Monday, August 25, 2008

The Book of Mormon vs. The Bible



Here is a video that is well worth watching. It is about an hour in length, but it raises some issues/questions that are important.

47 comments:

  1. Do you feel this video correctly represents the Bible and biblical scholarship?

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  2. I think it ADEQUATELY represents the Bible.

    What is your take on it? Did you watch it?

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  3. Yes, I have watched The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon. I find it fundamentally flawed in approach to both the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

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  4. Well, no surprise about your feeling that it is flawed regarding the BoM, but what about it is flawed regarding the Bible?

    Regarding the BoM, how do Mormons answer when asked about wheat, horses, and elephants being in the Americas? What about metallurgy, machinery and coins? It seems to me that those are some very difficult questions to resolve.

    Marcus

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  5. It basically presents the Bible as set up on a firm foundation of scholarly evidences in archeology, and other aspects. It seems to argue from an inerrantist position regarding that volume of scripture. I do not believe an argument from that position is sustainable.

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  6. Regarding your question about "coins," can you show me where "coins" appear in the actual text of Joseph Smith's translation of th Book of Mormon?

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  7. Granted, the word "coin" doesn't appear in the BoM. But since they knew how to work with steel and other metals, coins would have been a natural product, since they were available in the Middle East. Since they came over in a boat, they would have known about money and would have continued in that vein. No coins have been found.

    If you don't want to answer about coins, that is fine, but what about the other things I asked?

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  8. Granted, the word "coin" doesn't appear in the BoM. But since they knew how to work with steel and other metals, coins would have been a natural product, since they were available in the Middle East.

    This is a complete assumption, though. Especially if it is considered that the Lehites did not find themselves alone in the New World.

    Since they came over in a boat, they would have known about money and would have continued in that vein.

    Your logic here is flawed. Because they came over in a boat, and knew about "coins" in the Old World, they would have "continued in that vein." Why? Your conclusion doesn't follow from your premise.

    No coins have been found.

    I doubt any coins will be found. Fortunately for Joseph Smith he seems to have got that one right.

    If you don't want to answer about coins, that is fine, but what about the other things I asked?

    First, I'd like to know what recourses on the subject you have digested. That way I know what background I am working with.

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  9. we are on the subject I would like to know if you think the Bible itself is a scientifically and archeologically sustainable book in the way you expect the Book of Mormon to be.

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  10. I'm sorry you think my logic is flawed because I make an assumption. But, I'll tell you what. For now, let's forget about coins. Lets concentrate on the elephants and metallurgy, including steel. Oh, and don't forget the horses.

    What resources would you like me to have digested (or not)? I have read through the BoM twice (at least) the Bible several times, some to much of your FAIRblog & wiki, and many secular history books of the North, South, and Middle Americas. Does it matter what I have read as to how you would answer a question? That is remarkable.

    To answer your last question, I would say "no". But I would also add that I would like the BoM to be AT LEAST as scientifically and archeologically sustainable as the Bible is. Especially archeologically. We can go on a "Holy Land" tour. But we can't see the "Mormon Land" tour, except for the Hill Cumorah, but now, you all are claiming IT isn't even the right one, even though that's where JS found the plates.

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  11. I have read through the BoM twice (at least) the Bible several times, some to much of your FAIRblog & wiki, and many secular history books of the North, South, and Middle Americas. Does it matter what I have read as to how you would answer a question? That is remarkable.

    Again, the reason I ask is because I want to know what kind of background information I am working with as far as what you have already heard, and where your point of view is coming from. I'm not sure what you mean by "remarkable," but I feel this conversation can quickly devolve into an argument, so I want to assure you that no offense is intended in the question.

    To answer your last question, I would say "no". But I would also add that I would like the BoM to be AT LEAST as scientifically and archeologically sustainable as the Bible is. Especially archeologically. We can go on a "Holy Land" tour.

