Before any conversation can be had, we must first determine the best way of knowing what is true…
The Methods of Determining Truth
There are many systems that are used to determine truth such as the Scientific Method, the Legal-Historical Method, Perceptual Truth, Rational Truth, Pragmatic Truth, and Revealed Truth. Some of these might be ways in which people determine truth, but most are insufficient methods, which is why serious scholars and the standards of science don’t accept them as reliable.
For Example: Pragmatic Truth can lead to false positives, which has been shown with the usage of placebos in experiments. Perceptual Truth can be uncritical and has been shown to lead people to believe false realities many times. The Scientific Method and Legal-Historical Method are the two methods used most often today. Although the Scientific Method can’t confirm things such as whether George Washington chopped down a cherry tree or not, it is used every day to determine whether a historical event happened or not. Obviously you cannot repeat someone’s lifetime over and over again, but you can make a hypothesis, gather evidence, perform experiments on them and repeat the experiment or test to be sure those findings are accurate.
For Example: scientists use the Scientific Method to solve paternal disputes. They probably were not present at the moment of conception (history), but through their methods, they can positively confirm whether someone is the father of a specific child or not. Scientists may not have personally witnessed a murder (history), but many times they can determine the exact time of death through their methods and the available evidence. Likewise, DNA samples left behind at a scene can positively prove that a person was at the scene (history). The truth is that the Scientific Method is the only method that can be used to confirm historical truth. Unlike Christianity, it does not depend on faith, intuition, speculation, feelings, or authority and its’ conclusions can be tested for error.
I have heard many Christians make statements such as “Christianity is based on the same system of investigation of facts that we use in science, education, and our courts of law” and that “there is historical proof that Jesus rose from the dead.” These statements are inaccurate. I believe that the evidence will show that Christianity’s “evidence” consists of nothing but hearsay, assumptions, and speculation and it is well known that hearsay, speculation, and assumptions are not acceptable forms of evidence used in science or courts of law.