The Bible, a Logical Fallacy

One of the things that bothers me about how theists understand the Bible is that they think it is somehow proof of god. I once spent multiple hours stretched across a few days explaining to one particular person that they can’t use the Bible to prove the existence of god to me. After I got it through to them the debate was a lot better and we could discuss religion properly without this person resorting to a Bible quote at every point as their only argument.

The truth is that the Bible can not be used to prove god. To do so would be the fallacy of begging the question. Basicaly the fallacy goes:

  1. God wrote the Bible/inspired the Bible/influenced the Bible…
  2. Therefore, the Bible proves god exists

The fallacy exists in that the conclusion is assumed in the premise. It is assumed that a god wrote the Bible in order to prove that god exists. Does it make sense to assume that god exists to show that god exists? Is there any evidence that shows divine authorship?

If there was compelling evidence that a god did in fact exist, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now. To assert that a god was the author for any lesser evidence that his existence in addition to evidence for his authorship would be affirming the consequent, another logical fallacy.

So, next time you try to use the Bible to convert an atheist or someone from another religion to your religion, consider the fallacy involved and you better hope they don’t spot it.

Biblical Contridictions

This portion of the article is in response to another article by Juan which can be found here. Juan has also made other comments on my blog including one which attempts to prove the existence of a god to me using the above fallacy.

Juan’s article addresses a few common contradictions in the Bible where the Bible conflicts with science or even itself. Although I can’t possibly expect everyone to counter every contradiction in the Bible as there are quite a few, there was at least one mistake I noticed during my quick skim of the article.

People Actually Look for CONTRADICTIONS? They practically find themselves!

The topic in question is whether or not the earth is in the center of the universe. Here is what Juan says:

I really can’t believe I even have to address this one. The effort and time put by people to find these “contradictions” could be spent on actually figuring out what they really mean.

However, it is not exactly hard to find these contradictions has people have been imprisoned for suggesting otherwise. It seems that the Catholic religion is still suffering from the backlash of this imprisonment and has has multiple popes preform actions including the decensoring of Galileo’s writings and apologies for the actions of the past.

Wait! There’s More?

Yes, there is more. For this information I would have you look at the Skeptics Annotated Bible. It points out thousands of contradictions within the Bible as well as various things which are immoral or just flat out crazy. You haven’t read the Bible until you’ve read it like this.

I’ve seen as many as 10 contradictions in a single chapter from Matthew not even counting other absurdities.

Read Your Bible!

I’m not the only one who is saying it. The cure to religion is having people actually read what is in their Bible. Everything from racism to sexism, rape to killing, genocide to child abuse. And this is still called the “good book.”

3 thoughts on “The Bible, a Logical Fallacy

  1. I know this post is a year old, but I have really enjoyed reading the bits I have of your blog.

    I noticed your newest post saying that you have a new job with lots of hours, so I am guessing you don’t have a lot of time for blogging and as such have little time to read this post. So, I’ll keep it brief.

    I would say I consider myself a Christian. I can only imagine what you are already thinking, but hear me out. Maybe you’ve encountered people like me before, maybe not. Either way I have some things to say and then things to ask.

    If I were to describe my faith… Most days I feel like I am as close as one can get to an Atheist without being one. I constantly go back to doubting whether half of my life has been based on a lie, myth, eccentric story, fable, etc. But one thing remains for me, an experience in my life which I cannot explain and a desire with in me to make the most of my life in the sense of helping make the world a more positive place – not necessarily more Christian.

    My questions would be – and maybe you’ve answered this earlier on in your blog – when did you become an atheist and why did you decide to?

    Keep on doing your thing! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your work.

    • Thanks for your comment. It is always encouraging to hear from people who enjoyed a post of mine.

