Errors in the Bible or misinterpretation of the Bible?

[“You are correct, I am very confident of my assertions. And I understand your frustration, at having samples selected for comment. I asked for archeaology stats, because I had read Biblethe opposite.

I didn’t comment on everything because I could write a book. I chose to argue with logic rather than exchange scripture quotes. If you care to point out where I was wrong I’ll re-examine my comments.”]

I will not comment on your confidence. Again I was somewhat annoyed by your accusatory views without looking at all the wealth of information that was posted on this blog. My comments on leprosy were also misunderstood as I said “like leprosy” and in my understanding of logic of linguistics this includes leprosy with many other diseases. Therefore, I don’t consider it necessary to go into too many details. These comments were driven by the documentary rather than the written evidence which is why I sent you much supporting evidence that concurs with what I said.

This issue is related to the comments and post on Why should I consider Christianty when Christians are so bad? You will find more on this in here, if you just joined us today.

https://defendtheword.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/why-should-i-consider-christianity-when-christians-are-so-bad/#comment-495

[“Your point about the temple destruction was why I brought up Alexandria and Philo. He had intimate knowledge of Jerusalem but never mentions Jesus. The Romans were meticulous record keepers but nothing they preserved acknowledges Jesus. They merely talk about seditious Jews.
Although Christian scholars have tried to date the Dead sea scrolls to the first century BC, “it is likely that many were written first century AD and buried during the siege of the Temple.” (Robert Eisenman) Yet, none mention Jesus or a ressurection having happened. These people were messianic and would have been keenly interested in a possible Messiah.”]

1. So you will refuse to consider that in 70 AD the whole of Jerusalem was destroyed. The name of the country was soon changed and even their capital Jerusalem was renamed in order to wipe out all reference to disobedient Jews.

2. I’m also guessing that you will not allow that in 64 AD Rome was also burnt almost to the ground, possibly losing a significant amount of valuable evidence. This occurred decades after Jesus was crucified. Not to mention that there are still many Dead Sea scrolls that have yet to be translated. I may be wrong on this but I understand that there is a sizable amount of documents that are still being restored. I will only say that your comment on the dating of the Dead Sea scrolls is still considered to be very speculative and either way Christians do benefit significantly. What is interesting is that many of the Old Testament documents are exactly the same as those which have been identified as belonging to the same groups of documents that predate Christ by 400 years. This is through the study of Textual Criticism for you and me.

On the issue of Rome burning down: During the night of July 18, 64 AD, fire broke out in the merchant area of the city of Rome. Fanned by summer winds, the flames quickly spread through the dry, wooden structures of the Imperial City. Soon the fire took on a life of its own consuming all in its path for six days and seven nights. When the conflagration finally ran its course it left seventy percent of the city in smouldering ruins.

Rumours soon arose accusing the Emperor Nero of ordering the torching of the city and standing on the summit of the Palatine playing his lyre as flames devoured the world around him. These rumours have never been confirmed. In fact, Nero rushed to Rome from his palace in Antium (Anzio) and ran about the city all that first night without his guards directing efforts to quell the blaze. But the rumours persisted and the Emperor looked for a scapegoat. He found it in the Christians, at that time a rather obscure religious sect with a small following in the city. To appease the masses, Nero literally had his victims fed to the lions during giant spectacles held in the city’s remaining amphitheatre.

Note that the fact that there are Christians that were accused at that time points to what? Well you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that they had a leader and yes, his name was Jesus. And what is even more amazing is that these guys are prepared to die for him. I guess you would have some explanation as to why they were happy to die for a lie but I beg to differ.

3. You refuse to consider evidence of Josephus based on interpolation but I guess your atheistic sources failed to mention to you that the same writings of Josephus are translated in a different language that I grant you has led to a reduction in the amount of writings about Jesus but nevertheless he is still there in the text though in a somewhat reduced capacity. It is the deity of Jesus that was a later addition, not the mentioning of Jesus. I wonder how they dance around that one.

