• tim wood
    1.6k
    Your idea that you understand the bible more than X is simply a delusion in my opinion. I think it is impossible to understand something that does not make sense.Andrew4Handel
    It's a book. You either understand it in some comprehensive sense or you do not understand it in that sense. No delusions involved. Your claim that it does not make sense because some of it does not make sense (assuming that what can be understood makes at least some sense), is itself without sense and without understanding, and a mistake in reasoning.
    You don't have to be an atheist or ruthless logician to see glaring problems and I have highlighted the the main problem of completely incompatible and contradictory claims and I am only criticizing biblical literalism and truth claims here not alternative analysis of biblical meaning.Andrew4Handel
    I am no apologist for the bible. I am clear that as a book it does have a message - notwithstanding what anyone thinks of that message. If all you're about is some sentences in that book that are inconsistent with some other sentences of that book, then have at it; they're certainly there. But none of that is the theme. Here: it's as if, learning that sub-atomic particles do not account for all the matter, you were to argue that my table is not solid - and that would be a foolish argument, wouldn't it. So make a good argument if you have one, and not a foolish one.
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    My objective is how to find truth in the midst of conflicting or contradictory claims.

    I think we all face the dilemma of finding truth when there are so many claims on the table that are not all compatible.
    Andrew4Handel

    A serious and respectable goal. Suggestion: isolate the contradiction and then see if it has any real bearing on your concerns. In many cases it won't. When it does, does one side seem right and the other wrong, or are they both right or wrong to some degree? That is, are they real contradictions or are they contraries? And of course, are they real contradictions at all? And sometimes there are real contradictions in this life, and on encountering such, it's worth considering just moving on. Not every effort is worth the candle.
    I spent my whole childhood having the bible read to me everyday for 17 years.Andrew4Handel
    Which is to say you got what someone told you, with whatever slant they applied. Which is not the bible - and that applies to any book. You're choice, you can read it and try to understand it, or not. If you don't, then it's not really the bible you're criticizing, but your own thoughts of it which i infer include considerable disappointment and anger. Or would were I you. Now, what the bible is about, is covenants, particular covenants, how they they changed, and what the changes mean (to us). Is that your understanding?
  • Jake
    1.1k
    I mentioned atrocities as being a strong incentive to critically assess religion but that can apply to any belief.Andrew4Handel

    Ok, so apply it to any and all beliefs. I can agree to that.

    You cannot successfully defend religious atrocities by pointing out other atrocities.Andrew4Handel

    I'm not defending anybody's atrocities, I'm defending reason. If we are going to critically assess atrocities by those of all points of view, that would be reason, so I'm interested.

    Or, if you wish to host an ideology thread, perhaps it could be given a name such as "Why I Hate Religion" or something like that.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    If all you're about is some sentences in that book that are inconsistent with some other sentences of that book,tim wood

    That is a straw man and probably ad hominem.

    The contradictions are central to the the coherence of the bible and understanding its doctrines.

    The Bible is collection of books written at different times so the idea there is an overarching message is implausible. Personally I find what is actually written in the bible is important and not some overarching subjective interpretation.

    I don't think you can drown out offensive parts of the bible with the notion of some overarching theme. I have just been focusing on contradictions here but there are lots of other critics of the bible and arguments I accept that it is a very immoral text.

    Here is the Skeptics annotated bible list of 492 contradictions in the bible and it does not cover all of them there.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

    The contradictions about series event and numbers are problematic because there is no way to know which claim is to believe such as at what age a king came to the throne. But doctrinal and and moral contradictions are even more problematic because they undermine any over arching message you claim is there.

    Issues such as are there unforgivable sins

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/unforgivable.html

    and who should the gospel be preached to

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/samaritans.html
  • Andrew4Handel
    938

    The thread was originally about the effect of contradiction on truths but the response has been people defending the bible.

    So I have had to point out that harmful doctrines in the Bible ought to be challenged. That is the only reason i mentioned atrocities and then my own personal experience of religious harm.

