Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 12:37 pm
BIBLE CONSPIRACY

The 66 books of the bible have often been referred to as the most influential collection of books in human history. Written by some 40 authors over a period of about 1600 years, it is now available in over 2000 languages. Billions of copies have been distributed. It has had a huge impact on humanity. Many have been willing to risk their lives in order to read it. Many have likewise enacted draconian laws aimed at preventing its distribution.

What is there about the bible that makes it so unique? Is there a conspiracy between these many writers to proclaim a consistent message to mankind? For, from its very beginning, the bible has focused on God's purpose for the earth, and how it will come about. There have been many side issues, of course, beginning with the rebellion of Eden and the selection of Abraham's offspring as a pattern for God's dealings with mankind.

But what of its many putative contradictions, some will ask. Do they not cast doubt on the bible as a whole? If true, they certainly would, for Paul in his letter to Timothy, claims the entire bible to be from God. (2Timothy 3:16) Since it is impossible for two truths to contradict one another, apparent contradictions unresolved would be prima facie reason to discount the entire bible.

The purpose of this thread is not necessarily to prove the existence of God, for that proof has avoided empirical exposition until now. It is to bring about understanding in the minds of some about the inner harmony of the bible or, at least, to help the unbeliever understand why believers remain convinced despite their objections.

So, I invite all to present their favorite contradictions for consideration. I will attempt to respond. But I must offer this caveat: You are welcome to present a list of your hundred most distressing subjects, so long as you understand that I will take that as permission to attack my favorite. Those of you who know me will have already observed that this qualifies as one of my longest posts ever. I just don't like long winded expositions. Also, don't be surprised if the bible's answer contradicts the expressions of some preacher, no matter how famous. It has long been my contention that atheists have no need to construct straw men when priests provide them in abundance.
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Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 12:52 pm
Re: BIBLE CONSPIRACY
neologist wrote:
The 66 books of the bible have often been referred to as the most influential collection of books in human history.


If this is said, it is said by people with a "Christiano-centric" view of the world. Although Christians have seen to it that the work has proliferated throughout the world, that does not constitute evidence that the work has had the influence implied by your statement.

Quote:
Billions of copies have been distributed.


Once again, the distribution of the work is not evidence of its influence on the human race. How many people, for example, have used it for toilet paper? How many people have taken a copy because their culture taught them to be polite to fanatical strangers who otherwise appear harmless? How many people took a copy because they considered those distributing the work to be minions of a dangerous and oppressive colonial power, and considered discretion to be the better part of valor?


Quote:
It has had a huge impact on humanity.


People who have used the secular power of European nations as a vehicle to spread their favorite religious superstitions have had a huge impact on humanity. That does not constitute evidence, once again, that the work in question has had the impact which you imply.

Quote:
Many have been willing to risk their lives in order to read it.


Many were willing to risk their lives to repudiate the doctrines foisted upon them with that work as the scriptural underpinning--and many lost their lives as a result. Your comments ignore that until quite recently in human history--just a little over 500 years--the work was usually only available in Latin, Greek or Old High Church Slavonic, and was not available in any vernacular. Furthermore, when it was translated into the vernacular, those who did the translation and made the copies risked their lives to do so. It is true that many people who had no base of religious comparison were eager to read the work in a vernacular which they understood. It was equally true that there is no evidence that anyone outside Christendom was eager to read the work. What is significant is that for more than a thousand years, the rulers of Christian religious establishments did not want the common people to read the work on their own. That rather shoots in the foot your assertion that it has been so influential for 1600 years--given that its influence was a product of the power of an influential few at the top of religious establishment.

Quote:
Many have likewise enacted draconian laws aimed at preventing its distribution.


Many, many more have enacted draconian laws (an unwarranted slur on Draco, by the way) to achieve and maintain the supremacy of that scriptural canon. Many, many more have enacted draconian laws to establish and maintain the supremacy one particular sect of those who use it as a scriptural canon--i.e., to create and maintain a religious establishment.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 01:19 pm
Re: BIBLE CONSPIRACY
neologist wrote:

Many have been willing to risk their lives in order to read it.


