The following dialogue occurred on a public chat forum between myself
and several individuals. I went into an atheist room specifically
to acquire this dialogue for this online school. I began by asking
if anyone wanted to talk to me about the Bible and its validity.
They all started attacking pretty quickly.
You'll notice in this dialogue that the topics jumped
around a lot, that they really couldn't stay on topic, and that they
tried to gang up on me. So, if you can, follow the different
people's train of thought.
I had my speech recognition program running so I was
able to keep up with a lot of it. But, to be honest, I didn't get
it all because there were so many atheists firing so many questions and
attacks very quickly. I did what I could to answer objections and
keep on topic. It wasn't easy. Nevertheless, here it is.
Also, I cleaned up the typo's and grammar mistakes. But, their
attacks are just as they occurred.
John: I find
the Bible repulsive.
Matt: John, why is that?
John: The Bible is an insult to intelligent
people. The being described in it is a sadistic egotistical maniac
with a inferiority complex and delusions of grandeur. The morals
contained in it are at best out dated and derived from a very
primitive way of thinking.
is obviously very closed minded and has a faulty understanding of
the Bible. Basically, I have concluded that talking with him
will be pointless since he has a very hostile presupposition.
If I were in a room with him, one one one, I could address every
issue he has. But, in a volatile text chat room, this won't be
so easy. Nevertheless, there are often many people who are
lurking and reading. Dialogues like this can help them, even
though we don't know who they are.
Matt: Why is the Bible an insult to intelligent people?
John: Have you ever read it? Nothing in the
Bible is written from an intelligent point of view. It is a
reflection of the primitive mindset of a primitive people, and
anyone who still believes in the crap is a disgrace to humans being
stuck in that primitive mind set.
that "nothing in the bible is written from an intelligent point of
view" is a ridiculously illogical statement. It is a broad
sweep that is inaccurate. Often, when condemning generalities
are made, the best thing to do is either point out that it is a over
generalization or ignore the person and go on to someone who is more
But, since this is an atheist chat room that I was in,
the others started jumping on the anti-Bible bandwagon.
Frank: "So it is with a woman who leaves her husband
and presents him with an heir by another man. She herself will be
brought before the assembly, and her punishment will extend to her
children. [The punishment for Adultery is EXECUTION] (Sirach
23:22-25 NRSV) - God ORDERS THE MURDER OF ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN
Sirach is not in the Bible.
Frank: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with
deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve
Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT) - God tells slaves that their slave
master is the CHRIST SON OF GOD.
So what is your point? If slavery was a reality in that world at
that time. God is simply telling people to work in the positions
where you are in to do what you are doing properly. Furthermore,
slavery was not as heinous as you imply that it is. People often
voluntarily went into slavery as a vocation. Sometimes the slaves
chose to stay with their masters because they love their masters.
But, you would not know this since you do not study the culture in
which those verses regarding slavery were written. You like to take
them out of context.
goal is to put the pressure on him to make some point. It is
often easier to tear down something than build it up. This is
what critics do. They take a series of verses out of context
and demand that you respond very quickly. But, you can't.
They know this. They want to "win" by flooding. So,
start asking questions. See if they respond to the questions.
If they don't, try it again.
John: Don't you think a loving
and just God would have simply outlawed the practice of slavery?
Matt: Whether or not God is loving and just does not mean that the human
practice of slavery is right or wrong. God often works within the
sinful limitations of humanity to accomplish His divine will. When
Jesus came to earth, He did not seek the overthrow of the oppressive
Roman government. Instead, He taught that we are to behave properly
and morally in the social and political context in which we find
ourselves. The truth is, that God's word and the love of God in us
changes society and removes from society those oppressive systems.
This is what happened in early America when the Christians worked to
get rid of slavery in America.
John: For your information, there were Christians on both
sides of the slavery issue, some used the Bible to say it was wrong
and others used it to say it was condoned by God.
It is true that Christians on both sides of the slavery issue used
the Bible to try and justify their position. But this does not
negate the validity of the Bible. You make a logic error when you
start saying that the erring application of biblical truth by those
who misapply it, invalidates the Bible. That is a logical fallacy.
is a tough subject to deal with quickly and easily. Most
critics are not interested in the historical and cultural contexts
nor do they care to know that God works through the existing society
to bring change to that society through evangelism. Slavery in
and of itself was not always a bad thing. Many people were
slaves as a vocation. Of course, some were oppressed.
But, each verse must be looked at in context. This is
something the critics rarely ever do.
