Monday, June 13, 2011

The Bible Contradicts Itself

*gasp*  Say it ain't so!  The Bible is supposed to be infallible!

Check out this post on biblical inconsistencies:  http://withoutagod.blogspot.com/2011/06/arguments-against-bible.html

If that whets your whistle, check out the Skeptics' Annotated Bible's list of contradictions.

48 comments:

LadyAtheist said...

If you'd like to debate the merits of Christianity, please give us something to go on.

Otherwise, move along.

Mike said...

For the sake of argument, I'll "defend" the "merits" of xianity. Do you endorse all those as valid? If not, which *DO* you endorse as valid?

LadyAtheist said...

Can you be more specific?

Fadefury said...

Most of the contradictions that I mentioned in my post are elaborated more in G.A. Wells book Cutting Jesus Down to Size. http://www.amazon.com/Cutting-Jesus-Down-Size-Christianity/dp/0812696565/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308020997&sr=1-1

If you take the text at face value, than you can easily see they say different things when speaking on the same topics. I'm not sure how one could say they are not contradictions. I am open to someone proving otherwise though.

Mike said...

LA: More specific? Okay... do you endorse the alleged "death of Judas" contradiction as valid?

Mike said...

Fadefury: same questions.

LadyAtheist said...

What do you mean by "valid?"

Mike said...

Re the death of Judas Iscariot, has Fadefury demonstrated a valid [i.e. true] contradiction, or not?

LadyAtheist said...

Yes. What do you think of that episode?

Mike said...

Whoa, slow down there, lady! You said "yes," and I do appreciate a clear, direct, unequivocal answer. Thank you for that. Next question: how do you define a contradiction? Answer that clearly, directly, and unequivocally, and then I will tell you what I think of that episode.

LadyAtheist said...

Answer my question first.

Mike said...

I don't find it persuasive. Now, I have explained what I meant by valid. Since you are the one claiming there is a "true contradiction" here, the burden is on you to explain what you mean by contradiction. You are, after all, the positive claimant in this transaction--correct?

LadyAtheist said...

I find it "true" in the sense that the two verses don't say the same thing.

L.Long said...

The buyBull does not contradict itself. A fairy tale is equally valid what ever it says as fiction=fiction so no contradiction.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Someone actually created an elaborate graphic chart, linking all the inconsistencies in the bible. Hell, what do you expect from the "inspired" word of god?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Following the comments - if the bible is truly the word of a perfect deity, infallible as many claim, why would it have ANY contradictions? Wouldn't god's word/desire/commands be perfectly clear and irrefutable?

Mike said...

LA: So, are you implying that a "contradiction" occurs whenever two sources don't say the same thing? Since that seems clearly absurd, might we say you actually *don't* think there's any contradiction?

Mike said...

"...if the bible is truly the word of a perfect deity, infallible as many claim, why would it have ANY contradictions?"

"As I have explained in previous posts, our perceptions are often deeply flawed. Our eyes are not video cameras; our ears are not tape recorders. Everything we conclude from our perception is first interpreted by our brain..."

krissthesexyatheist said...

Awesome buddy. Of course I knew about the SAB, but I haven't heard of the other place...until now. Thanks and awesome.

Kriss

Mike said...

So, are we in agreement that there's no contradiction in the story of Judas' death? If not, can the prosecution please make their case?

Never Was An Arrow II said...

HOOKERS ARE ALWAYS looking for a trick—atheists are always looking for what isn't there—

Irregularities in the Scriptures—that CAN'T be adequately explained. Or reconciled.

They always can…

…thanks for coming out, though~

Mike said...

It's looking more and more like Hypothesis A might be more consistent with the data!

Mike said...

LA: Really? You said you would debate the "merits" with me, a fellow skeptic, mind you, and I'm asking you to justify your claim of "true contradiction." Why the cold shoulder? Sorry for taunting you a little, but I was just trying to light a fire. Notice I didn't insult you like I insulted BR, who came at me with fire first. I'm just trying to get some answers here on this "true contradiction" thing. Why not just explain yourself? Maybe you're seeing something I'm not.

B.R. said...

I like the SAB. If only there was a printed version available at bookstores...

Mike said...

Well, I give up. Apparently it's okay to just assert whatever one wishes around here, and call that truth. Enjoy yourselves, and may any new visitors not make the mistake of assuming that all skeptics are like the ones here.

LadyAtheist said...

Well, it's not okay to assume that someone will drop everything else in their life in order to respond to you.

Allusive Atheist said...

I don't appear to be on the invited readers list on withoutagod... The death of Judas is a good example of a contradiction. One account depicts him as repentant and forlorn the other as an evil unrepentant traitor. The first account has him killing himself. The second account depicts him as being executed by god or another supernatural agent thereof. This is not one contradiction but two.

