Conservapedia talk:Is the Bible Inerrant?

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Question on the "wise men"

The counter-objection to "Who visited Jesus in his crib?" says, "Ah, no - sorry! Merely 'where the young child was'!".

Is this meant as a retraction? If not, perhaps it means that you've missed the point of the objection. The point is that the magi didn't visit Jesus in the manger/crib/inn, despite all those nativity scenes showing otherwise.

Firstly, the text says that they visited him "in the house". Secondly, they presumably saw the star when he was born, but spent some time travelling to Bethlehem via Jerusalem, with Herod asking them about when they saw the star. Thirdly, presumably on the basis of their answer, Herod had all the boys up to two years old. Taken together, all these clues indicate that whilst the shepherds visited the new-born Jesus, the magi visited the toddler Jesus up to two years later.

Ergo, no contradiction.

By the way, it's good to see you remove a couple of "contradictions". Keep doing that and you'll eventually have to admit that there are none! :-)

Philip J. Rayment 06:31, 29 March 2007 (EDT)

Keep going yourself, and you'll hang yourself eventually! ;0) --Petrus 06:35, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
Why do we even have this list? It's all context switching!--bill m 12:07, 29 March 2007 (EDT) 12:46, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
I don't understand what you mean by "context switching".
I'm sure from Petrus' point of view, this article (which he created as "Bible Contradictions") is intended to show that the Bible has mistakes, so cannot be infallible.
From my point of view, this article is/can-be useful to show (a) that many of the common bibliosceptic attacks on the Bible are just silly, and (b) the more legitimate criticisms do have answers.
Philip J. Rayment 22:31, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
Not sure about the 'context-switching'. Personally, I'm not referring to 'contexts', but merely listing texts that appear to contradict each other. If others insist on bringing in 'contexts' to justify their objections (which usually means 'interpretations'), good luck to them - but it will merely weaken their case. --Petrus 06:33, 30 March 2007 (EDT)
You miss the beauty of exegesis, Petre, one can make the bible say virtually anything. NousEpirrhytos 14:18, 30 March 2007 (EDT)
As certain people, with their constant recourse to exegetical twisters, should have realised by now! ;) --Petrus 05:35, 31 March 2007 (EDT)
No doubt. But I wonder if they've realised that in the process they've made the Bible say virtually nothing -- it all becomes a maddening din of pseudo-hosannahs, the rumblings of a schizophrenic god and apoplectic apocalypses. NousEpirrhytos 06:07, 31 March 2007 (EDT)
Especially as Hosanna means, not 'Hooray', but 'Save us now' - so they can't have shouted Hosanna to... anyone! ;) --Petrus 11:31, 31 March 2007 (EDT)


Why is there discussion going on in the article? Rob PommerTALK 12:48, 29 March 2007 (EDT)

The only reason one may need to resolve possible contradictions of the Bible is to shore-up the belief that it needs to be taken literally, whenever possible.
If one allows for errors in the Bible then the whole makes more than the sum of the parts. Rob PommerTALK 12:52, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
Yes, why have an "article" which is a debate? The debate (if we really need one) should be here and later put to the article.--bill m 12:07, 29 March 2007 (EDT) 12:55, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
It's a moot point. The article was never designed to be a discussion - merely a listing of points pro and con, which is perfectly legitimate IMO. Call it an 'interactive article' if you like - but I don't see why an article shouldn't be interactive in a 'live' encyclopedia. Rather that than the uneditable, monolithic, ex cathedra pronouncements elsewhere in Conservapedia!... --Petrus 06:44, 30 March 2007 (EDT)
Rob Pommer: Answering alleged contradictions is not to shore up belief, but to refute bibliosceptical attacks on the Bible: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God..." (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV). I don't follow the logic of your second point about the sum of the parts.
Rob Pommer and bill m: I'm not comfortable with the format. I think it should be in the form of the criticism (the alleged contradiction) and an objection to it. To have an objection to the objection, and an objection to the objection to the objection , does get rather silly.
Philip J. Rayment 22:40, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
Yes, that's true. Let's try and keep it down to an objection and a possible counter-objection wherever possible. Leave the reader to decide on the merits of that. In any case, keep it brief, and don't drag in all kinds of external commentators to try and argue the case by flattening the opposition, other than by footnote-reference. You may have noticed that my sole references are to the texts themselves. --Petrus 06:44, 30 March 2007 (EDT)
You used the actual texts? How quaint. NousEpirrhytos 14:19, 30 March 2007 (EDT)

Poor Bible exegesis offered at this

I believe there is very poor Bible exegesis offered at this article. I put some sources at the beginning of the article in order to give readers an alternative.

Specifically, I offered these web resources:

Conservative 20:04, 29 March 2007 (EDT)conservative

Conservative, perhaps you missed that two of those sites were already used in some of the objections. But thanks for adding the other two. Philip J. Rayment 22:43, 29 March 2007 (EDT)
But in that case shouldn't some skeptical sources be linked, too? In its original format, the article didn't cite any critical sources - for either side. In fact, in my view, that is much the best idea. Originally it didn't have anything to do with exegesis - merely with what the texts actually say. Citing exterior sources (other than the texts themselves) merely drags in a whole 'war of the commentators' that can only lead to just as much confusion and uncertainty as before. --Petrus 06:50, 30 March 2007 (EDT)
Yes indeedy they should.
Still missing the beauty of exigesis, though eh? I mean, think of all the really neat things Nostradamus never said but really did per the use of a non-biblical form of exegesis. Think of all of the UFO mysteries that are cleared up in the same fashion. NousEpirrhytos 14:28, 30 March 2007 (EDT)

Not to be nit-picky but...

