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Is eyewitness testimony reliable?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by TruthSeek3r, Aug 15, 2022.

  1. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    • If a Christian testifies that they were visited by angels, should we believe them?
    • If a Christian testifies that they were attacked by demons, should we believe them?
    • If a Christian testifies that they witnessed a miracle, should we believe them?
    • If a Christian testifies that they received a word of knowledge, should we believe them?
    • If a Christian testifies that they heard the audible voice of God, should we believe them?
    • If a Christian testifies that they witnessed sign gifts today, should we believe them?
    • If a Christian testifies that they experienced multiple supernatural outpourings of the Holy Spirit, with charismatic manifestations, should we believe them?
    Is eyewitness testimony reliable?

    What about eyewitness accounts of UFO's, alien abductions, astral projections, NDEs, paranormal activity, Bigfoot sightings, past life regressions, etc.?

    What about the eyewitness accounts of Jesus' resurrection?

    Should we only believe stories backed by solid scientific evidence?

    What should we believe and why?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  2. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    In the Gospel of Matthew (among other books) we can read directly what Christ Himself said is the way to know whether someone is acting in accord with God, or instead in some other way that isn't from God.

    This is just one of the many many reasons we need to read all Christ said, and listen and remember and put into practice what He said. (including that it's Life or Death for us over time whether we listen to Him and put His words into practice! -- Matthew 7:24-27, or more fully Matthew 7:21-27)
     
  3. frank sears

    frank sears Member

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    It depends entirely on the person telling the story. I have heard many stories of incredible miracles by certain persons on TV, radio, and in person, that I do not believe. However, I had a friend who told me of praying for a girl in a wheelchair that jumped up and begin to run. I believed him because I was an eyewitness, that when he prayed for things they happened, also he was not after money, and he was very humble. Check the person out for results not personality, con people are usually very likable people.
     
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  4. Blade

    Blade Veteran Supporter

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    I think what God said will answer this. I like how the AMP says it...its what came to mind anyway "Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]."

    If.. is doubting. "supernatural outpourings of the Holy Spirit" are not a "Charismatic" thing. He moves as He wants...with those that believe. So my answer to the "ifs" is yes why would I doubt first? Now the UFO and later...is in my view just the enemy deceiving man. If ever you saw something like this.. just see what happens when you use the name IN JESUS NAME! :)

    Keep our eyes on Christ first.. seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. With out Him as your foundation and grounded in the word and prayer one can be easily deceived.
     
  5. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    In addition to the more important aspect above about how to know where someone claiming to speak of God is coming from, you also asked about many other unrelated things, more generally -- how we might gauge several kinds of things.

    There's more than one broad category for those also. For the words in the gospels from Christ, I found out (literally) that they actually work fully: I tested many things, and over and over and over and over, finding out what happened when I did them. Each thing works fully.

    So, I used an approach a little like 'doubting Thomas' you could say, because I was like him (but notice also in the story about Thomas, Christ then at the end, after Thomas has gotten some evidence, directly commands Thomas "Stop doubting and believe!" (so, in time, I finally got to that ... :) But that was after I tested a lot of things very extensively)

    And then you have stuff that individuals claim. For many of us, it's hard to be confident that something is even possible until we have experienced something like it.

    About the unrelated category of stuff like bigfoot, of course, one needs some evidence, don't they? My guess is no such thing exists.

    In contrast to bigfoot, things from Christ are confirmed over and over.
     
  6. frank sears

    frank sears Member

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    It is strange, but there is a remarkable amount of evidence that bigfoot exists.
     
  7. OzSpen

    OzSpen Regular Member

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    Truth,

    In my understanding, eyewitness testimony is as reliable as the person who repeats/tells the story. Can the person be trusted to give a credible record of what happened?

    Generally, this means checking out reports of manifestations recorded for oneself - as a starter.

    Oz
     
  8. frank sears

    frank sears Member

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    I was in a particular group for years that talked about miracles all the time...but I never really seen one, do not believe the religious gossip.
     
  9. OzSpen

    OzSpen Regular Member

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    frank,

    Why don't you invite yourself to one of their group meetings where alleged miracles take place? Then you can see for yourself if they really happen.

    Oz
     
  10. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The Scripture says that in the mouths of two or three witnesses let every word be established. The report of just one witness in court who says they are eyewitness to an event, then it is not accepted into evidence because the judge will uphold an objection that it is just hearsay unless corroborated by other witnesses.

