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What Are The Most Damning Contradictions In The Bible?


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Not all discrepancies in the bible are equal. Some can genuinely be explained with resort to context or other factors. But some discrepancies push apologists to remarkable contortions of logic and downright flights of fancy. So, what are the most damning contradictions in the bible? Which ones require twisted logic or resorts to explanations or scenarios outside the bible?

 

Here's one of my favorites (from Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman):

 

The commonly held view that Judas went out and “hanged

himself” comes from Matthew (27:3–10). After Judas sees that his

betrayal has led to Jesus’ conviction, he feels remorse and tries to

return his pay of thirty pieces of silver to the Jewish chief priests,

telling them that he has “sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

They refuse to accept the money, however, so he throws it down in

the Temple and goes out and hangs himself. The chief priests then

collect the money, but decide that they cannot put it back into the

Temple treasure because it is “blood money”— money that has been

tainted with innocent blood. So they decide to put it to good use and

purchase a “potter’s field,” presumably a field from which potters

took clay, as a place to bury foreigners who died in Jerusalem. It is

because it was purchased with Judas’s blood money, we are told, that

the place “has been called the Field of Blood to this day.”

 

Luke’s account in the book of Acts has some similarities: the death

of Judas is connected with the purchase of a field that is called “the

Field of Blood.” But the details are in stark contrast to—even contra-

dict—the story as told by Matthew. In Acts (1:18–19) we are told that

Judas himself, not the Jewish priests, purchased the fi eld with “the

reward of his wickedness,” the money he earned for his betrayal.

And it is not said that he hanged himself. Instead we learn that he

fell “headlong” and “burst open in the middle” so that “his bowels

gushed out.” For Luke the reason the field was called the Field of

Blood was because Judas bled all over it.

 

Over the years readers have tried to reconcile these two accounts

f the death of Judas. How could he both hang himself and “fall

eadlong” so that his stomach split open and his intestines spilled

ll over the ground? Ingenious interpreters, wanting to splice the

wo accounts together into one true account, have had a field day

ere. Maybe Judas hanged himself, the rope broke, and he fell to

he ground, head first, bursting in the middle. Or maybe he hanged

imself, and that didn’t work, so he climbed onto a high rock and

id a swan dive onto the field below. Or maybe . . . well, maybe

something else.

 

I love this example because apologists have to reconcile who purchased the field, why the field was named "The Field of Blood" and the differing accounts of Judas' death: (from carm.org:)

 

There is no contradiction here at all because both are true. A contradiction occurs when one statement excludes the possibility of another. The Second Law of Logic, the Law of Non Contradition, (LNC) says that something cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same sense. It is not a contradiction to describe something differently: Judas was hung and Judas fell down. Both are possible since neither negates the possibility of the other. A contradiction occurs when one statement makes another statement impossible but both are said to be true. So, what happened here is that Judas went and hung himself and then his body later fell down and split open. In other words, the rope or branch of the tree probably broke due to the weight and his body fell down and his bowels spilled out.

Also, notice that Matt. 27:3-8 tells us specifically how Judas died, by hanging. Acts 1:16-19 merely tells us that he fell headlong and his bowels gushed out. Acts does not tell us that this is the means of his death where Matthew does.

 

I love how the apologist fails to recognize how outlandish this all is.

 

So what contradictions stick out to you?

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Reading the OT through and trying to reconcile the messiah concept there to the one pictured in the NT was very large in bringing about my loss of faith. The link details what I'm referencing.

 

http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

 

I was knowledgeable enough about the NT that it was recognizable when I saw Scriptures that had been pulled from the OT, claiming to be fulfilled in Jesus, when they are actually snippets of verses taken completely out of context. That certainly didn't help either.

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Reading the OT through and trying to reconcile the messiah concept there to the one pictured in the NT was very large in bringing about my loss of faith. The link details what I'm referencing.

 

http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

 

I was knowledgeable enough about the NT that it was recognizable when I saw Scriptures that had been pulled from the OT, claiming to be fulfilled in Jesus, when they are actually snippets of verses taken completely out of context. That certainly didn't help either.

