During Religious Studies one day, the group quickly agreed that the Bible contains the true, unadulterated word of God. I did not particularly understand the grounding for this statement, besides that, of course, of Faith.
The teachings of the New Testament were written down after about 30 years of oral transmission. These texts, however, contained many works that we today do not commonly consider Divine Truth. Not until 393 AD at the Synod of Hippo did the Church officially weed out undesirable books and appoint a list of “inspired” writings appropriate for religious reading.
Then during the Middle Ages, due to a lack of printing presses, monks wrote copies of the Bible by bare hand. They did not keep one original Bible as a reference, instead re-writing each book from the previous one made. This likely invited a drastic accumulation of error.
Most Christians think that the writers of the Bible were moved by the will of God. If you believe this, then does it also follow that those who chose the books composing it were also inspired in their choosing? Were the monks given the power of perfection for the hours they toiled re-writing? Were the original fireside tellers of Jesus’ passion graced with flawless memory? It seems the infallible creation and conservation of the Bible so necessary for legitimacy would require an insurmountable quantity of intervention.
Within the Old Testament, there also exist several statistical contradictions. And in Leviticus there are moral codes intuitively understood by us as being wrong. Are we to understand these recounts as stories, passages not intentioned by God for moral guidance but historical instruction? Did morality change between the first and second testaments, explaining how God (who does not lie) could give his people two radically different sets of ethics?
These serious questions uncovered incosistencies in the members’ beliefs. In return they defended their position by either a) correcting trivial errors in my research or b) classic ad hominem fallacy - criticizing me for not knowing the answer. But they misunderstood: I do not asks these things for want of answers. More than anything, we need questions.