Category Archives: Contradictions

Should people offer God things they got for free?

One time, when David was trying to get God to stop killing thousands of innocent people to punish David for obeying God, David decided he had to make God a sacrifice. When someone offered to give David some free oxen to sacrifice, David said that wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t be right to offer God something that cost him nothing. That wouldn’t be a real sacrifice at all! So he paid for the oxen and then sacrificed them, and God accepted his offering and stopped killing innocent people.

But what about that other time, when Abraham had just passed God’s test by showing how easily he could be convinced to murder his own children? In that story, God provided Abraham with a free ram, just so he could offer it right back to God. Here God certainly doesn’t seem to have a problem with people giving him things that cost them nothing. Instead, he’s actively encouraging it.

And when Joshua had the Israelites destroy the city of Jericho, he said God wanted them to plunder all its people’s valuables and put them in God’s treasury. The Israelites certainly didn’t pay for those stolen goods, but apparently God wanted to have them anyway. As long as you’re giving him valuable stuff, God doesn’t seem to care how you got it.

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Did Paul think he should get a reward for his work?

In his letters to the Corinthians, Paul makes it clear that he expects to be rewarded for his work. And not just by God after he dies. He thinks his followers owe him a material reward for his spiritual work, just like any other worker would get. And he says that isn’t just his opinion. God’s law (at least the way Paul interprets it) commands that people pay others for their work, including preachers.

But then he claims that he’s not preaching for profit, that there’s nothing wrong with not paying a preacher, and that he’s not trying to convince anyone to give him anything. So why was he just telling people they owed him, then? Even though he thinks he has a right to be supported by his followers, he now says he would rather die than use that right, because he’s proud not to be a burden to the people he’s preaching to.1

Then he says he doesn’t even deserve a reward, because he can’t help preaching. So why was he just saying he did deserve it? For Paul, preaching the gospel for free is its own reward, and other than that, he doesn’t want any reward.

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Did Saul already know that God was with David and that Michal loved David?

In 1 Samuel 18, shortly after David kills Goliath, King Saul has started feeling envious and afraid of David. It says the reason he was afraid of him was that God had abandoned Saul and was now with David instead. Then Saul hears that his daughter Michal is in love with David. This pleases him, because he can use it as an opportunity to try to get David killed. So Saul sends David off to fight the Philistines, to prove that he’s worthy to marry the princess.

It doesn’t go as Saul planned. Instead of getting killed, David succeeds in killing twice as many Philistines as Saul had challenged him to kill, so Saul has to let him marry his daughter. Then Saul suddenly realizes that God is with David and that Michal is in love with David… again? And that makes him even more afraid of him. But how can Saul be realizing those things just now, if he already knew them?

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Are there Jews and Gentiles?

In his letter to the Galatians (who were Gentiles), Paul (who was a Jew) states that there is neither Jew nor Gentile. Huh? Of course there are Jews and Gentiles. The Bible talks about them all the time:

It says there were Jews who were slaves to Gentiles, and that their city will be trampled by the Gentiles. Jesus became a servant of the Jews so the Gentiles would praise God with them. The Jews and the Gentiles both conspired against Jesus, who was said to be the glory of the Jews and a light for the Gentiles. The Jews and the Gentiles also both conspired against the followers of Jesus, because Jews and Gentiles alike are under the power of sin.

It says God chose Paul to preach to both Jews and Gentiles, and he will save both Jews and Gentiles. Paul taught that Jews and Gentiles should all live like Gentiles. A lot of the Jews and Gentiles thought Paul’s message was stupid and rejected it. But Paul said all the Jews and Gentiles who believed would be saved. God is the God of both Jews and Gentiles, and he will judge both Jews and Gentiles according to what they do.

So clearly it’s absurd to say Jews and Gentiles don’t exist. Or even that there are no Jews and Gentiles among the Christians. Maybe what Paul meant to say was just that there’s no significant difference between Jews and Gentiles? That’s not what he said in the first verse referenced in this post (though he does say that elsewhere). But even if that’s what he meant, he’s still wrong, according to the Bible.

