This is a video response to all those people who claim that the bible is free of contradictions. Ummm - it isn't. I've looked.
(Read on, and when you're done, there's more here, on my blog: http://wp.me/p2Paif-C)
(And here: http://wp.me/p2Paif-1e)
How NOT to respond to this movie:
a) By assuming that I have not looked into these contradictions with any level of depth and accusing me of not having tried to understand any kind of "deeper meaning". Wherever possible, I consulted christians' explanations of what they like to refer to as "so-called contradictions" and errors. I've looked at the explanations. I've given them a good go. They're just shit.
b) By saying that these aren't errors at all, rather, that they are simply copyist's errors. Uh- derr. A copyist's error is an error. I don't care what kind of error it is, just don't make the claim that the bible is completely free of errors, except for the cases in which there are errors, which are only copyist's errors only, which aren't really errors. Knock it off. I'm talking about the actual words on the actual page of the bible. When they don't add up, - that's called a contradiction or an error.
c) If you agree with me that English translations of the bible contain errors, but you think that the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts are pure and therefore true - DON'T tell me this and then go on to criticise me and other skeptics for pointing out that the English translations contain errors! You've just said that you agree with me, that there are errors on the pages of the bibles that your god saw fit to let get corrupted in the first place, just in time for the arrival on the planet of more people than ever before - who all apparently need to be saved by coming to trust the bible and heeding the message contained within it!
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That which can be asserted without evidence can be discarded without evidence.
I know, and actually find to have some weight, the New Testament apologists' conundrum - namely that if all of the gospel accounts really did match exactly, then critics of the bible would instantly accuse the authors of having conspired together. So, if there are inconsistencies it counts against the bible, and if there were no inconsistencies, it would still count against the bible.
Well - tough. The creator of the universe could have done a lot better. The only reasonable conclusion to come to is that the creative force that arranged the constants of the universe, gave birth to galaxy clusters, quantum physics and DNA, invented love, knowledge and truth, and is capable of any miracle he could ever come up with- had fuck all to do with this raggedy old contradictory book of bullshit.
Whenever I make a movie about what the bible says, I'm talking about the actual words that are printed on the pages of the bible. Funny how I always get criticised for doing so, by people who agree that modern translations or English translations are inadequate and erroneous.
I was very selective when deciding whether to include each contradiction in the script. Many that were listed on the lists and websites appeared to me to be either non-contradictory, easily explained, or simply too petty to really count significantly against the claim of biblical inerrancy. I drew heavily on skepticsannotatedbible.com , which actually has links to christian responses to each of the contradictions it lists, where one has been put forward. I read almost all of them and if the explanation sounded like a bunch of bollocks to me, then I dismissed the explanation and included the contradiction in the script. One of the criteria I used to ascertain whether I thought the explanation was good enough, was whether I thought a christian would accept a similar explanation for a contradiction in any other religions holy book, such as the Qaran or Book of Mormon.
LookingUntoJesus.net has this pathetic explanation for one of the contradictions:
"The text which is called into question is Luke 2:2. If Jesus was born in the days of Herod (who presumably died in 4 BC), then how could Quirinius be governing Syria (who presumably began his reign in 6 AD)?
The trouble is in the English translation of the text, not in the text itself. Keep in mind that the New Testament was written in Greek, not English. Since the translators were not inspired, there is the potential for erroneous translations". (LookingUntoJesus.net)
I was inspired to make this movie when I read the first few chapters of Mark Tier's book "When God Speaks For Himself - The Words of God You'll NEVER hear in Church or Sunday School", which he generously gave me a copy of at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne. Thanks Mark!