[“I found the following on leprosy on the second website you provided. It should demonstrate that the Bible is sometimes mistranslated and misinterpreted. “]

Oh how I disagree with this statement. And note that I never said that all translations are perfect all the time. Check my post on the accuracy of the Bible. This demonstrates nothing of the kind. I used this source just to prove to you, as you asked for proof, that leprosy was in the location and at the right time but I guess you ignore that point completely even when your own approved and vetted evidence is proving me right.

[“There is also new information today as a result of archaeology and anthropology. Examination of bones of the local inhabitants has shown that many were infectious and had diseases like leprosy. I’m not making excuses here but you should remember that 3,000 plus years ago, the world was a different place.”] Word in BLUE are my comments from previous post reply.

http://atheism.about.com/od/bibledictionaryonline/p/Leprosy.htm

[““Leprosy is a very enigmatic subject. Often it is associated with the Bible but only in the older versions. Most of the later translations render the Hebrew and Greek words as “Terrible Skin Disease” etc. and yet, paradoxically, “Leprosy”, as we know it today, basically is not a skin disease. Essentially, it is a disease which affects the nerves, although not the central nervous system. Only the peripheral nerves and their cutaneous branches are involved. What then was the “leprosy” of the Bible? Was it what we call “Hansen’s Disease” today? The answer is No. The Hebrew word “Tsara’ath” may have included Hansen’s Disease or what is called True Leprosy today, but even this is doubted “]

How does that demonstrate the inaccuracy of the Bible? This is simply one man’s opinion. This is akin to asking liberal Jesus seminary people to give you a commentary on the Bible and its accuracy when you know full well that they are in the minority. Their beliefs are decided by using coloured bids to vote on what is a true and what is not a true saying of Jesus. In addition, when you find out that a number of them are journalists and not qualified theologians, without any knowledge of historical or theological background,  you wonder why on earth modern TV producers choose to use only that small group of people to represent one-sided views. Sounds a bit suspect to you? I hope so. This kind of thing shows how shallow and prejudicial our modern TV producers are. By the way, I do acknowledge that TV is an excellent way to educate our young people but can also be used to brainwash even the majority of viewers. This is what happened in the Former Yugoslavia, in North Korea, in China and in former Russia, though some of the issues seem to still persist.

[“That Hebrew word is not a precise medical term referring to a specific disease . Rather does is seem to refer to a whole range of disfiguring conditions that resulted in rejection by a society that, in its ignorance, attributed such afflictions to punishment from God. Today, there are about thirty conditions which can be confused with early and late Hansen’s Disease and these are discussed in “DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS”.

Some references to “leprosy” in the Bible obviously refer to conditions other than Hansen’s Disease. “Naaman the Leper”, (2 Kings 5:27) for example, was said to be “leprous” – as “white as snow” . This, clearly, is not what we call leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) today because Hansen’s Disease does not cause the skin to become white. The condition which can be confused with leprosy and which causes a whitening of the skin, is Leucaderma or Vitiligo. In true leprosy or Hansen’s Disease, there can be some loss of pigment in the skin but it never becomes white because of the disease. Similarly, in Exodus 13:44, we read of a person with a hand “leprous and white as snow”. In Leviticus 13:10 and 20, Biblical “leprosy” even resulted in the hair turning white. This does not happen in patients with Hansen’s Disease, nor is their scalp (except in vary rare cases) affected by the disease as in Leviticus 13:42. However, there can be loss of eyebrows (Madarosis) because that is one of the COOLER areas of the body. Other patches, in cooler areas, also can suffer hair loss.””]

I have no idea where you are going with this. You expect me to judge Biblical writings in the light of 21st century science on medical issues. Don’t you think that is unfair? God simply had to work with what was available to him. Yes, it is likely that all diseases are grouped into one category which is what the Bible often does. This does not disprove the Bible; it only shows that people look for excuses on small technicalities to disprove the existence of God.

First of all, there is a discolouration of the skin. Look it up and you will find that information to be factual. Secondly, “white like snow” is a quotation that relates to an explanation that is quite memorable and may not be necessarily linguistically correct. After all, do you expect the Bible to be a Medical Dictionary of diseases? This whiteness may have been a visible sign of the disease that may have well been skin discolouration so it does not disprove anything at all.  Most importantly, this is so arrogant of the atheist blogger to paint a picture that Christians are trying to distort the picture here. I bet you that he dug out this information from a Christian commentary. See commentary by New Bible Commentary below. Underlined for emphasis to demonstrate that what I’m saying is not made up.

