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Thread: Bible: history or fiction?

  1. #1
    deciphering the codes Apotropaic's Avatar
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    Bible: history or fiction?

    I've always been taught at my Christian class that the bible is a work of history, and we study the events of the old testament as if it was one.

    But every time we find an irregularity or a contradiction within the bible, we are told to draw only the biblical truths and not pay attention whether what is written is accurate or not.

    I'm not talking about the creation of the world ****. I'm talking about stuff like why God was prejudiced between the city of Jerusalem (which he continually saves) and the city of Babylon or Philistia (both of which he continually uses as mere puppets).

    There are many times though that I see people passing it off as history.

    Well I'm just wondering if there is an official answer. Is the bible history or fiction?
    go to sleep

  2. #2
    Fresh, Fair and Innocent Adelheid's Avatar
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    Hello Apotropaic

    Welcome to the Forum. It's good that the Forum is expanding. It's nice getting to meet with people from all over the world with different beliefs and questions. Hope you enjoy yourself here.

    Well, regarding your question of whether the Bible is history or fiction, I really believe that the Biblical accounts can be fully justified by the facts that scientists are discovering everyday. We won't go into the creation or evolution part here, since there is a thread for that, and that is not what you're after.

    You gave the example of God preserving Jerusalem and doesn't quite care about Babylon and Philistia (which was what I think you mean? I didn't quite understand that part fully, perhaps you may explain it to me again if what I understood was not what you meant.) So in short, you are accusing God of being biased, right? (no offence- that's what i think you mean)

    What God says in the bible however, shows that it is not quite true. You see, he already told Abraham when he made the covenant with him that his descendants will have to serve in Egypt and be afflicted fr 400 years because the iniquity of the Amorites were not complete. What God was saying was basically that He could not drive out the Amorities from their land yet (as a judgment for their sins) because He was being merciful, and their "iniquity cup" had not reached it's limit to overflowing. So you see, His chosen people had to serve in bondage for 400 years, waiting for the Amorites to reach their limit. I would hardly call that biasness- would you? During that 400 years, if the Amorities repented, I'm sure that God would not have driven them out, but they didn't. Nowadays, the archaeologist are finding that there were a lot of abominable practices during that time. So God was "justified" in punishing them, isn't it?

    It was the same with Philistia and Babylon. When Babylon and Philistia were "good" and the Israelites did not obey God, God allowed those neighbouring countries to take them captive and rule their land. When Babylon got proud and "didn't need God" than they would fall. That is God's way of judging the land.

    I hope this helps somewhat to your confusion.

    Also, the Bible has passed all three tests of an accurate document. It passed the internal, external and bibliographic tests. Historical scientists always apply Aristotle's Dictum for the Internal test. (i.e. that the document in question is internally consistent wih itself.) Aristotle wrote:

    "The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not assigned by the critic to himself."

    It means that one must give the document some lee-way. If 2 passages seem to contradict one another, they are not to be counted as a contradiction if a legitiate explanation can b given. If you look at it closely, you will see that explanations can be given for "contradictions"

    The next test is the external test. (i.e. it does not contradict any other work of history which has passed all three tests.) The Bible doesn't contradict. In fact, I think even the archaeological facts agree with the Biblical accounts!

    The last test is the Bibliographic test (i.e. to be a reliable document, the work must contain either direct eye-witness accounts or second hand report BASED on eye-witnesses) this is hard, since there is vrtually no original documents from any truly ancient work of history. Nearly all of the documents of history we have now concerning the different countries are all copies of the original. We know if the copy follows the original IF, they are many copies made by different people, then we would know that there is very unlikely the original was modified.

    The Bible did pass this test too. The new testament was supported by over 24,000 copies in less than 25 years after the original was written! the dead Sea Scrolls (of the book Isaiah) corresponded exactly with the already known Isaiah. every word was identical. 95% of the text were exact, the other 5% consisted of obvious slips of the pen, and variations in the spelling. The Old testament was copied faithfully too.

    Thus you see, the Bible is QUITE accurate as a document of history.
    "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." Romans 10:9-11


  3. #3
    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    "I've always been taught at my Christian class that the bible is a work of history, and we study the events of the old testament as if it was one.
    But every time we find an irregularity or a contradiction within the bible, we are told to draw only the biblical truths and not pay attention whether what is written is accurate or not."

    The historical books of the Old Testament may be described as history told from a particular racial and religious viewpoint. If you are primarily a historian, you will evaluate the facts, and try to ignore the bias, or, better still, recognise it and learn from it something about the writers. (Any history book is written from some kind of bias, and you should always remember this when reading.)

    In your Christian class, you are taught the Old Testament largely from the same viewpoint as the writers. To them the events are not mere occurrences; they are, more importantly, lessons or signs.