The portion: *Can the Sun and Moon ever appear together in the sky at the same time?

Psalm 136:8-9 No. God created "The sun to rule by day...The moon and stars to rule by night." Genesis 1:16: No. God created "two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night..."

Objection 2: The passages in Psalms and Genesis should be taken figuratively rather than literally and thus do not mean that the Moon is always visible at night, nor that it is never visible during the day.

I'd advise caution here unless it is your intent TO bring up the "when do we know we're supposed to take the Bible literally and when to take it figuratively" argument. Not really a point, just an observation.-- Crackertalk 09:47, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

I suppose the real issue here is that one cannot claim infallibility when one ceases to be literal. Once one wanders of into the realm of allegory and uses figurative devices "truth" becomes subjective. In other words, the Bible is either the literal truth or it's allegory, but once you allow for the latter you can lay no claim to the former. NousEpirrhytos 06:02, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
So are you suggesting that if someone you were talking to on the telephone said that "it's raining cats and dogs here", you would have no idea whether or not that was literally true? Is it not the case that metaphor, parable, analogy, etc. can be recognised by the context and/or the language, and that it is therefore possible to take literally the parts that are meant to be taken literally whilst acknowledging the existence of non-literal parts? Philip J. Rayment 06:24, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
Most people I know don't claim to be infallible. Myk 02:39, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Philip, your argument falls apart for several reasons. Myk has pointed out one of them: if no claim of infallibility is made or implied, there is no reason to assume same. Another is that as many literalists purport that every word of the bible is the infallible word of God, they simply can't turn around and say, "oh, that part? that's just a story". NousEpirrhytos 05:43, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
I couldn't actually see the point of Myk's comment. Claiming or not claiming infallibility says nothing about whether or not something is metaphor, parable, etc.
I think you've got the wrong idea about infallibility. Christians believe that the entire Bible is inspired by God and is therefore infallible, but that means that it infallibly records people doing the wrong thing, infallibly records the lies that people told, etc. It does not mean that every word is literally true and that literary devices such as metaphor and parable are not used.
Philip J. Rayment 06:49, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Clarity in language is important. If something is claimed to be infallible, it best be awfully clear in its language. Go up to someone who has just learned how to speak English and tell them it's raining cats and dogs, see what kind of reaction you get. Further, in biblical times a rain of cats and dogs doesn't seem that implausible (see: Plague of Frogs).
Literal truth of the bible means just that. Literal, not metaphorical. Myk 12:52, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
That something claimed to be infallible should be clear is your opinion, not a requirement of infallibility.
We are talking about infallibility, not literalism. Despite NousEpirrhytos' comment below, they are two distinct concepts. Philip J. Rayment 22:10, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Myk, I think we're arguing logic with the wrong person. BTW, Phil, generally speaking infallible, inerrant and literal are used interchangeably when used by fundamentalists and evangelicals.
Another BTW, Phil, do you claim to speak for all Christians? NousEpirrhytos 18:45, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
I disagree that "infallible" and "inerrant" are generally used interchangeably with "literal" when used by fundamentalists and evangelicals. Perhaps some uninformed Christians use them interchangeably, but they are clearly different things. I see bibliosceptics conflating them more than I see Christians conflating them. ("Infallible" and "inerrant" may be used interchangeably, as they are very close if not identical in meaning.)
Of course I don't claim to speak for all Christians. Philip J. Rayment 22:10, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
You are of course free to your own opinion. Unfortunately as I have seen (in print) and heard Biblethumpers using the words interchangeably, I really can't agree with you.
But, y'know what cracks me up, your use of "bibliosceptics", a neologism that does not mean what you think it does (look up "bibliophile" and ye shall find understanding). In any case, you seem to think that treating the bible just like one would treat any other book is a bad thing -- in reality, in casting a critical eye on books one can gain much wisdom. Alas, I suppose you're content to settle for a belief in salvation, staying far away from the tree of knowledge (after all, you might find that some things you thought to be good are evil, and those you thought to be evil, good). NousEpirrhytos 18:31, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

What's this article trying to achieve?

Actually, I think the answer to that question, as far as the original editor is concerned, is obvious. It's to discredit the Bible as the infallible Word of God. My reason for having it (as I added to it) is to demonstrate that the alleged contradictions are not in fact contradictions.


Is it the intention to list every "contradiction" ever claimed? Because if it is, there is no way to achieve that without making the page ridiculously large. Perhaps it is to just show a few samples? But so far there's been no discussion about what sorts of alleged contradictions should be included.

And frankly, many of the allegations are plain silly. In fact I quoted someone saying that about one of the alleged contradictions, and Petrus removed the comment. Fair enough, it was supposed to be an answer to the allegation, not a commentary on the allegation, so I didn't restore it. But it needs to be said somewhere. Let's look at this one a bit closer, because it epitomises the problems with the list.

Two sayings (aka proverbs) that most would be familiar with are:

  • Many hands make light work.
  • Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Are these two sayings contradictory? Taken literally, then yes they are. But does anyone object to them on those grounds? Of course not. Despite them probably being coined by different people at different times, the validity of both is accepted, because neither claims to be always true and both have their place. Sometimes, more helpers ease the burden on others, but at other times too many people result in them getting in each other's way.

So what are we to make of a proverb in the Bible that says, 'Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."? Is this seriously a contradiction, or like the saying above, are both sentences true in some cases?

