2 proofs the Bible is not absolute truth

 
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Sam McNear



Joined: 22 Apr 2005
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Location: Beaverton, Oregon

PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: 2 proofs the Bible is not absolute truth Reply with quote

Please read the following quotes that someone is trying to use to prove the Bible is not an absolute truth

Quote:
"For centuries, the church's teaching about seizure disorder was that it was demon possession, in accordance with what was written in scripture, despite scientific evidence that it was not. People were excommunicated – not to mention tortured and locked in asylums because the outward manifestation of their lives were contrary to the official church 'standard' of teaching."

"For centuries, the church's teaching about left handedness was that it was a sign of evil, in accordance with what was written in scripture, despite scientific evidence that it was not. People were excommunicated – not to mention tortured and shunned and exiled because the outward manifestation of their lives were contrary to the official church 'standard' of teaching. (My beloved can tell you stories that will raise the hair on the back of your necks about the abuse she and others suffered in Roman Catholic elementary schools because of their left handedness)."


These quotes are saying that in the past we believed the church and scripture to be true but science has proven it wrong at least in these areas.

Ok I don't believe anything can ever prove the Bible is not the absolute truth. But I'm lacking some historical knowledge of the Churches teachings on these subjects and need some help.

Can someone answer these questions for me so I can prove the statements above false?
Question 1. Did the church ever teach that a seizure disorder was demon possession or left handedness was a sign of evil?
Question 2. If so when and who (Epistemology)?

Question 3. And what scriptures would one use to support these doctrines?

Thanks
Quote:

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mattrose



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Question 1. Did the church ever teach that a seizure disorder was demon possession or left handedness was a sign of evil?


Probably some individual churches did. And perhaps even larger institutions. But that's a complaint against the CHURCH, not the Bible. The Bible may provide some examples of times when seizures WERE demon possessed, but that hardly makes the case that ALL seizures are caused by demons. I don't know anything in the Bible against left-handedness.


Quote:
Question 2. If so when and who (Epistemology)?


Somebody else will have to help out on these specifics. I simply raise the point again, "who cares.' This argument is against traditions, not against the Scriptures.

Quote:
Question 3. And what scriptures would one use to support these doctrines?


I'm sure they used some of the demonic deliverances of Jesus' ministry which involved seizures and/or shaking. But those are individual cases, not broad brushes.
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Suzana



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
These quotes are saying that in the past we believed the church and scripture to be true but science has proven it wrong at least in these areas.


I found the quotes at Religious Tolerance.org
Apparently it’s a quote by The Rev'd Elizabeth Kaeton of the Episcopal Church of St. Paul's in Chatham, NJ, who wrote an open letter to her fellow Anglicans (to promote lesbian/gay/bisexual/transsexual rights within the church):

Quote:
“Part of her letter notes the progress that the Christian church has made in the past in many areas. She chose three examples:”

"For centuries, the church's teaching about the shape of the world was that it was flat, in accordance with what was written in scripture, despite scientific evidence that it was not. People were excommunicated – not to mention tortured and tried and sent to jail and murdered for disagreeing with the official church 'standard' of teaching."

"For centuries, the church's teaching about seizure disorder was that it was demon possession, in accordance with what was written in scripture, despite scientific evidence that it was not. People were excommunicated – not to mention tortured and locked in asylums because the outward manifestation of their lives were contrary to the official church 'standard' of teaching."

"For centuries, the church's teaching about left handedness was that it was a sign of evil, in accordance with what was written in scripture, despite scientific evidence that it was not. People were excommunicated – not to mention tortured and shunned and exiled because the outward manifestation of their lives were contrary to the official church 'standard' of teaching. (My beloved can tell you stories that will raise the hair on the back of your necks about the abuse she and others suffered in Roman Catholic elementary schools because of their left handedness)."


These statements (which I bolded) are not entirely truthful. These arguments are against traditions of men, (as Matt has noted), not the Scriptures, in any of the areas chosen as examples.
Regarding the shape of the earth, the scriptures actually pointed to a sphere, even before science caught up: Isaiah 40:22, Job 26:7, and Luke 17:34-36 (by inference).

Regarding the seizures, Matt has already answered. I would just add that I would be interested to see scientific proof that every case of a seizure is non-demoniacally induced.

