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The infallibility of the Bible “The Contradictions”

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional academic writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Published: Fri, 15 Sep 2017

Student: Joan Williams

Introduction:

For many centuries, the infallibility of the Bible has been a topic on the agenda of both Christian and Atheist alike.

Christians, as a basis of their claim, continue to quote “2 Timothy 3:16” which reads, “All scriptures is god-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”.[1]

The fundamental argument for the Atheist is that there is no God, no evidence or proof of God. They claim that God cannot be proven by science which is the main way we study and understand the universe or natural world.

In an article written by Jeffery M Jones outlining results of a Gallup poll done in Princeton New Jersey in the year 2011, part of their findings was outlined as followed,: Three in 10 Americans interpret the Bible literally, saying it is the actual words of God. That is similar to what Gallup has measured over the last two decades, but down from the 1970s and 1980s. A 49% plurality of Americans say the Bible is the inspired word of God but that it should not be taken literally, consistently the most common view in Gallup’s nearly 40- year history of this question. Another 17% consider the Bible an ancient book of stories recorded by man.[2]

The Meridian Webster Dictionary gives the following definitions of Infallible:

1: Incapable of error: unerring <an infallible memory.

2: Not liable to mislead, deceive, or disappoint: certain <an infallible remedy.

3: Incapable of error in defining doctrines touching faith or morals.[3]

According to a New York Times bestselling Author, Vincent Bugliosi, “A 2006 Newsweek poll showed that 92 % of Americans believe in God, 4 percent are atheists and 2% are agnostics.[4] Mr Bugliosi stated that He is agnostic but only on matters related to whether there is a God, a supernatural being who created the Universe”[5]

This is the thought of many others who have a problem with whether the Bible is infallible or not.

In 2000 a great philosopher named Williams Edelen, (2000) wrote an article titled “The Bible and the Gullible”, in which He rails against anyone who would be silly enough to believe that the Bible is without errors and contradictions.[6]

Edelen stated that “there is neither one major theological seminary nor one Department of Religion in any major university that teaches that the Bible is infallible. He calls it “nonsense”, However, I will not go that far.

Anyone here ever had a recall on an item that they have purchased? Cars, appliances, food products, beauty products and even items of clothing are sometimes recalled and replaced due to the lack of perfection in humans that were behind their production.

Most of us know excellent Driver, Teachers, Hairdressers, Authors, Pilots, Dentist, Doctors and others in great successful careers, But, can we say these various categories of professional have never made mistakes or misrepresented themselves? .

As humans, we are not perfect and never were, we do not function in a perfect world with a perfect timeframe for everything. And that’s the premise on which I refute the infallibility of the bible.

The people who wrote the various chapters of the bible were humans thus there is room for lies, exaggeration, 5 minutes of fame moments, among other reasons which clearly stares at us when we consider that these were “Men”, “Mortal Men”.

Miracles are possible but every story doesn’t have to be accurate, the gospel is the divine words of God, but distortions are possible.

Most Apologetics defend their reasoning by saying that it was eye witness account; However Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not always at the same place at the same time and did not all started out as disciples at the same time. Did they have the same access to Jesus at all times? I it possible that they misinterpreted or just didn’t hear every word He said? What if they had ulterior motives and just refused to relay the messages He gave them for His people.

Judas had ulterior motives, so we can’t say they were all honesty and genuine servants.

Peter denied Him, thus we can easily say, their commitment was not iron clad, so what if ,for their own fulfillment and ego, they relay what they wanted to leaving out valuable stuff.

There are a lot of speculations as to who said and did what, thus leaving the idea of the infallibility of the Bible hanging.

Mark 7: 36 outlines that “Jesus tried to keep some Miracle stories hush hush, telling the recipients to suppress same. (Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking).[7]

Mark 9:9 outlines as followed “as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus admonished them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead”.[8]

There are many who may argue that God made us perfect in His sight and called us His masterpiece, yes God is capable of doing that and more. But the bible was written by man and thus cannot be seen as infallible. The thought that the Bible is infallible is just a fallacy, an unqualified and hasty generalization.

According to Sire, W James, (Why Good Arguments fail),”The Bible is full of contradictions, we can’t trust it to tell the truth.” [9]

Let’s look at some of the Contradictions in the Bible

The story of the Last Supper as recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke practically mirrors each other as noted here, “On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” This can be seen in Matthew, Mark and Luke although with different wording and timeframes as to what happened next.

In an article copied from www.Gotquestions.org, the following was noted: “The Bible does not explicitly state on which day of the week Jesus was crucified. The two most widely held views are Friday and Wednesday. Some, however, using a synthesis of both the Friday and Wednesday arguments, argue for Thursday as the day”. [10]

Matthew claimed that Jesus was arrested and crucified that same day (Wednesday)

Mark claimed that he was arrested and crucified the next day. (Thursday)

Luke claims that He was arrested and crucified on (Friday)

The Last Supper and Crucifixion of Jesus as outlined by Matthew, Mark and Luke can be read in the below outlined Chapters of their writings.

When one reads these 3 books of the Bible clear differences can be seen in their interpretation of the sequence of events as it relates to “The Last Supper and Crucifixion of Jesus”.

