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  1. #81
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    As far as I can tell, 100% of all posters in this thread, do not believe that merely because a book is unique, that it must be divine. It's rubbish Zhav.
    Don't worry. You can be sure when you or someone else mentions the "uniqueness" of the bible in a later argument for why we should believe it, I'll be sure to link back here.

    I look forward to your reply to the other post I just made in the religion forum.

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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    Care to address the rebuttals posted by Perv and me, Apok?
    Sure, when I have time. I'm spreading myself too thin as of late.

    I've only browsed your arguments (Trend and Perv), but it would seem at first glance that you may have missed this in the op, which explains about the compilation and comparison to other compiled books:
    11) Finally, and most important, among all the people described in the Bible, the leading character throughout is the one, true, living God made known through Jesus Christ.

    Consider the OT: The Law provides the foundation for Christ, the historical books show the preparation for Christ, the poetical works aspire to Christ, and the prophecies display an expectation of Christ.

    In the NT: the Gospels record the manifestation of Christ, the Acts relate the propagation of Christ, the Epistles give the interpretation of Him, and in Revelation is found the consummation of all things in Christ.

    Therefore, although the Bible contains many books by many authors, it shows in its continuity that it is also one book. As F.f. Bruce observes, "Any part of the human body can only be properly explained in reference to the whole body. And any part of the Bible can only be properly explained in reference to the whole Bible." Each book is like a chapter in the one book we call the Bible.

    Contrast the books of the Bible with the compilation of Western classics called the Great Books of the Western World. The Great Books contain selections from more than 450 works by close to 100 authors spanning a period of about 2,500 years: Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquines, Dante, Hobbes, Calvin, Shakespeare, Hume, Kant, Darwin, Tolstoy, to name but a handful. While these individuals are all part of the Western tradition of ideas, they often display an incredible diversity of views on just about every subject. And while their views share some commonalities, they also display numerous conflicting and contradictory positions and perspectives. In fact, they frequently go out of their way to critique and refute key ideas proposed by their predecessors.
    You also seem to argue that the Bible isn't unique along these lines because anyone can compile books of similar subject. OK...so then...why hasn't anyone done such a thing? Sure, people have compiled books, see above re: Great Books of Western World...but what compilation is comparable to the Bible's, in a way that makes it just another compilation? It's already explained why "Great Books of..." isn't comparable.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; October 8th, 2006 at 01:37 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  3. #83
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Don't worry. You can be sure when you or someone else mentions the "uniqueness" of the bible in a later argument for why we should believe it, I'll be sure to link back here.
    It's very, very straightforward, Zhavric.

    IF the Bible is true, and therefore the inspired Word of God, we would expect it to be unique--that is, substantively different from non-divinely-inspired-Word-of-God texts. The proof of uniqueness, therefore, is not in itself a demonstration that the Bible is true. It is rather a pre-emptive strike, designed to show that no matter what others say, the Bible is unique and therefore could possibly be the result of divine inspiration.

    If it were not unique, the Bible would be just another book, and any discussion about divine inspiration would be meaningless.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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  4. #84
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    It's very, very straightforward, Zhavric.

    IF the Bible is true, and therefore the inspired Word of God, we would expect it to be unique--that is, substantively different from non-divinely-inspired-Word-of-God texts. The proof of uniqueness, therefore, is not in itself a demonstration that the Bible is true. It is rather a pre-emptive strike, designed to show that no matter what others say, the Bible is unique and therefore could possibly be the result of divine inspiration.

    If it were not unique, the Bible would be just another book, and any discussion about divine inspiration would be meaningless.
    Well, as stated, it all boils down to your definition of "unique", doesn't it? Why must uniqueness be gauged by the criteria Apok used? Can't I use the criteria of, say, how few words the book has, or how incoherent and self-contradictory it is?
    Trendem

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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    You can Trend...as long as you can make a case for it. I've stated that the Bible is unique in certain characteristics. In these certain characteristics, which are pretty important and interesting (at least, to the educated person IMO, holding an interest in literature), the Bible is remarkably unique.

