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BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAYS SO!! Does the Bible have a legitimate place in modern debate?

Discussion in 'Debate Forum' started by mattj, Aug 24, 2011.

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Does the Bible have a legitimate place in modern debates when it has something to say

  1. Yes

    26.6%
  2. No

    65.1%
  3. Undecided

    8.3%
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  1. mattj

    mattj .

    [img139]http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR-mjteWBV_QFIX0cEMGL5QiFldRxkLpKVvaCl-3YKl0pzPCuZd[/img139][img139]http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/images/leviticus.jpg[/img139][img139]http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/images/ftbposter.jpg[/img139]
    [img139]http://images.memegenerator.net/instances/260x260/9362337.jpg[/img139][img139]http://www.websophist.com/Gun_TotingBibleThumperMO.jpg[/img139]

    Relevant Quotes.
    What is the Bible?
    Pretty much everyone has heard of the Bible. Pretty much everyone has some idea of what it is. You might be surprised to know that for a lot of people, a lot of the things they've heard about it are absolutely not true.

    The Bible is not just one book. It is a collection of 66 books. They were written over 1500, or so, years. They were written in 8 or more countries. They were written by many authors, most of which we agree on, some of which we still debate. Rather than just being a stuffy, musty book chock full of outdated "thou shalt not"s and "so and so, beget so and so"s, the books of the Bible discuss poetry, history, geography, romance, theology, culture and many more subjects. The main theme of which is the Fall of Man, Jesus, and the Final Restoration.

    Regardless of whether or not you personally accept it, the Bible itself claims to be inspired of God, penned by man.
    It was not written by God, or Jesus, in the sense that God did not actually pen the words on the paper. It does, however, claim to be inspired by God.

    The accusations at hand.
    As you can see from the quotes in the beginning, many people do not believe the Bible has any legitimate bearing in modern debates. They believe this for various, well intentioned, thoughtful reasons. Here are a few.
    • It's old / outdated.
    • It's original message has been lost via transmission, translation, and outright deception.
    • It's not peer-reviewed / subject to update.
    • It's full of morally disagreeable dictates.
    • Science has proven its claims to be false.
    • None of its claims are observable or testable.
    • It is full of contradictions.

    A brief defense.
    It's old / outdated. I do not deny that the last books of the Bible were written circa 70 AD, and the earliest books were written circa 1450-ish BC. That makes them between 2000-ish and 3500-ish years old. That's pdang old. While I can understand where the "it was written for a different day and age" argument is coming from, I'd have to respectfully disagree with it. I see the Bible's seasoned age as a credit to its worth. Many religious texts have come and gone throughout history. The Bible is still around, and has been the best selling book in all of history, because it's doing something right. It's full of timeless truths that, while you may personally disagree with them, millions upon millions of people throughout history and around the world have agreed with regardless of the "day and age" they currently live(d) in.

    I cannot see any reason why the Bible's age could be used to disqualify it from any debate where it has something to say, today.

    It's original message has been lost via transmission, translation, and outright deception. The printing press wasn't invented until 1440 AD. Obviously before that point the individual books of the Bible were copied by hand. As anyone knows, this does open the transmission of the Bible to obvious errors. Thankfully though, copying the Bible wasn't just some boring menial chore, like say copying notes in Science Class at school would be for us. It was the sole text for many millions of people throughout history and around the world. They treated its transmission with the utmost care.
    source Scribes have been doing this since all the way back in Jeremiah. Just one great example of just how well this worked is the book Isaiah. A complete copy that has been dated to 335-ish BC (1100 years older than the more common and widely used Leningrad Codex). Even though 1100 years of painfully slow hand copying separated this copy and the Leningrad codex, there are zero significant differences between the Dead Sea copy and the Leningrad copy. The only differences were minor grammatical and linguistic changes that would be expected to happen over the course of 1000+ years as language tends to change. While I can obviously understand the skepticism that many have, over the transmission of the Bible over thousands of years by flawed men, we have countless examples like this. They did an exceptionally good job of handing down their sacred scriptures, by hand from one generation to the next.

