Using the Bible as Support for a Position

I was listening to a debate when one of the people pulled out “it says so in the Bible!” Another debater says “you mean the book that says God told Abraham to kill his only son for no good reason.”

The Bible quoter walked away.

I remember seeing in a signature, a list of things the Bible says that would not sit well with religious people that hold the Bible and most current sociological norms as the way God says it should be. This signature mentioned several things like homosexuality and murder and provided a cite such as Genesis 3:11 <<<I made that up I do not know what that section says or if it is really a valid chapter and verse.

So how does the Bible, or at least some of it, stack up to some of the current norms?

Well, most people would look at you oddly if you bought your wife. And slavery is illeagal, now.

On the other hand, “love your neighbor” goes over better than “gimme”.



She was a bargain! I would of been a fool not to! :mad:

So what exactly is the debate? It really helps if you take a position on your topic in this forum. It also helps to narrow things a bit. The bible is a large and diverse book as the “current norms” of the world are also diverse. Does Osama Bin Laden think much of “love thy neighbor as thyself?” How does Samson slaying a thousand with the jawbone of an ass apply to a kindergarten in Skokie Illinois.

My friend Seebs, a devout Quaker over on Christian Forums, refers to this as “playing the God card.” Effectively, it is an effort to close off discussion by playing the ace of trumps, in the estimation of the Bible-quoter. And what it evinces is a total lack of respect for the thinking abilities and moral decency of the other person – “If you had any sense or decency, you’d see that how I read this Scripture passage is the only right way to think!”

It seems like this should be a Pit thread.

I somewhat agree with the OP. It seems like all too many people turn off their brains where the Bible is concerned.

What I really can’t stand are people who insist U.S. law should be evaluated according to their beliefs about what they think the Bible says.

Polycarp nailed it on the head.

As Polycarp says in different words, saying “the Bible says so!” is just an appeal to authority. As far as debating tactics go, it’s lame.

Would you think it a good debating point to support your morality statement with evidence from a Harry Potter book? Bhagavad-Gita? Plato’s Republic? An Egyptian court document from the 2nd Dynasty? Mad Magazine?

Probably not. Then why give biblical extracts any more weight? Bible quoters say that their book is The Word of God (their god, which is the only true one) and even if not directly dictated, at least divinely inspired.

This statement is critically vital. If the bible is not, or if the slightest doubt can be thrown on its divine authenticity, it can no longer stand as an arguement-ending quotable work.

Biblical scholars other than religious redactors differ considerably as to the source, inspiration, interpretation, and validity of this work. About the only facts that can be generally agreed upon are [ul][li]It was written by humans[]Most writers were not eyewitnesses to the events described, but far removed[]The source is primarily oral history, some handed down for hundreds of years[]Many stories and “facts” cannot be independently corroborated, may be fiction or seriously altered, inflated, twisted or borrowed[]While it may reflect the mores of the times, it violently conflicts with today’s morality and offends manyThe writers were abysmally ignorant of science as we now know it in the broadest possible sense[/ul][/li]In short, it looks like a folk-collection of myths and superstitions given weight only by fantastical associations.

Prove this book is any different from a fairy tale, then you can use it to prove your point.

You missed the best part. “How do you know the Bible is the word of god?” “The Bible tells us so.” :stuck_out_tongue:

Yep. I happen to have in my collection two books by the late Dr. Harry Rimmer of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. One is called “Internal evidence of inspiration.” Dr. Rimmer, bless his redacting heart, seems to think that if Chapter One says “it shall come to pass in Chapter Two,” and Chapter Two describes how it did come to pass exactly as foretold in Chapter One, both written by the same author, that one proves the other, they are both therefore unchallengably true and God is Love. Never mind that no mention of the supernatural event can be found anywhere else in the world.

Somehow it reminds me of Walt Kelly’s sequential postcards. Postcard #1 says, “Card #2 follows.” Postcard #2 says, “Disregard card #1.”

