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Contradictions in the Bible

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by gvsuman, Nov 11, 2004.

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  1. OccamsLaser

    OccamsLaser Veteran

    +71
    Atheist
    The contradiction can be resolved, but the most popular apologetic requires the explanation that occasionally, the Bible does not mean what it says. Which, to my way of thinking, does even more damage to the credibility of the Bible.
     
  2. OccamsLaser

    OccamsLaser Veteran

    +71
    Atheist
    "The answer to this supposed contradiction is relatively simple, but requires some explanation. Most scholars today agree that the first seventeen verses in the first chapter of Matthew give the genealogy of Joseph, while Luke gives that of Mary, making Jacob the father of Joseph and Heli the father of Mary. This is shown by the two narrations of the virgin birth. Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story only from Joseph’s perspective, while Luke 1:26-56 is told wholly from Mary’s point of view. A logical question to ask is why Joseph is mentioned in both genealogies? The answer is again quite simple. Luke follows strict Hebrew tradition in mentioning only the names of males. Therefore, in this case, Mary is designated by her husband’s name."


    In other words, this is one of those occasions where the Bible does not mean what it actually says.
     
  3. OccamsLaser

    OccamsLaser Veteran

    +71
    Atheist
    Ironically, you contradict yourself.

    "I would expect to find contradictions" vs. "The Bible... is the truth, and the truth never contradicts itself."

    Differences in scientific conclusions are based on expanding theories to account for newly discovered evidence, not on contradictions based on ignorance of other work. That's a fundamental difference between science and religion: science is actively involved in the processes of self-examination and self-correction in pursuit of new evidence and observations, while religious dogma is inflexibly unchanged over at least as many years as you mentioned.
     
  4. OccamsLaser

    OccamsLaser Veteran

    +71
    Atheist
    But it hasn't been established as the truth; merely, it is a set of claims, mostly unfalsifiable and untestable, which are nevertheless contradictory in some of the few falsifiable and testable claims made.
     
  5. hordeprime

    hordeprime God loves Atheists.

    804
    +69
    Atheist
    Break in topic:

    I have gotten the same impression from browsing apologetic books on Amazon; that they are actually written for the Christian audience who wishes to read books about other people's conversions, thus bolstering their own faith. Which makes sense once you realize that you would sell more books that way as an author.

    End break.
     
  6. OccamsLaser

    OccamsLaser Veteran

    +71
    Atheist
    Apart from the obvious fact that neither geneaology is directly attributed (or both are explicitly routed through Joseph), there are some fundamental contradictions in the lineages. The author of Luke wrote that the Messiah must sit on the throne of David. Yet one of the lineages goes through not David's line, but through David's brother Nathan - and the other lineage includes names of people who were explicitly excommunicated from the line of David's throne, i.e. Jeconiah.
    How is it you know what the devil wants? There could be a verse in the Bible which says that the devil can use Scripture to suit his own purposes, but that doesn't necessarily imply that there must be contradictions. Jesus seems to be guilty of the same thing, when He says "You know that the Scripture says X, but I tell you it must be Y." For example, Jesus says that the Scripture claims that a married man who sleeps with a woman not his wife commits adultery, but Jesus goes on to expand that anyone who even thinks about it commits adultery. While technically not a contradiction, it is a case of Jesus using Scripture in the same way that the devil is said to use Scripture.
    Paul sounds like a senator on the hot seat, answering a probing question with "That's a good question. Are there any more questions?"
    Sounds like Paul is rather critical of the "endless genealogies" in Matthew and Luke, along with the Old Testament books of I and II Chronicles, which read with all the riveting fascination of the Manhattan Phone Book. Probably what Paul meant is to ignore fables and endless genealogies, except for those found in the Bible.
    Blatant begging the question; Paul's recommended strategy for contentious questions is to run away.
    Again, blatant poisoning the well - it seems to be the Logical Fallacy of the Month lately. The contradiction is not resolved by claiming that those who raise the contradiction are insincere or dishonest seekers, or that those who refrain from bringing them up are upstanding good people. A charge of dishonesty must be established; simply claiming someone is dishonest for examining a Bible contradiction isn't enough.
     
