Germane riposte

challenging_god is having a Biblical contradictions thread. For people unfamiliar with how this works, here’s my step-by-step guide:

First, a nutty creationist rants about the atheistic cult of humanism, and throws out a challenge to prove that the Bible contains errors, contradictions or what-have-you.

Next, bitter atheists descend upon the thread and interpret single verses as free-standing statements of propositional logic, and show how they contradict each other.

Occasionally, someone makes a valid point, like the differing genealogies of Jesus in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels (both designed to show Jesus as the Jewish Messiah; both, alas, different). When this happens, the inerrantists trot out their standard counter-argument, which involves relying on things the text does not, in fact, say, or on ignoring the hard bits in favour of what is actually a more liberal Christian interpretation. I’ve not seen the one where they say “Hmmm… yes, this is a difficult passage[this being the approved terminology], but I’m still going to be an inerrantist, if it’s all the same to you”. I feel that it can’t be long in coming, though.

Anyhow, I have a favourite contradiction (a contradiction with external reality, rather than an internal contradiction, but still, it about waps it up for that wascally inewancy). I successfully used my contradiction to “turn” robhu (note: sarcasm). It has not yet been banned for its mind-melting power, so I’ve given it another outing on this thread of the discussion. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to engage ikefriday, the original poster, in debate. Instead, triphicus has turned up, and insists on being sane and reasonable. Standards are falling in evangelicalism, let me tell you.

I’ve also e-friended mr_ricarno after an interesting conversation about CICCU.

And so to bed.

15 thoughts on “Germane riposte”

  1. Hummmm. I don’t think your arguement about Paul’s use of the first-person plural works if you compare it with his usage in his letters to the Corinthians.

    1 Cor. 6:14 – “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.”

    2 Cor. 4:14 – “because we know the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus.”

    So I don’t think you can argue that by the use of “we” Paul was saying he believed himself to be around at the end of times. Unless you believe there was some reason for Paul to change his mind about such things between his letter to the Thessalonians and that to the Corinthians.

    1. I could say that Paul’s use of “us” in 1 Cor 6:14 is a contradiction with 1 Cor 7. Except that’s exactly the sort of “contradiction” I was mocking in this entry. The story is more interesting than that.

      It seems unlikely that Paul would write that Jesus would return very soon in 1 Cor 7 and contradict himself a chapter before. Some commentators think that this does show an evolution of Paul’s views in the years between 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians (there was at least a 5 year gap, from what I read). This page, for example, points this out (section headed “On End-of-Time Delay”), and refers to 1 Cor 15:51 (Adrian Plass’s famous babysitting verse) as evidence that at this point, Paul believes some of his Corinthian readers will die before Jesus returns, but some will still be alive.

      So, I think Paul did gradually push out his expectation of when Jesus would return, and this is evidenced in his letters. In 1 Thess, he’s expecting to be alive at the Second Coming. In 1 Cor, he doesn’t sound so sure, although he’s still sure enough to tell his readers that it’s not really worth marrying (although they can if they like), and to tell them that some of them will still be alive then.

      I think this development is fascinating: we could go on to talk about how 2 Peter must be even later, as the author is then beginning to apologise for the slight delay. But my point in relation to the contradictions posting is this reading is completely forbidden to inerrantists, I imagine, as it allows that Paul was wrong and changed his mind. The inerrantist reading of 1 Cor 7 is actually a liberal paraphrasing of the text: not that Jesus really is coming back soon, as the text says, but, rather, wouldn’t it be nice if we all lived as if he was? It’s exactly the sort of thing I’ve heard mocked from the pulpit more than once, so it’s ironic that the mockers are exactly those who’re keen to get away with it here.

    1. It’s a commentary on that Biblical contradictions thing on challenging_god a little while ago. Your name’s on it because we had a discussion about it, and, well, I’ll give credit where it’s due, I suppose. Saying you are more sane and reasonable than ikefriday might be what we call “damning with faint praise”, though 🙂

          1. Whoa, it’s crazy that a Christian group at Cambridge would hold to inerrancy. I thought that was a pretty much strictly American Evangelical thing, never a Cantabrigian thing.

            BTW, Oxford ftw!!!!

            1. Whoa, it’s crazy that a Christian group at Cambridge would hold to inerrancy. I thought that was a pretty much strictly American Evangelical thing, never a Cantabrigian thing.

              UCCF/IFES started at Cambridge. I think the Doctrinal Basis they use came about as a result of disagreements with the Student Christian Movement, who were more liberal. There’s a book about it.

              The inerrancy I held to at Cambridge didn’t require me to be a young-earther or anything crazy like that. I think that really is an American thing, although it’s seeping in to the UK to some extent.

              BTW, Oxford ftw!!!!

              Ha!

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