    Could it also be unique in that it contains the most confirmed contradictions and inconsistencies than any other piece of literature? Sure...it's possible. But you'd have to make a case for it instead of simply claiming it. You'd need to compare the Bible with other books of antiquity and present a fair analysis.

    Disproving the argument here is rather easy IMO (in as far as how to do it). You merely need to find other works of literature that share the same qualities in these characteristics of uniqueness. Then, it would be shown that the Bible is comparable to Book X in this respect, thus, not so unique.

    It's interesting how none of its critics have been capable to do so in over 100 posts in this thread (not including the ones which have been deleted). It is of my opinion, that its "critics", feel threatened by any positive trait that the Bible may possess. It's quite an exposure IMO.
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  6. #86
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You can Trend...as long as you can make a case for it. I've stated that the Bible is unique in certain characteristics. In these certain characteristics, which are pretty important and interesting (at least, to the educated person IMO, holding an interest in literature), the Bible is remarkably unique.

    Could it also be unique in that it contains the most confirmed contradictions and inconsistencies than any other piece of literature? Sure...it's possible. But you'd have to make a case for it instead of simply claiming it. You'd need to compare the Bible with other books of antiquity and present a fair analysis.

    Disproving the argument here is rather easy IMO (in as far as how to do it). You merely need to find other works of literature that share the same qualities in these characteristics of uniqueness. Then, it would be shown that the Bible is comparable to Book X in this respect, thus, not so unique.
    It is not my duty to make a case for or against the uniqueness of the Bible. My contention here is regarding the seemingly arbitrary criteria you have employed in gauging uniqueness. Indeed, your response seems to have revealed that your argument is not so much about how unique the Bible is, but how "important and interesting" it is.

    As I've said earlier, "unique" merely means one of a kind. The Quran is unique too, so are the Confucian texts. All of them have their own message and unique content. So what's so remarkable about the Bible being unique? That's my point.

    Perhaps you should update your argument so that it reads "The Importance/Interestingness of the Bible".

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    It's interesting how none of its critics have been capable to do so in over 100 posts in this thread (not including the ones which have been deleted). It is of my opinion, that its "critics", feel threatened by any positive trait that the Bible may possess. It's quite an exposure IMO.
    It's because none of the critics deem the points you have made worthy of refutation. All of them (judging from their posts) are saying, "The Bible is unique, soooooo?"

    It's like someone creating a thread arguing "Women have breasts" and demanding that everyone refute the argument instead of questioning its significance. We know the Bible is unique, this is a self-fulfilling definition given that unique means "one of a kind", and that the Bible is not an exact duplicate of another different book. What we are interested to see now is what's the big deal with the Bible being unique.
    Trendem

  7. #87
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    It is not my duty to make a case for or against the uniqueness of the Bible.
    That is what debate is about Trend. If I present a case for, then the objection would be a case against. Obviously since you are not for, you are against.

    My contention here is regarding the seemingly arbitrary criteria you have employed in gauging uniqueness. Indeed, your response seems to have revealed that your argument is not so much about how unique the Bible is, but how "important and interesting" it is.
    Nope. Missed it again. It is because of the Bible's uniqueness, that makes it interesting as it is. What other book can compare to it along the grounds that I've given? Just name some Trend. This really shouldn't be so hard for someone so "against" the case.

    As I've said earlier, "unique" merely means one of a kind. The Quran is unique too, so are the Confucian texts.
    In what ways? I've provided the ways that the Bible is unique. Your claim that they are unique is unfounded until you substantiate the claim. HOW are they unique?

    All of them have their own message and unique content. So what's so remarkable about the Bible being unique?
    See the op. It lays out several reasons why.

    Perhaps you should update your argument so that it reads "The Importance/Interestingness of the Bible".
    Perhaps you should reread the op.

