This past Thursday, the world learned that famed actor and comedian, Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault. Cosby faces up to 30 years in prison. Over the course of the investigation, multiple news conferences held by victims, and testimony in the trial, a running narrative became clear: Bill Cosby, on average, approached his victims, gave them a drug-tainted drink, and once near or at full incapacitation, raped his victims.
How did the jury come to a guilty verdict when one could argue that it was merely a matter of “he said, she said?” Furthermore, these incidents took place with no eyewitnesses to the crimes outside of the victims. There can only be one answer: where there are multiple reports, paired with reliable witnesses, accurate history can be portrayed, and the truth about these past events can be known.
While there was one accuser in the Cosby case, Andrea Constand, who stated the abuse by Cosby took place in 2004; there were multiple women who attested that Cosby had done the same thing to them 20-30 years prior. Hence, a historical narrative was developed about Cosby, and that historical narrative was built on older testimony regarding the actions of Mr. Cosby. Notice that no one on the news stated, “Can they be trusted, these events supposedly happened 20-30 years after the fact, why not bring this up sooner?” Why is that? These witnesses were considered reliable, even if they told different (not contradictory) events. So what does this have to do with the Gospels?
In the same way, there are four independent Gospels which record the life of Jesus at an early date, and establish a consistent narrative about Jesus, namely: (1) He taught with authority. (2) He did miracles. (3) Jesus claimed to be divine. (3) Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. (4) Jesus died by crucifixion. (5) He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. (6) Jesus rose from the dead three days later. If we apply the same general standard to the Gospels which was used in the Cosby case, Christians and skeptics alike should conclude that the gospels are reliable.
Photo Credit: The Philadelphia Tribute