They Strain Out a Gnat and Swallow a Camel

Jesus spoke of those who strain out gnats and swallow camels (Matthew 23:24).

Here are a couple of current-day examples:

Jeffrey Small, author of The Breath of God, recently wrote a piece for the Huffington Post titled The Bible: History or Myth?  In it he said, “The Bible…is full of inconsistencies. How can it be an accurate historical record, when the various books contradict each other?”  He goes on to cite as his proof a quote from University of North Carolina professor Bart D. Ehrman, taken from a debate transcript [I used to provide a hyperlink to the full transcript, but the source is no longer maintaining that web page – July 30, 2014.]:

“Just take the death of Jesus. What day did Jesus die on and what time of day? Did he die on the day before the Passover meal was eaten, as John explicitly says, or did he die after it was eaten, as Mark explicitly says? Did he die at noon, as in John, or at 9 a.m., as in Mark? Did Jesus carry his cross the entire way himself or did Simon of Cyrene carry his cross? It depends which Gospel you read. Did both robbers mock Jesus on the cross or did only one of them mock him and the other come to his defense? It depends which Gospel you read. Did the curtain in the temple rip in half before Jesus died or after he died? It depends which Gospel you read … Or take the accounts of the resurrection. Who went to the tomb on the third day? Was it Mary alone or was it Mary with other women? If it was Mary with other women, how many other women were there, which ones were they, and what were their names? Was the stone rolled away before they got there or not? What did they see in the tomb? Did they see a man, did they see two men, or did they see an angel? It depends which account you read.”

You don’t even have to examine these so-called discrepancies to see that they are picayune in light of unanimous agreement among the gospel writers about the major facts of  the narrative: that Jesus was crucified by people and raised from the dead by God.  Moreover, if you were to examine each of Ehrman’s assertions you would find that there is reasonable reconciliation of such details where he sees only contradictions.

People who deny the moon landing or affirm a flat earth do so on just the kind of reasoning that Small and Ehrman use here.  That is, they major on the minors.

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