Many Atheists, myself included, point to the ambiguities, contradictions and inaccuracies in the holy books as evidence for a lack of a perfect God. After all, if God can’t convey his thoughts and instructions in a clear, consistent and unambiguous way, then why should he be followed at all? For many people who see the world through from a logical perspective, basing your entire view of reality on such an unreliable source would be madness.
Apparently, theists don’t quite follow that logic. A recent article in the Washington Post has highlighted the way some Christians approach the Bible, in particular the inconsistencies found within.
Some scholars “get fixated on some of the marginal issues about who was where and when,” said Craig Evans, professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia.
In the Gospels, “the discrepant witnesses are allowed to stand side by side, and I think that’s a strength in the end, not a weakness. But the naive reader — the person beguiled by the notion that discrepancies somehow cast doubt on the truth of the entire report — might not know that,” Evans said.
There are two alarming aspects to that quote. Craig Evans seems to think that having a book with inconsistencies in it is a strength, rather than a weakness. It’s also alarming that he treats this wholly misguided opinion as fact and suggests that less knowledgeable people may not know that inaccurate sources are better than accurate ones. Note that he uses the word “know” rather than “believe” or “think”.
The implication that those who demand consistency and unambiguity are “naive” seems particularly irrational and disingenuous.
The obvious response, and one that’s been thrown around in faith discussions for some time, is “how do you know which bits to believe?” In this case, I’d like to propose a different approach for dealing with Professor Evans. Let’s accuse him of something criminal and make him stand in front of a judge and jury. Then, let’s parade witnesses in front of said judge and jury, some of which are to lie with the aim of incriminating the good Professor. And furthermore, let’s tell the judge and jury that they should treat the lying witnesses with more respect than the ones telling the truth. Maybe this scenario will hammer home the reality of just how mind-numbingly stupid his statement is.
Professor Evans and his ilk are not demonstrating faith in these cases, they are demonstrating delusion and a complete failure to utilise the logical capacity of their brains.