9 Tactics Christians Use to Dismiss Bible Embarrassments (3 of 3)

9 Tactics Christians Use to Dismiss Bible Embarrassments (3 of 3) February 13, 2019

Let’s conclude our look at the tactics Christian apologists use to respond to embarrassments in the Bible and Christianity. How well do they work? Let’s find out. (Part 1 here.)

Tactic 7: Contradictions? That’s a Good Thing!

Some Christians respond to contradictions within the Gospels by saying that that’s actually a good thing, because if they were identical, we’d suspect collusion. A few inconsistencies are the hallmark of honest eyewitness accounts. Jim Wallace of the Cold-Case Christianity ministry was a detective and used his reputation to give this tactic credibility.

But by making two categories indistinguishable, this creates a new problem. Category one is what they’re referring to, accounts that are honest attempts at accurate reporting with inadvertent errors or different editorial choices. Category two has accounts that aren’t bound by what actually happened but are written with a religious agenda. How do we know which bin to put a contradiction into?

Here’s an example. The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have the Last Supper as the Passover meal, so Jesus is crucified after the Passover meal. John has the Last Supper one day earlier so that Jesus is crucified before the Passover meal. With this change, John can make a deliberate parallel between the unblemished lambs being killed for Passover concurrent with the death of the perfect Lamb of God. Maybe that’s just how things worked out . . . or maybe John, the last gospel, deliberately changed the tradition to make that theological parallel.

This tactic mixes the two categories, and agenda-drive theology hides behind the skirts of history. Honest seekers would want those to be as distinct as possible.

Tactic 8: They’re both right

I used to be impressed when Christians would come up with some rationalization for a Bible problem, but I’ve seen it so often that now I just expect it. After all, the Church has had 2000 years to hear the problems and think up answers.

This tactic attempts to directly rebut the problem. Did Jesus heal two blind men near Jericho (Matthew) or just one (Mark and Luke)? Both are correct. Did Sennacherib attack Judah in the third year of Hoshea’s reign (2 Kings 18:1) or the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign (2 Kings 18:13)? Both are correct. Was Jacob buried in Shechem (Acts 7:15–16) or near Mamre (Genesis 50:13)? Pick a contradiction, and this tactic will argue that they’re both right.

I’m sure that a few of the Bible’s many contradictions can be resolved this way, but I’m skeptical that this tactic works everywhere it’s applied.

Tactic 9: Patience

This tactic tells us that some things in the Bible are confusing and that we’ll just have to wait until we get to heaven to understand them. For example, the Christian might explain away Christianity’s inability to make sense of the Trinity by calling it a divine mystery. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God.”

But if the Trinity can’t be explained so that we understand it, don’t bring it up. What sense does it make to present mysteries when the purpose of the Bible and Christianity are to educate us here, not in heaven?

(As an aside, it is extraordinary to see Christians who, in one breath, humbly admit that they don’t understand the mind of God then, in the next breath, suddenly regain their confidence and proclaim God’s very clear views on homosexuality, abortion, or some other social issue.)

Conclusion

Search Amazon for “Bible contradictions.” Half of the books will explore those contradictions from a skeptical standpoint, but the rest will pat you on the head and assure you that those contradictions don’t exist or aren’t important. Popular books defending the Bible include The Big Book of Bible Difficulties, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, and Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions. With titles like these, at least we’re in agreement that the Bible has many problematic passages.

While the contradictions might turn potential converts away, the contradictions can actually be a plus. They make the Bible malleable. You can emphasize some verses and ignore others to create one message and then change the mix as social conditions change. When slavery is fashionable, the Bible supports it, and when slavery becomes unpopular, the Bible supports that position as well. God is merciful or strict; God is loving or violent; God is forgiving or demanding—it’s all in there. (More.)

God becomes the Christian’s sock puppet, mouthing what the Christian wants to hear while speaking with the authority of the Bible.

I always refer to the Bible as the world’s oldest,
longest-running, most widespread,
and least deservedly respected Rorschach Test.
You can look at it and see whatever you want.
And everybody does.
— Richard S. Russell

.

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  • WCB

    Dodge number 10
    Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
    Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

    God is incomprehensible, and inscrutible. This is especially useful for the deep theological problems like the problem of evil, or free will vs omniscience.

    No, 11
    Personal interpretation of the Bible is forbidden. We must accept without question the judgment of the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. A didge Catholics sometimes use. For example on the forum site Strange Notions. And if nobody can point out exactly where the magisterium points to an answer to the point in discussion. Too bad. Personal interpretation of the Bible is forbidden.

    No. 12
    Problem of evil? “God owes us no moral obligations”. Found among numerous apologists. William Craig Lane. Ed Feser. Googling shows it is a common dodge found on many apologist sites. Plus, “God is not a moral agent”. God is good, perfectly good, even though he fails to act for the good. For example, eliminating original sin on day 1 since it destroys our free wil and makes us do evil. Why doesn’t God reign in Satan and his devils? “God owes us no moral obligations”.

    • In the same vein I’ve seen them define “good” as something wholly different from what people mean by that usually.

