SIMILAR ARTICLES

129 COMMENTS

  1. Best scientific evidence against the historical accuracy of the bible? Irrefutable DNA evidence that there were NEVER only two humans alive at any point in time. And likewise, there is zero support for a simultaneous genetic bottleneck of all animal species, including humans, about 4,000 years ago due to being restricted to a single wooden boat.

    • In reply to #1 by sminhinnick:

      Best scientific evidence against the historical accuracy of the bible? Irrefutable DNA evidence that there were NEVER only two humans alive at any point in time. And likewise, there is zero support for a simultaneous genetic bottleneck of all animal species, including humans, about 4,000 years ago… Stunning simplicity! Great post. Take it a step further, if the flood story was true, we would all be carrying an unbroken maternal DNA chain back to Noah’s wife a mere 175 generations ago.

  2. Starting from the basics:
    A)Genesis: 1) Earth Created before the Sun. 2) Plants (3th day) were created before Ocean and land creatures (5th)), so plants are not regarded as living organisms.
    B) God said when creating Humans “Let US make mankind in OUR image, in OUR likeness”……is there more than one god?
    C) Jesus contradictory genealogy, 1) Luke 3:23 says ” He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph” , contradictory to Mathew 1.
    2) Josephs origins are also contradictory, he is son of Heli according to Luke or Jacob according to Mathew.

  3. There are so many historical errors in the Bible that I don’t know which one to use. Well, I do like the serious error of the birth of Jesus. Jesus was born during a census and the only census of that time was the Quirinus census in the year 6 of the common era. The Maggi meet with Herod the Great who after learning that the king of Israel had been born ordered the slaughter of all infants younger than two years. Herod died on 4 AC, ten years before the census. The story of the birth of Jesus is a total fabrication. Adding to this, there is no historical mention of any infant slaughter ordered by Herod.

    • This would also be my choice, stressing the significance being: no Exodus = no Moses = no 10 commandments from God = no exclusive ownership of Palestine for the Jews by default under God.In reply to #6 by Joz:

      Zero archaeological evidence that the Exodus ever happened…

  4. Gutenberg’s printing press. For the first time in history, Gutenberg’s machine showed how large tracts of text could be copied with something resembling high fidelity.

    Until then, we had to rely solely on the human machine and its many movable parts — a poor memory, dodgy eyesight, imperfect language skills and so on. Now that’s a recipe for disaster of Biblical proportions, hence that Holy Book is not to be trusted.

    • That’s not to mention the effect the printing press had on Christianity in and of itself. Prior to the Protestant reformation it was heresy for anyone except clergy to read and interpret Scripture. After the printing press not only was the Bible written in the vernacular language but everyone was encouraged to read. It changed everything.
      In reply to #7 by RDfan:

      Gutenberg’s printing press. For the first time in history, Gutenberg’s machine showed how large tracts of text could be copied with something resembling high fidelity.

      Until then, we had to rely solely on the human machine and its many movable parts — a poor memory, dodgy eyesight, imperfect lang…

    • In reply to #9 by JuJu:

      The onus of proof lies with the one making the claim, therefore I have no need to disprove anything.

      Prize?

      Disproving the Bible is like disproving Peter Cotton Tale. Can’t even begin to take it seriously enough to try, honestly.

  5. What historical or scientific finding do you believe is most significant in disproving the historical accuracy of the Bible?

    That science changes its position in the light of facts and god has never even sent so much as an addenda to the bible.

  6. Surely someone (probably many people) has already ploughed through all the nonsense in the bible enumerating all the scientific errors in it without us having to reinvent the wheel again. Can’t we just leave it as the scribblings of bronze age goat herders who knew bugger all about science or the finer details of the world they inhabited and made it all up just as every other religion has done? I’d rather leave analysis of the bible’s nonsense to the wingnuts who specialise in that sort of thing such as this hilarious web page.

    http://www.gotquestions.org/talking-snake.html

    I can’t imagine a much more profound waste of anyone’s time than trying to rationalise why a fictional Adam and Eve wouldn’t be surprised when a fictional snake talks to them.

  7. Genesis – God created man in his own image – when man can create life in a test tube and demonstrate that it could happen and does happen automatically in the right setting, the reason for a creator disappears.Then evolution can be added to show how humans specifically came about.

  8. Answering this question is a complete waste of time unless someone can find a verse in the Bible where it is claimed that the Christian scriptures are an INERRANT revelation from God. Don’t bother looking. No such verse exists.

  9. Much indeed to chose from. How about what follows:
    “The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” (Matt 27:52-53)

    Would not the dead getting up and walking around Jerusalem have been reported immediately throughout the Roman Empire, not waiting for this one source 40 years after the event ?

    .

    • In reply to #25 by arash.bahrami:

      I think it would be better to ask “how can’t you find any historical or scientific evidence to disprove claims in holy books”
      There are of course any number of historical and scientific errors to be found in the Bible, the Koran, or indeed any other books of tribal mythologies from the pre-scientific era. Whre would you like to begin ?

    • In reply to #25 by arash.bahrami:
      >

      I think it would be better to ask “how can’t you find any historical or scientific evidence to disprove claims in holy books”

      That is an easy question.
      Believers can’t find evidence against their holy books because they only look at the holy books, and listen to stories from others who have only looked at the holy books or revamped stories from them. They won’t look for, or at, the evidence from history, archaeology, or science, – and if they accidentally find any, or have it pointed out to them, they deny it or contradict it!

      Those who do look can easily find the earlier gods from which biblical gods evolved,

      http://www.biblicalheritage.org/bible%20studies/canaan-gods.htm

      and earlier myths which were copied and revamped.

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/25/ancient-tablet-ark-instructions-predates-biblical-/

      • You would have an easier time convincing my cat not to eat fish than convincing a true believer that they won’t go to hell should they cease believing.In reply to #68 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #25 by arash.bahrami:

        I think it would be better to ask “how can’t you find any historical or scientific evidence to disprove claims in holy books”

        That is an easy question.
        Believers can’t find evidence against their holy books because they only look at the holy books, and listen…

    • In reply to #25 by arash.bahrami:
      “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth”. How long do you suppose that first day was? I realize this is not going to tear you from your psychotic beliefs but I sure would like to know how long you think it was.

