Inspiration and believing the miraculous
This dialogue picks up in the middle of a longer one (the first half was lost) that I was having with a person on the inspiration and inerrancy of the biblical documents. He denies they are inspired in the originals and yet claims to believe in the deity of Christ, his death, burial, and resurrection. Also, he wanted to get into detailed arguments about certain Bible difficulties and from earlier conversations I could tell that it wouldn't matter what I offered by way of explanations, he'd not accept them.
We jump in half way through after discussing what would be sufficient for Jonathan to accept biblical inerrancy. He had just stated that biblical prophecies in the Old Testament were vague references and/or mistranslations so that they can't be used to support inspiration. I mentioned a specific Old Testament prophecy (Psalm 22) if I remember correctly, and he said it wasn't a prophecy. Here we go...
Matt Slick: If not, then it won't matter what I present to you because you will just say that it is a vague reference or a mistranslation. The real problem isn't with the inspired documents. The real problem is with your assumptions. Since you deny the inspiration of the word of God, and since you deny it is prophetically accurate, there is no way to demonstrate its inerrancy.
Jonathan: What assumptions? Divine inspiration needs to be demonstrated... I am more than willing to examine evidence of that
Matt Slick: No, I do not believe you're more than willing to do that. I believe that you have your mind set on denouncing God's Word.
Jonathan: If you can provide a prophecy that is not vague, mistranslated and beyond the power of a human writer, I will examine it.
Matt Slick: I believe that you are not capable of accepting the inspiration of the Bible. That is what I believe.
Jonathan: Do not mind read me, Matt, you are mistaken... stick to the facts please.
Matt Slick: I did not try and read your mind. I gave you my opinion, what I believe about you.
Jonathan: An opinion to which you are entitled, but I am here to discuss facts.
Matt Slick: I do not believe that the facts do any good to you. I believe you will interpret the fax in a manner consistent with your presuppositions. You have already demonstrated that to me.
Jonathan: How quickly you come to your conclusions...
Matt Slick: You presupposed that the Bible is not the inspired Word of God, in spite of its prophetic nature, in spite of the claim of Christ himself using it to authenticate his own Ministry. So, let me ask you this: do you believe that Jesus Christ is God in flesh, crucified, and risen from the dead?
Jonathan: A text until proven otherwise, no prophecy has been demonstrated and the last is circular reasoning.
Jonathan: Off topic again...
Matt Slick: Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God in flesh, crucified, and risen from the dead?
Jonathan: And yes, btw
Matt Slick: You do? How can you?
Jonathan: I have stated they are not perfect.
Matt Slick: The New Testament documents are not reliable according to you. So therefore, the documents are not to be trusted. Why would you dare conclude such an incredibly awesome belief about this person who claimed to be God in flesh and rose from the dead?
Jonathan: That's not what I said.
Matt Slick: I see, so they're not inspired. They're not perfect. They make incredible claims and you believe those incredible claims....so.....Is it rational to believe such incredible claims about God in flesh, death, and resurrection, based upon imperfect and non inspired documents? That does not sound very rational to me
Jonathan: Where those claims are back what I consider good evidence, yes.
Matt Slick: I think you're making a big mistake
Jonathan: I don't see it that way. The evidence is what it is.
Matt Slick: You are believing in some very incredible things (a man who claimed to be God, who died, and physically rose from the dead) based upon non-inspired and imperfect documents. Is that rational? Is it more rational to make such belief statement based upon inspired and accurate documents, rather than on non-inspired and inaccurate documents? So, who's be more rational? You or me?
Jonathan: There is a difference in believing in things that have not been proven false and those that have.
Matt Slick: Is it more logical to believe the miraculous based upon inspired documents, rather than on imperfect, error laden writings of untrustworthy men?
Jonathan: No one has yet to prove Jesus' claims false from my perspective whereas biblical inerrancy has been disproven. That's the difference.
Matt Slick: I see, so some things have been proven to be false, and something proven to be true.... and you judge which those are in the Bible???? So you put yourself above the word of God, and become its judge.
Jonathan: That is your presupposition, Matt, not mine... I elevate myself above nothing. I simply critique what I consider the writings of other people.
Matt Slick: Yet you judge it to be weak, inaccurate, without inspiration, and yet you believe that Christ is God in flesh (who testified to the authenticity of the Old Testament), and you also believe in the resurrection of a man? I don't think you're very rational at all. I think you pick and choose what you want to believe. That again, that is simply my opinion.
Jonathan: So let's stick to facts... such as no one has produced Jesus' body in order to disprove the resurrection.
Matt Slick: It doesn't matter anymore.
Jonathan: What doesn't matter?
Matt Slick: You demonstrated to me you were irrational, and I do not see how we can continue to try and have a rational conversation.
Jonathan: I am anything but irrational... ask anyone on Carm. And you are, in my opinion, failing to deal with the issues at hand.
Matt Slick: Actually, I just demonstrated that you are irrational.
Jonathan: Demonstrated that to yourself perhaps.
Matt Slick: Anyway, the issue is the presuppositions that you have, and your lack of ability to logically apply those presuppositions to your belief system. You say you are rational. But I believe that I have demonstrated that you are irrational.
Jonathan: There is no lack of logic in my position that you have demonstrated.
Matt Slick: Well, you may be correct. I may not have demonstrated your illogic. Perhaps we could ask what others think about that?
Jonathan: I would appreciate you taking a look at the examples on Carm before we tackle the subject again.
Matt Slick: I believe it is far more rational to believe such incredible claims if they are derived from inspired books, rather than non-inspired books. That is my conclusion for this evening and I think you are far less rational then I am in this.
Jonathan: I personally don't find resurrection beyond reason, nor that there is a God, nor that God would come as well.
Matt Slick: Anyway, on our next encounter, why don't we tackle Psalm 22 and Isaiah 7:14
Jonathan: Matt: Fair enough. In that order?
Matt Slick: Sure. But I know what will happen already, because I know your presuppositions.
Jonathan: Matt: And I know yours... ;)
Matt Slick: Until next time.
I thought I could have done better in this conversation, but I couldn't help focus on the inconsistency of believing incredible and miraculous things from a book that Jonathan said wasn't trustworthy. It just doesn't add up.
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