A major bone of contention between us (TSZ) and our friends at Uncommon Descent is origins, how things came to be.
It is pretty clear from their recent writings that despite earlier protestations to the contrary, UD is a Christian apologetics website looking to boost and support the Christian story of origins.
Barry has claimed: “The documents constituting the New Testament are vouchsafed with the blood of the martyrs. Nothing else comes remotely close.”
Islam and the Heaven’s Gate cult also have had people willing to die for them. So, they come close. Also, not all of them can be true given their contradictory truth claims. We can therefore rule out wanting to die for something being a guarantee of truth.
KirosFocus looks to bolster the argument with “with 500 core witnesses, not one of whom could be turned by the threats or inducements of state agents determined to uproot what they saw as a potential source of uprisings”, but as far as I can tell this is poor thinking, he is citing the bible to support the biblical account (1 Cor 15:1) – So the number is irrelevant, we are still left with only the primary source.
KF also tells us, “we have four eyewitness lifespan biographies, one of which is volume 1 of the earliest history of the Christian movement, credibly initially complete c 62 AD. a two-volume work that has been abundantly vindicated as to habitual, detailed accuracy and capturing nuances of setting in ways not plausible for people projecting back from later times. This consciously historical work uses a second biography as a major source, reinforcing the conclusion”
This is closer to the truth; there are four accounts that were written at the earliest decades after the purported events all of which are part of the bible, not independent support for it. I image that people at that time would understand the nuances of biblical times far better than we do, so I’m not sure there’s any argument about ‘good context’ to be made.
See also (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synoptic_Gospels#The_synoptic_problem)
So my question is, outside of the bible, what historical evidence do we have for the story of Jesus? Having been told by Barry “The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most reliably documented events in all of human history.” (http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/on-why-liars-lie/#comment-580232) I’d like to see those documents, the non-biblical ones.
The scientific aim is obviously to have a consilient picture of events, multiple independent and reinforcing narratives, like this: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/