It is not only de rigeur in Laestadian circles but in many others (Christian and Moslem alike) to claim the inerrancy of the Word. Tragically, along with this a priori comes the justified vilification of "unbelievers," heretics, women, homosexuals, science, and intellectuals, to name a few. A prescientific supposition that should have died with blood-letting and phrenology, inerrancy is kept alive by fear and ignorance, fueled by despots who need their minions (sometimes cannon fodder) unified beneath them.
If your hackles are rising, let me add: if errancy challenges your faith, your faith is misdirected.
I read recently that among American laypeople, the belief in scriptural inerrancy is declining but still much higher than it is among seminarians. I guess studying Greek and Hebrew and the origins and history of the Bible does something to one's credulity.
There are real world consequences to credulity, major and minor. Terrorists behead infidels while quoting the Koran. Korans are flushed down prison toilets by Bible-quoting grunts. Scripture-quoting idiots kill doctors and torch abortion clinics. Evangelical lawmakers cut off funds to AIDS organizations that distribute (horrors!) condoms. Creationist teachers tell their students that evolution is "just a theory."
Near Seattle recently, a school board restricted teachers from showing Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" because an evangelical parent believes global warming is (1) not America's fault and (2) a sign of Jesus' imminent return.
Yah, sure. Let's speed it along, then. Make us some big bonfires. Throw on the science books.
In yesterday's paper there was an article about a newly discovered fossil in Kenya. Cool. Except that it is causing controversy among evangelicals, who claim that evolution is destroying their faith.
Well, then, let's throw that fossil on the fire, too. And Leakey while we're at it. Dagnab Darwinite.
The brilliant professor who introduced me to Darwin and evolution once remarked "most people if given a choice between security and truth will choose security." But that's a false dilemma. Our security must be in Truth, or it is false security.
Am I done ranting? Yes. Your turn.
Thanks to Theo (aka Thorough) for the Orthodox perspective on biblical inerrancy. For a lot of other perspectives, go here. Read all the way to the end . . . it's worth it. Then go ahead and flame / rejoinder / huzzah me.