When confronted with the plethora of discrepancies in the four Gospels, many Christians trot out the “Eyewitness Reports to a Car Accident” analogy:
“The authors of the Bible were human beings. God didn’t dictate their stories. There are, therefore, bound to be a few minor discrepancies as each author recounted his personal experience of the event. These discrepancies are actually reassuring as they rule out any collusion among the authors!”
Let’s check this out. Can the four Resurrection accounts in the Gospels be compared to four different eyewitnesses recounting what they saw about the same “car accident” (the Resurrection of Jesus = the car accident)? Here we go:
What information do all four eyewitnesses agree upon which a prosecutor could present to a judge in a court of law:
Location of accident: Jerusalem.
Day, month, and year of accident: sometime in the spring in the year 30 AD…or 33 AD…at Passover.
Description of accident: (not available)
Judge: What do you mean, “There is no description of the accident”? I thought you said there were four eyewitnesses!
Prosecutor: Well, Your Honor, none of the witnesses actually saw the accident (resurrection). They only saw the aftermath of the accident. They saw the wrecked car (the tomb) and they say that later in the day they saw the driver walking around alive; he even ate a broiled fish lunch with them; but none of them saw the accident itself.
Judge: Good grief. Ok. So all four eyewitnesses saw the empty car and the driver alive again?
Prosecutor: No, Your Honor. Actually, only two of the witnesses saw the aftermath of this accident and the deceased alive again later in the day. The other two witnesses state that they both received their information from “eyewitnesses”…
Judge: to the accident?
Prosecutor: No, to the aftermath of the accident. But these two witnesses are unable to specify exactly WHO these eyewitnesses are.
Judge: What?? So all these two guys have to offer is hearsay? I will not allow their testimony in my court!
So what about the other two witnesses? Do their stories corroborate?
Prosecutor: Well, the remaining witnesses are Matthew and John. They both allege that they were present…at the aftermath of the accident. Both their stories have the basic facts…about the aftermath of the accident…in agreement, but there are some major discrepancies.
Judge: Like what?
Prosecutor: Well, they both have this woman Mary being the first person to find the empty car but the details from there are wildly different. One says Mary was told by ‘angels’ that the driver of the car had been brought back to life and the other says that this Mary was told this incredible fact by the driver himself, in person.
Judge: But they both saw Mary find the empty car?
Prosecutor: No…Mary must have told them that.
Judge: So this Mary told them she was the first to find the empty car but then gives each one of them a different story of what happened next?? Sounds like a very unreliable witness. What else?
Prosecutor: Well, this Matthew character seems to know some things that are pretty strange.
Judge: Such as?
Prosecutor: Well, Matthew says that three days before the car accident, a bunch of dead people were reanimated back to life in their graves, but, they didn’t come out of their graves until the exact minute of the car accident. He also claims that the owners of the car had plotted with the police to give a falsified report of the cause of the accident.
Judge: And how on earth does he claim to know all this?
Prosecutor: He says that God told him, Your Honor.
And the other witness, John, says the same thing about some of the details in his testimony…
Judge: What?? GOD told them?
Are you telling me that these two guys believe that God told them secret details of this car accident, details that no human could possibly know, but yet God couldn’t keep the rest of the details straight in their two testimonies???
Get these jokers out of my court!