My Case Against Christianity

After my exchange with Jason Engwer and my resultant apologies for the tone of my posts, I have come to realize something: I have never put forth my actual case against Christianity. I have never really contributed to "debunking" in the sense of any fault-finding or critiquing Christianity. Once I tested out an argument here, and then I started a series on visions and defending them, but I haven't actually contributed to debunking Christianity.

What, then, do I consider the case against Christianity to be? What would be my case against the Christian faith?


The chief two reasons I believe that Christianiy is false is because I believe that the Bible is errant, both internally and externally, and I believe that the Christian God is logically incoherent because the attributes of such a god are logically inconsistent. Let me outline my case as follows:

Argument One: The Bible is Errant Internally

I believe that the Bible is errant in several ways. I consider many passages claimed to narrate historical events to contradict each other such as the resurrection narratives, the infancy narratives, when the fig tree was cursed, when Jesus was annointed by the woman, how the Field of Blood got its name, how exactly did Peter deny Jesus after his arrest, etc. These discrepancies, I believe are not limited to the New Testament. I believe that the creation accounts conflict in Genesis as well as the Flood accounts. I believe that the Hebrew Bible conflicts over when the name of Yahweh was known to the Hebrew patriarchs, whether or not God approved of sacrifices when he called the Hebrews out of Egypt, as well as others.

I also believe that the Bible contains failed prophecies. I believe that the land promise failed in the books of Joshua and Judges. I believe that the prophecy of an eternal kingdom for David failed. I believe that the prophecy of Ezekiel against Tyre failed as well.

I also believed that Jesus made several mistakes, assuming that the passages in question are authentically attributable to Jesus. I believe that Jesus erred in Mark chapter two, not only by saying that it was in the days of Abiathar that David went to the high priest but also in suggesting that David had men present with him. I believe that Jesus erred in suggesting that Jericho's daughter was asleep and not dead. There are other examples I could cite and most likely will.

Argument Two: The Bible is Errant Externally

I believe that the Bible teaches a flat-earth, geocentric cosmology and that this has been invalidated by modern cosmology. In fact, I believe that a chief reason that Christianity survives today is because of Galileo. It was Galileo, I believe, who suggested that the Bible be understood as having a "language of appearance". I believe that Martin Luther was justfied in condemning heliocentricism on biblical grounds.

I also believe that creationism and deluge theology have been refuted by modern science. I believe that the case for evolution and an old-earth are overwhelming. I believe that the case for evolution has been well-documented by scientists. I believe that deluge theology has been refuted and that it was originally Christian geologists such as William Buckland and Adam Sedgewick who constructed the geological column and applied the principles of stratiography to geology, in effect refuting the contextually-demanding interpretation of the flood as a universal deluge. Like Galileo, it was their attempts at compromise that have helped Christianity to surivive.

Lastly, there is the starlight problem. How can light from stars travel in such a great distance if the cosmos is, indeed, young? I have seen almost every solution proposed to date from Barry Setterfield's hypothesis to D. Russel Humphrey's "relativistic cosmology". What is wrong with all of these hypotheses, is that they are all "after-the-fact". Who would conclude purely on secular grounds that the speed of light was decreasing all these years and therefore the earth is young and radioactive decay rates were much higher in the past or that billions of years of stellar evolution took place while the flow of time on earth was much slower, making the cosmos young? Who would ever propose such schemes unless they were looking for a way out of a tight-spot? The solutions are way too late! Why would God wait until almost a century after the problem arose, for the solution to be discovered? What that means is that no one was justified believing that the Bible and science were complementary and in harmony over the starlight problem until creationists like Setterfield and Humphreys were on the scene. If Humphrey's solution, involving relativistic time dilation is right, then what that means is that no one was justified in believing that the Bible and science were harmonizable on this point until after Einstein proposed his theories of relativity and the implications of it were worked out over the next few decades with Humphreys realizing the implications of it for the starlight problem! The "starlight paradox" as I have come to call it, personally (although I am willing to give credit where it is due if someone else has called it this)

Argument Three: The nonexistence of God

Finally, a reason I believe that the Christian God does not exist is because I believe that such a Being cannot exist. I believe that some of the biblically-based and theologically-defined attributes of God contradict each other. I believe, for instance, that the attributes of volition and omniscience contradict each other. It's the same with the attributes of volition and moral perfection. I believe that other attributes contradict each other, showing that the Christian God cannot exist because of a contradiction of the attributes, making the Christian God logically incoherent. Now don't get me wrong here: I believe that some contrary-attribute arguments might indeed be flawed but there are some that I am quite convinced, do work.

My Conclusion

The errancy of the Bible, both internally and externally, as well as the theological incoherency of the Christian God, are the chief reasons I believe that the Christian faith is indeed flawed and are the reasons I disbelieve that the Christian God exists. In my next article series, I plan to examine the doctrine of inerrancy in detail and show why it is flawed with examples of contradictions, errors, and failed prophecies as well as attempts by Christian apologists to resolve them.

Matthew

38 comments:

Blue Devil Knight said...

It seems you could be a Christian, given what you've said. Only Christians with an immature theology think the Bible is inerrant, for one. Believing in inerrancy is certainly not a precondition for being a Christian.

Secondly, if the contradictions you mention are real, perhaps such conceptions of God are lacking, but not all conceptions of God. Maybe God doesn't have volition in the sense that we do, or the sense that we understand it.

Third, there is no obvious contradiction betwen being omniscient and having volition. Could you spell that out more? It is an interesting claim.