“13:1–59 Infectious skin diseases and contaminated clothing. It is not possible to be certain about the clinical identification of the variety of diseases referred to here by their symptoms. It has been suggested that they include psoriasis (2–17), favus (a form of ringworm; 29–37) and leucoderma (38–40), as well as lesions in scars caused by boils (18–23) and burns (24–28). The descriptions may also include eczema, herpes and some forms of leprosy. The instructions gave the priest simple guidelines for an initial examination, followed by subsequent checks after specified periods of confinement, to determine whether the condition was static or healing (and thus ritually clean) or spreading and infectious (and thus ritually unclean). The priest had the duty of distinguishing serious skin disease from minor complaints (such as a simple rash) that would heal quickly. The main criteria for skin diseases were that the infection had to be chronic (11) or shown to be lasting more than a week or two (4–8, 26–28, 33–34) and be more than skin deep (3, 20, 25, 30). Raw flesh or discoloured hair in an infected area were other indications of uncleanness (10, 14–15, 20, 24–25, 30–33). In the case of fabrics, it had to last more than a week (50–58) and be more than could simply be removed by washing (55).” Green writing is commentary from the New Bible Commentary

[“Education was a custom of the Jews. Boys had to study the Torah and, like Jesus, debate scriptures at twelve. I don’t know how 10% literacy is determined. I agree, oral tradition, verses written scripture, found most using oral traditions.

But Jesus is highly critical of vicious Pharisees and Scribes. Since some followers of Hillel were also followers of Jesus, and the Shammaites were part of the Sadducian Sanhedrin court, it appears Jesus was being critical of the Shammaites who according to Halley’s Bible handbook, published by Zondervan, were the rigid interpreters of scripture and law. His attack in John 7: 16-24 was aimed at these literalists who were hypocrites because they thumped their Bibles self rightously and excused their own law breaking.”]

First of all, can I ask what you stand for? You have very carefully managed to avoid what you believe and where you come from. This will greatly help me in understanding how I can answer your points. If you happen to be a liberal Christian I can work on that. If you just happen to use liberal theology to justify your world view I can also work with that but I do need to understand where you come from.

Secondly, I never said that all scripture should be interpreted in a literal way. There are specific passages that are so obviously allegorical in nature. I don’t believe that Jesus is a literal door in the same way I don’t believe that Hell is meant to be explained in only terms we find in the text. If this was the case we should have contradictions i.e. You can’t possibly have deep darkness and eternal flames. However, this does not stop me from understanding that this is a terrible place that I would like to avoid if at all possible.

[“But Jesus says to these men who try to interpret law rigidly, don’t judge according to appearances, judge according to what is right. I think this is the point so many atheists make.”]

I don’t follow your argument. As above, there are many Christians who are not literalist; they can be very liberal so how does this disprove God? You are talking about interpretation which is a theological issue, not Apologetics. This is a common way how atheists dodge the question of God’s existence. Please clarify your position as I can’t continue answering your questions when you are sniping at me when you are hiding in the bushes. Be brave, just spell it out, what is it that you stand for?

Thanks for coming back to me. I do appreciate that you are interested in my writings and even if you are not in agreement, we can still agree to disagree. However, can I ask you to consider my response in its entirety as that will help greatly.  Otherwise we will go back to saying things such as the Bible supports atheists because it says that “There is no God” without mentioning the ending of the same text where it concludes “said the fool in his heart”. So you see it is not about proving anyone wrong or right it is about finding the truth but as I keep on saying to everyone, this will involve some faith after all. You believe what your atheistic sources tell you. Science is likewise based on beliefs that previous theories have been tested rigorously enough without missing anything crucial in order to build upon those foundations. Here is my final remark and it is a difference between an Atheist and a Christian.

Christian: Needs plenty of information. Once enough is acquired he is happy to believe. He bases his faith on his understanding and knowledge and uses his faith in all the data that is available to him.

