Within any perspective lies assumptions that are unavoidable. We might as well acknowledge that reality, and not engage in pointless dispute about the authenticity / veracity of biblical literature.
Think about it this way: even if the literature were authentic, if the human reader doesn’t like what he hears, he will reject it anyway. True understanding entails that the human tries to reason his way up to God, because any assumptions we make are necessarily human assumptions. We have no right to pretend that our own perspective is necessarily God’s perspective.
What we can do, instead, is to compare our different perspectives, and decide for ourselves which is better, based on our own ideas of Good and Evil (which are necessarily subjective).
If you prefer to think that the bible is inerrant, and that your own interpretation of the inerrant bible is inerrant, then those are necessarily your own assumptions, and it doesn’t actually tell you anything about whether that is really God’s truth.
A friend asks:
“So what are the assumptions underlying the perspective that you can compare different perspectives?”
Well, I think that’s actually an extremely pertinent question.
I assume that established logical principles are universally agreed upon by all human beings. Humans seem to be able to recognise a logical fallacy when given enough time to understand how it is logically wrong, because their minds, deep down, seem to share the same logical system.
The idea is that logic is the one commonality which all humans have, whether they like it or not. Logic allows us to compare epistemology. Epistemology in turn allows us to compare our interpretations of the world in which we live, the same way hermeneutics allows us to compare our interpretations of the bible.
The important point to note is that, if we want to believe that humans can meaningfully communicate with (and understand) each other, then we have to find an actual commonality that universally exists amongst all humans. Logic seems to fit that criteria.
Failure to identify commonalities is what ultimately results in irreconcilable conflicts. Failure to speak the same language results in irreconcilable misunderstandings.
There is no such thing as absolutely objective knowledge, simply because assumptions are a necessary component of knowledge, the way perspective necessarily affects the picture that is perceived by the human observer.
In our search for truth, we must develop an awareness of the assumptions that truly matter to us. What matters to you as a person? That is a subjective question, because the answer can be different depending on who you ask. There is no right or wrong answer, because you are ultimately your own judge of what matters to you. (It doesn’t matter how much religious doctrine you force down people’s throats. If it doesn’t truly matter to them, they will not follow it anyway. If they don’t truly understand / appreciate it, they won’t truly believe it. And if they don’t truly believe it, they won’t truly follow it.)
Do we put our trust in a person simply because he claims that he is trustworthy, or do we really put our trust in him because our own knowledge tells us that he is trustworthy?
Do we believe in someone’s goodness simply because he claims to be good, or do we really believe in his goodness because we have personally (subjectively) experienced his goodness?
Do we believe in the bible’s teachings simply because religious authorities insist that the bible is inerrant, or do we believe in the bible’s teachings because we actually understand the wisdom within the teachings, and have personally experienced its radically life-changing effects?
Do we believe that God is good simply because the bible says so, or do we truly believe in God’s goodness because we have personally experienced his goodness?
Finally, do we believe that Jesus loves us simply because the bible says so, or do we truly believe in Jesus because we have personally experienced his love?
“Jesus loves me, this I know; for the bible tells me so” is a song that has been terribly misunderstood by Christians. How does the bible tell us that Jesus loves us? Is it simply because of the verse that tells us “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only son …”? Or do we truly know Jesus’ love for us when we truly understand the wisdom of his teachings for which he sacrificed his own life on the cross to teach us? (https://caveat1ector.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/free-will-determinism-salvation-and-the-christian-ethic/)
Common English Bible (CEB)
8 Taste and see how good the Lord is!
The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!
Anybody can come up to you and tell you that dark chocolate tastes good. But, tastes good to who? Ultimately, you are the one who does the tasting. Religious authorities cannot do the tasting for you.
True Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is something you need to learn and taste for yourself. It is not something you can obtain simply by mindlessly parroting what religious authorities have tried to impose on people by political force.
King James Version (KJV)
96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.
97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.