Visualizing Biblical Contradictions

On the topic of ways to visually present information, this chart of Biblical contradictions by Sam Harris’ Project Reason is visually striking. Unfortunately, it’s also so large that I can’t post any significant portion and have it be usable. Here’s one section:

The vertical bars represent chapters of the bible; white bars for the Hebrew Testament and grey for the Christian Testament. Red lines connect chapters that contain contradictions.

The bottom portion, which I can’t include here, lists each of those contradictions and provided chapter and verse. The whole piece is derived from The Scripture Project by Steve Wells. You can go to the Project Reason for other images, but you’ll need to download the full PDF from them to make it readable.

Via I Love Charts

  • Michael

    Someone should really make an SVG of the whole poster. That way it could be hi-res at any zoom and still be a fairly small file size. PDF is a hellishly bad format for this image.

  • Francesco Orsenigo

    According to the comments, the contradictions listed are very poor: http://ilovecharts.tumblr.com/post/1536665771/fightthefaith-contradictions-in-the-bible-i
    (Many of the commenters seem to be religious).

    I am all for using ridicule against superstition, but then again I don’t know what this ‘preaching to the choir’ accomplishes.
    Why, as someone not invested the slightest in religion, should I hang on the wall something about religion that can be nonetheless dismissed so easily by believers?

    • JohnMWhite

      Would it really make a difference in how readily believers dismiss it if the contradictions were all slam dunks? A huge swathe of bible-thumpers believe Jesus was a capitalist. Contradictions mean nothing to them.

      I guess the point of hanging this on the wall is just one of many attempts to continually hammer home the point that “we’re not fooled by your nonsense”. I suppose the hope is that, eventually, through cultural saturation, we can have a society where texts like the bible are given the lack of respect they deserve.

    • Monocle Lad

      Its was always my experience that on these contradiction lists, that people got so overzealous on pointing out every single possible contradiction that most of them don’t come across as very convincing. In fact some seemed to show comprehension errors in reading. So as a christian, I would read a good 20-30 of them from a list see that there was only 1 that seemed like it was possibly a contradiction, that would have any chance in me questioning my faith but I assumed it must be as retarded at the others if only I knew a bit more.

      Frankly the weaker contradictions on these lists only managed to strengthen my belief when I was 16 and beginning to seriously question things. It was until I was 23 when I finally was able to see how bad the bible was all along. If it had just been a list of the real damning contradictions it might have been effective, it still would have been an impressive number.

      • Francesco Orsenigo

        More or less my point, with much clearer delivery.

        If you add too many weak contradiction, the strong ones can be more easily dismissed with the rest.

        JohnMWhite: The poster is confrontational, and IMHO triggers a more defensive response than mockery.
        Mockery works well because it removes a bit of social approval while triggering a less aggressive ‘us vs them’ response.
        Confrontation is better suited when the other part initiates it.
        Damn I hope that what i wrote makes sense. oO

        • JohnMWhite

          I get what you mean, but I disagree. Based on my experience, mockery leads to those who take faith seriously (or even semi-seriously) becoming very defensive immediately. It’s the sort of thing where Bill Maher can tear apart politicians, celebrities, and Muslims, but as soon as he says the Pope’s a Nazi and he wears funny hats, there’s a hiss of disapproval from the audience and he’s ordered by his network to apologise the next week. When you make fun of faith (the one that matters to the people in the room, at least), it seems to lock a lot of people into a sort of tribalism. They get quite irate at you, outsider, taking a shot at what is notionally or culturally theirs.

          Not that I think confrontation helps much either, at least directly, because like I said, even if every contradiction on the poster were completely unarguable, it wouldn’t make a difference to the faith of most people. They’ll just go into their shell, and maybe offer to pray for you if they aren’t too angry at you for questioning their faith. But I do think that having this sort of information repeated frequently throughout the culture, and as many people as possible continually showing that they don’t believe the bible and they have good reason why, may eventually erode these walls in the minds of the faithful and it might just click, one by one, that there isn’t really anything to their holy text that makes it holy. It might be happening now, there has to be some reason atheism is on the rise in Europe and church attendances are dropping fast.

          • Francesco Orsenigo

            Agreed.
            Probably in such cases dismissal is just better.
            “Sorry, I think that’s just superstition.”

  • nazani14

    Unfortunately, we can’t post a chart like this in the places it might do the most good, like schools.
    Go to the library and check out a Bible concordance. That’s another simple way to find completely opposite teachings on the same topic.

    There’s a nice little blog that devotes most of its space to discussing contradictions in the Bible:
    http://thebeattitude.com/

  • http://billym.macabreink.com Billy

    Amazing. I actually sent it to a Christian friend of mine I debate to see how he’d react.

  • http://luckyatheist.blogspot.com Mike Caton

    I saw this at Harris’s talk and it was definitely my favorite graphic. An even cooler version would be (here I go suggesting work for others more graphically gifted) an animated version for Youtube that starts it with one arc, and labeled. “This is where Mark says X about the Crucifixion, but Luke says Y.” Start off with the more commonly apologized-for contradictions, and give the Christian counter for it. Go slow at first (for pacing purposes, and also so Christians don’t turn it off right away). Then, another. Then, another, and another and another, and pretty soon they’re going off like popcorn. Thunderfoot, I’m looking in your direction…

  • Paul

    I think that you might be able to take the density of intersection points, and use that to talk about a measurement of biblical intra-inconsistency (as opposed to simply the magnitude of contradictions, that the arcs themselves show).

    • nazani14

      I don’t think that’ll have any effect, ‘cuz math is of the devil. Statistics are just something God uses to test your faith.

  • Pingback: Graphical Display Of Biblical Contradictions | Miscellanea Agnostica

  • L Armond

    New to computer, and following a thread found this conversation on a subject that is very important to me,: How to present information visually, and how presentation of information affects the viewer, as in this topic, from a neurobiological perspective. As in once the fear, ‘saten” chord is pulled, there is no way in. I am interested in this on other topics. Are any of you guys specialists iin this or know of a good link. I realize the advertising and political propagandists are masters of this, because of the biological reactions, they know how to pick the mark and shape the message to the hearer, i.e. overwhelmed, looking for community of other overwhelmed, etc. I think of a feral dog that I am trying to bring to safely, never approach, never eye contact, just leaving food and comfort, a safe-place. It is a long term project. But it is what you deal with once the ‘humanist scent’ is tagged to facts they could use. Got any suggested readings, other than this blog?

  • myother

    Why do I feel like I’m being preached to here?

  • rob

    Here’s the result of the original idea from 2007 showing the interconnectedness of all 66 books of the Bible written over 3000 years in 3 languages by multiple authors in multiple genres to multiple audiences.

    http://www.chrisharrison.net/projects/bibleviz/index.html

    The graphic by Project Reason has been dismantled several places. If you’re serious about this topic you can find them yourself.

    • Custador

      Any book claiming to be the inspired word of an omnipotent, omniscient, loving God has no business containing any contradictions whatsoever.

      Now, you can rationalise that or justify it in any way that you want, and in so doing you can create enough cognitive disonance to totally mess up your own mind, but don’t expect other people to come along with you. The truth is that there are only two likely reasons why the bible contradicts itself so completely in so many places:

      1) It is not the word of God because it was written as a series of political power tools by historical rulers to keep their peoples in line by taking God’s name in vain. But why would God allow that to happen? Why would he allow his creations to be so manipulated by each other at the expense of his own reputation? If this is the reason, it leads to the unavoidable conclusion that there is no Christian God.

      2) It is the word of God but he wanted to deliberately contradict himself so as to create conflict and disbelief in Himself and so set his creations up to fail, or he just plain doesn’t care. Don’t you believe in a loving God? Would a loving God do either of these? Surely not! So if we accept this explanation, your version of God cannot exist.

      • rob

        You’re asserting there are only two options to explain another assertion but you offer no proof for either assertion.

        So let me offer a third likely reason:

        3) You have an incomplete understanding of Biblical textual criticsim and scholarship.

        Just saying. Don’t take it personally, it’s not my area of expertise either.

        • Custador

          So, because you can’t think of any other reason for the contradictions in the bible, you’re answer is that neither of us are capable of grasping it? Really? That’s your argument? Rob, if you can’t think of any other reason than those two for biblical contradictions either, then why do you believe it’s true?

        • Kodie

          3) So let me offer a third likely reason:

          3) You have an incomplete understanding of Biblical textual criticsim and scholarship.

          One then wonders why it takes an expert to understand it if god expects us to live by it. That’s a terrible argument. You call it a “likely reason,” that is something of a glimmer of hope for people who like to ignore likelier reasons, or you know, reasons. Wishful thinking strikes Wonss Ay-Gain!

          • rob

            Kodie,

            I don’t think it takes an expert to understand and live by it. Jesus summarized all of the law with love God supremely and love your neighbor as yourself. Does your overarching “life ethic or code to live by” boil down that simply?