    Concerning there being some kind of problem with the number of translations of the Bible, I would have to respectfully suggest that those who adhere to it look into the subject a little more. When I was young I wasn't sure which translation of the Bible was the "quote-unquote-right-one". One of my first resources was a Parallel Bible. It literally had 4 of the most common translations of the Bible all in columns right next to each other so you could very easily scan side to side and compare every single word of every single scripture. While reading through it I quickly came to the conclusion that any differences between translations tend to be matters of the translator's taste. The vast, VAST majority of the time there is no serious difference between any of the most common translations out there. They all say the same thing. Sometimes with different words. But generally with the exact same meaning.

    Concerning there being some kind of hidden deception behind the Bible we hold in our hands today, I would have to point out two things. Firstly, how incredibly hard that would be to pull off. Secondly, how we have absolutely no evidence of that. Just looking at the New Testament for example, we have 5,300 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin Vulgates, 9,300 others = 24,000 copies. If some person, even a person of great influence like the pope were to conceive a plot to alter the text of the Bible for his own twisted means, and he set hundreds of scribes to it, there would still be thousands of copies before him, and thousands of copies being written elsewhere. We have no evidence of this at all.

    Because the issues of transmission, translation, and deception have in fact not significantly altered or obfuscated the true meaning of the original authors, I cannot see why these could be viewed as hindrances to the Bible into any debate that it has something to contribute, today.

    It's not peer-reviewed / subject to update.I can understand how a person who views the Bible as a simple "work of man" could reasonably raise the charge that because it's not peer reviewed or subject to update as new information and discoveries come about, it is not a legitimate source for debates today. If the Bible truly is just a collection of men's thoughts, then yes, it is absolutely outdated.

    While you do have the right to believe that for various reasons, millions upon millions of others do believe the Bible when it says it was inspired of God for various reasons. The fact that one person doesn't believe it doesn't "automatically" discount what it has to offer to any debate any more than the fact that another person doesn't believe what the APA or any other source has to say.

    If the Bible is what it says it is, it has no need to bee peer-reviewed or subject to update. If the God of the Universe really is the author, what peer would review it? Who could update it? The real problem probably has more to do with people rejecting its claims than it not being peer reviewed or updated with modern times. It makes no sense that a Book that claims to be the pure, divine word of God would be subject to critique.

    I do not see how the fact that the Bible has not been updated (since 70ish AD) and was never peer-reviewed should hinder its entrance as evidence in any debate, today.

    It's full of morally disagreeable dictates. You absolutely do have the right to disagree with the claims, and commands, of the Bible. Millions upon millions of people throughout history and around the world have. As far as I can tell though, that doesn't disqualify a source from a debate. I, and millions of others, disagree with the APA's current decision that homosexuality is a choice. That doesn't automatically disqualify the APA's position from current debates. Why would disagreeing with the Bible's contents disqualify what it has to say from debates these days?

    Disagreeing with a source is no reason to disqualify it from a debate, today.

    Science has proven its claims to be false. With all due respect, this is a severely misinformed position. While the general picture that modern science paints of the origin of the universe and all the diversity of life in it does contradict the common, mainstream Christian understanding of the details of Genesis, there is no scientific finding that directly and without question or objection says "Here! This one specific verse is wrong because of findings X, Y, and Z!" Equally, many other secular sources have countering studies that disagree with them. There are few, if in fact any, studies, papers, and positions that have no objections anywhere.

    Just because the modern scientific consensus does not agree with some of the beliefs of modern, mainstream Christianity, that alone doesn't mean that the Bible itself, not the beliefs of the community, should be brushed aside in any debate, today.

    None of its claims are observable or testable. Admittedly, the Bible is not a science text book. It is not filled with detailed and organized instructions on how to replicate results. A good portion of it requires simple faith on the part of readers to accept its claims. But not all of it. While admittedly subjective, many times the God of the Bible says "try me", "test me", "see if I don't do what I said I would do". Churches are a good example that it's claims are reproducible. I can absolutely believe you when you say "I tried it and it didn't work for me", but we tried it and it did work. You can't say that we didn't read what it said to do, do it, and get the results it said it would give. Many widely accepted studies have countering studies where different results were found.

    The claims of the Bible are just as testable, observable, reproducible, and yes subjective as any other study (especially psychological studies), and should not be witheld as evidence in a debate just because it didn't work for a group of people.