    Most if not all the reports of people seeing angels has come from just one person with no others present to corroborate the sighting. Therefore all we have is just that person's word. So we have no reliable way of establishing whether it is the truth or has just been made up.
     
  11. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    It’s really quite impossible to believe in a 2000 year old account of a resurrection apart from grace. In fact unless you were there witnessing it yourself, it would be almost as hard to believe in a resurrection claim of only 2 hours ago. And claims of supernatural events or miracles happening in another persons life should be held with healthy skepticism, knowing how human nature is, but with the understanding that such things may well occur, knowing something of how God’s nature is, and of His will to reward our faith and build it up even more.
     
  12. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior Veteran Supporter

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    There is a fellow named Frank Morison who wrote his book, "Who Moved The Stone?" He started his research to disprove the resurrection, but halfway through, the evidence that he uncovered caused him to totally change his mind and he finished the book to prove beyond doubt that the resurrection actually happened.

    We need to sometimes avoid being so heavenly minded that we are unable to think realistically and practically. Luke, when he researched his Gospel he said that most of the eye witnesses to the resurrection were still alive, and he spent time interviewing as many as he could. Luke was a practical, educated man, and he didn't depend on religious theory for his Gospel. He based it on thorough research. There were 500 people who witnessed seeing the resurrected Christ, and it was those ones who showed Luke that the resurrection really happened. No doubt about it. The testimony of 500 witnesses 2,000 years ago is still just as valid today.
     
  13. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    If 1000 people testify that they witnessed the same event, what are the chances that they are all mistaken?

    If 1000 people testify that they witnessed 1000 different events (a different event per person, not the same event), what are the chances that they are all mistaken?

    Example: 1000 testimonies of a single miracle vs. 1000 testimonies of 1000 different independent miracles.

    Do you believe that 1000 testimonies of 1000 independent miracles are still valuable or should be dismissed?

    What if I give you one million independent testimonies of different miracles (one eyewitness per miracle, not multiple eyewitnesses)? What are the chances that those million testimonies are all mistaken?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
  14. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    The 500 eyewitnesses argument is hotly debated by skeptics. Check out this article and the comments. Or this one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
  15. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    I like such works as Who Moved the Stone and there are some very compelling reasons to believe that the NT accounts are true. These arguments can amount to "motives of credibility". But they're not enough, in themselves, to cause faith. Were speaking of a resurrection here, not ordinary human activities. If 500 witnesses told me about a resurrection that happened two days ago, that would be very interesting but I'd most certainly want more than that-I'd need physical proof-or intertest would soon decline.
     
  16. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    Well, we need to remember that some will refuse to believe, regardless of what things they hear or learn about, Christ showed in the example given in the story of Lazarus and the Rich man. I.e., some learning first hand from several people they know well still would not believe then.

    Actually, He said that and more, I notice looking at the final verse. It's not simply they would not believe many witnesses, but specifically they would be those that would not listen to the inspired and profound accounts we read when we actually do read through the prophets (how we get from the actual words and chapters so much more than a summary (even a lengthy summary) would tell us).

    31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

    (e.g. even if many people they have personally known for years tell them of it)
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
  17. TruthSeek3r

    TruthSeek3r Well-Known Member

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    The thing is, we don't have any of the eyewitness accounts of the alleged 500 eyewitnesses. We only have Paul's claim that there were 500 eyewitnesses. So it's second hand at best.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
  18. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    Ah, well, when I read in the news about witnesses saying X happened, I only have the news account of what the witnesses say. Should I disbelieve the news account of what multiple witnesses said? :) I could. It might come from extreme skepticism (or another way could be unhinged conspiracy theory type thinking, possibly).

    For me, my path to faith happens to have been by reading carefully and then testing out the things Christ said to do -- the specific commands He said to those who would be His followers. So I sort of went in the opposite direction to some I suppose. Instead of believing and then learning because of believing what Christ said to do, so as to follow Him, I instead tried out what He said to do from just curiosity and a desire for a fulfilling life, testing what He said, and that led to faith over time (perhaps because of divine help, but that was the sequence).
     
  19. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I agree. It is the preaching of the Gospel of Christ that causes faith. This is in line with the Scripture: "Faith comes by hearing the Word of God...how can they unless someone preaches it to them...how can a person preach unless they are sent?" What causes faith is when the Holy Spirit speaks through the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus told the woman at the well that the day would come when people will worship God in spirit and in truth. Spirit working alone can cause reliance on sensory experience. Truth alone would just work on the intellect. But the Holy Spirit working alongside the truth of the Scriptures produces faith expressed in a positive response to the Gospel.
     
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