List Of Biblical Contradictions Withers To None

Some fellow pleased to call himself a skeptic, which is to say an atheist, thinks Matthew 28:1 (In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre) contradicts John 20:1 (The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre).

This is listed as the 115th Biblical “contradiction” at Skeptically.org, a contradiction seen by everybody, the author assures us, but “fundamentalist idiots.” The presence of this glaring contradiction indicates two different accounts of Jesus’s resurrection, and two different accounts proves the Bible could not have been given by the Holy Spirit. Thus Christianity is a fraud.

You can hear the exasperated but patient voice of Phillip Campbell as he in The Book of Non-Contradiction: Harmonizing the Scriptures writes: “Dawn means when the sun first begins to come into view on the horizon in the morning. It is still usually kind of dark at dawn.” Indeed, as the poet said, it is then darkest.

That Campbell had to trouble with this is telling. It proves that many are ready, even eager, to accept the thinnest, most patently ridiculous evidence in order to support a cherished belief. What makes it funny is that these stunts are normally done in the name of “rationality”.

Anyway, there is pleasure in walking through the 191 supposed contradictions (Campbell tackles them all). The effect is to strengthen one’s convictions and not weaken them, and this is because the solving of small riddles bolsters belief.

Campbell doesn’t set right only minor misunderstandings, but major conundrums, too. And most of these are solved by realizing that — surprise — not every culture acts identically to ours. This discovery will astound many moderns, who assume that people throughout history were aiming for our point in time. So that when a person writes of things he heard or saw Jesus or King David do, he was thinking of us when he was writing, so that this witness took great care to use words and forms familiar to us via media like television or court reporting. Thus, if his words do not conform to modern expectations, it must be that the events he saw did not happen or don’t mean what he implied.

Campbell runs through fifteen major controversies, such as the supposed differing accounts of creation and of Jesus’s genealogy, and of why we still proscribe homosexuality and do not eschew shellfish, two laws from the Old Testament.

Two examples will suffice to give an impression. Seemingly conflicting accounts make it appear, in Luke 22 and John 18–19, that the last Passover Jesus attended was on two separate dates. How could this be? Well, in modern times Passover only happens on fixed dates, made known well in advanced by printed calendars. But two thousand years ago several calendars were in use (the Jews had more than one, the Romans another, etc.) and they gave varying advice on which day to celebrate. Different sects within Judaism picked different but nearby dates.

So that when it appears that the eyewitness testimony gave differing dates, the reality is that it probably was different dates; i.e. more than one celebration. This happens in modern Christianity, too, but it doesn’t cause anybody to fret. Catholics and most protesting Christians have one date for Easter, and the Orthodox another. But not many atheists would claim Catholics and Orthodox don’t exist because there are “conflicting” reports of Easter celebrations.

This brief description makes it sound too easy and leaves out a wealth of detail, but be assured Campbell’s analysis is painstaking and thorough.

My favorite example involves Richard Dawkins, who often uses a version of the following fallacious argument, which (of course) convinces his followers: God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore, since God is love and love doesn’t kill, God doesn’t exist.

Sigh.

The real and obvious and sobering and awe-inspiring argument seems to have escaped that great man: God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore, don’t piss off God.

Campbell is having nothing to do with modern squeamishness which seeks to dismiss the events related in Joshua and other points in scripture. When God said smite the Canaanites, He meant smite them, and smite them good.

Why?

Though the Canaanites seemed to have it coming, why they were put to the sword is God’s business, not ours. Did not God wipe out the greater part of humanity in the Flood? Let’s not forget Sodom and Gomorrah. And let’s not forget you, either, dear reader.

Now we come to the crux of this issue: what we ultimately need to keep in mind when looking at the Canaanite genocide is that God is the ultimate authority over human life and can take it in any way He chooses.

Again, there is much more to it, and Campbell brings us through it.

Two trivial complaints, neither of which should stop you from buying the book, which you should. The book’s typesetting swaps en dashes (and maybe even em dashes?) for hyphens which should be used in compound words; e.g. “the principle of double—effect” versus “the principle of double-effect”. Grates on my eyes, though I doubt it’s noticeable to most. And Campbell could never bring himself to write about himself in the first person; e.g. “we recommend the article ‘Deconstructing the Documentary Hypothesis’ by Phillip Campbell.” William M Briggs also recommends the article.

