A friend sent me an article by an author who believes the Bible is man-made and not from God. He says Christians need to face this fact and interpret it with that truth in mind. I’ve decided to respond. It should prove to be interesting. Here is the link if you want to read the full article: http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/10/26/coogan.bible.family.values/index.html?hpt=C2
Some background on the author of the article: Michael Coogan is a lecturer on Hebrew Bible-Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School, professor of religious studies at Stonehill College, and director of publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum. Editor of “The New Oxford Annotated Bible,” his most recent book is “God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says.” He has impressive credentials and what he writes should reflect his scholarly background.
My approach will be to tackle each of his points and provide a response; similar to what is done in a debate. I will try to avoid any personal attacks and focus on the issues he presents. Here is his opening statement, which sets the foundation for the rest of the article:
“When talking about so-called family values, pastors, popes, and politicians routinely quote the Bible as if it were an unassailable divine authority — after all, they assume, God wrote the Bible, and therefore it is absolutely and literally true. But that is a misconception. As the Bible itself makes clear, its authors were human beings, many of whom are named: David, Isaiah, Luke, and Paul. These human writers wrote over the course of more than a thousand years, and their writings reflect their own views and the values they shared with their contemporaries. So it's not surprising that inconsistencies are frequent in the Bible, both trivial and profound.”
His first criticism is that pastors, popes, and politicians quote the Bible, assuming God wrote the Bible. By use of the word “assuming” the author is stating these people believe God is the author by blind faith; lacking any evidential support. How does he know that? He doesn’t provide reasons for this conclusion; he simply asserts it to be true.
He then says the Bible makes it very clear the authors were obviously men! The Bible itself said people like David, Luke, Paul, and Isaiah were the writers. Therefore, since human names were on the books, it isn’t surprising to find inconsistencies. How does he know God didn’t use human authors? He simply assumes God had nothing to do with the books, since the names of men are linked to them.
I have set the scene and in my next post I will begin to flesh out my response.