In my book, 201 Things About Christianity You Probably Don’t Know (But Ought To), I give dozens of examples where the four official Christian gospels disagree with each other. ‘Luke’ even disagrees with himself (since he also wrote Acts of the Apostles).
Those who say G_d wrote or inspired the Bible are shooting themselves in the foot. Does G_d get its fact wrong or contradict itself? It seems so.
There are many possible reasons why the gospels frequently disagree; you may be able to think of a few of your own. They include:
- Chinese Whispers: the stories were passed down orally to each of the authors leading to distortions, exaggeration and inaccuracies.
- They each researched the stories separately and uncovered different facts.
- They selected those parts of the story which appealed to them, such as ‘Matthew’ preferring the myth of the Wise Men in the nativity stories and ‘Luke’ the shepherds.
- None of them had all the facts, being separated from the events by time, language and distance.
- They were more concerned with making theological points than getting the factual details right.
- Each gospel author had a different agenda and chose only those facts which fit.
- They used artistic licence to create a convincing argument and/or good story. In other words, they made some of it up!
Perhaps it’s all of the above!
Many years ago a journalist shared with me the guiding principle of his profession: ‘Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.’ The gospel authors were undoubtedly better journalists than historians! The evidence is right there in the pages of the New Testament itself.
©David Lawrence Preston, 25.8.2015
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Balboa Press, 2015