Apologetics a "Copout"?


#1

I go to these theological discussions frequently and a number of points, perhaps familiar to apologists, are often raised. As Christ told us to preach the Gospel, I feel I should have some answers to a lot of these questions.

Some of them are more technical, and whenever I have posed these to apologists, I often get vague replies such as “Well, this is only a small detail and doesn’t really matter.”

The problem is, to convince someone and move an atheist or a skeptic towards faith, a rational appeal should first be made. It is not enough in this case to say “Just have faith.”

With that in mind, here are a few of the aforementioned topics and problems addressed:

  1. Evolution and Genesis. This was a contentious topic.

One person pointed out that to take the Bible at its face value, the Earth would need to be 6,000 years old.

Among his other points:

Geological evidence does not support a global flood a la Noah’s Ark

Men have existed for 2,000,000 years and evolved from ape-life Cro Magnons to Neanderthals, etc., up until modern homo sapien form. Therefore, the story of Adam being 6,000 years old and the first men does not support the fossil records that apparently indicate many men existing at once and evolving from apes rather than a single man and woman.

Inaccurate scientific claims are made in the Bible such as the sun revolving around the Earth, etc.

  1. The sins of the Church.

The Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of Galileo and the sex abuse scandal even today with cardinals elevated to their status by the Pope having transferred offending priests to other parishes all offer troubles to many of these people.

The fact that the Church seems to “cop out” with regards to evolution, having once vehemently defended creationism before backing down when science appeared to provide incontrovertible evidence of it. This person said that the Church will just surrender its beliefs as science disproves them. I thought it was ludicrous, but as regards creationism, he did have a somewhat valid point.

I attempted to point out that the actions of a few do not reflect the validity of the faith itself, but nonetheless, it was a point put out there.

The 1968 commission called by Pope Paul VI which had bishops and cardinals as well as married couples supporting contraception within marriage. It was alleged that Pope Paul, extremely indecisive, decided on Humanae Vitae’s teaching only because he could not change the teaching as it would cast great doubt on the Church’s moral authority.

The former trajectory of marriage with sexual intercourse occurring after “betrothal” but before marriage, followed by a subsequent teaching when the Church changed marriage to include that all sex acts outside marriage are “gravely immoral.”

The relative ease with which people can obtain annulments, seemingly by paying enough money to have a canon lawyer find a minute loophole to nullify what may well have been a valid marriage.

  1. Smaller biblical inconsistencies such as:

The census of Quirinius in Luke’s Gospel appears to be inconsistent with Herod’s death because the two events did not coincide as St. Luke said they did

The Old Testament’s archaic laws dictating the selling of women and their marginalization

The Old Testament’s portrayal of God as having done “evil” and “slaying nations” compared to the New Testament’s portrayal of God as perfectly loving, incapable of evil, etc.

The issue of God’s nature as one of perfection in all good attributes such as love, kindness, mercy, and the Old Testament’s “contradictory” portrayal of Him having felt jealousy or anger, which seem inconsistent with the very nature of a God who has all things already and therefore cannot be a “jealous God”

Some of these I can answer, others have stumped me, but I am interested to hear the thoughts of others. Obviously, I do not believe any of these things myself, but certain compelling points are made and I hope they can be resolved.


#2

O.K. I am not an expert but, I will give my vaque knowledg of these things.

About the age of the earth. I remeber hearing my aunt tell me about Kayla (the Adventist girl that I like which I posted a few threads about) went to a christian museam and found a fossilied shoe… made in the 1960s (I will ask my aunt which museam it was next time I talk to her) so I don’t see how you can acctually look at a rock and tell the date.

On the sins of the church. This is an odd example, If Hitler came out and said Jesus is Christ or Jack the Ripper said that Water is good to drink in its cleanest state, or Stalin comeing out and saying Murder is wrong, what they do not invaildate what was said. Jesus is still Christ, It is still good to drink water, and murder is still wrong Period.
Noone questioned weather Clinton was right after the affair when he said, “what I did was wrong.” the same should be with the church.


#3

Hooray I know some stuff! I can answer question 1 for you.

