Talk:Inconsistencies in the Bible

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Articles for deletion

This article was nominated for deletion on February 1 2006. The result of the discussion was no consensus.

For a previous debate over the deletion of this article see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Biblical inconsistencies.

Archive 01 -- Original list of "inconsistent passages"


Perhaps we can come up with a different title. Many religious people accept that there are superficial inconsistencies, or rather, inconsistencies in the literal text -- they argue only that these apparent inconsistencies are clues to more profound meanings. My point is that the inconsistencies are a fact -- what is not agreed upon is the value (does this discredit the Bible, or make it even more brilliant) and meaning (multiple authors? Divine clues to spiritual truths?) of these inconsistencies. Also, "contradiction" may be better than inconsistency (e.g. "apparent" or "literal contradictions" as a title) Slrubenstein

Mpolo, I support your NPOV current title. CheeseDreams 22:23, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly concur. The "alleged" in the title says it all. Why does this pass for neutral point-of-view? --Wetman 06:11, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
How is "alleged" POV, if that is what you are saying?
It may be true that "many religious people" accept that there inconsistencies (superficial or otherwise), but anyone who believes that the text is infallible (i.e. a lot of people) cannot accept that there are any genuine inconsistencies (at least in the original manuscripts). Therefore, claiming that "inconsistencies are a fact" is a POV. In any case, even allowing for possible extremely rare inconsistencies in, say, current English translations, this article is certainly going to include many other "inconstencies" that are more alleged than real.
Philip J. Rayment 14:01, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Very much in favour of "Apparent contradictions in the Bible". I don't think anyone could deny that _apparent_ contradictions exist - after all, they do _appear_ to to many people. Thomas Ash 18:23, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

--- Begin container for cut text

Difficulties with evaluating inconsistencies[edit]

  • Definition of "The bible" - old testament? new? Apocrypha?
Should be the same as at BibleCheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Linguistic - hebrew, aramaic, greek, english. Some words dont translate well, some miss subtle yet important shades of meaning when translated, some have multiple meanings in one language, and some have multiple different words for the same word in another language. How do you decide what is "inconsistent" except on a more gross scale?
    Example - Biblical Ancient Hebrew uses a plural form similar to English, the "royal We", or french the formal "vous". So when god says "let Us make man in Our image", is he speaking as the sole creator using the royal plural to signify majesty in the Creation, or is he speaking as a plurality or to other beings?
I take it you mean things like Elohim the royal plural of El?CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yes, thats probably one example though of many where linguistic issues play havoc with interpretation. FT2 23:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
  • Likewise, other apparent inconsistencies (or "interpreted away" inconsistencies) in the Old Testament have been examined over the centuries by Jewish Christian and other scholars, and in most cases it transpires there is a subtle difference, such as focus (creation from God or mans perspective), and so on. Are these inconsistencies or appropriate linguistic usage, or even lessons, for the language and times?
Most scholars in ages past didn't exactly have a NPOV CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Doesnt change that the question is a valid one. Its still a description of a class of issues. FT2 23:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
  • Who's perspective? Judaism, Christianity, critical scholarship, academia, all have different perspectives and these influence how they read and what is assumed. When you have a belief about the nature and wishes of an author, you can also influence the interpretation of their writings. Each of these sees the Bible very differently.
    For example - Christians quote "an eye for an eye" to emphasise the cruielty of Mosaic law. But to the Jews it was a different commandment entirely - "only the value of an eye, for a lost eye" in compensation law, no more may be sought. So the inconsistency of love and cruelty apparently shown in this example is interpretational only. For the entirety of Jewish law, this was interpreted to mean two things only - financial compensation (and not retaliation) for injuries, and unfair sized demands for compensation forbidden.
SOME Christians. Not all.CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
For those who do, its an inconsistency, no? So an explanation of the issues is needed to understand how some come to judge it that and some dont. FT2 23:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
  • "Lies" vs "inconsistencies". Example - in the Old Testament, on 3 occasions, God either tells a lie (to Abraham to save Eves feelings), or condones a lie (the Midwives to Pharoah, and one of the prophets). Some would take those as "inconsistencies", in Judaism they are interpreted as a lesson from God that the duty of saving life and care for others overrides the strict duty of truth.
Then explain that in the article. CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The above does. FT2 23:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
  • Some "inconsistencies may be better termed "unanswered questions". Where did the many people come from who would kill cain? We arent told? Was there incest in the Adam/Eve family? We arent told explicitely. And so on.
We aren't told explicitely, Cain's wife is more pertinent (and for that matter, Seth's). Either he committed incest, or his wife wasn't a child of Adam, and so his children are only half-human, etc. CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yes. And some claim that these are inconsistencies, where a better description is "we arent told definitavely", another class of reasons for some alleged inconsistencies. FT2 23:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
We arent even told remotely. Either he committed incest, or there is another human (than Adam or Eve) who did not have a human parent. Both of which are significant problems.CheeseDreams 14:54, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
just to provide the creationist "take" on this problem, the reason incest is forbidden is because it leads to genetic deterioration i.e inbreeding. biblically literal creationists believe that the first humans had a genetic makeup ENORMOUSLY better than ours -- so much so that it enabled them to live 700-800 years as explicitly claimed by genesis ... and so, in that environment, inbreeding was not harmful and not against any law. it was only after the inbreeding that occured with noah (with just 8 people left = lots of inbreeding) that the gene pool deteriorated, and lifespans drop from 800 to about 80. so if you are a strictly literal biblical creationist (and i'm not one), there's no inconsistency there -- incest only became illegal when it became harmful -- which was after our genetic makeup had deteriorated. those are the kind of "deeper understandings" i'm talking about -- they're not necessarily true, but if you take the bible TOTALLY on its own terms ... it starts to look REMARKABLY self-consistent. to me at least. Ungtss 18:43, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I would have said that the inconsistency was with biological science. Nethertheless, does it not demonstrate how notable the inconsistency is, that it is necessary to dispute principles of biological science accepted by the vast majority, simply to make it consistent?
absolutely -- that's why the assumptions are such a killer. what's the inconsistency? did God change his opinion about incest, or was there actually a global flood + inbreeding to change the rules? the hole just keeps getting deeper and deeper:). Ungtss 00:06, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If you take the position that Adam was not the first man (nowhere in Genesis does it state that he is) and that Adam and Eve were 'specially created' long after the creation of the first man and woman, the genesis story is consistent. There would have been many other people on earth at the time Adam and Eve lived. It only becomes inconsistent if one assumes that Adam was the first man (and Eve the first woman). By the way, this is also more consistent with evolution and what science tells us. Also the argument about better genes among this ancestral line to account for the 900 yr lifespan also holds some scientific merit.-- 05:01, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Not really, across the animal kingdom, the total number of heartbeats per full life is almost constant, regardless of lifespan. In similarity to this is the fact that things that live very long are VERY slow, wheras things that live quickly are fast. 900yr lifespan is equivalent to people who move no faster than giant tortoises. 16:18, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Cultural. For example, a "prostitute" did not mean 3000 years ago what it meant now. Societical practice and fundamentals were different. "Slave" did not mean to the jews what it did to the Romans or early Christians or us. There is a real risk of judging by standards that simply were not what the case was.
    A classic example in Christian teaching is the "Golden Rule". Leviticus cites it as "Do not do unto others what is hateful to you". Jesus said "Do unto others as you would have them do to you". Modern scholars have spent a great deal of effort showing how this difference proves a moral superiority. But if one examines the early christian teachings, it becomes clear that this is a modern assumption. They didnt split hairs that way back then. Early teachings of the christians taught both almost indiscriminately, either negative or positive version. So the distinction we draw is a false one, we see more in it than they commonly did at the time.
And a Sodomite was a temple prostitute. NOT an homosexual, as many evangelical translations would have you believe. CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yup. FT2 23:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
  • When does a "moral failing" become an "inconsistency"? Some so-called "moral failings" do not in fact conflict with an actual law. And whose morals - ours, or those of a nomadic desert people 3500 years ago moving into Pagan country?
SOME people think they are failings. Therefore it is worthy to mention that there are such suppositions in the bible, within an encyclopedia.CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yup. Which the above does. FT2 23:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

--- End container for cut text ---Rednblu | Talk 09:14, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What is the purpose of the above insertion? ---Rednblu | Talk 09:14, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The Bee Holder[edit]

None of this is intended to say inconsistencies are fabricated. But many are interpretational, and truth is in the eye of the beholder. The bible has had many beholders, from many backgrounds, with many motives over the millennia, and all this article can do is highlight what are commonly ientified as prima facie inconsistencies. It cannot judge them, or evaluate "true or false".

