Answer: The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
Question: How do you know?
Answer: It says so in 2 Timothy 3:16.
Question: How do you know that 2 Timothy 3:16 is telling the truth?
Answer: It is in the Bible and the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Those who disagree are unbelievers and children of Satan.
Question: What is the Qur'an?
Answer: The Qur'an is the inerrant Word of God.
Question: How do you know?
Answer: It says so in al-Ankabut 29.48
Question: How do you know that al-Ankabut 29.48 is telling the truth?
Answer: It is in the Qur'an and the Qur'an is the inerrant Word of God. Those who disagree are unbelievers and children of Satan.
Hi Ho. So it goes.
To question the above logic about either the Bible or the Qur'an does not mean one is questioning the supernatural or the existence of God. One may or may not question the supernatural or the existence of God, but that has nothing to do with denying the circular logic regarding the Bible's (or the Qur'an's) inerrancy. Just because God could have written a book, caused a fish to swallow a man, dictated prophecies to Mohammed, or had golden tablets delivered to Joseph Smith, doesn't mean God did all of those things. One does not necesarily deny the existence of God or the supernatural just because one does not believe every crackpot who claims to speak for God either now or throughout history.
All kinds of scriptural texts and holy figures including the Hebrew Scriptures, the Book of Mormon, the Urantia Book, The Bhagavad Gita, the prophecies of Nostradamus, or the Oracle at Delphi, all claimed divine inspiration.
Belief in the inerrancy of one's scriptural text is not a sign of faith in God. It is a belief about oneself. Fantasy-Based religion begins with a belief about itself. We are the ones to whom God has given the correct and only true book.
Depending upon how far these believers in themselves will go determines how much reality they will try to interpret through the lens of their beliefs. Fantasy-based religion can deny a great deal of reality through beliefs about itself. Some go a long way to try to make their fantasies come true. Consider the creation museum in Kentucky. (More on that one next time).
Well, what is wrong with a little fantasy? Where is the harm? If it were harmless, I wouldn't care. But it is not. Fantasy-based religion has caused a great deal of harm. Here is an illustration of fantasy-based religion gone awry. In 1978, the PCUSA General Assembly passed a document on homosexuality. This document has had far-reaching effects, including denying ordination of qualified candidates because of their sexuality.
Here is the interpretive key to understanding this document. While the document referred to science, sociology and so forth, its drafters could not get beyond their own fantasy. They wrote:
Therefore, it appears that what is really important is not what homosexuality is but what we believe about it.
Think about that for a minute. This is what that sentence is saying: reality is not really important. What we believe about reality is important.
- The reality is that the Universe by latest estimates is 14 billion years old. But that is not really important. We believe it is 6,000 years old and that Adam and Eve hung out with dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden.
- The probable reality is that Earth will spin for 100s of millions of years whether or not humans are around to spin with it. But that is not important. We believe that Christ will return and violently destroy the unbelievers probably within the next decade or two.
- The reality is that homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality. But that is not important. We believe that homosexuality is bad, wrong, sinful, and fallen and so to hell with gays.
That is the danger of fantasy-based religion. It denies reality. Fantasy becomes reality. It begins with beliefs about itself. It believes that it alone is true, possesses the God-inspired texts and the keys to their interpretation.
It uses words like "biblical, biblically, and bible-based" in order to create a warm, righteous feeling. We are biblical; therefore we are moral, godly, pious and right. Fantasy-based religion is therefore isolationist. What we learn from the hard and soft sciences, higher criticism of the Bible, the humanities, other religious traditions and so forth are considered threats to the pure faith. Fantasy-based religion wishes to protect itself from so-called "secular" learning and retreat into its own self-made fantasy world in order to determine truth.
That is not faith in God. It is not trust in God. It is not spiritual maturity. It is a fantasy. It is a delusion of grandeur. When unchecked, it is dangerous.