    A "holy land" tour says practically nothing about the resurrection of Christ, the existence of the patriarch Abraham, or the truthfulness of Christianity. I think it would be great to go on such a tour, but it would really hold significance for me more if I already believe those things occurred or existed.

    To be quick about the issue of metal, "elephants" (which, incidentally, only appear in the book of Ether, a significant distinction) and other anachronisms, it is very simple. I will compare it to a problem in the KJV Bible.

    The KJV is a translation. Many times it speaks of "candles" (see, for one example, http://scriptures.lds.org/en/job/18/6#6) Why? Candles didn't exist. It was actually referring to oil lamps, usually, which are not candles. So the use of candles is an anachronism. It reflects the understanding or words of the translator. Because I believe the Book of Mormon is a translation by Joseph Smith, and that he was involved in the process, not simply reading words from the stone, but actively participating, he, as translator, used words he knew from the KJV and also from his upbringing in general.

    So when the KJV talks about candles, I don't need to convince myself that there really were candles. When the Book of Mormon talks about steel, I don't need to argue that it is the exact type of "steel" I presently think of.

    This is a small part of the nature of understanding a translation in general.

    But we can't see the "Mormon Land" tour, except for the Hill Cumorah, but now, you all are claiming IT isn't even the right one, even though that's where JS found the plates.

    Well, as far as the book of 1 Nephi is concerned, you can go on all the tours you want, as the book begins in Jerusalem, and then accurately describes the journey to the land Bountiful. ;)

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  12. Thank you. I do not want it to be an argument either.

    You bring up a good point about the candle in the KJV. That is why I do not personally use the KJV. It has those types of translations issues. I prefer a more pure translation like the New American Standard or the Holman Christian Standard. So much for the KJV and candles, but how about elephants? And horses that pulled chariots? Those don't seem to jive with modern understanding of our hemisphere's history. That is a problem for me.

    Also, I understand what you are saying about steel, but what other kind of steel, even if it wasn't truly what we understand to be modern steel, could it be? The only non-gold, silver, or copper artifacts found in the Americas were leftovers from the Conquistadors.

    For example:

    1 Ne. 4: 9
    9 And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.

    or,

    #
    1 Ne. 16: 18
    18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.

    What kind of metal would be strong enough for a bow or a sword that the ancient Americans had the technology to produce?

    A "Holy Land" tour would take you to places that existed in Bible times that either still exist or their ruins can be seen today. A "Mormon land" tour may start in Jerusalem, but where is Bountiful? There is no (or very little) debate today about where the stories of the Bible took place. Even the LDS church can't agree on where the stories of the BoM took place. So, when I say that I'd like the BoM to be AT LEAST as archeologically true as the Bible, I mean it. Why won't the church allow excavation on the Hill Cumorah? Is it because they know nothing is there? Doesn't that cause any kind of real doubts about your religion?

    The claims made in the Book of Mormon are not congruent with historical evidence. At least, in the Bible, when they talk about Philistines, there are secular sources that can provide evidence of that civilization. Even the Smithsonian Institution doesn't recognize the Book of Mormon as a work basked in history or fact.

    To me, that is considerable reason to pause and evaluate.

    I am not a person who holds a major portion of faith based on scientific or archeological evidence, but, if the Bible were devoid of evidence, I'd have my doubts.

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  13. third paragraph from the bottom should read "based in history" not "basked"

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  14. I don't mind basking in some history ;)


    Those don't seem to jive with modern understanding of our hemisphere's history. That is a problem for me.

    This is why I wonder exactly what materials you have read. Given that the BoM is a translation, why should we expect it to conform to current archeological understanding of location through language?

    Further, it seems you haven't actually read much on these subjects. You bring up Nephi's bow. There are several articles addressing the topic. Have you read them? On archeology in Cumorah (N. America) have you seen any of the recent articles on that subject? The Journal of Book of Mormon studies had an entire double issue on the subject of Cumorah alone. Have you checked it out?