    If you want to challenge communism or atheism on the grounds of contradiction then please do so as soon as possible.

    I used the bible as an example because of infallibility claims made on its behalf which are not usually made in other areas. I don't know of any contradictory doctrines or infallibility claims that communists promote so how could I base the discussion around that?

    In the Bible and other Religions it actually claims you will go to hell if you don't do X, Y and z which makes it obviously very important to be able to ascertain the truth.

    I have found the responses on this thread very disheartening and depressing.
  • DingoJones
    401
    I have found the responses on this thread very disheartening and depressing.Andrew4Handel

    Why?
  • tim wood
    1.6k
    I have found the responses on this thread very disheartening and depressing.Andrew4Handel
    I'll speak for my own replies. I am by no means defending the bible nor any part of it. But I am interested in what it is, and such remarks as I have made about it apply equally to any book. Your error and my warning concerns your equating the parts of the book with the whole of the book. Break through that, and some light may dawn that whatever your encounter with this book, it has not been with the book itself as a book. And we could say the same of Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, The Origin of Species, and so on, if any of those were the book in question.

    Back to contradictions and truth: these as concepts seem simple, but are not. If for example you have a pressure-tested definition of "truth" please reproduce it here for my benefit, because I do not know what truth is and I suspect that it is only an abstract generalization of "true" but without other meaning. Contradiction, in strict logical terms, is pretty simple. But whenever is the world it's used in that simple? Answer: pretty close to never.

    With respect to determining the truth of any particular proposition, 'truth" and contradiction as tests can be used as tools, but they alone are rarely enough. And folks who rely on them beyond the limits of their effectiveness are simply not mature thinkers, indeed, are generally regarded as lacking wisdom. So it appears you're looking for both justice (my inference) and wisdom. You won't find either among the tools you're concerned with here, any more than a carpenter will find a house with his hammer and saw.

    So I would have you heartened and spirited. My five cent analysis is that you progress toward that goal by learning how not to depend too much on mere tools and their materials, but rather what can be, and is made of and with them - for better or worse - and your empowerment in figuring out what you can do with them.
  • Jake
    1.1k
    The thread was originally about the effect of contradiction on truths but the response has been people defending the bible.Andrew4Handel

    Here's the very start of the thread, your words.

    I was brought up to believe that the Bible was infallible and True. Then as a young adult I discovered a website concerning numerous contradictions in the bible.

    You started right in from the very beginning attacking the Bible specifically, and are now surprised that members are talking about the Bible.

    I suggest a start over in another thread. If you wish to talk about contradictions, talk about contradictions.
  • aletheist
    984
    Then as a young adult I discovered a website concerning numerous contradictions in the bible.Andrew4Handel
    As Abraham Lincoln famously said, "Do not believe everything that you read on the Internet."

    More seriously, as noted, "contradiction" has a very specific definition in logic and philosophy; it requires the assertion of both A and not-A at the same time and in the same sense. I suspect that you would find, upon careful examination, that most of the alleged contradictions in the Bible would not actually qualify as such in this rigorous sense. In fact, theologians over the centuries have recognized them, wrestled with them, and offered plausible resolutions. For example ...

    Issues such as are there unforgivable sins
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/unforgivable.html
    and who should the gospel be preached to
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/samaritans.html
    Andrew4Handel
    Regarding the first issue, the consensus among Christians is that the only unforgivable sin, which Jesus called "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost," is rejecting the forgiveness that God otherwise offers. Regarding the second issue, the restrictions that Jesus imposed on His disciples (Matthew 10) and that the Holy Ghost imposed on Paul (Acts 16) were clearly intended only for those specific occasions, not applicable for all time.

    I am not really interested in trying to deal with every alleged contradiction in the Bible, especially since your mind already seems to be made up. Hopefully this just gives you an idea of how an intentionally charitable reading--one that treats consistency as the default interpretation, rather than contradiction--can be helpful for understanding why many very intelligent people can and do hold it in such high regard.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    You started right in from the very beginning attacking the Bible specificallyJake

    How is the factual and irrefutable claim that the bible contains contradictions attacking the bible?

