7/26/2006                                                                                       View Comments

House Built on a Weak Foundation

This post is excerpted from The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth. (www.lulu.com/content/220355.)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
—2 Timothy 3:16


One day the older daughter said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father.” That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him.
—Genesis 18:31–33


“THE B-I-B-L-E, YES, THAT’S THE BOOK FOR ME.” WE SANG LOUDLY, SCRUBFACED, girls in dresses and boys in tidy pants. The year was probably 1968 or ’69, and scores of us were attending Vacation Bible School, a week-long event like a day camp that is still held each summer by churches across America. One summer, not long ago, my nephews attended four of them back to back. Some churches use commercially published curricula; some make up their own. The advertised materials have catchy themes, like “Power Up! (Jesus helps you to power up),” or “Rickshaw Rally (Racing to the Son),” or “Mission Possible (sharing your faith with your friends).” If the church is large enough, children split by age groups and, in the company of their peers, do art activities, sing songs, and listen to stories taught by enthusiastic volunteers. Bible Schools vary, but they share the same intent: to introduce children to God’s wonderful Word. “I stand alone on the Word of God—the B-I-B-L-E.”1

What they don’t teach in Vacation Bible School is that the Bible is laden with contradictions that can be reconciled only by contorted logic, improbable conjecture, and leaps of faith. These range from transcription errors to historical inaccuracies, internal contradictions, and logical impossibilities. Evangelicals who have left the faith often attribute their de-conversion to the fact that they finally sat down and studied the Bible, including the parts that are neglected in sermons and Sunday schools.

A number of books and websites now catalog the errors in the Bible. One particularly thick tome is called The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy (to contrast with the doctrine of inerrancy).2 For over a decade, its author, C. Dennis McKinsey, also produced a monthly periodical on the topic. Some biblical “errors” are stories that contradict each other, since many Bible stories are repeated more than once. Other errors are texts that align with pre-scientific understandings of the natural world but contradict what we know now about chemistry, biology, or physics. Another category of problems involves opposing commands, incompatible images of God, or contradictory theological statements. Yet another category includes failed prophesies and promises. Occasionally, even, one book of the Bible misquotes another or distorts the meaning of an earlier text.

For modernist Christians, who acknowledge the human construction of the Bible, the actual contents of the book come as no surprise and pose no threat. From their perspective, it may even seem petty to harp on errors and contradictions that are simply to be expected when humans struggle to comprehend the Divine. And yet, the importance of such harping cannot be overstated. Millions of people believe the Bible to be inerrant, and their numbers are growing. This belief leads them to adopt social and moral priorities that range from silly to cruel to dangerous. This chapter contains a small sampling of obvious contradictions in biblical texts.3 Acknowledging small errors such as these can open the door to examining deeper moral and spiritual flaws in the Bible texts.

How Bible Stories Contradict Science

The Bible records histories that contradict what we now know to be the laws of biology, astronomy, and physics. These histories also contradict findings in the fields of linguistics, neurology, and infectious disease. While they contradict recent discoveries, they are consistent with pre-scientific understandings of how the world works. In other words, they fit the scope of human knowledge, and misinformation, that would have surrounded the writers during the period when they were produced.

  • God creates day and night and plants before the sun and moon are created (Gen. 1:3–5, 11, 16). Note that some ancient peoples believed that the sun ruled the day but did not cause the daylight. Creation of day and night before the sun and moon would be consistent with this view.
    Adam lives 930 years, Seth lives 912, Enosh 905, etc. (Gen. 5).
  • Biblical genealogies fix the date of creation around 4000 BCE. Evidence exists that human cultures predate this time by tens of thousands of years and that the age of the earth is around 4.6 billion years.
  • Human linguistic diversity results from a wrathful miracle. God punishes those who built the Tower of Babel by making them unintelligible to each other. Prior to this only one language exists (Gen. 11:1, 7–9). We now know how languages split off from each other. Linguists can trace their evolution, mapping changes to human patterns of migration and contact between or isolation of linguistic groups. Ironically, in the previous chapter of Genesis, people are divided into nations, everyone “according to his language” (Gen. 10:5).
  • A flood covers the Earth with water more than twenty feet above the highest mountain. (Gen. 7:19–20) This would require rainfall at the rate of 8460 inches per day for forty days and nights to cover the planet in an ocean five miles deep and bury Mt. Everest under fifteen cubits (or 22 feet) of water.4
  • A race of giants inhabits the Earth before and after the flood (Gen. 6:4, Num. 13:33). No evidence, archeological, anthropological, or otherwise suggests that this was ever true. Note that these verses also contradict the biblical account of Noah’s flood.
  • Jacob alters the genetic characteristics of cattle by letting them view a striped rod (Gen. 30:37–43). Note: although contrary to modern science, this is in keeping with the understanding of the time. It has not been uncommon for primitive people to believe that offspring are altered by things a female sees during her pregnancy.
  • There are winged creatures that go about on four legs, and the Israelites are given detailed rules about which they can eat (Lev. 11:20–23). In reality, winged insects all have six legs, and winged mammals and birds have two.
  • A house can be infected with the disease leprosy, and God prescribes a cure (Lev. 14:33–57). In actual fact, although leprosy horrified ancient peoples because it caused disfigurement, it is extremely difficult to transmit, would not be caused by a house, and rarely spreads even by direct contact with infected persons.5
  • The sun and moon stand still so that Joshua can finish abattle (implying the rotation of the Earth is halted) (Josh.10:12–14). Imagine, if you can, the implications of Earth abruptly halting its rotation.
  • The shadow of the sun moves backwards, implying that the Earth reverses its rotation. (2 Kings 20:11, Isa. 38:8).
  • Satan takes Jesus to a high mountain from which all the kingdoms of the world can be seen (implying a flat Earth or a small “known” earth) (Matt. 4:8).
  • A wide variety of psychological, neurological, and physical disorders are attributed to demons and are to be healed by casting out of demons (1 Sam. 18:10, 11; Matt. 9:32–33; 12:12; 17:14–18; Acts 5:16, etc.).


These oddities are defended by literalists in a variety of ways. They may argue that a Hebrew or Greek word has alternate meanings that are more compatible with scientific understandings of the world. They may gather one-sided evidence to support their belief that miraculous oddities actually occurred. For example, some Evangelical scholars insist that a day is missing from history based on astronomical calculations, and that it can be traced back to the time of Joshua.6 Or they may simply assert that things are different now. Needless to say, these arguments often put them at odds with scholars who don’t have a literalist agenda.


Many oddities are explained, even by biblical literalists, as figures of speech. One example is the story in which Satan takes Jesus to the top of a high mountain from which the kingdoms of the world can be seen. Another is six “days” of creation. The figure-of-speech argument doesn’t work, though. When an author uses a metaphor, he or she understands that it does not represent literal reality. So do his or her readers. Authors, even fallible, human ones, take care not to use figures of speech that readers will mistake for non-figurative speech. Yet this is what happens with the Bible. For centuries, virtually everyone regarded these passages as literal. Since many of them fit a pre-scientific world view, there would have been no reason for people in the past to assume otherwise. Would an all-knowing God dictate metaphors that he knew people would interpret as literal truth?