            I think it is fairly likely that Custador is not a trained Biblical scholar (do you think that’s unlikely? I’m new here.) but like I said above, maybe s/he’ll surprise me. Again I’ve made an assertion that s/he’s not trained but I have no proof for that assertion. I hope s/he changes that so we can see if my assertion is well founded.

            • Kodie

              If you want someone who is biblically trained, I don’t recall Custador to be the one you want to discuss this with. I don’t want to obligate anyone else to this conversation by naming other names, but we do have atheists who are biblical scholars, and from what I understand, studied the bible in depth while they were still devout Christians (to my understanding, the biblical contradictions having something to do with encouraging their doubt).

              Anyway, I don’t have to be a biblical scholar to point out the whole gist of salvation of Christ depends on the Adamic fall. If the bible doesn’t make coherent sense as the written word of god, whatever Jesus gets to sum up in his part doesn’t really mean that much. Some of it may actually be wise, but still not of supernatural origin. You’re not making any sense trying to reconcile inconsistencies in the bible as to its potential supernatural origin. Parts of the bible are historical, fictional, folk wisdom of the era, fear-and-personal-bias-based rules, and philosophy, much of which obviously contradicts other parts (somewhat like the fortune cookie my sister got once with two fortunes inside that seemed to have been laid together inside a single cookie on purpose – but it’s hard to tell – fortune cookies, proverbs, astrology readings, etc., have a track record of sounding wise and vague enough to apply to anyone in any time). I think some of the things Jesus said were good to go on, and some were kind of making promises nobody can reasonably keep. I’m dying for your sins – false. I don’t need a biblical scholar to point out that a supposedly prophetic text is nothing of the sort: it contradicts itself, full stop. How do you read the whole thing as instruction from a deity, a deity that seems to require you need a scholar to interpret it, to silence the nagging questions you have of it?

              Only the wishful thinker hopes for a “third” way it might make sense. You act like you don’t want to leave any stone unturned, but (a) it should just not require this much effort, and (b) willful ignorance of the obvious nonsense that it prints right out in plain words.

            • Sunny Day

              You dont have to be a scholar that has read about the Inherent Luminescence of the Emperor’s Silk Undergarments, to understand that there’s just a naked guy standing in the room.

            • rob

              Not that there’s anything wrong with a naked guy in the room, I guess.

              But, nobody has ever scientifically proven to me with a number-o-meter that there is a number we call 349 or anything that could be called a moral but I still think calculus and law/ethics are worthwhile endeavors. Do you?

            • Sunny Day

              Except the naked guy is the Emperor admiring his reflection in a mirror while “biblical scholars” stand around a praise the way his garments fit him and enhance his appearance.

              The rest of your response seems to be a word salad the likes of which would make John C weep with envy.

            • Elemenope

              The rest of your response seems to be a word salad the likes of which would make John C weep with envy.

              Er, no. What he is expressing here is pretty standard agnosticism about the existence of questionably real things, such as constructed mental objects like numbers or moral facts. The fact we cannot point to a definitively real referent for either of these things doesn’t make either mathematics or ethics non-functional disciplines. It’s a pretty simple point.

            • Sunny Day

              It’s still throwing me how we went from the non contradicting interconnectedness of the bible that only super biblical-scholar-vision can see to a statement about agnosticism.

        • claidheamh mor

          @Rob 3) You have an incomplete understanding of Biblical textual criticsim and scholarship.

          Fallacy #1: There are people here who have at least as good and understanding as you. Probably better.

          Fallacy #2: They – people who have studied the bible for years – see contradictions. “Casual observers” see contradictions. Someone has made a graph of the contradictions. Your fallacy is denying this stubborn fact: The contradictions stubbornly exist, independently of level of understanding.

          Fallacy #3: Your assertion of others’ understanding being incomplete contradicts your own apparent assertion that there are not contradictions in spite of

          @Rob Don’t take it personally, it’s not my area of expertise either.

          Nothing to take personal about it; your own contradiction is obvious and impersonal. Lessee, maybe people only erroneously assume the bible has contradictions because their understanding is incomplete (a fallacious assumption; see fallacy #2), yet you, for whom it is not an area of expertise, are claiming that it does not have contradictions. (Or at least are arguing with people who say that it does.)

          Fallacy # 4: Your missing what Custador already stated:
          Any book claiming to be the inspired word of an omnipotent, omniscient, loving God has no business containing any contradictions whatsoever.

        • claidheamh mor

          Love all these replies to the effect that if something written by a supposedly omniscient and omnipotent god

          *requires extensive scholarship and critical study to understand,
          *that it’s not very believable without extensive critical study,
          *most non-scholarly non-decades-of-critical-study people will then be unable to understand it,
          *and it takes those decades of scholarship to explain away the contradictions,

          then it’s poorly written, and that particular God did a lousy job.

          Or that particular God doesn’t exist, and the contradiction-riddled book was cobbled together by a lot of different people. And a bunch of committees.

          • Darwin

            I always thought that holy books should be as simple as possible to avoid misinterpretations.

          • Kodie

            The way it seems to me is that rob so dearly needs it to be true, he is grasping on to a thread of possibility it might be true. Really, we have dismissed it all too easily because we’re eager and obviously not exposed well enough to the bible to make that decision. It’s just too easy! The complex god would not make it too easy to dismiss, for he is god, we are humble and know nothing, and that’s the way he made us. He is sure that in dispassionately organizing the bible by its contradictions, there has to be something we’ve all overlooked. There just has to be. We are dismissing it for superficial reasons, there is depth we are not capable of comprehending!

            I mean, once again, it comes down to wishful thinking, faith. Start with the idea you want to be true and then make up excuses why it must possibly be true. If the bible is too complex to understand without contradicting ourselves – the answer is to humble ourselves and believe there is a reason for it. Only intent scholars could unlock that reason, I mean, “I want something to be there,” so it’s only fair we get our best guys to go over it again to attribute 90%+ of these contradictions to lack of context, and the rest too, with critical study. That’s the only way to be sure, but until then, I will rest with the faith that there has to be a good reason it looks like a pile of buIIshlt, humility and faith that it all comes together some-other-how that’s just not obvious to simple-man.

            The only reason it’s of any issue is that it’s supposed to have been inspired and/or written by god – god who doesn’t make mistakes. All oddities in the text are intentional if you believe god wrote it but concede that it is odd. Any other book would be simply taken and analyzed thoroughly for theme and character and plot – other authors are prone to errors and… like, forgetting to tie up some loose end and then bringing it up again later only the opposite. We just ignore those errors and enjoy the whole story (if it’s any good). No real reason to suspect the bible is of any supernatural standard in that regard. It has mistakes in it, a lot of them, just face it!

            • rob

              Kodie, this collection of books speaks of hard hearted people who trade the truth for a lie. Why should I think that doesn’t apply to you?

              Must God be understood by and/or agree with you to be real? If so does everything else in the world have to submit to the same?

            • Kodie

              It basically says, “hey, we know this sounds really fake, and a lot of people aren’t going to believe it.” Then it says you’re the wise one for going ahead with it, despite how fake and disorganized and contradictory it is. That sounds a lot like any ordinary selling technique, and if you can be sold on that, you can be manipulated.

              I mean, ordinarily smart people are skeptical right off, and the instructions tell you not to be so, it makes anyone who doesn’t believe it sound like a horrible person, and you wouldn’t want to be a horrible person, would you?. No, of course you wouldn’t! You want to be polite, give it a chance. I bet you have 10 washing machines that don’t get your clothes really clean too. Or possibly a closet-full of stuff you saw on infomercials.

              It’s only where you convince yourself the bible is true, that what it says in it must be prophetic – it warns against not believing it. I mean, who would caution against not believing a big book of buIIshlt in a big book of buIIshlt? If I were writing a book like that and pretend it’s the word of god, I could think of including it easily. It’s not some magical phrase, it’s psychology of sales techniques.

  • rob

    “The truth is that there are only two likely reasons why the bible contradicts itself so completely in so many places” –Custador

    You said there were only two. I never said I couldn’t think of any. I simply offered a third possible reason. And I don’t have an argument here because I haven’t seen anything other than unfounded assertions so far. Not just you, but me too. I said this has been dismantled several places and you can look for it if you’re interested. If you’d like me to provide some evidence and reason for that assertion I’d be glad to. A blog comment section is not really the greatest format for hashing this stuff out but if you’re game so am I.

    In reality you wouldn’t attempt to study and understand any other “secular” compilation of ancient texts without some specific training and process so why do you think you can understand the Bible when it’s at least that and may or may not have an added supernatural component?

    I don’t know, surprise me. Maybe you are ancient textual scholar.

    • Sunny Day

      We have a few on tap, they might choose to speak up.

      When you take the obvious hyperbole of Custador’s words, “The truth is that there are only two likely reasons why the bible contradicts itself so completely in so many places:” and twist it into your more precise phrase, “You’re asserting there are only two options to explain another assertion .” you have deeper issues and an ancient textual scholar may not be able to help you.

