Blast from the past, Bible Contradictions

Image result for scribes copying manuscripts ancient monastery

Pixie has taken to linking to sites with Bible contradictions. So naturalistic we all outgrew that nonsense years ago. I decided there is no point in wasting my time with such tripe that usually comes down to atheists can't read and don't know what literary devices are. I will deal with one example but then move on to my larger point.

My larger point is that mot of these contradictions turn on the assumption of fundamentalist notions of inerrenacy. They assume that the Bible is ghost written  by God and thus  one mistake or contradiction proves God is not behind the Bible thus Christianity is false. But this is a comic book theology that modern theologians don]t accept,

Yet many of the contradiction are silly in them selves,   let's examine one idea briefly. Here's one of the links Pixie left us I'll use an example from here.

1. Christians sin, just like everyone else (or do they?)Everyone knows that no human except Jesus lived a sinless life. The Bible says:
Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
This is standard Christian dogma, but things get confusing when you read the opening verse of Job, which says of Job, “This man was blameless and upright.” Even as his life was going to hell because of Satan and God’s little experiment, Job was vindicated in his belief that he had nothing to apologize for.
We see another example in Noah, who was also “blameless” (Genesis 6:9).
But the sinless net goes a lot wider than that, because (plot twist!) ordinary Christians don’t sin.
No one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him (1 John 5:18; see also 1 John 3:6, 3:9).
So which is it—are all people sinners, or are Christians the exception?

One immediate red flag is that most of the verses that say all sin are written by first century Palestinian Jews with not a small bit of Hellenization. The passages on being sinless are all by non Jews (Job was Ugartritic not Jewish) or Sumerian (Noah). Both set's of passages are several hundred years apart. It is entirely possible that they mean different things by these terms,

For example "blameless" and "upright" doesn't mean sinless. It means  one is in general living a life style that is aimed at seeking and pleasing God and doing what is right. It does not preclude mistakes or slips. By the same token No one who is born of God sins probably means no one who is born of God lives a sinful  lifestyle. These are speaking about the general direction of a person's life. The author of first John clarifies his meaning when he says: "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."(1 Jn 2:1)

Here is where the atheist really shows how surface level his scholarship is.

Addendum: But why worry about sin? Every one of us is already saved.Paul draws a parallel between the man who got us into this mess (Adam, who ate the forbidden fruit and gave mankind Original Sin) and the one who got us out (Jesus, whose perfect sacrifice saved us all)."For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:19).We didn’t opt in to get the sin of Adam, and we needn’t opt in to get the salvation of Jesus. No belief is necessary. Paul assures us we’re good.
One problem, "the many will be made righteous not all. The atheist says all are saved so the passage should say that it does not. This shoddy rendering is typical of most atheist Bible contradictions.

The problem with the notions of revelation in the Christian tradition is that they don't really conform to the earthly or human idea of what revelation should be. The human notion can be seen with the Book of Mormon—handed down from angels on high on Gold tablets—or the Koran—dictated by an Angel who grabbed Mohammed by the throat and forced him to write. The human notion tells us that there should be no mistakes, no problems, and the revelation should be ushered in with fanfare and pomp, clear and indisputable. But that is not the way of many religious traditions, and certainly not Christianity. There are problems, and even though most of them are conceived by ignorant people (most of the Internet atheists claims to "contradictions in the Bible" are based largely on not understanding metaphor or literary devices), there are some real problems and they are thorny. There are even more problems when it comes to the historicity of the text. But the important thing to note is that the revelations of the Christian faith are passed through human vessels. They contain human problems, and they are passed on safeguarded through human testimony. Even if the eye-witness nature of the individual authors of the NT cannot be established, the testimony of the community as a whole can be. The NT and its canon is a community event. It was a community at large that produced the Gospels, that passed on the Testimony and that created the canon. This communal nature of the revelation guarantees, if not individual authenticity, at least a sort of group validation, that a whole bunch of people as a community attest to these books and this witness.

