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Biblical contradictions

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Linus, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. Linus

    Linus Well-Known Member

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    Does the Bible contain contradictions? I believe that It does not. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    I can easily make a disticntion between error and contradiction and I hope you would be able to do that as well.

    It should not be doubted that the published bible of today contains error of transcription and translation. These errors are from the earliest manuscripts and seem to multiply and receed as man prints new versions.

    I will also state that the various lists of bible error making their way around the internet are of this class of error. But this is error with consequences. If God is supposedly of such great power, these should simply not occur. If the original autographs are considered "inspired of God" then it would seem that God has abandoned his high standards for his Word - it is not the fault of the "imperfect" scribe or publisher but an avoidance of the responsibility of the ultimate author.

    But I think there is a much more serious error in that contracictions do exist.. Apologetics is the Christian effort to smother that claim and is not wholly succesful. Within a literal world of the bible, apologetics fails miserably. Within a figurative context, apologetics is rife with twists and gimmicks in order to "explain away" these contradictions. - the effort and logic employed strains credibility.
     
  3. Ronald

    Ronald Well-Known Member

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    You need to specify what Bible you mean and what contradictions you mean.

    The Hebrew Bible is very painstakingly true to its original, any contradictions are time related.

    The Christian Bible contains a multitude of scribal errors and blattant falsfications to lead the convert to believe what the writers wanted conveyed.
     
  4. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    Is is wrong to assume the Hebrew Bible is the Old Testamant of the Christian Bible? If there is a separate Hebrew Bible, why was it not incorporated into the Christian Bible.

    Although the Old Testament is the one with most of the scribal errors and the most difficult to translate correctly (the absense of vowels and a more limited, descriptive language than Greek - but I'd check with anders)), I'd say it contains a comparative number of major contradictions with the New Testament.
     
  5. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    Ronald,

    You must be joking. There are no "originals" for the Bible. I think that the best we can do is to use Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia for the OT/TaNaCh and Nestle-Alands Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine.

    Regarding "time related contradictions", I have no trouble with the differences between the creation stories and the contradicting genealogies. They mean nothing for the message of the book.

    I find more of contradictions when I try to combine the notions of a loving, merciful god who condemns murder with the same god's ordering of genocides in Palestine, his obediently letting bears loose to kill children on a prophet's demand, executing a death sentence when a poor guy happens to touch the god's belongings, and many other similar cases. And this loving, merciful, righteous god himself stages a genocide which makes Hitler's and Stalin's works look like insignificant children's pranks (I refer, of course, to the Flood).

    And what about the "I am a jealous God"? What could an all-powerful, all-knowing god possibly be jealous of? The only imaginable answer is, that there is another god who is his master. Why is there no mentioning in the Bible of this Really Big Boss? Why is the creator god so unsure of himself that he has to torment Job in order to show his might to the Devil? Already those few examples are sufficient for me to realise that the Bible is full of contradictions.
     
  6. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    pah,

    I missed your post with a few seconds. You are entirely right. Regarding the OT of BHS (the Stuttgart version I mentioned) vs. TaNaCh, on the occasions where I have checked the BHS against a Jewish TaNaCh copy, there have been no differences. They also contain the same books, no more, no less.

    There are not only difficulties when translating. The absence of vowels in the oldest manuscripts and that fact that there are no spaces to indicate word separation makes it difficult already to interpret the Hebrew text. Add to this that manuscripts are handwritten and very old, and you can imagine the interpretation difficulties even if there is no dirt, creases, tears and so on, disfiguring the letters. But let's settle for the BHS when needed. The OT has enough contradictions, so we don't need to go into NT non-violence versus the command to sell your garments to buy a sword etc., not to speak of differences between the OT and the NT.

    If you use translations (as I think he overwhelming majority of us has to), there are numerous problems because of the different language types. The Semitic verbs do not express time in the way English tenses do. Very often, it difficult to choose between "he was", "he is", "he will be" or "he has been", to take a simple example. However, these things do not explain the many cases of conflicting messages.
     
  7. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    I prefer to call them inconsistencies. The Bible we have today is nowhere near a perfect, pristine Bible, so we have to know that human error is present. Certain things are inconsistent, and are considered negligable by most.

    The hour of the crucifixion, for example. John 19:14 says one thing, and Mark 15:25,33,34 say another. Many people try to reconcile the difference by saying, "Well, John was recording the time according to the Roman measurement, and Mark by the Jewish," but this is a fallacy; by that time the Jews had adopted the Roman system of dividing the days and nights into a certain number of watches. It's different, accept it.

