This will likely be my final post, as the title suggests. Have I run out of topics? Far from it. Have I given up? Never. The truth is… I’ve been scooped.
After I was lucky enough to run across this site, I felt that the arguments I made against the bible’s literal truth just didn’t add anything to the debate. The site that I’ve linked to above contains all of the various contradictions of fact found in the bible (over 50 of them), and most of them can’t be reasonably denied.
For instance, how many children did Michal, the daughter of Saul, have? 2 Samuel 6 says that she had none to the day of her death, and it makes sense in context… her husband, King David, said that the king’s lineage was not to be continued through Saul’s line. However, 2 Samuel 21 says that King David handed over several people of Saul’s lineage to the Gibeonites to be slaughtered – among them, the 5 sons of Michal. It’s translated here as “Mirab” rather than Michal, though your footnotes will tell you that most transcripts have it as Michal rather than Mirab, and in 1 Samuel 18 where those same transcripts say Mirab it is written as Michal. It should be obvious why it was translated differently here.
How old was Ahaziah when he began his reign? In 2 Kings 8, he was 22. In 2 Chronicles 22, he was 42. Context doesn’t help even slightly. It’s the same case with Jehoiachin – 2 Kings 24, he was 18. 2 Chronicles 36, he was 8.
I remember when I was a child in Sunday School that we were taught that the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) all agreed on everything perfectly, and how miraculous that must be because it’s difficult for four people “to agree on anything nowadays”. They don’t. In fact, on nearly any point that any two of them both discuss, they get something in error.
Take, for instance, the story of Jesus’ death. On the third day…
Matthew: Jesus’ tomb is visited by Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James. The stone was in place, and they watched it get rolled back by an angel. They were so excited by Jesus’ resurrection that they went to tell the disiples.
Mark: Jesus’ tomb is visited by both Marys and Salome. They found the stone already rolled away. It’s very clear that they were not overjoyed, but rather terrified by what they’d seen, so they told “no one” about it.
Luke: Jesus’ tomb is visited by both Marys, Joanna, and “the others” with them. They found the stone already rolled away. They told the disciples about what they’d seen.
John: Jesus’ tomb is visited by Mary Magdalene (alone!). She found the stone already rolled away. She ran and told 2 disciples about it, they checked it out, and then went home… she remained there to cry.
Besides the stone already being rolled away upon their arrival (which obviously conflicts with Matthew, which mentions a violent earthquake as it’s pushed away), the gospels don’t agree on any piece of this story. How difficult it must have been to make a movie like “The Passion of the Christ” when basing it on scripture! The bible even has two different accounts of how Jesus answers Pilate (“I am who you say I am” and a persistent silence that amazes everyone present) and two different accounts of who carries the cross (Jesus and “Simon a Cyrennian”). He also has 3 different sets of last words listed (“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” “It is finished”).
How many contradictions of fact does it take for the bible to be fallible? The obvious answer is “one”. Although Christians give lip service to the idea that “We believe because it has never been proven wrong”, so do Muslims, and it’s easy enough to find contradictions in their scripture, too. The bible (and all other ancient religions) were obviously attempts to explain the world in the days before science could. But despite the better explanations that we have, believers still continue to believe because they suffer from something similar to Stockholm Syndrome. As explained in this video (also courtesy of TheThinkingAtheist.com, which gave us the list of bible contradictions):