Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Death of Christ

Christians like to claim that the bible has no contradictions. When they are shown examples of the contradictions in the scriptures they claim that they are only apparent contradictions. They also have the arrogance to state that the reason they seem like contradictions is that we atheist/non-believers interpret the scriptures incorrectly.

Although the old testament is full of contradictions I would like to focus on the new testament and the death of Christ and the alleged events that immediately followed. The reason for this is that I feel that they need to understand that minimizing contradictions just doesn't help their case. So let's take a quick look at what the various gospels say occurred on the death of Jesus.

Let's start with Mathew, and for the purpose of this post I will be using the New International Version of the scriptures.

Matthew 27:51-53

51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

According to the author of Matthew immediately after Jesus expired several things happened.
1. The curtain of the temple was torn in two.
2. There was a violent earthquake.
3. Many so called holy people strolled out of their graves and took a walk through the city.

Mark 15:38-39

38The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

The author of Mark states that immediately after Jesus expired these events occurred.
1. The curtain of the temple was torn in two.

There is no mention of an earthquake nor a mass resurrection of holy people. Note that most biblical scholars agree that Mark is the first gospel to have been written. One explanation for the differences in narrative relating to the events about Jesus death is that later narratives were embellished accounts of what was believed have happened.

Luke 23:44-47

44It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. When he had said this, he breathed his last. 47The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”

According to the author of Luke this is what happened.
1. The curtain of the temple was torn in two

Again no mention of an earthquake or dead people walking around in the city. Notice something else in Luke: the temple curtain was torn in two before Jesus expired in contradiction to the three previous narratives that state that it happened immediately after.

John 19:34-35

34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

The author of John says nothing about any of the events described in Matthew. No torn temple curtain, no earthquake, and no walking dead in the city. The only apparent miracle John mentions is that a soldier pierced Jesus side and water and blood flowed out. But he says immediately after that he was told this story by an eyewitness to the event although he does not identify who that eyewitness was which is a common thing in scriptures. They like to keep it vague and unverifiable.

All three gospels agree that there was darkness that lasted approximately three hours. Modern day Christians in their desperate attempts to explain this attribute it to a solar eclipse. But no solar eclipse in all of history has ever lasted three hours. According to an article I found on the length of time it takes for a solar eclipse to occur an astronomer at Cornell University states: "In general, though, a total eclipse takes on the order of a couple of hours from start to finish, with totality (the part where the sun is completely blocked out) on the order of a couple of minutes"  Astronomy link

Image of a solar eclipse

Based on the description of the various narratives we have looked at it was dark for a total of three hours which in and of itself is a complete lie and an impossibility. Why is this impossible? Because in order for there to be three hours of darkness in any one spot during a solar eclipse the moon has to stop its orbit. That's right! You read correctly, the moon has to stand still as it allegedly did in Joshua 10:13

Here is a great sample article on how believers attempt to confirm the veracity of the bibles claim that the sun and the moon stood still. Read the article and then what follows it is another article debunking the legend. The Lost Day


  1. That is very interesting. I often here about the conflicts in the bible about the translation or as you said, that atheists don't translate it properly. But here, at a highly critical time, if one were to believe the bible, missing out on the dead rising seems like a bit of a sticking point one would think, not to be overlooked.

  2. One of the first things that drove me away from faith, at the early age of 10 -12 years old, was the alarming amount of contradictions and lack of consistency in the bible that you so well expose here. It looked to me exactly as what it is: a patchwork of folktales poorly integrated. And not very well written. I mean, it´s blatantly so.

    What is worse, watching my elders - relatives and other persons in the congregation - trying to shoo away my questions - deflecting inquiry -and sweating half cock explanations for the utter lack of logic in the whole thing, was quite disappointing. Because, through it, I saw a profound lack of honesty (to themselves and to me)and a self deceiving attitude that, frankly, scared me. At 12 I rejected my christian faith and leave all that fruitless wrangling behind me. And I´m convinced to be a better person because of it.

  3. " ...with totality (the part where the sun is completely blocked out) on the order of a couple of minutes"

    A couple of upcoming solar eclipses (both passing over the US):
    August 21, 2017 -- maximum duration of totality 2 min. 40 sec.
    August 12, 2045 -- maximum duration of totality 6 min. 06 sec.

    I'm hoping to witness the first from my brother-in-law's place near Jackson, WY, but sadly not very likely to be around for the 2045 event.

  4. LOL, yeah how exactly did the Romans miss the one-day zombie apocalypse?

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