    It is simply a fact.

    The Bible is not a person that can be attacked. I was critiquing the Bible as a source of truth.

    I have explained why I started with the bible numerous times now.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    I am not really interested in trying to deal with every alleged contradiction in the Biblealetheist

    It is not alleged contradictions.

    Since you take this stance then there is no point talking to you.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    Why?DingoJones

    If you cannot work that out why should I waste any more words?
  • aletheist
    984
    It is not alleged contradictions.Andrew4Handel
    I explained why two of the alleged contradictions are not actual contradictions. As you said yourself ...
    If someone wants to refute the claim that the bible contradicts itself then they can prove that by refuting a given example of a contradiction.Andrew4Handel
    I am obviously not going to take the time to deal with all 490 other alleged contradictions. My point was mainly to illustrate my approach to what you supposedly wanted to discuss in this thread.
    But what concerns me here is when you do have a contradiction how you maintain or discover the truth.Andrew4Handel
    When you encounter an apparent contradiction, I advocate being a charitable reader, which means treating consistency as the default interpretation and attributing actual contradictions to any piece of writing only as a last resort.

    In any case, as I said before, your mind already seems to be made up--i.e., your current beliefs about the Bible appear to be just as dogmatic as those of any fundamentalist.
  • DingoJones
    401
    If you cannot work that out why should I waste any more words?Andrew4Handel

    Im just wondering why you are depressed and disheartened, and thought I would ask you rather than guess. Why the attitude? What words have you wasted on me?
  • Andrew4Handel
    938


    I am referring to what the bible actually says and not Christians believe.

    I gave detailed scriptural reference earlier to the blatant contradiction of whether people should be punished for the sins of their fathers.

    I think it is totally immoral and indefensible to punish people for the sins of others yet that happens frequently in the bible.

    But most contradictions are just numerical and factually incoherent such as what time king began to reign or how many troops fought at a battle and sequences of events.

    For example:

    "Now Absalom ... said, I have not sons to keep my name in remembrance" 2 Samuel 18:18

    vs

    And unto Absalom there were born three sons. 2 Samuel 14:27
  • Andrew4Handel
    938


    As I pointed out people claim that if you are not a Christian you will go to hell.

    But people are suggesting contradictions in the bible don't matter or giving vague answers.

    If I was speaking to a bomb disposal expert I would want to know which of the wires to cut, red or green it would not be a trivial issue.

    I have discussed at length elsewhere my belief people should not create more children (antinatalism) and got less vociferous responses.

    The bible impacts billions of peoples lives and philosophies and is forcefully promoted so it is not a case of benign personal belief where inconsistencies don't matter and no one is harmed.
  • hachit
    23
    The bible dose not contradic itself. Any thing can contradic it's self of you site individual sentences or paragraph. This is why we have corts and lawyers. The lawyers figure out what the laws mean to them. The courts ether say it right or wrong. In the same ways we have the Christians and the Christian Theologen. People see the contodiction because they don't know they need to look at the entire chapters or (in extreme cases) the entire book
  • DingoJones
    401


    Im not sure who you think you are talking to here. Was that supposed to address something I said? Im the one that agreed with you.
    The bible has a great many contradictions, and you should reject it on that basis. The reason you are getting resistance to your idea is because it threatens peoples own ideas about the bible, i think the term is “apologetics”.
    What perplexes me is why you would be disheartened by a conversation you invited by starting a thread about it. You didnt think anyone would disagree? You didnt think you would trigger people irrational defenses? This is religion we are talking about.
  • aletheist
    984
    I am referring to what the bible actually says and not Christians believe.Andrew4Handel
    On the contrary, you are repeatedly asserting your own dogmatic beliefs about the Bible. Why start the thread at all, if your mind was already made up?

