Bible Contradictions

Sabregod Says:

Why Does Atheist Doesn’t Believe in Bible And Religion. Bible And Science Doesn’t Contradict if You Gave Some Examples of Contradictions, I Will come up some counter-arguments against those contradictions.

24 Responses to Bible Contradictions

  1. The Atheist says:

    Sabregod,

    Welcome to the blog! And thanks for your offer to help clear things up. Interestingly, most Christians of the world are not fundamentalists – like us atheists, they do not believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and thus, they concede that they Bible contains numerous errors – including contradictions.

    Here are just a few of my favorite contradictions. They are my favorites not because of the nature of the contradictions themselves, but because I find the responses to these contradictions to be the most creative and entertaining:

    Did Judas die by hanging or by a fall off of a cliff?

    Mat 27:5 – “And he cast down the pieces of silver into the temple and departed, and went out and hanged himself.”

    Act 1:18 – “And falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all of his bowels gushed out.”

    Who was Jesus paternal grandfather?

    Mat 1:16 – “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

    Lul 3:23 – “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.”

    How many of each type of animal was in the ark?

    Gen 7:2 – “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.”

    Gen 7:8-9 – “Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.”

    Did the waters or the ground bring forth birds?

    Gen 1:20-21 – “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

    Gen 2:19 – “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

    Did Paul’s companions hear a voice at Paul’s conversion?

    Act 9:7 – “And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.”

    Act 22:9 – “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.”

  2. Sabregod says:

    Did Judas die by hanging or by a fall off of a cliff?

    * These passages complement each other. Judas hung himself, the branch broke, then he fell headlong and his entrails gushed out.

    * Incidentally, Acts 1:18 never says that his fall was the cause of his death. It reads, “Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.”

    Who was Jesus paternal grandfather?

    * When this verse says that Joseph was the son of Heli, it doesn’t mean a literal son. It means a grandson. There are no words in the ancient scriptures that indicate grandfather or grandson. Therefore, the word son is used.

    * Luke reveals the genealogy of Mary. Matthew lists the genealogy of Joseph.

    * 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:19 are for the Jews who were boasting about their lineage. They were told not to worry about their lineage because Christ had already come and fulfilled the prophecies regarding lineages. These lineages are important because they verify Jesus Christ as the Messiah. If He was not from those lines, then He could not have been the Messiah.

    * Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli. Joseph’s father was Jacob. It was traditional for Jews to omit women from their genealogical tables. Consequently, they would often write the name of the father-in-law, so they could continue and understand the lineage.

    How many of each type of animal was in the ark?

    * In this verse, this is phrase is used to designate that each male animal had an appropriate partner that could produce offspring. Even though a possessive pronoun is used, it doesn’t say that the female animal belonged to the male one and it surely doesn’t mention a woman being the property of a man.

    * Noah was instructed to bring additional clean animals for the post-flood food and sacrifice.

    * The Bible never uses the word “species.” The Bible uses the word “kind.” This is different and part of the interpretation problem at hand.

    * Undoubtedly, God caused the animals to come to Noah. This was not a huge miracle since the Earth was in its pre-flood state and didn’t contain the vast oceans or freezing poles. The Earth was relatively flat before the Great Flood.

    * The animals that he put on the ark were not like the animals we see, today. These animals had few genetic defects, therefore they were more hardy and their diets were not as regimented as some of the animals, today.

    * The ark was very large and large enough to house all of the types of animal “kinds” that are listed in Genesis.

    * The animals in the New World, Australia and Polynesia were largely absent from those places before the Great Flood. Their migration occurred after the flood waters receded.

    Did the waters or the ground bring forth birds?

    * Fowls were created out of the ground. This is stated in Genesis 2:19 and is not contradicted.

    * Genesis 1:20 doesn’t indicate that God made the fowls from the water. It indicates He made the water animals, then He made the fowls of the air.

    Did Paul’s companions hear a voice at Paul’s conversion?

    * This Greek word for “hear” is also used to convey the word “understand.” The people with Paul heard the voice, but they did not understand what it was saying to him.

  3. The Atheist says:

    Sabregod,

    Judas hung himself, the branch broke, then he fell headlong and his entrails gushed out.

