Debunking 10 Popular Christian Principles for Reading the Bible

Debunking 10 Popular Christian Principles for Reading the Bible February 27, 2019

Jim Wallace of the Cold Case Christianity blog has some advice for us, “Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions.” I point out Bible contradictions with pleasure (like here), but let’s step back to see if we’re reading these contradictions correctly. As you can tell from the title, Wallace doesn’t think much of charges of contradictions in the Bible.

Principle #1: Begin With A Fair Attitude.

When you see a traffic sign, you obey it. Even if something seems odd about its placement or message, you first assume it’s right and only later might you question it.

You treat traffic signs that way because you know from experience that they are almost always right. But how does this map to the Bible? Supernatural claims by contrast are almost always wrong! The Roman pantheon, the Central American gods, the Egyptian gods, the Taoist gods—atheists and Christians agree that supernatural claims about these religions are wrong.

If he’s asking that we keep an open mind, I’ll do that, but a fair attitude rejects any coddling for the supernatural. We’re not going to study a question presuming the Bible is correct. It will have to stand up to scrutiny like any other source.

Principle #2: Examine the Text in Its Context.

Don’t read a single verse but read its entire chapter to understand the context. “Careful reading (with an effort to understand what the original text truly says) will resolve the lion’s share of apparent ‘contradictions’ or ‘errors’ in the Bible.”

I go even farther with this advice. I say that the context of a verse is the entire Bible (more). For example, don’t cite John 3:16 to argue that faith alone is required for salvation without also addressing Matthew’s Parable of the Sheep and the Goats and every other place where the Bible makes clear that works get you into heaven. Don’t tell me that a verse says something unless you can convince me that the rest of the Bible never contradicts it.

To illustrate this problem, we’re given the example of the mustard seed, which Jesus calls “the smallest of all seeds.” Wallace admits that it’s not, but he says that the correct translation labels it “the smallest of all seeds you plant in the ground” and “the smallest of all your seeds.” He gives no source for these translations, and Bible Hub doesn’t show them in its 21 different translations for Mark 4:31 and Matthew 13:32, the two sources of the parable.

Wallace says that Jesus was talking to farmers and was referring to the seeds with which they were familiar. I can accept that, but don’t tell me that Jesus is quoted giving the correct information when the Bible says he doesn’t. And don’t tell me to read a verse in its correct context when you won’t do that yourself.

Principle #3: Let the Bible Clarify the Bible.

Every Bible shows related verses in the margin or in a footnote. Read these other verses to clarify any difficult passages.

The puzzle given is Paul’s statement that “[the human body] is sown a natural body, [but] it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44). Paul is rejecting the imperfect physical body and sees it perfected in the spiritual equivalent. While this was popular Greek thinking at the time, it was eventually rejected by the Christian church.

But Paul out of step with Christianity isn’t an embarrassing problem, Wallace tells us. Let the Bible clarify the Bible by considering another verse in the same book: “The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments” (1 Cor. 2:15). Both verses use the same adjective pneumatikos, but the second verse refers to a wise person, not a ghost. Conclusion: Paul’s risen “spiritual body” is simply a man full of God’s wisdom.

There are a couple of problems here. First, like many words in the dictionary, pneumatikos has many meanings. These two instances might use different meanings. Wallace has simply picked the meaning that he likes and imposed it without justification.

But the far bigger problem is how he approached this problem. The first verse (15:44) is the “difficult” verse, and the second (2:15) is the “easy” one. We use the insights gained from the easy one to analyze the difficult one. But why is the first one difficult? Let’s instead assume the reverse and impose the idea of a body-less spirit from the first verse onto the second verse: “The [spirit/ghost] makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments.” Now we’re talking about a risen spirit that has discarded its material body. Of course such an enlightened being can make judgments about all things without being second-guessed by mere humans.

Or why assume that either of them is difficult and needs special attention? The only problem Wallace solves is how to hammer the Bible to fit his preconceptions. He goes into his Bible study certain that God raises bodies physically rather than spiritually, and he’s determined to wring that meaning from it. That’s not how an honest person reads the Bible. (More on the hypocrisy of imagining easy vs. difficult verses here).

Principle #4: Don’t Confuse “Imprecision” with “Error.”

The culture at the time wasn’t interested in precise numbers like we often are.

The example given is a circular basin specified in 2 Chronicles 4:2. It was 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits around. But, of course, if it were 10 cubits in diameter, it should be 10×π = 31.4159 cubits (rounded to 31) in circumference.

Wallace argues that the culture rounded numbers, and 31 cubits could’ve been written as 30 cubits.

I agree with this one. These measurements could also be explained if the basin were slightly oval. Even if we assume a perfectly circular basin, it could have a diameter of 9.7 cubits and a 9.7×π = 30.47-cubit circumference. These values would round to 10 and 30.

Unfortunately, there’s little else to agree about in the remaining principles for evaluating Bible verses.

Continued in part 2.

It’s easier to fool people
than to convince them that they have been fooled.
— attributed to Mark Twain

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 3/2/15.)

Image from Agneta Von Aisaider, CC license

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  • Tawreos

    Wallace argues that the culture rounded numbers, and 31 cubits could’ve been written as 30 cubits.

    I am not so sure that that is true. They built things back then and if you start round numbers that are over 31 cubits to 30 cubits you are going to end up with shoddy construction. The principles of building haven’t really changed all that much, just the tools we use to do it. I would also point out that there are structures standing today that are older than when that verse was written and they wouldn’t be if they were built using poorly rounded numbers. If a farmer had 31.5 pounds of grain to sell he is not going to be happy if it is rounded down to 30.

    Maybe the author of that particular verse wasn’t into precision, but precision would have been required by others.

    • Aloha

      Also because a cubit is very large, right around 1.5 feet. So I could see unconcern for 30 or 31 centimeters, 9 or 10 millimeters, but with such a large distance, you’d expect a more precision.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Maybe the author of that particular verse wasn’t into precision…

      Which of course means that the writer was a human being who was not being guided or edited by an omniscient, omnipotent god who was aware of how those verses might be read some time in the future.

      • eric

        Well, or it could mean that he was inspired by an equally sloppycareless God.

        “Yahweh’…’Yeah, what’evs’…coincidence they sound similar? Maybe not… 🙂

      • Lark62

        But, but, but. The bible wasn’t written for a future time. It was written for people living at that time. That’s why everyone living in a future time needs to obey it and acknowledge its perfection.

