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Old 03-08-2001, 06:47 PM   #1
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Post Summary of objections to Bible

The following article, originally posted by LadyBarker11 in the "Existence of God(s)" forum, contains a concise summary of various objections to the idea that the Bible is inerrant:

Some Reasons Why Humanists Reject The Bible by Joseph C. Sommer

Probably nothing new to most readers of this forum, but newbies might find it worthwhile.


[This message has been edited by Kate Long (edited March 08, 2001).]
 
Old 03-09-2001, 05:57 PM   #2
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Thanks a million Kate I am glad you came to visit my BB too
 
Old 03-09-2001, 08:21 PM   #3
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Kate Long, thank you for the reading, but not only are these so-called 'contradictions' trivial, they're not even contradictions. As an example, the author writes,

"In the story of the birth of Jesus, Matthew 2:13-15 says that Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with the baby Jesus immediately after the wise men from the east had brought their gifts. However, Luke 2:22-40 indicates that, after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary remained in Bethlehem for the time of Mary's purification (which was forty days, under the Mosaic law), then brought Jesus to Jerusalem "to present him to the Lord," and then returned to their home in Nazareth. Luke makes no mention of a journey into Egypt or a visit by wise men from the east."

With regard to this 'contradiction', first, Luke does not HAVE to record the flight to Egypt. It simply is not necessary that a biographer cover every event in the life of his subject.

Second, the accounts are easily reconciled when you realize that the Magi could have visited Jesus in NAZARETH, not in Bethlehem- which would explain the need for the star even after they are directed to Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

Luke and Matthew perfectly reconcile: Luke records the birth, the presentation of Jesus, and the return to Nazareth; Matthew records the birth, the visit of the Magi, the flight to Egypt, the return from Egypt. The two accounts reconcile in this order: the birth (Bethlehem), the presentation of Jesus (Jerusalem), the return to Nazareth (Nazareth), the visit of the Magi (Nazareth), the flight to Egypt (Egypt), the return to Nazareth (Nazareth).

Each and every other 'contradiction' listed by the author can and already has been reconciled in some such similar way.

I might add that there are two better reasons why biblical critics find 'contradictions' in the bible: first, they 'read' into the bible all kinds of presuppositions (eg. the Magi are assumed to visit Jesus in Bethlehem); and second, they want to find 'contradictions' in the bible.

How else could this author miss the obvious fact in Genesis that the rains of the flood lasted 40 days while the flood itself lasted much longer?

My advice? Feel free to reject the biblical accounts in your free thinking, just don't assert the existence of contradictions which in actuality do not exist.
 
Old 03-09-2001, 08:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">With regard to this 'contradiction', first, Luke does not HAVE to record the flight to Egypt. It simply is not necessary that a biographer cover every event in the life of his subject.

</font>
God incarnate spends two years in a foreign land as a child, typologically fulfilling Old Testament prophecy, and Luke just decided it wasn't important enough to conclude?! WTF?!

This is not a minor event. It's huge! This type of apologetic is no different than the "mysterious ways" defense of God: we don't know why, but for whatever reason Luke decided to leave out an important part of Jesus' early life, despite specifically stating that it was his intent to write an orderly, thorough account. Sorry, but I'm just not gullible enough to accept this type of "logic." For me, it is much more reasonable to believe that the reason that Jesus' flight to Egypt is not recorded is because it never happened; it is a Matthean invention created to compare Jesus to Moses, as is the slaughter of the innocents, which Luke also conveniently misses, as does Josephus, as does every other single history of that period.
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Old 03-09-2001, 09:43 PM   #5
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Hello Opus1: your personal requirement that Luke include everything that Jesus did is unreasonable. This unreasonable premise- and it alone- results in the conclusion that Luke and Matthew 'contradict'. The fact is, Luke did not have the luxury nor the desire to write a Gospel the size which your personal requirement would require. That he left out a 'major event' is your opinion and not his- and even if it was, I am sure he would have regreted the necessity.

Back to the point, though: the acounts which were actually written- these do not contradict.
 
Old 03-09-2001, 09:50 PM   #6
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Oh yeah, Opus1, why should Josephus record the Herodian murder of some twenty boys in a palestinian village of about two thousand peasants?
 
Old 03-10-2001, 03:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by irenaeus:
Kate Long, thank you for the reading, but not only are these so-called 'contradictions' trivial, they're not even contradictions...I might add that there are two better reasons why biblical critics find 'contradictions' in the bible: first, they 'read' into the bible all kinds of presuppositions (eg. the Magi are assumed to visit Jesus in Bethlehem); and second, they want to find 'contradictions' in the bible.
</font>
Since even good, literate and thoughful Christians have and will continue to find contradictions in written Scripture, perhaps the real question should be how do contradictions negate the saving power of Christ?

Why is it that one can be a "good Christian" and still be unaware of the synoptic problem or the composite picture of the Pentateuch? Most believers are not even aware of contradictions because they are not taught from the pulpit. That is really too bad, for the understanding and acceptance of contradiction is not only a sign of intelligence and openheartedness, in matters of religion it can lead to a deepening of faith.

(By the way, I have always found the assertion that Jesus was "fully God and fully man" the linchpin of New Testament contradictions).



[This message has been edited by aikido7 (edited March 10, 2001).]
 