35 Comments

  1. Simply watch John Lennox debate Dawkins with good grace and read his books.

    One doesn’t need to pay for a book to know that God, if he created everything, can do what he wants. when he wants. For purposes which may seem so mysterious and bizarre.

    As a Church of England Christian I am particularly suspicious of those who ‘live’ in the Old Testament.
    Either those arguing against Christianity or for it!
    There is. reason why there is aNew Testament.
    Why Jesus said what he did and explained that
    “man’s heart has become hard.”

    I have an in law who does the same and although she is very decent and warm, loves me to bits and vice versa, she will at the drop of a hat in discussion with anyone she dislikes invoke fire and brimstone.
    In other words adopting a power that does not belong to her.

    She does not hide though, she wears her poppy across campus.

  2. Campbell may not address some technical “errors” in the OT which serve to illustrate that the Bible cannot be used as a modern scientific authority.

    1. In 1 Kings chapter 7, Solomon has built a bronze basin circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. So the ratio of circumference to diameter here is 3:1 — yet the actual value of 3.1415… was known roughly by the Babylonians a millennium previous to this description.

    2. In Leviticus chapter 11 there is a list of unclean animals that must not be eaten, particularly certain birds and insects. 13 “‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. Bats anatomically, physiologically, and genetically are not “birds.” Furthermore, flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat … Insects, we know, have six legs.

    From the modern point of view these are “errors” that the skeptic could seize upon. Yet in the context of the passages they’re acceptable approximations. The basin’s great size is the point. Bat like birds fly. Insects that fly, particularly the locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers, qualified as edible. The distinctions are not precision and taxonomy, but significant identifying characteristics.

  3. What bothers me the most is when Christians, when faced with these tactics, just collapse into some kind of dodge involving either “translation” or “culture” or “symbolism”.

    God and His word have proven basically bulletproof for so long but this time they may really have us, so let’s “be safe”.

  4. Insects, we know, have six legs.

    If that is the best skeptics could seize upon, they are in a world of hurt.

    Insects, as we classify them now, have six legs. Taxonomy was likely not a uniform science 3,000 years ago. Could also be a translation issue – “bugs” vs. “insects”.

  5. Loath as I am to find myself on the same side as Dawkins, indeed almost as loath as I am to argue about religion, I cannot help but point out that the argument “God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore, don’t piss off God.” does not refute Dawkins’ argument that since God is love and love doesn’t kill, God doesn’t exist. It doesn’t even come close to addressing Dawkins’ point but chooses instead to issue a threat. Tough love maybe?

  6. @SAV

    Perspective on love, a surgery looks like horrifying mutilation if you don’t know what’s going on.

    Only God has the full perspective and only God had the right to make some choices. We know that God is love through other means, the “genocide” a modern term can only be fully condemned if we had full knowledge.

    It’s also worth pointing out that God had to command it, in other words it was not something that would normally be done.

  7. Gary

    Re: Point 1

    See especially Paragraph 3.2 of the following:
    http://u.cs.biu.ac.il/~tsaban/Pdf/ElishakoffPines.pdf

    Executive Summary (for 3.2) : The OT “misspelled” the word for circumference in I Kings and “corrected” this “error” in II Chronicles. The “value” for the word in Kings is 111, the “value” of the word in Chronicles is 106. I’ll leave it to you to figure the ratio and its correspondence to pi or read the source.

    Point 2: was the correct translation “things of the air” or “birds”?

  8. @Hoyos
    Saying “You don’t understand what God is up to” does not demonstrate his existence nor does it refute Dawkins’ point.

  9. “God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore, since God is love and love doesn’t kill, God doesn’t exist.”

    Translation of comment:
    God is MY definition of love and MY definition of love says love does not kill therefore God doesn’t exist. MY definition is the ONLY definition there is and you cannot argue with MY rules. I AM GOD.

