BUT!!! The bible isnt authoritative!

So, this is what a guy said to me, and then asked me to show my logic for believing the Bible is authoritative.

Now, there are probably better, more logical answers than this, but this is my personal, researched “feelings” on the matter:

1. God exists because I have met him personally and have an ongoing relationship with God.
2. Because I have met God, I recognise the validity of the history recorded about Him in the Bible
3. Therefore the bible is, to me, authoritative and inspired by God.
4. Because the bible is authoritative and inspired, and contained within it are the criteria for measuring ANY relationship claim about God,
5. We have a method of validating claims of those who claim to have a relationship with God.

An analogy might be:
1. I know Ozzy Osborne exists because I have met him, and have an ongoing relationship with him
2. Because I know Ozzy, I recognise the truth contained within the Autobiography written about him
3. Therefore, regarding Ozzy, his autobiography is authoritative and inspired by Ozzy.
4. His autobiography, therefore, is inspired and authoritative contained within it are the criteria for measuring ANY relationship claim about Ozzy,
5. We have a method of validating claims of those who claim to have a relationship with Ozzy.

(note, I dont actually know Ozzy Osborne, but I do know God)

Dont shoot me!

Enhanced by Zemanta

You Might Also Like

18 Replies to “BUT!!! The bible isnt authoritative!”

  1. I like your logic, and it’s very similar to mine as to why I believe in the authority of the Bible. But I wonder how to get from here to dialog with other religions. I’m a Swedenborgian; and my logic for believing that Swedenborg’s writings were Divinely inspired is the same: I know God because I’ve met Him personally and have a relationship with Him, and because I’ve met Him I recognize the validity of the revelation of Him in Swedenborg’s Writings. Add to this a Muslim who says the same thing about the Koran, and I just wonder how we can do anything than say to each other, “I know God, I’ve seen Him in this book, and if you don’t see Him there, you don’t really know Him.”

  2. I don’t believe your logic works at all. I say that not as an attack on your conclusion – I am a Presbyterian minister and give the Bible authority in my life, but not for the reasons you have described.

    Here are the problems I see:

    God and Ozzy Osbourne are not analogously apprehensible. You and I have equal ability to know Ozzy Osbourne. He is a material being with fixed attributes we can quantify and describe and come to a high degree of agreement upon. It is empirically verifiable whether I actually know Ozzy Osbourne or not. We can quiz me about trivia on Ozzy which is well known and verifiable in many sources. We can ask Ozzy himself if we are acquainted. My claim can be falsified.

    The same is not true at all with God. You and I may both claim to know God and be in a personal relationship with God, but come to entirely different conclusions about God’s attributes which cannot be meaningfully verified or falsified.

    Your connecting this to scripture only problematizes your reason even further. If you claim to know Ozzy and base that upon facts in a book which you claim is his autobiography I can find out for a matter of fact whether Ozzy wrote the book and if its details are in the main accurate. If by analogy the same is said to be true of the Bible then when I discover by study that scripture has many human authors, not one of them God, then your claim to have verification of your relationship with God by knowing the details of his autobiography is false because it is not an autobiography at all. It is at best a compilation of semi-biographical writings by people who similarly have made an unverifiable and unfalsifiable claim to relationship with God.

  3. Coleman Glenn :
    I like your logic, and it’s very similar to mine as to why I believe in the authority of the Bible. But I wonder how to get from here to dialog with other religions. I’m a Swedenborgian; and my logic for believing that Swedenborg’s writings were Divinely inspired is the same: I know God because I’ve met Him personally and have a relationship with Him, and because I’ve met Him I recognize the validity of the revelation of Him in Swedenborg’s Writings. Add to this a Muslim who says the same thing about the Koran, and I just wonder how we can do anything than say to each other, “I know God, I’ve seen Him in this book, and if you don’t see Him there, you don’t really know Him.”

    Hi Glenn,

    Why do we _have_ to dialogue with other religions about it? If they have not had a “personal encounter with God” then anything they say is moot, surely?

  4. Aric Clark :
    I don’t believe your logic works at all. I say that not as an attack on your conclusion – I am a Presbyterian minister and give the Bible authority in my life, but not for the reasons you have described.
    Here are the problems I see:
    God and Ozzy Osbourne are not analogously apprehensible. You and I have equal ability to know Ozzy Osbourne. He is a material being with fixed attributes we can quantify and describe and come to a high degree of agreement upon. It is empirically verifiable whether I actually know Ozzy Osbourne or not. We can quiz me about trivia on Ozzy which is well known and verifiable in many sources. We can ask Ozzy himself if we are acquainted. My claim can be falsified.
    The same is not true at all with God. You and I may both claim to know God and be in a personal relationship with God, but come to entirely different conclusions about God’s attributes which cannot be meaningfully verified or falsified.
    Your connecting this to scripture only problematizes your reason even further. If you claim to know Ozzy and base that upon facts in a book which you claim is his autobiography I can find out for a matter of fact whether Ozzy wrote the book and if its details are in the main accurate. If by analogy the same is said to be true of the Bible then when I discover by study that scripture has many human authors, not one of them God, then your claim to have verification of your relationship with God by knowing the details of his autobiography is false because it is not an autobiography at all. It is at best a compilation of semi-biographical writings by people who similarly have made an unverifiable and unfalsifiable claim to relationship with God.

