Overview:

There's a book called "The Big Book of Bible Difficulties" and plenty more like it. No god worthy of the title would allow his message to be so confusing that it needed such help.

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Have you seen books that catalog attacks on the confusing Christian position? There are responses, which are in effect encyclopedias of Christian defenses. That these books are even necessary is a weakness in the Christian position.

This is the next clue that we live in a godless world (this list of 25 reasons we don’t live in such a world begins here):

15. Because there’s a book called The Big Book of Bible Difficulties

The Big Book of Bible Difficulties by Geisler and Howe is indeed big—it’s 624 pages long. Another in this category is The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer. Another is Hard Sayings of the Bible. Another is Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible. These books try to respond to the many contradictions and nonsense in the Bible to assure Christians that their faith is valid.

The very existence of Christian apologetics admits that God isn’t obvious, despite the Bible’s promise otherwise.

Why is the Bible so confusing that this category of book exists? (I want to ask why Christians are content to accept that their all-knowing god couldn’t communicate his story simply and unambiguously, but that’s a topic for another day.) The dictates of an actual perfect god would be simple and unambiguous. By contrast, the “perfect” Bible is so flexible that it has spawned 45,000 denominations of Christianity.

We can look just at the four gospels’ accounts of the resurrection to see the problem. The Bible gives multiple answers to each of the questions below.

  • When was the Last Supper—was it the Passover meal (as the synoptic gospels say) or did it happen one day earlier (as John says)?
  • What were the last words of Jesus?
  • Did zombies rise from their graves when Jesus died?
  • Who buried Jesus?
  • How many women were at the tomb?
  • Did Mary Magdalene recognize Jesus?
  • Did the women tell anyone about what they’d seen?
  • Could Jesus’s followers touch him after he rose?

The accounts in the gospels don’t sound like journalism or history, but since they must be for most Christians, apologists are happy to step in to reshape the facts to be more agreeable.

We can go beyond these books that try to paper over the Bible’s embarrassments. There are huge books on systematic theology (fundamental Christian doctrine), some over 1000 pages long. The web site GotQuestions.org brags that it has answers for more than half a million questions about Christianity. And the very existence of Christian apologetics admits that God isn’t obvious, despite the Bible’s promise otherwise.

See also: Christians’ Damning Refuge in “Difficult Verses”

Here’s a bonus argument:

16. Because Christianity can’t be derived from first principles

Suppose you asked Christians about their religion but asked repeated “Why?” questions to uncover the foundation of their claims. Why is God in three persons? Why is a rainbow evidence of God? Why did Jesus have to die to give us access to heaven?

Eventually, these questions will wander their way to the same few foundational answers, where the questions stop: Christianity is the way it is because of tradition, because the Bible says so, because of the insights of or divine revelations to a leader, or some other “Just because” kind of answer. None of this is like a scientific experiment where you could duplicate the procedure to verify the results (or prove them wrong). Religious dogma is believed because of inertia, not because of evidence or repeatability. Its claims aren’t objective, and they can’t be derived from reality.

Imagine a global catastrophe wiped out all traces of religion and science, but a tiny remnant of people remained alive to repopulate the earth and recreate a scientifically advanced society. They would roughly retrace the steps we took to develop modern science and technology. Of course, they would describe things differently and their progress would be different than ours, but they would describe the very same laws of motion, gravity, and thermodynamics; the same theories of evolution, relativity, and the Big Bang; and so on.

But would they duplicate the same Christianity, Islam, Scientology, Falun Gong, Jediism, and all the others? Of course not. Religion is what people say it is. It’s disconnected from objective reality while science is bound to objective reality.

Here’s another thought experiment. Imagine a naïve religious seeker, unaware of the specifics of any organized religion, who meditated or observed his way to Christianity or any other religion. This never happens.

The Bible says otherwise:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

But the Bible is wrong. That Christianity is ungrounded by testable events argues that we don’t live in a God World. Christianity can’t be recreated from objective facts within nature. It’s just a meme that got passed along. Break the chain, and it’d be lost.

See also: Christianity Can’t be Deduced from Nature

Which reason will be next? Will we make it all the way to the promised 25 reasons we don’t live in a world with a god? Stay tuned!

Leave each one his touch of folly;
it helps to lighten life’s burden which,
if he could see himself as he is,
might be too heavy to carry.
— John Lancaster Spalding

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CROSS EXAMINED After graduating from MIT, Bob Seidensticker designed digital hardware, and he is a co-contributor to 14 software patents. For more than a decade, he has explored the debate between Christianity...