      • WCB

        Yes, they do that. But…. The Bible explicitly claims God is fair, just, compassionate and merciful. Plus other sub-goodnesses. Which pins God down and eliminates that game. I call this the Sub-Goodnesses of God Argument. If God is not merciful for example, God is not good by the Bible’s own standards. Romans 9. God the Great Potter. Who arbitrarily hates some and loves others. Some are created vessels of honor, and some, vessels of dishonor. Election, God chooses, predestines who will be elect, and who will not be elect. With no regard as to anything you have done or will do. If God creates Jane as elect and saved, and John, not elect and damned, God is not merciful, and thus not good. I developed this argument to deal with this sort of argument, the idea that good is a mysterious thing we mere mortals cannot define. If God allows original si the exist and does not eliminate that by fiat on day one, original sin will destroy our free will and damn us unnecessarily. This is not merciful, or compassionate, so God is by all Bible accounts, not good. Christianity is then at bottom, irrational and incoherent. So, No. 12. God is not a moral agent, and owes us no moral obligations.

        • You’re very right, and it also contradicts God’s actions in the Bible. That itself is evidence against God existing.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          The big book of bullshit say very clearly that god is Vengeful, Jealous, and Spitefull. But ALSO says he is loving and caring. God needs some therapy and some meds.

        • al kimeea

          and Benjamin$, alway$ the Benjamin$…

    • I Came To Bring The Paine

      God owes us no moral obligations – because he is imaginary. Why doesn’t God reign in Satan and his devils? Because God is imaginary. 😀

      • Illithid

        “Rein in”. But yes, this.

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          Freudian slip.

  • Polytropos

    God becomes the Christian’s sock puppet, spouting what the Christian wants to hear while speaking with the authority of the Bible.

    This is what it all comes down to. It’s not just that the accounts of events don’t always agree, or that there are a few historical details which have got confused. The message itself is contradictory and open to interpretation. This being the case, why would we assume the message is divine? Shouldn’t it be a lot less ambiguous if it was? How are we to know what the message even is, and how are we to know any one sect’s interpretation is right? The only intellectually honest solution to these questions is that the Bible’s message is not reliable.

    • quinsha

      To be honest, I am still trying to figure out what the message of the bible actually is.

      • Polytropos

        I can’t work it out either. I don’t believe there is one single overarching message, just a lot of different competing ones.

        • al kimeea

          Yes, all rather confusing for a book we’re told is written as a parent to a child…

        • quinsha

          When I was in forth grade, some people came by in the class room and handed out small books called the “Good News”. It was the new testament of the bible. I read it cover from cover and for the life of me, I could not figure out what good news it was trying to convey.

        • Maybe if the book had started with the bad news–Jesus’s father is a sociopath and is determined to fry you in hell forever–that the good news would’ve made more sense.

          I blame the editing.

  • Jim Jones

    God is the ego projection of the ‘believer’.

    With super powers.

  • skl

    Here’s an example. The synoptic gospels
    (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have the Last Supper as the Passover meal, so Jesus
    is crucified after the Passover meal. John has the
    Last Supper one day earlier so that Jesus is crucified before
    the Passover meal.

    This is interesting. But from what I’ve read, John doesn’t
    mention the Last Supper at all.

    However, all four gospels say Christ was crucified on “the
    day of Preparation.” As I understand it, the day of Preparation is the day
    before Passover when the lamb is killed for the next day’s consumption. Which
    would mean Passover that year was on the Sabbath Saturday, and, I suppose, that
    the Last Supper was an obviously early celebration of Passover.

    • Michael Neville
      • skl

        I stand corrected. Thanks.

    • However, all four gospels say Christ was crucified on “the
      day of Preparation.”

      Nope.

      • skl

        Mat 27:62.
        Mark 15:42
        Luke 23:54
        John 19:14.

        • Aren’t you clever! You’ve found where “Preparation Day” was used in the gospels!

          Now you can begin to actually address the issue. Your job is to show that Jesus was crucified on Preparation Day in all 4 gospels. Go.

        • skl

          You’ve found where “Preparation Day” was used in the gospels!
          Now you can begin to actually address the issue. Your job is to show that Jesus was crucified on Preparation Day in all 4 gospels.

          Technically, I didn’t find “Preparation Day”. I found “the day of Preparation”.

          Commonsensically, any reading of those four
          verses and surrounding indicates Christ’s crucifixion was on
          that day.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower
        • Commonsensically, any reading of those four
          verses and surrounding indicates Christ’s crucifixion was on
          that day.

          With the same logic, any reading of those four verses and surrounding indicates Christ’s birth was on that day.

        • skl

          Maybe someone else here can understand and explain your logic on this. I can’t.

        • I’m certain you can’t.

          For anyone else, I was simply pointing out that skl’s argument was “two things are mentioned in each gospel; therefore, they happened on the same day.” Kind of a stupid argument.

          But hey–it did have one advantage. You didn’t say, “I was wrong” or “sorry” or “whoops” or anything to suggest that you made a mistake. Any day when you don’t have to admit to your online errors is a positive day, amirite?