        Circular reasoning
        Definition
        See reasoning, circular

    • eric

      I think your last comment is probably true – while other people in that society were into precision, the authors of the bible weren’t. Erastothenes’ measure of the Earth’s circumference, done in 240 BC, used an angle measurement of 7.2 degrees (1/50th of a circle). The imprecision in diving a circle into “50th’s” is a lot less than the imprecision of using 3 for pi.

      But “the authors of the bible weren’t into precision” is sort of a backhanded defense of them, right?

    • And Proverbs says 3 or 4 places that merchants must use accurate weights and measures.

    • Michael Neville

      While builders and merchants may have required precision, priests don’t. Likely many of those priests would need to take off their sandals to count over ten.

      • Greg G.

        And raise the robe to count to twenty-one. Any number higher that that was forty.

  • epicurus

    I’m a broken record on the double standard of apologists but I’ll just say it here that I highly doubt Wallace would extend the same generosity and low bar of evidence and interpretation to the Koran or BOM that he requests for the Bible and his strain of Christianity.

    • Grimlock

      Yeah, but that’s, like, totally because those books ain’t the inspired word of God. So the comparison ain’t fair.

      • Mike Panic

        Yet they make that silly claim.

    • In fact, he does talk about LDS because he has relatives who are LDS. He (correctly) chides Christians who say “I just know” or use circular reasoning or similar errors and says that Mormons say the same thing.

      Somehow the obvious “Gee–they’re wrong, and yet their apologetic approach is pretty much identical … maybe I’m wrong, too” never seems to hit him.

    • This guy is a police detective who thinks anonymous writing from decades after the crime is valid evidence (well, he says that part in regards to Jesus at least). So that tells us a lot about his double standards.

      • epicurus

        Yeah, I don’t think real life courts would accept the kind of evidence people like Strobel or Wallace provide for a two thousand year old event.

        • Lex Lata

          Quite right. Moreover, the Strobel/Wallace/Greenleaf legal approach to apologetics is fundamentally flawed because of the disconnect between the claims tested and the tools applied. Assessing the verity of miracle narratives using investigative techniques and evidentiary standards that developed in the justice system without miracle claims in mind? That’s like using an X-ray machine to look for chakras. It’s just gussied-up gimmickry, a type of thought experiment of interest to believers, but of no practical rigor.

          I could be mistaken, but my recollection is that the last time supernatural events were actually found to have occurred in a North American court system, the outcome was a noose for several seventeenth-century New Englanders sufficiently disliked or feared by their neighbors.

        • Yes, the modern rules of evidence simply don’t allow such claims to even be considered.

        • like using an X-ray machine to look for chakras.

          Nice.

        • al kimeea

          That’s like using an X-ray machine to look for chakras subluxations.

        • They wouldn’t accept it even for something that happened even a few years ago. Jewish and Roman courts wouldn’t back then either so far as I know. See here for a critique of some claims like this: https://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_packham/montgmry.html

        • epicurus

          Thanks, looks good, I’ll sit down with it tonight.

        • Sure, you’re welcome.

  • RichardSRussell

    Wallace argues that the culture rounded numbers

    Like how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb on a Friday night, then was discovered alive on Sunday morning, which rounds to 3 days in the dirt according to Christian math.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Wallace argues that the culture rounded numbers, and 31 cubits could’ve been written as 30 cubits.

      The culture also featured marital cheating, as do all human cultures. But eternal, out-of-time-and-space YHWH still went ahead and forbade it, rather than kowtow to human culture.

      I could give them this one, but it goes on the list of “things you say can and will be used against you.”

      • Odd, I never noticed that.

    • Well, 3 days and 3 nights, but who’s counting.

      • RichardSRussell

        Hangovers from a bad Friday night can mess with your math skills, fersher!

        • Lark62

          Jesus had a lousy weekend for your sins. Now wallow in guilt every day of your life and hand over your valuables to any and every conman who claims to speak for Jesus.

        • Rudy R

          Taking into consideration of that Trinity thingy, god had a lousy weekend.

    • Mike Panic

      Back then a lot of people were assumed dead but came to later. Even in the 1800s this was true.

      • RichardSRussell

        Possibly so, but if Jesus was one of them, that kind of undercuts the whole “miraculous resurrection” thing, doesn’t it? Also doesn’t do anything to redeem the problematic math in which 36 hours = 3 days.

        • Mike Panic

          “Miraculous resurrection means nothing to me. It is just more voodoo from xtians.

    • Rudy R

      2 1/2 days doesn’t quite have a ring to it.

      • RichardSRussell

        And it wasn’t even that long! More like 1½.

        • I’ve heard excuses like: you had a smidge of Friday, then Saturday started at sundown, and then you had one more sundown, so you had Sunday, and they found the empty tomb on Sunday morning, that that’s (sort of) 3 days, at least from a calendar standpoint, if not from a 24-hour standpoint.

          Solution: remind them that Jonah’s “prophecy” was 3 days + 3 nights, and there were just 2 nights.

        • Damian Byrne

          I’ve often asked – how is Jonah a prophecy? Sure there’s a story about a guy being swallowed up by a big fish and surviving 3 days + 3 nights, but where’s the part where it says something like “And lo, this will happen to our messiah saviour several hundred years from now?”
          I’ve pointed out in my own discussions with Christians that Jonah (as far as I’ve been able to determine) was only ever considered a prophecy after Jesus, and not before.

        • Greg G.

          I think Jesus just said he would be in the belly of the earth for three days and three nights, like Jonah, referencing him just as a coincidence. But then it became a prophecy by Jesus that doesn’t stand to scrutiny.

        • I think that’s true for 99% of the “prophecies” claimed for Jesus.

    • Greg G.

      Jesus was dead for pi days.

      • I knew there had to be a transcendent something in there, somehow.

      • igor

        maybe closer to e. (don’t mention e to the i pi)

  • RichardSRussell

    Oval pots? Really? How many oval pots have you ever seen in real life?

    • Chuck Johnson

      Oval pots for cooking ?
      Probably not.
      But they would probably use oval or other interesting shapes for decorative pots.

    • I think “basin” is more what we’re talking about, and a big one at that. I don’t think cooking was the idea.

  • eric

    When you see a traffic sign, you obey it. Even if something seems odd about its placement or message, you first assume it’s right and only later might you question it

    True story: my ex went to court and got an ‘incorrect’ traffic sign removed. I was essentially a redundant, old speed limit sign placed behind the newer sign. Cops would pull people over for obeying the newer (faster) limit. I guess nobody went to court over it until she did. But she took a picture of the placement of the two signs, showed it to the judge, and not only got her ticket eliminated but got the older sign removed.

