Dr. Richard Carrier recently published a comprehensive article on Mark 16:9-20. If you’re not aware, these final verses in Mark are unquestionably a later interpolation, i.e., falsification or forgery. This is a pretty devastating verdict on the Bible’s own claim of divine inspiration.
Some Christians, no doubt, will reject this verdict, so allow me to present an even more devastating proof. If you tally up the number of verses in Mark, less the interpolation, what do you get? 666! That number, of course, is the Mark of the Beast (no pun intended), aka, Satan! Satan has provided an unmistakable sign of his influence on the New Testament! Muslims were right all along; the Bible is corrupted, and not just be its authors, but by the Lord of the Underworld himself.
This second “proof” is made completely tongue-in-cheek, of course, but there are many Christians who take great stock in biblical numbers. Christian end-times prophecy is particularly indebted to creative numerological exegesis, yet Mark’s verse count is certainly as clear-cut, if not more so, than anything they’ve come up with. Will they thus renounce the Bible? Don’t hold your breath.
Nonetheless, whether it’s damning evidence or evidence of damnation, many Christians will shrug their shoulders and ask, “So what?” Inerrancy is of no great concern to them, and I gotta say, that confuses me a lot. If the creator of the universe’s main way of getting you to know him was through a book – which by itself is fraught with problems – you’d think he’d take great care to ensure its integrity. That he didn’t is a huge gimme point for Bible skepticism. It opens the door to legitimate doubt about any Biblical claim. Or, as one apologist website put it even more starkly:
The issue is not simply “Does the Bible have a mistake?” but “Can God make a mistake?” If the Bible contains factual errors, then God is not omniscient and is capable of making errors Himself. If the Bible contains misinformation, then God is not truthful but is instead a liar. If the Bible contains contradictions, then God is the author of confusion. In other words, if biblical inerrancy is not true, then God is not God.
Any Christian who denies inerrancy care to refute such logic? (Bonus question: What is your method for delineating between errant and inerrant scripture?)