      I think it would be better to ask “how can’t you find any historical or scientific evidence to disprove claims in holy books”

  10. Only non-believers are interested in finding historical or scientific facts that can be used as a clincher in debates to disprove the literal truth of the bible. Believers are to a large extent, impervious to counter opinions, even when presented rationally and leading to what a secular person might consider an incontrovertible truth, whether they believe in God, numerology or something else.

    Should we be more concerned with building a society where people may believe whatever they wish so long as their public behaviour meets the norms of the society in which they have elected to live? The effort then should go into persuading people (believers, non-believers, agnostics, and the rest) to be responsible members of society rather than proving to ourselves that those who believe the historical accuracy of the bible are wrong – because believers are not listening.

  11. The time-line of the adoption of our current calendar in the 8th century. A calendar whose year zero purports to mark the birth of Jesus.
    This time-line is consistent with the Christ myth gradually spreading throughout Europe, until its acceptance reached a tipping point that made such a calendar make sense to a majority of people. It took 700+ years for that to take place. It there had been a real Jesus, do you think this would have taken seven hundred years?

    Dionysius Exiguus is known as the “inventor” of the Anno Domini (AD) era and the Venerable Bede helped popularize it. Quoting from wikipedia,

    ” he himself [Dionysius] stated that the “present year” was . . . 525 years “since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ”. How he arrived at that number is unknown . . . The Anno Domini era became dominant in Western Europe only after it was used by the Venerable Bede to date the events in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, completed in 731.”

  12. I would consider evolution to be the most significant scientific finding to disprove the claims made by the bible. It strikes at the very foundation of the Christian belief system by challenging the claim that we even have a creator. Cast doubt on that single belief the entire system is made vulnerable. Evolution also nullifies one of the most powerful tools Christianity has ever had — the people, animals, and other living things that served as a daily reminder of how we owe our very existence to God. To this day it is the one scientific discovery that believers are least likely to accept as true. Even after one hundred and fifty years it continues to be fought in the media, in the courts, and in the classroom. It is the one theory they are most afraid of.

  13. Historical gross inaccuracy in the bible: the exodus.

    What actually happened (and which is literally itched in stone) is that the Hebrews invaded northern Egypt and occupied the Delta region for approximately 200-300 hundred years.

    The Hebrews, referred to as the Hyksos, were expelled from Egypt circa 1550 BCE, by pharoa Ahmose. They later adopted monotheism of pharoa Ikhnaton.

  14. The NON-MIRACLE.

    Old or New Testament, a central tenet of Christianity and Biblical history is the miracle.
    Allegedly witnessed by thousands, EVERY claim fails under scientific observation.
    No wine from water, no Lazarus, no feeding 5000, no virgin birth….

    As they say, show me an amputated human limb that re-grows spontaneously and I’ll believe.

  15. Since this site is often concerned with evolution, thus heredity, how about giving a prize to Jacob’s technique for breeding spotted or mottled sheep and goats, to rip off his uncle Laban?
    No need for spend hours learning any theory, just it doesn’t work.
    Here’s what BIBLICAL GENETICS recommends (Lyssenko would have loved it):

    First set up some speckled and striped rods at the animal’s watering holes, then:

    And they copulated when they came to drink. And the flock mated at the rods, and the flock gave birth to streaked, speckled, and spotted ones. And Jacob separated the sheep and had the flock face the streaked and every brown one among Laban’s flock. And it was whenever the fittest would copulate Jacob would put the rods in the channels before the sheep’s eyes so that they would copulate by the rods, and when the sheep were feebler he would not put them in, so the feeble ones became Laban’s and the fitter ones became Jacob’s. And the man expanded very very much, and he had many sheep and female and male servants and camels and asses. (Gen 30:38b-43) (see http://contradictionsinthebible.com/jacobs-own-cunning-tactics-or-gods/) .

    • In reply to #36 by jpgj:

      Since this site is often concerned with evolution, thus heredity, how about giving a prize to Jacob’s technique for breeding spotted or mottled sheep and goats, to rip off his uncle Laban?
      No need for spend hours learning any theory, just it doesn’t work.
      Here’s what BIBLICAL GENETICS recommends (Ly…

      I didn’t need to read this…….

  16. Young earth creationists mistakenly believe that the Earth is 6000-10000 years old. Science, however, has given us radiometric dating which provides conclusive proof that the earth is, in fact, many millions of years old.

  17. I would say the work of Israel Finkelstein dating all the Middle Eastern sites through the findings at Megiddo and wiping out the whole of Biblical Archaeology was probably the most effective ‘debunk’ of the biblical mythos. From the Exodus onwards, NOTHING stands up in the face of the archaeology.

    Bengurion sent the archaeologists out to “Find the Deed” for the holy land.

    They couldn’t even find a rental agreement.

  18. Many different versions of the gospels, written at different times, by different people introducing their own spin, centuries after the fact.

    Not to mention a complete absence of a resurrection in early biblical manuscripts.

  19. Easy. The establishing of the age of homo sapiens. Not only disproves all biblical stories of the age of the earth, but perhaps more importantly the divinity of Jesus Christ. Would God have waited a quarter of a million years before finally deciding to do something by sending a divine emissary to try and convert mankind from its evil ways?
    Robin Hawdon

  20. The claim that the Bible is historically accurate is in my opinion most strikingly disproved by the systematic research done in History and Literature, culminating for example in the work of the German Gerd Luedemann, a New Testament scholar (e.g.: analyze the reported prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane: who should have heard and recorded it? No one could have witnessed as his followers were asleep…).

    This research is old, it is sophisticated, and I think it shakes Christian foundations of faith (and those of other religions grounding on biblical claims).
    It does show that there is no such thing as accuracy of the Bible, although it was – ironically – established by theologians themselves!

    Were do we find “the truth”? Certainly not in the Bible …

  21. Apart from everything? Too much in science – go to history.
    Finding Australia complete with Kangaroos/possums/wombats/koala in Australia, Kiwi’s/Dodo’s in NZ and not anywhere in between Australia and Noah’s impossibly big boat. Did they get the express train to Aussie and not one of them dies or stopped along the way to set-up house. What is that a 6,000+ km journey including vast tracts of ocean hopping, crawling, bumbling along?

  22. No prize or anything else expected. If I could just add a couple of further absurdities contained in the “Good Book”.