Twitch said...

i know the title of this blog referes to evangelical Christianity so I wont spend a whole lot of time responding. I guess I fall into the category of "liberal" christianity.
who cares if the Bible contains flaws in record or statements. who cares if the Hebrews were wrong about the stars in the sky? Not me. i know that a lot of Christians DO care about that and for them, your arguments will be something with which they will try to contend.
Also, who cares if we understand the logical justifications for God's existence to be contradictory. In my mind, since we are human beings, our logical understanding of ANYTHING will be contradictory... How many theories are there about everything? Every day "new evidence" surfaces about the origin of the universe that contradicts previous findings. contradicting attributes of God as they are expressed by the imperfect body of Christians does nothing to prove God's non-existence. however, i respect if those things are enough to cause you to not believe in that God (which I think is the language you used... fair enough).
I am new to this blog, so I dont want to jump out too far ahead here. I just thought you would want to know that some Christians do not depend on the Bible for evidence of God's existence. Sometimes, that evidence cannot be tested and sustained. I know that "feelings" and "intuitions" are not very valuable to this blog community, but you should still know that for some of us, they are enough.
Its a mystery to me why I can read this blog on a regular basis, empathize with your (plural) arguments, understand your perspective, yet not be convinced. It really is a mystery. I disagree with what 90% of the other Christians say on this blog: the Bible is not the sole source of God's revelation; hell may or may not exist as a real, literal place of fire and brimstone; the Resurrection may or may not have happened exactly the way the Bible tells; the Bible DOES contain some kinds of errors; I believe gay people are normal and should be able to get married; yes, the earth is old, very old; evolution? fine, life evolved, isn't it POSSIBLE that God is behind the process... i could go on... yet I still believe in my God and in the love of Jesus. I believe that the primary goal for the life of the Christian is to care for the poor and the oppressed, worshiping God with our lifestyle, desiring peace and exercising tolerance and appreciating the fullness of God's revelation on earth, including the possibility of that revelation being manifest in different cultural expressions, i.e other religious traditions. Thanks for the space=)
PS- i dont know how to use HTML tags, so words in all CAPS are meant to be in bold, not shouting. Sorry=)

Mark said...

blue devil knight: if god knows everything that will happen in the future with absolute certainty, including his own actions, then he has no volition. everything would be predetermined.

twitch: you feel god exists. that's no evidence whatever.

openlyatheist said...

Matthew,

If there is one thing that I have learned from my studies of Christianity, and of blogs like this, and it is perfectly illustrated by this post of yours: it is that Christianity's strength is that there is no Christianity. There are just endless varieties of interpretations.

Level a case against one interpretation and a bevy of "Christians" will appear to tell you that you had the wrong culprit all along. "Christianity" is whatever Christians want it to be.

Dave Armstrong said...

>I believe that the Bible teaches a flat-earth, geocentric cosmology

On what Bible passages do you base this view?

>and that this has been invalidated by modern cosmology.

A flat earth and geocentrism have been overthrown, but not the Bible, because it never intended to teach scientific cosmology to begin with. It is a pre-scientific worldview. The ancient Hebrews were not renowned for science, last time I checked. That was the Greeks.

>In fact, I believe that a chief reason that Christianity survives today is because of Galileo. It was Galileo, I believe, who suggested that the Bible be understood as having a "language of appearance".

So you say Christianity survived because Galileo said this? He spoke the truth. So which is it:

1) Christianity survived because Galileo lied and the Bible didn't really communicate in phenomenological terms, but it should have, and Christianity has survived all the way to modern times with a ridiculous document (making all of us Christians in effect, fools, who accept it as inspired).

or:

2) Christianity survived because Galileo told the truth about the Bible's cosmological outlook (or lack thereof), which would put the lie to your own claim.

>I believe that Martin Luther was justfied in condemning heliocentricism on biblical grounds.

How so? I want to see the passages you set forth to support this, and (most importantly) on what hermeneutical and exegetical basis you interpret them as you do. Certainly you must have such a rationale workd out, since you use this aspect as a key reason for your rejection of the Bible and Christianity.

In any event, Galileo was certainly not the first to discover that the Bible speaks phenomenologically. I'm sure one could find similar sentiments in St. Augustine, etc.

Nor was Galileo (a faithful Catholic) the perfectly scientific rational machine that he is made out to be by critics of Christianity today. I did some research on him recently. He held that the entire universe revolved around the sun in circular (not elliptical) orbits, and that tides were caused by the rotation of the earth.

And he was quite dogmatic about his theory, whereas St. Robert Bellarmine, who was directly involved in the controversy, made it clear that heliocentrism was not irreversibly condemned, and also that a not-yet proven theory was not an unassailable fact. Philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn noted that Bellarmine had the superior view of how scientific hypotheses worked. In his book, The Copernican Revolution, after commenting on some folks who refused to look through Galileo's telescope, Kuhn wrote:

"Most of Galileo's opponents behaved more rationally. Like Bellarmine, they agreed that the phenomena were in the sky but denied that they proved Galileo's contentions. In this, of course, they were quite right. Thought the telescope argued much, it proved nothing."

(New York: Random House / Vintage Books, 1957, p. 226)

Galileo's biographer Giorgio de Santillana stated that "It has been known for a long time that a major part of the church intellectuals were on the side of Galileo, while the clearest opposition to him came from secular ideas" (The Crime of Galileo, University of Chicago Press, 1955, xii-xiii). Truth is always stranger and more interesting than fiction, ain't it?

Moreover, Galileo was neck-deep in astrology. See my paper:

"Science vs. Religion" Chronicles: 16th-17th Century Astronomers' Simultaneous Acceptance of Astrology, Part I

In Part II (http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ490.HTM), I give some specifics of Galileo's involvement, including a photo of a chart he made of his own birth. Kepler (Lutheran) was also heavily into astrology and Newton (Arian, non-trinitarian) was enthralled with alchemy.

Thus I concluded the first part of this study:

"The best early scientists are not supposed to be good Christians, according to the stupid, anti-Christian myth, but almost all of them (like the later Gregor Mendel: the monk who founded genetics) were. Likewise, the scientists (who are the 'good guys' and enlightened folks, over against the oppressive, know-nothing Catholic Church and the Lutherans) are not supposed to believe in something so absurd as astrology (or alchemy). But they did. So the myth falls and fails at least four times:

"1. Science (or scientists) is not always absolutely right and religion absolutely wrong when they come into conflict. This is a gross simplifying of the historical reality.

"2. Protestantism has not been -- historically; especially in the 16th and 17th centuries -- more open to, and less hostile to science than Catholicism. In fact, a good case might be made for the contrary position.

"3. The great early scientists were usually Christians of some sort (which clearly suggests that the often trumped-up conflict is not inherent).

"4. The great early scientists made huge mistakes just as the Christians have sometimes done (witness: astrology).

"Conclusion: there is plenty enough error and folly to go around; therefore Christians of all stripes are often subjected to a quite unfair and outrageous 'bum rap'. The more knowledge we have of the relevant historical particulars, the better we understand this."

Dave Armstrong

Kevin Baker said...