    It is full of contradictions. With all the respect I can muster, I would have to strongly disagree with this. I can understand how a quick, surface reading of some handful of scriptures can lead one to imagine that X verse plainly contradicts Y verse. However, a simple google search will yield pages upon pages upon pages upon pages of apologetic responses to every single claim of contradiction that has ever been leveled in all of history. Are their scriptures that many people honestly believe contradict each other? Of course. Is there a thoughtful and honest response to every single last one of those claims? You becha meester.

    I fail to see how claims of contradiction, when countered by apologetic responses, could possibly bar the Bible from modern debate.

    My personal conclusion.
    TL;DR
    In conclusion, I am wholeheartedly convinced that the Bible is just as good a source as any other when it comes to a debate where it has something to say. Obviously, there are times when the Bible has no relevance to the conversation (quantum theory, mathematical theory, Ancient Chinese History, etc), but because its such a large collection of writings, it does cover many subjects. When it has something to add to a debate, i cannot see any reason why it should be outright rejected. I can understand how any individual could reject its authority, or its claims, or even one's personal interpretation of its words, but I fail to see why anyone would look down upon someone for using it as a source in a modern debate.

    Invitation.
    So what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Why? I'd love to hear what you think! The point of this thread isn't to convince you of the authority of the Bible. I personally don't think that it's possible to "argue someone into believing the Bible". The point of this thread is to discuss whether or not the Bible has any relevance in modern debates, or whether it's just a stuffy, musty, outdated old book that has nothing to add anymore. This is not the gay thread, and this is not an opportunity for you to flame or troll.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2011
  2. Moneyy

    Moneyy INACTIVE

    In my opinion it has no place in debates. It is an old book written by Christians, so it is biased and full of false information (no proof that the events in the Bible are real). Also, many people are not Christian, so referring to the Bible in a debate would be like saying "Christiany is right atheism and all other religions are wrong".
     
  3. kaiser soze

    kaiser soze Reading ADWD

    If you eliminate religious topics from debate, then there is no way to explain the rationale behind Middle Eastern conflicts. Of course the Bible etc. are relevant.
     
  4. Wyrm

    Wyrm ~Setting Sail~

    Truth is in your words. I agree that the Bible has large amounts of advice and knowledge that can relate to many modern day debates. I believe that the reason why people state that a person's argument is invalid when they relate to the Bible is because they just think christians are crazy. These specifically are people who don't have the slightest sense of creationism or respect for other's beliefs. And in modern day society, there are many, MANY of those people. However, I do have to say that the christians should state the Bible's logic specifically, not just say that the Bible is right, end of discussion. Though there are many ignorant people today, they also ignore this just because the exact contents of the Bible's explanation is not explained. Then again, some parts of the Bible's claims could be outright bluntly put, with no logic at all. We can just say that the Bible and it's followers don't deserve all that criticism. However, some people practically obsessed with the Bible(referring to that picture with the man with the gun and Bible in hand) do need to understand that the Bible itself can have some flaws, and they shouldn't mindlessly defend everything that exists in it's pages with tooth and claw(the gun speaks for itself).

    Also, I am against the christians taking the Bible seriously. They shouldn't shrug off other's religions/beliefs(Atheism, Catholism, etc.), stating how they're right and the others are wrong. I believe they're contradicting themselves that way, so there's no sense in that. Of course, I'm not referring to Christianity as a whole, so no offense to any christian users that see this.
     
  5. The Dark Titan

    The Dark Titan Well-Known Member

    With all due respect, Money, I do not think you should go around just saying it's full of false information. Because just as you can't prove it's all fact, you cannot prove it's all false.

    I do, however, agree with the fact that not everyone is Christian or Catholic (both bibles are fairly similar, if I'm allowed to say that), and using The Bible as a source in a debate, or to give an explanation for something is not right in the sense that you wouldn't like someone whoe practices the Islam, for example, to tell you something you're doing is wrong because the Quran says so. This is why most of us Christians and Catholics are seen as people who wish to shove The Bible down everyone's throat, even if it's not true.

