Yes. Maybe it got written down wrong. Or copied wrong by some anonymous copyist along the way. Or mistranslated from the original language (Jesus and his followers spoke Aramaic, the New Testament was written in Greek). MAYBE SOMEONE GOT IT WRONG.
What is wrong with any of those as explanations for the bible texts being in the shape they're in? Maybe it got written down wrong or something. Maybe, just maybe, it got written down wrong. That explains... ummm let me see,.... EVERYTHING, and requires no leaps of logic, no invented narrative glue, no convoluted excuses, no reliance on mysterious inconceivable underhand moves by an invisible deity who deemed it better to have his central, most important message to his favored species become filled with EVEN apparent errors, conflicts, and contradictions.
How NOT to respond to this movie: a) By assuming that I have not looked into these contradictions with any level of depth and accusing me of not having tried to understand any kind of "deeper meaning". Wherever possible, I consulted christians' explanations. I've given them a good go. They're just shit.
b) By saying that these aren't errors at all, rather, that they are simply copyist's errors. Uh- derr. A copyist's error is an error. I don't care what kind of error it is, just don't make the claim that the bible is completely free of errors, except for the cases in which there are errors, which are only copyist's errors only, which aren't really errors.
c) If you agree with me that English translations of the bible contain errors, but you think that the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts are pure and therefore true - DON'T tell me this and then go on to criticise me and other skeptics for pointing out that the English translations contain errors!
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That which can be asserted without evidence can be discarded without evidence.
I know, and actually find to have some weight, the New Testament apologists' conundrum - namely that if all of the gospel accounts really did match exactly, then critics of the bible would instantly accuse the authors of having conspired together. So, if there are inconsistencies it counts against the bible, and if there were no inconsistencies, it would still count against the bible. Well - tough. The creator of the universe could have done a lot better. The only reasonable conclusion to come to is that the creative force that arranged the constants of the universe, gave birth to galaxy clusters, quantum physics and DNA, invented love, knowledge and truth, and is capable of any miracle he could ever come up with- had fuck all to do with this raggedy old contradictory book of bullshit.
Whenever I make a movie about what the bible says, I'm talking about the actual words that are printed on the pages of the bible. Funny how I always get criticised for doing so, by people who agree that modern translations or English translations are inadequate and erroneous. ________________________________________
I was very selective when deciding whether to include each contradiction in the script. Many that were listed on the lists and websites appeared to me to be either non-contradictory, easily explained, or simply too petty to really count significantly against the claim of biblical inerrancy. I drew heavily on skepticsannotatedbible.com , which actually has links to christian responses to each of the contradictions it lists, where one has been put forward. I read almost all of them and if the explanation sounded like a bunch of bollocks to me, then I dismissed the explanation and included the contradiction in the script. One of the criteria I used to ascertain whether I thought the explanation was good enough, was whether I thought a christian would accept a similar explanation for a contradiction in any other religions holy book, such as the Qaran or Book of Mormon.
For example: LookingUntoJesus.net has this pathetic explanation for one of the contradictions:
"The text which is called into question is Luke 2:2. If Jesus was born in the days of Herod (who presumably died in 4 BC), then how could Quirinius be governing Syria (who presumably began his reign in 6 AD)? The trouble is in the English translation of the text, not in the text itself. Keep in mind that the New Testament was written in Greek, not English. Since the translators were not inspired, there is the potential for erroneous translations". (LookingUntoJesus.net)