    Now, at first blush Christians might like that analogy. New, more reasonable sign replaces older, irrationally restrictive sign! But IMO the greater message – of human society using our brains, reason, and discussion to identify problems with past normative “signs” and then replace/ignore them – is a pretty subversive one for any religion that claims to have found the one true and unchanging truth.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Principle #0: Why bother reading it? Just assume that the Bible says what you want it to say, and go ahead and write stupid shit like “Hell has open borders” without bothering to notice that Hell has gates (Matt 16:18) and Hell has keys (Rev :18)

    linkypoo

  • Lex Lata

    “Principle #1: Begin With A Fair Attitude.”

    I agree! So I endeavor to apply the same historiographical and epistemological standards to, say, the creation accounts in Genesis, the Enuma Elish, the Vendidad, and the Theogony–and find them all similarly unlikely to be true.

    “Principle #2: Examine the Text in Its Context.”

    I agree! So when I read JC’s instructions to pray in private, rather than in public like a hypocrite, I see from the context that’s exactly what he meant, as opposed to the huge prayer spectacles so popular in some evangelical circles. And when I read Moses’ instructions to slaughter male prisoners of war and keep the women and children as plunder, I understand that he was like any other warlord in that context.

    “Principle #3: Let the Bible Clarify the Bible.”

    Oh. We should read different verses, possibly written by different authors centuries apart, to clarify other verses? That sounds dangerously close to cherry-picking to achieve desired results, and barely better than just making things up. Pass.

    “Principle #4: Don’t Confuse ‘Imprecision’ with ‘Error.'”

    I agree! But by the same token, don’t confuse error with imprecision. The chronologies in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 can’t both be correct. The account of the Roman census in Luke is about as historical and plausible as the courtroom scenes in The Simpsons. Etc.

    But something tells me that even though Wallace and I agree on so much, we reach very different conclusions.

  • Raging Bee

    “Begin With A Fair Attitude,” say the people who preach that people they know nothing about will go to Hell for “sins” they also know nothing about.

    • Mike Panic

      You fools spent centuries hating, vilifying and persecuting Gays like me. Now you demand I treat you nicely? Cue hysterical laughter

      • Did you mean “You fools” to refer to atheists who, as a group, have been perhaps the biggest non-gay supporters of gays?

        • Mike Panic

          No, “you fools” refers tp those superstitious cretins claiming belief ion ghosts and goblins that rule their lives. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Most of these issues can at least be alleviated if you remove both inerrance and omni***, which in the former case brings problems.

    As for the talking of above about souls some Christians I know of claim that they do not exist and everything is material -Jesus was dead those three days as will be everyone until Judgement Day when will be brought back to life in a new body, etc-, using the Bible as justification and mocking the former as Platonism introduced into Christianism.

    • Michael Neville

      I agree about the literalism. The verse about the basin tells me that the Hebrew priests who wrote it were not mathematically inclined (their contemporaries in Babylon and Egypt had approximated π to 22/7) and “the Bible sez π = 3” is not an argument I use

      • I’d have noticed that in “omni” I was thinking on omniscience. The OT God has no fucking idea about the actual scale of the Universe or the existence of subatomic particles, despite the claims of some Fundies about the “microcosmos” and the “macrocosmos” and everything looks like by Bronze Age cattle herders for Bronze Age cattle herders.

        I’m so insistent on this because creationists with their “evolution and Big Bang are bullshit because they find the Biblical accounts far more believable” really make my blood boil.

        • Michael Neville

          We all know that Christians cannot squeeze an omnimax creator of hundreds of billions of galaxies and trillions of stars and planets into a Middle Eastern, Iron Age, tribal god. The fit just isn’t there.

        • Zeta

          In Genesis 1.6, the bible god took a full day to create the solid vault covering the Earth. It is laughable to note that he created the billions of galaxies and trillions of stars and other celestial objects in less than a day, seemingly as an afterthought (part of one verse) in Genesis 1.16: “He also made the stars.

          It is obvious that this god was very ignorant about the Universe he supposedly created.

        • In the original Hebrew, that verse “he also made the stars” is actually just a single word: “the stars.”

          Damn! It’s cool being omnipotent.

        • A mention to the actual nature of the Milky Way, even if just that is compossed of a whole lot of stars, would have been nice.

          The less one talks about the vial poured in Revelation in the Sun that causes it to shine brighter, and other similar gaffes there, the better. Sorry, literalists.

        • igor

          I would be impressed if the Genesis story also mentioned black holes, pulsars, super-novas and asteroids.

        • How about if it simply started with an explanation of what “billion years” means?

        • Not sure I see the relevance or the point of the question? A billion years in regard to what? Sorry, I see it was addressed to igor. Couldn’t find his post you were responding to.

        • Genesis 1 talks about the origin of the universe, which was 13.7 billion years ago. I’m suggesting that “a billion years” would be a good place to start with the explanation, much easier than black holes, etc.

        • What is your explanation of how all of the billions of galaxies and trillions of stars, oh and also this planet that we live on that just happens to be the only one discovered that has all the perfect conditions that can produce the life we see happen. Your god is too small, if the 1st v. of the Bible is true, I find that to be a much easier Truth to believe than the “faith” which is exactly what you also have to have to believe “Macro Evolution” which means all that we see living today much more in line with the Bible description, male and female. Tell me if you can how not only did the man evolve, but also the female in order to have procreation. And while you are at it, give me just one piece of evidence of any fossils that prove the transition from one species totally to another, supposedly there are 1000’s, if not millions???! I just want one!!! Everyone can clearly observe “Micro-evolution” for instance, the different varieties of dogs that have come about by cross-breeding. The Bible clearly stated over 4,000 years ago, that the animals would reproduce “after their kind, (their species)” and that is exactly what we still see today. I have much more to bring up, but until you, or some other Macro -evolutionist can answer these simple honest questions and the Bible version being false with some better evidential answers. I think I have more basis for my faith. In the beginning God created everything I see today. Too see just such a variety at the local zoo, is much better evidence than you can come up with to say all those 100’s of varieties of species all came from some sort of glob or single cell takes a whole lot more faith than mine!!!

        • What is your explanation of how all of the billions of galaxies and trillions of stars, oh and also this planet that we live on that just happens to be the only one discovered that has all the perfect conditions that can produce the life we see happen.

