I love the kind of graphics that make statistical information into a visual image. The Information is Beautiful website has devoured tons of my time. So I was, quite naturally, drawn to Project Reason’s lovely graphic about contradictions in the bible. (this is not, to my knowledge, connected to the IiB site)
I’d planned to say something about how disappointed the creators of PR’s graphic might be to learn that seminarians always argue and debate about “contradictions” in scripture and most people who have read the bible would not be at all surprised to “learn” that there are points of contradiction in the text since it only takes a cursory reading of the Gospels to see places of incongruency. At least on the surface, if not deeply within the texts themselves. Gee, no one has ever noticed that the Gospels list different days of the crucifixion! Wow! Thank goodness for those reasonable people of Project Reason pointing this out because no Christian has EVER noticed this (or any other of the contradictions they list) before! Quick! Throw out the book and all religion with it! Let us run full bore into the welcoming and always-truthful arms of REASON and SCIENCE (as though they were somehow utterly apart from God and faith in the first place) for real refuge from all that ails this world!
Never mind that there are various kinds of writings in scripture that might account for some discrepancies. Never mind such literary devices as simile, metaphor, rhetoric, parable, hyperbole, symbolism and symbolic use of numbers, differing historical viewpoints, the great Hebrew tradition of Midrash or the fact that God has repeatedly chosen and continues to choose to work through broken, imperfect tools to accomplish God’s good purposes. Even a few imperfect and broken scientists, I believe. Never mind that perhaps the point wasn’t whether or not someone was in the belly of a fish or a whale or if a mustard seed really IS the smallest seed or if the sun really did stand still. Never mind that I would sure like to see a graphic of the inconsistencies in science over the past seven thousand years. I’d even settle for just the twentieth century. Yes, never mind all that. Ditch it all and run to the salvific reign of REASON.
But, since I cannot seem to make a comment upon this without sarcasm, I’m going to stop now. However, there is an interesting post about it over at Theologigal . I also recommend her blog. While I do not always agree entirely with her perspective on things, it is well written and thoughtful. She appears to be in the Reformed tradition, at least in part, and in many ways I am not at all unsympathetic to that view 😉
**Disclaimer: my sarcasm is not intended to disparage science or reason or the desire to value these things. If I have done so, I do apologize. I would rather poke at those who seem to think embracing them with religious fervor is not the same as having a god. I think it is possible…nay, reasonable and even necessary….to see faith, science and reason as ALL gifts from God.