Maybe neither one?
Attempting an adequate discussion, in one brief post, of almost anything concerning the Bible is likely to be a tight fit, like trying to shove an ostrich egg into a hummingbird’s nest. Nevertheless, here goes.
Entire books have been written documenting beyond possibility of dispute the respectability of the Bible. (One example of respectability: The Bible is arguably the greatest single instrument of mass literacy in the entire history of the English-speaking world.) That having been said, I choose to discuss, oh, so very briefly, the credibility of the Bible.
The position taken by fundamentalist Christians seems to be that the Bible is the word of God, containing no mistakes, and that It is divinely inspired, down to its every particular word.
I respectfully disagree with any claim that the Bible is error-free.
In my view the Bible contains at least one physical science error. Please read Joshua 10:12-14:
“Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘O sun, stand still in Gibeon…’ So the sun stood still…until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jasher? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man…”
The Sun “stood still”?
This story seems to reflect the ancient, long-discredited belief that the Sun revolves around the earth.
The Bible also seems to contain contradictions between one book and another. Please note Exodus 20:1-6, specifically:
“Then God spake all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other Gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Dictionary definitions of “jealous” include: “very watchful or careful in guarding or keeping rights;” “resentfully suspicious of a rival’s influence;” and “resentfully envious.”
Now read 1 Corinthians 13, especially the parts of verses 4-7 that follow:
“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
If God is love, (1 John 4:8, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love“), and if love is accurately defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, then how can God simultaneously be love and be jealous?
Anyone who reads the Bible carefully will find more such contradictions within and between the various books. Does that discredit the Bible as a source of Truth?
Not in my view.
The Bible is imperfect, just as we are. Nevertheless, the Bible is a Source of Truth, just as we are. The Bible is a signpost pointing within. It points to a Source of Truth within each of us.
We need not be religious in any way to connect with this Source of Truth. Relating to It is free for the asking. Nothing stands in the way of this—-no rite, no ritual, no clergy, no book, nothing whatsoever! This proposition can and should be tested by each person. Please don’t take or reject my word for this.
See for yourself!
We should balance our searching for Truth without by searching for Truth within. This we do by becoming mentally and emotionally quiet, and listening to this inner Source.
In my view, the Bible, taken as a whole, teaches this.
What do you think?