Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bible Contradictions?

From a I discussion with a guy name Michael on another thread:
There's a verse in Matthew where Jesus says the pharisees of this generation will have no sign but the sign of Jonah. The equivalent passage in Mark 6, which is set at the same time and place, as is clear from the context, says they will have no sign at all. 
John says Thomas was not present at the first meeting between the resurrected Jesus and the 1 other apostles. This contradicts other gopsels which say the 11 were present at the first meeting, after Jesus met Cleopas and Simon. The oldest manuscripts of Mark omit Mark 16:10-20, which has details added in later to reconcile Mark with Luke. Some manuscripts of Mark omit the word "twice" from the quote "before the rooster crows twice, you will have denied me three times" in order to force Mark to match up with the later gospels.
These are examples contradictions that never bother Christians but atheists seem to bring them up endlessly. It is important to understand what Catholics claim about scripture and what they don't. I know many atheists get much of their information from fundamentalist sources or even from anti-Christian writers. There are a bunch of things being said about the bible that don't hold up to scrutiny. Still we don't need to defend every claim about the bible. As a Catholic I just need to defend the claims the church makes. So what are those?

Essentially we believe scripture is written by human authors and inspired by the Holy Spirit. So the essence of what the Holy Spirit wants to communicate is presented without error but it does not mean no detail is ever incorrect. they are human stories as well. Human stories do get details wrong. Even the mistakes can be guided by the Holy Spirit to bring out deeper truths. The statement about 11 apostles could be pointing out the felt absence of Judas even though Thomas was also missing his absence was not felt the same way. 

The fact that Catholics don't believe in the bible alone does become relevant here. This notion of biblical inspiration does leave more room for interpretation than some more literal notions. We believe that God guides our interpretations through sacred tradition and the leadership of the church. That means this does not make the bible wishy-washy. So, for example, you can't say the virgin birth might be a details that the biblical authors got wrong. No. Tradition says they did not.


  1. Furthermore John says Jesus breathed the holy spirit on the apostles before pentecost, unlike in Acts, and Luke has Jesus say at the same time and place "Don't tell anyone about this until you receive power from on high". Imagine if this had been any other book or religion besides The Bible & Christianity.

    1. It is not so hard to imagine the Holy Spirit being received in different ways on multiple occasions. It is a matter of being charitable. Are you looking for excuses to dismiss the bible or are you looking to understand what it means?

    2. Neither. I am looking at it with this thing called "critical thinking", not a biased lens or making up Ad Hoc rationalizations for clearly worded texts. If Luke had meant that The Holy Spirit had been given right then and there, it would include the same text at that point that John does. But it does'nt. If you were a Muslim, or if something similar were in The Koran, you'd say this is a discrepancy. Imagine someone reading Harry Potter and reading "Molly Weasley said 'Don't eat desert until after dinner", then no dinner was mentioned. Then, in a different Harry Potter book by a different author, the words "Don't eat desert until after dinner" were omitted from the same scene set at the same time and set in the same place, and dinner was given. You'd say it's a contradiction, and that the two accounts cannot be rationally reconciled to one another without desperate Ad Hoc fallacies.

    3. I mean seriously, why tell someone "don't preach until I give you the Holy Spirit" if you were about to do so IMMEDIATELY? Your defense is totally arbitrary and made-up. You would dismiss it as just made up had it been any other religion. There's a book called "How "God" works". You should read it.

    4. Thanks for the reply. I was wondering if you would find this back because many of the normal reminders I rely on are unlikely to work from this blog. So I am glad you get back here.

      I never said you were not doing critical thinking. What I am suggesting is there is a charitable way to do critical thinking that tries to make issues smaller by deliberately choosing the reading of the text most favorable to Christianity. I will concede that if you approach the bible looking for reasons to reject it you will find them. So to take your dessert example, you might suggest a smaller snack might have been referred to as dessert in one text and not in another. That can make the issue go away.

      Certainly the notion of Holy Spirit being give is much more open to different meanings than the notion of eating dessert. Even today Christians often mean very different things when talking about the Holy Spirit moving. Even the same person can use the phrase in different ways. Language is like that. So no, I don't think your argument holds any water.