How Bible Commands Oppose Each Other


The Bible contains mandates that are mutually incompatible. It is impossible for them both simultaneously to express the will of God. Many of these are differences between the Old and New Testaments which Evangelicals explain by saying that Jesus created a “New Covenant” or new agreement between God and humans. However, inconsistencies also exist within the Old Testament and within the New Testament. Furthermore, the old-covenant vs. new-covenant distinction is dubious given that Jesus himself is quoted as saying that he had not come to abolish the (Old Testament) Law. The distinction is also logically dubious given that Evangelicals believe that God is unchanging and that the Bible, from the very first page, conveys his highest priorities for humans. Thus, it is worth considering contradictions wherever they may occur.
  • The covenant of circumcision is to be everlasting (Gen. 17:7, 10–11). Circumcision doesn’t matter (Gal. 6:15).
  • God encourages reproduction (Gen. 1:28). God says that women are spiritually unclean after giving birth and require purification (Lev. 12:1–8). Note that the issue is not physical uncleanness; the purification required after giving birth to a girl is twice that required after birthing a boy.
  • Abraham and his half sister marry with God’s blessing (Gen. 17:15–16, 20:11–12, 22:17). Incest is wrong (Lev. 20:17, Deut. 27:20–23).
  • God gives us wine to gladden our hearts (Ps. 104:15). and
    Jesus turns water into wine after wedding guests have drunk
    all wine provided (John 2:1–11).
    Believers are commanded not to be drunk with wine (Eph. 5:18).
  • God prohibits making any graven images (Exod. 20:4).
    God instructs the Israelites to make graven images (Exod. 25:18).
  • God prohibits the killing of innocent children (Exod. 23:7).
    God approves and even demands the slaughter of innocents Num. 31:17–18, Deut. 7:2, Josh. 6:21–27, 7:19–26, 8:22–25, 10:20, 40, 11:8–15, 20, Judg. 11:30–39, 21:10–12).
  • We are not to rejoice when our enemies stumble or fall (Prov. 24:16–18).
    The righteous rejoice when they see vengeance (Ps. 58:10–11).
  • Anyone who calls someone else a fool deserves hell (Matt. 5:22).
    Jesus calls people fools. (Matt.7:26; Matt. 23:17, 19; Luke 24:25.)*
  • Divorce is wrong except in cases of unchastity (Matt. 5:32).
    Divorce for any reason is wrong (Mark 10:11–12).
  • Jesus says not to resist evil but to love your enemies (Matt. 5:39, 44).
    Jesus repeatedly curses his enemies (Matt. 6:15, 12:34, 16:3, 22:18, etc.).
  • Jesus says that he has come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17–18; Luke 16:17).
    We are told he abolished it (Eph. 2:13–15, Heb. 7:18–19).


The contradictory mandates contained in the Bible are one cause for the splintering of Christianity into denominations and sects. They are what allowed Quakers to live as Christ-centered pacifists while the Puritans slaughtered natives for the glory of God.7 They are the reason that Eastern Orthodox artists devoted centuries to creating sacred images which Spirit-filled iconoclasts later smashed and burned. They are the reason that some fundamentalists forbid family planning, while others see God as mandating stewardship of all resources including parental time and energy. Church members who attended the funeral of a murdered college student, Matthew Shepherd, with signs proclaiming “God Hates Gays”and “Gays Deserve Death” believed they were following a biblical directive. So do congregations who post “open and affirming” statements communicating their acceptance of homosexual worshipers. Each of these courses of action has a solid basis in some part of scripture.

How Images of God Conflict with Each Other


Changing concepts of God are addressed in another chapter, Evolutionary De-ology, but the fact is that incompatible images of God exist even within the same parts of the Bible, within both the Old Testament and the New. Christian leaders—ministers, missionaries, and writers—focus on those images of God that fit their preferences and then downplay the contrary parts of scripture. Some passages get discussed frequently; others almost never. Carefully chosen texts are used to support a wide range of behavior and of moral priorities on the part of believers. Human behaviors can be called “godly” even though they are diametrically opposed to other behaviors that are also called godly.

  • God shows no partiality (2 Chron. 19:7, Ps. 145:9, Acts 10:34,
    Rom. 2:11).
    God chooses favorites including his Chosen People, descen
    dants of Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3).
    God hated Esau and loved Jacob before the twins were even
    born (Mal. 1:2–3; Rom. 9:11–13).
    God decides who will be born dumb, deaf, blind, (Exod. 4:11).
    God has mercy on whom he chooses (Rom. 9:18).
  • God is angry, vengeful, and jealous (Gen. 4:15, Exod. 20:5, Num. 25:3–4, etc.). God is love (2 Cor. 13:11, 14, 1 John 4:8, 16).
  • God forbids punishing children for the sins of their fathers
    (Deut. 24:16).
    God punishes children for the sins of their fathers (Isa. 14:21,
    and throughout the Pentateuch).
  • God sows discord (Gen. 11:7–9).
    God hates anyone who sows discord (Prov. 6:16–19)
  • God cannot even look on evil (Hab. 1:13).
    God created evil (Isa. 45:6–7, Lam. 3:8, Amos 3:6).
  • God does not lie (Exodus 34:6, Deuteronomy 7:9–10, Thess. 1:2). God condones trickery (Gen. 34) and deludes people (2 Thess. 2:11–12).


To be blunt, because the Bible was written over a time period spanning centuries and was integrated “by committee,” the biblical God is a mass of contradictions. The more carefully and completely one reads the Bible, the more incoherent the image of God becomes. If one attempts to build an image of God that integrates all of the characteristics, attributes, and behaviors the scriptures describe, the resulting description is nonsensical. Words have to be redefined so thoroughly that they become meaningless.


How Bible Stories Are Contradictory or Garbled


It is common for a story to appear more than once in the Bible. The book of Genesis repeats the creation story. Joshua and Judges repeat early accounts of battles and events that occurred during the formation of the Hebrew nation. Later writings refer back to earlier writings. And when they do, the stories often vary. Sometimes they are altered in ways that call into question their very meaning.

  • God created sea creatures, birds, and land animals before
    man (Gen. 1).The birds and land animals were created after Adam, aspossible companions for him (Gen. 2).
  • The birds were brought forth from the waters (Gen. 1:20, 21). They were formed from the ground along with the beasts (Gen. 2:19).
  • All humans not on the ark were killed by the flood (Gen. 7:21). There were giant humans after the flood as before the flood (Num. 13:33). Noah and his family entered the ark, then they entered it again (Gen. 7:7, 13).
  • To show his faith, Abraham offered up his only begotten
    son Isaac (Heb. 11:17).Abraham had a son, Ishmael, who was born before Isaac (Gen. 16:15).
  • Jacob was buried in a cave at Machpelah bought from Ephron
    (Gen. 50:13).
    He was buried in a sepulcher at Sechem bought from sons
    of Hamor (Acts 7:15–16).
  • David slew 700 Syrian charioteers and 40,000 horsemen (2
    Sam. 8:4).
    David slew 7,000 Syrian charioteers and 40,000 horsemen (1
    Chron. 19:18).

The gospel stories alone contain a host of inconsistencies. In Matthew, Herod slaughters innocent babies to destroy the Christ child, in Luke he does not. In Matthew, Jesus says that John the Baptist is Elijah the Prophet, yet in the Gospel of John, the Baptist denies this designation. In one account, a Roman centurion comes to beseech Jesus to heal his servant. Another text reports that the centurion sends the elders of the Jews on his behalf. When Jesus is arrested, Roman soldiers dress him in a scarlet robe or in one that is purple, depending on which account you read. Perhaps the most well-known conflicting stories in the New Testament are the varying accounts of the resurrection. A tongue-in-cheek quiz that can be found in Appendix I illustrates how widely they differ.8


Literalists often claim that contradictions are simply fragments of the same story, even when this seems dubious. The process of integrating such details is called harmonization. Apologists work to weave a story that includes all of the pieces from various descriptions of an incident. If this is possible (and it always is) then there is no contradiction. Take, for example, the story of the centurion and his ill servant (Matt. 8:5, Luke 7:2). A harmonizing solution might be to suggest that the centurion first sent the elders to talk with Jesus and then spoke with him directly. In the case of the contradictory resurrection accounts, apologists argue that they are simply written from the vantage points of different eyewitnesses, all part of the same larger story.


