So Stupid

answering-religious-errorSaw this today on Facebook and my blood started to boil. First of all, it was “liked” by one of my family members — a person who won’t discuss our differences. It really ticks me off to see her “like” a statement about truth, when she won’t defend that same statement.

Secondly, the quote says that a preacher would rather offend thousands than to fail to preach the truth to even one individual. Sadly, preachers don’t realize that they’re doing both the entire time.

Finally, if you bother to check out Answering Religious Error, it’s like shifting into another dimension. Each post is wrangling over some trivial detail, seemingly oblivious to the deluge of information that makes their entire stance irrelevant. I say “seemingly” rather than “completely,” because apologists of this stripe often do know some of the information that contradicts their stance, but they try very hard to keep their followers from discovering it.

I’ve gotten some flak over the years for the name of my blog, but I view “finding truth” as something aspirational — I’m not claiming to have found it. But “Answering Religious Error” definitely comes across as arrogant, especially when they’re so demonstrably wrong.

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257 thoughts on “So Stupid”

  1. I think that’s what bothers me about even the NICEST Christian and their contentions – their convictions are based on a lie. A complete falsehood. A myth.
    I understand your annoyance, Nate. They’d rather smile benignly and say, “I believe!”, than let one iota of doubt – or reason – cloud their perception.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While you, at least, are looking for truth; they are looking for error and, boy, have they found them. They have found so many errors that there are 40,000+ sects of Christianity, each having a disagreement with the others. You really, really, really having to be looking for “why I am right and you are wrong” to end up in that position, which is uncharitable and un-Christian, at least in the sense that Christians like to claim for themselves.

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  3. And I think their lack of any doubt is just a stubbornness and a refusal to look beyond their current beliefs. So it’s not like their position is so strong, if it was there should be no reason to keep from stepping out and facing critics armed only with reason.

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  4. It may be better at times to not share the truth, than to offend.

    But if believing some truth could save someone from eternal torture, offending would be a virtue.

    BUT:
    (1) It is bizarre to think that holding a correct belief could make that difference.
    (2) It is bizarre to think that we hold a definable cache of beliefs.

    So, I don’t even need to discuss doctrines, of any religion, to show the bizarreness in all this believism. No?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Nate,

    There is one thing worse than those you disagree with saying silly things – and that is those who are supposed to be on the same side saying silly and embarrassing things! I didn’t bother to do more than glance at that site, but the weakness of much christian apologetics is a particular bane of mine. (Not that I’m all that good, but I do try!)

    But fortunately, things are changing. You may not see it yet, but I can see it from where I sit. For example, this quote from Richard Dahlstrom:

    “While Walter [a missionary in Ghana] is finding children who can’t go to school and providing them with a uniform and a daily hot meal, I’m arguing about whether the days in Genesis 1 are literal or figurative. While he’s meeting with the fetish priests, befriending them, and buying girls [kept in sex slavery] back one at a time, I’m debating whether or not people can still speak in tongues now that God’s done writing the Bible. While he’s overseeing water projects as a way of creating the foundation for health and education, I’m debating whether Isaiah had one, two or three authors……

    “After visiting Bangkok and getting sick to my stomach [observing sex trafficking] I slowly began spending less time arguing about inerrancy, eschatology and the temporality or permanence of spiritual gifts, and more time getting on with what God is doing: releasing captives, opening blind eyes, freeing the oppressed ….”

    This works for me in two ways. (1) Having been freed from myopic views of the Bible and God, I feel fine to accept science and history and only defend what is really important, and (2) while I spend time on the web as an “apologist”, I spend time in real life doing and supporting some of the things that Dahlstrom talks about.

    Your “friends” haven’t discovered this yet. Sadly, perhaps they never will.

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  6. “They have found so many errors that there are 40,000+ sects of Christianity, each having a disagreement with the others.”

    Hi Steve, I hope you don’t mind my picking you up on this. It is a common statement, and an ex-christian atheist internet friend asked me a few years back if I knew the facts. So I researched the matter at his request, and found that:

    (1) The 40,000 number does NOT refer to sects (or denominations or beliefs), but to organisations. Thus for example, the Lutheran Church in Norway would be a different organisation to the Lutheran Church in Sweden.

    (2) 75% of these organisations are independent churches in Africa. That’s 30,000!! Not different sects, just different independent organisations. To call them different denominations is like saying that a thousand different football clubs are all playing a different sport.

    (3) It is difficult to know how many different denominations there are, or different beliefs, and difficult to even define what constitutes different belief (does using a different version of the Bible constitute a different belief?) Wikipedia lists 40 major divisions within corporate christianity.

    As a christian, I think divisive arguments among christians is a scandal, so I wouldn’t want to minimise this issue, but the 40,000 denominations is an internet myth. Check out my summary at How many christian denominations worldwide?. Thanks.

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  7. ““(Not that I’m all that good, but I do try!)” – That is SO true on both counts – I’ve always found you very trying.”

    🙂

    At least I’ve succeeded at something then! 😉

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  8. We all know some really nice Christian people, but their belief system makes even the nice Christians say and do some really dumb, downright mean things. Today I saw in the news that Pope Frances today questioned the “Catholicity” of the mayor of Rome because the latter has pushed for the recognition of gay marriages (performed outside of Italy) by the city of Rome. So, trying to extend recognition to the loving relationships of fellow human beings makes the mayor of Rome a “bad guy”?

    For all of Francis’ nice words while here in the US last week, this one statement ruins my lofty opinion of him: He is a bigot. His bigotry is based upon an ancient book filled with the moral standards of Bronze Age goat-herders and with middle-eastern, nonsensical, down-right ridiculous superstitions.

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  9. unkleE,

    It seems to me that tens, hundreds, or thousands of denominations still demonstrate the same lack of cohesion, thus lack of revelation.

    Still, I think we should get our facts straight, and I agree that the 40,000 number is overblown for that purpose, so thanks for pointing it out.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. unkleE,

    Thanks for the kind comment. Actually, I do feel better reading the quote you provided. While I’m not a fan of Christianity, I do appreciate those benevolent individuals whose faith motivates them to care for others. I have no complaint against Christians like that.

    And as I’ve said before, I also admire guys like you, Ryan, and Kent. You and I may disagree over some things, but we always manage to do so courteously, and I think we’d both acknowledge that we could always be wrong about our positions. What burns me up so much about many of the people from hard line denominations is the hypocrisy. I simply don’t understand maintaining that one’s position is the only right one, yet refusing to defend it.

    Oh well… at least it felt nice to vent. 🙂

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  11. Something that really bothered me when I still called myself a Christian was why there was so much internal disagreement in the Church about matters of doctrine. Some of the disagreements were in the view of some, critical to salvation. I pondered why would God leave this uncertainty in such critical areas. It caused me much angst.

    Some folk say it is a way of hiding the truth from those not filled with the Spirit. I could almost accept that, except we then find that those apparently filled with the Spirit can’t agree among themselves either.

    In the end I conclude that the best explanation is that it is another pointer to a book of human rather than divine origin.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Hey Nate,

    I want to steal that graphic, because it says it all. Might as well read, “Christianity: we don’t care about your feelings or the truth.”

    How have things been going down there? I ask because I swung by Northside recently. If you ever go by Gardendale, you’ll see they have a new church erected. The thing’s gigantic, and it’s the third church of that size built since 2000 (if memory serves). I wish I had a picture of it to go along with the graphic; neglecting the poor in lieu of building a giant brick Protestant cathedral I think would illustrate everything succinctly.

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  13. It’s the arrogance required to acheive such unbending certainty that bothers me. But, I can also understand its source: if the Bible says, “He will guide you into all truth,” (John 16:13) then arrogant certainty of one’s understanding makes sense: it’s a demonstration of faith. Funny how that works. Or tragic. One of those…

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  14. Nate – this just in —

    Answering Religious Error
    September 30 at 12:44am

    We can deal with one at a time. But, we will not allow a troll to come in here and start throwing multiple sites at us as we can do the same. I will delete your sources and ask that you personally give your real name, and then begin with one so-called contradiction.

    I threw more at him than he could deny. He’s all yours.

    Suppose his daddy’s last name was Error?

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  15. (1) Having been freed from myopic views of the Bible and God, I feel fine to accept science and history and only defend what is really important,

    But you are a Christian, so in reality you are not defending the truth, sad to say, but spurious nonsense.
    Do you think you will ever be able to stop being disingenuous and defend the truth, Unklee?

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  16. Nate, who is this Answering Religious Error, have you any idea? He keeps wanting to know my real name, and since that would make no difference to him whatsoever, I can only assume he wants me to retaliate by insisting on HIS real name, which he can then modestly flaunt without appearing to be pretentious.

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  17. No, I don’t think it’s anyone I know personally. I wouldn’t bother giving him a name — why should it matter? I think sometimes these people like to see if they know you through some means so they can put personal pressure on you behind the scenes.

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  18. Peter said:

    Some of the disagreements were in the view of some, critical to salvation. I pondered why would God leave this uncertainty in such critical areas. It caused me much angst.

    I know exactly what you mean! I used to wonder why God had allowed certain passages to be so vague.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Sirius:

    Yeah, that graphic is quite a trip :/

    I haven’t seen that new church in Gardendale yet, but I don’t get up that way too often (I live south of town). But things have actually been pretty good lately. I’ve met a couple of other atheists in the area, which is always awesome (and surprising).

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  20. Or to see if I’m anyone famous, so they can find sources that refute me. I’m not, but then I’ve studied far more of the Bible’s sources than most of these sheeple.

