As I — and several others, of course — have pointed out over the years, Biblical ‘inerrancy’ is an all or nothing proposition: Once anything is shown to be untrue, then everything else is up for grabs.
A guest writer at P.Z. Myers’ blog makes the point beautifully:
As I accepted evolution, I watched everything I had ever known crumble at my feet. I had been taught that the truth of the Bible rested on young earth creationism. Now that that foundation was gone, I had no idea what to do with the Bible. How could I trust it? How could I believe in it? How could I interpret it?
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I would like to point out that by teaching their children that their faith rests on young earth creationism, fundamentalist and evangelical parents create an Achilles heel in their children. If they grow up to find that young earth creationism is wrong, they have to completely evaluate everything they believe about the Bible, God, and Christianity. In trying to buttress their children’s faith, these parents build into it a fundamental flaw. Who I am today is a product of that flaw.
The inerrancy claim is a political claim — and the Bible’s obviously nonsensical riffs enhance the political power that the claim is intended to serve; that’s why Holy Men insist upon it so adamantly.
Think about it: If the Bible actually made sense — like a physics text, say — then what would you need a Holy Man for? You could read the Good Book and know what He expects, and you would decide whether to do it or not do it, and that would be that.
But the ‘inerrancy’ claim creates a puzzle for the insecure who lack the confidence to just mutter “Wow, this here is some kind of bullshit” — and there’s a Holy Man, ready to steer.