    I also have to say that I disagree with some content of The Bible, all of them for diverse reasons; one of them is that some of the verses are plain ridiculus, like being unable to touch a dead pig without being condemned. The other is that I am homosexual and, of course, I disagree with theverses that say I'm an abomination and should be killed.

    All in all, I think it's a good source of faith, as it has always been, where one can marvel in God's and Jesus' miracles, but as a source of a debate, I do believe it to be outdated, besided the fact that not everyone's lives are ruled by it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  6. Mariya Shidou

    Mariya Shidou Banned

    I personally have no qualms with using the Bible as a source... in the context of a religious debate. In a more secular arena, it doesn't have much place unless its statements are backed by other sources. Saying the bible has no place in determining one's opinions, of course, is ludicrous.

    In some places, of course, it's important. For example, this argument.
    P1: Jesus loves me.
    P2: How do you know?
    P1: The Bible says so.

    In this case, you kind of have to use the Bible to arrive at a solution, don't you? However, in other debate, you need something a lot more solid than "the Bible says not to." Homosexuality arguments are a good example. The Bible will not cover your slippery slope arguments. I cannot think of a single passage that outright explains why it's a threat to the American idea of the family. Now, being a heathen and not being a religious scholar, I may have missed something. If you can find a piece of counter evidence here, feel free to state it, but I'm going to be checking to see that this isn't from the Book of Pulled-Out-of-My-***.

    It fits in some places. Elsewhere it's just not going to be enough and will just make you look like a bad debater to some (even though it'd mostly be to people whose opinions probably don't matter too much). Even if it did have a place, and I maintain that it does, it's not really advisable. It has a lot of relevant words-of-wisdom; it just doesn't have the class of backbone expected of many debates to make this something that can be fully supported.
     
  7. Moneyy

    Moneyy INACTIVE

    I should rephrase what I said. I do not think the Bible is full of false information, but it does contain misleading things in it. What I don't like is when people refer to the Bible in threads such as the Prostitution and Gay threads. They usually end up saying "well the Bible says it is wrong so therefore it must be wrong".
     
  8. Manafi's Dream

    Manafi's Dream フェアリータイプタイム

    My personal opinion:

    I fully respect the authority of the Word of God. That being said, I do feel like many others that many of the Bible's views on life are somewhat outdated. Yes, this is the word of God we are talking about here, but I don't believe that the parts of Scripture said to be God's Word are purely what they were back then. It's even possible that the people of the Old and New Testaments misunderstood God Himself, writing down that which they thought was God's message to the people of the world.

    Just a personal opinion.
     
  9. Sadib

    Sadib Time Lord Victorious

    I'm actually surprised that you made this topic. I thought this topic would be made by someone else who was tired of people using the Bible as an excuse to dismiss other's opinions.

    I have a suggestion. You should also add the Qu'ran to your OP. It's a wonderful book full of good morals and things.

    I'm going to answer "no," because not everyone in the world has the same religion.

    EDIT: For those who want to know how tolerant mattj is of other people's religions:
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  10. Pesky Persian

    Pesky Persian Caffeine Queen

    First of all, I’d like to say that it was very interesting to read your points, Mattj. Your OP was well-written and while I don’t always agree with what you say in a lot of other threads, I have to say that I’m proud of the fact that you were very respectful in your OP. It seems difficult for a lot of people do with these sorts of debates.

    Now, I’m not going to go through and counter each of your points because, personally, I wouldn’t use most, if any, of those arguments against the Bible being used in debates. I do, however, disagree with you that it’s a good “source” to back up an argument in a debate. While those who do use those arguments bring up good points (and some of them I agree with), I’m going to try to explain my reasons why, even though I identify as Christian, I would never use the Bible as a source in a debate.

    The Bible is a fine piece of literature to base your morals on provided you do not use your stance in the Bible to be hateful (general “you,” by the way, not you personally). However, I feel that it has little or no place as a source in debates. Arguments in a debate (formal debates, at least) are supposed to be backed up by solid evidence. Not everyone believes the Bible is the Word of God. Not everyone even believes there is a God. The Bible isn’t a good source for a debate argument because it’s not a universal principle. Different people of different religions have different beliefs and there is no one, all-encompassing belief. Even within its own followers, there are lots of denominations of Christianity, many of which interpret the Bible differently. That’s another thing; the Bible is up to interpretation. Each person who reads the Bible is going to interpret it differently (which I think is both a positive and a negative about it from a spiritual standpoint). You can have preachers/priests/theologians/etc. tell you how they interpret the texts, but ultimately, everyone gets something different when they read it. Few things are crystal clear.

