Bible Inconsistencies

[First posted 9/20/07] Evangelicals will typically quote from the Bible to settle any question it speaks directly about, since they believe it’s God’s word. Some fundamentalists will repeat the phrase, “God said it, that settles it.” Using proof texts like those found in II Peter 1:21 where it’s said the prophets of old “spoke the words of God,” and II Timothy 3:16 which says Scripture is “God breathed,” they claim the very words in the Bible are from God (see also Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 17:17; Romans 3:2; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 15:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 4:15; I Timothy 5:18; Hebrews 1:1; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 3:2). However, there are several serious problems with this view:

It should be noted from the outset that there are several Christian theories of what it means to say the Bible is inspired. First, there is the “dictation” or “mechanical” theory, in which it’s believed God woodenly dictated the very words to the Biblical writers like someone might dictate a letter to a secretary. This is now almost universally rejected by Christians, since it’s obvious that each of the Biblical writers had a distinct style and vocabulary. Second, there is the “verbal-plenary” theory. It is “verbal” in that the very words in the Bible are God’s, although (somehow) not dictated by God. The end product is all that’s affirmed here, that the Bible is the very word of God, not how God accomplished this. It is “plenary” in that it’s believed that Bible is completely inspired in all of its parts. Some of those who believe in the verbal-plenary theory also believe that the Bible is the “inerrant” word of God containing no errors at all; while others maintain that the Bible may be regarded as their “infallible” rule of faith and practice in all religious, and ethical matters, but not in historical and scientific matters. Third, there is the “illumination” theory, where it’s believed God “breathed on” or illuminated the Biblical writers who then translated this so-called religious experience into words. Thus, the Bible does not contain the exact words of God; it only contains God’s thoughts as expressed through human beings, and as such, only the main thoughts of the Bible are inspired. Fourth, Karl Barth along with other neo-orthodox Christian thinkers affirm that the Bible is a “witness” to God’s revelation and not God’s revelation itself. God uses the Bible in a unique way when read or proclaimed to speak to people, although God could also use a Russian flute concerto to do so. Lastly, liberal Christians have adopted what can be called as that the “natural” theory, in that Biblical writers were only inspired in the sense that a poet is inspired. According to them, the spark of divine inspiration that is supposedly in us all burned a little brighter in their lives.

None of these theories have any evidence for them. Norman L. Geisler, for instance, claims that the resurrection of Jesus proves he is the divine Son of God, and as such, his words are God’s words. Therefore, since Jesus purportedly said to his disciples that the Spirit of God will “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13), and that it will “teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26), Geisler claims Jesus “guaranteed the inspiration of the New Testament.” There are a few problems with this, not the least of which is that even most conservative Biblical scholars do not think many of these twelve disciples, whom Jesus was directly speaking to, wrote anything. Paul was not there, nor was Mark, nor Luke, nor the author of Hebrews, nor the brothers of Jesus who supposedly wrote James and Jude. Some conservative scholars do not think the disciples Matthew or John wrote the gospels attributed to them, but that they were the product of two schools of thought. This leaves us with little or nothing that any of the disciples wrote who might have been present when Jesus purportedly spoke the words Geisler refers to.

Let me take aim here at the verbal-plenary view of inspiration, since that’s the overwhelming consensus among evangelical fundamentalist Christians. There are “errors of interpretation,” where the New Testament writers misinterpreted many Old Testament texts. There are “scientific errors” when it comes to the Genesis creation accounts. And if my arguments against the historicity of the Fall in the garden of Eden, Noah’s flood, the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, the virgin birth of Jesus, the existence of Joseph of Arimathea, and Jesus’ resurrection are correct, then there are “historical errors,” some of which are fatal to the Christian faith itself. There are also “ethical errors” when it comes to the Inquisition, witch burnings, honor killings and slavery. These kinds of arguments are strong evidence against those Christians who affirm the Bible is “infallible,” rather than “inerrant.” So let me briefly address a few Biblical “inconsistency errors” that provide strong evidence against the claim that the Bible is “inerrant.” To do this I will utilize the arguments of Christian scholars who affirm the Bible is “infallible” against those who affirm “inerrancy.”

