BibViz Bible Contradictions Debunked

So there’s a website called bibviz.com, a popular website among atheists that gets displayed by people such as Sam Harris in some of their talks that provides an interactive display of some 492 biblical contradictions (and a few scientific and moral crimes on the side). Of course, I’ve viewed this resource and it seems to be a joke among theist circles due to the high frequency of mistakes it makes. I’ve been increasingly looking at this website and I think I can provide the most accurate summary to date on the problems in the methodology of bibviz. The only proposition I’m setting forth here is that it makes so many errors so that the mere citation of this resource must be invalid in any serious conversation on the Bible itself. Here’s the summary I’ve produced of why this resource is indefensible. I expect to update this page in the future.

1. Bibviz verses all display the KJV Bible translation from the year 1611. Assuming that the people who created bibviz aren’t KJV onlyists, it’s strange to display the verses of the KJV instead of another translation of the Bible that isn’t hundreds of years old, based on faulty manuscripts and an inferior knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew languages (the KJV was translated before Koine Greek, the dialect of the NT was even discovered in the late 19th century — scholars used to think the New Testament was written in “Holy Ghost Greek”). See here for an article by Daniel B. Wallace, one of the leading textual critics of the Bible, on the problems with the KJV translation. The reason why bibviz doesn’t display alternative translations is because this would compromise a number of its contradictions, like whether God repents (contradiction 363). The verses that say God does repent are translated very differently in more modern, scholarly translations — the original Hebrew word translated as repent is נָחַם, which has a variety of meanings, such as being pitied, sorrowed, consoling oneself, having compassion, feeling sorry, or repenting. Better translations like the NIV and NRSV don’t translate the text to say God repented at all, calling into question the existence of this contradiction. The same is with the contradiction on God creating evil (154), better translations simply use more accurate translations like God creates, not evil, but ‘destruction’. Unless you’re a KJV onlyist, relax.

2. The list is mostly the product of the bibviz authors defunct understanding of the biblical text. The vast majority of these contradictions are sheerly misrepresentations of what the text says, ignorance of context, ignorance of a whole slew of scenarios where the two verses can be correct at the same time (since a contradiction is merely when two things cannot be true at the same time). One obvious is example is the contradiction on how many sons Absalom had (9), one verse saying three, the other having Absalom decrying the fact that he will die with no sons to carry his name. And yet, it could easily be the case that Absalom’s children simply all died, a flat obvious possibility in an age of extremely high child mortality, disease, violence, etc. A second example, which simply makes no sense, is this one on whether or not Haman is an Agagite (17). One verse says yes. The other verse says absolutely nothing about Haman or Agagites and simply says the Amalekites were ordered to be killed. What this has to do with Haman or the Agagites (an unknown group never mentioned outside of their association with Haman in Esther 3:1) is anyones guess. It even bungles up on killing, claiming that God commands against generically killing in the Bible, when in fact the commandment is about murder. In an academic article, scholar Don Garlington writes “Originally and literally, the sixth commandment forbade the unlawful taking of human life, as confirmed by the Hebrew and Greek of these parent texts, לא תרצח and οὐ ϕονεύσεις, both of which denote homicide rather than the generic taking of life” (“”You Fool!” Matthew 5: 22.” Bulletin for Biblical Research (2010): 63).

3. Literal vs. non-literal texts are another big chunk. One supposed contradiction is whether or not man (221) was created before or after animals based on Genesis 1 and 2. But scholars have known for a long time now that Genesis 1-11, the primeval history is (despite how uncomfortable it might make you feel) an allegorical, archetypal account that portrays Israel’s understandings of God, man and sin, and this is true regardless of anyones personal feelings on whether or not they’re literal, Christian or otherwise. Hence, this supposed contradiction, and all others that require any material from Genesis 1-11 (which make up a number of them) are irrelevant. To this, we can add virtually any contradiction adduced from the books of Job and Revelation, the two other metaphorical biblical books (in fact, Revelation is so bluntly the most metaphorical text in the entire Bible yet bibviz is enough of a dolt to think the mention of dragons in Revelation is literal). Indeed, the author simply seems to be flat unaware that these aren’t literal texts. To this, we can add all allegorical verses outside of Genesis 1-11, Job and Revelation also counted as contradictory.

