Contradictions in the Bible

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Visualization of the contradictions in the Bible taken from The Scripture Project by Steve Wells (see the Projects section of http://www.project-reason.org).

The bars that run along the bottom of the visualization represent the 1189 chapters in The Bible, with the length of each bar corresponding to the number of verses in each chapter. White bars represent the Old Testament and grey bars represent The New Testament. Each arc indicates a contradiction.

 

Thanks to prettygoodformonkeys 

Update – link to fullsized zoomable image

http://sciencebasedlife.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/biblecontradictions-reasonproject.png

 

Written By: Project Reason
continue to source article at project-reason.org

28 COMMENTS

  1. Aha! So now the trick is, which one of the pair of contradictory passages does one keep as the infallible word of God, and which one do you ditch as an error? It seems to me, using the key above, one could create a perfect, non-contradicting Bible that is half as long as the original. A win-win.

    • In reply to #2 by McCourt:

      Aha! So now the trick is, which one of the pair of contradictory passages does one keep as the infallible word of God, and which one do you ditch as an error? It seems to me, using the key above, one could create a perfect, non-contradicting Bible that is half as long as the original. A win-win.

      they key is that little known fruit, the cherry, which bible thumpers pick with a glee unkown to homosexuals

  2. Sweet. Won’t make much of a difference in arguments though. The contradictions will be attributed to the fallibility of the authors, while it will be maintained that main themes and events actually happened. Like a telephone game where only the minor details change over time.

    Still inquiring around for printing costs though.

    • I’ve used this graph in arguments with theists. The usual response is “you’re not reading those passages in the proper context” or “you can’t understand the true meaning without faith” or “It doesn’t really say what you think it says”, or – last ditch – “You just hate God.”
      In reply to #3 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

      Sweet. Won’t make much of a difference in arguments though. The contradictions will be attributed to the fallibility of the authors, while it will be maintained that main themes and events actually happened. Like a telephone game where only the minor details change over time.

      Still inquiring around for printing costs though.

    • In reply to #5 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee:

      There appears to be a particular concentration of contradictions within the New Testament.

      That appears to be due only to the difference in lengths of the Old versus the New Testaments. Does it?

      Edit: Oh, wait. you’re right if that centered sub-line denotes both testaments.

      Mike

      • In reply to #7 by Sample:

        In reply to #5 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee:

        There appears to be a particular concentration of contradictions within the New Testament.

        That appears to be due only to the difference in lengths of the Old versus the New Testaments. Does it?

        Edit: Oh, wait. you’re right if that centered sub-line denotes both testaments.

        Mike

        I think the main reason there are more contradictions per page in the New Testament is because much of the new testament is telling the same story, so there is more of a chance to notice.

        Also, the gospels weren’t written by people who were actual apostles, although they claim to be and many Christians think they were, even Christian scholars recognize that the actual authors wrote several decades after the death of Jesus and were more learned than the people who followed Jesus. They also had different agendas, they were trying to essentially market to different groups and they spun the story appropriately.

        So if they were trying to convert Jews to Christianity they emphasized how Jesus fulfilled prophesies for the messiah such as being born in Bethlehem. Those who were trying to convert pagans emphasized things that would appeal to pagans like divine birth. Its inevitable as they mangledl their various stories that they would diverge.

    • In reply to #6 by Red Dog:

      Its a great graphic but it would be much more interesting if there were an online version that you could click on and see the various contradictions. Here is a favorite link I use when people tell me the bible is infallible:

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

      Yeah, that’s a favourite of mine, too. There’s also a section on scientific and historical inaccuracies, but when it comes to contradictions, what I found particularly interesting was that most of them were about issues of doctrine. The inevitable result is that anyone trying to live by the bible’s rules must cherry pick the details themselves, or have it done for them. There’s also a section on absurdities, which is a particular favourite of mine as it exposes the bible for what it is – an utter madfest from start to finish.

      My next favourite section is the “good bits of the bible” section. The fact that there are only over 500 of them, most of them contradicted elsewhere and nearly all of them utterly banal, just goes to show how terrible the “Good Book” actually is. As the site’s owner put it, (and paraphrasing a bit), if the good passages were salvaged and everything else cut, the result would only fit into a pamphlet.

      That site also has sections for the koran and the book of mormon, which are equally enlightening.

  3. THE BEST ETHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE BIBLE CONTRADICT THE DOCTRINE OF HELL

    Test the imagined Gods by the Golden rule [ which may have started in Greek, Egyptian or Persian philosophy ] Do they act in accordance with it? cause if they don’t then they are not worthy to be called Gods.

    Like Isaac Asimov’s “rules for robots ” we could do with rules for gods : ” The gods shall treat humans as they would wish to be treated if they were humans “, ” The gods shall do no harm to humans, nor by inaction allow harm to befall humans “. ” The gods shall not judge that they be not judged “

    I think that Jesus is mostly fictional but how would Jesus have a judgment day if he said do not judge that you be not judged, he would judge himself & it would be completely hypocritical.

