Biblical Contradictions

Biblical Contradictions
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             A List of Biblical Contradictions


The Bible is riddled with repetitions and contradictions, things that the Bible bangers would be quick to point out in anything that they want to criticize. For instance, Genesis 1 and 2 disagree about the order in which things are created, and how satisfied God is about the results of his labors. The flood story is really two interwoven stories that contradict each other on how many of each kind of animal are to be brought into the Ark -- is it one pair each or seven pairs each of the "clean" ones? The Gospel of John disagrees with the other three Gospels on the activities of Jesus Christ (how long had he stayed in Jerusalem -- a couple of days or a whole year?) and all four Gospels contradict each other on the details of Jesus Christ's last moments and resurrection. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke contradict each other on the genealogy of Jesus Christ' father; though both agree that Joseph was not his real father. Repetitions and contradictions are understandable for a hodgepodge collection of documents, but not for some carefully constructed treatise, reflecting a well-thought-out plan.

Of the various methods I've seen to "explain" these:
1. "That is to be taken metaphorically" In other words, what is written is not what is meant. I find this entertaining, especially for those who decide what ISN'T to be taken as other than the absolute WORD OF GOD - which just happens to agree with the particular thing they happen to want...

2. "There was more there than...." This is used when one verse says "there was a" and another says "there was b", so they decide there was "a" AND "b" -which is said nowhere. This makes them happy, since it doesn't say there WASN'T "a+b". But it doesn't say there was "a+b+litle green martians". This is often the same crowd that insists theirs is the ONLY possible interpretation (i.e. only "a") and the only way. I find it entertaining they they don't mind adding to verses.

3. "It has to be understood in context" I find this amusing because it comes from the same crowd that likes to push likewise extracted verses that support their particular view. Often it is just one of the verses in the contradictory set is suppose to be taken as THE TRUTH when if you add more to it it suddenly becomes "out of context". How many of you have goten JUST John 3:16 (taken out of all context) thrown up at you?

4. "there was just a copying/writing error" This is sometimes called a "transcription error", as in where one number was meant and an incorrect one was copied down. Or that what was "quoted" wasn't really what was said, but just what the author thought was said when he thought it was said. And that's right - I'm not disagreeing with events, I'm disagreeing with what is WRITTEN. Which is apparently agreed that it is incorrect. This is an amusing misdirection to the problem that the bible itself is wrong.

5. "That is a miracle". Naturally. That is why it is stated as fact.

6. "God works in mysterious ways" A useful dodge when the speaker doesn't understand the conflict between what the bible SAYS and what they WISH it said.


The King James version of the Bible. quotes provided.

Self-contradictions of the Bible.
William Henry Burr
ISBN 0-87975 416 -8
Burr, William Henry, 1819-1908.
Self-contradictions of the Bible / William Henry Burr ; with an introduction by R. Joseph Hoffmann. [Buffalo, NY : Prometheus Books], c1987.
Series title: Classics of Biblical criticism.
UCB Moffitt BS533 .B798 1987
UCD Main Lib BS533 .B798 1987
Cooper, Robert, secularist.
The "Holy Scriptures" analyzed, or, Extracts from the Bible : shewing its contradictions, absurdities and immoralities / by Robert Cooper. 2nd ed., to which is added, a vindication of the work. Manchester, [Greater Manchester] : J. Cooper, 1840.
Series title: Goldsmiths'-Kress library of economic literature ; no. 31887.
UCLA AGSMgmt H 31 G57 Microfilm
DeHaan, M. R.
508 answers to Bible questions : with answers to seeming Bible contradictions / M.R. DeHaan. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan, [1968?], c1952.
UCSB Library BS538 .D43 1968
Thaddaeus, Joannes, fl. 1630.
The reconciler of the Bible inlarged : wherein above three thousand seeming contradictions throughout the Old and New Testament are fully and plainly reconciled ... / by J.T. and T.M. .. London : Printed for Simon Miller ..., 1662.
Series title: Early English books, 1641-1700 ; 1052:9.
UCSD Central MICRO F 524 Current Periodical Microform
Poole, Matthew, 1624-1679.
Annotations upon the Holy Bible. Vol. II : wherein the sacred text is inserted, and various readings annex'd, together with the parallel scriptures : the more difficult terms in each verse are explained,... The third edition, with the addition of a new concordance and tables, by Mr. Sam. Clark; the whole corrected and amended by the said Mr. Sam. Clark and Mr. Edward Veale .. London : Printed for Thomas Parkhurst [and 6 others], MDCXCVI [1696].
Series title: Early English books, 1641-1700 ; 1041:1.
UCSD Central MICRO F 524 Current Periodical Microform
"the x-rated bible" by ben edward akerley, published by american atheist press, austin texas, 1985.