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Should people drink wine?

No.

Going after wine is a foolish thing to do. It will only betray you, cloud your judgment, and cause all kinds of suffering. Wine makes you stupid, unhealthy, and defiled. Only wicked and indecent people get drunk on wine, and only godless people and detestable pagans drink wine all day. If you don’t belong to the dark side, you must remain sober. So if anyone offers you wine, follow Jesus’s example and refuse it. God will not forgive people who enjoy wine, until the day they die.

That won’t be too long though, since the Bible says people who are accused of being drunkards must be executed. But people who get drunk, or even associate with drunkards, won’t be forgiven after they die, either. They won’t be allowed in the kingdom of God. People who are good at drinking wine will fall apart like they’re being consumed by fire. God will destroy those who shamefully get others drunk on wine, as they deserve.

Yes.

Paul advises people to drink wine to improve their health. Solomon also wisely advises people to enjoy wine, with God’s approval. Wisdom herself invites people to drink wine, so it can’t be a foolish thing to do. And drinking wine and getting drunk can’t be a bad thing to do if God makes people do it, right? Would God force people to sin?

God created grapes so people could make wine to gladden their hearts and make them thrive. Jacob, the father of God’s chosen people, was given an abundance of wine as a blessing. God gave his people wine as a blessing and a reward for following his laws and honoring him. Not getting to drink wine is a curse and a punishment for failing to do what God wants. For instance, God takes away people’s wine when they fail to recognize that wine is a gift from God.

God told Aaron and his priestly family they could have all the finest wine of the land. He tells people to invite others to drink wine. He said when you free your slaves, you should generously supply them with wine, as he generously supplies all people with wine. God clearly doesn’t see wine as a bad thing.

Noah was righteous and blameless, and he made wine and drank it till he passed out. Even Jesus drank wine and provided others with wine, and he never sinned. So drinking wine is not a sin. In fact, it’s a requirement. Some of the religious rituals that God and Jesus commanded people to engage in involved drinking wine.

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What are the Ten Commandments?

The book of Exodus tells about God giving Moses the Ten Commandments. Moses also recounts this event later on in Deuteronomy, listing the same Ten Commandments. He says God gave him those laws, wrote them on two stone tablets, and added nothing more. He says after he broke those tablets and had to get new ones, the same list of laws was written on the new tablets. And he refers to the laws that were written on the tablets as the Ten Commandments. The list of laws goes something like this:

  1. Don’t worship other gods.
  2. Don’t make images.
  3. Don’t misuse God’s name.
  4. Don’t work on the Sabbath.
  5. Honor your parents.
  6. Don’t murder.
  7. Don’t commit adultery.
  8. Don’t steal.
  9. Don’t give false testimony.
  10. Don’t covet.

But in Exodus, when God gives Moses the laws to write on the new set of tablets, they’re not the same laws that were on the first ones, despite what Moses claims. God gives him an almost completely different set of laws, and these too are referred to as the Ten Commandments. The new list of laws goes something like this:

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When was Jesus born?

According to Matthew, Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod.1 Herod’s death, and therefore Jesus’s birth, was in 1 BC or earlier.

According to Luke, Jesus was born while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Quirinius became governor in AD 6, which means Jesus wasn’t born till several years after Herod died. So if Luke is right, Herod wouldn’t have even been around to try to kill Jesus, as Matthew claims he did.

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Will the mountains and hills last forever?

The Bible says at least one mountain can’t be shaken and will last forever. It has to, because Mount Zion is where God is always going to live. And the Bible describes the hills as everlasting.

But it also says mountains erode and crumble. Mountains can be shaken and fall into the sea. God makes them quake, and they melt like wax. And it’s not just God who can move mountains. Anyone can do it if they believe they can. Hills can be removed or melt away, so no, they are not everlasting.

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