        • skl

          For anyone else, I was simply pointing out that skl’s argument was “two things are mentioned in each gospel; therefore, they happened on the same day.” Kind of a stupid argument.

          For anyone else, I actually was simply pointing out that all four gospels say Christ was crucified on the day before Passover.

        • And the quotes you provided didn’t say that. Try again.

        • skl

          Try again.

          No. Our conversation has come to an end.

          However, I would be interested if anyone else out there
          wants to show that the four gospels do not indicate that Christ
          was crucified on the day before Passover.

        • Our conversation has come to an end.

          My cup sloppeth over.

          anyone else out there

          Be careful! If you’re bad like me, you’ll get on the Naughty list.

          wants to show that the four gospels do not indicate that Christ
          was crucified on the day before Passover.

          Go here and scroll down to #12.
          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/10/top-20-most-damning-bible-contradictions-3-of-4/

        • skl

          To Bob’s upvoters @Michael Neville and @Polytropos :

          Please show how the bible does not indicate that Christ
          was crucified on the day before Passover, which is
          the day of Preparation.

          Thanks in advance to both of you.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You fail logic, AGAIN, today.

          YOU are making the assertion that all say ‘christ’ was crucified on the day before passover.

          So the burden of proof is on YOU.

          BOB has provided links to the relevant chapters showing that THREE of them describe this crucifiction (spelling intentional) as happening AFTER the Passover meal.

        • igor

          Maybe the author of the Gospel of Mark confused the Passover meal with the seudah maphsehket.

        • al kimeea

          nice portmanteau

        • Lex Lata

          Commonsensically, any reading of the four last supper accounts indicates an apparent discrepancy between the Synoptics and John with regard to whether the crucifixion occurred before or on the day of the Passover meal.

          (I’m assuming it’s okay if we don’t put any more work into this than you do.)

        • skl

          Commonsensically, any reading of the four last supper accounts indicates an apparent discrepancy between the Synoptics and John with regard to whether the crucifixion occurred
          on or before the day of the Passover meal.

          No. Not commonsensically nor in any other way.

        • To Bob’s upvoters @Michael Neville and @Polytropos :

          If you care about engaging with this waste of space, you could look at that link I gave in that earlier post.

          Why he thinks that other people will come up with better/worse/different Bible quotes, I can’t imagine.

        • Lark62

          I’m one of Bob’s upvoters too. He actually wrote an entire post recently about Jesus being crucified on two different days.

          Or maybe Jesus really did die in afternoon, eat supper that evening, then die again the next afternoon. When you’re a myth, you can do stiff like that.

        • MR

          Our conversation has come to an end.

          Typical skl. Run away for the moment. But, sadly, the conversation (read: bullshit) never does come to an end.

        • the conversation (read: bullshit) never does come to an end.

          On the topic of shit: I think Santa put something special in his stocking last Christmas.
          https://4044e4d9bb28f4ab5984-baf8685aca841b756e5db60ffa6ae05f.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/product_images/r/497/003996__69474_zoom.jpg

  • ThaneOfDrones

    The Trinity Explained

    Questioner: So you’re monotheists who worship the One True God; not like those awful pagans?

    Christian: Of course. The First Commandment is very clear about worshiping one god.

    Q: But in addition to YHWH, you have his Son, Jesus H. Christ, who is also God? And the Holy Spirit?

    C: Yes, these are important parts of Christian faith.

    Q: So isn’t that three gods instead of just one?

    C: Well you see…. look, squirrel!

    • Mike Panic

      Polytheism under a blanket.

    • ephemerol

      I like Robert Price’s translation of the trinity: “Sit down and shut up.”

      • epeeist

        That’s a bit too close to “Shut up and calculate” when it comes to quantum mechanics (misattributed to Richard Feynman).

        • Ignorant Amos

          I though by now I’d have seen your illogic of the Trinity formula produced for a bit of a wheeze.

          Or perhaps it’s here already and I’ve yet to see it.

    • epeeist

      Q: But in addition to YHWH, you have his Son, Jesus H. Christ, who is also God? And the Holy Spirit?

      Not forgetting the Virgin Mary and all the rest of the saints.

      • Lark62

        And Satan. And angels.

        There is nothing monotheistic about christianity.

      • WCB

        And then we have the sons of God. Genesis 6, Job 1 and 2. Who were they and where did they go? How come they no longer make appearances down here on Earth?

        Genesis 6
        1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
        2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

        Job 1
        6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

        • epeeist

          Who were they and where did they go? How come they no longer make appearances down here on Earth?

          I have recently read Neil Gaiman’s take on Norse Mythology. Exactly the same thing happens there. Gods and other entities come and go and are inconsistent between stories. We have no problems regard this as a consequence of the stories being mythology, so why don’t we apply the same reasoning to the bible?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Celtic mythology is a blast too…lots of crossover gods in that cacophony.

          http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/celtic-mythology.php?list-gods-names

        • epeeist

          Celtic mythology is a blast too

          Yes, I have Lady Gregory’s Cuchulain of Muirthemne and Gods and Fighting Men.