    It's because none of the critics deem the points you have made worthy of refutation. All of them (judging from their posts) are saying, "The Bible is unique, soooooo?"
    Then the critics concede the points in which it is said that the Bible is unique. As stated previously, for those not interested in history or literature, this thread isn't important to them. It would be like someone walking into a debate about Republicans vs Democrats and saying "so?". If the subject material is 1) not interesting to you, 2) above one's education/experience level, then one does not have to become a part of the discussion. It's simple.

    It's like someone creating a thread arguing "Women have breasts" and demanding that everyone refute the argument instead of questioning its significance.
    Perhaps the very worst analogy ever made here at ODN Trend. Grats.

    It isn't claimed that the Bible is unique and left at that. It explains and defends the assertion which argues why it stands above other books of antiquity in many regards.

    We know the Bible is unique, this is a self-fulfilling definition given that unique means "one of a kind", and that the Bible is not an exact duplicate of another different book.
    Fallacy of equivocation. It's like saying we are all unique human beings. Duh. This isn't what we say when we say that Ronald Reagan was a unique, or that Darwin was unique, or Einstein was unique, etc... In what WAYS are they unique that warrant the statement? I've provided those ways and characteristics.

    Now...how about actually supporting an argument here Trend and showing us how the Koran and Confucian texts are unique and let's compare them to the quality of uniqueness that the Bible shares.

    What we are interested to see now is what's the big deal with the Bible being unique.
    It's in the reasons as to why or how it is unique. See op. And as I've mentioned to several "critics", if literature or history isn't your bag, that's fine. You aren't forced to participate. There are plenty of other threads here that may suit you.
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  8. #88
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    That is what debate is about Trend. If I present a case for, then the objection would be a case against. Obviously since you are not for, you are against.
    Not true. I'm not presenting a case against the uniqueness of the Bible. I'm merely attacking the case you have made (the case for). There is a fine difference between the two: Presenting a case against the Bible would warrant me making a new thread and laying out my own arguments, evidence and elaboration. Attacking your case merely means pointing out the flaws in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Nope. Missed it again. It is because of the Bible's uniqueness, that makes it interesting as it is. What other book can compare to it along the grounds that I've given? Just name some Trend. This really shouldn't be so hard for someone so "against" the case.
    Is it really so difficult to see why your argument fails? It is completely circular!

    First you stated in post #115:
    "In these certain characteristics, which are pretty important and interesting (at least, to the educated person IMO, holding an interest in literature), the Bible is remarkably unique."

    Now you say:
    "It is because of the Bible's uniqueness, that makes it interesting as it is."

    So in essence you were saying that the Bible has interesting and important characteristics which make it unique, then now you say that it is interesting because it is unique. That's obviously circular logic there.

    And the main flaw with your argument, which you unwittingly highlighted here:

    "What other book can compare to it along the grounds that I've given?"

    ... is that, why should we gauge the uniqueness of the Bible based on THESE grounds you have given? Why should we accept YOUR criteria? I asked you this many times, and each time you evaded the question by asking me to provide other better criteria. But you forget that you are making the argument, not me, and it's not my duty to provide sound criteria, but yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    In what ways? I've provided the ways that the Bible is unique. Your claim that they are unique is unfounded until you substantiate the claim. HOW are they unique?
    Haven't I said it many times? Any book which is not an exact duplicate of another different book, is by definition unique. The Quran and the Confucian texts aren't exact duplicates of other books, therefore they are unique.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Then the critics concede the points in which it is said that the Bible is unique. As stated previously, for those not interested in history or literature, this thread isn't important to them. It would be like someone walking into a debate about Republicans vs Democrats and saying "so?". If the subject material is 1) not interesting to you, 2) above one's education/experience level, then one does not have to become a part of the discussion. It's simple.
    I find your comments increasingly condescending and uncalled for. I am here questioning the validity of the criteria you employed. Instead of just throwing out some vague statement "Oh, these criteria were chosen based on their historical and literary value", then proceeding to say something equivalent to, "If you don't like/don't understand the criteria I chose, then get out of this thread", perhaps you could actually DEFEND your criteria properly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Perhaps the very worst analogy ever made here at ODN Trend. Grats.

