Resolved: The Bible is an authoritative source when discussing Biblical topics...

This could almost go in The Pit, it bugs me so much.

Scenario: Person A asks a question about a Biblical topic, Yahweh God, Jesus, etc. & Person B quotes the Bible. A or, more often, C comes back with “Oh, that’s only what some ancient writer said about this topic. Humans make up stuff.”

That’s as stupid as if someone was told that Mary Shelley or Bram Stoker was making it up when answering a question about Frankenstein’s Monster or Count Dracula.

And since this happens all the time in GD, this is where I put it. Hope it’s appropriate.

The difference is that people(in general) don’t insist it applies in real life and demand that others be required to follow the rules.

That’s not the point. The point isn’t whether or not the Bible is true, but what the Bible says about a topic. If someone asks specifically about Christian or Jewish belief, the Bible is an authoritative source to answer the question. It may be untrue or there may be other interpretations, but it can’t just be dismissed as irrelevant when it is the main source of Christian & Jewish beliefs. It’s just like if someone asked a question about Constitutional law & then dismissed the Constitution as a relevant source for an answer.


Which version? Which translation? The “Bible” itself isn’t monolithic.

I’ll grant that the Bible is a better source for “what the Bible says” about a topic than pretty much anything else - except perhaps a scholarly analysis of “what the Bible says” that includes a historical interpretation, multiple translations, etc.

i.e. When I’m reading Mary Shelley, it isn’t a bad idea to have a supplementary text or two.

I agree with you, the Bible is the right place to go for those answers, but the problem is that it is so big, so ambiguous, so contradictory, etc. that you pretty much have to augment with those analyses to tease anything of worth out of it.

No-That is exactly the point. If most of the people were discussing the book Dracula as if it were both an accurate historical document and something they may use to guide their lives, then pointing out that it is fiction is perfectly acceptable. I’ve seen far too many conflate “true meaning” with “accurate history” and “TRUTH* From On High”" when it comes to the Bible.

Your sentiments are common and strike this poster as a means of saying, “My bleacher seat ticket allows me to sit in the club seats.”

Again and again and again and again and again I see posters who haven’t the fist clue about the bible and use this excuse for their ignorance. In other words, “I can’t be expected to post an informed, rational response because its all open to interpretation.” It has been my several year experience here that those who make the claim most often have no background knowledge at all. These comments serve as a way of justifying abject ignorance.

It’s not the point when someone asks for a Christian perspective, the responder quotes Jesus from the canonical Gospels & then the counter-response is “But you don’t know that Jesus said that.” Well, the Jesus character in the Bible said that & that is the first written version of that character we have. The apocryphal Gospels’ version & Nag Hammadhi texts version are revisionist.

Is it possible that someone can disagree with your interpretation and still be knowledgeable about the Bible?

Thats all fine and good had you actually read Dracula.

And the same goes for the bible. Those who protest it the most are the ones are usually the most ignorant about it.

Whether the bible is “something they may use to guide their lives” and whether you’ve actually read it or not are two separate things. I can’t count how many rocks you’ve thrown in these threads and I can’t remember an authoritative, informed post from you on the subject. And I’m not picking on you. Poster after poster claims this knowledge and the claims are simply extraordinary. How many posters here have claimed to have read the bible cover to cover? How many have claimed to have read it multiple times? How many have claimed to have read it in the source language? How many have claimed to have read it in multiple translations?

You know the answer to that, right? Many.

I generally stay out of threads that are based on opinion. When a thread or OP makes a point about the bible it piques my interest and I’m interested in a *biblical *cite.

Google and I-read-in-college-ten-years-ago-and-I-don’t-remember-any-word-of-it are usually the responses from those up thread professed just how knowledgeable:dubious: they are.


Just show me the knowledge, ok?!?

Just show me something!

Listen, I disagree with FriarTed on several things. I disagree with Polycarp and **Liberal **on a few more. But it has been my experience that they are willing------and more importantly able----to make their case in a biblical discussion using the bible. Even Diogenes is able to make a case on most biblical discussions and actually use the bible.

In other words, we many disagree vehemently but have an informed, spirited discussion.

