“The Errors of Inerrancy”

In all my searchings and wanderings and Christian/Agnostic days of reading and agonizing over the meaning of doctrines, dogmas, and scriptures I have rarely come across as succinct an explanation of why biblical inerrancy is wrongheaded as this post explains right here:

John Hobbins again rides out to rescue inerrancy. I remain unconvinced that the word is rescuable from the arid rationalism of the creationists and Baconian Enlightenment minded fundamentalists. The type of error they are so keen to declare scripture free of is actually often at the heart of the type of entirely different writing scripture often consists of. In a wooden-minded world where error means much more the sort of thing these writers and speakers mean, and where empirical fact is the only truth, I am inclined to think that we need, at the very least, to put the word into long-term storage, and use other language.

I note that John seeks to speak from his particular take on his Reformation heritage. I continue to think the reification of scripture as a word independent of and set over against the church, rather than a vehicle of God’s activity to, in, and through his church, which John expresses in relatively eirenic ways, is a problematic inheritance. It encourages the kind of mindset that ascribes inerrancy to (non-existent) original autographs, but never explores the living nature of the texts to engage in their own re-interpretation, nor reads the internal dialogue of the canonical collection. (Doug Chaplin)

If I wrote a thousand words a day for a thousand days, I couldn’t come up with something as good as that. Excellent. The doctrine of inerrancy was the chief reason I could no longer have faith in the doctrines and dogmas of Christian fundamentalism. I find the topic endlessly fascinating because it does color your faith in one way or another. In fact, giving up inerrancy helped to cure me of belief in an object (the bible) over and above belief in a person (Jesus/Holy Spirit). For me, this is the test of true religion; do we believe more in the channels of Grace or do we believe in the Grace itself?

Thanks to Kay at her site for the link. There is another good post about this subject here.


4 thoughts on ““The Errors of Inerrancy”

  1. Yes, the brainwashing has to be profound for a person to keep the belief of inerrancy in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Who cares if history needs to be rewritten, stories made up, science denied, and incongruous verses twisted around, as long as the conclusion of Biblical perfection is reached.

    I know my brainwashing was beyond profound. The stuff was “hard coded” in my brain. Sometimes I wonder how I manage to break away.

    • Lorena,

      Welcome to the blog.

      It is a profound brainwashing. Sometimes, like you, I wonder how I believed it, but it seemed so plausible at the time. It’s taken some years to be able to read the bible again, because it does contain some good things in it. I just have to be careful about it, because it’s easy to slip back into that all encompassing acceptance mode when reading it. It gets easier as I get older and the farther removed I am from fundamentalist churches, which really only serve to reinforce the messages. If one can get clear of that, then that’s half the battle right there!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. The Bible? Sure, I won’t hit you over the head for reading it. For me, I prefer Jane Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. Hard to beat!

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