To claim that they are contradictory, one must:

  • Ignore the fact that they are sayings, not truth-claims that have no exceptions, and read the text literally. Bibliosceptics love to criticise Creationists and fundamentalists for reading the Bible literally, despite them repeatedly saying that they only do this where it was meant literally, whilst still recognising metaphors, parables, etc. Yet here we have a bibliosceptic reading the text literally in order to make a claim of a contradiction.
  • Presume that the original author was so incompetent that he would write two consecutive sentences contradicting each other, apparently without realising it.
  • Further presume that many others who included the book of Proverbs in the canon, or who copied it over and over, or who write commentaries on it, are also so incompetent that they never noticed the "contradiction".
  • Reject these sorts of explanations and maintain that it is a contradiction, with the astounding observation that the text doesn't say "this", meaning the answer given. Well the sayings above don't say that they are both true in different circumstances either, but that is something people are simply expected to understand.

Then we have the case of the number of stables that Solomon had. Christians who believe that the Bible is infallible do not believe that all human translations and copies are infallible, but that the original autographs were (although they do believe that the copies are very accurate copies). So if they occasionally answer that an apparent contradiction is a copyist error (as in the case of the number of stables), it does not follow that the Bible is therefore not infallible, except in the mind of the bibliosceptic who is doing his best to find all the contradictions he can, perhaps to bolster his own faith. Keep in mind that the answer to that "contradiction" included a link (and remember that Petrus doesn't want to include links) that explained all that. Neither does he want the sort of long explanations that including all that in the article would entail.

I'm not saying that all claimed contradictions are silly. Some claims of contradictions are fair enough, in that they really do appear to be contradictions, and deserve to be answered. The number of stables one is an example, but the article should state the apparent contradiction, provide the answer, and leave it at that.

In summary, many claimed contradictions in the Bible are nothing more than bibliosceptics grasping at straws and applying criteria that they wouldn't apply in any other situation, in order to try and prove their viewpoint that the Bible is fallible. I don't believe that this article should waste its time on those sorts of "contradictions".

Philip J. Rayment 06:30, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Hmmm....shall I take the time to point out all of the fallacies of the above? Part of me would like to write a long refutation, but the wiser part knows this to be fruitless. So, I'll just give one example:
* Many hands make light work. * Too many cooks spoil the broth. You're assuming that the statements are equal but there is a quantitative difference: yes, many hands may make the work easier but at a certain point, the people begin tripping over each other and thus, as they actually impede the work, there is a point, the ne plus ultra, that tips the balance from a comfy many to a disastrous too many. No contradiction. NousEpirrhytos 05:50, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Thank you for supporting my point! To quote Petrus' counter-objection to the very "contradiction" I was discussing here, "But the text does not actually say this."
I figured it would probably be fruitless to convince you blokes too, but I tried anyway.
Philip J. Rayment 06:47, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
While we're on the topic:
"He who hesitates is lost" / "Look before you leap"
"Cut your losses and let your profits run" / "Buy low, sell high."
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder" / "Out of sight, out of mind"
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." / "Don't beat a dead horse."
19:45, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Excellent examples! - in fact there are few well-known proverbs that don't also have their opposites. But then that makes the point perfectly. No given 'pair' is likely to have been produced by the same person. Their very oppositeness suggests different hands with different views, not a single, monolithic author.

And no, my purpose wasn't 'to discredit the Bible as the infallible Word of God' - merely to provoke people actually to look at the words (in some cases, apparently for the first time!) and decide for themselves whether that proposition is really tenable in the light of the facts. Thus, 'to discredit the dogma that the Bible is the infallible Word of God', possibly. But about the Bible I'm perfectly neutral. It's indubitably there, and it indubitably says what it says. I merely urge that people read it through clear glass, not stained glass. It's better for the eyes, you know!--Petrus 11:45, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

Yet you appear to be reading it through the eyes of a hyper-literalist, rather than as it was meant to be understood. Philip J. Rayment 11:56, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

How do you know how it is "meant" to be understood? How do you know, for instance, that Genesis 1 was meant to be understood literally? Chrysogonus 18:54, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

...other than by reading it through stained glass? Why can't the text simply be allowed to say what it says, warts and all, without imposing your own dogmas and preconceptions on it - such as the man-made myth of God-given infallibility? Isn't this perilously close to biblolatry, in direct infringement of the spirit of the second commandment? Do you honestly think the Bible needs your protection from the light of reality, let alone that of all the commentators whom Conservative seems intent on importing into the argument? --Petrus 06:53, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