    I'm not interested in laying all the arguments out for you, especially given that they are easily available (and for free!)


    I am not a person who holds a major portion of faith based on scientific or archeological evidence, but, if the Bible were devoid of evidence, I'd have my doubts.

    But where is the evidence of the resurrection? Heck, does all of the corresponding evidence of the locations, etc. in the Doctrine and Covenants (which far surpasses that of the Bible) vindicate it? Shouldn't that give you pause, based on your approach?

    I don't expect a Book of Mormon text that speaks to archeologists. I expect a translation with both ancient and modern elements because it came to us through more than one filter.

    You said you've read some stuff, but didn't mention anything in general. Pick a subject, pick a FARMS or FAIR article on it, and we can discuss it on its merits.

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  15. Marcus:

    Out of curiosity, have you read the reviews of this video by Brant Gardner and David Bokovoy? You can find them on the FARMS website.

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  16. Steve,

    Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to make a comment!

    No, I haven't read their reviews. But thanks for making me aware of them.

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  17. Blair,

    I thought we HAD picked a subject...I thought we were discussing this video and the claims it makes regarding the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

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  18. The film makes absolutely zero interaction with any of the substantive publications on the Book of Mormon of the past 50 or so years. Why is that? Further, you mentioned you had read some stuff. I'd like to know something specific. I appreciate your patience if I have been unclear.

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  19. You must understand. I do NOT claim to be a Mormon scholar. Ever since I read the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price as a young man, I have been intrigued by its mystery. It's truthfulness was not confirmed to me my the Holy Ghost. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I read the BoM with an open mind and asked God if it was true. I asked God to tell me if it was true and I received no answer.

    At the urging of a Mormon friend, I read it again, but much later. Still no confirmation of the Holy Ghost.

    With those things in my history, I now must examine the claims of the LDS church. I find them to be incredible.

    I realize that for you, you have found something that you believe to be true. But I also think that it is very, very dangerous for us to search our hearts about the truth of God, for our hearts are wicked and tend to deceive us.

    Now, to answer your question, I have read most regarding the Book of Abraham. I have read your FARMS and FAIR entries. I have read what Jeff Lindsay has to say about it. I have also read critical articles. For me, the Book of Abraham is the "deal breaker".

    I have begun to read the JoD online. I haven't read much of LDS printed material; most of what I have read is online.

    The similarities between Christianity and Mormonism isn't what interests me. It is the differences. The similarities mean nothing to me. I want to know what makes Mormonism unique.

    I try to read Mormon blogs. I often don't comment, but rather just lurk. I am trying to acquaint myself with the Mormon worldview; how you guys think. I seldom read anti-Mormon blogs. Most of them are so full of anger that they don't make sense and only say the same things.

    I don't like how difficult it is to nail down Mormon doctrine. It seems to change and evolve. I understand WHY it does, at least from your point of view, but I disagree with the basic premise.

    I'm not just some anti-Mormon, Mormon-hater. I don't hate Mormons at all. I really don't like your religion, though.

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  20. It's truthfulness was not confirmed to me my the Holy Ghost. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I read the BoM with an open mind and asked God if it was true. I asked God to tell me if it was true and I received no answer.

    At the urging of a Mormon friend, I read it again, but much later. Still no confirmation of the Holy Ghost.


    Given your experience, then, why would you rely on poor scholarship such as "The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon"? Why not just encourage people to read the Book of Mormon for themselves?

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  21. To be brutally honest, I do not see it as worth anyone's while. In fact, since I do not believe it to be a revelation from God, I describe it as detrimental or un-beneficial. I cannot ever imagine encouraging anyone I know to read the Book of Mormon for themselves.

    I included the video on my site for two reasons:

    1. it makes people ask questions about "why" in regards to the veracity of the BoM
    2. (without being too flippant) it's my website and I wanted to

    It may be poor scholarship, in your opinion, but it raises questions about the BoM that are very hard to answer. I have read what the FairWiki has to say in regards to some of the issues, but, in my opinion, those answers are not nearly good enough.