    The N.T. runs two different ideas about it’s gods. There is a skeleton of best internal principles Matt 7v12-golden rule and Romans 13v10- love does no harm, which you could say was the bones of a loving figure then there is the external story line which is a phantom of a Judgment day god like Osiris or Hades. The two ideas completely contradict and are incompatible but are mixed throughout the N.T.

    Even taking the good rule of thumb , ” Do not murder ” and ask, ” What is murder ? “- usually putting a nasty & violent end to someone. making them suffer, robbing them of the good they would have enjoyed. Maybe letting people go to an eternal torment would be worse than murder- making people die horribly forever. So anyway how could a caring God who was trying to prevent suffering by saying, ” Do not murder ” turn round and cause worse suffering than any human could cause. He would sin if he did so.

    The storyline of the N.T. fiction has been written in a way which is not consistent with the Golden Rule. People just need to take the best bits of the bible and, like a mirror, shine them back at the imagined gods and they will disintegrate. The best ethical bits can dispel the fantasy of supernaturalism.

    Or think of James 4v17 ” Anyone who does not do the good he should, sins.” So think of all the good a God could have done in the way of preventing crime of illness, even giving the technology to achieve this. Well it looks like God has sinned according to James 4v17

    I agree with Victor J Stenger, ” Cosmic God is a failed hypothesis “

    I like the idea of wisdom commons- the focus on moral core – imagining best practice.

    “Trusting doubt ” by Valerie Tarico lists the mentions of Golden rule in each religion

  4. MORE CONTRADICTIONS. [ ps I'm using Bible against itself, i don't necessarily agree with its ideas ]

    A LOVING GOD WOULD EITHER TAKE PEOPLE TO A HEAVEN OR LET THEM CEASE TO EXIST.

    Yet the New Testament has verses which seem to say a God would allow suffering after death.

    John 14v13 has Jesus say to his disciples,”I will do whatever you ask in my name “. So if Jesus was to act in a caring ethical way, as if he loved the world, as John 3v16 claims, then either Jesus or his disciples should have asked for all humanity to go to heaven or cease to exist like before conception. Then they would have received that request. Since Matt 19v26 has Jesus say, ” with God all things are possible ” it doubly could have been done. If God had the will he could have found a way. Also Luke 23v34 should have Jesus say, ” Forgive humanity and take them to heaven for they know not what they do ” and he would have received it “

    So then, if there was a Holy Spirit, how did the disciples not get prompted to request this ? If it wasn’t in the will of God [ not in the name of Jesus ] then that means that God chooses to let most go to a place of suffering after death. Yet Romans 13v10 says love does no harm to it’s neighbour and 1 John 4v8 says that God is love. So how could a loving God let humanity come to harm / suffering after death ? This would be a total contradiction.

    If letting humanity suffer forever more is worse than murder , since it would be like a long drawn out murder, then the doctrine of hell is like something the devil would carry out.
    John 8v44 says ” The devil was a murderer from the beginning ” .
    1 John 3v15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, you know that no murderer has eternal life in him “

    So no being who would cause murder like suffering to happen to people can have eternal life- therefore a God who would oversee a hell would not have eternal life and not be a God.

    Contrast this with the picture John 8 paints of a merciful Jesus who says, ” Let he who is without sin cast the first stone “. Maybe this figure would be likely to say on a Judgment day, ” Let any who are without sin cast the first people into a hell, oh so no one does, well neither do I “

    Matt 24v35 has Jesus say, ” Heaven and earth may pass away but my words will never pass away.

  5. It would be very cool to have something like business cards, refrigerator magnets, stick-on labels or pamphlets that have the image, a brief description and URL These could be good fundraising items to sell through the RDFRS store (and at other secular, atheist and sceptic organizations’ web sites).

    Cooler still would be to complete the task for the Abrahamic trinity by adding the Koran to the mess. Just what do we know about its internal contradictions? An equilateral triangle base, maybe color coded lines so you can see immediately if it is an internal contradiction or external and between which texts. (This could make it easier to find contradiction cycles). One could search for the grail of god’s ultimate perfection – the self-contradictory passage. Makes me think of those displays of ICBMs launching between USA and the old USSR.

    Below the plane of the triad we complete a tetrahedron with god at its apex. All contradictions directly attributable to god are connected to this point.

    I envision these things being left in Gideon bibles, in bookstore or library books on religion, in hymnals, the back of pews, as something to hand to Mormons when they come knocking of the door ( I now ask to be put on their do-not-call list), on bulletin boards, in rest rooms, etc.

  6. Those of us who are regular posters on this site know this already and I agree that it should be spread to other religions to show their own contradictions and how incompetently they were written.