Many fold more have died because they would not read it.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 01:32 pm
Neo - A question before I post my qualms.

Quote:

Also, don't be surprised if the bible's answer contradicts the expressions of some preacher, no matter how famous.


Does this include all people in the church? I understand what you ae saying about not wanting to have to defend the words or actions of other people, that's fair.

I'm just confused though. Isn't that the point? If by your stance, the bible is sound and therefoe a ideal tool for making desicions, isn't the descisions that people have made with it for centuries now a valid measure of the usefulness of the tool?

I don't need to you defend things like the crusade, or christians with slaves, or even how it was 1992 when the first recorded staement from the vatican about the world being round.

But ou have to understand, I'm less inclinded to participate in an exercise where the actual problems the bible has caused.

I'd like to be able to understand WHY Christians (even if not you) were able to justify such monumental acts of iconsistancy or at times cruelty.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 01:36 pm
Are you more interested in attacking the basis for this thread than offering your contradictions? If so, please do not think it presumptuous of me to carry over this objection from another thread;
Setanta wrote:
If so, how do you account for matters such as two geneologies for your boy Jesus which do not agree?
Matthew carries the genealogy of Jesus to through Solomon to Joseph whom he refers to, not as the father, but as "the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born." (Matthew 1:16). On the other hand, Luke carries the genealogy of Jesus through Nathan to Mary. Mary was left out of the equation in favor of Heli because custom did not accord the mention of the mother as the genealogical link.

So, Jesus was reported to have a twofold lineage.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 01:39 pm
Diest TKO wrote:
Neo - A question before I post my qualms.

Quote:

Also, don't be surprised if the bible's answer contradicts the expressions of some preacher, no matter how famous.


Does this include all people in the church? I understand what you ae saying about not wanting to have to defend the words or actions of other people, that's fair.

I'm just confused though. Isn't that the point? If by your stance, the bible is sound and therefoe a ideal tool for making desicions, isn't the descisions that people have made with it for centuries now a valid measure of the usefulness of the tool?

I don't need to you defend things like the crusade, or christians with slaves, or even how it was 1992 when the first recorded staement from the vatican about the world being round.

But ou have to understand, I'm less inclinded to participate in an exercise where the actual problems the bible has caused.

I'd like to be able to understand WHY Christians (even if not you) were able to justify such monumental acts of iconsistancy or at times cruelty.


I concur. The bible is such a poor book to live your life by because the 'rules' it lays out for your life are subject to any intreptation you can think of. People have justified all sorts of horrors and inhumanities using the bible.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 01:44 pm
Diest TKO wrote:
Neo - A question before I post my qualms.

Quote:

Also, don't be surprised if the bible's answer contradicts the expressions of some preacher, no matter how famous.


Does this include all people in the church? I understand what you ae saying about not wanting to have to defend the words or actions of other people, that's fair.

I'm just confused though. Isn't that the point? If by your stance, the bible is sound and therefoe a ideal tool for making desicions, isn't the descisions that people have made with it for centuries now a valid measure of the usefulness of the tool?

I don't need to you defend things like the crusade, or christians with slaves, or even how it was 1992 when the first recorded staement from the vatican about the world being round.

But ou have to understand, I'm less inclinded to participate in an exercise where the actual problems the bible has caused.

I'd like to be able to understand WHY Christians (even if not you) were able to justify such monumental acts of iconsistancy or at times cruelty.
The bible is not a talisman that its use guarantees righteousness. In fact, what better tool for effecting evil than a misrepresentation of God's word?

There have been many examples of the bible having been used as an ambidexter implement for the justification of cruelty. That is the fault, not of the bible, but of the predator.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 01:45 pm
maporsche wrote:
Diest TKO wrote:
Neo - A question before I post my qualms.

