April 28, 2011

Reasons I Believe — Part 4: Minutiae

Buona sera. At first, this was going to be a simple addendum to Part 1 of this series, but decided it would be a force fit instead of complementing the existing material. So, here we go with some new-ish material.

As I had stated before, if someone was going to simply make up a religion and write a holy book (a ludicrous idea even on the surface when applied to Christianity), they would not be clever enough to put in all sorts of details where people deny the faith, betray God, do dreadful things to each other, get severely disciplined by God and so on. That is, these details in the Bible add to the "ring of truth".

Know the expression, "The devil is in the details"? Well, details show lack of the either the devil or of conniving men. People will come up with a book of sayings and say that it is a "lost" Gospel. Those "gospels" were "lost" for a good reason: They stink. If someone wants to read one of those things, I recommend that they read the real Gospels first. Notice all sorts of details, including personalities and locations. Then notice the lack of details in the "lost" version.

I get the feeling of, "We just can't win" with some people. If the four real Gospel accounts were pretty much word-for-word copies of each other, then people would complain that they are just copies. Since the Gospels are not copies of each other for the most part (sure, some sharing took place, naturally), people will whine about the differences and pretend, "They're full of contradictions!" Talk to someone who knows about evidence and can tell you that different accounts and perspectives from witnesses are expected, and give a clearer picture of the whole story. The minutiae can add significant details.

There was a discussion on the April 24, 2011 podcast of Evidence 4 Faith that I found fascinating. They interviewed Dr. Tim McGrew of Western Michigan University (I have to spell it out, I lived in Kalamazoo for a few years). He was discussing the undesigned "coincidences" in the Bible.

Here is something he pointed out that I really liked. Luke 23.1-4 has Jesus being questioned by Pilate: "So Pilate asked Him, 'Are You the King of the Jews?' He answered him, 'You have said it.' Pilate then told the chief priests and the crowds, 'I find no grounds for charging this man.'"

Waitaminnit! Something is missing, here. But John 18.28-38 has some missing details. How about if I put some of this together for you?
So Pilate asked Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"

He answered him, "You have said it. Are you saying this on your own initiative, or have others told you about me?”

Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own people and your chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Then Pilate said, “So you are a king!”

Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Pilate then told the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no grounds for charging this man."

Looks like simplistic, knee-jerk reactions to dismiss the Gospel records are foolishness, huh? The harmony of the Gospels makes a great deal of sense for people who bother to check things out. If you want to listen to this Evidence 4 Faith podcast MP3, click here. And if you want a bit more, there is an interview on 4Truth on "Hidden Gems in Old Apologetics Literature".

Addendum: I'm still having fun here! On the Christian Heritage UK site, there are two audio downloads of Dr. Peter Williams that fit in very well with this article

By the way. A bit of advice for slanderous trolls: Make sure you know what you're talking about this time before you go running off at the mouth (or keyboard) again, so you don't make quite the fools of yourselves, capice?

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