      • Kodie

        I think the weirdest assertion is that god would purposely complicate his message, and that it might be true, if only anyone were wise enough to comprehend it fully. People take it on faith all the time that it makes more sense as a whole, and it does contain a little something for everyone, even for me, or anyone else at this blog – if the bible were the only book in the world, I think we could all find something we liked about some parts of it. I’m not going to fight with anyone who disagrees with me there, but that still does not correlate to any reason the whole is god’s sacred text, nor any portion, none of it. You, rob, want to suppose some mysterious reason validates it, yet humans are too arrogant or insufficiently scholarly to crack the code – what kind of sadistic god makes it so? I know it just seems like the easy way out to dismiss it because it’s garbled up and contradictory, but it’s not, it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. The only reason to make it more complicated than that is to wish for a more complicated being than you can fully comprehend, and thus his methods are complicated and difficult to decipher. That’s trash.

      • rob

        I apologize if I put words in anyone’s mouth. Like I said blog comments is not the best forum for complex discussions. To your other point, yes, I have bigger issues but that’s biblical as well.

        Kodie, google Mark 4:10-11. Jesus seems to be speaking in parables so that some people won’t understand him. If you think that’s unfair, maybe you think God owes you salvation, which is not a biblical description of our state before God. I find that when a text makes me uncomfortable I am either over estimating my own righteousness or underestimating God’s.

        Thanks all for the discussion. I enjoy it.

        • Sunny Day

          I find that when a text makes me uncomfortable I am either over estimating my own righteousness or underestimating God’s.

          Or its the logical part of your brain screaming to be let out of it’s compartment.

        • Francesc

          So those are your answers: either you didn’t understand it well or your opinion was wrong. Have you tried to read Mein Kampf that way? propably you can also rationalize all his shit.
          You are assuming that the Bible is the word of God prior to any thinking about it.

          I always tought parables had two functions: 1.- to make the message easier for the people listening (wich mean 2.000 year ago shepards) 2.- to make the message less precise and more “wise” (the way Gurus are still doing: babbling a lot without any real meaning). Now I underatand that God was encrypting his own message so that he could send a lot of people to hell, little bit sadistic aren’t we?

          Now, let’s talk about contradictions… God created Adam and Eve. Their offspring mated and had more descendants. The question is…who mated with Eve’s childs?

          • Darwin

            I love that question. Certain to produce a shocked face and glazed over eyes in any religious person.

          • rob

            The Bible doesn’t say but I would posit that Cain’s wife, like all of us, was a daughter of Mitochondrial Eve. You know we’re all 7th cousins with Kevin Bacon, right?

  • rob

    So I will probably regret this and I’m not saying I’ll have an answer. We could go through all however many contradictions are in this graph one by one but I’m sure you fine people have a life outside of this blog. Why don’t you pick your “Goliath” of contradictions, the one you want to do battle for you and let’s discuss it. I’ll offer that 90+% of these contradictions go away in context, that the vast majority of the rest do with critical study, and that there will be many I don’t have an answer for but let’s see where it goes.

    • Jabster

      “I don’t have an answer for but let’s see where it goes.”

      Where it goes will be you twisting logic, rationality, reasonableness and reality to “prove” that the Bible is the truth and these contradictions are either taken out of context or are being misinterpreted. Of course you would never apply this line of reasoning (although it really doesn’t warrant giving it that title) to anything else but the Bible is the word of god so it must be right?

    • claidheamh mor

      @Rob I’ll offer that 90+% of these contradictions go away in context,

      I’ll offer that they don’t.

      that the vast majority of the rest do with critical study,

      They don’t. Several long-standing bloggers here have pointed out that several members and the site’s founder have put in years, over a decade, in critical study. If they are the ones starting sites like this, blogging on sites like this, and making a graph of biblical contradictions, there has been more critical study than you ever dreamed of doing.

      and that there will be many I don’t have an answer for but let’s see where it goes.

      Where it has gone, is going, and will go, are the stubbornly existing superabundance of contradictions.

      Which you have been utterly unable to accept or refute.

      • rob

        Would it help if I posted some of the refutations of a few of the contradictions in this chart? My thought is that no one would read them.

        No disrespect to the owner of this fine establishment or it’s regulars but so far the bark is worse than the bite. Not that that couldn’t change mind you.

        • claidheamh mor

          @rob Would it help if I posted some of the refutations of a few of the contradictions in this chart? My thought is that no one would read them.

          Well, by all means, run to your pastor and pray to Jeezus and ask what you should do, and come back with something specific and reasoned out and using some decent argument points to support it.

          You have to try that now, since you have completely failed at accepting, or at refuting, any contradictions, and we’ve blown holes in your fallacies that there aren’t biblical scholars here, and that the contradictions would just evaporate under scholarly study, and that if intensive scholarship were required, then most people wouldn’t find the damn bible readable anyway, and that the God of any mythology, including this one, has no business writing anything with any contradictions.

  • rob

    Well since nobody has brought forth a contradiction I’m starting to feel like Goliath instead of David. Too bad I rather fancy the underdog for some reason.

    Probably all for the best as I can find arguments against a straw (non-biblical) Christianity and psychogenetic fallacies easier than cute cats on the interwebs. I’ll hang out for awhile and see if anything interesting pops up.

    Cheers!

    • Jabster

      “Well since nobody has brought forth a contradiction I’m starting to feel like Goliath instead of David.”

      … and then we have:

      “Kodie, this collection of books speaks of hard hearted people who trade the truth for a lie. Why should I think that doesn’t apply to you?”

      Look Rob my old mucker it’s pretty obvious what your game is and frankly I (and I’m sure a few of the other posters here) find tedious in the extreme.

      p.s. Was Goliath the slightly gullible one, if so then yes you should feel like him?

      • Michael

        I don’t know about gullible, but Goliath was the one who got owned by some random dude and lost the entire war single-handedly.

      • rob

        Jabby,

        Sorry to waste your time.

        Toodles,
        Rob

        • claidheamh mor

          Read all the replies with all the reasons you have failed to refute a single contradiction. Then read about how you are so desperately needy for the bible to be true, that you keep crying that it just needs more intensive scholarship! And how that is untrue because intensive scholarship has already been applied.

          It looks like the contradictions are here to stay.

    • Nox

      You do realize there’s a list of them at the top of the page right.

    • http://biblespoof.com dspaun

      @Rob: You sound a lot like me when I used to be a Christian. Whenever a supposed contradiction was pointed out to me, I could dismantle it with other verses or by broadening the context. And even when I was faced with a blatant contradiction, I could still rationalize it away because nothing was going to shake my belief in Scripture as God’s truth. Thus, all my intellectual ‘debates’ with people were ultimately meaningless.

      The only time I ever really thought about the other side’s position, the only time I ever even considered that Scripture might not be true, was when someone presented the contradictions to me in a humorous fashion. If you’re interested in that, see: http://biblespoof.com/sample-chapters

      However, if you really want to, I can give you some contradictions (not just among individual verses but rather within entire concepts, such as salvation and sanctification), though I imagine it’d be a futile exercise… especially if you are indeed like I was.

      • rob

        Sounds interesting dspaun, especially how salvation and sanctification are contradictions but it apparently Jabster is too busy for me to play on the interwebs where he does. Maybe another time when s/he’s on vacay?

    • Kodie

      You haven’t really said anything yet. What are we supposed to do? I mean, you keep starting to say something and just flake out and pretend we’re already being too unfair to you. Well, if this is how you argue, I can’t really see the point in it.

      • rob

        I don’t know Kodie, this is not my house so I don’t know how y’all usually play here.

        Vorjack posted a pretty picture that supposedly listed 1 bazillion contradictions in the Bible. I pointed out that the idea for this art was stolen from a picture that shows the bazillion connections between the 66 texts of the Bible written by multiple authors to multiple audiences using multiple literary genres over 3000 years which is fairly remarkable if you ask me.

        Then a few people tell me what I’m thinking and that my ideas aren’t necessary here because they are ‘meh’.

        I offer to discuss anybody’s favorite contradiction and nobody has one. I enjoy conversation with people that disagree with me. Maybe no one here does.

        For the record I don’t think anyone has been unfair to me. I just haven’t seen any validation or justification for the premise as proposed. If what you do here is create straw men to knock down then I understand the fun in that kind of exercise and don’t want to interfere. It seems a bit disingenuous and unreasonable to me though. Kind of like if I were to build a straw atheism from Saloth Sar, Mao, and Stalin to decry the horrors of and meanwhile conveniently leaving out my cool neighbor and atheist Jim who loans me his tools and knows more about Star Wars than I do.

        Like I said if nobody wants to discuss a finer point and we’re just content to paint with a broad brush I’ll stick around and see if anything interesting pops up.

        Cheers,

        Rob

        • Custador

          *sighs*

          Okay, Rob.

