Jesus Needs New PR

That is just a portion of the chart that famous atheist Sam Harris commissioned to be created for his nonprofit foundation Project Reason.

The whole chart looks like this…

You can learn more about the chart here. OR, if you want, you can download the chart as a PDF. (via.)

Some of the contradictions are less “contradictions” and more or less a misunderstanding of the biblical text. But of course, when you’re trying to inspire skepticism, “understanding the text” as well as the point of the biblical literature isn’t what’s important. Pointing out apparent “fallacies” works if you’re simply trying to… 1) Preach to the “choir” (albeit an atheist choir) or 2) Discredit scripture.

However, the chart-makers do make quite a few good/interesting points…

For instance, point # 257: Was Keturah Abraham’s wife or concubine? Gen 25:1 ≠ 1 Chronicles 1:32

Genesis 25:1 says: Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. (NIV)

and 1 Chronicles 1:32 says: The sons born to Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan. (NIV)

According to my friend Adam, a pastor and theologian who sent me the link to the chart, the biggest challenges for some (mostly fundamentalists?) will be the discrepancies of factual information and detail that the chart points to.

“What will most likely mess with people are the detail inaccuracies,” Adam said. “For example, there is one place where Jesus talks about an event in the Old Testament and he mentions who was the High Priest at the time. If you look up the event in the Old Testament, you find that either Jesus was wrong or that the Old Testament writer was wrong, because the text clearly says that someone else was the High Priest.” (You can read Adam’s blog here.)

I’ve long knew that the Bible contained contradictions as well as several factual inaccuracies, so this “chart” doesn’t do much for me or my faith.

But how does a believer who is convinced that the Bible is inerrant respond? If you believe every word and detail of the Bible is God-breathed, what does a chart like this do to that person’s faith? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps they just chalk it up to “translations,” I don’t know. Or maybe they just give God the benefit of the doubt.

What does a chart like this make you feel? Anger? Doubt? Frustration? Confusion? Does it challenge your faith? Were you aware of these “errors”? How should Christians respond?


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