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  21. Nate, are you in touch with Neil Carter, of “Godless in Dixie“? He too believes you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar, but I say, who wants flies? You two are so terminally nice, one would almost think you were Canadian!

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  22. @Nate

    I’ve met a couple of other atheists in the area, which is always awesome (and surprising).

    This is the type of comment that really does my head in.
    It’s like reading,: ”Hey, I saw a Snow Leopard in the area which is always awesome…..”

    I am just surprised you are not required to ring a bell or forced to go out only after dark.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Ark, I have read that kind of comment on Neil Carter’s FB before – he talks about every public place playing religious music continuously – that would be at the Gym, in the dentist office, anywhere and everywhere. (He’s in Mississippi) It boggles the mind. .. I honestly cannot imagine it. He was a public school teacher and even got religious graffiti on his school items; harassment even from his students. (not to mention losing a job because of his atheism)

    Like I say, it’s hard to wrap your head around. I think, in Canada, the majority of people are discreet about their beliefs. That’s not to say that there aren’t some hardcore fundagelicals here, though!

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  24. I followed Arch’s lead and went on over to that facebook page.

    William, love you like a brother from another mother, but they’ll eat you alive over there.

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  25. oh ye of little faith. I know their type and where to strike. They’ll most likely ban me because i know exactly where their weaknesses are. Do not be afraid, dearest Archaepteryxl, as you’re a dino-bird, not a chicken.

    I was born into a bunch like this.

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  26. Answering Religious Error
    September 30 at 10:12am

    Arche – if you don’t want to play childish games and we don’t either, then take off your childish identity and quit acting like a troll.

    I think I’ll tell him I’m Douglas Pierce — Bwhhahahahahahahaha!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. He doesn’t seem to understand what a troll is. Trolls make a nuisance, in part, because they aren’t there to discuss anything real, or they resort to personal attacks. You’ve simply posted information that he doesn’t like, and you’re doing it under an assumed name.

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  28. Rat,

    I never said that being middle-eastern is bad. Please re-read my statement. I said that the Christian story is nothing but a middle-eastern superstition, just as the god Thor is a Scandinavian superstition. That last statement does not infer that being Scandinavian is bad.

    Please do not insinuate that I am a bigot when I am most definitely not.

    Thanks.

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  29. stupid Christians. stupid, stupid, stupid.
    and that goddamn pope running around all over America saying bullshit how god weeps when children are molested.
    oh, boo fucking hoo, somebody get god a tissue.
    poor crybaby god.
    trust me on this, no one sheds more tears than the molested child.

    Nuke the Vatican.

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  30. no, he’s just as bad as all of them, perpetuating the lie.
    I say we rape the pope hard and long,
    make god cry his goddamn eyes out.

    (forgive me nate, i’m just in a rage at what transpired over the past week.)

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  31. lol, well, i’m really pissed off,
    my sister, an alcoholic whore, just sent her 14yr old son to a Christian boot camp school in another state because he was acting up.
    well, he would have never been acting up if she hadn’t neglected him in order to chase men and booze.
    anyway, he’s being brainwashed and now she’s going to church and after only 3 weeks, she’s full of righteousness and coming down on everyone around her on their “sins”.
    my father and brother are the same way. they fornicated with anything that moved, but then became saved and now condemn everyone, especially the gays.

    and on top of that, the pope, running around America, bashing gays.

    I used to work at a gay bathouse in key west florida, it used to be full of catholic priests.

    i’m so sick of these people. screw them all.
    screw them so hard that god drowns in his own bitter tears.

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  32. Oh Gary – you didn’t do yourself any favors, he hates to be called ‘Rat’!

    I wonder what the Japanese call the Middle East? Aren’t we ‘Westerners’ an egocentric bunch?

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  33. When I don’t hear from you for a time, Paulie, I worry about you – you doing OK? You’re not physically worse, are you? Would you admit it if you were? I know, I know – you don’t want anyone feeling sorry for you and all that drivel —

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  34. (forgive me nate, i’m just in a rage at what transpired over the past week.)

    You want to tell us about it, or would you rather just rant?

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  35. haha, thanks again for making me laugh Arch.
    claptrap, been there.

    i’m just really bothered by my sister sending my nephew to that christian boot camp for 15 months. I feel so bad for him, I know they are just filling his head full of nonsense and the only way you can get by in that environment is to agree with everything they say.
    it’s bad enough his mother is a booze hound, now he has to go through this.

    my good buddy Carmen said it best: ” think that’s what bothers me about even the NICEST Christian and their contentions – their convictions are based on a lie. A complete falsehood. A myth.”

    and i’m honestly sick of the lie. people that demonize me and try to control my life because they believe in a fairy tale.
    time to shut them down.

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  36. I saw a movie once about kids that get sent to such camps, and the treatment they get when they refuse to break. I wish I could recall the name of it. How old is the boy?

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  37. Pope Francis may talk like a liberal, but his actions show he is a bigot: the pope secretly met with the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The pope praised her for her (illegal and bigoted) actions.

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  38. Gary, exactly right, the pope and that blubberous cow kim davis are nothing but lying bigots attempting to deny me my right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    last night I watched a show called “pray in jesus name” and the chaplain was complaining about Obama inviting some gays and transgenders to the white house meeting of the pope, and this asshole said that gays and transgenders are demon possessed and he hoped that the pope prayed the demons out of them.

    and arch, there was an actual documentary on HBO regarding a Christian boot camp and the woman that was making the documentary was a Christian. it was supposed to be a positive look at the school, but when the director saw how the students were being treated, particularly one gay youth, she was so appalled by what she saw, she helped the young gay boy to escape and was instrumental in shutting this school down. I forgot the name of this show. it was heartbreaking to watch.

    my nephew just turned 14.

    just now I went to the tax collectors office to get my car tag renewed and I was told I had to get a new plate. the lady said, “you can get one that says IN God We Trust” and I said, why the hell would I want a tag that says in god we trust? god does not exist. boy I could tell that really pissed her off. HAHA

    fuck em.

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  39. just now I went to the tax collectors office to get my car tag renewed and I was told I had to get a new plate. the lady said, “you can get one that says IN God We Trust” and I said, why the hell would I want a tag that says in god we trust? god does not exist. boy I could tell that really pissed her off. HAHA

    That’s pretty hilarious 🙂

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  40. Frankly, I applaud her courage, though I disagree with her convictions – some of the most significant movements in human history were initiated by someone violating the law on the basis of principle – Dr. King, Mohandas Ghandi, Nelson Mandela. I don’t feel that she belongs in that company, but her act was courageous.

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  41. There’s a suburb somewhere near here that has police cars with “In God We Trust” on them, and some atheist group is trying to get the phrase removed, but the police chief is refusing – the group is calling for his dismissal, we’ll see how it plays out.

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  42. I saw that, too, on fox news of course, in on of their “attacks on faith” segments. they were really bashing atheists. we’re all such horrible people out to destroy the basis on what our country was founded on. lol. hope they have to remove the slogans. if the Christians want to show there belief they should be forced to have a cross tattooed on their foreheads.

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  43. Has any one else noticed how the secular media fawned all over Francis during his trip here, including referring to him as “the Holy Father”, over and over again?

    David Muir, the anchor of ABC, was one of those in the secular news media guilty of the “Holy Father” faux pas, repeatedly, until last night when it was revealed that Francis had met secretly with the Kentucky county clerk. Muir then never used the term, “Holy Father”, but only “the pope”.

    Franni’s little secret meeting with the Kentucky clerk is going to seriously tarnish his reputation and adoration among American liberals, I’m so very sad to say.

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  44. “In God We Trust” is a tight one to fight while it’s a national motto. I think their efforts would be better spent in trying to overturn its official status.

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  45. I noticed, how could anyone not notice. you would have thought it was jeezzzuuusss himself.
    I thought I was going to puke when Obama called him the holy father.

    also I have been reading a lot of comments online regarding the meeting of these two devils and many people are saying what you are, that they felt that his secret meeting with davis was not a good move for the pope to make.
    and, apparently, from what i’ve read, kim davis particular brand of christianity believes that catholicism is a heretical religion. funny stuff.

    I watch a lot of televangelist’s and many of them discussing the pope’s visit were bashing catholics as not true christianity.

    SO STUPID!!!!!

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  46. Hey, Pauli – do us a favor, since you seem to have some spare time – research Saint Olga of Kiev, and tell us what you find —

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  47. As an unbeliever and skeptic turned a believer in Jesus with full assurance, and a contributor to AnswerReligiousError, I know we are not “stupid.” The quote from John T. Lewis was good. He said it should be the case that people who hear us preach should not be able to say to us on the judgment day that “you did not tell me the truth.” If there is such thing as truth, and there is, we should tell it and make it as clear as possible. Pilate did not believe there was such thing as “truth.” He was a skeptic. Jesus affirmed that He was the essence of truth. Between Pilate the skeptic and Jesus the Messiah, I believe Jesus got that issue right! -Terry W. Benton

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  48. I am coming to the conclusion that this is probably the most appropriate way to respond to such views:

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  49. That guy is pure genius.

    I particularly like the illustration of Adam and Eve with belly buttons. . 🙂

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  50. Whilst looking at things from a humorous angle, the Onion reports on the Sumerians looking on in confusion as God created the world in 3991 BC: Here

    Just a short quote from this classic satire:

    According to the cuneiform tablets, Sumerians found God’s most puzzling act to be the creation from dust of the first two human beings.

    “These two people made in his image do not know how to communicate, lack skills in both mathematics and farming, and have the intellectual capacity of an infant,” one Sumerian philosopher wrote. “They must be the creation of a complete idiot.”