Stephen T. Davis, in The Debate About the Bible, argues against “inerrancy” and affirms instead “infallibility.” He argues that “the phenomena of Scripture do not support the claim that the Bible is inerrant.” Among the problems he argues for is the brutality of the Canaanite conquest (See Joshua 11:1-23. Davis says, “I frankly find it difficult to believe that it was God’s will that every Canaanite—man woman, and child—be slaughtered”); David’s numbering of his people (did God provoke him to do this as in II Samuel 24:1-2, or did Satan, as in I Chronicles, 21:1-2?); the mustard seed problem (Jesus said it was the smallest seed in Matthew 13:31-32, but it’s not the smallest seed); Matthew (27:9-10) claims to be quoting from Jeremiah (but “the quoted words are found nowhere in Jeremiah”); and the staff problem (did Jesus tell his disciples to take a staff with them, as we see in Mark 6:8, or not, as seen in Matthew 10:9-10?).

Paul J. Achtemeier, in The Inspiration of the Scripture, is a Christian thinker who understands Biblical inspiration as a “witness” inside the ongoing progressive nature of the community of faith. He wrote: “That there are errors in the ‘plain and obvious’ sense of Scripture has long been seen by those not committed to their denial.” Then he fills several pages of examples of these types of errors. One of the most interesting errors he uses to illustrate his point concerns how many times the cock will crow before Peter has denied Jesus three times. In Mark 14:30, Jesus says the cock will crow twice before Peter denies Jesus three times, while in Matthew 26:34; Luke 22:34 and John 13:38, Jesus is reported to have said before the cock crows just once Peter will deny him three times. And true to what each gospel says would happen is what happened. But they disagree with each other. Such a problem as this forced inerrantist Harold Lindsell in his book Battle for the Bible, to suggest that Peter didn’t just deny Jesus three times, but six times, with three of them taking place before the first crowing (following Matthew, Luke, and John) and three of them taking place before the second crowing (as in Mark). Achtemeier however, doesn’t let him get away with this. Of Lindsell’s argument he wrote, “He has thus convincingly demonstrated that none of the four (gospels) is inerrant, since none of them know what really happened, i.e., six denials. All claim three.”

Bart Ehrman, in Misquoting Jesus, highlights the crisis of faith he had in believing the Bible was inspired when doing a research paper concerning who was the high priest when King David and his hungry men went into the temple to eat. In I Samuel 21:1-6 it says Ahimelech was the high priest, but in Mark’s gospel (2:25-26) we find Jesus saying Abiathar was the high priest. Ehrman developed a “bit convoluted” argument trying to harmonize this discrepancy. But when his professor suggested that Mark might have “just made a mistake,” he realized, in his words, “I had to do some pretty fancy exegetical footwork to get around the problem, and that my solution was in fact a bit of a stretch. I finally concluded, ‘Hmmm…maybe Mark did make a mistake. Once I made that admission, the floodgates opened. For if there could be one little, picayune mistake in Mark 2, maybe there could be mistakes in other places too.”

Let me mention of few of them that troubled me the most as I was thinking about the inspiration and authority of the Bible. One) In Galatians 3:8, and 3:16, Paul indicates the promise to Abraham was to one child, or “seed”, which he says is Christ. In Genesis 12:7; 13:15 and 24:7, however, the original word in Hebrew is a plural word, “seeds.” The promise was not, as Paul said, to one particular seed, Jesus, but to Abraham’s children. Two) In Galatians 3:17 Paul claimed that the law came 430 years after Abraham received the promises from God, but according to Exodus 12:40-41 the Israelites lived in Egypt 430 years. They both cannot be accurate. Three) In Ephesians 4:8 Paul misquotes Psalms 68:18. Did Christ give gifts to the church (Ephesians) or did he receive gifts from the church (Psalms). To say Paul captured the intent of the quote due to Christ’s coronation, in which the giving and receiving of gifts usually take place, is not the same thing as quoting it accurately. Four) When did Jesus cleanse the temple? It’s simply not credible that he did it twice. Compare John 2:13-25, where Jesus did this at the beginning of his ministry, with Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15-17, and Luke 19:45-46, where they claim he did it during the week before he was crucified. There is even disagreement between Matthew Mark and Luke on which day during that week Jesus cleansed the temple! Five) How many Israelites were killed by a plague? Were 23,000 killed, as reported in I Corinthians 10:8, or 24,000, as seen in Numbers 25:9? Six) Who killed the large and mighty Goliath of the Philistines? Did David (I Samuel 17), Elhanan (II Samuel 21:19), or did Elhanan kill Goliath’s brother (I Chronicles 20:5)? Seven) Was Jarius’ daughter dying or already dead when he approached Jesus to ask him to do a miracle in her life (Matthew 9:18 or Mark 5:23)? Eight) What did the Centurion do and say concerning his servant who needed healing (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10)? What did Jesus say? What did the people say? Who said what and when? In one account Jesus makes a statement, but in another account it was the people who made it. Nine) The writer of the book of Hebrews uses a mistranslation to argue a point. The word in Hebrews 10:5 is “body,” but in Psalms 40:6 it is “ears.” Ten) What exactly happened and when on the day Jesus was supposedly resurrected?