  7. OccamsLaser

    OccamsLaser Veteran

    +71
    Atheist
    My newspaper reports details of non-supernatural events (OK, there are newspapers like Weekly World News which cross that line) which can be checked and verified or falsified - and they frequently are. Typos and misprints can be clarified through a published correction, and newspapers hire people in the role of "editor" who are responsible to make sure they don't happen in the first place. And any paper which knowingly misquotes without retracting would irreparably damage its reputation and find itself out of business quite soon. The presence of errors in a newspaper does not invalidate "the entire body of human literature," so your conclusion is a bit hasty.
    The "same event" in my example is the so-called Resurrection of the Saints described in the Gospel of Matthew. It's not even mentioned in the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John, even though an event of that magnitude would be prima facie evidence of the divinity of Jesus, which was what they were all building a case for. If it was indeed a different viewpoint, then that viewpoint would be based on being completely unaware of an unprecedented supernatural event in the same city which would strongly support their claim. If they left that detail out, their credibility as reporters is clobbered.
    Actually, it's a book mass-produced, bound, and distributed much the same as any other book, with a few different channels of distribution. If you're referring to the original manuscripts, they don't exist. If you're referring to the earliest extant manuscripts, then yes, they're very old books. But "not being a single edition of a paper" seems to be an excuse explaining the presence of contradictions and omissions like the Resurrection of the Saints big enough to drive a truck through.
    What's the point? Are you asking me to imagine it's true, as evidence that it's true? How would anyone possibly claim to know the motives of scribes during the Dark Ages and earlier?
    Jeremiah 20:7 indicates that God deceived the prophet, and other versions of the Bible euphemized "deceived" into "enticed", which seems to have ironed out that unpleasant wrinkle. If there were no instances of mistranslation or error, then all versions of the Bible would read the same. Clearly, they don't.
    Since when is that a "fact"? Is it a fact that no unintentional errors were possible, either? What does that have to do with the complete absense of any mention of the resurrected bodies in Mark, Luke, and John?
     
  8. Serapha

    Serapha Well-Known Member

    +25
    Non-Denom
    Hi there!

    :wave:

    Just for the interest of discussion, I was reading today about earthquakes in Israel, and in the last six weeks, there have been 25 tremors reported out of the Earthquake center in Israel. Of course, most of the were not even felt, but one was.... and earthquakes are very common in Israel since the "plate" involved is called the "Jordan rift"... and the Jordan River runs on top of a faultline.


    Actually, from the text of the Bible, raising people from the dead seemed to be a fairly common occurrence in first-century Israel... it was considered to be an "evidence" to the Jews of the power of God... and the power of the Messiah and His disciples.





    Well, I am of four children, and when something happened when I was a kid, mom heard four different stories. So was anyone lying? No.... but it was always four different stories of how it happened. Each story was what was important to the child to insure that they were not blamed for the problem :thumbsup: :D ;)



    If you take a closer look at who the gospels were directed to... then you see more of the importance of what was stress and what was omitted and why.


    ~serapha~
     
  9. Serapha

    Serapha Well-Known Member

    +25
    Non-Denom
    Hi there!

    :wave:


    I guess I'm not a popular at apologetics :eek:



    because I don't believe I have ever made that statement.


    I do agree that making excuses doesn't add credibility...


    ~serapha~
     
  10. Serapha

    Serapha Well-Known Member

    +25
    Non-Denom
    Hi there!

    :wave:



    As I posted previously, raising the dead was a sign to the Jews... and Matthew was written to reach the Jews. Raising the dead had significance to the resurrection.


    Raising the dead wasn't a sign to the Romans or the Greeks, or the Gentiles in general.


    In context, to the book of Matthew, the resurrection of the dead was important.