    I'd say that it was up to you how far you go along with the writers' interpretation of the events that they describe. Their attitudes to war, conquest and God, for example, may not agree with yours, especially since your beliefs are, presumably, derived from the New Testament rather than the Old. Where your views disagree with theirs, feel free to disagree, respectfully, allowing the possibility that they may be expressing truths that your experience does not yet allow you to appreciate.

    (Edit: If you think that the writers are portraying an unjust, vindictive God then you have at least four options: 1) Believe that they are wrong; 2) Acknowledge that you may have misunderstood what they are saying; 3) Accept that they are right; 4) Use what they are saying as evidence that God does not exist. I only include this last option, because, although it is totally invalid, it is the sort of argument that is often presented.)

    .

    .
    Last edited by Whifflingpin; 03-08-2006 at 08:27 AM.
    Voices mysterious far and near,
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  4. #4
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    Talking Hodubrow?

    Every modern scientist that has tried to disprove biblical fact has often done the complete opposite.
    Like when David took Jerusalem by storm, the passage made reference to his movement where a secret stream flowed. And later the found tunnels in Jerusalem used as a spring for the palace.
    If someone who was walking atop of the lime, bashed his staff down, those that were tunneling could hear what direct to go in.

    Also the existence of the Hittites, and such all go to prove that the bible is historically accurate, even to the fact that it is more accurate then most modern, or even ancient histories.

    I do believe that the bible is the most profitable book for any person to read, becuase it is not only a book, but a manual for following Gods wishes, and how he would like us to live.

    Thanks, Shizz.

    "A recent dicovery of the first few pages of the bible have been discovered and scientists are working round the clock to date the actual pages, if they are real then they might turn out to belong to the original manuscripts.
    They read, 'to my loving wife, for all her support. All characters in this book are purely fictional, and any relation to those dead or living are purely by coincidence."
    - Red Dwarf.

  5. #5
    Registered User silence782's Avatar
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    If a work of fiction references historical facts, that doesn't make it any less fiction.

  6. #6
    Registered User XXdarkclarityXX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silence782
    If a work of fiction references historical facts, that doesn't make it any less fiction.
    That's what people need to realize. Catholics make a big deal about "The DaVinci Code" because it references historical events. So it has to be truth, right? Woohoo, that means it's free to be ripped apart, right? WRONG. It's historical fiction, just like the Bible. Sure, it mentions historical events. But some of it is just out there...You want examples? Read the whole thing, because it's mixed in at every book of the Bible.

    Honestly, Catholics who bash the DaVinci Code piss me off. "Hey pot, did you know you're black?"...."No kettle, I did not, but you are black as well." Yup, that's what's going on here. A religion that can't be proven is accusing an author of being false.

    In any case, people will say what they want. Let's all watch the bull**** meter and hope it doesn't get TOO high.
    Name? Dissent is my name, and it is I who plagues the realm of tranquility in this tangible world which we call life. My identity is that which articulates the nature of my personality. Therefore you may call me dissent. Ahhh the amusement of the intellectually blind! The splendor of those who speak but know not! How the folly of human views have perverted the truth, such a melancholy tale is this! No, there is nothing left now. Merely the remnants of dark clarity.

  7. #7
    The Yodfather Stanislaw's Avatar
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    Er, it is not just catholics who bash the davinci code...many other christians do to, and I wonder if dan browns book would be so popular if it was pro christianity, or if it was anti muslim, buddism, or even the sikh religion?

    The bible is an interesting thing, in that it is believed on the concept of faith, and if the sole basis is that it can't be concretely proven, than I wonder how you get by on a day to day basis, considering human existance cannot be completely proven, nor can any of the "facts of science" be concretely proven. In reality you and I take different things on faith...since neither can be proven.

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    Stanislaw Lem
    1921 - 2006, Rest In Peace.
    "Faith is, at one and the same time, absolutely necessary and altogether impossible"

  8. #8
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanislaw
    considering human existance cannot be completely proven, nor can any of the "facts of science" be concretely proven.
    But these things are right here in front of us. Titanium is lighter than aluminium. If you put a seed in the ground, it grows. Milk curdles due to the introduction of certain kinds of bacteria. Human beings have sex, an egg is fertilised, a zygote is formed and another human comes into existence.

    Science doesn't accept anything as fact until its been tested over and over again. That is not taking something on faith. Within the perceptual system we're all operating in, we exist and some things are empirically provable. A large part of the history of science, very much including Darwin, is the history of people discovering things that didn't fit their assumptions and that, in some cases (Darwin again) they would have preferred not to be true.

    The point I think is being made here about religion is that it asks us to believe a lot of things that aren't right in front of us and can't be tested at all. Its proponents veer from saying, when it suits them, proof doesn't matter, it's all about faith, to seizing on any bit of possible proof that does come along like starving people grabbing at crumbs. And they are starving in a way. Religion is belief derived from subjectivity - from a desire to believe rather than from science's desire to know, which is objective. Religious people seem desperately to want their religion to be true. They're hungry for it to be. Scientists are simply trying to figure out what actually is true.