Valerie Tarico reveals just how Christians argue with regard to Bible inconsistencies in her book, The Dark Side. She writes, “a whole industry has sprung up to convince believers and non-believers alike that these difficulties are inconsequential.” She quotes from Gleason Archer’s Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, where he tells his readers that when looking at the Bible one must first assume God inspired the authors and preserved them from error or mistake. Then she writes, “Archer says, essentially that the reader must start the process of inquiry by assuming a certain outcome. Don’t look for the most likely hypothesis suggested by the evidence, he says, nor the one that is most likely straightforward or reasonable. Start by believing that a certain conclusion is already true…Examine the evidence through the lens of that conclusion…Ask yourself, ‘What explanations or interpretations can I come up with that would allow me to maintain my belief that these texts are not contradictory?’ If you can find any at all, then you have succeeded in your task. By implication, if you cannot, the problem lies with you, not the text. Archer’s approach, in almost any other field of inquiry, would be considered preposterous.” I wholeheartedly agree.


Anonymous said...

Great article,
I love the way you used two inconsistent christain arguments to address a problem with biblical inconsistencies.

This is the first time that I have seen anyone besides Dennis McKinsey recognize the problem of Goliaths death.

The heads of that Christian Hydra will eat each other in the face of a skilled combatant. It kind of like redirecting inertia....wax on, wax off....;-)

Its like Ninja Debunking.

Steven Carr said...

I'm sure we have the experience where debating a Christian and he says that there are no contradictions in the Bible.

We then say (perhaps about evil spirits coming from God, or God hating people), Bible passage A says X.

They then counter by saying , but look, Bible passage B says Y, which is the opposite of X.

If the Bible does not contradict itself, then why do they think they are refuting us by quoting Bible passages which say the opposite of 'our' Bible passages?

Anonymous said...

I think those who try to define inerrancy force it to die the death of a thousand qualifications, so to speak. My former professor, Dr. Paul Feinberg, did this in “The Meaning of Inerrancy” in Inerrancy, ed., Norman L. Geisler (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980), pp. 267-304. Feinberg argues that inerrancy does not demand strict adherence to the rules of grammar; nor historical or semantic precision; nor does it demand the technical language of modern science; nor verbal exactness in its use of quotations; nor does it demand we have the exact words of Jesus. He even goes so far as to say “inerrancy does not demand the infallibility or inerrancy of the non-inspired sources used by biblical writers” (p. 302). But anyone familiar with the J.E.D.P. theory or the Two Source Hypothesis with regard to the composition of the four gospels knows that if Feinberg is correct, then much of the NT and OT can be in error, and yet he can still affirm inerrancy.

Anonymous said...

thats classic equivocation in the tradition of "god is good in his own way" and in the attempt to redefine science in the Kansas ID trial.

Those Christians are a wily bunch.

Brother D said...

Without the Holy Spirit living within you (the author) how do you expect to understand what the bible says? I could spend all day explaining supposed contradictions. Regarding abraham and his seed, seeds etc

Romans 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

So which is it, are we many or are we one? Both. Is that a contradiction? No. When a husband and wife have sex, the bible says they are one flesh, sure looks like two to me, but I can certainly understand how "one flesh" fits the bill as well. Contradiction? No. The list is endless.

1 Corinthians 1
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought.

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

You are the disputers of this world, it appears that the Creator of the Universe is purposefully throwing monkey wrenches into your machinery. I just explained to you one of the many many ways that the bible means what it says, does not contradict itself yet throws you curve balls that you'll never make contact with. Another example is Goliath. Within the same passages you use to cast doubt on who killed Goliath, it says that David AND his servants....killed the sons of the giant, why do you conveniently leave that part out?

And there was again war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. 6 And there was again war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand , and six on each foot ; and he also was born unto the giant. 7 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David's brother slew him. 8 These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

"These" Plural....were born unto the giant in Gath. The sons of the Giant fell by David AND his servants, where's the contradiction? A giant had sons, David and his servants killed those (plural) SONS of the giant. The list is endless of the bible debunking your debunking. Again, nothing disproved, just debunked, yes it is, no it isn't, yet it is, no it isn't. debunking at its finest....

