Post Author: Bill Pratt
As I’ve corresponded with skeptics of Christianity over the years, I have been amazed at what I call hyper-skeptics. These are people who throw the word “contradiction” around when they should really use the word “difference.”
A contradiction occurs between two statements when one statement is “A is B” and the other statement is “A is not B.” A has to mean the exact same thing at the exact same time in the exact same sense in both statements for there to be a contradiction, and B has to mean the exact same thing at the exact same time in the exact same sense in both statements for there to be a contradiction. If there is not total and complete identity between A in both statements and B in both statements, there is no contradiction.
Hyper-skeptics often, however, call two statements in the Bible contradictory without ever showing that A and B are identical in both statements, but this is what they must do before claiming a contradiction. Or to put it another way, hyper-skeptics demand that if two witnesses report the same crime, they must report the facts of the crime in exactly the same way, down to the most minute detail. Any deviation between the two reports at all renders a verdict of contradiction. The problem is that two different reports about an event do not constitute a contradiction unless the two different reports make opposite claims (i.e., A is B and A is not B). Most of the time, the hyper-skeptic fails to show this.
C. Michael Patton of the Parchment and Pen Blog has obviously seen hyper-skeptics in action; he wrote a blog post recently that shed much light on the issue for those of you who are interested. It’s one of those posts that I wish I had written after I read it. Take a look and see what you think.