Hello everyone. I’m an atheist interested in counter-apologetics. Are there any Jews or Christians (or ex-Jews or ex-Christians) visiting here who have come across any Biblical contradictions or inconsistencies for which you have not found a satisfying answer to? If so, could you please post them here for discussion?

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Hi Mantiki,

Well first of all I'd say that trying to find contradictions in the Bible is almost always the wrong strategy, simply because, even if the Bible was consistent or didn't contradict itself (which shouldn't actually be that hard of a feat), that still wouldn't mean that it was divinely inspired. By trying to disprove their claim you are implicitly saying that you've accepted the legitimacy of their claim in the first place.

Also, most Christians don't have any problem recognizing that there are inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible. It's really only the most literalist strain of Protestant theology that takes issue with that; Catholic and Orthodox theology is centered around the fact that the Bible can be inconsistent and can't be taken literally or at face value, and most intelligent Protestants have more or less gone along with this.

But anyway, a simple case of two inconsistent stories are Luke and Matthew's varying accounts on the genealogy of Jesus, the year of his birth and the birth narrative in general.

Good points, all.  BUT many atheists who were once Bible-worshippers say that their faith began to crumble when they realized that there were parts of the Bible that simply could not be explained away.  I was never one of those people but I will have to ask the next one I come across what Bible contradictions/inconsistencies were the ones that were most corrosive of their former delusions.

Hi Michael,

There are in fact four ways to see the texts: literal, symbolic, allegorical, and mystical. Much of the writings of the early church fathers is interpretation from the last of these.

Precisely! I'm glad someone else making this point, as too many on this forum let their experience with creationist or literalist strains of Christianity inform their critiques to an unhealthy extent.

We need quite a bit more of this big-picture view. Keep it up ;)

Regards,

Mathieu

One contradiction that has had a direct physical impact on me is:

The concept that body modification is a sin because we are created in the image of god who is perfect so any change to that perfection is evil.... and yet almost the first thing you're supposed to do to your new boy child is to cut off a piece of his penis (the foreskin) to please god- a missing foreskin is supposedly his- gods way of branding his sheeple... So what? god forgot to get rid of the foreskin himself and needs you to cut it off for him!? 

Personally I don't like most of the body modifications out there- hair removal is one exception to this general rule... but nothing comes close to the disgusting-ness level of routine genital mutilation.

Most fundamentalists will find a way to answer any Biblical contradiction, no matter how many convoluted mental hoops they have to go through to satisfy themselves.

There are plenty of Bible contradictions that are unanswerable by reasonable standards, that doesn't mean fundies won't find a way to answer it, however irrationally.

The bible says all men are liars. Men wrote the bible. Wouldn't that mean it's a big book of lies?

The bible says God will forgive you of anything. He has yet to forgive Eve for eating the fruit.

God gave people free will, to use exactly as he says to use it.

God made the whole universe out of nothing but needed a rib to make Eve.

It's a sin to drink blood. But at service they eat Jesus' flesh and drink Jesus' blood.

"Thou shalt not kill." Unless they're gay, rebellious kids, adulterers, theives, etc.

And this last one isn't in the bible but, the bible says to give up material things. So why does the pope have lots of expensive and golden things?

Stormi lists a bunch of good ones -I agree.

it's just the whole bible is a contradiction - I could just paste the whole book here.

He has yet to forgive Eve for eating the fruit.

Ha! That's good.

My favorite (which I wrote a paper on in high school in "Bible as Literature" class) is: where did Cain's wife come from and whose daughter was she?

Nothing is unanswerable to dedicated theist, but a few I find interesting are:

Christians go to heaven when they die, which is a place of eternal happiness which none of them will ever leave. Yet for some reason their powerful benevolent god was either incapable of creating such a situation in the first place or chose not to. Twice. (The devil lost his place in heaven then Adam and Eve evicted from eden)

If god is all powerful, then if he wants something (e.g. everyone to believe in him or all sins to be forgiven) all he has to do is click his fingers and it would be done.

If god knows the future, he chose to create the universe in such a way that it would inevitably result in him sending people to hell to be tortured for all eternity. Thus demonstrating that he is not benevolent. Where I am from, this is called criminal negligence.

The four gospels give three versions of Jesus' last words, son of god or not everyone only gets 1 set of last words per death.

What is nice about this one is that it is easy to find, if you want show someone a quick example of an obvious contradiction.

Counter-apologetics is always a tricky thing to navigate, simply because it takes reason to effectively construct a logical argument. I've encountered in my conversations with friends and former friends (many of whom I used to go to church with) that most of them either didn't necessarily come to their god conclusion based on evidence, logic or reason, or the reason, evidence and logic is, while fallacious. Very close to correct.

(E.g. something can't come from nothing. "Logically" this makes sense, but in fact we do not have nothing to test. So the answer is in fact "I don't know". Not, "no it can't."

It's these things that convince the religious "philosophers" of their correctness. Nit just inconsistencies within their text.

When I was a Christian I was told to consult the holy spirit when examining and meditating on scripture. 1) it's a biased method to begin with, 2) what the fuck does that even mean to someone who hasn't the faith to believe there is a holy spirit.

But if you do believe there is... it all makes sense...if you just do it right.

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