Truth is always in the eye of the Bee Holder.CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I do feel that some of the above is very valid, other parts miss the point. For example, before discussing "bible inconsistencies" you have to agree what "the bible" is. For jews, or some christian groups, the bible is NOT what one group says it is. So inconsistencies for one may not be for another, thats a genuine matter to explain in the article. Likewise the comment about "most scholars are POV" isnt relevant, whats relevant is that as a result some "inconsistencies" arise from POV interpretation.

What is ultimately relevant is that the above are reasons why inconsistencies are sometimes subjective or the result of incomplete understanding, and that has to be made clear. FT2 23:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

for my part (and i didn't add it) it's not necessarily the best form ... but it raises some issues that are very important for the page, and i'd like to find a way to integrate them in. the main issue with biblical inconsistencies is that they ARE in the eye of the beholder ... honestly, when i read many of the "inconsistencies," i don't SEE inconsistencies -- my understanding of scripture (not to say it's right, but it's my understanding anyway) INCORPORATES the two into a coherent whole that reflects what i consider to be a "Deeper" understanding. other people's understandings see them as plainly contradictory. what this new text does is bring out those issues -- that just because one person sees an inconsistency doesn't mean there IS one any more than it means there isn't one. literary interpretation is 99% art, and is COMPLETELY dependent on the assumptions you bring to the table, as any good Deconstructionist would tell you:).
i'd like to preface the article with a brief introduction to methods of interpretation -- firstly, the different views of scripture (from inerrant to reliable to questionable at best), and a boiled down form of the above ideas. what i DON'T want to do (and what i fear could easily happen on a page like this) is get into a war of listing inconsistencies and then listing potential explanations for those inconsistencies. any ideas? Ungtss 15:49, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree. The issues should be discussed here, but not as a bulleted list. I presume that Biblical inerrancy goes into the themes in depth (haven't looked). In any case, most detail about views of Scripture should go there, I would think, but be summarized here.
We want to avoid discussing every item on the "laundry list" separately (we link to it, so it's available for our readers), but there may be need for one or two more sections to have indicated the whole spectrum covered. The fact that the explanations of the "inconsistencies" boil down to the same 3-4 reasons makes it kind of tedious to write (and probably to read), which is why I only did the 5 or so "families" of inconsistencies in my rewrite. Mpolo 16:43, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)
Each section (and there really should be more sections, given the issues in the list of inconsistencies, such as Paul vs not-Paul (i.e. was Pauline Christianity mutually exclusive to the Jerusalem Church (i.e. the Apostles who actually met Jesus for real (assuming historicity)))) has the potential to become a seperate article. Genesis already is.
The views of interpretation ARE VERY IMPORTANT to the article, and should constitute a seperate section to itself, preferably at the top of the article (but not as an introduction).CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Proposals of an explicit nature[edit]

We are mixing up a number of different things here. Redenblu is quite right that we have to be clear about "inconsistency according to whom" -- the point of my suggestion about the title is that many religious groups themselves say that there are inconsistencies (but debate over what the inconsistencies mean). As someone points out, some inconsistencies are results of assumptions readers make -- I think this is a very different sort of inconsistency than those that are explicit in the text (in other words, the comments about the lex talionis suggest an inconsistency only if you make certain assumptions about justice and mercy -- this is not a matter of two different texts, one which says an eye for an eye, another which says an eye for $1,000. On the other hand, the differences between the J and E versions of the creation, or Noah, are explicit in the text. I think the article should limit itself to the second kind of inconsistency. These are, properly speaking, inconsistencies "in" the Bible. The other kind are inconsistencies between the Biblical text and Biblical-based religions.) Someone, I think Ungtss, says that he sees the Bible as a coherant whole. This is indeed one view, but it is just a point of view. There is no evidence that the editors and early readers of the Bible saw it this way, for example. Slrubenstein

that's a great idea to limit it to explicit factual contradictions -- and it would definitely limit the opportunities for pov disputes. proposed distinction: EXPLICIT inconsistencies versus "IMPLICIT" inconsistencies."
incidentally, i don't want to be misunderstood -- i don't think the bible is inerrant or an "integrated whole" -- it's rife with contradiction and inconsistency. but i do think that by comparing and contrasting the varying experiences and insights of all the authors and applying your own critical reason and experience, superficial inconsistencies may give way to deeper understanding that encompasses ALL the points of view of ALL the authors, and makes the text MORE valuable, not less -- basically, when you take all the points of view in the text together, considering all their different experiences -- you get a pretty amazing picture. just like our discussion here:). Ungtss 18:51, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, this article is about ALL inconsistencies that are ALLEGED, not ACTUAL. This article is NOT Actual inconsistencies in the Bible. CheeseDreams 21:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
then shall we divide it into explicit and implicit sections, allowing more room for interpretation in the implicit section? Ungtss 21:32, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, I think that's a very bad organisation. I think MPolo has it right, with the article organised by consequence of each inconsistency. This has much more depth, such as Hmm, what if the old testament is about a different God, that would explain it (e.g. the Gnostic point of view - see Demiurge - the old testament God is evil), and what if the Torah isn't written by one person (Documentary Hypothesis), and what if John is a piece of propaganda (to counter those who are actually obeying the Synoptic Gospels but consequently not the church). I don't think your explicit/implicit organisation lends itself to much further development other than "Y is a clear violation of X thus Z", which will be much more seperate and detached than the above. CheeseDreams 22:30, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Short but important vote[edit]

A good way to handle an article which evaluates a subject like this (if one asserts there are allegations of inconsistency and is being encyclopedaic) is to start by defining what inconsistency means, and the difficulties and issues in categorising text as such. With that understanding you can then look at individual alleged inconsistencies and summarise the issue (if any). Without that information you can't. I would like to avoid a revert war, so rather than revert what to me is obviously essential to the article and suitable for it, I would like to call a short vote to gain consensus or views.

Could people read the section deleted from the article here titled "Difficulties with evaluating inconsistencies" - and vote simply, yes or no, does that section belong in the article.

If so, is it sufficiently neutral and useful to put there while we actually debate the issue here in more depth?

My feeling is (1) this would be appropriate as that section or one like it is essential to the article, (2) will allow us to carry on looking at actual alleged inconsistencies with the basis and issues of judgement explained in the article, and (3) can be polished up or discussed if need be, but is essentially encyclopaedic, neutral, sourceable, and factual as it stands (though roughly written) FT2 22:52, Nov 12, 2004 (UTC)

