By Tiffany Willis | 28 April 2015
I could not estimate how many times I have heard this charge against the Holy Scriptures over the past several decades. One thing, however, has been consistent about the allegation — the critic rarely can name even one alleged contradiction that the Bible is supposed to contain. He just “knows” that they are “in there” somewhere.
When confronted with facts, people who claim to be scholars of biblical studies try to actually redefine the word “contradiction.” They say (really!) that “a mere difference does not a contradiction make.” And this:
What, then, constitutes a contradiction? In logic, the Law of Contradiction is stated succinctly as follows: “Nothing can both be and not be” (Jevons, 1928, p. 117). That is a very abbreviated form of the rule.
Oh and they say things like this:
For many people, the belief that the Bible contains contradictions and inaccuracies is an excuse for not believing.
And to all of this I say, “Oh for GOD’S sake, shut UP!”
I subscribe to the idea that if your beliefs don’t stand up to inspection, then your beliefs aren’t worth defending. What exactly are you learning in biblical studies?
Why then, you may ask, am I a Christian? Let me pull a fundie trick and redefine the word Christian, or as I like to call it, actually assume Jesus really meant what he said. I am a devout fan and follower of the most caring, intelligent, LIBERAL, bravest, coolest guy I’ve ever read about.
We on the left who are believers call ourselves Christian Left, Matthew 25 Christians, and Red Letter Christians. If you lift the words of Christ (in red in most Bibles) out of the Bible and actually examine them, wouldn’t most caring people agree that this guy’s ideas have merit? I refuse to be like fundamentalists and evangelicals. The ONLY way I can be a believer is to reject their ideas and conduct my own biblical studies. Their beliefs and actions are generally in direct contradiction with the words of Christ.
I do believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. I also believe that the Bible was written by people (men) who interjected their own ideas and paradigms. It’s an ancient document written by numerous people over centuries. Times changed in the Bible. Christ came saying crazy stuff. Times continue to change. That’s not hard for me to wrap my mind around. Most Christians can’t — CAN’T — and won’t accept this.
I know that most of my readers will disagree with me — liberals are educated. They examine things and tend to be non-believers. I know that many of you think I’m indoctrinated and/or stupid for believing. OK and oh well. We can disagree. I still love you and I thank you for still loving me.
So, for example, if a verse in the New Testament referred back to a verse in the Old Testament, there was an arc drawn between the two chapters they were in (the vertical lines at the bottom represent the number of verses in that chapter).
There are actually 63,779 cross references in the Bible and these are all represented in Harrison’s chart. The high-resolution version of the chart is an image that is more than 100MB in size. The visual includes text that explains the contradictions and where they can be found.
Another programmer, Daniel Taylor, took the data and used it to create an incredible visual masterpiece.
And here is a part that I think is very important, from Patheos:
That’s not all. The visual also shows you where in the Bible you’ll find the passages featuring Cruelty/Violence, Discrimination against Homosexuals, Scientific Absurdities/Historical Inaccuracies, or (below) Misogyny/Violence/Discrimination against Women:
See the long bar on the far left side? That means the Book of Genesis has more anti-women verses than any other book in the Bible. And all those bars are clickable and lead you to the specific passages in the Skeptics Annotated Bible.
To my Christian friends who groan when I write things like this, I challenge you to fearlessly examine your beliefs. I know that most of you have good intentions, and you say that you want to bring non-believers to the peace and joy you claim to have found in religion. I have a lot of non-believing friends. I promise you that being dumb and irrational has never brought anyone over to your side on this issue. You can certainly use fear to try to do that, but what if (imagine!) you actually confronted the contradictions in your faith? What if…?
To my non-believing friends who will never understand why someone “as smart as” I am (your words, not mine) can possibly still believe in a higher power, all I can really say is that faith really is a thing.
Again, thank you — believers and non-believers — for loving and respecting me anyhow. It’s fun discussing biblical studies, no?
Reprinted with permission from the author.
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