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  51. Hi Terry,

    Thanks for coming by! Sorry your comment was held in moderation for a while. Now that you’ve been approved, that shouldn’t happen again.

    So you were once an unbeliever? I think that’s interesting — I’d love to hear more about it sometime, if you don’t mind sharing. I’d particularly like to know what it was that initially drew you to Christianity.

    I must admit that using “so stupid” as the title of this post was probably a bad idea. I don’t think religious people are stupid. I was a Christian for over 20 years myself, and I don’t think I was stupid during that time — just uninformed about a few things. My use of “so stupid” was primarily directed to the individual whom I was talking about in the post. I don’t mind that she’s a Christian. However, because of her beliefs, she thinks that she must “withdraw fellowship” from me and my family. Since she believes I’m going to Hell, I think she would have lots of incentive to discuss our differences with me in the hope of bringing me back to Christianity. But after a couple of conversations, she now declines to talk to me anymore. So knowing that’s her position, I found it really hypocritical that she “liked” a quote that talks about preaching the truth. If she feels that strongly about it, why doesn’t she do it? So that’s really who the “so stupid” was directed at.

    The other issue I had after viewing your site was that I think many of the statements are demonstrably wrong. And to see wrong things presented as truth is frustrating.

    You said:

    The quote from John T. Lewis was good. He said it should be the case that people who hear us preach should not be able to say to us on the judgment day that “you did not tell me the truth.” If there is such thing as truth, and there is, we should tell it and make it as clear as possible.

    I definitely agree that there’s such a thing as truth and that all of us should strive to know it and present it. But a preacher can think he’s telling the truth and be mistaken. So if there is a day of judgment, it’s very possible that this same preacher could still have people accuse him of not telling them the truth, even if he thought he was.

    That’s what I don’t like about the quote. It’s hinting that people shouldn’t complain about having their feelings hurt by someone telling them the truth. But we all know that truthful statements can be presented in different ways, so it’s not a given that simply telling the truth would be offensive to people. Maybe the guy’s just being a jerk? But again, the other problem is that he may still not be telling the truth anyway.

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  52. Which story are you referring to, Terry? The one in which Yeshua (Jesus) was silent. Or the one in which he was a chatterbox? Which of those were, “The Truth”?

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  53. Archaeoptometry, I don’t understand your question. There are proper times to speak and proper times to keep silent. The quote of John T. Lewis was regarding being clear enough to be understood when someone hears a preacher speak, and not be able to say that they sat through hearing a preacher and not knowing what he said was truth or not because of lack of clarity. One proper time to be silent is when a person appreciates truth about like a pig appreciates a diamond (Matt.7:6).

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  54. Let’s not be rude, arch. Terry’s been cool enough to visit us here — I’d like to hear what else he has to say. Hopefully, we can all have a cordial discussion. 🙂

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  55. Archaeoptometry, I don’t know if you did overshoot my comprehension level, or that you don’t have the comprehension level to communicate, but maybe you can try to show me “the differences in the gospels” that have Jesus being silent on the same occasion another writer has Him “chattering” away. I didn’t catch that, and suspect a problem in your comprehension level. But, put this on the table for examination if you don’t mind.

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  56. Hi Terry,

    While you and Arch discuss how much Jesus spoke during his trial, let me offer an example of something that I think is a contradiction. In Galatians 3:16-17, Paul says that the Law of Moses was given 430 years after God made his promises to Abraham. However, we know from Exodus 12:40-41 that 430 years is the amount of time that the Israelites were in Egypt. The promises to Abraham were given much earlier than when the Israelites entered Egypt — probably making the time between the promises and the law something closer to 600 years.

    To me, it’s pretty clear that Paul simply made a mistake. He knew the 430 year number, and he either used it as an approximation, or he forgot that it only covered the time in Egypt. But for Christians who believe in biblical inerrancy, I think this creates an issue. Thoughts?

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  57. Not be rude, Nate? Maybe you should have mentioned that to him when he fired the first shot by addressing me as Archaeoptometry

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  58. …maybe you can try to show me “the differences in the gospels” that have Jesus being silent on the same occasion another writer has Him “chattering” away. I didn’t catch that.

    That’s not surprising, coming from one whose spelling ability clearly qualifies you as dyslexic.

    Matt 27:11 – “And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

    Matt 27:12 – “And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.”

    Matt 27:13 – “Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?”

    Matt 27:14 – “And he answered him to never a word, insomuch that the govenor marveled greatly.”

    And then we have:

    John 18:33 – “Then Pilate entered into the judgement hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?”

    John 18:34 – “Jesus answered him, Sayest this thing of thyself, or did others tell it of me?

    John 18:35 – “Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?”

    John 18:36 – “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

    John 18:37 – “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Though sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

    Considering your limitations, Terry, it might be simpler for you to look for the number of really dark words in the book of Matthew – spoiler alert, there are TWO – then compare those with the number of really dark words from the book of John. I just hope you can count better than you can spell.

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  59. Not be rude, Nate? Maybe you should have mentioned that to him when he fired the first shot by addressing me as Archaeoptometry

    I did notice that, but wasn’t sure if it was on purpose or not, especially since I don’t know what kind of insult that would be…

    But mostly, if a theist decides to stop commenting here, I don’t want it to be because they felt that they were treated rudely. He feels like he’s in hostile territory, since most of us here are atheists — and even among the Christians that frequently comment here, most are more moderate than the version that Terry comes from.

    Also, while Terry probably wouldn’t remember it, I’ve actually met him before. He seemed like a decent guy. And while it’s not very likely, it’s always possible that he’s simply unaware of all the problems in the Bible and with Christianity — much like I was. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t want any personality issues to turn him off from what we’re saying.

    Certainly, you’re free to write whatever you like, and you always offer great points. But if you could consider wiping the slate clean and giving Terry the benefit of the doubt, I’d appreciate it. 🙂

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  60. That would have been a lot easier to do Nate, had Archaeoptometry not shown up a second time. If a christian wants to come on an atheist blog and intelligently discuss, I can do that, but when he prefaces his comment with a deliberate insult, that, to me at least, is a good indication that intelligent discussion is not high on his list of priorities.

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  61. I hear you. Maybe he’s just one of those people who reads the first part of the word and assumes he knows what it is? Or maybe he was deliberately trying to insult you — I don’t know. Perhaps you can call him Terry Botanist for an equally scathing invective? 😉

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  62. and arch, we did go to his FB page first, on top of calling one of his posts, “so stupid”… so we can at least offer a wee bit more patience and focus on the issues?

    I think you’re great with the issues, but you know as well as I that people often tune out the issues when they perceive insults or attacks – we can completely eliminate that leaving off the insults or attacks.

    I’d like to see Terry’s responses.

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  63. I get that, arch. I mean, the dude does have a facebook page devoted to criticizing and correcting everyone else’s religion or non-religion… Maybe he’s willing to discuss the merits of his own beliefs in detail as well.

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  64. I think the big picture Arch is trying to present is this: In the Synoptics, Jesus is constantly telling his disciples and the people he heals to keep his identity and his deeds a secret, while in the Gospel of John, Jesus seems to tell everyone he meets that he is the Son of God.

    Either Jesus had a split personality, and only showed the hidden identity to Matthew and the sources for John Mark and Luke and only showed his open identity to John, or there were two Jesus’.

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  65. As nonsupernaturalist mentions how Jesus is portrayed does seem to vary among the Gospels, especially when comparing John’s Gospel to the others.

    In Mark’s Gospel Jesus is seeming to try to hide who he is, so much so that the German Scholar coined the phrase Messianic Secret to refer to the approach of Jesus in that Gospel. But in John’s Gospel it is open who he is.

    In Mark’s Gospel Jesus only teaches in parables, in John’s Gospel Jesus does not tell a single Parable.

    In the synoptic Gospels Jesus only goes to Jerusalem for the crucifixion but in John’s Gospel he goes there all the time.

    In John’s Gospel miracles are a sign to help people believe, in synoptic Gospel it is the evil to ask for a sign.

    In Mark’s Gospel it is noted how Jesus is silent before his accusers in fulfilment of prophecy, whereas in John’s Gospel Jesus is a real chatterbox.

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  66. “In Mark’s Gospel it is noted how Jesus is silent before his accusers in fulfilment of prophecy, whereas in John’s Gospel Jesus is a real chatterbox.”

    I wish I’d said that —

    archaeopteryx1

    Which story are you referring to, Terry? The one in which Yeshua (Jesus) was silent. Or the one in which he was a chatterbox? Which of those were, “The Truth”?

    I KNEW I’d heard it SOMEwhere before –!

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  67. Peter, and Archaeoptometry, perhaps you should reference your points. I see different contexts and different reasons to talk or be silent, but not a single point where Jesus was said to both be silent and a chatterbox at the same time to the same people. Maybe you can clear up this claim of yours by giving us the scripture references and actually quote them side by side and establishing the exact context or contexts. John is writing for a different purpose and audience. He is not trying to copy the others but to supplement the others. So, it appears to me that you need to go back and restudy. May the chemicals work in your favor!

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  68. …not a single point where Jesus was said to both be silent and a chatterbox at the same time to the same people

    This, Terry, is exactly what I meant when I said that I feared that I had overshot your comprehension level – I left an entire, detailed comment regarding what both Matthew and John reported that Yeshua said to Pontius Pilate (‘same time, to the same people‘). If you were too lazy, too unconcerned, or too illiterate to read it, that’s on you.