Level a case against one interpretation and a bevy of "Christians" will appear to tell you that you had the wrong culprit all along. "Christianity" is whatever Christians want it to be.

Unfortunately, American and other Western versions of Christianity may give this impression, but it is due more to generic individualism and the think-for-yourself-ology that carries the day in our culture.

Of course, it is important to note that Christianity is a big ship, and there is quite a bit of diversity on board. Much of what this post addresses is confined to a very small number of Christians (I would warrent). I consider myself an evangelical Christian, but don't find much to take issue with here. I would want to debunk much of the same.

A more interesting question for Matthew, at least from my perspective, would be: "what can he make a case for?" I am sure he is aware that science has suffered similiar critique, for many of its "givens" look a lot like "faith" - until new evidence "debunks" what used to be the prevailing views.

Another way of putting it is, what moral narrative and shared language should societies, communities, and nations use to govern how we relate to one another? One of the reasons I am a Christian is because I consider most public discourse on such matters bankrupt (I suspect many would turn to documents like the Constitution or the "Bill of Rights" - and the jury is still out on the American experiment and whether these will really stand the test of time - they already cause a good deal of confusion and violence when they try to cross salt water).

Anyway, enjoyed the read.

Vynette said...

Could I just take you up on this on point?

" I consider many passages claimed to narrate historical events to contradict each other...the infancy narratives....

The infancy narratives don't contradict each other. It is only the introduced doctrine of the 'virgin birth' and some translation games that make them appear contradictory.

Matthew gives the name of his adoptive father, Luke gives the name of his real (biological) father.

Twitch said...

openlyatheist,

yes, i already pointed out the weakness of my "feelings." Thanks for reasserting.
Unfortunately for atheists, many Christians who understand the case AGAINST faith still hold on to these "feelings" as reason enough to believe in God. Some Christians will attempt to give other reasons... I do have some, but feelings are powerful for any human being. For example, we cant test whether or not we are falling in love with someone, can we? We cant even test the love we have for our children, except with everyday life circumstances. Instead, it is a feeling and intuition that we have inside. I understand its not very convincing as a case FOR God... all I'm saying is that for the individual, it is very powerful. That is my point. Let me know if I need to be clearer, but dont just repeat what I've already said.

John W. Loftus said...

You can find my case against Christianity several places here, but this is a good place to start.

Matthew said...

Dave,

I have glanced at your response on here. I do fully intend to give a greater response in the near future, possibly tonight or tomorrow. I wanted to point out that I first intend to go through each of these arguments and make them into an article series. Thus, for instance, my argument that the Bible is externally errant because it conflicts with an old earth and distant starlight is the subject of an article series on the topic that I wish to pursue in greater detail.

My first planned article series is on internal errancy. If you would like to discuss biblical cosmology and science in greater detail, I can reorder my original list and that this can be the first topic of discussion we can engage in and hence the first for my article series if you wish.

Cheers!

Matthew

Matthew said...

"It seems you could be a Christian, given what you've said. Only Christians with an immature theology think the Bible is inerrant, for one. Believing in inerrancy is certainly not a precondition for being a Christian."

Perhaps not but I didn't say that it was. I just believe that Christians should believe that inerrancy is true if they are honest with their theology. I happen to agree with Christian scholar Norman Geisler who believes that inerrancy is axiomatic, the "doctrine of all doctrines" as he puts it in his tome Systematic Theology.

"Secondly, if the contradictions you mention are real, perhaps such conceptions of God are lacking, but not all conceptions of God. Maybe God doesn't have volition in the sense that we do, or the sense that we understand it."

Again, I appealed to biblically-based and theologically-defined conceptions as I understand them. It doesn't matter if God doesn't have volition in the sense that we do or in the sense that we understand it; all that matters, is what can be accurately constructed from the Bible, given sound exegetical study of the biblical texts which any responsible and honest theologian must engage in.

"Third, there is no obvious contradiction betwen being omniscient and having volition. Could you spell that out more? It is an interesting claim."

Certaintly. I actually plan to go into it in greater detail in a future article of mine but I can give you the gist of what I have in mind.

If God is omniscient, then God knows everything. If God knows everything, then God must know what he will do. If God knows what he will do, it's impossible for him not to do it and if God knows that he is not going to do something, then it is impossible for him to do it.

If God knows everything and "everything" includes all the actions, thoughts, and any feelings on God's part, then God has a complete knowledge of his actions, thoughts, and feelings. If God has a complete knowledge, and this knowledge is constant, unchanging, and eternal, then God has no free will. If God has a complete knowledge of all of his actions, then God has no choice but to commit those actions. As long as God has a complete knowledge of all of his actions, God literally has no free will because it's impossible for him not to commit those actions. Ergo, God has no volition, no sense of freedom to choose, and no real volition as I see it.

Matthew

Matthew said...

Vynette wrote:

"Could I just take you up on this on point?

" I consider many passages claimed to narrate historical events to contradict each other...the infancy narratives....

The infancy narratives don't contradict each other. It is only the introduced doctrine of the 'virgin birth' and some translation games that make them appear contradictory.

Matthew gives the name of his adoptive father, Luke gives the name of his real (biological) father."

You could always wait until I actually explain what I have in mind before you comment you know. Quite honestly, the discrepancy that I have in mind actually doesn't involve the virgin birth directly. That you would give your solution to me before I have stated my thesis or made my case assumes that my discrepancy is about conflicting geneaologies. It's not about any geneaology whatsover nor does it involve a "virgin birth". Hell, the discrepancy that I have in mind allows for Mary to have had twenty kids before Jesus was born, so what does that say about your preemptive solution here?

Maybe next time you might want to wait until I actually make my case before you play critic?

Matthew

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Matthew,

I don't necessarily want to get into a huge debate on cosmology. I'm pretty busy with other things at the moment (one part-time job, maybe two starting up). I just wanted to see what you based your assertions on (the particular ones I mentioned).

One thing at a time. If you can't defend your relatively minor assertions, then chances are you won't be able to defend your grand themes and rationales for rejecting the Bible and Christianity, because those are only as good as the weakest links that make them up.

The key, in my opinion, to biblical cosmology is phenomenological language and the pre-scientific poetic nature of Hebrew literature. If one doesn't understand that (at least in its general outlines), then they have no hope of getting biblical cosmology (to the extent that it can be said to exist at all as a distinct "field") right.

