Does the scripture contradict itself, or can it simply be interpreted to one's liking? Lancelot invokes scripture (Exodus 34:7) to prove that Jessica must be so damned for her father's sins. Jessica...

Does the scripture contradict itself, or can it simply be interpreted to one's liking?

Lancelot invokes scripture (Exodus 34:7) to prove that Jessica must be so damned for her father's sins. Jessica invokes 1 Corinthians 7:14 to prove she will not. Ezekiel 18:20 appears to say just the opposite of Exodus 34:7. It seems that not only the devil can cite scripture to his own purposes (1.3.94); anyone can.

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mrtoad eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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While there may be errors and contradictions in the various translations of the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible, it is my belief that the Holy Scriptures, as originally written, by inspiration of God are without error and without contradiction in every respect. There are many passages that testify that this is the case, notably II Timothy 3:15-17, II Timothy 2:13, Psalm 19:7, Psalm 12:6, etc.

To claim that the Bible contradicts itself makes it altogether unreliable in matters of faith and life because such an assertion separates Jesus from his word and thus makes him out to be...

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frizzyperm | Student

It is true that there are seeming contradictions in the Bible, but that is all. MrToad

These are the birds you are to detest and not eat because they are detestable: the eagle, ... any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat (Leviticus 11:13-19)

So the Bible's claim that bats are birds only seems to be absolutely, totally, completely, 100% wrong?

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frizzyperm | Student

from post10, "The only difference between Hebrews and Canaanites was religion. In order to keep the Hebrews holy... strong measures were needed."

'Keeping the Hebrews holy' is your phrase for ethnic cleansing? Well, after all,

'strong measures were needed'

Why do religious people obliterate anyone who disagrees with them (and their family, animals and crops, yea,  unto the tenth generation) and then claim moral superiority? Why, because...

'strong measures were needed'

Why do Christians moralize at Gays for showing love, but then say, "The writers of the OT don't moralize on what happened."and equivocate about wiping out entire cities? Why? Because

'strong measures were needed'

Why is it OK to harshly judge other groups but excuse your own? Christians judge non-Christians by Christian morality but spectacularly failing to repsect their own morals laws. I don't understand it. Oh wait...

'strong measures were needed'

Historically, The Christians have claimed to love people but displayed aggression. Last week you openly gloated about Iraqi soldiers being cowards. You revelled in the terrifying force of the American military and today you say you strive to follow Jesus's gentle pacifist example. Why didn't you show love for the frightened young Iraqis facing death? Oh yeah, silly of me,

Because strong measures were needed.

Sarcasm is quite a weapon, isn't it?

"Sarcasm is quite a weapon, isn't it?"

Not when you compare it to a Black Hawk helicopter loaded with cluster bombs, heavy machines guns and air-to-surface missiles; flown by a highly-trained pilot who's been taught not to take personal responsibility for his actions.

Compared to that it's just harmless hot-air.

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stanpeel | Student

from post10, "The only difference between Hebrews and Canaanites was religion. In order to keep the Hebrews holy... strong measures were needed."

'Keeping the Hebrews holy' is your phrase for ethnic cleansing? Well, after all,

'strong measures were needed'

Why do religious people obliterate anyone who disagrees with them (and their family, animals and crops, yea,  unto the tenth generation) and then claim moral superiority? Why, because...

'strong measures were needed'

Why do Christians moralize at Gays for showing love, but then say, "The writers of the OT don't moralize on what happened."and equivocate about wiping out entire cities? Why? Because

'strong measures were needed'

Why is it OK to harshly judge other groups but excuse your own? Christians judge non-Christians by Christian morality but spectacularly failing to repsect their own morals laws. I don't understand it. Oh wait...

'strong measures were needed'

Historically, The Christians have claimed to love people but displayed aggression. Last week you openly gloated about Iraqi soldiers being cowards. You revelled in the terrifying force of the American military and today you say you strive to follow Jesus's gentle pacifist example. Why didn't you show love for the frightened young Iraqis facing death? Oh yeah, silly of me,

Because strong measures were needed.

Sarcasm is quite a weapon, isn't it?

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stanpeel | Student

I believe that individual writers of the books of the Bible may contradict one another on some points. For instance, there are two creation stories in the book of Genesis. Does that mean both need to be thrown out as unreliable? No. The Old Testament was passed on by oral teaching for many generations before it was put into writing. Once the texts were written, it is believed that priests edited some of the details.

 

 

In my studies, I have found that the idea of two creation stories results from misinterpretation. I believe that Gen 1 and 2 are compatible with each other and tell one story of creation. Very broadly, Gen 1 is an outline of each element of creation. In other words, the components of creation were identified with man being the crown jewel of creation, made in the image of God.

