The third major way critics will try to claim a contradiction within the Biblical accounts, is to make the mistake I call making it "My Way or the Highway." Basically this means we take our modern biases and understanding of what we think writing should be and try to apply it to people writing in the ancient past. This is a little different than snubbing style, in that snubbing style usually ignores the intent of the author while My Way or the Highway forces accepted modern approaches as universals to which ancients were somehow supposed to adhere. Many times in these instances, there are facts in dispute – not merely perspective or idioms. The easiest of these to see is our first example: using modern definitions or classifications and forcing them on ancient writers.
Applying modern definitions to ancient textsThe history of the advancement of science has been fueled to a great degree by the Christian worldview. Christians knew God was a god of order and He would create an orderly world that would be consistent, knowable and classifiable. Because of this, they took to exploring their world, learning more about it, and sought to place this knowledge into categories. So, for example, scientists have developed a classification system for all living things known as biological taxonomy. Your pet dog is part of a larger group (known as a genus) called Canis, including wolves and coyotes. They are part of a larger family of animals that include jackals and foxes, which are still part of a larger grouping of carnivores: or meat-eating mammals.
This idea of grouping things together makes a lot of sense, but the precision and granularity we see now is a relatively recent invention. It has only being around for some 300 years or so.1 Yet it's a popular ruse to use scientific definitions that weren't even invented during Bible times to show that the Bible's in error. For example, some object to Leviticus 11:13 classifying a bat as one of the birds since bats are mammals. However, grouping animals by the fact that they have fur over the fact that they fly is purely arbitrary choice on our part, a choice that was made some 3000 years after Leviticus was written! This is in no way a mistake or contradiction, it's simply the critic trying to force a modern definition on a passage where the writer was using a completely different one.
2. Esposito, Lenny. "Does the hare really chew cud?" 6 April 2010