    I suspect that you’re the one who should slack off on the chemicals, whether inhaled or ingested. Or maybe it’s alcohol, how would I know –?

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  69. Remember Arch imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

    Terry I can provide Scriptural references, but I am loathe to devote my time to doing this unless you are prepared to seriously examine the points raised. I suppose I am surprised that as an expert in Scripture you would be questioning these points Arch and I have raised as they are hardly matters of dispute, rather they are plainly in the text for any objective reader to see.

    Matters like the Messianic Secret in Mark is standard reading in any introductory text on the New Testament. Perhaps you could look at Craig Blomberg’s work ‘Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey’, he is a well regarded evangelical scholar with a high view of Scripture. there is also an short article on the matter Here from the Oxford Biblical studies site.

    The key to what Arch and I are saying is that the picture of Jesus varies between the Gospels.

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  70. Terry isn’t Mike. But it’s funny that you bring that up and call him a troll, Terry is one of the administrators of his facebook page, “Answering Religious Error,” where he often calls me a troll.

    Terry may be trolling now, but out of fairness it’s only after he thought some from here were trolling his FB page. I wouldn’t speak for nate, but I wouldn’t mind any christian coming here, regardless of their intention. I really think that truth becomes evident, that reason and logic will expose absurdities.

    The bible is what it is. An honest person can see which side makes most sense.

    And Terry, shortly after your first comment, Arch did post quoted text from each Gospel to illustrate his point. It’s on this very thread, so all you should have to do is scroll upward to find it.

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  71. Hi Terry,

    First of all, I think using “Archaeoptometry” is irritating arch. You may not realize it, and perhaps you didn’t see our earlier discussion about it, but you’re mistyping his name. It’s actually “archaeopteryx,” named after the famous fossil of a feathered dinosaur. To stay on the safe side, I suggest just shortening it to “arch,” like the rest of us.

    I agree with arch and Peter that the passages concerning Jesus before Pilate are pretty easy to check out, but since you’re asking for them, I’ll provide them.

    In John, Pilate and Jesus speak to each other twice. While this passage starts with “Pilate entered his headquarters again…” this is only the first time he’s speaking to Jesus.

    33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
    34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”
    35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”
    36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
    37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”
    Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
    38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
    — John 18:33-38

    And here’s the second interaction:

    9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”
    11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
    — John 19:9-11

    And now the synoptics:

    2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
    And he answered him, “You have said so.”
    3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
    — Mark 15:2-5

    11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
    — Matt 27:11-14

    Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” 3 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” 5 But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”
    — Luke 23:1-5

    It seems hard to square the statements “he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge” with all the conversation in John. Of course, this is also relevant, because many Christians believe that when Jesus was before Pilate, he fulfilled the “prophecy” from Isaiah 53:7:

    He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
    like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.

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  72. Nate, I really admire your discipline and patience.

    A challenging text for those who consider the Bible inerrant is Mark 2:26 where Jesus refers to Abiathar as being the High Priest when David and his men were given sacred bread to eat. A check of 1 Samuel 21:1-6 will reveal that the High Priest at that time was actually Ahimelech the father of Abiathar.

    Apologist do admit that this text is somewhat problematic.

    Liked by 2 people

  73. That’s true. I’ve seen some of them try to explain it by saying that Abiathar was still alive during that time, but to me, that’s like saying 9/11 happened during the days of President Obama. While he was certainly alive, the implication is pretty clear that he was currently in office.

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  74. There are no “problems, discrepancies, or errors” for inerrantists regarding the Bible. There is ALWAYS a harmonization…regardless of how absolutely far-fetched some of them are. Three of the most absurd to me are these:

    1. The story of Judas: Did he hang himself or did his body implode? Did he buy the Potter’s Field or did the Jewish authorities?
    2. The interaction of Mary Magdalene with the risen Jesus and the angels at the tomb. Did the angels tell her that Jesus was risen or did Jesus himself? Did Jesus allow Mary to touch him or did he forbid her because he had not yet ascended to the Father?
    3. Did Jesus command the disciples to go to Galilee to meet him or did he order them to stay in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost?

    These three discrepancies alone should be enough proof to Christians that the Bible is not inerrant and that the “facts” presented in the Bible are not trustworthy…but alas, Christians always scramble to find a harmonization for a way out.

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  75. Yes, you are right, Nate. It is amazing the harmonizations that Christians come up with to make the two genealogies harmonize. The most clever is that the genealogy in Luke is of Mary’s father thereby making Jesus a descendant of David, of the tribe of Judah, through is mother. When I point out to Christians that tribal association is only passed down from the father in Judaism, they ask me for a chapter and verse where GOD said that the messiah had to be descended from David on his father side.

    They always have a comeback.

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  76. The real kicker to me are the places where the genealogies come back together but then diverge again. Those divergences are just as problematic as the ones concerning Joseph’s father.

    It’s also funny to me that some apologists claim one of the men is Mary’s father, but they didn’t list Mary because she’s a woman. Yet Matthew’s genealogy references both Ruth and the harlot Rahab.

    Confirmation bias at its best. 🙂

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  77. Regarding the birth narratives, this is the most clever “harmonization” that I have seen:

    Luke’s narrative is the actual birth. There were no wise men present at Jesus birth. Soon after the birth of Jesus, the family returns to Nazareth, passing through Jerusalem for Mary’s purification. Sometime later, and prior to Jesus’ second birthday, the family moves from Nazareth to Bethlehem to live in a house. It is above this house that the star of Bethlehem comes to rest and to which the wise men arrive with gifts, to present to a two year old Christ child, not to an infant in a manger. Shortly after the visit of the wise men, Joseph is warned in a dream of Herod’s plot to kill Jesus and the family flees to Egypt.

    Anyone see a hole in this harmonization?

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  78. Regarding the convergence and divergence of similar names in the two genealogies, I have heard this harmonization: “Many of the names in the two genealogies are common names, similar to “John”, “Matt”, “Mark”, “Tom”, “Joe” in our culture. The commonalities are simply a coincidence.

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  79. Yeah, Gary, I’ve heard that one before too (about the birth narratives). I see a some potential issues:

    First of all, the biggest problem is that no such move is recorded by either author, when recording it would have completely erased the appearance of a contradiction here. Sounds really suspect, since this is supposedly a book inspired by a perfect deity.

    When the wise men come to Jerusalem asking about where the Messiah is supposed to be, the chief priests and scribes tell them Bethlehem, because of a prophecy. How strange then that Mary and Joseph have just happened to move back to Bethlehem. Because (according to this theory) while Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the family had immediately left. If not for this move that no one records, then the wise men would have missed them altogether.

    Also, if the family’s hometown was Nazareth, once they knew Herod was on the lookout for them, why not just go back there? They would have been just as safe in Nazareth as in Egypt.

    Finally, when they come back from Egypt, Nazareth is referred to as though they’d never been there before (Matt 2:22-23):

    But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

    And the prophecy about being a Nazarene would have already been fulfilled when Jesus lived there earlier.

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  80. About the genealogies, regardless of how common the names might have been, Luke includes many more generations than Matthew does. So they still don’t match up.

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  81. Just look at all of the extra work you had to do, Nate, just to satisfy someone who, if he knew scripture, should have already known it.

    Why don’t we start Terry with this?

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  82. Incidentally, I worked up this spreadsheet comparison of the genealogies several years ago. Not very pretty, but I think it’s point is clear if you spend a few minutes with hit:

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  83. Did Jesus allow Mary to touch him or did he forbid her because he had not yet ascended to the Father?

    Which itself creates yet another contradiction, Gary, because he didn’t “ascend” until he had already offered the disciples the opportunity to feel him all over, including dipping a hand into the spear gash in his side. (EWWWWW!)

    And yet another one, in that he told the thief on the cross that that night, he would be with him in paradise! If he wasn’t with big daddy, where was he for three days while his brain cells, without oxygen, were turning to mush?

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  84. Playing the Devil’s advocate:

    There is nowhere in the Bible that says that Jesus only ascended once. And where was Jesus’ (spirit) during the three days his body was decomposing in the tomb: in Hell, bringing the saints with him to heaven. So here is the scenario:

    1. Jesus body dies on the cross.
    2. Jesus’ spirit immediately goes to Hell to take the righteous in Paradise to their new home in heaven. Jesus presents the occupants of Paradise to the Father.
    3. On the third day, his spirit returns to the tomb to be reunited with his reanimated-but-supercharged body, which levitates out of the tomb and makes a quick trip to heaven to check on the new occupants of heaven to make sure that everyone has moved into their personal, custom-designed mansions and that everyone is happy.
    4. Jesus then beams back to the Garden where he meets the women leaving the empty tomb. He allows the women to touch his feet but denies Mary’s request to embrace him, as he needs to make one more trip to heaven before his body as a whole can be embraced (feet embracing was ok). He beams himself to heaven to see his Father for a few hours, and then beams back to the Upper Room to be embraced bodily (not just his feet) by the Eleven.
    5. Sometime in between beaming down to the Upper Room, Jesus teleports over to Emmaus to freak out two of the disciples.
    6. Jesus ascends forty days later.
    7. Jesus descends at least once more to appear as a talking, bright light to Paul, the thirteenth apostle, and according to Paul, the greatest apostle of all.
    8. And then Jesus teleports himself again to sit at the right hand of the Father, although if you are a Calvinist, only Jesus spirit could have appeared to Paul, as Calvinism does not allow for Jesus body to move one inch from the right hand of the Father until the Second Coming.

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  85. They would have been just as safe in Nazareth as in Egypt.

