Zombie Scripture and Anthological Fallacy

I recently observed that a friend of mine had appeared to lost his/her faith. And the reason seemed to arise from a gross misunderstanding of Scripture. But that evoked in me a new idea. People get too caught up on every single word in Scripture. It’s basically a “he said, she said” concept of the Bible. One book says this thing, another book may say another. Let’s put aside for a moment that the majority of the contradictions in the Bible are just a bunch of verses taken out of context and deprived of their true meaning. Simply used by people (both people of faith and not of faith) to prove their point, no matter how flawed it may be. I call this “zombie Scripture”, because it’s still Scripture, but it’s soul has been removed and is used as a means of destroying another person’s argument. 

Zombie Scripture plagues both sides of the religious argument. Neither side is right. I’m just as irked by a Christian quoting zombie Scripture as I am about an anti-theist doing it. In fact, I’m more so irked by the Christian doing it. That strikes me as heresy because it’s taking our sacred text and bastardizing it to fit someone else’s agenda. As a result of this, whenever I see Scripture quoted, I promptly open my Bible, or YouVersion, or BibleGateway and put that verse in context, and if I’m still unsure of the true meaning of that verse, I look into the Greek and Hebrew try to find the meaning. Basically, don’t base the decision to continue or discontinue your faith on Scripture that’s been quoted out of context.

Now, it’s time to get to the meat of this post. The part where I talk about the instances where some parts of the Word don’t jive with other parts. Here is a great article to read on this topic:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/2013/04/12/how-the-bible-is-gods-word-questions-that-haunt/

Take into consideration the fact that the Bible is not a single book. It’s an anthology of books and letters and poetry and stories and other splendid literature. It comes from many sources. It assumes many biases and then it undergoes translation. There are bound to be inconsistencies. But, that’s not because it’s errant, it’s because it’s written by humans who bore witness to God’s work. If you and I saw the same thing and wrote about it from our different perspectives, and then, thousands of years later, after English has either changed or became unused, someone translated it, wouldn’t there be things in our accounts that differ greatly? Maybe I’ve got a hearing and sight impairment and you have 20/10 vision (it’s a thing) and can hear a pin drop in a noisy room. There are too many factors to try and account for to dismiss the Bible over a few inconsistencies in the text. I call it “anthological fallacy” because it’s illogical to say that an anthology is incredible because the various books by different authors contain information that doesn’t match exactly.

The Bible is a text that is great for learning about Jesus’ teachings and His followers and it’s full of beautiful imagery, and it’s even a great historical text to study. But, you should not base your faith solely on the Bible. That’s borderline idolatry. You base your faith on Jesus the Christ and the Lord God Almighty. You base your faith on Love and brokenness and forgiveness. If you lose your faith because of a few off words or verses in the Bible, you never truly believed in this great story in the first place.

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