Firstly, the bible is not always scientifically true. There is another point in the bible which, if taken literally, suggests that pi = 3. Catholics are not fundamentalists, we don’t take the bible word for word. We believe in the religious truth of the bible - whatever is written in there has a message that God wants us to hear. The bible is also often historically true (especially in the Gospels), but it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be religiously true. There’s nothing wrong with the story of Adam and Eve even if it didn’t really happen - the point is that the story describes how God wanted man to be perfect, and describes man’s fallen nature because of his refusal to obey God.

I can’t seem to find this quote, darn. I’m sure that I’ve read this, probably in the Catechism. Basically somewhere says that ‘Catholics are permitted to believe in evolution, as long as they see God as the prime mover’ (ie, God is the one who made it all happen).


#4

The Church has never “copped out” on the issue of scientific debate. In fact, the earliest stance of the Church was that the Bible is not a scientific document, and shouldn’t be read as such. What the Church has never backed down from, and never will, is that the creation of humanity was special and unique. That doesn’t automatically rule out evolution from a scientific perspective, however. I recommend checking out this tract available from this very website. This is another good one, showing the diversity in opinion since the dawn of the Church.

Peace and God bless!


#5

Here is what I told my friend once:

“Maybe I’m stupid, but my stupidity is completely irrelevant. Truth is true, no matter how stupid I am.”


#6

[quote=Mike O]"Men have existed for 2,000,000 years and evolved from ape-life Cro Magnons to Neanderthals, etc., up until modern homo sapien form. Therefore, the story of Adam being 6,000 years old and the first men does not support the fossil records that apparently indicate many men existing at once and evolving from apes rather than a single man and woman.
[/quote]

Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals may indeed go back 2 million years, and what anthropologists call homo sapiens may go back to 20,000 to 100,000 years.

But historical, organized, civilizations only go back to about 6,000 BC; (i.e. men who were something more than hunter-gatherers), and written history only goes back to about 3,000 BC. This would indicate something fundamental changed in the nature of mankind around 6,000 years ago.

I would call that new thing the existence of the soul. But I doubt that your skeptic friends would even accept the existence of the soul. They are probably thorough materialists, which could be a much large sticking point than the other things you mentioned. .


#7

[quote=Flopfoot]Hooray I know some stuff! I can answer question 1 for you.

Firstly, the bible is not always scientifically true. There is another point in the bible which, if taken literally, suggests that pi = 3. Catholics are not fundamentalists, we don’t take the bible word for word. We believe in the religious truth of the bible - whatever is written in there has a message that God wants us to hear. The bible is also often historically true (especially in the Gospels), but it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be religiously true. There’s nothing wrong with the story of Adam and Eve even if it didn’t really happen - the point is that the story describes how God wanted man to be perfect, and describes man’s fallen nature because of his refusal to obey God.

I can’t seem to find this quote, darn. I’m sure that I’ve read this, probably in the Catechism. Basically somewhere says that ‘Catholics are permitted to believe in evolution, as long as they see God as the prime mover’ (ie, God is the one who made it all happen).
[/quote]

Is there really something in the Bible that gives the relation between radius and area of a circle as 3? What passage is this?

Also, I think it should be noted that what you said about Adam and Eve cannot be entirely true.

In the Catechism, the Church notes that a belief in the actual historical existence of a man named Adam is obligatory for Catholics. If the story of the Garden of Eden did not happen, why was it referenced as fact and truth all throughout the Old and New Testaments? I believe Christ also made reference at some point to the Garden of Eden, Adam, or original sin, which seems to be unlikely if all were a fabricated myth given to Moses by God.

To some others, please note that the above is not MY objection.

I do not think the Church “copped out.” These are objections of others brought to my attention.


#8

Your understanding of the details regarding the current scientific understanding around human origins is seriously flawed, based on the description you made. Please see here. You can find out many of these details here, before engaging in apologetics on this issue.


#9

[quote=Mike O] …

  1. Evolution and Genesis. This was a contentious topic.

One person pointed out that to take the Bible at its face value, the Earth would need to be 6,000 years old.