      • Kevin K

        And all of the angels, who are at minimum demi-gods. And, of course, that includes Satan and all of his minions. They’re also demi-gods.

        “Monotheism” — I don’t think that word means what they think it means.

  • Exactly – I also find tactic #7 to be somehow disingenous in that it makes critics sound like pedantic dorks.

    Let’s be honest, the real problem isn’t a sceptic pointing to “mundane” contradictions such as geographical inconsistencies or trivial details (how many people saw this or that? Who was with Jesus when he said this or that?): what many critics care about – and, more important, what Christian themselves should care about! – is more essential stuff.

    For example:

    Is mankind saved by faith or by works?

    Does God create evil, as well, or not?

    Is X or Y a sin or not?

    And so on – because on many of these essential questions, the Bible is ripe with contradictions of any kind.

    • Mike Panic

      God and his bible can go back to the hell from whence they came.

    • Agreed. I make my top 20 list of contradictions, and these weren’t of the “the Bible thinks pi is 3!!” sort but attacked the heart of the Christian message.

      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/10/top-20-most-damning-bible-contradictions/

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Is X or Y a sin or not?

      Depends on how you define your functions.
      For a circle of radius = 1 centered on the origin,
      x = cos(theta) and y = sin(theta).

      • So, no more pi/2 and multiples, then 😀

        • ThaneOfDrones

          That’s only if you want the area or circumference.

  • Joe Padgen

    When I testify in court, I always contradict myself since it is a hallmark of honesty.

    • RichardSRussell

      Good practice for your upcoming Cabinet hearings.

    • Herald Newman

      I think this may totally explain the evangelical support for Trump.

  • skl

    Tactic 9: Patience
    This tactic tells us that some things in the Bible are
    confusing and that we’ll just have to wait until we get to heaven to understand
    them…But if the Trinity can’t be explained so that we understand
    it, don’t bring it up. What sense does it make to present mysteries when the
    purpose of the Bible and Christianity are to educate us here,
    not in heaven?

    Here’s a fun exercise:

    For the above quote, try this –
    Replacing “the Bible” with “Science” or “Naturalism”
    and “the Trinity” with “Dark Matter” or “what caused the Big Bang”
    and “heaven” with “a long time from now” or “maybe never”.

    • RichardSRussell

      Here’s another fun exercise: Try answering the actual questions that Bob asked.

    • LastManOnEarth

      Your point? Some things in science may never be understood. Not many would claim that it will.

      The difference is that science is a methodology that acknowledges the limits of its current understanding and moderates its degree of certainty according to the evidence.

      Some aspects of Big Bang cosmology are overwhelmingly confirmed by experts based on solid evidence. Other aspects are still a “mystery”, but unlike theologians and the Trinity, cosmologists don’t just make shit up and insist it’s true.

      There is no “Science Constantine” demanding a Council of Nicea to establish a common Creed on Dark Matter.

      • LastManOnEarth

        Also, the exercise wasn’t particularly “fun”.

        You really need to get out more.

      • epeeist

        Your point?

        He doesn’t have one. He never has one. Furthermore he never has won.

        • Lark62

          It’s like playing chess with a pigeon.

          They knock over the pieces, crap on the board, then flap off to tell their buddies they won.

        • epeeist

          I could stand the last bit providing he didn’t come back.

          Personally I pan-fry pigeon breasts after marinading them in something like red wine, garlic and thyme.

    • Lark62

      This tactic tells us that some things in the Bible science are
      confusing and that we’ll just have to wait until we get to heaven gather evidence and develop investigative methods to understand
      them…But if the Trinity dark matter can’t be explained so that we understand it, don’t bring it up don’t make shit up. What sense does it make to present ignore mysteries when the purpose of the Bible and Christianity are science is to educate us here, not in heaven?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      The topics you’re deriding are self-correcting.

      Religion just doubles down on its errors and makes matters worse.

    • Sophotroph

      Here’s an even more fun exercise:

      Check back in a decade and see who has discovered new things in that time!

      I can save you the time and let you know it won’t be religion that does it.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Unless it is a conniving holy roller discovering a new flavor of the 45,000+ cult.

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      Dark Matter is an attempt to explain certain observations we have made about the universe.
      The Trinity is an attempt to make “God” deliberately incomprehensible. It adds nothing to and explains nothing about the religion.

      • skl

        The Trinity is an attempt to make “God” deliberately incomprehensible.

        Like “Then God said, “Let us make
        man in our image, after our likeness…”

        • LastManOnEarth

          Probably pillow talk with his boo Asherah.

        • Kuno

          So humans are also made up of three parts and yet one whole at the same time?

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          There’s an easier explanation for that line. There is more than one god. Better than nonsense like there is one god that is somehow three (but however you think that might work is probably heresy)

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Does the royal we mean that Queen Elizabeth is 3 persons?

        • Joe

          Maybe the person dictating notes in real time misheard what god was saying to himself?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bible YahwehJesus certainly displays many of the traits of dissociative identity disorder.

          Kevin Wendell Crumb is Gods.

        • Zeta

          The word “us” implies exactly three persons? Is that how you use this word?

