Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I keep a rule around here that when a skeptic claims there are contradictions in the Bible, I allow 5 chances to prove it. I figure that if s/he can't get it done with his/her favorite 5, there's no reason to look any further with that person - s/he has nothing to offer.
So, with that in mind, I asked one @BeMoreCynical for evidence of his assertion that the Bible has flaws. You'll note that I tried to cut him off at the pass by asking for actual flaws.  "The Bible commands something that I find morally reprehensible" is not a flaw unless you can prove that your moral standard is correct, something which no atheist can possibly do. Much less is "The Bible records an event I find morally reprehensible" a flaw, though many, many careless skeptics make exactly that contention, and all the time.

Anyway, then @piisalie responded1Chron 1.36 The Chronicler mistakes Timna for a son instead of a concubine. (Gen 36:12)?

The conversation has now lasted quite some time, mostly because piisalie and BeMoreCynical have demonstrated their inability to understand what a contradiction is.

Genesis 36: 9These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. 10These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Esau’s wife Adah, Reuel the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. 11The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho and Gatam and Kenaz. 12Timna was a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Esau’s wife Adah. 13These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath and Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath.

1 Chronicles 1:34Abraham became the father of Isaac. The sons of Isaac were Esau and Israel. 35The sons of Esau were Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam and Korah. 36The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zephi, Gatam, Kenaz, Timna and Amalek.

I responded to piisalie and BMC, and a selection from our conversation follows here:
Me:  There were 2 ppl named Timna.
piisalie: But you made it up. (Edit: BMC actually said that.)
Me: U have no idea whether I made it up. Did you have anything better, or was that your best shot?
piisalie: so you assert he had both a concubine and a son named Timna?
Me: You assert that Timna was 1 person, no proof. I assert they were 2 w/ same name. Neither have proof. No contradiction.
Me: Yes, kinda like how a guy could have a wife and a male friend named Pat, or Tracy.
piisalie: both verses cite the line of Eliphaz, one has Timna as a son, one has Timna as a concubine, neither has both...
Me:  I sometimes refer to my wife and in other contexts to my friend, sometimes not both.
piisalie: you know, that argument could make sense, if we weren't talking about sacred recorded geneologies...
Me: I don't take those genealogies as necessarily exhaustive.
piisalie: so a perfect God, wrote a perfect book, with incomplete blood lines, containing names/persons to be easily confused?
Me: Sry, didn't realise " @piisalie is confused" = "untrue or contradictory". Where is that definition written?
Me:  I blv the guy who was there, not the guy 6K yrs later claiming better knowledge
piisalie: Which guy was there? The author of Genesis, or Chronicles?
Me: Both are closer to it by far than u r. Do u *know* the auth of Chron didn't have other supplement info? No, u don't.

It's mind-boggling to me that this has taken so much interest in these two tweeters' minds. By necessity, for communication to be possible with anyone, we must begin with the presumption of harmonisation for texts and speech. Otherwise, we end up deconstructing everything, and in total absurdity, for any communication or text that advocates for rampant deconstruction assumes that it itself is exempt from the deconstruction it advocates, and we know nothing, ever.

How much more must this be the case for ancient documents, when we, the modern readers/critics, are so far removed from the events that took place! We have virtually no information about the minutiæ, the specific contexts, surrounding events, and surrounding people of these textual references. If you don't want to take the authors' word for it outside of some high standard of corroboration, then to be consistent, you must deny that you know much of anything about history, even modern history.

Besides all that, for the Christian who recognises that God is really, really smart, and @piisalie and @BeMoreCynical are of evidently average intelligence, we have to weigh the priorities.  Whom to believe?  The God Who cannot lie and Who has proven His reliability over and over again and indeed predicted Jesus' resurrection from the dead and then carried it out? Or some guys on Twitter who don't realise that sometimes people have the same name?

To prove a contradiction, there must be no possible harmonisation for the texts cited. I obviously don't know with certainty whether there were two people named Timna, since I wasn't there, but it is a perfectly reasonable solution to the proposed problem. Where a perfectly reasonable option exists, no contradiction does, and that's just the way it is. I'm sure this disappoints my skeptical friends, but my suggestion is to find a better example of "contradiction".

Finally, @piisalie said something I find to be contemptible and worthy of a serious amount of discredit:
  he'll just misquote me, and mock me on his blog like the last time :P

Anyone is welcome to look over the last time @piisalie and I had a blog discussion, and I challenge anyone to find where I misquoted him.  Whether I've engaged in mockery of him personally is open to discussion, but misquotation is a serious charge. But the thing is, when @piisalie is happy to falsely accuse me of misquotation, some third-rate blogger, what level of credibility should we lend to his accusations of contradiction?


Piisalie said...

Can you please show where I said "You made that up?" I believe @BeMoreCynical said that... Hurrah for misquoting!