    It isn't claimed that the Bible is unique and left at that. It explains and defends the assertion which argues why it stands above other books of antiquity in many regards.
    You completely missed the point. I'm not accusing you of not supporting your argument. I'm accusing you of making an insignificant, self-evident argument. Of course the Bible is unique; every book which is not a duplicate of another is unique. But so what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Fallacy of equivocation. It's like saying we are all unique human beings. Duh. This isn't what we say when we say that Ronald Reagan was a unique, or that Darwin was unique, or Einstein was unique, etc... In what WAYS are they unique that warrant the statement? I've provided those ways and characteristics.
    Who's the one equivocating here? I have explained the definition of unique I'm using as far back as post 94. When I pressed you for yours, instead of giving me a straight answer, you proceeded to talk about how the Bible has interesting/important characteristics, and then tried to shift the onus and make ME prove that the Bible is not unique based on YOUR criteria.

    So we see three fallacies made by you here: Fallacy of equivocation, shifting the burden of proof, and circular argumentation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    It's in the reasons as to why or how it is unique. See op. And as I've mentioned to several "critics", if literature or history isn't your bag, that's fine. You aren't forced to participate. There are plenty of other threads here that may suit you.
    If you wish to confine the discussion to literary and historical aspects, perhaps you should reword the thread (again) to state "The Historical and Literary Significance of the Bible". Otherwise, as long as we are discussing uniqueness, I see no reason why we should limit ourselves to your arbitrary criteria, for which you have provided nil support.
    Trendem

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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    Otherwise, as long as we are discussing uniqueness, I see no reason why we should limit ourselves to your arbitrary criteria, for which you have provided nil support.
    The especial quality of any particular uniqueness is worthy of deliberation. That is why we all as human beings find ourselves endlessly fascinating and indulge in all sorts of navel-gazing - we are recognizing our uniqueness and finding it a worthwhile subject of interest. The particular uniqueness of the Bible is also worth deliberation. The parameters that Apok has drawn are not onerous, just necessary to contain the debate. One could consider uniqueness from many different perspectives but in this instance we are considering the uniqueness of the Bible. That necessitates parameters, or what you call "arbitrary criteria". What's your problem?
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    Not true. I'm not presenting a case against the uniqueness of the Bible. I'm merely attacking the case you have made (the case for). There is a fine difference between the two: Presenting a case against the Bible would warrant me making a new thread and laying out my own arguments, evidence and elaboration. Attacking your case merely means pointing out the flaws in it.
    Which is a case against Trend. If there is an opposing argument, it is against the original argument.

    Is it really so difficult to see why your argument fails? It is completely circular!

    First you stated in post #115:
    "In these certain characteristics, which are pretty important and interesting (at least, to the educated person IMO, holding an interest in literature), the Bible is remarkably unique."

    Now you say:
    "It is because of the Bible's uniqueness, that makes it interesting as it is."

    So in essence you were saying that the Bible has interesting and important characteristics which make it unique, then now you say that it is interesting because it is unique. That's obviously circular logic there.
    It's not circular.

    The Bible has certain characteristics which makes it unique. It is unique in rather remarkable ways (outlined in the op). Because of these many ways, it is a remarkably unique book. What's so difficult about this concept to grasp?

    And the main flaw with your argument, which you unwittingly highlighted here:

    "What other book can compare to it along the grounds that I've given?"

    ... is that, why should we gauge the uniqueness of the Bible based on THESE grounds you have given?
    Because it is said that the Bible is unique because of X, Y, Z. Other books are unique because of A, B, C. Other books may be unique because of M and N. It is said that X, Y, Z are remarkable characteristics or ways in which a book can be unique.

    One could accept it is unique in X, Y, Z, but this isn't anything remarkable. One could hold that it isn't unique in X, Y, Z because other books also share in these qualities (in which case, it wouldn't be one of a kind, or remarkably unique).

    Only the latter would correctly refute the claims of the Bible's unique qualities.