A good source of _literal_ Biblical self-contradictions is (surprise) "Self-Contradictions of the Bible", written by William Henry Burr in 1859 as a response to fundamentalism. It is currently published by Prometheus Books, 700 East Amherst St., Buffalo, NY 14215. P.B. also publishes a large number of books on religious inquiry and biblical critiques, the majority of which have a humanistic/atheistic slant. As far as "Self-Contradictions ..." goes, it contains about 140 textual inconsistencies, classified under "Theological Doctrines", "Moral Precepts", "Historical Facts", and "Speculative Doctrines."

"The Bible Handbook" is a compilation of several previous works by several authors, including W P Ball, G W Foote, and John Bowden. Also, the writing by Mr Foote is dated 1900, so we see that this is not a new endeavor. _The Bible Handbook_ by W.P. Ball, et al., available for nine dollars from the the American Atheist Press, P.O. Box 2117, Austin TX 78768-2117. It's a collection of biblical contradictions, absurdities, atrocities, immoralities, indecencies, obscenities, unfulfilled prophecies and broken promises. This 372-page volume will give the atheist tons of scriptural ammunition for shooting down the flimsy arguments of the reality impaired.

Additional contributions were given by: (DX560 Mark Nowak)

God good to all, or just a few?

PSA 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

JER 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

War or Peace?

EXO 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

ROM 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Who is the father of Joseph?

MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

Who was at the Empty Tomb? Is it :

MAT 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

MAR 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

JOH 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

Is Jesus equal to or lesser than?

JOH 10:30 I and my Father are one.

JOH 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

Which first--beasts or man?

GEN 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
GEN 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

GEN 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

The number of beasts in the ark

GEN 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

GEN 7:8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, GEN 7:9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

How many stalls and horsemen?

KI1 4:26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

CH2 9:25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

Is it folly to be wise or not?

PRO 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

ECC 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that in- creaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

1 Cor.1:19: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and wil bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."

Human vs. ghostly impregnation

ACT 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, ac- cording to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

MAT 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came togeth- er, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

The sins of the father

ISA 14:21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

DEU 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the chil- dren, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

The bat is not a bird

LEV 11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomina- tion: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
LEV 11:14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
LEV 11:15 Every raven after his kind;
LEV 11:16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
LEV 11:17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
LEV 11:18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
LEV 11:19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapw- ing, and the bat.

DEU 14:11 Of all clean birds ye shall eat.
DEU 14:12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the ea- gle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
DEU 14:13 And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,
DEU 14:14 And every raven after his kind,
DEU 14:15 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
DEU 14:16 The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
DEU 14:17 And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cor- morant,
DEU 14:18 And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

Rabbits do not chew their cud

LEV 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

'Gerah', the term which appears in the MT means (chewed) cud, and also perhaps grain, or berry (also a 20th of a sheckel, but I think that we can agree that that is irrelevant here). It does *not* mean dung, and there is a perfectly adequate Hebrew word for that, which could have been used. Furthermore, the phrase translated 'chew the cud' in the KJV is more exactly 'bring up the cud'. Rabbits do not bring up anything; they let it go all the way through, then eat it again. The description given in Leviticus is inaccurate, and that's that. Rabbits do eat their own dung; they do not bring anything up and chew on it.

Insects do NOT have four feet

LEV 11:21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
LEV 11:22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
LEV 11:23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.

Snails do not melt

PSA 58:8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun. 




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