          1) Tell me how you explain the two very different versions of Judas’ death. Did he walk into a field with his thirty pieces of silver and fall down dead, or did he hang himself out of guilt?

          2) Which of the two versions of Jesus’ lineage in the Bible is the real one?

          3) Was the crucifixion before or after the passover meal?

          There are three to be getting on with.

          • Custador

            Still waiting on you Rob.

            • Sunny Day

              Give ‘im more time. He could be writing the reply himself instead of cutting and pasting it from a google search.

            • Custador

              My guess is he’s asking his Pastor. This could be the start of a beautiful journey towards atheism…

            • rob

              Aww, I’m just hurt you don’t think I’m a pastor myself. Can’t you just humor me?

        • Nox

          Also…

          4) What were Jesus’ last words on the cross?

          5) Who found Jesus’ body?

          6) Where did Jesus meet Peter and Andrew?

          7) Is a christian saved by faith or works?

          8) Was Adam created at the same time as Eve?

          9) Who was Joseph’s father?

          10) Did Noah take 2 of every animal or 7 of every clean animal and 2 of every unclean animal on the ark?

          11) Were Adam and Eve created at the same time or was Adam created earlier before the plants and animals?

          12) Where was Jesus when he delivered his famous sermon on the mount?

          13) What was written on the sign on Jesus’ cross?

          14) How many people saw the resurrected Jesus?

          15) Did Paul ever meet Jesus personally?

          16) What did Jesus do after he was baptized?

          17) How many donkeys was Jesus riding when he entered Jerusalem?

          18) How long was Jesus in Jerusalem?

          19) Does god command “thou shalt not kill”?

          20) Was Isaiah’s prophecy of a virgin birth a reference to Jesus or was it meant to be a sign that King Ahaz of Judah would be victorious in an upcoming battle?

          Every one of these questions has at least two contradictory answers that come directly from the bible.

          • Michael

            The deutero-Isaiah prophecy is easily explained if we assume Mark misinterpreted the original passage.

            However, I don’t think Christians like that explanation.

            But I don’t get your point about the ten commandments. There are two lists of them iirc, but both of them are nearly identical and certainly both include the commandment not to murder (exact translations vary). Even when Jesus listed a few of the commandments in the NT, he mentioned murder in all three gospels.

            Keep in mind that most if not all of the OT killings would not have been considered “murder” per se. That obviously doesn’t justify them from a moral standpoint, but I don’t really see them as textual contradictions (just functional and thematic contradictions).

        • trj

          Okay, here’s one:

          In 1 Sam 15 Saul “utterly destroyed” all the Amalekites, except for their king – one of the many genocides sanctioned by God.

          However, later in 1 Sam 27 it’s David’s turn to attack the Amalekites, once again eradicating them, “leaving neither man nor woman alive”.

          But that doesn’t stop the Amalekites, who in 1 Sam 30 raid a couple of cities and abduct two of David’s wives.

          For one thing, there’s a gross contradiction in a god who is allegedly all-loving and just but at the same time commands fullscale slaughter of men, women, children and unborn. Ordering innocent infants to be slaughtered is the opposite of love and justice. Secondly, it’s very strange how the Amalekites can survive being completely wiped out not just once but twice.

        • Jabster

          “I offer to discuss anybody’s favorite contradiction and nobody has one. I enjoy conversation with people that disagree with me. Maybe no one here does.”

          … really, as here’s a comment from Nox which was already posted when you stated the above …

          “You do realize there’s a list of them at the top of the page right.”

          So let me guess, you’re now going to say that wasn’t his favourite one.

        • Yoav

          Lets start at the beginning.
          Gen 1 26-27
          And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
          So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

          Gen 2 18-23
          And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
          And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
          And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
          And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
          And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

          So which is the true story, were humans created with the other animals male and female at the same time, or were the animals created after men but before women?

  • Sunny Day

    Why don’t you pick your “Goliath” of contradictions, the one you want to do battle for you and let’s discuss it.

    Maybe rob is having a hard time deciding which one of contradictions he wants to do “battle” on.

    • trj

      Give it a little time people. It’s only been about 24 hours since we gave him his assignments. At least wait a couple of days before complaining that he doesn’t answer. I feel confident he will eventually.

      • John C

        Hey there TRJ! Merry….uhhh Christmas? Err…uhh…Happy Holidays? Hello friend, all the very best to you.

        • trj

          Hi, John, and merry Christmas to you too. Being non-American and non-politically correct, the “Happy Holidays” greeting has always struck me as rather vapid, so I give you a good old-fashioned Christmas greeting instead.

          • Michael

            I for one celebrate a totally secular Christmas (which I guess is a misnomer, then), a few religiously-derived traditions notwithstanding.

  • rob

    Happy Festivus friends! I have erected the Festivus pole, let the airing of grievances begin!!

    I apologize for the delay. I have been earning a living, caring for a family, and taking toys to the local orphanage. I’ll bet atheists find this time of year busy as well so I’ve no doubt you can all commiserate.

    On to what I asked for… I don’t know how to do all the delightful formatting you folks do so my apologies for the fuzziness of question/reply dynamic. Hopefully it will be understandable.

    Custador:
    1) Tell me how you explain the two very different versions of Judas’ death. Did he walk into a field with his thirty pieces of silver and fall down dead, or did he hang himself out of guilt?


    Judas is overcome with grief, gives the money to the chief priests, goes and hangs himself in the field, and later falls headlong and bursts open. That seems rather easy and without contradiction since neither passage mentions what actually killed him, the hanging, the falling and bursting open, or something in between. Maybe you have a finer point or you’d like to discuss the “better contradictions” of the same passage?

    2) Which of the two versions of Jesus’ lineage in the Bible is the real one?


    Which part would you like to discuss the omissions in Matthew’s list or the royal line vs. genetic line. As a relevant tangent my wife has brown hair AND blue eyes because she’s Dutch and Irish.

    3) Was the crucifixion before or after the passover meal?


    In the words of Jesse Jackson, “The question is moot.”

    All texts put the crucifixion on Friday. The question is whether Passover was Thursday or Friday. Would you like a link to an article detailing the author/audience of each text, how that author reckoned days (you can’t assume the different cultures both had one way and that it was midnight to midnight like us), and how that makes this a non issue? Or is there some other issue you have with this?
    Here’s the layman’s version, stay at Disney World and you’ll realize a 2 day vacation probably only feels like about 36 hours.

    Nox, Jabster said your favorite one being 20 is getting your questions kicked out of the scantron machine even before they can be considered. Sorry, but he out ranks me here. I think his point in picking a favorite is that there are many listed here that are duplicates or easily dismissed, and we all have something better to do than type. Fell free to resubmit your favorite few although I have to wash my hair this week so no promises.

    TRJ:
    “In 1 Sam 15 Saul “utterly destroyed” all the Amalekites, except for their king – one of the many genocides sanctioned by God.
    However, later in 1 Sam 27 it’s David’s turn to attack the Amalekites, once again eradicating them, “leaving neither man nor woman alive”.
    But that doesn’t stop the Amalekites, who in 1 Sam 30 raid a couple of cities and abduct two of David’s wives.”


    Read Copan’s “Is God a Moral Monster?” to figure out that leaving “nothing with breath alive, or leaving neither man nor woman alive” is a figure of speech that would have been easily understood by it’s intended audience. It would be as if I said “I knocked the crap out of you.” Nobody would expect for there to have been actual digestive waste exiting your body.
    Copan’s book (or googling his published papers) will also help you with your “all loving and just at the same time contradiction”. Also see the eerily similarly named reasonablefaith.org for further elucidation.

    I will concede that from your worldview and with your presuppositions (typecasting you here I know but work with me) this type of action appears immoral but I disagree that your worldview and presuppositions coincide with reality.

    YOAV
    So which is the true story, were humans created with the other animals male and female at the same time, or were the animals created after men but before women?


    The later. Genesis 1 has the form of Hebrew poetry, notice the refrain and the metaphoric language. It is making truth claims but not literal claims. Genesis two is the more detailed account. This combination of poetic and descriptive texts describing the same event is seen throughout the OT.

    Since you’ve probably noticed by now that you might not be able to understand the bible outside of several factors, I’m recommending “Postmodern Pooh” for anyone who’d like to see the silliness of trying to read literature with no mind toward it’s genre, cultural and historical context, or intended audience.

    You chaps know that if all of these are contradictions are true you’ve only made me give up inerrancy (which many mainline denominations don’t hold to) and nothing else. A text can be reliable and not inerrant right?

    Well enough rambling. Tell me why I’m wrong on all counts.

    Cheers,
    Rob

    • Custador

      Rob, you certainly have the art of the apologetic down, but let’s continue:

      Custador:
      1) Tell me how you explain the two very different versions of Judas’ death. Did he walk into a field with his thirty pieces of silver and fall down dead, or did he hang himself out of guilt?