These are very deep waters (no pun intended). If you haven't studied much about biblical literature in all its types, I suggest (in all sincerity, and trying to be helpful) that you avoid making grandiose statements. They may come back to haunt you.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Both post above explaining the apparent contradiction between free will (volition) and omniscience are what I suspected. It is certainly an interesting argument, but I think it is flawed. I can think of two reasons why. The first is the most compelling.

1. Foreknowledge doesn't imply lack of freedom. I can argue by analogy: I know I am going to go to bed at 1AM tonight. I have planned it for a long time, as I have to wake up tomorrow for something. Let's say I do end up going to bed at 1AM. Does it mean I didn't choose to go to bed at 1AM, just because I knew I'd do it? Clearly not. I could have done otherwise. Because God's will is good, it's not like he has to change his mind (like I do: I might plan to go out studying tomorrow, but chances are I'll end up playing a video game instead. God wouldn't do that, but it doesn't mean he isn't free). So while God is free to do otherwise, since is is good, and sticks to his plans, he doesn't.

2. Human free will left God with constrained omniscience. That is, God graced us with free will, a divine (not natural) trait. In doing this, he knew he was giving up some knowledge of the future, of the human future. While he is omniscient about the past and present, he doesn't know what we will do because we are free. However, unlike God, we are flawed, and don't use our free will to carry out His plan (e.g., I might play video games instead of taking my kids to the park). God also gave up some of his omnipotence when he gave us free will: he cannot control our free will. He must only try to nudge it via miracles and the Bible, hoping that we exercise it correctly.

At any rate, the point is that since God doesn't know everything about the future (b/c of human free will), he still has to monitor and react to our actions in the present. For instance, if I become a Christian on my deathbed, he will decide then and there to let me into his Kingdom.

Praise Jesus!

Michael said...

Wow. Everyone's so busy with their own mental masturbation that I can't believe anyone's even brought up the "starlight paradox." So simple and irrefutable! Thank you!

Blue Devil Knight said...

None of my Christian friends are inerrantists. While there may be lunatic fringe fundamentalists with such juvenile views, to act like bringing them down is to show Christianity has major problems is just incorrect. It's a straw man.

It would be like finding a problem with some kooky evolutionary theory from a fringy physicist, and saying that it shows evolution is wrong.

The more sensible Christians realize that much of the Bible is metaphor. They have to use their knowledge of history, science, and archeology to intelligently pick apart myth from historical fact. Nobody would dispute that some of the Bible is historically true. E.g., there is no reason to think Jesus did not exist, at least as a person.

Victor Reppert, over at Dangerous Ideas, discussed this recently. He is no inerrantist, but is certainly a Christian.

tigg13 said...

Blue Devil:

I would like you to explain your religious views more specifically because you have me a little confused.

You say you're more or less certain that a person named jesus once existed and that some parts of the bible are historically true but that the rest of it should be seen as metaphoric. Would you include the parts about "original sin", the "flood", the "exodus", the "prophesies", the "virgin birth", the "messianic miracles" and the"resurection" to be metaphors, myths - fiction?

How, exactly, do you define god? What do you consider his/her/its properties to be? What do you base your beliefs on?

And your term "constrained omniscience" sounds to me like "sort of pregnant". God either knows everything or he/she/it doesn't know everything. It seems to me that you do see the paradox between volition and omniscience. But instead of admitting it, you have invented a way for your god to be all knowing without giving up free will by trying to redefine what omniscience means.

Blue Devil Knight said...

It seems to me that you do see the paradox between volition and omniscience. But instead of admitting it, you have invented a way for your god to be all knowing without giving up free will by trying to redefine what omniscience means

Yes, it is a paradox, I admit that. But not a contradiction. If you don't know the difference, then your confidence far exceeds your knowledge. In my response numbered 1 above, I resolve the paradox. Foreknowledge doesn't imply lack of freedom. This is obvious even in our own lives, as I show above.

Instead of responding to my main argument (#1, which I said was more compelling), you responded to the more speculative argument (#2 above). Whether we call what I discussed 'constrained omniscience' or impotent omniscience, or lack of omniscience, I don't care. The ideas are more important than the language.

So for purposes of discussion I'll concede the niggling semantic point: using the standard, folksy meanings of the terms, I do not think that God is omnipotent or omniscient, because of human free will (well,and he can't do things like make two an odd number).

I think a general point is important. Demologishing the version of Christianity that you grew up with might be cathartic and a psychological balm, but it doesn't refute Christianity. You should offer more general arguments such as the Problem of Evil, and general arguments against any supernatural beings. For instance, the fact that we have no evidence that they exist. These would get at Christianity proper, not just clip the dingleberries.

Again, see my analogy with the critique of evolutionary theory above.

Albert said...

Blue Devil Knight said "While there may be lunatic fringe fundamentalists with such juvenile views, ...."
Well, I used to belong to an Evangelical church that was "purpose driven" and "seeker sensitive", hardly a "lunatic fringe". Many were very nice people, but they sure held steadfast to inerrancy. Liberal theology might be something but Christianity it ain't.
http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/liberal.html

Blue Devil Knight said...

Liberal theology might be something but Christianity it ain't.

You are still accepting the terms of debate set by the simplistic thinking of the fundamentalists. Under your view, even Catholics wouldn't be Christians. E.g., St Augustine did not espouse an inerrantist/literalist reading of some parts of the Bible.

While I am sympathetic to anti- Christian arguments, what I've seen in this thread isn't compelling.

Matthew said...

Dave says:

"I don't necessarily want to get into a huge debate on cosmology. I'm pretty busy with other things at the moment (one part-time job, maybe two starting up). I just wanted to see what you based your assertions on (the particular ones I mentioned)."

Oh, I understand. I am in a similar boat as I am still an undergraduate as of this time and I trying to avoid lengthy debates as of now. I will be happy to provide references.

"One thing at a time. If you can't defend your relatively minor assertions, then chances are you won't be able to defend your grand themes and rationales for rejecting the Bible and Christianity, because those are only as good as the weakest links that make them up."

