Recently I had a discussion with another member of this group. I was accused of contradicting myself, using logical fallacies/special pleadings, and improper apologetics. When I asked where and whose apologetics the reply was that it was so obvious that that the person would not even bother. I then ended the discussion as one cannot discuss anything with her or himself and achieve much of anything. I was then accused of taking the easy way out. Huh. Since that person failed to respond and either gain a deeper understanding of my position or a deeper understanding of their own position I have to assume one of two things.
1) This person could not really argue their point effectively and took the only way out they could, or
2) The person did not understand my position clearly and assumed I was contradicting myself, using false logic/special pleadings, and using improper apologitics.
So for all to see here are my beliefs in a nutshell. If you have any questions or concerns, post your response. I encourage the strengthening of my beliefs and adjusting my beliefs as is necessary so that I gain a better understanding of not only my beliefs but the beliefs of others. My beliefs would be considered by some to be new or radical but they are not false or illogical by any means.
1) While the Bible may start, loosely, chronologically speaking at the beginning of creation, it actually begins thousands of years later in Gen 11 with the life of Abraham.
a) The first five books began to be written by Moses, a Levite. He was an Israelite born of the Tribe of Levy, a decedent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were written approximately 500 years after Abraham's death.
b) Terah, Abraham's father, brought his family, which included Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldeans to live in Haran in the land of Canaan. At the age of 75, Abraham left Haran taking his family with him, and eventually settled in Negev in Canaan.
c) At the time of Abraham's life, Ur was Babylonian not Chaldean. This is indicative of when the first five books of the Bible were written or edited for the final time, possibly as late as 400BCE. This is not a chronological contradiction as is thought by some but shows only the time difference between verbal recitation and the written document.
d) It is also important to note the time Terah left Ur, Babylonia held to a form of national polytheism. Canaan did not have a national religion but had several localized religions, some of which were monotheistic in nature. At some time during Abraham’s life in Hebron he more than likely acquired knowledge of the monotheistic religion. It is also just as likely that they left Ur to flee a type of religious persecution in Babylonia since they already held to monotheism, and not the prominent polytheism, though this is only conjecture.
e) Up to this time, the creation story and the genealogies were verbally passed on. This does lend them to a certain degree of doubt as to their accuracy. However, like the majority of sacred beliefs, intentional misrepresentations and embellishments were left out. These oral recitations were considered sacred and placed on a different level of ownership and priority than those of some campfire story touting the accomplishments of some great hunt, heroing effort in combat, or children story. This sense of responsibility towards verbal recitations of the sacred versus the theatrical campfire stories can be seen across many cultures. So while the accuracy of the creation story and the genealogies can be questioned we cannot place them in quite the same realm as the campfire or Easter bunny stories. I realize no matter how old a creation story or a chain of genealogy is, it does not validate its scientific or historical accuracy. I am only seeking to establish a type of chain of custody and a type of accuracy from the first telling to the written.
2) Every legend or myth is founded on some type truth. At times finding out that truth can be difficult if not impossible and when discovered it is not the truth we were seeking. It is the job of historians and an array of scientists across several disciplines to find that truth. More often than not, that truth comes from accidental findings. Just as atheists claim science is always changing with the influx of new discoveries and information, so is history. None of us were there and often times the discovery of confirming information or new information of our past is accidental and is just as difficult to find as that transitional link of an evolving species.
3) I believe the Bible is inspired by God written by men. God may inspire me to write something but with me rests the final responsibility to choose which words and how much or how little to write. As with the rest of humanity, I have free will. As I write this without any political agenda, at times we have found internal Biblical evidence that the O.T. MAY HAVE BEEN edited up to 400 years before Christ, for that reason. An example of this can be found in Genesis where the writing style changed two times, and in Exodus we find the possibility of one of the authors in Genesis and then a fourth. It is possible that these four individuals may have been four different committees of sorts instead of individuals.
4) We do have proof that the transcripts of the OT that have been found at various times and at times dated hundreds of years apart, back to approximately 400BCE, have not varied in the least. This is a testament to the skill and care involved in their transcriptions. The same cannot be said of the New Testament.
Where in this have I contradicted myself, used false logic/special pleadings, or improper apologetics? My third statement is not stated as a special pleading to get any type of special consideration. It is just one of my beliefs in the Bible and goes to show that in the early years of establishing the nation of Israel the first five books may have been edited. This just covers a small portion of the Old Testament, enough so that a deeper understanding can be gained. I will not discuss the New Testament at this time since this posting is long enough already. I will however, post my New Testament beliefs if those in the group would like.