Don Martin said...

And it all goes back to the irrational way Christians view the Bible...which is as a holy, sacred or "magic" book rather than something that is simply a book. Fundamentally (pun intended), what they do is get to the place where the bible says what THEY want it to say...a kind of mirror of their own personal epiphany and what they "need" it to say. Or it becomes a tool to the groupthink of evangelicalism.

Thanks, John, for a great synopsis of the biblical argument.

Ulyanov said...

I thing there are answers to all of this, but I want to know something.

Hasn't Mr. Loftus said that even if all his questions were answered and the proof he demands were provided, that he would not accept Christianity anyway?

So, philosophically speaking, what difference does it make.

From the atheist point of view, all our fates will be the same.

Different strokes for different folks!!!

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

John: A brilliant post, I second Lee's praise of it. A minor quibble -- (oh, stop groaning!) -- doesn't the 'two source hypothesis' just refer to the synoptics, with John seen as a much later work not dependent on 'proto-Mark' and Q?

I wish you'd also dealt with the four sources of the Pentateuch, which seems to be as confirmed as anything in the study of the history of the Bible -- and has been for nearly 3 centuries.

Again (and I'm not arguing, just handing you more arrows for the quiver) there are those stories that are obviously unhistorical because if they had been true, somebody -- other than the Biblical mythagogues -- would have noticed. I mean things like Matthew's 'slaughter of the innocents' and 'march of the dead,' the drowning of Pharaoh and his army -- which would have caused some neighboring country to invade -- and the wealth of Solomon's kingdom.

Anonymous said...

Great post, John.

dbull: How are the killer of Goliath, the number of time's the cock crowed, or the day of the week of the temple incident comparable to the figurative language of Romans 12:5?

Ulyanov: I can't speak for John, but I know I have several moral quibbles with salvation religions, Jesus's death, and the god of the OT that would remain even if Jesus came to speak to me personally. Whether something is likely to be true and whether something is appealing to an individual are two different questions.

D. A. N. said...

DBULL said... "Without the Holy Spirit living within you (the author) how do you expect to understand what the bible says?"

Nothing more needs to be said? Good one DBull

IrishFarmer said...

Wow. Didn't realize you were going to hurl so many elephants, John. :)

Actually, its not that bad, I can answer several of your contradictions at once in many cases.

I'm an inerrantist only insofar as I have yet to see a good error. That rooster crowing thingy sounds like it might be good, but I haven't looked into it quite yet.

Shygetz said...

dbull said (and dan marvin agrees) "Without the Holy Spirit living within you (the author) how do you expect to understand what the bible says?"

Yeah, and unless you believe in ESP, it doesn't work. Unless you believe in the revelation of John Smith, you cannot understand the brilliant Truth of the Book of Mormon. Unless you have been touched by His Noodly Appendage, you cannot understand the glory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Parmesean Be Upon Him).

Unless you believe in faeries, you can't see them. It's called special pleading, and it's not allowed. Try again.

Ben said...

I'm not trying to be rude (this time), but someone enlighten me about this mustard seed business? No, I'm serious. Does the Bible say the mustard seed is the smallest seed? And is it, in fact, the smallest seed?

How is this a matter of having or not having the holy spirit in you?

Bill said...

So let me get this straight DBULL and Dan: unless someone has "the Holy Spirit" (as defined by your understanding of Scripture) living within them, then that person cannot evaluate the relative truthfulness of the Bible in any way, shape or form? I just want a yes or no answer on that.

BTW, how can you even tell--experientially--if you have the Holy Spirit or not? If you say the "fruits of the Spirit," then why is it that non-believers are able to show fruits of love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, etc. If you say they can't, then you're not looking around you. There are plenty of good people of all faiths and no faith who don't have your understanding of the Holy Spirit. It just sounds like an easy out to me. So then why do you even bother engaging in dialog with a group of no-good atheists, agnostics, and backsliders like us? To flaunt your superior knowledge and status before God? To rub in that the rest of us have no hope of ever understanding the Bible, because we don't have the Holy Spirit? C'mon, guys. At what point do you say to yourself, "Gee, my arguments are getting way out there. I really don't have an honest answer to the Bible's inconsistencies. I just believe it, that's all, I don't really have a reason beyond that."