4. Playing off of the previous point a little, I just want to mention how many people have already shattered so many of the supposed contradictions of bibviz. One great example is contradictingbiblecontradictions.com. If anyone gives you a link to bibviz, just post a link to this website in response. I don’t agree with all the refutations it makes, but it literally contains a rebuttal to all 492 supposed contradictions and for the majority of them, they get taken down. Amusingly enough, many of the contradictions on the bibviz website are actually taken down in their own comment sections (make sure to give the comments a check on any of the bibviz contradictions to see if someone has already refuted it there).

5. The last criticism I’ll point out is that some of these contradictions actually come from texts that aren’t in the Bible at all, only the Apocrypha, such as how Antiochus died (33) based on verses from 1 and 2 Maccabees, which I certainly wouldn’t recognize in the canon. Maybe a Catholic would, since the Catholic canon has an additional six apocryphal books, though this quickly becomes irrelevant for someone whose, say, a Protestant, Evangelical or just plain non-denominational (who now make up 1 in 6 Americans) like myself where books like these aren’t part of the canon of the Bible at all.

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Did the Non-Religious Stop Growing?

I suppose that by all means, 2017 was a chaotic year in many (good and bad) ways. The political landscape has taken on many developments, especially the rapidly increasing growth of conservatism in the Western world. Anywho, I have just looked over the religious figures in America in the 2017 year, and it appears as though something very good is happening: the religious populations are stabilizing, including the cessation of non-religious growth. According to a report titled 2017 Update on Americans and Religion by Gallup, from 2016-2017, the total Christian population went from 71.9% to 71.2%, an overall decline of 0.7%, whereas the non-religious population grew from 20.8% to 21.3%, a 0.5% increase. While there is still decline in Christianity in America/growth in the non-religious, these declines are waaaaay lower than before. In 2015, Gallup reported that 75.2% of the population was Christian, meaning that in 2016 it hit 71.9%, which is therefore a decrease of over 3% in one year. This spiral downwards looks to have finally disappeared. What can be the cause of this?

Well, I happen to have realized that in the political climate of the 2017 year, the Christian/religious and conservative side of politics has become much more powerful. With the monumental rise of Jordan Peterson, a renowned psychologist who is a Christian with a Christian perspective (although not by any means the conventional one, not to mention the incredible Bible lecture series he has put out which have been viewed many millions of times in the last year), as well as the continued advance of other rising religious cultural stars (such as Ben Shapiro, whether or not you agree with all their views), it’s clear that atheism and the irreligious worldview has been subject to more and more criticism and its nihilistic flaws and incoherencies are becoming so blunt. I’d also like to point out that 2017 was one of the greatest years in biblical archaeology discoveries in recent decades. Seriously, even I’m flabbergasted over how good the year was.

A lot is changing. New religious blogs, well-informed ones in fact, are popping up left and right (I’ve been noticing the trend myself). Mines has made a lot of gains in 2017 as well. Our societies and literature are increasing. Just one example is BioLogos, which from my own tracking, has had their website visits increase from ~150,000-200,000 a month to ~400,000-500,000. Obviously, atheist literature remains in its eternal stagnation, considering it fundamentally has nothing to provide, and is thus the largest progenitor of nihilism in the world. Perhaps people aren’t so quick anymore to think that God does not exist, which is in my view very good progress indeed. What is coming next? We can only wait and see.

EDIT: To note, this good news doesn’t apply to Europe. While overall European numbers continue to decline, I have found a recent indication of what may eventually become a revival. These, however, are the early signs and we must wait to see fully. Things are not bleak, though.

Social science on religion: a paradigm shift

While reading Rodney Stark’s incredible scholarly book The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries, I have learned of a paradigm shift has ensued in social scientific theory. Rodeny Stark is a world-renowned sociologist and Professor of Sociology and Comparative Religion at the University of Washington, who has used his vast expertise in the social sciences and impressive learning of the historical academic literature to present a very, very persuasive monograph accounting for the rise of Christianity.