With the left-handedness issue:

the bible does seem to contain favourable reference to the right-hand and unfavourable references to the left-hand. E.g.: The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted (Psalm 118 vv15,16)
Matt 35:33 The sheep are set on Christ's right hand and the goats on the left. I imagine some people may have used scriptures like these to jump to conclusions and teach unwarranted and unbiblical superstitions.

As for the statement "despite scientific evidence that it was not", it's noteworthy that the bias against left-handedness was prevalent in diverse cultures, not just 'the church', for differing reasons.

some info here
Also, this bias was prevalent in secular society as recently as a few decades ago - my younger sister is left-handed, and when she was in an (Australian) primary school (secular, government), there was an attempt to force right-handedness.

I would reiterate that we shouldn't confuse every pronouncement of a man-made organisation called '"the church", with the teaching of Scripture.

I also find it ironic that in the quotes above, issues are chosen that misrepresent the teachings of scripture, in order to promote acceptance of behaviour that actually is clearly called sinful by the Scriptures. (At least it's clear to me; I know some would argue against this position).

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TK



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt wrote:

Quote:
I don't know anything in the Bible against left-handedness.


well, soceity natural favors right handedness because there are so relatively few left handed people.

In 2 samuel, i believe, left handedness is spoke of favorably because it said the left handed benjamites (i think) were excellent with a sling and therefore highly desirable warriors.

regarding seizures, I agree with matt and suzana. who cares what the church institutionally has said? cant blame the bible for that. the bible never makes the claim that seizure disorders are always caused by possession. it simply appears that demon possession often creates symptoms that mirror seizures.

TK
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Sam McNear



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:14 am    Post subject: who cares? how about all who say Reply with quote

Who cares? How about all who say "See even Christians, the followers of Christ can't get it right" Many people look at what the followers of the Bible have done and do then decide if they want this religion or not. The only way to expose the truth about it is to understand the epistemology of it. (Finding and studying the presuppositions, the grounds, foundation of knowledge or to put it in easier terms finding the validity of knowledge is epistemology.)

For example Sue added the quote about the flat earth. I didn’t include this because I already found a great answer to this. The answer shows the history and authors of the idea (epistemology) so we can see the authors were not trustworthy and it was not accepted by the main or the church fathers.

Click the following link to see the flat earth answer
http://christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c034.html

So to satisfy some of my non Christian friends I need to explain why the world believes the church is wrong and where the origin of those thoughts came from and how they are a heresy.

P.S. Thank all of you for your comments
In Christ
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Steve



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When people already hold a particular view, it is natural enough for them to find verses or arguments from scripture to bolster their presuppositions, whether the Bible really supports them or not.

Belief in a flat earth has been in vogue at various times in history. The error cannot be blamed on the Bible, since the Bible nowhere teaches the concept. Lots of societies in the past believed (upon evidence deemed adequate by all thinking people at the time) that the earth was a flat surface, and when such people read the Bible, they naturally seized upon verses that sound somewhat as if they could be used to confirm what everybody already thought.

We now live in a society that believes (upon good grounds) that the earth is round, so we seize upon the verses that seem to support this. It is possible that the Bible teaches nothing directly about the shape of the earth, and that prevailing notions in a society will lead Christians in that society to find biblical "support" for the respected view. Neither Christians nor the Bible can actually be blamed for this, since the shape of the earth is irrelevant to any duty that God has imposed upon us, and is therefore an extrabiblical concern.

Most ancient societies used to believe that all seizures were caused by demon possession (and some of them are!). Some may think they can find support for this idea in scripture, though the scriptures do not teach it anywhere. Until some scientific disproof of this thesis is forthcoming, no one can be blamed for holding this view as a default—even if it turns out to be wrong upon further discovery.

It is unreasonable to expect the Christians of any age to be more enlightened on extrabiblical, scientific questions of their era than are the best men of science in their generation.
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Sam McNear



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:01 pm    Post subject: so all societies used to believe so that makes it ok Reply with quote

I'm not sure I understand this logic. If all societies used to believe that all seizures were demon possession, or left handedness is evil, how does that make it ok for Christians to believe that? Is it a strong enough case to say all societies used to believe? So in saying that we say Christians are in the same mind set as the world? I believe that God helps us see through the lies of the best science of the day. Also we are more “enlightened” than the rest of the world because we have the Holy Spirit in us. And He gives us truths that the best science can’t. A good example: today’s science says Noah’s Ark never happened. Yet the Bible says it did I believe the Bible. So with the Bible and the Holy Spirit helping us read it we can know when the science or popular opinion is wrong.