I want to insert a word of caution here: my "case" against Christianity is only as good as my sources of study and my thinking thus far. I don't pretend that my reasons are insermountable or that they can withstand scrutiny. I don't even know if all my arguments are indeed sound. That's why I kept qualifying my remarks as "I believe.." not that it necessary means that I know for a fact. I may be quite wrong on many of these points.

"The key, in my opinion, to biblical cosmology is phenomenological language and the pre-scientific poetic nature of Hebrew literature. If one doesn't understand that (at least in its general outlines), then they have no hope of getting biblical cosmology (to the extent that it can be said to exist at all as a distinct "field") right."

I agree with you about the poetic nature of Hebrew literature but I think that you would agree with me that we must also be careful of genre criticism of the Hebrew Bible as well. There are some passages which are meant to be understood as historical narration, even if the language and the idioms are poetic in themselves.

By the way- I am not denying any "phenomenological language" does at all exists in Hebrew literature, I am wary of people who attempt to apply such language to the Bible as an apologetic device. If the genre and context demand phenomenological interpretations, that's fine as long as clear textual indicators are given. I just don't like it when some Christians treat all texts as "phenomeological" just because they wish to avoid a potential conflict between scientific findings. To me- that's just dishonest methodology-especially if the genre and context are not demanding of it and the text gives no indication that such is the case.

"These are very deep waters (no pun intended). If you haven't studied much about biblical literature in all its types, I suggest (in all sincerity, and trying to be helpful) that you avoid making grandiose statements. They may come back to haunt you."

I heed your suggestion. In fact, my argument is dependent solely on the works of biblical scholar(s) who argue that the Bible does indeed endorse this kind of cosmology. I would never try to play expert like myself in an area like this without the necessary credentials and study.

Matthew

Albert said...

Blue Devil Knight,
How do you then decide what parts of the Bible are to be taken literally and which are not ? What if I disagree with your criteria? How do we decide who is right and who is wrong? The "literal" approach to the Bible is not some invention of twentieth century fundamentalists, but rather is how Christianity has been understood by the majority of Christians throughout history. Are you proposing that most Christians over the last many centuries have been fundamentally wrong in their beliefs?

Victor Reppert said...

I should just point out that even inerrancy is defined in ways that make that doctrine not completely idiotic, as participants over at my DI blog have pointed out. In fact I am not sure that the term inerrancy really does the work that most people suppose that it does. No one, for example, has given me an argument as to why inerrancy, as understood in the Chicago Statement, is incompatible with the view that an entire book of the OT, such as Ruth or Jonah, could not be fictional. Every believer at one time or another comes up against passages that are not narrowly true, and then maintains that they nevertheless are part of a wider truth. So it's important not to stereotype even inerra

John W. Loftus said...

Vic, as a former inerrantist, I think inerrancy dies the death of a thousand qualifications. It's probably just a faith statement that makes little difference if exegesis can lead someone to believe Ruth is fiction.

Innerrantist claim that the Bible is without error so long as it's properly interpreted. But then we must wrangle about how to interpret the Bible, which solves little when it comes to the text itself.

Radamacher edited a book on Hermenutics and Inerrancy to look at this problem (I don't remember the exact title).

Blue Devil Knight said...

Traditional inerrantism is literalist inerrantism. Victor's inerrantism is a more subtle form that I would not want to call inerrantism. But again, these are semantic quibbles to some degree. If you tell a person on the street you are an inerrantist, that is typically interpreted as literalist inerrantism. Hence, the term seems disingenous.

Albert: There is no single simple answer. you just have to use your reason and historical knowledge (including archeology and cross-referencing different historical texts besides the Bible), and your theological commitments to decide on how to interpret different parts of the Bible. In those cases where you have only the Biblical documents, you have to research their etiology and determine how reasonable the claims are.

I think you are wrong about the literalist stuff. Just read Augustine.

Albert said...

From the religious tolerance web site,

St. Augustine: He supported inerrancy in a letter to St. Jerome. He wrote:
"On my own part I confess to your charity that it is only to those books of Scripture which are now called canonical that I have learned to pay such honor and reverence as to believe most firmly that none of their writers has fallen into any error. And if in these books I meet anything which seems contrary to truth, I shall not hesitate to conclude either that the text is faulty, or that the translator has not expressed the meaning of the passage, or that I myself do not understand."

Blue Devil Knight said...

Augustine was not a literalist inerrantist, which is what my target was (see the last line of my previous post). You can be an inerrantist but not take everything literally, even the Genesis stories: I am not quite sure what it means to be an inerrantist about a metaphor, but it seems for political reasons it is useful in some circles to call yourself an inerrantist even if you don't take things literally.

Here is a quote from Augustine on his nonliteralism:
"It struck me that it was, after all, possible to vindicate his [Ambrose's] arguments. I began to believe that the Catholic faith, which I had thought impossible to defend against the objections of the Manichees, might fairly be maintained, especially since I had heard one passage after another in the Old Testament figuratively explained. These passages had been death to me when I took them literally, but once I had heard them explained in their spiritual meaning I began to blame myself for my despair. … "

Nobody who has thought about the Bible deeply is a literalist inerrantist.

Dave Armstrong said...

Here are some helpful sources on the topic biblical cosmology (I don't necessarily agree with everything in every article):

What Shape is the Earth In?: An Evaluation of Biblical Cosmology, by
J. P. Holding
http://www.tektonics.org/af/earthshape.html

BIBLE PASSAGES ON COSMOLOGY:
INTERPRETATIONS BY CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL CHRISTIANS
(Religious Tolerance.org)
http://www.religioustolerance.org/cosmo_bibl3.htm

Biblical cosmology (Wikipedia)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_cosmology

Cosmology Rediscovered, Chuck Missler
http://www.direct.ca/trinity/cosmos.html

Does the Bible say Earth is Flat?: A Response to Paul H. Seely, J.P. Holding.
http://www.trueorigin.org/flatearth01.asp

DOES THE BIBLE TEACH A FLAT EARTH?
Gerardus D. Bouw
http://www.geocentricity.com/astronomy_of_bible/flatearth/doesbibleteach.html

Dave Armstrong

Dave Armstrong said...

MG: I want to insert a word of caution here: my "case" against Christianity is only as good as my sources of study and my thinking thus far. I don't pretend that my reasons are insermountable or that they can withstand scrutiny. I don't even know if all my arguments are indeed sound.
That's why I kept qualifying my remarks as "I believe.." not that it necessarily means that I know for a fact. I may be quite wrong on many of these points.