        • skl

          Exactly more than one.

        • Zeta

          “Exactly more than one.” = three. Where did you learn simple logic? Home-schooled by incompetent teachers?

          Your religion has many invented gods, certainly more than three. You don’t think so?

          What does Deuteronomy 32:8 say?

          32:8 When the Most High gave nations their homes
          And set the divisions of man, He fixed the boundaries of peoples
          In relation to Israel’s numbers.
          32:9 For the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His own allotment.

          Who was the “Most High” who allotted “the LORD’s portion”? Yahweh’s daddy? There were many gods other than Yahweh who started off as only one of many inferior gods. What happened to the other gods who were allotted other lands/people? All must have been eliminated by Yahweh so that he became the One True God. Later, Christians made him schizophrenic with three distinct personalities.

        • epeeist

          2:8 When the Most High gave nations their homes

          Yahweh and Odin have the same title, does that mean they are the same being?

        • WCB

          Genesis 6
          1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
          2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

          Job 1
          6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

          Us? God’s lout sons. Really, you don’t know the Bible.

        • For your next trick, convince us that the Trinity was what the original hearers of Genesis were supposed to understand (and not polytheism).

        • skl

          For your next trick, convince us that the
          Trinity was what the original hearers of Genesis were supposed to understand (and not polytheism).

          That would be impossible.

          But I’d like to know what my last trick was.

        • That would be impossible.

          Right you are—the concept of Yahweh being part of a council of gods was understood in the OT, but the Trinity would’ve made no sense at all.

          But I’d like to know what my last trick was.

          Wouldn’t we all. You’re a zero-trick pony.

        • skl

          Right you are—the concept of Yahweh being part of a council of gods was understood in the OT…

          That’s not my understanding. I’d like to know who else was
          on this council.

          However, I do understand that the Jews in the OT
          said things such as
          “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD”
          (Deut. 6:4).

          “But I’d like to know what my last trick was.”

          Wouldn’t we all. You’re a zero-trick pony.

          But if I was a zero-trick pony I wouldn’t have a next trick, because I wouldn’t have had any preceding tricks.

        • Zeta

          I’d like to know who else was on this council.

          Why don’t you respond to my comment posted yesterday on Deuteronomy 32:8?

        • skl

          Why don’t you respond to my comment
          posted yesterday on Deuteronomy 32:8?

          I didn’t respond because I thought it went without saying.
          You had asked

          Who was the “Most High” who allotted “the LORD’s portion”?

          It seemed obvious to me that “the Most High” and “the Lord”
          are the same thing. But maybe I missed big time. Go see what the bible scholars say.

        • Zeta

          It is obvious from Deuteronomy 32:8 that Yahweh’s portion was allotted to him by the “Most High” (El).

          Yes, you missed big time. Just two pieces of reading materials for you, skl:

          1. The Wikipedia article on Yahweh:

          El and his sons made up the Assembly of the Gods, each member of which had a human nation under his care, and a textual variant of Deuteronomy 32:8–9 describes the sons of El, including Yahweh, each receiving his own people.

          2. The Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities in Ancient Israel by Mark S. Smith, Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University.

          The following quote is from Wikipedia’s article on this book:

          Yahweh, he argues, originated in Edom/Midian/Teman as a warrior-god and was subsequently assimilated into the highland pantheon headed by El and his consort, Asherah and populated by Baal and other deities.

          You see, your god started out as just an inferior tribal warrior god and it was his believers who embellished him and promoted him to be the god of the Universe. He was just passively manipulated by his believers.

          Time to give up your belief in this invented god. Can an invented god have a real son?

        • skl

          It is obvious from Deuteronomy 32:8 that Yahweh’s portion was allotted to him by the “Most High” (El).

          Not obvious to me. In fact, it’s really not even obscure to me.

          Those were some wild Wiki quotes you had. But here’s another, with my emphases:

          Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions in the world, although some scholars have argued that the earliest Israelites (pre-7th century BCE) were monolatristic rather than monotheistic. God in later Judaism was strictly monotheistic, an absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being who is the ultimate cause of all existence.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism#Judaism

          That jives with my reading of the text, and also with what I’ve always heard.

          You see, your god started out as just an inferior tribal warrior god and it was his believers who embellished him and promoted him to be the god of the Universe.

          Not my god. Just the god written of in the Jewish text.

        • Not obvious to me. In fact, it’s really not even obscure to me.

          But you’re too modest. I’m sure it’s very obscure to you. (If not, maybe you didn’t try hard enough?)

        • Zeta

          skl: “Not obvious to me. In fact, it’s really not even obscure to me.
          Handwaving is not an argument. Why don’t you give reasons for your interpretation?

