Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Posts are in reverse chronological order.

Circular Logic

My new pal Marc Velazquez has become the de facto moderator in a discussion about whether one should use the Bible’s claim of inerrancy as proof of – its inerrancy. Some threads of this argument lead back to a post of mine, so I thought I'd offer a little clarification of my view, for what it’s worth.

I do not think that you should use the Bible’s claim as direct “proof”, as this is indeed circular and will get you flunked out of Rhetoric 101 (which is, of course, not taught anymore – having be replaced with courses like How Maya D’Angelou’s poetry foresaw the Glorious Palestinian Uprising.)

My argument was this:

  • As believers, we have to decide how much credence to place in the Bible.

  • If the Bible is just a “little bit” wrong, maybe we can toss out those things we don’t like, such as those nasty requirements that elders should be men.

  • The fact that the Bible claims its own inerrancy (2 Tim 3:16) means, to me, it has raised the standard—it is hard for something which claims to be totally and absolutely correct to be just a little wrong.

In other words, the Bible’s self referential claim leaves us, it seems to me, a choice between a Bible that is in grievous error, or one that is inerrant. I choose the latter.

Does that avoid the circularity? I'm not sure. I never studied Rhetoric.

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