The Traditional view of "Inerrancy."

Most people tend to think in terms of all or nothing, black and white, true and false. So when they think about the Bible, they think it's either all literally true in every word or it can't be "inspired." This is not only a fallacy, but it is not even the "traditional" view. Even in the inherency camp there exists three differing views of exactly what is inerrant and to what extent. Oddly enough, the notion of verbal inspiration was invented in the Renaissance by Humanists! Yes, the dreaded enemy of humanism actually came up with the doctrine of inerrancy which didn't exist before the 19th century, in its current form, but which actually began in the Renaissance with humanists. The documentation on this point comes mainly from Avery Dulles, Models of Revelation, New York: Double Day, 1985. The humanist argument is documented on p. 36. He also demonstrates that the current Evangelical view basically dates form the 19th century, the Princeton movement, and people such as Benjamin Warfield (1851-1921). Proponents of this view include Carl C.F. Henry, Clark Pinnock, James I Packer, Francis Shaffer, Charles Warwick Montgomery, and others.

Dulles Lists Five Versions of Inerrancy.

*Inerrency of original autographs and divine protection of manuscripts.
Proponents of this view include Harold Lindsell.

Inspiration of autographs with minor mistakes in transmission of an unessential kind.
Carl C.F. Henry.

*Inerrency of Textual intention without textual specifics.
Clark Pinnock.

*Inerrancy in Soteric (salvation) knowledge but not in historical or scientific matters.
Bernard Ramm

*Inerrent in major theological assertions but not in religion or morality.
Donald Blosche and Paul K. Jewett

Basic Models of Revelation:

Dulles presents five models of revelation, but the faith model really amounts to little more than "the Bible helps you feel good," so I am presenting only four. This core summery will not come close to doing justice to these views. But time and space limitations do not allow a discourse that would do them justice.

Revelation as History:

The Events themselves are inspired but not the text. John Ballie, David Kelsey, James Barr. This view can include oral events; the inspiration of the prophets, the early kerygma of the church (C.H. Dodd) Creedal formulation, as well as historical events such as the atonement. This view was largely held by a flood of theologians up to the 1960s. According to this view the Bible is the record of revelation not revelation itself.

Revelation as Inner Experience:

This view would include mystical experience and views such as Frederich Schleiermacher's feeling of utter dependence (see argument III on existence of God). Religious doctrines are verbalizations of the feeling; the intuitive sense of the radical contingency of all things upon the higher aegis of their existence; part of the religious a priori.

Revelation as Doctirne:

This is the basic doctrine of inerrancy as stated above. In most cases it is believed that the autographs were inspired but some allow for mistakes in transmission and other inaccuracies of an inconsequential nature. This means that 90% of the criticisms made my atheists and skeptics on the internet don't count, because most of them turn on metaphorical use of language or scribal error. I take this position based upon personal experience on many apologetic boards.

Revelation as Dialectical Presence:

The view that there is a dialectical relation between the reader and the text. The Bible contains the word of God and it becomes the word of God for us when we encounter it in transformative way. Karl Barth is an example of a major theologian who held this view.

No one of these views is really adequate. I urge a view based upon all of them. In some sense, that is, the Bible manifests versions of each of these views. So it is not just governed by one revelatory model, but is made of redacted material which exhibits all of these views. For example, the prophets spoke from their experience of God--their inner experience of God's prompting. Their words are recorded as the books of the prophets in the Bible. The Biblical prophetic books are then the written record of the inner experience of these men. The Gospels exhibit all of these tendencies. Passed on from oral tradition, redacted by members of the communities which passed on the traditions, they represent the written record of the events of Christ's life and ministry. In that sense the events themselves were inspired. But Jesus teachings, which we can assume were transmitted accurately for the most part, represent the word actually spoken by Jesus, and thus by God's perfect revelation to humanity. Jesus is the revelation; the Gospels are merely the written record of that revelation passed on by the Apostles to the communities. Thus we see both the event model and the revelation as doctrine model (traditional view). In the Epistles we see the inner-experience model clearly as Paul, for example, did not know that he was writing the New Testament. He demonstrates confusion at points, as when (in I Corinthians) he didn't recall how many of Stephan’s household he had baptized, but when it came to his answers on doctrinal matters he wrote out of the inner-experience of God. We can also assume that the redactions occurred in relation to some sort of inner-experience, they reflect some divine guidance in the sense that the redactors are reflecting their own experiences of God.