  • Support having a section, but as prose, not bullet points. Mpolo 08:53, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)
I agree. Why was it deleted? CheeseDreams 12:00, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. Suggest a short section at the end of the page containing "Rebuttal to the above." Defining "inconsistency," however is a useless direction. The actual tenor of this page is not "inconsistency" but rather "criticism." Perhaps the page should be renamed to Criticisms of the Bible. These "criticisms" would include the apparent lawless and immoral behavior of God, :(( as portrayed in the Bible. As you point out, the "lawless and immoral behavior of God" is not an "inconsistency" but rather a "criticism." :)) Or if you need a lot of room to expand your rebuttal bullets into prose, we might consider a companion page Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible (rebuttal) which could be referenced by appropriate section with a Rebuttal arguments: line (like a Main article: line) at the top of each section on Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible. I would prefer for clarity that the flow of each section not be interrupted by rebuttals--just as I would prefer that the flow of each section of Christianity not be interrupted by rebuttals. We need to discuss what in your opinion would suffice. A whole section at the beginning would not be appropriate for the subject matter of this page, in my opinion. :) ---Rednblu | Talk 10:12, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
For your information, there currently exists the page Biblical consistenciesCheeseDreams 11:58, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, I think that the rebuttals are POV and should be expressed within this article as "wheras, some opine that ...", but not always allowing the rebuttals to finish the argument (which is POV) but have each side alternate, so that some issues are ended by the non-rebuttals. Anyway, they are expressed as far as I can tell.
I think the clarity is absolutely fine in the article. CheeseDreams 12:00, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I dont think they're "Rebuttals". A rebuttal is one thing. These are aspects of the term inconsistency, and as has been pointed out a lot of people look for "inconsistencies" in the bible. So Im fine with the title, I think whats needed isnt a "rebuttal" but an opening out of why actually its harder than that casual viewer may think to decide what "inconsistency" is, because of the following classes of issues..... FT2 12:55, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)
  • Of course, "it is harder than the casual viewer may think"!! :)) That is because they are not "inconsistencies," are they? Aren't you quite convinced yourself that they are not "inconsistencies"? ---Rednblu | Talk 13:30, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
to state that they are not inconsistencies is POV. CheeseDreams 14:56, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • FT2? Do you think they are inconsistencies? ---Rednblu | Talk 19:14, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
My personal view isnt relevant to the talk, so for that its not important. But as I guess you want to know my bias (if any) for evaluating any personal comments it may be needed. Some are, some arent. A lot of the time its not a binary decision, its what you assume that determines how you classify it. Some will always be inconsistencies, others will turn out to clear up when you read deeper, a lot frankly we can argue angels on the head of a pin. Luckily since our aim here isnt to decide whats consistent and whats not, but to present the various possibilities neutrally WP:NPOV I dont have a problem. I give what info may be useful and dont advocate that any of them definitively "are" or "are not". FT2 01:37, Nov 14, 2004 (UTC)
Angels on the head of a pin is a very intellectual discussion about the nature of infinity. The question was first posed by Augustine of Hippo.
I completely agree, the section should be there if only with better English.--metta, The Sunborn 02:42, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Perfect solution, Mpolo, in my opinion. Does that work for you FT2? ---Rednblu | Talk 21:15, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • Qualified support. The material is appropriate but the section is too long, and borders dangerously on "personal essay/original research." Don't know what what to suggest. Can you boil it down before putting it back in? [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 22:11, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
First reaction to new section, "I like". It could be improved but its definitely a good starting point if consensus is for a textual section rather than bullet points. FT2 01:37, Nov 14, 2004 (UTC)
I was trying to avoid the "personal essay/original research" thing by bringing in a couple more specific examples from the "laundry list" that illustrate the points being made. I unfortunately don't have any neutral sources on this topic. This page may be (or will be, once we're done with it) the only such source in existence, as I imagine most people who choose to write about this topic are doing so precisely so as to support their POV on the matter. That's going to force this page to stand on the edge of the razor between "secondary source" and "original research", but I hope that it is more in the direction of "secondary source". We need to cite some proponents of the various theories, certainly. Mpolo 07:57, Nov 14, 2004 (UTC)

Its perfectly possible to write a neutral article on a non-neutral topic where most of the work has been done by non-neutral sources (in the wikipedia sense). Thats what this article's doing. It will take a bit of time to refine down, but I think its an easy bet to say it will do so. For what its worth I do feel people pull the "original research" card far too often. This is all distilling, summarising and making cogent a lot of well known arguments - and thats exactly what wikipedia's for. FT2 22:03, Nov 14, 2004 (UTC)

  • I don't know whether that's aimed at my comments above, but I agree with you. (And actually my comment was referring to the earlier, "bullet-list" version. I love the Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition, because it's readable, lively, and intelligently opinionated. (Sometimes unintelligently opinionated). Since the 1950s school textbooks have become dry as ditchwater, Gradgrind, facts-facts-facts in an effort to avoid being "controversial" or falling afoul of the Texas schoolbook committee, and encyclopedias have followed in their tracks. This is not a good thing. Articles should provide some interpretation. NPOV doesn't mean "always play it safe." I chose my words carefully; I said it "bordered dangerously" on being a personal essay. [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 22:40, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly. FT2 20:45, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

What this article is not[edit]

This article is NOT a list of inconsistencies. See the archive(01) for that.

I have taken out the Nephilim story. It is too much detail for this article. It belongs in the Nephilim article, if it isn't there already.

This article is about

  • inconsistent accounts in the torah => documentary hypothesis

(this includes Creation according to Genesis, parrallel flood accounts (one immediately after the other, if no-one has noticed that before), parralel genealogies (Cain's genealogy is the same as Seth's if you haven't noticed, the words are just spelt slightly differently, and one pair is swapped round).

  • inconsistent accounts in the histories and inconsistencies with archaeology => Political propaganda, not history.

(e.g. contradictions between Chronicles, and Samuel/Kings)

  • logical problems in the bible => The bible as mangled and supressed compilation of earlier myths

(this includes how did the Nephilim survive, why do 2 psalms treat Sophia (wisdom) as if it were a real female entity who was married to god, why does the El assign Jahweh to the nation of Israel if El is Jahweh, what are the sea monsters Leviathon and Behemoth that God fights, who is Cain's wife, etc.)

  • moral failings in the old testament => Marcion's (and others') POV that the old testament god is NOT the same as the new testament god. In fact, that the old testament god is pure evil (marcion deserves a mention for this, the trouble he caused the early church was huge).
  • inconsistencies with observed physical reality in the prophets => Allegory not fact

(e.g. Ezekiel's visions (which were probably the result of narcotics), Job's sojourn in the belly of a fish (he should have completely dissolved), etc. - see Ezekiel 26:15-21 for example - it still has not happened)

  • inconsistencies within the wisdom texts => collection of known wisdom not statements by a single or small group of authors

(e.g. Psalms disagreeing amongst themselves (e.g. 10:1 vs. 145:18)

  • inconsistencies between Matthew and Luke => two-source hypothesis together with the extra bits being made up and/or from Syncretism

(e.g. Matthew 1:16 vs. Luke 3:23, or Matthew 1:18-21 vs. Luke 1:26-31, or Matthew 2:13-16 vs. Luke 2:22-40)

  • Inconsistencies between John and the Synoptics (and itself) => John is a forgery for anti-gnostic propaganda purposes

(e.g. Mark 16:5 vs. John 20:1, Luke 1:15 vs. John 16:7, John 10:30 vs. John 14:28, John 13:36 vs. John 16:5 (this is a bit implausible to have really happened unless God has got Alzheimers))

  • Quotes from non-existant scripture => Nature of the authors of that passage

(the scripture quoted from is actually in the Septuagint version of the old testament, a Greek text, but not in the Masoritic text which is hebrew - modern bibles use the Masoritic version) (e.g. James 4:5, Romans 10:11,

  • Acts vs. Paul => Rivalry in the very early church

(which is more Christian? The church of the Apostles themselves (chaired by St. James) or that of St. Paul?) (e.g. Acts 5:29 vs. Romans 13:1-4, Acts 9:19-28 vs. 2 Corintians 11:32)

  • Inconsistencies within Revelations => Revelations is a collection of Jewish legends only vaguely stitched together

(e.g. 8:7 vs. 9:4)

Alright, I believe you. However, most of what you just said is not in the article, and it should. It should be done professional-like of course but it should all be there. And bloody hell, try to remember to click the signature button. --metta, The Sunborn 00:12, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

moral failings.[edit]

okay, let's start here. we have a choice. either we keep the section general, describing the problem without specific cases, or we make it specific, in which case we must define what a moral failing is, and give pro and con arguments for each case. either is fine with me. but an article that says, "critics look to failings (which we have not defined) like these 12345 ... but christians try to explain them away" is pov. which way shall we go? Ungtss 13:49, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The best description of this example is the POV of the Gnostics such as Marcion.
Essentially, they noticed apparant differences in God between the Old and New testaments. Also, they considered that the old testament God had moral failings - e.g. deliberately putting the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden and then telling Adam and Eve not to eat anything from it, and then not preventing the serpent, or the various other examples of condoning incest, murder, etc.
Their conclusion was that the god of the old testament (referred to as Yahweh) and the God of the new testament (referred to as God (in Greek)) were not the same. They further considered that not only was Yahweh evil, but Yahweh is the source of all evil, i.e. the devil. They considered the serpent to be the good god.
Obviously this was considered a very very very dangerous and extreme heresy by the early church, and their attacks on Marcion drip with vitriol.
CheeseDreams 18:46, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)
look -- i'm done getting into stupid edit wars with you. stop reverting mindlessly and WORK with me. you are taking the POV of contemporary morality without STATING that it was NOT the pov of morality at the TIME of the ACTS, and you have deleted SPECIFIC explanations for why EACH of those "cases" with not immoral at the time of the act. your EXPLICIT agenda in this section is to show that the bible is inconsistent with the morality of TODAY, but you are ignoring the OBVIOUS implication that the morality of TODAY is inconsistent with that of the BIBLE. now TALK things out with me before you revert to support your agenda ... you are losing ALL credibility with this persistent edit warring. Ungtss 17:39, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Urm, no. Mpolo wrote the section originally. CheeseDreams 20:53, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What is the reason for the "moral failings" section?[edit]