    I was hoping you would say that! This is one of my all-time favorite attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable. When I first saw this response a few years back, I laughed out loud at it for a few days straight. Even now, it evokes a satisfying chuckle. Thanks for not letting me down! :))

    You (well, maybe not you – but rather the sites from which you copied-and-pasted your responses – word-for-word – and incidentally, neglected to give them credit) have invented a story that is not told anywhere in the bible or by any church father. In fact, the story as far as I know is only a few years old – though the actual event is believed to have occurred some 2000 year ago. And the very best part is that you and others are willing to take a story, that you (or the author that you copied this from) have invented, as indisputable fact.

    If I were a Christian, I expect that I would doubt that your faith has a sound basis. I would suspect that your belief in Christ and the Bible is based on uncritical acceptance of dogma and not grounded in facts, rational thought, or divine revelation. As a non-Christian, I view your eagerness to believing a known fabrication, for the sole purpose of avoiding the consideration that the Bible may have errors, as severely damaging to your overall testimony.

    If Judas actually died by a botched attempt at hanging, and then fell off a cliff when the rope broke, then neither The Gospel According to Matthew, nor The Acts of the Apostles contain a true account of Judas’ death. If I were to arrive home late one night after work, after having an after-hours fling at the office with my secretary, and my Wife asked me: “Where have you been?”, and I answered: “I was late getting out of the office,” would I have told the truth? I claim I would not have told the truth, even though that facts I stated were true, because my response would have caused my wife to believe a falsehood. If Matthew says that Judas hanged himself, he leads us to believe a falsehood because he leads us to infer that Judas died by hanging. If Luke-Acts tells us that Judas falls from a cliff, but neglected to tell us about the botched hanging attempt, then Luke-Acts leaves us to imagine that Judas committed suicide by throwing himself off a cliff, and neglects and important, almost miraculous detail: that Judas not only suffered because of the events that lead up to his act of suicide, but he further suffered the pain and indignity of a botched attempt at hanging – which could be considered a divine denial of the piece he sought. These omissions are even more egregious when we realise that the two storied circulated independently for many years before the Bible as we know it was canonized, and as a results different communities were left with different (and conflicting) accounts of how Judas died.

    I would like to get your reaction to my response before I consider your other comments (to know that you are capable of bringing more to this discussions that plagiarized quotes from other sites). I look forward to your thoughtful perspectives.

  4. Damian says:

    Just to confirm A3’s accusation of plagiarism:

    Sabregod said,

    * These passages complement each other. Judas hung himself, the branch broke, then he fell headlong and his entrails gushed out.

    * Incidentally, Acts 1:18 never says that his fall was the cause of his death. It reads, “Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.”

    A comment on a Catholic forum says,

    Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18 complement each other. Judas hung himself, the branch broke, then he fell headlong and his entrails gushed out.

    Incidentally, Acts 1:18 never says that his fall was the cause of his death. It reads, “Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.”

    ————–

    Another complication to these two accounts is the question of who it was that purchased the field. Matthew says the priests bought it after Judas died and Acts says Judas bought it and makes it sound like he killed himself in the field. Matthew has them naming it the “Field of Blood” on account of the blood money aspect and Acts because it was coated with entrails.

    Sounds like a classic case of a story told and retold. Descent with modification if you will.

  5. lisa bee says:

    Acts 1:18 And this Judas had a field of the hire of wickedness, and he was hanged, and burst apart the middle [And forsooth this wielded a field of the hire of wickedness, and he hanged, burst apart the middle], and all his entrails were shed abroad.
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%201%20;&version=53;
    This is wycliffe interpretation c 1382-1388

    18 And the same hath now possessed a plot of grounde with the rewarde of iniquite and when he was hanged brast a sondre in ye myddes and all his bowels gusshed oute.
    http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/tyndale/

    both versions seem to indicate that he hung himself–

  6. lisa bee says:

    Acts 1:18 18 And this Judas had a field of the hire of wickedness, and he was hanged, and burst apart the middle [And forsooth this wielded a field of the hire of wickedness, and he hanged, burst apart the middle], and all his entrails were shed abroad.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%201%20;&version=53;

    Acts 1:18 18 And the same hath now possessed a plot of grounde with the rewarde of iniquite and when he was hanged brast a sondre in ye myddes and all his bowels gusshed oute.
    http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/tyndale/
    Did Judas die by hanging or by a fall off of a cliff?

