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Moonobserver

The collusion argument

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Christian apologists try to explain away the inconsistencies in the Christian scriptures, especially the resurrection accounts, by claiming that they just show the writers not to have been in collusion with each other. 

 

What, then, are we to make of Mark 14:55-56?

"And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death and found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their witness did not agree together."

 

We're not told what those witnesses said. So if inconsistency just rules out collusion, why couldn't it be assumed that those witnesses just "weren't in collusion"?

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Also to note that not only are the testimonies not in collusion - despite the fact that scholars say that a huge portion of the 3 synoptic gospels are the same and likely have the same single source.... so much for separate eye witness testimony, but the testimonies contradict each other. They have Jesus in multiple places at once doing different things. In a court you'd rule that the witnesses were unsatisfactory to prove the case.

 

It's like witness one saying there was a car crash, no people were injured and the driver fled the scene. Another says there was a car crash - but it was several streets over and the driver sat on the roof. Another says there was a car crash and several people were hit. The final witness says there was a huge earthquake which caused the car crash and the driver disappeared in a blaze of light.

 

But then you find out that none of these witnesses were actually there. They had heard it from others and were relaying the story some 30-70 years later. At this point you'd be justified in not paying any attention to the conflicting car crash story at all.

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Not sure about the rest of the world, but American christians are only just now learning what the word "collusion" means from the president they voted into office.  😎

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5 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Not sure about the rest of the world, but American christians are only just now learning what the word "collusion" means from the president they voted into office.  😎

Well, the one the Electoral College picked after he lost the popular vote, anyway....

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I think the word would be "collaboration."

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2 hours ago, florduh said:

I think the word would be "collaboration."

Collude: "cooperate in a secret or unlawful way in order to deceive or gain advantage over others" (google)

 

That looks like a good fit to me.

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In comes the Trump-supporting PoC (and whatever other intersectional labels I can "appropriate") Jesus-hating ex-Christian. All right, I think Trump is the greatest thing to happen to this nation since we invented the nuclear bomb. Oh yeah, I also support banning Muslims (no, really, I actually think we should prevent Muslims from entering the United States and I am not joking or trolling). Well, with my unnecessary and socially awkward mention of personal politics out of the way, let's get back to the far more important topic at hand...

 

LF brought up the issue of the contradictory nature of the synoptic Gospels. One of the first Biblical contradictions that I noticed without the assistance of the Internet was the a-chronological nature of the gospels. Within the synoptic gospels, even a casual reader will notice that Matthew often reports Jesus' various sermons and miracles in a dfferent order than Mark. The Bible commentaries I consulted dismissed this by suggesting that the Gospels are not written in a purely chronological fashion. This explanation, in my opinion, is blatent sophistry. Modern apologists in the vein of Lee Strobel suggest that we apply the same standards to the Gospels that we would to a criminal court case, suggesting that the Gospels meet the standard of "beyond reasonable doubt." If one witness in a murder trial said that Matthew expressed a desire to kill Mark's wife after they had watched the football game, while Luke, who was in the room, testified that this conversation took place before the football game, then no rational jury would ever convict Matthew of murder since the accounts of his confession do not have consistent details. Yet we are expected to believe, on the basis of similarly shoddy evidence, that Jesus will send us to eternal hell unless we renounce our false gods and follow him. I'm not even sure that the Gospels meet the standard of preponderance of the evidence.

 

One of the most cavalier claims made by modern apologists is that Jesus cleansed the temple at the beginning and the end of his ministry. They arrive at this conclusion by noting that in the synoptic Gospels, Jesus performs this act at the end of his ministry, while in the synoptic Gospels it occurs at the beginning. Occam's razor would dictate that this discrepancy originates from the four Gospels being written by separate authors who borrowed from a common legend, with Matthew, Luke, and much later John "colluding" with Mark by referencing his much earlier Gospel.

 

We needn't even apply a modern standard to the Gospels. The Old Testament provides us with an analogous dilemma, in that the books of 1 and 2 Kings were written prior to the Israelite exile, whereas 1 and 2 Chronicles were written after the fact. The discrepancies between these two accounts consist of the ages and reigns of certain kings, and the question of the impetus for King David's ordering of a census to be taken of Israel (specifically whether it was his own choice, or was inspired by Satan). These Biblical accounts don't match perfectly, but from my time as a devout Christian I don't recall encountering such glaring discrepancies as what we find in the New Testament.

 

It is noteworthy that Christians cannot provide a consistent answer on how many times the cock crowed before Peter denied Jesus three times. It is because they are working with contradictory eyewitness acounts. The Gospels are a mess, and cannot withstand the scrutiny of critical observers, either ancient or modern. And yet these people would have us give over our souls to Jesus on the basis of such poor evidence.

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