I know these views sound wildly radical to most Christians, but they are based on the works of major theologians, including those of the most conservative schools. The dialectical model is vague and sounds unimpressive. It really seems to be tautological statement: the word of God becomes meaningful when we encounter it in a meaningful way. Therefore, I adopt a model of revelation based upon all four models (granting that we do encounter it in more meaningful ways at some times than at others, but provided we understand that this is not saying that it ceases to be the word of God when we don't so encounter it), and of the doctrinal model accepting the views that say inerrant in intent but not specific transmission. The transmission includes some mistakes but of a minor kind.

Challenge for Pixie, pick  of your major problems with Bible and send them to me I'll deal with them  next time. 


The Pixie said…
Joe: Pixie has taken to linking to sites with Bible contradictions.

No, someone posing as me has.

If it was me, I would have given:

The Virgin Birth versus Messiahship and descent from David

The women telling no one after seeing the Empty Tomb versus the woman immediately telling the disciples

Jesus going on ahead to Galilee after being resurrected versus Jesus being seen in Jerusaslem.
can't tell your pixies without a program.

The Virgin Birth versus Messiahship and descent from David

His mother was from David he had his mothes genes.

The women telling no one after seeing the Empty Tomb versus the woman immediately telling the disciples

You are not hip to the Mary Magdeline departure. it's obvious if you connect the accounts

Jesus going on ahead to Galilee after being resurrected versus Jesus being seen in Jerusaslem.

we've discussed that at length
im-skeptical said…
Joe: Pixie has taken to linking to sites with Bible contradictions.
You should be aware there are several people who post comments as "anonymous", usually because they do not have Blogger accounts. I am not Pixie, and I am also not the one who posted those links.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
the first link is to an article attacking Christian morality, Essentially the argument is that sure secular morality is realities but it doesn't need to be anything more.

"No, there are strictly empirical mammalian reasons why higher mammals find the "civilized" type of life more conducive to their instinct to thrive, survive, and carry on their genes. Civilization dramatically reduces the chances one's genes will disappear from the pool. most higher mammals don't go around purposefully looking to put their own existence at risk..."

.>>He;s trying to replace normal reasons for Morality with sociological reasons and make that the object of moral motions. That;s just a bait and switch,He promised a rational reason for morality without appeal to god then gave us a biology based ideology in place of morality.

Except that under the Christian-invented "Occam's Razor" rule of thumb, the very fact that "god" is the most complex possible being (i.e., infinitely complex because he himself is infinite, allegedly) means "god" is always going to be "infinitely" less likely the true hypothesis, than any coherent naturalistic hypothesis for morality. We don't need methodological naturalism to knock the Christian view all the way out of the ball park of probability or possibility...we only need to show that the empirical evidence favors naturalism, in order to successfully arrive at being "reasonable" to adopt it.

(1) atheists used to evoke Occam as an argument against God before I began poisoning out that he was a priest, No we see an atheist trying to dump Occam

(2) he misuses Occam because it's not meant to be used when comparing systems that make different predictions.The Christian apologist he argues against raised Occam. But both are wrong because its not meant to choose between systems that make different predictions, moreover justifying morality is not really a prediction.

(3) "we only need to show that the empirical evidence favors naturalism, in order to successfully arrive at being "reasonable" to adopt it." He can't do that nor has he done it, There is no way to establish that one should do something to accept doing something or believing something merely because certain conditions per vial. One must establish a basis upon which to say "ought" that cannot be done through merely demonstrating what is
you also have a problem with thinking God is complex. Occam's razor does not prove that Christian theology affirms that he's not.
that second one is from Loftus site years ago when he said some positive things about me and a bunch of his readers voiced their hatred and ignorance. So what?

