How to prove the Bible is wrong

Yes, it can be done. Hard core, mathematical proof. And it's really simple. And you use the Bible to do it.

Read 1 Kings 7 verse 23. It reads:

    And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
If you read that carefully, you can see that this is a description of pi. A *wrong* description of pi. It gives pi as 30/10 or 3, which is *WAY* off for any decent calculation. I mean, the Bible is the word of God, right? Are you telling me God couldn't figure out what pi was?

I find this doesn't work on non-scientific Christians; but then, most scientifc Christians aren't fundies.

See also: pi and A brief history of pi.

The Bible is a book. Part old laws, part songs, part copies of letters written to certain countries, and part fables. Some of it is historical.. Kings, rulers of the land, what was going on with part of civilization at that time. All of this, passed down, put on paper by people years, sometimes centuries later. Then translated poorly, edited, and edited some more.

I think it is silly to try to "prove" a book wrong. Some look at it as literature. Even if one looks at it as a spiritual handbook of sorts, they hopefully remember it was something created by man. "God's word", interpreted by man, and those who are Christian should know. if you are "Christian" you worship God, and not a creation of man.
If you think about the last time you used cubits to measure something - viz., the last time you used your own body parts as a yardstick...

For me, it was about fitting furniture in a doorway. The most crucial time happened in a rental lot, where I had to measure a van by counting the number of times I could stand next to it with my arms outstretched plus one time with one arm akimbo: I had to see if some sculptures would fit inside.

In both cases it worked well enough, but if it had come down to a matter of inches I would have been sure to bring a tape measure.

Technically speaking, what you're talking about is rounding. Cubits are good for "close enough" measures; they didn't count fractional cubits.

(Speaking as "scientifically thinking Christian" here =)

I agree with above - yes, the Bible has flaws. But one mistake - or several ones, actually - won't make it any more "wrong" in the parts it is actually right. Actually, better node title would be "How to prove the Bible is just a book".

Personally, I've used the 1 Kings 7 to tell the so-called "fundamentalist loons" that the Bible is just a, duh, book written by mortals under divine inspiration. Actually, my religions teacher used to say just that. (I'm Lutheran, in case that matters, not a Chicken. =) Some Christians have different idea - some more realistic than others - about the origin of the content. But as far as research of history can show, it was written by people.

What I usually try to tell them is that yes, Bible has flaws; it has outright errors everyone can see (1 Kings 7 clearly proves that either Pentium or bureaucracy did exist at that time - j/k =), it has some parts that defy logic (and I'm not speaking of divine miracles here!) such as things that seem to be different in other places.

Not to even mention some people think of putting it into "not really for kids" shelf. Some of the stuff clearly would be inappropriate for children even by the said loon's definitions, yet they conviniently ignore such details. (See Ezekiel 23:19-20 to see what I mean with "not really for kids"=)

Generally: It's just a book. Yes, it's a really, really good book, but it's just a book, not the ultimate book. For if it would be perfect, people wouldn't have millions of different interpretations of it that cause bloodshed! =)

Now, I'm not going to pollute the nodespace with my remarks any further. I'll return to my factual noding...

That's a rather odd interpretation, evan927.

It's rather important to notice these dimensions are not of a circle but of a rather large tub. Its circumference will not be an 'ideal' dimensionless line, but a ring with a sizable width, because there's no way anything less-than-paper-thin is going to hold in that much water.

Since a circumference is pi times the diameter, a 'pure' circle would be 10*pi cubits, which is roughly 31.4. Now, since the line going around our pool is 30 cubits, it represents a smaller circle--30/pi in diameter or roughly 9.55...

Given that, the diameter of the outside of the 'molten sea'--from "edge to edge", in the original--is about half a cubit shorter than the line we're drawing around it, meaning the wall around our pool is at least a quarter of a cubit thick (roughly four and a half inches, assuming an eighteen-inch cubit).

1 Kings 7:26 says "And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths."

A handbreadth is roughly four inches wide. So I don't see what this "pi = 3" business is about.

Oh, and I agree with WWWWolf on this. It's entirely a Christian idea that either the entire Bible is true or the entirety is false. Logically there's nothing to prevent "some" of it from being false and "some" of it from being true.

I'll summarize this, since it seems some have missed it: The "line around" the sea is not measuring the same circle as its length from one brim to the other. This can be done because the brim is a ring and not a circle.