    Hi Aric,

    I can and do know God the same way I can know Ozzy. We have a source of authoritative information about God which is there in order that we can verify any claims made about God.

    For reference, Ozzy’s autobiography was not written by Ozzy, what matters is the truth of the content within. Ozzy “caused” the autobiography to written, and directly contributed as well as anecdotally. So, it matters not who the author(s) are.

    So, we are led back to the same point. It is only by a personal relationship with God that you can know whether the content of his “biography” is true (regardless of who wrote it), their claims to relationship or not are irrelevant.

  5. Geoff,

    #1 You know God and Ozzy the same way? So you know when God was born? You know God’s limitations – his strengths and weaknesses? You know (or can know) unequivocally everything God has done and has not done in his lifetime? You can introduce me and let me shake God’s hand in a way that is not metaphorical or spiritual, but physical, material, temporally and spatially bound?

    #2 Your logic is self-referential in the extreme. You claim to know God and Ozzy because you have an authoritative source of information about them, but your original argument is that the source of info is authoritative because you know God and Ozzy.

    #3 It matters who wrote the book(s) and that your claims are verifiable and falsifiable. If Ozzy didn’t write the book it is not an autobiography, it is a biography. If Ozzy caused it to be written then that is a testable claim. There is a contract and a witness somewhere to verify it. There is no way to verify or falsify that God caused scripture to be written. It is taken on faith, a faith you say you have because you know God, but then applying mind boggling circular logic then claim you know God because you have this authoritative source…

    The claims of the authors of scripture to know God are not irrelevant. I didn’t say they were. I said there were neither verifiable nor falsifiable.

  6. Aric Clark :
    Geoff,
    #1 You know God and Ozzy the same way? So you know when God was born? You know God’s limitations – his strengths and weaknesses? You know (or can know) unequivocally everything God has done and has not done in his lifetime? You can introduce me and let me shake God’s hand in a way that is not metaphorical or spiritual, but physical, material, temporally and spatially bound?
    #2 Your logic is self-referential in the extreme. You claim to know God and Ozzy because you have an authoritative source of information about them, but your original argument is that the source of info is authoritative because you know God and Ozzy.
    #3 It matters who wrote the book(s) and that your claims are verifiable and falsifiable. If Ozzy didn’t write the book it is not an autobiography, it is a biography. If Ozzy caused it to be written then that is a testable claim. There is a contract and a witness somewhere to verify it. There is no way to verify or falsify that God caused scripture to be written. It is taken on faith, a faith you say you have because you know God, but then applying mind boggling circular logic then claim you know God because you have this authoritative source…
    The claims of the authors of scripture to know God are not irrelevant. I didn’t say they were. I said there were neither verifiable nor falsifiable.

    #1 Yes, I know them as persons whom I could have a relationship. I dont know when Ozzy was born, dont care. Its irrelevant. Its relationship with a peson, not facts about the person. The facts are only relevant AFTER the “knowing”.
    #2 No, I claim to know God because I have met him, NOT because I have any “source” other than the person. Knowing the person means I have insight into any source.
    #3 This is still irrelevant. You can pick holes in any analogy, its just an example of how it might work. Whether or not there are contracts or any other “human” form of testing is irrelevant.

    You are missing the point. The “source” is not authoritative because it is about the person. It is authoritative TO ME because _I KNOW_ the person, and can ascertain its veracity.

    You can feel free to approach it from the opposite way, but thats not how I am doing it in this post.

    1. #1 Facts about Ozzy like his birthdate are knowable, whether you personally know them or not. They are not knowable about God. Your theology here destroys God. YWHW is known precisely as the one who is beyond our comprehension. God is NOT knowable in the same way, even analogously as Ozzy.

      #2 I am merely repeating back to you what you have said. Above, you said “I can and do know God the same way I can know Ozzy. We have a source of authoritative information about God which is there in order that we can verify any claims made about God.” I read this as I know god because there is a source of authoritative information about God (the Bible) where I can learn about him.” How am I misreading you?

      Have you met Ozzy face to face and shaken his hand and are therefore saying you have also done the same with God and this is how you know God? If so, please introduce me so that I may shake the singular physical hand of God in a way that is not at all metaphorical.

      If you “know” Ozzy by reputation through the words of others and this is the same way you “know” God then your reasoning is circular because the source of your knowledge is the same thing you are claiming is authoritative on the basis of your knowledge.