          How many planets do we know the properties of besides this one??

          if the 1st v. of the Bible is true

          If the 1st verse of the Bible is true, then you win. So go ahead and show us that verse true. If you can’t, don’t make idle speculation.

          “If today’s my lucky day, then I just won the Powerball lottery” isn’t a sound foundation for planning on how you’ll spend your millions. Ditto other silly sentences that start with “If.”

          , I find that to be a much easier Truth to believe than the “faith” which is exactly what you also have to have to believe “Macro Evolution”

          And yet you’ve that uncomfortable fact that everyone who understands the data says that “Macro Evolution” is correct. Sorry.

          Tell me if you can how not only did the man evolve, but also the female in order to have procreation.

          Tell me if you can why we should waste our time explaining away childish questions when you could just read an evolution textbook and see how stupid your question is. Pro tip: get your information from somewhere besides the Institute for Creation Research.

          Everyone can clearly observe “Micro-evolution”

          And yet macro evolution is just micro evolution with more time. You’ve answered your own question, clever boy.

          I have much more to bring up

          Most of us are very familiar with Creationism. Yes, I’m sure you have more to vomit up. No one much cares if you insist on being a waste of time. Bring up something you got from a science-y web site rather than a Creationist one.

          I think I have more basis for my faith.

          I don’t have faith. Trust based on evidence is good enough for me, thanks.

          In the beginning God created everything I see today.

          Wrong. Read Genesis 1, and you’ll see that he didn’t create the water (= chaos). At best, he formed order out of chaos, but he didn’t create ex nihilo. Your own Bible says so—you should read it.

          to say all those 100’s of varieties of species all came from some sort of glob or single cell takes a whole lot more faith than mine!!!

          Right. Believing that God made man from dirt is easy to believe.

        • igor

          Consistent with this argument is the idea that God created everything just 5 minutes ago – along with all memories of a fake past. You have no basis on which to argue against this. And you left out the bit about asexual reproduction.

        • Zeta

          Chuck Clark: “What is your explanation of how all of the billions of galaxies and trillions of stars,

          My explanation follows the generally accepted cosmological model (by genuine cosmologists and astrophysicists): The Big Bang Cosmology.

          this planet that we live on that just happens to be the only one discovered that has all the perfect conditions that can produce the life we see happen.

          Are you simply referring to planets in our Solar System? If so, how can you draw any conclusion based on an exceedingly small sample?

          Astronomers have only started looking for exoplanets not that long ago. According to the Wikipedia article on “Lists of Exoplanets”:

          This is a list of exoplanets. as of 21 February 2019 there are 3,917 confirmed exoplanets.[1] The majority of these planets were discovered by the Kepler space telescope.

          Is that a big number? Of course NOT.

          https://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/public/ask/2360

          In terms of the number of solar systems present in the universe, there are something like 300 billion stars in the Milky Way, so if 10 per cent of them have planets there are around 30 billion planets in our galaxy alone, and there are over 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe for a total of something in the order of 10^21 (that’s 1 then 21 zeros) planets in the observable Universe.

          It is really premature for you to make your assertion when the number of known exoplanets (assuming that you are not confining yourself to the local Solar System) is minuscule.

          If you have facts to support your claim, I am sure many readers here would be very interested in reading about them.

        • Zeta

          “Macro Evolution”
          This has been a favorite topic that apologists love to use to (supposedly) rebut the soundness of the Theory of Biological Evolution. This is a big topic and I have no wish to repeat so many excellent arguments to show that your argument is based more on ignorance than scientific facts. Instead, I’ll just quote some resources:

          “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution
          The Scientific Case for Common Descent”

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

          And while you are at it, give me just one piece of evidence of any fossils that prove the transition from one species totally to another, supposedly there are 1000’s, if not millions???! I just want one!!!

          “Four Famous Transitional Fossils That Support Evolution”
          https://www.forbes.com/sites/shaenamontanari/2015/11/17/four-famous-transitional-fossils-that-support-evolution/#388fb2712d8d

          Another one from your co-religionist Biologos website:

          “What does the fossil record show?”
          https://biologos.org/common-questions/what-does-the-fossil-record-show

          I wonder whether you have read any book on Biological Evolution written by genuine evolutionary biologists.

        • Lark62

          Yep. The all knowing, all loving deity created microbes and didn’t bother to mention it. For millenia, it stood by as its followers blamed disease on sorcerers, Jews, and a wide variety of sins. It stood by as its followers tortured and murdered others and even tortured themselves to stop epidemics and pandemics caused by microbes.

    • epeeist

      when will be brought back to life in a new body

      Ah, To Your Scattered Bodies Go.

      • Interesting novel for what I’ve seen at Wikipedia.

        As for that idea. I seriously wonder if those who uphold it still today have thought that even skeletons end up decaying, not to mention those bodies that for natural causes do not leave behind even a small splinter of bone and there’s still more. When even sci-fi writers can weave something better than what’s claimed to be the word of God, something is very wrong.

        • epeeist

          Another concept (amongst many) not mentioned in the bible – entropy.

          Consider what would have happened to the body of Jesus in even the short time after his crucifixion.

        • I remember how one of the Fundies I often listen to both knowing their thinking schemes, to vent some anger when I’m in a bad mod, and some lulz was describing Jesus’ resurrection, with His body as cool as the tomb and its heart beginning to bomb blood again, much to the chagrin of both Death and Satan. No mention at all of rigor mortis as well as other stuff, as expected from someone who is as clueless as most of the audience is talking to (YEC who considers both evolution and Big Bang as far less believable than the Biblical accounts, ’nuff said)

          One could argue that He emerged with (most of) those wounds of the crucifixion and the torment healed, same for rigor mortis and other problems and that was the Son of God, but yeah.

        • epeeist

          One could argue that He emerged with (most of) those wounds of the crucifixion and the torment healed

          I have taken delight in the past in referring fundies to lists of things that happen to a body after death, the fact that it consumes itself, the degassing, putrefaction, decay of the brain etc. It isn’t pretty.

        • Slightly related: SNL’s “Djesus Uncrossed” movie

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqISX2o0a4A

        • If entropy (and the Second Law of Thermo) were known to the ancients, I could see a sin/entropy parallel in the literature.

        • igor

          Maybe the next time you discuss the Modal Logic Ontological Argument you can mention that there are Possible Worlds in which Joseph of Arimathea did not remove the body of Jesus.

