Monday, January 3, 2011

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible is an online resource that lists problems with the Bible. I thought I'd spend a bit of time weighing its pros and cons here.

On the one hand it's extremely useful, because it documents a huge number of biblical problems, verse by verse, right alongside the Bible itself. It even categorizes these issues by subject, which is helpful when learning about how the Bible treats a particular topic (e.g., violence, women, homosexuality, etc.). It also includes links to Christian responses to the problems it identifies. I appreciate that because it allows me to see which problems have a plausible solution, and which ones cause believers to dodge the question or come up with something totally ridiculous.

On the other hand, it's rather superficial, by which I mean that it never spends more than a sentence or two describing a given issue. It also has no "filter" – it doesn't distinguish between serious problems and trivial ones, and some of the issues it points to have legitimate explanations. My fear is that some Christians will look at a few of the trivial problems and conclude that all of the issues with the Bible can be answered so easily.

In the end, what the SAB represents is a great starting point for researching biblical problems. I use it often, but I try to do so in conjunction with other resources that have put more thought into their criticisms.

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