Gen 2 gives the day of rest, or sabboth, and the generations, or time sequence, of the components of creation in the six days. Rather than a separate account of creation, Gen 2 gives the time sequence of these elements.This is supported by verse 2:4 where God is now referred to as LORD God for the first time and creation becomes singular, i.e., the DAY that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

We find in Gen 2:4-9 that man was created before there were plants or herbs or trees in the earth, for there was no water to make them grow yet, and there were no beasts of the field either. So it is evident here that man was created before there was any other life upon the earth; then God planted His garden!

We are thereby introduced to a new time reference used throughout scripture, i.e., the DAY of the LORD, in this case referring to the period of days of creation. In other words, it gives us the detail of the order of creation.

Anyway, this is the gist of my interpretation of creation.

Don't misinterpret the question I'm going to ask as criticism. I'm really curious. Did you study the Hebrew/Aramaic text or the English translations? I just wonder whether you'd arrive at the same interpretation from either version.

I apologize for the long delay, but I'm not able to visit every day.

I'm not easily offended, so feel free to criticize if you wish.

If you are interested in how I came to my understanding, please refer to my page on Seed of Promise, as follows:      http://www.geocities.com/stan34476/A_SeedPromise.html

I'd be happy to answer any questions about it.

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frizzyperm | Student

...In the 4th century, Christians assigned December 25 (the Winter Solstice on the Julian calendar) as Christ's birthday (thus Christmas) because pagans already observed this day as a holiday. As the dates of Saturnalia are not precisely coincident with Christmas, a more refined argument is that Christmas was the feast of Sol Invictus, which was on December 25.

Happy Saturnalia, Linda, Praise and Thanks be unto Lord Saturn at this happy time.

What ever happened to Saturn anyway? Did he die or something? One minute ruler of the Universe and supreme God, (with millions of people offering prayers, sacrifices, martyrs, temples, priests, festivals and so on.) Next minute... *Poof!* Gone.

D'ya think 1800 years ago, Roman citizens Lindaticus and Fizzyicus argued about Saturn, and Lindaticus insisted that Saturn lived in her heart and watched over her? I bet Lindaticus believed in Saturn with all her heart and went to temple everyday to thank Saturn for her beautiful family and all her blessings. She said the chants. She knew Saturn loved her. She was a good Saturnian. But... there... was... no... Saturn.

And then some heretics come along and stole his festival for their own God. And suddenly Saturn is out of fashion and forgotten.

Strange, isn't it, Gods come and go. I wonder if in 1800 years time people will say, "Jesus? Wasn't he some old religious Guy? He sounds vaguely familiar."

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frizzyperm | Student

Dearly beloved, the eternal Christian creed is to love and serve our fellow man without thought for self and to respect the word of God. We always try to remember God's word in our lives. But sometimes, to ensure that Christian Love is protected for the good of the world, regrettably, we have to place ourselves outside of Christian morality in order to defend Christian morality.

Obviously God and Jesus left many many laws which stipulate how we should live, but we are certain that these laws can't apply in times of great need. In times of great need it is justifiable to set those laws on one side, safe for a future day..

Our virtues and high morals are like our 'Sunday Best Clothes' which we wear on sunny days to show our friends. Look at the finery of our value system. Feel the quality of this belief. But surely, if you are threatened or offended by your neighbor's unholy behaviour, then it is morally defensibile to take off your Sunday Best. Our virtues would last a generation if we didn't defend them.

Only a fool would expect moral virtue to apply to important situations. Strong measures are sometimes needed. But after the strong measures are complete, we will put on our fine moral clothes again and abide within God's laws until the next time they are in danger.

After all, it is all about God's love... as long as we are not threatened, obviously.

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frizzyperm | Student

from post10, "The only difference between Hebrews and Canaanites was religion. In order to keep the Hebrews holy... strong measures were needed."

'Keeping the Hebrews holy' is your phrase for ethnic cleansing? Well, after all,

'strong measures were needed'

Why do religious people obliterate anyone who disagrees with them (and their family, animals and crops, yea,  unto the tenth generation) and then claim moral superiority? Why, because...

'strong measures were needed'

Why do Christians moralize at Gays for showing love, but then say, "The writers of the OT don't moralize on what happened."and equivocate about wiping out entire cities? Why? Because

'strong measures were needed'

Why is it OK to harshly judge other groups but excuse your own? Christians judge non-Christians by Christian morality but spectacularly failing to repsect their own morals laws. I don't understand it. Oh wait...

