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The Desk's Methodology of Debunking

©07 The Media Desk

Friend of the Desk- Miss Pengi -sent this in for the Desk to chew up and spit out....

    I got my contradictions from the "American Atheist" website. Where else?
    Feel free to make a "site subject" out of it. I love being the topic of a good debate. Reminds me of the "good ole days".

      These rules apply not only to Debunking Biblical Skeptics, but to debunking everything from junk news stories (eating fried potato chips will kill you) to "Bill Gates is sharing his fortune" emails (see link below to Urban Legend Page) and a lot of other things... including political campaign statements.

      But, since the subject at hand is questions about things in the Bible, we'll look at the rules in that light.

      As with many things on the Web, there is an agenda behind the way the 'Challenges to Biblical Authority' were put together. Also, as with most of the Web, there are limited repercussions for slanting things one way or the other. There is no editorial review or fact checking by a neutral party. Especially when those putting together the page state right up front they are working to support their central idea, whatever it is.
      The Desk answers to its readers, and Mrs. Desk, and a few others. If it gets things wrong, it hears about it. And then it makes its best effort to correct the error.

      Anyway- Thanks Pengi.

      And now another question... where's the page about the contradictions and inconsistencies in the atheist's world? ... nevermind

      NOTE to the rest of the world: The Desk will keep the answers short and to the point. Yes you could write an entire dissertation on each one, and somebody else probably has. The Desk is the Desk and will answer them in the Desk's style and if you don't like it... write in and explain your position and its rationale. Not your feelings on the matter, the Desk doesn't give two dangs about 'feelings'.

      NOTE 2: Saying "we accept (whatever) on Faith" is only an acceptable answer in a Sunday School class for eight year olds, NOT in a session of deep exegesis, or even a not so deep session of it.

The 'questions' from the American Atheist page are highlighted below the debunking rule they broke.

FIRST RULE of Real and Serious Debunking, Research, or even Bible Study: Do NOT take bits and pieces of the source, including Bible verses, as Gospel. The best thing to do is to look at entire chapters and sections of text or evidence or whatever you're talking about for the overall context and meaning.
(Remember, the majority of the Bible was NOT written in chapters and verses (exceptions include Psalms for obvious reasons), those were introduced by Men a long time after the Book was written.)

"... with God all things are possible." -- Matthew 19:26

"...The LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron." -- Judges 1:19

    The full passage from Matthew explains the passage from Judges.

"Matt 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."

    This is a very good example of finding exactly what you want to find in the Bible instead of looking at what it is saying and how it is saying it.

    The NIV passage from Judges makes things a little clearer.
"Judges 1:19 The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots."

    It evidently wasn't the Lord that failed, but the men of Judah, as is seen elsewhere in the chapter, the warriors of Israel decided to let various local tribes remain where they were, married into their families, and even worked for them. Which becomes clear once you read the entire chapter, the repercussions from not obeying God and killing EVERYTHING in the neighborhood becomes clear later on in the book.

SECOND RULE: Consider the Historical setting. WHEN did it happen, Where did it happen, What happened, Who did it happen to, Why and How did it happen. (yeah the five W's from journalism class)

"This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised." -- Genesis 17:10

"...if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." -- Galatians 5:2

    You're going to get tired of hearing this, so we'll state it right here and now, and then move on.
    The quote from Genesis is the Covenant of Abraham, which came even before the Law of Moses. The quote from Galatians is talking about the New Covenant, under Christ. What Paul is referring to is those in the local churches who were telling the Gentiles in Galatia (in what would be central Turkey today) and other places that to become a Christian they first had to become a Jew. Some apparently thought that being cut was all they had to do to become a Christian, but there's a bit more to it than that.

"Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of this mother..." -- Deuteronomy 27:22

"And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's is a wicked thing...." -- Leviticus 20:17

[But what was god's reaction to Abraham, who married his sister -- his father's daughter? comment in AA document]
And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God [is] not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. And yet indeed [she is] my sister; she [is] the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. --Genesis 20:11-12

"And God said unto Abraham, As for Sara thy wife...I bless her, and give thee a son also of her..." -- Genesis 17:15-16

    The first two quotes are from the LAW, which was given to Moses. Abraham lived perhaps at least several hundred years before Moses. So it was impossible for Ol' Abe to break the Law. The Covenant with Abraham did not mention who shouldn't sleep with who.

THIRD RULE: What is the Intent? This involves the first two rules and takes into consideration the purpose of whatever is being discussed during the, in this case, Biblical time involved. Some things were specific to a particular event and extrapolation to our time and situation can be misleading. The same will hold true for statements about America's Founding Fathers and Nixon during Watergate.

"A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD..." -- Proverbs 12:2

Now consider the case of Job. After commissioning Satan to ruin Job financially and to slaughter his shepherds and children to win a petty bet with Satan. God asked Satan: "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause." -- Job 2:3

    If you read Job, this wasn't so much whether or not Job trusted God, but whether or not GOD trusted Job.
    The speech of the youngest of Job's friends after the debate between the three older men and Job puts this type of discussion in a whole new light.

Job 32: 1-12
So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.
    So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said: "I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. I thought, 'Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.' But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.
    "Therefore I say: Listen to me; I too will tell you what I know. I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words, I gave you my full attention. But not one of you has proved Job wrong; none of you has answered his arguments."

FOURTH RULE: Considerest thine translation. Not all versions of the text are created equal. When thou doubtest thine readings goest thou to the Greek or Hebrew (Aramaic) source.

"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." -- James 1:13

"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham..." -- Genesis 22:1

This one is simply a misinterpretation in the King James. The correct phrase is "God tested Abraham's faith." This is the opening line to the section where Abraham passed the test by being willing to sacrifice Isaac to the Lord, which on the face of it is violating another of God's tenants that He does not desire human sacrifice as other gods did.

FIFTH RULE Put all the above rules together.

"Honor thy father and thy mother..."-- Exodus 20:12

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. " -- Luke 14:26

    First off, the quote from the Ten Commandments is taken partially out of context. This is indeed the first Commandment with a promise, the whole line is: "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."

    The quote from Christ is on the personal cost of discipleship. The rest of the chapter goes into great detail explaining the concept and how those who truly believe must be willing to bear the toll it will take on them, up to and including death, as it did with some of the Apostles. The idea being that the believer cannot put anything or anyone before their relationship with God. The matter is expounded further in other sections with both parables from Jesus and the writings of Paul and others.

THE FINAL RULE: THINK! Think critically. Don't swallow everything everybody, including the Desk, says. Check it out, look it up. Who said it, when did they say it. What're their reasons for saying it, their evidence.

Sources for the above debunking:
NOTE: The Desk no longer considers Wikipedia accurate or reliable on many subjects due to internal politics and cliques.
OUTSIDE LINKS WILL OPEN IN NEW WINDOW Online source with multiple translations, can display up to an entire chapter at once. Printable as well. Includes the writings of First Century Church Fathers such as Clement, Polycarp, and Ignatius Includes an encyclopedia, early church writings including Thomas Aquinas, and other resources. An incredible tool even if you, like the Desk, are not Catholic.


The Media Desk's Index of Religious Topics including the Christian Apologetics series "Dancing in the Sight of the Lord".
And "speaking of dissertations...." Metaphysical Boundaries, the Desk's ongoing thesis.

Secular Debunking on the Urban Legends and spam Page.

The Media Desk Main Page



Pray the Revival in the Land Continues