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Faith & the Bible's infallibility

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 3:39 p.m.

In her Feb. 20 letter “The Bible is infallible,” Maris Sanner writes that “The Bible has more bibliographical support than classical literature from Homer, Aristotle and Shakespeare.” That is no doubt true, but it is meaningless in regard to the argument being made.

Bibliographic support only refers to references in other works. Simply referring to or commenting on Biblical passages may earn a bibliographic citation, but in and of itself, it doesn't denote truth or fallacy. There are thousands of bibliographic references to and about Sherlock Holmes, but that doesn't make the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle any less fictional.

Sanner also makes a point that Greek and Roman scholars researched every word of the Bible, as if that should be evidence of the Bible's infallibility. The fact that anyone studies anything proves nothing. The Greeks and Romans obsessively researched the heavens, yet still concluded that the sun revolves around the earth.

Mentioning Simon Greenleaf hardly helped her argument. Greenleaf was not an atheist, but a faithful Christian. And Greenleaf never said his 1847 work Testimony of the Evangelists was conceived as an attempt to refute the Gospels. Greenleaf did write A Treatise on the Law of Evidence in 1846 and it was used as a textbook. But its usefulness was rendered negligible in the early 1900s by the work of John Henry Wigmore. Sanner's reference to Greenleaf as “the world's greatest evidence expert” certainly is questionable.

I have no facts or evidence to conclusively state that the Bible is not infallible, as Sanner does not have the facts or evidence to conclusively state that it is infallible. This is one reason why religious belief is called “faith.” My experience is if a person has faith, then that is enough to give strength to the serenity that comes with belief.

Ill constructed and poorly researched arguments only serve those who question the existence of faith.

Andrew N. Mewbourn

Hempfield Township

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