As I enter more and more into the debate world, there is a peculiar phenomena that I find when debating Christians. It is the belief that eyewitness testimony is at all reliable. Especially so when it comes to the divinity of Yeshua (Jesus). Unfortunately this is completely wrong when it comes to proving the bible's validity. There is no presupposition here. It's pure fact from study and research. Let's take a look at the account that Christians give when it comes to the Bibles historic content and what they consider "proof" of Yeshua's divinity and actions throughout the Bible.
Eyewitness testimony in Luke
Although Luke never knew Jesus personally, he makes two specific claims: to have obtained his material from eyewitnesses and to have done his homework. He says the things he records were given to him "by those who from the first were eyewitnesses" and "I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning" (Luke 1:1-4).
EXPLORING CHRISTIANITY - EYEWITNESS
Here is a perfect example of faulty testimony taken as truth and a good eyewitness account. Notice how it is first stated that Luke never knew Yeshua and relied solely on "witness" testimony.
Eyewitness Testimony in the New Testament John
John's gospel is the only gospel that specifically claims to be a direct eyewitness account. We have the plain statement at the end of the gospel concerning "the disciple that Jesus loved" that: "This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true" (John 21:24). This is probably an editorial comment added by someone closely associated with John. EXPLORING CHRISTIANITY - EYEWITNESS
Steven Duke for Yale University Law School states tells of a story in where a rape victim positively "identified" her attacker. This person was convicted and sent to prison. After eighteen years, science, particularly DNA testing, showed that the person accused was indeed innocent. On this particular website (I have given the citation beneath each paragraph), is very common to the Christian way of thinking. The problem here is that we have proven, especially in our Criminal Justice system, that first account eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Yet Bible scholars will have you believe that not only is the supposedly eyewitness accounts 100% accurate but that second, third, and fourth person accounts are reliable as well. I don't think so.
The following except is from Stanford University's Journal of Legal Studies.
" Several studies have been conducted on human memory and on subjects’ propensity to remember erroneously events and details that did not occur. Elizabeth Loftus performed experiments in the mid-seventies demonstrating the effect of a third party’s introducing false facts into memory.4 Subjects were shown a slide of a car at an intersection with either a yield sign or a stop sign. Experimenters asked participants questions, falsely introducing the term "stop sign" into the question instead of referring to the yield sign participants had actually seen. Similarly, experimenters falsely substituted the term "yield sign" in questions directed to participants who had actually seen the stop sign slide. The results indicated that subjects remembered seeing the false image. In the initial part of the experiment, subjects also viewed a slide showing a car accident. Some subjects were later asked how fast the cars were traveling when they "hit" each other, others were asked how fast the cars were traveling when they "smashed" into each other. Those subjects questioned using the word "smashed" were more likely to report having seen broken glass in the original slide. The introduction of false cues altered participants’ memories." -The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony
Steven Duke for Yale University Law School states tells of a story in where a rape victim positively "identified" her attacker. This person was convicted and sent to prison. After eighteen years, science, particularly DNA testing, showed that the person accused was indeed innocent.
Eyewitness Testimony Doesn't Make It True
What does this say about eyewitness accounts? The proof is in the pudding. They are unreliable. The human mind interprets things using several factors. Prior experience, sequence and pattern recognition and understanding of a situation to process information. It has been proven many times that your eyes can "play tricks" on you. How does all this fit into the account of Yeshua, his divinity and even his existence? THERE IS NO VALID PROOF OF ANY OF IT. If we know that eyewitness testimony can and is without a doubt faulty. If we know that there are no complete records (if any) of who indeed wrote the New Testament. I believe we can come to the simple conclusion that the possibility of the bibles accuracy is definitely in question. I personally would go even further is stating that is most likely a document made up of false memories, embellishments and exaggerations. Yet many still choose to cling to a book that by itself can not stand up to scrutiny. Still even more claim that this book is, without a doubt, the official word of god and should be treated as such. All this after knowing of changes that have been made. Books removed for lack of conical material and now a debunking of the eyewitness accounts in the Bible.
After all of this, they still will believe. Such is the nature of man that they have to feel tied or connected to someone or something else. As an atheist, I feel the same as well, except I understand that we are not alone. We have each other to make our lives fulfilled. Give up the fantasy.