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@Jonathon Byrd asked a perfectly legitimate question:

Has the Bible ever lied?

Jonathon has over 6k in reputation points, so clearly he isn't here for jokes or fooling around.

He truly wanted to know (as I do), has the Bible ever lied? As in is there irrefutable proof that the Bible lied about something.

Were the moderators just in a bad mood that day? Why was this question closed?

Like I said, Jonathon's 6k in reputation points are enough to convince anybody that he's a serious participant.

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The answers would depend too heavily on the assumptions the answerer brings to the table.

Compare, for example, Matthew 28:1-3 with Luke 24:1-4

Matthew 28:1-3 (NRSV)

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.

Luke 24:1-4 (NRSV)

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.

There are several differences in these short excerpts.

  • Matthew has one angel; Luke has two men
  • Matthew suggests the angel came down from heaven and rolled away the stone as the Marys approached; Luke suggests the stone had already been rolled aside
  • Matthew says the angel sat on the stone; Luke says the women entered the tomb before seeing anyone

Now some people will say that one or the other account is wrong (or that they both are). Does that count as a lie? In some people's eyes it does.

But others say there is nothing in these accounts that can't be reconciled; they each provide a piece of the story, and by reading them together we get the whole story.

Yet others say these are just minor details, and you shouldn't expect the gospels to agree on every minor detail. With eyewitness testimony in court, too much agreement would be seen as collusion; the minor differences give us confidence that we are dealing with different eyewitness accounts.

Now maybe the question would get one answer from each of these perspectives, but that doesn't fit the Stack Exchange format. Questions are expected to have one single best answer. Someone could combine all the perspectives into a single answer, but it still wouldn't really answer the question. The best it could do is give everyone support for what they already think.

  • What a great answer. Thanks, Bruce. – Jim G. Feb 29 '12 at 8:18
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Lol look at all of those diamonds.

That question is from the very early days of this site before there actually were moderators. It was closed by what was the community at the time (now 4 of the five of us who cast close votes are moderators..look at that). If it had been closed by an actual mod fewer than 5 names would show or only the final name would have a diamond next to it.

A lot of that first few weeks was spent trying to figure out what was on topic and what was off. Also what constituted a constructive question. At the time we felt that that particular question was not constructive, I still largely feel that way.

This is probably the most salient point from the comment discussion and highlights the major reason why it was closed

I'm going to have to say that this is not constructive. This is a question that will lead solely to debate. If I say "No", then others will ask to prove it. If I say "Yes" with examples, then others will argue the examples.

Also another point, while reputation is a reflection of standing in a community it is not a good measure for judging the standing of questions. Sure a high rep user might get a bit of a benefit of a doubt, but it does not mean that all of the questions they ask should be open.

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    +1: I've asked some stinkers on BH, where I'm the top user on the entire site! The comments tend to be: "Um. Are you sure that's a good question?" rather than "This is not a good question." But that's about it. Reputation most strongly correlates to activity. ;-) – Jon Ericson Feb 29 '12 at 18:49

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