>”First off, every historian who studies the Middle Ages will tell you that Christians were well aware of the sphericity of the Earth. This is a basic fact of history that you are clearly unaware of.”
If you read the rest of the comments on this article you’ll see that you’re not the first to bring this up. So not only was I already aware of it, my deeply condescending friend, I’ve already addressed the matter.
Yes, Christian scholars ***in the middle ages*** were aware the Earth was spherical because it was common knowledge to learned persons by that point. However, Christianity did not originate in the middle ages, nor were the books of the Bible written or compiled during that time.
As another commenter brought up, Erastosthenes proved the sphericity of the Earth prior to the life of Christ, as he was born in 276 BC and died in about 194 BC. But this also doesn’t solve the problem, because the scriptural descriptions of a flat Earth covered by a solid dome are found in the Old Testament, and only referenced indirectly in the NT.
The Old Testament, as I assume you know, is the collected holy texts of Judaism, which date back nearly 4,000 years. That’s well before Erastosthenes, and thus well before even the most learned scholars had any idea of the Earth’s true shape. (Now it’s my turn to ask why you didn’t know such basic information.)
You might next protest that if the NT were written during an era in which scholars knew of the Earth’s sphericity, its authors never would’ve stood by claims in ancient holy texts contrary to modern learning.
Yet here we are in 2020, and there are still numerous young earth Creationists for the same reason; Devoted adherents of any religion trust the claims of their holy text over worldly knowledge.
>”Also, the Job passage you reference is part of a speech from the foolish young man Elihu. He makes accusations against Job that were clearly false if you bothered to read the book. While it is true that Elihu said this, the Bible never affirms his claims. Elihu is not God, nor does he speak for God.
2 Timothy 3:16
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”
The Doylist perspective is that of course such errors are present in scripture because it was written by human authors without any supernatural insight or knowledge beyond what was available at the time. The Watsonian perspective in this case affirms that nothing in scripture is there except that Yahweh wanted it to be there.
Can you think of a reason why Yahweh would desire that false information be included in the Bible? When we’re to believe it is the only valid manual for attaining salvation, and is meant to be sufficient in itself to convince readers that Christianity is exclusively correct?
>”There is a famous rabbi who had some rules about Bible interpretation. His first rule is that in order to interpret the Bible properly, one must actually read the Bible.”
So I did, little by little, from cover to cover at the rate of one full reading per year, over three years. That’s three full readings, each session followed in the mornings by reflective essays and a class on exegesis, as part of my private Christian education.
It speaks volumes that the Christian’s first recourse is always to reflexively assume total ignorance of anybody who disputes Christianity, when studies have repeatedly shown that apostates have a more comprehensive knowledge of scripture than believers. We disagree not because of what we don’t know about scripture that you do, but the reverse.