How can we tell that The Bible is the perfect word of God? How does it differ from other religious texts?
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I don't think that there is any objective way to do this. All that you can do is to have faith that it is. If there were proof of it then everyone would believe in it. There would also be much less merit in believing in it because there would be no faith involved.
I am not sure that you can call any book a product of a divine being. The book certainly has interesting stories, but it also has faulty grammar in places, and several parts which can be interpreted in many different ways. I am sure that any divine being would want themselves to be absolutely clear about things and not cloud their "words" with different possible interpretations. And when you refer to the "Bible," is it both the Old Testament and the New Testament? What about other books such as the Koran or the Mahabharata, considered very holy in other religions. Religious doctrine and faith are highly controversial and it is impossible to discern the existence of a supreme being without merely going "on faith."
The Bible was assembled from a variety of texts written a variety of times, most decades, even centuries after the events they described. What is more, the books that made it into the Bible were chosen from several different versions, some of which were different, usually in minor details, but sometimes in serious ways. Again, even these were hand-copied over and over, and contain errors, either changes in meaning inserted by monks or simple grammatical mistakes. So it is difficult to say that it is the perfect word of God. In fact, it has been established by biblical scholars that, at least in one sense of the word, it is far from perfect. Whether one believes that it represents perfect ideas, or perfect truths that transcend these mistakes, is as others have noted a matter of faith. An interesting and readable book on this topic by a distinguished professor of religion is Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus.
I tend to agree with post 4 by rrteacher. A book compiled like that cannot be the perfect word of God. From my point of view, the minimum requirement of a book that could be claimed to be a perfect word of God would be one that has only 'One Single Text' and'Not many Versions'. The Bible does not qualify even this criteria.
The Bible is a translation. You also have to remember that what you read as the Bible has been translated many, many times. There are translations of translations, and then there’s the Bible. You cannot prove that the Bible is the direct word of God, because so many hands have been stirring the pot and adding or taking away ingredients.
I don't know if we really can tell. Some folks might be upset with me for saying that, but I think it's a matter of faith. Faith requires belief and action without proof. If we knew that the Bible was perfect truth, we wouldn't need faith, would we?
Well, to be honest, we can tell that the Bible isn't the perfect word of God. It is riddled with errors, inconsistencies and evidence of tampering. Najm, in post5, is right. When we look at the Bible without any biases or sympathy, it falls to pieces. It cannot justify its claims to divine perfection.
One of my favourite Youtube posters is a very well read, religiously-trained academic who has made many excellent videos discussing Biblical accuracy. He is not a polemicist, he is very polite and calm and his videos are clear, well-presented, substantiated and balanced.
If you truly wish to study the Bible, warts and all, then I recommend ProfMTH.
Hang on, I linked his homepage, I should have linked his video archive. here's the link...
WHY don't we have an edit function for our own posts anymore???
Of course, there is no way of proving things about the Holy Bible; however, it is certainly the greatest work of literature ever written. And, that it is a work inspired by powers greater than man is evident from the fact that the Bible has lasted throughout time. The Bible is, indeed, imperfect as it was recorded by man. But, the messages of the Bible are, indeed, inspirational.
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