Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Biblical Rebuttal

I posted the following as a rebuttal to a rebuttal of 4 points of biblical contradictory verses. Figured I'd share it here so that others could see it. The forum I debate on requires an account to read the posts, so I can't easily just link to it for people to read.

First off, for context, I'll include the post I was responding to:
KonaCoffeeCo. said:
Tin-tin, I hope you're ready for it...

(deep breath)
What time of day was jesus crucified:
1) "And it was the third hour, and they crucified him" (Mark 15:25)
2) "...about the sixth hour..." (John 19:14-16)
The first reference (1) is correct. The second (John) does not have any reference to the time of crucifixion. Not in either the NIV or in King James. Did you make that up or something? In fact, those two verses are regarding when Jesus is on trial under Pilate.
Did Jesus drink anything on the cross?
1) Yes, he drank vinegar (John 19:29-30)
2) No: They gave him wine, but he rejected it (Mark 15:23)
Mark 15:23-25:
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.
24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.
25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
The question and answers posted above are a huge interpretation, and not straight text. You realize that you are reading two different views of the same event right? They are not mutually exclusive points.

This is the set-up: Jesus is on the cross and they attack a sponge to the end of a spear or stick and hold it next to his face. Maybe to John it looked like he drank it, and to Mark it did not. And depending on the age of the wine, it could have been both wine and vinegar. Hardly a contradiction!
When did the flood waters finally dry
1) First day of the first month (Genesis 8:13)
2) 27th day of the second month (Genesis 8:14)
Also another case of distortion from the way that this question is presented. Here you present it as though you are asking when the waters first dried up.

Here's the whole passage:
5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
13 And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
14 And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.
All that is said is that Noah waits about two months in the ark before he gets word from God that he should go out. Basically that the land dried up on Jan. 1st, and that it was, in fact, still dry on Feb. 27th.

You're 0 and 3, dude.
Who destroyed Sodom and Gomarrah?
1) Angels (Genesis 19:13)
2) God (Genesis 19:24)
Genesis 19:13 only says that God sent the angels to destroy Sodom and Gomarrah. The more important fact here is that the angels were needed to tell Lot and his family to get out. Maybe the angels destroyed the cities with God's power, maybe God directly did it himself. If that is an important question to you, then I understand your interest. If you're just looking for contradictions in the Bible, sorry, still not here.

Acheron, I'll take a look at yours too. This one just took up WAY too much time to refute properly.

Side Note: I don't want to give the impression that I necessarily believe the Bible to be infallible. I've gone back and forth on that issue for years now. However, I do have a problem with people that use faulty evidence to stake a claim, regardless of my position on it. Until tomorrow!
It should also be pointed out that he's using the King James Version as a reference which is known to be inaccurate. That aside, I make the rest of my points in my post as included below.
First off, I already pointed out that I wasn't specifically vouching for the points on here, or even the points I copied from that website. Now I'm going to start addressing them specifically.

We'll start with the four that Kona addressed as 4 points.

Point #1
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What time of day was jesus crucified:
1) "And it was the third hour, and they crucified him" (Mark 15:25)
2) "...about the sixth hour..." (John 19:14-16)
Kona is correct on this one in stating that John, and Matthew or Luke for that matter, never specifically state the time of the actual crucifixion. They state the times that Pilate turned Jesus over to the soldiers to be crucified and/or the time of events after the crucifixion. However...

Let's address several points here regarding the crucifixion stories.

First the timeline. By all accounts, this happened in 1 day. Now let's address the times listed for certain events during the course of that 1 day as listed in the 4 gospel accounts.

Matthew 27:45-46: 45From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Mark 15:25: 25It was the third hour when they crucified him.
Mark 15:33-34: 33At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Luke 23:44-46: 44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

John 19:14-16: 14It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
"Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.
15But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!"
"Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked.
"We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.
16Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

Now based on those accounts, we have it stated that Pilate turned Jesus over to be crucified at the 6th hour, but he was crucified at the 3rd hour... 3 hours back in time. Also the fact that while one account lists him as being turned over to be crucified at the 6th hour, which entailed being marched through the streets carrying his own cross to Golgotha, where he was then crucified, which obviously took some time, other accounts list him as already having been crucified at the 6th hour, as the skies darkened for 3 hours before he commended his spirit to God at the 9th hour.

So even if we roughly give a little bending to the ~6th hour to ~9th hour timeline for the crucifixion to play out, the crucifixion happening at the 3rd hour does contradict the rest of the timeline.