Among his other points:

Geological evidence does not support a global flood a la Noah’s Ark

Men have existed for 2,000,000 years and evolved from ape-life Cro Magnons to Neanderthals, etc., up until modern homo sapien form. Therefore, the story of Adam being 6,000 years old and the first men does not support the fossil records that apparently indicate many men existing at once and evolving from apes rather than a single man and woman.

Inaccurate scientific claims are made in the Bible such as the sun revolving around the Earth, etc.

  1. The sins of the Church.

The Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of Galileo …
[/quote]

Geocentrism is central to some of these issues. It is a matter of modernism and “big science” redefining the cosmos. See these articles:

Geocentricity 101: A beginner’s Course

[list]
*]Geocentricity 101, Part I: Basic Principles
*]Geocentricity 101, Part II: Basic Physics
*]Geocentricity 101, Part III: Scriptural and Church Position
*]Gecentricity 101, Supplement: Discussion of Scripture and Church Position
[/list]Mark Wyatt
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#10

[quote=Mike O]I go to these theological discussions frequently and a number of points, perhaps familiar to apologists, are often raised. As Christ told us to preach the Gospel, I feel I should have some answers to a lot of these questions.

Some of them are more technical, and whenever I have posed these to apologists, I often get vague replies such as “Well, this is only a small detail and doesn’t really matter.”
[/quote]

One person’s minor detail can destroy another’s faith. A detail which is minor in itself, is not always perceived as minor. I think this is one of the lessons of Romans 14, where Paul speaks of the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols: for some it was no problem, but for others it was a big problem. Calling something minor can imply that it is minor for everyone; or that the person with the problem ought to have the same attitudes as the person for whom it is no problem.

The problem is, to convince someone and move an atheist or a skeptic towards faith, a rational appeal should first be made. It is not enough in this case to say “Just have faith.”

Well, up to a point - OTOH, faith is not formally dependent on reason in general nor on individual reasons: it is wholly supernatural, and wholly dependent on the Will of God Who alone gives it, to whom He Wills. We can’t deserve it - even by intellectual brilliance - because it is purely gratuitous, depending on nothing at all in us :). Saying “have faith” to one who lacks it is like telling him to jump to the moon, only less helpful, because someone without it is radically unable to have it.

With that in mind, here are a few of the aforementioned topics and problems addressed:

  1. Evolution and Genesis. This was a contentious topic.

One person pointed out that to take the Bible at its face value, the Earth would need to be 6,000 years old.

Among his other points:

Geological evidence does not support a global flood a la Noah’s Ark

Men have existed for 2,000,000 years and evolved from ape-life Cro Magnons to Neanderthals, etc., up until modern homo sapien form. Therefore, the story of Adam being 6,000 years old and the first men does not support the fossil records that apparently indicate many men existing at once and evolving from apes rather than a single man and woman.

Inaccurate scientific claims are made in the Bible such as the sun revolving around the Earth, etc.

IM[NS]HO, a very basic knowledge of rhetorical figures would help to avoid some needless and painful misunderstandings. Other ancient books use metaphor, personification, catachresis, and so on, rathe than plain unvarnished statement alone: do people think that because Judges 9 contains a fable in which the trees are represented as speaking, we must hold that trees are or were capable of speech ? Does the Bible’s being true require us to think that it is always to be understood as though everything in it were a plain assertion of fact - even though that would make nonsense of much of it, and treat the authors as though they never wrote like their contemporaries ?

  1. The sins of the Church.
    The Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of Galileo and the sex abuse scandal even today with cardinals elevated to their status by the Pope having transferred offending priests to other parishes all offer troubles to many of these people.

If the Church is inhabited by people who are all of them sinners, then complaining when people point out the evils done by Catholics does not make much sense. Sinners sin - why should that surprise us ? To claim as a principle for studying history (if any one does claim this) that all complaints against all Catholics should always be ignored, amounts to implying that all Catholics everywhere & always have been sinless - which is daft.

So I don’t see the sins of the Church as a problem, in one sense anyway. They are of course unspeakable; but that is true of all sins, not just of sins which are well-known or committed by Catholics.

