7 years ago: Human readers

September 15, 2006, here on slacktivist: Human readers

Hence the evangelical obsession with declarations of the “inerrancy” or “infallibility” of the text. I am in no position to say whether or not such declarations are true. None of us is. As errant, fallible humans we cannot judge whether or not a text is inerrant and infallible. But even if we take it on faith that the text is all that they say it is, we’re still no better off because we cannot supply this perfect text with perfect readers, or with a reading that is “inerrant” or “infallible.”

It may be that the text is as they say, inerrant and infallible. But this means little more than Archimedes’ claim about the lever. “Give me a place to stand and lever long enough and I will move the world,” Archimedes said. And he was right — except that he didn’t have a lever long enough, and that there was no place to stand, and that even if there were no human could survive to stand there.

The evangelical claims of inerrancy and infallibility, likewise, offer no place for humans to stand, no place from which human readers could approach or understand their inhuman text.

What we claim about the text cannot trump what we know about ourselves. We are finite, fallible and fallen. (And far too full of preconception and misconception to ever claim our reading of scripture is sola scriptura.) Certainty is a divine prerogative, not a human one.

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  • Gregory Peterson

    Inerrancy is like a cattle prod to keep people in line… though my brain doesn’t seem up to developing that at this time.

  • SergeantHeretic

    The entre reason for the argument of biblical innerency and absolute authority is as a mechanism for control. It really is as simple and as blunt as that. I remember once seeing a post apocalypse film called “the book of Eli” The plot of this book was that a blind stranger was carrying the last bible through a blasted wasteland of fespair and death and he comes upon a village dominated by a would be emperor and his cronies. When this little Napoleon, named Carnegie hears that Eli has a Bible, he wants it and is willing to do whatever he has to to get it. When his henchmen ask him why he tells them blunt and straight out that, “This book is a WEAPON! Pointed straight at the hearts and minds of the desperate and the weak-minded. They will do and believe whaever I tell them as long as the words I use come out of THIS BOOK!”
    That is the reason for the argument of biblical innerrency and absolute biblical authority in a nutshell. Those who advocate in favor of this argument are doing so, that they may control and dominate people. and it works. It works like a charm and when “Biblical innerrency” is used not only can it enslave and dominate millions but those millions will KILL anyone who tries to liberate them fro mthe master-enslavement of “Biblical innerrency and authority of the Holy Bible”.