  2. Had this been any other book besides The Bible or any other religion, you'd mock this as a desperate Ad Hoc fallacy.

    1. Your link does not apply here. I am not sure why it calls the fallacy ad hoc rescue. The ad hoc fallacy is something else. So the name seems odd.

      Anyway, the rescue part seems like more about emotional bias making us look for arguments that lead to conclusions we like. We can see that in other people. I can see it in you. You like can see it in me. It is common.

      What I did has nothing to do with either point. I showed why your refutation fails because you misunderstood the thing you were trying to refute. That is known as the straw man fallacy.

    2. Had this been any other book, you'd never say that is a valid defense under critical thinking. Of course your argument is Ad Hoc: You made up a groundless rationalization out of nowhere, one that you'd dismiss as mere groundless, illogical, desperate rationalization if applied to any other religion. That is the exact definition of an Ad Hoc fallacy. I am not misunderstanding Scripture, only looking at it from the perspective of Critical Thinking. While you are just making things up because you don't want to follow logic to where it would lead you.

    3. Actually that is not the definition of ad hoc. It is more like the definition of non sequitur. I am not sure how you know how I would react to another book. I can often see when reading arguments against the Book or Mormon or the Koran that it will be completely unconvincing to an adherent of that faith. What you need for that is a contradiction on a question that matters. They happen. Not in Catholicism but in other faiths. Still I hope I am charitable enough not to claim minor difficulties are show stoppers.

    4. A non-sequitur is something like: "All mean are human. Mary is a human. therefore Mary is a man.". The conclusion does not follow from the premise. An Ad Hoc fallacy is: Obviously not all genera of birds and land animals could've fit onto a ship with the size and shape The Bible says Noah's Ark had. Therefore not all genera were brought aboard and the millions that exist today developed from them via an impossible mutation rate.". It's something not implied by The Bible at all, which they simply made up to resolve the problem. And yes, Christians have actually used this as an argument.

    5. Catholic dogma is that The Bible is entirely breathed in by The Holy Spirit. So even one discrepancy or mistranslation, no matter how small, disproves Catholicism all together. And there are far more serious discrepancies, of course. Otherwise protestantism wouldn't have 20,000+ denominations: The Bible is a poorly written hodgepodge of contradictions. Just go on youtube & watch a debate about Sola Fide. No one will ever win because The Bible clearly, clearly contradicts itself on this vital topic. I have read The Bible, scrutinized it, even, and know this. I have also repeatedly scrutinized (Repeatedly scrutinized after paying for understanding, even) The Gospels and found that #1 Jesus is not satisfactorily demonstrated to have fulfilled actual messianic prophecies that are actually found in Jewish Tradition at all, and #2 The Crucifixion and Resurrection accounts, the most important parts in all The Bible, have irreconcilable inconsistancies between all four gospels, beyond a reasonable doubt.

    6. Christians have used bad arguments before. I grant you that. The mutation thing sounds weak. Still the bible does suggest that the flood is a supernatural event. Doing a natural analysis of a supernatural event is a bit strange. Catholics are not required to believe that story is literally true so we have a lot more freedom than fundamentalists. I do agree that many Christians do make claims about the bible that do not stand up to logical scrutiny. Not a reason to reject Christianity. Just those problematic forms of it.

    7. The Bible never says the flood was supernatural. It gives an exact date it happened, exact duration, is mentioned as if it were real throughout the Old and New Testaments, etc. all as if the authors of The Bible expected readers to think of it as literal history. A Pope writing Human Generis or whatever in 1950 in response to people pointed out the obvious impossibilities found in the first ten chapters of The Bible having actually occurred writing that "Well, I'm The Pope, & since I'm The Pope if I say it does'nt have to be seen as history in order for you to still be Catholic, despite mounds of Bible verses and rationality, then I'm right." is mere after-the-fact defense/weak rationalization after it's already too late, and you'd dismiss it had it been any other religion.

    8. Catholic dogma is that The Bible is entirely breathed in by The Holy Spirit. So even one discrepancy or mistranslation, no matter how small, disproves Catholicism all together.

