A Visual Representation of Biblical Contradictions November 13, 2010

A Visual Representation of Biblical Contradictions

How do you keep Christians busy for a long, long time?

Get some ink and paper, print this massive PDF collection of biblical contradictions, and have them explain it.

Courtesy of Sam HarrisReason Project:

(Thanks to everyone for the link!)

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  • anon

    “How long was the Ark of the Covenant at Abinadab’s house?” is on there twice

  • Whoa…

  • Damn. O_O

    *saved*

  • This is amazing.

  • S-Y

    Those arcs take a long time to draw even on my Phenom II 3.2ghz processor/4gb DDR3 RAM. =/ (Adobe Reader sucks though.) 439 total.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    This just makes me believe that Sam Harris is either dishonest, illiterate, or at best ignorant of what biblical inerrancy actually means. The couple of these “contradictions” I looked at are nothing of the sort. Any atheists who endorse this graphic as serious come off as silly and desperate.
    Fail.

  • S-Y

    Most, if not all contradictions that are usually pointed out are open to interpretation. That’s the trick here; if someone doesn’t interpret something as a contradiction, they’ll pass off the marking as dishonesty.

  • I can explain the contradictions: From a non-fundamentalist view, The Bible is historically written by many many authors, often cobbled together from multiple folk sources and often generations after the event. You probably know this. But check this out:

    The Bible is looked at by many non-fundamentalist Christians as the human-written tale of a religious and cultural heritage that reveals as much if not more about the nature of people as it does about the nature of the higher power. We see it not only in the acts of the characters — such as King David’s inability to keep his pants on — as we do in the contradictions that are pointed out by this very beautiful and well researched document.

    I go still farther in my appreciation of The Bible. Even though the books in the “approved” version were selected by power hungry misogynists and we are burdened by crappy translations, I can still find a message of love and a sense of grace for the individual between the covers. As with any text, the bible allows for as many interpretations as there are readers.

    Perhaps even, for the open minded, a single reader could find multiple interpretations, a conversation if you will, that helps to illuminate the challenges of being a person on this planet that tries to be good.

    Simplistic thinking, both religious fundamentalism and total rejection of the bible as a document of value, fails to recognize the qualities of much of the text.

  • Iason Ouabache

    But… but… CONTEXT!

  • Shane Windus

    Daniel,
    Please tell us the couple you had a problem with and explain as to why they are not contradictions.

  • Chad

    @Daniel, S-Y: Wikipedia defines “biblical inerrancy” as “the doctrinal position that the Bible is … accurate and totally free of error”. A work which contradicts itself is not totally free of error. Unless you care to present a better definition (or a “contradiction” actually pointed out in the PDF that isn’t one), the point stands.

    Now Hemant’s commentary is still overly broad, since not all Christians hold to this doctrine.

  • So Daniel, please explain to use ignorant atheists what “inerrancy ” means.
    With examples. 🙂

  • Derek Clevidence

    #7 and #9 appear to be duplicates.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Aaron,
    What inerrancy says is that the original manuscripts, taken in the sense intended by their author, are without error.
    It doesn’t mean there aren’t copyist errors and it doesn’t mean there isn’t figurative language. Besides, for something to count as a “contradiction”, it has to be a necessary contradiction with no reasonable scenario in which it’s explainable.

    For example, taken from the chart:
    5. Who was Abijam’s mother? I Kings 15:1-2, II Chron. 13:1-2.

    “His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom” (Kings) vs. “His mother’s name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah” (Chronicles).

    First, Maacah and Micaiah are close enough that they could simply be variant spellings (especially in Hebrew which had no vowels).
    Second, if Maacah and Micaiah are the same, “Uriel” could be a concubine and “Abishalom” the legal queen-mother, or vice versa. One could be a birth mother and one the adoptive mother, etc. Or Uriel and Abshalom could be mother and grandmother (the Bible often calls more distant ancestors “father”, etc). Or if Maacah and Micaiah are not the same woman, the same things I said about Uriel and Abishalom could apply to them. Birth mother and legal mother, mother and grandmother, etc.

    In other words, this is only a contradiction if you have no imagination and are a completely uncourteous reader and have an axe to grind, and it’s like denying the brightness of the sun by pointing out a sunspot.

  • Eliza

    Hmm, well, since Uriel and Absalom are both male names, gotta go in a different direction to explain this “apparent contradiction”; how about this alternate explanation:

    This apparent contradiction about the references to the mother of Abijam or Abijah rests essentially on a lack of understanding and overview of the families mentioned and their genealogies. Furthermore, the same person is called by different names….

    In 1 Kings 15 Abijam’s mother is called “Maacha”, which means “suppression”; in 2 Chronicles however, she is called “Michaiah”, which means “Who is like Jehovah?”. Michaiah is the name which is used for her as the queen mother, Maacha is the name which is used in connection with her idolatry (cp. 2 Chronicles 15:16).

    Abijam’s (Abijah’s) mother is once called the “daughter of Abishalom” and once the “daughter of Uriel of Gibeah”. According to Josephus (Ant. VIII,10.1), this Uriel was the husband of Abishalom’s daughter Tamar, and Tamar then was the mother of Maacha. Maacha was therefore not literally the real “mother” of Abijam, but rather the word “mother” is used by means of the figure of speech Synecdoche (of species) for a female ancestor. She was in reality the grandmother of Abijam, but she is mentioned here in the record about the beginning of Abijam’s reign because of her position and her influence at the royal court.

    I’ve added the boldface above. “Because” can be a flag that someone is trying to make something fit their pre-determined conditions, or, shall we say, has a very well-developed imagination and an axe to grind.

  • ethanol

    This just makes me believe that Sam Harris is either dishonest, illiterate, or at best ignorant of what biblical inerrancy actually means. The couple of these “contradictions” I looked at are nothing of the sort. Any atheists who endorse this graphic as serious come off as silly and desperate.
    Fail.

    Hm. This is obviously a lot to check, but the when I looked up three at random (#1, #34, and #60) they looked like legitimate contradictions, although the third could be explained if the sons of Bela were named after their uncles. But I would agree that it seems somewhat nitpicky, in light of the actual contents of the Bible. For example, the first passage sited:

    “Josheb-Basshebeth,[a] a Tahkemonite,[b] was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed[c] in one encounter.

    Now it is true that the second passage sited says he only killed three hundred. But it seems sort of ridiculous to soberly note this contradiction given that it just said that he killed eight hundred men in one battle. And our problem with this is that it says a different number somewhere else? Really? I understand some people take the bible very seriously but this sort of rigorous fact-checking does seem a bit ridiculous given the contents of the story being checked.