      Rob:
      Judas is overcome with grief, gives the money to the chief priests, goes and hangs himself in the field, and later falls headlong and bursts open. That seems rather easy and without contradiction since neither passage mentions what actually killed him, the hanging, the falling and bursting open, or something in between. Maybe you have a finer point or you’d like to discuss the “better contradictions” of the same passage?

      And one or both of the authors left out the most pertinant information from their accounts so that it only looks like they contradict each other? Come on! Do you really believe that your perfect holy book does that?

      2)Custador:
      Which of the two versions of Jesus’ lineage in the Bible is the real one?

      Rob:
      Which part would you like to discuss the omissions in Matthew’s list or the royal line vs. genetic line. As a relevant tangent my wife has brown hair AND blue eyes because she’s Dutch and Irish.

      Deflection and didn’t answer the question. We’re talking about the male ancestral line to Jesus, which both Luke and Matthew claim to be describing – except they’re not just ommisions, they’re completely different. Besides which, if Jesus is the son of God, then neither is really his line anyway – so why mention them at all?

      Custador:
      3) Was the crucifixion before or after the passover meal?

      Rob:
      In the words of Jesse Jackson, “The question is moot.”

      All texts put the crucifixion on Friday. The question is whether Passover was Thursday or Friday. Would you like a link to an article detailing the author/audience of each text, how that author reckoned days (you can’t assume the different cultures both had one way and that it was midnight to midnight like us), and how that makes this a non issue? Or is there some other issue you have with this?

      Again, deflection and you haven’t answered the question. We’re not discussing the veracity of the crucifixion, we’re discussing the accuracy of the bible and how two accounts supposedly both sourced by people who were there can give different days for the same event and yet both be the infallible word of God. Both “authors” would have used the same calendar so would have agreed on the day it happened. But they don’t.

      Doesn’t the mental, semantic contortionism you go through just to make the bible make sense bother you even slightly?! You’re basing your life on what you think is God’s word, but you’re relying on men to explain it for you – surely this cognitive disonance gives you some pause?

      • trj

        Actually, the manner in which Judas died is minor in comparison to another much more serious contradiction.

        Matt 27:5: Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.

        Acts 1:18: Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.

        (I’m using NRSV translation, but other translations are essentially identical).

        How could Judas throw away the money, yet also use it to buy a field? That’s what I’d like to know.

        • Rob

          I’m starting with TRJ because his/her is the easiest and the one I expected anyway. I’ll get back around to the rest of you in due time hopefully.

          To understand you have to get out of a 20th c. mindset and read it as the intended audience. Judas actually throws the money at the chief priests. In Acts he is also buying the field because the priests bought the field in his name. They could not put the money in the treasury as they stated because it was blood money. None of them would have claimed it for themselves for the same reason. So the Judas bought and owns the field in essence but someone else did the transaction for him. It would be similar to when you buy stock in a company. The stock is credited to you but a broker actually makes the transaction.

          • Kodie

            To understand you have to get out of a 20th c. mindset and read it as the intended audience.

            I’m having trouble with this part of the explanation. If the bible’s intended audience has to have a mindset of 2000 years ago, um… ? Did god not see into the future and know this stuff would become obsolete to the modern mind? Requiring scholars?

            • rob

              You’ve misunderstood me. I’m not saying you have to have the mindset of 2000 years ago. I’m saying you have to read and understand it in it’s context, part of which is the culture it was written in.

              You find direction for marriage, relationships, money, purpose to be obsolete?

          • trj

            So the Judas bought and owns the field in essence but someone else did the transaction for him. It would be similar to when you buy stock in a company. The stock is credited to you but a broker actually makes the transaction.

            This is a highly unusual transaction as Judas is dead at this point. It makes no sense to say person X purchases a property after he’s dead, no matter if it’s purchased through someone else.

            • rob

              I can’t argue that it makes no sens to you, a probably Western 20th c. person who may or may not have ever bought stock. That is different than it makes no sense.

            • trj

              Well, feel free to provide a historical example of such a transaction.

      • Rob

        Re: ancestral line you can google this one. It’s clear and obvious what each author is doing. Like I said one is tracing the royal line and the other the genetic.

        Re: Judas– I don’t see the contradiction. Are you saying one can’t hang, fall, and burst open? If you’re wondering why one mentions one part and the other mentions another I get that but I don’t think you can call that a contradiction.

        Re: Passover — . Gallileans used a different way of reckoning days than Judeans. One sunset to sunset the other sunrise to sunrise. So Thursday to a Gallilean could be Friday to a Judean. If you need to see it visually I’ll send you the link.

        Again I don’t think it’s contortionism to read a text in it’s broader context.

        • Michael

          According to the gospels, Jesus has no patrilineal genetic line. WTF are you talking about?

          The Judas thing is a contradiction because in one gospel he is an unrepentant fiend whom God brutally murders and in the other he is a self-loathing mourner who commits suicide. Your attempt to stitch these together is frankly absurd. It is “possible” in some technical sense, but it makes no literary sense.

          And again, you still have not told us whether Jesus was crucified before or after the Passover meal, which was the question at hand.

          • rob

            I’m sorry you missed it above but the crucifixion is the same day in each account, the question is when was the passover. As said above due to differences between how different “sects” counted a day there could appear to be a difference when in reality there isn’t.

    • Yoav

      YOAV
      So which is the true story, were humans created with the other animals male and female at the same time, or were the animals created after men but before women?

      Rob
      The later. Genesis 1 has the form of Hebrew poetry, notice the refrain and the metaphoric language. It is making truth claims but not literal claims. Genesis two is the more detailed account. This combination of poetic and descriptive texts describing the same event is seen throughout the OT.

      Actually it’s Genesis 1 which is much more detailed listing what was created on each day. There is absolutely no indication in the text that one is metaphoric or if one is which one. The church likes the second story since it’s allow them to justify the subjugation of women and because it’s the one leading to the talking snake and therefore to the whole original sin/fall without which you don’t really need jeebus to die for our sins.

      Since you’ve probably noticed by now that you might not be able to understand the bible outside of several factors, I’m recommending “Postmodern Pooh” for anyone who’d like to see the silliness of trying to read literature with no mind toward it’s genre, cultural and historical context, or intended audience.

      Oh, not the old, you can’t understand the buybull without some deeper magic way of learning. This is just a way to weasel out of actually trying to resolve the contradiction and still hold the buybull as anything other then one more collection of ancient mythology.

      • Rob

        Right so there’s no cliff notes to decipher which parts of the bible are meant to be historical like Luke and which parts are meant to be poetic like Song of Solomon. Some texts are obviously one or the other, others not so much. You know if you believe in evolution you have something in common with the largest Christian denomination, right?

        You won’t see me stick up for the church and how it does anything including treating women but don’t confuse how the church acts and how God prescribed for the church to act.

        I don’t think it’s magical to read a dictionary different than a love letter, do you? If so the Pooh book will help clear that up for you as its a reductio ad absurdum.

        • Yoav

          Right so there’s no cliff notes to decipher which parts of the bible are meant to be historical like Luke and which parts are meant to be poetic like Song of Solomon. Some texts are obviously one or the other, others not so much.

          And yet you seem to be able to tell which is which but not how you know.

          You know if you believe in evolution you have something in common with the largest Christian denomination, right?

          Ha?

          You haven’t actually answered any of the questions posted here, your reply to all of the pointed contradictions is to wave your hands and claim they don’t exist.

          • rob

            I wish I knew. There are some places it’s obvious, some places it becomes clear with a little study, and some places where I have no idea.

            Right, I’m explaining away the contradictions, which is what I initially posited, I don’t think there are any contradictions. Since we’re taking a shot gun approach and not picking one to discuss in depth I’m sorry if you felt like I haven’t responded.

            • Yoav

              It look like the discussion concentrated mostly on two issues, the contradictions in the creation story between Genesis 1 and 2 and the whereabouts of Judas and his cash. Why don’t you pick one and explain the apparent contradiction with anything other then LALALA there is no contradiction, nothing to see, just move along.

    • trj

      > “nothing with breath alive, or leaving neither man nor woman alive” is a figure of speech that would have been easily understood by it’s intended audience.

      To me it seems rather explicit for a euphemism, but let’s say that it is indeed just an expression not meant to be taken literally. That still leaves the problem of the first eradication of the Amalekites in which they were “utterly destroyed”. In this case you can’t apply the same explanation – that it’s just an expression – because God subsequently tells Saul that he’s angry the Israelites kept the loot of the Amalekites when he told them to “utterly destroy” the people and all their possessions. Clearly “utterly destroy” is meant to be taken literally.

      So how did the Amalekites survive being utterly destroyed?

      • Yoav

        So how did the Amalekites survive being utterly destroyed?

        Maybe aliens have dug some Amalekite bodies and used their DNA to clone some new Amalekite so David can have a chance of fulfilling god’s orders to massacre the Amalekites as well.
        My version is just as well supported by evidence, but is cooler then Rob’s.