    Haven't I said it many times? Any book which is not an exact duplicate of another different book, is by definition unique.
    Already addressed earlier in this post. All books share similar qualities. They all contain text, a message, author(s), etc... So in order for it to be unique, a book that stands out amongst the rest, it must contain properties that other books do not have. I've outlined those qualities.

    The Quran and the Confucian texts aren't exact duplicates of other books, therefore they are unique.
    A most absurd response for what should be obvious reasons. Yes Trend, everything in the world is unique. What an astounding revelation. Way to go on missing the entire argument.

    A 2006 Ford Mustang LE is unique from any other 2006 Ford Mustang LE. It contains a different VIN#. Amazing.

    I find your comments increasingly condescending and uncalled for. I am here questioning the validity of the criteria you employed.
    Mr Pot...have you met Mr. Kettle?

    You completely missed the point. I'm not accusing you of not supporting your argument. I'm accusing you of making an insignificant, self-evident argument.
    Really? You knew the Bible was unique because of its continuity, circulation, translation, survival through time/criticism/persecution, teachings, influence of culture and on civilization and all the nuances of each? You knew this? And this is self-evident to everyone? I guess the professions of Biblical Scholars, historians and archaelogists are obsolete now.

    Of course the Bible is unique; every book which is not a duplicate of another is unique. But so what?
    It's amazing how you continue to harp on your strawman here Trend. For what REASONS has it been argued that the Bible is unique.

    And btw, using your logic here, even every book that is a duplicate is still unique. After all, it has different page fiber. Therefore, every book in existence stands out amongst every book in existence.

    Who's the one equivocating here? I have explained the definition of unique I'm using as far back as post 94.
    In what way does every book being unique, make a case for it standing out amongst other books? How is a book being different in who wrote it, the story, etc... make it special so that every book is unique? Aren't these the same qualities that every book possesses?

    When I pressed you for yours, instead of giving me a straight answer
    The Bible isn't unique because it has different authors, a different message, etc... it is unique for different reasons that no other book can say it is unique. Therefore, it is unique.

    So we see three fallacies made by you here: Fallacy of equivocation, shifting the burden of proof, and circular argumentation.
    False charge on every single one. You are missing the argument entirely. It isn't that the Bible is unique because of a different author(s), message, dates, etc... for ALL books have these qualities of being unique.

    As stated above, according to you Einstein, Reagan, Darwin, Promise of Lesotho (the diamond) cannot be said to be unique, because we are all unique people and all things are unique. This renders the value of being unique, to a rather dull, meaningless characteristic. In what ways are Einstein, Reagan, Darwin and the PoL unique? In what ways do they stand out amongst men (and gems)? It is said that in THESE ways, they stand out.

    If you wish to confine the discussion to literary and historical aspects, perhaps you should reword the thread (again) to state "The Historical and Literary Significance of the Bible". Otherwise, as long as we are discussing uniqueness, I see no reason why we should limit ourselves to your arbitrary criteria, for which you have provided nil support.
    You've not read the op. You should always read the op prior to engaging in debate Trend. I've outlined the reasons for why it is unique. It is elementary that all books share similar qualities...these are the qualities in which makes them books. But not all books share ALL qualities. NO OTHER BOOK shares the qualities described in the op. Thus, the Bible is unique.

    Still waiting for you to show us how the Koran and Confucion writings are comparably unique.
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by disinterested View Post
    The especial quality of any particular uniqueness is worthy of deliberation. That is why we all as human beings find ourselves endlessly fascinating and indulge in all sorts of navel-gazing - we are recognizing our uniqueness and finding it a worthwhile subject of interest. The particular uniqueness of the Bible is also worth deliberation. The parameters that Apok has drawn are not onerous, just necessary to contain the debate. One could consider uniqueness from many different perspectives but in this instance we are considering the uniqueness of the Bible. That necessitates parameters, or what you call "arbitrary criteria". What's your problem?
    The problem is simple. Apok has stated many times that this thread is to prove that the Bible is unique, nothing more, nothing less. It is not to prove that the Bible is interesting, or that it is important, or that it is divinely inspired. It is further not to engage in "navel-gazing" to judge the relative worth of different characteristics of "uniqueness".