  10. Gary,

    Re Point 1: The measurements are rounded to the nearest integer. Which mean that the diameter should be written as 9.5 < d < 10.5, and the circumference 29.5 < c < 30.5. The ratio is thus in the range 28.095 < c/d < 3.211, and if this range errs, then it is too narrow since I have only accounted for one of the possible sources of uncertainty. I trust that you don't have a problem with that value.

    In the ancient world people didn't generally specify their measurement errors. That doesn't mean that they weren't there, and that we shouldn't put in reasonable estimates of them when trying to perform calculations based on the results.

  11. Was that the inner diameter of the bowl or the outer diameter, was the circumference measured around the outside or around the inside, and how thick was the rim, and how purely circular was the bowl?

    Charles Babbage once wrote to Alfred Lord Tennyson:
    “In your otherwise beautiful poem, one verse reads,

    Every moment dies a man,
    Every moment one is born.

    “If this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill. In truth, the rate of birth is slightly in excess of that of death. I would suggest [that the next edition of your poem should read]:”

    Every moment dies a man,
    Every moment 1-1/16 is born.

    “Strictly speaking, the actual figure is so long I cannot get it into a line, but I believe the figure 1-1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for poetry.”

    Except that Babbage was probably kidding.
    +++
    The Old English word “bird” was originally “bridd” and meant a “baby bird.” Clearly, not every thing we call a “bird” is a “chick.” The term for an adult bird was “floegel,” cognate with German “Vogel,” and meant “something that flies that is bigger than a bug.” That would include bats, as it does today in New Guinea. Folks in other cultures do not always divide the world in the same categories as we do. They use words to designate categories useful to them, such as “things not worth chasing and hunting.”

    The bit about four-legged insects shows up in Aristotle, too, and is discussed here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2008/09/16/aristotle-on-the-mayfly/
    where you can see that The Man was talking about walking, points of contact with the ground, and (as we now notice) the other pair of “legs” would not be considered “legs” from his perspective. The same is likely true of other peoples less careful in their observations than the more scientifical Greeks.

  12. @Sheri
    And this is why, as I said in my first comment, I am loath to argue about religion. Can you really not see that Dawkins is only doing what theists do? He defines love his way, and theists define it their way, which according to to Hoyos, above, is that “Only God has the full perspective and only God has the right to make some choices”. How can one engage in any kind of rational debate with that position? In effect he or she is saying “Whatever argument you make, I am not required to refute it. I can just cite God’s omnipotence and God wins.” As I also said, or rather implied, I am certainly no fan of Dawkins, but unless you can refute his point, then simply putting words in his mouth (your “translation”, which is not what he actually said) doesn’t do the job. Just because Dawkins is an arrogant ……. doesn’t mean that the rules of logical debate can be abandoned when arguing with him. I restate my original point that Briggs’s response “God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore, don’t piss off God” does not even attempt to address Dawkins’ argument. Mine is a point about how a debate is conducted, not about the existence or otherwise of God.

  13. Doesn’t it strike anybody as odd that an all-powerful supreme deity would come for a visit for about 33 years, then only in the last three or so recruit a dozen illiterates to perform his Earthly mission … and then leave with no record … then allow second-hand records, with apparent and actual contradictions, prevail (the earliest of which written record doesn’t appear to be earlier than a generation after His departure)? Does that really look like the handiwork of a Supreme Deity??

    The vast majority of the contradictions that get resolved don’t matter at all as they are the sort of garbling that occurs when different people describe the same thing, are associated with translation issues, etc. Trivialities. Some, however, a very few, are rather profound and simply addressing oodles of the trivial don’t resolve the handful of significant issues there.

    The above commentators debating Dawkins remarks are missing the profound — Marcion, nearly 2000 yrs ago, concluded the god of the Old Testament and the God described by Jesus could not possibly be the same … and started a competing religion to Christianity on the basis that the OT deity and NT deity described by Jesus could not have been the same (this is essentially the same issue Dawkins comes at via a slightly different perspective). Marcion’s moves to assemble a canon of documents prompted the Orthodox Church to develop its own compilation of what eventually became the New Testament. Marcion also claimed Paul’s letters reflected his views, not the Orthodox church’s views — and there are a handful of very clear tenets in Paul’s letters that simply don’t jive with Jesus’s (Barth Ehrman lays these out in one of his books). Campbell and his ilk sidestep such profound contradictions (and I’m leaving those out for the objective to research) who limit themselves to trivial passage inconsistencies that are readily compared & contrasted side-by-side.