Frank: Did Jesus rebuild the temple in three
You are speaking of John 2:19-21, "Jesus answered and said to them,
'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' 20 The
Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple,
and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of
the temple of His body." As you can see from the context, it is not
the temple in Jerusalem that Jesus was speaking of. He was speaking
of the temple of his very body which was resurrected three days
Frank: You said, Jesus' body is the temple. So
instead of rebuilding the temple, Jesus rebuilds his body instead.
Apparently, Frank just wants to argue. I showed him the
context of the verse and instead of accepting what it says, he tried
to head off in another direction with it. But, he failed to
follow through, probably because he saw the verse in context and
gave up on his attack.
Susan: If the contradictions in the
Bible are such that
both proponents and opponents can use it as authority for their
point of view,
it's invalid...to me anyway.
Matt: You have assumed that there are contradictions and based in
argument on that position. That is called begging the question and
is a logical fallacy.
how Susan jumps in assuming the thing she is trying to prove.
She assumes that the Bible has contradictions and then bases an
argument on that assumption. She has not established that the
Bible has contradictions. This is not a good way to argue.
I'll be going over
logical fallacies later in these lessons.
Mike: The Word of God?...written by men with
Matt: What is wrong if they have
how I asked a question? The idea is get the person to defend
his position. Since he has made a statement with no point, I
have asked him a question dealing with morality, i.e., "what is
wrong..." He is now on the defensive since in order for him to
respond to the question, he must raise a moral issue. But,
since he is an atheist, he has no objective moral standard by which
he can make a complaint. If he responds with a moral
statement, I would point that out.
Peter: The Bible had to be translated to
languages that people spoke.....no one speaks Latin today.
Matt: The Bible was not written in Latin. The Old Testament was written in
Hebrew in the New Testament was written in Greek. We have excellent
copies of the original documents and translators translate from the
copies of the originals into the target language.
John: For your information, when they were written in those
languages they were still individual text. The first Bible was written
in Latin. Prior to that they were individual texts.
Matt: No that is not accurate. The Old Testament was written in
Hebrew and was collected and known by the ancient Israelites as the
Word of God. Jesus and the apostles recognized that Old Testament
cannon (body of biblical books). The New Testament documents were
written by those who knew Christ and were under the direction of the
apostles. The Christian Church recognized those documents as being
inspired. These documents were written in the Greek. Therefore, when
you say that the Bible was first written in Latin, you are in error.
John: The 'bible' wasn't compiled until 325 ce.
Matt: It was collected and officially accepted around that time.
But, before that date the Christian Church knew what were the
scriptures of the New Testament. In fact, Jesus and the apostles
quote from the Old Testament frequently. They knew what the Old
Testament scriptures were. There were some doubts about New Testament
documents, but that was settled by around 325. The Church knew that the
apostles had written what they had and knew that their
documents were authoritative.
Bob: The first books of the New Testament have been
dated to 70 ce, and that is only Paul's letters. The rest has been
dated to a much later time. The books were not written by the authors
they are ascribed to, nor were they written in the time of the
apostles you twit.
the ad hominem attack; that is, notice the attack of calling me a
name. I could have pointed that out, but I didn't.
Instead, I focused on some more facts; namely the death of Peter and
Paul and the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. This
historical information is vitally important when defending the early
authorship of the New Testament books.
might have been a good idea here for me to ask Bob to prove, or at
least, provide some documentation to demonstrate late authorship of
the New Testament documents. It is perfectly okay to try and
put them on the spot.
Paul died anywhere from his 62 to 68. A.D. Therefore, his eistles were written before that date. The book of
Acts is a
history of the Christian Church. The book of Acts does not record
the death of Peter nor Paul and it does not mention the destruction
of Jerusalem and 70 A.D. Therefore, the book of Acts is logically
written before those dates. Luke, who wrote Acts, also wrote the
gospel of Luke before the book of Acts. Therefore, at least that
gospel was written quite early. As far as the Pauline epistles
and the work of Peter and James (whose death also was not recorded
in Acts), supports the fact that the New Testament documents were
written well before the close of the first Century and most probably
before 60 or 70 A.D.
John: For your
information, the OT as you call it is a Hebrew text called the Torah, and the torah does not contain all of
the OT books the Christian Bible has. It was the Romans who compiled
the 'Bible' as you know it today well after King James edited it in
1611 that is.
Matt: No, that is not accurate. The LXX is the Greek translation of the
Old Testament books and it contains the same Old Testament books
that are in the Bible's today.
Rob: And it took almost a hundred years for them to
decide which books to actually put in the Bible.
Matt: Perhaps that is true, but God in His sovereignty worked through the
Christian Church for the recognition of His Word. The canon of
Scripture has been established.