 

I've always heard about this but never looked at this issue in any depth. Do you know of any examples of Christians interpreting biblical prophecies out of context?

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Grafting on the Old Testament has been called a Public Relations move to make Christianity seem like a much older religion, giving it cred and make it legit when being sold to the hoi poloi. Buddhism and Confucianism are 500 years older than Christianity which still causes my Christian acquaintances no end of frustration.

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It seems to me that Paul spends a lot of time contradicting Jesus. My fav is the debate over the importance of "good deeds." Paul makes a lot out of the idea that deeds don't matter, only that you believe. Because everyone knows that what you do doesn't matter, only what you think while you're doing it. Anyhow, it's a very popular theme with the faithful.

 

On the other hand, Jesus pretty much says that deeds are the only thing that matter in the story of the sheep and the goats (in Matthew, don't matter have the exact reference right now).

 

I've always been puzzled that no one ever seems to pick up this contradiction.

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Reading the OT through and trying to reconcile the messiah concept there to the one pictured in the NT was very large in bringing about my loss of faith. The link details what I'm referencing.

 

http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm

 

I was knowledgeable enough about the NT that it was recognizable when I saw Scriptures that had been pulled from the OT, claiming to be fulfilled in Jesus, when they are actually snippets of verses taken completely out of context. That certainly didn't help either.

 

I've always heard about this but never looked at this issue in any depth. Do you know of any examples of Christians interpreting biblical prophecies out of context?

A few of the key ones are Isa 7:14 (virgin birth), Isa 53 (the suffering servant) , Dan 9 (rebuilding and destruction of Jerusalem), Hosea 11:1 (Jesus in Egypt), Jer 31 (the new covenant), Psa 110:4 (Jesus as high priest) and Psa 2:7 (Jesus the son of God).

They don't stop at taking prophecies out of context, they also turn present and past tense statements into prophecies.

 

There are many others, some of which can be found here:

http://jewsforjudais...id=3&Itemid=480

 

http://www.turntotorah.com/proofs.html

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I'm going to go with Numbers 23:19 and John 12:30

 

Jesus and Father are one. Yet God is not a man, nor a son of man.

 

That is not really the worst for the Bible as a whole but it is very bad for Christianity.

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It seems to me that Paul spends a lot of time contradicting Jesus. My fav is the debate over the importance of "good deeds." Paul makes a lot out of the idea that deeds don't matter, only that you believe. Because everyone knows that what you do doesn't matter, only what you think while you're doing it. Anyhow, it's a very popular theme with the faithful.

 

On the other hand, Jesus pretty much says that deeds are the only thing that matter in the story of the sheep and the goats (in Matthew, don't matter have the exact reference right now).

 

That one also. Jesus and James are on the same page that works do matter. In fact, Abraham is used as an example by both James and Paul to prove opposing viewpoints. James 2:20-24 vs. Romans 3:27 to Romans 4:3.

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The resurrection accounts are hopelessly contradictory. For example, where did Jesus first appear to the disciples as a collective whole? Matthew says it was in Galilee, but Luke says it was in Jerusalem.

 

Even worse than general contradictions, though, is the way NT authors repeatedly took OT passages completely out of context in order to fabricate prophetic fulfillments.

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Ok then...

 

One of my faves is the way the Apostle Paul (supposedly, since the author of the Book of Hebrews isn't actually known) contradicts himself within the space of just a few chapters in that Book. The contradiction is between these verses, in chapter 9...

 

27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

 

...and what Paul goes on to write, two chapters later.

Chapter 11 is a call to faith and Paul lists many O.T. figures as examples of their faith.

 

Verse 5 & 6 read...

5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

 

Here, Paul is referring to this passage, from the Book of Genesis...

Genesis 5 : 24

24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

 

So, Enoch (apparently) was not destined to die once and then face judgement. According to Paul and Genesis, he never died at all!

 

Ditto Elijah!

According to 2 Kings 2:1 and 2:11, he didn't see death either, but was taken up to heaven alive.

 

1 When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.

 

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

 

Ummm... so Elijah didn't die? So was he therefore excused judgement? Hmmmm....?

 

Then Paul goes on to write, in chapter 11:35...