Quote:

Also, don't be surprised if the bible's answer contradicts the expressions of some preacher, no matter how famous.


Does this include all people in the church? I understand what you ae saying about not wanting to have to defend the words or actions of other people, that's fair.

I'm just confused though. Isn't that the point? If by your stance, the bible is sound and therefoe a ideal tool for making desicions, isn't the descisions that people have made with it for centuries now a valid measure of the usefulness of the tool?

I don't need to you defend things like the crusade, or christians with slaves, or even how it was 1992 when the first recorded staement from the vatican about the world being round.

But ou have to understand, I'm less inclinded to participate in an exercise where the actual problems the bible has caused.

I'd like to be able to understand WHY Christians (even if not you) were able to justify such monumental acts of iconsistancy or at times cruelty.


I concur. The bible is such a poor book to live your life by because the 'rules' it lays out for your life are subject to any intreptation you can think of. People have justified all sorts of horrors and inhumanities using the bible.
True, but not the fault of the bible. See above.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 01:57 pm
Neo - Are you actully up to that challenge? Do you feel comfortable with drawing lines in the sand and saying without doubt what is and is not the real interpretation?

Yesterday salves were okay, then they weren't.

today homosexuals are evil, tommorow?

It's not like the text is going to change.

But, you answered my question, so I can at least begin.

Qualm #1: The use of gender specific pronouns after the ealry translations of the old testiment in reference to God.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 02:11 pm
Diest TKO wrote:
Neo - Are you actully up to that challenge? Do you feel comfortable with drawing lines in the sand and saying without doubt what is and is not the real interpretation?

Yesterday salves were okay, then they weren't.

today homosexuals are evil, tommorow?

It's not like the text is going to change.

But, you answered my question, so I can at least begin.

Qualm #1: The use of gender specific pronouns after the ealry translations of the old testiment in reference to God.
God even refers to himself as the 'husband' and 'owner' of the nation of Israel. The use of such terminology made God's position abundantly clear to the Jews. Whether any one actually believes God has a physical body including male genitalia is another matter. I believe Mormons do. The bible doesn't support that. Was that what you meant?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 02:12 pm
neologist wrote:
Are you more interested in attacking the basis for this thread than offering your contradictions? If so, please do not think it presumptuous of me to carry over this objection from another thread;
Setanta wrote:
If so, how do you account for matters such as two geneologies for your boy Jesus which do not agree?
Matthew carries the genealogy of Jesus to through Solomon to Joseph whom he refers to, not as the father, but as "the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born." (Matthew 1:16). On the other hand, Luke carries the genealogy of Jesus through Nathan to Mary. Mary was left out of the equation in favor of Heli because custom did not accord the mention of the mother as the genealogical link.

So, Jesus was reported to have a twofold lineage.


This is the pat, and false answer. Luke's genealogy says: (in the King James Version) And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

It does not say that Jesus was the step-son of Joseph, and if Joseph were the father, than he (Jesus) was not the son of God, begotten of the woman Mary. Furthermore, it does not say that Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, it says that he was the son of Heli. Please note that the parenthetical portion which i have highlighted above does not appear in the Greek text, and has been added by a later translator. Whether or not, the genealogy clearly traces the descent of Jesus through Joseph--Mary is not mentioned.

Therefore, your claim about descent through a line which lead through Mary, although comforting to the faithful, and a pat answer, is not supported by the scripture. You have said the scripture is inerrant, you haven't said that personal and idiosyncratic interpretations by individuals anxious to deny that there are contradictions in the scripture are inerrant. You've skated from the thin ice right into the hole and down into the water.

Additionally, Luke's genealogy traces Jesus from Nathan, and therefore not through Solomon, which means that by the Jewish tradition, your boy Jesus could not have been the messiah.