    Jonah lived in the belly of a “great fish” for 3 days and somehow survived. No doubt with God given breath holding abilities, plus God given resistance to the digestive chemicals resident in the fish’s stomach. No wonder the bloody fish spat him out after three days ! Poor bugger must have been hungry.

    And then there is the holding up of the sun for a day so that Joshua can continue with his slaughter of the enemies. Too bad the Chinese civilisation didn’t notice this ! And they were very interested in the heavens. It seems Jesus’ range wasn’t very great in them long distant days !

    (Just for the sake of plausibility I will forget about the effect of the Earth’s rotation suddenly stopping ), the poor bugger who wrote the story didn’t realise that the sun was some 93 million miles away and that the Earth revolved around it. The author may well have known about goats’ testicles, but s/he knew nothing about cosmology.

    Yeah, no phone call from Stockholm, but what the hell !

  23. If an omnipotent god truly created man in HIS own image, he’s cursed with one helluva bad back and knees. He also died around 6,000 years ago, as those tasting the “fruit of knowledge” were sentenced to mortality. god must have certainly suffered the same suicidal fate!!!! I want my book…

  24. The scientific finding that I believe is the most significant in disproving the historical accuracy of the Bible can be found in a recent research published by Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, archaeologists from Tel Aviv University in Israel. They believe camels were not domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean until the 10th century B.C. Using radioactive-carbon dating techniques, which showed that camels weren’t domesticated until hundreds of years after the events documented in the Book of Genesis. And yet, the hump-backed creatures are mentioned repeatedly alongside Abraham, Jacob and Isaac, indicating the Bible’s writers and editors were portraying what they saw in their present as how things looked in the past. While there are conflicting theories about when the Bible was composed, the recent research suggests it was written much later than the events it describes. This supports earlier studies that have challenged the Bible’s veracity as a historic document.

  25. The Bible! Its total lack of reality, and blatant contradictions, are all you need. Read the Bible and you will quickly realize that any god that would approve of this text is not a god worth worshiping.

  26. Star formation. It debunks the Bible right from the beginning with the Bible claiming the earth was formed before the sun (we know the earth was formed as a result of many generations of exploding stars). Stars also play a role in the biblical story of the sun standing still (which would not prevent sunrise/sunset since the rotation the earth does that) and in another part of the creation story of God creating a light for night/moon (we know the moon only reflects light from the sun so there is only one light source).

  27. Show me the genetic evidence that all land animals are descended from the two members of their species on the ark, and that sea-dwelling creatures are more genetically diverse since they did not experience a population bottleneck.

  28. You don’t need Science to disprove the bible. The bible disproves itself. If indeed the wages for sin is death and Jesus truly can and did die……did Jesus sin as well?

    If we all came from the same father….maybe that explains why we are so screwed up becos we have been screwing each other.

    A god who can create the entire universe yet he dies for mankind. Seems like we are the greater gods here.

    God created a woman from a man’s rib. The bible is quite sexist. So since the woman is neither a complete man and it is also not as complete as adam since god did not create a complete woman….a woman is neither a complete man nor woman. That is so insulting.

  29. Two things really: if you go along with the theory that Adam & Eve came first, you must then accept that incest is ok? How else would they have then populated the planet as they all would have sex with each other?….. Also where are the dinosaurs in the bible? Hello?

  30. There should be so many, but so many are rejected by believers. The most significant development in having a rational discourse, from my point of view, was the invention of the telescope. Once you had a telescope, you could see that the Earth was not covered with a vast “firmament”, a shield that was holding back countless trillions of cubic kilometers of water that was “above” the earth (which works fine in a flat-earth scenario), that the moon was not a “light”, like the sun (I’ll give the sun a pass, since it is a SOURCE of light, while the moon is a rather poor REFLECTOR of light), Yes, once man could look out into space, several of the Genesis descriptions fall apart.

  31. Interesting.

    I posted and the post disappeared. It was a single sentence with a link to and expanded explanation that I wrote.

    So I posted something longer, again with a link, and a few minutes later the link and the last sentence that introduced it was deleted.

    I could not find any published guidelines that prohibit embedded links, and the “Help with Formatting” actually shows you how to do it.

    Hopefully this is a general policy and I am not being singled out.

  32. Best scientific discovery was the fact that it was genetically impossible for man to have evolved from ‘just two people’, something even the Christian Science Monitor in the US had an article on, and conceded to. It effectively negates the entire biblical timeline, ergo the concept of Eden straight through down the lines to Abraham . . . something all Judaic faiths lay claim to in their respective religions as their spiritual leaders having inherited from. Man, as per the Torah, the Koran, or the New Testament can no longer claim a ‘patent’ on . . . at least not through traditional means, apologists aside. Added, the fact that morality in terms of a psychological condition or ‘human social interaction necessity’ no longer allows for religions to put a patent on.

    (edited for this note: Aw, crap . . . I just noticed sminhinnick below me just beat me to the first point)

  33. The most significant discovery of science which clearly argues the concept of religion is may be the radioactive carbon dating. It is because as ‘The Bible’ suggests that the earth was formed just 6000 years ago and the process of making took only six days could only be disqualified through the experiments of radioactive carbon dating. It’s pretty simple that as the intelligent creation has been the basis of creationism and the concept of ‘GOD’, so striking at the root of that very concept provides the major blow. We are very lucky in this respect to have found so many fossils from diverse ages. The radioactive carbon dating actually serves the main purpose of actually locating the era in which they lived. What if this scientific discovery of radioactive carbon dating was not present? We couldn’t argue the misconception of creation given in the scriptures. Again as some creationists suggest that the Grand Canyon was formed by a massive flood in a matter of some days. But science proves us that there have been a genesis for over thousands of years. The inspection on the different rocks on the Grand Canyon at different heights can give us huge amount of evidence of that genesis. The credit goes to radioactive carbon dating. There were so many fossils which were suggesting the evolution of human race but the approximate span of the years in which human race started to actually live would only be suggested from the calculations from radioactive carbon dating. The fact that those fundamentalists teach that human race was the species created simultaneously with other living beings in a single event by ‘GOD’ can easily be proved incorrect. The above hypothesis can be easily proved wrong because we have already found older fossils of animals who lived way before human race. The credit would again go to radioactive carbon dating. The religion often disagrees with the concept of young earth. The inspection of different rocks on the earth can of course give us the geological history of the formation of earth. And the theory of formation of earth from a ball of fire to the stable earth as it is today can be easily proved. So the concept of radioactive carbon dating hits at the root of religion and disproves the main propositions of creationism.