Sometimes, *when *the facts are all available - and how often does this happen ? - they turn out to be less damning than they may have been supposed to be. Or more.

The fact that the Church seems to “cop out” with regards to evolution, having once vehemently defended creationism before backing down when science appeared to provide incontrovertible evidence of it…

[continued…]


#11

…continued…]

… This person said that the Church will just surrender its beliefs as science disproves them. I thought it was ludicrous, but as regards creationism, he did have a somewhat valid point.

What the Church at large has been doing, is to try to disassociate itself from the Fundamentalist approach it formerly took for granted. (“Fundamentalist” is not a term of abuse - it describes a particular way of faith according to the principles that animate it.)

What Fundamentalists have done, is attack evolution indiscriminately because of its failure to be in strict accordance with Genesis 1 somehow or other, in a way which satisfied the criterion that Genesis 1 must be treated as accurate. Then, still being Fundamentalists, they carried on insisting that Genesis 1 was accurate; but, switched over to doing so while admitting that the conclusions and sciences they had attacked had been very largey justified. The claims about Genesis remain - and even more important to them, so does the claim of perfect Biblical accuracy in all respects; what has changed is the intellectual climate in which they work.

There has been a great paradigm shift, from the Bible as criterion of the sciences and their claims, to the sciences as criterion of what can be plausibly claimed for the Bible’s inerrancy to be upheld. What is interesting about Robert Sungenis, is that he can function very much as though no such shift had occurred; but even he is using post-Newtonian astronomical findings to argue for a pre-Newtonian conception of the earth’s position. In that, he is as much affected by “modernity” as the Biblical scholars whom he attacks. Arguments with that intellectual structure are representative of the method of Fundamentalist argument; though not proof that the arguer is a Fundamentalist. ##

I attempted to point out that the actions of a few do not reflect the validity of the faith itself, but nonetheless, it was a point put out there.

I would find that unconvincing, because it’s too defensive & too “political” - the Church’s self-defence is not why it exists: it exists so that God may be made known to all mankind by the profession of a common faith in the One Whom He has sent, raised, & exalted. Not for itself. It matters because God has committed Himself to it, irrevocably - so there is a sense in which our sins are irrelevant. Besides, God, Who is implacable against all sin, is the God works His Will by using it. As at Calvary: the greatest of human sins was also the greatest act of God’s Righteousness. So the great evil of our sins should be admitted - but not be a reason for us to fear for the Church which is made up of sinners.

The 1968 commission called by Pope Paul VI which had bishops and cardinals as well as married couples supporting contraception within marriage. It was alleged that Pope Paul, extremely indecisive, decided on Humanae Vitae’s teaching only because he could not change the teaching as it would cast great doubt on the Church’s moral authority.

That implies he was deliberately teaching what he did not believe - & that he suspected it was false. And that the Church is being misled every time the sinfulness of contraception is taught.

I would like to know the source for that (very serious) allegation, if you know it. Maybe, once the documents are all available, this can be settled one or the other way. ##

The former trajectory of marriage with sexual intercourse occurring after “betrothal” but before marriage, followed by a subsequent teaching when the Church changed marriage to include that all sex acts outside marriage are “gravely immoral.”

The relative ease with which people can obtain annulments, seemingly by paying enough money to have a canon lawyer find a minute loophole to nullify what may well have been a valid marriage.

…continued…]


#12

…continued to end]

Annulments do seem to have turned into divorce by another name: I don’t understand how a marriage can be found to be null, without requiring the conclusion that children born of such a union are illegitimate. And it seems so cavalier - as though the Church could simply wave away the experiences of what have been many years together. Who is going to pick up the pieces ? It looks so much as though having the right theological & canonical answers matters more than the human beings whose problems required to be answered.

  1. Smaller biblical inconsistencies such as:

The census of Quirinius in Luke’s Gospel appears to be inconsistent with Herod’s death because the two events did not coincide as St. Luke said they did

The Old Testament’s archaic laws dictating the selling of women and their marginalization

The Old Testament’s portrayal of God as having done “evil” and “slaying nations” compared to the New Testament’s portrayal of God as perfectly loving, incapable of evil, etc.