    Consider one (and there are many) such doctrinal inconsistencies easily overlooked even by objective students of biblical history/Bible study confining oneself to what’s strictly in just the NT:

    In Acts 10 and Acts 11 Peter describes a vision that allowed him to fraternize and mingle with the Gentiles — going so far as to baptize them and convert them to the new religion, Christianity. This is very significant, as Peter even explains:

    ““You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.”

    In both Acts 10 and Acts 11 we read of Peter’s VISION [or dream] that permits his association an visits with the Gentiles. The story is significant because Peter is “called on the carpet” and is made to explain his actions to the surviving apostles and other believers in Judea (i.e. Jews). It is because of Peter’s vision that he, and others, are granted permission to associate with and convert Gentiles to Christianity. The relevant portion of Acts 11 concludes with:

    “18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

    So there we have it — the apostles could, and then did, fraternize with the Gentiles to convert them … because of an allowance granted via Peter’s vision.

    Which makes some of us wonder, why was all that fuss and vision and apostolic review even necessary when the very last recorded instruction given by Jesus to his disciples was:

    “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    That’s from Matt 28:16-20, the so-called “Great Commission” from Jesus/God himself.

    If Jesus explicitly gave the directive to ‘make disciples of all nations’ why did Peter need a separate vision to do so?

    If Jesus explicitly gave the directive to ‘make disciples of all nations’ why didn’t anyone else seem to know about it (to “make disciples of all nations” necessarily means fraternization with Gentiles)?

    The vision-based allowance to consort with and convert Gentiles (per Acts 10 & 11) vs Jesus’ “Great Commission” directive (Matt 28:16-20) remains a rather substantial contradiction.

    There’s a fair number of such doctrinal and historical inconsistencies/contradictions that require more study than simply comparing specific “soundbite” clauses side-by-side.

    Also consider:

    Has anybody noticed that Jewish beliefs about an afterlife are vague, and in biblical times so vague as to effectively have been non-existent? A resurrection of the righteous, vs everybody with a day of judgement, were both tenets. So was reincarnation for a while. The contradictions there are irreconcilable (e.g. see http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/life-after-death/). Later, the Jew Jesus presented a particular perspective with an everlasting hell. And the Catholic Church as modified that over the centuries, often for profit (e.g. the introduction of the doctrine of purgatory generated enormous revenues from those that desired favors in the form of prayerful lobbying. Think about that — God, per the C. Church, responds to human lobbyists!).

    The concept of what, exactly, the afterlife is or will become is rather vague, and over time has been very fluid. A series of contradictions…with at least one very profitable doctrinal contrivance in the historical record…not to mention indulgences (salvation for a price)….

    Peter Abelard, in the 1100s, applied rational logic and philosophy to debate doctrinal tenets — and was condemned a heretic for this, rather than trusting in faith. A century later, Thomas Aquinas is upheld as a saint for doing the same thing. That’s a very well-documented example of doctrinal precepts of faith evolving to application of logic … doctrine changing with the times.

    When one considers “biblical contradiction” one ought to consider the associated institutional and power structures…and how Bible-based doctrines have evolved over time. While the words in the bible might not have changed, how they are interpreted and applied sure has!

  14. @ John B()
    Yes, different meanings and translations do complicate things.

    Doesn’t it strike anybody as odd that an all-powerful supreme deity would come for a visit for about 33 years, then only in the last three or so recruit a dozen illiterates to perform his Earthly mission … and then leave with no record … then allow second-hand records, with apparent and actual contradictions, prevail (the earliest of which written record doesn’t appear to be earlier than a generation after His departure)? Does that really look like the handiwork of a Supreme Deity??