      • Rob

        I think it’s the same thing. they weren’t. Samuel hears sheep and says why do I hear sheep. He doesn’t hear Amelkites but that doesn’t mean no Amelkites only he didn’t hear them. Then God punishes Saul for his disobedience.

        Help me understand your position better.

        • trj

          1 Sam 15:9: Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the cattle and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was valuable, and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed.

          I don’t see how “utterly destroyed” can not be meant to be literal.

          • rob

            Because even bronze age goat herders (did I get that right?) knew how to tell a story to be exciting. Have you tried to go through a day and not use one figure of speech?

            • trj

              When I use a figure of speech I usually don’t have it mean two opposite things in the same sentence.

              God is pissed off because the Israelites didn’t destroy the loot even though he only meant it as a figure of speech? How does that make sense?

      • Francesc

        I don’t understand your problems with Amelkites, it should be explained in Christian Apologetics 101:

        Remember that we are in a magical universe created by an almighty God: everything is possible. In particular the Amelkites were people who travelled in the opposite direction of time than us; first they raided those two cities, then they weren’t destroyed by David because they disguised themselves as sheep (hey, that’s the reason God instructed to kill them “next” time) and finally they were killed by Saul.

        Everything makes sense.

    • Sunny Day

      Judas is overcome with grief, gives the money to the chief priests, goes and hangs himself in the field, and later falls headlong and bursts open. That seems rather easy and without contradiction since neither passage mentions what actually killed him, the hanging, the falling and bursting open, or something in between. Maybe you have a finer point or you’d like to discuss the “better contradictions” of the same passage?

      Sorry you still have a contradiction. Nice try though.
      You got the order wrong. He fell down and burst open and Then hung himself in the field.

      • Rob

        Sunny D help me out by clearing up the order you think events took place and why.

        XOXO

        Rob

        • Sunny Day

          It just makes sense to me. Why don’t you explain how your explanation is more likely?

          • rob

            It makes sense that he feel down, burst open, then hung himself? Why do you think that’s the order?

    • trj

      About the contradictions of an all-loving, all-moral god that commands genocide:

      I will concede that from your worldview and with your presuppositions … this type of action appears immoral but I disagree that your worldview and presuppositions coincide with reality.

      Yes, but then you’d have to disagree, wouldn’t you? Otherwise it would mean that God commanding infants to be slaughtered is in fact not morally defensible. So obviously my views must be wrong; it is moral when God commands such things. My moral opinions can be, and should be, dismissed out of hand since they don’t fit the conclusion you already know: that God is moral.

      I searched for Copan’s book, but it appears not to have been released yet. I did find an article of his where he discusses this subject, though.

      I pretty much expected the usual apologetics, and Copan delivers. To summarize:

      The victims were wicked people who had it coming. The Bible says they were wicked, so killing, torturing, enslaving and robbing them was therefore justified. The Canaanite women were probably out to seduce the Israelite men, so they were wicked too. The infants were innocent, but it was far better for them to be brutally murdered than to grow up in such a wicked society, and they of course went straight to heaven.

      I always find it ironic how the promise of eternal, blissful afterlife can be used (and has been used countless times) to justify absolutely any injustice and any kind of cruelty in the Bible (or outside it, for that matter). This trump card is put into play when the actions of God or his followers aren’t morally defensible. Conveniently, whatever seems immoral can be turned into something that is perfectly moral by the power of the end justifying the means. Works every time.

      I’m far from convinced. It’s one thing to be apologetic about genocide, it’s another to actually condone it as the moral thing to do. Doing that is a perversion of morals.

      • Rob

        Right so like I said, from your worldview and presupps it seems rotten.

        Add just the idea that this life is ‘but a wisp of smoke’ and enter my worldview for a second. Would you rather die as an infant and live forever in heaven or have 105 rocking sexed up, king of the world years and suffer for eternity?

        Or if you don’t like that one (which of course doesn’t matter if it matches reality) just add that there’s no such thing as a soul or person and all the tragedy you think you see is just so many bags of chemicals acting according to the physical laws that govern them. Why is it bad to kill Amelkites and not the squirrels living in my attic?

        What is your basis for morality?

        • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

          Our basis for morality is the mirror neurons in our head. As David Hume pointed out like 300 years ago, people act on a moral sense, not on what is “rationally” moral. Unless you are mentally ill, you are born with a moral sense. No religion required.

          Oh! And I should add that you are just as situationally ethical as the rest of us. The bible says “thou shalt not lie” but you would tell a lie if it would save a life or spare someone unnecessary suffering, wouldn’t you?

          • rob

            I would lie in a heart beat. I have today and if that was the worst I had done I’d be ecstatic. Did I give the impression that I was not capable of acting immorally?

            As to your first concept you are making a classic mistake. I’m not saying atheists don’t or can’t act morally or don’t have a moral sense and that Christians act perfectly. I’m just saying you have no reason to think killing Fred the butcher is wrong but Fred killing a tenderloin isn’t. Why is a cow more “precious” than a human? That’s just speciest thinking and all my dolphin friends find it laughable.

            I don’t think you have no moral sense, I think you have no foundation for your existing moral sense. Have you seen Collision? It makes me love Christopher Hitchens but also gives a better treatment of this idea than I have here.

            • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

              Ummm, no. You do NOT have a foundation. A foundation implies absolute, universal moral truths.

              If “thou shall not lie” is a moral foundation and an absolute moral truth, I have already pointed out a perfectly good counter example to your so-called absolute moral truth.

              What absolute moral truths do you have? None.

              Why? Because you and every other Christian on the planet is just as situationally ethical as every one else. The BIBLE ITSELF is situationally ethical. For instance, when I point out the egregious crap that goes on in the Old Testament, you Christians love to say, “But Jesus came…” When I point out that the New Testament supports slavery, y’all say, but that was written in another place and time and we know better now, thank God!

              So, what then is your so-called “foundation”?

            • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

              BTW, the three main branches of ethics (virtue ethics, deontology, and consequentialism) have evolved separate from the Bible.

              Further, you assume that your bible god is the author of ethics/morality, but you fail to understand that Eastern religions came up with your moral precepts many hundreds of years before Jesus ever appeared.

        • trj

          Please, not the retarded “atheists say we’re just a bunch of chemicals so life has no value to them” argument. I have a sense of empathy and fairness just as everyone else, and these are perfectly suited to serve as a base for morality. No God is required to tell me how to act in order to be moral, and especially not a God who behaves as described in the Bible.

          I’m perfectly capable of valuing human life, as evidenced by the fact that I’m not the one of us who thinks it is moral to kill people (peoples, actually) because God commands it.

          • rob

            Huh Huh! You said retarded! LOL!!

            Why is that a good basis for morality? Was Hitler not just being empathetic to the Germans by getting rid of those nasty Jews? Tell your idea to Nietzsche, he has a bone to pick with you.

            And again, my worldview is that yes, you were born with a sense of morality. My question is given that you are just a random bag of chemical finely honed by the blind watchmaker of evolution, why do you trust your moral sense? It may make you breed better but does that make it right? What if that innate moral sense is just like most people’s innate belief in God and merely a construct of your upbringing?

            Also, don’t confuse a specific command for a specific people in a unique situation against another specific set of people for anything other than what it is.

            • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

              LOL! Your absolutism is showing.

            • rob

              Absolutely! Everyone’s a relativist until they get rabbit punched in the duodenum.

            • Custador

              I once intervened to stop a man from continuing to beat his girlfriend (who was already pretty battered by the time I got there), and did indeed land a rather fine bunny-punch on him, which stopped him but-quick and sat his arse down on the kerb pretty swiftly. Was I wrong to do that? Should I have perhaps turned the other cheek and allowed him to beat the woman to death?

              That’s a true story, by the way.

            • Bender

              Was Hitler not just being empathetic to the Germans by getting rid of those nasty Jews?

              No, he was like you. He based his morality in the bible:
              “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 46]

              “And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.” [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.174]

              Also, don’t confuse a specific command for a specific people in a unique situation against another specific set of people for anything other than what it is.

              So when god commands Moses to commit genocide against the Madianites it’s ok, because they are “a specific set of people”? Then why is Hitler evil? He also targeted a specific set of people.

            • trj

              Also, don’t confuse a specific command for a specific people in a unique situation against another specific set of people for anything other than what it is.

              Ah, you’re saying genocide isn’t generally justifiable. Only sometimes. I see. What a splendid base for morality. Very objective.

            • trj

              given that you are just a random bag of chemical finely honed by the blind watchmaker of evolution, why do you trust your moral sense?

              Because it’s usually pretty easy for me to either see directly or mentally figure out what effect my moral choices have. Some holy spirit is not required to influence my behavior when I can easily determine for myself whether I’ll be hurting or helping others.