    Mat 27:5 – “And he cast down the pieces of silver into the temple and departed, and went out and hanged himself.”

    Act 1:18 – “And falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all of his bowels gushed out.”

    Atheist: what makes you believe that he fell off a cliff? Acts 1:18 in any of the older versions does not say that. Even the codex Siniaticus (which is what I assume that you used-you neglected to give the credit).

  7. The Atheist says:

    Damian,

    Thanks for finding the reference! :))

    Hi lisa bee,

    Good to see you back! :)

    Acts 1:18 18 And this Judas had a field of the hire of wickedness, and he was hanged, and burst apart the middle [And forsooth this wielded a field of the hire of wickedness, and he hanged, burst apart the middle], and all his entrails were shed abroad.

    The Wycliffe translation is taken from the Latin Vulgate, which is taken from various Greek sources. Wycliffe’s translation doesn’t say what the Greek translations say. In fact, there is not a single Greek source to my knowledge that injects the phrase “and burst apart in the middle” into Acts 1:18. Tell me, if the older (and therefore more reliable) Greek manuscripts differ from Wycliffe’s translation, why would you prefer Wycliffe’s translation over the older, closer-to-the-original Greek versions?

    Just curious: what do you know about Wycliffe’s translation?

    what makes you believe that he fell off a cliff? Acts 1:18 in any of the older versions does not say that. Even the codex Siniaticus…

    Here’s an English translation of Acts 1:18 from Codex Sinaiticus: “This man therefore purchased a field with the reward of iniquity, and, having fallen headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out:” The Greek word in the Sinaiticus that is translated as “headlong” is pray-nace (πρηνής)

    Wycliffe completed his translation in 1384. Can you think of any versions older than that? If you can, what is their version of Acts 1:18?

    Even the codex Siniaticus which is what I assume that you used-you neglected to give the credit.

    Now lisa! You wouldn’t want me to give credit to the codex Siniaticus when I actually used a very popular English translation, would you (any guesses as to which translation I used)? That would have shown that I was confused by all this talk about translations and early manuscripts and what not. And I’m just wondering: why would crediting the quote to Acts not be a sufficient credit? Possibly, this is just your way of showing solidarity with Sabregod – if so, I’m so glad. That’s the kind of support he deserves. :))

    Oh, and speaking of Sabregod, Sabregod says (or more accurately, pastes): “Judas hung himself, the branch broke, then he fell headlong and his entrails gushed out.” Do you disagree with Sabregod that “[Judas] fell headlong”?

  8. Demodocos says:

    Well, I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop in on the conversation ☺

    Since, as a Christian, I have no impulse to tie anything in a bow, I’d thought I’d lob this applicable observation into the mix. There was a literary/dramatic technique in Classical Greek and Roman writings that would hyperbolize the way villains died, while contrasting that with grandeur of how the heros died. This was not used all of the time, and it was done in many different ways, but was nevertheless a technique used by some writers to convey a certain “truth” of reality that could not be convey by “just stating the facts.”

    Another example of this would be the way Herod dies later on in the book of Acts 12.23:

    And immediately, because he had not given the glory to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

    Notice that first the worms ate him and then he died (killer worms!!!!). Both the Judas story and the Herod story hyperbolize the death. Of course, this raises a whole host of questions, such as, if this is not a historical account but rather a dramatic account in order to convey a certain truth, then what truth is this passage intending to convey? However, addressing this sort of question is a different conversation than assuming that the question here is about chronology.

    At any rate, Atheist, I know that your intentions are about exposing the fact that fundamentalist’s understanding of scripture is utterly fubar, and that you arguments are primarily directed towards them and their hermeneutic… but I just couldn’t help myself. What do you think.

  9. The Atheist says:

    Welcome back, Demodocos!

