Three days ago, President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Since then, the accounts of exactly how Osama Bin Laden died have been a bit murky. In fact, the news reports seem to have had some information that does not line up perfectly. Some news reports said Bin Laden was armed, some said he was unarmed; some said he was resisting, some did not mention him resisting at all. One of today’s news articles had the following regarding the circumstances of Bin Laden’s death, which straightens out the story:
After initially saying the terrorist was armed or even firing, the White House said Tuesday that bin Laden was unarmed. Carney had said bin Laden was resisting, but without offering details. The information — from officials speaking anonymously to discuss the sensitive operation — that he was seen appearing to reach for a weapon adds context for the SEALS’ action. (1)
So what now appears to have happened is that the room Bin Laden was in contained guns that belonged to him, but he was not holding them at the time. When he reached for one of his guns, the Navy SEAL shot him. Thus it could be said that he was armed and unarmed, depending on the perspective of the reporter, and both could be said to be true. He was armed in that he owned guns and had them in the same room. He was unarmed in that he was not holding them at the time. It also does not appear to be a discrepancy that some reports did not mention resisting and others did, for it now appears that he may have been motionless, then lunged for his gun.
In any case, regardless of whether any single news report was true, it would be foolish to take the initial news reports and then conclude, ‘Some reports say he was armed, some say he was unarmed, therefore all the reports of Osama Bin Laden are false. We cannot tell whether he ever lived or died, and we should not pay any attention to the so-called eyewitness accounts.’ It would be even more foolish to conclude ‘President Obama was not even in the mideast, he did not witness the attack in person, therefore he very likely could have been wrong. We cannot know anything about Osama Bin Laden.’ Such a conclusion would be foolish, for just because we have initial eyewitness accounts that we cannot reconcile, it does not follow that they are all false and that none of their statements are true. In this case, the stories all reconciled in the end and were all true.
Why do we care? Because the same mistakes are made by Bible critics. They conclude things like: ‘Some reports mention different events during Jesus’ resurrection. Therefore all of the accounts are untrusworthy, Jesus probably never lived or died, and none of it is true.’ No, this would be illogical, unreasonable, and unfounded. Just because we may have trouble reconciling every detail in the eyewitness accounts of Jesus, it does not follow that all accounts are false. In fact, we see very similar patterns in the gospel accounts, and they read just like eyewitness accounts are expected to read, very similar to the news accounts this week. (for a similar explanation, see here)
When skeptics and critics dismiss the Bible’s accounts of Jesus based on details in the gospel stories, they are ironically showing that they are not logical, reasonable, or balanced, but in fact are approaching the accounts with a pre-conceived bias which they then impose on the scripture stories. In the end, the critics do not want to believe, so they find reasons to support their disbelief.
(1) Read the whole news story: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Officials-SEALs-thought-bin-Laden-threatening-1364625.php#ixzz1LQBNIN00′