Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Black and White logic and Mike Huckabee

Recently Governor Mike Huckabee said the following:

"As the only presidential candidate with a theology degree, along with
Several years of political experience, I know that theology is black and white. Politics is not.

What struck my attention about this a couple weeks ago is how absurd the notion is that theology is black and white. We live in a world with over 30,000 denominations and independent churches (click here to see more about how these numbers are obtained and how denominations can be defined) and most all of them disagree on theological issues within the realm of Christianity. He has a BA in Biblical Studies and took one year at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Yet to many Christians theology is seen only in black and white. That is what they were raised to believe is correct everything else is false. It is curious how people can hold to such assumptions if they observed the reality of the world around them. Sometimes Christians tend to ignore logic in favor of simplistic and incorrect statements. Recently I was thinking of something that should be fairly obviously a logical fallacy yet it is found in many fundamental belief statements within Christianity.

As the Editor’s note at the beginning of the article about Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Bible on the Believe Website says:

If the actual subject at hand was the modern English-language Bible, they might be right. But scholars never really claim that ANY modern Bible is absolutely inerrant. They claim that the Original Manuscripts were! If it is accepted that God Inspired the writing of the Books of the Bible, then to claim otherwise would imply that either He made or permitted mistakes in the Bible or that He is nowhere near as all-knowing as we believe He is. So, the claim of Inerrancy in the Bible is only made regarding the Original Manuscripts. As far as anyone knows, all of those Original Manuscripts have long since disintegrated, and only Scribe-made copies of any of them still exist, so the claim of Inerrancy regarding the Original Manuscripts is probably beyond any possible proof.

The entire claim is a gratuitous assertion which begins with the assumption that inspiration caused people to write in such a way that they could not produce errors. Not in what they thought about the world or people in the world or what they thought God was telling them. It assumes information about God which we have no way of knowing if it is a true or not. In fact the editor’s note presents a false dilemma but not even recognizing the other possibilities; such as God inspires people at the point where they are at and does not force them to understand what God means or says or to move past where their culture or science have informed them. It also assumes that everything written in the Bible was direct inspiration of God, probably a hold over from the old verbal inspiration days.

The inerrancy principle above also does not take into account that we have no original Manuscripts. If God had really wanted or needed inerrant manuscripts why would He not bother to protect them for posterity? It is a doctrine which is based upon assumptions and has no possibility to be shown to be true or false and has little meaning since the documents no longer even exist. Yet you will find it as a black and white statement in many Christian churches.

1 comment:

Dick Larsen said...

Wasn't it Huckabee the other day the said something to the effect that when you get hit haerd, politically, the smart thing to do is hit back? Maybe this has come out of his black and white theology. You know, maybe he was talking about Black and White in a racial sense.(?)