    What do I think? I think you are right about the correct way to interpret passages like the one we are discussing, and also about my intentions – I couldn’t have said it better myself! :)

    Off topic, but here’s a little aside to clarify my view for you a bit more:

    I think most fundamentalists have a fear that if they admit that the Bible isn’t the inerrant Word of God, then they somehow lose their spiritual/moral compass or their faith in Christ, or the whole of the Christian message automatically crumbles under their feet. Sadly, what they really lose, to the degree to which they are willing to blindly accept dogma, is the ability to reason soundly, and the ability to have a meaningful exchange with others who do not share a similar dogma. This ultimately adds more instability to an already dangerous world.

    Curiously, the majority of fundamentalists, with whom I have corresponded, deny that anyone who doesn’t believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God can be a “true Christian”. Possibly because the concept that Christianity exists without dogma is too unsettling? Possibly they feel they would be compelled to leave the comfort of authority, to venture out into a terrifying world where they might critically question their own beliefs. I imagine that’s not too far from the mark.

    Your reflections?

  10. Lisa Bee says:

    I gotta ask is there an easier way to cut and paste after the original posting? I can’t seem to do it.
    “I think fundamentalists have a fear…”—-I am not sure if I would call my self a fundamentalist just yet (maybe close in your definition) , but have no fear of losing any type of moral compass to God, it would confirm my belief that man is rotten to the core for changing his word to which I cannot and do not deny that he has done for greed and earthly power; man’s changes are in every version of the Bible, and possibly who knows, just maybe that too is part of God’s plan so that we do not create an idol out of the Bible and worship it instead of the creator. I still do not and will never believe that the whole Bible is corrupted, and that the essentials in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus will remain untouched.
    “venture out into a terrifying world where they might critically question there own beliefs…” It is not that bad, I have questioned the belief that I was raised with and still question my beliefs on a daily basis, which keeps me closer to God by searching for the truth. I do not blindly accept what man has taught for the last 200 years–which most is filled with lies. This is why I use several versions of the Bible and prefer those written or printed earlier than 1950. My current study Bible is fairly new, but I mark in green those pieces of scripture that I question. I write in it and put favorites everywhere it is something to look at.
    Anyways back to Judas: I am not backing one person or another, just seeking for the truth. Here is what we cannot tell from Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18 : No mention in either account of a cliff, jagged rocks, a broken rope , what exactly Judas hung himself with, what exactly killed him-fall vs hanging, or really that he even died (although it is a high probability–lol)
    What do we know is that: He went out, hanged himself, falling headlong he burst asunder. Do they contradict each other-not really(I suppose one could tie a rope around his neck and jump headlong off a cliff at the same time), do they complement each other-not really (too many questions left unanswered). Do we need more information to make an accurate assumption to either way–Yes. Does that deter my faith–No.
    “The ability to have a meaningful exchange with others…..” I hoped that is what we will continue to do, so that the world will know that an Atheist and a Christian can correspond in such an intelligent way without changing one’s personal values. I believe that you can teach me much, yet still have faith that perhaps this is what God has lead me to.

  11. franklinmonroe says:

    Hello. This is my first visit. I hope you won’t mind if I add my observations.

    Actually, neither of the verses specifically claims that Judas died as a result of either action. Personally, I think the implication is there. However, even though Judas was replaced among the Apostles, the Bible doesn’t explicitly state that it was because he was deceased (Acts 1:25 says Judas “went to his own place”, whatever that means). I wouldn’t normally push the text so ultra-literally, but it seems that at times you are willing to force literal interpretation to absurdity, so it only seems fair to hold your argumentation to your own standard.

    But what I really wanted to point out is that you are criticizing a mere translation of Greek text. I am not a Greek expert, but even I can appreciate the following information. The Greek of Matthew 27:5 it seems is less straightforward than the common English interpretation. The verb represented by “hanged” in English is apagzato in Greek which is in the Aorist Tense. The Aorist Tense is somewhat rare (only 88 times in the whole NT). While the practice of rendering the Aorist Tense with the Simple Past in English mostly suffices, there is no really direct or clear English equivalent for the Aorist Tense. The Aorist Tense is characterized by the concept that the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. Therefore, the rendering of Matthew 27:5 could be overstated in English; that is, it may not have been a completed act as the translations tend to indicate. Perhaps, Judas intended to do himself harm (I will spare you the range of meaning for the Greek apagzato) but failed to accomplish his goal.

