This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
By Dan Duncan
To my wife Beth, without whose influence, I would still be an unrepentant sinner.
PART ONE OPENING STATEMENTS
Chapter One The Judge’s Introduction
BAILIFF: All Rise! The Honorable John J. Lapman
presiding, this Court is now in session! JUDGE: Be seated! We have before us a case of utmost importance. It is a case that may affect your perception of the future as well as the past. The Plaintiff in this case wants any reference to Jesus or his alleged resurrection to be removed from the public forum. The Defense wishes to maintain the status quo. Each side will attempt to sway your opinion by presenting arguments, which they feel supports their case. At the conclusion of their presentations, it will be up to you to decide which side better proved it’s case by the preponderance of that evidence. The importance of this case is paramount! We will be discussing evidence from nearly two thousand years in the past as well as evidence from the recent past. I recommend that you pay close attention to all of the evidence and the testimony that will be presented today. If you fail to do so, you may miss a piece of information that may be the crux of the matter as far as you’re concerned.
To those in attendance at these proceedings, I instruct you that we will maintain order in this courtroom. No outburst, loud murmurings, gestures or otherwise disruptive behavior will be tolerated here. This is a solemn matter before the Court and it will be treated as such. Without further ado, counselors please introduce yourselves for the record. For the Plaintiff? MR KULACH: Yes Your Honor, Jeffery Kulach, Esquire, representing the American Civil Union, and the plaintiff, the American Humanist Movement. JUDGE: Very well, thank you counselor. And for the Defense? MR MISNER: Yes Your Honor, John Misner, Esquire, representing The American Christian Heritage Group. JUDGE: Very well, thank you counselor, Mr. Kulach, I presume the plaintiff is ready to present opening statements?
MR KULACH: We are your Honor! JUDGE: Very well! You may proceed!
Chapter Two Opening Statement by The Plaintiff
MR KULACH: Your Honor, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury and Honored Guests, we have before us a task of monumental proportion! We will attempt here to either prove or disprove the case for the resurrection of Jesus who was also called The Christ. Now, it is the Plaintiff’s contention that the resurrection is merely a fabrication of a vivid imagination, a fairy tale if you will, generated by a small group of people who, after losing their leader, could not bear to endure the shame attached to following a charlatan for the period of approximately three years. We intend to assist you in reaching a reasonable conclusion that this resurrection, as it were, never took place. We further intend to present various scenarios in which several nefarious individuals could have manipulated the evidence in order to perpetuate this fabrication. Their motivation is clear. Through their so-called “eyewitness” testimony, they gained a following that supported them financially and protected them at various times from the punishment that
they so richly deserved for promulgating such a farce. Their fame has been well known throughout the ages. They have been venerated as wise sages who unlocked the secret of the ages, the way to eternal life. Now, I myself wouldn’t mind at all if I could somehow gain everlasting life by merely uttering some magical phrase, as present day Christians propose but let us be reasonable here! What proof will the defense be able to present to support the resurrection or this ethereal idea of everlasting life? I contend that they will not be able to present one shred of empirical data to support their position and that hearsay must be employed to support this defenseless theory. He will undoubtedly reference several historical witnesses who claim that they “saw” the Christ after His supposed resurrection. Well, we will present just as much evidence to the contrary. He will show you pictures and attempt to explain how the evidence leads to the conclusion that the resurrection was an actual historical event and therefore,
everything that the Christians believe and teach must be true. On this point, the plaintiff agrees! If this “proof” truly exists, then I will have lost the hinge upon which my argument hangs. I do not, however, intend to allow the defense to present these facts summarily without solid empirical evidence. I intend to present evidence and witnesses as well. I will bring forth stalwarts in their respective fields whose contentions with the Christian position are clear, concise and irrefutable. In closing, I ask that you keep an open mind and that you carefully weigh the facts, and only the facts, before arriving at your conclusion. I thank you for your time and attention and look forward to your informed conclusion of disproof in the case of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