As noted above, it is best to read the bible in a literary manner, that is to say, the same way you'd read any other book. I've always been amused by folks who dismiss Odysseus tricking the cyclops to save his men as far-fetched mythology and yet cling to the almost parallel David v Goliath story. Both stories are allegorical myths, not litteral renderings of "history". NousEpirrhytos 08:27, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
You determine how something is meant to be understood by the language used (e.g., does it conform to the style of poetry, narrative, etc.?), and by the culture for whom it was written. If, for example, a sentence said "The rock landed on the marquee", would you understand it to mean that the rock landed on a large tent, or on a canopy projecting out over the entrance to a large building? The correct answer depends on whether the writer was writing for an Australian or British audience, or an American audience. You can also look at how others who would know how to read it understood it, if such records exist. For example, Jesus referred to various aspects of the Genesis narrative as though it was historical fact; He didn't understand it as allegorical myth. Philip J. Rayment 08:48, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Precisely. The Genesis narrative was written for (and by) a people living nearly three thousand years ago, and Jesus lived two thousand years ago. That cultural difference is the whole explanation of why the narrative doesn't say, 'The Earth was formed as a result of the agglomeration of cosmic dust some 4,500 million years ago', and why Jesus didn't understand it that way: none of the concepts involved was understood at the time. (Just as well that, as a healer, he had never heard of the symptomatology of schizophrenia!) --Petrus 11:08, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Jesus was the Creator, so he would know, and He endorsed what Genesis said. Philip J. Rayment 11:58, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, technically, the only thing we know is that second-hand accounts claimed that Jesus endorsed what Genesis said. We ain't got nothin' from Jesus himself. Jesus didn't write anything. --ReaganLives 08:46, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
If you want to get technical about it, the ultimate author of the Bible was God, Jesus is God, ergo Jesus is the author of the Bible, so we do have it from Jesus Himself. Philip J. Rayment 09:33, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
I think Jesus is inerrant, therefore he couldn't have written the Bible. Too many internal consistencies. Why don't you believe Jesus is inerrant? Are you a liberal? --ReaganLives 12:55, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
I suspect that what you've typed there is not what you meant to type, but as typed, it doesn't make sense. Philip J. Rayment 01:40, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Or so it's reported in the Gospels.
Also, if you read the bible in the cultural context, something that is part of any literary reading or scholarship, you'd understand why, for example, the creation stories are written as they are. They are attempts to explain the then unknowable "whence came we?", but from different perspectives, separated in time by about 160 years. NousEpirrhytos 09:11, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
I agree that it should be understood in its cultural context; that's effectively one of the things I've been saying. But I disagree that the cultural context is that of trying to explain the unknowable. If the Bible is correct, the "unknowable" was revealed by God, thus known. I don't understand the reference to 160 years. Philip J. Rayment 10:20, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Then, I would suggest you indulge your curiosity in some real Bible scholarship, rather than reading only those interpretations meant to make members of the evangelical community feel more secure in their argumenta ad ignoratium. I can suggest two well-respected books, based on true interdisciplinary scholarship, if you wish.
BTW, what's with the edit summary "Jesus knew"? -- how would you (or anyone else for that matter) know what Jesus "knew". NousEpirrhytos 16:20, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for the condescending remarks. As the Creator, Jesus obviously knew how creation occurred. Philip J. Rayment 21:43, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Unless, of course, he wasn't and didn't. --Petrus 05:14, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
Vero, Petre. Interesting that Philip states religious dogma as fact. Note, Philip, that I did not use the theological title "Christ" (i.e., Jesus as God), but rather used his human name, thus referring to Jesus as a man. Thus, having clarified my question, I shall ask again: how would you (or anyone else for that matter) know what Jesus "knew". NousEpirrhytos 08:10, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
I was stating it in a matter-of-fact way because I was answering the question of how Jesus would know. That's how He would know, and in that context it was proper to put it in that way.
I fail to grasp the distinction that you are making between Jesus as God and Jesus as man, therefore my answer stands. Are you suggesting that the man Jesus was totally oblivious to what He had done as God?
Philip J. Rayment 09:33, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
Who said Jesus is God? --Petrus 11:58, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
The Bible does. Philip J. Rayment 12:39, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
But the Koran doesn't - and the Koran is the Word of God. --Petrus 10:54, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
So? You asked who does say it, and the Bible does say it, so the Koran not saying it doesn't change that. Philip J. Rayment 12:37, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
Further proof of the need to read. I'm talking about assuming Jesus to be just a man, not a god. Try to consider that will not harm your faith and you might even learn something in the process. Also, why not try (if you haven't, already) reading the bible without relying on exegesis or the opinions of others, there again you might learn something.
Obviously, I have no ken of precisely what you know or think, but it seems, based on what you've written here, that your knowledge is limited to monolithic dogma and that you might think that those of us who see the bible as a book are bereft of biblical knowledge (in the true sense, not some cosmic exegetical sense). NousEpirrhytos 10:50, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
Hey, if you want to get hypothetical and propose that Jesus was not God at all, then sure, he would not have known. But why not also hypothesise that Jesus didn't exist, or that the Bible was written by Shakespeare or something? The point is that I was answering a question about how I would know how Genesis was intended to be understood, and part of my answer was to rely on what Jesus understood it to mean. By "Jesus", I mean the bloke in the New Testament who was actually God and who was actually the Creator. That's what I meant by "Jesus". The response was to ask how Jesus would know if he wasn't God. Well sure, if He wasn't God, he wouldn't know, but I was answering the question according to my understanding of who Jesus was. Philip J. Rayment 11:49, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
On the basis of what evidence? --Petrus 11:55, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
The Bible. Philip J. Rayment 12:39, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, this discussion has gone as far as it can. The illogic displayed by Philip is a clear indication that he is not willing to learn anything, and that his lithocephalic attachment to what he "believes" will neither allow him to learn nor to debate in a rational manner. Sad, really. NousEpirrhytos 17:59, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
So now you accuse me of being illogical without showing that I have been illogical. Nice. Philip J. Rayment 03:47, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