    Now the translation into English of Acts 1:18 is nearly equally difficult. The Greek seems to just state “being headlong”, not necessarily falling or jumping. In addition, the English “burst” in Greek can just mean to “crack open” (among other things). The splitting open doesn’t have to be the cause of death, since it could be the result of swelling of the abdomen (from the hot sun, perhaps) after death. I suppose that it could even mean that Judas’ body involuntarily emptied the contents of his gastric tract. The original language just doesn’t allow for the kind of exact description you’re looking for.

  12. The Atheist says:

    Lisa,

    I gotta ask is there an easier way to cut and paste after the original posting? I can’t seem to do it.

    The trick is, surround the text that you are pasting with <blockquote> and </blockquote>

    For example, it I type <blockquote>some original text</blockquote>, then it comes out looking like:

    some original text

    Hope this helps.

  13. The Atheist says:

    franklinmonroe,

    Welcome to the blog! Of course your observations are both welcome and appreciated.

    neither of the verses specifically claims that Judas died as a result of either action.

    I’m not sure why that should carry any weight at all. The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that there is not a 4th member of the godhead – besides the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – but we should reasonably conclude that none of the authors of the Bible texts thought that there was. The important consideration is what it seems the author believed, and what the author presumed his audience would understand through what he wrote. I see no compelling reason to presume that Luke-Acts or Matthew meant anything by those statements other than how Judas died. So I not only agree with you that the implication is there, I go a step farther: think that each author intended for the statements to communicate explicitly that Judas died in the manner that each author described.

    you are criticizing a mere translation of Greek text… The verb [in Matthew 27:5] represented by “hanged” in English is apagzato in Greek

    I don’t think I am – I think I am criticizing the Greek text per se. I’m not sure how usage of the aorist tense would make it less clear that Judas went about the process of hanging himself – as a single action at some single point in the past (aorist). As such, I maintain that this stands in contradiction to Act 1:18.

    there is no really direct or clear English equivalent for the Aorist Tense.

    However, the aorist tense is a kind of past tense (akin to the simple past), so translating “ἀπήγξατο” to “hanged” should be accurate for the purposes of this discussion.

    The Aorist Tense is characterized by the concept that the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time.

    The aorist tense is a foreign concept to English speakers, but not as foreign as you suggest. The aorist is definitely a type of past tense that is very close to the simple past tense in English. There is no hint of future or present tense in the aorist.

    it may not have been a completed act as the translations tend to indicate.

    It’s quote the opposite. The aorist tense denotes an occurrence that was completed in a single instance if time – in an instant – even if the actual process takes a span of time. In other words, it denotes the start through the completion as an instantaneous occurrence. In this case, it suggests that the hanging was started and completed all in a single instance in the past.

    Acts 1:18 is nearly equally difficult. The Greek seems to just state “being headlong”, not necessarily falling or jumping. In addition, the English “burst” in Greek can just mean to “crack open” (among other things).

    This might be a good opportunity to restate my earlier point, about what the author seems to believe and what he would expect his readers to believe. Becoming “head first”, and then “cracking open” as a result, leaves very little option for alternative interpretation, unless of course we are willing to consider alternatives which are considerably less intelligible.

    If I write that “things are getting out of hand”, I would expect you and any other reader to understand that the situation is getting beyond control. However, if this particular statement became some how troublesome, you could alternatively interpret it to mean that the situation is not really beyond control, you could infer that I had things in my hand (or someone had things in his hand, or several people had one or more things in their hands), but the situation is still well under control. Of course you are then left to explain why I would make an unrelated statement about who had what in their hands and what it has to do with the context (the context here being a discussion about the situation). In the same way, you might choose not to consider the use of idiomatic expressions like becoming head long, and cracking open, and question whether cracking open leads to death, and what Luke-Act would expect his readers to understand. But to be taken seriously, you would need a reasonable explanation for why Luke-Acts would insert a bizarre statement like that without any further clarification if he didn’t mean that Judas died of a fall that caused his death.

