Criticism of God’s word is nothing new. It was there in the beginning (Gen 3:1) and it lives on today. The ideas are always the same, just repackaged and recopied from someone else. Sometimes the tactic is simple mockery – taking a beautiful work created by someone else and flipping it onto its unbiblical head. It requires some dedication but little imagination. Case-in-point: the most popular visualization of “contradictions” from Project Reason is not much more than a re-hash of Chris Harrison’s original award-winning visualization of cross references.
Now, a crafty programmer, Daniel Taylor, has copied the exact same idea again and dressed it up with lots of interactivity at bibviz.com. Don’t get me wrong: I admire Mr. Taylor’s skills in creating such a site. In a very short time he has made every part clickable, searchable, and sharable. It’s a clean, easy-to-use design of commendable quality. Yet it’s thoroughly unoriginal.
This lack of creativity doesn’t deter the popularity of such things, however. Accolades can be found anywhere there are people debating religion on the internet as well as among the professional dataviz community at large. In the first week, BibleViz boasted over 370,000 page views from 160,000 visitors. This is due in part to a friendly media response (big surprise) from names like Gizmodo and Slate.
Charting the Bible’s contradictions: http://t.co/xPl9269cOx
— Slate (@Slate) August 24, 2013
The contradictions found among sites like the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible and Infidels.org (the data sources for this viz) are just a repackaging of centuries-old attacks. This thorough refutation of each alleged contradiction draws largely on a work produced in the 1600s. As long as they keep using the same worn-out claims, the least they could do is come up with a new way to visualize them.