Your claim about Luke presenting Mary's genealogy is a case of attempting to advance as a proof not only what is not proven (you need to first prove that this was to have been Mary's genealogy), but which proof has no scriptural foundation.

You fail here, although i have no doubt that you will continue to assert that which you cannot prove by the scriptural canon.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 02:20 pm
As soon as you say that "God" refers to himself as "a husband" (owner is gender neutral, although it is understandable why one would interpret owner as being masculine in the woman-hating society of the ancient Hebrews), you assert that "God" is the author of the document. No one is likely to challenge you if you assert men wrote the work, but if you assert that "God" wrote it, then you place upon yourself a burden of proof which will crush you.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 02:23 pm
Setanta wrote:
neologist wrote:
Are you more interested in attacking the basis for this thread than offering your contradictions? If so, please do not think it presumptuous of me to carry over this objection from another thread;
Setanta wrote:
If so, how do you account for matters such as two geneologies for your boy Jesus which do not agree?
Matthew carries the genealogy of Jesus to through Solomon to Joseph whom he refers to, not as the father, but as "the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born." (Matthew 1:16). On the other hand, Luke carries the genealogy of Jesus through Nathan to Mary. Mary was left out of the equation in favor of Heli because custom did not accord the mention of the mother as the genealogical link.

So, Jesus was reported to have a twofold lineage.


This is the pat, and false answer. Luke's genealogy says: (in the King James Version) And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

It does not say that Jesus was the step-son of Joseph, and if Joseph were the father, than he (Jesus) was not the son of God, begotten of the woman Mary. Furthermore, it does not say that Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, it says that he was the son of Heli. Please note that the parenthetical portion which i have highlighted above does not appear in the Greek text, and has been added by a later translator. Whether or not, the genealogy clearly traces the descent of Jesus through Joseph--Mary is not mentioned.

Therefore, your claim about descent through a line which lead through Mary, although comforting to the faithful, and a pat answer, is not supported by the scripture. You have said the scripture is inerrant, you haven't said that personal and idiosyncratic interpretations by individuals anxious to deny that there are contradictions in the scripture are inerrant. You've skated from the thin ice right into the hole and down into the water.

Additionally, Luke's genealogy traces Jesus from Nathan, and therefore not through Solomon, which means that by the Jewish tradition, your boy Jesus could not have been the messiah.

Your claim about Luke presenting Mary's genealogy is a case of attempting to advance as a proof not only what is not proven (you need to first prove that this was to have been Mary's genealogy), but which proof has no scriptural foundation.

You fail here, although i have no doubt that you will continue to assert that which you cannot prove by the scriptural canon.
There are many who aver the words you parenthesized to be authentic. Nevertheless, it would not be out of line for the Jews to refer to Joseph as the son of his father in law. Both Luke and Matthew trace Jesus' descent from David, what's your beef about Nathan?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 02:25 pm
So that you will understand the importance of the last observation: If, as you assert, the bible is inerrant because it is divinely inspired, or written by your "God" through human agency, then it cannot possibly contradict itself. However, if it appears to contradict itself, and your explanation falls outside of scripture (as is the case in the dueling genealogies), then you are claiming inerrancy for whomever provides the excuses for the apparent contradictions. You are bound to fail on that basis, because you will then have a further burden of either proving the accuracy of the explanations provided, or of proving, or at the very least, providing a plausible justification for a claim that the interpretation is insured by the Divine Inerrancy and Casualty Assurance Company, LLC.

Basically, the skeptic says that if there are contradictions, your claim of divine inspiration and inerrancy is void.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 02:28 pm
Setanta wrote:
As soon as you say that "God" refers to himself as "a husband" (owner is gender neutral, although it is understandable why one would interpret owner as being masculine in the woman-hating society of the ancient Hebrews), you assert that "God" is the author of the document. No one is likely to challenge you if you assert men wrote the work, but if you assert that "God" wrote it, then you place upon yourself a burden of proof which will crush you.
Sorry, I should have said that God reportedly refers to himself as a 'husband', etc.