 

35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again.

 

Here he's referring to the O.T. resurrections, performed by the Prophets.

But what about these resurrectees? Having died, did they go to face judgement, only to be recalled back to their bodies and raised back to life? If people are destined to die once, doesn't that mean that these people must still be alive? Or perhaps, they died twice - in open contradiction of Paul's teaching? So will they face judgement twice? Ummmm...???

 

Well, this brings us to the awkward question of the N.T. testament resurrections performed by Jesus and guess who...?

Yep!

 

Paul himself!

 

Acts 20: 7 - 12.

7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.

8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.

9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.

10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!”

11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left.

12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

 

Something's not adding up here!

 

Paul raises Eutychus from the dead, but he writes that people are destined to die once and then to face judgement?

So after boring poor Eutchyus so much that he falls asleep and then falls to his death, Paul can't seem to decide if Eutychus went to face judgement or not! If Eutychus was destined to die only once and he's already done that - thanks to Paul's boring sermon, surely this means that he's still alive today, 2,000 + years later?

 

Oh and let's not forget these folks!

 

Matthew 27: 50 - 53.

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

 

Ooopsie! wink.png

 

BAA.

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Most damning? Talking snakes and donkeys, zombies, walking on water and everything else that contradicts known reality. The rest of it is just left to apologetic games. Until these dumbshits can demonstrate a real, observable variation from our modern understanding of physical law, etc... they just need to STFU or be put on ignore.

 

I know I'm being obvious, but seriously, if you make the claim that someone walked on water, why does it matter whether or not two accounts of the guy's life lines up or not? If two accounts agreed, does that then mean we have to accept he walked on water? No rational person would accept such a conclusion.

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I am loving this thread- please keep posting more important contradictions! Because I really hate the fact that I know it's all bullshit, but cannot, as yet, articulate exactly why it is bullshit. I will be going and buying a bible to read properly, with the blinkers off, but I'm a little broke at the mo. I briefly considered asking a christian if they had a spare bible they could lob my way (they usually do), but that would go against my principles, as entertaining as I find the thought :P

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It seems to me that Paul spends a lot of time contradicting Jesus. My fav is the debate over the importance of "good deeds." Paul makes a lot out of the idea that deeds don't matter, only that you believe. Because everyone knows that what you do doesn't matter, only what you think while you're doing it. Anyhow, it's a very popular theme with the faithful.

 

On the other hand, Jesus pretty much says that deeds are the only thing that matter in the story of the sheep and the goats (in Matthew, don't matter have the exact reference right now).

 

That one also. Jesus and James are on the same page that works do matter. In fact, Abraham is used as an example by both James and Paul to prove opposing viewpoints. James 2:20-24 vs. Romans 3:27 to Romans 4:3.

 

It's amazing that evangelicals don't think about how their religion is Pauline. The Jewish Christians were at odds with Paul and his Gentile followers: Gal. 2:13, 14 and Acts 15: 39-40 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+15&version=NIV

Jesus would do this if He were real49.gif Oy vey!

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I am loving this thread- please keep posting more important contradictions! Because I really hate the fact that I know it's all bullshit, but cannot, as yet, articulate exactly why it is bullshit. I will be going and buying a bible to read properly, with the blinkers off, but I'm a little broke at the mo. I briefly considered asking a christian if they had a spare bible they could lob my way (they usually do), but that would go against my principles, as entertaining as I find the thought tongue.png

 

I don't know how it is in Australia, but some dollar stores in the US have Bibles for $1.

 

Anyway, if you're interested, feel free to check out a very detailed letter I sent my parents a few months ago, dealing specifically with several categories of Bible problems. You can download it from post #13 in the following thread:

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/47622-letter-to-my-christian-parents/page__fromsearch__1

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One I refer to is matthew 24:36-39 where jebus talks about noah and the flood. The takeaway is that jebus believes noah's flood occurred. Maybe it's not so much a contradiction as it is another example of jebus just being the david koresh of his day. I have had heard christards try to get around this by saying that jebus was just referring to the flood as an example of the social conditions that brought on their gods wrath.....inferring that jebus didn't believe the flood story either. WendyDoh.gif

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I am loving this thread- please keep posting more important contradictions! Because I really hate the fact that I know it's all bullshit, but cannot, as yet, articulate exactly why it is bullshit. I will be going and buying a bible to read properly, with the blinkers off, but I'm a little broke at the mo. I briefly considered asking a christian if they had a spare bible they could lob my way (they usually do), but that would go against my principles, as entertaining as I find the thought tongue.png

 

No need to rush out and buy a bible. Here's a wonderfully usable, annotated version free online. I think you'll have fun with this.

