21 September 2011

Women and the Bible: An analysis by book

Just one more analysis before I take a break for a few days.

I should mention, in case you haven't already noticed, that when I say "Women," I mean "Insults to women, misogyny, etc." The Bible doesn't have much nice to say about women, but when it does, I put it in the "Good Stuff." The same is true for the other categories, except for "Interpretation" and "Sex."

Here is the overall plot.

First Corinthians has the most insults to women in the New Testament, while Genesis, Leviticus, and Ezekiel have the most in the Old.

The Women Index is defined in the usual way -- Insults per 100 verses.

First Timothy, Titus, and First Peter have the highest WI in the New Testament, and Hosea is highest in the Old.

Here is the log-log plot for Women.

I'll finish the analyses next week when I get back.

Biblical Sex: An analysis by book

I know, I said injustice was next, but the Family Values analysis got me thinking about sex. So that's what I'm doing now.

As you can see, there's not much sex in the New Testament. We've got the whore of Babylon in Revelation, Paul saying there's no time for sex because Jesus is coming in 1 Corinthians, and Jesus telling us to cut off whatever body part causes us to commit adultery in our hearts in Matthew. But that's about it.

No, for sex, stick with the Old Testament. The Song of Solomon, Genesis, Leviticus, and Ezekiel will keep you busy for a lifetime.

The Sex Index is defined in the usual way (Sexual encounters per 100 verses).

I think we have a winner here. Nothing beats the Song of Solomon for sex.

Biblical Family Values: An analysis by book

Here are the family values plots.

Matthew and Luke have the most Family Values in the New Testament and Genesis does in the Old.

And here's how it looks when size is accounted for. (Family Values Index is the number of Family Values per 100 verses.)

First Peter takes the FVI prize in the New Testament and Hosea, Esther, and Ruth win the Old Testament's gold, silver, and bronze Family Values medals.

And here is the log-log plot (minus the books with no family values).

Next: Injustice.

Cruelty in the Bible: An analysis by book

Here are the plots for Cruelty.

Revelation and Leviticus have the most cruelties in the New and Old Testaments, respectively. But notice that there are a few cruelty-free books in each. These won't show up in the log-log plot, since it is bad luck to take the log of zero.

Here is a plot of the Cruelty Index, which is defined in the usual way (Cruelties / 100 verses).

Revelation and Leviticus stay in first place even after adjusting for their relatively large sizes. These two are blood-red with cruelty.

And here's the log-log plot (without the cruelty-free books).

Next up: Family Values.

Contradictions in the Bible: An analysis by book

I promised in my last post that I would create and analyze a Boring Index for the books of the Bible, and I'll to get to that. But first, I thought I'd go through the categories in the SAB and do unto them as I did to the absurdities. So here it is for the contradictions.
(Thanks for the suggestions in the comments on the plots.)

First I'll plot the number of contradictions in each book by testament.

Notice that the gospels have the most contradictions in the New Testament, as does Genesis in the Old. No big surprise there. But they are also rather big books. What happens if we take size into account?

We can do that with the Contradiction Index, which is just the number of contradictions per 100 verses. Here's what that looks like.

There are some surprises here. James is the most contradictory book of the New Testament, with Malachi taking the gold in the Old.

And here's a log-log plot of the number of contradictions versus the number of verses.

And now on to cruelty!

20 September 2011

One Last Look at the Absurdities

In the comments, Adam suggested that I do a log-log plot of the absurdity data, which was an excellent idea. It separates the mass of points involving the small books of the Bible and tames down the big ones.

Here's the result with some of the more interesting books identified.
(Red = New Testament, Black = Old Testament)

Thanks Adam!

Another Look at the Absurdities in the Bible

Some of you were probably bothered by my last post on absurdities. Regression analysis is lots of fun, but what you really wanted was a Cleveland dot chart that would show at a glance the total number of absurdities in each book of the Bible. So I decided to make one for you.

So it turns out that Luke has the most absurdities in the New Testament, with Revelation a close second. Luke didn't show up as an outlier in the regression analysis since it also has the most verses in the New Testament.

What we need is an Absurdity Index that will take into account the number of absurdities and the number of verses.

And here's what I came up with.

Absurdity Index = 100 * Number of Absurdities / Number of Verses

Which is the number of absurdities per 100 verses.

Here's the Absurdity Index dot chart.

Now we see that Revelation is the clear winner for the New Testament, but Leviticus only gets the Old Testament's bronze medal for Absurdity. The little books of Jonah and Haggai are the most absurd, as measured by the Absurdity Index.

And what about the book of Psalms? It looked like a low outlier in the regression analysis, but now it's buried near the bottom with a bunch little books. Ezra and Nehemiah have the lowest AIs, but that's not because they're good; it's because they are so damned boring.

Which will be the topic of my next Biblical Statistics post: The Boring Index.

19 September 2011

Helping Believers Resolve Contradictions: A Biblically Correct Approach

Up to now I've mostly ignored contradictions. Oh, I list them, alright, but I don't focus on them, because they seem to me to be the least of the Bible's problems. Deuteronomy 13:6-10 is disgusting to everyone that reads it. And believers know better than to try to defend it or any of the thousands of other similarly unjustifiable passages. They focus on the contradictions instead.

And I've never seen a contradiction that a believer can't explain away in one way or another. Rarely, however, is a contradiction actually resolved with a straight answer.

So I've decided to help them out. I'm going to try to find Biblically Correct answers to all of the contradictions that I've listed. (They'll be given at the bottom of each contradiction.)

But first, I'll explain my approach. I begin with the believer's most sacred assumption, as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof" etc.