Chapter Three Opening Statement by The Defense
JUDGE: Is the Defense prepared to present its opening statement? MR MISNER: We are Your Honor! JUDGE: Very well, you may proceed. MR MISNER: Thank you Your Honor. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury and honored guests, I do not intend to spend a lot of time and effort trying to convince you as to the truthfulness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ at this juncture. Instead, I intend to present indisputable evidence of the fact that Jesus Christ was tried and convicted of a crime which he did not commit, sentenced to die upon a torturous cross, placed on that cross with spikes through His hands and feet, died of His own volition shortly thereafter, was placed and sealed in a tomb, emerged three days later and appeared to an array of witnesses including more than 500 in one instance. Now, the plaintiff mentioned empirical evidence. Well, what is the definition
of empirical evidence? Webster’s Dictionary defines empirical data as, “originating or based on observation or experience .” With that in mind, the Defense intends to present testimony and evidence from various witnesses, including those who are not sympathetic to the Christian position, and datum from various sources supporting our contention of the resurrection as historical fact. The plaintiff may try to divert you with abstract arguments and impressive sounding hypotheses but the fact will remain that it can be proven by readily accepted methodology that each point of evidence which supports the Christian position is sound. It is my hope also that as you weigh the evidence presented here that you will base your conclusions solely upon the facts of the case as opposed to the impressions, biases or beliefs of the counsel for the plaintiff, your fellow jurors or myself. That is all I, or anyone can ask in this case. Thank you for your kind attention and I look forward to
presenting you with the facts of this case. JUDGE: Thank you counselor. We will move into the direct phase assuming the plaintiff is ready to call witnesses and present evidence. MR KULACH: We are Your Honor. JUDGE: All right, you may proceed.
PART TWO THE PLAINTIFF
Chapter One The Direct of Dr. Achmed Deepat
MR KULACH: Thank you Your Honor, the Plaintiff calls Dr. Achmed Deepat. BAILIFF: Lift your right hand; do you declare that you will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation, to the best of your ability and knowledge? DR. DEEPAT: I certainly do! (Q) represents the question by the attorney for the Plaintiff, (A) represents the answer by the witness. Q: Thank you for coming today doctor, I trust you are well? A: I am very well thank you. I have been blessed bountifully. Q: Now Doctor, for the record, please inform the Court as to your name and qualifications? A: Certainly, My name is Achmed Deepat; I was raised in Pakistan until I was 11 years old. I was exposed to Christian Doctrine at a very early age and converted to
Christianity at the age of 9 along with the rest of my family. We were exiled for our beliefs and disowned by the remainder of our family so, under the threat of death; my father was forced to move his family to the United States. I attended George Washington High School in Washington D. C. until graduating with honors. I then attended the Danvers Theological Seminary and majored in Biblical Apologetics and Ancient Languages where I graduated Magna Cum Laude. I was a staff member and elder of the United Universal Unitarian Fellowship from 1971 until 1994, when I assumed the position of Senior Lay Minister, which I hold to this day. I have authored two books and have lectured extensively pertaining to themes critical of the resurrection account as it is presented in the Bible. Q: Thank you doctor. If you would accommodate me sir, what are the names of your publications? A: Well, in 1996, I published “What Really Happened in the Tomb,” which was an examination of the evidence
presented in the Biblical account of the alleged resurrection of Jesus and then in 2001, I published “The False Assumptions of Christianity”, which deals with the unsupported teachings of contemporary Christian scholars. The theory of the resurrection was also contained in that subject matter. Q: Doctor, you refer to the resurrection of Jesus as a theory. Why is that sir? A: Because I firmly believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus was a conspiracy foisted upon a poor and uneducated people in the early history of man and has been perpetuated by the Church ever since. Q: And Doctor Deepat, do you have any evidence to support your contention that the death and resurrection of Jesus was, in fact, a hoax that has been perpetuated and expounded upon throughout the centuries since the disappearance of Jesus? Could you share that with us? A: I do and I would be glad to enlighten those listening as