The critical flaw in this approach is obvious: just because it is possible to weave a story doesn’t mean the story is true or even reasonable. Ask any prosecuting attorney or judge. Competing explanations must be examined in terms of likelihood and logic. One must ask: which is more likely, that these pieces make up one obscured but coherent story or that they simply disagree? This question is largely ignored by apologists because they hold an a priori belief in the inerrancy of scripture. Given this assumption, any account that harmonizes discrepancies and supports inerrancy has an absolute advantage over one that doesn’t. Any interpretation suggesting that a contradiction is, in fact, a contradiction must be wrong. Therefore it is wrong. Case closed.


How Do Biblical Prophesies and Promises Stand Up?


Evangelicals teach that the Bible is bursting with fulfilled prophecies, especially Old Testament verses that foretell the birth, life, and death of Jesus. But even the most frequently cited verses should be treated with caution; prophecies and fulfillments tend to converge in the telling. Professional fortune-tellers have a shared set of techniques that they use to create the illusion of fore-telling: one of the most common of these is vague or mystical sounding predictions, the meaning of which is clear only in hindsight. They count on the human mind to link prophetic utterances and later events in ways that seem improbable, even supernatural. Without intending to, we are all prone to finding marvelous connections where none exist. Even the Bible writers were no exception. For example, a verse in Isaiah says that a young woman will conceive and bear a child. This verse was taken out of context and altered by a gospel writer to provide evidence for the virgin birth of Jesus.*9 It is now quoted by literalists as proof positive that Jesus was a long-awaited Messiah.


Besides the dubious nature of many “fulfilled” prophecies, some very explicit biblical promises and predictions turn out to have been untrue.

  • Jesus says that some alive at the time of his sermon will still be living when he comes with his new kingdom (Matt. 10:23, 16:28). They are all long dead. Two thousand years have passed since he promised to return “quickly.”
  • Jesus says that a prophet cannot perish outside of Jerusalem (Luke 13.33). He, himself, was crucified outside the city on the hill of Golgotha.
  • Jesus promises that his followers will do greater works than he did (John 14:12). He walked on water, healed the blind and deaf and raised the dead. They did not.
  • He promises that if he dies, all men will be drawn unto him (John 12:32). Yet untold millions have lived and died without ever hearing anything about Jesus.
  • Jesus says that the end of the world will come when the gospel has been preached to every kingdom, and Paul claims that this had happened by his time (Matt. 24:14; Rom. 10:13, Col. 1:23). We now know of entire tribes that passed into extinction without any awareness of Christianity.
  • Believers are told that they will be able to drink poison or handle snakes and not be harmed (Mark 16:18, Luke 10:19). Yet members of churches that handle snakes as a demonstration of faith are bitten with fatal results.10
  • Jesus tell his followers: “Ask and it will be given; seek andyou will find” (Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10). Yet many ex-Christians tell of years spent praying to have their doubts removed before they finally abandoned the faith.


Some apologists argue that these apparently failed promises are really misunderstandings. They say that the true meaning in the words of Jesus and the apostles was abstract and must be understood within a broader theological context. But consider this: the Jesus of the gospels used simple sayings and stories to teach simple people. When the stories were parables, he interpreted them. To argue that the meaning of his promises is hidden, abstract, or available only to scholars and theologians is a denial of the ministry of Jesus as depicted in the gospels.


Jesus told us to approach God like children approaching a heavenly father, with simple child-like trust, which Christians, from the beginning, have done. Early on, Christianity spread among the poor and uneducated—simple people, like those Jesus chose as disciples. Even today, this is where much missionary work takes place: in rural Africa, in the highlands of Guatemala, in the inner city. It would be far more difficult to win converts if these people thought of God’s promises—of healing, material blessings and answered prayer—as theological abstractions. And it would be downright ungodly of God to reveal himself in such a way that vast numbers of people would turn to him because they misunderstand his message. My children call that kind of behavior “tricksy.” It is.


Imagine: I promise my daughter a reward, whatever she asks for, if she comes home with an A on her math test. She brings home her paper with a big A and a silver star at the top, hands it to me, and waits, bright-faced, expectant. “Oh,” I say, “what I really meant was that all that studying would have its own reward, that you would have the satisfaction of having done well. See how good it feels?”


“But you promised whatever I asked for! You lied to me!” she protests.


“Oh, no.” I tell her, “I didn’t lie. It’s just that you don’t really understand what you are asking for. If you understood what to ask for, then you would get what you want.”


This chapter illustrates the challenges faced by those who take the Bible as their “firm foundation.” A whole industry has sprung up to convince believers and nonbelievers alike that these difficulties are inconsequential. Shelves of books argue that transcription errors are trivial, historical errors don’t exist, and the natural laws were different in times past, or that modern science is simply wrong. They tell us that doctrinal contradictions are really misunderstandings of doctrinal nuance and complexity, and that in the Bible God has always been fair and loving, however much the stories might seem to suggest otherwise.


Gleason Archer, Ph.D. was a leading apologist for biblical inerrancy. His book, New International Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties,11 opens with a set of “Recommended Procedures in Dealing with Biblical Difficulties.” Here is the first guideline:


Be fully persuaded in your own mind that an adequate explanation exists, even though you have not yet found it …we may have complete confidence that the divine Author preserved the human author of each book of the Bible from error or mistake as he wrote down the original manuscript of the sacred text.*


Archer’s guideline is in direct opposition to the rules of scientific inquiry, the rules that have led to the greatest accumulation of knowledge and technology in the history of the human race. Archer says, essentially, that the reader must start the process of inquiry by assuming a certain outcome. Don’t look for the most likely hypothesis suggested by the evidence, he says, nor the one that is most straightforward or reasonable. Start by believing that a certain conclusion is already true. Then, rather than looking for evidence that might prove you wrong, which is what science would demand, look for evidence that you are right. Examine the evidence through the lens of that conclusion. Ask yourself, “What explanations or interpretations can I come up with that would allow me to maintain my belief that these texts are not contradictory?” If you can find any at all, then you have succeeded in your task. By implication, if you cannot, the problem lies with you, not the text.


Archer’s approach, in almost any other field of inquiry, would be considered preposterous. (Rule 1: Decide in advance what you want to believe is true.) Imagine this approach being applied by the physician who is diagnosing your lethargic child, or the judge who is trying a criminal case, or the husband who is in marital therapy. The risks are, respectively: misdiagnosis, wrongful imprisonment, and divorce. Imagine it as the approach of the cold-fusion researcher, the engineer trying to decide whether a space shuttle is ready for flight, or the president trying to decide whether to take his country to war. Imagine it as the approach of a parent who wants to find out whether her teenager is sexually active. The risks range from public ridicule to spectacular catastrophe, from unnecessary war to painful estrangement.


How then, is this approach fit for evaluating some of the most crucial questions a human can ask: Why are we here? What is the meaning of God and goodness? What is the taproot of morality? How might we build a just and compassionate society? And how shall we express our need for meaning, community, and joy?


When could it be more important to constrain our own biases, to open our minds to difficult truths, than in the pursuit of our highest values? Surely our quest to understand goodness must be as intellectually rigorous and honest as our quest to understand molecular biology or physics or any other area of scientific inquiry. Yet this is not the approach taken by Evangelical scholars who defend the Bible as the literal word of God. Their methods are not those of scholarly inquiry but of debate and legal defense.

To Consider


The lengths to which literalists will go in their defense of the Bible, even wedding themselves to foolishness, suggest that biblical literalism is rooted in fear. Most literalists are deeply moral people. But they mistakenly believe that abandoning the God-concept of our spiritual ancestors means we must also let go of their quest for meaning and any moral truths they may have discovered. They fear that without perfect and timeless scriptures, we humans will lose the ability to make contact with that perfection which transcends time—the great “I AM,” as the God of Moses calls himself.


