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February 28, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Is reference to the Bible circular in nature?

1) In the context of a court room evidence–which is the context of today looking back 2000+ years–the idea of circularity is distinctively different.

2) All worldviews are generally circular unto themselves. Thats the nature of paradigm shifts and ways of viewing the world.

3) The are internal proofs in the Bible.

4) The historical evidence of Jesus is pretty compelling as a source of external justification.

5) Provide additional justifications based on commonly accepted beliefs about how the world works. This is typically what many apolegists tend to do in combination with other methods.

6) Using the methods of logic–cause and effect relationships, metaphors, analogies, and experiential evidence. Arguably these can even help provide some kind of justification for the spiritual and mystical nature of reality–a reality beyond just materialism–that open up the possibility of realms and reality beyond reductionist science

7) Ultimately some issues may need to rely on faith. But all worldviews have some element of faith.

8] Oxford Theoretical physicist Ard Louis has a notion of a tapestry of Truth. The Christian faith is grounded on a tapestry of integrated ideas and proofs.

9) I’m not sure if any of these specifically address this issue, but Resources about Biblical Authority . I might particularly look at the work of NT Wright, as he’s a widely trusted philosopher and theologian.

10) The nature of logical fallacies is heuristic–not eliminative. This is pretty key. Its also the reason why #5 is true.

11) There are multiple authors to the text. This is an integrative proof. For instance, you have a number of apostles and minor prophets, all who write books. They should be treated as independent texts for the purposes of a proof like this one.


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  1. Trey Medley / Feb 28 2013 4:38 pm

    I’m just confused by what this is a reference to. Are you saying proving the bible is true by pointing to the bible is circular? Well yes, that is. If someone does not accept that the bible is true a priori, you cannot use the bible to prove something about it. This doesn’t mean it’s not true, but using the bible to prove the bible is not effective and it is a logical (and invalid) circle. Let me give you an example from a similar document. The Hindu Upanishads are sacred documents written over thousands of years by many different authors. They claim to be true. Are they therefore true? Of course not. Their validity should be measured by something external to it. Likewise, with the bible, since it refers to historical events, these historical events can act to corroborate them. While in many instances the biblical interpretation might be one of many explanations for the same historical event, the instance of the resurrection of Jesus (after three days, no less) seems only open to one (honest) interpretation. If Jesus genuinely and historically rose from the dead, the bible is thus likely to be true. If not, it is clearly false. As someone I know once said “We put all our eggs in the Easter basket.” So there’s the external justification: how likely is the resurrection.

  2. compassioninpolitics / Mar 1 2013 10:04 pm

    I would to the example of client testimony. I believe you can us internal consistency/coherence.

    Also, certain sources for which there is no other source. Otherwise sourcing would be infinitely regressive (a newspaper article would require 1000s of sources)

    The resurrection is the best method of external verification.
    I believe archeology & the prophesies are arguably others–although probably not as good.

    (it would be interesting to create a chart of these)

  3. compassioninpolitics / Jan 23 2014 3:16 pm

    Heres a handout:

    Here’s the leaders handout, which is a bit more extensive:


  1. Are Christian apologists references to the Bible circular? | Compassion in Politics: Christian Social Entrepreneurship, Education Innovation, & Base of the Pyramid/BOP Solutions

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