Growing up, I was taught that Christianity was about Truth. And because it was true, there was evidence to back it up. We would watch documentaries on Noah’s Arc or where the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea in school. Teachers would present any find that proved the Bible’s historicity, even just a vase with a king’s name on as further evidence of its Truth.
Now I’m not getting into a debate on the Old Testament’s Historicity; what I want to focus on is the cornerstone of Faith. The Person, work, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Gospel writers and Paul in Acts go out of their way to tie these events to history. I can guarantee you that when Rome gave Pontious Pilat the post in Judea, he thought history would forget him. This was a backwater province of the Roman Empire. But we know his name to this day because that was how the Gospel writers tied Jesus to History. We know Who, When, Where, and What happened because of the Bible’s information.
When Paul is telling the church in Corinth about the resurrection, he quotes an early catechism.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” I Cor 15:3-8
We see here that Paul ties the resurrection of Jesus back to eyewitnesses. He names Peter and James and the 12 who would have been known, along with 500 other people. In the first century, that is the best proof he could offer. The OT law requires 2 eye witness to prove an event. Paul names 2 people, along with an entire group that would be well known to the church. He is doing what he can to tie this event to history. He knows the onus is on him to prove the resurrection happened, not for others to prove it didn’t.
I say all this because a trend that has come to full-blown in Evangelical circles is to ignore the burden of proof on claims and the need for evidence. The most recent example is the election results. Joe Biden won. He won by a comfortable margin in enough states that recounts won’t change the outcome.
Many Evangelicals have jumped onto the stolen election bandwagon that Trump is driving. I’ve talked with some on FB, and over and over, they put the burden on me to prove that fraud didn’t happen. When you ask for proof, they will say open your eyes. It’s everywhere. When you push for more information, they usually will say that there is no point because if you can’t see it for yourself, you never will and end the conversation. If it is as vast as they claim, they should be able to say who, when, where, and how it happened.
Instead, they have just jumped into conspiracy theory territory where no proof is proof enough. Random fact about myself: I’ve always had a thing for urban legends. And one of the telltale signs is “a friend of a friend”. How many times have you seen the story “a friend of my friend (sometimes they will say friend but provide no detail)went to get tested for COVID at a drive-through place. They took their information, but they got tired of waiting in line, so they left before being tested. A few days later, they got a call saying they tested positive.” This is then presented as proof that the numbers are a sham. But what is missing? Any way to verify the story. Name of the friend? Location? State? Day? Anything?
Or on the mask issue, I’ve seen people make up stories that are easily debunked (No, you are not walking around the store with your pulse ox in the 60s because of the mask) as a way to spread misinformation about masks.
With the election, I’ve seen people repeat the story that a friend saw someone vote twice. They give no information on where they saw this, or how the Person voted twice, or even an indication that they raised the alarm at the time. They didn’t even think to record it on their phone or record thoughts about it right after seeing it as proof. I mean, a video of that could net you a million dollars if you lived in Texas.
As Christians, we undermine our witness if we spread misinformation so easily. It marks us as gullible and makes us easy marks for people wanting to fleece money (Trump’s “legal fund“). More than that, why should anyone believe us when we talk about a risen savior if we also talk about voter fraud, of Plandemic, or flat earth, or microchips, etc. We tie the resurrection to easily debunked stories when we spread them. Why should an unbeliever trust us on that if we have proven ourselves to be easily duped by an outrageous story? As Christian, it is beholden on us to stand for Truth, even if we don’t like it, and examine claims before sharing them so as not to tarnish our witness.