    Again, when we encounter an apparent contradiction in any piece of writing, I advocate being a charitable reader, treating consistency as the default interpretation and attributing actual contradictions only as a last resort.
  • DingoJones
    401
    Again, when we encounter an apparent contradiction in any piece of writing, I advocate being a charitable reader, treating consistency as the default interpretation and attributing actual contradictions only as a last resort.aletheist

    Why would your default position be to assume, even if you have to really struggle to justify the assumption, that the text is consistent?
    So if I write “i like blue skies rather than grey skies, but I like grey skies much more than blue skies”, you would default to the assumption that I easnt being contradicting? Thats just not sensible at all.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    On the contrary, you are repeatedly asserting your own dogmatic beliefs about the Bible.aletheist

    I am not stating my own beliefs I have quoted the scripture.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    I advocate being a charitable readeraletheist

    How do you apply the principle of charity to this verse?

    If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    This a great succinct illustration of biblical contradiction.

  • BrianW
    640


    Those who seek faults find faults. There is also great wisdom to be found in the bible. I wonder, do the contradictions highlighted devalue or invalidate the wisdom? Or, do they reveal the extent to which the fallible human 'hand' is involved in the authorship of the bible?
  • aletheist
    984
    So if I write “i like blue skies rather than grey skies, but I like grey skies much more than blue skies”, you would default to the assumption that I easnt being contradicting?DingoJones
    Perhaps you have multiple personalities with different subjective preferences. More seriously, that is an obvious contradiction within the same sentence; I was talking about apparent contradictions across a much larger text, especially one that has been carefully scrutinized by scholars for centuries.

    I am not stating my own beliefs I have quoted the scripture.Andrew4Handel
    You are repeatedly stating your dogmatic belief that the Bible is contradictory. Even if I were to offer plausible resolutions for all 492 alleged contradictions on that website in which you evidently have placed your faith, it seems unlikely that you would change your mind.

    How do you apply the principle of charity to this verse?Andrew4Handel
    What is the alleged contradiction?

    This a great succinct illustration of biblical contradiction.Andrew4Handel
    Only if one is easily persuaded by shallow caricatures.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    What is the alleged contradiction?aletheist

    It is not a case of contradiction but there is no charitable interpretation to give it.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    Only if one is easily persuaded by shallow caricatures.aletheist

    You have yet to refute one contradiction. And it seems also you refuse to engage.

    If someone says 2+2=4 and 2+2=5 would you call that an alleged contradiction?
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    As Abraham Lincoln famously said, "Do not believe everything that you read on the Internet."aletheist

    The reason I believed it is because it quoted and compared the words written in the bible.
  • DingoJones
    401
    Perhaps you have multiple personalities with different subjective preferences. More seriously, that is an obvious contradiction within the same sentence; I was talking about apparent contradictions across a much larger text, especially one that has been carefully scrutinized by scholars for centuries.aletheist

    Why wouldnt you assume that my sentence would not be contradictory once you understood its broader context? You said that is the defualt position. You arent being consistent, you are making an exception for the bible. Special pleading I believe its called.
  • aletheist
    984
    It is not a case of contradiction but there is no charitable interpretation to give it.Andrew4Handel
    I have explained (several times now) what I mean by the principle of charity in this context--treating consistency as the default interpretation and attributing actual contradictions only as a last resort.

    You have yet to refute one contradiction.Andrew4Handel
    I addressed two alleged contradictions in my very first post in this thread. If I came to believe that you were sincerely seeking the truth, and thus open to changing your mind, I would be glad to discuss others.

    The reason I believed it is because it quoted and compared the words written in the bible.Andrew4Handel
    Anyone can quote and compare words written in just about any literary work of significant length to create alleged contradictions. Studying the text as a whole and trying to reconcile them is hard work.

    Why wouldnt you assume that my sentence would not be contradictory once you understood its broader context?DingoJones
    In this particular case, because you were clearly trying to generate an obvious counterexample in an effort to disparage my purported approach. If I came across that same sentence within a poem, I would be inclined to evaluate it differently. Would you like to suggest some other circumstances in which it would make sense?
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