Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

a few examples; discussion invited

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#81  Postby Onyx8 » Sep 26, 2011 7:11 am

Ichthus77 wrote:Onyx8--yes...because the "Lord, liar, lunatic" trichotomy is inadequate and has been updated with the "legend" option. Knee-jerk react much?


Great update.

How about the mistaken, misunderstood, misrepresented trichotomy? Now we are up to seven options, most of which Lewis didn't consider.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#82  Postby Shrunk » Sep 26, 2011 12:27 pm

z8000783 wrote:
Ichthus77 wrote: I like how Dr. Williams points out that the authors of the Gospels, rather than being either bumbling idiots or clever conspirators, more likely were just telling things the way they remember them happening.

What do you mean by that?

John


Just what she says, I suspect. She actually seems to think that's a convincing argument.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#83  Postby Moonwatcher » Sep 26, 2011 12:56 pm

Ichthus77 wrote:Avoiding tangents (*ahem* faith=trust, faith=/=blind *ahem*)

Shrunk--It is not an argument for divine miracle and I never said it was. It is an argument for the authenticity/historicity of the events involved in the undesigned coincidences. It's a cumulative case. Check this video out. A very lively lecture including statistical analysis of the people, place and plant names used in the Gospels and the undesigned coincidences surrounding the feeding of the 5,000. I like how Dr. Williams points out that the authors of the Gospels, rather than being either bumbling idiots or clever conspirators, more likely were just telling things the way they remember them happening.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Ylt1pBMm8[/youtube]

As for the "undesigned discrepancies" (Moonwatcher) -- the great majority of apparent discrepancies I've come across are easily dealt with, and I've not met with one that was completely unresolvable or a deal-breaker. Still...what you are saying is a red herring and does not address the undesigned coincidences.

Time again for me to resign.


You do that a lot.

You are talking about an era when Christianity was a new community. There is an abundance of evidence, indeed the majority of scholars by far agree, that Matthew and Luke are derived from Mark. Indeed there is the view that Mark was derived from previous documents. This has to do with a lot of things. What I remember is sequences of similar events repeated over and over. But for purposes of this discussion, all that matters is that each author in this community simply knew about and had access to copies of what the previous ones had done. Your counter-argument seems to be that there is no proof of this, only conjecture. Your point is? That there is a completely rational and simple explanation for this but in light of the fact that there is no way to absolutely prove it, therefore divine inspiration of some sort minus any proof? This smacks of, "If your theory cannot be proven beyond a doubt, mine is automatically true."

Further, IF your goal is to argue some sort of divine inspiration, discrepancies assuredly do matter. There was a time when I sought out commentary after commentary to explain away discrepancies but I wasn't willingly to accept non-answers.

27When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

3 When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus* was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4He said, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent* blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ 5Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. 6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.’ 7After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah,* ‘And they took* the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set,* on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10and they gave* them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.’

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers* (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said, 16‘Friends,* the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.’ 18(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong,* he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

Ah, so let's see. He flung the silver coins into the courtyard, refusing them and went out and hung himself. The priests then bought the field with the money.

No but wait. He accepted the "reward for his wickedness" and bought the field himself.

Oh wait, wait. I know. First he turned down the money and went out to hang himself but then there's the part that isn't mentioned. He changed his mind and went back to get the money from the priests who were on their way to buy the field and got the money and bought the field. Then he hung himself but the branch was weak and it snapped and he fell headlong and his guts gushed out. Then the priests picked up the silver coins and used them to but the field.

Therefore, he hung himself and fell headlong.
He bought the field but the priests bought the field.
He accepted the coins but he turned them down.
He felt remorse but he didn't feel remorse.

Gosh, no contradictions there at all with just a few simple, easy to believe mental gymnastics. What is the matter with those unbelievers? They will go so far to try to insist there are contradictions where none exist.

Oh I know, I know. I'm deviating from your carefully constructed tunnel vision argument by intruding reality into it. You have to resign again or perform some mental gymnastics.

Edit: Ah, I see above you say it's not an argument for inspiration but only for some sort of historical authenticity to events described. The problem is that these stories are being recorded decades after the fact by people who were not witnesses after the story had those decades to grow in the telling and told in an era when things were not turning out as planned.

Aside from that, I'm not in "the camp" that denies there is any historical basis to the Gospels though there is no sure way to determine what might or might not be authentic at all or to what degree.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#84  Postby Shrunk » Sep 26, 2011 3:43 pm

Moonwatcher wrote: Edit: Ah, I see above you say it's not an argument for inspiration but only for some sort of historical authenticity to events described. The problem is that these stories are being recorded decades after the fact by people who were not witnesses after the story had those decades to grow in the telling and told in an era when things were not turning out as planned.

Aside from that, I'm not in "the camp" that denies there is any historical basis to the Gospels though there is no sure way to determine what might or might not be authentic at all or to what degree.


