Roundup

Friendly reminder: Everyone will spend eternity somewhere.

Do gun-free zones prevent multiple-victim public shootings? – No!  This common sense, people.  You just need to stop and think like a bad guy for about 10 seconds.  Just because people are criminals doesn’t mean they don’t process things through a risk / reward filter. 

“Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.”

The article has a list of MVPSs in Europe. They all occur in gun-free zones, where guns are prohibited by law.

When a government bans guns, the only people who have guns are criminals. And they know that there is no one to stop them when they open fire. That is why violent crime more than doubled in the 4 year period after the UK banned handguns.

Free audio Bibles – you can download the New Testament from the Faith Comes by Hearing site or Podcast it via iTunes. 

Thorough yet concise overview of Pope stuff — “several examples of how many popes acquired their office, the behavior of popes, and the unbiblical teachings of popes . . . the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope . . . questions to ask about the papacy”

How to find a church – Christians need to be in church.  There are remarkably few valid excuses not to do so.  If you can’t find a good church, then find the one that is the least bad and try to improve it.

Study says kids of Lesbians are “healthy” and have “fewer behavior problems” – Well, gee, if a study says it, then it must be true and we should make that the new societal ideal.  Or perhaps there are some other things you should know about the study . . .

Abortion activist complains, "There aren’t enough of us" – of course, the sad and morbidly ironic reply is, “Maybe if you hadn’t pushed for all those abortions . . .”

The sound of ice cream trucks went from being joy-inducing to really annoying 37 years ago.  This would make them more interesting. 

 

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Inerrant, infallible, inspired

I’m re-running this post with some more thoughts.  Even though I believe that the original writings of the Bible were without error, God-breathed and incapable of error, those views aren’t required for belief in God or the resurrection.  You can take a minimal facts approach and see that even if there were slight discrepancies in the accounts about Jesus that the resurrection could still be true.   

Just look at key facts that virtually all historians agree on, such as the following, and realize that his resurrection is the best explanation for those facts.

  • Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
  • Jesus’ disciples believed He rose from the dead and appeared to them.
  • Paul believed that Jesus appeared to him.  Even skeptics concede that Paul wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, Galatians, I & II Corinthians and others.
  • Jesus’ brother, James, was a skeptic who converted after Jesus died.

There are skeptics who endorse alternatives to the resurrection (e.g., Jesus’ body was stolen, it was ripped up by dogs, the swoon theory, etc.).  These folks unwittingly  give a lot of support for the resurrection: They show that the historical facts are so strong that one must concede that a real person named Jesus lived and died on a Roman cross and the body did not stay in the tomb. 

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bible5.gifClaims of Biblical inerrancy, inspiration and infallibility apply to the original writings.  I have researched countless difficulties and found answers that satisfied me.  Some are tougher than others.  Some things are in the Job category (as in, I’m not capable of understanding them or God doesn’t need me to understand them). 

I learned enough about the book to be comfortable that God “wrote” it, and I trust that if there is something in the 1% that appears to be a contradiction then either there was a translation error or – much more likely – there is something I’m just not understanding properly.

In short, after working through enough difficulties with satisfactory answers I tend to give God and his Word the benefit of the doubt.  I’m sure this thrills him to no end.  I say that tongue-in-cheek, because on the one hand He certainly doesn’t need the Neil-seal-of-approval but on the other hand He does love it when we exercise faith.  Not blind faith, not faith despite the evidence, but faith grounded in the truths He has revealed to us.

Are there passages in the currently published Bibles that don’t belong?  Perhaps.  The ending of Mark and the story of Jesus and the woman accused of adultery are not in the earliest and best manuscripts. 

Also, some verses sometimes lose a little meaning in certain translations.  For example, when Exodus 21:22-25 is properly understood it is a pro-life passage, yet pro-choice people will use a poorer translation (for that passage) such as the RSV because it supports their position. 

These issues don’t bother me that much because they show that the system works: We have so many copies of ancient manuscripts and different translations that it possible to figure out what the originals said.  The exceptions are limited and we can show why they are exceptions. 

But on most of what really matters there is no debate.  Every version I’ve seen says, “Love your enemies.”  There are 100 clear passages saying that Jesus is the only way.  That is plenty for me.

I know enough of the Bible and the difficulties to have great faith (trust in evidence) that God inspired the originals.  And I have faith in the copying and translation process so that I can read the Bible with confidence.  For difficult or controversial passages there are plenty of ways to resolve issues on the essentials.  But on the non-essentials I don’t lose sleep. 

If people want to have church meetings to debate how often to serve communion, whether to use wine or grape juice, etc., I say go ahead and have a swell time.  Just don’t make me participate. 

We can read the Bible with confidence that God has transmitted his Word to us accurately.  Sometimes the words inerrant and infallible are too loaded with various meanings to be helpful, so I like to emphasize that the original writings of the Bible turned out just the way God wanted them to.