Sunday, March 31, 2013

FAQ #8: Why should I believe the Bible if it is full of contradictions?

Question: Why should I believe the Bible (especially the four gospels) if they are full of contradictions?


  1. The existence of contradictions on secondary details does not invalidate the main story a source is trying to tell. For example, Roman histories are full of contradictions. The four accounts of Caesar's assassination are one example. Historians do not reject his assassination based on disagreements in the sources on details. In the same way, disagreement on the secondary details surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ does not invalidate his death and resurrection altogether. 
  2. Disagreements on the details of an event are routine in our lives. News articles sometimes provide slightly different information than other news articles. Eyewitnesses of car accidents often report conflicting details. This is another reason that disagreements on minor details does not in any way cast doubt on the larger story that is being reported. 
  3. Many supposed contradictions in the four Gospels are really not contradictions. They can be classified as differences between the accounts. Differences take place when there is no explicit disagreement between two sources, but one source omitted certain details that the other included. 
  4. For the difficult passages, many attempts at harmonization have been made, with a great deal of success. Some apparent contradictions can be resolved with relatively simple explanations. 
  5. Sometimes, existence of contradictions in secondary details actually serves to prove the larger story really happened. Contradictions in the details prove that the sources are somewhat independent, and are not conspiring to create false stories or rumors. 

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