    The splitting open doesn’t have to be the cause of death, since it could be the result of swelling of the abdomen (from the hot sun, perhaps) after death. I suppose that it could even mean that Judas’ body involuntarily emptied the contents of his gastric tract. The original language just doesn’t allow for the kind of exact description you’re looking for.

    This is another good opportunity for me to repeat a point that I made earlier above:

    If I were to arrive home late one night after work, after having an after-hours fling at the office with my secretary, and my Wife asked me: “Where have you been?”, and I answered: “I was late getting out of the office,” would I have told the truth? I claim I would not have told the truth, even though that facts I stated were true, because my response would have caused my wife to believe a falsehood.

    If Luke-Acts knew that the events that he described were not the cause of Judas’ death, then not clarifying this would have left his readers to understand a falsehood (keep in mind that before the much later canonization, Luke-Act readers wouldn’t necessarily have had a copy of Matthew to read, so their understanding of Judas’ death would have been informed – wrongly – by Luke-Acts’ account).

  14. Demodocos says:

    Atheist,
    Your thoughts on most fundamentalist’s fears concerning the “inerrant Word of God” are spot on. I attempted to restate your comments in my own words but found that there was no need to because you have succinctly highlighted two key dynamics in their theological paradigms. I think there is indeed a fear of loosing the base on which everything rest. The irony is that while they will indeed loose something, the loss of it it will enable them to have the faith that claim to have. Secondly, their paradigm of faith puts them in a position that is antagonistic to “true” dialogue. This reminds me of Sartre’s observation that humans are terrifyingly free and that people are responsible for their own choices. It is an inherent danger of all religions to sluff the responsibility off on their god and/or dogmas. Inerrancy is one of the ways, I think, that fundamentalist Christians avoid this scary road of responsibility.

    And would also agree, for it has been my personal experience, that most fundamentalists would “deny that anyone who doesn’t believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God can be a ‘true Christian.’” This is unfortunate. My only response to them, which has not been all that effective, is to point to point out the irony that in their attempts to maintain Christianity theology, they have in fact created their own theology that is only a couple hundred years old. First, what did the early Christians “base their faith on” during the time period when there was neither a canonized New Testament nor the existence of any apostle (insert your own implications here). Second, if they really took scripture seriously they would not call it inerrant, because the bible does not say that it is the inerrant Word of God. Sadly, these rhetorical moves are often incomprehensible because what we are gesturing to is not the particular theological point or interpretation but the network of assumptions and associations that give those points and interpretations meaning.

  15. Demodocos says:

    Lisa Bee and Franklinmonroe,
    Please tell me why it is necessary to read the Acts narrative as a literal historical account. In light of my obviously ignored observation from above:

    There was a literary/dramatic technique in Classical Greek and Roman writings that would hyperbolize the way villains died, while contrasting that with grandeur of how the heroes died. This was not used all of the time, and it was done in many different ways, but was nevertheless a technique used by some writers to convey a certain “truth” of reality that could not be convey by “just stating the facts.”

    With this in mind, it would seem that you were doing something akin to trying to read the account of the passion of Christ the same way you would read the killing of Asland. We can still state that both of these stories are true, but in very different ways. Similarly, while Judas’s death in Matthew may be closer to a historical account, that does not mean that the Acts account is trying it be historical any more than C.S. Lewis was trying to be 100% historical.

    But ultimately, we have to realize that every time we say anything about scripture we are engaging in the act of interpretation. We have to take responsibility for that action as opposed to saying “hey, I’m just telling you what God says.” We have to give an account to both Christians and non-Christians as to whether we are we interpreting scripture faithfully and rationally, or are we being presumptuous that our interpretation is not ours but God’s.

    However, if Christians continue to read the Bible as if it were written by God as a singular historical account of reality, and that there is only one way to read it, then you don’t have to ask the Atheist to name you some contradictions, because that sort of hermeneutic is not only painfully erroneous, but frightfully dangerous.

