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Old 07-23-2001, 01:23 AM   #1
Someone7
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Post What are the strongest biblical contradictions?

What are the strongest biblical contradictions?

Basically, what are the ones that have the most oomph, are the most damaging to Christianity, and are nearly irrefutable (except of course, by idiotic ad hoc rationalizations).

For me, it has to be Jesus’ genealogy and the empty tomb to the Resurrection contradictions. The rationalization for Jesus’ genealogy is just laughable, and I haven't even seen one for the contradictions of Jesus’ death.

Any other good ones?
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Old 07-23-2001, 03:02 AM   #2
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The most obvious complete contractions are the ones involving numbers, for which there is completely no way to reconcile them. Amusingly of course the innerrantists take the view that numerical contradictions don't count.

However if you want the contradiction most dangerous/damaging to Christianity, it would have to be without a doubt the conflicting resurrection accounts. The resurrection accounts form the very foundation of Christianity and as Paul said, if the resurrection did not happen then our faith is in vain and we of all people deserve pity.
Of course this was coming from someone who claimed to have seen Jesus after the resurrection so if Jesus wasn't really raised then he certainly would deserve pity.
So the conflicting accounts of the resurrection would have to be the most problematic.
Yet even so it is not overwhelmingly destructive, and I (as a Christian) haven't lost any sleep over it recently.
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Old 07-23-2001, 10:18 AM   #3
Kosh
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tercel:
<STRONG>

Yet even so it is not overwhelmingly destructive, and I (as a Christian) haven't lost any sleep over it recently.</STRONG>
Well, this isn't surprising. Since as you
demonstrated in the "Does God change his
mind" thread, you can simply throw out those
parts which cause a problem. Toss out 3
of the 4 accounts, and you no longer have to
worry about a contradiction!


[ July 23, 2001: Message edited by: Kosh ]
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Old 07-23-2001, 10:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
For me, it has to be Jesus’ genealogy and the empty tomb to the Resurrection contradictions. The rationalization for Jesus’ genealogy is just laughable, and I haven't even seen one for the contradictions of Jesus’ death.
Would you mind summarizing the rationalizations for the genealogies of which you are aware? Genuinely interested
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Old 07-23-2001, 10:52 AM   #5
Lance
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Exclamation

E-Muse: What is frequently stated as a "rationalization" for the geneology mis-matches is that one of them is Mary's.

Never mind the fact this is stated anywhere in the bible, its just an assumption most apologetic types make to get them out of the fact that if you lay the two out side by side, they do not match.

Tercel: I would agree with the resurrection being the most damning. It was finally what did me in as a Christian was seeing the facts of the resurrection accounts laid out and they don't even come close to matching.

This does indeed say a lot about Christians in that they "want" to believe, regardless of the facts, regardless of the history, and regardless of what is said or proven. I think the Christian concept of "god" is just like a 2-year old's security blanket...and until it can be stripped away somehow, the person never will grow up intellectually.
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Old 07-23-2001, 11:03 AM   #6
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&gt;&gt;&gt;Never mind the fact this is stated anywhere in the bible, its just an assumption most apologetic types make to get them out of the fact that if you lay the two out side by side, they do not match.

Not only that but it actually states that they are both geneologies of Joseph.
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Old 07-23-2001, 12:44 PM   #7
Ron Garrett
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It's always easiest to start with a disharmony of the Gospels. For example, if God was inspiring the Gosepel writers why can't they agree on what time of day Jesus was executed, how Judas died, Jesus' geneology, the order of events in the same story (like the temptation lof Christ story), etc. By starting with the Gospels you avoid issue of Theology (most fundies don't know what the word means)and you can focus on the simple fact that the all-knowing God and his personal secretarys can't get their stories straight or even what prophet said what.

You don't get anywhere on the numbers game since that gets dismissed as copyist errors out of hand. But my personal favorite, and the one that has caused born agains to stop talking to me is:Matthew 19

16
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17
"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
18
"Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, "`Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19
honor your father and mother,' and `love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Note: Jesus did not say "Accept me as your personal savior, he said keep the commamdments, and he adds love thy neighbor which is a teaching of Hillel, but not one of the commandments.

20
"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"

Note: Apologists try to say here that Jesus knows no one can keep the commandments, but said it as if "You could be saved if you could keep the commandments." But the young man says he has kept the commandments and Jesus does not dispute this claim at all.

21
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Note: Here the fundie says "Aha. Jesus told him that to be perfect he had to follow Jesus." The fundie never menations the part they don't want to do , i.e. sell their possessions and give to the poor.

Point out that these are two separate answers. The young man asked what he had to do to have eternal life and Jesus answered obey the commandments. When the young man asked what he has to do to be perfect, Jesus said sell your possessions, give to the poor and follow me. The fundie cannot claim eternal life is unavailable by following the commandments, but they will say that this was a two parter and following Jesus is required. Ask them whay following Jesus is required and selling their possessions and giving to the poor is not since Jesus said all three? If they maintain that this was a two part answer then point out that if they haven't sold all their possessions, given to the poor and tramped around the Holy land unitl crucified, they still do not have eternal life.
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Old 07-23-2001, 04:06 PM   #8
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eh. even as an agnostic I never saw the different accounts of the resurrection as that big a deal, different people often give slightly different accounts of the same story, ask any cop.
I have more of a problem with historical errors and things for which there is no evidense, Noah, the Exodus, stuff like that, reports of major goings on that no one but the writer seems to have ever noticed, e.g. A king sending out soldiers to kill lots of babies.
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Old 07-23-2001, 04:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
I never saw the different accounts of the resurrection as that big a deal, different people often give slightly different accounts of the same story, ask any cop.
I agree--just because the accounts differ does not mean that the resurrection did not happen. The problem is that the contradictions inflict mortal damage on the infallibility doctrine.

In response to the question though, I think the biggest contradiction is in the Hebrew Bible where it shows a transition from a group responsiblity ethic to an individual responsibility ethic. In short, there is a serious contradiction between whether or not sons should pay for the sins of their fathers. Ex. 20:5, Ex. 34:7, Deut. 5:9, Num. 14:18 versus Deut. 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:20.

Also read II Samuel 12:15 and Joshua 7:15, 24-25. They are stories in which children and others are punished for another person's crime.

Now fundamentalists will say things like "the 'consequences' of the actions of the father mereley 'affected' their children." They may say that this is like what happens when the psychological effects of alcoholism affect future generations. But this is a canard. The "consequences" (i.e. children being punished by Yhwh or men on orders of Yhwh) that the children received violated other biblical principles. It is not analogous to the alcoholism of a father affecting his children's emotional well being.

Of course, for sane Christians, it's no problem to just understand these passages off as less enlightened than the rest and realize that the religious traditions of Christianity, like everything else has evolved in thought. I think Christians should be celebrating the moral development of the Hebrew Bible instead of scrambling to make it all perfect.
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Old 07-23-2001, 06:47 PM   #10
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I think the resurrection conflicts are perfect to demonstrate to an inerrantist that the Bible isn't inerrant, but I agree that compared to other historical events events, the discepancies in the account doesn't add up to much. There are much better reasons to believe that the resurrection never occurred as described.

The genealogies, however, are far more damning. The discrepancies in the resurrection account can be plausibly accounted for by noting that it is typical to have minor conflicts between witnesses. However, the genealogies clearly show that the gospel writers were making things up to strengthen their case about Jesus being the Messiah. Without a doubt, at least one (and probably both) were making it up. And if they were producing a bit of fiction here, it leaves one to wonder where else fictions were being added.
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