  • It doesn’t matter to me whether or not the mythology that Christians enjoy is consistent or not. It is still mythology. It still isn’t true. Honestly even if all the contradictions could be explained away it is like saying that Harry Potter is true because it is mostly consistent.

  • qwertyuiop

    It would be much easier for this to be simple text and links.

  • Jon

    However, the number of sons Abraham had doesn’t matter. Point out to me contradictions that affect the moral teaching in the Bible, and I’m interested. Contradictions in the myth/legend/history stuff that packages it, not so much.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    It doesn’t matter to me whether or not the mythology that Christians enjoy is consistent or not. It is still mythology.

    Which parts?

    Honestly even if all the contradictions could be explained away it is like saying that Harry Potter is true because it is mostly consistent.

    No one said lack of contradictions make it true.

  • the design is excellent. very nice. kudos to the creative class person who came up with it.

    i always forget how ridiculous the bible, esp the old testament, sounds when examined with any sort of reasoned attention. wow, i can’t imagine being that fearful and/or stupid enough to take it seriously. it’s mythology, and not even very good mythology. greek myths are more elegant, or hindu.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Chicago,
    This chart displays anything but reasoned attention. It actually displays pettiness.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Which parts?

    The Bible.

    No one said lack of contradictions make it true.

    Yet many Christians still claim that the Bible is consistent and true.

  • ethanol

    Daniel Hoffman asks which parts of the bible are mythology. How about the part where god creates man out of the dirt of the bare ground and then woman out of his rib. Is that not mythology? Is that literally true? Or wait, I’m confused, I thought he created man and woman together on the sixth day. Maybe that part is mythology and the other story is true.

  • Stephen B.

    The couple of these “contradictions” I looked at are nothing of the sort. I can explain them away as typographical or translation errors. Or they’re just being PICKY. Therefore, my belief in the bible, and that the entire bible is fully consistent, and non-contradictory, is not shown to be ridiculous and irrational… even though it says the earth is only 6,000 years old. And women are supposed to keep silent, and have no authority over men. And it promotes slavery, murder, and genocide.

  • Atalaya

    To Daniel Hoffman:

    All of these are contradictions. They range from the simple, such as your example of differently spelled names, to the more extreme, such as claiming no one has seen God, yet citing several instances in which a man had seen God.

    Another example is when Jehoiachin became king. Was he 8 or 18? You can pass that off as a copyist error, but if you actually look at the actual original text, the words for 8 and 18 are completely different, and thus it wasn’t simply a slip of the pen that made that contradiction.

    You can pass these off as “copyist errors” all you want but they are still errors in which millions of people are reading and believing as to be 100% truth without realizing which parts are true and which parts are “errors.”

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Or wait, I’m confused, I thought he created man and woman together on the sixth day. Maybe that part is mythology and the other story is true.

    This is exactly the kind of hardly-worth-responding-to-nonsense represented by the chart.

    Genesis 1 says God created man and woman on the 6th day.

    Genesis 2 says God created Adam and then Eve a little while later.

    This is only a contradiction if you think “I ate yesterday” and “I had breakfast and then lunch yesterday” is a contradiction.

  • Justin

    Yep, that will learn us.

    Silly us, turns out our questions are just nonsense hardly worth the time to answer.

  • Ben Isgur

    What inerrancy says is that the original manuscripts, taken in the sense intended by their author, are without error.
    It doesn’t mean there aren’t copyist errors and it doesn’t mean there isn’t figurative language. Besides, for something to count as a “contradiction”, it has to be a necessary contradiction with no reasonable scenario in which it’s explainable.

    So, according to this definition, it is literally impossible for your claim that the Bible is inerrant to be proven wrong, because we don’t have the original manuscripts or perfectly understand the intentions of the author. Great use of logic you have there, but an argument that it is actually impossible to prove wrong, no matter the information available, is not an argument at all: it’s just an invisible teapot around Mars.

  • wayne

    if you read the bible looking for meaninglessness and contradictions, you will find it. if you read the bible looking for truth and light, you will find it.

    if you observe a photon and want to see a wave, you will see it, if you observe a photon and want to see a particle, you will see it.

    what’s inside you, who you are/are being, appears to be more important than the external universe.

  • mikedave

    Daniel Hoffman thank you for coming here and argueing the points politely, it is a nice change from the trolls. I happen to think you are wrong in your assesment, I’m sure many of the “contraditions” can be arguued away but many can’t and the fact is that many people take the bible, in its current form, literally, this list mearly points out how silly this is.

  • HamsterWheel

    I must admit that I’m not terribly impressed. Obviously a lot of work went into this project, but the end result just looks like overkill to me. A single objection is sufficient to dismiss the entire bible: there isn’t a single shred of credible, verifiable evidence to substantiate supernatural claims. You don’t need a massive list of biblical contradictions to conclude that the absurdly impossible stories in the bible are complete bullshit. I would like to see a line drawn from the resurrection story to reality. Now there’s a contradiction for you.

  • Tamara

    I want to frame this beautiful piece of art on my wall.

  • In other words, this is only a contradiction if you have no imagination and are a completely uncourteous reader and have an axe to grind, and it’s like denying the brightness of the sun by pointing out a sunspot.

    Actually, I beg to differ. This is a contradiction, albeit a minor one. That it doesn’t take huge amounts of interpretation to figure out a plausible way around the contradiction, doesn’t make it any less of one. So, when making a list of all the contradictions in a narrative, one is within their rights to include possible copyist errors as well as more severe blunders.

  • ethanol

    Genesis 1 says God created man and woman on the 6th day.

    Genesis 2 says God created Adam and then Eve a little while later.

    This is only a contradiction if you think “I ate yesterday” and “I had breakfast and then lunch yesterday” is a contradiction.

    Here is the relevant passage from genesis:

    This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

    5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth[a] and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams[b] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the LORD God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

    Just so we are clear: in this account the whole creation of plants and fish and fowl and game and man and woman come between the lines 6 and 7, but just aren’t worth mentioning.

    19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky

    And apparently this only refers to creatures in the garden of eden, since obviously these creatures have already all been created in genesis 1.

    23 The man said,

    “This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

    This all seems rather melodramatic, given that there are apparently women walking around all over the place outside of the garden of eden. Oh yeah, and what became of all those other people? Why aren’t they ever mentioned in the (presumably rather lonely) period following the fall? I mean I acknowledge that you can shore up this amalgamation of creation myths by writing liberally between the lines, but that still doesn’t explain how it is that you believe that this is actually literally true.