If one imagines the Bible as a gift, this is a fear that the package is the wrappings, that unwrapped it will be empty. If we acknowledge and explore its human construction, the Bible will lose its power to connect people with the ultimate sacred reality that we call God. The peace, communion, and moral inspiration offered by Christianity will evaporate. But consider that the opposite may be true: it may not be possible to place the wrapped package on an altar, exalt the wrappings themselves, and genuinely appreciate what lies inside.


When the Bible is understood in its literary and historical context; errors, contradictions, and inconsistencies pose no threat to spirituality, whether that spirituality is theistic, non-theistic, or even explicitly Jesus-centered. The graver threat to what Christians call godliness may be fundamentalism—religion that flows from literalism and fear, religion based on anachronism and law. Fundamentalism teaches, in effect, that the tattered musings of our ancestors, those human words that so poorly represent the content of human thinking, somehow adequately describe God. Fundamentalism offers identity, security, and simplicity, but at a price: by binding believers to the moral limitations and cultural trappings of the Ancients, it precludes a deeper embrace of goodness, love, and truth—in other words, of Divinity. In fact, as we shall see in upcoming chapters, it also has the power to put believers on the side of self-centeredness and cruelty.

Footnotes:

*The same Greek word mo-ras’ meaning stupid or dull, is used in both Matthew 5:22 and Matthew 23:17 and 19. In other places Jesus uses even stronger words that are translated “fool.”

*In Isaiah 7:14, the Hebrew word translated “virgin” in most English language Bibles is actually ha’almah or “the young woman,” not habethulah, meaning“the virgin.” Some English translations have corrected this, including The New English Bible, The Good News Bible, and The Revised Standard Version. Furthermore, taken in context, the verse is a promise to King Ahaz and Judah of deliverance from their enemies during a time of war.


*Some Inerrantists take exception to Archer’s qualifier: that inerrancy is limited to the original manuscript. They insist that if a perfect God made a perfect revelation to humankind, then he did not limit himself to perfect revelation in ancient Hebrew alone. Christians who take this stance may believe in the inerrancy of the King James Version in English and the original translations into other languages as well. But because this argument is easily tested, scholarly inerrantists usually limit themselves to making claims about the original text.

Was this information of value to you? The book is available at www.lulu.com/content/220355. Previous chapters and other commentary on life, society, and Christianity available at www.spaces.msn.com/awaypoint.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

!halleluiah!

Naomi

Lee said...

I truly enjoyed this post. It condenses a lot into a little space, when one thinks of the sheer number of errors, contradictions and downright whoppers that really exist in the bible.

I have been a fan of Dennis McKinsey for a LONG time, and I can tell you that you won't find a stronger advocate for letting the bible be its own worst enemy, regarding its inerrancy.

Everyone should look into his archived works here on ExChristian.net. They have been invaluable to me as a reference. I have read the bible MANY times, and the size of the bible can make searching for evidence daunting, at times, but his works often address critical areas of ideology, using scriptural passages to back his position, which he collects by subject, generally, and these are extremely easy to locate when needed.

His correspondence with those so desperately clinging to the inerracy fallacy is always entertaining, and he never backs down with regard to his positions.

I urge EVERYONE to look into "Biblical Errancy," archived on this website.

Ian said...

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that the bible is the work of men, that it is not infallible, that it is just another holy book with some good points, some bad points, and that there are a lot of boring points.

How did I come to this conclusion? By studying the bible itself.

Never Going Back said...

I loved your post. I'm with Lee on allowing the Bible to stick it's own foot in it's mouth. I was so impressed with your post that i will put it on my favorites so that i can use it as reference when debating Christians. I have read of the many biblical errors before, but as Lee said , it is alot of vital information condensened into a small amount of space. Thank you for taking your time on it.

Piprus said...

I really love posts like this on the main page. Thanks, webmaster.

Funny how we don't seem to see any of the trolls commenting on posts like this.

Harlequin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Harlequin said...

Be very careful what you wish for... I had to endure something like 5000 words on the doctrine of Inerrancy when I linked to this article. It was a pretty piss poor cut and paste from a set of web sites that have no more idea of the history of what they espouse as 'inerrant' than bricks have about quantum electrodynamics. Trying to explain this to the people who support the doctrine is actually *less* rewarding than explaining quantum electrodynamics to a brick, since you at least get the feeling the brick is listening...

*I deleted and reposted this due to some howling typos... If I ever learn to type, I'll be dangerous.

Steve said...

Why the triumphalist tone?

You have not proved anything.

I find there is very little inconsistent in the Biblical message of God's love for us, the charcteristics of God, the position of man, sin, death, judgement, Jesus' atoning sacrifice and ressurection, the culture of the kingdom of heaven, repentance and justification, prayer and the existence of evil.

By any standards it is the most remarkable book and, given its age and the agency of so many writers to expound God's Word. The inconsistences, particularly as they apply to the New Coventant of Jesus, are very few. The historical accuracy is of a very high order as is the intregrity of the text. Its wisdom and guidance of induring value.

Personally, although I think it is yet unproven, I favour the creatist, young world explanation but my faith does not rest on it. The essentials of Genesis are true: God created the universe; God has a direct interest and influence on human affairs; we are made in God's image; sin entered the world and with it death; and we have mastery over the earth.

You have taken the decision to disbelieve its origins. That is your choice and you are fully aware of the consequences.Personally, I believe there are more convincing reasons to belief it is what it says it is: God's Word.

My question is: why would you want to dissuade people from reading the Bible and making their own minds up about it, rather than advancing a very partial argument against it? If nothing else, it has (and has had) a tremendous power to do good.

Never Going Back said...

To Steve: Did you actually say that the above post proved nothing? Uhm, let's see, can u prove that the Bible IS the word of God? Can u prove the young world theory? Can u prove that Jesus is the son of God? Can u prove ANYTHING the Bible claims regarding deity? No? Neither can the Hindus, the Muslims, the Buddhists, or the Jainists. Why then should we take Bible-god's word for it? Allah's Hell is supposed to be even worse. If we were going to convert to any religion based on fear (since you kindly reminded the author of the above post that he/she was well aware of the consequences of rejecting the faith) we EX-Christians would be more apt to convert to Islam, since they make the same audacious claims to have the "truth". If I am going to convert to ANY religion based on fear, I'm going to pick the one with the worst consequences just to be safe.

You also said that u find very little inconsistency in the bible when it comes to the message of God's love. I almost vomitted in my mouth! If God is love and love is not jealous (see 1 Corinthians 13) then how can God claim to be a jealous God by his own admission? If God is love how is that He can claim to HATE in the very same Bible? How is that love? If God is love and just how is it just to send the majority of mankind that has ever lived to an infinite Hell for finite sins we committed here on Earth? How can u insult us with a message of God's love and then allude ever so cleverly to Hell? You seem to be forgetting that we are Ex-Christians who are well aquainted with the inaccuracies in your Bible. Most of us are better versed in the Bible than m you. It is a waste of your time to argue over Biblical "inerrancy". It is the very existence of the overwhelming amount of errors in the Bible that led most of us to reject it as the authoritative, God-inspired, inerrant source of inspiration and guidance that u claim it to be.

