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Today I had another in a long line of debates with the creationist who sits next to me at work.

The discussion veered towards contradictions in the Bible which she denies exist, as she believes that every word is literally true. I've been researching a few contradictions this evening an have come up with three which I think are indisputable.

I narrowed down the list of hundreds, based on the following three rules.

1. Keep it limited to the new testament and specifically to the gospels as they are supposedly accurate accounts of the same events.

2. Ignore those which are simply ommisions of facts, for example "Mary was there at the opening of the tomb" and "Both Mary & the other Mary were there at the opening of the tomb". Both could possibly be true.

3. It must specifically be a statement of fact or a description of an unambiguous time or event.

The three I've come up with are as follows:

1. What were the last words of Jesus before dying on the cross?

MAT 27:46,50: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ...Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."
LUK 23:46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."
JOH 19:30: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished:" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

2. What did Jesus instruct his Disciples to Bring with them?

MAT 10:10 Jesus instructed them not to take a staff, not to wear sandals.
MARK 6:8-9 Jesus instructed his disciples to wear sandals and take a staff on their journey.


3, Who was the father of Joseph?

MAT 1:16 The father of Joseph was Jacob.
LUK 3 :23 The father of Joseph was Heli


Are these good ones to choose?

What excuses will she come up with?

Are there better ones?

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I know exactly what you mean, and debating is probably not the best word for these discussions as it would indicate that both parties are using some sort of logical argument, however these exchanges do entertain me to some extent in a boring office job.

I did a quick google for "biblical contradictions" and chose these three out of the multitude of possibile options as being most apt to cause this nutcase to possibly slightly have the remote possibility of sowing a seed in the back of her tiny mind that not every word in her silly book of superstitious nonsense is not entirely true.
You're a great resource, Glen. Thank you I love shoving this stuff right up xtion arses! I too have a nut at work I love to debate with. He's just as deaf as the rest of them and unable to acknowledge facts. I just love this site! Brian.
You know, Glen, you'd think that'd work, wouldn't you? I had a similar conversation with my mother recently, though admittedly I did not have the verses to back me up. Her response was simply that god gives everyone free will and already knows who will and who won't accept him. Therefore, it's okay that he kills these people (or sends them to hell, or punishes them or whatever), because they never would have CHOSEN to accept him. I know, I know, just typing this is making me feel crazy.

I wonder why god would create a group of people (like citizens of a particular country, perhaps China, like you suggested), who were less likely to accept him, based solely on geographical location. Of course, there are examples of Chinese people who have converted, so these are the exceptions they use to prove their rule. Unless they think god examines every soul before placing it in a body and decides to place the ones who he knows won't accept him predominantly in a country that is not generally exposed to Christianity. Obviously that's all very circular logic, and not really logical at all, but this is what I run into when using this tactic. After a round of debate like this with my mother, it is clear why I avoid another debate for a while.
When it comes to contradictions in the bible, you'll find 440 of them here.
From the way I read the bible, and that was some time ago, it seemed like each "book" was written by a different author... and that they didn't cross-reference with each other... (and because many of them weren't alive at the same time).

This notion that there are people out there who believe such blatant contradictions are infallible is beyond me.
To me, that's a deal breaker right there. If a source contradicts itself... even once... it loses credibility. The bible has more contradictions from book to book than most comic-book turned hollywood movies do.

A trait very common when you hire someone new to write the next script.
One of the funniest episodes between Jehovah and Moses is when Jehovah flashed him. Have you shared this with your Xtian friends? There's a point in the Bible where Jehovah (who is elsewhere supposed to be invisible and didn't want people to imagine his appearance) allowed Moses to see his resplandent ass for a split second. It's Exodus 33:21-23.
Go over how herod died in 4bc, supposedly 4 years before the jesus character was born.

Herod and Pilate weren't even alive at the same time.
3, Who was the father of Joseph?

MAT 1:16 The father of Joseph was Jacob.
LUK 3 :23 The father of Joseph was Heli


Joseph had two daddies.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. It might be a good idea to bring up Joseph's gay co-daddies the next time some Christer objects to homosexuality. Jesus had 3 grandpas!
You tube play list from ProfMTH has some short humorous ones

Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer by Todd Allen Gates mentions several good ones. Such as how does one receive salvation? By deed or by faith alone?

John Armstrong discusses that one and other here.
What you want to do is to get them to explain their own beliefs to you. Bible quoting is and endless maze of contradictions and half statements. What I do that is both respectful and telling is to ask questions about their personal theology. Try, where is God right now and what is he doing? If God created the universe, who created God? If a soul exists how can you tell the difference between the invisible soul and the sub-conscience? If Satan controls the natural world (as many Christians believe) how do you know that Satan is not tricking you into believing? When God hears a prayer, does he actually hear it and if so, why does he respond in exactly the same way that random chance predicts? If Jesus was the son of God, how did God impregnate Mary? When Jesus ascended to Heaven did he go to a specific place? What the hell do you mean when you say that Jesus died for our sins? Why does his dying help us? Wouldn't it be way better if he didn't die? How do explain all of the inefficient and stupid ways that the world works like childbirth, weather, illness, war etc.? If these things exist, why does God allow the devil to have so much control. Why would God create the devil in the first place? All of the questions should stump the believer and if they don't they will at least expose inconsistencies with their theology. At the same time, the Socratic method is very respectful without being derisive which keeps the dialog going. Questioning demonstrates a genuine willingness to listen, even if the questions are meant to unravel the argument that is being presented. Atheists don't really have a position because we are non-supernatural. Therefore, any argument must consist of breaking down the irrational claims of others.

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