      • eric

        An oldie but goodie! I slightly preferred his World of Tiers novels; the Riverworld books had a much more interesting world, but were also a bit more hit and miss in terms of being fun to read.

      • EllyR

        An amazing book in an amazing series of books. Farmer is a great writer. He wrote many other books and series, equally good. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ac4b3ed28e2a5bee209769e880d6046a5faee16af1103dfee51d2f162edfb70d.jpg

  • gimpi1

    People in the middle east in the bronze age grew lettuce. Lettuce seeds are generally smaller than mustard seeds. So are onion seeds.

    Just a minor point, but it tosses the ‘seeds you plant’ excuse.

    • I’ve heard that orchid seeds are especially small, but your example is better by using locally known plants.

      • RichardSRussell

        A sperm is a kind of seed, right? They’re really tiny!

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          But they’re still sacred!

        • Michael Neville

          Every one of them.

        • EllyR

          Luckily, they are planted in a nice warm place and not in the cold muddy soil…

        • zenmite

          Onan disagrees.

      • gimpi1

        Some varieties of orchids have very small seeds. I raise a few types, phalaenopsis and cymbidems mostly. However, most orchids are promulgated by dividing back-bulbs, so I haven’t dealt much with the seeds.

        I do grow a veggie garden, and several vegetable seeds are very tiny. Carrots are the smallest I deal with, but they’re relatively new, and weren’t grown in the ancient world. Lettuce and onions have very small seeds, and were well known in the bronze age middle east. Mint was also known, and has tiny seeds. Many common crops have tiny seeds.

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      I wouldn’t take “the smallest seed” literal, just the first small seed that came to mind.
      But then, I’m not the one claiming everything in the Bible is literally true.

  • Rudy R

    When you see a traffic sign, you obey it. Even if something seems odd about its placement or message, you first assume it’s right and only later might you question it.

    The errors in this analogy don’t demand being repeated. Do any analogies proffered by any Apologist ever make sense? I can’t think of one.

    • Raging Bee

      Yeah, for starters, all those other vehicles that could kill you if anything went wrong, are already proven to exist.

  • Pofarmer

    Off Topic, but have Christian’s in America kind of Jumped the Shark? The CPAC convention started today with this.

    My Pillow founder rouses CPAC with ‘Jesus’ rant: Trump is the ‘greatest president’ because he was ‘chosen by God’

    https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/pillow-founder-rouses-cpac-jesus-rant-trump-greatest-president-chosen-god/?fbclid=IwAR0OacK-XNhkhLihoSCrJNGxpgoTStK8N93DbO353MPUPJpQ1Ykf9tylnUk

    My apologies to Bob, as I know he doesn’t generally do politics.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Who chose any/every other president/emperor/dictator/et al.? (No, wait, let me guess …)

      And does anyone who [edited] actually takes the concept of history seriously ever use phrases like “greatest _______ in history”?

      If CPAC can be ‘roused’ by rhetoric that half-assed, they shouldn’t be trusted with any responsibility/resources.

      • Pofarmer

        I don’t know if you’ve followed any of it. But there are quite a few former conservatives who are, shall we say, alarmed by all this. Of course, they should have been alarmed along with Barry Goldwater back, in the ’70s, but, heh, power and all that.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Haven’t followed any party politics particularly closely, but picked up lots of fascinating history/retcon over the last few years via bumbling around patheos … esp. (topic drift) the bit about u.s. evangelicals not vehemently caring about abortion/b.c. until the ’80s/’90s, which came as a bit of a surprise.

  • Connie Beane

    All this verbiage about how to interpret the bible correctly is about as sensible as being instructed on the proper way to read chicken entrails.

  • skl

    I say that the context of a verse is the entire Bible (more).
    For example, don’t cite John 3:16 to argue that faith alone is required for
    salvation without also addressing Matthew’s Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
    and every other place where the Bible makes clear that
    works get you into heaven. Don’t tell me that a verse says something unless
    you can convince me that the rest of the Bible never contradicts it.

    My reading of the bible leads me to think there may be no contradiction between the necessity of faith and the necessity of
    works. Depends how you define “faith”. The NT has Jesus and others seemingly
    defining “faith” as ‘belief confirmed/manifested in works.’ Faith seems to be
    synonymous with works, or more specifically, with obedience. Paul a couple
    times emphasizes the “obedience of faith”. Jesus himself, at least in some
    translations, says “He who believes in the Son has
    eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see
    life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.” – John 3:36.

    • eric

      That’s a very Catholic interpretation. The pros are that it aligns a bit better with our notions of justice than sola fides does. The cons are that it can easily lead to the no true scotsman fallacy, as well as being somewhat inconsistent with the Christian claim that everyone is a sinner undeserving of salvation.

      (The Protestant interpretation mostly has the pros and cons switched: you no longer get the problem of judging someone’s sincerity or salvatory status by their actions, but you get the problem of Hitler going to heaven.)

      • skl

        That’s a very Catholic interpretation.

        If so, then it would be more accurate to say
        the Catholic interpretation agrees with my interpretation of the text.

        The cons are that it can easily lead to the no true scotsman fallacy, as well as being somewhat inconsistent with the Christian claim that everyone is a sinner undeserving of salvation.

        The “no true scotsman” idea might be said to be dealt with by Christ when he says “But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

        As to the “undeserving” idea, I don’t see how anyone
        Christian or otherwise – who considers himself mortal and imperfect would think he “deserves” an eternity with an immortal, perfect god.

        • eric

          If so, then it would be more accurate to say the Catholic interpretation agrees with interpretation of the text.

          Well lol, their interpretation predates yours by something like 1,700 years. I’d call it pretty arrogant to claim they’re agreeing with you in that context. If some guy comes up to me on the street and tells me he’s concluded Jesus is the son of God, and I say “like Christians?” and he says “No! They are like ME, not the other way around!”, what do you call that, except arrogance?

        • skl

          I’d call it pretty arrogant to claim they’re agreeing with you in that context.

          You can call it “arrogant”.
          I can call it “how I interpret what the text is saying.”

    • C_Alan_Nault

      “My reading of the bible leads me to think there may be no contradiction between the necessity of faith and the necessity of works.”

      What about passages in the Bible that tell believers how to respond to fools?

      Such as this one:

      Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

      … or this one:

      Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

      • It’s nice that someone sorted them together so that proverbs on the same subject could reinforce each other.

        Or something.