Atheist: Never finds any amount of data enough. He becomes cynical and thinks that he knows better. Yet the fact that we are so limited with our scientific knowledge escapes his reasoning. His justification is I don’t know but one day I may find out.

Kind regards

Defend the word

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9 Responses to Errors in the Bible or misinterpretation of the Bible?

  1. misunderstoodranter says:

    Actually, I would disagree – Christian’s often believe with very little information about either the bible – they take religion on blind faith. For example take prayer… there is no evidence that payer works at all yet all the Christian’s I have met pray…. why do they pray?

  2. Doctors Have Faith in Faith
    A survey conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians shows that ninety-nine percent of doctors believe a relationship exists between faith and physical healing. Recently, more than one thousand health-care professionals met at Harvard Medical School to examine the connection between spirituality and healing.
    Doctors’ faith in faith was bolstered by a California study of the effect of prayer on recovery from heart problems.
    About two hundred heart patients were assigned to Christians who prayed for them, while an equal number, a control group, received no known prayers. Neither group knew about the prayers, yet those who received prayer developed half the complications that were experienced by those in the control group.

    A similar study by the Dartmouth Medical School examined the effect of prayer on healing when the patients prayed for themselves. The death rate six months after bypass surgery was
    9 percent for the general population
    but 5 percent for those who prayed for their own healing.
    And none of the deeply religious patients died during the period of the study. The Associated Press, quoted in “Religion in the News,” Signs of the Times, March 1997,

  3. misunderstoodranter says:

    Yes – this is not news… this is called the placebo effect, and it does happen. In fact if you give two sugar pills to someone, they will feel better than someone who has been given one sugar pill – there is loads of study on this, it is standard literature at med school, in addition most pharma companies have to design drug tests with very elaborate checks and mechanisms for placebo effect to ensure that their results are representative of the facts. Most drugs are not just tested against the placebo pills any more, they have to be tested against the leading treatment as well – for the simple reason that if you tell someone they are being monitored, they often show a positive effect – i.e. the believe what ever treatment they have received has done them some good – the old and the young are particularly vulnerable to this effect.

    You should read a Book called Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (a proper Doctor with a 1st class honours degree in medicine from Oxford) – he shows how homoeopathy uses the placebo effect to cure people – the mind is a powerful thing. Yet most rational scientists would argue that Homoeopathy is a load of pseudo science (i.e. claptrap), performed by people who are trying to sell potions rather than healing.

    It doesn’t mean it is real – though, if you gave homoeopathy pills to a cancer patient, the chances are they will die… there might be one in 100,000 that might live though – but this might be regression to the mean – i.e. it is statistically normal for some people to naturally recover from cancer.

    In the case of healing prayers, lets say that there is terminal disease that has a survival rate of 1 in 1000, at the end of the disease cycle one person is alive and 999 are dead. Most of the 1000 people prayed for god to save them, now the remaining person who lived also prayed for god and consequently believes that his prayers saved him. But actually this is only so, because the other 999 people who’s prays didn’t save them are now dead are not around to refute the claim – the person that lived gets to live another day to tell the tail of how he prayed to god and god saved him.

    This is a rational way of looking at prayer, rather than a superstitious one.

    I also find it strange that people believe prayer saved them, when actually they went to hospital and had a battery of technology thrown at them and trained medical doctors. If it was prayer that saved them – why go to hospital, just pray and save the medical bill.

  4. [“Yes – this is not news… this is called the placebo effect, and it does happen. In fact if you give two sugar pills to someone, they will feel better than someone who has been given one sugar pill – there is loads of study on this, it is standard literature at med school, in addition most pharma companies have to design drug tests with very elaborate checks and mechanisms for placebo effect to ensure that their results are representative of the facts. Most drugs are not just tested against the placebo pills any more, they have to be tested against the leading treatment as well – for the simple reason that if you tell someone they are being monitored, they often show a positive effect – i.e. the believe what ever treatment they have received has done them some good – the old and the young are particularly vulnerable to this effect.”]