  • ethanol

    if you read the bible looking for meaninglessness and contradictions, you will find it. if you read the bible looking for truth and light, you will find it.

    if you observe a photon and want to see a wave, you will see it, if you observe a photon and want to see a particle, you will see it.

    what’s inside you, who you are/are being, appears to be more important than the external universe.

    I don’t think that’s how quantum physics works, but setting that aside, if you actually believe that then why bother with the bible? Doesn’t this imply you can gain the same insight from reading “Horton Hears a Who?” or “Mein Kampf”?

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Cafeeine,
    I guess it depends how you define contradiction. I would define it with reference to the intention of the author. If Micaiah and Maacah is the same person for example and if Uriel and Abishalom are mothers in different senses (mother and grandmother, whatever), sure the literal wording “contradicts”, but the authors are not describing mutually exclusive realities.

  • ACN

    Ethanol,

    It isn’t how quantum mechanics works at all and it is the kind stuff that people who don’t actually know about QM like to proclaim loudly because they think it sounds profound.

  • noel44

    The argument that the bible is inerrant even though it has inconsistencies ranks as one of the strangest claims I have yet come across. The further stipulation that it must be read with “generosity” and an eye to explaining away any contradictions as they present themselves bends credulity to the breaking point. The more likely explanation is that the bible is a work of multiple human authors and not a divinely inspired tome. The principle of parsimony suggests that rather than being the inspiration of a deity which requires readers to jump through hoops, the bible has a much more terrestrial origin and its inconsistencies are exactly what we would expect to find given its earthly pedigree.

  • Robert W.

    I agree with Daniel. Nitpicky and biased t bet. Granted I didn’t look at them all but from the ones I did, most were not contradictions at all. For example number 8. Only one verse mentions Abrams age at all. The rest don’t. So I don’t see how that is a contradiction in the slightest

    Same with number 9. Only one verse mentions the years the ark was in the house (20 years). the remaining verses don’t mention any length of years at all.

  • This is actually easy to explain. The problem isn’t the Bible, the problem is the Christians interpretation of the Bible. We can’t blame people thousands of years ago who weren’t even trying to write something that was supposed to be infallible for not having written something that was infallible. It’s not their fault, and the “Old Testament” is really no worse than the myths of the Ancient Greeks or anyone else.

    That’s the issue, if people would just accept that the “Bible” was written by people, based on the ideas of people, then they would be able to set the obvious flaws aside and appreciate it for what it is.

    In truth it is the Christian insistence on viewing the Bible as the “world of God” that debases the work.

    As an atheist I believe I can more fully appreciate the writings of the “Old Testament” than Christians can, because I have no need to rationalize anything or justify anything, I can just accept it for what it really is.

  • I guess it depends how you define contradiction. I would define it with reference to the intention of the author.

    And, of course, every Christian knows what the intention of the author was. And they all know differently.

    Your attempt to rationalize away contradictions by insisting that you know what the authors really meant is beyond insipid. You’re ignoring that people of equally strong and certain belief interpret the authors’ intents completely differently. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that God is not the author of confusion – and yet this all-powerful deity was apparently incapable of guiding his scribes to write down his words and will in a way that didn’t require massive explanation, rationalization, and justification just to seem consistent? You’ve got to be joking.

    Here’s a sticky bit for you. The gospels of Matthew and Luke list the generations between Abraham and Jesus. Both of them go through the line of King David, as needed to fulfill a supposed prophecy. However, even going just two generations back gets you a vastly different list of people – and neither genealogy goes through Mary. I’ve seen people attempt to explain that one of them actually does go through Mary, but that it then switches back over to the patriarchal line (which makes absolutely no sense at all as anything but an ad-hoc rationalization). And it doesn’t help anyways, because even within a single gospel it’s inconsistent.

    If both genealogies descend from the line of David through Joseph, then Jesus didn’t fulfill the prophecy of being of King David’s bloodline. If he did, then he wasn’t God’s son. Whoops.

    The simple solution, of course, is that it’s fiction meant to tell a story and not actual history. But … that’s kind of what the atheists are saying, isn’t it?

  • Just wanted to point out, Robert, that you “refuted” two of them. Out of 439. You likely won’t bother to read the rest, will you? Shame.

  • Rollingforest

    Even if you find away to explain away the contradiction, that does not explain why God wrote his holy book so that it could be so easily confused. Or why God passed his faith down through a book that could be mistakenly copied, thus potentially changing the faith. Or why God allowed there to be so many different denominations of his faith. Or why he allows there to be so many other religions. Or why he then tied your ability to go to Heaven to your ability to cut through this mess. The whole thing is uselessly confusing.

    A better explanation? Humans created a faith and then added the “believe or you go to Hell” part in order to keep converts and motivate them to convert other people.

  • Samiimas

    I agree that their aren’t any contradictions in the bible unless you’re being an ignorant nitpicker with an axe to grind. It reminds me of those petty ignorant George Lucas haters who say he screwed up and didn’t know what a parsec was when the obvious explanation, if you give it any real thought, is that Han was talking about maneuvering around black holes and that’s why he uses a unit of distance like it’s a unit of time.

    That was sarcasm but I am actually that much of a nerd.

  • Atalaya

    To Samiimas:

    When millions of people devote their lives to religion, I think it is absolutely fair to point out the inconsistencies in their literalism. If people are fine with the inconsistencies and only follow the philosophies, that is still a huge problem, since they can get that morality and philosophy from a much more consistent and a much less insane source.

  • Chris

    On one hand, the numerical and ‘historical’ accuracy of the book does not bother me. It still remains morally devoid. So one could agree that the author is being nitpicky.

    But, then I realized; not all clerical errors might end in a contradiction.
    What of words, spelled similarly, yeilding a new meaning.

    No translated bible can be truly trusted.

  • Myk

    Seems to be a lot of duplicates in this list. I found two, different to the ones mentioned above. Not something you’d want to put on display anywhere.

  • Just wanted to pipe up again and say that liberal Christians often have the same complaints about what most commenters here bring up, wich is based on strict readings of The Bible. A huge swath of Christians understand the historical nature of the text and take it as it is.

    For instance, it is quite easy for a Christian to believe in evolution because it is pretty obvious that Genesis is a creation myth (actually several creation myths smashed together) and thus figurative. Lots and lots and lots of Christians are totally comfortable with that and carry that treatment of the text on through.

    The Bible not as an old newspaper, held to journalistic standards but a great poem that has carried through the years.

    More accurately, a bunch of great poems. And some crappy ones.

    Literature. Have you ever read anything that helped you understand your life?