      • On the surface it appears to be a contradiction and like many other so-called contradictions, it requires some digging below the surface. One option is this: v4) Simply means we are not to debate with him by going down to his same lower style and/or spirit. Don’t be like him in this aspect.
        v5) We should answer him as his folly deserves. Another option that is just a little different and think both could be true?! Both vv. are true, but would be applied depending on the difference in a person’s character, the timing, or the varying circumstances. For some people it can often be obvious you are wasting your breath, totally set in his ways, opinions and is not interested in any real facts. Under some circumstances it might require an answer. Silence may sometimes be mistaken for defeat, like we have not answer for his foolish rattlings?! Not in his foolish manner, but in the manner which his foolishness requires. Give a “dignified rebuke” and if it isn’t accepted or at least considered, they walk away.

        So that brings us to another seeming contradiction, if it “faith alone” or by “works” It seems that the classic opposition is seen in the approach of Paul, faith alone vs James, “faith without works is dead.” I think this would have some application to, ski above and his siting Jh 3:16 cp to the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. I will take Paul and James 1st: they are actually very complimentary! Paul is approaching it from God’s perspective as he spells it out very clearly in Rom. 4:1-3 by the example of the Father of Faith, Abraham! I suggest you follow Paul’s entire argument by reading the rest of Chap. 4 and up to 5:11. I quote NIV 4:1-3: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? IF, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but NOT BEFORE GOD. What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed Tod, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Paul was quoting from Gen. 15:6. It gets even clearer if you read on!!
        Let’s go to James though just to get to the solution: Paul is stating it from God’s perspective whereas James, a very practical outlook that spells out many ways that “True Faith” is to be practiced before men in real life situations. To put it another way, James is saying, show me you have “genuine faith” by the way you practice before men, me and others. You should have some genuine faith examples just like Abraham did!! Again, I will just quote the most applicable vv. James 2:14-17 “What good is it my brothers, if a man CLAIMS to have faith but has no DEEDS (to back up his claim to true faith)? Can that (kind of “FAKE FAITH”) save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to her, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed.’ but does nothing about her physical needs, WHAT GOOD IS IT? In the same way, FAITH BY ITSELF, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (worthless before God and man, phony!!
        If you will go to the Parable found in Mt. 25:31-46 you will find the exact same principle is applied between the works of the Sheep and the Goats. They showed by their works which ones had true saving faith. In closing, I am wondering whether this answer is satisfactory enough for someone who might think they can fool God as to whether they have true faith or not??
        It is interesting that in Math. 7:21-23 there is an example of some very “religious people” that perhaps would have fooled many people by their works, but they definitely didn’t fool God at all! That is why I leave the final judgment up to God, although there is a legitimate place for our being, “fruit inspectors” Mt. 7:20 (Context is always important!!!) and if done in the right way (humility, seeing if we ourselves are guilty of the same) challenge and be willing to help those who are caught in some “obvious sin”) So here is the quote, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day (of Judgment), ‘Lord, lord, did we not prophesy in your Name, and in your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’

        I welcome those who would disagree, but please have something more than just some sort of glib answer that has no solid reasoning and proper use of Scripture; that actually gives some honest and thoughtful response!

        • If you will go to the Parable found in Mt. 25:31-46 you will find the exact same principle is applied between the works of the Sheep and the Goats. They showed by their works which ones had true saving faith.

          Uh, no, the parable of the sheep and goats makes clear that works gets you into heaven. Faith isn’t mentioned. Don’t tell us that faith is meant when a plain reading disagrees.

          You’re beating the Bible to take the shape of your theology, but I think it should be the other way around, no?

        • I guess we will have to agree to disagree, I think the sheep are showing their faith, it doesn’t have to state that here mainly because of the rest of the Scriptures that spell it out so clearly and yep, I believe that since God is the author of all Scripture it won’t contradict itself. I think my other post that showed the example of Paul and James showed that True Faith throughout Scripture is what makes a person righteous in God’s sight as Paul proves in Rom. 4 and 1st part of Rom 5. The example of Abraham that he gives states clearly that he was declared righteous by his faith, which he proved by his actions, when he was going to sacrifice his son of “Promise” (the very son that God said he was going to make a great nation out of!! In the NT we read in Hebrews 11 {you should read that whole chapter, it might enlighten you as it is the best explanation of what many of the heroes of faith accomplished by faith to show it was the kind that God accepted} that along with other things that Abraham did to show his faith, was that v.18-19, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will fulfill the promise. 19) Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death”

          Since this gets much longer than I intended, (yep,it usually always is), I just wanted to say why it happens that way. It seems, in the short time I’ve been on here that most responses are pretty short (especially when compared to mine), which is totally your prerogative, but most of the time it doesn’t really have enough substance to support your argument. Often, to just give a one or two sentences to basically try to shoot someone down, worse yet; to ridicule them or their position doesn’t lend to much benefit to anyone. I don’t expect the ideal discussion is very realistic, but I though the goal of this site was to have some respectful exchange of ideas with some basic sound evidence or reasoning for your position and thus have an intelligent discussion. I believe it was Bob S. that got this topic started with his 10 reasons, that were well laid out and presented with supporting evidence for his position. It gave plenty of room for some substantive debate whether you agreed or not. Just so you know, obviously I take mostly the other sides of each of the 10, but my goal is not to win the argument as to who is right, but rather to as best I can give some reasons to dig a little deeper and some motivation to look into the supporting evidence and logical reasons for the other side. That can’t be done without some, at times rather lengthy supporting evidence and yes that means quoting some Bible verses, as it is after all; the Bible which is being attacked for actually claiming to be inspired by the same God within its pages. I don’t expect anyone to answer or address every issue I bring up. I would expect; however, that when I raise a legitimate and honest question, I think it only fair to either give it your best attempt or say that you don’t know the answer but that it is a reasonable point to consider. Simply, to just dismiss it, isn’t much of a refutation or an honest discussion. If some sentence is an obvious mistake, not punctuated correctly, poor grammar, please cut me some slack, in most cases you can get the idea of what I intended??!

          I do want to say, Bob you have stated some of the more legitimate objections, but most of them have been around in various other forms and formats for many years. So I do give you credit, as compared to those who just throw out a line or two and think they have really answered or dismissed someone, who has actually presented some well thought out and reasonable points that deserve more of a substantive response. Whether we agree or not I think we both are trying to have that goal as part of a worthwhile discussion.