    Paul's visit from Christ: Acts 9:7 says the other men heard a voice but saw nothing. Acts 22:9 says the men saw but heard nothing.

    I find the more interesting inconsistencies to be the ones that show an obvious manipulation in the transcription or translation. They're running rampant through the Old Testament, but are much more subtle in the New. They deal mainly with numbers, because of the difficulty in maintaining accuracy with such large numbers. Observe.

    II Samuel 10:18 numbers 700 chariots, while I Chronicles 19:18 reads 7,000. Why the difference? Because the smallest letters in the Hebrew alphabet can multiply a number by ten. This letter can drastically alter numbers.

    The exact same thing is what causes the huge differences in numbers in the attack on Gibeah in Judges 20, only on a much larger scale: the discrepancies are by thousands, not tens. The possibility of 10,000 waiting in ambush is nill. Verse thiry-one preserves an accurate number. Notice it says the loss was "as at other times," but the loss was a thousandth of before. The difference? The word translated into professional soldier is very close to the word for thousand, and the people killed in verse 31 were not soldiers, but farmers fighting in the battle. The difference in the words only exists in the vowels, and back then they didn't write the vowels. 'eleph means thousand, while 'alluph is usually translated professional, fully armed soldier. Without the vowel points they words both appear 'lp.

    This solves another big inconsistency. It involves the size of the nation of Israel. Look at David's census. II Samuel 24:9 gives us 800,000 men of Israel and 500,000 for Judah. I Chronicles 21:5 gives us 1,100,000 from Israel and 470,000 from Judah. Hmmm...One of these numbers is not like the other...

    The original texts read like this:

    Israel - 80,000 plus 30 'lp

    Judah - 40,000 plus 70 'lp

    Well, the transcriber of Chronicles multiplied both of Israel's numbers by ten (whether intentionally or not isn't important) and then translated 'lp as thousand, adding them together to get 1,100,000. For Judah he only multiplied the first number by ten (He probably didn't want to get the same number of people) and added them together. That gives us 1,100,000 and 470,000.

    The transcriber of Samuel tried to even things out. He multiplied the 80,000 by ten as well as the 40,000; but instead of adding the extra 30 'lp to Israel's total he added it to Judah's, bringing Israel to 800,000 and Judah to an even 500,000. He like-ah the even numbers, no?

    This gives us the actual totals of the census as 120,000 men of military age with 100 professional soldiers; making the total crowd an estimated half million, which is geographically acceptable, whereas the other totals would give us a population density larger than the most dense cities in the world today.

    The reason I find this fascinating is because of something Christ says. He said he that is faithful in little is faithful in much, but he that is unfaithful in little is unfaithful in much. These are small errors, and have been corrected (even if not in the translations. People just don't want to accept that human error exists in the Bible), but we don't know what else could be error.
     
  8. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    You taught me well in earlier threads- thanks.

    There are major contradictions in the New Testament regarding the very core of Christian faith, the Nativity and the crucifixion.

    The nativity is contradictory to the historical record of the time of the birth. There was no census that fits the Biblical account and there was no "Eastern star" which proceded west.

    The account of the trial, wholly without historical record , contradicts itself.

    The physical happenings with the "darkness' while "on the cross" is not borne by science.

    The approachment to the tomb is contradictory in who went to care for the "corpse".

    Thsee unanswered discrepancies tell me that there is a very high probablitity the events did not take place. Combine that with the absence of witnesses writing an account, and with the delay in writing the accounts (which would have had to rely on an oral tradition), and the motive to foster a cult Jesus disavowwed lead me to conclude the bible is bunk in its essentiality. Throw in the other discrepencies and you come to a very poorly constructed myth.
     
  9. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    I just discovered a new one:

    How could Adam and Eve possibly have known the difference between good and evil before they ate the fruit? They were told not to eat it, but they would not know that it was an evil thing to do. Accordingly, it wasn't reasonable to punish them.
     
  10. Ronald

    Ronald Well-Known Member

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    The Hebrew writings will tell you how much Adam knew! Certainly not as the child your parents told "Don't touch" followed up with a smack on the hand. (Those unjust people!)
    Forming conclussions before you have all the facts, is called presumption.
     
  11. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    In my mind (and apparently yours, anders), the sin was not in eating the fruit but in disobeying God. It would have been just as bad for humankind if God had said not to "pick your nose" and Adam "picked" instead of "blew".