    But what do we have him saying here?

    First he says that the Bible is unique because of its influence on the world, its translations, its literary quality, etc.

    Then I asked him why should we judge uniqueness based on these particular criteria. I further pointed out that unique merely means "one of a kind", and any book can fit that definition.

    So he countered that he was using characteristics that are "interesting" and "important" to judge uniqueness.

    I replied that if that was the case, then the thread wasn't purely about discussing the uniqueness of the Bible anymore (as he so vehemently claimed). He would be trying to argue that the Bible is important and interesting, in addition to being unique.

    Then he said that no, it was precisely because the Bible is unique, that's why it is interesting.

    Blah blah blah, you get the drift. Apok specifically said that this thread was merely about the uniqueness of the Bible, and in fact spent many pages arguing heatedly over that with some of our members, resulting in the departure of two of them. After the dust has settled, and people decide to take up his challenge and debate based strictly on "uniqueness" alone, he proceeds to bring in only "interesting" and "important" criteria, then further limits the discussion to historical and literary aspects.

    THAT's the problem.
    Trendem

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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    The problem is simple. Apok has stated many times that this thread is to prove that the Bible is unique, nothing more, nothing less. It is not to prove that the Bible is interesting, or that it is important, or that it is divinely inspired. It is further not to engage in "navel-gazing" to judge the relative worth of different characteristics of "uniqueness".

    But what do we have him saying here?

    First he says that the Bible is unique because of its influence on the world, its translations, its literary quality, etc.

    Then I asked him why should we judge uniqueness based on these particular criteria. I further pointed out that unique merely means "one of a kind", and any book can fit that definition.

    So he countered that he was using characteristics that are "interesting" and "important" to judge uniqueness.

    I replied that if that was the case, then the thread wasn't purely about discussing the uniqueness of the Bible anymore (as he so vehemently claimed). He would be trying to argue that the Bible is important and interesting, in addition to being unique.

    Then he said that no, it was precisely because the Bible is unique, that's why it is interesting.

    Blah blah blah, you get the drift. Apok specifically said that this thread was merely about the uniqueness of the Bible, and in fact spent many pages arguing heatedly over that with some of our members, resulting in the departure of two of them. After the dust has settled, and people decide to take up his challenge and debate based strictly on "uniqueness" alone, he proceeds to bring in only "interesting" and "important" criteria, then further limits the discussion to historical and literary aspects.

    THAT's the problem.
    Nonsense. You have failed (like many others) to recognize the difference between things being unique because of their similarities being DIFFERENT, and things being unique because they possess characteristics which others in their class/category do not possess. And it is for these characterists that they do possess (that others do not), that they can be said to be unique.
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    It's past 1 am here and I have to wake up at 6.30 for school, so I'll make this short.

    So you are trying to argue that the Bible is unique because it has certain characeteristics which others don't have?

    And if so, isn't it precisely what I'm asking - why must it be these qualities that are chosen to gauge uniqueness? I mean, one can find a quality in another book which all others books don't have. For example, I can say "Book X is unique because it is the only book in the world which starts with the word 'Aardvark'". Or "Book Y is unique because it is the only book which has stayed on the bestsellers list for 5 years running".

    So the main point is that "unique" is a descriptive term. However, you are trying to make it into a normative term. You are arbitrarily designating certain criteria as more important/interesting than others, and thereby claim that the Bible is the "most unique". That's my main contention, and you have not addressed it yet.
    Trendem

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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    To put it simply:

    Widget A is a widget. Widgets B, C, D, E and F are also Widgets. They share all the qualities of what constitutes widgetude. Each is made by a different maker.

    However, Widget A has additional qualities. It was the first widget, it is the largest, it is the lightest weight, it is the oldest, it is the only one with a different colore, it has been bought and sold 4x more than any other.