A healthy dose of intellectual humility . . . would that many of my Christian brothers and sisters could be so blessed . . .

MG: I agree with you about the poetic nature of Hebrew literature but I think that you would agree with me that we must also be careful of genre criticism of the Hebrew Bible as well. There are some passages which are meant to be understood as historical narration, even if the language and the idioms are poetic in themselves.

Exactly, just as in any other literature. It's when double standards are brought to biblical interpretation, slanted towards the skeptical end, while neglecting sound hemeneutical principles, that trouble arises and error carries the day.

MG: By the way- I am not denying any "phenomenological language" does at all exists in Hebrew literature, I am wary of people who attempt to apply such language to the Bible as an apologetic device.

It should be applied when the text warrants it. If that is what you mean, I wholeheartedly agree.

MG: If the genre and context demand phenomenological interpretations, that's fine as long as clear textual indicators are given.

Yes; precisely. But of course, the meanings of words and the latitude that they may have in Hebrew (or Greek in the NT) also are important factors.

MG: I just don't like it when some Christians treat all texts as "phenomeological" just because they wish to avoid a potential conflict between scientific findings.

That's just playing games and special pleading. I'm talking about serious, educated, informed biblical interpretation. But don't underestimate the power of predispositions. We all have them, whatever we believe. I freely admit that my Christian bias will predispose me to arrive at "Christian" conclusions about the Bible. But your atheist biases and general goals in debate with Christians lead you to be predisposed to accept any skeptical interpretation of the Bible that is handy. I've seen it 100 times, and I've seen biblical interpretation from atheists and agnostics silly and foolish enough to make the mosty wooden literalist fundamentalist grimace with disdain over the sheer ignorance. See, e.g., my exchange with a philosophy professor (Dr. Ted Drange):

Refutation of Atheists' Alleged Biblical "Contradictions" Concerning Salvation and Supposed Annihilationism and Universalism
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ303.HTM

Or another treatment:

Examination of Atheist Bible Scholarship and Exegesis
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/04/examination-of-atheist-bible.html

MG: To me- that's just dishonest methodology-especially if the genre and context are not demanding of it and the text gives no indication that such is the case.

If indeed that is true in a particular instance, you are right. My point is that one need not do this sort of special pleading. The skeptical / liberal / atheist counter-explanations are so atrocious and biasedl, due to a prior extremely critical eye towards the Bible, that it is usually easy to refute, just from common sense and the application of basic logic, even before one gets to serious biblical scholarship.

Nothing personal . . . :-)

MG: . . . my argument is dependent solely on the works of biblical scholar(s) who argue that the Bible does indeed endorse this kind of cosmology.

Mostly liberal, no doubt. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to utilize biblical scholars who no longer believe much of what is in the Bible, to bolster up skepticism. This is done by cults like Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, and atheists alike, and also by anti-Catholic Protestants, who cite liberal Catholics in order to "refute" orthodox Catholicism.

But this methodology is as silly as a Christian citing other Christians (rather than atheists) to give an accurate account of the best in atheist thought on any given topic. One must cite the best advocates of the opposing view, not the worst proponents, or those who are barely "proponents" at all.

MG: I would never try to play expert like myself in an area like this without the necessary credentials and study.

Good for you. But if you use liberal sources, then I am just as entitled to suspect a sever anti-biblical bias, as you are to suspect a strong pro-biblical bias when I cite folks who are Christians and accept in faith and with reason the inspired status of the Bible, as God's revelation to man. Bias works both ways. I freely admit mine; I expect my dialogical opponents to do the same and not to play the game that only one side is biased and ignorant and guilty of lousy logic or otherwise bad thinking.

Dave Armstrong

P.S. I'm cross-posting this on my blog (http://socrates58.blogspot.com)

Matthew said...

Dave,

The anaylsis which has led me to conclude that the Bible teaches a flat-earth, geocentric cosmology can be found here:

http://www.infidelguy.com/heaven_sky.htm

I though that rather than culling individual verses out, I could rather show you the study that has persuaded me that the Bible does, indeed, teach this.

I am just sorry it took longer than I said it was going to take. I was planning on having it up this past weekend but I let other things get in the way. Sorry about that!

Matthew

Matthew said...

Dave writes:

"A healthy dose of intellectual humility . . . would that many of my Christian brothers and sisters could be so blessed . . ."

You have to give me credit for at least trying! :-D

"Exactly, just as in any other literature. It's when double standards are brought to biblical interpretation, slanted towards the skeptical end, while neglecting sound hemeneutical principles, that trouble arises and error carries the day."

I try and avoid double-standards where I can and I appreciate it when Christians such as yourself do your best to point it out. I believe in using sound hermeutical principles and there are, indeed, sometimes where I think that some of my fellow skeptics are just plain wrong on some examples of biblical errancy.

"It should be applied when the text warrants it. If that is what you mean, I wholeheartedly agree."

I very much mean that.

"Yes; precisely. But of course, the meanings of words and the latitude that they may have in Hebrew (or Greek in the NT) also are important factors."

I agree as well.

"That's just playing games and special pleading. I'm talking about serious, educated, informed biblical interpretation. But don't underestimate the power of predispositions. We all have them, whatever we believe. I freely admit that my Christian bias will predispose me to arrive at "Christian" conclusions about the Bible. But your atheist biases and general goals in debate with Christians lead you to be predisposed to accept any skeptical interpretation of the Bible that is handy. I've seen it 100 times, and I've seen biblical interpretation from atheists and agnostics silly and foolish enough to make the mosty wooden literalist fundamentalist grimace with disdain over the sheer ignorance."

Oh, I won't deny a bias on my part. And I won't accuse others of being biased and excuse myself from being biased. As I see it- the question becomes not so much of who is "biased" but does the bias interfere with one's ability to honestly consider opposing and disconfirming data or at least the possibility of it.

I won't criticize you for having any bias Dave and I won't criticize you for having anything that I am not willing to criticize myself for.

"If indeed that is true in a particular instance, you are right. My point is that one need not do this sort of special pleading. The skeptical / liberal / atheist counter-explanations are so atrocious and biasedl, due to a prior extremely critical eye towards the Bible, that it is usually easy to refute, just from common sense and the application of basic logic, even before one gets to serious biblical scholarship."

