Posts Tagged “biblical contradictions”

Biblical Contradictions (screen shot from Project Reason)It’s not news to anyone who’s seriously studied Christian scripture that there’s a very large number of contradictions in the Bible. That this is so is only natural; the Bible’s many books were mostly written separately and often in ignorance of one another, so there are bound to be points of disagreement among them. Many Christians realize this, and have no problem with it. But Biblical literalists — who believe their Bible to have been written directly by God — cannot admit this, since any inconsistency or contradiction within it would make it les-than-divine.

Thus, Biblical literalists live by the mantra that “there are no contradictions in the Bible,” which they repeat ad nauseam, although it’s not true. Even in the face of the hundreds of Biblical contradictions which have been cataloged over the years, they continue to insist they do not exist. The contradictions are only “apparent” and not real, they claim; they’re the result of “taking passages out of context” (whatever that means), or of bad translations, of bad interpretations, or of failing to understand the nuances involved … the list of excuses and rationales is endless.

The truth is that Biblical literalists simply refuse to acknowledge the reality of those contradictions. They won’t let facts get in the way of what they wish to believe.

As a way of, perhaps, hammering home the extensive nature of the many contradictions in the Bible — even though literalists will still never accept them — the folks at Project Reason have devised a visual representation of them, showing graphically which Bible verses conflict with which others and vice versa. You can even get it in large and small poster-sized PDFs.

Here is just the portion of it covering the New Testament (click to enlarge this snippet of the graph):

Project Reason, the Scripture Project, graph displaying Biblical contradictions; New Testament section only

Project Reason, the Scripture Project, graph displaying Biblical contradictions; New Testament section only

The data used to create this is from Steve Wells at the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible. It’s a useful Web site, but its source text is the King James Version of the Bible, which for reasons I explained a few weeks ago, is a deficient translation. Unfortunately … and this is likely why Wells used it … it’s the only major English translation which is in the public domain, and therefore free to use. Any other would have to be licensed for use on a Web site, and that would likely be very expensive. A site based on the original Biblical languages would be better, however, current scholarly editions of the New Testament in Greek are also not in the public domain — and therefore would also be costly to use. Older ones such as the Textus Receptus would be deficient as well, and no better than the KJV.

Fortunately, the majority of Biblical contradictions are unaffected by translation; nearly all exist in the original Biblical languages. So even this is more than sufficient to show that there are contradictions in the Bible. Since only one unassailable contradiction is required to disprove divine literalism, that’s no problem at all. There are hundreds to pick from. Substantiating only one of them is trivial.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist and Unreasonable Faith.

Photo credit: Project Reason, the Scripture Project.

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