One of the things that bothers me about how theists understand the Bible is that they think it is somehow proof of god. I once spent multiple hours stretched across a few days explaining to one particular person that they can’t use the Bible to prove the existence of god to me. After I got it through to them the debate was a lot better and we could discuss religion properly without this person resorting to a Bible quote at every point as their only argument.
The truth is that the Bible can not be used to prove god. To do so would be the fallacy of begging the question. Basicaly the fallacy goes:
- God wrote the Bible/inspired the Bible/influenced the Bible…
- Therefore, the Bible proves god exists
The fallacy exists in that the conclusion is assumed in the premise. It is assumed that a god wrote the Bible in order to prove that god exists. Does it make sense to assume that god exists to show that god exists? Is there any evidence that shows divine authorship?
If there was compelling evidence that a god did in fact exist, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now. To assert that a god was the author for any lesser evidence that his existence in addition to evidence for his authorship would be affirming the consequent, another logical fallacy.
So, next time you try to use the Bible to convert an atheist or someone from another religion to your religion, consider the fallacy involved and you better hope they don’t spot it.
This portion of the article is in response to another article by Juan which can be found here. Juan has also made other comments on my blog including one which attempts to prove the existence of a god to me using the above fallacy.
Juan’s article addresses a few common contradictions in the Bible where the Bible conflicts with science or even itself. Although I can’t possibly expect everyone to counter every contradiction in the Bible as there are quite a few, there was at least one mistake I noticed during my quick skim of the article.
People Actually Look for CONTRADICTIONS? They practically find themselves!
The topic in question is whether or not the earth is in the center of the universe. Here is what Juan says:
I really can’t believe I even have to address this one. The effort and time put by people to find these “contradictions” could be spent on actually figuring out what they really mean.
However, it is not exactly hard to find these contradictions has people have been imprisoned for suggesting otherwise. It seems that the Catholic religion is still suffering from the backlash of this imprisonment and has has multiple popes preform actions including the decensoring of Galileo’s writings and apologies for the actions of the past.
Wait! There’s More?
Yes, there is more. For this information I would have you look at the Skeptics Annotated Bible. It points out thousands of contradictions within the Bible as well as various things which are immoral or just flat out crazy. You haven’t read the Bible until you’ve read it like this.
I’ve seen as many as 10 contradictions in a single chapter from Matthew not even counting other absurdities.
Read Your Bible!
I’m not the only one who is saying it. The cure to religion is having people actually read what is in their Bible. Everything from racism to sexism, rape to killing, genocide to child abuse. And this is still called the “good book.”