This also ignores the differences in who said what, what was written on the sign above his head, etc. which differ between each of the gospels as well. Or the fact that one gospel lists the fact that in Matthew 27:52-54, it states the following:
52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"
But none of the other gospels make any mention of this obviously miraculous event of many holy people being brought back to life and going through the city appearing to many people.

Moving on to point #2...

Point #2
----------
Did Jesus drink anything on the cross?
1) Yes, he drank vinegar (John 19:29-30)
2) No: They gave him wine, but he rejected it (Mark 15:23)
Here we have 2 different points to address... the gospels make reference to drink being offered to Jesus twice. Once by bystanders and again by soldiers. We'll address them as such.

In Matthew:
First the soldiers offer him the following: "34There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.", later a bystander offered him the following: "48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink."

Jesus refuses the first, but it doesn't say if he drank the second, only that the bystander was told to leave him alone.

In Mark:
First the soldiers offer him the following: "23Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.", then later a bystander offered him the following: "36One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said."

Again Jesus refused the first, but it doesn't say if he drank the second, only that the bystander was told to leave him alone.

In Luke:
First the soldiers offer him the following: "36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar". Nobody else offered him anything.

This time it doesn't say if Jesus even drank the first and he wasn't offered anything else.

In John:
In this account, the soldiers offer him nothing, but the bystanders offer the following: "28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

So this time only the bystanders offer him anything, and he explicitly drinks of it to fulfill scripture.

So we have the soldiers offering the following: "wine mixed with gall", "wine mixed with myrrh", "wine vinegar", and nothing in the fourth.

Then we have the bystanders offering the following: "wine vinegar", "wine vinegar", nothing, and then again "wine vinegar". Now we should note that Jesus specifically drank the wine vinegar this second time in order to fulfill scripture, so it seems odd that Luke would make no mention of it.

So what did the soldiers actually offer Jesus, given that we have 3 different mixes listed and nothing at all in the fourth? And why does Luke make no mention of the explicitly scripturally fulfilling second drink?

Point #3
----------
When did the flood waters finally dry
1) First day of the first month (Genesis 8:13)
2) 27th day of the second month (Genesis 8:14)
Here is another where Kona is sort of correct in his statement. The New International Version makes this perfectly clear: "13 By the first day of the first month of Noah's six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry." This should have been clear even from the other translations.

However...

I should take this opportunity to soundly debunk the whole Noah's Ark story from the ground up in order to render this whole point moot. :)

Let's start by reading Genesis chapters 6 through 8 to get the whole story.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%206-8;&version=31;

Now that we've done that, we notice as a side note the story of the "Nephilim" breeding with the daughters of man... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephilim... but we'll move past that for now. ;)

We see in chapter 6, verse 7: 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them."

Here he states that he will kill every living creature on Earth, including all the birds, many species of which can survive just fine for months, even years, without landfall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabird

But I guess special "God Rain" can kill them too, right? ;)

Then we come to another important point where it explicitly lists Noah's sons: "10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.", this will come in handy in a bit.

Then we have the dimensions of the boat: "14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. 16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks."

I'll link a few articles that explain this in greater detail to save myself a bit of typing... http://www.geocities.com/evoatheism/articles/asize.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah%27s_Ark#Biblical_literalism_and_the_Ark etc.

Essentially Noah would have to have built an Ark using technology more advanced than that of the end of the main era of wooden ships, thousands of years later, would have had to fit literally millions of animals on it, provided food and water for every single one of them, enough to last almost a year, and make sure that not a single animal died of any of the "unclean" animals or that species would be wiped out, as all the non-livestock and non-avian animals only had 1 male and 1 female to represent them. As for the birds, as there are over 10,000 species of birds, this would equate to 70,000 birds alone being on the ark, as Noah was required to bring 7 of every kind of bird, over 100 different livestock animals, and so on...

But what have we here? In verse 20 it states: "20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.", but then in Chapter 7, verse 3, it states: "3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth."

Where is he going to get the other 5 of every kind of bird if only 2 of each will actually come to him? Is he going to have to travel the world and capture the other 5 of every different kind? ;)

Moving along... we see the following: "6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.", and as I was sure to point out earlier, we know there to be 3 sons. So we have 8 people in total entering the ark to repopulate the entire earth so that all the genetic diversity and geographical dispersal we see in the global human population happened within the past few thousand years. And by that I'm talking specifically around 4 or 5,000 years. Now we know through the fossil record etc, that this is simply not true. :) Much less the fact that even the genetic diversity as measured by the spread of Mitochondrial DNA and it's rate of mutation far exceeds this window.