"Christian thinker Joe Hinman has the equivalent of a Ph.D. and is taking me to task for dealing almost exclusively with fundamentalist Christianity, here, and here. Maybe I have developed a tunnel vision about the Christian faith, and so I thank him for reminding me that Christianity is broader than fundamentalism. But as you'll see I can also deal with liberal versions of Christianity. I recommend his blog."

wow what a devastating critique!
Anonymous said…
that is rubbish, most scholars accept John as early, The Rylands fragment is the earliest fragment of any Gospel. John was known to several of the Apostolic fathers whose writings we have. They affirmed the Gospel of John,People who knew John.I accept authorship of the Gospel as the Elder John not the Apostle. see the book Jesus and the eye witnesses by Richard Bauckham,
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
from the link

what struck me was that when you ask the question "How could your God do that to those people" many religious people state that God has given us free will and does not get involved in the day to day running of the show. OK so he's a kind of hands off God, I can see how that would help the devout continue their belief (or perhaps suspend their disbelief) in times of utter horror. What I do not understand is why they then turn up to their place of worship and pray. Surely that will just annoy any deity who has made it clear that he is not going to get involved and no matter how much we might not like it, Auntie Flo's cancer is still going to take her sooner or later.

of course he's not quoting a valid source but merely hearsay by the average man on the street, we don't even know they asked any real Christians, Obviously God never said he will never intervene,

1EricTheRed says:
Not only that but he deliberately and knowingly caused all the pain and suffering in the world since he knew exactly what was going to happen when he created everything. Good job he also gave believers blinkers.

that is not the same as deliberately causing it,heavy on lame light on thinking
from Anonymous said...

By checking McDowell's sources and consulting works of NT scholars, I was eventually able to discover that much of what McDowell presents is untrustworthy, misleading or simply incorrect. In the ensuing six months, my brother and I engaged in detailed email discussions in which we debated the McDowell's evidence. I give below a transcript of our discussions. My hope is that the detailed evidence presented here will give both Christians and non-Christians ammunition to help expose and rebut the distortions and falsehoods being promulgated by McDowell and other like-minded fundamentalists.

I examined a great deal of his sources both as an atheist and latter as a Christian, Most of it is good although the biggest criticism I would make is that the sources are old maybe out of date, and they are mostly from conservative scholars, That in itself doesn't justify the wholesale rejection the atheists are trying to inculcate. They are not careful they are not willing to study the scholarship
Anonymous said…

This link above goes to the site of our friend Gary the atheist. Here is his argumet:

Ask yourself if you would believe that someone today has been resurrected from the dead, appearing in a supernatural body to multiple people; walking through locked doors; teleporting between locations; and levitating into the clouds without mechanical assistance based on the written eyewitness statements of four anonymous people whose testimony is similar to that found in the four Gospels:

This is nothing more than argument from incredulity, it proves nothing.It really is just saying"I find that hard to believe so I wont believe it." 500 people saw Jesus alive after he had died. That's different than just the four authors asserting it.

–the testimony of Luke and Matthew have absolutely nothing in common in regard to the resurrection story—except the Empty Tomb—which they both could have obtained from Mark. Almost all experts believe that both Luke and Matthew borrowed extensively from Mark’s eyewitness statement (gospel).

that is bs they have lots in common, add them up I've done it I've laid it all out in a table of harmony

Just how reliable is eyewitness testimony when it is obvious large parts of the testimony is plagiarized from an earlier witness and those few parts of the testimony which are not plagiarized have nothing in common with a third alleged eyewitness who we know also plagiarized much of his testimony from the first alleged eyewitness??

that is stupid to call first century group documentation: "plagiarizing" they didn't havea publican industry this guy doesn't even know what plagiarism is,
this thread is closed don;t put anymore on it.

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