'The Bible' (a whole library of different books, most of which don't even mention Jesus at all) is not evidence, any more than 'the police department's computer' is evidence that Joe Bloggs burgled your house. Cite the precise evidence that Jesus is God, or stop making such absurd claims as that he was the Creator (which even most traditional Christians don't believe) - ideas which, as a faithful Jew, he cannot possibly have supported himself. --Petrus 05:51, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
I can't see the analogy between the Bible and the police computer, but why can't the police computer contain the evidence of a burglary?
Are you unaware of the verses in the Bible that say that Jesus was the Creator? I can quote them if you want, but I suspect that you already know them and reject them for some reason.
Why couldn't Jesus have supported that idea?
Philip J. Rayment 08:49, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
Additional topic for study for Phillip: Judaism. 12:53, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for the non-answer. Philip J. Rayment 01:40, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Oh, it's most definitely an answer. A bit cryptic perhaps, but surely someone gifted in exegesis should be able to pluck the meaning out of the chasm of calypsis. NousEpirrhytos 15:43, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
No, it's telling me in what topic of study I could find an answer, bit it's not an answer itself. Philip J. Rayment 22:26, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Do you really think I'm going to continue in this vein? Yes it is, no it isn't, yes it is ... please, the bottom line is that you need to search out the answers on your own: as you seem to think that Petrus and I are clueless, there is little point in either of us explaining the answers to you. Seek and ye shall find! NousEpirrhytos 05:56, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Petrus' comment of 05:51, 8 April 2007 (EDT) shows but one example of Philip's illogic. Another example would be this sentence, "But why not also hypothesise that Jesus didn't exist, or that the Bible was written by Shakespeare or something?" This is an absurd extrapolation that has no basis in what I said, and as such is an illogical response. Also Philip, while I'm sure you're unaware of this, you should know that for nearly two millenia there have been raging debates within the Chistian community regarding to what extent and where Jesus can use his "supernaural" powers. For example -- for the crucifxion to be a valid sacrifice leading to salvation, Jesus must be all man during that period. Also, early Christianity were beset with a variety of "heresies" (litteraly "schools of thought) that, had they been adopted, would have profoundly changed your current beliefs. See Donatism, Manichaeism, Gnosticism, Marcionism, Montanism and Docetism. NousEpirrhytos 07:18, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
It is a rather large extrapolation, to make a point, but it's only an extrapolation, not an example of bad logic. Even if you are correct about Jesus needing to be all man (and I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing), how does that affect what I said? Philip J. Rayment 08:49, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
I can't think of any convincing evidence from the Bible that Jesus thought he was God, let alone the Creator - so perhaps you'd better enlighten us? Simple references will do. --Petrus 10:54, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
I hope you mean that you can't think of any references, rather than you can't think of any "convincing evidence", else I'm probably wasting my time. But here are two (both are talking about Jesus):
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3, NIV)
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:16, NIV)
(reduce indent)Equating Jesus with the nebulous "the Word" requires exegesis based on several bad assumptions. The actor (subject) in Colossians, in both the original Greek and the English, is unclear (likely intentionally), and the verses from 1:10 through 1:20 need to be considered in order for 1:16 to be read properly: it is not a standalone sentence, it is part of a series of subordinate clauses. Yanking biblical quotes out of context is one of the causes of poor understanding and is certainly poor scholarship. NousEpirrhytos 13:05, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
And yet you have not actually demonstrated that I used them out of context or inappropriately. Would Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV) be more acceptable?
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Philip J. Rayment 01:40, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
There's also Mark: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
As for Jesus himself, there's Matthew 16:13-17,
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
How do you parse this? It's not clear to me why Jesus consistently prefers to call himself the "Son of man," and the annotation in the Oxford Annotated Bible is rather vague: "Son of man, a title which Jesus used of himself, probably seemed to his listeners to carry either of two meanings: (a) that Jesus called himself a typical human being... or (b) that Jesus ... linked himself to the prophesied figure of Dan.7.13-14... Jesus nowhere fully discloses his own understanding of the term." Still, in the above passage, it seems to me that after Peter calls Jesus "the Son of the living God," Jesus endorses this as valid divine revelation to Peter. That isn't Jesus calling himself the Son of God, but isn't it awfully close?
Still, this brings up something that bothers me. When people say "the Bible says," sometimes it means "the Bible says," but quite often it means "someone in the Bible says."
For example, "the Bible" indeed says "And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."
But "the Bible" does not say "And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you." Rather, the Bible says Moses says God said this.
The problem here is whether or not everybody quoted in the Bible has equal authority. Are we allowed to make such judgements, or not? Does the Bible say "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing" and "a living dog is better than a dead lion?" If we're allowed to say, "no, that's not God, that's just Solomon," then why aren't we allowed to say about Romans 1:26-27, "no, that's not God, that's just Paul?" If everything in the Bible is of equal authority, then why do some Bibles print the words of Christ in red? If everything in the Bible is of equal authority, then why do so few Christians obey the kosher dietary laws? Dpbsmith 14:09, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
True, one must be careful to distinguish between what the Bible is teaching and what it is simply reporting. It does include reports of incorrect information by various people. But I believe that "the Bible says" is an acceptable way of describing your example about the creatures without fins and scales, given that it is quoting God. If it was quoting Satan, or an evil king, to mention two possibilities, then it would be quite misleading to say "the Bible says" in this case. Philip J. Rayment 01:40, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for sharing that tautology -- "the bible says this, so it must be true" -- and I agree that it is very troubling when arguments of this sort are presented: validation based on an original source is hardly very compelling. Basic problem is that these are written after Paul had established that Jesus was the "anointed one" -- note that the Greek Khristos is applied to both Jesus and David (among others), and the "anointed one" in Judaism is a son of man who becomes king ( a la David). NousEpirrhytos 14:41, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure what you are referring to with the tautology reference, because nobody said those precise words. But if you are referring to me, I don't believe that I said anything that amounts to that. If you think otherwise, please quote or clearly point to the precise thing I did say. However, your quote, as it stands, is not actually a tautology anyway. Philip J. Rayment 01:40, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