This section begins with: "Critics of the Biblical account make much of various acts of God and the characters of the Bible which conflict with contemporary morality." which explicitly has nothing to do with the topic of this article. The Th. Paine paragraph has no place either. The observation that Biblical morality and modern morality are different is accuratte -- but just not relevant to an article on inconsistencies "in" the Bible. Slrubenstein

  • I agree. In my opinion, the "inconsistencies" cited in the page Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible are little more than typos. However, the criticism of the Bible because of the typos and the indoctrination to immorality found in it engages a lot of interesting forces in the society: 1) literalists who insiste that even the typos and the immorality are sacred, 2) realists who insist that the Bible is just another X-rated secular book, and 3) opportunists who use the fury of the battle between the literalists and the realists for their own gain and amusement.  :)) Hence, to produce a worthy Wikipedia page:
  1. The title should be changed to Criticisms of the Bible so that the title of the page is not "inconsistent" ;)) with the content of the page as Slrubenstein observes, and
  2. The sections should be tightened to clarify the documented scholarly views on why the a) criticism and the b) defense against the criticism organize such intense forces of debate. ---Rednblu | Talk 22:48, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • i agree as well. a "biblical inconsistencies" page could discuss explicit factual inconsistencies within its pages, but should not include things like the old pov "moral failings" (changed to 'changes in morality') section -- such things should go under a Criticisms of the Bible page, that reflects why people today don't LIKE it. Ungtss 23:17, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The moral "inconsistencies" in the sense that God blesses someone or orders something that seems to go against his stated (or to-be-stated) law could well be acceptable for this page. "The Bible allows slavery", "We know slavery is wrong", therefore "The Bible is wrong" is another beast altogether. Mpolo 08:06, Nov 21, 2004 (UTC)
  • You may be right. :) But it seems to me that, to someone who thinks the Bible is right, all those typos are not inconsistencies. Those typos are inconsistencies only to someone who thinks the Bible is wrong. That is, to someone who thinks the Bible is right, the title of the Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible page is wonderfully "inconsistent" with the content of the page--irony of ironies :) --because what is on the page are not "inconsistencies" but rather "criticisms"--or some other version of what you label appropriately as the beast of "The Bible is wrong."  :)) ---Rednblu | Talk 08:31, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That's why they're "alleged inconsistencies" -- one group, typically comprised of atheists, agnostics, and liberal Christians, say that God was inconsistent in those points, while another group, typically comprised of mainline Christians, says that the inconsistency can be explained for these reasons, while another group, typically comprised of conservative Christians, say that there is no inconsistency in the text. Personally, I fall somewhere between the last two groups. The text on the page needs to be refined a bit, but I think the basic thrust should be this: there are places where the Bible says two different things in different places about the same thing. Then discuss the "resolutions" offered by those groups that offer resolutions (and possibly include some information of who brought up the issue in the first place, when possible, like in the Marcionism section). Mpolo 10:36, Nov 21, 2004 (UTC)
that's good! and an INCONSISTENCY would be, "god said incest was okay at this time, but not okay at this time" -- "god said the sins of the fathers will be visited on the suns at this time, but not at this time" -- THEN we can say, "the marcions thought THIS about the change in morality, the evangelicals think THIS about it, the 'Bible is a fairytale'-types think THIS about it" ... whatchy'all think? Ungtss 16:11, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The inconsistency is

  1. with the new testament where god is "nice" and "fluffy" and "kind to the animals" etc. (Marcion caused chaos by then stating that it was a different god, and that "Yahweh" (the OT god) was evil). MOST (but by no means all) people notice this difference and the apparant inconsistency is one of the first things such people try to resolve.
  2. with the idea that god is moral (and therefore with the areas where god is described thusly)CheeseDreams 20:43, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

But this is not remotely illogical if you take the maltheist position.Geni 20:54, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes, that ought to be mentioned as an aside such as "some simply see this as an argument for Dystheism". Marcion needs to be mentioned somewhat more substantially because of the significance he has in history. CheeseDreams 22:38, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
neither is is remotely inconsistent if you consider the possibility that God teaches his people as they become ready to learn -- the majority opinion among people who take the bible seriously. and if you want to focus on interpretations, the dead and self-contradictory philosophies of maltheism and marcionism will have to take the backseat to mainstream beliefs by people who see your "inconsistency" and don't give a twit. Ungtss 14:36, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Marcion was one of the foremost scholars of his day, and yet he considered it inconsistent to a phenomonal extent - so much so that he branded "Yahweh" evil.
So what? that still doesn't make the bible inconsistantGeni 23:55, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
According to Marcion it did. CheeseDreams 00:57, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No he thought it made the bible inconsistant with the idea of one god.Geni
Oh, P.s. User:Mpolo wrote the section not me. So it is his "inconsistency" not mine. CheeseDreams 00:57, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Dystheism is the majority viewpoint amongst the world populous i.e that god is not 100% good, particularly in non-western religions where there is no religious reason to assume that god(s) is. CheeseDreams 23:43, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No it isn't. Both cristianity and islam belive in a all good god. Between them they make up more than 50% of thw worlds population. I also find it odd that you are defining Zoroastrianism as "western"Geni 23:55, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Although many religions officially believe in a 100% good god, most people do not. Ask them if you don't believe me. The stats figure is something like 2% believe god is 100% good, if that - most think god is being a "bit of a bastard" CheeseDreams 00:57, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Zoroastrianism originates in Persia, which is no more east than Arabia where Islam originated, and hardly any more east than Israel. CheeseDreams 00:57, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Persia is still not normaly considered easternGeni
I agree. Thats why Zoroastrianism is western. CheeseDreams 01:55, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
False dilema logical falicy.Geni
P.s. Don't give a twit what? CheeseDreams 00:57, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
1) most people either choose to believe in god or choose not to, and get on with their lives. but a small minority choose not to believe in god, and yet spend all their time tormenting people that do, because they apparently have little else to do but harass people that have the courage to believe.
Courage? Cowardice would be more accurate. Its harder to face the world without a security blanket. See The Second Coming (TV) (actually, the article doesn't explain the relevant detail in the drama, so you ought to see it for yourself) CheeseDreams 01:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Interesting you view god as a security blanket. IMO the fundermenalist world where you end up in eternal hellfire for the least infraction is far more scary than having no god at all.Geni
No, thats still as security blanket - "our enemies go to hell", wheras "we" just reinterpret the text so that what "we" do/say is "obviously" consistent. CheeseDreams 02:23, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
2) marcion is mentioned. so is the mainstream belief of people that take the bible seriously -- the hosea was not immoral at all, but rather God's instruction reflected a Deeper Truth which you have been attempting to censor. i find it odd that you want a fringe belief like marcionism expanded, while you continue to censor the mainstream interpretation without presenting a rationale. what exactly is your intent with this article?
Marcion is fundamentally significant in the field of morality conflicts between testaments. To cut him out would be like an article on creation cutting out Darwin. 01:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I am not censoring Hosea, but the preaching of the "deeper understanding" is irrelevant, and POV preaching CheeseDreams 01:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
3) your assertion that 2% of people believe God is 100% good is baseless and reflects profound ignorance.
No, its a statistical observation from numerous surveys on such a question. CheeseDreams 01:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
4) persia is east of both arabia and israel, and zoroastrianism is an eastern religion. Ungtss 01:25, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
At one point zoroastrianism stretched far more west than Judaism.
Hinduism is eastern, buddhism, taoism, shinto, confucianism, these are eastern religions. Zoroastrianism is western. Thinking of it as eastern is merely a fallacy due to the presence of the majority of the surviving zoroastrians in India (they moved from Persia as refugees) CheeseDreams 01:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You still haven't explained what it is that one ought not to give to a twit. CheeseDreams 01:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Morality and ethics[edit]

The sectional appears to be dealing with ethics rather than morality. Morality is an individual system of deciding right and wrong and is therefore inherently POV.Geni 02:08, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

That is why it is "alleged/percieved moral inconsistencies"CheeseDreams 02:25, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
But they are really alleged/percieved ethical inconsitancies (and to be honest for the part they are really incositancies between the new testimant and the old).Geni 02:28, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)


It is important not to violate the 3 revert rule. This page needs protection, clearly. [[User:Sam Spade|Sam Spade Arb Com election]] 02:23, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

who has violated it?Geni 02:24, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
ok I see now (that was fast) since this article is still being devoloped I would erge against blocking.
I don't see how anything positive is going to occur here whilst rogue editors attempt to enforce their bizarre biases via policy violations. [[User:Sam Spade|Sam Spade Arb Com election]] 02:28, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

CSlewis link.Geni 02:30, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Sam, you are the one known to be the rogue editor. To the extent you even doctor the Arb Com election endorsements page so that no-one sees the condemnations of you. CheeseDreams 02:32, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm not deleating informaion[edit]

From the version of the article I favor

"This apparent contradiction led to the Gnosticism related religion of Marcionism. Marcion claimed that the God of the Hebrew Bible is different from the God of the New Testament, and in fact, that the God of the Hebrew Bible was an evil god. The vast majority of Christians, however, do not see a complete rupture between the two parts of the Bible, though many advocate some form of supersessionism."