    But you don’t understand, Nate – then they wouldn’t have been able to misuse that phrase that applied to the body of Israelites following the “exodus” – “Out of Egypt I have raised my son” – and claim that it instead was a fulfilled prophecy concerning Yeshua. The author had to take him to Egypt, in order to bring him out – ask the Ark-man how fiction writing works – it gets a little convoluted when you’re trying to construct a story to fulfill a prophecy.

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  86. Regarding Nate’s spreadsheet – for any of you greybeards out there – Ark – who have to put the specs on to see small print, if you’ll double-click on the spreadsheet, it will take you to it’s own page, and your cursor will develop a plus sign that will allow you to enlarge it as big as you need.

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  87. I could understand if there were just ONE discrepancy in the Bible that Christians used harmonizations to explain away. But there are so many and some, as we have mentioned, are BIG discrepancies. It is mind blowing how Christians can fail to see all these discrepancies in their inerrant holy book and still believe it is error-free.

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  88. I’ve offered this before, Gary, but I’ll do it again, in case anyone missed it:
    Contradictionsinthebible.com

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  89. I am in an odd discussion now with some dude on Answering Religious Error’s facebook page about the sandals and staff discrepancy between Mark 6, Matt 10 and Luke 9. To me, it is clearly a contradiction, but he wont budge and then calls me dishonest, silly and other names because I maintain the passages actually say different things…

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  90. William, they don’t know how to respond. They can’t agree with you, and they feel like saying “I don’t know,” or “I disagree, but I see where you’re coming from” is just as bad. It’s a shame.

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  91. William,

    I have found that when conservatives Christians are asked to look at the many discrepancies in their holy book, instead of admitting there is a problem, they turn on you and make YOU the problem:

    “You just hate God, that is why you refuse to see the truth of the Bible. If you would only repent of your rebellious, sinful arrogance, God would open your eyes to the truths of his Holy Word.”

    or

    “You are an ignorant fool. If you would take the time to read actual scholarship and not just the blog posts of God-hating atheists, you would realize just how true the Bible is and just how pathetically ignorant you really are. Here. This is a list of books by Christian scholars. Once you’ve read this (long) list of books by Christian scholars, come back and talk to me (but if you still don’t see the Truth, go read them all again. You’re obviously just too stupid to comprehend anything complicated like hermeneutics, eschatology, and philosophy so I don’t need to waste my time with you.).”

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  92. Has anyone ever wondered why when the wise men went to the Herod, that Herod did not send some troops with them ‘as protection’ so he could know where this threat to his crown was located? Or why the Chief Priests and Scribes seemed to have no interest in investigating this announcement of the birth of the Messiah?

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  93. William, I has the argument of context been thrown at you?

    Given how some folk with a smattering of scientific knowledge can persuade themselves that the world is only 6,000 years old and a that a global flood occurred despite the overwhelming contrary evidence, then we see that it is possible to let belief overcome all their reasoning ability.

    Perhaps you should ask them to provide an example of what would be the type of matter they would accept to be a clear error or contradiction.

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  94. I don’t see a contradiction at all. In fact, it is puzzling to me how hard an effort was made to imagine a contradiction in these accounts at all. I knew you were not looking at the accounts correctly or talking about the exact same moment and place, and then you listed the scriptures and proved me correct while posing that you had actually found Jesus being silent at the same moment he was “chattering.” You guys should be ashamed.

    Look again: 33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” This is private, away from the Jewish accusers. Verse 38 after the so-called “chattering” of Jesus in private with Pilate, Pilate goes back out to the Jewish accusers and tells them he found no fault in this man. Where was Jesus when talking? In private talk with Pilate. Where was Jesus when He kept silent? 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Pilate is not the one accusing Him. The Jewish leaders were the accusers. Jesus kept silent before them. When Pilate called Jesus into private talk, there was conversation. So, what is the contradiction? It is simply in the imagination of these Bible accusers just as Jesus being worthy of rejection and death was only in the hardened heart of his false accusers. Bible accusers and Jesus’ accusers look just alike here. Isn’t that interesting? Maybe, this crowd here is comparable in some interesting ways. May the chemicals work in your favor!

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  95. Terry,

    Take a look at the pronoun in this passage from Matthew:

    But he gave HIM no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
    — Matt 27:11-14

    In this passage Jesus is refusing to answer Pilate, not the Jews.

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  96. Only in John do we see Pilate walking in and out of his headquarters, giving the impression that at first he is talking to Jesus in private on the inside and then takes Jesus outside in front of the Jews, and then back inside. If you read the Synoptics, the reading of all three is as if all the questioning is done in the presence of the accusing Jews. No shuttling between the two parties.

    Is it possible that you are reading John into the Synoptics, Terry?

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  97. And Terry, consider this:

    If Pilate and Jesus were having a private conversation, how would the author of the Gospel of John know what was said? If you say, “the Holy Spirit told the author”, then why didn’t the Holy Spirit give the same information to the authors of Matthew, Mark, and Luke who fail to mention these critical statements by Jesus??

    Isn’t it obvious: The author of John, the last Gospel to be written, was not an eyewitness. He embellished the original story as told in the Synoptics with alleged quotes of the Christ that assisted his theology, but were never said by Jesus.

    I believe that this fabricated embellishment to Jesus trial before Pilate is proof that the author of the Gospel of John is NOT a reliable source for anything that Jesus said.

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  98. Terry,

    Thanks for the reply. I think Gary’s point to you about Matthew saying Jesus gave “HIM” no answer is pretty important and still causes your position problems. But for what it’s worth, I think your explanation does a decent job of at least explaining how the gospels could fit with Isaiah 53.

    I’d be curious to see what you think about Gary’s point, though.

    Also, did you happen to see the other contradictions we’ve been discussing? Specifically, we’ve mentioned the discrepancy concerning 430 years found in Galatians and Exodus. We also spent time talking about Jesus’s reference to Abiathar when it should have been Ahimelech, the contradictory genealogies given by Luke and Matthew, and also contradictions in Luke’s and Matthew’s birth narratives.

    I know that’s several to throw at you at once, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re at least passingly familiar with them. Any thoughts?

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  99. Gary, how could John know the private conversation between Jesus and Pilate? Well, you mentioned one of the ways. Read John 16:13. The other way was for Jesus to have told him all about it after His resurrection. Did you forget that part when you asked. Also, that Pilate asked a question in front of the Jewish accusers and Jesus stays silent is no big mystery. That Jesus goes into private with Pilate and talks is no big mystery. Is this a real problem? Only if, like Jesus’ accusers, you are seeking just anything you might can use. May the chemicals work in your favor.

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  100. that Pilate asked a question in front of the Jewish accusers and Jesus stays silent is no big mystery. That Jesus goes into private with Pilate and talks is no big mystery.

    But Terry, consider the following:

    And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
    — Mark 15:4-5

    If Jesus is only silent in front of the Jews, but then answers all of Pilate’s questions in private, as John claims, then what is Pilate amazed about?

    Also, as I mentioned earlier, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the other issues that have been brought up — I think they’re a little more striking than this particular example.

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  101. More likely, Gary, he’s doing what I like to call the Testament Twist – a soft-shoe that allows Christians to warp and twist scripture to make things say what they want them to say.

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  102. The other way was for Jesus to have told him all about it after His resurrection. Did you forget that part when you asked.

    The Gospel of John was written anonymously, TerryToons, around 100 CE – are you saying that JC popped back down 70 years after he died, to impart that bit of information to pseudo-John?

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  103. You know, KC, anybody that mentions chemicals as often as does TerryToons, must have a real dependency problem.

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  104. One can only wish, KC – it’s amazing, Christians have this beautiful paradise just waiting for them, yet none seem to be in a hurry to go there —

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  105. And the TV Evangelists who live in mansions and drive Bentleys. It’s as though they really aren’t sure they’re right so they want it ALL here on Earth just in case they’re wrong. 🙂

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  106. Quotes from Terry:

    it is puzzling to me how hard an effort was made to imagine a contradiction in these accounts at all.

    You guys should be ashamed.

    It is responses like this that disappoint me so much, they serve to extinguish that flicker of hope that Christianity just might be true.

    When I still called myself a Christian I tried to apply:

    Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15)

    When I see Christians failing to act with gentleness and respect it causes me to conclude that if there is a Spirit of God, that Spirit is not talking through them.

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  107. I think we should ask ourselves why the author of John would have Pilate acting like Henry Kissinger, using shuttle diplomacy between the two parties (the Jews and Jesus)? The Pilate of history is brutal and ruthless. The author of John paints him to be timid and hesitant. Why?

    My guess would be this: The author of John is writing circa 100 AD. Christians had already faced persecution under Nero so tensions between Rome and this new religion were tense. What better way to get on Rome’s good side than to paint the brutal Pilate as an unwilling participant in the JEWISH murder of Jesus?

    Let’s blame the Jews for Jesus death!

    “Rome didn’t want to kill Jesus, but it had to because those evil Jews were going to throw the empire into revolt.”

    I believe that the embellishments to John’s crucifixion story are nothing more than an attempt by the Church to pacify Roman antagonism against Christianity by shifting the blame to a convenient scapegoat: the Jews.

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  108. The Gospel of John is probably the most anti-Semitic of all the gospels:

    THE JEWS:

    No one is able to explain the tremendous number of times (70) the term “the Jews” is used in John alone. This is especially astounding when one realizes that there are only 16 “the Jews” in all the rest of the synoptic gospels:

    Mark, 6;

    Matthew, 5; and

    Luke, 5.

