what grounds are there for believing that said creator has designated any particular writings as “divinely inspired”?
Good question. I don’t think is there is any particular human method, that would reveal to a disinterested atheist whether a religion’s scripture is divinely inspired or not.
The Holy Spirit convicts regarding salvation through Christ. A secondary result of that is that the Bible is somehow inspired since we hear about Christ through preaching, based on the Bible.
Even then the Old Testament doesn’t make much sense to a modern reader who happens to be a new Christian, unless someone else explains it. It reminds me of Chesterton’s acerbic comment when Queen Victoria allegedly presented an Afghan chieftan with a Bible, claiming it was the “secret to England’s greatness”, which was a load of codswallop of course. It had a lot more to do with her industrial revolution, navy and ruthless businessmen.
As Chesterton commented, he could hardly think of anything more confusing to an Afghan chieftan than to be presented with a book which was largely ancient Semitic folklore.
If a disinterested atheist were to sit down and wade through the Bible, the Koran, the Hindu Gita and Vedas, the Sikh Guru Granth Sahib, and the Buddhist Pitikas for starters, to try to find out which was divinely inspired, I think he’d give up and go to the pub.
One cannot jump from a belief in God as a Creator to divinely inspired designated particular writings.
Following a belief in God as Creator – we are assuming that the Creator is God–or not?
Or not, then skip the following.
If one believes that God is the Creator, then the next step is a belief that God as Creator interacts with His human creatures. Are there any problems with that step?
When they bear fruit… Okay so God said the offspring of Abraham would be a numerous as stars in the sky! And Abraham who is considered the Father of our Faith, has many many many offspring, all the Isrealites and on forth all the Christians as well… Thats currently over 2 billion ‘stars’ who are Christian children of God alone… God never changes and His word is eternal… God gave us the gift of Himself in the Eucharist, His body and blood given up for us… and that gift keeps giving in the Catholic church… Gods words are powerful, God said let there be light and there was light, and eternal… Mans words are not as powerful and limited…
some of the grounds that I find convincing are:
the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ;
the undeniable and beneficial impact of this belief on my life and growth as a human being;
the faithfulness of the Roman Catholic Church to the teachings and Person of Jesus Christ for the last two millennia;
the graces imparted to me and to many others throughout history as well as presently in people whom I know personally;
the history of the jewish people;
the particular graces evidenced by each of the seven sacraments;
the fact that believing otherwise leads one nowhere except to death and despair;
I am sure that others can add to this list that I composed off the top of my head and that I did not intend to represent as complete.
I would suggest that Karen107 touched upon the critical component.
First the “inspired Writings” must claim to have a Divine Source.
Then the fruits of the Writings will prove evidence.
Often it is difficult to discern the fruits of a said “inspired Writings” centuries after they were written, because human inclinations and human interpretations creep in and distort the spirit of the Writing.
If the fruits benefit all, and they harm no one, then they can be deemed to be Divine in origin.
Indeed…man’s words are not powerful in comparison to God’s Word.
This is the main reason why a religion begins. If religions had their sources as “man’s word” then they would no longer exist as a religion, neither would they grow.
Muhammad’s Word, or Jesus’ Word or Baha’u’llah’s Word do not compare with the words of Nietzsche, or Kant, or Gibran, or William Wordsworth, or Shakespeare.
A general definition is that God is a transcendent super-natural Pure Spirit without restrictions. God’s nature is Pure Spirit. God’s powers and perfections come under transcendent, super-natural, and without restrictions.
For example. Because God is beyond the natural, He can be the Creator of the natural world. Because God is without restrictions, He can interact with His human creatures. This is why I suggested that if one believes that God is the Creator, then the next step is a belief that God as Creator interacts with His human creatures.
Are there further comments or questions? I will reply to these first.
If not, because I cannot speak for all religions, I have freely chosen the first three chapters of Genesis to demonstrate God as Creator and as the Creator, God can interact with His human creatures.
Information source. Genesis 1: 1 and Genesis 1: 26-27.
Depending on your response, there are some additional steps before I can address your main question
“What grounds are there for believing that said creator has designated any particular writings as “divinely inspired”?”
Being a curious granny, I would want to know the purpose of designating any particular writings. That purpose would have to be extremely important for anyone to call those writings “divinely inspired”.
Once we can accept that God can interact with His human creatures, we can pretty well guess that those writings would pertain to a relationship with God Himself.
