It is a central dogma of all fundamental Christians that the Bible is without error. They teach this conclusion by “reasoning” that god cannot be the author of false meaning and he cannot lie. Is this true? If written by a perfect being, then it must not contradict itself, as a collection of books written by different men at different times over many centuries would be expected to contradict each other.

With this in mind, let us have a look at the Bible on several subjects.

The Sabbath Day

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” — Exodus 20:8

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” — Romans 14:5

The Permancy of Earth

“… the earth abideth for ever.” — Ecclesiastes 1:4

“… the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” — 2Peter 3:10

Seeing God

“… I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” — Genesis 32:30

“No man hath seen God at any time…”– John 1:18

Human Sacrifice

“… Thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God…” — Leviticus 18:21

[In Judges, though, the tale of Jephthah, who led the Israelites against the Ammonoites, is being told. Being fearful of defeat, this good religious man sought to guarantee victory by getting god firmly on his side. So he prayed to god] “… If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering” — Judges 11:30-31

[The terms were acceptable to god — remember, he is supposed to be omniscient and know the future — so he gave victory to Jephthah, and the first whatsoever that greeted him upon his glorious return was his daughter, as god surely knew would happen, if god is god. True to his vow, the general made a human sacrifice of his only child to god!] — Judges 11:29-34

The Power of God

“… with God all things are possible.” — Matthew 19:26

“…The LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” — Judges 1:19

Personal Injury

“…thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. ” — Exodus 21:23-25

“…ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” — Matthew 5:39

Circumcision

“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.” — Genesis 17:10

“…if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” — Galatians 5:2

Incest

“Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of this mother…” — Deuteronomy 27:22

“And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter…it is a wicked thing….” — Leviticus 20:17

[But what was god’s reaction to Abraham, who married his sister — his father’s daughter?] See Genesis 20:11-12

“And God said unto Abraham, As for Sara thy wife…I bless her, and give thee a son also of her…” — Genesis 17:15-16

Trusting God

“A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD…” — Proverbs 12:2

Now consider the case of Job. After commissioning Satan to ruin Job financially and to slaughter his shepherds and children to win a petty bet with Satan. God asked Satan: “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” — Job 2:3

The Holy Lifestyle

“Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart…” — Ecclesiastes 9:7

“…they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not…” — 1 Corinthians 7:30

Punishing Crime

“The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father…” — Ezekiel 18:20

“I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation…” — Exodus 20:5

Temptation

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” — James 1:13

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham…” — Genesis 22:1

Family Relationships

“Honor thy father and thy mother…”– Exodus 20:12

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. ” — Luke 14:26

Resurrection of the Dead

“…he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. ” — Job 7:9

“…the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth….” — John 5:28-29

The End of the World

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. ” — Matthew 16:28

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. ” — Luke 21:32-33

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” — Romans 13:11-12

“Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” — James 5:8

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” — 1 John 2:18

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” — 1 Peter 4:7

These words were written between 1800 and 1900 years ago and were meant to warn and prepare the first Christians for the immediate end of the world. Some words are those supposedly straight out of the mouth of the “Son of God.” The world did not end 1800 or 1900 years ago. All that generation passed away without any of the things foretold coming to pass. No amount of prayer brought it about; nor ever so much patience and belief and sober living. The world went on, as usual, indifferent to the spoutings of yet another batch of doomsday prophets with visions of messiahs dancing in their deluded brains. The world, by surviving, makes the above passages contradictions.

Conclusion

What is incredible about the Bible is not its divine authorship; it’s that such a concoction of contradictory nonsense could be believed by anyone to have been written by an omniscient god. To do so, one would first have to not read the book, which is the practice of most Christians; or, if one does read it, dump in the trash can one’s rational intelligence — to become a fool for god, in other words.

To be an atheist, one need only be able to laugh when such obvious nonsense is offered as being “divine” truth.

All Bible quotes from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible (New York: Abradale Press, 1965)

This is an adaptation of an article originally written by former Interim President and current member of the Board of Directors Frank Zindler.