So when scriptures disagree, I'll try to resolve the disagreement by using the scriptures themselves. I'll begin by listing the passages that favor each side of the contradiction. Then I'll count the number on each side and select the Biblically Correct answer by determining which side has the highest number of divinely inspired passages. Let the Holy Ghost vote on it, so to speak.

That should work for most contradictions, but what happens with a tie?

I don't have a simple answer to that, except to say that I will try to find a Biblically Correct way to resolve God's disagreement with himself.

So let's get started. Here is the first contradiction on the list.

How many men did the chief of David's captains kill?
2 Samuel 23:8
These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. (KJV)

These are the names of David's mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. (NIV)

These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshe'beth a Tah-che'monite; he was chief of the three; he wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he slew at one time. (RSV)
1 Chronicles 11:11
And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time. (KJV)

this is the list of David's mighty men: Jashobeam, a Hacmonite, was chief of the officers; he raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. (NIV)

This is an account of David's mighty men: Jasho'be-am, a Hach'monite, was chief of the three; he wielded his spear against three hundred whom he slew at one time. (RSV)

Note from the Oxford Annotated Bible for 2 Samuel 23:8-11: Josheb-basshebeth a Tachemonite is an error of a copyist; 1 Chr 11.11 has Jashobeam a Hachmonite. It has been proposed that the man's original name was Ishbaal (see 2.8 n. and 11.14-25 n.).

So according to the Oxford Annotated Bible, Jashobeam and Josheb-basshe'beth (and Ishbaal) are different names for the same person.

Darn! Wouldn't you know it? The very first contradiction is a tie. First Chronicles says one thing and Second Samuel another. How will we ever know how many guys old what's-his-name impaled on his spear? This is important stuff, too. God wants us to know the answer. That's why he put it in the Bible -- twice.

Well, luckily when different versions of the same story are told in 1 Chronicles and 2 Samuel, we know which divinely inspired story to believe. First Chronicles was written several centuries after Second Samuel and the Chronicler used 2 Samuel as a source, so any conflict between them is easily resolved. The Biblically Correct answer is from 2 Samuel.

And just like that, the first contradiction is resolved. The answer is 800.

Wasn't that fun?

18 September 2011

Absurdities in the Bible: An analysis by book

Now that I've completed another revision of the SAB, I thought I'd get back to everyone's favorite subject: Bible statistics.

One of the categories in the SAB is absurdities, and the current list has a total of 2165, which is more than any other biblical category. The list changes all the time, though, as I find more fun stuff in the Bible. But if I wait until it's finished to do an analysis, an analysis will never get done.

Now I'm sure you often ask yourself the question, "Which book in the Bible is the most absurd?" We all do. It can make you crazier than a Tea Party presidential candidate if you're not careful.

So let's try to answer it. We can begin by plotting the total number of absurdities in each book of the Bible versus the number of verses in the book. Here's the resulting graph.

The graph tells us a few things right away.

  1. Leviticus has the most absurdities (158).

  2. There are three books that have an unusual number of absurdities for their sizes. Two high (Revelation and Leviticus) and one low (Psalms).

  3. The number of absurdities increases with the number of verses in a more or less linear fashion. (The line on the graph is the zero intercept least squares regression model for the data after removing the three outliers.
    y = 0.0651 x, R2 = 0.9049.)

Since I knew some of you would ask for it, I repeated the analysis for each testament separately. Here's the graph for the Old.
(Model, outliers excluded: y = 0.0617 x, R2 = 0.8934)

And here's the New.
(Model, outlier excluded: y = 0.0770 x, R2 = 0.9622)

The separate models are similar to each other and to the combined model. The same outliers are present and the coefficients are of nearly equal magnitude. So that leaves us with this:

  1. Leviticus is the most absurd book in the Old Testament and Revelation is in the New. And the book of Psalms seems abnormally normal for such a large biblical book.

  2. Generally we can expect to find about 6.5 absurdities in each 100 verses of the Bible.

OK. But which book is the weirdest? Leviticus or Revelation?

Well, here are their numbers.

Absurdities Verses Absurdities per 100 verses
Leviticus 158 859 18.4
Revelation 94 404 23.3

So I guess I'd go with Revelation.

13 September 2011

2 Nephi 7-9: Tomorrow is a Latter Day

Jacob takes a break from his preaching (again) by throwing in a few more chapters from Isaiah so that 2400 years later the true (LDS) church will know the covenants that God has covenanted with the Jews.
And now, my beloved brethren, I have read these things that ye might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel. That he has spoken unto the Jews ... until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church. 2 Nephi 9:1-2
But I'm going to skip all that. Isaiah sucks (the breasts of kings).

After the Isaiah break, Jacob returned to his 19th century, frontier American, Protestant sermon, which he delivered to the Nephites circa 550 BCE, warning them that they'll all burn in hell unless they repent, believe, and be baptized in the name of someone (Jesus H. Christ) who will not exist for another six centuries or so.
If they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name ... they must be damned [to] hell ... the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. 2 Nephi 9:24-26
Then he takes off all his clothes and shakes them in front of his brethren, exposing himself in all of his glorious blood-free brightness to God's all-searching eye.
Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray ... God ... view me with his all-searching eye ... that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood. 2 Nephi 9:44
After that Jacob is not only naked, he's also a bit tired, so he'll finish his sermon tomorrow.
And now, my brethren, I would speak unto you more; but on the morrow I will declare unto you the remainder of my words. Amen. 2 Nephi 9:54
Tomorrow is a Latter Day.

Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next Episode: 2 Nephi 10: Wicked Jews, Blessed Gentiles, and a Completely Mormon America (with a Mormon president)