      Becoming an atheist was a really long process for me which spanned multiple years. I attended a Catholic school as a child with prayer multiple times throughout the day, a religion class, and weekly mass. As I grew older, I began to think a little more deeply about religion and my own faith in general. At school, we were encouraged to pray more often and to place more focus on listening rather than talking. The more I tried to listen, the less there seemed to be there. But not only that, I came to realize that all I had ever heard in any of my prayers was my own voice inside my head. The more I tried to find some type of external influence, the less I felt.
      However, I was not put off by this. I tried to find small things in everyday life which might show to me that this god was trying to communicate. No such communication ever came despite years of prayer. But I had not given up on religion; not by a long shot.
      Instead of giving up at this point, I decided that Catholicism must not be the true religion. I was sure that a god was out there somewhere just waiting for me to find him. I continued to pray but I did not have any specific god in mind. Eventually, I discovered deism. A non-interventionist god meshed perfectly with my scientific mind. The world was beginning to make sense again. “Of course this god who created the universe wouldn’t need to cause miracles or intervene in human affairs. He designed it to be perfect from the start.”
      It was during my last year at the Catholic school that I discovered deism. The group prayers began to seem even more empty and the dogma taught during religion class seemed even less true. I was also beginning to explore science on my own. Reading books about quantum physics gradually began to push me further away from the deist worldview.
      As I began to understand what was known scientifically about how the universe came into existence, my faith in deism could not hold up and Catholicism was even further removed. I don’t know exactly when this happened, but I basically invented my own religion, a form of pantheism ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism ). I had no idea that what I believed was called pantheism, I thought it was a completely new idea.
      Religion continued to fascinate me and somewhere after “inventing” pantheism, I stumbled across The Atheist Experience ( http://atheist-experience.com/ ). I was really interested in hearing about atheism because it was hidden from me through my whole life. Although I did not consider myself an atheist at that time, as I continued watching/listening to the show, I was rather surprised to hear a caller describe my “new” religion. That was when I first learned that it was called pantheism and the simple counter-argument given on the show: “Why call it god?”
      And *that* is when I became an atheist. Or maybe I had already been an atheist for a long time but I was just realizing it now.

      This short retelling does not do justice to the true feelings and emotions which I felt along the way and I am by no means equipped with the writing skills to explain that properly. On the bright side, there is a great series of videos on Youtube by Evid3nc3 which you can watch ( https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0C3C1D163BE880A ). It is nearly 4 hours long, but I definitely thought it was worth the time to watch (I watched it twice, actually). Our stories are very similar in some ways and very different in others so it is definitely something worth watching if you are wondering how someone becomes an atheist – he goes into a lot of detail.

      Becoming an atheist can be very challenging. Even after you intellectually decide that no god exists, you still have to deal with the emotional backlash. You might have to realize that you will never see the people that have died. You might have to find a new way to make your life worth living. You might have to explain to your family. None of that is easy, but who said the truth was easy.
      And yes, I do enjoy making the world a better place but I have been able to do that just fine without religion.

      • How ironic, I also went to Catholic school for a bit when I was younger and used to live in Cleveland, OH.

        I really appreciate you sharing a synopsis of your journey with me. I will continue to search and when I have time look into the sources you shared with me.

        My aim at this point in my life is to explore my options, figure out what I really believe as of now, refine my beliefs and adapt them to my explorations, and figure where exactly I fit in this vastly enormous world that is our universe.

        I can only imagine how challenging being an atheist is. I’ve had numerous friends in my life time, some who grew up Christians, become atheists. When I was younger, I almost felt betrayed when I heard it, but the older I get, the more I understand the reasoning behind it.

        What gets me even more, is that as I grow and age, I find that being a Christian is incredibly difficult. Now you may think I am a bit crazy when I say that because of how many Christians there are and the community and the camaraderie etc. But what I mean by Christian is very different than what most people think.

        I had an experience in my life that did drive me to believe in God. Long story short, an event took place that saved my life that I could not explain and although it could very well have been a coincidence, I feel that to call it coincidence diminishes what took place, which is why I feel such a responsibility to help others.

        I often sit at home, work, in my, car, etc. and feel guilty for the life I have in the US. I wonder why I was allowed to be born here and others in other lands, many that are less fortunate. Then, after spending my undergraduate years as a history major I realized how awful the US has been towards some other countries and my guilt grew as I realized that the US had caused a lot of the destruction that befell so many of the countries I would wonder about.

        Why? “Why?” is the main question I ask myself about it all. Why would God, a god that is the god I supposedly believe in, let all of this happen? Would a god that is the one I happen to believe in let this stuff happen? If so… then WHY?!?!?

        I am tormented by these and many similar questions constantly. I feel, that if I were to dismiss it all, and decide against the existence of God, then I would deal with a whole new set of uncertainties. Am I ready for that? Not quite yet, but I do not want to stay a Christian out of intellectual laziness either.

        All in all, I guess I just wanted to elaborate on a bit of me and say that I really appreciate you sharing your experience with me, as I am sure it will help me to refine my views and beliefs.

        In addition, I did not mean for you to take my mention of wanting to make the world a better place as saying anything negative about atheism :).

        I look forward to talking further.

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