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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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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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