[On the very unlikely chance that Vox happens by this blog, I have provided further explanation of my disagreement with him below]
Getting on with the topic of this post, I would like to point out one commentary that I found to be particularly insightful. He answers questions that I, too, have been often asked and was sadly inept at answering.
Excerpts from Vox's article The Irony of the Intelligent Believer:
- How can you – an intelligent individual with an expensive education – possibly take seriously what is at best archaic mythology? How can someone who is otherwise considered to be smart subscribe to what amounts to nothing more than fairytales dressed up as history? And how can anyone who is clearly cognizant of Science ever declare allegiance to its great antithesis, Superstition?
The first, and most obvious, answer is that one obviously can because others of historically remarkable intelligence have. There is no shortage of devout Christians on the list of mankind's most legendary geniuses – many of whom are still rightly revered by atheists and agnostics today.
The second answer is a utilitarian one. Science is a whore. Her very essence precludes certainty, which is both a genuine strength and a grave weakness. It is a strength because the scientific method of testing hypotheses encourages a continual seeking after the truth, to which no one who lives by a book that declares "seek and ye shall find" should object. It is a weakness because the inherent mutability of science is at odds with the human desire for objective guidelines by which to live. This conflict tends to repeatedly create faux-sciences, which, however outmoded, are clung to with all the diehard fervor of the religious fanatic.
As for the secular humanists who are second to none in waving the black-and-white flag of Science, the ongoing demographic collapse of their cherished equalitarian societies in every Western nation is proving their theory of religion's deleterious effect on society to be as errant and intellectually bankrupt as Freud's is with regard to the individual. Theirs is a rotten fruit indeed.
[Third] From a utilitarian perspective, then, it makes a tremendous amount of sense for an individual or a society to live by the precepts of the Bible, even if one does so sans belief. This is, I would argue, the most purely rational position, and indeed, famous non-believers such as Voltaire and the 18th-century deists so beloved by modern atheists – as long as they stay safely buried in the 1700s – would agree.
The fourth answer is reciprocal action. Newton's third law states that all forces occur in pairs, and that paired forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. Even when I was an agnostic, I marveled at the hatred and energy expended on Christians by non-Christians. I could not understand the cognitive dissonance demonstrated by the so-called experts in their rabid attempts to discredit all things even nominally related to Christianity – the nominally Jewish Anti-Defamation League's attack on the Ten Commandments being only the most ironic example of late – as well as their ready willingness to distort and even fabricate history.
Vox’s “theory” on Biblical inerrancy is uncomfortably similar to “implied Docetism” discussed by John H. Gerstner in his work titled “Biblical Inerrancy. Recognizing Vox’s lingual objections, a better theory for him to hold is as follows:
The Bible is without error in all that it teaches, on every subject, in the original manuscripts. The original Hebrew and Greek autograph copies of the Bible were inerrant. Certainly the copies of copies which have come down to us contain errors common to the craft of the copyist as do all English versions. However, with diligent study, we can ascertain the original words of the inspired writers. Consequently, the doctrine of inerrancy applies to the biblical text in our day as well -- insofar as the Bible has been accurately translated.
I would expect Vox would eminently enjoy the intellectual treatments of this topic, as do I, by the “Old Princeton” scholars, particularly B.B. Warfield’s The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. (Generally recognized as on of the best studies ever done on the subject.)
Oh, and Vox … while I’m at it … be more classy and treat a lady (Michelle) with a little more chivalry … a bit of humility wouldn’t hurt you none either! ;-D