‘Because the Bible says so, that’s why!’ I can sympathize with the frustration the skeptic must feel when he encounters a Christian defending his convictions in this fashion. It frustrates me too. Why would the Christian expect the skeptic to grant the Bible the same level of authority as does he? Regardless of how situationally inappropriate this slogan may be, the skeptic’s objection that because it’s the Bible, it’s therefore disqualified from being a source is just as misguided.
This dismissal lacks qualification. “You only believe homosexuality is sinful because the Bible says so”, or “You only believe in Jesus’ resurrection because it says so in the Bible” are routine responses in the skeptic’s quiver, but what is left unexplained is why because it’s in the Bible it doesn’t count. The ‘it’s in the Bible so it doesn’t count’ dismissal is applied to nearly every truth claim made by Christians. Admittedly many Christians do believe certain things on the sole basis that it is written in the Bible without further inquiry, but so what — it’s irrelevant?
This dismissal requires too many unsubstantiated assumptions which must be made explicit in order to conclude that the Bible is not a reliable source of moral or theological information.
- God does not exist therefore it cannot be a reliable nor authoritative source.
- The Bible is written by unreliable and or biased authors.
- Because the Bible is a religious text it is disqualified as an authority.
- The Bible, due to its age is unreliable.
- Because the Bible contains supernatural events it is unreliable.
These implicit assumed-to-be-true conclusions must be argued for, not simply presumed. For some skeptics, these are asserted as though they are undesputed truths. Just like a witness’ testimony in court must be impeached and shown to be unreliable, so too must be the Bible.
I am not saying Christians who hold the Bible as a reliable authority are free from the expectation to demonstrate why they believe it deserves any authority. They do. But when the Christian offers reasons,those reasons must be addressed by anyone who wishes to reject them. Those reasons must be impeached. Skeptics aren’t free to dismiss out of hand the Bible as a source simply because it is the Bible without any substantiation.