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I am loving this thread- please keep posting more important contradictions! Because I really hate the fact that I know it's all bullshit, but cannot, as yet, articulate exactly why it is bullshit. I will be going and buying a bible to read properly, with the blinkers off, but I'm a little broke at the mo. I briefly considered asking a christian if they had a spare bible they could lob my way (they usually do), but that would go against my principles, as entertaining as I find the thought tongue.png

 

I don't know how it is in Australia, but some dollar stores in the US have Bibles for $1.

 

Anyway, if you're interested, feel free to check out a very detailed letter I sent my parents a few months ago, dealing specifically with several categories of Bible problems. You can download it from post #13 in the following thread:

 

http://www.ex-christ...__fromsearch__1

 

Wow, that's awesome, thanks so much :) Where I live, I can only get a bible from the Christian bookstore or other bookshops

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I am loving this thread- please keep posting more important contradictions! Because I really hate the fact that I know it's all bullshit, but cannot, as yet, articulate exactly why it is bullshit. I will be going and buying a bible to read properly, with the blinkers off, but I'm a little broke at the mo. I briefly considered asking a christian if they had a spare bible they could lob my way (they usually do), but that would go against my principles, as entertaining as I find the thought tongue.png

 

No need to rush out and buy a bible. Here's a wonderfully usable, annotated version free online. I think you'll have fun with this.

 

Thanks for that, I have it bookmarked :) I just wanted a hard copy to make notes in, that's all, in my sister's version- just preparing for the inevitable when I visit in april :)

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I'm going to go with Numbers 23:19 and John 12:30

 

Jesus and Father are one. Yet God is not a man, nor a son of man.

 

That is not really the worst for the Bible as a whole but it is very bad for Christianity.

 

Absolutely. The Bible clearly says the Father is God and that God is spirit. Jesus prays to the Father and instructs his followers to do the same. The Bible also claims the evidence of God is in His creation. And yet, 400 years later, a council decided God is some mysterious three headed Father, Son, and dove shaped beam of light entity all separate yet meant to be worshiped as one. There is no evidence of anything in creation resembling the Trinity, so we have a case of religious doctrine directly in conflict with religious scripture. If anyone needs evidence the church strayed away from its original beliefs, just read the Bible.

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I am loving this thread- please keep posting more important contradictions! Because I really hate the fact that I know it's all bullshit, but cannot, as yet, articulate exactly why it is bullshit. I will be going and buying a bible to read properly, with the blinkers off, but I'm a little broke at the mo. I briefly considered asking a christian if they had a spare bible they could lob my way (they usually do), but that would go against my principles, as entertaining as I find the thought tongue.png

 

I don't know how it is in Australia, but some dollar stores in the US have Bibles for $1.

 

Anyway, if you're interested, feel free to check out a very detailed letter I sent my parents a few months ago, dealing specifically with several categories of Bible problems. You can download it from post #13 in the following thread:

 

http://www.ex-christ...__fromsearch__1

 

I read your letter while I was at a prayer meeting my mother pressued me attend tonight...It's phenomenal, and does a job of summarizing some of the best contradictions in the bible. By the way, how did your parents react to the letter?

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The resurrection accounts are hopelessly contradictory.

 

Ain't that the truth! That's the first one I ever found. As a teen, I decided. To read the resurrection account from each ot the gospels as an easter devotion. Then I spent boundless energy trying to convince, myself that they didn't really disagree.

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According to Matthew, Mark and Luke, when Pontius Pilate asked whom he should set free, the crowds chose Barabbas.

But look what Matthew says...

