Scientists say it’s Repeatable Observations but Believers (Choosers) tell you it comes in the form of an Old Book.

 

Books are amazing aren’t they! Imagine the impact they must have had on early society which had no heritage other than the stories and songs they repeated from memory around the camp fire. It must have seemed fantastic to be able to record actual thoughts from another man’s head! To capture grandfather’s wisdom and have his knowledge, his very essence, live on after his death; how brain expanding! Books enabled the sharing of information and have affected human development; no wonder the early ones have been worshipped. No wonder they conferred power on the elite priesthood who possessed the rare skill of literacy.

 

In the Internet connected twenty first century, however, we are less easily impressed, more critical, and we know that books come in many guises. How do we distinguish fact from fiction?

 

 

WHICH OF THESE BOOKS ARE FACTUAL?

Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, The Qur’an, The Bible, The London Telephone Directory, The Periodic Table of the Elements, ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens, Churchill’s ‘The Second World War’

 

To find out, we need to collect observations from other separate sources and see if they corroborate or not.

 

VERIFYING BOOKS

Recent books are easily verified - we can check up on the author; being ancient is a disadvantage for the credibility of religious books.

Observations from life identify some of the books listed above as fact or fiction very easily. The Telephone Directory can be demonstrated to be true - simply make a few calls. The Periodic Table is also easily verified - just repeat the investigations that enabled this amazing Scientific publication to be created.

Factual books can be tested.

 

Whereas, Dickens made no claim to be writing anything other than fiction, Aesop obviously intended his story of a race between a tortoise and a hare to be just an appealing tale, and the Grimm brothers were definitely peddling fantasy with their wicked witches.

11th Century N. African Qur’an

Books about historical events need to be cross referenced with other contemporary documents for verification.

 

In the early days of writing, truth and fiction were intertwined in the interests of making a gripping tale.

 

Did they even know the difference between truth and fiction? How?

Look at Wikipedia to see how verification requires citations.    

SO WHAT IS GOOD EVIDENCE?

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The Bible is considered very venerable; it was compiled and edited in the 4th century AD by Catholic priests who had a mission to make it into a better marketing tool since their income came largely in the form of donations from their supporters: a larger congregation = more money. They deified Jesus as the son of God and rejected all of the Gnostic gospels as unsuitable.

 

Biblical scriptures have also gone through translation from Hebrew to Greek to Latin and then English. Anyone who knows more than one language will tell you that each stage involved approximations - languages are not like codes where you simply substitute one set of characters for another, they use different ways of expressing ideas. Overcoming this idiom problem means translations only capture the gist at best.

 

The Bible is really a collection of books so we can test whether it is internally consistent.

 

You know it’s not.

It’s full of contradictions and its tales of miracles smack of fantasy.

Likewise the Qur’an.

More? Click and click

 

Which have real credibility, the Telephone Directory and The Periodic Table or the Bible and the Qur’an?

 

Should we treat the religious books as if they are advertising blurb or political pamphlets?

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