Almost all evangelical Christians believe that the writing of the Bible was divinely inspired. They also believe that the Bible contains special features which constitute evidence of its divine inspiration. This would be a use of the Bible to prove God’s existence within natural theology rather than within revealed theology, since the book’s features are supposed to be evident even to (open-minded) skeptics. This is an argument that is for the most part ignored by professional philosophers of religion. One explanation for such neglect is that the argument can be easily refuted. In this essay/outline, the author tries to sketch how such a refutation might be formulated.
Ted Drange develops two arguments for the nonexistence of the God of evangelical Christianity, an all-powerful and loving being greatly concerned about the fate of human beings and desiring a personal relationship with them. According to his argument from confusion (AC), widespread confusion between Christians over matters of ultimate importance entails that the God of evangelical Christianity probably does not exist. In particular, the rampant diversification of Christian sects on such matters entails that, even if any one of those sects is correct, large numbers of Christians must hold false beliefs about issues of ultimate importance–contrary to what one would predict if the God of evangelical Christianity existed. The argument from biblical defects (ABD) contends that if the God of evangelical Christianity existed, then the Bible would probably be perfectly clear and authoritative and without marks of solely human authorship; but since the Bible does not meet either of these criteria, the God of evangelical Christianity probably does not exist.
This essay seeks to challenge a particular mindset in the Christian community, one that is not universal among professing Christians, but a mindset nonetheless widespread in the public arena. For many Christians, the Bible is the infallible and internally consistent revealed Word of God. Every word therein, though penned by a man, God himself inspired. Every verse not only harmonizes with every other but also accords with the laws of Nature. One should not doubt the Bible, but endeavor to understand it to glean the Truth from its pages. Any perceived errors or inconsistencies in the Bible are problems not with the book, but with the interpretation of the person reading it. The author argues, however, that many “perceived” contradictions are true ones, and efforts to reconcile disparate verses often involve contortions of reasoning, amounting to what one might euphemistically call “creative interpretation.”
It is indisputable that Luke dates the birth of Jesus to 6 A.D. It is also indisputable that Matthew dates the birth of Jesus before 4 B.C., perhaps around 6 B.C. This is an irreconcilable contradiction.
This essay investigates the often-made claim from Christians that the Bible is the inspired word of god, a corollary of which is that it is perfectly without error. It will be argued that this view–which will be referred to as Fundamentalism–is the only possible logical view of the Bible for a Christian, but that it is incorrect and, therefore, that the Christian god does not exist.
The prophecies of the book of Daniel have fascinated readers and created controversy for the past two thousand years. Evangelical Christians believe that the prophet Daniel, an official in the courts of Near-Eastern emperors in the sixth century BC, foretold the future of the world from his own time to the end of the age. Actually, the book was written in Palestine in the mid-second century BC by an author who expected God to set up his everlasting kingdom in his own near future. The failure of his prediction refutes evangelical claims that the Bible is inerrant and prophecy proves its divine inspiration.
The challenge is this: Pick any one of the five miracles listed and provide one piece of documentary evidence that confirms this miracle.
He Commends Me–He Commends Me Not (2001) by Tim Simmons
Faults are found in Glen Miller’s attempt to reconcile an apparent contradiction between God’s commending of Jehu for the killings at Jezreel (2 Kings 10:30) and condemning his actions one hundred years later via the prophet Hosea (Hosea 1:4).
In 2 Kings 10:30 God commends Jehu for his destruction of the house of Ahab, while in Hosea 1:4 he apparently condemns him for it. This contradiction results from taking the phrase “the blood of Jezreel” in the latter passage as a reference to Jehu’s massacre of some members of the house of Ahab in Jezreel. Jayawardena argues against this construction, interpreting “the blood of Jezreel” as a reference to the blood of the Israelites shed by enemy nations during the Jehu dynasty as a result of divine judgment against the idolatry of the nation, which Hosea declares is going to be avenged upon the house of Jehu. In addition to a commendation of Jehu, 2 Kings 10:30 contains an implied judgment of his house in the fourth generation for his idolatry.
In his 2006 “Solution to the Jehu Problem,” Leonard Jayawardena published a “solution” to the inconsistency in 2 Kings 10:30, which praised Jehu for having massacred the royal family of Israel at Jezreel, and Hosea 1:4, which pronounced a judgment of condemnation on the house of Jehu for “the blood of Jezreel.” In 2004 Jayawardena was singing the praises of an entirely different “solution” to this discrepancy. This was the beginning of a debate between Jayawardena and myself on the Jehu “solution,” in which Jayawardena was then hawking that he had figured out why there was no discrepancy in the views of Hosea and the author of 2 Kings on Jehu’s massacre at Jezreel. His 2006 position is very different from his former one, but no less flawed than his original position.
Reply to Farrell Till’s Rebuttal of “Solution to the Jehu Problem” by Leonard Jayawardena (2008) (Off Site)
Leonard Jayawardena’s reply to Farrell Till’s rebuttal of “Solution to the Jehu Problem.”
Farrell Till’s response to Leonard Jayawardena’s continuing defense of his second “solution” to the Jehu Problem.
“Over the years I have been confronted by numerous bibliolaters: people who take the Bible to be inerrant and, thus, put it beyond intelligent criticism. Since theirs is a particularly pernicious religion (absurdly claiming that certain antique documents are divinely inspired), it has seemed important to me to develop strategies for dealing with such manifest foolishness.”
This essay was written to be delivered as a lecture and is worded accordingly. It was part of a two day debate with a Fundamentalist minister. For each evening there are two parts, one of thirty minutes and a conclusion of ten minutes. This essay takes the negative position.
If bibliolaters would just once in their lives put aside all of their pet theories and take an objective look at the Bible, they would begin to see that the men who wrote the Old Testament were just ordinary religious zealots who thought that they and their people had been specifically chosen of God. The fanaticism with which they believed this led them to proclaim absurdly ethnocentric prophecies that history has proven wrong, much to the embarrassment of Bible fundamentalists who desperately want to believe that the Bible is the verbally inspired, inerrant word of God. They have no substantive proof on their side. All the proof declares very definitively to anyone who really wants to know the truth that the Bible is a veritable maze of nonsense and contradictions.
In this explanation of why he is not a Christian, Keith Parsons discusses the role that Christianity has played in perpetuating suffering throughout human history, the bizarre doctrine of inflicting eternal punishment on persons for having the wrong beliefs, the composition, inconsistencies, and absurdities of the New Testament Gospels, William Lane Craig’s flawed case for the resurrection of Jesus, the role of legendary development and hallucinations in early Christianity, and C.S. Lewis’ weak justifications for the Christian prohibition on premarital sex.