Yeah, I think that's all there is to this. It's really just a giant strawman argument. If skeptics of Christianity were claiming that the authors of the Gospels had got together and conspired to write fabricated accounts so that they were consistent w/ each other, then these "undesigned coincidences" would have some relevance. But is anyone actually suggesting that? Not as far as I know.

As it is, all it indicates is that the authors were working from some common source material, whether that be actual historical events or accounts of alleged events that are either part of an oral tradition or that had been set down in writing, or some combination of the three. I don't think anyone here is denying that much, and more than that cannot be said. The "undesigned coincidences" do nothing to strengthen the case for the historical accuracy of the Gospels.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#85  Postby Moonwatcher » Sep 26, 2011 6:31 pm

Shrunk wrote:
Moonwatcher wrote: Edit: Ah, I see above you say it's not an argument for inspiration but only for some sort of historical authenticity to events described. The problem is that these stories are being recorded decades after the fact by people who were not witnesses after the story had those decades to grow in the telling and told in an era when things were not turning out as planned.

Aside from that, I'm not in "the camp" that denies there is any historical basis to the Gospels though there is no sure way to determine what might or might not be authentic at all or to what degree.


Yeah, I think that's all there is to this. It's really just a giant strawman argument. If skeptics of Christianity were claiming that the authors of the Gospels had got together and conspired to write fabricated accounts so that they were consistent w/ each other, then these "undesigned coincidences" would have some relevance. But is anyone actually suggesting that? Not as far as I know.

As it is, all it indicates is that the authors were working from some common source material, whether that be actual historical events or accounts of alleged events that are either part of an oral tradition or that had been set down in writing, or some combination of the three. I don't think anyone here is denying that much, and more than that cannot be said. The "undesigned coincidences" do nothing to strengthen the case for the historical accuracy of the Gospels.


Exactly, nobody that I know of, at least on this thread, is pushing some sort of huge conspiracy that there is no evidence of. The evidence that the Gospels that became the canon four are all derivative from previous source material is abundant. It's hardly as if we have the original of each or anywhere near it. We have copies from long after those copying them knew about the others. Even if we set that aside and talk about the anonymous people who wrote the four (well, anonymous in the sense we know nothing about Mark, know that whoever wrote "Matthew" knew squat about Jewish culture and so on), it's hardly a stretch that the works were known and influenced each other.

All it indicates is that at that time and place, something was going on and being written about based upon accounts from people who were either witnesses or claimed to be witnesses or who claimed to know witnesses and this is what they claim those witnesses told them.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#86  Postby Ichthus77 » Apr 08, 2012 3:23 am

You only get away with talking nonsense because the average person doesn't know you are talking nonsense, Moonwatcher. That isn't to say I'm a scholar. Start here, clicking first on the Who Wrote the Gospels link: http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2012/03/walk-to-cross-easter-prep-pt2.html. Happy Easter :)
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#87  Postby MrFungus420 » Apr 08, 2012 6:28 am

Ichthus77 wrote:I first heard about these from Professor Tim McGrew:


So?

A coincidence is unrelated things that just happen to have the appearance of being related in some way.

A coincidence, by definition, is meaningless, accidental...NOT purposeful.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#88  Postby MrFungus420 » Apr 08, 2012 6:32 am

Ichthus77 wrote:Shrunk and Cito--These are undesigned coincidences because the Gospel authors fill in eachother's missing details without intending to. Now...perhaps God a hand in that, or perhaps he only 'sustained' it (we'll not go on that tangent)...but the primary point is that their not intending to fill in eachother's details is a good test for the authenticity of what they are saying...it shows they did not rely on eachother, that they are independent sources. Historians get excited when you have 2 independent sources for the same recorded saying/event.


But we don't have that. We have ONE source, the Bible. There are no independent sources.

You are talking about a book that has been edited innumerable times. A book that is the result of translations of translations. A book with known additions and omissions (from the earliest known manuscripts).

None of which really matters due to the simple fact that a coincidence is meaningless.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#89  Postby Onyx8 » Apr 08, 2012 6:36 am

The link you put forward starts with the lecturer affirming that he believes 'scripture is inspired by god'. He doesn't mention which one though, could you elucidate? If it just happened to be the Christian God, how is this not begging the question?
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#90  Postby MrFungus420 » Apr 08, 2012 6:38 am

Lion IRC wrote:I think the phenomenon of undesigned coincidences in the Gospels is a great subject for AvT discussion.

It's been described as Chinese water torture for bible skeptics insofar as the weight of so many separate (minor) coincidences accumulate - each of which might individually be dismissed - but which gather more and more weight collectively.


They gather no weight.

It doesn't matter how many meaningless things you add up, they are still meaningless. There is no "weight" to gather.