    I wonder why you keep on wandering away from the real argument. Check the example I gave you again. Why use this argument, when it is obvious from the example I gave you that this was a controlled environment where patients had no idea of what was going on. This was done to remove any possibility of a placebo effect. Please ask if you want me to explain what a placebo effect is but I assume you know already.
    [“You should read a Book called Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (a proper Doctor with a 1st class honours degree in medicine from Oxford) – he shows how homoeopathy uses the placebo effect to cure people – the mind is a powerful thing. Yet most rational scientists would argue that Homoeopathy is a load of pseudo science (i.e. claptrap), performed by people who are trying to sell potions rather than healing.”]

    I love how you say “a proper Doctor”. It just shows how you put your trust in titles and yet if you spent any time watching his videos on You Tube you would realise that he is dead against this kind of notion.
    The mind is a very powerful thing and I have been accused of rationalising away everything regarding my religion yet I find your argument on very thin ice here with no reason to doubt it. It looks foolproof to me. Are you serious about this? The first arguments that I gave you are not a simple test as these are statistical studies of a reasonable number of people, and second of all these were highly controlled groups precisely to show that there is no placebo effect. Therefore your argument falls flat on its face. I am well aware of the power of the mind and suggestibility of human nature but if you are going to use that argument, should you not acknowledge that you too could be highly suggestible to other influences?

    [“It doesn’t mean it is real – though, if you gave homoeopathy pills to a cancer patient, the chances are they will die… there might be one in 100,000 that might live though – but this might be regression to the mean – i.e. it is statistically normal for some people to naturally recover from cancer. In the case of healing prayers, lets say that there is terminal disease that has a survival rate of 1 in 1000, at the end of the disease cycle one person is alive and 999 are dead. Most of the 1000 people prayed for god to save them, now the remaining person who lived also prayed for god and consequently believes that his prayers saved him. But actually this is only so, because the other 999 people who’s prays didn’t save them are now dead are not around to refute the claim – the person that lived gets to live another day to tell the tail of how he prayed to god and god saved him.”]

    I don’t think many doctors would agree with your assertion. If that was the case, we would see more of these kinds of cases recorded in medical journals but we just don’t find this kind of information anywhere. You would never hear a doctor say there is a very small chance that you would get better on your own, or through the power of your mind or self deception. I would even guess that your understanding (misunderstanding) of the Dr Ben Goldacre assertions is incorrect. In other words he may be correct in what he is saying but your interpretation of his ideas may be wrong.

    [“This is a rational way of looking at prayer, rather than a superstitious one.”]

    Is it really? I detect a tinge of cynicism that originally started as scepticism and you were finally persuaded not by evidence but by mockery and insults that one reads on the internet. I base my assertion purely on your previous replies. I have to say I have no real evidence for my statement but I’m highly suspicious. As can be seen from your next reply to which I will come to in a minute.

    [“I also find it strange that people believe prayer saved them, when actually they went to hospital and had a battery of technology thrown at them and trained medical doctors. If it was prayer that saved them – why go to hospital, just pray and save the medical bill.”]

    One of the first things you should know is that most Christians do believe that God gave us powerful brains since we are created in his image. This to me implies that we should make good use of our natural resourcefulness and that includes medical development. To claim that we should pray and not go to the doctors is simply to ignore this. Secondly, medicine unfortunately does not have all the answers though I wish they did as this would have saved my dead child. So let’s not go into either extreme as both of us will look very silly.

    All the best.

    Defend the word

  5. misunderstoodranter says:

    If I was you – again, I would put your bible down for a day, and read Dr Goldacre’s book.

    I promise you it is a good read – and will equip you with knowledge about trials and tests that you really need to understand.

    You will learn that not all trials and tests are what they appear to be…

    Dr Goldacre is against people who call themselves doctors because they bought a PhD from the Internet, or they have one from a research institute that is unregistered – or a PhD in keeping trees, but use it to sell sugar pills.

    I agree Doctors do not have all the answers – but I find them a lot more useful than the church or the bible.

    However, I can understand why someone who has lost a child may be turn to religion to help with their grief. I have children as well, and I don’t know what I would do if one of them died, because I know I would never see them again – which would be heart breaking.

    However, you probably find comfort in believing in after life – that I can understand – considering your circumstances – but it doesn’t mean that your belief is rational.