Again, moving along...

I suppose I should touch on another interesting side note... in chapter 7, verse 11, it states: "11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened." With that said, it bears noting the the direct lineage from Adam up through David etc, were listed along with the ages of every person. Now given that these ages were generally all several hundred years, and that gives us the proverbial 6,000 span from creation to modern day... it would bear noting that even that span of time relies on improbably long lifespans for the individuals listed. If we were to say that perhaps they used a different measurement of time, that would actually lead to an even younger earth. Even more improbable. ;)

Again... moving on.

We come to the next interesting verses: "17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet."

Allow me to reference a partial explanation of this. From http://en.allexperts.com/q/Physics-1358/Water-Volume-during-Great.htm we get:
The earth has a radius of approx. R=6374 km.
Its surface area is thus A= 4*Pi*R² = 5.1 *10^14 m².

Mr. Arafat (the late President of Palestine) was not very tall, but Mt. Ararat (the volcano mountain in Northeastern Turkey) is 5165 m high.
This makes the water volume necessary to flood it to its peak V= 2.6 * 10^18 m³. (Or 2.5 million million million cubic meters of water)
This water weighs 2.6 * 10^18 tons.

Spread out to 40 days the average rainfall would be 5165m / 40 d = 129 000 mm per day or 5375 mm per hour. Imagine standing under a waterfall.

Evaporated it would saturate the whole atmosphere plus the stratosphere with 105% humidity. In other words: Clouds would fill the atmosphere from the ground on upwards plus the stratosphere (where there are usually no clouds - "above the weather"). This would lead to the earth freezing under the clouds since no sunlight reaches the ground. The consequences would be harsher than the imagined "nuclear winter" after a global thermonuclear war.
Now mind you, that only relates to Mt. Ararat, which is only 5,165M. But the bible states that the water covered the highest point on earth by 20 feet. That would increase that height to over 8,850M, which would only dramatically compound the effects listed above.

Are we seeing a theme yet? Not to mention that there simply isn't, and never has been, that much water on the entire planet. Not by an incredibly huge margin.

A few other things to note, as far as space on the boat etc... we would also have to account for at least 46 weeks worth of food for the 8 people and all the millions of animals on the boat. Or how about the fact that that much rainfall etc would effectively desalinate the Oceans, killing off further hundreds of thousands of species at the very least who rely on specific salinity levels and temperature ranges etc.

I think that's at least a satisfactory debunking of that fable... enough to illustrate that bickering over when the waters dried is a rather moot point given that the whole story is nothing more than an impossible myth to begin with. And even if you try to play apologist and reference the supposed flood of the Black Sea by the Mediterranean Sea after the receding glaciers raised the water tables, that would unfortunately not only still not lend any credence to almost any of the fantastical claims of the Noah Ark story, but it would also just happen to predate the date of the biblical creation story by well over a thousand years.

Moving on...


Point #4
----------
Who destroyed Sodom and Gomarrah?
1) Angels (Genesis 19:13)
2) God (Genesis 19:24)
Kona fails on this one as well when we actually look at what was written.

In chapters 12 and 13, two angels (as clearly stated in chapter 1) specifically state that they had not only been sent to warn Lot and his family, but specifically to do the destroying. "12 The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.""

However, in chapter 24, it almost humorously explicitly states that God specifically was the one doing the destruction. "24 Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens."

So the point stands.

Hopefully this is a thorough enough coverage of these points. :)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

#1 - If you think you are invalidating the books of the OT and NT by trying to demonstrate inconsistencies in the match up between books, then you are not approaching the subject honestly but with malice in your purpose. Sorry, but you invalidate your own words because you have surrendered your honesty to purpose. Pray for guidance, wisdom and understanding.
#2 - If you honestly do not understand what you are reading, then keep at it. Study the languages as far back as necessary. Do not blindly trust in the traditions, interpretations and preferences of others. After all, you are responsible for yourself. And, remember to pray for guidance, wisdom and understanding.

Justin Stressman said...

Yes, because obviously praying made you an enlightened genius. *sigh*

Humorous as usual that you avoid the clear contradictions in the passages that exist not only across translations, but even after the work of hundreds of the greatest linguists, anthropologists and biblical scholars in the world after having gone through the oldest available works and other vast collections of historical works etc and creating the most accurate translations possible today.

