I lived in an urban area, mostly white but increasingly Bengali: my white neighbour moved out, a Bengali family moved in. I got friendly with their three year old son. I had Muslim evangelism pushed through my door: a CD with a jolly song about going to the Masjid rather than playing video games and a rant from a man about how “our” women were corrupted by Western society. Also there was a paper proving that the Koran was the word of God, because it was consistent and coherent, whereas the Bible could not be, because of its many contradictions.
Here is one I like. Galatians 3:28:
There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Contradicting Genesis 1:27?
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
I have known the Genesis verse used against transsexual people. The two are different, says the Evangelical. Indeed the poor Evangelicals can’t quite bring themselves to translate the Galatians verse as a contradiction: the rhythm of the verse is male nor female, but the NIV says “male and female”. The “Nearly Immaculate Version” makes no sense, in order not to contradict that Great Gulf Fixed between the sexes.
I prefer to read the Genesis verse as a shout for women’s equality. Possibly it meant that when it was written, whenever that was.
Does the Galatians verse, which clearly supports women’s equality, contradict Ephesians 5:24?
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Clearly. So, give one precedence and interpret the other to conform to it. Do as you like, and find a Biblical argument for it. If anyone makes the opposite Biblical argument, accuse them of “taking verses out of context”. Brilliant.
Some early Christians, declared heretical, rejected the Old Testament. There, God is violent and wrathful. In Genesis God rained sulphur and fire from Heaven on the cities of the plain, and then told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Later, God tells Abraham not to hurt his son, and Abraham sacrifices a ram instead: the ram was provided by God.
For me, this is an early lesson on the nature of God. In the time of Abraham, in Mesopotamia, it was thought that the first born should be sacrificed. One man realised at the moment of the sacrifice that God does not demand human sacrifice.
I cannot be certain that this figure from the British Museum actually refers to the story. It was made in Ur around 2600-2400BC. It pleases me to imagine that it does.
Did Jesus permit divorce? Matthew 19 says yes:
‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.’
And Mark 10 says no:
9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.’
To me, none of this matters. I read the Bible for the good I can get from it. I do not imagine that one can “live by” the Bible, or that it is Inspired by God in the sense of being dictated, or that it is literally true. Anyone who does imagine those things ought, really, to explain away these contradictions.