Well, I'd say that it depends on the sketpic/atheist. I tend to agree here. Dave, I think it would be best to point out that each side has its fair share of nutcakes and whack-job apologists. I can think of a number of people for whom I think shouldn't be writing for the atheist side and I, no doubt, can think of some Christians you probably wish would've gone into another vocation serving Christ then the one that they have chosen because of the shoddy scholarship they seem to pass off as serious and high-caliber.

For instance: Josh McDowell is a Christian author who is considered a laughing stock in skeptical circles. Unfortunately, our side seems to have a McDowell or two; atheists who are not the best, most informed skeptics in the world and who make atheists look dim-witted.

I don't like critiquing fellow atheists but Dan Barker is an excellent example. I think that he has some good points here and there but most of his arguments either leave me unimpressed at best or are downright uninformed, uneducated, and only make Barker look foolish, at worst. Don't get me wrong: I like the guy but it's just that his arguments leave a heck of a lot to be desired.

I just don't know how to go about expressing a criticism like this without feeling as though I am attacking Barker-which I am not trying to do by the way or betraying the loyality and would-be friendship of atheists who seem impressed by Barker and would consider themselves fans of his.

"Nothing personal . . . :-)"

No offense taken! :-D

"Mostly liberal, no doubt. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to utilize biblical scholars who no longer believe much of what is in the Bible, to bolster up skepticism. This is done by cults like Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, and atheists alike, and also by anti-Catholic Protestants, who cite liberal Catholics in order to "refute" orthodox Catholicism."

Some of the scholars I rely on are liberals. For example, when I study biblical cosmology, I tend to rely on Stephen C Meyer who is a liberal theologian. I am not trying to do it just to go against fundamentalists but I just find his arguments impressive. If a fundamentalist or mainstream conservative thinks that Meyer is wrong, I am open to criticisms about his work. Seriously!

"But this methodology is as silly as a Christian citing other Christians (rather than atheists) to give an accurate account of the best in atheist thought on any given topic. One must cite the best advocates of the opposing view, not the worst proponents, or those who are barely "proponents" at all."

I agree with you very much. I try to avoid citing the worst or even quasi-proponents of a given view but rather the chief scholars of a given view. I don't cite liberals just because they are liberals- it's usually because I find a given liberal's arguments quite persuasive. For instance, I would never cite Bishop Spong if I was going to write a scholarly paper on biblical cosmology. Spong is a liberal but I wouldn't cite him because I consider him a nonscholar (not necessarily a bad thing) and I don't find many of his arguments impressive or his methodology all that rigorous or scholarly (I am stunned that he, a Christian, would cite the scholarship of Michael Goulder, an atheist on genre criticism.) Rather, I would cite liberal scholars or skeptical scholars only if I find their arguments credible and persuasive and they have the necessary education and credentials such as liberal theologian Stephen Meyer and skeptical Bible scholar Robert M Price.

"Good for you. But if you use liberal sources, then I am just as entitled to suspect a sever anti-biblical bias, as you are to suspect a strong pro-biblical bias when I cite folks who are Christians and accept in faith and with reason the inspired status of the Bible, as God's revelation to man. Bias works both ways. I freely admit mine; I expect my dialogical opponents to do the same and not to play the game that only one side is biased and ignorant and guilty of lousy logic or otherwise bad thinking."

Dave, I only tend to cite a given scholar if I find that scholar's arguments persuasive or I think that the scholar has a good point. I don't pretend that one side is automatically biased and the other isn't. There are some conservatives who I think are good scholars such as Ben Witherington and others such as William Lane Craig who I have a hard time taking seriously.

Witherington, in my opinion, tends to be quite honest and his work, so far to my mind, is refreshing to read. I don't find myself wanting to rip my hair out reading Witherington the way I do when I read something by Bill Craig. I believe that Craig is such a spin-doctor, I would dismiss him as a complete joke if he didn't have a serious doctorate in theology and if he wasn't taken so seriously by many Christians. I believe that bias affects Craig in a negative way whereas it doesn't tend to affect Witherington in a serious way, as far as I can tell from reading both of their works as far as I have.

I look forward to hearing from you, Dave!

Matthew

Bill Bittner said...

I agree with your first two arguments. They are two of the many reasons I am no longer a Christian. (However, even when I was a Christian, I never took the mythical descriptions of the earth literally).

But, as to your third point. I too do not believe in the Christian concept of God. However, to always equate God with the Christian concept of God is giving too much creedence to Christianity.

As far as my beliefs go, I could be described as a hybrid of humanist and deist. I see no direct evidence for God and I believe that our best chance for survival as a species, and planet, lies within the secular means of reason, science, and ethics.

However, I still think there is "something is out there" whether it be a creator, or a spirit of life and love underlying reality, or that the universe is conscious. And, in some ways, the term God could be used to describe any of these things.

Dave Armstrong said...

I've replied to certain lousy atheist arguments about biblical cosmology in my paper:

Objections to Some Atheist / Agnostic "Proof Texts" of an Alleged Flat-Earth Biblical Cosmology (vs. Ed Babinski)

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/09/objections-to-some-atheist-agnostic.html

Invariably Ed commits the same mistake every time he tries to exegete the Bible (this is now the third time I have refuted him along those lines). He assumes a woodenly literalistic approach to the Bible (just as the fundamentalists he so despises, and once was, do), projects that onto the ancient Hebrews, assumes it is the only possible way to interpret the Bible, and then proceeds to reveal himself to be more ignorant and misguided than the ancient Hebrews were (i.e., in his imagination).

I must confess that this provides more than a little entertainment for us Christians, to see our strongest critics reason with such abominable method and rampant fallacies. I love few things more in apologetics than turning the table on folks who start out with a mission to embarrass and belittle Christians and the Bible, and showing how atrocious and unfairly selective their own reasoning is.

It's quite easy - with the benefit of modern science - to look down our noses at the ancient Hebrews, who didn't yet have such knowledge, that required the intellectual spade-work of centuries of reflection and building upon acquired natural knowledge.

But that is the folly of it: Ed wants to look down on the Hebrews and modern-day Christians, when in fact the Bible is not trying to present any particular scientific cosmology (rather, it presents a pre-scientific, phenomenological theistic metaphysic). In other words, he applies a standard to the Bible which is irrelevant to the Bible itself. He anachronistically and unfairly applies modern scientific standards to ancient Hebrew idiom, while at the same time making little or no attempt to understand the latter on its own terms.