  • Andy

    I think that Rollingforest made an excellent point:

    Even if you find away to explain away the contradiction, that does not explain why God wrote his holy book so that it could be so easily confused.

    Both sides to this debate are able to strain to make these contradictions into whatever they want them to be. I happen to think that a lot of the contradictions I have seen are pretty damning to the bible’s credibility and some attempts to dismiss them can seem quite desperate. I can also understand that those who take the opposing view will see me as the one who is clutching at staws.

    The important point is that whichever way you look at this chart, one of the conclusions you must draw is that the bible is hugely subject to interpretation. The fact that we are even having this debate about contradictions shows that the bible is not clear at all and one must choose a message, even if it is a stretch to see the one you want to see. The vast array of different Christian denominations all drawing from the same texts is further evidence of this.

    To me this suggests that there is in fact no correct interpretation of the bible at all, no one original message or intent. It’s just a bunch of stories written by lots of different people. Not the word of god.

    Also on the subject of copyist and translator errors, they might corrupt the original writings somewhat but without the first manuscripts who can say what is error and what is intended? I don’t know if there are any original manuscripts or not, but if so why on Earth would today’s bibles still be littered with these mistakes?

  • Jason

    That’s a lot, but some of those are pretty weak. I could explain #2 in about 20 seconds. I’m sure without a doubt thought that there are a few zingers in there that would take someone smarter than me to answer with any authority or might take me a while to explain. But, I like looking at the so called contradictions.

    Most of the people I know toss out the ol’ “the Bible contradicts itself” argument without looking at the context of what is being said or who it is being said to. So, in a weird way I like looking them up. But, that would be the stated purpose of the poster right? 🙂

    To the person who posted the CONTEXT You Tube link, you are very correct. Too often Christians only worry about what is going on when they hear or read something that they don’t like. As a student of the Bible, one should ALWAYS be looking at the historical, sociological and spiritual contexts of the passage. Too many of us do not. I myself am guilty of this as well from time to time, but I try to gather ALL of my facts before I make a determination as to what is being said in a passage.

  • Jagyr

    @Joel Barker:

    “Literature. Have you ever read anything that helped you understand your life?”

    Yeah, but it sure as shit wasn’t the Bible.

  • Joel, I don’t know what poetry you’ve read, but if you really consider the Bible to be a great poem, I’d suggest you read some more 🙂

    For instance, it is quite easy for a Christian to believe in evolution because it is pretty obvious that Genesis is a creation myth (actually several creation myths smashed together) and thus figurative.

    The problem here becomes that Jesus then died for the original sin of a man who never actually existed, although Jesus himself spoke of Adam as an actual person. You can say it’s figurative and that Jesus thus died for all of mankind’s sins, but it really doesn’t do much to make the story any less nonsensical: why does a human sacrifice pay for sin?

    The whole concept of substitionary atonement is raving mad, if you ask me. The idea that Jesus’ death could pay for our sins means that it only matters that God forgives us; the forgiveness of those whom we’ve harmed through our actions is utterly meaningless and not at all required for us to be sanctified. People love to say that this god is perfectly just, but there’s no justice in a system where the suffering of the people who we’ve actually wronged is totally immaterial to our salvation.

    (And Christians who believe in evolution face a whole slew of theological confusion that most of them never really consider. When did humans get our souls? Do all animals have them? Why was God’s best method for creating man such a sloppy method – one that required massive amounts of death and suffering? Why didn’t he show any kind of active interest in people until a few thousand years ago?)

  • Literature. Have you ever read anything that helped you understand your life?

    ironically, i think you’re more right than you know. so many believers of the bible struggle with issues like incest, rape and warmongering, murder, lying, infidelity, rioting, human sacrifice… the bible probably is a good guide for them, now that i think about it.

    For instance, it is quite easy for a Christian to believe in evolution because it is pretty obvious that Genesis is a creation myth

    this has *always* annoyed the crap out of me. if you accept that “well, some parts are just myth, darnit. ya got me there, pal” in the Minnesota Nice way that a lot of liberal Christians do, why then is it so hard to take the next step, and realize the whole thing is man-made, made up, not real, akin to Santa and the Easter Bunny? it’s not a big step. Christians and other believers in holy books that they confess are at least partly myth confuse the hell out of me. it’s like saying, “yeah, i love wine and steak and blue cheese and apple pie, but i’m not going to have any.”

  • Lauren

    Joel,

    I don’t think a huge swath of Christians interpret the Bible metaphorically, and I’m pretty sure that majority of people who refer to it as a historical document are Christians.

    A quick search of Americans that believe in Creationism yields thousands of results, this link being the first.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_publi.htm

    If it’s so obvious that creationism is a myth than why does it seem that a majority of Christians take the Genesis story literally true? It seems that believing the Bible is mythical fiction is actually a very small minority.

    I get this same argument from a cousin of mine who swears that most Christians are supportive of gay marriage, but a quick search will show that about 70% of Christians are opposed to equal rights for the gay community.

    I agree with Mike that there is MUCH better literature out there. People really do need to read more.

  • Tania R Guimaraes

    The problem for those who recommend reading the bible metaphorically is: One need to understand a very complex concept when interpreting symbols. Every symbol has an equivalent. For example: If you say to a child: Your father is locked up at work. The child will take it concretely. That is because the child has not been exposed to the symbolic meaning of being locked up. The child has time and the concrete equivalent in order to unveil all the meanings. But if you say to an adult: And then they rape the angel. The man ignored all while his wife was raped and killed. Then he went to a cave with his 2 daughters and those 2 daughters fought as to who would sleep with the father. What the hell is the concrete equivalent?
    Got it?

  • Tania R Guimaraes

    After reading the bible several times and in 3 different languages I concluded: I neither believe in God or the the devil, but if I had to what is described in the bible as a God is allot more satanic, allot more sadistic compared to what is described as the devil

  • RJ

    Who cares? You don’t need this chart to know that the stories in ALL ancient, “holy” scriptures are nothing more than mythology, ancient folk lore, parables, superstitions, whatever one chooses to label them. But the word of Gawd? C’mon. Who wrote these stories down? Gawd? No, scientifically ignorant, tent dwelling, sheep herders with a very basic understanding of the natural world. Only a tiny bit of independant and rational thought is needed to comprehend this.
    “Mountain blow top and ocean swallow coast because Gawd angry.” Right.
    Somewhere in the Amazon a witch doctor moans.

  • I’ll just stick with “where’s the objective evidence of your particular god ?”

    If you get into splitting hairs in the bible, you’re on their territory, and they can BS if you haven’t studied it thoroughly, which is too much work.

  • Wow. I wake up to this big list of things to respond to. Let me take them in order, as my green tea cools down.