Seems to cover thet contraction brought up by Marcion quite well.Geni 03:15, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No, it would be more accurate to say "Seems to cover up thet contraction brought up by Marcion quite well" CheeseDreams 03:19, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Really? Well edit that section thenGeni 03:21, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, you edit the original CheeseDreams 03:59, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  1. The paragraph implies that Marcion is contemporary, rather than early church
It's writen in that past tense and At short notice I don't know when it died out. It's not important. I does not affect the validity of the claimsGeni 03:31, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, you compare it to contemporary christianity. This is like comparing mediaeval views of the creation of mice from cheese with modern views of the creation of mice from other mice. It is an unfair comparison and as such is POV. CheeseDreams 03:59, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  1. The paragraph supresses the fact that for a time, Marcion was a serious challenge to the anti-Marcion faction in the early church, implying that he was just some wierdo on the sidelines.

CheeseDreams 03:19, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

err this article is about contradictions in the bible not about infighting with in the early church. The passage links to the article on Marcion which I assumes covers his historical significance. It does not matter whether he was a wierdo on the sidelines or not unless you want you want to commit the appeal to authority logical fallicyGeni 03:31, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It is important to mention how much this particular "inconsistency" affected the early church. This article is about the "inconsistencies", it is not simply a list of them, or of resolutions/disresolutions of them, but about them and their consequences. Marcion's views had significant consequences, it is important to mention them. CheeseDreams 03:59, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

And according to the edit history, you ARE deleting informationCheeseDreams 03:23, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Repeated informationGeni
No, its not repeated, I would already have removed it if it was. Read it properly. CheeseDreams 03:59, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Did you read my last edit?[edit]

I changed

"This apparent contradiction led to the Gnostic religion of Marcionism"


"this apparent contradiction led to the Gnosticism related religion of Marcionism"

That is the only change I made. The article on Gnosticism states:

"Simon Magus and Marcion of Sinope both had Gnostic tendencies, but they were not completely Gnostics. "

If you want to argue this you have quite a few articles to correct

(the above is Unsigned)

Gnostic tendencies is a POV phrase. As is "tendencies". It is weasel.CheeseDreams 03:52, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC) Christianity has Gnostic tendencies. I could write "Iranaeus took a gnostic related view of Jesus" or "The gospel of John, known to be Gnostic related" which would be clear distortion. CheeseDreams 03:52, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Err Why? I've seen some people argue that John was a Gnostic. Anyway it doesn't matter your position taken to it's logical conclusion would mean that we whould have no mention of Gnosticism in reltion to Marcionism. Is this accepterble?Geni 03:58, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The way the paragraph is phrased is stating that "oh, but he was a Gnostic, not a Christian" - see Personal attack for an explanation of why this is wrong and inherently POV.
You above statement is not consitant with your edits. Remember my edits were directed at suggestiog there was less of a reltionship between the two. Your reverts preferded a version which stated the two were in near equiverlanceGeni 04:14, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No. The reverts made no mention of Gnostics. CheeseDreams 04:23, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes it did. The version you revered to stated "This apparent contradiction led to the Gnostic religion of Marcionism" I think that is a pretty clear mentionGeni 04:27, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Oh Im sorry about that, the history read that it was in the other section. Ive put it back in for you. CheeseDreams 04:31, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

let's end this.[edit]

justify your position, mr. cheesedreams.

1) why are you refusing to allow any reference to WHY God instructed hosea to marry the prostitute?

Opinions as to why hosea... are POV and preaching. As such they do not belong in this article. CheeseDreams 16:26, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
the issue is: was God immoral in giving this instruction? in discussing that issue, God's stated REASON for giving the instruction is completely relevent, and the section is incomplete without it. beyond that, it is not an opinion. it is explicit in the text. would you like a reference? Ungtss 00:52, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
A reference to the alleged fact that the text explicitely explains it as such (in the hebrew rather than the whim of a translator) would be required for the explanation to appear in the article.CheeseDreams

2) why are you requiring that the title of the section take the pov of contemporary morality?

I am requiring that it take the POV of
(a) Contemporary morality
(b) Non-Jewish-but-still-at-the-"time"-of-writing morality
(c) Jewish-morality-at-the-"time"-of-writing-but-not-in-the-context
(d) morality later than the time of writing but not contemporary
I.e. all morality POV apart from the single POV that says it isn't immorral. CheeseDreams 16:26, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
then how about, "Acts by God perceived to be immoral by people with differing moral standards?" i don't care about the wording. all i care about is making sure you don't take the POV of all those people who think God did a BAD thing to the exclusion of those who think no bad thing was done at all. Ungtss 00:52, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
1) Differing moral standards to what?
1a) I could have "Acts by God and others condoned by the text perceived to be immorral by people with differing moral standards to those which make the text appear moral" but that is a ridiculous title for a section.
2) Its a bit long winded for a section title.
CheeseDreams 02:02, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Now justify your positionCheeseDreams 16:26, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

don't we all have better things to do than edit wars, mr cheesedreams? wouldn't you like to find an amicable solution to this? will you please help us all get on with the real business of wikipedia? Ungtss 04:49, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The real business of Wikipedia is to produce good and accurate articles. If it takes an edit war to do this, then that is what must happen. CheeseDreams 16:26, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Birth of Jesus[edit]

Isn't there a mismatch of the dates given for the birth of Jesus and the Roman records?

That isn't an inconsistancy in the bible. That is an inconsistancy between the bible and historical sources.Geni 12:36, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It is actually an inconsistency in the bible. The census, and Herod, happened at two different mutually exclusive times. It is one of the mismatches which point to the conclusion "The Gospel of John is propaganda for Iranaeus's POV and has little care to reflect the prior 3 gospels where they disagree". CheeseDreams 16:29, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

but they are only mutaly exclusive if you bring in outside data.Geni 16:40, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Personally, I regard the argument "they are only mutually exclusive if you consider fact" as stupid. CheeseDreams 16:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Fact? Come on we are only 99.9999999999999999999999743764876574833922388438% sure that this is the case. You appear to be confused about NPOV we don't use the word fact we use generaly/widely accepted. I would suggest that inconsistancies between the bible and generaly acepted history go in a sperate article (because there isn't going to be space in this one)Geni 17:19, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, it should remain here, until it gets too big for the article. AFTER which time it becomes a daughter article with a summary here. NOT BEFORE. CheeseDreams 17:40, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Since I belive articles should be correctly labled i will move the whole thing to "common arguments against a literal inteprition of the bible" if you do that.Geni 02:19, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Since I believe the article is correctly labelled already, if you do that I will move the page back and point the redirect elsewhere. CheeseDreams 08:10, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
it the moment yes however it is inconsistencies in the Bible not inconsistencies around the BibleGeni 08:16, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • So, if this is a well-known example of an alleged inconsistency "in" the Bible, it should go in the article with a very short phrase clarifying this subtlety. This article is always going to be contentious and the pattern to be followed should be: alleged inconsistency; reasons why it might be regarded as such; reasons why it might not be regarded as such. In this case, it seems clear enough that
    • CheeseDreams regards this as an "alleged inconsistency in the Bible," so it should go in the article;
    • Geni says that it is an inconsistency, but it is not "in the Bible," but "around the Bible," so
    • Geni has given a reason for saying that this "alleged inconsistency in the Bible" is not a true "inconsistency in the Bible," so
    • Geni's reason for not regarding it as an "inconsistency in the Bible" should go in, too.