    He said His ways are not our ways, so it seems “odd” all right. But human designs are so less subtle than this.

  15. Cherrypick your revelations carefully, but caveat, you may have picked the wrong ones and end up eternally gnashing your teeth. Or be killed prematurely by someone who prefers other revelations.

  16. Ken is upset because the gospels are not dictated directly by God like the Qur’an and Christianity is not orthoprax like Islam. He is then puzzled because, unlike computers, people need repetition and reinforcement to internalize an instruction and reverse a practice of many centuries’ standing. What, eat with kaffirs? Are you serious? What does he expect, sock puppets? After all, not everyone was there when that commission was handed out. And a similar though secular commission in the Declaration of Independence is still being resisted each time a new group of strangers starts to come to our shores.

    Like many literalists, he is overly impressed with scriptural texts and does not realize that revelation may be progressive over time as human understanding increases. Unlike science. Oh, wait.

    Where Ken sees modification for profit, others may see clarification through logic and reason. Perhaps he imagines that the Church does not teach that all men are sinners and that therefore clerics are impeccable; but clerics, esp. in the secularizing Renaissance, were eminently corrupt and there is no idea so right and true but that some @#$%^ cannot corrupt it.

    We are also at a loss for when and where Abelard was condemned as a heretic. He certainly knew how to get in hot water by criticizing anyone in authority over him (and got a taste of his own medicine when he was set in authority over others and his monks found him too strict). And certainly peer review found fault with some of his writings; but the Council of Sens was overruled and Cluny restored him. Heck, we still use peer review in some fields.

    The use of phrases like “Bible-based” doctrines is a tell. It’s rather the other way.

  17. Briggs,

    “My favorite example involves Richard Dawkins, who often uses a version of the following fallacious argument, which (of course) convinces his followers: God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore, since God is love and love doesn’t kill, God doesn’t exist.

    Sigh.

    The real and obvious and sobering and awe-inspiring argument seems to have escaped that great man: God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore, don’t piss off God.”

    There is a much better argument than yours. God did not order a genocide. Spiteful men in quest of power did. They subverted the word of God to satisfy their own pettiness, just like fundamentalist Muslim are subverting the word of there own prophet, and the Christian subverted the word of Christ to satisfy their own person.

  18. An even better one is that the people supposedly wiped out show up later kidnapping and killing an Egyptian. Sometimes, in certain milieux, those in which Assyrians are to become Big Dog, it’s only self-preservation.

  19. @ Mr. Briggs: “God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore, don’t piss off God.”

    How come my moral standards are higher than god’s?

    The problem you have isn’t contradictions between one part of the Bible and another, rather it’s contradictions between the Bible and reality as pretty much nothing in it has any supporting evidence and much of it is totally unbelieveable. Obvious example: Noah’s Ark.

  20. @SAV

    Of course it’s not an argument for Gods existence it was never intended to be. The argument is whether a loving God can do what He is said to do in the OT. My point addresses a possible explanation and the reasoning behind it.

  21. Oh dear, faking arguing over love now, how charming.
    Only the emotionally bereft would be confused about love.
    Still, if you’ve never known it, you haven’t loved and if you haven’t loved you haven’t lived.

  22. I try to be faithful but doubt always nags at me. Like how I wonder if my worldview would suddenly shift 180 degrees were I ever to finish reading one of Ken’s comments.

  23. @ YOS:

    “We are also at a loss for when and where Abelard was condemned as a heretic. …the Council of Sens was overruled and Cluny restored him.”
    – If the council was overruled, Abelard was restored, wouldn’t Abelard first have to have been condemned?

    “The use of phrases like “Bible-based” doctrines is a tell. It’s rather the other way.”
    – You mean like:

    “The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith.”
    – Papal Condemnation (Sentence) of Galileo, June 22, 1633 (http://www.famous-trials.com/galileotrial/1012-condemnation)

    Oh, wait…the doctrine of the immovability of the Earth relative to the cosmos WAS based on scripture (the surviving documents from the Galileo inquisition repeatedly establish this point, often numerous times in the same document), at least, until scientific proof to the contrary forced a begrudging change in the official doctrine.