    @Jagyr. I am glad that you are moved by texts. I love text and feel that I a great deal of my constitution is from texts I have had the joy to absorb. TS Eliot, Douglas Adams, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, Octavio Paz, Roland Barthes, Some textbook authors, and I suppose the The Bible are part of who I am, for better or worse. I feel pretty good about who I am and how I think and how I treat the world.

    I would not want to be dogmatic about it and tell others what to read and not to read, however. That would encourage a very boring, homogeneous, and authoritarian world.

    @MiketheInfidel: Firstly, I did not say The Bible is a singular poem, but a collection. And like I said, yeah, I do recall that a lot of it is pretty enjoyable. Song of Solomon certainly gets me thinking, and The Gospels are an amazing story, particularly if you read them all, seeing the same tale from a bunch of points of view.

    Or that is my recollection. I have not read The Bible in years. I am not a Christian.

    Your explication of Jesus’ sacrifice is one way of looking at the story. There are a lot of different ways to apply the story. I like your question “Why does a human sacrifice pay for sin?” I don’t quite understand myself, but in some churches the message is that we, all humans, can receive grace.

    That gets pretty complicated from there on out and I get confused. But I know that some Christians are moved by their faith to work for peace and justice and equality and to give people the space in their lives to feel like they belong in the world and that they have a right to feel good.

    Obviously I am no theologian. I certainly can’t defend every Christian viewpoint. Particularly the fundamentalist ones cause I don’t get where they are coming from at all. There are a ton of ways that Christianity is expressed. In literary criticism — and a ton of other humanity disciplines — people like to point out that there is always a gap of some sort between the sign and the signified. If the sign is “butter” then the gap is not that far and you can be pretty sure that when you ask for butter you will get the same thing most times.

    When the sign is a massive collection of words written by a passel of different authors with vastly different purposes, different languages, and different cultural contexts from all the readers, we are going to have a pretty big gap to the signfied.

    And if the signified is something metaphysical or moral as opposed to something substantial like butter (delicious butter) then the gap will be still further.

    And into that gap enters the reader, with the opportunity to make his own connections. To constitute himself in the texts. In all texts.

    Looping back around: There are a lot of ways to interpret The Bible, which people do to their own capabilities and convenience. Some of these interpretations suck. They are really dogmatic and assume that a single frail and flawed human, or a collection of them, have been able to read one book, parse the entire universe, and provide a single way that is right for everyone on the planet.

    I don’t react well to dogmatic stuff, particularly when it generalizes huge swaths of people..

    @chicago dyke. Sure, the whole thing is man made. It is written down. Some has some basis in history, or so I understand. But when we write things down, historical or not, we transform it by our choice of words, our arrangement of it, and our terrifically flawed memories. It becomes a work of art, it becomes about us.

    You have helped me see why some people get confused by the mix of myth and history in The Bible, Chicago Dyke. I think of all writing as fictionalizing, so I don’t hold The Bible to any higher standard than any other text. You point out that it (they — once again multiple sources for the books of The Bible) is inconsistent and that is just fine with me.

    The Bible is really written — you can agree with that, right? And there is some value in reading what someone took the time to right down.

    @Lauren. Yeah fundamentalism is scary. Those statistics are scary. They scare liberal Christians, too. I think that any dogmatic stance should be attacked, particularly when it demands a single point of view from large swaths of people or unjustly attaches a negative label to a whole population.

    The sense that Fundamentalism (as I understand it Fundamentalism is the belief that The Bible is the word of God) IS Christianity is obviously untrue. As atheiests who are proselytizing for your cause, I ask you:

    Is Fundamentalism your enemy or is it the perfect straw man with which you can attack all of Christianity?

  • Jon

    Wow – I’ve spent some time thinking of what to add to this thread. Joel’s last three paragraphs summarise what I was thinking, but far more eloquently than I was going to say…
    For the record, I’m a Christian (okay, I’m a Unitarian, which some people say doesn’t count…)

  • Robert W.

    I would say that it is safe to say that the vast majority of Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Written by man of course but directed by God. Some is obviously metaphorical, some is historical, some is literal and some is not. But all is the word of God.

    AS far as creationism, there are at least two camps- young earth creationists who take the more fundamentalist view and those that believe that God created the earth and all that’s in it, but that the story of creation is not a literal six day time period.

    Mike,

    I have looked at several more and find the same sort of problem. One, two and three for example. Some require a look at the context and an explanation, but I doubt most here would accept those so what is the point of going through them.

    The idea that Jesus’ death could pay for our sins means that it only matters that God forgives us; the forgiveness of those whom we’ve harmed through our actions is utterly meaningless and not at all required for us to be sanctified. People love to say that this god is perfectly just, but there’s no justice in a system where the suffering of the people who we’ve actually wronged is totally immaterial to our salvation.

    Would you really want your salvation dependent upon whether someone on Earth forgives you for the harm you did? If you harmed someone here in earth and they choose not to forgive you you salvation would be lost?

    Salvation is not a ledger system. For it to be that way would be unjust. you would never know where you are on the ledger system and what side of the line you are on. The assurance of salvation from the grace of God through belief in his son Jesus and the atonement for our sins comes through our belief in Him and what he did for us. Now if that “belief” is followed by continuing to act as you did before, harm people, be hateful, etc, then you have to question whether you believed in the first place. God knows a man’s heart, not us. But when you truly believe and accept Christ as your savior you become a changed person. Does that mean you won’t sin again? Of course not. But your reaction to others when you do should be to accept the harm you have done, seek forgiveness and become a better person.

  • I agree with RJ above. The bible is like some witch doctor saying “Mountain blow top and ocean swallow coast because Gawd angry.”

    There is not one shred of evidence that there is any kind of afterlife and all notions of “the fall” and salvation are pure human inventions.

  • Jon

    But why does it bother you if other people believe it?
    The belief is not the problem – it’s what people choose to do about it. If I try and impose my views on other people, then that’s bad. What my views are, if I keep quiet about them, is a seperate matter.

  • Robert W.

    Mike,

    Ok I’ve looked at quite a few more. Same problem. No contradictions in some and in others, not even talking about the same topic.

    For example those at 158, 300, 309, 314,386, 369 and 389 are not contradictions at all not even close.

    This “list” is disingenuous at best but more likely is outright deceiving on purpose.

