“The context is not some surrounding verses, but the context of the entire Ancient Near East. The flat-earth sky-dome is the worldview of ancient Mesopotamia. So my point is that the Bible is not “teaching” this, but instead it is using this language to speak to the culture it was written for.”
That’s an incredibly broad definition of context which I have never seen used by anybody except you. The Bible absolutely is affirming that model of cosmology as real.
What you’re doing is motivated reasoning; inventing a convoluted means to interpret what is self-evidently a mistake in order to protect a worldview in which you are emotionally invested.
“ Your definition of “any objective person”, seems to suggest that everyone thinks like we do as 21st century westerners. So again, interpret it like an ancient Israelite and the answer might be different.”
Indeed, because they were comparatively ignorant of cosmology, and should not have been if they were in any sort of quantifiable contact with an omniscient being.
If such contact, whether you call it inspiration or anything else, does not result in a more accurate text than one which isn’t divinely inspired, then what does divine inspiration even mean?
”Sure, inaccuracies must be accounted for, but again, you need to look at who wrote it and what they were trying to achieve when they wrote it down.”
I have. I’m well aware what they were trying to achieve; the foundation of a successful cult. It worked very well, to the point that there are still members of it defending its mistakes, even to this day. I’ve been arguing with one recently.
”Of course it could have, but anything could have been done. But what you have is the text, so you can’t criticise the text for not being written the way you wanted to write it.”
I can if the salvation of humanity is on the line, decided entirely by whether or not we conclude that Christianity is the correct religion, when all we have to go on is the Bible.
If that’s really what salvation hinges upon, it is extreme negligence to permit any false claims about nature to persist in scripture which could lead someone to damnation simply for exercising their brain.
”The Genesis story mirrors Ancient Near East stories, but in a way that presents God as the ultimate, so it was speaking to the culture at the time, not to 21st century westerners.”
So could we then conclude that the Qur’an and Book of Mormon are also valid, simply written for the particular times and places of their publication?
”Now we’re getting to the point. Yes we could go in circles forever, I interpret it to mean that it is speaking to a culture, you take it as presenting factually inaccurate information, and nothing is going to change how we read it.”
“Speaking to a culture” does not somehow sweep under the rug plainly evident mistakes made by people who believed they were writing down information from the creator of the universe. It is transparent rationalization.
I don’t see you making such excuses for ancient Egyptian religion, which also featured a flat earth cosmology, as did ancient Babylonian religion, and Asatru. Why is that?
Why do you only undergo such mental gymnastics in defense of the religion you personally belong to, and not others which include the exact same mistakes? Why wasn’t the Egyptian flat earth also a case of Horus “speaking to a culture”?
”If such a person healed the sick, raised the dead, and then himself came back to life, I might just follow that guy.”
Then why are you not a Muslim, when the Qur’an contains accounts of Muhammad performing miracles? Could it be because the only record of these miracles is the Qur’an, and no outside source from the same time period corroborates those claims? As is also the case for scriptural records of Jesus’ miracles?