Old 03-10-2001, 03:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by aikido7:
Since even good, literate and thoughful Christians have and will continue to find contradictions in written Scripture, perhaps the real question should be how do contradictions negate the saving power of Christ?

Why is it that one can be a "good Christian" and still be unaware of the synoptic problem or the composite picture of the Pentateuch? Most believers are not even aware of contradictions because they are not taught from the pulpit. That is really too bad, for the understanding and acceptance of contradiction is not only a sign of intelligence and openheartedness, in matters of religion it can lead to a deepening of faith.

(By the way, I have always found the assertion that Jesus was "fully God and fully man" the linchpin of New Testament contradictions).

[This message has been edited by aikido7 (edited March 10, 2001).]
</font>
 
Old 03-10-2001, 10:11 AM   #9
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Irenaeus:

I'm sorry, but I have certain expectations of the Bible, especially if it were inspired by God. There are no specific passages that I can hang my hat on, but rather it is the combination of hundreds of passages that makes me reject the Bible as the word of God.

For example, the two birth stories are completely different. Luke has the census, John the Baptist, the purification at the Temple, and the shepherds. Matthew has the flight to Egypt, the magi, and the slaughter of the innocents. Matthew also refers to Nazareth as "a town called Nazareth," without ever mentioning that it was Jesus' hometown for his entire childhood.

I have great difficulty believing that both of these authors are basing their infancy narratives on factual information, when they have so little in common. Furthermore, many of the events are said to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. Finally, certain accounts in the infancy narratives contradict later details in Jesus' life, such as when his family thinks him insane, or John the Baptist doesn't know if he is the Christ, after jumping for joy in the womb! This makes me think that these stories are fiction, designed to glorify Jesus, rather than actual accounts of his early life, which was almost certainly unknown to the evangelists.

If you disagree, I have a test. I'll e-mail you and another Christian apologist a brief biography of Abraham Lincoln's early life (or the early life of some other famous person). Both of you are to trim it down to a certain pre-specified length, and e-mail it back to me. I will then compare your two accounts, and see how many details there are in common. I would guess that there would be a higher percentage of important facts in common than there are in the birth narratives. And this is without divine inspiration!

This problem continues in many other Biblical accounts. All four authors have a different record of what Pilate wrote on Jesus' cross. Apologists quote the gospel of John, which states that Pilate wrote the message in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. We're still one language short, but let's assume that he wrote it in Latin as well. What are the odds that four authors would all record exactly one version of this statement, and that they would all pick a different language to record? Pretty slim. Much more likely that they all had variant oral/written traditions of one statement which Pilate wrote on the cross, and that the discrepancies are due to normal human error and faulty memory, which is completely understandable iff the books are not inspired by God.

One final example: In Matthew and Mark, a centurion, upon the occasion of Jesus' death, cries out "Truly, this man was the son of God!" But in Luke, he says "Truly, this man was innocent!" We know that Luke copied from either Matthew, Mark, or both. If we are to believe the fundamentalist interpretation, we would have to believe that:

1) The centurion at the cross said both of those statements above.
2) Matthew and Mark recorded only the first one, for reasons unknown.
3) Luke somehow had access to information that the centurion said the second statement, even though he was not an eyewitness.
4) Luke included the second statement, for unknown reasons.
5) Luke omitted the first, for unknown reasons.

This seems pretty unlikely to me. What I think happened is as follows:

1) Luke changed the centurion's statement in order to emphasize his theme of Jesus' innocence.

I have a thousand more examples of Bible stories like this. Can I prove that this is not the word of God? Of course not. Can I show that it is more likely that the Bible is the product of fallible humans with their own motivations and imaginations than it is the divinely inspired inerrant word of an omnipotent deity? Yes.
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Old 03-10-2001, 01:39 PM   #10
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Opus1, I love your last post and completely agree with your last statement, just not your conclusion:

[quote]
I have a thousand more examples of Bible stories like this. Can I prove that this is not the word of God? Of course not. Can I show that it is more likely that the Bible is the product of fallible humans with their own motivations and imaginations than it is the divinely inspired inerrant word of an omnipotent deity? Yes.
[quote]

The fact is, one cannot 'prove' that the scriptures are the Word of God- to do so would require a standard, which we do not have, to compare the Word of God against. As it is, we are left with only human writings to compare the texts to and our judgment, then, can go both ways. I find the books to be coherent, reliable, 'of a piece' with all the others, fully reconcilable in the details, truthful, ethically perfect, etc...

As you seem to admit, conservative scholars can and have reconciled all of the so-called 'contradictions' in one way or another. To everyone's satisfaction? No. But opinions vary and this is not unexpected.

Thank you, though, for making the case that the bible is not 'obviously' God's Word. I agree with you, here. To be 'obviously' God's Word you would need a standard or measure to compare the books to. In the realm of reason it is a judment call, but one that reasonable people can and should disagree on.

I, for one, am convinced that the Christian scriptures are God's Word and am so for two reasons: first, the Holy Spirit has, through the books themselves, given me this conviction; and second, my reason has examined the books and found them to be truthful, historic, trusthworthy, etc... You are within your rights to deny the first basis and not accept it, but the second is reasonable for a 'free thinker' in my book.
 
 

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