Why You Can’t Fail a Bible Quiz

May 1, 2010 | By | 11 Replies More

Here is a humorous/snarky look at some of the continuity problems inherent in an absolutely infallible text:

It even gives the chapter and verse so we can confirm the true and inerrant details of this quiz

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Category: Cartoons, Humor, ignorance, Religion, Videos

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    The creator of this video explains his approach and research methods at the youtube site:

    He wrote most of it on a train while commuting.

    The Internet is full of sites that both point out the contradictions (I am convinced that there are many dozens) and sites that attempt to explain the contradictions. A comprehensive site the points out biblical contradictions is The Skeptics Annotated Bible. http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_n

    A sample site that attempts to explain away many of the contradictions is http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/bible.htm#1

  2. This brilliant animated video humorously highlights some of the problems that theologians have twisted themselves into pretzels over the ages to reconcile. That fact that so many words are needed to explain these inconsistencies away is further proof, not necessarily of a Godless universe, but of man's early faltering attempts to find his place in it.

    The video is funny right? Or, it would be funny if so many people didn't waste so much energy to make the problems in the bible go away. (The Koran is no better, I am told, but I don't have enough knowledge about it to judge.)

    I mean no disrespect to my believer friends, but the MESS that is the bible shows only one thing to my mind. It shows people struggling to make sense of the world and the awesome powers of creation and destruction that are all around us. They did the best that they could do to make sense of it, putting everything in terms that they could understand.

    A benevolent, powerful sometimes angry "Father".

    A gentle obedient "Son".

    Workers to help with the heavy lifting. (Angels and Saints.)

    A common enemy. (Satan.)

    It's a very simplistic view of transcendence and utterly wrong IMO.

    Remember also that the bible was poured over, edited and voted upon at the Council of Nicea (and at other times) in an effort to REDUCE the mess. They discarded texts that they felt were REALLY out there, tried to make it more consistent and STILL you have all of these contradictions, as the video cleverly demonstrates.

    This does not mean that there is no God, no more than typographical errors in a hymn book means there is no God.

    What it means is that the IMAGE of God that most people tirelessly defend is a 'best guess" And a bad one at that, that much is clear. If my best friend, the kindest, most intelligent man I know, can beleive in the same God as the "God Hates Fags" people, there must be something wrong.

    So where does that leave us??

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    The utter confusion generated by many bible passages convinces me that the Bible is "unconstitutionally vague" or "void for vagueness":

    "Void for vagueness is a legal concept in American constitutional law that states that a given statute is void and unenforceable if it is too vague for the average citizen to understand. There are several ways, senses or reasons a statute might be considered vague. In general, a statute might be called void for vagueness reasons when an average citizen cannot generally determine what persons are regulated, what conduct is prohibited, or what punishment may be imposed. Again, though, there are specific ways a lawyer might make a void for vagueness argument."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Void_for_vagueness

    The palpable vagueness of many bible passages (which would never survive double-blind testing to determine meaning) further convinces me that believer carve out their own paths, morally speaking, rather than actually relying on the bible. That becomes apparent when one considers the drastic differences of moral teaching among Christian churches (each on of them claiming to be authentic).

    Here are some bible rules about marriage that raise more questions than answers: http://dangerousintersection.org/2009/04/23/tradi

    Also, keep in mind that if your testicles are crushed, you can't get into heaven. http://dangerousintersection.org/2007/12/18/ten-b

  4. The stunning shallowness of thinking on the part of the contributors of this website in the arena of religious thought is overwhelming at times. I wish you'd stick to subjects that you actually care about.

    You speak of "contradictions" as if they are meme killers. "Well, that's it…there's a contradiction. It must be BS. Those ancient wisdom writers must have been buffoons." And, what a shocker! The religious text has been altered with political views of many power-hungry humans throughout time. Well, good thing that never happens in science.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Richard Hudson. I think that you're missing the point. There are plenty of religious believers who acknowledge the inconsistencies and ambiguities of the bible, yet nonetheless find value in reading the bible, often finding inspiration from some of the parts that don't seem to be self-contradictory. That is not a big problem for me that people "cherry pick" in this manner. Certainly, I value portions of lots of books, even though I might find other parts of the same book to be less valuable (or even nonsense). But I certainly don't claim that an entire book is free of contradiction or confusion when I am confronted with a series of contradictions.

      The obvious target for this type of post are the many fundamentalists who crow that the bible is "inerrant" in its entirety. After reviewing a few dozen of these contradictions, honest religious people admit that there are at least PARTS of the Bible that are problematic. I know many of these religious people; when asked about these sorts of contradictions, they shrug and admit that the ordinary reading of these words amounts to a contradictions. It is curious, though, that many people who, when confronted with palpibly contradictory passages, will claim even more loudly than ever that the ENTIRE book is free of contradiction.

