It turns out the Bible that many people wave at Athiests as proof is just plain… well… Wrong.

The BBC has a story that there is a version of the Bible 1,500 years old, which contradicts newer versions.

What is probably the oldest known Bible is being digitised, reuniting its scattered parts for the first time since its discovery 160 years ago. It is markedly different from its modern equivalent. What’s left out?

 The world’s oldest surviving Bible is in bits.

For 1,500 years, the Codex Sinaiticus lay undisturbed in a Sinai monastery, until it was found – or stolen, as the monks say – in 1844 and split between Egypt, Russia, Germany and Britain.

Now these different parts are to be united online and, from next July, anyone, anywhere in the world with internet access will be able to view the complete text and read a translation.

For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today’s bible.

In places it just plain contradicts the versions used now (continued below the break)

and it does not have crucial verses relating to the Resurrection.

Whoops.  Even the King James Version (KJV) cited as ‘definative’ by many evangelicals and fundementalists is only 400 years old.  However, possibly it is lucky that is laid unfound until the 19th century

Firstly, the Codex contains two extra books in the New Testament.

One is the little-known Shepherd of Hermas, written in Rome in the 2nd Century – the other, the Epistle of Barnabas. This goes out of its way to claim that it was the Jews, not the Romans, who killed Jesus, and is full of anti-Semitic kindling ready to be lit. “His blood be upon us,” Barnabas has the Jews cry.

Just what we need- more religeous tension.

Had this remained in subsequent versions, “the suffering of Jews in the subsequent centuries would, if possible, have been even worse”, says the distinguished New Testament scholar Professor Bart Ehrman.

Prof Ehrman read the Bible, and ended up a losing at least part of his faith

And although many of the other alterations and differences are minor, these may take some explaining for those who believe every word comes from God.

Faced with differing texts, which is the truly authentic one?

Mr Ehrman was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical until he read the original Greek texts and noticed some discrepancies.

The Bible we now use can’t be the inerrant word of God, he says, since what we have are the sometimes mistaken words copied by fallible scribes.

“When people ask me if the Bible is the word of God I answer ‘which Bible?'”

If the central tenent of your faith isn’t agreed upon

The Codex – and other early manuscripts – do not mention the ascension of Jesus into heaven, and omit key references to the Resurrection, which the Archbishop of Canterbury has said is essential for Christian belief.  [my italics]

you really do have problems.

The comments contain the usual mish mash of apologia, as well as a quote in the article itself

Many Christians have long accepted that, while the Bible is the authoritative word of God, it is not inerrant. Human hands always make mistakes.

“It should be regarded as a living text, something constantly changing as generation and generation tries to understand the mind of God,” says David Parker, a Christian working on digitising the Codex.

Which means what- its right but not correct? One comment “pejorative connotations of ‘fundamentalist’.” ignores what fundementalist means- someone who believes a religeous text is completely correct under all circumstances.  It isn’t our fault that fundementalists (Christian as well as Muslim) have acted so fundemental. Full article HERE.