Biblical Inerrancy

Science and the Bible, any fool can plainly see,
Are always in agreement, save for when they disagree.
There are, rarely, those occasions when they don’t see eye to eye—
Such that one must be a metaphor, or parable, or lie,
Or a plain misunderstanding of the meaning of God’s Word;
Cos to think that it’s inaccurate, of course, would be absurd.

The Bible is inerrant; every word of it is true,
Any misinterpretation is the fault of me and you
It’s a perfect single textbook, and the only one on earth,
It’s the story of our planet, and it really shows its worth
On those very rare occasions when the two don’t get along
You can bet your bottom dollar, it’s reality that’s wrong.

Context and amusing stuff, after the jump:

So over on CNN’s Belief Blog John Shelby Spong has written a very odd article. He discusses what he calls “the 3 biggest biblical misconceptions”–namely, that the bible is historically accurate ” (That is absolutely not so, and every biblical scholar recognizes it.“), that the bible is in any literal sense “the word of God” (“Only someone who has never read the Bible could make such a claim.“), and that biblical truth is somehow static and thus unchanging. Oddly enough, this last bit is used to argue that the bible is worthwhile. The bible shows us a story that has changed over time, rather than being revealed, and this understanding (which the article points out challenges a popular misconception) redeems it?

So… I seriously don’t get it. The bible is inaccurate but is popularly claimed to be inerrant; it cannot possibly be the word of god, which it popularly is known to be; its writing shows how the story has changed, yet it popularly is seen as unchanging bedrock, and Spong wants to glean worthwhile lessons from it? This is Stone Soup, is it not? All the ingredients that redeem it are something other than what it claims to be.

Ah, but I have gotten off track. The real reason I wrote today’s verse is that the comments (as always with CNN’s belief blog, there are thousands. Some day I want to do a content analysis and see what percentage are by atheists.) are, as always, worth the price of admission:

I am Ordained and have a degree in Biblical Studies from Carolina University of Theology. The basics of what this guy says is true, his OPINIONS on the other hand are in my estimation – GARBAGE. They are TYPICAL of what a SECULAR “news group” would put out about the Bible. Its easy to find ANY Tom, Dick or Harry who’s on the far LEFT that has “HIS OWN” interpretation of the scriptures and biblical history.

Whether it was 15 generations or 45 generations – the Bible is the HOLY SPIRIT INSPIRED WORD OF THE LIVING GOD…without error.. this clown Spong will REGRET his statements when he’s standing before the King of Kings ATTEMPTING to excuse his STUPIDITY..


The author is wrong or inaccurate on almost every point.
The bible is the most accurate written account of history in existence and he dismisses that it isn’t written by man but by God. It’s an extraterrestrial message with provable authority


If this apostate even believed in the concept of a God, he would be misrepresenting him. The Bible claims to be inspired of God, And by nature God forgets nothing, So God had the Bible written down at his own time, and doesant approve of the gay lifestyle. Id have to say its HIS business. This man is a good example of what fake christians will get you, the nice broad and easy road leading “off into destruction”. My eyes are insulted for reading this mans slander of the Bible.Page887.

and the ever popular

Any way, all you folks have fun agreeing with one another that God is a fantasy. I have to go now, have a business to run in the am and kids that want to play another game tonight. I only wish I could be at every one of your death beds when that time comes, to hear you scream for forgiveness from the very person and God you have denied for so long. you know you will, you aint even gonna take the chance, when you know you are dieing, that he may not exist. you are going to cover your a ss es like stink on sh@@. Ha HA HA HA.. night night.

I dunno… If, as Spong suggests, there is something worth keeping in the bible, the people who claim to live by the bible seem to be missing that something.


  1. sqlrob says

    Here’s what I don’t get. Suppose Spong was 100% correct in his view of the Bible.

    Then why the heck is he religious? It’s just a book of fiction, historical fiction at best.

  2. 24fps says

    Spong is an interesting writer. He acknowledges the absurdity of the claims made of the bible by many Christians, but he is still a bishop in the episcopalian denomination, IIRC. I don’t agree with him on all points, but I appreciate his thought provoking writing.

