Continuing the aforementioned Facebook convo, with a different interlocutor.
BK: The Bible was written by several different people. It is a collection of stories that was handed down for centuries before it was recorded in a single tome. Most the people involved did not have the equivlent of a 5th grade education. The reading of the word was limited to the few for the longest time as the church began to grow in power. Countless people died by the word of a pope, cardinal or zealot all in the name of their interupitation of the Bible. People believe in the Bible because there parents and their parents parents tell them too. People believe in the Bible because from the moment they were born society says that if you do not believe what you read you will not fit in. You will not be good and you will be judged by the same book that says "judge not less ye be judged." It was translated and retranslated with different interruptations for different messages. In those translations was something changed? was something added by one pope or another? After all the Pope spoke for God if he didn't like the message why not change it after all a thousand years ago only fraction of the population by todays standards could even read.
BK: Is the Bible an authenticate message from God? Maybe, I am not smart enough or foolish enough to try to guess the will of God. I do my best to be a good person and to help my brother and sister humans become better people. To love my neighbor as myself. Not to force my values on them but to let them make up their own mind.
Me: Hi BK,
Thanks for your thoughts.
Yes, we agree that the Bible was written by men. 40-some-odd men, to be exact.
However, the Bible was also written by God. He inspired and directed the men as they wrote it.
You say that most did not have the equiv of a 5th-grade education. I wonder how you know that? Is that not something you heard from someone else, who just asserted it without evidence?
However, even if that were true (it is certainly true of, say, the prophet Amos, who specifically denied having had a formal education), if God inspired it, would that not be more important than whether the mere man had an education?
--"The reading of the word was limited to the few for the longest time as the church began to grow in power"
I'm afraid this suffers from a bad case of Dan Brown pseudo-history. The church (you're probably thinking of the Vatican) didn't have a whole lot of power for the first 300 years of Christianity. And only after that, it began to grow in power, but gradually, since other forces were in its way. Groups of people could and did get together to hear the Word preached all the time, just like today, and the original NT epistles and Gospels circulated and were copied by regular people who loved God's Word enough to want to preserve it.
The "limited to the few" scenario isn't for hundreds and hundreds of years after Jesus' resurrection.
--"Countless people died by the word of a pope, cardinal or zealot all in the name of their interupitation of the Bible"
I'm certain that you realise that just b/c someone claims to interp the BIble a certain way doesn't mean that:
1) they themselves actually thought that's what the Bible said, as opposed to consciously abusing it to give themselves power, or
2) the Bible does actually say what they say it says.
I fail to see how this has any bearing on the Bible itself, though, so I'm not sure why you brought it up.
--"People believe in the Bible because there parents and their parents parents tell them too. "
--"People believe in the Bible because from the moment they were born society says that if you do not believe what you read you will not fit in."
Not me. This is simply not true; millions of people meet Jesus every year in defiance of societal custom and the traditions handed down by their families.
What we see here, ironically, is that you, BK, are believing these false things because someone told you that they were true. there's no evidence you've done any homework of your own to come to your own, researched and argued-for conclusions.
Rather, Jesus said that people come to Him because they are drawn by the Father (John 6:44-45). We are sinful people, and we hate the light lest our deeds should be exposed (John 3), and we are all born children of wrath, destined for destruction (Ephesians 2). Your assertion matches neither the Bible nor the lives of people.
--" It was translated and retranslated with different interruptations for different messages."
Here is another example of your having accepted something you were told without doing any research into it. Thus you make an assertion that is totally false.
What does it mean to be "translated and retranslated"?
--"In those translations was something changed? was something added by one pope or another?"
Can you name a Pope who did a translation of the Bible?
AFAIK there was only one (Sixtus, with his crappy Vulgate), and the Roman Church of his day rejected it as worthless only a few years later.
Maybe you can educate me, though.
--"After all the Pope spoke for God if he didn't like the message why not change it after all a thousand years ago only fraction of the population by todays standards could even read."
Most Christians, as well as most members of Christendom throughout history, have not had any notion that the "Pope spoke for God". More Dan Brown-isms, mixed with a dash of modern Roman Catholic propaganda.
--" Is the Bible an authenticate message from God? Maybe, I am not smart enough or foolish enough to try to guess the will of God."
This really is the crux of the matter.
I'd like to ask you to consider this. If the Bible is not the Word of God, how do you know anything about God? If you say "it has some value" or "it is partially inspired" or something similar, how do you know which parts are correct and which incorrect? Your intuition? Your assumptions? What standard are you using to judge?
How do you know anything about what God expects from us, if anything?
--"I do my best to be a good person and to help my brother and sister humans become better people"
Come now, tell the truth. Do you really do your BEST to do those things?
You never slough off? You're never lazy? You're never just a little bit selfish, a little bit greedy? Never told yourself "Eeehhh, I'll get to that later; I've earned this beer/nap/toy/amusement"?
We both know this is not true. Rather, listen to what God says:
Romans 3:10 it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Jesus said: No one is good; only God is good (Luke 18:19).
You've set yourself up to be a pretty good guy, but deep in your heart you know that you've failed and you don't do your best.
In fact, you have broken God's law more times than you can count.
My invitation to you is the same as Jesus' invitation years ago:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
--"Not to force my values on them "
What does this even mean? How does one force one's values on someone else? Who's doing that?