    When you study John’s cry of “the Jews,” one finds a horrible meaning embedded in that refrain. Let us take a closer look:

    Reading the book of John shows that this unknown author deliberately placed himself and those he favorably represents as separate from the Jews. Examples are:

    1. The Passover of the Jews (John 2:13, 6:4, 11:55);

    2. The religious rules of the Jews about purification (John 2:6);

    3. A religious festival of the Jews (John 5:1);

    4. The Festival of Tabernacles of the Jews (John 7:2);

    5. The Day of Preparation of the Jews (John 19:42); and

    6. The way in which Jews prepare a body for burial (John 19:40).

    The vast majority of the 70 instances of “the Jews” express a negative picture or attitude. When talking of Jesus dealing with the Jewish populous, the unknown author of John shows his distain by simply saying “the Jews.”

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  109. Gary, as a bit of a sub plot, it is interesting to see the attitude to the Roman authorities in the New Testament. In Mark 8:5-13 it is a Roman Centurion who is lauded as having greater faith than anyone in Israel. Then in Acts 10-11 it was the Roman Centurion Cornelius who is the first gentile convert of the Church.The letters of Paul and Peter suggest that Christians should cooperate with authorities.

    But then against this is the Book of Revelation that is clearly anti Roman. In this book those who cooperate with the Roman Government are consigned to the lake of fire.

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  110. Bart Ehrman, in his textbook, “The New Testament, A Hstorical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings” (which I highly recommend), believes that either several authors may have been involved in the composition of the Gospel of John, or more likely, that the anonymous author used several sources – none of them the Synaoptics, as, in his opinion, the Synoptics had likely not been in circulation long enough for him to have been aware of them – he believes that pseudo-John may have used other stories in circulation at the time, which may or may not have had a synoptic basis.

    The prologue, for example, “In the beginning was the Word…,” etc., he believes was a poetic hymn composed by someone else and inserted into the gospel. He notes that the, “…careful poetic pattern is broken up in two places where the subject matter shifts away from the ‘Word’ to a discussion of John the Baptist (vv.6-8, 15). And adds, “You will notice that when they are taken out, the passage flows quite smoothly without a break.

    Ehrman notes that chapters 14 and 16 seem to be repetitions of each other, and concludes that “John” may have used two separate sources and included them both.

    Ehrman goes on to note that there are untidy “seams” in the story line, that would indicate that two stories were woven together, but not very carefully. Yeshua’s first ‘sign’ (miracle) was turning water into wine (2:11) and his ‘second sign’ – chapter 4 – was healing the Capernaum official’s son, after returning to Galilee from Judea – yet 2:23 indicates that while in Jerusalem, many believed because of ‘signs’ he did there. How can one have a ‘first sign,’ many other signs, and then a ‘second sign’? That is only one of many such untidy “seams.”

    Ehrman felt that resentment against the Jews may have originated because ultimately – due to their proselytizing nature – early Christian Jews may have been expelled from synagogues, creating an “us vs them” mentality. He feels this can be seen in the story in which Yeshua had healed a blind man on the Sabbath – when Jewish authorities interrogate the man’s parents, they refuse to answer, which pseudo-John explains in 9:22, “His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Ehrman explains that in Yeshua’s lifetime, there was no policy in place to reject any who accepted ANYone as a messiah, therefore the story must describe a later time when that may well have been the case. Ehrman says that, “The synagogue therefore became the enemy and took on a demonic hue in their eyes.” I suppose one could find a parallel between early protestants and the Catholic Church.

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  111. Arch, I have been reading through F.F. Bruce’s commentary on the Gospel of John, In commenting on John 9:22-23 he observes:

    It is commonly suggested today that John, writing towards the end of the nineties, was influenced by a decision that had been taken by the reconstituted Sanhedrin a few years before. The Sanhedrin reconstituted with Roman permission in the period after AD 70 consisted almost exclusively of doctors of the law. One of these, Samuel the Less, reworded one of the blessings recited daily in the synagogues so as to make it impossible for the Nazarene’s (Jewish Christians) to take part in synagogue worship. This blessing, which traditionally included a curse on the enemies of God (‘let all wickedness perish as in a moment’), was revised so that the curse ran ‘let Nazarenes and heretics perish as in a moment; let them be blotted out of the book of life and not be enrolled with the righteous.’ The revision was approved by the Sanhedrin and adopted in synagogues, so that the Nazarenes, being forced to keep silence when the new form of words were recited by the congregation, would give themselves away.

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  112. I think these points and questions about authorship and composition are interesting, and I think they add to the conversation. But just a word of caution: if you’re posting them for Terry’s benefit, I wouldn’t bother. I know when I was an inerrantist, none of those points would have been compelling to me. The church of Christ is incredibly mistrustful of scholarship, unless it’s the most conservative of the conservative. The gospel of John was written by John and inspired by God — that’s how he knows everything that he’s recounting. Simple as that. The perfection of the Bible attests to it, and any attempts to call its inspiration into question are just manipulations of the text made by people who are simply looking for an excuse to not follow (submit) to it.

    For someone like that, you really just have to stick to what we can show from the text. At least, that’s how it was for me. I had to see that there were actual contradictions in the text that couldn’t be satisfactorily resolved. The historical problems in Daniel were convincing to me, and so were the discrepancies in the gospels (like the genealogies, birth narratives, etc). One thing that I had going in my favor was that I always believed that the Bible’s truth should be pretty evident to anyone who’s taking the time to look at it, because how else could people raised outside Christianity ever hope to believe it? So to me, even the appearance of a contradiction was a pretty big deal.

    Terry may not think that way, though. If he’s the sort of Christian that thinks just any old off-the-wall explanation is good enough to resolve a contradiction, then I’d be curious to hear how he thinks nonbelievers are supposed to be converted, especially if they’re already aware of the potential scripture problems. And I’d also like to know if he thinks the texts from other religions have contradictions. And if he thinks they do, why can’t they be resolved in the same way the Bible’s problems can?

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  113. Nate, thanks for the wise advice.

    I recall a discussion I had over on ColorStorm’s blog some time back. He brushed away my questions about the multiple endings to Mark’s Gospel by saying that the canon of Scripture was forever settled in heaven. I asked him then why it was that the story of the Women caught in adultery (now in John’s Gospel) was not in any of the early manuscripts.

    ColorStorm just ignored my question and never responded.

    One of the things that started to shake my faith was when I realised that even conservative Biblical Scholars concluded that there had been errors in the transmission of the Book of Samuel. I pondered why would an all powerful God allow such a thing to occur. I never did come up with a satisfactory resolution to that question, but I managed to subdue it for a while.

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  114. Thanks Peter. Yeah, it was a big deal to me too when I realized that certain passages were later additions. That completely shook my view that God protected his word.

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  115. The early church fathers realized the power, prestige, and wealth which could be acquired if 1.) they made the Bible infallible and inerrant 2.) kept the 90% + masses illiterate . Laws were created to forbid possession of the Bible and Bibles were chained to pulpits.

    And then the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment Period came about……………..

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  116. William, if you don’t mind, do me a favor and post the link back to this page as a comment on his Facebook post. That way, anyone who sees his post pop up in their feed will know where to go if they want to see the full context. Thanks!

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  117. Here is a point that I believe that all biblical inerrantist Christians such as Terry should consider:

    Most if not all biblical inerrantists believe in this adage: “If there is ANY explanation that resolves an alleged discrepancy in the Bible, then there is no discrepancy.” If you believe this adage is true, then you will NEVER find an error in the Bible. The problem is, why then can’t other religions use this same adage for THEIR holy books? If Christians can explain away alleged discrepancies in the Bible with any explanation, then why can’t Mormons do the same for the Book of Mormon; Muslims do the same for the Koran; and Hindus do the same for the Hindu Scriptures?

    If you start out with the premise that your holy book CANNOT be wrong, then you will always find an explanation to explain away the most blatant of discrepancies.

    I challenge Terry and other Christians to do this: Use the same level of skepticism about YOUR holy book as you would for the holy books of other religions. For instance, when the Mormon holy book says that ancient Hebrews living in North America used horses, and archeologists say that there were no horses in North America during the alleged time that these ancient sea-faring Jews were inhabiting North America, then instead of attempting to find an explanation to harmonize this discrepancy, accept the fact that whoever wrote the Book of Mormon made a mistake. The author didn’t know that there weren’t any horses in North America during the period of time his story (allegedly) took place.

    And the same is true for the discrepancies in the Bible. For instance, when you look at the two genealogies of Jesus, instead of trying to harmonize them by making Luke’s genealogy that of Mary’s father, even though the author of Luke specifically says the genealogy is of Joseph, accept that the authors of these two genealogies made mistakes.

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  118. I asked him then why it was that the story of the Women caught in adultery (now in John’s Gospel) was not in any of the early manuscripts.

    ColorStorm just ignored my question and never responded.

    Typical Colorstorm behavior. I’ve thoroughly addressed the “woman taken in adultry” story as first having been added to Luke in the 4th century, then shifted to the Gospel of John, and for my effort, received a faceful of flung scripture.

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  119. Not a response to anything, just some interesting information. I subscribe to a Jewish online magazine, “Chabad.org”, and thought some might find an interest in this:

    Dear Friend,

    There seem to be many new beginnings on the Jewish calendar. First there’s Rosh Hashanah, the day when G‑d determines our fate for the rest of the year. Then there’s Yom Kippur, the day when our sins are forgiven, giving us a fresh start. And then there’s Shabbat Bereishit, when we read the first portion of Genesis. It is said that the way we conduct ourselves on Shabbat Bereishit will impact the entire year.