Finally, I will address your question as to why he/she seeks to dissuade others from reading the Bible. First of all, this is a site that is dedicated to EX-CHRISTIANS. We come here to vent, to cry, to seek support, to muse, to connect. We are here for EACHOTHER. Why should we be concerned about Christians and whether or not we may be possibly deterring them from reading the Bible? ARen't you concerned about dissuading other Christians from reading the Qu'ran just in case it is in fact the true word of Allah and can lead one to salvation and prevent one from being sent to his hell? We DONOT believe that the Bible is the word God. We believe that it is a source of mythology, superstitions, scientific impossiblities, and downright lies. Wouldn't it then be unethical for us to do anything other than steer others away from a book that has caused more dissention and pain than any other book in the WORLD? We want to set the captives free and warn others to not allow themselves to be enslaved.

I would love to rebut your argument that the Bible has tremendous power to do good. I could go on all day on that one, but do you really want me to cite all the atrocious God-sanctioned events recorded in the Bible? Did you read the above post at all, or did you simply summize it's contents, scroll down, and add your two cents? I'll let someone else remind you of the numerous slaughter committed by the Israelites against innocent babes, women, and the elderly. I'll leave it to the scholarly members of this site to enlighten you, and please do not underestimate the intelligence of my friends, because you will quite possibly be sent away crying like a little girl after your own ignorance is exposed. You might possibly count yourself among the ranks of MANY who have concluded that the Bible is the work of deluded MAN and set yourself free of your shackles.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Steve,

Let me echo NGB by saying that there is a very, very high probability that some of the people here are better versed in biblical lore than you. Some of the things you stated hint at typical apologist arguments for the Bible's alleged divinity and accuracy. Quite frankly (and no offense intended), I'm fairly certain you'd be outclassed here. Hubris? Nope. Confidence.

Your best bet? Drop it and go hang out at Christian forums.

Anonymous said...

"My question is: why would you want to dissuade people from reading the Bible and making their own minds up about it, rather than advancing a very partial argument against it? If nothing else, it has (and has had) a tremendous power to do good."

Uh, nuclear energy as well, has a tremendous power to do good. Unfortunately, the by-products are hazardous waste, and nuclear weapons grade plutonium, if properly processed.

Just like the bible, you state that the words can be used in a positive manner, if a person comes to the bible seeking to do good works. However, the by-products of biblical scripture, when read "literally", is mental waste. Furthermore, it just takes one "person/mortal", with an agenda, capability, and knowledge, to create a weapon just as destructive as a nuclear bomb, using biblical scripture, by piecing the right passages together, to make anything "divinely justifiable".

At least nuclear physics, isn't an easily approachable subject by many. However, anyone who is literate, can use the bible, to create the most heinous of acts, using the bible as precedent. Take genesis, and gods' murder of all living creatures with a flood. There is no justification for such an act, for an all powerful, and all loving god? If god were all powerful, he need not murder, he could fix the problem with an infinite number of solutions, if god were all loving, he need not murder at all the very creations he put into form.

Steve said...

I could not let some of the statements made lie.

There is no absolute definitive proof of the existence or otherwise of God. That applies equally to you as it does to me.

I took the view that the existence
of God was more probable than that He did not exist. It also appeared that God, if He existed, would take an active interest in His creation. Why would't He? If that were to be the case, He would reveal Himself. By far the most probable agency of that revelation comes from the Holy Bible. It speaks about Him in great detail and His plan for the world. I have accepted that: you have not, but it does not place my position on any weaker ground than yours, however much effort you and your colleagues have spend in debunking the Holy Bible.

The Bible is quite clear about God's wrath at the sinful ways of man (it is a constant theme as is His love for mankind) and that His vengance is wholly justified. I know that the severer aspects of God make people uneasy: omnipotence, judgement, punishment. The Christian's attitude is that we deserve His wrath and that His grace and mercy are unwarranted.

On the suggestion that, like the Holy Bible, the hydrogen bomb is a source of good; all I can say is "bunkum". A bomb is not a source of goodness. I can only destroy. It may, however, protect the innocent from the evil but that is a different matter. In that it is a deterrent against evil. Whatever the Bible is, it must be more than this.

You know what I believe in because I am a born again evangelical Christian. My behaviour and belief are based entirely on the Scriptures. I know that you have rejected that, which you are free to do. Having rejected Christianity completely and the disciplines that come with it (prayer, Bible study, mediation, fasting, service and worship) what have you replaced it with?

Bentley said...

The Bible is a story(S-T-O-R-Y) about a God, not from a God, it's a fabrication from man from his presumption of what a God would be like had the authors themselves been a God, a collective collaboration of many thousands of years of handed down fables.


1. A god concept, is mans brains' desparate attempt to answer questions that his mind can go no further to understand the reason for his own existence.

2. A god can only be the reflection of a man's thoughts and then when written down by him, thinking it was inspired by this deity that his mind imagined in final desperation, therefore a supreme being must represent a temporary answer for him.

3. A person's mind wants to know more about what he cannot comprehend, therefore his limited knowledge has to create a god, to satisfy his mind's inability to answer questions unknown to him, that he cannot readily know.

4. A god imagined concept is the only answer that the brain can perceive beyond his own present knowledge, this is the brain’s finale answer that it is willing to accept, it can only be a superior being, this being must be above man and his thoughts, and his own abilities and therefore must demand worship, so that he thinks!

5. A god must be emotional and think like a man, a god must love, hate, get angry, kill, be jealous, be judgmental, be revengeful, be prejudice, have compassion, and wants and desires to be worshipped like a king and wants people to bow down to him.

6. A supreme being god is man's own brains' attempt to answer the questions that he cannot answer, because his brain on it's own, cannot imagine how else he and the universe could have been created.

7. A god only exists in the conscious thoughts and imagination of the human mind, after death, all god’s and imaginative concepts of supreme beings all quickly disappear, at the exact moment of expiration of the brain.

8. There cannot exist a God described by a human being. A human being cannot discribe something that has never be seen, only imagined.

We know there exists storms of some type on Jupitor, we have pictures of them, but no one can accurately describe them because we do not know for sure what they are, we know they exist, but no one can accurately describe them and an attempt to describe them and we accept the description as true and pure fact would be plain foolish, without proof.

We know that alot of things exist in outer space, but it would be foolish to try to describe them and accept the description as pure fact, without a shred of proof or evidence, but based purely on a person's inspired presumption.

emptycan said...

Steve said: "I have accepted that: you have not, but it does not place my position on any weaker ground than yours"

Steve, you know that it does place your position on much weaker ground. The first reason is you have to show us the trustibility of the bible and the validity of the historical process of its formation without depending on your faith.

If you want to talk about faith, you are in the dead wrong place. Just go to your church and preach of your faith. (I guess you said before that you are a preacher.)

I understand you want to cherish your faith. But please don't forget that your desire does not make any false into true truth (your so called xtian truths make me write down one more word for truth: ture turth...it's disgustingly funny).

Please do not claim your faith is logical. That claim make us frustrated and angry because of the insanity of the claim. If you want keep claiming that, you must need to reserve a room in the mental hospital or drink the tasty kool-aid.

boomSLANG said...

"Having rejected Christianity completely and the disciplines that come with it (prayer, Bible study, mediation, fasting, service and worship) what have you replaced it with?"


Reality.

Anonymous said...

I.. I dunno what to say. I need to go read my bible and starve myself right now to make Steve's comment make sense to me. I'll be back in thirty days... -Wes Martin.

BTW, Steve - you're not from this crazy ass wackjob-church, are you?

http://www.normalbobsmith.com/godatemyballs/god8.html

Funny stuff those clowns! Maybe they've been fasting too!!

wes(at)vip(dot)net

Anonymous said...

Steve: "I could not let some of the statements made lie."

Right, I can't stand things just lying around either...

Steve: "There is no absolute definitive proof of the existence or otherwise of God. That applies equally to you as it does to me."

Incorrect. Christians claim that no one can prove or disprove their "god", because their god is unknowable. If a christian claims to know god, they must be capable of Understanding a "god", thus, they must be a "god" themselves.