Attempts to show that they could both (or all four) be true may sate desperate believers. But such attempts are inadequate for those who lack motive for reconciliation. The authors of each account were not witness, or even contemporaries. Who was present at the supposed suicide/execution? Even if we assume one or somehow both of these events happened, would it have been witnessed, especially by the authors? No. Assuming one or both of the events occurred, witnesses would have been after-the-fact and left to figure out what had happened.

Aha! That would certainly explain the discrepancy. Except, this is supposed to be the word of god. Whether you go in for the "god wrote it" or "god inspired it" hypotheses, there are discrepancies between the accounts. Both accounts could be interpretations of a single actual event. But the author of the universe, personal god and supposed executioner of Judas should know exactly what happened including how Judas felt about betraying his rabbi, friend and messiah.

Assuming there was a specific and real Judas who betrayed a specific and real Yashua (Jesus) who then committed suicide or was killed by god because he was distraught or evil both events cannot be simultaneously true as described in the obviously contrary accounts of the New Testament. At least one of these accounts is inaccurate.

If these accounts had come from competing historians whose work was compiled in a single text it would be disappointing but acceptable. It would be nice to know how each other came to their conclusions. And it would be OK to realize we can't be sure. The disparate details would prevent us from trying to reconcile them as both true. Attempts to do so would probably be mocked. And it wouldn't matter all that much.

But these accounts are required to both be true as they are the word of god. So apologists, assuming both are true, use any trick available to rationalize it. Anyone wanting to believe can construct an excuse. But it should be clear to anyone who isn't desperate to believe, the bible is unreliable as a witness of historical events.

B.R. said...

Why does Mike want everyone to respond to him when he makes ridiculous arguments? Playing semantics doesn't make biblical contradictions vanish. Anyway, sorry for feeding him on the other thread, L.A.

LadyAtheist said...

No problemo, B.R.

Hex said...

In case it wasn't clear this was the post I was talking about in my other comment. It seems to me that Mike is on the right track by question whether this is really a contradiction or not. To be honest I had never questioned the "Judas" thing but now I see that there is a question worth looking at. Personally I don't see what makes that ridiculous and if anyone has a good response I'm interested in hearing it.

LadyAtheist said...

This is pretty obviously going the direction of an argumentum ad dictionary definition. There are many definitions, so I'll just say that any time the Bible says one thing in one place and another different thing in another place, that's a contradiction, so yes, the Judas stories are contradictory.

Hex said...

Okay... but what I don't get is this: say you saw a robbery and the police are asking you questions. You say the robber got away on a bike, your friend was somewhere else and they saw the robber get away on foot. Those are two different things, but they don't make the stories "contradictory" or "untrue" wouldn't you say? I mean, the robber could have started fleeing on a bike, then crashed, then continued fleeing on foot. That's what I think Mike was getting at, and it doesn't seem like ridiculous or semantics to make that point. Am I missing something?

Allusive Atheist said...

What you are missing is that, in essence, both witnesses are the infallible word of god.

Allusive Atheist said...

...and my previous long-winded response earlier in this thread of comments.

LadyAtheist said...

The cop in your analogy is not a supernatural being with the power of omniscience. Also, mortal beings only die once, so they can only die one way.

Matthew 27:3-10 says that Judas returned the money to the priests and committed suicide by hanging himself.

The Acts 1:18 says he purchased a field out of the reward of unrighteousness, and burst asunder in the midst,falling headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed forth,


So where did the money go and what killed him? He can't have given the money away and also used it to buy land. He only had the money once and only lost it once. He can't have hanged himself by suicide and also died from falling down.

Therefore, it is a contradiction.

Hex said...

@ Allusive Atheist:

"What you are missing is that, in essence, both witnesses are the infallible word of god."

It'd be nice if you elaborated.

"...and my previous long-winded response earlier in this thread of comments."

I read it. No offense, but it was more of rant than an argument.

Hex said...

Regarding how Judas died:

"He can't have hanged himself by suicide and also died from falling down."

I get that, but the verse you cited doesn't say he died by falling down. It seems to me you've read that into it. He could have hung himself, and then any one of a number of things could have caused him to "fall headlong" and "burst asunder." Dead body, decaying a few days building up a ton of pressure, branch could break, hooligans could've knocked him down, etc. How is there a contradiction?

To argue from the other angle, I would say we had a contradiction if it said he hung himself, AND somebody beat him to death. That would be a contradiction, for sure, because both can't be true at the same time.

I'm curious to hear what others think.

LadyAtheist said...

or a few legends could have grown up around the bloody field and two of them got approved by Rome.

Allusive Atheist said...

There are three points of contention.
1 Judas's state of mind
2 What he did with the money
3 How he died

Even if we carefully craft an amazing story which manages to have Judas 1. repentant and unrepentant, 2. buy land and return the money and 3. die from hanging himself or from bursting asunder mid-fall, we would still have to overlook not just one but two shoddy accounts... from the inerrant word of god.

There is an additional contradiction in Matt 27:6 that the chief priests bought the field with the silver that Judas rejected.

When you construct your conciliatory excuses for for why the two accounts aren't remotely similar you are doing the same thing as the original authors: making stuff up.