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  120. 1. “Rosh Hashanah, the day when G‑d determines our fate for the rest of the year

    2. “…then there’s Shabbat Bereishit, when we read the first portion of Genesis. It is said that the way we conduct ourselves on Shabbat Bereishit will impact the entire year

    Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here? Can 1 and 2 be simultaneously true?

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  121. It’s been great knowing you, except for Mike, Kathy, unkleE, Colorstorm, and what was his name? Ah, yes, TerryToons —

    And to Pauli:

    I think I’ll miss you most of all —

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  122. It is amazing how aggressive and rude many conservative Christians become when their beliefs are challenged. To me, it is a sure sign that conservative Christianity is a cult.

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  123. Yeah, I agree. Look, some of us can be rude here too, from time to time. But I do feel like a number of them are rude right out the gate when you present them with something they don’t like. There seems to be very little consideration that their position could be wrong. Too, you’d think with all the positive attributes claimed by Christianity, that Christians would be especially considerate. Some are — but like you said, they often seem to be moderate Christians, not conservative ones.

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  124. Terry and Michael (his fundamentalist supporter) are beyond hope, I’m afraid. I left this message on Terry’s blog:

    Dear Terry,

    You, like Michael, have been brainwashed to believe that an ancient myth from the Levant is historical fact.

    Sadly, it is probably too late to save you and Michael. But it is the goal of secular humanists such as myself to spread the TRULY Good News of freedom; freedom from the fear of imaginary, vindictive, self-absorbed ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and gods. We know that many people caught up in this superstition, such as yourself, will refuse to listen and will continue to live your lives consumed with fearing and obeying an ancient superstition. However, it is our hope to save future generations from the tyranny of your ancient cult’s superstitions; superstitions which are responsible for massive discrimination, suffering, persecution, mass killings and mass murder…all in the name of an imaginary ancient Canaanite deity, named Yahweh.

    How very sad.

    The battle for freedom from fear and superstition goes on, Terry. I hope that one day, you and Michael will come to your senses and join us.

    Peace, my misguided fellow human.

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  125. Gary, it is to be expected that fundamentalists are threatened by those who say their faith is illusory. It is especially threatening to them when it comes from someone who had once embraced their faith wholeheartedly.

    The anger and vigor of their response is testimony to it being emotionally rather logically based. If you are correct then their whole world view crumbles. I would suggest that the robustness of their response shows that they know at one level they can’t refute your arguments.

    The notes from a religious preacher of years past said, ‘argument is weakest here, shout loudly’.

    A more moderate religious voice provides wisdom in this case that those folk would do well to emulate:

    “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”
    Desmond Tutu

    Though argument may not work because, as mentioned above, belief tends to be emotionally based. Indeed I found the following quote on a religious site:

    “A man won by an argument is at the mercy of a better argument. Instead, we must bring people into an experience of Christ.”

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  126. Saw a fascinating defense of Bible contradictions on another site. To paraphrase it:

    The Holy Spirit deliberately introduced these issues into the text to confound the wise and to test the faith of the reader.

    Classic spin, turn your weakness into a strength. However It does not take much contemplation to realise the slippery slope this type of reasoning leads one onto.

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  127. Yes, Peter, the spin they use is incredible. It’s very, very clever. But it should be. They’ve had two thousand years to concoct them.

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  128. SO God purposely made his Word appear to have errors to trip some people up. And if they think it is erroneous, as God in his wisdom decided to make it appear, then he will condemn them for thinking it was what it appeared ti be…

    Of Course, had i only considered this before, i may still be a Christian.

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  129. The Holy Spirit deliberately introduced these issues into the text to confound the wise and to test the faith of the reader.

    Of COURSE he/she/it did, the sneaky little sucker – it’s a reverse I.Q. test, if you pass, you fail.

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  130. I have a question for my fellow skeptics: Which do you feel is the better way to break through the brainwashing of conservative Christians:

    1. Point out and debate the alleged contradictions in the Bible.
    2. Point out how silly and ignorant it is to believe in the supernatural.

    I left this message on the blog of our visitor Terry:

    The supernatural is not real. Ghosts are not real. Goblins are not real. Warlocks are not real. Witches are not real. There has never been any scientific demonstration that the supernatural exists. When bad things happen, such as lightning strikes, earthquakes, droughts, educated modern human beings no longer blame these unfortunate events on ghosts, evil spirits, and angry deities. We know that there are natural explanations for all these events.

    Yes, our universe operates by a set of natural laws, it is true. Where did this “fine tuning” come from? We don’t know. But instead of jumping to the conclusion that a “god did it”, let’s keep studying the evidence, just as we did for the cause of lightning strikes, earthquakes, and droughts. We just may find out, yet once again, that a god…DIDN’T do it.

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  131. …silly and ignorant” make me feel good, but other than that, doesn’t accomplish much beyond further entrenching them within their belief system, as they rebel against your accusations.

    Debating the contradictions does little good either, as their experts have already combed the Bible, looking for just such contradictions and, finding them, have concocted reasons as to why they’re not contradictions at all – maybe not good reasons, but how good would they have to be to satisfy someone who already believes in the first place?

    I guess the answer would have to be, “None of the above,” but someone such as Nate, Peter, Zoe, Neuronotes, or Ain’tNoShrinkingViolet could answer that more accurately than I, as, granted, they can’t speak for everyone, but they are at least cognizant of what convinced them to set aside their own beliefs.

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  132. A lot of what helped me was that I already understood that the Bible needed to be pretty unassailable, because its main purpose is to reach those who don’t already believe. So any hints that it’s inaccurate will turn people away, even if they aren’t strong enough problems to drive out the faithful.

    That’s why, when I finally had a reason to look at some of the evidence against it, I was really troubled by how good it was. Even in areas where there were halfway decent explanations, the fact that these explanations aren’t provided in the text but take maneuvering made me really uncomfortable. And the sheer number of problems just became too great to ignore.

    For me, contradictions were the key. But I already intuitively understood the outsider test for faith. So maybe that’s actually what we should be starting with…

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  133. I found this some time back, from The Jewish Encylopedia, regarding Genesis:

    “Is there any historical kernel embedded in the narrative? Obviously it contains much legendary matter. The stories of Lot, Hagar, and Keturah are ethnological myths; the theophanies and the story of the destruction of the cities are legends; circumcision was not adopted by the Israelites in the way here represented; and the story of the attempted sacrifice of Isaac is a product of the regal period. Abraham’s kinsfolk (Gen. xxii. 20-24) are personifications of tribes, and his predecessors and successors, from Noah to Jacob, are mythical or legendary. What is to be said of the much debated fourteenth chapter? First, it must be divided into two parts: the history of the Elamite invasion, and Abraham’s connection with it. The first part may be historical, but it no more follows that the second part is historical than the reality of the miraculous role assigned to Moses follows from the reality of the Exodus.”

    This is written by Jewish people who, more than any others, have the most to gain by covering up what they rather choose to admit freely – contrast that degree of honesty with that of a Christian evangelical.

    I should have saved this for the Jewish website that Ark invited me to, then abandoned me, leaving me to fend for myself with no backup.

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  134. nate, I was much the same.

    Once I finally allowed myself to honestly consider that the bible might not be what it claimed, suddenly everything finally became clear – all the stuff that didn’t make sense wasn’t because it God’s wisdom was greater than mine, it was because it didn’t make sense.

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  135. terry’s site is hard for me to follow. I don’t think my comments have been allowed up yet… but I am not sure, i just cant find them.

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  136. Here is a further question: Do you think that most people who deconvert from conservative Christianity do so because THEY saw a problem, investigated it, and deconverted, or, did someone approach them with evidence against conservative Christianity, and they were convinced by that evidence, from someone else, to deconvert?

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  137. Great question. I don’t know. For me, I ran across the articles on my own. I think if someone had come to my site, or spoke to me in person, I might have been much more defensive. But I wasn’t actually talking to the person whose articles I ran across. I simply read them, but then had time to think about them and research their sources on my own. I think that’s the biggest difference.

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  138. I recall reading the initial issues like nate did. But for me, it wasnt even the initial issues, it was all the comments.

    I mean, I was troubled by what i read, but thought that it must clean up somehow. but in the comments, I saw believers raise some of the questions I had in my own head, and saw the author make short work of them. and the rest of the comments, I saw that the believers struggled so much more, and had to work so much harder and ended up having to say that this meant that, or vise versa, and then were also so overly critical of why people wpouldnt believe.

    If they believed it, okay, but i jsut could not understand how they could act like it was absurd for someone else to have issues with it, especially when they presented what looked like good cases to me. It seemed so extreme, that it looked like they were just being dishonest, like children clamping their ears shut as they scream, “I CANT HEAR YOU!!”

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  139. Nate, William and others:

    When you came across evidence against your Christian beliefs, was it primarily information on skeptics’ sites or comments by skeptics on Christian sites?

    Could you name the sites and blog authors who were instrumental in your deconversions?

    For me, my deconversion happened when I went on the blog of an ex-Christian atheist in an attempt to re-convert him, this time to my “flavor” of conservative Christianity. I obviously failed in that endeavor.

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  140. I think it’s automated. Terry may not even know. Some of William’s comments have gotten flagged as spam here before too. Not sure why.

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  141. Gary, in my case it was less what was said, but rather who said it, that counted. When I was a believer I was automatically on the defensive against any objection raised by atheists as I knew they were not objective. What got under my guard were comments raising doubts from folk who were meant to be Christians or at the very least were sympathetic to Christianity.