      That is precisely what explained is not true. The bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit but written by human authors. Human authors can get details wrong. The Holy Spirit can protect them from error and when it matters He does. He just does not always.

      Discrepancies like this have been widely discussed by Christians and Jews before them since Genesis was written. Guess what? Gen 1 and 2 give 2 different creation accounts. That was discussed by Rabbi's many centuries before Christ. If the bible is really the word of God should we expect it to be straight forward?

  3. In fact, looking again, you only have an Ad Hoc rationalization for one of my points, the crystal clear mutually exclusive nature of Luke 24:21 with John 20:24-26. And something similar been in The Scripture of any other religion, you'd say it clearly proves that religion is hogwash. But because of your cognitive dissonance, bias, and fear of the truth, you desperately try to rationalize it, even though subconsciously you know these verses prove Christianity wrong. I was like you for years, and argued Ad Hoc rationalizations of morally indefensible teachings and clear contradictions in The Bible for years.

    1. You keep making bold claims for your argument. Yet you don't even try to show why my explanation does not totally defeat your objection. That is the essence of logic. Not to accuse people of fallacies all day long. It is to show why something is a fallacy and something else is a valid argument that I should find persuasive. This comes across more as insults than as logic.

    2. I am not accusing you of fallacies, I am DEMONSTRATING your fallacies. You are denying the very obvious here by saying "That's not an example of that fallacy" when any who reads the definition of that fallacy can see it is.

    3. Fallacies are self-explanatory, like math. I do not need to show why simply making up rationalizations is a fallacy, it's self explanatory.

    4. I don't agree that you have demonstrated anything fallacious about my reasoning. You have not really tried to do that. I would describe your response as very energetic but not very rational.

      Logic is not self explanatory. Neither is math. Try explaining why you think what you think. Also try listening and understanding why the other person thinks what they think. Then the conversation has a chance of being productive.

      You might start by telling a bit of your story. What was your religious background and how did you end up where you are. Not sure if you have posted that on line anywhere.

  4. You are part of a search and rescue for lost Catholics.

    Regular updates to the countdown to the Day of the Lord by the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven at :

    What to expect in the final days :

    I was guided to think, for a while, using the "1335 = 2300" methodology, explained here :

    We are less than 15 days away from prophetic history : the completion of the 2300 day cleansing period of Daniel 8:14. When Jesus said to me, "Give in now, John, until it comes time to fulfill all justice.", He was referencing that point in time between "this age" and "the age to come". That point in time is between December 29, 2018 A.D. and December 30, 2018 A.D. There is no changing this by human means.

  5. Catholic must know Dogma > Ripped from your soul.
    If you're at all interested in knowing ... the Catholic Dogma ... that we *must believe* to
    get to Heaven, and which you have *never* seen ...

    I list it on my website > >

    And no ... the anti-Christ vatican-2 heretic cult (founded in 1965) is not the Catholic Church (founded in 33 A.D.).

    There are over 200 heresies against Catholic Dogma ... in the "vatican-2 council" documents ...50 listed on Section 12 (followed by Catholic corections) >

    Being outside ... the Catholic Church in any heresy ... leaves one with no chance of getting to Heaven.

    Physical participation in a heretic cult (vatican-2, lutheran, evangelical, etc) ... automatically excommunicates you from the Catholic Church (that is, Christianity) >

    Mandatory ... Abjuration of heresy to enter the Catholic Church >

    Dogma that one must Abjure to leave the vatican-2 heretic cult and enter the Catholic Church >

    The BIBLE says ... 15 TIMES ... it is not the authority on Faith,
    the BIBLE says the Church in it's Dogma and Doctrine ... is the authority on Faith and the definition of the Catholic Faith ...

    The Catholic God knows ... what we think and believe ...

    Catholic writing of Romans 1:21 >
    "They ... became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened."

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Deuteronomy 31:21 >
    "For I know their thoughts, and what they are about to do this day."

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Job 21:27 >
    "Surely I know your thoughts, and your unjust judgments against Me."
    Regards – Victoria