[[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 15:06, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Two problems with the above

  1. If we follow this defintion to it's logical concluision there is nothing to stop me alleging that the bible is incosistant because it does not state that I am a fish and getting that included in the article
  1. The above argument is one of clasification rather than one about whether the incosistacy really exists which is all that would be relivant to this article.Geni 15:20, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I have absolutely no objection whatsoever to the article containing the statement "wheras some fish think it is inconsistent because ....." CheeseDreams 20:19, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Geni, we're not "following this to its logical conclusion," we're talking about how to handle one specific issue which is on the borderline and which you and CheeseDreams disagree on. Your example is not a problem because nobody really thinks that it is a Biblical inconsistency. You are saying that it theoretically could be, but I don't think you really believe this yourself. Therefore, you aren't going to put it in the article and therefore that issue isn't going to arise. It's a straw man. [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 23:11, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok then the bible is incosistant becase it fails to accept that vishnu is lord and master01:30, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)


This is mysterious(after Adam eats the fruit): Look at man. He has become like one of us knowing both good and evil let us banish him from the garden of eden lest he eat of the tree of life and live forever. -Where there many gods? Elohim is plural for gods. Why does it say 'one of us'(plural) ? Shouldn't there be only one God?--Jondel 09:28, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It is a well known difficulty to scrutineers of the bible, I have elaborated the paragraph you left. --metta, The Sunborn 15:18, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Elohim is singular for El. However, to understand why, a little more knowledge of hebrew grammer is required - essentially there is a special singular form of a word and it is for signifying majesty, which is done by a special form of plural (in the same way that in english you can say "we are a grandmother" (-Margeret Thatcher) referring to a single person). It is usually indicated by the surrounding adjectives and so forth taking singular rather than plural cases as would be expected with an actual plural. CheeseDreams 20:28, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If you want a real inconsistency of this kind you will need to look to the Psalms, where El refers to Yahweh as SOMEONE ELSE.
The Psalms also contain such things as alternative creation myths (e.g. the Leviathon and Behemoth - thought to be connected to Yaw the god of the untamed sea, who may be the origin of the etymologically related Yahweh), and God's wife (Asherah - name supressed), as well as God's female companion during the creation - Sophia (addressed as a person not as a concept). CheeseDreams 20:28, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Of course, most Christians and Jews will refuse to admit to the idea of Yahweh being a syncretism and natural evolution of earlier gods of the region. So in their eyes, Yaw is independant and the similarity of chronologically earlier parts of the bible to tales of Yaw, and the etymology relation, and the fact that there are loads of Asherah statues in the late first millenium BC (i.e. 500-0BC) in Israel is mere co-incidence, or something. CheeseDreams 20:36, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This is despite the fact that such a view clarifies what is going on in many stories - Baal is the ARCH-enemy of Yaw/Yam, for example, explaining what was so offensive about worshipping baal that moses and company slaughtered all the worshippers. CheeseDreams 20:44, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Very nice!!It will take sometime for my brain deficient mind to digest this. --Jondel 00:44, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

i'm sure we'd all appreciate it, mr. dreams, if you'd provide some factual basis for your conjectures -- for instance, the verse in which, you claim, elohim talks to yahweh, or any substantive connection between Yaw and Yahweh beyond similar pronunciation ('cheese' and 'chicken', it seems to me, are equally similar, and are in the same language). finally, it should be noted that many atheists refuse to admit that the Jews and Christians actually believed the things they wrote, and were willing to stake their lives on them. any thoughts on the above, Mr. Chickendreams? Ungtss 13:34, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
(a) read the articles at the links I gave
(b) read the psalms (you will need a direct translation to notice things such as Sophia, or El vs. Yahweh), and I think there are mentions of this kind in Isaiah, Lamentations, and the book of Job
(c) if you are really lazy, you could type some appropriate words into Google
(d) what makes you think Ezra was a Jew?
CheeseDreams 19:35, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Oh, cheese and chicken are not etymologically related. However, Yaw, Yam, and Yahweh, are. I never mentioned phonetic similarity, I mentioned common word origin. Check an etymological dictionary for Ancient Hebrew if you do not believe me. P.s. The etymology of "cheese" is "kasjo" (proto-west-germanic) wheras the etymology of "chicken" is "kjuklingr" (old norse, and is probably in all likelyhood an onomatopoeia) CheeseDreams 19:41, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Oh, and many atheists think that the Jews who wrote those things did so for political propaganda reasons (ezra, and before ezra-the author of deuteronomy (the book that Joshua "finds" (cough) in the temple)), and the Christians wrote those things as allegory not as literal truth. CheeseDreams 19:44, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
never mind. as noticed before, an extraordinary ability to evade simple questions. Ungtss 00:36, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps a good place to start structuring this page is to organize it in terms of types of inconsistencies:

  1. historical inconsistencies - this could range from the debate about the literal supposed date of creation to date conflicts to generational counts in Jesus' lineage
  2. contradictions or paradoxes - for instance, comparing the belief that God does not interfere with free will with his deliberate hardening of Pharaoh's heart, or the issue of God referred to in the plural in Genesis versus monotheistic belief versus the Trinity (versus God referring to himself in the third person, or referring to other entities)
  3. misstatements of fact - statements in the Bible contradicted by the known historical record
  4. moral dilemmas - questions and fundamental inconsistencies about God's nature (e.g., "Thou shalt not kill" becomes "Go kill those people and take their land from them, because I say so")

I also suggest that each inconsistency be described, with a list of rebuttals disputing the description, with the opportunity for a final rebuttal to the rebuttal from the position of those describing the inconsistency. This would make for the best and most organized coverage. Craig zimmerman 23:01, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

PS - Who says maltheism should be considered "dead and self-contradictory?" How? Why?

Old Testament morality[edit]

From this section, I find this odd paragraph:

It is important to note that even within the Old Testament, God is described as kind and merciful, slow to anger - an apparent inconsistency that Jews respond to by stating that God is angered by sin and evil, even though he loves humanity and desires the good for them. Some Christians proclaim that, in consequence, due to the stain of an original sin, mankind was prey to passion and instinct, angering god, until mankind learnt control - at which point God's mercy shone through resulting in Jesus. The vast majority of Christians, do not see a complete rupture between the two parts of the Bible, though many advocate some form of supersessionism.

I don't know of any Christians who believe that God sent Jesus after mankind learned to control his passions so that God could get his anger under control enough to help us, yet that's what this paragraph seems to suggest. Can it be supported, fixed, or should the whole paragraph just be deleted? A sentence or two might be salvagable, but does anyone want to make that effort? Wesley 06:14, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I don't know of any Christians who believe that either. Philip J. Rayment 14:01, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Why is is it that this page is at Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible but the page countering this one Biblical inerrancy isn't prefixed with alleged? Jooler 22:35, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think the reason is this: the inconsistencies are only inconsistent at a literal level. Those (and there are many) who do not read the Bible literally do not see this as inconsistencies but rather signs of some other meaning. I understand your objection to "Alleged" and agree we should find a more appropriate word. As far as the inerrency article, the article is about a doctrine, and the doctrine is Biblical Inerrancy -- the doctrine may be false, but the doctrine itself claims that the Bible is inerrant, not "allegedly" inerrant. Keep you mind on what the article is about. That article is not claiming that the Bible is inerrant, it is claiming (accurately) that some people believe the Bible is inerrant. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:15, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
We have a page about Historical anomalies in Blackadder we do not worry about whether people take the Blackadder series literally or not. I think it is irrelevant that today some people do not read the Bible literally, for a very long period of time most Christians did, those who did not adhere to that view were persecuted. Today an extremely large number of Christians still take the bible as literally true. I find the suggestion that because a number of educated theologians do not read the bible literally, the verified historical anomalies, contradictions and impossibilites should be labelled "alleged", objectionable and I don't think that this word should be substituted with any other. To me as a non-Christian (non-Jew) the Bible is just a bunch of fairy stories containing as much truth as the works of the Brothers Grimm, but because it is the basis of a major belief system it requires more scrutiny as to the "truths" that it holds, and where these "truths" are shown to be contradictory then it is important to point it out "lest ye be fooled". So saying they are only "alleged" if you read it literally is a bit dumb to me, because if you read it without interpreting it literally you can put any spin on it you like. Jooler 22:53, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I do not think you understood what I wrote. For one thing, I agree that "alleged" is not the right word here. But how can you say "So saying they are only "alleged" if you read it literally is a bit dumb to me, because if you read it without interpreting it literally you can put any spin on it you like?" Do you think that if people do not think Moby Dick is literally true, people can put any "spin" on it that they like? Do you think that if people do not think Ulysses is literally true, people can put any "spin" on it that they like? If you believe this, then you truly have no understanding of the fields of Comparative Literature and Hermeneutics. Certainly, critical Bible scholars would disagree with you. You are welcome to your own views, but Wikipedia articles should reflect the state of the art of scholarship. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:33, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