    Science, as opposed to belief, is very much universal. While I realize that there are plenty of things in the scientific world that are up for debate and are still being tested as well as the fact that science is constantly changing when new discoveries are made, there are no “denominations” in science. Biology is always going to be biology. Geology is always going to be geology. And psychology is always going to be psychology. Christianity, on the other hand, is going to be different, even sometimes in fundamental ways, depending on who you talk to. I don’t feel that science and religion have to be separate, though. Personally, I always try to back up my arguments (regardless of if they have a religious basis or not) with something scientific. When it comes to the morals taught in the Bible, you could easily delve into the sciences of psychology and sociology to try and support your claims. Those kinds of studies are much more universal, testable*, and credible than the Bible because the belief part is taken out of the equation. Using a belief as the basis for your argument is fine, but I believe it’s important to use something much more tangible to back it up.

    *I disagree with your thoughts on the Bible being testable. Yes, you can say that you prayed to God for something to happen and it happened, therefore God did it. However, what about people of other religions who have prayed to their various deities and found the same results? Is this proof that their beliefs are testable and that their gods are real? This also brings me to my next line of thought in this debate…

    What makes the Bible so special? Why is it the religious text that should be accepted as a credible source for a debate? What about the Vedas, the Lotus Sutra, the Analects, Qur’an, or any other religious texts? In your opinion, are these just as relevant and credible as the Bible? Why or why not? The Qur’an is holy text of Islam, which believes in the same God that Christians and Jews believe in. Many of the others, the Vedas especially, predate the Bible (and even the Torah) by thousands of years. Why are these not as relevant?

    Edit, because a lot of people posted while I was typing this up in Word:
    In a nutshell, I pretty much agree with this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  11. UltimatePokemonExpert

    UltimatePokemonExpert Experienced Trainer

    I believe it is. You don't have to believe our beliefs just like how we don't believe in Atheism, Buddhism, Islam, etc. We believe what is in The Bible is right. That it's the Word of God. As for the Christians who go around hating gays and Muslims and stuff, that's wrong. God commands us to love everyone equally. Just because I think homosexuality is a sin, for example, doesn't mean I'm going to go up to a gay guy and say, "Your going to Hell". Their choice is their choice.
     
  12. mattj

    mattj .

    I didn't mention the Quaran because I've never read it and therefore am not qualified to comment on it. If you'd like to write a well reasoned post explaining your thoughts on its role in modern debates, I'm sure we'd all love to read it! From what I know of it, I don't see why it should be any less welcome in any debate where it has something of worth to say.
     
  13. Byzantine

    Byzantine Well-Known Member

    The Bible is not a good source, simply because it has ancient, and not verifiable information. Wikipedia, though a bad source, is still far better because there are outside sources which you can use to cross check it. The bible had nothing like this and thus cannot be considered more than an opinion piece which has no place in debates about facts.
     
  14. Sadib

    Sadib Time Lord Victorious

    I wonder if Wikipedia can use the Bible as a source on articles not about the Bible.
     
  15. mattj

    mattj .

    You know, that's a very good question! Here's just one example. And another. And another. And another. And another. There are hundreds, if not thousands more.

    pro-tip: CTRL+F Bible/Biblical/etc

    Curious. I wonder why the editors aren't flatly ashamed to use the Bible as a source when it has something to say in those cases?
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  16. Manafi's Dream

    Manafi's Dream フェアリータイプタイム

    I think the Bible is related to the topic of Philistines, considering they're mentioned in the Bible. That entire article is mostly Biblical information. You should find a page that is not a religious topic or article and see if the Bible is used to support it.
     
  17. mattj

    mattj .

    The Philistines were a people who lived in that area at that time. The Bible does have things to say about them; how they lived, where they lived, some snippets about their culture, etc. But it's not like a main subject of the Bible, or related to theology or anything. They were a historical people.