  34. On second thought–

    We would not be here discussing this question but for the Internet.

    As another poster said- the printing press; that helped but didn’t get to as many as this later wonder…

    • In reply to #65 by Fritz:

      On second thought–

      We would not be here discussing this question but for the Internet.

      Have to agree with you on this point. I’ve been an atheist for almost my entire life, but it’s only since the internet that I’ve come to realise the enormity of the fabrication.

  35. The existence and history of the Hawaiian Islands disproves Noah’s Flood. The Flood story is presented in the Old and New Testaments as historical reality, and if the Bible is to be viewed as a coherent whole, the rest of it falls with the Flood story.

    Evidence:

    The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest mountain in the world, in volume and in size measured at its base on the floor of the Pacific. It’s about 300 miles across and 30,000 feet high — taller than Mt. Everest. If the Flood story is true, then either this island formed in the 4,400 years (according to the most common biblical apologist claims) since the Flood, or it already existed and the depth of the Flood had to be more than 14,000 feet. The first alternative is physically impossible, and the second is self-defeating as well as physically implausible:

    1) Making simple assumptions, the volume of the Big Island is about 200,000 cubic miles. Hawaii was first inhabited about 1,000 years ago, and it contained a full complement of plants and animals. So let’s assign a minimum of 1,400 years from the time when the main volcanism ceased and when humans first arrived. That leaves about 2,000 years — at most — for those 200,000 cubic miles of basalt magma to erupt. That means that a minimum of 100 cubic miles of magma erupted from the Big Island every year for 2,000 years. That’s far more than any eruptions in history. For example, Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 erupted about 2.4 cubic miles of magma in a few days, and that lowered global temperature by about 0.9 deg F. The largest eruption in recorded history, of Mt. Tambora in 1815, produced the infamous “year without a summer” in much of the world, erupted about 38 cubic miles of magma and ash, and lowered global temperature by at least 1.25 deg F. The amount of temperature-reducing volcanic gases, accumulating continually for 2,000 years, would have resulted in ice-age temperatures for the earth from the end of Noah’s Flood until close to the time of Christ. Nothing remotely like that is observed in the 2,400 year period BCE. Furthermore, all of the other islands in the Hawaiian chain would have been erupting as well, adding another 100 cubic miles a year to the erupted volume. Finally, those other islands would have had to erode away during the subsequent 2,400 years. At Midway this is down virtually to sea level. And of course, plate tectonics shows that the hot spot chain known as the Emperor Seamounts, which includes Hawaii, has been moving westward for upwards of 80 million years. All of this is physically impossible.

    2) If alternative 1) is impossible, and the Hawaiian islands existed before the Flood, then that Flood must have been at least 14,000 feet deep above modern day sea level in order to cover “every mountain”. But there is not enough water on the earth today to do that. It has been calculated that if the earth’s surface were smoothed out, the ocean depth would be about 8,000 feet, and that’s all the water available for the Flood. Any depressions or mounds in that mostly smooth surface would make the required amount of water deeper. So if the Big Island were the only mountain in existence, the Flood would need another 30,000-8,000=22,000 feet of water to cover Hawaii. The existence of more mountains would require even more water, such as is today, where at least 30,000 feet depth is required. The creationist explanation must be, “God must have magically created the required water and magically uncreated it when the Flood was done.” That’s self-defeating because God could far more easily have simply stopped the hearts of all the humans he wanted to kill. Does the Bible not say that God’s angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night?

    There are many more fatal problems for the Flood story than the above.

  36. Other than the avalanche of evidence accumulated over the centuries from just about every field of human investigation, I find recent research into the unreliability of eyewitnesses and oral history quite compelling. The Bible contains no firsthand eyewitness accounts and the earliest writings were written in Greek several generations after numerous oral retellings, all the while being filtered by vested interests. Its hard enough to prove what happened yesterday ( hence the lucrative legal industry ) let alone 2000 years ago .

  37. That we now know once you are dead – you are dead forever. Dead people don’t pop up alive again – never have and never will. “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” QED.

  38. I vote for Darvin, because he showed the way to look for many other interesting things. However one need not necessarily be a scientist to be sceptical about the claims of bible. For example, I am a linguist and translator, so I know pretty well that it is very easy to find somebody that will write you anything you want, as long as you pay for it. Or else the author is just too laizy to look for authentic information (if it is awailable) And translation makes te things even worse, because translator can also be paid to translate text the way customer will approve. Or else translator happens to be biassed.

  39. Disprove the “Historical Accuracy” of the Bible?

    Well Genesis covers origins, so for that you’d be looking at; The Big Bang, Formation of the Solar System, Origins of Life & the evolution of our species. That ground has been covered pretty well I think.

    Then we get into Exodus; find anything in the hieroglyphics to confirm that? Nope, christians have been looking since Champollion translated the Rossetta Stone. Nothing in the cuneiform texts of Egypts enemies either which is an odd thing to go unnoticed.

    Then you get Israel’s archaeology and the polytheistic temples and shrines when there should be none.

    ~Thus no monotheistic kingdom, no prophets (or therefore prophesies), just lies with the desecration and burning of the temples pointing out a fairly specific date (about 450BC). Not something to convert a believer perhaps but more to push an ‘agnostic’ to an ‘atheist’.

  40. Just too many to count. But two primarily come to mind. The concepts of deep time (Geology, Big Bang), and Evolution (Darwin). The next ones will be Artificial Life, and Artificial Intelligence, born of natural processes. To be honest, it doesn’t take much. It’s a fortress built on sand.

  41. The fact a human female cannot conceive without benefit of sperm but more importantly, if it were possible for human females to reproduce asexually, the offspring would be female. Unless the “angel” or “spirit” or “god” alleged to have inseminated “Mary” (how very medieval, that name) had genes and an ability to transmit chromosomes, the Jesus story as told cannot in any way be true.
    1. Out of wedlock pregnancy by usual means – not “god”
    2. “Insemination” by “spirit – not male
    3. The biblical claims of “jesus” being descended of the “royal house of David” give lie to the whole story anyway, given such a claim would necessarily rely on the male line…

  42. I am not a scientist, I am a historian. Therefore, I would like to approach this from a historical viewpoint. In the late 4th century the so-called St. Jerome began the process of translating the bible from the Greek Vulgate into the Latin Vulgate. The translating took a little over a century. It was done by many Church “scholars”. The accuracy of these translations widely vary. Therefore, it is impossible to know which “version” of the Bible I am debunking since before Greek it was the Hebrew (and a little Aramaic) Bible.