I understood you perfectly. I agree alleged is not the right word, but I disagree that any word is needed to qualify biblical inconsistencies. Moby Dick etc.. are not (AFAIK) used as the basis of a belief system. Certainly not for one of the major religions of the world. If Moby Dick was being as the basis of a religion then we would be questioning how much of it was allegedly true and how much of if was intended to be interpreted as a parable. The point still remains. A great body of people believe that the bible is literally trtue. Now you say to me ... If you believe this, then you truly have no understanding of the fields Comparative Literature and Hermeneutics. Well given that until I typed it into Google 20 seconds ago, I had no understanding of what the word "Hermeneutics" meant, then you are correct that I have no understanding in that field. Should I now roll over and say ... you are far too clever for me and I know nothing? As far as I am concerned the word ""alleged" in this context is perjorative and I cannot see the necessity of this word or a substitute qualifying word. Is the objection to moving this page to "inconsistencies in the Bible" that non-literal interpretation means that inconsistencies are irrelevant? Jooler 22:52, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

You are right that Moby Dick is not used as the basis for a religion. Nevertheless, the Bible is not just a set of books considered revealed or divinely inspired by some people, it is also a set of books written a long time ago by people whose beliefs were likely very different from people today. All I ask is that you distinguish between the text, and the religious use/interpretation of the text (or, if you prefer, the Bible as literature versus the Bible as sacred authority. Apparent (or literal) inconsistencies in the text do provide a challenge to orthodox or fundamentalist religious people, no question. But they provide a very different sort of challenge to other readers, readers who take pleasure in reading great literature or readers who are interested in learning about people who lived thousands of years ago, the main record of whom takes the form of a body of literature, parts of which were written by different people at different times for different purposes. Yes, many people think the Bible is "literally true." But much of what is in this article is not really about inconsistencies in the Bible but rather inconsistencies in the fundamentalist/orthodox understanding of the Bible. I can see a value to articles on each topic, but an encyclopedia should be clear about the difference between these two topics. As for "Should I now roll over and say ... you are far too clever for me and I know nothing?" I just do not know what to say. I assume that anyone who wants to contribute to an encyclopedia is someone who is always glad to learn something new. Perhaps I just didn't think you'd be so insecure. Frankly, I just assumed that you did know what these terms mean ... are you upset that I thought so well of you? You certainly don't need to feel upset at having let me down, if you don't know what hermeneutics is, it is just not that big of a deal and like I suggested before, what are encyclopedias for if not to learn about new things? Anyway, we have no argument over getting rid of the word "alleged." But if the article is going to be "inconsistencies in the Bible" much of what is currently in the article has to be taken out. Put it in another article, "inconsistencies in fundamentalist Christianity" or "inconsistencies in Orthodox Judaism" — just make sure the title of the article and the contents of the article fit together. Slrubenstein | Talk 00:31, 2 May 2005 (UTC)


The New Testament also condones and speaks of slavery. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

'Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. ' (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

'The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.'(Luke 12:47-48 NLT)The Rev of Bru

Abraham/ Sarah.[edit]

Gen.20:12 "And yet indeed, she [Sarah] is my [Abraham's] sister; she is the daughter of my father." Pretty clear. For some reason the other users edit disappeared, which is why it looks like I reverted myself to myself, which I didnt :PThe Rev of Bru

The text explains that this was a deception on Abraham's part. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:57, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

In your opinion, maybe. In fact, not. Don't push your opinion as fact, please. Do you want this to go to mediation? The Rev of Bru

In fact, the text states this, the first time Abram does it (Gen. 12:11-13) and then Gen 20:11. Isaac does the same thing, suggesting this may be a literary motif(Gen 26:7) (Like the first . Haven't you done any research on this? Only one major scholar has tried to take the sister claim seriously, E. A. Speiser, "The Wife-Sister Motif in the Patriarchal Narratives," Biblical and Other Studies, ed. A. Altmann (Cambridge: Harvard U. P., 1963), pp. 15-28. Speiser observes that it was common among upper-class Hurrians to give a wife the juridial status of a sister (not a blood relation), and suggests that Abram was following this custom. Most scholars reject this analysis, and call attention to the perspective of J (the presumed author of Gen 12 and 26, which called attention to the importance of women in the fulfilment of God's promise to make a great nation (thus, the lives of the "matriarchs" had to be protected) against P narratives which emphasize the male line. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:25, 1 May 2005 (UTC)


The Paine quote simply suggests that Biblical morality is inconsistent with 18th century European morality. I do not question this. But this article is on inconsistencies "in" the Bible. What inconsistency in the Bible is Paine referring to? Slrubenstein | Talk 20:28, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

Isaiah virgin birth[edit]

Currently, the article says:

For instance the word used in Isaiah 7:14 to indicate the woman who would bear Emmanuel is alleged to mean simply young woman in Hebrew, while the Gospel of Matthew (1:23) follows the Septuagint Greek translation parthenos meaning virgin, thus slightly changing the meaning. Some might term this an inconsistency, while others argue that Matthew and the LXX were right.[1]

Now, don't we know whether or not the word simply means young woman in Hebrew? Why do we state that it is "alleged"? Are not scholars familiar enough with ancient Hebrew to make a definitive determination here? john k 21:18, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

I may be mistaken, but I think the Hebrew word here is sometimes used to mean 'virgin' in particular, and sometimes to mean 'young woman' in a more general sense, so there really is some room for debate regarding which was intended in the Hebrew passage. The Septuagint translator(s) made an unambiguous choice of what was meant. 21:52, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
You are correct. KHM03 21:56, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the Koine Greek word parthenos means young woman also. [1]
Yes...but this is a translation choice, not an inconsistency. Either translation is correct in Isaiah; the writer of Matthew simply made the decision that "virgin" (based on the LXX) was the better choice. KHM03 12:07, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

"Actually, the greek word parthenos as such *never* had anything to do with physical virginity, at least until II Cent. AD. No greek passage, within this period, documents ever that the 'parthenos'-condition necessarily implies physical virginity. And many passages, on the contrary, use the name 'parthenos' for a woman bereft of virginity. Several of them, reported in LSJ, are rightly referred to by Harvey and correctly confirmed by Suter. Others could be referred to. Among the earliest is Hom. Il. II 512-515, where the poet mentions a 'parthenos' that bore ('teken') two children. The objections make no sense. We cannot help drawing the only possible conclusion: the greek word 'parthenos' does not mean 'a woman that is physically virgin'." (from an anonymous user)

BUT...the LXX translators translated the word "virgin", and the writer of Matthew's Gospel apparently agreed with that choice. So the "virgin" translation has an ancient precedent which is compeletely valid. The point's a translation choice, not an outright inconsistency. KHM03 13:28, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

????The LXX translators translated the Hebrew as "parthenos", and the Gospel of Matthew, written in Koine Greek, used the same Greek word: "parthenos". The question to ask is what did Koine Greek parthenos mean before the second century, since both Matthew and the LXX were written before the second century. The answer is above. The English word "virgin" is a mistaken translation of the pre-second century Koine Greek. There is no inconsistency in the Koine Greek LXX and Gospel of Matthew, the inconsistency is in the English translations that translate pre-second century parthenos as virgin.