1. 'Son of God' does not mean 'God'. All Israelites were 'sons of God' by definition. That's why David claims the same title at Psalm 2:7 (at the same time making it clear that it's by adoption), and why Jesus was able to teach his followers to pray 'Our Father...'

2. 'The Messiah, the Son of God' seems to have been a pre-existing title at the time (cf Schonfield): it referred to the 'Son of God' (i.e. the archetypal Israelite) who was to come - the particular 'son of man' (bar enash or, in Hebrew, ben adam, which still means 'man' even today) referred to by the book of Daniel.

4. In your quote from the beginning of John, the 'and the Word was God' bit should almost certainly read 'and the Word was divine'. Otherwise it simply doesn't make sense in terms of the previous sentence, let alone in terms of the familiar Pharisaic doctrine of the logos (i.e. the Adam Kadmon, or man-thought-in-the-mind-of-God) that is reflected not only in the text, but in the traditional Jewish wedding service ('last in creation, first in thought').

5. Not only does the Koran not say that Jesus was God, it specifically denies that Jesus was even his son (i.e. in the normal sense of the word). So, since the Koran claims repeatedly to be the word of God, whereas the Bible doesn't claim to be (it can't have done, since it didn't exist as a book for the claim to be made at the time when it was written), it's clearly the Koran that should be believed, if anything...

6. You have told us what Paul thought about it and what John thought about it, but I asked you what Jesus thought about it. So far, you haven't told us a single word about that. Why are you being so evasive? Please give us convincing evidence from the Bible that Jesus thought he was God (let alone 'the Creator'). Just the simple references will do: no need to write a novel about it.

Oh - and if you must quote the passages concerned, please use a more reputable translation than the NIV! --Petrus 05:57, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Yes, thank you, Petre. Paul's opinions are nice, and without them Paulism, er Christianity might never have gotten off the ground, but they are merely Paul's opinions. Phil, you need to do a bit more reading into the logos theory (among all the other reading you really should do).
Phil, reread what Dpbsmith wrote, the problems to which he refered and perhaps you'll understand the point. Also, if English is the best you can do, pick a better source than the NIV. Of course, I have the advantage of being able to read Greek (the language of the NT), and as a linguist I know that no translation can capture precisely what was said in the other language (especially shades of meaning and double entendres), thus I am able to compare and contrast the sources and develop a fuller understanding of the text. NousEpirrhytos 06:30, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

I'm not continuing this discussion any more, as it has strayed far from the original topic yet the original points have mostly not been addressed. I'll give a few examples so that that is not just an unsubstantiated assertion.

  • I noted that there has been no discussion of what sorts of alleged contradictions should be listed. There has still been no such discussion.
  • I asked why a police computer could not contain evidence of a burglary. There was no reply to that question.
  • I said that the Bible said that Jesus was the Creator. I was asked to supply evidence that Jesus thought He was the Creator. I supplied evidence that the Bible referred to Jesus as the Creator. This was dismissed because it didn't show that Jesus thought that. But that is not what I claimed. I was actually asked to provide evidence to something I didn't claim, only to have my answer dismissed because it didn't meet the straw-man.

The discussion has also diverted into whether the Old Testament and the New Testament agree, which again is nothing to do with the issue I raised. All this discussion is taking time to answer, and it's time that I'm not prepared to spend any longer when the issues that I raised are not being addressed but are instead being used to launch into new criticisms.

See you all on other talk pages. Philip J. Rayment 09:01, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Protected debate page?

Whats the deal with the protected debate page? --Mtur 18:57, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

Conservative apparently went on a "Clean up unsourced statements" trip (blocked Hoji in the process for re-inserting things - who then unblocked himself because he's so awesome), not realizing that this is not in the Main space anymore. --Sid 3050 19:02, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
I then went to delete some other unsourced stuff. But, CPAdmin1 reverted it, and I have asked him why, because this is ridiculous to the Nth degree. --Hojimachongtalk 19:05, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

This "namespace" is a joke. It claimed people to be scholars who weren't

Hoji wrote to me regarding Conservapedia:Alleged Bible contradictions the following: " It is a Conservapedia: namespace, is NOT AN ARTICLE, and does NOT need citations."

I can't think of anything more detrimental to Conservapedia than to be filled with "Namespaces" (whatever those are) because people can say just about any foolish thing without backing it up.

The "contradiction" page is a monstrosity claiming people to be "critical scholars" who have no real credentials (Unix systems engineer), etc.

What's with this whole "namespace" idea?

Conservative 19:13, 5 April 2007 (EDT)conservative

The namespace means its not a real article and lets people bicker back and foreth without the threat of getting banned. Citations are not needed (unless you presume to go clean up the other Conservapedia namespace articles that lack citations). What are your credentials anyways? --Mtur 19:16, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Especially where the introductory remarks merely refer to what generally happens - on both sides of the argument! One almost gets the impression that somebody is afraid to have both sides stated! Such paranoia is both unworthy and unnecessary. --Petrus 06:58, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
*sigh* Ask first, act then. It's not quantum physics. "Namespace" = a sort of container, filled with articles. All regular articles are in the "Main" namespace (for example, Theory of evolution is in the main namespace). Article Talk pages (like Talk:Theory of evolution) are in the "Talk" namespace. Same goes for pages in the "Help" namespace (all articles starting with "Help:...") or the "Conservapedia" namespace (like this "article").
Articles in the "Conservapedia" namespace are NOT regular articles. All debates are in it, along with a few special pages about Conservapedia itself. This "article" was moved from the "Main" namespace to the "Conservapedia" namespace - most likely BECAUSE it's not a normal article and more of a debate.
As you may have noticed, debates fall a bit out of the normal rules - not everything must be sourced (althouth it helps). Original research and argumentation is naturally a part of a debate, so it's completely counter-intuitive to suddenly "clean up" things - you're destroying a debate archive. --Sid 3050 19:24, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
This is a prime example of why, instead of reverting blindly without even understanding the Wiki model, you should consult other editors. --Hojimachongtalk 19:32, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

"Contradictions need to be proved"

Looks like a long paragraph of someone's personal opinion. Is there a source somewhere that defines what a "Biblical contradiction" is? A generally accepted rulebook that says whom the "onus" is upon and so forth? Dpbsmith 16:33, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

A biblical contradiction is the same as any other contradictions, and contradictions are generally the responsibility of the speaker/writer or his/her representatives to clear up. NousEpirrhytos 16:38, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

I do not understand this argument.