          Your Wikipedia quote is laughable. Just read a bit further in the exact same article, you’ll find (emphasis mine):

          Ancient Israelite religion was originally polytheistic;“[47] the Israelites worshipped many deities,[48] including El, Baal, Asherah, and Astarte. YHWH was originally the national god of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah.[48]
          …….
          After the fall of Judah to Babylon, a small circle of priests and scribes gathered around the exiled royal court, where they first developed the concept of YHWH as the sole God of the world.[24]

          The fact that later Judaism evolved to become strictly monotheistic is NOT a valid rebuttal here because we are talking about ancient Israelite god beliefs. Again, you see that this god belief evolved and changed. Who changed it? His believers! An invented god can always be declared to have any attribute that his/her believers prefer that god to have.

          Those were some wild Wiki quotes you had.
          Do you give any thoughts to contents and arguments before denigrating them? It looks like you simply disparage without thinking. Notice that even in the first of my quotes, there is a long list of references in the original article pointing to sources for further reading if anyone is interested to dig further. The contents are supported, unlike apologists like you who frequently pull stuff out of their hind parts.

          The second quote comes from a summary of the book by Professor Mark S. Smith. I quoted it so that it is easier for readers to quickly know the gist of what the book says. Anyone interested to read further can always go to the original text which is readily available on Amazon and elsewhere. Your mindless disparaging comment only shows how shallow you are.

          There are many other good articles and books on this issue that I can quote if you or other readers are interested.

          Not my god. Just the god written of in the Jewish text.
          You have been pretending to be a non-Christian. Time and again, your postings reveal that you are a stupid Christian apologist.

        • skl

          The fact that later Judaism evolved to become strictly monotheistic is NOT a valid rebuttal here because we are talking about ancient Israelite god beliefs.

          You may have been talking about ancient Israelite god beliefs.

          But I was talking about the text of the bible.
          (In fact, I think Bob S. and his article were also.)

          And from what I read of the text, all of the authors seem to advance the belief in only one real god.

        • Zeta

          But I was talking about the text of the bible.

          Isn’t Deuteronomy 32:8–9 part of the text of the bible? You seem to be very confused!

          And from what I read of the text, all of the authors seem to advance the belief in only one real god.

          Are you pretending not to see that this god concept evolved throughout the ages? You seem to be ignorant of many things. One more book that you should read:

          A History of God: the 4,000-year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam” Ballantine, 1994 – Karen Armstrong

          Isn’t it funny that your god has a history that requires a whole book to document?

        • skl

          “But I was talking about the text of the bible.”

          Isn’t Deuteronomy 32:8–9 part of the text of the bible?

          Yes it is. And as I said, it appears to me to be talking about one god (i.e. the Most High = Lord).

          Isn’t it funny that your god has a history that requires a
          whole book to document?

          Not my god. But it’s kind of funny you’ve written a small book here – and others much longer books elsewhere – trying to “un-document” this god.

        • Zeta

          skl: “Most High = Lord

          If so, why is this Most High god incapable of defeating warriors riding iron chariots? Do you expect a Most High god to be so weak? On the other hand, this nicely fits the description of Yahweh being a local tribal war deity with limited powers. Don’t you think so?

          But it’s kind of funny you’ve written a small book here – and others much longer books elsewhere – trying to “un-document” this god.

          What are you talking about here? You are becoming incoherent.

        • skl

          You are becoming incoherent.

          I can see you are in need of coherence.

          Our conversation is over.

          Goodbye.

        • Zeta

          Too bad you chicken out because you run out of arguments. You are not capable of answering my questions.

        • epeeist

          You are not capable of answering my questions.

          FIFY

        • Hold on–skl stomped out of the conversation with such confidence that I’m pretty sure he won the argument. He wouldn’t have done so otherwise, right?

        • Rudy R

          I touched a nerve last week and skl stomped out. Seen where skl stomped out of your debate as well. skl is a Catholic in crisis of faith. Zeta really touched a nerve, because El and his sons, Yahweh et. al, making up the Assembly of Gods is a credible historical premise. Israelites being the favored people of Yahweh and the first commandment “You shall have no other Gods (Assembly of Gods] but me [Yahweh]” really feeds into the premise.

        • Given how he thinks, you’d think his nerves would be untouchable.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Thinks? When did that start? I love your optimism Bob.

          OT….how’s the books progress going?

        • Progress on the books is a bit frustrating. I kinda have an agent, but he’s been pleading overwork for a couple of months. Hopefully we’ll make progress soon; otherwise, I need to search again.

          I finished incorporating all the feedback months ago. I’m eager to move forward.

          Thanks for asking.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          please skl does not stomp, he flounces and is really bad a sticking the landing.

        • A helpful correction, thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • That’s not my understanding. I’d like to know who else was
          on this council.

          I’m not sure how that is necessary, but Deut. 32:8-9 talks about the council. (And it looks like Zeta beat me to it. And you, too.)

          However, I do understand that the Jews in the OT
          said things such as
          “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD”

          Yeah. So what? You just quoted the Bible showing that there were more than one god. You gonna trump the Bible? With what?

        • skl

          … Deut. 32:8-9 talks about the council.

          I don’t see how those verses talk about any council, let alone
          what you said – “a council of gods”.

          You just quoted the Bible showing that there were more than one god. You gonna trump the Bible?

          I’m not trumping the bible. I’m just quoting the bible.

