First, ask if they believe if the Old Testament still applies to a Christian Today. This will guide the rest of the discussion. As stated earlier, many fundamentalist state that they think the Bible is free of errors and contradictions. For my purpose and definition I would call “free of errors” as meaning that internally or externally is there anything inconsistent with the or contradictory in the text of the Bible or reflected in reality.
The good thing about this is with the Internet one can research the topics through the quickly. The idea that a person would hold to the view that these Bible stories are perfect and without error can only be defended in the arena of apologetics. This of course it the discipline of making 1+1=3. There is a whole area of religious study with in theological universities where the carefully contrived explanations of the biblical contradictions and errors are explained carefully to allow the faithful the foolish notion that what is clearly in error is actually correct.
One commonly known story from the New Testament is that of the death of Judas. As the story goes Judas, a follower of Jesus, was the Disciple that turned Jesus over to the Roman authorities for him to be judged and face his eventual death. He was asked by the Jewish authorities to reveal which one of the group was the Jesus and Judas worked out a signal that he would kiss Jesus when he greeted him and when the sign was given Jesus found himself arrested and so the story goes on that Jesus was taken before the Romans and then the Jews and then he was taken outside the city of Jerusalem.
Regardless of what the theology or point of view is of the story it is clear that there are two very different things going on in the Bible in Matthew 27:3-8 and Acts 1:18-19. In the story in Matthew, Judas filled with guilt or regret returns the 30 pieces of silver to the Jewish priests and he hung himself. Then the priests bought a potter's field cemetery for foreigners. They didn't find the idea of putting the “blood money” in with the “not so much blood money” treasury.
In the Acts story the death of Judas says Judas himself bought a field and died after falling head long on his stomach and his guts all busted outside.
It is clear that these are not the same story. In one the field was bought by the priests, and other by Judas. In one the money was returned first and the other the money directly bought the field. In one Judas hung himself and in the other he died by falling head long and his bowels gushed out. [I am not sure what medical condition could cause this by the way. But this is another point of contention with the Bible.] What is similar is that Judas was the one that betrayed Jesus and he felt bad later about it then he died and there was a place called the Blood Field.
This one example is enough to show that the Bible is not totally free of errors. But this is only one of many through the Bible. There are factual errors, internal genealogical errors, misquotes and out and out lies. Another one example is the words above Jesus on his cross. This is suppose the sign for the charges against the criminal so others in the population would not make the mistake of doing the same crime and thus find themselves on the cross as well. In Mark it said to read, “King of the Jews.” Luke says the signs reads, “This is the King of the Jews.” In Matthew it quotes the sign as reading, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Finally in John, he says the sign had the words, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Now I have been to many concerts and other events where the place you are sitting or standing can determine what you can see. So maybe the sign was so big that the guys reading it wouldn't have been able to read it all. But it is more likely that the sign is a construct of writers later on that felt that it was important to have a sign on the cross. The only thing that is consistent through out the four quotes is “King of the Jews.” Maybe it was Jesus, maybe the guy was from Nazareth, maybe it was the King of the Jews. We can't really be sure.
There are many of these inconsistencies through out the Bible and I will touch on another one from Genesis. So what came first? Adam or Armadillos? Well if we look at the words of the Bible from Genesis 1:24-27 it looks like God thought that making cattle and creepy animals and all the other animals first then God got around to making man. Seems to me that if man is made in his own image that that particular design would have been the most easy to make. I know that mankind has a long history of making images and contraptions looking like a man or woman. However, God may have been trying to save the best for last. Then again he might have been on a bit of a bender since he was talking to himself. But not to disrespect God for that, I have been known to have discussions with myself. I do realize that I am actually just talking to myself though and not another person with me. But I digress.
The other story of God makin' stuff “in the beginning” is found in Genesis 2:5-7. It seems this time God was in such a hurry to make man he didn't even have time for it to rain yet, but he did make the oceans fill up from a spring coming out of the Earth. Then God scraped up some dust and made man. I guess this is alright since we are all made from star stuff in reality but the spring thing watering all the Earth...Well let's just say, God you have some 'splanin' to do. But to continue, After God made man from the dust of the Earth, God notice that there wasn't anything else on the planet and figured that it would be good for man to have a helper. Well God rolled up his sleeves and got making all types of animals for man for his helper. I can just see it God making all types of animals like a supernatural clown making balloon animals. Then God asks, Hey you, you want an aardvark for your helper? Then God goes all the way through the alphabet getting to the Zebra and still a “no go” with man. It seemed like man was not really thrilled with God's selection of helpers being animals. Then God is just sitting there thinking to himself laying on his stomach and blows on the dust on the ground in front of him and up pops a female. Adam looks and says WHOA MAN! That is how females got the name woman. Not really, but it fits the story. Actually it says that God made woman from Adam's rib. I wonder if that would be smoked or with bar-b-que sauce. Both of the scenarios are equally ridiculous.
Of course, this is the only time that a man gave birth to a person. That just goes to underline some of the basic sexist point of views that this and most religions have toward woman. In order to make woman subjected to man this stupid story of woman being birth from a man's rib had to be concocted. That took a divine surgery for it to happen. It must have been a result of stem cell research. But as it happens again these two methods are very different from one another.
In one man was made first, then all the animals. In the other, man was made after all the animals were made. In one animals were made from the dust of the Earth and on the other version it must have slipped the writer's mind about what the animals were made of. In one version man and woman were made at the same time and in the other woman was second and came out of man. Again these are not small areas of discrepancies but fully contradictory stories of an event. To be totally honest they are so divergent that with one you can promote the equality of woman and with the other the subservience of woman. These are more than mere grammatical errors and have far reaching influence for those that may be an adherent to them. Plus both are equally ridiculous.
If you wish to find more of these many areas in the Bible there are several website that can provide many additional examples and discussions can take place with those that think the Bible is still consistent. One is the website errancy.com. This website has apologists comments, so you can read for yourself the way they try to twist and turn the written words of the Bible to fit into the adherents supernatural World view of nature.
The reason why showing that the Bible isn't the the handwritten, direct, inspired word of God is because there are so many people that try to use it to support their views on so many issues. These range from homosexuality, stem cell research, separation of church and state, gender equality, education curriculum, evolution, foreign policy, race relations, health and welfare issues and many more. If a person can turn from seeing the Bible as the divinely inspired Word of God to a moral book of ancient stories it will save lives and help people gain respect for their fellow man and woman. Do we really need a God to teach us how to do good? No. But it seems damn certain that you need a God to make people to gather to do wrong to their fellow man. It has been said before and will be said again that religion makes it adherents that would normally not do harm to their fellow man but do it willingly and encourage others to follow suit.
Coming Next Time;
INTELLIGENT DESIGN VIEW OF EVOLUTION part thirty-eight