Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dear Jinx: Here's your chance to shine.


Back here, you can see the classic example of what passes for intellectual discourse with one Jason/"Jinx McHue:"

Someone: [Well-reasoned and comprehensive argument.]

Jinx: Well, you're just ignorant, that's all.

Apparently, your humble correspondent (uh, that would be me) is just, like, totally ignorant of things theological such as the concept of Biblical innerancy and stuff like that. Apparently, in Jinx's world, being a Christian means he is the de facto expert on things Christian, while those of us who are not cannot possibly have anything to say on the subject.

(This attitude is especially amusing since Christians in the United States are, as a lot, stupefying ignorant of even the basics of Christianity. And we're not talking deep, philosophical issues -- we're talking that they barely know half of the Ten Commandments, simple stuff like that.)

So, against my better judgment, I'm going to invite Jinx to enlighten us all on Biblical innerancy and how, by whatever definition he chooses to defend, none of this constitutes errors, discrepancies or contradictions. But there will be rules.

As regular readers have already noticed, Jinx has a nasty habit of making claims, being called on them, refusing to address those criticisms and storming off in a huff, spewing ignorant epithets all the way. So here's what's going to happen.

I'm inviting Jinx to explain what he means by "Biblical inerrancy." If he does so by actually addressing the issue, I'll allow the conversation to continue. The instant he tries to tap dance his way around the issue or avoids the subject at hand, the dialogue is over.

Jinx (and other Bible-pounding wanks like him) love to don the mantle of Christian martyrdom, and bitch and whine about how they're being "censored" by bloggers who, finally fed up with their sanctimonious stupidity, simply start deleting their comments. Well, now's his chance.

I'm officially inviting Jinx to submit here, as long as he addresses the issue, and only if he addresses the issue. Now we'll see if Jinx is actually capable of intellectual discourse, or if he's just a typical Christian blowhard. Place your bets.

Jinx, the ball is in your court.

BY THE WAY, one common apologetic to dismiss obvious contradictions between the Old and New Testaments is to claim that the rules in the NT somehow supersede those in the OT. People trying this strategy will generally point to NT passages like this:

Matthew 5:38-39: "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

to bolster their claim that Jesus is obviously rewriting the rules. Sadly, that flies in the face of verses earlier in that same chapter:

Matthew 5:17-19: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

In short, Christians try to explain away numerous discrepancies in Scripture with a strategy that is, in fact, contradicted by Scripture. You have to love the irony.

22 comments:

cmax said...

This is all too silly to countenance, Mr. CC. Adults normally don't tolerate this level of stupidity, except perhaps from young childeren.

Procrastinatrix said...

I don't think its silly. I think its a good argument against blind faith. People read the bible and interpret it literally word for word, and use it as an excuse to discriminate against those who don't fit into its line by line ideology.

If it were really written by the "perfect" God then it wouldn't have contradictions. Its contradictions are a clue that maybe the bible is a book of guidelines and stories for people to follow instead of a strict rule book. (ie don't hurt and judge other people, although I don't know too many christians who actually FOLLOW that guideline).

Its not enough to dismiss people for questioning the bible. You have to be able to defend it if your faith is that blind. I would like to see why "Mr. CC" is wrong. I am not about to sit and read the bible cover to cover any time soon (although I have read parts of it), so I would like to be enlightened.

cmax said...

I guess I wasn't clear, Rosie. I was refering to the mentality and intellectual prowess of so-called christians, not CC.

CC is way cool in my book!

Shannon said...

I must admit, I'm curious. This should be interesting.

Jason said...

As usual, most critics of inerrancy show that they have never actually studied the issue. That fact has not been disproven here.

Inerrancy refers to the original writings by the original authors, not the subsequent copies of those writings by others. This is **THE** **MOST** **BASIC** premise of inerrancy, yet I have yet to see anyone here display any knowledge of it. How can anyone argue against inerrancy when they don't possess the most basic knowledge of what it is? I mean, what would you think of someone who argued against evolution without knowing its basic premise of change over time? It would be ridiculous to take them seriously. So now you see where I stand. You argue against inerrancy without even knowing what it means, so how can I discuss anything further?

And no, CC, despite your desperate attempt to burn a straw man, you don't have to believe in inerrancy to argue against it or pass judgment of it, but at least have some basic knowledge of it. Please take the time to research the issue before you spout off on it again. It will help you avoid embarrassing yourself further.

CC said...

Jason takes the challenge, writing (in part):

Inerrancy refers to the original writings by the original authors, not the subsequent copies of those writings by others.

Not surprisingly, I kind of saw this coming, as it's a particularly popular and hypocritical approach to dealing with Scriptural critics.

First, the Bibilophiles demand that you read the Bible. After all, how can you possibly have an intelligent conversation about the Bible until you've read it? (Not an unreasonable position, you have to admit.)

