I would really appreciate some help. My brother rejects the bible as the inspired word of God. He cannot accept the violence and immorality recorded in the O.T. as being of God. He wants to believe, but he hasn’t found anything convincing. I stumbled across a website that is helpful comereason.org/cmp_rlgn/cmp005.asp. It doesn’t address those issues, but it’s an important start. I would like to point him in a similar direction, using Catholic materials. Please help me do this.
This might help him with some of his Old Testament difficulties: , Bk. 22Against Faustus.
Have a blessed day!
With love in Christ,
Scripture is God-inspired, but written down by mere men. From my understanding of it, their talents, views, shortcomings, cultural aspects of the times, and interpretations of what God revealed to them comes through in their writtings. God chose to reveal himself gradually over many many years. Violent attitudes in the old testament are a reflection of humanity at the time and not the nature of God.
This is why we have the Church-the Magistereum-to inform us about the nature and will of God. Scripture can be difficult to interpret and we don’t always know which parts were written from mans’ perspective about God at the time vs Gods perspective. Where inconsistencies occur, the Church knows the heart of God, most fully revealed by Christ, better than anyone else.
Thank you for taking the time to find this for me. I will read this and forward it to him.
My priest gave me a book to read that said that the bible is inerrant in regards to matters of salvation. Then I picked up one of my Scott Hahn books in which I found a rejection of this very teaching. “But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred.”(Providentissimus Deus 40) It’s very confusing to me.
I did discuss that the Church is the teaching authority with him. I have struggles understanding scripture and have no problem acknowledging the Church as having a much better understanding than I. I am grateful to have a Magesterium to turn to. To which he replied, “So you believe something, simply because you are told to.” Yep!
I have a feeling that the only thing I will be able to offer him is my prayers. Which is probably the best there is.
Thanks everyone for your replies!
What he probably rejects is the Bible’s claim that it is inspired, which is it does not do. Text without context is a pretext. The Bible without the Church is just an excuse. Animousity toward the Bible is just prejudice and ignorance. Overcoming that is up to the Holy Spirit, and it’s up to him to resond to that.
He cannot accept the violence and immorality recorded in the O.T. as being of God.
That’s an excuse. This article is really helpful:
Tell him it doesn’t work that way. If one sincerely wants to find the truth/God, He will lead them to Himself, and, at some point, to the understanding that the CC is the true source of information about Him. You need to pray, but so does he if he’s sincere-and to study-ask, seek, and knock.
In case you are interested, I have written about inerrancy here: The Footnotes of Dei Verbum (4 Posts). I hope this helps.
Thank you all for your replies. I will be spending time with your suggested reading. My brother is not angry or anything like that. He’s trying to make sense of it. He mentioned that religion is cultural. Where you live will determine what religion you are, and all claim that they have the truth. This is a verse that he used from Exodus 21
When someone strikes his male or female slave with a rod so that the slave dies under his hand, the act shall certainly be avenged.
If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.
It’s permissible as long as the slave doesn’t die within a day or two? With these type of verses, it makes the most sense that we have to take into account the human author. Pete Holter, I am especially interested in the posts that you linked. It gives me Church documentation. I’ve been seeking that, as there are a lot of opinions out there.
I hope this helps…
The hermeneutical key for the Old Testament Scriptures is Jesus Himself. And He gives us the key to His person being found in the Old Testament when He says that “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). And of love of God, and of love of neighbor out of love for God, Jesus says that “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). From these words Augustine concludes:
“Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbor, does not yet understand them as he ought” (, Bk. 1, Ch. 36:40On Christian Doctrine).
Augustine works out this principle by using the example of Moses and divorce:
“Again, we shall find on examination, that there is no opposition between the precept of the Lord about not putting away a wife, and what was said by them of old time: ‘Whosoever puts away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.’ The Lord explains the intention of the law, which required a bill of divorce in every case where a wife was put away. The precept not to put away a wife is the opposite of saying that a man may put away his wife if he pleases; which is not what the law says. On the contrary, to prevent the wife from being put away, the law required this intermediate step, that the eagerness for separation might be checked by the writing of the bill, and the man might have time to think of the evil of putting away his wife; especially since, as it is said, among the Hebrews it was unlawful for any but the scribes to write Hebrew: for the scribes claimed the possession of superior wisdom; and if they were men of upright and pious character, their pursuits might justly entitle them to make this claim. In requiring, therefore, that in putting away his wife, a man should give her a writing of divorcement, the design was that he should be obliged to have recourse to those from whom he might expect to receive a cautious interpretation of the law, and suitable advice against separation. Having no other way of getting the bill written, the man should be obliged to submit to their direction, and to allow of their endeavors to restore peace and harmony between him and his wife. In a case where the hatred could not be overcome or checked, the bill would of course be written” (, Bk. 19, 26Against Faustus).
If you follow Augustine’s logic, which is the logic of the New Testament, and you apply it to the case of the slave, you will conclude that the Law of Moses is putting a check on an even graver injustice that must have existed in the cultural background. God was leading us to Himself by baby steps until Christ came in the fullness of time to fulfill the Law in the demonstration of love from the Cross, when “Christ died for the ungodly” even “while we were enemies” (Romans 5:6, 10); “for the one who loves another has fulfilled the Law,” and “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law” (Romans 13:8, 10). All the commandments “are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Romans 13:9).
With love in Christ,