Maybe God Put Contradictions In The Bible To Weed Out Dishonest Christians

Kent Hovind has suggested that God may have put difficulties in the Bible to weed out the atheists. I’d like to suggest that it is more likely that God put them in there (if indeed God is to blame) in order to see which Christians would be honest enough to acknowledge them, and which would become dogmatic and dishonest charlatans like Hovind and lie about them.

See further the posts about Biblical errancy elsewhere on Patheos blogs Daniel Linford and Stewart James Felker.

Below is the video with Kent Hovind referred to above. I wonder if there is a longer version in which he tried some convoluted attempt to avoid concluding that in one place Luke said those with Paul heard but did not see, and in another that they saw but did not hear.

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  • Matthew Green

    James,

    This is what I very much respect about Christians like yourself. I remember that this is what I appreciated about your book on the burial of Jesus. It was the honest approach that recognizes discrepancies in the Bible and the need for Christians to do their homework and become informed about the ancient world and sacred literature. What I find very sad is that many conservative Christians won’t read the Bible very carefully from cover to cover and still maintain the belief that the Bible has perfect harmony throughout. If one recognizes that the Bible is a flawed book, then everything is not so simple and one cannot afford to be intellectually lazy.

    The problem with Hovind’s “explanation” is that it’s similar to an old creationist belief that the old age of the universe or the existence of dinosaur bones were tests designed to challenge the faith of Christians. The earth really isn’t that old but only appears to be. So the question is: do you trust geoscientists or the Bible? There weren’t really dinosaurs but a bunch of faked bones. Do you trust the paleontologists or the Bible? I realized that these “explanations” imply deception on the part of God. Unbelievers failed tests that were meant for believers and that was unfair to unbelievers.

    What I would like to do is pose a question to Christians like Hovind that I call the “Errancy Test”. It goes like this: if I point out two or more passages that disagree with each other in describing the same event, how would one or more of these passages have to be worded in order for you to agree that at least one author is factually mistaken? If I point out that Matthew and Luke disagree about whether or not Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lived in Nazareth prior to the birth of Jesus, what would it take for a conservative Christian to agree that the passages really do contradict each other? How would one or more of the passages have to be worded in order for this to happen?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      If nothing else, doing this might get them to realize that their beliefs are unfalsifiable, and as such no different from contradictory unfalsifiable beliefs that they reject but others hold in the same way.

  • David Cohen

    Mr. Hovind’s Bible is evidently missing this verse:

    “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
    – I Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)

    Of course, Mr. Hovind’s Bible also seems to be missing this verse:

    “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are
    Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at
    him.:
    – Mark 12:17 (KJV)

  • summers-lad

    “If I was God” he said. I’m glad he’s not.