    Therefore, while each widget is unique in that they are made by different makers, this isn't really a reason to call any one of them particularly unique. We can however say that Widget A is unique because it possesses characteristics that no other widget possesses. It stands out amongst the other widgets. It is a widget, but it has more properties than they do. Some may believe that these properties aren't all that special. Regardless, it being special or not does not disqualify it from being unique. Others would say that because it is so unique, has these types of qualities that others do not have, that it is remarkably unique. It is so, because it contains unique, remarkable qualities. Whether they are or not, is irrelevant really. That can certainly be debated. It would be difficult IMO to devalue Widget A when compared to the other widgets, but I suppose it would be possible. What isn't possible however, is to suggest that Widget A isn't unique when compared to these other widgets. Obviously, it is.

    Perhaps it is the case that Widget B is unique for other reasons. It could then be said to also be unique, for reasons X, Y, Z. Very well. Let's try to compare the values of these characteristics (between A and B) and see if it is possible to say that 1 champions all others, or that 2 stand out but for different reasons. What can't be done however, is to simply say that A isn't unique for the reasons given. Obviously, it is. And this is the only point that the this thread serves. Some see Widget A being remarkable because of the remarkable characteristics it has that others do not have. Some don't see the big deal at all. Fine. But what should be agreed upon by all, is that widget A is unique in widgetude. To what extent, is argued by the characteristics of other "unique widgets".

    The below text has been automerged with this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trendem View Post
    It's past 1 am here and I have to wake up at 6.30 for school, so I'll make this short.

    So you are trying to argue that the Bible is unique because it has certain characeteristics which others don't have?

    And if so, isn't it precisely what I'm asking - why must it be these qualities that are chosen to gauge uniqueness?
    It doesn't HAVE to be these qualities. In fact, I've argued that other books may be unique for other reasons. Another book could have qualities that no other book has. Fine. What are some examples of these? Is the Koran said to be one of them? If so, what are the qualities of uniqueness that it possesses?

    I mean, one can find a quality in another book which all others books don't have. For example, I can say "Book X is unique because it is the only book in the world which starts with the word 'Aardvark'".
    Yup, you could. But then, is this really something of value or interest? Is it rare for books to be different because they start with a certain word? In other words, how many other books out there are unique because they start with a word that no other book has? Isn't this really just saying "This book is unique because no other book as this title"? What's so unique about that? Come to think of it, isn't this just a similarity that all books or a lot of books share? So it wouldn't really be unique, now would it?

    Or "Book Y is unique because it is the only book which has stayed on the bestsellers list for 5 years running".
    That is one way a book can be unique. How does this characteristic stand up against the characteristics given for the Bible? Wouldn't this be something close to a 100-1 score in favor of the Bible? So yes, this book is unique because it lasted on a bestsellers list for 5 yrs. OK. Some may see this as being the most remarkable trait possible for any book to have. Others (I would argue that probably next to no one) would however.

    So the main point is that "unique" is a descriptive term. However, you are trying to make it into a normative term. You are arbitrarily designating certain criteria as more important/interesting than others, and thereby claim that the Bible is the "most unique". That's my main contention, and you have not addressed it yet.
    It has more unique properties than any other book. Is this not true? If not, what other books do? Also, as stated above, if you believe that the fact that this book has had more influence on literature and civilization is meaningless, that it has sold over 1 billion copies, that it has survived hundreds of years of persecution, that it is a compilation of works extending over 1,500 years written by authors from several different walks of life in several different regions is no big deal, etc... so be it.

    As stated above, those interested in literature and history will find such characteristics most interesting. Those who don't read much or don't have much of an interest in history, may not care. And that's fine.

    The purpose of the thread wasn't to debate the value of the characteristics of uniqueness, but to illustrate how it was unique and debunk the notion that it was just another silly, myth book that so many uneducated "critics" charge.