    Sorry Ronald, I'm not a Hebrew scholar - the resources available to me are the translations others have made of what Adam knew. In summary they are:
    • God said you shall not eat of every tree
    • All other trees bearing fruit (but not the one in the middle of the garden) may be eaten
    • not only not eat from the tree but don't touch it
    • they would die if they do
    • before picking and eating the fruit, Eve was told by the talking serpent that she would not die (I don't know if Adam knew this or not before he ate what Eve offered)

    That's it, Ronald, that's all that is avaiable. Do you have more and what authority can you cite for inclusion of additional data in Adam's pre-fall database?
     
  12. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    Anders is correct that Adam did not know the difference between right and wrong, but that's not a contradiction. The Bible never says Adam sinned, only that he transgressed. It's mainstream Christians that call it a sin (erroneously). It was reasonable to punish them, though. They knew it was forbidden, but they didn't know why or understand good and bad. They were given to conflicting commandments to chose from. First, they were told to DO something (multiply), then they were told NOT to do something (eat the fruit). The first would have been a transgression of omission to not fulfil, and the second was a transgression of comission. THey chose the greater commandment to obey. They couldn't obey both (they couldn't multiply in the state they were in), so they chose to transgress the lesser law; without really understanding the difference between right and wrong.
     
  13. Ronald

    Ronald Well-Known Member

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    Pah,
    Begin with the Chumash, the commentary will tell you Adam was not an infant, fully grown and with wisdom of the Torah, As you have read of the builder of the Miskan/Tabernacle, God endows special folk with His spirit to do, to say and to lead people in his will.
    The Chumash says "Adam had the power to recognize the essence of every animal and name it accordingly."
    This would be a good addition to the database.
     
  14. Ardhanariswar

    Ardhanariswar I'm back!

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    God says: hey ya'll, adam 'n eve, dont eat the fruit.

    notice how God never gave the reason. its in the nature of Man to always be curious. just look at a child and a mother. dont touch the cookie! but he did. why? curiosity.
    but suppose the mother gave a reason, you will die of diabetes if you eat too much. ok ok, get cavities. then the child would be like whoa, i dont want cavities or ...die.

    men are like children at heart. this applies to both men and women. but there we go, is adam and eve adults? at what age do u consider a man a man? in jewish customs, a boy becomes a man on his 13 year, a bah mitzvah.

    THIRTEEN!. children...
     
  15. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    Ronald,

    On a personal basis, I do not recognize the bible as indicitive of any reality of God so I would have a very hard time gaining a knowledge of God's truth through the interpretation of men no matter how pious and "special" they are considered. I could also say that I doubt Christianity would put much faith in Jewish commentary.
     
  16. Ronald

    Ronald Well-Known Member

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    Pah,
    You asked, I provided, You are so right about Christianity not putting much faith in Jewish Commentary! Makes one wonder where the term Judeo-Christian came from?
    Anyway The Hebrew people are without a doubt(Biblicly) Gods chosen people, inspired by God to provide these self same Christians their Bible, both Old and New Testaments.
    Then to say the Hebrew people are not inspired, is tantamount to saying,"I don't believe God." Kinda puts you in Christian company, does it not? Shalom.
     
  17. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    Gerani,

    You're hitting on something good here...

    Why would god make us such curious creatures and then put us into a situation where we're destined to fail his 'test'? That doesn't sound very nice to me.
     
  18. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    The term came from the dependence on the "fall" and the early Christian teachings targeted to Jews ( a continuation of Jesus's audience). If there was no "original sin" there is no need for Christ crucified and there would have never been a Christianity. I figure it might have been a "love/hate" relationship once the mission to the Gentiles got going. It has an ecuminical flavor today in spite of the bigotry that still exists.

    You do know, Ronald, that my belief is a-theistic
     
  19. Ardhanariswar

    Ardhanariswar I'm back!

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    "Why would god make us such curious creatures and then put us into a situation where we're destined to fail his 'test'? That doesn't sound very nice to me."

    i dont believe in the creation story first off, because i believe its just like all other mythological stories attempted by wise men to explain our creation. they are just stories which are metaphors to how God created us. i dont beleive Adam and Eve existed. God created us nevertheless.

    ok, to answer your question, just place a human and God into a child and Mother situation. thats a good analagy i think that christians use.

    but i dont believe in original sin. its a stupid christian propaganda thing. even jewish. come to our religion and be free of this sin that you did not commit. what kind of idea is that?

    we all are responsible for ourselves. we do not carry the burden of someone elses sin, not even our ancestors. we may carry honor and reputation according to society, but in the eyes of God, we alone stand for ourselves.

    well, thats what i believe.
     
  20. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    Gerani,

    "Original sin" is not mentioned in the Bible. The Eastern churches do not recognise it, nor does Judaism. The concept was invented by Augustine, about 400 C.E. (In Swedish it is called "inherited sin".)
     
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