  16. lisa bee says:

    Demo: “something akin to trying to read the account of the passion….”
    Nothing of the sorts. I am merely trying to point out that while these two versions are different, they do not necessarily contradict one another.
    “Similarly, while Judas’s death in Matthew may be closer to historical account…”
    Why would you believe it is more historical.–for all we know about the scripture Judas could have tied a rope around his neck, threw himself off a cliff-falling headlong and dashed himself against rocks bursting open his mid section. We simply do not have enough information with either version to deduce actual events or contradiction–this is what I am trying to state.
    Are we trying to interpret scripture faithfully, rationally, or presumptuously, or even saying that the Bible is inerrant? Not at all, The Bible has gone through many translations and transmissions, therefore, it can no loner be called inerrant; this does not diminish God’s authority in my eyes or in my life.
    Does this mean that the original scriptures are inerrant? I cannot nor will I ever be able to say yes or no as I cannot and read the originals even if they were to be made available, as English is the only language that I am able to read, an if I read it in English then obviously I am reading someone’s translation, and the problems of transmission and translation would still exist which would be a “sort of hermeneutic that is frightfully dangerous.”
    Atheist—Now about Joseph’s father in Luke Version–If you continue to go back most of the names are different until you come to King David. Lisa

  17. The Atheist says:

    Demo,

    I think despite your modesty, your restatement of my points adds considerable understanding and depth to the original points.

    I’m wondering about some of your experiences conversing with fundamentalist Christians. I’m guessing that for the most part, our experiences are very similar since as you and I have already observed, fundamentalists out of (perceived) necessity, tend to dismiss out of hand reason or evidence that challenges their position. But I’m especially interested in your encounters (if any) in which fundamentalists reconsider their original position and begin to consider (or possibly even embrace) the possibility of faith without the dogma. Here’s where our experiences likely diverge since you demonstrate by personal example that someone can have faith without dogma and of I don’t.

    Lisa,

    I am not sure if I would call my self a fundamentalist just yet (maybe close in your definition)

    I won’t attempt to classify you or anyone else as fundamentalist or non-fundamentalist. When I use the term, “fundamentalist”, I have the following in mind:

    This term originated as the result of a 12 volume Christian publication entitled “The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth.” But since that publication, the meaning has expanded to include any theist who rigidly adheres to religious dogma and is intolerant of conflicting views. I use “fundamentalist” in this broader sense.

    I should note here that atheist fundamentalism is also possible in this more liberal sense of the term. I suppose an illustration of this might be an inflexible insistence that science proves that there is no God, coupled with a recalcitrant refusal to consider reasonable arguments that science does no such thing.

  18. Demodocos says:

    Part of what is helpful is to show that there is a much grander conversation that is going on among Christians that and that it has been happening for some time. Part of the problem of fundamentalists is that they have inherited a very one-dimensional paradigm of making sense of both the world and the history of God’s interaction with that world (whatever that means).

    My experiences of fundamentalist changing their minds can be likened to my own experiences of changing my mind. This has usually happened over an extended period of time and over numerous conversations. But one similarity in all of these has been an establishment of trust as well as an acknowledged common ground or goal. It would be similar to Kuhn’s Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions in that certain questions are being asked that the current paradigm can’t answer and the only way to answer them is not by building onto or expanding the existing paradigm, but radically shifting it. So the significant aspect in this is not the “proofs” or arguments, because those are only comprehensible within a specific paradigm (a paradigm of which they may or may not be aware). Rather, the significant aspect is in the questions. What are the questions that are worth asking that cannot be answered or addressed by the existing paradigm, but can be addressed by another paradigm.

    I don’t know if that is helpful in meeting some of your goals here in this space, but that is how I have gone about this task, by asking questions that are comprehensible under their paradigm, but not adequately addressed by it.

  19. The Atheist says:

    Demo,

    Very good insight and an interesting perspective! Some of my own experiences changing my mind were similar to what you describe. I was asking more out of curiosity and didn’t have any particular goal in mind. The obstacle that seems to keep fundamentalists from ever reaching a paradigm shift is that they are easily satisfied with any answer to the challenging questions, regardless of whether the answer is the best one, or regardless of whether the answer is even an adequate one.

  20. Xela777 says:

    Back too the animals…
    Noah takes 7 of the clean animals on the Ark, so, you’re right, he logically can’t take two of them, can he? Only 7. Not 2.