      1. #1 It does not destroy God. Not being able to personally know God “Destroys” God.

        #2 I did not say that I KNOW God because of some authoritative information. You appear to be purposely duplicitous here.

        Yes, I have met God and been physically touched by him.
        Havent you? Perhaps that is the problem.
        Note: I am not a charismatic or a pentecostal particularly.

        1. #1 I didn’t say we can’t personally know God. You play very fast and loose with your terms and logic. I said God is not knowable in the same way as Ozzy. It is beyond facile to say otherwise.

          #2 The conversation is apparently over if you’re going to start accusing me of being purposely duplicitous. I quoted verbatim your own words back to you where you said exactly what I alleged. I explained my interpretation and offered you the opportunity to explain how you intended what you said in some other sense, but instead of conversing you jumped to ad hominem.

  7. Aric

    #1: The point of the discussion is not whether Ozzy and God are “knowable in the same way”. The point is that KNOWING God is the only way one can be assured of the truth of the written record about God. Ozzy is an analogy, not a facsimile.

    #2 You quoted what I said out of context, for the purpose of manipulating the conversation. I am merely keeping it on track.

    The question of whether you have actually had a personal experience with God is quite valid in the context of the conversation.

  8. Your logic falls for others because of your very personal first point: how did you met God personally and what does mean “ongoing relationship” ?
    If this affirmation is firm the others are somehow related to it but not without problems. My doubts are just about first statement.

  9. Geof et al…
    youall seem to be missing the primary issue here. We know the Bible is authoritative because God has revealed it as such. Everything else is 2ndary to that when discussing the Bible’s authority. I would delve into this further if anyone wants after i get a monitor (hopefully in the next 12hours)

  10. I think there’s an unspoken first premise here: “I trust whatever ‘senses’ / information told me I was meeting God as much as I would trust whatever senses / information would tell me I was meeting Ozzy Osbourne.” This is valid reasoning for the person holding the view – but it means that this argument isn’t going to convince anyone else of the Bible’s authority. But I don’t think that was Geof’s purpose (although correct me if I’m wrong) – it was to explain why HE takes the Bible to be authoritative.

  11. Geoff has all rights to feel and believe what (and how) God revealed to him. My concern is that whenever somebody asks me same question (Is the Bible authoritative?) i’m in a very big trouble. I cannot explain to him in a convincing way the first point of Geoff’ logic because of its too-much-personal charge. So what do I have to do ?

  12. Coleman, what you are describing is the presuppositional framework known as empericism.

    George, you cannot explain why the Bible is authoritative. That is either divinely revealed to someone or it is not. You can however show that given the presumption it is authoritative it is wholey consistent and then build secondary claims such as Geof’s. Part of the issue you will face in trying to convince someone of biblical authority is determining if they are an empericist, modernist or post modernist. Ibelieve a stronger position is to simply espouse the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them or allow them to draw themselves deeper into damnation

  13. R.K.Brumbelow :
    Coleman, what you are describing is the presuppositional framework known as empericism.
    You can however show that given the presumption it is authoritative it is wholey consistent and then build secondary claims such as Geof’s.
    …allow the Holy Spirit to convict them or allow them to draw themselves deeper into damnation

    How do you define “authoritative” ? I can also proving that the Bible is wholey consistent and then, from consistency, I prove the so-called authority.
    Allowing the Holy Spirit… that’s not an answer to give. Or it is a full of shame answer because people wich I meet every day request a kind of logical positivism (or neopositivism, whatever) reasoning. This is my biggest quest: explain notions like God, Holy Spirit, sin, in a “empiricist” context, not taking those notions as a common ground as I do with religious people.

  14. I will not quible over authoritative, i mean it in its base most term. As for trying to ecplain the supernatural to a philosophy that denies the supernatural… you can’t. You can use presuppositional apologetics to show consistancy of the Bible’s veiw and show their veiw to be inconsistant and thus flawed, but that will only potentially place doubt on their presuppositions not engender you to them. The only thing a sinner needs to hear is the Gospel. Once the Holy Spirit regenerates them then its teaching and discipleship.

  15. R.K.Brumbelow :
    You can use presuppositional apologetics to show consistancy of the Bible’s veiw and show their veiw to be inconsistant and thus flawed, but that will only potentially place doubt on their presuppositions not engender you to them.

    I’m afraid I wasn’t clear enough: there is no philosophy in my friend’s mind wich deny supernatural. In fact they believe in supernatural. I wrote “a kind of logical positivism” because it describes best our way of thinking and arguing, maybe shaped by our profession and education, i.t. and electronics engineers. Still, the power of Holy Spirit remain a good hope for me because they are thinking about religion dimension. Why they are so interest in it, I don’t know, maybe this is the Holy Spirit wich works. Anyway, thanks for your ideas, especialy the one quoted is good to follow. Doubt can be a good start.

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.