I hate to add to this node. I mean, I know I shouldn't, but I've recently overheard a similar argument in which I had to say:

The bible is the word of god, if you're a fundie. Word != Letter, in fact the bible was passed on verbally for hundereds of generations. That which went unsaid was recorded in pictures, so splitting hairs about numbers is like arguing over what the Lucky Charms manufacturers must feel if the box contains twice as many marshmallow hearts as it does rainbows.
To the fundies: it's the message that counts, not the literate "facts."

To any people with a bit more sense, Christians and Non-Christians alike: the picture bit continued well into the new testament. Jesus rising from the dead is (according to many modern theologists) analogous to the spirit of his life persisting after his physical demise. This - as far as I can reason - was taken and then garnished by his followers. At the least, we know that it's pointless to carry on about the details of the Bible. If you've ever read the thing, you know it's the big picture that counts...
I know a girl who is -uhm- "outgoing" in a plethora of ways, prideful and all that, but she picks on a friend of mine for mistakenly eating chicken on Friday during lent. He's abstinent, humble and a friend to all.

It's the message that counts, not the literate "facts."

1 Kings 7:23 He (Solomon) made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim (diameter = 10) and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. (circumference = 30).

circumference = Pi * diameter
30 = Pi * 10
Pi = 3

Many have looked at this verse and concluded that since it says Pi = 3, when clearly it does not, the Bible cannot possibly be the infallible word of God.

But is this what it really says?

The word used for circumference (line) has two letters in Hebrew, but this one was written with a third letter. Hebrew has no digits; all letters do double-duty as numbers. If you then use the ratio formed by the numeric values of this odd form of line with the normal form, you get:

(5 + 6 + 100) / (6 + 100)
111 / 106

Multiply this by the false number given for Pi:

3 * 1.047169811 = 3.141509434
PI is approximately 3.141592654, giving us an error of .00264896181%, which is exceedingly small, and probably more than accurate enough for the measurement tools of that time (around 1000 BC).

This information was gleaned and rephrased from

Even if you don't understand how the Hebrews represented their numbers or know the accuracy of their tools, it's still easy to see why it would be fallacious to try to "disprove the Bible" using 1 Kings 7:23.

The verse in question says (according to the Everything King James Bible):

7:23 And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
Each of those measurements is only represented with one significant digit. Thus any calculations made with those figures would properly be constrained to one significant digit as well. And Pi to one significant digit equals 3.

This actually makes a lot of sense: When I am measuring something with a ruler, I usually round off to the nearest unit. This would be particularly true if I were measuring a sea of molten metal.

The difficulty is encountered that the biblical value of pi of 3 is so grossly inaccurate that it argues against confidence in the best selling Book of all time. But it would be impossible to expect a Perfect Author of the Bible to attempt to set down a perfect expression of pi. If one expected that of the Perfect Author, the question would be what would be the degree of accuracy that could be agreed on between the reader and Author?

How long a string of decimals would be expected of the Author to satisfy one's desire for superior intellect and perfect numerousity? Five decimal places? Five Million decimal places? Pi is an irrational number. Any length of string of decimals would be inaccurate.

No matter the length of the decimal string, even were it to extend to the moon, it would come no closer to the accuracy demanded of the Author by the skeptic. So to be true to Himself the Author would deal in integers to admit the ever present need of rounding off. The integer three is a useful analog of pi and as near to perfection as any possible expression or the Bible would be an endless work ending on the note if 1 Kings 7 about pi. It would then extend off into an infinity of pages of digits. The Word of God is perfect but human language and numerousity are ever imperfect. And perhaps there is in Hebrew no expression for 'and so on' such as '...'

The Bible does not say or imply that pi is three.

2 Chronicles 4

2. Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.

5. And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.

The diameter was measured from brim to brim, not from edge to edge, so the circumference would be slightly longer at the brim than the circumference of the actual sea. All you would need is to have each brim being about 4 inches wide (which is quite reasonable for a sea of 10 cubits in diameter) and the math would work out perfectly. 30 cubits divided by pi is approximately 9.55 cubits, so the total width of the two brims added together would be about .45 cubits. .45 cubits would be approximately 8 inches (with a cubit being 18 inches). So that would make the width of each brim about 4 inches. So if you subtract the widths of the two brims, you have the sea itself being about 9.55 cubits in diameter, which, multiplied by pi would give you 30 cubits.

The fact that the sea was measured from brim to brim is quite often overlooked, which is what makes the math look wrong. But when they are added to the equation (or rather, subtracted from it), it makes the math exactly right.

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