Many christians don't take that route, well, except for Mormons, etc., who believe they have the capacity to become gods themselves, but... besides these groups of "huge" following, many don't claim to be gods or capable of becoming equal in "any" aspect to gods.

Furthermore, if a christian takes the stance, that they are not a gods' equal, then they need to connect themselves in some manner to the word "god", to form some relationship. The "nature" of that relationship, determines the strength of the argument being made.

The christians who aren't claiming to be gods themselves, many times, attempt to use some form of "logic", in order to show "meaning" to the word "god". They attempt to use, "association", "relativeness", and direct sensory experience, for example. A christian can't claim that they are "gods'" equal to most people, that's too fantastic. However, just as fantastic, is that a christian can't find "one" absolute statement in the Universe, because the "constant" change, immediately challenges their very statements. In order to prove or disprove "god" absolutely, requires one to assert they have overcome "change". Or, that is how "some" christians seem to perceive the case, whether they are literate enough to adequately explain their plight.

Now, if change attacks anything stated in absolute terms, can an argument be made that everything in this reality is of equal terms? Thus, no one can suggest god is or isn't equally? No.

In order for something to be subject to "change", it must first "exist". Its only common sense, that change can only be exacted on that which exists, right? I won't get into time, and chage as dimension dynamics, suffice it to say, the clouds seems to drift away when one can define what they consider to be "existent", as one can only truly believe in that which "exists". I mean, at least I would like to believe that even the religious have a spark of hope, in the realm of common sense. To suggest, a person can believe in that which doesn't exist, is... well... too far in left field for me to hit them a ball.

Steve: "I took the view that the existence of God was more probable than that He did not exist."

Define "existence", please.

Steve: "It also appeared that God, if He existed, would take an active interest in His creation."

It is also apparent, if a god were perfect, he need "not" take an active interest in His creation. A perfect god, is incapable of producing anything "less" than perfect, thus, humanity is exactly what "god" wanted humanity to be.

Only a god, who is not capable of creating a perfect humanity, would need to become "interested". There is nothing "interesting" to an omniscient "god", they already know everything before it occurs, an all powerful and all knowing god, can do no more, than create exactly what they expect, and in a perfect state of existence.

However, if you were to believe this, then, god has no place in our lives, period. Thus, you must logically drop either omniscience or omnipotence from god, but, that isn't acceptable either to the christian, thus, they choose to accept contradiction via their blanket "blind faith".

Steve: "Why would't He?"

Because many christians claim that humanity is not-perfect, and are sinful. Thus, a perfect god, can not be "directly" associated with humanity, else that god becomes tainted with imperfection, etc. Jesus died on the cross per christian tradition, one only has to understand that the nano-second that god hit this Natural reality, he became imperfect and mortal, at least, that's what would make it logically possible for "Jesus", to have anger, compassion, etc., and also be mortal.

However, the christians who believe their "god" has always been perfect, could never have manifested themselves in an "imperfect" form/jesus, its not possible for a "perfect" god, to become "less perfect" on a whim, its nonsense. For the moron, who wants to say, god can do anything they want, even if its to make themselves "mortal", then, how does one change back to being a "god", once they de-god themselves?

If god, is perfect, then god can not be of this world, the "holy ghost" was created to be the mechanism that allowed Jesus to communicate with "god", that was the early Roman Church fathers' solution to the problem. Thus, the transition between the perfect and imperfect realms of existence, per the literate christians who have some knowledge of their religions' past (and I can't say I have met any on this site), are capable of understanding the need for separation from the perfect transcendent realm, and this sinful Natural realm.

Now, before we get all tear eyed, at knowing how a god can intervene in our lives while being perfect, and not being tainted, one has to ask if the holy ghost is perfect or not? And, again... why would a holy ghost be necessary, if a perfectly omnipotent and omniscient god, created humanity, a god of such stature already knows the outcome of their creation and all actions that will be forthcoming for all eternity. Thus, no need for a ghost, unless god deliberately created the plan, by which he sacrificed himself on purpose, and caused countless deaths, etc.

Steve: "If that were to be the case, He would reveal Himself. By far the most probable agency of that revelation comes from the Holy Bible. It speaks about Him in great detail and His plan for the world. I have accepted that: you have not, but it does not place my position on any weaker ground than yours, however much effort you and your colleagues have spend in debunking the Holy Bible."

Actually, Steve, no one ever need "touch" the bible, to discern whether you are speaking from a position of logic or not. The bible is truly unnecessary to debunk a christian claim. Is the bible in this natural realm or in some perfect transcendent realm?

Natural realm it is... thus, if you believe we live in an imperfect reality, full of sin, then you can not believe that the bible can exist in a perfect state in such an environment, and if you "did" make that claim, you couldn't possibly further agree that sinful and errant humanity would ever be "capable" of reading a "perfect" rendering of godly scripture while living in an imperfect and sinful state.

Steve: "The Bible is quite clear about God's wrath at the sinful ways of man (it is a constant theme as is His love for mankind) and that His vengance is wholly justified. I know that the severer aspects of God make people uneasy: omnipotence, judgement, punishment. The Christian's attitude is that we deserve His wrath and that His grace and mercy are unwarranted."

Not only unwarranted, god "made" you exactly the way you are, and he made "hell" in that first six days in genesis as well, because he "knew" exactly who was going to hell and who wasn't. You have no choice, in an omniscient gods' eyes, he knows all, and there isn't a thing one can do about their own salvation, as a matter of fact, prayer and salvation are not "options" if one believes their god is "omniscient".

You deserve wrath? No, you were "provided" wrath, knowingly, and you have no choice in the matter, period. When the christian, takes up their soapbox, and starts talking about their "omniscient" god, they are in fact, fighting from a position of extreme "causal determinism". Where, god, knows every cause and effect for all eternity, there are no "surprises", or "gee, I didn't expect I could do that", there is nothing new under the sun for a god. The wrath you feel you deserve, is nothing to an omniscient god. Your feelings may mean something to you, but... they are insignificant to an omniscient god. What you call "wrath', a god calls meeting his "expectations".

Steve: "On the suggestion that, like the Holy Bible, the hydrogen bomb is a source of good; all I can say is "bunkum". A bomb is not a source of goodness. I can only destroy. It may, however, protect the innocent from the evil but that is a different matter. In that it is a deterrent against evil."

Actually, I didn't mention hydrogen, nonetheless, nuclear energy is "productive", it can be used to create "electricity", the waste by-products can be reprocessed and used "again", to create more energy from the original "waste" of the nuclear reactors. Thus, nuclear reactors using Uranium for example, do in fact, start out in a "positive" manner.

The negative effects, are the products of using Uranium in a "positive" nuclear reactor which creates electricity, etc., which are once again... nuclear waste, or weapons grade plutonium, etc. However, once it has been used numerous times, and has undergone significant change, it becomes a "problem". See how that works? The basic elements are used in a positive fashion, and in the end, create a problem for humanity.

Steve: "Whatever the Bible is, it must be more than this."

Actually, no, it can be argued easily that the bible, is comprised of nothing short of the basic elements of language, and inherently poses the same potential for negative effects as a nuclear reactor using basic chemical elements. In both cases, if one leaves the basic elements "alone", they are typically benign, and inert to a great extent. However, when someone starts assembling "basic" elements together, well... there is much potential for "negativity" to occur.

I'd suggest that assembling unstable chemical elements is much more stable than mixing totally unstable linguistic expressions.

The assembling of chemical elements, renders for the most part, highly predictable results. The assembling of linguistic elements, renders for the most part, highly unpredictable results, as linguistic expressions requires interpretation, etc. A nuclear element doesn't care what one person or another "thinks", thus, making it a fact. A linguistic expression, inherently was created by humanity, and thus is unwrapped in our minds using our decoding mechanisms which are highly susceptible to biasness, and unpredictabile interpretations.