    Aside from the language issues there are cultural issues. During the 700 years of the Dark Ages (a term many Catholic historians loathe) there was no understanding of the world around them. If someone was ill with incomprehensible symptoms, they must be bewitched.Clearly, this was when the Church took the opportunity to indoctrinate everyone from peasant to monarch.

    Today society does not have the excuse of having to rely upon a singular book to explain the universe. The Islamic society was advancing at an exponential rate as Christians went through a Dark Age. Now with increased fanaticism they are going through a Dark Age of their own. Jews remain in Israel to fight the Palestinians. Why? Because the Bible allegedly says to (I say allegedly because I believe I recall from Hebrew school the Torah saying the most important thing to protect is life). This only goes to prove that the Bible not only contradicts itself but brings out all that is ugly in human nature.

  43. Kangaroos.

    After the flood, how did all the marsupials make it to Australia (seeing as how it is an island continent not connected to Europe)? And why didn’t any of them stop and settle down somewhere along the way?

    Either Noah brought a pair of Kangaroos on the ark (in which case there’s no way they could get to Australia along with all the other marsupials after the flood), or they were already in Australia and were unaffected by the flood (in which case the whole story of a “global” flood is by definition false).

  44. MIRACLES.
    All current miracles have been dis-proven by EXPERIMENTS like those of James Randi.
    One can conclude that the archaic age of the bible was more gullible.
    Today, not even fundamentalists believe in the magic powers of witches or even the existence of witches (“do not suffer a witch”).
    Today, anyone wanting to burn witches or even considering their existence, gets immediate disapprobation.
    Indeed, science itself relies on and affirms that natural laws are not interrupted by miracles.
    (The Islamic world funds essentially no “basic research”, because Allah can interrupt the laws of nature whenever he wants. Basic research would insult Allah’s power.)

    • In reply to #83 by assumptionist:
      >

      Today, not even fundamentalists believe in the magic powers of witches or even the existence of witches (“do not suffer a witch”). Today, anyone wanting to burn witches or even considering their existence, gets immediate disapprobation.

      Unless they live in Africa or Saudi Arabia!

      http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/644488-notorious-nigerian-witch-hunter-to-preach-in-the-us

      http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/646278-saudi-man-executed-for-witchcraft-and-sorcery

      • In reply to #84 by Alan4discussion:
        Wherever and whenever society drowns in ignorance and views religious practice to be more important than advancement and even human life, turning towards dangerous beliefs such as witchcraft, Satanic cults and other supernatural sources of evil is inevitable. Perhaps that is more manifest on this side of the “pond”. In the US even admitting to being an atheist is bound to produce a hostile reaction.

        In reply to #83 by assumptionist:

        Today, not even fundamentalists believe in the magic powers of witches or even the existence of witches (“do not suffer a witch”). Today, anyone wanting to burn witches or even considering their existence, gets immediate disapprobation.

        Unless they live in Africa…

      • In reply to #84 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #83 by assumptionist:

        Today, not even fundamentalists believe in the magic powers of witches or even the existence of witches (“do not suffer a witch”). Today, anyone wanting to burn witches or even considering their existence, gets immediate disapprobation.

        Unless they live in Africa…

        Unfortunately I’ve met fundies right here in the UK who actually believe in witches, Halloween generally brings them to the forefront (as do Harry Potter books/films) and who lament that “western society in general now views witchcraft as a joke”. They weren’t immigrants either before that claim gets raised.

  45. I would say radiometric dating is right up there. These dating techniques really help in the reconstruction of history which inevitably leads to all sorts of problems for young earth creationists and those taking the bible literally. These dating techniques also help us determine when various accounts of the bible were written – generally we see biblical writings dated much later than originally thought which casts even more doubt on there authenticity.

    I grew up as a Christian and finally after getting a basic understanding of carbon dating I thought “O SHIT the earth is not 5 thousand years old.”

  46. In reply to #5 by aroundtown:
    Absolutely! One would think that if god wanted his creation to understand what was expected of us he wouldn’t need self-serving, oppressive (downright tyrannical would be more accurate) humans to form a council to interpret the way to practice Christianity as was the purpose of the Nicene Creed formed at the Nicene Council. I should think something that important should come from god directly. Apparently since we never received such instructions there were no instructions forthcoming and no god giving such instructions. Perhaps if such instructions are received this matter can be reconsidered but I am certainly not going to hold my breath waiting for them!

    The long historical tradition of story telling gives us a clue, large segments of the bible were based on those oral tales/fables of the day and the bible is not the only text that was affected. For me the glaring manipulation of the text over time certainly tells the true story, it’s just a book f…

  47. Where to begin? Here’s two more that come to mind as pretty obvious. Where did all the extra water come from to create the world wide flood, and where did it go afterwards? Plate tectonics with the measurable slow drift plus the obvious jigsaw picture of Africa and South America demonstrate an older Earth.

    • In reply to #94 by robertkkattenborough:

      The pope in 2010 admitted man evolved. So at what point in our evolution from the apes did heaven begin?

      The pope “deferred to the scientists” but compartmentalised the information, pretending the science did not conflict with the magic, thus retaining dogmas of “ensoulment at conception”, – “god fiddled with evolution to create man”, and of course “miracles”, faith-thinking etc.!

      The really comical bit is the reference to the non-Catholic, “wrong sort of creation science”!

      Paragraph 283 has been noted as making a positive comment regarding the theory of evolution, with the clarification that “many scientific studies” that have enriched knowledge of “the development of life-forms and the appearance of man” refers to mainstream science and not to “creation science”.[63]

      Followed by:-

      • All that exists outside God was, in its whole substance, produced out of nothing by God.

      and then a list of more woo…….

      So the RCC rejects AIG type creation-pseudo-science, but then claims its own supernatural woo is not in conflict with real science.

      • In reply to #98 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #94 by robertkkattenborough:

        The pope in 2010 admitted man evolved. So at what point in our evolution from the apes did heaven begin?

        The pope “deferred to the scientists” but compartmentalised the information, pretending the science did not conflict with the magic, thus retaining do…

    • In reply to #94 by robertkkattenborough:

      The pope in 2010 admitted man evolved. So at what point in our evolution from the apes did heaven begin?