John: Wrong the KJV is missing several books that were included
in the Latin vulgate bible, about 13 books I think.
The King James version included the apocrypha. If I remember
correctly, this was because of certain political pressures. But the
Christian Church never recognized the apocrypha as Scripture.
Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church, in response to the
Christian reformation, added the apocryphal (and those 13 books) to
the cannon of Scripture in 1546. Protestantism does not recognize the
inspiration of those books. Apparently, neither did Jesus nor the
John: You are wrong. It did not include the apocrypha.
I have on my desk a reprint of the original 1611 King James version.
In the table of contents it lists the apocryphal books. Therefore,
what I said earlier was correct. These books were added by the Roman Catholic Church and
were never recognized as Scripture by the Protestant Church and, as
I said before, they were never referenced as Scripture by Jesus nor
the apostles. Therefore, Protestants do not recognize that which was
neither recognized by Jesus nor the apostles.
resources is very helpful. During this conversation, I reached
over to my bookshelf and pulled out my copy of the original 1611 KJV
and opened it to the table of contents. Sure enough, the
apocrypha was included in it.
Dan: Gosh, Matt, what books
were referenced by Jesus?
Matt: That is a good question. I haven't done the research myself, but
I'm aware that He quoted all the books of Moses, many of the Psalms,
the Major and Minor Prophets, and referenced the historical books.
Zach: Well, CARM wants it both ways.
Jude did indeed consider 1
Enoch scripture. When Jude 14 quotes 1 Enoch 1:9 as prophecy then
obviously the author considered it to be scripture.
Matt: Just because other books are quoted in the Scripture does not mean
that those books are inspired. When Jesus and the apostles quote the
Old Testament, the Jewish nation as a whole had already accepted
them as being inspired. Within those six to inspired books were
references to other books that contained various tidbits of factual
information. This does not necessitate that those books quoted were
also inspired. Furthermore, in the New Testament Paul quoted a pagan
philosopher. I believe it was Epimenedes. This does not mean that
the pagan philosopher is inspired.
remembered correctly. Paul quoted Epimenides in Titus 1:12.
Here is a quote from a commentary: "Epimenides of Phaestus, or
Gnossus, in Crete, about 600. He was sent for to purify Athens from
its pollution occasioned by Cylon. He was regarded as a diviner and
prophet. The words here are taken probably from his treatise
“concerning oracles.” Paul also quotes from two other heathen
writers, Aratus (Ac 17:28) and Menander (1Co 15:33), but he does not
honor them so far as even to mention their names."
(Jamieson, Robert; Fausset, A.R.; and Brown, David, Commentary
Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos
Research Systems, Inc., 1998.)
Susan: Funny that Jesus would reference a prayer to
another god from an entirely different culture.
Matt: Susan, what are you talking about? Can you document that?
John: Here is a list of the books in the KJV, show me where the apocrypha books are.
Where is the book of Mary, etc. (http://www....).
I said before, I have an exact copy of the original King James 1611
version Bible. The apocryphal books are in their. I'm looking at
them. 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judeth, the rest of Esther, Wisdom,
Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the song of the three children, the story of
Susanna, the idol of Bel and the Dragon, the prayer of Manasseh, 1
Maccabees, 2 Maccabees. -- I copied these straight out of the table
of contents from the reproduction of the original King James 1611
Bible. In fact, it actually says apocrypha on the pages containing
John: Show me the proof, your writing it
means absolutely nothing
Matt: Do you want me to fly to your house with the book ? I see that it is
okay for you to type whatever you want and make claims, but when I
copy from the King James 1611 version Bible that is in front of me,
that is not acceptable to you. You want me to accept whatever you
type in right. But you do not want to accept the fact that it King
James does have the apocryphal books and it. I suggest that you
simply do similar research and or go to a Christian store or the
library you and figure it out for yourself.
this point, he wants me to "prove" I have the book and that what I
am saying is accurate. But how can I prove that to him since
we are chatting over the internet. He knows I cannot do that,
so he demands the proof. It is a weak attempt at victory on
point out that he has a double standard. He can make
assertions that he doesn't want challenged. But, if I make an
assertion, that is a different story. So, I told him of his
double standard and asked him to do the research. He'll find
that I am correct.
I need to go to work.
Matt: No I'm not running. I need to go to work. You know, the thing
you do in order to feed your family. I must sign off and get going. Thank you
for the dialogue.
hope this dialogue
was helpful. As you can see, there are numerous
directions to take in a conversation of this sort, particularly when you
have several critics firing at you all at once. But, you can see
that this is the sort of thing that really happens.
Did you notice how many subjects were touched on in
this dialogue that you have read about in this section on the Bible?