Christian faith and belief in biblical inerrancy don’t have to go together. The idea of a non-Christian inerrantist doesn’t make much sense, but there’s nothing at all contradictory in the idea of a Christian errantist. In fact, that’s what I am.
As I write this in early 2009, I’m coming up to ten years as a Christian. During those ten years, I’ve spent a significant amount of time and energy studying the Bible, and my understanding of it has changed.
Early on, I would (cautiously) have endorsed biblical inerrancy. I knew that there were some passages in the Bible that were difficult to explain, but had seen many claims of error answered and thought it reasonable to believe that all claims of error resulted from problems in understanding the Bible that could ultimately be resolved.
I no longer hold to such a high view of Scripture. I believe that the Bible is generally reliable, more so in some areas than in others. I believe that although the Bible is fallible, it is still authoritative, both on matters of theology and of morality, and (with the proper caveats applied) to some matters of history too. I even believe that the Bible is in some sense inspired and, properly treated, a sound basis for Christian faith and living. But I no longer treat it as a magic book.
My aim in creating this website is to better think through this view of the Bible, and to provide an opportunity for others to join me in doing so. Unlike many websites about biblical errancy, this one is not here to debunk Christianity or cause crises of faith. Neither is it here to promote biblical inerrancy by showing that all claims of biblical error can be answered. Instead, it is here to help people (including myself) to decide what to make of the Bible, and to reconsider their (and my) views in the light of the evidence concerning its reliability.
My hope is that this website will develop into a reasonably comprehensive database of alleged biblical errors. That means that I’m not going to limit myself to posting errors that I think hold up under scrutiny; within reason, anything that looks like an error belongs here, even if there’s a perfectly good inerrantist explanation of it. When I post an apparent error, I’ll present it sympathetically, writing from the perspective of someone who believes that the claim of error stands up, but please don’t mistake this for me writing in my own voice; I just want to be able to cover as much ground as a detailed study of biblical inerrancy requires.
For the sake of balance, I’ll also include here possible responses to each claim of error. Visitors will have the opportunity to post responses using the comments system, and I hope that many will do so, but I’ll also post responses myself in the “Inerrantist Responses” section that follows each claimed error. Again, please don’t mistake this for me writing in my own voice; I just want to present both sides of the argument.
Where I want to express my own view on a claimed error, I’ll do so in the comments section along with everyone else, under the username “Errancy”.
Included on the site is a ratings system. This allows users to rate claims of error on a scale of 1 to 10 depending on how much of a problem they think they pose for biblical inerrancy. A rating of 1 suggests that there’s no case to answer; a rating of 10 suggests that it’s case closed for inerrancy. The raw numbers don’t matter so much, it’s the relative numbers that are interesting. As long as inerrantist users don’t rate every claimed error as a 1, and errantist users don’t rate every claimed error as a 10, then the ratings will indicate which claims of errors people generally find most convincing. Average ratings are shown on each alleged error, and a full list is on the overall ratings page.
Do feel free to use the ratings system even if you don’t have any comments to add; the more votes that are cast, the better. If you haven’t yet done so, then please register and get rating!