But the Bible itself is full of contradictions. If you need to test what you imagine could be a message from the divine against this particular touchstone, then surely it should be something perfect and undeniable?

Otherwise, your test is so broad and accommodating as to encompass anything. You can find any few words will back up a spurious interpretation, or you can climb a tenuous ladder of logic to find some imaginary justification.

The same fragile contortions that are often used to justify claims that there are no contradictions in the Bible. The fact that there are two different creation myths, for example, and they do not tell precisely the same story, or the story of the Nativity cobbled together from various gospels which in themselves are inconsistent.

Surely what is important in the teachings of Christ, and the wider truths of the Bible are not the words, but the messages?

The details of creation are not that important, to my mind. Surely the message is important: There was an act of creation.

Likewise the tale of the Good Samaritan. Most likely Jesus made it up on the spot, but the message the story conveys is the true gold.

The life and words of Jesus are full of such eternal truths. The commentary and directions provided by others can be misleading, or easily misinterpreted. Paul, for example, doesn’t consistently agree with himself, let alone Jesus.

Of course, you can retreat to dogma, or you can say that the Almighty has a plan beyond the scope of mortals to understand, and all that, but as a student and occasional teacher of philosophy, I find the most productive discussions are those where the inconsistencies are teased out and examined, or the students niggle away at the claims of the teacher. (If they do not, I make increasingly outrageous statements until somebody rebels and begins to use their own powers of logic and reason instead of relying on my own obviously faulty declarations.)

Claiming that something is perfect invites rebuttal, and imperfections are easily found, and then the whole shaky edifice comes tumbling down. If one small part is imperfect, then the whole is imperfect, and you invite mockery. Something I’m sure that all people of faith are familiar with.

And what sort of god requires his believers to be always bending over with a sign saying “Kick Me!” on their behinds?


Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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