 

Matthew 27: 15 - 26.

 

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.

16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was JesusBarabbas.

17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

 

So what does the name Jesus Barabbas mean?

Or should I say, Jesus Bar-Abbas?

 

Check it out, here...

 

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

 

...under the section, 'Name'. The first line of which reads...

 

Barabbas' name appears as bar-Abbas in the Greek texts. It is derived ultimately from the Aramaic בר-אבא, Bar-abbâ, "son of the father".

 

So, a more accurate rendering of Matthew might read like this...

 

21 “Which of the two [men called Jesus] do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered.

 

Hmmmm?

So it looks like the crowd actually wanted Pilate to release...

 

Jesus, the Son of the Father.

 

BAA.

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It seems to me that Paul spends a lot of time contradicting Jesus. My fav is the debate over the importance of "good deeds." Paul makes a lot out of the idea that deeds don't matter, only that you believe. Because everyone knows that what you do doesn't matter, only what you think while you're doing it. Anyhow, it's a very popular theme with the faithful.

 

On the other hand, Jesus pretty much says that deeds are the only thing that matter in the story of the sheep and the goats (in Matthew, don't matter have the exact reference right now).

 

That one also. Jesus and James are on the same page that works do matter. In fact, Abraham is used as an example by both James and Paul to prove opposing viewpoints. James 2:20-24 vs. Romans 3:27 to Romans 4:3.

 

It's amazing that evangelicals don't think about how their religion is Pauline. The Jewish Christians were at odds with Paul and his Gentile followers: Gal. 2:13, 14 and Acts 15: 39-40 http://www.biblegate...+15&version=NIV

Jesus would do this if He were real49.gif Oy vey!

 

 

I thought of this contradiction immediately upon seeing this thread title. It is the most damning because there is actually no consensus between Paul, the person who wrote the book of James, and the purported words of Jesus himself.

 

This is at the core of Christianity, too, because how do you know you are saved? These people obviously can't agree on what you need to do to be saved, or if you need do anything at all other than "have faith". Its a hopeless mess and it doesn't hang together no matter how preachers try to spin it. This is why we have all the different denominations "Arminian," "Holiness", etc..

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I am loving this thread- please keep posting more important contradictions! Because I really hate the fact that I know it's all bullshit, but cannot, as yet, articulate exactly why it is bullshit. I will be going and buying a bible to read properly, with the blinkers off, but I'm a little broke at the mo. I briefly considered asking a christian if they had a spare bible they could lob my way (they usually do), but that would go against my principles, as entertaining as I find the thought tongue.png

 

I don't know how it is in Australia, but some dollar stores in the US have Bibles for $1.

 

Anyway, if you're interested, feel free to check out a very detailed letter I sent my parents a few months ago, dealing specifically with several categories of Bible problems. You can download it from post #13 in the following thread:

 

http://www.ex-christ...__fromsearch__1

 

I read your letter while I was at a prayer meeting my mother pressued me attend tonight...It's phenomenal, and does a job of summarizing some of the best contradictions in the bible. By the way, how did your parents react to the letter?

 

Thanks. How did those at the prayer meeting respond to you reading such a letter, or were you able to conceal it?

 

So far not much has been said about religion between us since I sent them the letter. What little has been said is posted in that thread. I plan to be there in a few days for Thanksgiving weekend, so there may be some interesting details to add to that thread afterwards.

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I thought of this contradiction immediately upon seeing this thread title. It is the most damning because there is actually no consensus between Paul, the person who wrote the book of James, and the purported words of Jesus himself.

 

This is at the core of Christianity, too, because how do you know you are saved? These people obviously can't agree on what you need to do to be saved, or if you need do anything at all other than "have faith". Its a hopeless mess and it doesn't hang together no matter how preachers try to spin it. This is why we have all the different denominations "Arminian," "Holiness", etc..

 

Right! Jesus apparently has no control over those New Testament authors. When I was a believer and read those verses, I tried to resolve the conflicts. I finally gave up and assumed I wasn't knowledgeable enough to figure it out. I concluded to "Just trust and obey, for there's no other way". But this phrase also confuses faith and works!

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