  9. #9
    The Yodfather Stanislaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blp
    But these things are right here in front of us. Titanium is lighter than aluminium. If you put a seed in the ground, it grows. Milk curdles due to the introduction of certain kinds of bacteria. Human beings have sex, an egg is fertilised, a zygote is formed and another human comes into existence.

    Science doesn't accept anything as fact until its been tested over and over again. That is not taking something on faith. Within the perceptual system we're all operating in, we exist and some things are empirically provable. A large part of the history of science, very much including Darwin, is the history of people discovering things that didn't fit their assumptions and that, in some cases (Darwin again) they would have preferred not to be true.

    The point I think is being made here about religion is that it asks us to believe a lot of things that aren't right in front of us and can't be tested at all. Its proponents veer from saying, when it suits them, proof doesn't matter, it's all about faith, to seizing on any bit of possible proof that does come along like starving people grabbing at crumbs. And they are starving in a way. Religion is belief derived from subjectivity - from a desire to believe rather than from science's desire to know, which is objective. Religious people seem desperately to want their religion to be true. They're hungry for it to be. Scientists are simply trying to figure out what actually is true.
    I believe that science and religion are two mutually exclusive entities.
    Besides, warwin was in fact not anti-religiouse, and if you read the origin of the species, he states that life was breathed into these organisms, a clear allusion to the biblical account of genesis.
    It seem that in todays age there is a sort of counter-inquisiotion taking palce, where the group who was persecuted, is now trying to perscute the descendaents of the persecutors of yore.

    However, in science, nothing is proven, only theororized, because, scientist do not believe anything to be true, just mostly true untill a better explanation comes around.

    ---------------
    Stanislaw Lem
    1921 - 2006, Rest In Peace.
    "Faith is, at one and the same time, absolutely necessary and altogether impossible"

  10. #10
    unidentified hit record blp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanislaw
    I believe that science and religion are two mutually exclusive entities.
    Besides, warwin was in fact not anti-religiouse, and if you read the origin of the species, he states that life was breathed into these organisms, a clear allusion to the biblical account of genesis.
    That was my point. Darwin theorized evolution in spite of his religious convictions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stanislaw
    It seem that in todays age there is a sort of counter-inquisiotion taking palce, where the group who was persecuted, is now trying to perscute the descendaents of the persecutors of yore.
    It's interesting that you say this, because this is fits my impression of a lot of religious people now. They feel themselves under attack and marginalised by secular society. I'm sorry you feel like that, but to some extent, please, get some perspective. Atheists are not trying Christians at courts where they're forced to wear white dunce caps and they're not burning any of you at stakes. The theory behind secularism is tolerance of both belief and non-belief. You can worship as you please can't you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stanislaw
    However, in science, nothing is proven, only theororized, because, scientist do not believe anything to be true, just mostly true untill a better explanation comes around.
    I believe I've heard a few Christians mention this point before. It's not, however, the same as your original point, which was that science was just as much a faith system as religion and it doesn't answer my refutation, which was that science is not a faith system since it constantly attempts to work with empirical evidence for its theories and tests them rigorously. Anyway, according to the point you're making now, science never insists on anything being true, despite whatever evidence it has, whereas religion insists on its ideas being true despite having no evidence, which would really seem to demonstrate that science is not a faith system.

    But I refuse to take the argument further. If you're impervious to proof, there's no point is there? And if you continue the argument yourself, I'll have to assume you're not impervious to proofs and that, therefore, you lack faith. But since that's a sort of proof too, perhaps it won't mean much to you.

  11. #11
    abnihilisation of the ety
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    jesus could walk on water = jesus was a really great swimmer

    its mostly stuff like that.

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    Registered User silence782's Avatar
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    Human existence cannot be proven? That argument is rather sopmoric. If you and I can't agree on the idea that we at least exist inherently of each other, there's no point in you continuing the discussion. After all, I could just be the a voice in your head, following your line of logic.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by silence782
    Human existence cannot be proven? That argument is rather sopmoric. If you and I can't agree on the idea that we at least exist inherently of each other, there's no point in you continuing the discussion. After all, I could just be the a voice in your head, following your line of logic.
    Dammit! Will these voices never shut up and leave me in peace?

  14. #14
    Registered User silence782's Avatar
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    I agree with the idea of secular government. Be cause a democracy serves the peope, not just the christians. If we allow things like the ten commandments to be hung in courthouses, it excludes people's of other religions. At the same time, we can't possible allow each and every religious denomination to hang the laws of their faith, ther'd be just toom many. Not to mention how they would conflict with one another. (Just imagine verses from the satanic bible next to the ten commendments...) Church is the place for faith, court is the place for law. Allowing the two to become intermingled destroys them both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanislaw
    However, in science, nothing is proven, only theororized, because, scientist do not believe anything to be true, just mostly true untill a better explanation comes around.
    I thought, it was until a better falsification comes around..?

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