However, the vast majority of those posting in threads where the bible should be the primary—if not the sole----source are long on internet posturing and short on informed cites.

[My Name]Gee, thanks.[/My Name]

I apologize if that was too snarky.

The statement that a cite from The Bible is authoritative about what is in The Bible is of course a truism, subject only to someone providing other conflicting cites from the same text.

The statement that a cite from The Bible necessarily represents “Christian Belief” is highly debatable. The are many different forms of Christianity and many different interpretations of the texts. A single verse does not the overall meaning make.

A statement that The Bible is a reasonable cite as to what happened in Biblical times or to Truth is of course even more debatable, and in my experience, is the implication that is usually being reacted to by the behaviors of your op.

I disagree.

I have no quarrel with a supplementary text on Shelley. But when a “scholar” (a term that appears to have lost some meaning) claims through *“scholarly analysis”*and a “historical interpretation” to speak for Shelley it is not simply presumptuous, but speculative.

Thats to say there isn’t a case for supplementary analysis. But they should be appropriately understood for what they are.

So FriarTed is 100% spot on. In a biblical discussion-----particularly threads that have as their focus “the bible says…”-----the bible isn’t a “better” source, it is the only source.

I’d also like to make the point that the “which version?” and “which translation?” are red herrings, and smack of the whole, “Whats the point anyway? It’s all open to interpretation.” (an oblique argument for ignorance)

Different translations have different qualities and flaws, but they are not substantial enough to affect the outcomes of our discussions. They are more important to linguists and scholars. In other words we may have bibles we prefer for one reason or another, but the fact is FriarTed could make his case for the Trinity from the New World Translation and I could make a case against the Trinity from the Douay Translation. Would it be ideal for either of us? No. But the translation are not so dissimilar to render them unusable for our discussions.

Seconding DSeid and observing that it is not necessary to rely on the bible exclusively or even at all to be a christian. The teaching of the church would be sufficient to consider oneself a christian now, and the first christians did not have the bible (assuming you believe that aspect of the bible text as an accurate historical record).*

The OP’s complaint would make sense if everyone were already aware that discussions about the bible are literary criticism, using the tools of literary theory (or even Literary Theory). Sadly, many posters do not seem to appreciate this.


  • personally, I’m not at all convinced that there was any meaningful christian movement before Paul wrote his letters, but that’s possibly just me.

I assume you are aiming that at me, but in the recent thread it is you who have rejected the literal words in the Bible used by the vast majority of Christians and substituted an interpretation based on different translations. In essence you have rejected “The Bible” as an authoritarian source and substituted a collection of ancient writings. But that is not what “The Bible” is, certainly as used by the vast, vast majority of Christians. For if we look at what those ancient writings say, the basic tenets of Christianity such as Virgin birth are unsupported.

Religions accept a specific set of ancient texts and reject others, and then choose translations of those texts to create The Bible they use.

Your analogy to Frankenstein would only make sense if it was written by different authors at different times in different languages with ambiguity over what particular chapters should be used and then having the original manuscripts lost and having to rely on it being accurately copied and translated.

This is simply not the case.

The first Century Christians would have had the Jewish Holy writings and while they wouldn’t have recognized them as “the bible” it is a misconception to say they had no written texts that they recognized as holy writings and rules that governed their faith.

Furthermore, you appear to be making the mistake the OP is railing against. What the bible says, and your analysis of it, are two separate things.

I wasn’t aiming at you, but I will if you’d like. The bible----like much literature— contains metaphor, imagery, parables, song, allegory, and symbolism. The most staunch literalist accepts this as fact.

So the question is, does the bible indicate a burning hell? Do the texts that show a “burning fire”----as one example-----indicate a burning hell in which people are thrown, or are they metaphors for something else?

So, where would you like to start? Is Jude 1:7 where you’d like to start?

Of course they are. Was Mary a virgin or a young unmarried woman, are people going to suffer in a lake of fire for eternity or just go off to the garbage dump while they await judgement. There are HUGE differences among translations. Wars have been fought over them.

What annoys me is the hypocrisy. When people use the common translations until it disagrees with their views and then go off to the original texts to find support.