Does that not say that the bible is not that infallible book that is being marketed?

Are bookstores, philosophers, pastors and all others selling a book that they are being hypocrites about?

Would they bet on this fact, or is it a fallacy such as a “Hasty generalization “to say, since the book was written by men who have firsthand knowledge or were inspired by God, there are no mistakes. It is definitely possible that one or more of the Biblical writers could have been drunk, fell asleep, was angry or just too lazy to edit properly and dot every “I” and cross every “T”. For if there is one instance of confusion that can be pointed out such as that seen in the story of the Last Supper and Crucifixion, then we can easily assume that there are more instances, some of which I will outline below.

Let’s look at some other contradictory stories in the bible.

The story of Cain and Abel is one that screams “contradiction”: After murdering his brother, Cain runs off and shacks up with another woman- Genesis 4:16-17[11] outlines that Cain went and got a wife, at this time, his mother Eve was the only thing on Earth with human ovaries. Who was that woman and where did she come from?

The death of Judas is another questionable story, how did He die? Did he die twice, The New Testament claims Judas both hanged himself (Matthew 27:5)[12] and exploded after falling over( Acts 1:18 ? Which is correct?

Ezekiel 16:49 makes it pretty clear the people of Sodom were killed for being greedy and inhospitable to the poor, as does Amos 4:1-11[13] and Jeremiah 23:14 .[14]

This is very strange since we read in other chapters that the Israelites were greedy when they collected more Manna than they needed for one day, but were scolded, not killed. Does the Bible tell of a God with multiple personalities or more than one god?

There is only one true and living God, but the impression that can come from this fact is that He deals with different persons differently for the very same crime.

As Sam Harris outlined in “Letter to a Christian Nation” In talking about the good consequences that our beliefs have on human morality, we are following the examples of religious liberals and religious moderates.[15]

He further stated that “these moderates and liberals tend to talk in terms of the good consequences as believing as they do”. This is usually done without providing evidence as to why we should.

The Bible stated that when God was faced with a city of homosexuals in Sodom, some of whom tried to make out with the angels, God flies into a rage and blows the whole place up. BUT…. Faced with his servant Lot having drunken sex with his daughters, God has no problems with it. Lot was not punished, he was allowed to go back to sleep after the act. Is the God of the Bible double minded or is it that the

Story teller missed some important facts? Because this is one more Biblical story does not make sense and leads to my conclusion that the bible is not infallible.

Some Bible writers make it a mission to “Poison the Well”, let’s look at the story of Moses, as He led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. God described them as a “Stiff-Necked people “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people”.

These people were branded as being rude and unruly, thus they didn’t have a chance with Moses who used His bad temper to scream, throw tantrums and throw things around.

Does this sound factual? Moses who was previously referred to as being shy and unable to speak clearly for himself suddenly became this dragon kind of guy, breaking Covenant plates, striking rocks etc.

Wow, what a transformation.

These are some of the reasons why I am of the opinion that a man written bible cannot be infallible

1. If Men are fallible then the Bible is also fallible:

2. Men are known to have mastered many areas of life; some of these areas are Industrial, science, medicine and Agriculture.

3. In terms of Inventions every few years we read of new products that come out on the market, and every so often we read of the defects and recalls.

These are few of the examples that shows that man is fallible and thus everything that is done with the hands and brains could have errors and defects. Could it be that a single screw was missing from that lawnmower why it was recalled? What about that car dealer that told us we had a four year warranty on the car, then after a year we get a notice that there is a recall?, These are all due to the errors of man and the failures of man to do that which they were trained for and gifted to do, in an appropriate way.

In the case of the Bible, the same rule applies thus leading to the fact that it is fallible and not infallible.

The Books of the Bible outlines a relationship between God and man, There we read that God reveals Himself and made certain declaration to man. These declarations referred to as “Revelations” occur several times in several scriptures, but without evidence we would be ignorant and gullible to accept and believe these scenarios.

We must agree that there are times when we misspeak and at other times we are misinterpreted or misunderstood. Could that have happened here?

What if these revelations are false? What if, just what if? Let’s not apply the term revelations to these fraudulent statements unless we have proof of same occurrences.

Thomas Payne outlined the following “In the Former part of “The Age of Reason “I have spoken of the

Three frauds, Mystery, Miracles and prophesy.[16]

The Power of the Almighty cannot be proven as to whether He instructed man on these things

Has anyone gone to check for errors that may have been written therein, or oops the writers are all dead. Who were the editing personnel or was it even edited?

According to Williams Edelen, (2002) in an article on the Secular Web, “Anyone who tries to tell you that the bible is without error or contradiction is a biblical and historical illiterate”. “It is ignorance at the most pathetic point”.[17]

Having an open mind does not hurt; we should prepare ourselves for the “iffies” of life. Surprisingly, many will have an open mind about things that benefits them directly: Remember that first date that

Didn’t go well? Yet we went on date #2, 3, 4, and sometimes 5 before we cut that crazy loose. Not ever date will turn out that way, but we would be more cautious next time, wouldn’t we?

