, is widespread distribution. It the hypothetical publisher prints and ships tens of millions of eight-day bibles, what's to stop him? What to stop said bibles from gradually displacing seventh-day versions? If someone says "that's is not a true bible, this is!", can he bring any rational arguments to prove it, or does it tend to fall back on "we've always done it this way."

Nothing would stop him, but the eight-day bibles could not possibly replace seven-day bibles. For starters, word would get out straight away that they contain a rather obvious copyist error on the first few pages. I imagine such a bible would make most major news networks too. There'd be a public outcry. Major product recall because of the error.

Like the Shakespeare example, if someone published his works with changes, the literary community would have a field day. It would be plainly obvious that that person had changed Shakespeare's original works. I don't imagine many book shops would stock it either, if it contained errors. Same with the bible.

For me there's two definitions of 'true' knocking about here. There's 'true' in the sense that this is really how the universe came about and 'true' as in closer to the original/oldest copies we have. The latter is the only one we can really argue. The former is a pointless exercise.
And nothing here proves that the details of the bible are arbitrary. Of course, it is[/url] largely arbitrary, but the details such as the days in a week were probably made up before the bible stories were being told. The bible has god create a 7 day week because people [i]did divide time that way, and still do. God is made in man's image.