So in the case of seizures and left hands I feel that the Holy Spirit most likely told the leaders of the church or at least someone in the remnant that they are false doctrines. Or at least that the church never taught them.

I'm sure if we dig into it we will find that along with the Bible never teaching all seizures are demon possession, or left handedness is evil, we will also find the church fathers never taught it either. I may be wrong and if I am please show me. Of coarse it would be easier to make such a statement if I could find the origin of the false doctrines.

I ‘m digging for answers of the questions, from my 1st post, because I want to have a solid answer with it’s foundation in truth. I don’t want to give a pad answer to the people I witness to who are using these arguments to try and destroy the Christian religion.

Are there any scriptures of anyone having a seizure that was not possessed?

I hope I’m not coming across as a negative person that really isn’t me.

In Christ
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mattrose



Joined: 23 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Problems among Christians regarding doctrine is an issue, sure.

But I guess I don't understand the angle you're friends are coming from...

Quote:
someone is trying to use to prove the Bible is not an absolute truth


Why would they try to prove the Bible is in error by pointing fingers at what some Christians believed hundreds of years after the Bible was written.

What they seem to be actually arguing is

Quote:
someone is trying to use Christian history to prove that Christianity is not true


But even then it would only be a decent, not a great argument.
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Sam McNear



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:32 pm    Post subject: true Reply with quote

True it is only a decent argument not a great one. The people I'm talking to are very much into epistemology, philosophy, and the like. This is why I need an answer like I’m seeking.
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Steve



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam,

Why are you so concerned to show that no one in the church ever taught that seizures are caused by demon possession? We know that many in the church taught that the earth is flat, and that spontaneous generation produces maggots. Why should we be concerned about the errors that were made by earlier generations of Christians? So long as they were addressing issue not addressed in scripture, their views do not reflect negatively on the Bible itself. Nor should we be embarrassed on their behalf, since their opinions of these things were the opinions of everyone at the time.

Why would we expect Christians to be more informed on questions for which they have no information additional to that accessible to the general public? Are you saying that the Holy Spirit was obliged to supernaturally reveal to them the truth of such scientific issues? What possible concern could He have for their knowing more about these things than everyone else? Are you thinking that God intended to establish the Church as the authoritative source of all scientific information that would later be discovered by research? I am not seeing the problem that is concerning you.

The matter of Noah's ark is not parallel to the issues raised in your post. First, because the Bible actually affirms the historicity of the flood and the ark, whereas it does not affirm that all seizures are caused by demons. Second, because modern science does not tell us that the ark never existed. If someone says that science has shown such a thing, I would be interested in seeing documentation of the lab experiments that proved such a thing.

Many of the leaders in the early church taught that sinning after baptism would damn the believer. I disagree with this teaching, though it does not present a conflict with anything scientists have ever proven. I am more concerned with the cases where the Church messes up on this kind of subject (which should be her specialty, since it deals with biblical doctrines), than those like the cause of left-handedness (which does not even intrude into her sphere of competence, because the Bible doesn't address it). Even so, unless we are Roman Catholics (I am not) the mistakes of earlier Christians in their biblical interpretation need not hinder me from recognizing the Bible as authoritative.

Do not let your friends frame the issues of the debate. You defend what you, as a Christian, believe, and don't let them require you to defend a proposition that is not a part of your faith system.
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Sam McNear



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:17 am    Post subject: the advice i'm getting Reply with quote

The advice I'm getting is to change my tact, OK it looks like I will have to. Thank you and I mean that.

I was hoping for some history on how and who believed the things in my 1st post. If not to help with my debate but to make me more knowledgeable of Christian history. I see no wrong in wanting to know how and why. Also in answer to your question
Quote:
Are you saying that the Holy Spirit was obliged to supernaturally reveal to them the truth of such scientific issues? What possible concern could He have for their knowing more about these things than everyone else?

Yes I do believe the Holy Spirit, if we are in tune, would tell anyone at anytime that the science of any day is wrong or right. God will never let anyone follow a lie or non-truth if it is important for the kingdom. For example I believe the Holy Spirit is telling many Christians that global warming is a big lie. Or at least many aspects of the THEORY are lies. The whole world is not getting warmer, maybe some parts are getting warmer but some parts are getting colder.

don't have time to comment on all right now gotta go to work. God Bless
Any way thanks for the advice I will change my tactics.
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Sam McNear

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PAULESPINO



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If God wants to reveal something to us, He will provide evidence.
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