Steve: "You know what I believe in because I am a born again evangelical Christian. My behaviour and belief are based entirely on the Scriptures. I know that you have rejected that, which you are free to do. Having rejected Christianity completely and the disciplines that come with it (prayer, Bible study, mediation, fasting, service and worship) what have you replaced it with?"

Life

J. C. Samuelson said...

Steve,

"There is no absolute definitive proof of the existence or otherwise of God. That applies equally to you as it does to me."

Fair enough.

"I took the view that the existence
of God was more probable than that He did not exist."


Essentially this means your faith lies in probability rather than in the person of God, as you claim. Another way to say this is that God is a variable; a placeholder describing something you cannot really know. How do you think He might feel about that?

"It also appeared that God, if He existed, would take an active interest in His creation."

What you're doing is imposing anthropomorphic principles on something beyond our ability to comprehend. We are interested in the things we create/build, so God must be interested in what He creates/builds.

Interest also implies activity. For example, when we are 'interested' in a topic, we apply ourselves to watching, studying, or actively participating. We endeavor to improve the outcome for ourselves and our chosen companions regardless of what it is we are trying to do.

God has no need to learn, no need to endeavor, no need to participate in our activities. Why? Assuming the Bible is correct, God is both omniscient and omnipotent. That means He already knows past, present, and future for each and every rock, tree, and creature throughout the universe. That is, the outcome is set. It's ordained. What interest could He possibly have?

"If that were to be the case, He would reveal Himself."

For what purpose? If the Bible is to be believed, it is for the purpose of gaining glory for Himself. God is a very vain and insecure entity.

"By far the most probable agency of that revelation comes from the Holy Bible. It speaks about Him in great detail and His plan for the world."

There are many sacred texts in the world that describe the characteristics and actions of a particular god or set of gods. Aren't you basing your assertion here on personal prejudice or social conditioning?

Every member of every faith in the world feels that their chosen religion is the 'right' one and that their holy text is useful and/or accurate. Why are you any different?

"I have accepted that: you have not, but it does not place my position on any weaker ground than yours, however much effort you and your colleagues have spend in debunking the Holy Bible."

Let me correct you slightly; you have chosen to believe, we have chosen otherwise. However, with regard to the Bible you are mistaken. Your footing is much weaker than you've been led to believe.

If you'd like to make some assertions about the Bible's claims that you feel confirm its divine authorship, accuracy, or inerrancy feel free to do so. Just be prepared to fight a losing battle.

"The Bible is quite clear about God's wrath at the sinful ways of man (it is a constant theme as is His love for mankind) and that His vengance is wholly justified."

By a standard of justice that is wholly incompatible with human thought on the subject. History is replete with tyrants and mass murderers who, if the Bible is to be trusted, are now in Heaven because they believed in God. For the simple "crime" of disbelief - not murder, not child molestation, not genocide, or any other major crime as we understand it - we are to be consigned to an eternity of torture and punishment.

Tell me that you believe this is just. Be honest.

"The Christian's attitude is that we deserve His wrath and that His grace and mercy are unwarranted."

Ah, so you admit to self-loathing. How I remember the halcyon days of my fundamentalist stage, when feelings of immense gratitude for Jesus mingled with fear, guilt, and self-hate.

Of course, this might explain many Christians' lack of compassion. "Love your neighbor as yourself," yes? If you are filled with self-loathing, how can you possibly express love for others?

"My behaviour and belief are based entirely on the Scriptures."

So how many adulterers, homosexuals, and witches have you killed for Christ? The power of Christ compels you.

"Having rejected Christianity completely and the disciplines that come with it (prayer, Bible study, mediation, fasting, service and worship) what have you replaced it with?"

Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. There are other disciplines that engage the mind and body. In addition, not all of us here are non-religious. Those who do follow a spiritual path simply do so in a different way than you.

It's quite easy to have a full life without your God and your Bible.

boomSLANG said...

Ubergeek said: " Assuming the Bible is correct, God is both omniscient and omnipotent. That means He already knows past, present, and future for each and every rock, tree, and creature throughout the universe. That is, the outcome is set. It's ordained. What interest could He possibly have?"

Agreed, and if the outcome IS PRE-ordained, then said "God" cannot "act" to change this "set in stone" future. In other words, said "God" can therefore NOT be omnipotent. As I said recently in another thread---to be both omnscient and omnipotent is fully contradictory. It defies logic, even conceptually. Of course, we as ex-christians know that you must suspend "logic", in order to propagate the Christian world view.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"Agreed, and if the outcome IS PRE-ordained, then said "God" cannot "act" to change this "set in stone" future. In other words, said "God" can therefore NOT be omnipotent. As I said recently in another thread---to be both omnscient and omnipotent is fully contradictory. It defies logic, even conceptually. Of course, we as ex-christians know that you must suspend "logic", in order to propagate the Christian world view."

Amen! Ooops, I slipped. Hehe.

Never Going Back said...

Steve said: "My behaviour and belief are based entirely on the Scriptures."

Well Steve, like you, I just couldn't let that comment lie.

If your behavior and beliefs are based entirely on the scriptures, than you should have no problem with slavery. You should have no problem with the fact that God ordered the slaughter of babies, women and the elderly. You should have no problem with beating your slaves as long as they do not die, since God made it clear in the Bible that beating your slave was fine as long as he/she didn't die. You should have no problem with raping a virgin as long as the rapist marries his victim. If you live your life by the Bible, than your wife better be covering her head in church, and I hope that for her sake she isn't adorning herself with jewelry or makeup or anything else that might bring attention to her physical appearance.

You will certainly argue that much of what I have said has to do with OT laws, so i will deal with that right now. The NT endorses slavery and the subjegation of women too. Why weren't any of Jesus's disciples women (Mary Magdeline was not a disciple)? Why aren't any of the elders in Revelation women? Why doesn't Jesus or Paul or any of the NT writers oppose slavery if it is wrong? The fact that the Bible never opposes slavery and the inequality of women is why our founding fathers were able to keep both around for so long. But you see, the slaves knew, and women knew, and many whites knew that slavery and inequality was wrong, so they fought to end them both. Now, many years later we can all agree that slavery and inequality is wrong, but it took people risking their own lives to bring an end to beliefs the Bible clearly endorses or at least turns a blind eye to. Now this leads me to the conclusion that these enlightened few had a higher degree of morality than Bible-god.

Oh, i know that is blasphemy to you, but if you feel that way than I hope to find your wife (if you have one) and your daughter(s)(if you have any) covering their heads in church, because the last time i checked there was no clause in the Bible to that command which tells women to cover up. I wouldn't be surprised if you owned slaves either, and I would completely understand, because as you stated before: "My behaviour and belief are based entirely on the Scriptures." I would expect nothing less from you. I would however, be shocked to find any Joyce Meyers books or tapes lying around your house, because men are not to be instructed by women. You better hide those. How can Joyce Meyer's husband Dave permit her to speak in the church and to instruct other men? Hasn't he ever read his bible? He is clearly disobeying a Biblical command. Now, I know that God himself didn't pen that commandment, but you know as well as I do that the Bible is "God-inspired" and "God-breathed" and inerrant and infallible, so Dave Meyers is clearly ignoring God's instructions by allowing his wife to inspire thousands of men all over the place. Since he is the head of their household he is accountable for his wife's immodesty.

Steve said: "It also appeared that God, if He existed, would take an active interest in His creation."