        • I don’t see how

          I’m sure that’s true.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But if I was a zero-trick pony I wouldn’t have a next trick, because I wouldn’t have had any preceding tricks.

          Idiot…

          For your next trick, says nothing about success or failure of the tricks performed, or going to be.

          You could have made many failed attempts at a trick, and then your next trick could also be a failure.

          So, many failed tricks, but zero tricks that succeeded.

          You’re not even a one-trick pony…a one trick pony can succeed at one trick at least, even if a failure at the rest. You are a zero-trick pony. Simples.

    • Doubting Thomas

      The Shake Weight is a fun exercise. Your exercise is just an attempt at creating a false comparison.

    • eric

      If some scientist claims his/her theory of dark matter is absolutely correct but that we’ll have to wait a long time/until we get to heaven to understand it, they deserve all the laughter and scorn currently reserved for theologians who defend Christianity that way. But do you have an example of a scientist making that argument? No, no you don’t. Because none do.

      The way a good theoretician would present their dark matter explanation would be as a hypothesis, needing to be tested to be confirmed, and ideally they’ll even tell you what you need to do to test it. Hey look, like this.

      So skl, what do we need to do to test the trinity hypothesis?

      • skl

        If some scientist claims his/her theory of dark matter is absolutely correct but that we’ll have to wait a long time/until we get to heaven to understand it, they deserve all the laughter and scorn currently reserved for theologians who defend Christianity that way.

        I agree on the first part but not on the second.
        Because science and theology are two different animals.

        • eric

          If they’re that different, then your exercise is useless, so why did you suggest it?

          You were happy with your analogy when you thought it would support your apologetics, but the moment it implies something negative about Christianity, you drop it and claim its not applicable…even though you were the one suggesting its use!

        • skl

          If they’re that different, then your exercise is useless, so why did you suggest it?

          Depends on the definition of “that”.

          Regardless, the exercise merely was meant to indicate that scientists sometimes do the very things atheists despise theologians for doing. Also, the exercise did not talk about “absolutely correct”, ‘claims of absolute correctness’. Rather it talked about ‘things generally accepted in the respective communities which are nevertheless confusing/mysterious and can’t be explained now.’

        • Damien Priestly

          No, scientists never do anything like what theologians do. Scientists are honest enough to say they don’t know when they don’t have an answer, and continue investigating. Scientists never say a mystery spirit-creature has the answers…and won’t tell anybody until after we die…

          …Theologians go even further, unlike scientists — and tell us that even after death we may not know all the mysteries…If this spirit creature sends us to burn in Hell for some arbitrary reason like eating the wrong food, having responsible sex with somebody this spirit creature does not like, or engaging in thought-crimes — like not believing in fraudulent prophets and saviors.

          Scientists are simply more ethical than Theologians.

        • skl

          No, scientists never do anything like what theologians do.

          We’ll have to agree to disagree.

          Good night.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          You’re simply dead wrong and too stubborn to admit it.

          Good night, though, is always a friendly gesture.

        • skl

          Good night!

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          and failed the flounce already, you really are bad at this

        • MR

          “Good night” is skl’s way of saying, “I give up. You win.” It happens all the time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good night, though, is always a friendly gesture.

          Usually speaking, I’d agree, but not from that dishonest trolling prick.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          please try to stick the flounce out this time, and for preference stay where ever it is you go to.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “Scientists are simply more ethical than Theologians.” That implies that theologians have ANY ethics. I’ve never seen any evidence of that. When your entire world view and behavior is based on lies, that is NOT ethics.

        • eric

          I agree with Damien, you showed nothing of the sort. Scientists *don’t* claim they have the one true answer and then say they can’t explain it/everyone will have to wait until they get to heaven to learn it.

          But if you disagree, there’s a simple way to make your point: give an example. Quote a scientist saying they have the explanation for dark matter or what happened before the big bang, but he can’t explain it/we’ll have to wait until after we die to get it.

        • skl

          I agree with Damien, you showed nothing of the sort. Scientists *don’t* claim they have the one true answer and then say they can’t explain it/everyone will have to wait until they get to heaven to learn it.

          I agree with you and Damien!
          Yes, scientists do not say we’ll have to wait until we get to heaven.

          But again, my exercise included replacing “heaven”
          with “a long time from now” or “maybe never”.

          But if you disagree, there’s a simple way to make your point: give an example. Quote a scientist saying they have the explanation for dark matter or what happened before the big bang, but he can’t explain it/we’ll have to wait until after we die to get it.

          As I said, my exercise was
          not about ‘declaring the full explanation for X’.
          Rather, it was about ‘declaring X without a full explanation.’

          Science quote example:

          “About 80% of the mass of our universe IS made up of unknown stuff. Scientists gave this unknown stuff the name, dark matter.” – Meriame Berboucha, physicist

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/meriameberboucha/2018/06/30/one-of-the-worlds-most-sensitive-dark-matter-experiment-is-being-constructed/#73ad1ff04a9c

        • Cozmo the Magician

          How about THIS. Find me a science text used used in actual school with as many contradictions as your fair tale. Here is a project that documents MANY MANY contradictions in your big book of BS: http://bibviz.com/

          Better yet, go ahead and just pick out THREE of the contradictions shown and prove them wrong. Or even just ONE. Judging by past experience the only answer I will get is ***crickets*** since you NEVER respond to honest questions. And this just proves you are nothing but a troll.

