from the ex-tian mailing list:
I was on the #christian channel on IRC for a bit yesterday, just seeing what was happening. They were asking all the newcomers "Are you a Christian or not?" and I said "used to be". They asked what I meant, and I told them I simply could not accept certain things in the Bible to be true. They then told me that the Bible is God's Word -- how else could a book be written over a period of 1,500 years on 3 continents and have no contradictions or errors? I commented that there were hundreds of contradictions, and that I would be happy to provide one or two. They agreed, so I began my discussion.
The example I used was Matthew's description of Jesus riding on two donkeys due to his misunderstanding of Hebrew. At first they tried to deny it ("Oh, it doesn't really say that!") but when I provided verses, they were pretty much forced to agree. One girl finally said (in one of the best lines of the whole discussion, IMO) "Wait a minute....how can someone ride on two donkeys at once?" I said, "That's precisely my point." They then tried to rationalize away the discrepancy, with things like "The error is only in the translation -- the original manuscript was correct", and "So what if they made a mistake on the donkeys -- the Bible is right on all the *important* issues!"
Pretty soon, they abandoned the "logical" arguments entirely and began to argue from faith. They said things like, "I don't need evidence -- I have faith" or "Just accept Jesus into your heart, and he'll clear up all the confusion for you". It was at that point that I thanked them for a lively discussion and logged off.
What really struck me was how everything they said, I was able to answer it. I no longer had that fear of "oh no...maybe this is the time they're right!" I'm also struck by how shallow their arguments seem now that I am away from the "Christian scene." I can remember when arguments like the ones I mentioned above seemed like iron-clad, invincible truths to me! All it took, it seems, was for me to step back from it and look at it objectively.
I've noticed this pattern in all discussions of biblical inerrancy with Xtians:
1) They attempt to prove the truth of their beliefs with "facts" and "evidence". Usually these "facts" are things their church has told them or they have read in a Christian apologetics book.
2) When these "facts" are refuted, they abandon them and turn to faith.
It's almost like a little kid who doesn't want to give up believing in Santa Claus. No matter how much evidence you give them that Santa is not real, they will refuse to give up believing. They will respond with something like, "All I know is that I believe in Santa, no matter what!" It seems to be the same with Christians.