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  22. What is an example of an answer that is not "good enough"?

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  23. Well, this link, for one:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms/Animals#Horse

    "As mentioned, one should not reject the possibility of "loan-shifting," — candidate species for "horse" under this interpretation include the tapir, deer [12] or llama.[13]"

    That answer is just plain silly. Anyone who would believe that answer does so because they WANT to believe it.

    (I'll be out for the rest of the afternoon and not able to get back on the computer this evening-it's Family Night)

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  24. Why is it silly? It is demonstrated to have occurred, and still does. If it happens in many cultures, why not the translation of the Book of Mormon? And why are horses in the Book of Mormon not acting as JS would have expected them to act? We don't see them used for agriculture, we don't see people riding them.

    Loan-shifting is a cultural reality. Why is it, then, stupid?

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  25. "Loan-shifting is a cultural reality"

    That is quite a statement. Do a quick Google search on "Loan-shifting". I think you'll find it is a Mormon concept and not as wide spread as you would have me to believe.

    I have never heard this term until I began looking at Mormon apologetics. I certainly don't remember ever studying this concept in any of my cultural anthropology courses at my university.

    You many not see people riding them or being used in agriculture, but you do see them pulling chariots in battle. I've seen oriental pictures that show deer pulling a chariot, but it was a woman, that looked like an empress, and she certainly wasn't doing battle. Her "chariot" was more of a buggy. It wasn't an implement of war, but of leisure.

    I used the word "silly"; you used the word "stupid". I think your word works better. This is simply an absurd explanation.

    Mike Ash wrote this article: http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/AshHorse/

    To me, it looks like a desperate attempt to find some cohesiveness for all of the parts that don't make sense. "Grasping at straws" is an apt description of his attempt. While it is well documented, it relies mostly on Mormon resources. I understand why. You claim poor scholarship for this video, yet the scholarship that is touted by FAIR is dubious, at best.

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  26. Saying that loan-shifting is something you don't recall in your classes, or something that doesn't show up enough in a Google search is simply not a cogent response from my point of view. I have specific examples of loan-shifting occurring. Whether horse was a term changed by the Nephites, or whether it was simply a word choice by Smith as translator, the absence of my understanding of what a horse is in Mesoamerican archeology is simply not good enough evidence against the Book of Mormon. I recall the concept of loan-shifting being discussed in my intro to anthropology class the first semester of college I attended at Weber State. The professor was not a Mormon, if you were wondering. You dismiss Ash's article saying that it doesn't seem like a popular enough concept among scholars to be taken seriously, it seems. How do you explain away the possibility of it being a word choice by translator, or a remnant of previous understanding of animals by Nephites? "It sounds silly (or stupid)" is just not a good answer. Candles in the Bible...?

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  27. ps- a quick google search for loan shifting in linguistics yielded several immediate sources unrelated to Mormonism.

    2 examples:

    Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship By Hans Henrich Hock, Brian D. Joseph

    Japanese English By James Stanlaw

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  28. Blair,

    Perhaps I was too hasty in my condemnation of loan shifting. I can admit it when I'm wrong.

    However, there was quite a lot of comment underneath that didn't have anything to do with loan shifting.

    Nevertheless, loan shifting isn't a compelling argument on the side of Mormon apologists.

    One or two instances one could excuse. However, there are too many to dismiss without intense scrutiny. You might be able to explain away one, two, even up to five, but my goodness, after a while, there needs to be some questioning of the text itself.

    It is very easy to believe the explanations by Mormon apologists if you WANT to believe them. However, outside the church, they are thread-bare.

    You brought up "candles in the Bible" a second time. That, of course, is in the KJV and the JST. By the way, why didn't JS "correct" the candle thing when he corrected the KJV? In any case, I don't use the KJV. It is a fair translation, but it isn't close enough to the oldest texts for me. I prefer newer more accurate translations.