I used the word 'owner' to anticipate someone bringing up the topic of slavery. I will try to choose my words more carefully. Sheesh!
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 02:38 pm
Setanta wrote:
So that you will understand the importance of the last observation: If, as you assert, the bible is inerrant because it is divinely inspired, or written by your "God" through human agency, then it cannot possibly contradict itself. However, if it appears to contradict itself, and your explanation falls outside of scripture (as is the case in the dueling genealogies), then you are claiming inerrancy for whomever provides the excuses for the apparent contradictions. You are bound to fail on that basis, because you will then have a further burden of either proving the accuracy of the explanations provided, or of proving, or at the very least, providing a plausible justification for a claim that the interpretation is insured by the Divine Inerrancy and Casualty Assurance Company, LLC.

Basically, the skeptic says that if there are contradictions, your claim of divine inspiration and inerrancy is void.
I am not convinced that my explanation of Luke's omission of Mary falls outside of scripture, the words you parenthesized [as was supposed] are also translated as [as the opinion was] stating only the understanding of the Jews at that time. I don't see the discrepancy.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 03:59 pm
neologist wrote:
There are many who aver the words you parenthesized to be authentic.


That does not change that undeniable fact that the contents of the parenthetical entry do not appear in the earliest Greek copies of the text which are known. That means, also undeniably, that it was added later.

Quote:
Nevertheless, it would not be out of line for the Jews to refer to Joseph as the son of his father in law.


That does not alter that the text does not refer to him as Joseph's father-in-law, and that, therefore, your only source for dismissing this contradiction is speculation. There is absolutely no contextual basis for asserting that this is a matrilineal genealogy (something which the Jews never did anywhere else)--and if you abandon context, you beg every question of scriptural authority. You have utterly failed to dismiss this important contradiction.

Quote:
Both Luke and Matthew trace Jesus' descent from David, what's your beef about Nathan?


David was "promised" by "God" that his throne would be established forever. But Solomon was in the direct line of descent of the Kings of Judah, and Nathan was never a King of Judah. Therefore, no one descended from Nathan could be in the messianic line of David and Solomon. Jesus could not have been the messiah according to Jewish scripture if he were descended from Nathan.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 04:13 pm
Setanta wrote:
neologist wrote:
There are many who aver the words you parenthesized to be authentic.


That does not change that undeniable fact that the contents of the parenthetical entry do not appear in the earliest Greek copies of the text which are known. That means, also undeniably, that it was added later.

Quote:
Nevertheless, it would not be out of line for the Jews to refer to Joseph as the son of his father in law.


That does not alter that the text does not refer to him as Joseph's father-in-law, and that, therefore, your only source for dismissing this contradiction is speculation. There is absolutely no contextual basis for asserting that this is a matrilineal genealogy (something which the Jews never did anywhere else)--and if you abandon context, you beg every question of scriptural authority. You have utterly failed to dismiss this important contradiction.

Quote:
Both Luke and Matthew trace Jesus' descent from David, what's your beef about Nathan?


David was "promised" by "God" that his throne would be established forever. But Solomon was in the direct line of descent of the Kings of Judah, and Nathan was never a King of Judah. Therefore, no one descended from Nathan could be in the messianic line of David and Solomon. Jesus could not have been the messiah according to Jewish scripture if he were descended from Nathan.
I'll have to get back to you on the parenthetical words. I am not as expert in the perusing of Greek manuscripts as you claim to be.
0 Replies
 
echi
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 04:20 pm
I'm ready to take that walk whenever you are, neo. I got the feeling that you wanted to continue it here. (That works for me. I love that "new thread" smell.)

What was your reason for seriously considering the idea that a god may really exist?
0 Replies
 
echi
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 May, 2007 04:22 pm
Hey. I don't mean to interrupt. Like I said, I'm ready when you are.
0 Replies
 
 

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