This article originally appeared on Good Friday, 2006. Alterations have been kept minimal.
Well, it is Good Friday. That means there is good news and bad news: The good news is I got out of work today at 1:00. The bad news is one may not eat any meat all day. That prohibition is rather curious though, considering there is absolutely no logical or rational reason why one should abstain. But, for Christians, logic and rationality are employed only selectively. For example, on Sunday, Christians across the globe will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Perhaps it never occurred to them that it is scientifically impossible for a corpse that has been dead for dozens of hours to come back to life. How could billions of people possibly believe something that is so egregiously ludicrous?
Answer: It is in the Bible. For Christians, the Bible offers absolute truth, and mustn’t ever be questioned. The Bible is the crutch upon which Christians lean when they declare their belief in Noah’s Ark, Adam and Eve, creationism, miracles and all other such nonsense. Indeed, for Christians, the Bible is so powerful that it invalidates scientific studies. In the past couple of weeks, two major breakthroughs have been achieved with respect to evolution. If you haven’t already, be sure to read this article and this one. [Note: This link subsequently has passed away.] Christians can rest easy, though; the Bible’s “Special Creation” story must be true by virtue of the fact the Bible is the infallible, inspired Word of God.
Or so Christians hope. In truth, if the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then God is very fallible indeed. When it comes to the details, passages are often directly contradictory. Sometimes there are contradictions even about major events and lineages. Moreover, there are myriad factual errors, especially in regard to science. My argument, thus, is quite simple: If the Bible can’t even get mundane things correct, why should I believe it with respect to things that are scientifically impossible? Perhaps I would give some credence to the Bible’s veracity if there were no contradictions or factual errors; however, as things are, that’s hardly the case.
To prove I’m not just blowing smoke, let me guide you through 10 clear Bible contradictions. Please note, the next section of this post is credited entirely to a great quiz found on this terrific website.
Mt.20:30 – “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.”
Lk.18:35 – “And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging.”
Jer.52:12-13 – “Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month ... burned the house of the Lord.”
2 Kg.25:8-9 – “And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month ... burned the house of the Lord.”
Heb.6:18 – “It was impossible for God to lie.”
Mk.10:27 – “With God all things are possible.”
Jas.2:21-25 – “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
Gal.2:16 – “A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith”
2 Chr.22:2 – “Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign.”
2 Kg.8:26 – “Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign.”
Mt.7:21 – “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Jl.2:32 – “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.”
John 14:28 – “The Father is Greater than I”
John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one.”
Ezekiel 18:20 – “The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son”
Exodus 20:5 – “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”
John 1:18 – “No man hath seen God at any time.”
Genesis 32:30 – “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
Genesis 22:1 – “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham.”
James 1:13 – “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”
Reading David Mills' wonderful book "Atheist Universe" also brought a major contradiction to my attention: differing genealogies tracing the lineage between David and Jesus. The genealogy according to Matthew has 28 steps. The genealogy according to Luke has 43 steps. This represents a direct and irreconcilable contradiction, much like the ones you already have read.
Of course, there are many more such contradictions. I again would urge the Bible’s writers to get their stories straight before expecting us to believe that the impossible is somehow possible, and nature’s laws can somehow float in and out of existence at God’s whim.
Let me quickly also note some of the Bible’s factual inaccuracies. The source is here.
Leviticus 11:6 states that rabbits chew their cud.
Leviticus 11:20-23 speaks of four-legged insects, including grasshoppers.
1 Chronicles 16:30 and Psalm 93:1 state that the earth is immobile; yet it not only revolves and orbits the sun but is also influenced by the gravitational pull of other bodies.
Having expressed distrust in the Bible based upon contradictions and factual inaccuracies, I will close by presenting a smattering of morally objectionable passages. As such, the Bible will be proved factually shaky (to be generous toward it) and morally loathsome.
Now the LORD had said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold." (The LORD made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people.)
So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt-worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.
As for your male and female slaves whom you may have--you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.
Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.
You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;
Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,
but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.
But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
If there is a man who marries a woman and her mother, it is immorality; both he and they shall be burned with fire, so that there will be no immorality in your midst.
Also the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by harlotry, she profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire.
Speak to Aaron, saying, 'No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the food of his God.
For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb,
or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand,
or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles.
No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to offer the LORD'S offerings by fire; since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God.
He may eat the food of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy,
only he shall not go in to the veil or come near the altar because he has a defect, so that he will not profane My sanctuaries. For I am the LORD who sanctifies them.
Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother.
But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also.
and whoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me.