Rodney Stark documents how the social sciences has had, from the beginning, an axe to grind against religion. Almost every religious motive that appeared under the study of social scientists, they explained through an appeal to religious irrationality. Some of these confused social scientists had ascribed the ability of early Christians to take on persecution to be evidence of masochism! The irrationalist theory, however, has been uprooted in recent decades of social scientific research, finally, and a paradigm shift has occurred in these studies that actually, and in my opinion convincingly, accounts for religious thought through appeal to rationalist (rather than irrationalist) understandings. Stark explains:

Rather, from the beginning, social scientific studies of religion have been shaped by a single question: What makes them do it? How could any rational person make sacrifices on behalf of unseen supernatural entities? The explicit answer to this question nearly always has been that religion is rooted in the irrational. Keep in mind that the imputation of irrational religious behavior by social scientists is not limited to extraordinary actions such as martyrdom. Rather, they have been content to apply the irrationalist argument to such ordinary activities as prayer, observance of moral codes, and contributions of time and wealth. For whether it be the imputation of outright psychopathology, of groundless fears, or merely of faulty reasoning and misperceptions, the irrationalist assumption has dominated the field. The notion that normal, sophisticated people could be religious has been limited to a few social scientists willing to allow their own brand of very mild, “intrinsic,” religiousness to pass the test of rationality. Thus, until recently, the social scientfiic study of religion was nothing of the sort. The field was more more concerned with discrediting religion than with understanding it. This is clear when it is realized that only in the area of religious belief and behavior have social scientists not based their theories on a rational choice premise. Indeed, my colleagues and I recently showed that antagonism toward all forms of religion and the conviction that it soon must disappear in an enlightened world were articles of faith among the earliest social scientists, and that today social scientists are far less likely to be religious than scholars in other areas, especially those in the physical and natural sciences (Stark, Iannaccone, and Finke 1995). Nevertheless, despite the enormous weight of learned opinion that created and sustained it, the irrationalist approach to religion recently has fallen upon evil times–beset by contrary evidence and by the unanticipated theoretical power of rational choice theories imported from microeconomics and modified appropriately. This chapter represents another step in that direction and extends my efforts to establish a scientific, rather than a polemical and political, basis for studies of religion. In it I shall attempt to show that, when analyzed properly, religious sacrifices and stigmas–even when acute cases are considered–usually turn out to represent rational choices. Indeed, the more that people must sacrifice for their faith, the greater the value of the rewards they gain in return. (Stark, The Rise of Christianity pg. 167)

Stark later goes on to say that “This suggests why the recent introduction of rational choice theories in the social scientific study of religion has been recognized as a major shift in paradigms (Warner 1993)–the irrationalist position is in full retreat” (pg. 178). Boom! I can see that the atheistic takeover of academia has literally lasted for hundreds of years. In our most recent decades, as new advances, theories and defenses have arisen, as well as the simple decline of atheistic ability to continue offering their own defenses in light of the most recent advancements and discoveries, it looks as if a new age is finally coming to light in the academic world, and the fact that the actual defenders of atheism are in a way, disappearing. In 2011, Christopher Hitchens died. Victor Stenger passed away in 2014. James Randi is 89 years old. A new day can be seen, and a new sun is rising out of the darkness.

Atheism: A Growing or Dying Ideology?

Atheists are quick to congratulate themselves for their intellectual achievement of joining the worlds fastest growing ideology — the one that has simply cut through thousands of years of religious trends, and is now on its way to conquering the world, as the entire world undergoes a global shift towards skepticism and secularism…

Or is it?

In this world, you have two types of atheists: One that claims religion and Christianity is a dying tradition (which we saw was a statistically  false claim here), and one that claims their own movement is not only growing, but is on a ways to literally inheriting the world. We shall now examine the following topics in defined order;

  1. Is the non-religious population growing?
  2. Will the non-religious simply die off?

Let us begin.

1. Is the non-religious population growing?

The answer is, at the very moment, frighteningly slowly, however this growth will be, in the next few decades, ensued by a simple eventual death of the non-religious.

The truth is, in 2010, there are about 1,100,000,000 people adhering to no religion. According to Pew Research — this will increase by about 100,000,000 from 2010 to 2050, and the global population adhering to non-religion will have around 1,200,000,000 followers.

Now, why is this laughable?

This is because although 100,000,000 seems like a big number, that’s almost nothing. Pew Research also predicts that between 2010 and 2050, the global population will overall increase by more than 2,000,000,000 (or 2 billion) people. This means that although the non-religious currently make up about 16.4% of the world population, or about 1 in 6 people in the world, their growth will only account for 1 in 20 of the growth of the worlds population. This is considerably less than the growth Islam and Christianity will undergo — both Islam and Christianity are projected to grow extraordinarily faster than the non-religious global population, both religions may each get about a billion more followers each by the year 2050. In fact, here’s another fact to account for. The non-religious are currently the third biggest group in the world. The biggest group is Christianity, with perhaps 2,300,000,000 followers right now, the second biggest group is Islam, with about 1,700,000,000 followers, and then come the non-religious with 1,100,000,000 today. However, even though they make up the third biggest group today, they will make up the fourth biggest group by 2050. Why?

