Contradictions in the Bible

King James Version of the Bible

I have a tendency of burning people out in arguments because i don’t allow seemingly insignificant statements to go by without scrutiny, and my discussions with our theist friend are not any different. I drove him into the ground and made my arguments as clear and thoughtful as i could muster, but to no avail. I have still not been able to get through and find that god fellow. On the contrary, actually.

After a couple emails it was clear to me that either our conversation would run aground, because of my uncanny ability to find issues and unrelenting attention to detail in finding reasons for their existing. I suggested that i go on the offensive.

I am fine with you ‘going on the offensive’ as long as you attack Christ rather than Christians- in other words, the words of the Bible rather than those you could hear from the pulpit etc. As for throwing logic out the window, I never intended to do so and I wish you would have let me know earlier so I could have extended my response- however, I do hope from now on we can stick to one issue in particular at a time… I’d like to write three to four paragraphs, but not a book, if you know what I mean 😉

As for going on the offensive, shoot away- but as I said earlier, please try to confront Christ rather than Christians and make only one claim per message so we don’t go down as many rabbit trails.

– Theist

As far as I was aware this is what I was doing the whole time, but i took a moment and weighed my possible responses. Below is our first volley.

Please explain why the bible has so much contradiction, Ex.

"And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour." Exodus 32:27

How is this acceptable in a world where god’s commandments say " Thou shalt not kill."

Both of these verses are from the King James translation.


Sorry for the somewhat late response- I haven’t had much time recently but I should have all day today because of tornadoes….. Wow, you really did jump right to it, didn’t you? 😉 This is definately one of the hardest questions out there, one which I struggle with often. Answering the question is an ongoing journey, and there seem to be multiple answers- I will try to highlight a couple of them.

First of all, its always a good idea to look throughout the context of the Pentateuch… God destroyed Soddom and Gomorrah by fire in Genesis. This really falls under the same category as the ‘brutal’ conquests towards the end of Exodus and throughout Judges in the sense that God does not ever destroy a city unless it is purely sinful and corrupt, without hope of redemption (which is another interesting topic that we may eventually come back to). If you remember, all of Soddom and Gomorrah was totally corrupt except for Lot and his family, who God saved from the destruction. Also, if you remember in Judges when Rahab and her family were save from the crumbling walls of Jericho because they had not been completely corrupt (otherwise she would have never protected Jews in her household). There are other passages which state that in some cases (I’m guessing, and I believe its a pretty good guess, that these were in the cities that still had some hope of turning from their corrupt ways) that those who submitted could be taken as slaves… slavery might still seem ‘harsh’ to you, but you have to remember that this was not the same type of slavery as we had in America. One passage that lends some reinforcement to this point of view (destruction of only completely corrupted cities) comes in Genesis 15:16 when God tells Abraham of the future of his nation (Israel)- "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."… In effect, you see God through this passage basically giving them more time, because there is still hope for the repentance of some people, however, He knew that eventually ("fourth generation".. around the time when Joshua crosses the Jordan) they would become utterly corrupt. Archealogically, the

Canaanites/Amorites/ etc. were pagan god worshippers who practiced divination and performed human sacrifices.

Secondly, the killing of the people is justifiable because it is ordained by God… now I realize that this can be a slippery train of thought- of course God cannot tell me to lie etc. (break the 10 Comm.)- but, in light of the last paragraph, you must realize that God has the right to take a blasphemous person’s life.. He may choose to do so directly (Soddom and Gomorrah; the Flood) or, in this case, He does it through man so that He can fulfill His promise (the Abrahamic covenant).

Lastly, the conquest of the regions of Canaan comes in a time when pagan political and civilisational rises are taken to be the signs of Divinity- when God conquered them, He showed who the true God was.

In relation to the New Testament, Jesus is the Second Joshua who only destroys (hell) those who completely reject Him and are without want or hope of redemption upon death. This act (hell) is also a question that comes up in the debate of brutality (just as the first Joshua’s conquests are)… interestingly enough.

Not only was this response not very good at explaining the situation, at least in my understanding, it seems to miss the very point. Here is my response.

Your responses don’t do a very good job of explaining the existence of contradiction, and I think your last paragraph is the best at illustrating why…

Lastly, the conquest of the regions of Canaan comes in a time when pagan political and civilisational rises are taken to be the signs of Divinity- when God conquered them, He showed who the true God was.

You are effectively saying that it was impossible for god to have shown the Canaanites that he was the true god without having slaughtered them. God is supposed to be all powerful and knowing and yet he was not able to simply come forward and pulled off something interesting that would convince a group of people that the god they believe in is false? That doesn’t make sense.

While I used the violence in the bible topic as an example, there are numerous contradictions in the bible (Even in the Torah) like the Creation story in genesis detailing out how women came about, the first child, and the statement where Cain goes off to get his wife. The contradictions continue through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

What I am looking for is something with more explanation than a couple quotes that simply illustrate its existence. Why would a jealous and loathsome god allow his word to be tainted in such a way as to allow it to become mangled? Would the god of the Abrahamic religions who willfully slaughters the Canaanites for worshiping the wrong god not want to step in and smite those who have tainted the words that he spoke?