Well hello! Yes, I am still around just haven’t written anything or shared anything recently. Well, here is something worth reading.
On November 11, skeptic/atheist Sam Harris commissioned a chart through his foundation “Project Reason” showing how the Bible is wrong, according to him.
There have been a couple of notable responses to this chart so far, so I will share those. First, a snippet from Justin Holcomb at The Resurgence:
The claim that the Bible is full of contradictions is ignorant, at best, of Christian theologies of scripture. But it seems more like an intentional misrepresentation, which is prejudiced propaganda, of what Christians actually believe about the Bible. The claim by Project Reason is intellectually disingenuous, which is something that fundamentalists do.
Christians believe that the Bible is both fully inspired by God and fully written by humans. Christians believe that scripture is inerrant in its original manuscripts, not the copies and translation.
Christian doctrines of scripture allows for the human elements of style to be present in the writing process and accounting for the inevitable human error that occurs in textual transmission.
Some of the supposed contradictions are because of obvious copying errors. But many of the others are because Project Reason doesn’t seem to know the basics of how to read an ancient text.
When all the historical facts, literary genres, and issues of textual transmission are investigated and considered, and when properly interpreted, the Bible never contradicts itself and does not misrepresent the facts.
A more robust explanation of evangelical Christian belief about the trustworthiness of the Bible is found in The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.
The second snippet comes from Matt Perman, Director of Strategy at Desiring God:
If two things really contradict one another, they cannot both be true.
But tension and the initial appearance of contradiction are something else altogether. They cause us to think harder about how the two truths fit together. They cause us to probe more deeply and come to an even greater understanding.
Which is why crying out “contradiction” when we see tension in the Bible is lazy and superficial. It leaves us with uncreative level one thinking, rather than bringing us deeper into a fuller understanding of the truth.
The truths of God and the Bible are very great. Yet as humans we are continually tempted to settle for easy answers and stage one thinking. As some have said, “you rarely think until you’re confronted with a problem.” So God has deliberately made parts of the Bible hard, in order to lead us in to greater learning.
So when we see apparent contradictions in the Bible, the proper response is not to sit in judgment on the text. Rather, the proper response is to sit back in gratefulness and say “there is something amazing to be learned here.”
My thought is that Sam Harris is too much of a skeptic for his own good. I don’t know if he actually calls himself an atheist, but if you don’t believe the Bible is inerrant, how can you believe that there is a God?
Another resource to check out would be the book, “Big Book of Bible Difficulties, The: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation”. It seems these supposed “contradictions” have already been answered.
Also, R.C. Sproul has something to say about Bible contradictions:
Biblical Inerrancy is a cornerstone, foundation belief in order to be a Christian!
My thanks to Justin Taylor. I read his blog, which turned me on to the Sam Harris chart and the above to blogs addressing it.
– Adam Smith