    What’s the prob with the birds? “Fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven”. Ok, so if you can survive flying out in open sky for a day, you got made first. The inferior birds were made next. Conclusion: Ducks can survive day 4, chickens can’t, made on day 5.

    And why are we all talking about Judas? Did anybody notice the Paul order? Surely, this is indeed a major mistake, and undermines all we believe in! Can no one come up with a solution!?

    Simple. Paul could’ve been getting old and forgetful, and just cause you quote a bad fact in your essay doesn’t mean your essay fails at life. Or I could just ask my pastor. Brb. For a week or more.

    And how can I make the quoted text grey?

  21. The Atheist says:

    Hi, Xela777 – sorry to be so long in responding but I’ve had an incredibly busy week (that is, much much busier than usual). Anyway, welcome to the blog!

    I’m not sure I understand your comment about the fowl; the contradiction is from whence God brought them forth: from the waters or from the ground.

    I’m not sure how alleging that Paul was old and mentally deficient solves the contradiction about Judas. But I also don’t see any evidence that should lead us to that conclusion about Paul. Do you? In fact, I find Paul to be quite cleaver in his arguments to the various churches and to Rome.

    To make the gray “quotes”, place the text you want quoted between <blockquote> and </blockquote> Example:

    <blockquote>hello</blockquote>

    will come out looking like:

    hello

  22. Xela777 says:

    I was referring to the Paul contradiction towards the bottom of the original post. And I was kidding. I think it would be annoying if all youth put down, “I don’t know, let me ask my pastor” for every hard question they come by.
    In the end my youth pastor didn’t really help me find the answer.
    Act 9:7 – “And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.”

    Act 22:9 – “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.”

    Oh, lol, I thought he was attacking the seeing part of this encounter, but it’s the hearing. No matter.

    Did Paul’s companions hear a voice at Paul’s conversion?

    They heard a voice, just not the one who was speaking to Paul. (They heard Paul’s voice.)

  23. D R Hood says:

    Sabregod wrote:

    Who was Jesus paternal grandfather?

    * When this verse says that Joseph was the son of Heli, it doesn’t mean a literal son. It means a grandson. There are no words in the ancient scriptures that indicate grandfather or grandson. Therefore, the word son is used.

    * Luke reveals the genealogy of Mary. Matthew lists the genealogy of Joseph.

    It does not. Luke says that it related to Jesus who was the son of Joseph,(Luke 3.35) though he then adds that it was only Thought that he was the son of Joseph. It says then that Joseph was the son of Heli, and so on. This is clearly a supposed genealogy of Joseph, not of Mary. The only reason to suggest Mary is to explain away a contradiction. The contradiction stands.

    The contradiction relates only to the descent from King David. They match from Adam up to David. Well, they would since the Davidic descent was fixed in Jewish tradition. But the attempt to link Jesus with David led to two discrepant genealogies. Whether Joseph was the son or grandson of Heli is neither here nor there (I may say that, if Joseph was a grandson, why not mention the intervening family members?) and the real point is that the two lines of descent do not match.

    The ‘Mary’ explanation does not wash and the fact is that Luke and Matthew also contradict each other elsewhere. The conclusion is that there are real contradictions and those arise because Luke and Matthew tried to prove Jesus’ Messiaship by producing supportive material which, when compared, do not agree.

    The contradiction and discrepancy is clear and the reason why the contradiction exists is also clear. Gospel fabrication.

  24. Paul S says:

    LOL. The simple fact is in the biblical accounts of parallel events often one account will include or omit some detail what the other account says. And disagreements as to how the two accounts are to be understood are not uncommon.

    More often than not, the disagreements are matters of interpretation. (Reading into the text what it does not say, or denying or disallowing something it does say and mean.)

    Sometimes it is a matter of translation and translation issues.

    And then there are the well documented known variant readings of the copied texts, (Greek NT, Hebrew or Aramaic OT)

    Those three issues are without exception. No concise biblical contradictions are known which do not have reasoned explanations.

    All the above examples are cases of interpretation. One translational issue, having to do with the use of the Koine Greek word meaning to “hear.” And another translational issue “(son) of” in Luke’s account. The word “son” is not in the Greek. The genitive case, belonging to. Can mean a son, son in law, servant, etc, depending on context.

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