If we read the OT expecting to find it a sort of pre-Christian NT, we’ll be in for some shocks.

Some statements of Biblical inerrancy don’t allow for the OT to differ from the NT; and this may be the root of the trouble had with such OT issues. OT people had their own views of God & gods, which allowed them to commit what we might view as genocide - Moses did it, & Joshua, & David, and the Assyrians. Samuel rebuked Saul for breaking a taboo by not utterly exterminating the Amalekites; that does not mean that Christians can exterminate Jews. Nor does it mean that God approves of murder - it does mean that He was prepared to be known to people who had very crude moral ideas. All ideas of God are crude - those in Joshua are offensively so, only because we know something, Someone, far better than those Israelites were able to who could see God as a God of holy war and extermination. We may have far higher conceptions of what is holy - OTOH Joshua did not use napalm or A-bombs. Maybe Christians who criticise Joshua should look at what they have done with the moral knowledge they have.

To understand the OT, we have to think in OT terms - OT arrangements are not being fairly treated when they are judged by NT ethical standards. Much in the OT is sub-Christian in moral quality - that’s to be expected, if God is to work with human beings according to their actual abilties to perceive what is from Him. We receive of God according to our capacity for doing so - so did the Israelites. ##

The issue of God’s nature as one of perfection in all good attributes such as love, kindness, mercy, and the Old Testament’s “contradictory” portrayal of Him having felt jealousy or anger, which seem inconsistent with the very nature of a God who has all things already and therefore cannot be a “jealous God”

God’s “zeal” or “jealousy” is His passionate commitment & devotion to His Chosen People & to their good, which is to know Him; and one of its aspects, when His people give to another the commitment which His requires, is righteous judgement and wrath. It is a very positive quality. It is a form of His covenanted love & faithfulness. Jesus in the gospels has this same zeal.

God’s Love is itself changeless - it seems subject to change, because we to whom it seems so are subject to change. God is described as passionate, because those who describe God are subject to passions. If God had entered into a covenant with fish, they would (presumably) glorify Him in terms appropriate to the abilities & nature of fishes. Maybe they do so anyway. ##

Some of these I can answer, others have stumped me, but I am interested to hear the thoughts of others. Obviously, I do not believe any of these things myself, but certain compelling points are made and I hope they can be resolved.


#13

This is not the official teaching of the Church, though.

I did some research on the issue, and not only do Papal Encyclicals insist that the Bible is true in all its parts, but also several councils solemnly declare it . They also note that it is an error to say that only the “religious” parts of the Bible are true.

Also, Benedict XV wrote: “… belief in the Biblical narrative is as necessary to salvation as is belief in the doctrines of the faith…” (Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus)

Jesus says “… scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)

The answer is that we must revere Holy Scriptures as the Word of God, and therefore true. If anything seems amiss, then it is better to conclude we don’t understand, or that perhaps the translation we have has a mistake.
We must seek to reconcile any differences in a reasonable manner.

Don’t be too surprised if you see a contrary opinion, even in religious texts of today (such as the religious education book the 9th graders have to use by Mark Link, SJ).

The spread of such error was known even by the Popes, as shown here:

hurst


#14

If you want refutations of evolution, check some Creationist sites. There are Catholic ones, but I highly recommend these two:

answersingenesis.org

icr.org

Also for refutations of Biblical errors and contradictions I recommend this site:

tektonics.org/

Use the are in the top left corner marked ‘Apologetics Encyclopedia’ You can find practically everything you need. If not a simple Google search of your topic adding the word Apologetics should pull up something.

All such things have been answered and answered thoroughly! God has provided us with an inerrant Book, and infalliable Church and many brilliant minds. For other issues with the Church, catholic.com has plenty of good resources, and google searches will pull up plenty of good Catholic Apologetics, but remember that in some instances Church members have made mistakes and done harm from the laity to some of the popes, but this doesn’t negate the fact that our Church and our teachings are still infallible.


#15

[quote=Mike O]I go to these theological discussions frequently and a number of points, perhaps familiar to apologists, are often raised. As Christ told us to preach the Gospel, I feel I should have some answers to a lot of these questions.

