Do we really have Evidence that 500 Eyewitnesses saw the Resurrected Jesus?

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.

3 thoughts on “Do we really have Evidence that 500 Eyewitnesses saw the Resurrected Jesus?

  1. However it is hard to imagine that if we wouldn’t cross check the information we were given, that Paul, at least a philosophical genius, didn’t; and further that he would give his life for such spurious claims… and for what personal benefit would Paul push such ridiculousness?

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    1. I asked the same questions when I was struggling with my faith. But the fact is that history has many examples of very intelligent people who have made very strange life choices and have chosen to believe very strange beliefs. And bottom line, which is more probable: A very intelligent person chooses to believe a spurious, ridiculous claim or a three-day-brain-dead corpse really did come back to life 2,000 years ago?

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  2. who checked pauls claims??
    People could haved checked the details of the appearances that Paul
    mentioned.
    What you did NOT spell out is the rest of the argument :
    (2. people DID check the details)
    (3. and they found them correct)
    Let’s have a look at the various writings which COULD have CHECKED
    Paul’s claims and found them correct :
    G.Luke.
    Luke was allegedly Paul’s companion, so he clearly could have
    checked.
    Does he mention the appearance of the 500?
    NO.
    Luke did NOT confirm Paul’s claim about appearing to the 500.
    Luke’s list of appearances is different to Paul’s.
    James.
    Paul met James who was allegedly Jesus brother, and who supposedly
    Jesus appeared to.
    Does he support the appearance to 500?
    No.
    Does he say anything about appearances?
    No.
    Peter.
    1 Forged writing from 2nd century mentions seeing Jesus’ “majesty”.
    Does he support the appearance to 500?
    No.
    Does he say anything about other appearances?
    No.
    Jude.
    Jude was allegedly Jesus brother.
    Does he support the appearance to 500?
    No.
    Does he say anything about appearances?
    No.
    John.
    Does he support the appearance to 500?
    No.
    Does he say anything about appearances?
    Yes, he has his own vision – but says nothing about others.
    What about the Gospel writers?
    Do ANY of them mention the appearance to the 500?
    G.Mark – No.
    G.Matthew – No.
    G.John – No.
    You made a fuss that Paul could not have made this claim if it dodn’t
    happen – yet NOT ONE of the other Christians agrees that it happened !
    Either –

    they DID check the facts – and found Paul was WRONG about the 500.

    or :
    they didn’t check at all, and wrote whatever they wanted.

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