Why is it that disputes between Christians and atheists so often seem far removed from common sense? Jim Meritt’s A List of Biblical Contradictions is offered by The Secular Web, StephenJayGould.org and by Talk Origins. One alleged contradiction is this one:
PSA 58:8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
A defense is offered here:
What have we here — a sort of fantastic creature-feature idea of a snail which slowly dissolves in the heat?
Not exactly. The Hebrew word here is temec, and this is the only place where it appears in the Bible. The main meaning here is liquefaction, with a root in a word referring to dissolution. All agree that slugs and snails leave a trail behind as they move — this is not something that is hard to observe or unknown. And of course, it is obvious that this liquid comes from their own bodies — and presumably, especially in a hot, desert climate like Palestine’s, a snail that doesn’t find a source of moisture to replenish itself is going to eventually shrivel away: hence the comparison to the “untimely birth of a woman.”
For this objection to work, it would have to be assumed that temec means “dissolve” in the sense that snow, for example, melts — but there is no point of comparison, and no reason why this word cannot refer to the dehydration process we describe.
Am I the only one who thinks this exchange is best suited for The Onion? It’s a figure of speech! That said, why are we messing with minor quibbles when the major gaffes are so obvious?
Jesus said “I am the Door” but He’s never identified as having hinges and a knocker so clearly the Bible is nonsense. But why stop there? Great literature is nearly all suspect.
Shakespeare said that “All the world’s a stage…” but I look around and don’t see anything stage-like at all — for instance the lighting is much too poor. Shakespeare’s an obvious fraud.
Melville wrote that “[a]ll men live enveloped in whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever present perils of life.” I don’t have a halter around my neck (I just checked), so we can safely dismiss Melville and Moby Dick now.
Robert Louis Stevenson: “His friends were those of his own blood or those whom he had known the longest; his affections, like ivy, were the growth of time, they implied no aptness in the object.” Relatives sharing blood? Bad science. Ignore him.
T.S. Eliot claimed that “April is the cruelest month” but we know that months aren’t physical entities with consciousness and thus can’t be cruel. Eliot’s a lying phony.
Dickens claimed that “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” He’s clearly a scumbag — darkness doesn’t cost anything. Forget Dickens.
The list is endless. Indeed, we should basically ignore all literature. It can’t be trusted.
It’s hard to believe that anyone’s ignorance of language could be so enormous and that anyone’s understanding of basic communication could be so poor, but the evidence is overwhelming.