Michael Patton at the Parchment and Pen has an interesting post on the range of reactions people have to finding alleged contradictions in the Bible:
Group one neither recognizes nor cares about the differences, but immediately sees that it’s the same story from differing perspectives.
Group two recognizes the differences and appreciates what they add to the entire story.
Group three recognizes the differences, sees them as contradictions that cannot be reconciled, but still believes the main points of the Gospels (among other things, that Jesus, the Son of God, became incarnate, performed miracles, died on the cross, and rose from the grave).
Group four recognizes the differences, sees them as contradictions that cannot be reconciled and, because of these differences, rejects everything in the Gospels, even the main points about which all the Gospels agree. In other words, if one thing is wrong, it’s all wrong.
So which reactions are reasonable? Patton says, not Group Four. It’s easy to see just how unreasonable Four’s response is when you consider a story from Patton’s own life—told first by himself, and then differently by his daughter. Do the two versions prove the entire story false? The whole post is worth a read. His conclusion:
Unfortunately, people are often persuaded that their methodology is legitimate when it comes to the Christ story, even though they would never entertain such hyper-skepticism in real life.