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Unfalsifiable Inerrancy

Unfalsifiable Inerrancy February 20, 2014

When pastor Peter LaRuffa recently said that he would believe the Bible even if it said 2+2=5, he probably thought he was standing up for Biblical inerrancy.

In fact, he was undermining it, showing it to be meaningless.

It is less obvious for some people to see the problem when fundamentalist Christians dismiss evidence from history or science that contradicts the Bible. But it is much clearer when it is math that is at issue. Assuming we agree on a particular number system, then we can say what the correct answer is to a mathematical equation.

If the Bible is wrong about the answer, then it is wrong – there is simply no way around it.

What pastor LaRuffa was actually saying is that he would prefer to believe nonsense that he does not understand rather than allow evidence to show his doctrine of biblical inerrancy to be false.

And so he is not standing up for the truthfulness of the Bible. He is, on the contrary, showing that his beliefs about the Bible are unfalsifiable, that they cannot be tested and so are (as philosophers say) “not even wrong.”

He is also saying that he doesn not understand math, and that his belief system is so important to him and yet so brittle that it cannot be allowed to be subject to scrutiny and demands for evidence.

No Christian should think that this horrific way of thinking about the Bible, math, science, history, and rationality is anything but a discrace, one that brings shame on Christianity by being associated with it.

 

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