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Kelly Schroeder wrote:

Hi, guys —

There was a letter to the editor in a local newspaper recently, from an atheist.

In this letter, the person said something to the effect that there are so many contradictions in the Bible and that, if there were that many contradictions in any other book, nobody would believe it. The person didn't cite any Bible passages in particular but claimed that the number of contradictions was somewhere in the 400s.

  • How would a Catholic who is well-versed in the Bible respond to claims like this?

An answer would be much appreciated.

Kelly

  { How would a Catholic reply to a claim that there are numerous contradictions in the Bible? }

and in a similar question:

Akhil J. wrote:

Hi guys,

I was arguing with an atheist and he asked this:

  • Does God have faith in us?

I got a bit stuck on this one.

  • How do I reply to him?

Akhil

  { Does God have faith in us? }

Bob replied:

Hi Kelly,

  • Have you ever watched a debate and seen the candidates bombard each other with so many things, the other can't possibly respond to them all?

I'm thinking of one of the recent Republican debates where one candidate stated,

"There were no less than 11 attacks just mentioned so let me try and respond."

— and he was given less than a minute.

The point is, often an opponent hopes that by the sheer number of complaints and the inability of the opposition to address each issue, which could take a lengthy rebuttal, the adversary will be left looking bad.

That is what is happening. The assertion, by weight of the number of contradictions, is hoping to cripple the opposition.

In reality, each instance of an apparent contradiction must be examined, contextualized, etc., to determine if it is even contradictory at all and I assure you, there are no 400 incidents, because almost always, things that appear as a contradiction, are not at all.

For example, one of the Apostles is named Nathaniel in one place and Bartholomew in another. It is the same person — who has more than one name, as was often the case then, and is still practiced today.

Don't be intimidated by such tactics. Let that person try and enter a debate with a Bible scholar on each instance, one by one, and see whose understanding is wanting.

These persons have an agenda to discredit the Church in a drive-by manner. Let them bring up a specific contradiction and see how they do.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Eric replied:

Dear Akhil,

Frankly, it sounds like a stupid question on the atheist's part intended to trip you up.

It's unclear what his point is or what he means by that.

If he means does God believe we exist, he doesn't believe it, He knows it because He created us. Hebrews 11:1 says,

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Since God sees and knows us, the concept of God having faith in us is patently absurd, by this definition of faith. We have faith in God because we can't see Him. To reverse this is just moronic.

Eric

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