    YOS, ignoring the absurdly wrong mind-reading conclusions you assert, and the other issues you & your ilk refuse to acknowledge [which shows they’re hitting a nerve] how ’bout explaining exactly what you mean by your statement,

    “..Bible-based” doctrines is a tell. It’s rather the other way”

    what is “the other way”?

    Does that have to do with the assertion, “revelation may be progressive over time as human understanding increases”?

    Do you realize the implications of just that last assertion (‘revelation is progressive with understanding’)?!?!?

    When this and that and the other bits of allegedly divine revelation become provably false, and other elements of the story simply never made consistent sense with each other, what more does one require to conclude that the patchwork of modifications and convoluted rationalizations to preserve the overall story is far more likely to demonstrate the whole plot is really a man-made myth?

  24. If the council was overruled, Abelard was restored, wouldn’t Abelard first have to have been condemned?

    What was the heresy for which he was condemned? And when and where was he sent to the stake? (You do know what “condemned” means, right?) You also know that when people take a dislike to you they are quite capable of using official means to slap you around, right? And that unlike today’s all-white-or-black approach, earlier ages recognized degrees of transgression?

    from Leipzig [students in the 12th century], for example, [there were] carefully stepped fines that begin for threatening your professor with a missile. The fine increases if you throw and miss; doubles if you hit him; and further costs may be assessed, depending on the nature of his injuries. For this and for other infractions, it is useful to have things spelt out, so the student on a tight budget may know what he can afford.

    If his writings were condemned in peer review, that is hardly the same thing.

    the doctrine of the immovability of the Earth relative to the cosmos WAS based on scripture (the surviving documents from the Galileo inquisition repeatedly establish this point, often numerous times in the same document), at least, until scientific proof to the contrary forced a begrudging change in the official doctrine.

    Except, it was not a doctrine, which was also established numerous times in documents of the time. The traditional way of reading the texts was to go by the common sense as read by the Fathers and understood by the universal opinion of the philosophers until there was a demonstration that this was untenable. That was why Bellarmino wrote that it would be premature to either embrace the Copernican hypothesis as fact or to reject it out of hand. There was no proof of it, and without some definitive proof we should not go against the settled, consensus science.

    “..Bible-based” doctrines is a tell. It’s rather the other way” … What is “the other way”?

    The Church and her doctrines existed before the Bible was finalized. It is more that the Bible is doctrine-based. How else did they determine which books should be included and which not? It was the same process, Augustine wrote to Felix the Manichean [unless it was Faustus the Manichean, I forget] by which his contemporaries determined which books of Plato or Hippocrates were genuine and which spurious. See also:
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1202.htm

  25. @Hoyos
    @Hoyos
    As I have already said, saying “Only God has the full perspective and only God has the right to make certain choices” does not refute Dawkins’ point. Indeed it makes rational debate impossible. In effect your argument is that God is all powerful and his motives are unknowable by common mortals so whatever argument someone else makes, you are not required to refute it. You can just say God is omnipotent and therefore God wins. Telling your interlocutor in debate that your point of view is irrefutable simply because you have defined it as such ends all dialogue.

  26. Ken, the issue debated in Acts 10 to 15 was not whether the Apostles had been sent to convert the Gentiles. The issue was whether Gentile candidates for conversion had to first become Jews and keep all the old Jewish laws including circumcision before becoming Christians.

  27. …also that this type of genocidal, torture and homicidal talk are intended for nefarious
    purposes alone. Intended being the operative word.

    They will never impinge on, nor should they, an individual who believes not in God.
    They reach the ears of the dangerously unhinged sadists, power hungry and inadequate.
    They are set to rule by fear those who are of poor reasoning although faithful and innocent of all chances or likelihood of being at risk of such behaviour as would conjure the wrath of God.
    4 It satisfies the lustful temper of the frustrated and disempowered fundamentalist.

    Religious fundamentalism is dangerous!

    As to the old Testament claims that God told Joshua what to do. I do not believe it. I believe Joshua acted on his religious conviction. When you listen to apologists justifying God doing anything, taking lives “all the time’ with disease, cancer, children, babies,” and so on, it starts to sound not only rather sick but actually irrational since the justification takes out free will.