A coincidence, by definition, is something that is meaningless that gives the appearance of having some meaning.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#91  Postby MrFungus420 » Apr 08, 2012 6:45 am

Ichthus77 wrote:Edit...um...haha...regarding the way this thread has turned...see http://biologos.org/questions :think:


An apologetics website...absolutely worthless.

They start with the assumption that Christianity is right (at least their particular interpretation of it) and view everything through that filter.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#92  Postby Onyx8 » Apr 08, 2012 6:49 am

MrFungus420 wrote:
Lion IRC wrote:I think the phenomenon of undesigned coincidences in the Gospels is a great subject for AvT discussion.

It's been described as Chinese water torture for bible skeptics insofar as the weight of so many separate (minor) coincidences accumulate - each of which might individually be dismissed - but which gather more and more weight collectively.


They gather no weight.

It doesn't matter how many meaningless things you add up, they are still meaningless. There is no "weight" to gather.

A coincidence, by definition, is something that is meaningless that gives the appearance of having some meaning.


Plus, it is not like the writings in the bible are infinite which is implied in the 'Chinese water torture': that there is no end to it is part of the 'juice'. But the "Bible" is finite, the writings are what they are so there must be a finite number of these 'drops'. So what are they? List them. You must know them or someone must so just put the list forward of these 'drops'. Are there 5? 50? 500? 50,000? 5,000,000,000? You must know this so tell me and show me what there are. I'm interested.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#93  Postby THWOTH » Apr 08, 2012 7:00 am

A coincidence, by definition, is meaningless, accidental...NOT purposeful. The ascribing of 'purpose' to some one notices merely renders the assumption mere teleology.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#94  Postby z8000783 » Apr 08, 2012 9:42 am

Moonwatcher wrote:Exactly, nobody that I know of, at least on this thread, is pushing some sort of huge conspiracy that there is no evidence of.

And this would be a false dichotomy I think, either there was a huge conspiracy or it is true. However, what this fails to take into account is how a religion would develop during the first to fourth centuries in Palestine and the surrounding regions.

I think it is too easy for people to overlay that area and that time with the culture they live in now. For example, illiteracy was well over 80%. That doesn’t just mean that people couldn’t read and write it also means there would be little material around for them to read even if they could. What other forms of communication were there? Well making it plural would be optimistic, there was word of mouth, that’s it. And how might one be able to spread the word to different areas without buses and trains? They would have walked.

We also imagine that Christianity was the new religion in town. Well it was and it wasn’t. There were many forms around at the time and they started up almost immediately. See Pauls writings on false prophets. It would appear that he had hardly left a location after setting up a new church when various sects would move in a try to take over.

So you start up a new church in a city, you have someone available who can read and write, perhaps some copies of documents from a passing preacher like Paul and a handful of stories to keep you going.

Put on a low gas and stir slowly for about a hundred years and see what you end up with.

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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#95  Postby Shrunk » Apr 08, 2012 12:02 pm

:zombie:

Zombie thread! Resurrected on Easter weekend, no less! Another "undesigned coincidence", I guess....

You're still not getting the point, Maryann. This argument you've been flogging for half a year now only works against the claim that the Gospels were written by four individual guys who conspired together to write the whole thing as a pure fiction completely from scratch. So if that claim is vitiating the field of Biblical scholarship, then by all means have at it. But AFAIK, this is not the case and certainly few people, if any, are promoting that idea on this forum. McGrew's entire schtick, IOW, is just an elaborate strawman. To paraphrase, "You only get away with talking nonsense because the average (reader of your blog, assuming it has any) doesn't know you are talking nonsense."
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#96  Postby Ichthus77 » Apr 08, 2012 4:29 pm

THWOTH wrote:A coincidence, by definition, is meaningless, accidental...NOT purposeful. The ascribing of 'purpose' to some one notices merely renders the assumption mere teleology.


*ahem* ... hence "undesigned" coincidences... There are too many of them (this is a cumulative case) to dismiss their testament to the authenticity of the accounts.

MrFungus420 wrote:
Ichthus77 wrote:I first heard about these from Professor Tim McGrew:


So?

A coincidence is unrelated things that just happen to have the appearance of being related in some way.

A coincidence, by definition, is meaningless, accidental...NOT purposeful.


hence "undesigned"...you and thwoth related? S/he copies you perfectly on that "NOT purposeful" line. I wonder ... does that mean you're both ... wrong about that? 'Cause...I totally agree with you both.

Happy Easter :)
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#97  Postby z8000783 » Apr 08, 2012 4:35 pm

How many would be reasonable?

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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#98  Postby Ichthus77 » Apr 08, 2012 4:41 pm

line-drawing fallacy, dude.
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Re: Undesigned coincidences in the Gospels

#99  Postby z8000783 » Apr 08, 2012 4:42 pm

What doe that mean?

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