Your primitive ignorance and devotion to irrational superstition reminds me of Galileo and how, in his belief in the inerrant word of the bible, chose to believe a centuries/millennia old book of historical fiction rather than what he scientifically proved as fact. He reconciled this with his religious belief by stating that if reality as he perceived it did not match up with what the bible said, it was not the fault of the bible, but of his ability to comprehend the word of God.

Luckily, his devout faith aside, his personal friendship with the pope saved him from being murdered by the Inquisition for stating that reality and the bible were at odds.

"Galileo's championing of Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime. The geocentric view had been dominant since the time of Aristotle, and the controversy engendered by Galileo's opposition to this view resulted in the Catholic Church's prohibiting the advocacy of heliocentrism as potentially factual, because that theory had no decisive proof and was contrary to the literal meaning of Scripture. Galileo was eventually forced to recant his heliocentrism and spent the last years of his life under house arrest on orders of the Inquisition."

Luckily even the catholic church finally officially admitted that the Earth orbits the Sun in 1992, 350 years late.

"In 1992, the Roman Catholic Church finally repealed the ruling of the Inquisition against Galileo. The Church gave a pardon to Galileo and admitted that the heliocentric theory was correct. This pardon came 350 years after Galileo's death."

And you cultists wonder why I hate you for desperately trying to drag man back into the dark ages where your primitive superstitions flower more easily in the dark shadows of sweeping and fundamental ignorance.

You sir seem to belong back in that ignorant age centuries ago when most men at least had the excuse of not knowing any better.

Now you simply illustrate your own idiocy by having the nerve to champion utter stupidity in the face of a preponderance of evidence to the contrary in the name of "blind faith. Unfortunately for you, while blind faith implies a lack of evidence, in these cases we have ample evidence, it just happens to prove that you're wrong.

That's no longer blind faith, that's just sheer stupidity.

Next time please try actually addressing the facts involved rather than making such primitive excuses that completely fail to actually touch on ANY of what was discussed in detail in the article.

I get so sick of the tired excuses that Christians make; "If you go from being a Christian to an Atheist, then you never were a Christian, but Atheists can become Christians." and "If you say anything that doesn't wholly agree with the bible, the devil is just speaking through you and telling lies and/or you simply don't understand what you're talking about (the mysteries of God!) etc."

These kinds of pathetic logical fallacies remind me of the way that Christians routinely refute scientific evidence and ridicule it as incapable of proving anything when it happens to prove their bible wrong... but when something could in some remotely possible way, in their minds, lend to the possibility of backing up something in the bible, suddenly they trumpet that science as incontrovertible proof. Hypocrites of the highest order.

Thankfully after being a Christian for over 20 years and having spent over 30 years in the study of a vast assortment of fields of knowledge including theology, anthropology and archaeological history among others (study which I continue on a daily basis), I have a pretty good grasp on the way you people think and on the fictional nature of much of the bible and its religion and the role it played and plays on the stage of human beliefs, sociology, psychology and history etc.

Maybe you should do a little less praying and a little more of the same kind of studying? Perhaps you wouldn't be here parroting such hollow excuses.

Leevi said...

I didn't have time to read your whole blog now, but I gotta point out a few things for now: “the sixth hour” would have been 6:00 AM according to the Roman timekeeping system,
or noon for the Jewish timekeeping system in use, then. I am reading a finnish bible and it states "Noon" instead of sixth hour. I'll come by again, but I recommend you to take a closer look at the bible.
You can't call yourself a theologist if you point out "contradictions" that even a child would notice. How about going beneath the surface?

Justin Stressman said...

I appreciate your point, as I care about accuracy, but with that said...

"The Roman reckoning which started at midnight was only used by authorities as legal time (for contracts, official documents, etc.). Otherwise, the Romans too reckoned time from 6 a.m. [e.g., Roman sundials are marked VI not XII for noon.]"

It can be argued both ways, and other accounts in John even cast your claim into doubt, but it's an interesting point none the less and the very reason I invite open dissent on this blog.

That said, you're also still ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room. The contradictions of all the other points I made, as well as the fact that the very foundation of the story is ridiculous at its root etc.

I once likened this to an argument about who would win in a battle between Goku and Vegita. Sure we could reference numerous anime and manga sources etc, and argue about power levels and different battles etc. But in the end they're still both just fictional cartoon characters.

Don't get so caught up in the minutia that you miss the obvious. Think about it.