John Loftus (ex-Christian atheist) from his website Debunking Christianity:
“We don’t have evidence 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus. What we have is someone SAYING 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus.
… We have no way to cross-examine this testimony. How do we know the results would not be exactly as we found out with Joseph Smith and Mormonism? You’re asking us to accept non-cross examined testimony from a couple of different writers in the ancient distant past, and that’s not reasonable for extraordinary miraculous claims.”
Gary: Excellent observations, but I would like to amend the last statement by saying:
“You’re asking us to accept non-cross examined, hearsay, non-eyewitness testimony from ONE writer in the ancient past, and that is not reasonable for ANY extraordinary claim, be it miraculous or non-miraculous.”
I am not aware that any other writer, in the canonical New Testament or in any other first century document, states that five hundred eyewitnesses in the same place and at the same time witnessed an appearance of the resurrected Jesus. We only have Paul telling us this in First Corinthians chapter 15 which scholars refer to as “The Early Creed”. And Paul specifically states that this was information which he had received from others. We have no evidence that he had confirmed this appearance with even one of these alleged five hundred persons. He states that most of these people were still alive at the time he wrote his epistle, but again, this information may have been second-hand information, not information that he personally had verified. We don’t know because Paul doesn’t say.