I’ve been having a conversation with someone named Jacob who considers Irregular Times to be his missionary ground. As part of his efforts, he has cut and pasted in claims you can find verbatim on a number of Christian proselytization websites, Got Questions? being a typical one. Here’s part of the text Jacob pasted in:
One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction. This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words which God moved men to record. (I am preparing myself for the onslaught of supposed contradictions…)
If Jacob has had had long experience being informed about the multiple inconsistencies and contradictions of the Bible, then I wondered aloud why he would still use the idea of its “Unity” as a pillar of his faith. Then I asked, “Do you affirm or deny that the contradictions or inconsistencies in the Bible exist?” Jacob retorted:
I do not think they exist. I think I can answer any one that you throw out there, and we have already determined that I am not all that smart, so if I can pull it down the supposed contradiction isnt very strong… I have made it beyond clear that I think the Bible is the innarent Word of God
In the name of a little counter-missionary work, let’s reiterate Jacob’s statements:
* One piece of evidence that the Bible is God’s Word is its unity; it contains no inconsistencies or contradictions.
* The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
* Jacob can answer any biblical inconsistency or contradiction thrown out there.
He’s made a very strong claim here, and it’s necessary that he do so in order to prevent any questioning of the Bible on the basis of its “unity.” If the Bible contains any inconsistencies or contradictions, then it isn’t inerrant any more. If the Bible contains even one inconsistency or contradiction, then it is errant, which means either that God is flawed or that the Bible is not the inerrant Word of God. Either conclusion leads one to question the Bible as a source of authority, and it’s pretty clear Jacob would like to avoid that.
So here’s the challenge Jacob has laid down at our feet, people:
Name your favorite Biblical contradiction or inconsistency, and Jacob will convince us that it isn’t a contradiction or inconsistency after all.
Will Jacob live up to his end of the bargain? If he can demonstrate that every single apparent flaw in the Bible isn’t actually a flaw, then he successfully defends one basis of his faith. If he cannot or does not explain away even one Biblical inconsistency or contradiction, then there is no reason for Jacob to be claiming that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
It’s your turn, readers: Name your favorite Biblical contradiction or inconsistency, and let the challenge begin!