        • eric

          Rather, it was about ‘declaring X without a full explanation.’

          It’s disanalagous in the dark matter case because dark matter is an hypothesis based on an reproducible, accessible observations of galaxy rotation. What observation does the trinity try to explain?

        • skl

          You asked me for a science example and I gave you one.
          (You’re welcome.)

          You say “It’s disanalogous”.
          I disagree.

          The example shows science stating what it considers a truth – that 80% of the mass of our universe IS X.
          (Followed by ‘We just don’t know and can’t explain what X IS, and may never know.’)

          What observation does the trinity try to explain?

          That would be a fair question if theology was the same animal as science. But it’s not.

          Science could be said to be about physical phenomena, and theorizing about it.

          Theology could be said to be about divine revelation, and theorizing about it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dumb shit commenting dumb shit again, I see.

          “About 80% of the mass of our universe IS made up of unknown stuff. Scientists gave this unknown stuff the name, dark matter.” – Meriame Berboucha, physicist

          Disingenuous quote-mine I see.

          But the dark matter, or whatever the 85% mas of the universe that IS unknown universe stuff, is still part of the universe…ergo, natural.

          Gods and Heavens are imaginary concepts that are supposedly outside time and space, not part of the universe…i.e. supernatural.

        • Rational Human

          And that eternal torture awaits those who disbelieve

        • Michael Neville

          You’re absolutely right. Science depends on evidence, theology is based on guesses of what an imaginary critter is thinking or doing. Completely different.

        • Joe

          Because science and theology are two different animals.

          Just like a horse and a unicorn are two different animals.

        • Rudy R

          Didn’t you just ask us to try replacing “the Bible” with “Science” or “Naturalism”? Taking a page out of the Trumpeter handbook, I see.

    • Rudy R

      Ummmm, categorical error?

    • Ignorant Amos

      This tactic tells us that some things in Science are confusing and that we’ll just have to wait until we get to a long time from now, [or] maybe never to understand
      them…

      Wait? We’ll just have to wait? Nope. Ya cretin…false dichotomy…we don’t have to “wait” a long time, or maybe never. Scientists are working on the questions right now. An explanation could be just around the corner. Scientists aren’t waiting at all. Heaven isn’t a long time from now, or maybe never, it is an imaginary concept that supposedly lasts forever.

      You are getting all confused as usual. For “We don’t know yet” phenomena in science, the search is on. It might well be that no answer will ever be forthcoming, or take an age, but scientists aren’t waiting…and when the answer is found, it will be a natural one.

      But if Dark Matter can’t be explained so that we understand it, don’t bring it up.

      Because that’s not how science works ya Dime Bar. You wouldn’t be here if it did.

      What sense does it make to present mysteries when the purpose of Science and Christianity are [is] to educate us here, not in a long time from now [or] maybe never?

      You need to go learn what the word “mystery” means, and how it isn’t relevant in the context you want to enforce. The purpose of science is to educate us when it has a replacement answer to the “I don’t know”answer in a scientific question and competing hypotheses. When that answer is attained, could be anytime between now and whenever.

      The, “you’ll have to wait until you get to Heaven for the answer to the Bible and Christian mysteries” question, is a false equivalence. Sad to see you are just as every bit as stupid as ever.

  • Lex Lata

    “After all, the Church has had 2000 years to hear all the problems and think up answers.”

    Yes, although, to be clear, it’s not as though all of those 2000 years were characterized by an atmosphere of ecumenical tolerance, free inquiry, and collegial disputation. For most of Christendom’s history, drawing attention to the sorts of scriptural problems you’ve described could result in the loss of one’s property, liberty, skin, or even life.

    It’s no coincidence that rigorous, critical biblical scholarship (and reactionary apologetics of the sort we still see today) really took off after heresy and blasphemy laws became impotent, invalid, or just plain repealed.

  • Michael Neville

    Did Jesus heal two blind men near Jericho (Matthew) or just one (Mark and Luke)? Both are correct.

    Jesus healed my brother Darrel and my other brother Darrel.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      That Jesus…he’ll do *anything* for a buck…

  • sandy

    Tactic #10. Do not engage in discussions with non christians concerning bible contradictions, christian plagiarism, lack of evidence, Yahweh’s evil doings in the old testament or the authorship of the bible. (cognitive dissonance)

    Tactic #11. Surround yourself in as many social situations, as possible, with christians from your own church. By doing so, they are comforted in “knowing” what they believe is true and that “everyone” believes what they do. (confirmation bias)

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I wonder how many fundie nuts have their heads go all xplody when they visit http://bibviz.com/ to ‘debunk’ it (;

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    your comment about contradictions being good as they show true eye witness accounts reminds me of the issue i have always had with people insisting that some of the bible is allegory and some is factual, they never provide a good way to accurate assign a given statement to either group.