Source of guess. The dramatic shift from Genesis 1: 25 to Genesis 1: 26.
Please note. At this point, I am simply referring to writings by an observing author
The reasoning for the fact that the Creator designated certain writings as being divinely inspired is that the bible is Basic Instructions Before** L**eaving Earth.
God is Love.
But, definition, can be all.over the place depending on what God or gods is being described. There are many gods, so-called, but only one Lord Jesus Christ. For myself, coming from atheism, I chose to not define God, other than nonexistent. I did decide to check out what this God who is Love, is all about. I chose to let God be God, and observe what God has to say about Himself.
God is Love.
That is exactly why God interacts with us.
We are the only creatures who are personally invited to share in God’s love.
Genesis 1: 26-27. The difference between Genesis 1:25 and Genesis 1:26.
Genesis 2: 15-17 when read with the knowledge of Adam’s relationship with his Creator per Genesis 1: 28.
Here is one popular approach; there are many variations of this argument.
The Bible is initially approached as any other ancient work. It is not, at first, presumed to be inspired. From textual criticism we are able to conclude that we have a text the accuracy of which is more certain than the accuracy of any other ancient work.
Next we take a look at what the Bible, considered merely as a history, tells us, focusing particularly on the New Testament, and more specifically the Gospels. We examine the account contained therein of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Using what is in the Gospels themselves and what we find in extra-biblical writings from the early centuries, together with what we know of human nature (and what we can otherwise, from natural reason alone, know of divine nature), we conclude that either Jesus was just what he claimed to be—God—or he was crazy. (The one thing we know he could not have been was merely a good man who was not God, since no merely good man would make the claims he made.)
We are able to eliminate the possibility of his being a madman not just from what he said but from what his followers did after his death. Many critics of the Gospel accounts of the resurrection claim that Christ did not truly rise, that his followers took his body from the tomb and then proclaimed him risen from the dead. According to these critics, the resurrection was nothing more than a hoax. Devising a hoax to glorify a friend and mentor is one thing, but you do not find people dying for a hoax, at least not one from which they derive no benefit. Certainly if Christ had not risen, his disciples would not have died horrible deaths affirming the reality and truth of the resurrection. The result of this line of reasoning is that we must conclude that Jesus indeed rose from the dead. Consequently, his claims concerning himself—including his claim to be God—have credibility. He meant what he said and did what he said he would do.
Further, Christ said he would found a Church. Both the Bible (still taken as merely a historical book, not yet as an inspired one) and other ancient works attest to the fact that Christ established a Church with the rudiments of what we see in the Catholic Church today—papacy, hierarchy, priesthood, sacraments, and teaching authority.
We have thus taken the material and purely historically concluded that Jesus founded the Catholic Church. Because of his Resurrection we have reason to take seriously his claims concerning the Church, including its authority to teach in his name.
This Catholic Church tells us the Bible is inspired, and we can take the Church’s word for it precisely because the Church is infallible. Only after having been told by a properly constituted authority—that is, one established by God to assure us of the truth concerning matters of faith—that the Bible is inspired can we reasonably begin to use it as an inspired book.
A Spiral Argument
Note that this is not a circular argument. We are not basing the inspiration of the Bible on the Church’s infallibility and the Church’s infallibility on the word of an inspired Bible. That indeed would be a circular argument! What we have is really a spiral argument. On the first level we argue to the reliability of the Bible insofar as it is history. From that we conclude that an infallible Church was founded. And then we take the word of that infallible Church that the Bible is inspired. This is not a circular argument because the final conclusion (the Bible is inspired) is not simply a restatement of its initial finding (the Bible is historically reliable), and its initial finding (the Bible is historically reliable) is in no way based on the final conclusion (the Bible is inspired). What we have demonstrated is that without the existence of the Church, we could never know whether the Bible is inspired.
The advantages of the Catholic approach are two: First, the inspiration is really proved, not just “felt.” Second, the main fact behind the proof—the reality of an infallible, teaching Church—leads one naturally to an answer to the problem that troubled the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:30-31): How is one to know which interpretations are correct? The same Church that authenticates the Bible, that attests to its inspiration, is the authority established by Christ to interpret his word.
The basis for such acceptance is generally ecclesial identification (a religious hierarchy validates it), often as a result of textual self-identification (the text claims it). What the *individual *believer accepts is then typically a derivative of what the believer’s *faith group *accepts.