Hinduism.

The Hindu religion currently has around 1,000,000,000 (or a billion) followers, and that will increase to 1,400,000,000 followers by 2050 — or a growth of about 400,000,000 people, which means that Hinduism, that Indian thing very little of us in the West think about, is growing 4 times faster than the non-religious population, and yet, is still is growing very slow in comparison to Islam or Christianity.

This means that on the global level, the non-religious fad will get even more irrelevant. The fact is, atheists tend to cherry pick Western countries where this group is growing, like Australia or the United Kingdom or Canada, ignoring the rest of the world, where it is overall dying. That leads us to the following…

2. Will the non-religious simply die off?

Oooooh boy.

Eventually, in all probability the answer is yes.

We’ve already discussed that although the people practicing no religion (non-religious) are only going to account for 1/20 of the growth of the population, even though it makes up 1/6 of the world population. That means, statistically speaking, it will have its share of the global population decline significantly. In fact, although these people account for 16.4% of the world population today, that will only be 13.2% of the world population in 2050. They will make up just over 1 in 8 people by 2050. After 2050, it simply gets worse. By the year 2100, this percentage will drop to around 9% of the global population, or about 1 in 11 people.

In other words, from now until the end of the century, the non-religious will go from making up 16.4% of the world population and about 1 in 6 people, to around 9% of the world population and about 1 in 11 people. This significant decline is frightening for the non-religious, but something that I take delight in.

Now, we’ve already gone over how the global non-religious will increase by 100,000,000 or so by 2050. But what about after 2050? This is where it gets juicier. After 2050, their numbers will start declining, as Christianity and Islam both undergo continuous major growth. Why are they going to begin declining? Very simple, babies. The non-religious have an extremely low fertility rate, and thus they do not reproduce enough in order to grow — they reproduce so little their numbers will disappear. Let’s examine the baby and fertility rate department of the non-religious, and how it will contribute to the death of the non-religious.

Today, in the world, the second biggest non-religious country on Earth is Japan — which means that only one country in the world (China) has more non-religious than Japan does. Japan’s population is currently about 126,000,000, and about 57% of these people adhere to no religion. This means that Japan contributes 72,000,000 to the non-religious population. Now, Japan also just so happens to have one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, with the country clocking in at 1.41 children per women (you need about 2.1 to maintain a stable population, not growing or shrinking). The fertility rate of Japan is so low, that by the year 2100, the population of Japan will shockingly decline from 126,000,000 to a diminished 83,000,000 (according to a major released study in 2050 by the United Nations Population Division). So, assuming that the non-religious population of Japan grows all the way to 75% of the Japanese population by 2100 from 57% now (which is gracious to say the least), there will only be around 62,000,000 Japanese without any religion — a decline of about 10,0000,000 adherents to the global non-religious population. Now that we’ve seen Japan, let’s take a look at the biggest shareholder in no religion, China. Out of the 1,100,000,000 people without any religion in the world, more than half of them (700,000,000) live in China). Unfortunately for the non-religious, China also has an extraordinarily low fertility rate, with each women having about 1.56 children on average. China’s population is currently around 1,400,000,000 right now, and will be around the same by 2050, but between 2050-2100, the same United Nations study we referenced a second ago estimates that the Chinese population will decline by hundreds of millions, to about 1,000,000,000 people, meaning that the population will decline by about 400,000,000 people. Now, because about half of the Chinese population has no religion (52.2%), and that number is not expected to increase at all (rather decrease slightly), we will assume about half of the lost people of China by 2050 (200 million) will be directly declining from the non-religious sector of the population — meaning that China alone will result in a global decline of the non-religious population of 200 million people. That is insanely high in relation to the overall number of non-religious people that will even exist by 2050. Europe is the third biggest holder of the non-religious, and just as you guessed, the fertility rate in Europe is also… Very low (at about 1.6 kids per women). From today to 2100, the European population, even accounting for immigration, will have its population decline by 100,000,000 people.

In other words, it cannot be estimated by exactly how much, but the non-religious will very likely have less people then they do today by the year 2100. The world population will overall increase by as much as four billion, and yet the non-religious will only decline. Once people in the West finally stop joining its delusional forces (which has already happened in the United Kingdom), its death will become even more imminent.

In conclusion, Atheism is simply dying. Tell your friends who deny this otherwise.