    Any act by a human can be argued as an act of God by this standard. This is classic scapegoating but now blaming God.

    I don’t believe the literal truth of Noah’s ark. Information is left out.
    In times past, if a volcano erupted or a tsunami occurred, people called it the will of God. This is where the kind of story telling comes from in the old testament.

    The New Testament is clearly so utterly different and with good reason.
    It is a falsifiable faith. If what Jesus said isn’t true and is ignored by Christians then Christianity falls.
    In my view Old Testament obsessed fundamentalists directly threaten the faith.

    ZZZZZ
    As to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah it demonstrates than man hasn’t changed much with respect to attitudes towards homosexuality but that love for family and respect for women, caring and empathy and compassion has.

    What kind of man offers his daughter to prevent the act? The story simply demonstrates an attitude. Jesus had no such emphatic message of death and distraction for mankind. His second commandment prohibits it. What angered him was people using the temple for personal gain.

    As I’ve said before and will say again, atheists, agnostics, bank robbers, gangsters have all in their time and still do express in colourful language what they think about homosexuals. Christians cannot claim special virtue over this.

    “‘pxxx God off’”
    Use his name and his word to acquire personal wealth or as a cover for your sins. Like the TV evangelists, like the magellan sisters. Like the priests, archbishops and cardinals who raped children and then forgave each other separate from the full force of the law. The tradesmen selling fake holy artefacts and relics and those selling indulgences.

    It takes a sin and turns it into a crime and a tyranny and then blames God.

  28. “does not refute Dawkins’ argument that since God is love and love doesn’t kill, God doesn’t exist”

    Dawkin’s God does not exist. Mine exists. My sense of his sense of love is like that of a parent; giving instruction, rebuking at times.

    SAV says “…does not refute Dawkins’ point. Indeed it makes rational debate impossible.”

    That is correct. Rational debate isn’t entirely possible when discussing a Person not here and his thoughts and reasons. In the end you have your thoughts and I have mine (and God still has his, whatever exactly they are).

    swordfishtrombone asks “How come my moral standards are higher than god’s?”

    Because you define it that way. You take a quick look at the things you do and believe, those things and beliefs become The Standard by which all other things and beliefs are measured. I suspect this is true, more or less, for everyone but a Christian tries to align his moral compass with the magnet of scripture at least for starters.

    Ken writes: “Doesn’t it strike anybody as odd that an all-powerful supreme deity would come for a visit for about 33 years”

    Clearly the question interests you. My own thinking is that the all-powerful supreme deity did NOT come for a visit for about 33 years, and did not baptize himself, and did not pray to himself at the Garden of Gethsemane or talk to himself while on the cross.

    “started a competing religion to Christianity on the basis that the OT deity and NT deity described by Jesus could not have been the same”

    Sounds a bit like Mormonism.

  29. @Michael 2
    Thank you for confirming my point that rational debate on the topic is impossible with a monotheist. I absolutely respect a theist’s faith and their right to it. I do however reserve the right to take issue when theists attempt to justify their faith by appeal to reason and logic and then cite God’s omnipotence and the inability of common mortals to understand his motives as an argument for their case. You can’t have it both ways. By all means have your faith and be proud of it but don’t sneer at Dawkins (however unlikable he may be) with Briggs’s patronising “Sigh” if you (or rather Briggs in this case) have no better argument than “God is omnipotent and unkowable so I win”

  30. @Michael2
    I should also say that whilst, in my opinion, not refuting it, you do a far better job of addressing Dawkins’ point than Briggs does. “God ordered the genocide of certain peoples; therefore don’t piss off God” does not even attempt to engage but simply issues a threat.

  31. Sav you are absolutely right but the important note is that such threats may well only have traction with people who believe in God anyway. It works wonders in the mob, too.

  32. When someone is so unwilling to allow two different authors the literary license to describe the same event as “as it began to dawn” and “when it was yet dark,” you’ve got to conclude that something else is going on there besides good faith “skepticism.”

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