  • noel44

    @Jon and Joel Barker

    Fundamentalism is not a straw man upon which atheists hack away ignorant of the myriad interpretations accepted by liberal religionists. It is simply not possible to address the multitudes of idiosyncrasies with regard to the interpretation of texts and the prescription of behaviors in anything like a systemic fashion (even among fundamentalists- they are a more heterogeneous group than is commonly thought). For the atheist looking on at liberal religion, one is as apt to find myriad differences from person to person and group to group which marks any particular interpretation as largely arbitrary if not downright capricious. Rather than address an individual’s interpretation, an atheist involved in debunking religion is interested in persuading people that the entire enterprise is ill thought out. By examining religious texts with a minimum of interpretation, an atheist hopes to avoid claims of bias while demonstrating that the bare texts are flawed and should therefore not be regarded as divinely inspired or otherwise special. In watching those of us who are liberal christians twisting and turning to make a coherent whole out of discordant passages, the atheist primarily points to the lack of necessity of doing so once one stops attributing a special status to the bible.

    Fundamentalism alone is not the problem. So using it as a strawman does not address the issues that an atheist may take with religion. While fundamentalism/literalism may be the most caustic form of religion, liberal religion can likewise be a source of ill for individuals and society. Additionally, liberal religion provides a milieu in which fundamentalism can take hold from its insistence on venerating some texts/practices as sacrosanct.

  • My perhaps too subtle point is that some atheists are terrifically dogmatic and rigid as Christian Fundamentalists and I think that is ironic, tragic, and quite unproductive.

  • Joel Barker

    some atheists are terrifically dogmatic and rigid as Christian Fundamentalists

    I am sure that in a large group whose only connection is a lack of belief in gods what you say is true for some. However that is entirely irrelevant.

    We’re discussing the contradictions and inconsistencies of the Bible. The point is that these exist. In order to reconcile these problems the religious adherent has to jump through some mental hoops to justify them or treat their holy book as poetry and ignore the problems with it.

  • Jon

    liberal religion can likewise be a source of ill for individuals and society.

    Could you expand on this, please? I’m working on the basis that liberal religion is, at worst, harmless, so if you’ve got examples of how it’s not, please explain.

  • Samiimas

    But why does it bother you if other people believe it?

    So when you meet someone who believes in Scientology, that Lord Xenu existed and seeded the Earth with thetans, it doesn’t ‘bother’ you that they believe in a ludicrous cult with absolutely no evidence?

    I know hypotheticals are useless and you’ll just give whatever answer is most convenient to you but we all all know that in reality no one gives any respect to Scientology no matter how private they are about their beliefs.

  • Jon

    I’ve signed up for a proper account here, but haven’t got the confirmation mail as yet, so in the meantime…

    we all all know that in reality no one gives any respect to Scientology no matter how private they are about their beliefs.

    I’ve never knowingly met any scientologists, but it would depend on what their beliefs called them to do.
    I’d be curious how they justified their beliefs to themselves, but I think that about lots of people. If I want to be tolerated for my private beliefs, I am obliged to tolerate other peoples.

  • Holy crap this is awesome!

  • Tim

    I’m really confused by the amount of negative comments on this, this is awesome. Was it time for some people to replenish their philosophical superiority complex with a dose of fellow-atheist-bashing? I grant you that this is a little…pointless, but it’s certainly eye-opening. It’s not petty, it’s meticulous. It’s not dishonest, it’s holding the Bible to the same standard of literalness that many Christians do. Or, maybe we just attracted some Christian trolls with this one.

  • Steve

    Definitely some trolling going on here. Lots of names I didn’t see before. That indicates that this entry was linked somewhere.

  • noel44

    @Joel Barker
    No problem. Your point wasn’t too subtle. I simply do not think that when an atheist addresses the bible literally they are necessarily acting in that way.

    @Jon
    I use the term “liberal”, with regards to religion, in contrast with “fundamentalist”. I think you would use that term with just a subset of the non-fundamentalists. So it’s my fault for not making that explicit. In all honesty, I am not sure whose use of the term is the accepted one. In either case, it’s still my bad. Please excuse me if I continue to use the term in the same way just to flesh out what I meant:

    I would say that just as the fundamentalists are not a homogeneous group, neither are the non-fundamentalists. Not all religious liberals take a completely relaxed and interpretive approach to their holy books/dogma but do so in varying degrees. While I am sure that there are liberal religious folks whose beliefs are largely benign, I know that does not hold true across the board.

    Given this, even liberal religion can engender chauvinism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia and other ills. Non-fundamentalist religion can lead people to adopt political positions which neglect the rights of minority citizens, fail to provide adequately for the disenfranchised, fail to take seriously our stewardship of the environment, compromise the education of our young people, and result in other nonproductive effects. Even liberal religion can inflict individuals with undue feelings of guilt, preoccupation with sin, fear, worry, and missed opportunities in life. The fundamentalists are a vocal minority but they do not have a monopoly on spreading the deleterious side effects of their belief system.

  • Jon

    No problem – it’s important to check we were both talking about the same thing.
    I was using ‘liberal’ as distinct from both ‘fundamentalist’, and ‘mainstream’, possibly even subconsciously defining it as ‘benign’.
    (I don’t know myself which is the accepted term, but as long as we both understand what each other means…)
    Given that, I can’t disagree with a word of your last post.
    When I’ve had more coffee, and am more awake, I’ll comment more.

  • Holly

    Hey, so I noticed a few people have been keen on dismissing Christianity as “pure mythology” or “pure human inventions without a shred of evidence.” I can empathize–sometimes I step back and the whole thing really seems TOTALLY far-fetched. But it’s a really compelling story, and if several men–over several thousand years–made it all up, wouldn’t they need a pretty strong motive like money or power to make them do it? I don’t see one though–the Bible’s theme is that people aren’t perfect, and God loves us regardless. How would that elaborate and hard-to-believe tale have helped along the alleged men who invented it? What was in it for them?

    As for the “contradictions” (many of which I find to be a bit nit-picky as well), I won’t claim that there aren’t confusing things about the Bible. Believe me—all Christians have doubts and questions (to which they don’t and won’t necessarily have all the answers, try as they might) about all of this, all the time. But if you look at the overarching theme of it, it’s that though we’ve proven throughout history that not one person ever to exist on this planet is perfect and without pride and self-serving nature (except Jesus), God loves each and every one of us DEEPLY, and wants only for us to love him and the people around us in return. Hard to believe? Yes. Physical evidence? Unless you believe the Bible, and see everything around us as evidence, No. This is faith and trust and humility, not reason and evidence! If it were easy to believe–or if God never let sin enter the world and MADE us believe in him–there would be no room for free will, no room for God’s grace and complete love for us to show through.
    And if anyone thinks someone is ‘delusional’ to believe that evil and Jesus’ resurrection and the unfathomable sacrifice and grace given by an all-powerful and yet loving God who deeply longs to fulfill the desires of our hearts, and longs for us to bring all our crap and burdens to lay at his feet so we can trust and KNOW him–if I am delusional to walk through life believing this and devoting my time to getting to know a God who may or may not exist–but who stands for Love itself–then how is that so bad? Aren’t there much worse delusions to suffer, worse things to be passionate about? Would we criticize someone who spent his whole life just being awesome at rock-climbing? I doubt it–we’d probably be impressed someone could have that much dedication and devotion to one thing. Spiritual faith and religion are even more impressive if you ask me–you’re passionate and devoted only to an idea–a promise–and to a tough way of life in a world that needs evidence that something is worthwhile and true. In today’s world it is so much easier not to believe in God.