      Obviously the entire history of religion is too long so a brief overview:

      In Neolithic civilizations the dead was often buried and evidence of burial rituals have been found at archaeological sites. While this indicates a belief in a deity or deities without written evidence we cannot know for certain. This ended prior to the 30th century BCE.

      When man moved from nomadic tribes to small farming communities, writing began and hence written documentation.

      The Great Pyramids and Sumerian cuneiform (The Epic of Gilgamesh) are the earliest texts. These civilizations were theocracies. Political power was given to leaders by divine intervention (in other words the best warrior seized power and passed it on to his son).This enabled easy tax collection and made it easier to keep peace among unrelated individuals (murder was the number one cause of death). This began about 3200 BCE.

      The Minoan civilization (Greece’s predecessor) had a variety of goddesses which were worshipped.

      Sometime around 1750 BCE Zoroastrianism arose. This dialectical religion taught of absolute good and absolute evil.

      In about 1250 BCE the Hebrew exodus from Egypt may have occurred (without the parting of the Red Sea). Judaism is also an ethical religion with clear cut acts of good and clear cut acts of evil.

      As you can see religion has an evolutionary process all it’s own. It moved from Africa to the Middle East and outward to Asia (I’m not going into that) and Europe. From where I left off Greek culture blooms in a couple of hundred years and then onto Roman civilization. Rome did not dislike Christians for their beliefs. These civilizations were actually far more tolerant than many today. They disliked Christians because Christians refused to pay taxes to their gods. The Romans were nothing if not pragmatic. Each civilization got ideas from the prior civilizations, discarded some ideas, addednew ones and so the process continues. I’m sure Wikipedia has something more complete than I have time to type.

  48. Re the pope admitting in 2010 that we evolved. So at what point in our evolution from the apes did heaven begin? This raises questions like Did Homo Neandertalis go to heaven? -Did the other 23 or so human like species go to heaven? – Did hairy apelike early man of say 8million years ago go to heaven if they were good and friendly? So why then are the poor old friendly apes not afforded a place in heaven? So where is the cut off point? Another thing is at what point in this evolution did the human soul enter early apelike mans body?

  49. The ‘domain’ of scientific contradictions found in the Bible is a very vast one, starting with Genesis and the devoid of meaning phrases that state absurd assumptions about the age of the Cosmos (6000 years old) and its origin, the nature of the stars, the existence of light in the absence of a light source, sometimes referring to a flat Earth, irrational order of an alleged creation, biology errors involving animals and childish stories about the origin of complex lifeforms by “hocus pocus”, a ridiculous explanation about how languages developed. Those evident errors and the ones involving the genealogy of Jesus, virgin birth, etc. are usually known and my main purpose here is to concentrate on two major scientific facts that are simply cancelling the Bible as a whole, not on those minor (in comparison) discrepancies.

    1. The universe: The description of the universe in the Bible is a very primitive one (as expected from the level of information available in that period) and simply cannot compare with the real data we have at our disposal in the present day:
      -the universe is about 13.8 billion years old (Big Bang singularity, Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, Inflation, Accelerating Universe and the less accurate methods of dating);
      -the size of the universe is vastly large: about 100 billion galaxies with about 100 billion stars in each on average (the estimated number of stars is 10^23);
      -the total mass of the universe is on average 10^53kg (critical density, extrapolations, estimations based on the Steady State theory);
      -it is expanding.

    All of those ‘little’ details about our existence and many other referring to the elegance at atomic and subatomic levels, the curious and strange order of the large-scale universe that obeys certain laws, the gradual ‘evolution’ of complex matter are missing from the Bible entirely. Instead, we only get a vague, irrational and at the same time funny version of creation that can simply be concentrated in one phrase: “God did it all”. So the first conclusion is that life is just a grain of sand in the vastness of the universe, both in terms of time and space.

    1. Evolution: Evolution is the fundamental idea that completely contradicts the Bible, because it implies not only that life is connected and shares a common ancestor, but also that morality is just a byproduct of the evolutionary mechanism and cannot be defined as a general aspect of nature (the amount of evidence on evolution we have at the moment is huge and I will not argue on that -a good lecture would be “The Greatest Show on Earth”). In my opinion, the discovery of DNA completely changed the way we view life in the present (or the way some of us view life) and gives a new meaning to complexity and elegance. Beside the obvious contradiction between reality (gradual evolution) and Bible (simply popping into existence), evolution shows that life is built on neutral foundations, importance being only a relative term.

    Now to summarize: Those two facts demolish the version of reality presented in the Bible by the huge errors in terms of proportion and evolution of life. The only detail that remains is the origin of life, but logic and experiments like Miller-Urey shows us what to expect.

  50. Further to creationist Ken Ham’s comment that “nothing would change his mind* (see article ‘Did Bill Nye Hurt Science’ on this site, theists will require the finding of the yet undiscovered opening page of the bible which reads “any resemblance to persons alive or dead is purely coincidental’.

  51. *That was very interesting. Thank you. Just one brief point. I do not think it is a mystery why they wrote it with,the earth existing before the sun. Obviously the people then were geocentric. They remained so until the Middle Ages when Nicolai Copernicus and Gslilei Galileio came along. The mystery is that why woukd people be unable to stop looking at history through the eyes of ancient people and start looking at the universe
    through 20th/21st century eyes (or at least 19th century eyes. But as someone who does look through 21st century eyes, I loved your posting. Very informative!

    NIn reply to #102 by Jackal:*

    The ‘domain’ of scientific contradictions found in the Bible is a very vast one, starting with Genesis and the devoid of meaning phrases that state absurd assumptions about the age of the Cosmos (6000 years old) and its origin, the nature of the stars, the existence of light in the absence of a ligh…

  52. I don’t think it needs to be disproved any more than it has been, i mean its bleeding obvious to any sane minded person that religion is just a form of control and mental slavery, however i think the real issue is convincing faithful people how ridiculous they really are for still believing and blindly supporting and defending fairy tales. Finding million year old fossils is my convincing reason for disproving any religion.

  53. Some very good points being made here and I wonder if it would be worth someone at RD.net compiling an edited version of all these questions and sending them off to high profile religious types for their comments?

    • In reply to #107 by Terra:

      Galileo showing that the earth is not the center of the universe.