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  142. I posted this to ARE’s FB page. I’m at work so it may be a little too rambly, but other than that, your thoughts? Is my reasoning sound, or have I made some missteps?

    Posted to ARE FB Page:

    You Wrote,
    “All interpretations of the past through that chosen lens ignore God’s testimony and thus will be wrong, though they give an explanation from that perspective”

    But this assumes you know what God said.

    It is an assumption, as the bible only claims to know what God said.

    I don’t think they start with the assumption that there cannot be a god or that there could not ever be divine intervention or interaction, but instead they take the approach that since there are so many claims of so many different gods throughout time, along with claims and stories of magic and voodoo and what have you, that they strive to look for a natural explanation, as so far in most of our lives, that’s all we’ve experienced – natural events with physical causes.

    So which god is right and what is the criteria for establishing that? Is it an arbitrary selection, or actually based on something tangible and definable? And if so, what?

    But history doesn’t only come to us through written record, but in archaeology and geology and so on. Do the claims in history match those records? Do they agree or disagree? Or both?.

    And what scientific advances have been made by scientists who’ve viewed their research through their religious lenses?

    And is it possible that a God or gods or your God is real? Sure, it’s possible. But not every claim is the same is it? George Washington Crossing the Delaware on a boat isn’t a huge stretch. We have many other sources that say he was in the area. And men have been crossing bodies of water in boats for a long time, so nothing about this is outside the realm of possibility.

    But what if we had a claim the George FLEW across the Delaware? Is this claim on the same level as the one that said he crossed by boat? Would one of these claims require more evidence to believe?

    I think so, do you?

    And if the Bible was the only holy book, and Christianity the only religion, speaking about the only God ever mentioned, then maybe it would be easier to default to this God over atheism, but that’s not the set up. In biblical times, and all the times surrounding them, there were many claims of many gods with miracles ascribed to all sorts of historical figures. The choice isn’t one or the other, but it’s a choice with thousands of options.

    Even Tecumseh had miracles and prophecies ascribed to him.

    There were 8 witnesses who signed letters of testimony that they saw Joseph Smith’s Golden plates and a few even signed off on having seen the Angel who spoke with Smith – do we believe them? Their religion has stood up so far to time and their college football team is even respectable…so it must be true?

    So with all the miracles and gods claimed and credited throughout time, you’d say that only a small fraction are legitimate – so then naturally a researcher would be skeptical of such claims, and would likely try to interpret all such claims through a natural view point, and who could blame them?

    There are even events that aren’t supernatural that historians are skeptical of and take very loosely and will even say are doubtful and then give what they think is much more realistic – like numbers of enemies or friendlies killed in battle, as they could have been embellished or underreported for propaganda reasons, and so forth.

    What makes the bible better than all the others?

    If you say “great prophecies” again, I’d really like you to put up an example, because I don’t see any.

    And then you have criticized me that since I don’t believe the bible is from God, then it’s because I haven’t read or studied enough. But that speaks to a bias, as even if you’re right, I’ve still read and studied the bible far than you have read and studied the Koran. MICHAEL has criticized that I haven’t read the bible enough in Greek or Hebrew, and this also exposes a bias. How many of you have read the Koran in Arabic? And then what about all the other religious texts out there? How much time have you spent studying and researching those?

    You likely read a little (if any) and dismissed them as I did because they appear to have problems. It’s also what I have found in the bible. But if you criticize me for my efforts (which have been extensive and still ongoing), then you’re criticizing yourselves for not investigating the other religions just as much. Anyone can say, “you just haven’t studied enough,” or “you just want it to be wrong,” or “you’re too worldly minded,” or “you’re not honest enough,” or “you haven’t studies it through the original language or didn’t consider the time period it was written in,” regarding their religion. Anyone can do that. There’s always more to learn and read, so if I haven’t read enough yet, then neither have you.

    So with all that in mind, why should a scientist or Historian just accept religious, miraculous and divine claims, and what’s the method they should use to differentiate the good from the bad?

    And can you provide an itemized list of reasons why the bible can be trusted as being the only Divine text? Perhaps we could address each point, one at a time.

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  143. Oh, and Gary, to answer your question from yesterday, there were three main things that kicked off the research that led to my deconversion.

    One was a scathing comment made on my blog (here) in a response to one of the posts I had written while still a believer. His point was so well reasoned that I didn’t even reply to it. I just thought about it.

    Another of the factors was a paper I read about Hell, titled “Hell, No!” — I think there was a subtitle too, but I can’t find it right now. If I do, I’ll post a link to it. It went through a lot of the logical problems with Hell, and also pointed out the scriptural issues: like it’s not mentioned in the Old Testament and uses various Greek terms for it in the New.

    The final thing that really launched my research were the articles on the Book of Daniel. They were on a blog called Darwin’s Beagle, which was hosted by progressiveu.org. ProgressiveU’s site has been down for a long time, though, so none of that content is around. Luckily, I happened to find those articles just before their site began experiencing problems. And when I went back to find the articles, and realized they were down, I found them in Google’s cached pages and copied them. After getting permission from the blog’s author, I reposted them here. Most people think I wrote them, even though I preface each article saying I didn’t… but what can you do? You can find the links to each article here, though if I remember correctly, I think you’ve read these already…

    Anyway, from there, I stuck to books. I didn’t really start back blogging and reading other blogs till I had already deconverted. If you’re interested in the books I’ve gone through, just click the page “Books I’ve Read”.

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  144. Thanks for the info, Nate. I’m going to read the comment you linked.

    An FYI regarding my discussion over on Theology Web. I think I have Nick (the buddy apologist) caught in a corner. It will be interesting to see how he gets out of it, if he can:

    http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7724-Comment-Thread-for-The-Resurrection-of-Jesus-Apologiaphoenix-vs-Gary&p=253195&viewfull=1#post253195

    Nick is really big on scholarship. He insists that we skeptics should accept the historicity of the Empty Tomb for the simple reason that the “majority of NT scholars” believe it to be historical. I have turned the tables on him. The OVERWHELMING majority of scholars do not believe that the Exodus is historical. Nick is an inerrantist. If the Exodus is a fable, Nick will have to admit that Jesus made a mistake because Jesus believed that events in a fable (the Passover, the Exodus, the giving of the Ten Commandments) were real. Jesus was wrong, therefore Jesus was a man, not a god.

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  145. Have you mentioned, Gary (re, the empty tomb), that there was an entire night before guards were placed on the tomb? In fact, I believe, if memory serves, that that was your own earlier observation.

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  146. Hi Arch,

    Yes, I did. They still dream up every possible reason why, even if the tomb was left unguarded for a period of time, it is “absolutely implausible” (their exact words) in that culture that anyone would steal/remove the body. I give them hypothetical suspects such as grave robbers, religious relic collectors, the disciples, Pilate, a subset of the Sanhedrin, but nope, none of these people would have ever done such a thing. There is therefore only one possibility left:

    …an ancient Canaanite god named Yahweh teleported into the tomb and regenerated the bloated, decomposing, brain-dead body of a first century Jewish prophet, who then walked out of the tomb in his new super-hero body, ate a broiled fish lunch with his former fishing buddies, and finally levitated into outer space to never be seen again…

    🙂

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  147. Gary, appealing to the view of the majority of scholars would lead one to conclude that 2 Peter was not written by the apostle Peter, which has implications for the truthfulness of the Bible.

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  148. Very true, Peter. But Nick and other moderate Christians like him are selective when they accept majority consensus opinion: only when it agrees with their preconceived beliefs.

    Nick is avoiding directly answering my charge of flip-flopping.

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  149. Gary, there is an interesting post over at Logan’s site Denial is Incredibly Powerful.

    As is often said the difference between faith and science is that one seeks evidence to support its conclusion whilst the other seeks the conclusion that best explains the evidence. Any objective student of history will testify which has the superior record of finding truth. But as said above, denial is incredibly powerful.

    Since I started on this journey in February, I have been interested to see how in the fields of science, archaeology and history so many folk started out with an attitude of proving the Bible to be true only to eventually conclude much to their shock that the evidence pointed elsewhere.

    But it takes quite a bit to knock out faith as it is based on multiple supports. There is an interesting post on this aspect over at SIRIUSBIZINUS Here.

    But perhaps there is another alternative? The Trickster God theory, this is considered over at Isaiah 53, Here. However neither Christians or atheists find this explanation satisfactory.

    In the end unless the person of faith is prepared to consider they might be mistaken then they will find some way to explain away contrary evidence. But having said this it can work both ways.

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  150. My god, it is amazing how far Christians will go to prop up their Bronze Age holy book! I am discussing the (lack of) evidence for the Exodus with Christian apologist Dr. Frank Turek. He believes that the reason there is no archeological evidence for the Exodus in the Sinai is because all the Forty Years of wandering really took place somewhere else: Saudi Arabia!

    Check it out:

    http://crossexamined.org/yet-another-reason-to-believe-our-finite-universe-points-to-the-existence-of-god/#comments

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  151. On the matter of believing what one wants to believe, a while back we were talking about the Shroud of Turin. What seems to get lost in the debate is that the Gospel’s imply there were at least three pieces of cloth involved, strips of linen (note plural) plus a separate piece for the face.

    But I am sure that someone has devised a way explain away this apparent anomaly.

    Liked by 1 person

  152. Hi all, since this is the last post Paulie commented on, I’ll try here . . . I’m worrying about you buddy! Drop me a line sometime. .. 🙂 Thanks!

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  153. Hello to every one, the contents existing at this website are genuinely amazing for people experience,
    well, keep up the nice work fellows.

    Like

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