          My bottom line is that, if the God of the Bible is perfectly capable of creating the universe; anyone with eyes to see and then actually investigated some of the latest scientific discoveries that reveal more and more of the varied intricacies of the human body, the vastness of the billions of galaxies, and then having to realize the absolute necessity for such a delicate balance of initial conditions for any life to exist on this planet called earth. If the God of the 1st verse of Genesis, is the one Who created the whole universe; it shouldn’t be hard to believe the many other miracles seen throughout the rest of the Bible. That would also include the ones that Jesus performed that He gave as evidence that He truly was God, coming to earth to reveal the true and living God. This is totally consistent in the whole Bible! By that I mean, the Bible is mainly a book of historical facts, most of which can be checked out, not just by archaeology (which continues to confirm its accuracy), but more importantly it is the key thread from Gen. to Rev. that it is actually HIS STORY speaking of Christ. Not here now, but maybe I will start my own discussion that will show this to be true in each book of the Bible, that’s 66 books by the way.

          Unlike you (not meant as derogatory or put down, but just the way it is) and most others, including way too many Christians; you appear to have a “cherry- picking” approach to Scripture; mainly choosing those passages that are a selection of what you think gives you a reason to dismiss the whole Bible.
          You and many others conveniently also seem to ignore so much that proves God to be its Source; like the over 100 fulfilled, specific and in great detail prophecies that are just specifically referring to Jesus Christ alone. You may come up with a few of what appear to be contradictions or other; mostly very minor or easily explained, supposed problems; but the overwhelming evidence that shows it to be what it claims, Spirit-inspired writers who, without human error, and using their own personalities to record in the (original manuscripts) just what God intended us to know. Furthermore, most everybody should already know, there is abundant material that is readily available on Google; with a little bit of work most of Bob’s objections have already been addressed with very adequate answers and explanations. I doubt many who read this will dare to actually investigate those on the other side; who definitely also have the “Credentials” to argue with rational facts and well thought-out, substantiated, logical reasons.

          I too am not a novice when it comes to having a pretty good, first-hand working knowledge of the Scripture and also have studied many of the objections that you and others have presented over a period of many years. It may or may not be helpful to some of you, to give some of my background; it doesn’t make me some scholar, or make me think I have the final word on Scripture, but so you know that I’m not just spouting my own opinion without any credibility of the subject. One very important, (in my opinion), is that I have not just read a lot of books about the Bible, but have actually read the text itself for over 50 years in various versions, (not any significant differences other than JW’s version), I also did outlines of many individual books in order to get a more thorough grasp of the content. Try it sometime, using every single verse in the whole book and followed the basic rules of a good outline.
          I have studied 5 years at a Bible College in N. MN where, unlike many so-called seminaries we mainly just studied the Bible itself. With 3 main goals, what does it actually say–the intended meaning of the authors in their time in history, who were they writing to, etc. Then what tools do we have to understand the intended meaning. That included that oft referred to, “Context,” as you pointed out, not only the immediate, but actually the whole Bible. For some novices, that is actually what good Theology is taking a “topic” or subject and follow it from Gen.- Rev. The third goal, which is probably the hardest, and why the majority (“the Wide road that leads to destruction” which Jesus referred to) is applying it to our everyday life, obedience to it! Be honest, our human (fallen nature, it is pretty easy to know it is real if you are honest), yes, sinful nature comes naturally to be in rebellion against God and Right as our Creator to tell us what is right and wrong and to put Him 1st in our life!! I tried it once, I think it lasted maybe two days tops, I’m guilty!! Just like everyone else.

          Some of these, so-called Christians that look down on others and think they are better than you, I seriously doubt that they are true Christians, so keep that in mind if you have met or do meet those kind! The reason I became a Christian is because I knew I was not wanting to submit to God’s authority, etc. I was a rebel and still have that nature, but when I became a Christian, by trusting the yes, Resurrected, living and real Christ of the Bible, He by the power of the Holy Spirit, gave me a new nature, the nature of Christ that wants to please God; not being a god, but Him living in me. Yep, sounds far fetched, but it took place on June 21st, 1962 and I still know it wasn’t me that changed me. I went to bed on that Sun night and next morning my life was forever changed. I know there are a lot of gooks and you can say, I’m one of them, but there are millions who all have had that similar 1st hand experience in many various forms, but all agree it is the living and real Christ of the Bible. I didn’t need Bible college to prove it to me or that the Bible was true, it only confirmed what I already knew. True Christianity is not a religion, religions in all their forms are man trying to reach God, Christianity is a Relationship with Someone we know personally, not knowing about God or Christ, like you may know about some famous athlete or Hollywood star, but it’s knowing them up close and personal on a daily basis. Think honestly for a moment, if you had the chance to meet some famous person you really admired and they invited you to spend a month or so in their home, would you jump at the opportunity? Now image the very God of the universe inviting you to become a part of His own family in heaven, which will be the perfect one that God originally intended, but man had to pass the test which we are the evidence of how terribly that failed.

          Paul also addresses this clearly Observable Truth about mankind, Rom. 1:17ff, “Men deliberately suppress the Truth (about God and the Bible), Why?… so that they can continue in unrighteousness (living their own lifestyle apart from God and any accountability to Him or the Bible). You can try to deny that that is the underlying reason for all this trying to find any “loophole” you or others can come up with, but you’re only fooling yourself. Go ahead tell me I’m wrong. The evidence is everywhere, that is one of the main reasons why they hated Christ so much; they were chose to ask Pilot to free a known criminal and crucify Christ instead! Two reasons for that, He exposed their hypocrisy over and over again and secondly, their true accusation, He claimed to be God, come in the flesh! they didn’t even see the clear prophecies in their own Scriptures, they wanted the Messiah to be the one to free them from their Roman rulers, but they ignored the many Scriptures that indicated He first needed to be the suffering Savior! See Psalm 22 and/or Isaiah 53 and tell me what other person in His story fits the detailed description in both chapters. He claimed to be able to forgive sins, He performed miracles, ( note, even His enemies didn’t deny His miracles), but you so-called enlightened ones say that they didn’t happen; miracles are made up because science says, “miracles are impossible” Wow! by definition, not evidence; they rule miracles out of existence.

