McGrew's Argument of Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels

Hidden In Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts adds another layer of confirmation of validity to the historical accuracy of the Gospels. Not in itself compelling to the antitheist, of course, because it does refer to some things that are a priori excluded as even being possible by the aforementioned’s worldview, even if they are historically accurate and true. In so doing, however, it adds another layer of confidence for the Christian who knows and would die for the Person and his Father’s sake before denying the truth, because this life is not all there is. It also shows that this is not merely an argument of intellect but that hearts and hearts’ commitments are involved.

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No, it’s just another weak line of argument that relies on a strawman version of the opposing view. That view is not that Christianity is something deliberately concocted by a group of scheming conspirators.

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Actually, it uses good thinking about how communication is actually accomplished, and as far as I’ve read, it isn’t too much concerned with any straw men. Then there is the straw man you have just erected. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’m curious if you ever read it? I just read it recently and I was thinking that you might find it interesting. I’m not certain that I understood your point above, but the point of the book is that through disparate details revealed in different books of the bible, it becomes clear that it was not concocted by scheming conspirators, but rather that the books were written individually by persons who repeated what they knew from their own perspectives.

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Exactly. The argument it makes is against the idea that the story of Jesus is a fiction deliberately contrived by a group of scheming conspirators which, save for a few people on the opposite extreme fringe of this issue, is a strawman.

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I believe in her book she is demonstrating through undesigned coincidences that the gospels are not just bits and pieces of history surrounded by embellishment of some sort or another, which is what I believe is the position held by many NT historians. But rather that the gospels as a whole are reliable accounts throughout of the actual events.

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@Faizal_Ali Yes, what @Jim said… I still don’t understand why it is a strawman. At any rate, the undesigned coincidences are very difficult to explain from any other perspective. So it may shed light on the legitimacy (or lack of such) of certain arguments. This is why I thought it may be of interest to you… If you read it, I mean. :slight_smile:

You’d find these same sort of “undesigned coincidences” in various accounts of the Greek or Norse myths. No one bothers to write a book on these, because no one is now trying to convince the word those myths are true. But people believed they were at the time.

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That, I believe, would be a red herring, then. There’s no mutual exclusivity here. I’m not interested in Norse or Greek mythology and would be surprised if you are.

Why do you suppose that no one is trying, to this day, to convince the world that Greek or Norse myths are true? There are plenty of Greeks and Norwegians around.

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How so?

Because the religions to which they belonged have died off, as will Christianity if humanity survives long enough.

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Because the fact that undesigned consequences exist in another narrative that may not considered to be factual has no bearing on whether or not they have a bearing in another setting or if that other narrative is factual. It is a false comparison.

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Part one is true. Part two is an assertion. Which brings us to our earlier conversation here. I don’t think that you are trying to have a conversation over this topic. I think that you are trying to win a battle. I think that there is much to be learned by all of us from those on the other side of each topic.

I’ve asked multiple times if you have read the book that you are criticizing and I do not believe that you’ve answered.

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What strange reasoning. This is like saying “That animal is black and white, therefore it is a skunk.”

I reply “That’s not a skunk. There are lots of animals that are black and white that are not skunks. Zebras, giant pandas, and some housecats, too. Which I’m pretty sure is what that aniimal is that you’re pointing to: a house cat.”

Your response “That’s a red herring. I’m not saying a panda is a skunk, I’m saying that animal there is a skunk, because it is black and white.”

Can you see how your reasoning would be unsound in that situation?

No, but I’ve encountered this argument before. If you think I am misconstruing it, by all means correct me.

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I’d be curious to have some examples of undesigned coincidences in mythology. As far as I know they don’t happen in mythology. I believe that’s the whole point of their being evidence for historical accounts.

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I agree. What are these other coincidences? I wonder if @Faizal_Ali was bluffing.

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Why are the Greeks at war with the Trojans in Homer’s Iliad? What led up to the war? How did it end?

Please answer these questions only with reference to Homer’s writings.

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Yes, I can see how my reasoning would be unsound, if that were my reasoning, but it is not.

A. I said that there are undesigned consequences that existing in different books of the Bible that support the fact that the writings are legitimate and authored by their currently named authors, and not some sort of collaboration or conspiracy.

B. You said: You’d find these same sort of “undesigned coincidences” in various accounts of the Greek or Norse myths. No one bothers to write a book on these, because no one is now trying to convince the word those myths are true. But people believed they were at the time.

I replied that because there were undesigned consequences in various Greek and Norse myths and those myths are not believed to be true was a red herring. The fact that these other myths are not true has no bearing on whether or not the Christian narrative is true.

To continue your example.

A: I said that skunks are black and white.

B: You replied that Zebras are black and white, and so what I saw could not be a skunk.

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I’m not at all convinced that @Faizal_Ali knows what an ‘undesigned coincidence’ is. I sure did not until reading Ms. McGrew’s work.

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I don’t believe that what you shared is a similar example of the unintended consequences to which we are referring (and you are arguing against, without having read the book.)

An example would be the mention of “green grass” at the feeding of the 5,000 by Mark. Matt., Mark, and John all mention that they were commanded to sit in groups on the grass, but only Mark said they sat in groups on the green grass (Mark 6:39.) The grass would have been green and plentiful at only one particular time of the year, after the Spring rains around Passover. But neither Mark nor Matthew mention the time of year. John mentions the time of year, but he does not mention the grass. being green, only that they sat down on it. These are the kinds of unintended consequences to which we speak. Tiny bits of data gathered from accounts of different people who experienced (first or second hand) different events, remembering and repeating details that they either saw or were told about. Their recounting of the events differ, but in a way that causes them to fit hand and glove.

You may not be impressed by the green grass narrative, but it is one of dozens, and many are regarding the same stories, such that they compound in value. Further, they are inexplicable in terms of any sort of conspiratorial theory regarding their authoring.

If you would like to read the book, PM me your email and I’ll email it to you as a gift.

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