Could someone please explain to me how Personal remark removed this is a sensible argument to have? The collection of works called the bible was written over thousands of years by a load of different guys in various languages, with different agendas, different points of view, and using their limited understanding of the world as it was at the time they wrote it. Following this, bits were lost, added to, lost again, and then transcribed, translated, re-transcribed, re-translated etc. by a whole load of different guys all struggling to make sense out of a fragmented text in a different language, sno longer spoken. How on earth would anyone expect that there would not be inaccuracies and contradictions arising from that process?

... and if you claim that 'God guided the hand of the writers, translators etc...", think again. Why on earth (or in heaven) would he bother? Wouldn't it have been much simpler to write the thing once and set it in stone for all time, and ensure that his word was preserved intact? If God actually wanted that, then that was what he would have done. Come on guys, think about it... even if you are a believer, the real point about having a bible is that it does contain inaccuracies. No believer can be 100% sure that God has not deliberately inserted inaccuracies, simply so that mankind is forced into a debate about 'higher' matters, such as his existence, what the passages actually mean, and the moral and ethical debates ensuing; non-believers of couse just say that that it's just a disparate load of stories & prejudices, to be taken with a pinch of salt.

What you cannot claim, by any sensible and logical reading of the situation, is that it is bible infallible. How on earth could it be, or more importantly, why would it be?

--CatWatcher 12:53, 7 April 2007 (EDT)

A very brief answer: In your first paragraph, you are drawing conclusions on the basis of premises that are not accepted by Christians who believe the Bible in inerrant, and you have not shown those premises to be true. In your second paragraph, you are claiming to know what God would think is the best thing to do, and what you consider reasonable. Perhaps He sees it differently to you. The first sentence of your third paragraph amounts to an assertion with no substance. Philip J. Rayment 13:22, 7 April 2007 (EDT)

(i) You mean that people do not believe that the bible was written over thousands of years by different authors? Where did it come from then?
(ii) If I cannot know the mind of God, then how can anyone? In which case how do you know what I claim about the mind of God isn't true? Surely by claiming that the bible (which you take to be the word of God) is true, you are claiming to know the mind of God, and are therefore guilty of what I stand accused.
(iii) I am not asserting anything in the last sentence; I am denying an assertion made by others on the basis of a logical argument carried out in the two paragraphs above.

--CatWatcher 13:42, 7 April 2007 (EDT)

  1. No, I agree it was written over about 2000 years by a number of different authors. But you made a lot more claims that just that.
  2. I'm not saying that nobody can know anything about the mind of God, but to claim to know the best way for God to have done something presumes that you know all the possible implications of doing it in different ways. It's like a surveyor mapping the best route for a new railway, then you come along and say that it would have been better to go a different way, not realising that the surveyor knew more about the situation than you, and the way you propose has some unstable ground along the route, or some other problem that you hadn't been aware of.
  3. You are asserting that others cannot claim the Bible to be infallible.
Philip J. Rayment 04:17, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
Personal remark removed Cat's slightly off with his/her dating, but not drastically off. The Pentateuch was written over a 160-200 year span beginning about 720 BCE, with the prophetic material being written as late as 100 BCE. The NT was written between the 5th decade of the first century CE up to (possibly) as late as 120 CE, with editing going on into the 3rd century.
The relevancy of whether the premises are supported by bible inerrantists escapes me. History is replete with the dogmatic detritus of the denials of reality by various relious sects.
Cat's point re the second paragraph is correct -- you base your denial on a circular argument that only true believers of your ilk can "know the mind of god" and the rest of us are bereft of any comprehension. This is an untenable and preposterous argument, a tautology of the first magnitude.
What, precisely, is Cat asserting in the third paragraph? Nothing that I can see (other than, perhaps, a disagreement with previous assertions). NousEpirrhytos 17:40, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
Some people believe that the Pentateuch was written from around 720 B.C. onwards (I know that already, it's not a lack of education on my part), but other people believe differently. If you were unaware of that, perhaps you need to educate yourself.
I'm sorry that the relevance escapes you, but what you are doing is simply denigrating people who hold a different view by claiming, without evidence, that they are denying reality. How about proving your case (if you can) instead of just throwing insults?
My argument was not tautologous, but perhaps you misunderstood what I was saying and hopefully my reply to CatWatcher has clarified matters.
See my reply to CatWatcher for what she was asserting.
Philip J. Rayment 04:17, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
In paragraph 3 I am contending that no-one could possibly claim that the bible is infallible, either pragmatically or theologically. Pragmatically it is a distillation of different sources which cannot in principle be expected to agree; theologically it must either be fallible or open to doubt. If it is neither, then it is both valid and indisputable. This means that God has provided us with a document which proves his existence; hence faith is not required, as we have his telephone number & address. The fact that he requires us to have faith, means that the bible, in principle must therefore either be fallible or questionable. QED.

