In my previous post I explained why the contradictions found in the Bible affect a certain understanding of the inspiration of Scripture.  The contradictions are not a point in and of themselves (OK, OK, so there are contradictions.  So what?).   There actually is a payoff.  In factd, several.  One of the payoffs is that the fundamentalist Christian claim that the Bible has no mistakes of any kind is almost certainly wrong.   But as I have said this is not the only point or even the most important one.

I think we can all agree that most people read the Bible for religious reasons, pure and simple.  They think that in *some* sense it is the word of God, and that it provides the guidance they need for what to believe and how to live.   But what if there are *different* and even *irreconcilable* differences from one biblical author to another on precisely these issues?  Which part do you follow?  For then it is not a simple matter of reading any part of the Bible and saying, “OK, that settles it!  That’s what I should believe.  Or that is how I should behave/conduct myself.”   Because if another part of the Bible says something else, then … then you’re still stuck: what should you believe or how should you behave?

Even fundamentalists are confronted with this problem, and they have to come up with theological explanations about how the Bible can contain the very words of God, the directions he has given to his people, word-for-word, if the words in one part are at odds with words in another part.

On the most obvious level, most …

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