      Actually Galileo showed that the Earth is not the centre of the Solar-System, but some creationists still think the Earth and the Solar-System are the central feature of their universe! The RCC now agrees that Sun is (roughly) the centre of the solar System, but they have been particularly slow learners.

      http://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/01/world/vatican-science-panel-told-by-pope-galileo-was-right.html

      Moving formally to rectify a wrong, Pope John Paul II acknowledged in a speech today that the Roman Catholic Church had erred in condemning Galileo 359 years ago for asserting that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

      The address by the Pope before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences closed a 13-year investigation into the Church’s condemnation of Galileo in 1633, one of history’s most notorious conflicts between faith and science. Galileo was forced to recant his scientific findings to avoid being burned at the stake and spent the remaining eight years of his life under house arrest.

      359 years to correct their mistake, and 13 years to investigate the an error a school child could spot !!!!

  54. The fact that every mystery ever solved has turned out, in Tim Minchin’s parlance, to be not magic is pretty damning. Humanity keeps solving mysteries, and magic and religion keep backing away slowly saying, “oh, well yes, you explained that, but all this stuff here you haven’t explained, it’s Supernatural. The fact that they can keep backing away from reality and yet still be taken seriously is pretty remarkable. The flipside is that after hundreds or thousands of years (where do we start?) we haven’t been able to unequivocally demonstrate a single instance of magic. Some may say that’s the nature of the supernatural, but it sounds to me more like the only sort of scientific evidence worth anything: a preponderance of evidence. When Newton or Darwin were presented with that much evidence, they based theories on it! In the same way we have more than sufficient evidence for a Theory of Not-Magic. But we shouldn’t use the word theory, because some people think that means we’re just guessing. ;-)

  55. I can’t understand why any logical thinker would feel a need to discredit or disprove a philosophical belief that is based on nothing but faith. Such a task is not only illogical, it’s not possible. Any belief system (such as religion) that has no relationship with reality is immune to logical arguments.

  56. Ignoring the supernatural claims altogether, and sticking strictly with the historical accuracy of non-supernatural events, we need look no further than the Bible, itself, to refute any claims that the Bible is historically accurate. The book is self-refuting — rife with irresolvable contradictions regarding basic matters of ancestry, continuity, and much more.

  57. Disproving the historical accuracy of the Bible would not challenge the faith of a Kierkegaardian. Soren Kierkegaard once said “How extraordinarily stupid it is to defend Christianity……….To defend something is always to disredit it.”

  58. The historical/biblical accuracy of all Jesus’ supposed miracles can all be attributed back to earlier Greek/Roman or Egyptian gods. See religion v mythology chapter from the novel Existence New York for the full list. Rampant plagiarism from existing religions of that era that we were told to believe were just fairy tale like mythologies. Those religions were far from just mythology when Jesus lived. They demanded huge temples or statues to their gods. Existence New York is a thriller novel that explains away Christianity and can be got free on twitter @rkkattenborough

  59. I have a group of friends who are very genuine Cristians. Very lovely folk and defo mean well. I have some difficulty though as when asked about my opinions of Jesus. I try and explain that if he actually existed, he appeared to have been well meaning and genuine. Then I am asked why I would not follow Mr Christ to which I try and explain that he is a very dead human and to follow him would not make any sense. This is doing my head in. As I say though, very good friends and well meaning. I will not try to rock the ‘ark’ in future. Sorrry, back to the subject in hand. With reference to the Ark. What actually happened to all of the millions of insect species. How on earth did Mr Noah gather up each and every specimen of every plant, insect, and smaller organisms by the Millions. Maybe I have got it wrong and Noah only gathered up the animals and birds. How then did every living organism survive the great flood without being rescued. Sorry a bit feeble I know as when my father told me that the old testament was full of rather impressive Bible stories written to prove points and frighten folk towards their god. Well when dad mentioned this while I was enjoying my first picture bible, that was it for me. Agnostic at best for decades. Then came the fabulous Mr Dawkins. Bravo!

    • In reply to #114 by mourneviewer:

      How on earth did Mr Noah gather up each and every specimen of every plant, insect, and smaller organisms by the Millions. Maybe I have got it wrong and Noah only gathered up the animals and birds. How then did every living organism survive the great flood without being rescued.

      It is a matter of historical record where the O.T. bible story tellers and scribes copied the myth from, before they and others elaborated and exaggerated on a few animals being saved from a local Babylonian flood hundreds of years earlier.

      There is a link to the archaeology @68

      The Babylonian tablet says the ark was a coracle made of twisted rope, but Ham has “biblical interpretation skills”, so if the Bible says “Go for wood”, that’s how he will build the steel reinforced un-sea-worthy fake ark!

      • This goes to the heart of how myths (aka religious beliefs ) form. They are each built upon eachother. Roman gods were just the Greek gods renamed. Manicaeism was largely based upon Zoroastrianism. Christianity and Islam is based upon Judaism. Polytheism at least in admitting that the purpose was to collect taxes as opposed to
        In reply to #115 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #114 by mourneviewer:

        How on earth did Mr Noah gather up each and every specimen of every plant, insect, and smaller organisms by the Millions. Maybe I have got it wrong and Noah only gathered up the animals and birds. How then did every living organism survive the great flood without b…

        • In reply to #117 by ericag:

          This goes to the heart of how myths (aka religious beliefs ) form. They are each built upon eachother. Roman gods were just the Greek gods renamed. Manicheism was largely based upon Zoroastrianism. Christianityand Islam is based upon Judaism.
          Polytheism at least was not entirely self serving, it was used to collect taxes. Monotheism is often entirely self serving.

    • In reply to #114 by mourneviewer:

      Then I am asked why I would not follow Mr Christ to which I try and explain that he is a very dead human and to follow him would not make any sense.

      He ‘said’ some despicable things too. And things he didn’t endorse when he should have. You don’t have to take on the whole thing and follow like a sheep. I disagree on many points with Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, it doesn’t mean I don’t respect their ideas in some other areas. Putting people on pedestals isn’t my thing, and should never be a thing for anyone. Their claim is that ‘Jesus can do no wrong’, which isn’t even remotely true.

      Pick and choose, which by the way your friends do if not hypocritically, then ignorantly.