--CatWatcher 18:11, 7 April 2007 (EDT)

Works for me. NousEpirrhytos 19:50, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure that I totally follow your reasoning there, but the problem is with your definition of faith, which, biblically, is trust, based on evidence. You seem to be assuming that faith is belief held without evidence. See here for a better explanation. Philip J. Rayment 04:17, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, Philip, you've proven one of my suspicions -- you do rely on the exegesis and opinions of other insofar as they suppoort your belief system. Now, try to find, for example, a discussion of faith that is not from an apologetics site. Faith is very much the belief in things for which there is no logical basis, no physical proof, no evidence (except in the mind of a believer -- the tautology of faith). Why are you seemingly so afraid to go outside the safe realm of apologetics and look into other opnions? NousEpirrhytos 07:30, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
1) Many people do, in fact claim that the Bible is infallible theologically.
2) A lesser but significant number do claim that the Bible is infallible pragmatically.
3) "If it happens, it's possible."
4) Ergo, you must be wrong when you say "no-one could possibly claim" these things.
Take a look at TerryH's comments in the opening paragraphs of Conservapedia:Is the Bible a reliable source of history against which one may check all other sources? for an example of someone who takes Biblical accuracy pretty seriously. Dpbsmith 20:35, 7 April 2007 (EDT)

Despite Phil's protestations, faith is defined by believing something without evidence. Faith is a feeling, often a decision, to believe in something grander than nature/science. When one is overwhelmed with religious feeling or epiphany, this is a subjective phenomenon. As most of us know, applying science to God rarely leaves either smelling right. Dawkins denies the value of the concept of nonoverlapping magisteria, but it really is a useful concept, and probably more so for Theists than Atheists. I don't want someone coming after my faith with an electron microscope.--PalMDtalk 14:17, 8 April 2007 (EDT)

PalMD is correct on all counts. Faith is a very personal thing, a subjective experience based as much on a longing for purpose as any active decision to believe, It is also much like a drug -- epiphantic moments trigger the same release of chemicals as most euphoria-causing drugs. There is a close affinity between the faithful and people who are substance-dependant: both need to rely on internalised experience based on an external catalyst to reach some form of temporary fulfillment or psychological rapture/ecstacy. NousEpirrhytos 14:29, 8 April 2007 (EDT)
No, PalMD is not correct. He says "despite [my] protestations", but has said nothing to refute the linked article which explains why faith is what I said it is. Instead, he has simply asserted without any evidence that I'm wrong. He says that it is "defined" differently, but doesn't say where it is so defined. I'll grant that one of the meanings of the word is probably the one that he uses, but it is also true that another meaning is the one I gave, and the real question in this is, which meaning are Christians using (as opposed to their detractors)? Because they are quoting the Bible in support, they are using the meaning that the Bible uses, which is what the linked article was about.
The problem with the non-overlapping magisteria idea is that they do overlap. The Bible talks about things to do with astronomy, geology, etc.
Philip J. Rayment 01:46, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

What about the big contradiction?

All of these pale beside the big contradiction—between the Old Testament and the New. This is usually phrased politely as saying that the New Testament "supersedes" the Old, but since the Old Testament in many places calls its laws perpetual, "supersedes" would seem to mean "contradicts."


In religious matters, is all of the Old Testament the infallible word of God, and its laws valid for perpetuity?

Old Testament: Yes. (E.g. Leviticus 3:17, "It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood..." and similar language in numerous other places).
New Testament: No. Yes. Maybe. Parts. The NT says some parts of the OT are valid, some are not, but doesn't say precisely which.

There is no simple statement in the New Testament to the the effect that "the New Testament supersedes the Old." This view seems to be an inference from passages in the New Testament which are elliptical: Luke 22:20, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you;" Matthew 5:38-48, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.... Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate." Mark 2:27, "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath."

So, is clear enough that according to the New Testament, with regard to religious matters not all of the Old Testament is to be considered the infallible word of God. But nothing in the New Testament clearly catalogs which parts of the Old Testament have been superseded, leaving this to be a matter of interpretation—and the actual interpretation varies widely, depending on who is doing the interpretation. Dpbsmith 08:23, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Moreover, there is no commandment in the OT saying 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.' That is taken from the Essenes' Manual of Discipline - which, of course, opens up a whole new can of worms... --Petrus 12:31, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Not being Christian, I can still appreciate the enormous beauty of the quote from Mark, but it does get confusing as to which of Leviticus's over 600 Commandments are still valid for Christians.--PalMDtalk 13:28, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
I always thought the New Testament was supposed to supersede/replace the Old Testament.--Elamdri 22:35, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Depends on whom you believe. See the list:
  • Are the followers of Christ obliged to keep the whole of the Jewish Law (i.e. all 613 positive and negative provisions of it)?
Matthew 5:17-18 (Jesus): Yes
Romans 6:15 (Paul): No --Petrus 05:24, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Way forward

I think this article is good, but needs a clear way forward. First, I think the article should take a stand and argue it; namely, that the Bible is inerrant. That will give focus to what otherwise is at risk of disintegrating. Second, I think we should give so doctrinal statements about this. Protestant confessional creeds have plenty, as do papal and conciliar decrees. Likewise, one may find statements in the Church Fathers, especially Jerome. Thus, the point that certain Christians believe in inerrancy can be suffiently explained. Then the article could move to certain supposed contradictions, though I think perhaps the best way is to list principles for interpretation and understanding the supposed contradictions, since it will not be possible for this article to take on every single accusation made by critics. Lostcaesar 09:53, 26 May 2007 (EDT)

Sounds like a good idea to me. Philip J. Rayment 10:33, 26 May 2007 (EDT)
I think this is the toughest Bible difficulty How many men were in Israel's army?, but there are possible ways to explain the differences. More importantly, when you weigh the Evidence for Christianity and for the Bible and the lack of evidence for atheism and other false religions/ideologies, the argument for biblical inerrancy is quite good. Conservative 17:56, 4 November 2011 (EDT)