Is Jesus’ Resurrection Fact Or Just ‘Fake News?’

You hear it regularly in conversations on Capitol Hill. One guy says X and the other guy instantly dismisses it because “oh, that’s what you expect Fox/CNN/MSNBC to say. That’s just fake news.”

And that raises an interesting question, and not just for men and women working in the House and Senate or one of the congressional agencies like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) or Government Accounting Office (GAO).

It’s not just on the Hill, though. Erik Manning, writing on The Poached Egg, puts it this way:

“So yeah. We got some trust issues. This is the cultural background we’re living in. In this age of hyper-awareness of bias, Christians have the audacity to say Jesus is alive and that we have historical evidence to prove it.

“But these reports are from Christian sources. They’re not dispassionate, disinterested parties. They’re skewed in favor of their faith. Does this fact mean that the gospels are unreliable?”

Manning, a former atheist, is perhaps in that sense an unexpected source for the response to the accusation that biased sources — like Fox News, Jesus disciples or Julius Caesar on the Gauls — equal fake news.

Without giving away the whole story, here’s a sample of Manning’s arguments. First, rejecting a claim simply because of potential or actual bias in the source is an example of the Genetic Fallacy.

Second, what about bias against the claim? Should Saul of Tarsus be believed or Paul, who happens to be the same guy but he met somebody on the road to Damascus who was supposed to be dead (That’s Paul in a classic piece of art above, writing one of his epistles).

And here’s my own modest contribution to the discussion: In my experience, when somebody rejects a claim based on its source, it’s often just a convenient way to ignore or discredit some inconvenient facts.

But enough from me, check out Manning’s case, then give a listen to J. Warner Wallace, the world-famous cold-case detective who dealt with the biased source argument in solving dozens of murders.

Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland.

2 thoughts on “Is Jesus’ Resurrection Fact Or Just ‘Fake News?’”

  1. My first two degrees were in Geology, which is a particularly challenging discipline because you must make 8- or 9-figure decisions based upon maybe 1 percent of the possible evidence, if you’re fortunate. Nevertheless we find oil and tungsten and niobium and other essential stuff.

    The best “scientific” arguments for the truth of Bible accounts are that the evidence is really messy, just as in any genuine attempt to understand a highly polyvalent situation. First of all, most of the “heroes of the faith” were highly-flawed individuals, and often total schmucks. King David? … Liar, murderer, adulterous rapist, all reported in some detail. That’s *not* how you construct heroic epic myths. Or bumbling, often-wimpy Peter … who nevertheless became the “rock on which I shall build my church”. Plenty more like them, and none of them like the nearly-flawless heroes of the Old Norse sagas or the Babylonian epics or the Bhagavad Gita.

    And who were the first witnesses to the Resurrection? Women. Whose testimony was considered worthless. Why record that? Maybe because it actually happened that way. And what about the variations in witness accounts of Jesus’ life and Resurrection? Ask any detective. When stories line up too closely, something’s fishy.

    Now, as we approach Advent and Christmas, here is something far more subtle, but to me even more powerful. Jesus was not born in the winter. That’s a later appropriation. He was born, according to the Bible, when “shepherds were abiding in their fields”. After my studies and work as a geologist I went on to soil science and agronomy degrees, which opened up this particular nugget of scripture.

    In the Middle East the only time shepherds “abide” [stay overnight] in their fields is lambing season, which to this day in that part of the world is **May**. So Jesus was quite certainly born in May, probably 7 BC or 8 BC because the bishop who developped our Common Era calendar missed one Roman Emperor and it messed up his calculations.

    Now, let’s go to the biblical account of “the annunciation” to Mary. It was “in the sixth month”. Not Mary’s sixth month of gestation, but *August*. The seventh month was September, and the eighth October, etc. This was the standard calendar of that era. Nine months after August is … May.

    The Bible was quite clearly recorded by people attempting to convey actual events as best they. Historically, that’s a tremendously high evidentiary standard, particularly when compared to Homer, Aristotle, Hesiod, Virgil, Pliny, etc.

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    1. Now, let’s go to the biblical account of “the annunciation” to Mary. It was “in the sixth month”. Not Mary’s sixth month of gestation, but *August*.

      Luke 1:26 says the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, not the sixth month of the year. All you can draw from that verse is that Jesus is about half a year younger than John the Baptist, it doesn’t provide evidence for the time of year. We could make assumptions about when John was conceived based on Zacharias’ service to the temple but they would only be assumptions.

      In the Middle East the only time shepherds “abide” [stay overnight] in their fields is lambing season, which to this day in that part of the world is **May**. So Jesus was quite certainly born in May,

      I recommend you check out Alfred Edersheim’s work The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. He cited ancient Jewish texts that at least some shepherds kept sheep out in the fields year round even at night. We can’t assume that the climate and rainfall in Palestine in the 20th and 21st centuries matches the climate and rainfall Palestine saw 2000 years ago.

      In short, the conclusion of Jesus being born in May is not certain, and December 25 does have some historical evidence behind it.

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