[/quote]

I would (respectfully) ask you to carefully consider, what is the gospel? Does it really require extensive answers to all questions asked?

To answer my own question, I am very certain that the gospel - The Good News- is that “The reign of God is at hand”

That is to say, God is near to us and is ready to rule in our lives if only we are willing to reform our lives to live as a child of God.

Living that way has to do with how we treat each other, with helping meet basic human needs without creating endless non-basic needs like we do in our materialistic society.

Living that way has to do with finding good in the creation that God has provided us.

There are a great many topics that matter much to some people but probably don’t matter in the bigger picture. Jesus dealt with that situation sometimes. Once, when asked if he paid the temple tax, he clearly pointed out that he really didn’t think he needed to but he went ahead and did it so that others would not be scandalized.

I know that this assumption is widely held but I question it based on Jesus’s own example. He appealed to emotion at least as much as he appealed to reason. His parables were much more likely to jar our sense of justice than to challenge our intellectual assumptions. He healed and cast out demons and fed people - all if which will inspire much more gratitude than logical thinking.

He did engage occasionally in rational debates, though the people he debated with generally did not turn to God. If He was not successful in that endeavor, why would any of us think we would be.

He told His disciples to enter a town and preach the good news but if they weren’t accepted, they weren’t to carry on endless debates but should “shake the dust from their feet in testimony against that town” and move on to someone who would listen.

Anyway, I hope I am not haranging (sp?) you but as I read your post these thoughts came to mind.

peace

-Jim


#16

[quote=Mike O]Is there really something in the Bible that gives the relation between radius and area of a circle as 3? What passage is this?
[/quote]

The reference is probably to 1 Kings 7 -

[list]
*]7:23 And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
[/list]See also:

skepticsannotatedbible.com/1kg/7.html - which comments: “This verse implies that the value of p is 3. (The actual value is approximately 3.14159.)” ##

Also, I think it should be noted that what you said about Adam and Eve cannot be entirely true.

In the Catechism, the Church notes that a belief in the actual historical existence of a man named Adam is obligatory for Catholics.

If it a fact at all, it is certainly not a fact of history. The narrative of Genesis 1.26 to 11.9 describes events in “primeval time” - not in historical time. History, in the sense of a record of past events, is no older than about 3000 BC (give or take a few centuries).

Unless Adam was belonged to one of the late pre-Sumerian cultures in ancient Iraq, or was a Sumerian, or Hebrew was the language of ancient Iraq, the chapters in Genesis about his creation & fall are definitely not history. For Hebrew is a dialect of Canaanite - so it is not old enough to be as old as Sumerian, about 3200 BC; so the Hebrew puns in Genesis 1-3, such as that on adam & adamah, won’t be a word for word record of what happened; any more than biographies in French of Washington or King George III would be evidence they were Frenchmen.

The theological meaning of Genesis 1 to 3 is what makes it important - not the fictional first human pair. What fruit Adam may have eaten is irrelevant to the far more important point that each sin, trivial as it may seem, has devastating consequences. It’s a blindingly obvious lesson - yet we who have the Cross to contemplate have still not learnt it. Do we have to believe in the historical existence of Christian, Apollyon, Great-Heart, and Vanity Fair in order to learn from The Pilgrim’s Progress ? Of course not. So why do we have to believe that what looks like a Sumerian myth in Hebrew clothing, revised to express the faith of Israel, actually took place as described in Genesis ? Total devotion to God is required of us even if Adam never drew breath - it is not dependent on his existence or the absence of it. The mystery-plays which presented Adam as eating an apple may or may not have been wrong in supposing that apples grew in ancient Iraq - they were certainly closer to the theological concerns of the texts than Christians who worry about Adam’s biography, racial type, or language ##

If the story of the Garden of Eden did not happen, why was it referenced as fact and truth all throughout the Old and New Testaments? I believe Christ also made reference at some point to the Garden of Eden, Adam, or original sin, which seems to be unlikely if all were a fabricated myth given to Moses by God.