          I have personally read the Bible through at least 3 times and studied some books up to 30 or more times comparing the smallest, but amazing details that have no other better explanation than the supernatural unity by One Author of all of Scripture, the Holy Spirit. What most of your readers and possibly even yourself don’t realize the Bible isn’t actually One Book. It is 66 separate books written by over 30 different authors, over a period of 2,000 years on 3 different continents and 3 different languages. It is so far exceeded by the 1000’s of examples of the intricate and overwhelming unity I read almost everyday! I challenge any of you readers to just read only one book of the whole Bible, giving it your best shot to be somewhat objective, instead of trying to find some objection! Then come back at me with all your objections if you still have them. That one book would be the “Gospel of John” his purpose for writing is stated toward the end of the book, ” You are only able to come up with a few, (supposed contradictions; actually, when thoroughly examined, quite inadequate objections; that have been thoroughly examined and answered by those who have solid explanations for all but a very few of your well chosen examples.
          I do intend to take each one and expose with solid examples and explanations that are also well documented from many 100’s who have actually done a thorough study of the evidence that is readily available (on Google there is tons if you or anyone would really want to seriously get a view from many atheists who actually set out to disprove, as you think you have done, but they looked at the much better evidence (they even footnote all of the evidence they present, –how novel, as compared to so much of the shallow and unsubstantiated stuff that appears on this site).
          Just two authors to suggest on Google for those that want to actually read something that is extremely thorough in the books these men have written. One is Lee Strobel who was a former atheist, and award winning investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, has written many solid books that show his thoroughness and his atheism requiring substantial evidence to persuade his much skepticism!! Google him and Josh McDowell, who wrote originally for college level student’s but he also was a very skeptical atheist when he started out. Both did over a couple of years of actually examining the evidence in a very thorough, by asking the hard question and challenging anything and everything that didn’t have reasonable credibility or hard evidence.
          If you got this far, you have proof that you are an honest skeptic that is willing to at least hear both sides of an issue or in this case many issues. Thanks, even if you still totally disagree. I am so glad it is not my job to convert or judge anyone, just try to do the best I can to present what I believe is truth and know that everyone is free to evaluate and make their own choice! Just one last truth, we do have the freedom to make our own choices, but that does not include freedom of the consequences for our choices. If what I have made pretty obvious is my firm belief that Biblical Christianity is true, if I am wrong and it is some sort of “hope so” make believe Faith, I don’t feel like I am missing out on the best life has to offer! On the other hand, if you (whoever you are) are wrong about God, Jesus being the only way to heaven, (if there was some other way to pay for our sins, why would Jesus endure being separated for the 1st time ever from His Father (because of taking our sins upon Himself as the only possible way for us to be forgiven and acceptable to God), that was the worse pain for Him than the horrible physical agony of the cross! So rejecting Him is actually the only sin that sends a person to Hell! All the others can be forgiven. God doesn’t send anyone to hell, they choose to reject what He has done, No other god or religion has a god that loves like that. Guess you get my point, your choice not His!

        • I think the sheep are showing their faith, it doesn’t have to state that here mainly because of the rest of the Scriptures that spell it out so clearly

          You decide the answer first and then you go find that in the Bible. Not an honest approach, is it?

          I believe that since God is the author of all Scripture it won’t contradict itself.

          That’s a bold assumption. You can imagine why I reject it.

          The rest was tl;dr.

        • Damien Priestly

          Yeah, we are all just going to continue to read your essay’s….or are they book chapters?

          -> “God doesn’t send anyone to hell, they choose to reject what He has done, No other god or religion has a god that loves like that. Guess you get my point, your choice not His!”

          That is total nonsense…and immoral to boot…So why did God create Hell in the first place? Wasn’t our idea, not our free will!

          Atheists choose not to believe based upon evidence, yet are as decent a people as any Christian can be (maybe better), as most studies show. If Atheists are wrong and this Hell-creating God exists…the ball is completely in God’s court…we continue to choose neither God nor Hell.

          What is he going to do? Up to God, not me. If it is Hell for us…then as Matt Dillahunty says…this God of Abraham is a moral thug. But we already know that !!

        • Greg G.

          Actually, Paul said Abraham was justified by faith in Galatians 3:6 or so. (I am waiting for a train and may not be able to finish nor refer to my notes.) James says Abraham was justified by the works of binding Isaac. Paul points out in Romans that the justification was before Abraham was circumcised which was before Isaac was born.

          Galatians 5:14 follows Rabbi Hillel”s thought. But it is answered in James 2:8-11 and Paul responds to that in Romans, too. James thought that if you don’t follow the law, you will be murdering and commiting adultery. Paul points out that if you have love, you don’t murder, adulterate, steal or covet.

          Paul and James were in disagreement about faith and works.

          How do you reconcile whether Jesus was arrested and crucified before the passover meal as John clearly says or after as Mark and the Synoptics clearly say?

        • C_Alan_Nault

          “On the surface it appears to be a contradiction ”

          No, it is an out and out direct contradiction.

          Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly….
          Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly,….

          “that brings us to another seeming contradiction, if it “faith alone” or by “works” ”

          Since no one has proven that heaven actually exists & that we can be “saved” by either faith or by works, it is a moot point. It would be like arguing who is stronger? Superman or Captain Marvel ( the original Captain Marvel, with the Shazam)?

          “That is why I leave the final judgment up to God”

          Another moot point, since no one so far has proven that any god exists.

          “please have something more than just some sort of glib answer that has no solid reasoning and proper use of Scripture;”

          Somehow reasoning & scripture ( which is based on unproven supernatural claims and beliefs) doesn’t really work well.

          That aside, since we are discussing what the bible says, what is your view on owning other human beings as property ( slavery)? Both testaments of the Bible condone it, the old testament says you can beat your property ( slave) to death without any penalty as long as the slave doesn’t die too fast, and the new testament says Christians can own other Christians as their property.

    • Raging Bee

      Yeah, right, all seeming contradictions in the Bible can be waved away by redefining and reinterpreting words on the fly.* If “faith” is taken to mean “action,” then VOY-LA, all contradictions between the verses requiring faith and those requiring action magically disappear!

      ________________________
      * All reinterpretations subject to change without notice.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Principle #2: Examine the Text in Its Context.”

    OK.

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 )

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2)

    … so Christianity condones slavery.

    • Pofarmer

      Well, yeah!

      Hell, the Catholic Church held slaves up intil Nineteen Ninety fucking Six.

  • firebubbles310

    Don’t they use a single verse out of context to make their pro-life/anti-abortion case?

    • They do cherry pick. The Bible is full of bloodthirsty violence, so God isn’t all that loving.

      Also see Num 5:11- for the abortifacient recipe.