    ~serapha~
     
  11. OccamsLaser

    OccamsLaser Veteran

    +71
    Atheist
    Interesting, but irrelevant. We're not questioning whether an earthquake could happen, but rather how it could have been missed or ignored by the authors of the other three Gospels.
    Not on the scale of what is described in Matthew 27:52-53 as "many holy people" who were resurrected. There are claims of perhaps three or four people raised from the dead by Jesus, including Lazarus, and a few others who may have been brought back to life by Paul or Peter.
    Evidently it wasn't good enough evidence to persuade the authors of Mark, Luke, and John to include it in their books which were trying to establish exactly those points.
    You misunderstand the problem. In this example, it's a case of one author reporting an amazing, incredible event in a city, while the other three authors did not even mention the event, even though it would have strongly supported their assertions.
    I've read the Bible cover to cover five times, and the Gospels perhaps 100 times. Obviously, the different Gospels and Epistles were addressed to different audiences, but that doesn't explain why a huge event, a prime piece of evidence of the basic message they were trying to convey, was completely missing in three of the four Gospels.
     
  12. ICHTHYS_follower

    ICHTHYS_follower New Member

    11
    +0
    Lutheran
    To get a better understanding of the eclipse and the forces that caused the earthquake, please refer to

    http://www.christianforums.com/t1063747-chronology-of-holy-week.html
     
  13. Alencon

    Alencon Senior Veteran

    +102
    Deist
    Married
    US-Democrat
    Well, perhaps someone can explain this apparent contradiction as I've never heard any.

    Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

    I expect it to be quite interesting.
     
  14. God of Love

    God of Love Regular Member

    328
    +14
    Oneness
    Interesting. I thought the Bible was written by God.

    Is it the individual authors, or God who wrote the books of the Bible?
     
  15. Serapha

    Serapha Well-Known Member

    +25
    Non-Denom
    Hi there!

    :wave:

    Because you view it as a contradiction does not mean that it is a contradiction. It does not conflict with any other gospel. None of the other gospels says... "there was no earthquake". THAT would be a contradiction.


    You are suppositioning that because the gospels weren't written in replication, that they aren't true...

    complement... my friend... they complement... add to the detailing of the account.

    ~serapha~
     
  16. Serapha

    Serapha Well-Known Member

    +25
    Non-Denom
    and may I add... if all the gospels carried exactly the same terms, accounts, ideals, statements... then there would be no need for four gospels... but just one gospel to all people instead of four gospels written expressly for four different groups of people.

    If you only want one gospel, then I recommend that you just use John.

    ~thanks~
     
  17. michabo

    michabo reason, evidence

    +468
    Atheist
    Let's not forget about all of the other people who were writing at the same time and place. Were they so jaded with earthquakes and the walking dead that they neglected to mention it?
     
  18. michabo

    michabo reason, evidence

    +468
    Atheist
    Talk about setting your bar low. What do you expect to read:

    Lo, and Jesus came down from the hilltop and there was no light from the sky but no earthquake, tremor, drought, plague, wind, fire, rain, talking toads, fish falling from the sky, manna, angels, devils, winged beasts, behemoths, or unicorns. And he did walk to Jerusalem but did not see Peter, Paul, any of the Marys, nor was there an earthquake, tremor, drought, plague, wind, fire, rain, talking toads, ...


    This is part of the reason I'd asked to get the criteria for contradictions laid out in advance. In this case, we have some extremely unusual circumstances which would demand mention. When a writer does not mention them, though it would help their story and their message, we can take it that they thought it did not happen. So how do you think that this was missed? Too busy to notice the walking dead?
     
  19. God of Love

    God of Love Regular Member

    328
    +14
    Oneness
    Take a stave, or not take a stave?

    Luke 9:3
    "And he said unto them, take NOTHING for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece."

    Mark 6:8-9
    "And commanded them that they should take for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no break, no money..."

    ----------
    Which is it, for us or against us?

    Mt 12:30 & Luke 11:23:
    "He that is NOT WITH ME is AGAINST me."

    Mk 9:40:
    "For he that is not against us is ON OUR PART."

    Lk 9:40:
    "For he that is not against us is FOR US."


    _________

    Was the tomb open or closed when the women arrived?

    Luke 24:
    "And they FOUND the stone ROLLED AWAY from the sepulchre..."

    Mt 28:2
    "The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it."

    There are hundreds more, want them?



    ~serapha~[/QUOTE]
     
  20. OccamsLaser

    OccamsLaser Veteran

    +71
    Atheist
    Then there was no need to include the details of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection in Matthew, but they're there in abundance.
     
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