    • In reply to #16 by thebaldgit:

      Those of us who are regular posters on this site know this already and I agree that it should be spread to other religions to show their own contradictions and how incompetently they were written.

      I think the more pressing issue is convincing the non-literalist Christians that they should simply drop their religious affiliations altogether. Calling someone a Christian these days no longer carries as much information as it would have done a millennium or so ago, and every time it’s used in different ways, the moderate ones inadvertently join hands with the more devout and fundamentalist (and “extremist”) ones. Then they do everything they can to put a wedge between them and the so-called extremists (the ones who actually take their faith seriously). Everything, that is, except for the obvious.

      On that note, pointing out contradictions will simply wash off those who treat the bible as “metaphor”, in part or in whole, because they can simply lump it under that category. It would be more productive to get them to explain why they treat themselves as “Christian”, and then explain to them that their definition has so departed from the original term that it would be worth spelling out why persisting with it is a very bad idea.

    • In reply to #18 by old-toy-boy:

      I want this on a Tee shirt! (press “like” if you would like one also)

      I know a local shop that prints everything you like on T-shirts, but I suspect the readability will be quite limited.

  7. I see the CofE bunch are playing the poor little persecuted Xtians and throwing tantrums, because they can’t have ALL their own way!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21979034

    The former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has accused David Cameron of making Christians feel marginalised

    >

    But Lord Carey wrote in the Daily Mail that the government seemed to be “aiding and abetting” aggressive secularisation.

    He also said Mr Cameron had done more than any other recent political leader to increase Christian anxieties.

    Many Christians doubted the sincerity of Mr Cameron’s support of Christians’ right to practise their faith, he said.

    Lord Carey said: “I like David Cameron and believe he is genuinely sincere in his desire to make Britain a generous nation where we care for one another and where people of faith may exercise their beliefs fully.

    Cameron ?? The bonus bankers and executive polluters’ friend and cutter of disability benefits, of public education, and of public services??? Talk about deluded “faith” thinking??
    Inconsistency is not only in the bible!!

    “But it was a bit rich to hear that the prime minister has told religious leaders that they should ‘stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation’ when it seems that his government is aiding and abetting this aggression every step of the way.

    And Lord Carey spoke of being “very suspicious” that behind plans for gay marriage “there lurks an aggressive secularist and relativist approach towards an institution that has glued society”.

    “The danger I believe that the government is courting with its approach both to marriage and religious freedom is the alienation of a large minority of people who, only a few years ago, would have been considered pillars of society.”

    Ah well! – That’s got the message to the sheeples telling them what to think!

    However, a Downing Street spokesman rejected the criticism, saying: “Christianity plays a vital part in the Big Society*, from the many brilliant church schools- to the huge number of charitable causes based in churches across the country.

    “The prime minister values the profound contribution that Christianity has made and continues to make to the country, which is why he strongly backs it.”

    Desmond Swayne, a former Parliamentary aide to David Cameron, told BBC News that he was shocked to read Lord Carey’s remarks.

    “I was almost gobsmacked because I regard myself as a bible-believing Christian and my view is that the government couldn’t have been more forthright in defending the interests and practices of Christians.”

    On the issue of gay marriage, Desmond Swayne said the government has done all it could “to take account of the objections of the Church of England and other churches which are against this development.”

    He added: “We’ve produced a package which maximises the freedom available to the churches – those that don’t want to touch it, won’t have to.”

    So the government admits it is bending over backwards to accommodate religious prejudices – but it is never enough for them!

    ‘Intolerant views’

    >

    The National Secular Society, meanwhile, urged the prime minister to “ignore Lord Carey’s theocratic and anti-democratic blustering”.

    Lord Carey has no right to insist that his discriminatory and intolerant views should prevail over those of the public and Parliament”

    Keith Porteous Wood, National Secular Society

    • In reply to #25 by Harmless:

      Strangely, contradictions 323 and 324 are identical, and that’s not the only such error. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!

      The bible has several hundred contradictions, and you’re gloating over a duplication and some “errors” (which you neglect to point out)? Sounds a little biased to me.

      Also, hypocrisy, even if confirmed, does not invalidate an argument. This is known as the Tu Quoque fallacy, a subfallacy of the Ad Hominem. This is compounded by the fact that the pro-bible crowd are the ones who set the bible up as exemplary, not the ones who point out the bible’s flaws. The flaws don’t magically disappear just because you notice the same flaws in someone else.

    • In reply to #27 by srd444:

      Now get the real thing here. http://contradictionsinthebible.com/

      This is a scholarly website that actually explains why each contradiction is there based on the authors of the texts, their audience, and the historical conditions under which they wrote. Excellent resource. Site posts 1 bible contradiction a day !! 5-6 year project.

      That’s a great resource. Thank you for the link.

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