This is bothersome on many levels, but i will address the one that disturbs me the most. If God takes an active interest in His creation why won't he answer prayer? OOOOH, now that is a great argument isn't it? You will argue that of course God does in fact answer prayer and you will quote various Guidepost articles or events in your own life that can validate your argument. What i would like you to do Steve, is sit down and try and remember all the supplications you have made to God over the years that you have been a devout Christian. Now tell me, how many were actually "answered" (and i mean with a yes answer)? If you can HONESTLY tell me that He answered more of your prayers with a yes than otherwise, than perhaps you can tell me why it is that he won't answer the prayers of so many others when all they are asking for is food for their starving child, healing from cancer, or to be saved from some sicko who's about to rape and kill them. Can you tell me why God didn't answer the prayers of devout Christians all around the world when they were in fact asking for something that to any rational mind would be a good thing? Now, if you say that it wasn't God's will to answer those prayers how do you justify God saying "No" to a young girl sleeping in her bed at night and is abducted and is being repeatedly raped and tortured and is then placed in a shallow grave while she is still alive. Why didn't God answer this little girl's prayers when she was known to love Jesus and would most certainly have been begging God for her life. It just doesn't make sense especially when one reads the multiple scriptures in the New Testament that PROMISE to answer prayer and to grant one's request if asked in faith (even as small as a mustard seed) Why, if God takes such an active role in the lives of his creation and especially his followers, doesn't He answer prayers such as these?

There is no proof whatsoever that God takes an active role in the lives of humans. When it comes to undeniable proof, He just doesn't seem to ever come through. If you tell Mt. Everest to move in faith, I can bet on the assumption that it will never ever,ever,ever,ever,ever move. I can bet that if your elderly grandmother is trapped in her burning high rise apartment that God will not give you wings so that you can fly up there and save her. I can bet that if you lose your leg in a terrible car accident it will never grow back no matter how much you pray. Now, mountains can move with the aid of billions of dollars worth of equipment, time, and man-power. Your grandmother could be saved by the heroic efforts of trained firemen, and you could walk again with the aid of a prosthetic that doctors and scientists labored over for years, but all of these "answered prayers" would be due to the efforts of man and not God, so your assertion that God takes an active interest in the affairs of man still can not be proved. What CAN be proved, however, is that man takes an active interest in the affairs of man, and that Mt. Everest will never move due to our prayers, we will never sprout wings to save our grandmother, and amputated limbs will never grow back. None of these have ever or will ever happen due to prayer. Do you know why? Because they are IMPOSSIBLE! But Jesus said that NOTHING will be impossible to those that believe. You are a fundamentalist which means you believe in a literal translation of the Bible. Can you please tell me why a nineteen-year-old who loves Jesus and has been in a terrible accident and has just recently lost his leg will NEVER have that limb restored despite his sincere faith-filled prayers even though Jesus promised to give us what we asked for, even the impossible? Now you will say that we have to ask according to God's will, which is a Christians convenient loophole for explaining away unanswered prayer. I would concede, if it weren't for the fact that it seems asking for God to restore a lost limb, moving a mountain, and flying up to save your grandmother are prayers that are NEVER in God's will. That is troublesome. It seems that Jesus didn't really mean that NOTHING would be impossible for us if we have faith. No matter how much faith you have you will NEVER move Mt. Everest, you will NEVER grow your lost limb back, and your grandmother is as good as dead unless you or someone else gets your ass up there and saves her in time.

I am sure that you have some Biblically sound excuse for why your God NEVER answers the prayers of amputees. I am anxiously praying for your response.

Steve said...

Anonymous said..."life".; so did Jesus.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." John 10:10

That is the life I have.

.:webmaster:. said...

Steve said: "have it to the full ... That is the life I have."

So, Steve is full of it.

Got it.

boomSLANG said...

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10

That is the life I have."



One cannot live life "to the full" believing a lie. If you have "Faith"---you have a "placibo", at best. Once the "asprin" is exposed as a sugar tablet, no amount of "Faith" will make those headaches go away. Life 1:01

Anonymous said...

Steve: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." John 10:10 "That is the life I have."

John 11:4 - When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Steve, like Lararus, it appears common to suffer and die, as long as Jesus is "glorified", in some manner. Thus, followers live a life, made "cheap", in regards to the value of Jesus'. If you accept Jesus, and the bible, your life drops in value a few notches, at least that's what the bible says anyway. Some christians seek out life experiences that ensure they will be treated as such. A persecuted christian, is a happy christian, especially if they feel they are "somehow" glorifying their Jesus/god.

A christian seeks not peace and comfort in this life, they forfeit their life in this present realm, in the prospect that they may receive their reward in the afterlife.

It still stands... "Life", some choose to appreciate the miracle of their being, in the present, and then there are those who have a need to attack their own self-value, christians are more the later.

I have offended some in the past, in less sophisticated terms, but, I'll express another reason, "I", personally see contrast between your views and mine.

I, believe the "experience" of life is an "art", you see it as a "science". I don't see life as something to be reduced to a set of axiomatic truths that have to be followed ever so closely, with the fear of eternal destruction, hanging over my head.

When questions arise, and no answers are to be found, religions make up new rules. They still see the necessity for linear "rules", instead of a recognizing the "artistic" process, in which we experience "life".

We understand life, differently.

Steve said...

Anonymous:

You are right, Christians do not just live life in the "present". We see life as being more important than the immediate gratification a life only in the present seems to suggest.

Where I would disagree with you completely is that Christians somehow opt for a lesser life. As disciples of Jesus we are to be obedient to Him in everything. But paradoxically that obedience seems to liberate more than it restrains. His yoke is light. Since becoming a Christian I have had a more fulfilled, purposeful life. I have experienced a joy that I never knew existed. Before I became a Christian I thought that it would mean giving up all sorts of things. What I didn't realise was that what I was jettisoning was dross - it did have any value - just material clutter. In its stead came something enduring enriching and empowering. Maybe you should try it.

By the way, a belief centred on God's Word, the Bible, does not require new "rules" to be imposed as we go along. The Bible is complete as it stands and it needs no additions.

Steve said...

By the way, Anonymous, here's a book you would enjoy that refutes the lie about a lesser life following Jesus: "Bondage Breaker" by Neil Anderson.

.:webmaster:. said...

Neil Anderson?

Whoa! Talk about your heretics!

Before anyone wastes their money, here's what Christians have to say about Anderson's screwy ideas: Click here to read the article.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Steve you said: "In its stead came something enduring enriching and empowering. Maybe you should try it."

We DID "try" it. Are you forgetting that this is an EX-CHRISTIAN site? We tried it, and your religion is full of holes. We tried it, and many of are left with lifelong scars. No thanks, man, you can keep your Jesus.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Steve,

Life is what you make it, but if you needed something outside yourself to give you purpose and meaning, so be it. However, too many Christians take on the job of supreme witness, attempting to impose what they believe on others. More often than not, somewhere in the process the fear card is played, along with a great deal of nonsense about how unworthy we all are. All in all, this is a very, very negative experience.

Which brings us to the question, why are you here? The Great Commission? Do you believe you have been given a command by God to witness to us lowly reprobates? How many do you have to bring back into the fold before you get a free kitchen upgrade to your heavenly mansion?

"Maybe you should try it."

I second what NGB said; we've been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and burned it.

"...a belief centred on God's Word, the Bible, does not require new "rules" to be imposed as we go along."

But it does require some plainly intolerable rules (on several levels), and commands to act in ways that are patently immoral. If you've read just Genesis through Deuteronomy, you should have an idea of what I'm talking about.

Before you object on the grounds that the OT law no longer applies, don't forget that according to your Bible, Christ said that not one "jot or one tittle" of the law would pass away (see Matthew 5:17-20) until all is fulfilled. Well, all hasn't been fulfilled (if the Evangelicals are to be believed), so it's still in force, guy. Or, like many Christians, are you a Pauline?