    I suppose I don’t mind him so much because his approach is very like the church I grew up in, the United Church of Canada. We had a moderator (elected head of the national body) who came right out and said Jesus was not likely divine. Scandalized a lot of people, but UCC-ers mostly said, “Yeah, that sounds about right…”. Next best thing to atheist, so a very short hop for me.

    Anyway, I think the vastly oversimplified gist is that there is still some good stuff to be picked out of that old book of fairy tales, and unlike a lot of other fairy tales it has had a tremendous influence on the development of our culture, even if we don’t believe the magic stuff is real anymore, so we should make an effort to have some understanding of it. I don’t necessarily think this is better than just saying that it’s all nonsense, but it represents some transition at the very least.

  3. Smith Powell says

    Many thanks for this. I find it amusing to substitute “Koran” for “Bible” in your little poem.

    On a more serious note, many thanks for your keen eye for issues of importance and for your skill in posting in verse an appropriately askance view. Your blog has been a bright spot for me.

  4. Randomfactor says

    If, as Spong suggests, there is something worth keeping in the bible, the people who claim to live by the bible seem to be missing that something.

    That’s kinda his point.

    A progressive Jewish friend of mine says that the books of the Torah aren’t meant to say “this is how you should live your life,” so much as “this is how people once did live their lives, what they did in such-and-such situation. It’s valuable, if nothing else, as a history of error.”

    Would that the Christian rightwingers get that message…

  5. Cuttlefish says

    That’s kinda his point.

    Makes a little more sense that way, but I’m not certain I’d agree with him even so. It’s a matter of inertia. There’s a lot of mass in the misconceptions of the bible, all of it heading the opposite direction from the way Spong wants us to go. Hitching a ride on this bible gets us the wrong place fast.

  6. Art says

    It would be interesting to get all the people claiming Biblical inerrancy and all those claiming Koran inerrancy together. Boy … what a dust-up that would be …

    It might get so bad it might resemble the middle-E …

    Earthlings, can’t live without them, can’t blow them all to hell.

  7. Marshall Abrams says

    My feeling is that it’s mostly fundamentalists and atheists who (a) tend to think that the proper way to interpret the bible is in a so-called “literal” sense, and (b) are most vocal about it. Interpretive traditions with more subtlety are problematic for both points of view, and we usually don’t hear from those traditions as often. They’re not as vocal as fundamentalists and atheists. (I don’t mean that these less straightforward interpretive traditions provide reasons for people to give up atheism, but they undercut arguments against Bible-based religions based on the “literal” readings of the Bible.)

    [Yes, I think the “literal” interpretations are interpretations. The Bible contains literal (I mean that literally) contradictions–e.g. things like the same person living for different numbers of years–so anyone who reads the book carefully will be forced to interpret in at least some passages. But once you’re willing to give a nonliteral interpretation to any part of the book, it’s only tradition, interpretive arguments, or some other reason for choice that forces a particular “literal” reading on any other passage.]

  8. Thinker says

    If it’s OK to re-post a comment from the original Cuttleblog, this somehow seems appropriate:

    If you find the stuff in the bible reliable,
    and you trust the clerics: “It’s all we can know!”
    If you in your pew with your missus think bliss is
    sitting still, never moving, then how will you grow?
    You’re proud you’ve accepted, not doubted, what’s touted:
    that Truth is eternal and never will change
    while we find the iconoclastic fantastic
    and your static worldview as something quite strange.

    If Old Truth is wrong, well, let’s face it: replace it
    with models that fit data better – no sweat!
    To us, it’s a quest never-ending: ascending
    the shoulders of giants, to see further yet.
    If you cannot see what is grand in expandin’
    the body of knowledge we humans can share
    and, frankly, if you think exploring is boring
    as Hell, then in our view, you’re already there!

  9. Cuttlefish says

    Damn, Thinker, that’s pretty good!

    (Y’know, they say the memory is the second thing to go…)

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