This is one just one post that is part of a point by point discussion regarding whether the New Testament writers were lying or not.  Each point being its own post.  All the points that I’ve published so far are found in this post: Are The New Testament Writers Lying? :  A Point By Point Discussion.  This is an ongoing discussion, so please be patient and com back often

Robin Harrison comments in blue
Dan Muhlenkamp in black

Point 6: The writers would not have any discrepancies in their stories.

Critics of the Bible also claim it is full of discrepancies and thus not dependable.  I contend that is a proof that it is not a lie.  If the authors got together and came up with this elaborate lie, and people were dying because they believed the lie, they would have all been extremely careful to get their stories straight.  It is almost unanimously agreed that Mark’s gospel was written first and used as a source by the other authors.  If my life depends on a conspiracy, and I have another witnesses’ written testimony in front of me, wouldn’t I make 100% sure my testimony aligns with the one I have in front of me?  Apparently the authors were much more concerned about telling what they believed to be true than keeping a conspiracy alive.

By the way, the Bible has many discrepancies, but no contradictions.  A discrepancy is when two or more stories appear to be different, but it is logically possible for them all to be true.  A contradiction is a situation where the stories are mutually exclusive.  An example is the story of the possessed men at the tombs.  One author writes only about one man, another says there were two.  Obviously if there are two, there is at least one, and no where does the former author say there was ONLY one man.  Thus it is possible that both authors are correct.  That is a discrepancy, but not a contradiction.

This aligns with the logic from the previous statement, but I will make another example to further my point. Let’s say that a group of men are suspects for a murder. It would be part of an interrogator’s job to determine if the story the group of men created was a lie or not. When the interrogator separates the suspects and questions them individually he discovers that aspects of their story do not line up.  The interrogator would never say “Oh, their stories have discrepancies so these men aren’t lying! After all, if they were lying they would have got their story straight before I started to take a closer look at it!”

Robin’s example scenario is true, but I don’t think it is not analogous with what occurred.  In crime investigation when more than one person is interrogated the investigators separate the suspects and do not allow them to know what the other suspect is saying.  They then use the discrepancies in their stories to prove they are lying.  That is not at all what occurred with the gospel writers.  Let me use the situation in Robin’s response, but make it analogous to what happened.

Let’s say I suspected 8 people of committing a bank robbery together and brought them all in for questioning.  I had two of them (Mark and Paul) write a witness statement.  I then took the witness statements and gave them to the remaining 6 suspects and left them have the statements while they wrote their own.  It seems to me, this is the complete opposite of what a normal crime investigator would do and what Robin portrays in his example.  In this situation, I think it would be reasonable to assume that someone trying to cover-up a crime would be very careful to make their own written testimony match up with the written testimony from their co-conspirators, since that testimony would be right in front of them.  And since this situation is exactly the opposite of that used in most criminal investigations, it appears only logical that the opposite conclusions would be made.  In this situation, because the last 6 witnesses had the testimony of the first two witnesses as a reference, discrepancies would indicate a desire to tell what one believed to be the truth, not the desire to cement a conspiracy.

I wrote a post explaining why I believe the New Testament is NOT a lie. I received 2 thoughtful responses from Thomas Muhr and Robin Harrison. Thomas’ response was shorter and more general, but very good. Robin’s response is a point by point essay. I believe each point and his comments are worth considerable discussion and decided to make each point its own post by merging the two papers and adding my comments. Additional comments by Robin or anyone else is encouraged. Links to all related discussions are in the discussion center post below.

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