Can we unprotect this for a minute? I would like to refer to the apparent contradiction of Gen 10:5 to Gen 11:9 (see confusion of tongues). dab () 08:25, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

I notice that the article 'Miracles of Jesus' doesn't have the word alleged in it, despite the fact there is no evidence they ever took place. There is proof of inconsistency in the Bible however. This sounds to me like pro-christian POV Damburger 23:50, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Alleged inconsistencies in the BibleInconsistencies in the Bible – Why is is it that this page is at Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible but the page countering this one Biblical inerrancy isn't prefixed with alleged? Jooler 19:00, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one sentence explanation, then sign your vote with ~~~~
  • Support Why is is it that this page is at Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible but the page countering this one Biblical inerrancy isn't prefixed with alleged? Jooler 19:00, 26 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support If only for consistencies... --Bob 22:51, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose (see below) Threepounds 08:05, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I support the removal of "alleged" from the title. This shouldn't even need a vote. — Omegatron 19:03, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Support, though would prefer a title somewhere in between this rename and the current name - something like 'Apparent inconsistencies in the Bible' or 'Apparent contradictions in the Bible' (see discussion at the top of this talk page) Thomas Ash 22:23, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I think Biblical inconsistency would be the most neutral title, and also the closest parallel to Biblical inerrancy. - SimonP 04:25, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

This article has been renamed as the result of a move request. Alleged is fairly POV, though I'm not entirely sure this new name is a neutral either. Dragons flight 05:22, 19 December 2005 (UTC)


Add any additional comments

Supposedly these inconsistencies can be interpreted out of existence. Omitting "alleged" is accepting a certain POV on the topic. In contrast, the article Biblical inerrancy describes a certain a point of view (at least judging by the title) and so the comparison to that article is not that clean. Nobody doubts the existence of a idea called "biblical inerrancy" but people doubt the existence of inconsistencies in the bible. Threepounds 08:05, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Including alleged is POV. The article is about the inconsistencies, regardless of whether they exist or not. That's the subject of the article. Saying "alleged" takes sides and implies that they don't exist. We don't have articles called Alleged alien abductions, Alleged ghosts, or Alleged mind control. A neutral title wouldn't have any qualifiers; it would just state what the subject of the article is. This shouldn't even need a vote. — Omegatron 19:59, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'm not convinced that the inclusion of "alleged" is POV, but the examples you cite are sufficient precedence for me and I remove my objection. However, I think as a courtesy to those who may feel strongly, this should be up for a vote. Threepounds 21:01, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
People don't doubt inconsistencies in the text of bible. However what some do is suggest that the inconsistency is a matter of interpretation. Now quite frankly the very notion of interpretation allows one to put any spin you like on the text and get away with saying black is white. The actual inconsistency in the text itself remains. Jooler 10:17, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
You mean merge with Biblical inerrancyOmegatron 01:31, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
No, that isn't what I meant.—jiy (talk) 01:37, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I think a merge is not such a bad idea, though I note the merge headers have been removed from both pages. As I've said before, atm Biblical inerrancy exhibits a definite pro-Bible POV; merging this one would bring some balance. An additional rational for a merge: contradictions in the Bible allow perhaps the simplest counter-argument to belief in inerrancy. Listing them (and discussing possible responses) is thus vital for a proper understanding of the issues. Does anyone want to put the merge headers back up? Thomas Ash 12:36, 5 December 2005 (UTC)


Where are the equivalent articles for other religious texts? — Omegatron 19:03, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

You haven't written them yet. Threepounds 08:06, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
And I'm not going to!  :-) — Omegatron 20:01, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Ah! I didn't realize that this was your comment, sorry. I took it to be an unsigned comment by someone sympathetic to the view of inerrancy who was personally offended by the existence of the article. Threepounds 21:20, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

t would make an interesting article. The Koran is supposed to inerrant, and can present a far better case than the Bible (no internal contradictions or inconsistencies, no problem with historical origins). Jewish holy texts I know nothing about. I doubt that Hinduism or Buddism would be much affected - the Gita is the main Hindu etxt (I think), and is mostly philosphy. Likewise the Buddhist texts, which spend an awful amount of time on things such as what items a monk should possess, but not much on history. It's not a bad idea to have such an article.

The Koran has its share of contradictions. I think there's an Islamic tradition that says the later passages take precedence over the earlier ones in cases of conflict, so at least they have a well accepted way of resolving such things. 21:55, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Does homosexuality belong here?[edit]

Especially in light of the proposed merge, I don't feel the discussion of homosexuality belongs here, since what we have here is not a direct contradiction. Its presence gives the feeling that someone is grinding a personal axe (I'm not saying they're right or wrong...) Thomas Ash 19:04, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. This was the wrong article. — Omegatron 23:15, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Merge, of course![edit]

The articles Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible and Internal consistency and the Bible must be merged. It is against Wikipedia policy to have different articles about the same topic, each presenting a specific POV.

Also please note, that there is a level of detail, which may execeed the putpose of an encyclopedia. An encyclopedia article is supposed to give a summary and review of a topic, not to replace all written books about it (or even add another one).

The atomisation of area of Bible-related articles does no good to readability and usefullness of the Wikipedia.

Pjacobi 13:37, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

The two separate articles cite similar sources, discuss identical content, and are probably forks of biblical inarrancy anyway! - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] AfD? 18:25, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Merge, never![edit]

Neither article is a POV fork. Internal consistency and the Bible is a combination of sections which severely overlapped in other articles, such as Criticisms of Christianity, and Alleged inconsistencies in the Bible itself. It exists to take the pressure off those articles for space, as well as their own issues of POV - see particularly talk:Criticisms of Christianity. Internal consistency and the Bible IS a summary and review of each topic. The issues of consistency ARE extensive, and a large number of books have been written on it. Clinkophonist 14:23, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

This page should never have been merged and redirected. There is an ongoing requested move, and neither Criticism of the Bible or Internal consistency and the Bible were suggested options. The moving of pages has also broken dozens of links, and separated this talk page from the content being discussed. - SimonP 15:29, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

The content being discussed is on multiple seperate pages; to wit:

This article addressed the subject of all of those articles, as did a large chunk of the Criticisms of Christianity article. Additionally, Bible scientific foresight addressed the Science article.

Merging all the relevant content into those pages and redirecting to a summary article of their pages avoids the duplication and triplication of the information in multiple different articles, it also places them under more neutral titles. Clinkophonist 05:46, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

But half of these pages didn't exist until you created them a few days ago. Science and the Bible, Internal consistency and the Bible, and Criticism of the Bible were all created by you in the last week. You are replacing pages with lengthy talk page discussions and edit histories, that have been worked on by dozens of people, with new articles that only you have worked on. - SimonP 15:01, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
In essence they did.
  • Science and the Bible is mostly moved from Bible scientific foresight to allow that article to concentrate on discussing the belief rather than presenting its arguments, and also to allow Criticism of Christianity to concentrate on discussing the criticism not presenting it. It also aims to present the moved info in a more neutral context, under a broader banner so that it isn't a POV magnet, and also so that related interesting features can be discussed, such as the ark (not Noah's) and electricity.
  • Internal consistency and the Bible is the bits left over article, to discuss all those criticisms you see bandying about the net about it being self-contradictory, and for which Biblical criticism gives detailed answers, but is itself a distinct topic to Biblical criticism. These criticisms were presented in this article (alleged ....) and elsewhere, and this (internal....) is a centralised neutral place to put them.
  • Criticism of the Bible is a combination of a replacement for this article(alleged ....) and a replacement for those sections of Criticism of Christianity that were not actually about criticising Christianity, but about criticism of the Bible.
I am not replacing pages, just re-organising how the content is laid out (I haven't done that much re-writing of the actual text, instead essentially moving it), so that it has a better structure with greater potential for neutrality. See also talk:Criticism of Christianity.

When moving and redirecting is this controversial, it's customary to place 'mergeto' and 'mergefrom' macros on the affected pages, allow at least a few days for discussion and consensus, and only then do the merge if there is in fact consensus. Even if this massive reorganization turns out to be the best way to go forward, it's important to take the time to get the buy-in of interested editors and the wikipedia community. Wesley 17:56, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Macro is a supermarket. I don't understand what you mean. Clinkophonist 20:13, 16 December 2005 (UTC)


Please see Talk:Internal_consistency_and_the_Bible#Redirect.

This article has a lot redirects ([2]), either from merges or from move wars. It would be good, if it can settle at some consensus title.

Pjacobi 16:56, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

List of alleged inconsistencies in the Bible merged here[edit]

See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of alleged inconsistencies in the Bible. Johnleemk | Talk 16:55, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Chronological order[edit]

I was looking for a historical chronological order of the books in the Bible, and a comparaison with the order in which they are presented in various versions. Dates, even approximative, could be useful. -- Ze miguel 01:12, 30 December 2005 (UTC)