  • snkillerbeast

    if there are so many ways to interpret the bible, so many ways to read it, whether to take it literally or not then you might as well be creating your own religion. As far as i am concerned, there should only be oNE way of reading/interpreting it since it is supposedly the word of god.

  • Troglodyke

    I must admit that I’m not terribly impressed. Obviously a lot of work went into this project, but the end result just looks like overkill to me. A single objection is sufficient to dismiss the entire bible: there isn’t a single shred of credible, verifiable evidence to substantiate supernatural claims. You don’t need a massive list of biblical contradictions to conclude that the absurdly impossible stories in the bible are complete bullshit.

    Gotta say I agree. I’m always amazed at the amount of time some people spend on what amounts to nitpicking (and never really changes people’s minds).

    I’ve read the bible and agree that it is a work of fiction that is sometimes poetic and sometimes boring as hell.

    What, exactly, is the need for a graphic like this? It looks like someone had way too much time on his hands, frankly. I don’t care about biblical errancy to the letter. Sorry, but I’ve got bigger fish to fry.

    I used to spend more time online in chat rooms and such debating the finer points of this, and then I decided it was a waste of time. If that’s how you choose to spend your precious time on earth, then go for it.

    I argue for the larger, more pressing issues, vote and am vocal when it counts, and I spend more time having respectful conversations with people about their beliefs. But you know what? Even that’s a small amount of my time in he grand scheme of things.

    To each his own. One the one hand, it’s a “do what you want as long as it hurts no one” thing, but on the other hand, this kind of nitpicky stuff makes atheists look ridiculous to some.

  • Steve

    @Holly
    Have you looked at the history of Christianity (particularly the Roman Catholic Church) from late Antiquity to about the 17th century? “Money or power” pretty much sum up the entirety of their motivations. For much of that time they acted pretty much as kings, trying to exert as much influence over people as possible. They amassed immense riches and were deeply involved in political affairs. For centuries it was impossible to become a king or ruler (or do some things when you were) without the blessing of the church, which naturally led to more than a few wars. In some countries (Germany for example), some bishops were powerful rulers – with the secular powers of an earl/duke/prince in their own right. The clergy had their hands in literally everything. It was all about power.

  • Holly

    Hi Steve–

    Thanks, yes I am well aware of the blunders of the past and present in the name of religion–and Christianity specifically. The thing is, that crap was not biblically founded–it was crummy people manipulating scripture and abusing power to do selfish, oppressive, and absolutely not-Christian things. And if you ask me a lot of what you’re talking about happened under the Catholic church. Martin Luther addressed in his 95 Theses a lot of the money/power problems and injustices you’re talking about, and the Protestant Church arose out of that. And even then there were protestants (or so-called) who did or do some awful things. But my point is that’s not what is written! The Bible didn’t “inspire” any of those kings or clergymen to go to war or steal money or oppress people–in fact, the Bible condemns those things in those circumstances unlawful. The Christian faith is not to blame for power struggles and war–weak and selfish people, who never cease to get things wrong, are. If you look at Numbers and Judges, the Israelites (who stand for all of us in general)–who had miracles and proof and deliverance from slavery and God’s word and blessing and his promise right in front of them the whole time–continuously screwed up over and over and served themselves though they had no reason NOT to believe in and love God above all things in return. The message I get from those books are that no matter what, no one is “good enough” to receive any grace or kindness. But God is good enough to make up for all of us combined. The history of the Church is evidence that not one of us is righteous, but it does not prove that men made it all up. I think there would have been much easier, more straightforward, less creative, more believable, less offensive, less complex and heavy tales to tell than all that’s in the Bible, if your only goal is to gain power, money, fame.

  • I’ll just stick with “where’s the objective evidence of your particular god ?” If you get into splitting hairs in the bible, you’re on their territory, and they can BS if you haven’t studied it thoroughly, which is too much work.

    I agree. Why bother picking apart their holy book when there are thousands of deities and scriptures from many different world religions? The Bible has nothing to do with atheism. Sadly, our culture makes it hard to discuss atheism without addressing the beliefs of the dominant religion in our society. I get tired of playing that game.

    Is Fundamentalism your enemy or is it the perfect straw man with which you can attack all of Christianity?

    It’s easy to pick on fundamentalism because it’s scary and extreme and quite obviously immoral, but that doesn’t mean we should go soft on other forms of Christianity. Obviously liberal Methodists may have more palatable social views, but their beliefs are every bit as false as those of their fundamentalist brethren. If we’re going to “attack” Christianity, we should do so because their supernatural assertions make no sense and are completely unsupported, not because some forms of the religion are nice and the others are nasty. Although I will admit it’s easier to feel comfortable with people who reject the nasty parts of their belief system. When Christians rid their theology of concepts like hell and sin, that does away with most of the harmful bits that I can think of. The supernatural beliefs still aren’t true, but at that point they’re (mostly) benign.

  • Sam Boychuk

    Here is Contradictions in Contradictions in the Bible. 🙂

    contraContra.pdf

  • Jon

    Hm – I’ve registered, posted on the forums, but can’t log in to post here – do I need to register seperately?
    Anyway..
    @Anna said:

    Obviously liberal Methodists may have more palatable social views, but their beliefs are every bit as false as those of their fundamentalist brethren. If we’re going to “attack” Christianity, we should do so because their supernatural assertions make no sense and are completely unsupported, not because some forms of the religion are nice and the others are nasty

    So, you don’t like the fact that their beliefs have a supernatural basis, even though ethically, you can’t necessarily fault them? Doesn’t that imply that a dishonest atheist is better than an honest theist?
    (Not meaning to imply anyone here is dishonest, but hopefully you see what I mean).
    To me, someone can believe what they like – it’s their actions for their beliefs that matter.

