Betting on Biblical Prophecy? Chances Are You’ll Lose.

Now and again I come across bold statements that are widely accepted within Christian circles but that are passed along without evidence, like urban legends. The Christian who shares them usually doesn’t know why they should be believed. For example, the claim that Mark was the assistant to an eyewitness and wrote the gospel named Mark (I wrote about that here). That it’s impossible for oral tradition to lose the essential facts of a story even after two generations (I wrote about that... Read more

Stupid Argument BINGO, Christian Edition

To go along with the 25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid blog series, here are some of the stupidest arguments in BINGO format. This might make a nice companion when listening to a Christian lecture or when engaging a Christian in a discussion online. Feel free to shout out the appropriate square (“B3!” instead of the clumsier “I fear, dear fellow, that you’re appealing to Pascal’s Wager” or “N2!” instead of “In the name of the god that doesn’t exist, tell me you’re not making... Read more

10 Skeptical Principles for Evaluating the Bible (2 of 2)

Let’s conclude our ten principles for evaluating the Bible. This list is in response to a Christian version by Jim Wallace, “Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions,” critiqued here. Part 1 of my list is introduced here. 6. Missed opportunities count God could’ve given us soap or told us that the earth is a sphere. Jesus could’ve eliminated all disease—and poverty, war, and famine while he was at it. But they didn’t. What does that tell you? Apologists will... Read more

Clueless John the Baptist

John the Baptist was in prison when he heard the marvelous stories about Jesus, and he sent his disciples to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:2–3). Whaaa … ? This is a remarkable question! John the Baptist doesn’t know whether Jesus is the Messiah or not? John was pretty clear about who Jesus was when he baptized him. Not only did he recognize Jesus’s priority and ask that Jesus... Read more

10 Skeptical Principles for Evaluating the Bible

I recently analyzed a Jim Wallace’s “Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions” (here). Spoiler: I didn’t think much of them. But I don’t want to simply be a naysayer, so I’d like to offer my own version. Here are 10 skeptical principles for evaluating the Bible that I think are more honest than Wallace’s. 1. Don’t confuse genres Wallace is a murder investigator, and he tries to find parallels between the analysis done by the legal system and the... Read more

Debunking 10 Popular Christian Principles for Reading the Bible (3 of 3)

Let’s wrap up our critique of Jim Wallace’s article, “Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions.” (Part 1 here.) Principle #8: Description is Different Than Approval. “Remember, just because a Biblical author writes about something, this does not mean God condones it or supports it.” Wallace wrestles with the problem of polygamy in the Bible. Many patriarchs are shown with multiple wives, and wise king Solomon in particular had a large harem. Does this make clear that God is fine... Read more

Something Better than “In God We Trust”

About a month ago, I attended a public meeting in Vancouver, Washington. The Clark County Board of Councilors had decided that, among their many pressing matters of business, priority should be given to the question of whether “In God We Trust” should go up on the wall in their public hearing room. Public testimony took half a day. The motion didn’t pass that day, but it was raised again and passed later that month (at a meeting with fewer citizens... Read more

Where is the Islamic Renaissance?

In the late 1500s, Japan had more guns than any European country, but that ended as Japan entered a self-imposed isolation that lasted over two centuries. This peaceful Tokugawa period was the time of the shoguns and samurai. That changed in 1853 when U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry appeared in Tokyo Bay with his black ships and demanded that Japan open up as an international trading partner. Concluding that trade was preferred to colonization, Japan signed treaties with many Western powers.... Read more

Debunking 10 Popular Christian Principles for Reading the Bible (2 of 3)

From Jim Wallace’s Cold Case Christianity blog, I’m critiquing the post, “Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions.” Wallace is certain that his rules will wipe that atheist smirk from our faces when we correctly evaluate Bible verses. (Part 1 here.) Principle #5: Old Testament Quotes Aren’t Meant to be “Verbatim.” The New Testament often quotes the Old Testament, but these quotes aren’t always perfect. Don’t worry about that—they weren’t meant to be. The example given is a trivial one.... Read more

Debunking 10 Popular Christian Principles for Reading the Bible

Jim Wallace of the Cold Case Christianity blog has some advice for us, “Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions.” I point out Bible contradictions with pleasure, but let’s consider this list to make sure our Bible critique doesn’t itself need correction. As you can tell from the title, Wallace doesn’t think much of charges of contradictions in the Bible. Principle #1: Begin With A Fair Attitude. When you see a traffic sign, you obey it. Even if something seems... Read more
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