It’s on that premise that we should have an open mind about the infallibility of the man written Bible as a book riddled with thought provoking and eye rolling mistakes does happen.

The Songs of Solomon are amorous and foolish, but has been called “divine anointed or wise”., They are placed after the Book of Ecclesiastes and claim to have been written in B.C 1014. It has been recorded and proven that Solomon was 19 years old at this time and had His palace filled with concubines and wives. Solomon was therefore enjoying honeymoon on a daily basis and so caught up in his feelings that he had no time to think consciously before writing.

Sam Harris asked a very direct in your face question when He asked “Who put the good in the Good Book? This is a serious question that requires lot of research and explaination.Because even if a belief in God and the Bible has a reliable positive effect upon human behavior; this is not a reason to believe that it is infallible. A belief in the infallibility of the Bible is a belief in God and thus the infinite nature of God. However there is still no proof that the stories in the bible are true and thus the Doctrine of “Christianity” remains a mystery.[18]

The bible outlines that the Israelites were Gods chosen people. If they were, why couldn’t He correct them, why were they so unruly? These folks that he selected choose and branded as His “Chosen people “were extremely corrupted and did nothing but laugh at God.

As Thomas Paine puts it, “Jews had invented to cover the baseness of their own characters, and which Christian priests sometimes as corrupt, and often as cruel, have professed to believe” .[19]

Whoever wrote this stuff has left a bitter taste in the mouths of Christians, if he was all perfect, why didn’t his chosen people obey Him?”

Conclusion:

Clarity is necessary for most persons to accept new facts; we do hope that we were clear.

Knowledge is always necessary to counter wrong info being filtered from the opposite side towards us, We do hope our knowledge was sufficient to ward off their attacks.

Pastors, philosophers, Teachers and family members may have taught us differently, but when the evidence is so clear, we have no other choice but to accept the inevitable. The Bible is not infallible.

An infallible Bible needs to have infallible authors and infallible readers. Where are they?

If one has no problem with any of the stories in the Bible then hold on to your views, However if you have a ounce of doubt or ever thought twice about anything that you have read therein, you have joined the group of smarties who are convinced that “The bible is not infallible”.

Are there any infallible Authors in the Bible, any mention of a Biblical Author who was infallible?

Since there is not one person that can represent them self as infallible, it goes to say that the Bible is not infallible. The many contradictions that lie within those pages are too many to overlook. And we should choose not to overlook them any longer.

According to an Atheist (Thomas Paine),”It has often be said than anything may be proved from the Bible: but before anything can be admitted as proved by the Bible, the bible itself must be proved to be true: for if the Bible be not true, or the truth of it be doubtful, it ceases to have authority, and cannot be admitted as proof of anything.[20]

Bibliography:

1. Infallible (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from http://www.meridian- webster.com/dictionary/Infallible

2. http://www.infidels.org/Jeffery Jay Lowder, How Not to Refute Biblical Infallibility: A Reply to Williams Edelen (2000).

3. GotQuestions.org Home/”On What day was Jesus Crucified”?

4. James W.Sire. Why Good Arguments Often Fail: Making a more persuasive case for Christ, (Leicester, England: IVP Books 2006) P.35

5. http://listverse.com/2013/03/20/10-bible-contradictions-that-arent/

6. Sam Harris: Letter to a Christian Nation New York, NY: Vintage Books, a Division of Random House,Inc,2006) .

7. Thomas Payne, The Age of Reason, with an introduction by Joseph Carrig; (Luxembourg, Paris: Barnes and Noble, New York 2006).

8. Vincent Bugliosi. Divinity of Doubt: The God Question,( New York,NY,Vanguard Press Books,2011)p.25

IBID,P.25


[1] 2 Timothy 3;16

[2] Jeffery M Jones, ” Gallup ” Article dated July 8,2011,Retrieved on March 11, 2017 from www.gallup.com

[3] Meridian Webster Dictionary, Retrieved on March 7, 2017 from www.meridiandictionary.com/infallible.

[4] Vincent Bugliosi. Divinity of Doubt: The God Question,( New York,NY,Vanguard Press Books,2011)p.25

[5] IBID,P.25

[6] William Edelen (2000) Retrieved from http://www.infidel.org/jeffery Jay Lowder,How not to refute Biblical infallibility, Retrieved on March 7,2017.l

[7] Mark 7:36

[8] Mark 9:9.

[9] James W.Sire. Why Good Arguments Often Fail: Making a more persuasive case for Christ,(Leichester,England: IVP Books 2006)pp. 35

[10] WWW.GotQuestions.org Home/On what day was Jesus Crucified”? Retrieved March 7,2017

[11] Genesis 4:16-17

[12] Matthew 27:5

[13] Amos 4:1-11

[14] Jeremiah 23:14

[15] Sam Harris. Letter to a Christian Nation,( New York,NY, Vintage Books, A Division of random House Inc,2006) P.47

[16] Thomas Payne. The Age of Reason, with an introduction by Joseph Carrig,(Luxembourge,Paris: Barnes and Nobles, New York, 2006) P.66

[18] Harris, pp 46-48

[19] Payne,110-111

[20] Payne,P 83.


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