  60. Science and history are not needed. Maths suffice.

    Whatever man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: ‘Great God, grant that twice two be not four.’ – Ivan Turgenev

    Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4.If that is granted, all else follows.-George Orwell

    This is why the Odyssey is understood as an historical artifact, not an historical account.

  61. The bible says when Jesus died the vail was torn and the dead started walking around yet no one thought this was worthy enough to write about. That and Noah’s ark but that is an easy target. Why are there layers of animals if they all died at the same time

  62. Doesn’t the fact that the testaments of Matthew, Luke, and Mark disagree on what happened at the crucifixion make any pretense to the bible being history false? Since the whole foundation of Christianity starts from the crucifixion, you would think that they could get at least this one point correct.

  63. Oh were to begin? I mean really the very phrase: “historical accuracy” of the bible is a paradox… an oxymoron.
    Apart from what has already been written below… i’ll throw out a few of my favorite narratives from unimpeachable sources that go right to the heart of the faith-based.

    ALBERT SCHWEITZER (1875 – 1965), the iconic medical missionary, theologian, doctor of philosophy and Nobel Peace Prize recipient concluded in the final chapter of his exhaustive, defining theological work The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906): “There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the Life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give His work its final consecration, NEVER HAD ANY EXISTENCE. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.”

    Moncure D. Conway [1832 - 1907], a Harvard University graduate, Minister, abolitionist and scholar. (Modern Thought) put his incredulity this way: “The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus… The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information — not one By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject…. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life.”

    Of course, none of this is covered in “bible study” classes… and will be not persuasive with those who actually look to the error-riddled, contradictory, heavily redacted bible as “the source” of authority and knowledge. Similarly, the brute fact that reality as revealed by our best minds via scientific inquiry… does not comport with any religious musings… and particularly the folkloric bible, clearly has no sway among the sheep in the pews.

  64. Why bother? Those who swallow it whole don’t believe in evidence, and those who believe in evidence have better things to do. Better use of time and money is to buy Richard’s book, read it, and discuss it with others.

  65. The only historical claim based on the Bible that ever mattered to me when I was a Catholic was the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Textual criticism of the Gospels, however, has shown that this claim is groundless. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, either in his revivified and glorified body or in a new, spiritual body, and had encountered some of his disciples on the third day after his execution and in the following few weeks, then these events would certainly have been included in the earliest passages of the Gospels. In fact, the earliest passages of the Gospels to be written are what are called the passion narratives, which do not include accounts of the sepulchre being found empty and of disciples’ encounters with the risen Jesus. These accounts were affixed to the passion narratives many years later. Hence Jesus did not rise from the dead, and Christianity is an empty vessel.

  66. Sorry too late, but would like to see someone with demographics and smarts beyond me..which isnt too hard. Noah ran his zoo aground about 4000 years ago at the best. He gets drunk and his son Ham sees him naked, is turned black for this. Ham and his wife go to Africa and populate an entire continent.with sufficient surplus population to build the pyramids. Shem and his wife populate the middle east. Japheth, not to be outdone he and his wife populate the rest of the world, like from Sandanavia, Austrailia, Asia, North and South America. Unless there is evidence that at some point, human females had 8 breasts and produced multiple litters every year – is there any way possible the numbers on this can work out?

  67. In reply to #46 by ataraxy:

    Apart from everything? Too much in science – go to history.
    Finding Australia complete with Kangaroos/possums/wombats/koala in Australia, Kiwi’s/Dodo’s in NZ and not anywhere in between Australia and Noah’s impossibly big boat. Did they get the express train to Aussie and not one of them dies or s…

    Not only did they pick them up before the flood but after the waters receded they had to travel back to Oz and disembark only the marsupials and monotremes without letting any placentals escape and contaminate the purity of the antipodean ecoysystem. Then of course they had to travel back to Eurasia. But with God anything is possible and he does move in mysterious ways.

  68. In reply to #30 by raven1:

    Dionysius Exiguus is known as the “inventor” of the Anno Domini (AD) era and the Venerable Bede helped popularize it. Quoting from wikipedia, . . . “he himself [Dionysius] stated that the “present year” was . . . 525 years “since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ”. How he arrived at that number is unknown . . .

    A further quotation from the Wikipedia entry on Dionysius Exiguus states: “In his 1605 thesis, the Polish historian Laurentius Suslyga was the first to suggest that Christ was actually born around 4 BC, deriving this from the chronology of Herod the Great, his son Philip the Tetrarch, and the daughter of Augustus, Julia.”

    The following two footnotes in the New Jerusalem Bible may also be of interest on this historical curiosity.

    Footnote ‘a’ to chapter 3 of the Gospel according to Luke in the New Jerusalem Bible on this topic may be of interest:

    Here, as in 1:5 and 2:1-3, Lk dates his narrative by secular events. Tiberius succeeded Augustus, 2:1, on 19 August AD 14. The 15th year [of Tiberius's reign], therefore, is from AD 19 August 28 to AD 18 August 29. Alternatively, if the Syrian method of calculating the year of a reign is being followed, the 15th year is from AD Sept.-Oct. 27 to AD Sept.-Oct. 28. At that time, Jesus was at least 33 years old, possibly 35 or 36. The indication of v. 23 ["When he began, Jesus was about thirty years old, ..."] is approximate, and perhaps it means only that Jesus was old enough to exercise a public ministry. The mistake in calculating the ‘Christian era’ results from taking the ‘thirty years’ of 3:23 as an exact figure: the 15th year of Tiberius was 782 ‘after the foundation of Rome’; Dionysius Exiguus subtracted 29 full years from this, thus arriving at 753 for the beginning of our era. Actually, it should have been 750 or even 746.

    Another reference-point is the dating of the census associated with Quirinius, mentioned in chapter 2 of Luke. Footnote ‘b’ to this chapter in the New Jerusalem Bible includes the following:

    … Most scholars put the census of Quirinius at AD 6, but the only authority for this is Josephus, who is doubtfully reliable in this matter. The most probable explanation is that the census, which was made with a view to taxation, began in Palestine even before Herod’s death, as early as 8-6 BC as part of a general census of the empire, and that Quirinius concluded it in AD 6, as Josephus says. This census, which in fact took place over a considerable period, was then known by the name of this important personality. Jesus was born certainly before Herod’s death (4 BC), possibly in 8-6 BC. The ‘Christian era’, established by Dionysius Exiguus (sixth century), is the result of a false calculation, see 3:1a.

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