  • Holly

    If we’re going to “attack” Christianity, we should do so because their supernatural assertions make no sense and are completely unsupported

    The main quality of all things that are supernatural and faith or belief-based is that there IS no scientific proof. Keep in mind that using the same train of logic there is also no proof or support that there ISN’T God or anything else unseen. What “makes sense” to someone is totally relative.

    If anyone would like to further educate themselves on the Christian platform (not fundamentalist, ps), I’m starting to read “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” and it deals with a lot of doubts and issues even Christians have about their faith. In my opinion the author Tim Keller is a very sensible, logical and down-to-earth guy—no echoes of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps or the like in sight. It’s definitely worth a look or a preview if you’re interested to see why and how so many reasonable and intelligent people believe what appears to be pure mythology to most.

  • Jon,

    Hm – I’ve registered, posted on the forums, but can’t log in to post here – do I need to register seperately?

    I’ve never had to register or log in to post comments. Once Hemant has verified your e-mail address, the software should recognize you automatically whenever you try to leave a comment. I only have to enter my information once, and it remembers me until I clear my cache.

    So, you don’t like the fact that their beliefs have a supernatural basis, even though ethically, you can’t necessarily fault them?

    Well, it’s not really a question of liking. I mean, yes, I suppose I don’t like that people have beliefs that are patently false, simply because I think it’s better for people to believe true things rather than false things. That’s not just about religion, but about everything. Whether I like the beliefs doesn’t matter. Reincarnation, for example, is a nice idea, but I don’t think it’s true, and for that reason, I don’t think people should believe in it.

    Doesn’t that imply that a dishonest atheist is better than an honest theist?

    I’m not seeing the connection? I didn’t say anything about honesty. People’s private beliefs aren’t a moral question to me, as long as the people are not promoting things (like eternal torture) that are immoral. So if someone believes in a warm-fuzzy god and a warm-fuzzy afterlife, I’m not going to call them immoral. I don’t think it makes them any less moral, just like I’m not more moral because I lack belief in the supernatural. I think you measure morality by actions, not thoughts. I don’t believe in thought crime.

    To me, someone can believe what they like – it’s their actions for their beliefs that matter.

    Exactly. And I fully support people being able to believe what they like. It’s just that I wish they wouldn’t believe things that aren’t true. But of course it’s not my decision to make. If their beliefs make them happy and don’t hurt anyone else, I’m not going to be as hard on them as I would be on someone who believes really awful things. For example, two of my closest friends are “symbolic Pagans” (their term) and I think their beliefs are completely benign. I cannot fault them morally, even though I feel the beliefs are silly and untrue.

  • Holly,

    The main quality of all things that are supernatural and faith or belief-based is that there IS no scientific proof. Keep in mind that using the same train of logic there is also no proof or support that there ISN’T God or anything else unseen. What “makes sense” to someone is totally relative.

    Well, yes, that’s sort of my point. It “makes sense” to them, but since there is absolutely no evidence to support their supernatural assertions, I don’t understand why they would be surprised to hear criticism. If they can’t provide evidence of the supernatural, they shouldn’t be shocked when we call them on their assumption that deities are real. Particularly since they’re not just claiming theism; they’re claiming monotheism and a particular deity from a particular monotheistic culture.

  • Jon

    @Anna
    Sorry, I wasn’t clear with:

    Doesn’t that imply that a dishonest atheist is better than an honest theist?

    What I meant was ‘is it more important to have a nonreligious mindset than it is to have good ethics?’
    From the sounds of it we agree that the answer to that is No. People can believe what they like, as long as they behave morally – I think we only disagree that in an ideal world, you’d prefer peoples beliefs not to be based on religion, wheras I don’t mind.

  • Jon

    Aha – and I’ve worked out my confusion with registration. It’s just me being a moron… I thought there was a seperate registration for this, and there isn’t…

  • JD

    While you can’t prove the existence or nonexistence of god, you can test some specific claims made by the religious. For example, the claim that prayer heals, which has been tested. My understanding is that once you take out the part where the patient is told they are being prayed for (placebo effect), there’s no statistically significant effect. I recall that just telling people they’re being prayed for, even when they really aren’t, is a lot more beneficial than praying for them and not telling them.

  • Rich Shipe

    The first one I looked at was number 2. “Was Abraham justified by faith or by works? rom 4:2 =? jam 2:21”

    Romans 4:2 says: “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.”

    James 2:21 says: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?”

    But if you keep reading in James: “[22] You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; [23] and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God.”

    It is difficult to take this visual seriously if it doesn’t take the Bible seriously. You can believe it to be wrong, that’s your choice. But to not approach an ancient document on its own terms is not intellectually fair. Biblical interpretation is not a loosey goosey affair but is backed by real scholarship.

    The visual should be redone with a little more thought. Clearly the bulk of the effort was put into the graphic arts of it. (Nice job there!)

    Regardless of what you believe, it is truly remarkable how consistent the Bible is with itself having been written by so many authors over such a large span of time. That is either a miracle or a probability that rivals evolution. Is it ok to tell that kind of joke here? 🙂

  • Justin

    As has been pointed out, 99% of these are “contradictions” only if read as such, and not if really studied.

    99% of these have also been explained ad nauseum over the past 2,000 years. I guess we need to keep educating atheists, though, in how to interpret scripture.

    But yes, this smacks of dishonesty, since the vast majority are only contradictions if read at a 3rd grade level.

  • Kanna-Chan

    Do all atheists assume all Christians believe everything in the Bible? I am Christian and I don’t believe everything in the Bible. Not even close to it.

  • Markywarky

    Wow, a whole shoal of red herrings. There’s only one contradiction in the bible that matters, which to me disproved the whole theory:

    God loves you, vs what God actually does or allows to happen.

  • Markywarky

    @Kanna-Chan, so how do you decide which bits to believe and which bits to ignore? And how can you be a Christian if you ignore ANY of God’s word?

  • RT

     The Bible is hardly consistent.  Reconciling the contradictions within it often (I won’t claim always) relies on ad hoc explanations and astounding mental gymnastics.  These explanations are viewed as reasonable undertakings because Christians start from viewpoint that “The Bible doesn’t have contradictions.”  Their reasoning is circular and their faith is poorly placed.

    The consistency which is present within is hardly remarkable when you take into consideration that the stories of the Bible have the earmarks of editing by later authors, that the authors had access to previous works and that there are a number of other books not chosen for inclusion due to their not fitting as well with the those that were selected.  Taking all this into consideration  “Naked Came the Stranger” is a far more miraculous book than the Christian Bible.

    If the Bible were actually consistent than the Christian God would clearly be suffering from some form of mental disorder such as schizophrenia, manic depression or psychopathy.