  5. Richard Hudson has a good point about "meme killers" though. How often does it happen in reverse, when something in science (or philosophy or politics or what have you) is demonstrated to be false or at least not what was originally put forth and some people take that as grounds to dismiss the whole thing? Even among folks who in some ways may be quite rational, this is not an uncommon reaction.

    We do here tend to put forward an image that ropes all religious believers into a roughly defined corral of credulity which we then poke at. I suppose if we always put up a disclaimer on such posts that we're only talking about those people who take their own views so shallowly that something like biblical inerrancy is vital to their entire worldview…

    But I think most of us do view excessive credulity as a problem and care very much about its effects on society. Kool-aid drinkers come in all fields, all sizes, all beliefs, and even when they hold position with which we agree we should be wary of why they agree because next week they could present us with something totally whacked.

  6. P.S. to the above. For me, I already find the Bible problematic in its entirety. That we can dissect it this way doesn't alter my opinion one way or the other. It's just one more tool to argue with the zealots who want to assert a political program based on their misperception of biblical truth. But of course, for them these arguments are likewise problematic because, in their view, the only reason to make them is to undermine what to them is an absolute truth. So really this kind of thing is almost a ten-finger exercise.

  7. Trust me, you're not going to convince any of these zealots about anything. Because these folks are a.) not reading your material and b.) not going to open their ears to the enemy, your tone comes off as nothing more than ridicule, and thereby strengthening my stereotype of you. Leave the Christian reform to the Christians.

    I teach an adult Sunday School class each week (where, by the way, a common topic is apparent contradictions of the Bible) and once I asked the class, "give me a verse or line of the Bible that you just don't like." An elderly woman yelped out, "the Old Testament!" Our last class was on the death penalty where the verse was recited from that Old Testament that not attending your weekly worship service was grounds for execution. I like that one.

    PS: A current topic in my circles is reform of Islam. It's a generally accepted belief that reform like this can only come from inside. Those on the outside must be careful to avoid inadvertently bashing down any hints that pop up because they don't go far enough for our liking. For example, a recent Islamic reformer was chastised on NPR for suggesting there be a "moratorium" on stoning women for adultery. Well, that just wasn't good enough for the good moderator. In my opinion, this attitude has a good chance of stifling reform.

  8. Richard Hudson wrote:—"Leave the Christian reform to the Christians."

    Sounds reasonable, sounds good, has a lot of merit…

    But since "Christianity" affects everyone, in and out of it, waiting for the gate keepers to enact reform can sometimes result in too little too late, depending on what you may be addressing. The example you cite of Islamic reform is a case in point—if your goal is to keep women from getting stoned, a moratorium is a good step. If your goal is to make sure the moratorium is no longer necessary because no one would dare do that, it does fall short. And since within countries abiding by strict Shar'ia law women can't claim "I'm not a Muslim, therefore not beholden to your rules" (since that also results in a death penalty) those who seek to end such abuse have a vested interest in more strident action.

    It's a conundrum, because I agree with you in that the most effective and long lasting reform necessarily comes from within. My concern comes down to the next individual to be stoned, and waiting on that often is simply not good enough. For me.

    Reasonable, serious posts have been placed here in the past addressing some of the issues raised here in a ridiculing manner. DI is not monolithic. But if you'd care to suggest a topic for serious discussion…

  9. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Finding a work of art, music or literature to be inspiring is not bad, even if that work is one of fiction.

    Many inventors have been inspired by "Star Trek" to invent some really useful inventions. Notice the similarity between the "flip" style cell phones and the "communicator" from the show, or consider the wireless earpiece used by Uhura and contrast it to the modern Bluetooth headset.

    However, anyone claiming "Star Trek" as inerrant deserves a long rest in a rubber room.

    The question is how anyone who claims to know the bible, can declare it inerrant with all the contradictions and inconsistencies it contains. This "inerrancy" meme can be killed only by the exposing of such contradictions.

  10. Niklaus,

    Richard's point, though, is apt—it will NOT kill it for those who are predisposed to dismiss any such claims. They have entered into a condition of noncausal validation that is both solipsistic and selfless. For the rest of us it's interesting, amusing, informative…but what do we need convincing of?

    And perhaps while we're indulging ourselves we may be alienating those who are predisposed to conditions of faith who do not and never have seen the Bible as inerrant.

    As has been noted often, those who would benefit most from such knowledge will not listen.

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