NR The Bible cannot be the Word of God because of its errors, lack of supporting facts and the impossible feats it relates.
R The Bible must be the Word of God because God needed a means of teaching His Word.
In his book, Jesus for the Non-Religious, John Shelby Spong presents an admirably researched and curiously vapid analysis in support of the non-religious (NR) position. He seems dismissive or unaware of the overwhelming support for the religious (R) position. Let’s compare the NR and R positions.
NR The Bible’s miracle content cannot be factual because miracles defy the laws of
nature that we have discovered from extensive research carried out before and
during the 21st century.
NR The errors in the Bible mean it cannot be the Word of an omniscient God.
NR The Bible’s miracle stories include no eyewitness accounts because there were none.
R Eye witnesses did not make public or record what they saw in order to avoid persecution and death. It took the courage of Paul and the Gospel writers to record the verbal accounts passed down by eyewitnesses.
NR If a loving God were able to intervene to control nature there would be no famines
and other natural disasters.
NR The striking similarity of Old Testament and Gospel writings shows the latter to
have been made up from the former rather than to have been based on things that
had actually occurred.
R The striking similarity of Old Testament and Gospel writings shows the former to be
the Old Testament authors’ interpretations of the Word of God, which detailed what
would eventually actually occur.
NR The Gospels’ inconsistency of details of Jesus’ birth, His parentage and His disciples’ identities makes it very unlikely the writings are factual. The Gospels’ consistencies suggest the later gospels were simply copied from former ones, rather than having been based on their authors' individual encounters with eyewitnesses.
R All authors may include different details of the same events. This does not establish
that any of the accounts are non-factual. A focus on trivial details leads the viewer to miss the forest for the trees.
NR A man cannot be born from a virgin, raised from the dead or taken bodily away from
R God had to have impregnated Mary for Jesus to be God in human form. Jesus had to be
resurrected to teach us what we couldn’t accept from the Word of God in the Bible,
the Word of God taught by Jesus and His miracles. You’ll find reasoning to
support this view in How Can a Man be God.
Spong’s admirable intent is to save Christianity from a dependency on a literal reading of the New Testament. His fear is well founded if we simply accept the NR position and fail to analyze the R position.