Irishfarmer, I half-way see myself in you--you're me about 10 years ago--so I have some natural respect because of the similarity in conviction. However, I don't respect the fact that when confronted with the evidence you can't admit a problem exists with Biblical consistency or the so-called Messianic prophecies. Blame these problems on anything but God if you want, but at least admit that there are some very real, obvious problems! The things John brought up in this article would trouble me if I were in your shoes (I was...they did!). You'd recognize similar types of inconsistencies in the Koran or the Book of Mormon, wouldn't you? And you're quick to point out what you feel are inconsistencies in the articles here. Why not bring the same level of intellectual curiosity and honest to the Scriptures?

Jason said...

Uh oh....someone's brought out the Holy Spirit we go...

Stu Sherwin said...

It's true, without the Holy Spirit living inside you, you can never understand or appreciate the Bible.

Just like without the spirit of Charles Darwin living inside you, you can't hope to understand or criticise the Origin of Species.

And anyone trying to understand the theory of relativity who isn't trusting the spirit of Einstein to guide them hasn't a chance.

Shygetz said...

stu, whose spirit can I appeal to in order to truly understand quantum mechanics?

'Cause that one's a real bitch.

Bill said...

LOL thanks, Shygetz. You made my weekend!

Stu Sherwin said...

Maybe the spirit of Richard Feynman?

"I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics."
-Richard Feynman

OK maybe not.

How about Schrödinger?

"I do not like [Quantum Physics], and I am sorry I ever had anything to do with it."
-Erwin Schrödinger

Maybe I should end my comments with /sarcasm ;-)

Unknown said...

I am a Christian, and I don't find that these biblical inconsistencies undermine what I believe. If arguments like these were so compelling there wouldn't be many Christians around. It's not like these are new issues that Christians need to account for.

I am very aware of the inconsistent genealogy of Jesus, the different time line for the cleansing in John's Gospel etc. What I ask myself if these inconsistencies really undermines the main story. That Jesus was crucified, died, and rose again three days later.

In the end the inconsistencies outlined here are not surprising considering how ancient the texts are, but the bible is surprisingly consistent in so many other ways.

I don't see how these say anything directly about whether the events they speak about actually happened or not. For example, the four gospels tell us that a cleansing in the temple happened. It is also consistently reported to us that Jesus died on the cross, and was alive again three days later. If the time line from one Gospel is off it doesn't mean I have to throw out the whole story as completely false. The fact that the bible has these issues lends credibility to the document instead of undermining it in my view. Something as ancient as the bible with no errors of any kind would be more unbelievable.

Anyway for me, there are more compelling reasons to believe then these types of arguments compel me not to believe.

Bill said...

Christopher said, "I am a Christian, and I don't find that these biblical inconsistencies undermine what I believe."

Then what would it take for you to lose your confidence in the Bible? I'm guessing that you're not even thinking in such terms--I wasn't when I was a sincere believer. I had no intention of making contingency plans.

"If arguments like these were so compelling there wouldn't be many Christians around."

That's a good question, but not a valid argument against the evidence. Many Christians (again, such as myself) never seriously and studiously explored the skeptic's objections to faith. My only exposure to them was by way of Norm Geisler's "When Critics Ask" and other thick volumes of explanations for the many contradictions of the Bible. They provided answers, but (unbeknown to me) they weren't adequately explore the spectrum of skeptical argumentation, nor the depth of such arguments.

"In the end the inconsistencies outlined here are not surprising considering how ancient the texts are, but the bible is surprisingly consistent in so many other ways."

No, they aren't surprising at all. The Bible is a painfully human book. A truly "God-breathed" tome would not contain errors of any sort. Psalm 119 claims as much. That is, if your conception of God is that he is all-knowing, ever-present, and able to do anything. Perhaps he put the errors in there deliberately because he loves confusion (Deut. 28:28)?

"The fact that the bible has these issues lends credibility to the document instead of undermining it in my view."

Do you lend the same sort of credibility to the Koran and the Book of Mormon? Why not? They too record certain happenings with conviction. I'd love to know why you reject such books. Then I would have you apply the same level of scrutiny to your own Book.

"Something as ancient as the bible with no errors of any kind would be more unbelievable."

I'm curious to know why you think that? I'm sure an ancient book with superior knowledge and zero errors would convince the world that there is a God!

"Anyway for me, there are more compelling reasons to believe then these types of arguments compel me not to believe."

Ok, we have a good conversation going here. The ball is back in your court. What compelling reasons cause you to believe?

Chris Wilson said...

I like to think of it as a frequency that some aren't tuned into. Perhaps believers have a tuner/receiver in their brains that's tuned into a frequency that picks up a signal from the Almighty that unbelievers aren't tuned into. It's not that they can't, its just that they haven't turned the dial or rearranged their pre-sets.

