Chris Harris created some pretty graphics showing Biblical cross references and other such things. Below is the main result:
The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc – the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.
The graph at his place is interactive. Hovering over one of lines lights it up; clicking on it brings you to the verses in question. Clever invention which will be useful in lots of applications.
End of story except that another group thought it would be fun to appropriate the same technique and use the lines to connect Biblical “contradictions.” Hemant Mehta, a.k.a. The Friendly Atheist (unlike in the mafia, today’s aliases are self-applied), wrote glowingly of the effort of Andy Marlow, who did the work for “Sam Harris’ Reason Project”, and Daniel G. Taylor, who did it for fun (we guess).
So, for fun, I went and clicked on one of the lines. Here is the very first one, which led to the page “Did Jesus perform many signs and wonders?” One column says Yes, He did. Another says, No, He did not.
Yes example (of four): (Mark 16:20) “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”
No example (of three): (Matthew 12:39, 16:4) “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.”
All seven examples are tepid in that same sense, meaning they are poor exemplars of the question at hand. None of the “Yes” verses show Jesus working any miracles. Such as helping folks bypass the morgue, even removing the toe-tags of some; walking on water; feeding thousands from nearly empty baskets; and raising Himself from Death. And the “No” verses aren’t non-miracles, but Jesus’s chiding unbelievers for their lack of faith.
These and the other “contradictions” I checked (I of course did not read all of them) reveal more about the author of the supposed contradictions than it does about Christianity. They are just silly and more of a stretch than Nan…ah, skip it.
Don’t just take my word for it. Go play. Here’s another under the heading “Must everyone die?” Some people will never die: (John 11:26) “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Everyone will die: (Hebrews 9:27) “And as it is appointed unto men once to die.” Sigh. Atheists and protesting Christians can be so literal.
Okay, just one more (these are like candy for fallacy finders like Yours Truly): “Is it OK to call someone a fool?” It’s OK to call someone a fool. (Proverbs 28;26) “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.” It’s not OK to call someone a fool. (Matthew 5:22; the sole exemplar) “Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” So is it OK if I call this entry foolish?
Plenty more examples of people finding only that evidence they hope to find and not seeing what is plain.
Well, the “contradictions” weren’t enough. Also included are bar graphs of instances of things like “Misogyny, Violence & Discrimination Against Women.” I clicked the last and was lead to this page. Eight quotes from Revelation. Like 17:6, “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs.” I’m not sure whether that’s violence or discrimination. Your idea?
Another category was “Discrimination Against Homosexuals.” I clicked the last again but it led to a link which must be an error (more Revelation):
“Dogs [homosexuals?], sorcerers, whoremongers, idolaters” and along with anyone who ever told a lie will not enter the heavenly city. “[T]he term ‘dogs’ in Rev 22:15 primarily has in view emasculated male cult prostitutes, without excluding a wider reference to any who engage in homosexual practice.” Robert Gagnon (The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics) 22:15.
Yeesh. A much better example of discrimination—a word which has neither positive nor negative connotations until it is linked to a subject—is the line that led to 2 Peter (2:6-9): “God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for living ungodly, filthy conversation, and unlawful deeds.”
Thanks to Nate Winchester for sending these sites in.