    It boils down to "There are too many holes in the story".

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  29. Perhaps I was too hasty in my condemnation of loan shifting. I can admit it when I'm wrong.

    I have an interest in linguistics, so I'm more likely to have a say on that subject. It is also refreshing to see someone say "hey, that is different from what I thought," it shows you are engaging in the conversation.


    It is very easy to believe the explanations by Mormon apologists if you WANT to believe them. However, outside the church, they are thread-bare.

    Beginning by believing it possible that the BoM is an ancient text it becomes easier to "believe" the explanations, especially given that they have counterparts in other aspects of translation and linguistics, etc. Frankly, I resist hanging my hat on a prevailing opinion of those "outside the church," who I have generally found have not given the Book of Mormon anywhere near the attention needed to comment on it. The soundest critical arguments do not come from outside, but from lapsed Mormons themselves.


    One or two instances one could excuse. However, there are too many to dismiss without intense scrutiny. You might be able to explain away one, two, even up to five, but my goodness, after a while, there needs to be some questioning of the text itself.

    We are pretty close to each other in this regard, only I am taking the view that the text is a translation in which JS participated using his own understanding, and that there are counter-examples when JS got things right without an apparent 19th century influence. The BoM has some quite remarkable features marking it as ancient in origin.


    You brought up "candles in the Bible" a second time. That, of course, is in the KJV and the JST. By the way, why didn't JS "correct" the candle thing when he corrected the KJV?

    The JST is not intended to restore underlying Hebrew, or function as a "translation" in a typical sense of the word. As an "inspired" translation it can be compared more closely to midrash than scholarly approaches. The main point is the anachronism reflected in the translation does not disqualify the Bible as an ancient record. The BoM, as translation, has similar issues. The anachronisms in different Bible translations are not limited to the word candle.

    In any case, I don't use the KJV. It is a fair translation, but it isn't close enough to the oldest texts for me. I prefer newer more accurate translations.

    I am currently looking into newer translations as well. I like the KJV for its beauty and familiarity, but also desire diff. takes on verses.

    It boils down to "There are too many holes in the story".

    But people say the same of the Bible, so we are back to square one, which is that this video you have posted sets up unrealistic expectations of the Bible, which can actually damage faith in that record.

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  30. What an interesting conversation. I would like to know why bhodges does not believe that the argument for inerrancy of the Bible is sustainable.

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  31. Sure; which version of the Bible is infallible? Define infallibility, and demonstrate that the Bible itself claims to be infallible.

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  32. bhodges,

    Infallibility is not the same as inerrancy. Infallible means to be incapable of error; while inerrancy means to be free of error.
    Your original statement mentioned inerrancy not infallibility. So you need to determine which one you have a problem with.

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  33. I find no claim in the Bible for either.

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  34. bhodges,

    I find that as no surprise since your approach to the Bible is through the filter of Article 8 of The Articles of Faith. In it we read, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly;". You do mention that you would prefer a translation other than the KJV, but you did not mention one. Why? How can you have an honest discussion on the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible if you can not find a translation with which you can agree?

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  35. I will probably always prefer the KJV out of sheer familiarity and fondness. I would be interested in other translations as well. That is what I am saying.

    You are attempting to shift the conversation but I'd prefer to stick to my original point that the Bible itself makes no claim for infallibility or inerrancy.

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  36. bhodges,

    I am not trying to shift the conversation, I am trying to get you to figure out what you are saying. You have shifted from inerrancy to infallibility and now to both. As with the translation issue you have trouble picking your topic.

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  37. There is no inerrant or infallible translation of the Bible today. Show me where the Bible says otherwise. It really is that simple.

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  38. bhodges,

    It is apparent that you are the one shifting the conversation. Your first statement only dealt with the issue of inerrancy of the Bible. Then you started on the infallibility of the Bible. Then you changed to the translation issue. Your first two statements were in relation to the Bible in general yet you want to go to the translation issue and you wonder why we can not talk. You are a moving target. Pick one of these issues and stick with it.