              Can Hitler’s actions be considered moral because he thought he was helping his countrymen (those of them he didn’t eradicate)? Not by a long shot. You don’t need some absolute, holy standard to tell you that.

        • claidheamh mor

          @rob What is your basis for morality?

          What is your basis for diversion, distraction, changing the subject, making replies that don’t state anything specific or of substance, and never, ever, making a reasoned, credible, logical argument disputing the many contradictions listed in replies to you?

        • claidheamh mor

          @rob Would you rather die as an infant and live forever in heaven or have 105 rocking sexed up, king of the world years and suffer for eternity?

          Would you rather think for yourself and learn some reasoning capacity, or be one of those people Robert Heinlein spoke of when he wrote about imagining some God who yearns to clutch every indolent moron to his breast?

          Would you rather man up and actually address some of the contradictions in a reasoning, logical, thinking, scholarly manner, or keep changing the subject; lying that no one has given you any contradictions; bringing up non sequiturs; giving non-answers; asking diverting questions; stating fallacies such as no one has applied any scholarship or those nasty fallacies would go away; ignoring the statement that an omnipotent God in any mythology would write something understandable without scholarship (by people like you) with no contradictions whatever; begging for people to give you topics to discuss then refusing to answer them when they do; begging for people to give you just one big-ass whopping Goliath contradiction and ignoring the many links stating many contradictions (as if the others were too small for you – a pretense in order to dodge answering them; answering specific posts with diversionary questions about thursday or friday or which lineage; only answering the “light” posts and disappearing when people call you on your dodging, diversion and avoidance tactics; lying that no one has given you any contradictions in an article that links to them with replies that link to more of them; and changing the subject again and again?

          • rob

            So Mr/s. Mor, which one would you like to discuss? Your pick.

            XOXO
            Rob

  • claidheamh mor

    Santa is coming! Yay! I know he’s real. All the seeming contradictions are just the straw men of unbelievers saying he was at several different malls at the same time, and he can’t possibly get those toys out to everyone in the world. They would be resolved with more intense scholarship.

    Give me just one Goliath-elf for me to slay. Just because you don’t understand, doesn’t mean he’s not real. Any time I doubted him, I was just underestimating him or overestimating my faith. And I have blue eyes and light hair, but I’m part American Indian. So there! We just need real scholars to show that these contradictions are imaginary.

    • Rob

      I wish the people that own The Price is Right were more generous. I know you know what I mean but let me type just to keep my fingers warm. If they weren’t so stingy I could link to that site that had one button on the home page that you could push and it would play that “bomp bomp ba boom, waaaaaah” sound that they play for people that don’t win a game. Oh snap! You tube to the rescue! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A

      Emotivism and santaifying are fun. I get that. Just don’t mistake it for argument or evidence.

      • claidheamh mor

        @rob Aww, I’m just hurt you don’t think I’m a pastor myself.

        You don’t come across as intelligent enough. You are even farther from coming across as scholarly enough. A real pastor would have actually quoted and discussed specific contradictions with specific answers in an intelligent, reasoned manner long before now.

        It’s pretty obvious that you’re cryingly needy for the bible to be true and not have all these contradictions, and you fancy yourself a martyr for coming on the blog and posting your dodgings of answering anything and your diversions to change the subject.

        Does Jeezus really yearn to draw unread, unreasoning simpletons to his breast?

        If so, then what about all those intensive scholars of his dad’s contradiction-riddled book, who still find the contradictions in that mythology?

        Something is mythology until its contradictions are disproved. Then it becomes a smooth, internally consistent mythology.

      • claidheamh mor

        @rob Emotivism and santaifying are fun. I get that. Just don’t mistake it for argument or evidence.

        Your changing the subject,
        diversions, saying you feel like Goliath,
        begging people to give you just one biggie,
        mentioning your wife’s hair color,
        your tiresome stalling tactic of waiting for someone else to pick something to discuss, saying how we’re all seventh cousins of someone (changing the subject),
        and whether the passover was thursday or friday,
        asking which lineage to talk about and never, ever, answering questions on either one, asking people what is the basis for their morality (changing the subject),
        and ignoring the links and lists of contradictions given to you in replies,

        are not possible for anyone, except you, to mistake for substance, argument, or evidence.

        • rob

          Let me see if I can help clear things up or not.
          7th cousins- someone asked who Cain married with the implication that it would have to be his sister and ewwwww that’s gross so the bible is wrong. I point out that capital s Science has shown that all humans alive today are descended from one “mitochondrial eve” who lived about 50-100,000 years ago. So Bible or Science the answer is the same.

          I don’t know that I can clear up how the days can be counted any better. If one people count dawn to dawn as a day and another count dusk to dusk as a day the same 24 hour period could be Th or Fr depending on how you counted it.

          The lineage is googleable but if you’re search engine averse then leave that as your big Christianity Killer. The early church knew of this when they were canonizing texts and they harmonized it.

          I didn’t bring up morality. People kept saying God is horrible and I’m asking by what definition?

          So like I said pick your favorite that you would like me to address. I keep checking in periodically.

          • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

            “I point out that capital s Science has shown that all humans alive today are descended from one “mitochondrial eve” who lived about 50-100,000 years ago. So Bible or Science the answer is the same.”

            Boy, you really don’t know what you’re doing, do you?

            • rob

              Are you speaking metaphysically or did you want to present an argument against Mitochondrial Eve?

            • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

              Mitochondrial Eve is not one person. You know that don’t you?

  • Michael

    If you really want a whopping Biblical contradiction, just look at the wisdom literature. I want to know why Ecclesiastes seems to contradict Proverbs and Psalms so completely and explicitly. Indeed, it appears to do so intentionally.

    • Rob

      Or maybe when it says back to back “answer a fool according to his folly” and then don’t answer a fool according to his folly it is saying there is a time for both.

      Or is life all black and white?

      • Michael

        I didn’t say that Ecclesiastes was internally contradictory. It is deliberative. I said it contradicted Proverbs, which is true.

        Most modern scholars read much of Ecclesiastes as a response to the prophets and writings. Note that it is very explicit that one cannot know God or God’s will. I will try to give some direct conflicts below, but keep in mind that I don’t have a source right now for these comparisons and don’t want to spend a long time searching.

        Ecclesiastes denies the eternity of the soul, a common belief of Sadducees (of whom Qoheleth may have been one) but which nevertheless contradicts much of the Bible.

        Ecclesiastes states “Do not act too righteous, and do not be too wise; why should you destroy yourself?” This is a reasonable statement, but it is not consonant with Proverbs, a book thematically oriented around the benefits of righteousness and wisdom. In particular, Qoheleth calls wisdom “folly” and “vanity” and states that he has seen the wicked prosper while the righteous go hungry, while Proverbs says, “The righteousness of the upright saves them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their schemes.” (Proverbs 11:6, NRSV)

        Qoheleth does not put much value in scripture. Indeed, every word he says is either based on his own experience or pointing out the absurdity of reliance on ancient texts. I do admit there are some holdovers from Jewish tradition, including his belief that God will eventually sort out the wicket, and indeed his belief that there in God at all, but these do not appear to be the central focus of his writings.

        It is interesting to compare the eschatology in Ecclesiastes to that of the rest of the Bible. Ecclesiastes 12 certainly describes the Earth going out with a whimper rather than a bang. I feel this is best understood as a metaphorical apocalypse, one in which life ends due to meaninglessness not wickedness or destruction. But even if you prefer to consider it a literal end, its conflict with Proverbs cannot be resolved. In particular, look at 12:8: “Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher; all is vanity.”

        If all of life is meaningless, so is the rest of the Bible. If the purpose of religion, it seems, is to give life meaning, it surely failed for this man.

        This is just a very cursory overview of what I feel are the more blatant contradictions between Ecclesiastes and the rest of Hebrew scripture (not to mention Christian scripture), but it should be enough to explain what I mean.

        • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

          “God will eventually sort out the wicket”

          How googley…

          :D

          • Michael

            Full verse: “God will eventually sort out the wicket, unless that wicket be sticky.”

        • rob

          Michael I appreciate what you put out here even though I disagree with some and don’t get some of it.

          This is a broad generalization so take it as such.
          I think in Ecclesiastes the Teacher is speaking of life “under the sun”, where the “righteous” and the “wicked” can share the same fate. He is showing the futility of wisdom, folly, riches, sex, power, etc… when eventually your body will return to the dust. Notice though he finishes by saying fear God and keep his commands, implying how you live does matter in light of the greater life not “under the sun”.

          I don’t see ch 12 talking about the end of the world as much as the end of a person.

          I also don’t see the author’s point being that life is meaningless. But, that life apart from fear of the Lord and lacking an eternal perspective is meaningless so live in light of those two.

          • Michael

            Ecclesiastes is a difficult book to interpret, but I do think a lot can be gleaned from it with a little effort. Allow me to explain a little of the context I look to to determine its meaning.