Dave Armstrong

SkepticOfBible said...

"He assumes a woodenly literalistic approach to the Bible (just as the fundamentalists he so despises, and once was, do), "

Lol....Christians such as YEC or Protestant, have no problem using the same method to interpretate their personal theology. Unfortunately the bible does not come with a commentary, as to which needs to be taken literally, and which ones should not. The only commentaries that are there, are man-made, and at many times they can't come to a agreement.

Personally, I don't engage in such science vs bible debates, because at the end of the day, the Christian can simply rationalise them away like the way you do.

My personal reasons for rejecting Christianity are based on the theology of the bible, more specifically the internal inconsistency of the NT and the incompatible theology of the OT and the NT.

"Refutation of Atheists' Alleged Biblical "Contradictions" Concerning Salvation and Supposed Annihilationism and Universalism
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ303.HTM
.......
This is an excellent passage, which illustrates my point exactly. It teaches grace alone very clearly. We are not saved by works. Yet we must do good works (enabled by God), as the last verse teaches. Therefore, whoever doesn't do such works will not be saved, and they bear responsibility for disobedience to God. "


You are contradicting your own statement

1)Good works do not save us
2)We are saved by God's grace and faith
3)However if we don't good works we will not be saved.

Decide one way or the other. Do Good works save us or not?

"The intended implication of these passages (i.e., Ted Drange's interpretation), is that people who have not expressly accepted Jesus as Savior, or those who haven't heard about Him at all, cannot be saved. This is not Christian teaching (at least not mainstream Christian teaching, and not at all Catholic doctrine);
But it is certainly the teaching of evergrowing and loud Fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity, which is pretty much considered mainstream

http://www.gotquestions.org/never-heard.html
http://www.carm.org/40_objections/40-1.htm#_1_5
http://www.carm.org/doctrine/justification_verses.htm

In my personal opinion I do find the catholic interpretation of salvation far more logical, moral and scripturally based than the protestant one.

I also noticed that with regards to hell/damnation, you spoke only of the NT verses.

That should be obvious since Hell is a NT and Christian invention (or as the evidence suggests - a pagan inspiration).

There is no scriptural basis for hell in the Hebrew Scriptures(Christian Old Testament) nor in Judaism

(Jewish Counter Missionary Website)
http://p069.ezboard.com/fmessiahtruthfrm7.showMessage?topicID=1104.topic
http://p069.ezboard.com/fmessiahtruthfrm7.showMessage?topicID=1033.topic

If your or others are interested, I have created a simple internet based theological challenge for all Evangelical Missionaries.

http://z10.invisionfree.com/Ionian/index.php?showtopic=811

Dave, if you take up, please do let me know via the forum. And if you successfully complete it, I will definately consider converting to Christianity. There is a catholic church about 5 houses away from me.

Goodbye

Skeptic

Klaus Nurnberger said...

It is imperative to understand that the bible is a product of ancient human history. But that does not preclude divine agency. According to the biblical witness God enters human history, picks up people where they are (with their needs and assumptions) and leads them to where he wants them to be. This is a historical process that can be clearly demonstrated in the 1000 years of biblical history. Once we understand that we can be incisively critical of biblical statements without losing the redemptive dynamic of the undercurrent of meaning that it represents. Do yourself the favour and read the blog "puzzled-bored-upset-by-the-bible" or my website
www.klaus-nurnberger.com where you will find a position paper, abstracts of my two books on the subject (I am a professional theologian), and further detail. Because I cannot keep pace with the thousands of other blogs, I would appreciate your comments on my blog.
See you there, Klaus

Anonymous said...

I can understand how this can be a case against Evangelical Christianity, but besides the last point it can't be a case against the Christian God. Also, the arguements don't mention the possibility of God revealing himself to humanity. Basically, I guess in order to reject the Christian God, one must reject the resurrection.
That is the cornerstone of Christianity, that is its foundation. Paul made that clear.
Because if the resurrection is true, then the claims Jesus made are true, thus God must be. If God seems contradictory then, well he must not be. I suppose this is my issue with stating that God doesn't exist from a philosophical perspective, becasue it can never take into account the possibilty of God revealing himself to humanity.

Of course, for the resurrection to be true, we first must have an account of it. That comes from Paul, Luke(whom was commended by Sir Ramsey, as a first-rate historian), Mark(the earliest known Gospel according to scholars), Matthew(considered the first testament by ancients), and John(who claimed to have been among Jesus's "inner circle"). So then I guess the ultimate debate for me comes down to how trustworthy these sources are. That is of course just my opinion.

George said...

The Bible is errant, and it provides a way to compensate for that fact.

The Bible twice declares that it is errant. The first declaration is Matthew 13:33 which reads, "Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." The second declaration is Luke 13:21 which reads, "It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."

The Bible thrice mentions a way to compensate for the errancy. The first mention was at Deuteronomy 19:15 which reads, "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established." The second was at Matthew 18:16 which reads, "But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." The third mention was at 2 Corinthians 13:1 which reads, "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." Their commonality, which is the way to remove the leaven, reads, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

Carmen said...

If you would, I'd like to know more evidence-based opinions. You've debunked Christianity with a lot of "I believe" and "I believe". For example, I have read elsewhere that Islam was the religion that claimed the world was flat (in contrary to the variation in translation which says "like an egg") while Christianity referred to the world as a circle many years before the scientific discovery itself.

I will not say more and I shall await your specific references to where contradictions are errant in the Bible =).

One more thing regarding your more scientific approaches to the existence of God. First of all, you ventured into the star theory on the basis that "you believe evolution was the answer" and therefore supported your "unsupport" of the Christian God via the argument of the earth's age and more. I have read a number of books and I still find a lot of problems getting anywhere near the conclusion that evolution was logical in ANY sense. It became really quite ridiculous to me at some point, and yet I am very much willing to continue knowing more.

Lastly, contradictions occur in us humans too, and even for us, one characteristic is interlinked with our other characteristics which forms a complicated web. Challenging your claim here would be lengthy. I will just say that it is entirely possible, even logical, the contradictory nature of the Christian God you found false.