I understand. I was not sure where to put this but GD seemed to be the place or religious conversation. I am not looking for Pit rants, and although I am looking for GQ type answers, religion and politics do not seem to belong in GQ so GD it is.

Thanks for the replies. Some of them is was I was thinking about and some of the starting position on how powerful (or not) the Bible is was a point that I had not considered in detail - very interesting. - damn late again- will be back - just wanted to check in.

There’s one thing I’d like to point out. Most people around here are comfortable questioning their beliefs and looking for new ways of thinking about things. the ones who aren’t tend to stay far, far away from GD! A lot of people out there, though, aren’t. They want something to be firmly and unambiguously right or wrong, black or white. If you tell Polycarp or me, “the Bible says it.” chances are we’ll say where or, knowing where, look to see what else it says. I do that with the verses in my daily devotional, let alone a bald statement in on-line debate. Other people, however, will take that statement at face value.

I’ll remind you of a former bete noir of mine who used to hand around here. She was quite big on appealing to the authority of the Bible, but she was not comfortable going beyond Book A Chapter B Verse C says this, even when Verse D or F said something which could give a different take on Verse C (take a look at John 3:16-21 if you want a passage which can be used to play duelling Bible verses). You don’t have to think, only obey, and there are people out there for whom thinking isn’t easy and questioning is dangerous. After all, if you ask too many questions, you might lose your faith, which means you might spend all eternity in hell. There is absolute Authority in their world, and they have just as hard a time understanding why we don’t believe that as we have understanding that they do. I will even argue that that mindset might be right for them.

Excuse me. I haven’t had my morning tea, and I’m not sure if I’m coherent yet, but I hope this helps.


Uncanny Timing.

From the proposed bill,

Here’s my problem though. Granted, I am responsible only for my own morality, which is based on my religious beliefs, which cannot be foisted upon others in the country. But how do I live in a country that without trying to change those things which (I believe) are morally wrong? Many things are legal that I don’t consider moral; I know that for myself it’s enough that I wouldn’t do them anyway, so do I just say, “I don’t have a dog in that race” or what??

This is where all those “non-religious objections to xyz” threads come in handy. :wink:

I think you have to accept that some things aren’t your business… and that just because something seems immoral doesn’t mean it should be illegal.

The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible might be a good resource for you as a fairly comprehensive list of Bible passages that don’t correlate well with modern thinking.

Just because you see something as morally wrong doesn’t mean it’s morally wrong for someone else. Morals are strictly personal. Like religion. You can only live your own life, by your own code. You don’t “change” things you feel are morally wrong. You just don’t “do” things you think are morally wrong.

But how do we decide which things those are?

A battered woman goes back to her boyfriend. Is that immoral? Is it any of my business?

Slavery? Partial birth abortion? Dealing crack?

It’s not that simple. Were the Freedom Riders of the 60s wrong to try to fight against what they thought was morally wrong?

Maybe it is morally wrong not to extend marriage to include gay people. Do I do anything about that? Or do I mind my own business?

Many laws legislate some kind of morality. For the most part, we have consensus on what that morality is. The hard questions come in when we don’t agree, or we have a different notion of what constitutes morality. And it is especially hard when no one can prove that their morality is better or worse than anyone else.

And so, we argue.


Shodan said,

I guess I wasn’t very clear in my previous post. Obviously, we need to defend what we feel is right, but in cases where something hurts no one, it’s time to back off and take a look at whether or not this is something that clearly harms other people or society, or if it is something that’s simply not your cup of tea.

A lot of our social morality, unfortunately, is based on biblical morality, which has no place in our government or in many people’s personal lives. When someone says that the bible forbids homosexuality, and that’s what you base your laws on, it really has no bearing on me if I don’t subscribe to christianity.

Hope that’s clearer…I’m having a hard time getting the thoughts from the brain to the fingers today…