So you do exactly what they ask of you -- you go off and read it. And you find, as I have pointed out, numerous discrepancies and contradictions. But when you point that out, well, suddenly, having just read the Bible (which was, as you recall the original request) is no longer sufficient.

No, now you must read it in the original language. And that's because, after you read it the first time in English, you didn't come up with the right answer so, in essence, you're being sent back to try again. Maybe this time you'll get it right.

(As an aside, the demand that you read the original autographs is typically made by those who have never done it themselves. But don't let that double standard slow you down.)

But that's not the best part. The best part is that, if the only way to truly understand the Bible is to read the original autographs, then why is anyone asking you to read them in English in the first place?

What's the point of wasting my time telling me to read the Bible, only to later tell me that that didn't really count and that I have to do it all over again?

In short, Jason's position, whether he understands it or not, is that English translations of the Bible are a total waste of paper.

Amazingly, we both agree on something for a change.

CC said...

By the way, regarding Jason's demand that you have to read the Bible in its original language, well, that really doesn't help his position since it sometimes causes more problems.

As an example, in the original Old Testament, the word used to describe Jesus' mother was "almah" (young woman) and not "bethulah" (virgin).

By all accounts, it was Greek scholars in the 3rd century BC who translated that original "almah" to the Greek word "parthenos" (virgin in Greek), thus starting the myth of the "virgin birth."

Jason should be really careful about relying too much on those original autographs. They have a bad habit of coming back to bite one in the ass.

CC said...

By the way, it's not like I want to keep flogging this (well, OK, yes I do), but I want you all to notice an implication in what Jinx wrote.

By suggesting that we need to read "the original writings by the original authors," I'm assuming Jinx means that we have to read that material in its original language. (If that's not what he means, then I have no idea what he's suggesting.)

So by suggesting this, Jinx is clearly implying that modern English translations are not to be trusted. (I don't see any way that Jinx can not be implying that. Do you?)

But how is it possible that, after all these years, there is still not a single reliable and reasonably accurate English translation of Scripture?

How it is possible that, after all these years, one is still told that, to truly understand the word of God, one must go back to the original autographs?

Why can't these people just, for once, sit down and come up with a decent and meaningful translation? How hard can that be?

Instead, they keep pumping out these apparently worthless English translations, then tell you that you really can't count on them after all.

Suggestion: just come up with a decent freakin' translation and be done with it. Do you think you can handle that? Then you can stop whining about all this "read the original autographs" bullshit.

grog said...

So, Jason ... how's your Aramaic these days? {not to mention your understanding of the society of that time and a few other less than trivial details}

Even if I accept the opening assertion that ONLY the ORIGINAL scripture sources are INERRANT, I still have a huge problem with modern day interpretation of scripture:

1) Changes in societal context over a mere few decades, much less millenia, mean that words morph and change meaning. This calls into question virtually any attempt to translate ancient writings. {which by the way is a huge bugbear problem in archeology and anthropology}

2) Far too many apologists claim that the translations of the Bible are also inerrant.

You cannot have it both ways. If the original is "absolutely correct", and the translation is "absolutely correct", then any inconsistency in one is present in the other.

Alternatively, you may claim that any inconsistency is due to some kind of translational error. {Of course, we also have to acknowledge that society has changed over time as well, rendering certain aspects of scripture irrelevant in the first place}

In either case, skeptics can validly claim that the scripture and its modern interpretation are highly questionable.

3) Inerrancy does not protect the person interpreting the scripture from error. In other words, even if I apply the most literal interpretation possible, there is still a problem because the social context in which I am interpreting the words has changed from the context in which they were originally written. Therefore, I cannot possibly be sure that my understanding of the words is "Spiritually Correct" relative to the originals because of the vast differences in context.

In other words, even if you assert that Scriptures {and its subsequent translations} are "inerrant", that doesn't mean that it is being interpreted Correctly.

Therefore, I have to look not at the literal words, but the spirit of the words to achieve any meaningful understanding. If I attempt to treat the bible literally, I am obliged to question the logical and structural inconsistencies that exist with in the text.

Jason said...

*sigh* If you're going to make up arguments for me, CC, then why bother asking me to post? I **NEVER** said anything about anyone having to read the whole Bible, read the Bible in the original languages, or read the original autographs.

If this is what you are going to do, then just go back to deleting my posts. Just go ahead and make all my arguments for me. Wait, that's what you've been doing all along anyway, so I guess I don't need to actually tell you to do that.

Jason said...

By the way, what you did in your blog post and are doing here in the comments is building and burning straw man arguments. You're quite adept at it, in fact. I know I can count on reading at least one every day you post.

CC said...

First, Jason wrote:

Inerrancy refers to the original writings by the original authors, not the subsequent copies of those writings by others. This is **THE** **MOST** **BASIC** premise of inerrancy, yet I have yet to see anyone here display any knowledge of it.

Then, Jason wrote:

I **NEVER** said anything about anyone having to read the whole Bible, read the Bible in the original languages, or read the original autographs.

