Many Americans believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of god, every word of it true and divinely inspired. For anyone who has actually read the Good Book, this is laughable. Full of contradictions and verifiably false factual claims, the Bible is no more infallible than the Iliad. Moreover, if the entire Bible were taken literally in its every commandment, the world would stand horrified at the barbarism unleashed by believers. I thought it would be entertaining to highlight some of the Bible’s foibles, as best I can in graphic form, to demonstrate exactly why biblical literalism is, frankly, rank stupidity.
My first entry was inspired by Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Dawkins notes:
Sophisticated Christians do not need George Gershwin to convince them that “The things that you’re li’ble / to read in the Bible / it ain’t necessarily so.” But there are many unsophisticated Christians out there who think it absolutely is necessarily so – who take the Bible very seriously indeed as a literal and accurate record of history and hence as evidence supporting their religious beliefs. Do these people never open the book that they believe is the literal truth? Why don’t they notice those glaring contradictions? Shouldn’t a literalist worry about the fact that Matthew traces Joseph’s descent from King David via twenty-eight intermediate generations, while Luke has forty-one generations? Worse, there is almost no overlap in the names on the two lists! In any case, if Jesus really was born of a virgin, Joseph’s ancestry is irrelevant and cannot be used to fulfil, on Jesus’ behalf, the Old Testament prophecy that the Messiah should be descended from David.
What, I wondered, would that look like compared side-to-side. Courtesy of Luke 3:23-38 and Matthew 1:1-17, now we know:
Note, the gospel writers don’t even agree on who Jesus’ earthly grandfather was! One would think divine inspiration would at least include the correct name of dear ol’ grandpa, even if the omniscient ruler of the universe lost track of a few generations here and there.