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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:42 pm 
One of the most famous cases of "religious institutions vs scientists" was the Gallileo deal. Everybody knows the story - the Catholic Church adhering to Ptolemee's (sp?) belief that the Earth is at the center of the universe with everything else revolving around it, and Copernicus's observations and calculations indicating that the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun.
Now, a funny thing about the wholde deal was that Ptolemee's model wasn't even part of doctrine. Unless I'm forgetting something, it isn't mentionned anywhere in the Bible that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Church authorities adhered to the model because they liked it, not because it was part of their religion.
Nowadays, there are certain conflicts surrounding the Bible. Genesis in particular comes to mind, for obvious reasons. Some simply consider it a non-issue ("Jeez, people - it's just a collection of myths. Check the evidence!"). Some assume Genesis was meant figuratively ("Well, if the scientists say so, they probably know what they're saying. So, God must not have meant it litterally."). A final faction dismisses the conclusions of most of the scientific community, giving more credibility to the Bible ("God wrote it. Are you calling God a liar?").
Now, concerning the thrid faction...Something's occured to me. Is there any logical basis at all behind it? Is biblical innerancy part of doctrine? (Not that this would make it correct, mind you) Or is it just a belief that's popular with certain fundamentalists?
The Epistles were written by Paul, who admitted that their content represented his own opinions, and not necessarilly God's. The Gospels were supposedly written by disciples of Jesus, and I don't think any of them claimed to have received divine inspiration during the writing process. That leaves the Old Testament. Does it claim at any part to have been written, or at least inspired by God - rather than just, you know, being written by humans who saw/heard stuff happen and decided to write it down?
I think it is part of Muslim doctrine that an angel dictated every word in the Coran to Mohammad. I don't recall any such claim for Judeo-Christianity...


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:29 pm 
Isn't there something in the Bible about God stopping the sun (which would have meant that the sun was moving, not the earth)? I think I read that somewhere.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:50 pm 
I can't speak for Christianity, nor do I particularly want to, but it is certainly traditional Jewish teaching that the Torah (i.e., Five Books of Moses) is the Word of God, handed down to Moses at Mount Sinai. This, however, is more to assert the divine origin of the law laid out than the factual accuracy of the events described. (In my experience within the Reform and Conservative movements, at least, Torah-as-law has been emphasized more than Torah-as-history. What little participation I've had with Orthodox Judaism indicates some agreement.)

The rest of the Old Testament is considered sacred, and the prophets in those books are believed to have spoken to God. There doesn't seem to be the implication (as with the Torah) that it is the Word of God.

If I recall correctly, the Talmud contains a direct statement that the Book of Job is an allegory, but then anyone who can read Job and believe that it's literally true has some serious critical thinking problems.

Of course, it's folly to try to describe "the Jewish view" of anything. "Ask three Jews, get five opinions," as the saying goes.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:26 am 
From my rememberances of Presbyterian Sunday School:

The Bible is the Word of God given to Man and written by the Hands of Men.

As we all know, humans are not perfect creatures. As such, how can anything written by humans (Men) be considered truth in any form? Interpretation perhaps? Maybe the fact that over time, words change meanings. So how do we know that what was written so long ago was actually translated properly?

<i><b>"The virtue of using evidence is precisely that we can come to an agreement about it. But if you listen to two people who are arguing about something, and they each of them have passionate faith that they're right, but they believe different things -- they belong to different religions, different faiths, there is nothing they can do to settle their disagreement short of shooting each other, which is what they very often actually do."
--Richard Dawkins
</b></i>


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