First, ":P" is an emoticon implying silliness. Second, I was being sarcastic, something you obviously encourage on your blog. Third, I feel like you did quote-mine me in your previous post. Which I'll add, is perfectly fine. It is, after all, your blog.

Thanks for giving me insight into your understanding of the Bible! Have a wonderful day!

Rhology said...

Can you please show where I said "You made that up?" I believe @BeMoreCynical said that... Hurrah for misquoting!

Fair enough - I've indicated the edition.
It's not as if you disagree(d) with BMC, is it? I doubt it, so this is hardly a misquotation.

Anyway, it's nice to know but hardly surprising that you have no substantive response to the "contradiction" you were doggedly pursuing. Feel free to try your other 4 attempts, but listen - the fact that you will persist in your moronic rebellion against God even though you can't substantiate your accusations against His Word will leave you utterly without excuse before the judgment of God.

Piisalie said...

Also: I do apologize if you took my comment to be an assault on your blog/or you personally. I would say you are quite good at what you do.

Rhology said...

Well, why not come along?

Piisalie said...

I don't think you made it up. That's why I asked for a source for me to read. Conveniently, that part was left out of your post.

Rhology said...

OK, fair enough.

I didn't check a source besides the Bible and a tiny bit of logical thinking. No source to cite, and the argument is not complicated.

Piisalie said...

One more thing, I just realized you were never mentioned in the linked conversation. You were not following the individual I was talking to, nor were you following me. So you trolled my tweets and then assumed we were talking about you? (we were, but that's not the point)

If joining you, means mocking people, and attacking them personally, then no I'm good. Thanks though. :)

Rhology said...

A couple of things on that:
1) If you don't want ppl reading your Tweets, I suggest you send DMs.
2) Or you could protect your account and only allow certain ppl to read it. Seems to me you should be flattered that someone is reading your stuff in a bit of detail! :-)
3) I don't know if you've ever tried to make Twitter display a conversation in any easy-to-follow format, one after the other. If you have, bravo. I haven't figured out how to do that yet, so I basically had to go to your acct page and skim thru it. I happened to see the "misquote" comment and took great exception since I took care to link to your page and copy+paste your stuff. So your accusation was unfair.

4) I didn't have to assume you were talking about me - the previous tweet made it clear whom you were talking about.

You seem to have a thin skin and confuse attacks on your position with attacks on your person. Such muddled thinking is hardly commendable.

Piisalie said...

1) I don't mind people reading them. I really just thought it was interesting.

2)Meh, locked accounts are no fun. :)

3)There are some third party Twitter clients that do a good job of such things. I recommend Seesmic.

Oh, and I am flattered.

4)I have many people that I debate with, especially online. Two of my good friends(who are also on Twitter) are Christians and have blogs. I was also involved in two other debates at that time, one of which I am sure you saw. So couldn't it have been possible that I was talking about someone else... Not saying it was, just possible.

It is possible.

fish fingers said...


im impressed with your biblical knowledge. a couple of things though dismiss this whole blog as nothing but a narcissistic ego-maniac's desire to be heard. if you wanted to get followers to god, then you wouldn't constantly post arguments that you have had with non believers. it fogs up the whole message.

another thing, you said it was impossible to for an athiest to prove they have a moral standard. what makes it possible for you to? because you believe everything a book says? how does that prove anything?

i guess what im saying is you seem like a smart lad- its just you are so narcisisitc it's impoosible for you to be considered credible. if you want to truly profess the message of jesus, profess it. dont put on show your (self-proclaimed) intellectual prowess. that does nothing.

Rhology said...

Hi fish fingers,
Thanks for reading.
I'm afraid, however, that if you believe me to be an egomaniac and narcissistic, I'm not sure what you mean.
Not everyone is going to enjoy perusing arguments had with others, and that's OK. But some do enjoy it. I know reading similar stuff from others is helpful and enjoyable to me, and it would have greatly helped me before I met Jesus, when I was searching and nobody had any good Jesus-centric answers for me.

what makes it possible for you to? because you believe everything a book says? how does that prove anything?

Here you go.
Not b/c "a book" said it. B/c God said it.

if you want to truly profess the message of jesus, profess it.

I am. If you think that I am self-promoting, I guess that's your right, but ISTM I am boasting in Jesus, showing that He is the answer to all questions and that the biblical worldview is far superior to its challengers. Saying "this position that denies Jesus is wrong" is not the same as "and I'm awesome b/c I've got it all figured out".

Lvka said...

The Septuagint doesn't have this `mistake`. It reads "and Timna's Amalech" (as I'm sure the Hebrew could also be parsed).

Of all mistakes in the Bible, and they had to choose the wrong one: tsk, tsk, tsk... ;-)

Rhology said...

Good point. It sounds like the translators of the KJV (and NASB) among others would have been well served to go with the LXX at that point, though really it's a minor matter. It's not as if positing two Timnas is a huge stretch.