    Funny. It's not a topic about God, or Jesus, or salvation, or right, or wrong, or religion, or theology, but you're right, that entire article is mostly Biblical information.

    strange
     
  18. Manafi's Dream

    Manafi's Dream フェアリータイプタイム

    Which creates the possibility that people will discredit the Biblical information on the culture, because the information itself comes from the Bible. And it has some relevance (you know, in a "David killed a Philistine, kind of way) to theology.

    The problem is that information touched on in the Bible is always subject to being irrelevant and false, because there will always be people who do not believe the Bible or God's message. I honestly don't feel the Bible is a relevant source in a debate specifically because of religion barriers.
     
  19. Fused

    Fused Shun the nonbeliever

    It's old / outdated.

    You can try all you like, but this argument has some merit. There's a reason why modern people do not live like their early ancestors: we've changed, we've learned, and we've started doing things differently. Can you imagine if we tried to live the same exact way earlier civilizations did? We wouldn't be here because we were smart enough to avoid the mistakes of civilizations that are no longer with us.

    The point is, people grow and learn and live by different things. We live in a much different time than people only 50 years ago, so I don't see how it is rational to live the same way as people 2000~ years ago. And actually, considering the different rules and "contradictions" found within the Bible, the Bible actually somewhat agrees with this statement.

    It's original message has been lost via transmission, translation, and outright deception.

    It's too easy to insinuate some grumpy old man put his own bias into his copy of the Bible. It's too easy and it can't be proven. However, anyone who has studied a language like Latin, Greek, or Hebrew (the original languages of early Bibles) can tell you that the translation into English, especially modern English, is not a smooth ride. I can say, having studied at least Latin, that the languages act very differently than English - the grammar rules are completely different, not to mention several Latin words mean different things and several Latin words look extremely similar.

    I can't speak for Greek or Hebrew, but I can imagine that they too operate extremely differently than English.

    So, while it still can't technically be proven, you have to admit that at least the copies that we are surrounded with today most likely suffered translation errors at some point in their lifetime. Whether or not these errors have been corrected can be debated, but I'd rather not.

    It's full of morally disagreeable dictates.
    It is full of contradictions.

    I will admit that's a crappy argument, and I admit to having used it before. Although, I really only say that's a crappy argument based on my understanding of the Bible. It actually kind of goes back to the first point: different books of the Bible were written for different people living in different times and living under different conditions. So yeah, there are going to be different passages that contradict each other and even though it sucks, there are going to rules that we find morally repulsive but they were rules that were probably put into place for a purpose. Even slavery - the ancient Romans practiced slavery but it was vital to their culture. I imagine slavery as described in the Bible probably acted much in the same way.

    Science has proven its claims to be false.

    This is sort of a grey area - it depends on what you believe. Modern people have found ways to reconcile things like Genesis and evolution. I believe we have actually uncovered locations and artifacts that have been described in the Bible - however, that really doesn't mean that all of the messages in the Bible are reliable, it simply means some of the writers were aware of their surroundings.

    Do several scientific facts and theories contradict the Bible - yeah, most likely. Then again, there are still things unexplained and there are still theories that allow people to believe the best of both worlds.

    Now onto the actual question, no. Unless the debate is centered around the religion or the Bible, I fail to see how the Bible can actually be used as reliable reasoning. It's kinda like how you wouldn't have a botanist testify in a case of child abuse - there's a flimsy connection (if there's even a connection at all.) Likewise, no Jewish person would like a Christian to use the Bible as their know-all-end-all reasoning just like a Christian wouldn't like a Muslim doing the same thing with the Quran. They're different books for different belief systems practiced by different people and its all based on individual and personal relationships with faith, so to use the Bible or religious beliefs as a sort of fact in a secular debate... is really sort of insensitive to your audience, not to mention, you automatically lose a connection with your audience because no two people believe the exact same things. So no, I don't the Bible, or religion at all, has a place in a debate that centers around secular issues.

    So I'm going to vote No in the poll, but Professor Oak's words echoed "There's a time and place for everything."
     
  20. legendarypokemonmaster

    legendarypokemonmaster Well-Known Member

    I agree with Pesky Persian. People aren't going to take "because the bible says so" any more seriously than if their parent says "because I said so" if they don't believe in it.
     
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