  6. [“If I was you – again, I would put your bible down for a day, and read Dr Goldacre’s book.”]

    Hey good job we are different, secondly you haven’t got anything to fear from me, I promise I don’t bite.

    [“I promise you it is a good read – and will equip you with knowledge about trials and tests that you really need to understand. You will learn that not all trials and tests are what they appear to be… “]

    I have watched about 40 min of his videos on Youtube enough to understand what he is trying to say. I would agree with most of it. Don’t assume I don’t read and that I don’t consider what other people are saying, not only is that false, but such statement proves bias you have against Christians.

    [“Dr Goldacre is against people who call themselves doctors because they bought a PhD from the Internet, or they have one from a research institute that is unregistered – or a PhD in keeping trees, but use it to sell sugar pills.”]

    No disagreement here

    [“I agree Doctors do not have all the answers – but I find them a lot more useful than the church or the bible.”]

    Completely disagree. One is temporal the other will last the eternity (If you are Christian you hold such belief)

    [“However, I can understand why someone who has lost a child may be turn to religion to help with their grief. I have children as well, and I don’t know what I would do if one of them died, because I know I would never see them again – which would be heart breaking. However, you probably find comfort in believing in after life – that I can understand – considering your circumstances – but it doesn’t mean that your belief is rational.”]

    Agree on the rationality, but for your information I did not become Christian post this event. But you are right about comforting thought so big plus for all the believers there.

    Cheers

    Defend the word

  7. pelagian7 says:

    Pelagian7 responding, my position is not easily defined to those who have absolute presuppositions. I choose to use the Bible as my dominant Holy book. I read the literal but breath the allegorical. I find God in other writings too.

    Through metaphor or allegory, the Bible very easily supports other ways to heaven. (my view) Therefore I reject the literal interpreters who would fling guilt upon those who live piously but don’t profess the same belief.

    I am not an athiest. I find their arguments akin to literal rigid Biblical interpretations.

  8. Would you mind if I ask you another question re your name, don’t get offended if it is your real name, (You do not have to answer this question) but if it is not your real name would you mind if I ask you why did you choose it? Is it because you agree with the Historical Pelagian (Church History) theology or is there any other reason?

    On the Issue of metaphor and Allegory it is clear that Jesus did use both, however according to John 14:6 he was quite prescriptive. But I’m sure if you read some of my answers you would have noted that the final judgement is Gods not mine or anyone else’s. I am not Calvinist and as Armenian in my theology I don’t see that God pre ordained some to be condemned to Hell. However as evangelical Baptist I consider it my duty to evangelise, we just don’t have that luxury to sit on our hands. My love for God and humanity is forcing me but to do one thing and that is to be obedient to the great commission that you will find in the end of Matthew 28. Fact is that many in the Old Testament are viewed as saved some of them not Jews like Noah and Job who predate Abraham by some time. Not to mention Melchizedek, so I would not want to be exclusive but I do think we would take massive gamble to Ignore John 14:6

    Hebrews 7: 1 – 2 For this Melchizedek, (Gen 14: 18 – 20) king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,”

    John 14: 6 – 7 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

  9. pelagian7 says:

    I chose Pelagius, to follow, not because I agree with all said of him, but because he was able to make Christianity make sense to me.

    I ignore nothing, including the end of Matthew. Because of that I have studied Biblical Greek and much more.

    Unfortunately, I jumped into a discussion you were having with an athiest. I may have made some assumptions based on statements to him that were premature.

    Again my beliefs are difficult to explain. As a child I found doctrine to be incompatible. I imagined, or was led, to a view of Jesus that seemed so real, I’d swear I knew him. Then just a couple of years ago I found my portrait of Jesus in a slightly different doctrine.

    Everything I believed, I had arrived at independently. Yet, when I discovered a certain group of Christians, I found they believed everything I did. Every interpretation matched, scripture said what I thought it said. And besides being fulfilling, it all made sense.

    Our literal interpretations don’t mesh with my findings and I encourage the literalists to find out what seeing with two eyes means, or, the Kingdom is at hand.

    These are some of my revelations. pelagian7

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