            First, your idea that the Teacher is making a distinction between life “under the sun” (Earth) and heaven is not new (as you are obviously aware), but it also isn’t very compelling. The Teacher says “All is vanity,” not, “All Earthly rewards are temporary.” It seems very odd to question the absoluteness of his statements. Indeed, chapter after chapter, verse after verse, emphasize the inescapable conclusion that there is nothing more. Indeed, the very first and very last words he says are, “Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecc. 1:2, 12:8 NRSV)

            Furthermore, he specifically addresses the attempts to be “too good,” “too wise,” or to study the law too much. He says these are wastes of time, a “chasing after wind.” He even goes so far as to say that there is nothing we can do next to God anyway, so why bother? Who can make straight what God has made crooked? And after we die, will it not return to how it was?

            Now, he does hint several times that God will treat the good better than the wicked, somewhat incongruously with his ontology. Indeed, he says, “For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God.” (2:26a NRSV) But see how he follows it: “This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.” (2:26b) So we see, ultimately, it does not matter that we try to please God, for there is nothing he can do that will change, fundamentally, the purpose of our lives.

            In chapter 9, the Teacher considers “how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God.” (9:1b NRSV) It should not surprise you to find that he finds they receive equal treatment. Indeed, he says exactly: “the same fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, . . . ” and so on and so forth. (9:2 NRSV) He tries very hard here to be sure his point is clear, for he must say this in every way he can think of. Good or bad, we all go to the same place. He speaks very plainly here.

            Now, despite his mundane focus, the Teacher does discuss the afterlife a little. Specifically, he considers it to be some sort of void, a nonexistence of sorts. He says things like “the dead know nothing; they have no more reward, and even the memory of them is lost” (9:5b NRSV) and “there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” (9:10b NRSV) And it is not that he has never been confronted with the idea of the immortal soul (cf. 3:21), he just rejects it. What reason have we, he asks, to believe that humans go up to God while animals remain in the Earth?

            Now let’s go to chapter 12. You say it is “the end of a person,” but I don’t think this is any different from what I said. It is a “metaphorical apocalypse” of sorts, except all that is revealed is that there was nothing to reveal in the first place. Ecclesiastes is a personal book, and naturally it focuses on the doom of one person, but since “the dead know nothing,” this isn’t much different from the end of the world. (By the way, he doesn’t seem to believe the world changes at all on the large scale, so he probably doesn’t think it even will end.) At any rate, he is certainly using eschatological language, as he describes the darkening of the sky, the breaking of significant objects, the shaking of the ground, and the slow death not only of all people, but animals as well.

            Finally, let’s consider the very end of the book. After the author (whoever is telling the story or compiling the Teacher’s wisdom) finishes his quotations, he writes a brief apology from 9:12-13a, where he finishes with an appropriate conclusion, “The end of the matter, all has been heard.” It is only later that the additional, apparently contradictory verses are added, “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (12:13b-14 NRSV) This is not supported by the Teacher’s writings. Specifically, he would object that “keeping His commandments” is not the whole duty of anyone. Indeed, our “lot” is simply to do our work and enjoy our time on Earth. He specifically calls this type of thinking “folly.”

            Still, those verses are in the book, so I guess I will still consider them. Even if we take those at face value, it does not remove contradictions. Actually, it introduces a new one; the book now contradicts itself! Beyond this, it does not change the Teacher’s denial of the afterlife, nor his view that collecting wisdom from ancient writings is pointless. At best, it tacks an artificial purpose to life assigned by God and without reward, which in my eyes is far worse than the Teacher’s bitterly optimistic conclusion that we can enjoy our lives despite its lack of eternal meaning.
            ­
            ­
            Now I know that no matter what I say, people will find ways to twist words around till they magically fit what they already believed. But why would you do that? Do you get your wisdom from the Bible, or do you force the Bible to conform to your preconceived notions? I am finding increasingly that the latter is more often the case.

      • Elemenope

        Or maybe if God wished to be understood, He would have wrote editing memos.

      • claidheamh mor

        @rob Well since nobody has brought forth a contradiction

        That is a lie.

        Here they are yet *again*.

        Answering Christianity has a section listing contradictions
        So does Skeptic’s Annotated Bible
        So does TheBeattitude conflicting-bible-teaching-of-the-week-50/

        They have already been listed above, and ignored by you.

        “You do realize there’s a list of them at the top of the page right.” –Nox and — Jabster repeating Nox to you, in a vain attempt to get you to pay attention and actually address something for a change.

        Oh, here, I’ll do everything but move your clicking finger for you:
        Project Reason (linked in the article if you make the effort to click on it)
        has an entire section called “Contradictions”.

        Lying (that people haven’t given you any contradictions to work with) also can not be mistaken for argument or evidence.

        If you had actually read replies to you, you would see that Custador is still waiting for you to actually present a decent argument.

        Get cracking.

        • rob

          I can point to sites on teh interwebs too. http://www.carm.org. There you go. Booyah! I win.

          • Custador

            If you’re going to behave like a prick, ignore questions and spam this forum, I will cheerfully ban you. Fair warning given.

            • rob

              Sorry. Is it the links that are inappropriate or pointing to other sites? There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between TheBeattitude conflicting-bible-teaching-of-the-week-50/ and the link I posted.

            • rob

              That was sorry for the link posting and the prickitude. I thought we were all okay with sarcasm and wicked humor here, seems like it anyway. Maybe there are more rules than I know?

              I’m trying to answer the questions but it’s hard to tell what’s new and what’s old in this formatting.

            • Custador

              Within reason you can post links (i.e. if you’re citing a source or pointing to something of relevance to the discussion, but not if you’re link whoring your own site or selling something). My objection is that you seem to have returned to post a shower of deflections; people are taking time to answer your questions, and instead of reading and digesting them you’re being very trite and instantly deflecting onto other points. Claidheamh Mor addressed a genuine issue about the veracity of your post and you responded with prickery.

            • Custador

              And you get a reprieve because I like the word “prickery”.

            • Custador

              Although I would still like an answer to this thread:

              Custador
              November 30, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Edit

              Any book claiming to be the inspired word of an omnipotent, omniscient, loving God has no business containing any contradictions whatsoever.

              Now, you can rationalise that or justify it in any way that you want, and in so doing you can create enough cognitive disonance to totally mess up your own mind, but don’t expect other people to come along with you. The truth is that there are only two likely reasons why the bible contradicts itself so completely in so many places:

              1) It is not the word of God because it was written as a series of political power tools by historical rulers to keep their peoples in line by taking God’s name in vain. But why would God allow that to happen? Why would he allow his creations to be so manipulated by each other at the expense of his own reputation? If this is the reason, it leads to the unavoidable conclusion that there is no Christian God.

              2) It is the word of God but he wanted to deliberately contradict himself so as to create conflict and disbelief in Himself and so set his creations up to fail, or he just plain doesn’t care. Don’t you believe in a loving God? Would a loving God do either of these? Surely not! So if we accept this explanation, your version of God cannot exist.

              rob
              December 1, 2010 at 9:41 am | Edit

              You’re asserting there are only two options to explain another assertion but you offer no proof for either assertion.

              So let me offer a third likely reason:

              3) You have an incomplete understanding of Biblical textual criticsim and scholarship.

              Just saying. Don’t take it personally, it’s not my area of expertise either.

              Custador
              December 1, 2010 at 11:33 am

              So, because you can’t think of any other reason for the contradictions in the bible, you’re answer is that neither of us are capable of grasping it? Really? That’s your argument? Rob, if you can’t think of any other reason than those two for biblical contradictions either, then why do you believe it’s true?

  • rob

    Fair enough. Although I don’t sell anything and carm dot org was not my site.

    I think in your two choices you have presented me with a false dilemma. To say those are the only two valid choices ignores 2000 years of orthodox Christianity. That should surely require more evidence than mere assertion, right?

    So I added a third choice, there are not actually contradictions. The Chicago statement on Biblical Inerrancy is a good place to start to understand this third choice. http://www.bible-researcher.com/chicago1.html hoping that kind of link is okay.

    Notice it doesn’t say that there doesn’t appear to be some contradictions!

    Then I went on to provide links to people’s site better prepared than I am that tackled specific contradictions in the pretty graph in enough detail to vet them. Or at least I think I did, I might have just offered to but nobody took me up on it.

    To Claidmadfja;dfh;a;’s point of me saying somebody give me a contradiction, yes, I am saying I don’t think there are any so let’s pick one that you think is a contradiction and talk about it. If you let me pick I’m going to pick an easy one, or one of the typos, or one of the ones that doesn’t even appear to be a contradiction just another place to put a pretty line. Where people have offered one, I have tried to explain it away by providing additional details or context as like I said I don’t think there are any. If you don’t want me to try to reconcile them or explain them away then I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do here.

    • UrsaMinor

      “Claidmadfja;dfh;a;”?

      Making fun of an opponent’s name. Good, honest debating strategy.

      Methinks the prickery hath not run its course.

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