In that case, Jason, feel free to clarify what you meant by what you wrote in that first post. But don't stop there.

Also feel free to give a single example of how doing that would address any of those contradictions I have previously referred to.

If you refuse to explain your position clearly, you have no one to blame but yourself when someone can't figure out what you're talking about.

I am trying to be as accommodating as possible, but you're making it impossible to carry on an intelligent conversation.

CC said...

By the way, Jason, there's one more point that needs to be made here.

It's utterly pointless to suggest that someone should read the original authors, or the original autographs, or whatever it is you're suggesting, unless you're also clearly suggesting that doing that would resolve all of those apparent contradictions I've linked to.

Note well, readers, that in suggesting I read the original authors, Jason has as much as admitted that those contradictions exist in the English translations. If he weren't admitting that, there would be no need to tell me I have to keep reading, would there? But it doesn't end there.

When someone snarkily asks you if you've read the Bible in its original language (or some variation of that), the only proper response is, "Why should I? Are you saying that would make a difference? In what way?"

It's not enough for someone to suggest that, if you read the original autographs, the apparent discrepancies might disappear. I'm not interested in "might." Unless you give me a good reason to expend that effort, I'm not going to bother.

Jason has suggested that reading the original authors is somehow going to solve the problem, yet he hasn't provided a single example of that. Until he does, neither I nor anyone else has any obligation to follow that advice.

Sure, if I read the original authors, the problems might vanish. Similarly, if pigs had wings, they could fly.

Jason should either produce a concrete example of such a resolution, or he should stop blowing smoke. Because that's all he's doing right now.

Jason said...

CC, all I was doing was explaining what inerrancy is. You read that and through some twisted line of thinking (quite bizarre for someone who supposedly is "reality-based" and prizes reason and rationality) turned it into a straw man about me supposedly saying you had to read not only in the original languages, but also the original autographs. How exactly am I supposed to discuss anything with you if that's what you are going to do each and every time I post? How can I explain any contradiction or error you point out when you are going to play these stupid, childish games? Why should I post anything more on the subject when you are obviously not going to take anything seriously and with an open mind? I don't like to waste my time, CC, but right now, that's what it appears I will be doing. You simply are too arrogant and close-minded for me to take the time I need for a meaningful discussion.

jay said...

Jason, you could simply start by doing instead of diverting into your own straw man argument.

"How can I explain any contradiction or error you point out when you are going to play these stupid, childish games?"

Simple... Take a contradiction, and explain it. Transcend the notions of the silly pagans and explain to them how you can understand and see through the apparent contradictions in the word of your God. You need to stay on track, not keep CC on track.

As for taking the highground way out, "You simply are too arrogant and close-minded for me to take the time I need for a meaningful discussion," shouldn't you as a Christian (if I am right in assuming this to be the case) be compassionate for those who haven't yet accepted Jesus into their hearts? Shouldn't you be doing all that you can to save as many poor lost mortal souls as you can? Are saying here that you, as a good Christian soldier, are abandoning CC to a life of sin because you can't be bothered to do the Christian thing and take pity on a poor lost soul, to patiently explain and toil to convince and convert CC into a godfearing Christian?

Onward Christian Soldier Onward! Move your argument forward, don't play these silly games.

I'm a little late on this post/thread?, but it needs saying anyways.

cmax said...

Oh evangelize me, you big bitch! You are sure to convert my sorry pagan ass. The holie sprite just humps me so good. Thankie, thankie.

Nice try ~

jay said...

cmax, just so were clear here: ditto on your second comment ;)

CC said...

Jason:

I explicitly invited you to make your case here and, instead, you have done nothing more than bitch and whine about how I'm being a big bully or something.

Either present your case or take a hike. I have neither the time nor the patience for listening to you feel sorry for yourself.

CC said...

By the way, Jason, if you have time to post crap like this on another site, one would think you have the time to come up with something worth reading here.

Apparently not.

P.S. I'm amused by your claim that you were only trying to explain to me what "inerrancy" meant. As far as I can tell, you've done no such thing up till now.

Perhaps that would be a good place to start, yes?

Grog said...

Apparently his compatriots on TheologyWeb are as mystified as the rest of us:

Follow up comment to Jinx/Jason on TheologyWeb:

Uh, what the heck were you talking about regarding inerracny anyways?

Spelling errors aside, apparently Jinx's argument didn't make sense to them either.

Mike said...

Out of curiousity, Jason/Jinx, could you point me to these original versions?

And BTW, isn't one of the arguments many fundies use to claim that the Bible is accurate is actually how the Dead Sea scrolls show how some books have changed very little?

So is the Bible innaccurate because of mistranslation (clearly shown to be false by the dead sea scrolls and the scrolls of Nag Hammadi) or is it just innacurate?

CC said...

Uh oh ... someone's taking their ball(s) and going home. And just when we were making such progress. Pity.