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  39. I already did. The Bible claims to be neither inerrant or infallible. I have said this several times now.

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  40. Blair,

    To be fair, you DID state "inerrant first", then in a separate comment mentioned infallibility. Please see your comment:
    It basically presents the Bible as set up on a firm foundation of scholarly evidences in archeology, and other aspects. It seems to argue from an inerrantist position regarding that volume of scripture. I do not believe an argument from that position is sustainable.
    October 8, 2008 2:22 PM


    Then, in response to Ambassador you said:
    Sure; which version of the Bible is infallible? Define infallibility, and demonstrate that the Bible itself claims to be infallible.
    October 16, 2008 7:50 AM


    It seems to me that you haven't answered his original question:
    What an interesting conversation. I would like to know why bhodges does not believe that the argument for inerrancy of the Bible is sustainable.
    October 15, 2008 11:18 PM


    Please do not follow the expected path of playing with word games as to deflect from answering a question.

    Quite frankly, I have found, that in dealing in person and online with Mormons, generally, you would rather not answer a question and turn the questioning around and argue about words.

    You made the claim that you didn't think that "the argument for inerrancy of the Bible is sustainable". Someone has asked why you think that way, and now you seem to be avoiding the question.

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  41. I'm not avoiding the question; I'm refusing to argue for a position on the Bible that the Bible itself does not make. Quite frankly, I have found, that in dealing in person and online with evangelicals, baptists, non-denominationalists and other fundamentalist Christians, generally, they would rather not answer a question but instead turn the questioning around and avoid defending their own position.

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  42. Wow.

    YOU made the statement that you didn't think "the argument for inerrancy of the Bible is sustainable".

    Is your only answer to that question, "The Bible claims to be neither inerrant or infallible"? Is that really the track you want to take on this?

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  43. I don't think it is sustainable. It is not sustainable because the Bible itself never makes the claim in the first place. Any info to the contrary let me know; but it's very difficult to prove a negative. Perhaps you'd like me to post the entire Bible to the comments here?

    So yes, that is the track I want to take on this.

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  44. Blair,

    The Bible does not itself claim to be infallible or inerrant; those are different claims attributed by followers. God did not NEED to claim it was the most correct book; it has simply always been considered that by most of His followers. All claims to its inerrancy or its infallibilities are the responsibility of those making those claims.

    You, however, said that you don’t think that the argument for inerrancy of the Bible is sustainable. After that, there seems to be a communication breakdown. You said “It is not sustainable because the Bible itself never makes the claim in the first place.”

    Let me use your argument to help you understand my confusion as to your answer. Let someone say, “Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of the 20th century.” You would then say, “that argument is not sustainable, because Reagan never made that claim in the first place.” To me, that answer is moot. (I certainly am not equating the Bible with Ronald Reagan, but was trying to make a point)

    Just because your prophet had to make a claim about the Book of Mormon doesn’t make it fact. To me, and many others, the claim about it being “the most correct book” is foolishness. That would be akin to Reagan calling himself the greatest president in history.

    It was very “convenient” for JS to cast doubt upon the Bible when he said, “as long as it is translated correctly”. This made it easy for him to persuade his followers that his new revelation was God’s word.

    Whether or not someone is a Christian or even a Jew (as far as the Old Testament is concerned) has no bearing upon their accepting the veracity of the historical and archeological aspects of the Bible. However, one must be a Mormon to believe the claims of the Book of Mormon. It isn’t able to stand the scrutiny of unbelief. That, I believe is the point of this entire post.

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  45. The Bible does not itself claim to be infallible or inerrant; those are different claims attributed by followers. God did not NEED to claim it was the most correct book; it has simply always been considered that by most of His followers. All claims to its inerrancy or its infallibilities are the responsibility of those making those claims.

