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Last week I quoted a passage that has caused a lot of controversy about abortion and the Bible, Exodus 21:22-23.

When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined . . . If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life . . . (Revised Standard Version)

Scholars argue over what it means that “any harm follows.” Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been trying to show that even though there are good ideas in the Bible, some Scriptural commandments attributed to God definitely do not reflect divine guidance. But now let’s take another tack. Let’s assume that every word of this book was inspired by God, and consider the implications. The passage I want to consider pertains to abortion and the Bible, Exodus 21:22-23.

22: When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23: If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life . . . (Revised Standard Version)

These verses have important implications for the pro-life vs. pro-choice controversy. Read the rest of this entry »

After 25 posts, it’s time for a brief reminder of the purpose of this site. The key question we’re confronting is whether the Bible is the 100% literal word of God. Here are four and a half possible answers:

  1. Not at all. God did not inspire the Bible, either because there is no God or because God doesn’t cause people to write holy books.
  2. Somewhat. God helped shape what’s in Scripture, but no moreso than any other book.
  3. Mostly. Taken as a whole, Scripture reflects divine inspiration.
  4. Entirely. Every word of the Bible is divinely inspired.

And then there’s option 4A: Entirely, with minor exceptions, such as human errors in copying texts. But God prevents serious errors from corrupting the divine message.

A great many people accept 4 or 4A. But the entries on this web site are intended to conclusively prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the only possible options are 1, 2, or 3. Why? Because the Bible contains many passages which claim to reflect higher guidance but actually reflect human error. Read a few posts and decide for yourself.

My suggestion for a starting point? The Heartblink, posted on November 18, 2012. Type that title in the search box or look for it in the Archives. After you read this post, ask yourself whether you can think of times when you’ve heartblinked some painful reality. If so, I’d love to hear your story.

Roger Christan Schriner

To subscribe to Did God Really Say THAT!? just click the “Follow” link on this page. For my main web site, visit http://www.schrinerbooksandblogs.com/

Before considering other problematic Bible verses, I want to suggest two different ways of understanding the divine inspiration of scriptures.

A sacred book can be inspired through dictation. God, or an emissary from God, can speak to a human (or put thoughts into a person’s head) and these can be written down word for word.

In this scenario, the person is a passive instrument, serving as “God’s pen.”

On the other hand, inspiration may involve filtration. Communications from God or some other source of wisdom are filtered through the minds of human beings. Sometimes people are so thoroughly conditioned by their cultures or so full of their own prejudices that most or all of the message gets filtered out. And sometimes they think they’re hearing God when they are actually listening to a very different voice.

By the way, something similar can happen with guidance that comes from within. An unconscious insight may “try” to push its way into our consciousness, but for one reason or another we suppress or distort this message. The classic example is a revelatory dream that the dreamer misinterprets. Sometimes people discover, years later, that they completely missed the point of what a dream was trying to tell them.

Let’s assume that a personal deity did communicate with those who wrote the Bible. If the Bible seemed like perfect heavenly guidance from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, then one could reasonably believe that this book was divinely dictated. But if there are numerous passages that clearly do not reflect higher guidance, perhaps such guidance was filtered through the minds and hearts of fallible humans.

Isn’t that how Christians often experience prayer? Even if they have been listening carefully for the voice of God, they may see later on that they were mostly hearing themselves. “Uh-oh! That was my ego talking, not God.” Or: “That was my anger … my stubbornness … my attachments … my narrow-mindedness … my self-righteousness … my fear of change.”

And maybe that sort of thing sometimes happened to those who wrote the Bible.

Roger Christan Schriner

After retiring from my work as a minister and psychotherapist, I have been searching for ways of bridging the gap between different theological viewpoints. In November, 2012, as I look back on the Presidential election, it seems more obvious than ever that Americans are polarized about both politics and religion. And one of the key issues dividing people, both here and abroad, is the question of Biblical inspiration. Is the Bible divinely inspired?

Here are some possible answers to that question:

1. The entire Bible is divinely inspired, and every verse is literally true.

2. Except for minor problems such as errors in translation, everything in this book was inspired by God.

3. The Bible may contain incorrect statements due to human error, but God ensures that no harm will result from these mistakes.

4. Some passages of the Bible reflect human opinions rather than divine wisdom, but the Bible as a whole is divinely inspired.

5. Much of the Bible is God’s Word and much of it is not.

6. None of this book was inspired by God. It is entirely a human creation.

This web site is primarily intended for those who accept statements 1, 2, or 3, and are open to considering the possibility that these statements may be incorrect.

In a series of postings I will attempt to show beyond any reasonable doubt that options 1, 2, and 3 are incorrect and lead to dangerous and destructive consequences. I will take no position about items 4 – 6. I hope those who believe in one of the first three options will read this blog with an open mind and send me their comments.

You may find this site helpful if:

* You have believed that all of the Bible is divinely inspired, but you are troubled by passages that seem morally repugnant.

* You notice scriptural passages that seem to contradict each other.

* You wonder about seeming contradictions between the Bible and modern science.

* You accepted the complete literal truth of the Bible when you were young, but now that you’re older you would like to revisit this decision.

* You disagree with someone you love about whether the Bible is “inerrant” (without error), and you would like to reflect on this issue.

There are already web sites purporting to show that the Bible contains errors, contradictions, and hazardous ideas. But many of these sites sneer at Christians and Christian beliefs. I wish to explore this issue in a way that respects those who treasure the Bible, regardless of their opinions about divine inspiration.

I have friends who are Biblical literalists, and I have no interest in denigrating anyone’s faith. I hope the conversation I am beginning will bring us all closer together, not push us farther apart.

In my next entry I will consider inerrancy, the idea that the Bible is entirely true because it is entirely God’s Word.

Roger Christan Schriner