Shygetz said...

If arguments like these were so compelling there wouldn't be many Christians around.

Well, if you (like many Evangelicals) do not consider Catholics to be Christians, then you just made an argument for Islam, which would be the most popular religion, followed by Catholicism, followed by Hinduism, followed by Bhuddism, followed by Protestants.

And the Non-religious/atheists outnumber the Hindus, suggesting that an awful lot of people see through all 31 flavors of nonsense.

As P.T. Barnum well knew, people are willing to believe all kinds of crazy shit, as long as it makes them feel good, helps them belong to a crowd, or is weird enough to be novel.

Caleb said...

An excellent post. It effectively sums up the entire issue in a concise and reasonable fashion. This was easily one of the most important issues in contributing to my own "deconversion," and it pains me to this day that so few belivers understand (or make any attempt to understand) the convoluted origins of their own sacred Scriptures.

Paul said...

So, do you all believe different authors just made up similar stories by chance? And peoples own experiences with temptation, demons, the Holy Spirit and eye witness accounts of Jesus after the resurrection are just made up? If so why do you believe they would make up a religion in which they were persecuted under? Do you believe Jesus actually existed or do you believe someone just decided to make him up one day too. What about all the prophesies fulfilled in Jesus?

ChrisMattG said...

John 10:26-27
"but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."

Even if provided with all the evidence in the world, the non-elect are incapable of belief. If you are not part of the flock, you will not believe. So argue about inconsistencies/contradictions all you want, even if these were removed, and Jesus Himself came down and slapped you upside the head, you would not believe.

Makrothen said...

There is an additional error in the story of David and Ahimelech as told in Mark, besides getting the priest’s name wrong. In Mark 2:26, Jesus speaks of David and “those who were with him.” But David had no one with him when he “entered the house of God,” as we see from the question which Ahimelech poses to him: “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” (1 Samuel 21:1) (cited from, in the comment to Mark 2:26)
It’s also important to note that it’s not just contradictions that undermine the Bible. There are many passages which, when viewed with other passages, are perhaps not contradictory, but highly implausible. So the improbabilities are just as damaging as the strict contradictions. In a forum such as this, there is never enough space to fully lay out the arguments as to why the Bible should not be taken as divinely inspired, but there are more resources available now that give a fuller treatment to these issues. In addition to the which I already cited, there is a new book that just focuses on the contradictions and difficulties of the New Testament. It is The Atheist’s Introduction to the New Testament, by Mike Davis, and it will give the Christians fits – if they ever dare to read it.

Unknown said...

I'm an inerrantist only insofar as I have yet to see a good error.

That was satire, right? A conditional inderrantist..

A good error?
Now we're parsing errors, Whats the error scoring system?

Bill Clinton had better arguments.
"I guess that depends on the meaning of "is""
"Oral sex is not sex"

Unknown said...

Without the Holy Spirit living within you (the author) how do you expect to understand what the bible says?

A weak, (and that's a stretch) cop out. A lttle better than "It's god's will". These absolutes kill me. The door slammer that reinforces your unsupportable denial of alternative possibilities.

If you had the inner courage, or HONESTY or intelligence to concede a contradiction, you wouldn't get hammered so much. A post wouldn't morph into insulting. You actually have at the very least, sinned. Think arrogance.

I'm looking for honest intelligent answers, to honest, possibly exposed inconsistencies. I don't say I'm right, I'm just looking for an answer from anybody with an education higher than a pre-school drop-out.

Unknown said...

Blogger John W. Loftus said...

I think those who try to define inerrancy force it to die the death of a thousand qualifications, so to speak.

An absolutist is such a sweet target, isn't he? He makes those claims, and just sets himself up for the vultures. There are few, if any absolutes (excluding me). It is not even an absolute that 2+2=4.
It's part of the Theory of Mathematics.

Unknown said...

Blogger DBULL said...

Romans 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

So which is it, are we many or are we one? Both. Is that a contradiction?

uh, don't really want to break your wasn't meant to be a contradiction. It doesn't have the structure, or elements of a contradiction.

you might want to kinda do a refresher course, here. English Grammar
you might be able to avoid your next embarrasment.

Unknown said...

Blogger DBULL said...
you said nothing.
filling a post with cut-n-paste these clippings, with no input from you qualifying some kind of point you made?


If this is the best you got... At least attempt to help your team.

maybe you should take a breather, go out and buy a tape measure. And then, after some introspection, decide if this is the appropriate venue for you. There are starter groups somewhere.