    I'm open to the idea that there are other unique books that can compare to the Bible. I'm just not aware of any. If you believe that X book is comparable or even more unique for its qualities which are more remarkable than the ones I've laid out...ok. What is its title? Let's compare.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; October 10th, 2006 at 09:48 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    The person who has not read the Bible from cover to cover is not in a position to comprehend its uniqueness. How can you begin to appreciate the continuity, the unfolding revelation, the internal consistency, the intimate understanding of human nature, the kick-in-the-guts truth it contains, until you have read the whole? It seems to me that those who dispute the uniqueness of the Bible are those most likely not to have actually read it. All too frequently they base their arguments on out-of-context verses quoted by secularists and/or atheists whose only aim is to discredit the Bible.

    I have heard it said of Shakespeare that his understanding of the human condition was second to none. I would argue that it is very much second to the understanding of human nature revealed in the Bible. However, no-one would attempt to gainsay that Shakespeare had an amazing understanding of the human condition on the basis of having read just half a dozen lines from a single sonnet. It is necessary to read a good deal of Shakespeare (if not the complete works) to recognise his amazing ability to understand human nature. Likewise, it is necessary to read the whole Bible to appreciate its unique qualities. I have met few atheists who are prepared to make that effort. I have read that C.S. Lewis was one who did make the effort to discredit the Bible through reading it from cover to cover - and he ended up being converted. Maybe that is what the atheist is scared of - that if he actually sat down and read the whole Bible he could end up being converted. Perhaps that is why he prefers to pronounce on either secondhand readings or on the basis of his necessarily limited undertanding of a verse here and a chapter there.

    In short, I think that the person who has not read the whole Bible is unqualifed to pronounce on its uniqueness or otherwise.

    Perhaps those who choose to further comment on this thread should reveal just how much of the Bible they have actually read.
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    I disagree dis. The vast majority of my argument for its uniqueness for example, does not necessitate the reading of the Bible cover to cover. It is unique for external reasons, not internal (as shown in the op).
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by disinterested View Post
    Perhaps those who choose to further comment on this thread should reveal just how much of the Bible they have actually read.
    I've read the entire Bible. I'm going to finish up the Apocrypha before next year, and then I'm going to start the Qur'an.

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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I disagree dis. The vast majority of my argument for its uniqueness for example, does not necessitate the reading of the Bible cover to cover. It is unique for external reasons, not internal (as shown in the op).
    Nevertheless, Apok, those who accept the external reasons for the Bible's uniquness have to accept the word of one or another scholar that such is the case. Does the Bible have multiple authorship? Is there any continuity? Is there an unfolding revelation? If so, who says so? A Bible critic? Higher or lower? A Jew? A Gentile? A reader of ancient languages? One way or another, the external reasons have, at some point, to refer to the internal text. Either one takes the word of a critic or one reads the Bible for oneself and personally discovers/verifies its uniqueness.
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    I didn't say that one didn't need to read ANY of it, I disagreed that it was necessary to read ALL of it in order to make that determination. It's like saying that someone has to watch the entire game to know which players did best. This isn't true. We only need to know the relevant parts in order to make that particular distinction. This data comes to us in many forms. From our own eyes/study and that of expert testimony.

    Necessary to read at least some of it? Absolutely. Necessary to read all of it? No, it isn't necessary at all (to see the Bible's uniqueness).
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    Re: The Uniqueness of the Bible

    Okay, I think we are probably in agreement although I have some issues. As I said when I used Shakespeare's works as an analogy, one wouldn't dare to comment on his ability to understand the human condition from having just read six lines of a sonnet. One would need to read a lot more, preferably the whole works, but not necessarily so. I believe the same is true of the Bible. One could argue, for instance, that if one read a quarter of the Bible, that should be sufficient to comment on its uniqueness. Against that, I would have to ask, which quarter did you read? How much OT and how much NT? All NT and no OT would not allow a balanced understanding. So "relevant parts" as you phrase it, becomes a bit indeterminate. Who is to say which parts are relevant and which parts are not? It's not quite as easy as reading Shakespeare inasmuch as the works of Shakespeare are not dependent on an unfolding revelation. The Bible is.
    Love is: the highest good of an other at my expense.

 

 
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