Why ? Because that was the setting in which that particular narrative was set by Israelite tradition when that part of the text was settled in its position: though there is another fall-myth, in Ezekiel 28, which describes the “prince of Tyre” as having been in “the garden of God”. Maybe it influenced the formation of the account in Genesis 3 in some way. But what relation there may be between those two texts, who knows ?

Even if the account in Gen. 3 was originally committed to Moses (which there is no reason to believe, apart from post-Mosaic traditions), Moses could not make it an account of a fact of the past if the events in Gen. 3 were not facts of the past already. But that is precisely the point at issue: were they ?

Jesus had no more information available to him about the beginnings of man’s existence than anyone else did; He did not come to settle questions about Biblical interpretation: for He settled very few. So it seems safe to suggest that God had more important reasons for becoming man; such as preaching the Kingdom of God and making known the Father to those who accepted His testimony. ##

To some others, please note that the above is not MY objection.

I do not think the Church “copped out.” These are objections of others brought to my attention.


#17

At some point, though, we all have to “just have faith” – decide to trust God.

But it does not necessarily take “faith” to conclude that God exists. The evidence for God is all around us.

At least one famous atheist has recognized this:

DNA evidence prompts famous professor to renounce atheism

In December 2004, a famous atheist and academic startled the scholarly world when he made the announcement that he had accepted the existence of God, largely due to his study of DNA.

“What I think the DNA material has done is show that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinary diverse elements together,” said Professor Antony Flew, 81, of the University of Reading, United Kingdom. “It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose” (Richard Ostling, “Leading Atheist Now Believes in God,” Associated Press report, Dec. 9, 2004).

Professor Flew is arguably the best-known atheist in the academic world of the last 50 years.

The question is whether one will believe and trust God.

hurst


#18

One example that atheists point out concerns Goliath of Geth. In one place, scripture says David slew Goliath, but in another place, someone else kills him. Atheists are expecting Bible truth on their own terms, and so will readily declare a contradiction here. This particular one is easily solved, since the first one happened when Saul was King(1 Sam 17:4), but the second one happened years later when David was King (2 Sam 21:12-22). Not only that, but the battle locations were different. In fact, the second instance describes four giants who were slain. A later scripture refers to Goliath’s brother being slain(1 Par 20:5). There were apparently numerous giants from Geth, and they occasionally had the same name as others. (Just like there are two presidents named George Bush).

I once read from Martin Gardner that the Bible can’t be true because of Titus 1:12-13

Titus 1:12 One of them a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slothful bellies. 13 This testimony is true.

He said if Cretians are always liars, then how can the testimony of a Cretian be true? This was said in the context of mathematical riddles involving true-false logic. Obviously he overlooked the fact that a prophet is defined as one who speaks the truth of God, and God was manifesting judgment for their correction.

Athiests expect life to go according to their terms, their understanding, and thus don’t find Truth.

Romans 10:3 For they, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted themselves to the justice of God.

The fact is that we are to reverently reconcile any discrepancies, and not deny the integrity of Scriptures, authored by God.

John 10:35 …the scripture cannot be broken

hurst


#19

[quote=hurst]This is not the official teaching of the Church, though.

I did some research on the issue, and not only do Papal Encyclicals insist that the Bible is true in all its parts, but also several councils solemnly declare it . They also note that it is an error to say that only the “religious” parts of the Bible are true.

Also, Benedict XV wrote: “… belief in the Biblical narrative is as necessary to salvation as is belief in the doctrines of the faith…” (Encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus)

Jesus says “… scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)

The answer is that we must revere Holy Scriptures as the Word of God, and therefore true.
[/quote]

OK :slight_smile: - however, they can’t all be true in the same sense: an account of a blasphemous assertion about Christ is not true in the same way as the blasphemous assertion: it’s a true account of an untruth. Is “He is possessed by a demon” true in the same way as “God raised this Jesus, whom you crucified, from the dead” ? Surely not.

