Many people doubt or even deny that Jesus rose from the dead because they think the accounts of the Resurrection in the Bible are filled with contradictions. Through a parable, this post shows how that even if the so-called contradictions were true contradictions, which they are not, the Resurrection would not automatically be disproved.
Four part-time workers in the shipping department of a large company are working together in the warehouse. Through an intercom message, I and another worker, Jim, are called into the manager’s office. Two other workers at our work station, Joe and Sam, tell us before we leave that they hope everything goes ok.
In the meeting, the manager strongly chides me about my work. At one point, he calls in my work supervisor, Frank. Frank also briefly reproves me and then leaves. The manager then calls in Joe from the back and continues to chide me in front of Jim and Joe. The meeting ends.
Jim goes back and says to Sam, who was not in the meeting at all, that the manager really let me have it. Joe, who only came to the meeting later, comes back after some time and also says to Sam that the manager really let me have it.
Later, I come back and tell Sam that both the manager and my work supervisor really let me have it. When I get home that evening, I tell my roommate that my manager really let me have it at work today.
Sam received three reports of what happened at the meeting. Jim said to him that the manager let me have it, but did not mention that the work supervisor was also there for part of the time. Jim knew that information, but chose for whatever reason not to mention it.
If asked about a second person, Joe would say that only the manager was there at the meeting when he was there. But a second person was in fact there earlier and left prior to Joe’s arrival.
To Sam, I chose to give a more complete statement by saying that two people chided me. Focusing on the manager, I could have just as legitimately told him that my manager chided me in the meeting. To my roommate, I chose to report that I was chided by the one who was the most important. Because I did not say in the first report that I was chided in the meeting by only one person, my statements are not contradictory.
Sam would not be justified in seeing a contradiction in the reports that he received from Jim, Joe, and me. My roommate would not be justified in thinking that I had lied to him because I told him that my manager had chided me that day.
The differing reports given by the different workers and me to different people at different times do not prove that the meeting never took place nor do the “discrepancies” in the reports prove that all the reports are untrustworthy. Similarly, alleged discrepancies in the accounts of the Resurrection do not show that they are all false. Nor do they disprove that the Resurrection ever happened. To disprove the Resurrection, each account would have to be shown to be false on its own.
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