    Then we have established that the Bible does not claim to be inerrant or infallible.

    In addition, I do not believe the Book of Mormon is either of those things.

    You, however, said that you don’t think that the argument for inerrancy of the Bible is sustainable. After that, there seems to be a communication breakdown. You said “It is not sustainable because the Bible itself never makes the claim in the first place.”

    I don't think it is sustainable; partly because none of the writers in its pages ever claimed it was so. The concepts, as you note, are imposed upon the text afterwards. The Bible does not claim to be ine. or inf. This in and of itself does not indicate that it is neither of those things, I agree. However, given that the very nature of translation and language is culturally tied, rich, deep, and complex, I personally doubt the actual possibility of an infallible or inerrant text aside from interpretation. Text and symbols are interactive, especially in language.

    The Bible exists in countless translations. There are variations therein. Which Bible version is inerrant or infallible? How can we tell if the orig. manuscripts are not available for comparison? There are simply too many issues for me to delve into regarding whether the Bible is ine. or inf. Pointing to some geographic locations simply doesn't cut it. Especially when the record does not always match the archeology (see Dever, for example). I have no interest in trying to convince you otherwise, my main point here has been to contend that the film you posted here soft-pedals problems with the Bible and exaggerates problems with the Book of Mormon; both of which do have problems worthy of noting, though the film does not adequately do so.

    Let me use your argument to help you understand my confusion as to your answer. Let someone say, “Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of the 20th century.” You would then say, “that argument is not sustainable, because Reagan never made that claim in the first place.” To me, that answer is moot. (I certainly am not equating the Bible with Ronald Reagan, but was trying to make a point)

    Undoubtedly I agree. Such an argument, (if attempted as "sufficient") is simply fallacious. I apologize if I gave a false impression. Again, see my comments above.

    Just because your prophet had to make a claim about the Book of Mormon doesn’t make it fact. To me, and many others, the claim about it being “the most correct book” is foolishness. That would be akin to Reagan calling himself the greatest president in history.

    This is an old canard that has been addressed in many venues, and given that you bring it up without any interaction with the relevant responses is unfortunate. We are talking about Biblical infallibility and inerrancy, not what Joseph Smith said about the Book of Mormon. He never claimed it to be infallible or inerrant, or a geography book, or a scientific work in any regard, & etc.

    It was very “convenient” for JS to cast doubt upon the Bible when he said, “as long as it is translated correctly”. This made it easy for him to persuade his followers that his new revelation was God’s word.

    First, the phrase is "as far as it is translated correctly." "As long" doesn't really make sense, but it does seem to betray a bias that the Bible must either be translated correctly, or false. With that position I disagree, as did Joseph Smith, clearly. Still, Smith himself used the Bible in his preaching much more than he used the Book of Mormon. He believed it was God's word. The LDS Church today counts it one of the 4 standard works, part of the official canon. Believing the Bible isn't perfect, and making people aware of that belief, is what you term "casting doubt upon the Bible," yet we have already established that the Bible makes no claim to inerrancy or infallibility, so that claim does not contradict what the Bible itself says.

    Whether or not someone is a Christian or even a Jew (as far as the Old Testament is concerned) has no bearing upon their accepting the veracity of the historical and archeological aspects of the Bible. However, one must be a Mormon to believe the claims of the Book of Mormon. It isn’t able to stand the scrutiny of unbelief. That, I believe is the point of this entire post.

    You are comparing apples to oranges, though. We have a continuation of lands in the Old World regarding some locations (such as Jerusalem.) In the New World we have a completely different picture.

    Not only that, but archaeological evidence says nothing in regards to the truth claims of the Bible. On your terms we could read the Doctrine and Covenants (and visit all of the geographic locations) and thus prove Joseph Smith was a prophet. It is simply not that simple, however.

    But again, at least we can agree that the Bible itself makes no claim to infallibility or to being inerrant.

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