"Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?' He replied, 'Because you have so little faith...' " - Matthew 17:19-20
"After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?' He replied, 'This kind can come out only by prayer.' " - Mark 9:28-29
Mark 8 starts out with the feeding of the four thousand. Again, like the other 3 times we've heard about this kind of miracle, the description of how Jesus actually accomplishes this is completely lacking. If his other miracles are any indication of how he performs this miracle, then he probably had to spit in the food and shout random words to the heavens.
Next we hear about Jesus telling his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees. This time, instead of Jesus eventually explaining this parable like he did in Matthew, he decides to leave his disciples in the dark. Don't get me wrong, he still calls them faithless idiots. But he just chooses to leave them that way instead of trying to educate him.
Then we get to hear the details about Jesus healing a blind man. This time he spits in the man's eyes. When Jesus asks the man if he sees anything he says that he sees people, and they look like trees walking around. What? First of all, they're alone, so he shouldn't be seeing anyone walking around. Second, you're probably still blind if you think people look like trees. Jesus has to put his hands on the man one more time for his sight to be completely restored. Did Jesus just fail? I thought Jesus had to just think about healing someone and they were immediately healed. Now he has to spit on people, and shout incantations, and he still fails the first time? Maybe he's losing his touch.
The chapter ends with Jesus predicting his death.
Chapter 9 is a mix of extreme (almost to the word) accuracy (the transfiguration) and shocking inaccuracy (healing of a boy).
First of all, we hear a lot more about how Jesus gets the demon out of the boy. Jesus again has to shout at the demon (as opposed to his usual nonchalant healing abilities). At the end of this exorcism the boy's father thinks he's dead. That part is not necessarily the contradictory part, but when Jesus's disciples ask him why they couldn't heal the boy, he gives them a completely different answer. If you'll recall, in Matthew Jesus said that it was because the disciples had so little faith. In Mark, however, he replies, "This kind can come out only by prayer." Not only is this a completely different answer (I see no way in which those two answers have the same meaning) but Jesus never actually prayed! Jesus shouted for the demon to come out. At no time during that exorcism did he pray.
What happened to the bible having no contradictions? We have two very clear contradictions in this one sentence.
There is one paragraph toward the end of Mark 9 that I don't recall from Matthew. Jesus's disciples come to him and say that they stopped a man from casting out a demon in Jesus's name. Jesus says that they should not stop people from doing things in his name. Because, Jesus says, if anyone does anything in his name they will not lose their reward (I presume this means going to heaven). Why wouldn't Matthew have included this? Oh, that's right, because he says the exact opposite:
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' [Matthew 7:21-23]
Either Jesus's disciples are wildly misquoting him, or Jesus is a walking contradiction. Either way, biblical inerrancy is not looking good.
According to a recent AP poll, 41% of Americans expect Jesus's return within the next 50 years.
The 41 percent who believe in Jesus’s imminent return are the adherents to a fundamentalist kind of Christianity – a literal interpretation of the Bible. Everyone else is either a moderate or liberal Christian who doesn’t believe the Bible should be read literally, or are otherwise folks in other religions who have no reason to believe Jesus is God’s Son sent down to Earth as a sacrifice for our sins.
Whoa, slow down. First of all, nowhere in the bible does it say that Jesus will return between 2010 and 2050. Second, a literal interpretation of some verses (namely Matthew 24:34) would lead me to believe that Jesus (and the end of the world) was supposed to have already come. But at the same time, the observation holds that it's mostly fundamentalists who expect the imminent return of Jesus (this was actually a part of the poll). Why?
I'm sure there is some verse that I haven't read yet that says Jesus will return sometime in the future. But isn't that turning a blind eye to the verses that say he should have already come? Not to mention that there is no reason to expect Jesus's imminent return. If he hasn't come in 2000 years, why would he come now? There have been much more precarious times for Christianity than the present, and Jesus hasn't returned. Maybe it's just "wishful thinking"?
The survey also mentions that if you don't have a college education, you're three times as likely to believe that Jesus's return is imminent. Maybe I've confused "wishful thinking" with "not thinking".
(via Busy Buzz Blogging)