Are the Gospels Reliable?

As I already said, there’s more to assessing historical reliability than comparing independent sources. And I might add (in regards to your comment about Habermas, who is trying to argue purely from a starting point of scholarly consensus) that lack of consensus does not mean that something is false, or even that it lacks strong rational justification.

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Sure, but that fact is of no comfort to people who insist the Gospels are independent accounts. We don’t know that they’re independent, we don’t have the kind of evidence that would allow us to conclude with appreciable certainty that they’re independent.

That means arguments based on their purported mututal corroboration can be no stronger than the evidence for their independence is. So we have to establish the certainty with which we can conclude that first.

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Once you eliminate the truth, whatever remains, no matter how impossible, must be improbable.


You’re really not following me. I’ll try simplify it:

Historians are the experts in determining whether something has happened in the past.

The large majority of historians do NOT believe Jesus rose from the grave as an historical fact (though they may hold it as a personal religious belief).

I’m not a historian. Therefore, I have no reason to trust my own judgment in terms of determining things that happened in the past. I leave that to the experts.

Suppose I read a 75 page article on the Big Bang and came away from it believing that the Big Bang never happened. That would put me in the position of contradicting the opinion of the vast majority of cosmologists and astronomers on that point. That would not mean I was correct. Rather, it would almost certainly mean I did not understand the evidence correctly.

So there is no point in me reading a 75 page article on the alleged “resurrection” in order to form an opinion on it, because the experts have already formed their opinion, and the majority are of the scholarly opinion is that there is insufficient historical evidence to support that the “resurrection” took place. It would be arrogant and foolish of me to think I am better able than they are to answer this question correctly.

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I wasn’t actually talking to you there; that post was in response to @T_aquaticus.

Not believing that the resurrection occurred is not the same as concluding as a matter of historical fact that the resurrection did not happen - something that historians acting as historians can’t actually do if they are constrained by methodological naturalism.

In fact (as the resurrection is an inference from, and does not deny, established historical facts) your analogy is way off. A better analogy would be an article arguing that the evidence for the big bang supports the metaphysical thesis that the universe had a beginning.

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This betrays flawed understanding of methodological naturalism. There is no reason historians could not conclude that someone died and returned to life if there was sufficient evidence for them to do so. Methodological naturalism entails neutrality on the existence of the supernatural. It does NOT entail dogmatic rejection of things because they have been determined to be “supernatural”.

Whether the universe had a beginning is a question that can be determined purely thru science. It just has not yet been determined.

An article that tries to establish thru metaphysical argument that the universe had a beginning is attempting to go beyond what metaphysics can accomplish. Philosophers should stay in their lane and let the cosmologists do their work in peace.

7 posts were split to a new topic: Physics or Philosophy?

Years ago I attended a Randy Stonehill concert (see the attached link for more background, and imagine what Jesus might have been like if he had come as a Wasp-ish tall and thin sixties / seventies era folk rock musician, and you’ll arrive at something approximating Stonehill).
In any case, during the concert, Stonehill introduced a song with this comment:
"I was reading through the four gospels the other day, and… suddenly it hit me.
I remembered when I used to think the Gospels were merely creative fabrications.
But then after actually reading them myself, I totally changed my mind.
I mean, what kind of idiots would make up a story which could get them killed by the occupying Roman authorities??!!
I mean, really --just think of it: "Hey, dudes; I just got a totally radical idea for a new religious story!!
What if the twelve of us agree to the details of a story about God coming down to earth and personally taking us around Israel for at least three years, teaching us about God Himself, and even claiming to be the Messiah? Only to die by a brutal Roman crucifixion, and in the end, offer His life in atonement for our own shortcomings?
And then, come back from the dead??!!
“Well, sure, man!” says the next dude. “Sounds plausible!
Let’s do it up!!
Who’s got some parchment and ink??”
“I dunno,” says a third.
“We could all end up dying ourselves trying to spread this unlikely story.”
Seriously, the gospels are not the kind of stories ANY first century group would have simply made up; they’re too whacked for that! Only Someone with a supremely kooky imagination could invent them.
That’s when I realized that I wanted to know God better.


We have zero testimony. We only have stories.


Second person accounts are still valid testimony if they are faithful to the first person accounts, etc., and testimony is still evidence if it is true.

There’s zero evidence that they are second-person accounts, Dale.

There are no first-person accounts to test them against.

There is ZERO testimony.


Ya know, that’s one thing about testimony, it takes faith (supported by other evidence, including testimony… like the testimony of the heavens) to believe that it is worthy of our trust. Your understanding of testimony is too sere.

Second-hand accounts are not testimony, they are hearsay.

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12 posts were split to a new topic: Randy Stonehill’s Stand In: Jon Garvey

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Randy Stonehill’s Stand In: Jon Garvey