Is the Bible “true”?

by Richard on October 5, 2005

via bimbling along comes a report from The Times newspaper claiming — according to the headline — Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible.

THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.
The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect ‘total accuracy’ from the Bible.

Now it’s my turn to complain about journalistic standards, because of course the report says no such thing. Unfortunately, the text of The Gift of Scripture does not seem to be online, but The Times quotes just enough for it to be clear that they’re completely misrepresenting it. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with this properly tonight, but it is very disappointing that a newspaper with The Times’ reputation has journalists who lack the wit, intelligence and imagination to see that rejecting fundamentalism is very different from rejecting the truth of scripture. Quite the opposite.

Of course this represents an assumption common to both fundamentalists and unthinking secularists. To which I can only say, “A plague on both their houses!” Bah!

Furthermore, to present this as if it represents some radical new departure in the Catholic understanding of scripture displays such a breathtaking ignorance it is scarcely believable.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }


Jonathan Marlowe 10.06.05 at 2:32 am

That’s so typical of the press. Today, the New York Times reported on the story of Harriet Miers and her “conversion.” According to the NY Times, Miers was “born a Catholic” but “converted” to “born-again Christianity.” How many mistakes can you make in one sentence? 1. No one is born a Catholic or a Christian - One becomes Christian (perhaps Catholic) at baptism, never at birth. 2. Catholics are “born again” already - as we all are in baptism. 3. One doesn’t “convert” as if from one religion to another when one becomes a (whatever non-denominational affiliation Miers is). She decided to leave behind her Catholic background when she chose to “receive Jesus Christ as her Savior” and be baptized at Valley View Christian Church. Um, where in the world do we begin to untangle the theological mistakes embedded in such a description?


Joel Thomas 10.06.05 at 5:18 am

The Book of Revelation by my account is true, but it is also metaphorical myth. I believe the story of the Garden of Eden is “truth” told in myth. Does that mean that I think that some parts of the Bible aren’t actually true? Not by my account, but by the reckoning of others, I suppose.


Dave 10.06.05 at 9:27 am

Absolutely. Appalling journalism which thoroughly deserved a good ‘Bah!’


Malc 10.06.05 at 1:42 pm

you found a copy of the report??? Where, I looked and looked (and found other stuff that I wanted) but was unable to find a copy of the report!!!


Richard 10.06.05 at 3:37 pm

No, Malc. The report doesn’t seem to be online. But what the Times actually quotes makes it clear that report doesn’t say anything that ought to be surprising.


Bene D 10.06.05 at 6:59 pm


Bene D 10.06.05 at 7:36 pm

Also there is a report at

Here is what the UK Catholic site has.

Didn’t see anything on Zenit, The Holy See, Vatican Inforamtion Service, Catholic Communication.

About all I can figure out is it costs money to buy it and it is a document released around the 40th anniversary celebrations of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the place of Scripture in revelation.


Blayne 10.06.05 at 8:16 pm

Maybe……..just maybe…..

Instead of seeing EXACTLY what was and was not said in this situation - see what else is there. You know? Like you have to when you read the Bible?

You’re concentrating on “They said they said this” and “But they said they said that!” when maybe what is in plain sight here is the fact that we’ve been misreading something for 2000 years and someone just spoke up and made note of that. This is a good thing no matter who said what or why they said it. It is.

Don’t be so negative, dude.



DH 10.07.05 at 2:31 pm

I appauld by the catholic church for saying the Bible isn’t true. The Bible contains NO I repeat NO myths. I think it is a plague to think that Christians must be forced to believe, by the attack on them saying they are non thinking by the implication of your statement, the Bible contains myth. Saying something is myth when it is not IS rejecting Scripture. When are the foundations of Scripture are going to stop being attacked by the church of all people the church? I thought it was the church that encourages people to have a strong view of Scripture. I guess “the days of Noah” are coming upon us.


Mean Dean 10.07.05 at 4:01 pm

I’m a day late. Read the article yesterday moring (EST / US time) and noted it for fisking.

To me, this report is an excellent example of some very shabby anti-chuch journalism.

Then again, I’ve been wrong before.


Joel Thomas 10.08.05 at 7:48 am

There is an unfortunate assumption it seems that myth and truth are mutually exclusive terms. In Biblical terms, “myth” isn’t fiction so much as an art form for the sharing of profound theological truth and the explaining of the supernatural.


DH 10.10.05 at 2:18 pm

Then based on that definition I would use a totally different term than “myth”. It makes the whole post ambiguos. Especially sense the primary definition of the term means fiction.

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