And what of Paul’s quoting as Scripture a passage from a speech in Job by one of Job’s friends - the very friends whom the Lord in Job declares “have not spoken about me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has” ? An inspired OT book is declared to contain untruths, by the one character in it who is God - yet it is quoted as inspired Scripture in 1 Corinthians 1. Is God disagreeing with His (inspired) estimate of a large part of an OT book, ascribed to Him by whoever wrote the book in which He appears as a character ? Yet both are ascribed to His inspiration, and both are said to be free of all error.
[list]
*][left]Job 4:1 Then Eliphaz the Te’manite answered…Job 5:12 He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. [/left]
*][left]Job 5:13 He takes the wise in their own craftiness; and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. [/left]
*][left]Job 42:7 After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. [/left]
*][left]Isa 29:13 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men learned by rote; [/left]
*][left]Isa 29:14 therefore, behold, I will again do marvelous things with this people, wonderful and marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hid.”[/left]
*][left]1 Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. [/left]
*][left]1Cor 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. [/left]
[/list][left]The passage in 1 Corinthians seems to owe something to Job 5, and perhaps more to Isaiah 29, which is where much of the thought and wording seems to come from - it’s a bit of both of them, IMO; the Crucifixion is from a Christian POV a singularly “wonderful and marvellous thing”. The NT contains a very sophisticated theology of it ##[/left]

If anything seems amiss, then it is better to conclude we don’t understand, or that perhaps the translation we have has a mistake.
We must seek to reconcile any differences in a reasonable manner.

Don’t be too surprised if you see a contrary opinion, even in religious texts of today (such as the religious education book the 9th graders have to use by Mark Link, SJ).

The spread of such error was known even by the Popes, as shown here:

hurst


#20

[quote=hurst][snip…]

I once read from Martin Gardner that the Bible can’t be true because of Titus 1:12-13

He said if Cretians are always liars, then how can the testimony of a Cretian be true? This was said in the context of mathematical riddles involving true-false logic. Obviously he overlooked the fact that a prophet is defined as one who speaks the truth of God, and God was manifesting judgment for their correction.
[/quote]

## But a Cretan prophet - in this case, Epimenides - is still a member of the set “Cretans”. If Cretans are liars, then members of the set “Cretans” are also members of the set “liars”: unless an exception is made; and it isn’t:

"Epimenides of Knossos (Crete) was a semi-mythical 6th century BC Greek seer and philosopher-poet, who is said to have fallen asleep for fifty-seven years in a Cretan cave sacred to Zeus, after which he reportedly awoke with the gift of prophecy…

Epimenides’ poem Cretica is quoted twice in the New Testament. In the poem, Minos addresses Zeus thus:

They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one?
The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!
But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,
For in thee we live and move and have our being.

The “lie” of the Cretans is that Zeus was mortal; Epimenides considered Zeus immortal. The second line is quoted, with a veiled attribution (“a prophet of their own”), in the Epistle to Titus, chapter 1, verse 12, to warn Titus about the Cretans. “Cretans, always liars”, with the same theological intent as Epimenides, also appears in the Hymn to Zeus of Callimachus. The fourth line is quoted without attribution in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 17, verse 28. [unless the reference is to the Phainomena of Aratus of Soli - [/font]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aratus_of_Soli]

The “prophet” in Titus 1:12 is identified by Clement of Alexandria as Epimenides (Miscellanies, chapter 14). In this passage, Clement mentions that “some say” Epimenides should be counted among the seven wisest philosophers.

It is not clear when Epimenides became associated with the Epimenides paradox, a variation of the liar paradox. Epimenides himself does not appear to have intended any irony or paradox in his statement, “Cretans, always liars”, nor did Callimachus, nor the author of Titus, nor Clement. In the Middle Ages, many forms of the liar paradox were studied under the heading of insolubilia, but these were not associated with Epimenides. The earliest unmistakable reference to the Epimenides paradox as it is known today is an article by Bertrand Russell on the theory of types dating to 1908."

[/font]http://epimenides.biography.ms/

**See also: **[/font]http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2002-02/9001.html ##

Athiests expect life to go according to their terms, their understanding, and thus don’t find Truth.

The fact is that we are to reverently reconcile any discrepancies, and not deny the integrity of Scriptures, authored by God.

hurst


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.