It took you very little time to craft a story which is more similar to account A or account M than A and M are to each other. How is it that you can do a better (though still flawed) job than the inerrant word of god?

LadyAtheist said...

Good points, A.A.

Hex said...

Well now we're not even talking about contradiction anymore. My point of contention was that people here are treating different details as contradictory details. That, to me, seems like a really bad mistake.

If you're only argument is that you think the accounts are "shoddy," well, that's not an argument at all. That's an opinion.

I mean think about it: how does one "burst asunder" by falling down in a field? Doesn't that seem totally stupid to you guys? It does to me, but, I guess that's just my opinion.

Oh, one last point: thinking about this critically, and questioning the popular consensus is definitely not making stuff up. It's called critical thinking.

LadyAtheist said...

Please give me the definition of "contradiction" that you are using, since you are clearly going in the direction of argumentum ad my dictionarium.

Hex said...

No offense but you're the one who's playing the argumentum ad my dictionarium game here. You are redefining contradiction to just mean two different accounts, when that's not at all what it means, either in ordinary speech or logic.

I already gave my definition of a contradiction: two things that can't be true at the same time. To add to that, I took this from wikipedia:

In classical logic, a contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility between two or more propositions. It occurs when the propositions, taken together, yield two conclusions which form the logical, usually opposite inversions of each other. Illustrating a general tendency in applied logic, Aristotle’s law of noncontradiction states that “One cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.”

Allusive Atheist said...

Can it be true at the same time that Judas was both repentant and unrepentant?

Can it true at the same time that Judas both purchased the land with his inequity and cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself while the chief priests bought the potter's field with the silver? You could interpret it as he provided the money but they performed the transaction. That's assuming the untranslated Koine doesn't prevent that interpretation. But you still have to ignore the context of each passage and embellish.

--quote-- He could have hung himself, and then any one of a number of things could have caused him to "fall headlong" and "burst asunder." --end quote--

No, not really. In order to hang yourself you have to do it right side up. You may want to claim that Judas could have hung himself upside down but know that by doing so you discredit yourself as reasonable, credible and sincere. In order to be hanging upright and to fall headlong (or "head first") he (or his corpse) would have had to have inverted midair, while bursting asunder. It's a miracle... but they had to deduct points because he didn't stick the landing.

Paul (Acts) has him falling headfirst and exploding mid-fall. the implication is that this is the cause of death. It does not say explicitly that he died before, after or during the fall. Nor does it say explicitly that he died from the fall, the burst or something else (as no other injurious event is named.) The implication is the fall/burst killed him and it was not self-inflicted. If you want to limit yourself to what is explicitly written we have no reason to believe that Judas died at all. He may be alive today. Neither Matt nor Acts (at least in English) explicitly states that Judas died from hanging, falling or bursting. If we may ignore any implicit components of historical accounts then we should be able to ignore all of them.

--quote-- I mean think about it: how does one "burst asunder" by falling down in a field? Doesn't that seem totally stupid to you guys? It does to me, but, I guess that's just my opinion. --end quote--

You got me there. That does seem stupid. If you merely said it was stupid without giving reasons why then it would be just your opinion. But you've managed to display attributes of the account that can only be defined as stupid. Therefore I wouldn't wish to commit the fallacy of dismissing your arguments as opinion by ignoring the body and only addressing the conclusion. Paul's telling is either that of a miraculous and gory execution or complete bullshit to keep the devoted more devoted.

Since Paul never met Jesus or Judas I wouldn't expect him to know the truth. But I would still expect the inerrant word of god to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Any divine text that requires embellishment and excuses from its adherents is unworthy of reverence. As we don't have a divine text that doesn't require embellishment and excuses from its adherents, that lack of worthiness will have to be my purely subjective opinion.

LadyAtheist said...

This whole exchange was worth it just to see this sentence:

"In order to hang yourself you have to do it right side up"

That made me LOL!

Hex said...

Allusive Atheist:

The verses LadyAtheist provided don't say anything about unrepentant vs. repentant. If you'd care to provide something for me to go on, feel free. If not, I'm sure you understand why I can't just take your word for it.

As for the manner of death, you're making extra assumptions to force a contradiction. A good lawyer can tell you a little bit about the dangers of that strategy.

"Paul's telling is either that of a miraculous and gory execution or complete bullshit to keep the devoted more devoted."

That's a false dichotomy.

"Any divine text that requires embellishment and excuses from its adherents is unworthy of reverence."

The text doesn't require embellishment or excuses. It is actually your counterargument that requires the embellishment. You're making the text say more than it does. And worst of all, it's laden with opinion.

But no skin off my back. My main interest here was on what it means for two accounts to be contradictory. If you or Lady Atheist want to use "different accounts" as the definition, be my guest.

LadyAtheist said...

" My main interest here was on what it means for two accounts to be contradictory"

In other words, you want to know my/our definition of "contradictory?"

Anonymous said...

Bible follows the path of the sun dummy