There was a barber that thought that he should share his faith with his customers more than he had been doing lately. So the next morning when the sun came up and the barber got up out of bed he said, “Today I am going to witness to the first man that walks through my door.”
Soon after he opened his shop the first man came in and said, “I want a shave!” The barber said, “Sure, just sit in the seat and I’ll be with you in a moment.” The barber went in the back and prayed a quick desperate prayer saying, “God, the first customer came in and I’m going to witness to him. So give me the wisdom to know just the right thing to say to him. Amen.”
Then quickly the barber came out with his razor knife in one hand and a Bible in the other while saying “Good morning sir. I have a question for you… Are you ready to die?”
Really? Here is the deal. When this is said to an atheist it usually gets an “oh geese” response. Then the atheist will list off many obvious contradictions that us Christian’s google around and try to stretch the fabric of space-time to come up with an answer. When the correct answer is “I don’t know”.
What’s wrong with stating “I don’t know the answer to your question” or “There is no answer anyone has come up with that satisfies me”. We as Christians do not need to have an answer for every contradiction claimed in by others. For sure many, if not most contradictions can be resolved with just using basic reading skills.
For example it is brought up that in Exodus 20:4 it commands people not to make a carved image. But then in Exodus 25 there is a command to make images of cherubim’s. It is claimed that these are contradictory but if you just read the words in context in Exodus 20:5 it goes on to say to not worship an image. That is the command, to not worship images. In Exodus 25 it is commanded to make the cherubim but never in the Bible does it say to worship them.
Some claimed contradictions are a little harder to explain but they can be if you use proper exegesis. One example is Matthew 5:16 and 6:1. One states to let your good works be seen by men while the other says to hide your good works from men. This seems contradictory on its face but can be explained by examining the context of each passage. In Matthew 5 the context is of using God to work in us to draw people to Jesus. It is not our work at all but Gods work to glorify His Son through us. In Matthew 6, Jesus is talking about doing good works to bring glory to yourself which is sinning. A little more study can dispel some claimed contradictions like these.
Then there are some that do not have a good explanation. Matthew 21:18-20 says this:
In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once? ~ ESV
In Mark’s account of this same story it states in verses 11:12-14, 19-21:
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
…Jesus Cleanses the Temple…
As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. ~ ESV
So did the tree whither immediately or later? There are of course solutions that can be put forth but none of them adequately explain this obvious contradiction. There are many Christians that would disagree with me and latch on to a solution without really thinking it through. As Christians though we should be honest with our faith and Bible. Science does not have all the answers either and just like science our faith does not have the ability to answer all questions posed.
Faith is irrational. So as irrational religionists we simply say “I don’t know, but have you heard about what God did for you?”
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net