Reasonable Doubt


Not sure if this is the right forum. Please move if it is not.

If we are as a society going to say that it is reasonable to believe that God became a man, was crucified, died, and rose from the dead after three days, don’t we have to accept almost any crazy story from a criminal defendant?



Can your defendant instantly heal crippled people? Walk into the ophthalmologist’s office and instantly restore sight to blind people? Turn water into wine?

Can your defendant walk on water?

If so, I would be greatly interested in just what this man’s crime was, and who has accused him.

  • Tim :smiley:


We don’t know Jesus could do these things.


No, not at all. A criminal defendant doesn’t come and heal people, raise them from the dead and cast out daemons, strangely fulfilling all prophecies and explaining to people whatever they need to know about religion, morality, their very lives even.


We have no way of knowing the truth of these things any more than the truth of the defendant’s testimony.


Hmmm… seems to me that there were quite a few witnesses to these things, and a few of them even wrote them down. And most of the witnesses were willing to be tortured to death rather than recant their stories. Seems credible enough to me!


But if we believe that God became man and was raised three days after his death then yes we do know that Jesus did these things.

If the criminal defendant can prove that he is God then we must believe what ever he says.


Someone once pointed out that there is actually more historical evidence for the claims of Christ than there is for the claims of Caesar Augustus, and yet, nobody questions that Caesar Augustus existed, nor that he was who he claimed to be. :shrug:


You started out with a claim about believing stories about Jesus. Said stories were backed up by witnesses who had little to gain by lying, and much to lose (and lose many of them did.) We should be entirely willing to entertain a so-called crazy person’s story, provided they can offer compelling evidence - just as the earliest Christians did.

Sure, you can argue that we should be skeptical whenever an extraordinary claim is made - then again, we live in a time where the reasonable explanation for, say… the beginning of the universe (and I don’t doubt this explanation, for what it’s worth) is that everything was compressed into a point smaller than a thimble, then there was an explosion, and billions of years later - the platypus.

Entirely reasonable explanations (When you start excluding the extraordinary as unreasonable) for the big questions of our existence are not available. They never were.


If we are as a society going to say that it is reasonable to believe that the universe simply came into being on its own, don’t we have to accept almost any crazy story from a criminal defendant?

Yes, I believe we do.


It wasn’t the defendant (Jesus) who gave the story to us - it was eyewitnesses to the event. Eyewitness testimony is not only accepted in our courts, it’s sought after because of its importance.



Since when does the truth or falsity of anything depend on whether it is reasonable? If it’s true, it’s true whether it is ‘reasonable’ or not. If it’s false, it’s false no matter how ‘reasonable’ it seems.

That’s where your argument fails, right from the start. The truth of the Resurrection doesn’t depend on whether you, John Doe, or the Marquis of Carabas think it’s ‘reasonable’. It depends on whether it is really true.


That’s an excellent point. :thumbsup:


How many people can you name who do not question the divinity of Augustus?


Actually, the Gospels are hearsay not direct testimony.


And we have powerful evidence for the Big Bang.


There is also a distinction to be made.

Christians believe that the stories are actually true. The court system (actually the individuals that make up the courts) shows it takes this a reasonable position. The courts even have people swear on a book that contains Christian claims.

The other hand, we only have to look at the defendant’s story story as being reasonably possible (all we need is doubt). If it is reasonable to believe a bunch of wild story about a carpenter from two thousand of years ago that contain magic and other crazy elements, why not believe that anything is reasonably possible in the defendant’s case?

Or to take a Catholic example. Catholics believe a wafer can literally turn into the body of this carpenter. This is despite the fact that if the wafer is tested it can be shown to be just a wafer. If you believe the waifer is really the body of a carpenter from two thousand years ago, why not believe defendant if he says the physical is not what it appears?


Do you have any evidence for things before Big Bang and thing before …before that… :smiley:


The authors of the gospels weren’t witnesses, that’s just a fact. We don’t even know if they talked to anyone who was a witness or if they just made it all up themselves, and we don’t have any indication that the authors of the gosples were tortured and killed, and would not have been if they had recanted their stories.


Someone once lied to you.

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