'strong measures were needed'

Historically, The Christians have claimed to love people but displayed aggression. Last week you openly gloated about Iraqi soldiers being cowards. You revelled in the terrifying force of the American military and today you say you strive to follow Jesus's gentle pacifist example. Why didn't you show love for the frightened young Iraqis facing death? Oh yeah, silly of me,

Because strong measures were needed.

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frizzyperm | Student

With regards to textual interpretation, throughout history, including the present day, the Bible has been selectively cited to justify a variety of actions. It is possible to make the Bible appear to say almost anything you want. Historically, The Bible has been used to justify activity as diverse as

  1. Universal Love
  2. Denying women the vote
  3. Giving women the vote
  4. The Crusades
  5. The abolition of The Crusades
  6. Slavery 
  7. The abolition of slavery
  8. the attempted genocide of The Jews
  9. Good treatment of the Jews
  10. and (most regularly) War.

The thing is not so much 'interpretation' as 'selection'. Imagine, you have something you want to do, let's say you wish to 'prove' that Homosexuality makes God angry and that Homosexuals may not serve God, so you quote the strict parts in The Old Testament and you use those texts to 'prove' your argument, while at the same time, you conveniently ignore all of Jesus's statements which say, "Love Everyone", "Don't judge people", "Worry about your own sins, not other peoples", etc.

By selectively quoting the Bible you can make God appear to be anything from all-loving to a destructive, angry killing machine.

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frizzyperm | Student

I like this one too... The city of Ai, it was destroyed forever... sort of.

Joshua 8:28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.

Here we see that Joshua has completely destroyed a city and left a heap of dead rubble 'for ever'. But, later in the Bible's story... 

Nehemiah 7:32 The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three

Ai is still there and full of life. How can this be? A direct contradiction.

(and let's not get into the holiness of launching 'scorched earth' destruction on an entire city because they have displeased you in some way.)

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frizzyperm | Student

The Bible contains lots of basic, human contradictions. There are many examples but one I like is the 'chewing the cud' mistake. 

(Lev. 11:5-6) - "‘Likewise, the rock badger, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; 6 the rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you."

In this passage, as usual, rules are being made about what God says you can and can't do. The author says you must not eat rabbits because rabbits chew the cud (i.e. they regurgitate the contents of their stomach to chew it a second time). Rabbits don't chew the cud. Rabbits eat their own fecal pellets (ew...). This is a simple contradiction of fact and it proves that a law supposedly directed by The Almighty was actually invented by error-prone man.

There are many many other simple mistakes in The Bible.

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stanpeel | Student

I believe that individual writers of the books of the Bible may contradict one another on some points. For instance, there are two creation stories in the book of Genesis. Does that mean both need to be thrown out as unreliable? No. The Old Testament was passed on by oral teaching for many generations before it was put into writing. Once the texts were written, it is believed that priests edited some of the details.

 

 

In my studies, I have found that the idea of two creation stories results from misinterpretation. I believe that Gen 1 and 2 are compatible with each other and tell one story of creation. Very broadly, Gen 1 is an outline of each element of creation. In other words, the components of creation were identified with man being the crown jewel of creation, made in the image of God.

Gen 2 gives the day of rest, or sabboth, and the generations, or time sequence, of the components of creation in the six days. Rather than a separate account of creation, Gen 2 gives the time sequence of these elements.This is supported by verse 2:4 where God is now referred to as LORD God for the first time and creation becomes singular, i.e., the DAY that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

We find in Gen 2:4-9 that man was created before there were plants or herbs or trees in the earth, for there was no water to make them grow yet, and there were no beasts of the field either. So it is evident here that man was created before there was any other life upon the earth; then God planted His garden!

We are thereby introduced to a new time reference used throughout scripture, i.e., the DAY of the LORD, in this case referring to the period of days of creation. In other words, it gives us the detail of the order of creation.

Anyway, this is the gist of my interpretation of creation.

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stanpeel | Student

The scripture, when taken out of context, is like statistics.  Anyone can make it mean what he or she wants it to.  However, when studied in context, the meanings are more clear.  There are some contradictions, too.  The New Testament contradicts many of the Old Testament's statements because much of what was followed before the birth of Jesus since His death was a sacrifice to save all humanity.  With His sacrifice, many of the things in the Old Testament were rendered obsolete and unnecessary.

This answer looks at the Bible from the NT to OT perspective. But if one considers the Bible to be an authentic historical account and the NT is interpreted in light of the OT, it eliminates many so-called contradictions. This approach does not show the OT to be obsolete at all, and certainly not unnecessary in any case.

For example, how does one make sense of the cross unless the fallen nature of man as given in Genesis is assumed?

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