to what I believe is the truth about the apocryphal death, burial and resurrection as maintained by the Biblical account. I contend that the preponderance of evidence points not to the death of Jesus, but to the fact that he was unconscious and was rescued by several persons who may be identified as Joseph of Aramathea and possibly Nicodemus among others. Q: And Doctor, what evidence is there that points you to this conclusion? A: Well, there are several evidences, which, I believe, supports the identification of Joseph of Aramathea as the co-conspirator of Jesus. The fact that the women went to the tomb after three days in order to anoint Jesus is the most telling of the evidences for his survival of the crucifixion. One does not anoint a dead person after three day of being dead. The very word used in the Bible, that is anoint, gives us all the proof we need. The word anoint is derived from the Hebrew word “Masaha” from which we
derive the word “Massage.” From this word, we derive the Hebrew word “Messiah.” The intention of the women to “massage” Jesus lends credence to the fact that he was not in fact dead but entombed alive, as was known only to a select few, first and foremost being Joseph of Aramathea because he was the one who removed him from the cross and placed him in the tomb. He therefore recognized that Jesus was, in fact, not dead but merely in an unconscious state and cared for him until he could safely be removed under the cover of darkness. Being a Jew, he then observed the Sabbath and then shared the information with some of Jesus’ closest confidants including Nicodemus and Mary Magdalene. This is why Mary was prepared to tend to Jesus by “anointing” him, that is, massaging his wounds with healing herbs and spices but Joseph must not have fully trusted her and rolled the stone away prior to her arrival and concealed the identity of Jesus by dressing him as a gardener until he could be secreted away in safety. This is
why the scriptures read that she supposed him to be the Gardener when he asked her why she was crying. Further proof that he had not died is found in the following scriptures when Jesus told Mary not to touch him because he had not ascended to the Father. In other words, in the colloquial language and idiom of the Jew, this expression would mean that he had not died. Q: Very interesting Doctor. Now, could you explain to us when it was that you believe Jesus was removed from the tomb, in other words could you give us a time line of your evidence concerning the crucifixion, supposed death, entombment and removal of Jesus from the tomb? A: Well, I certainly believe that the crucifixion occurred much in the way of the Biblical account. I believe that the evidence is dependable that he was crucified on Friday and fainted from humiliation, stress and exhaustion in the early afternoon. Joseph of Aramathea then approached Pilate and requested the body of Jesus because it was unseemly to
have a body on display during the Sabbath. As he was removing what he thought was the body of Jesus, he realized that Jesus was not dead but did not reveal it to anyone at that time for fear that he would have to endure further torture. He then carried the body to his personal tomb, with the help of his accomplice Nicodemus. At some point between the entombment of Jesus and the Sanhedrin request to have a guard placed at the tomb and the tomb sealed, Joseph and Nicodemus opened the tomb and spirited Jesus away to a hiding place where his wounds were tended to and his disguise was adorned until the Sabbath had passed and Jesus could be secreted away to another more remote location. Further, after the open tomb was discovered, Jesus and his accomplices saw the opportunity to further dupe his followers by having him appear to many of his followers in the days following his “death” to support the belief that he had died and yet had power over death by resurrecting himself three days later.
Q: Doctor, is there any evidence pertaining to the locale that Jesus was later removed to? A: Well, there is some speculation about that. There are some that say that he stayed in the general area of Jerusalem both that he remained in seclusion and became a recluse until his death. There was some speculation that he was buried in a small suburb of Jerusalem called Talpiyot and that the bones were discovered there in 1980 in a tomb containing 10 small ossuaries that were common among the poor of that period. There has, however, been some sentiment that has been supported by evidentiary witnesses that Jesus left the area altogether and went on a tour through Turkey, Persia Western Europe and possibly England and then settled in India where he and his mother Mary later died. Q: And what kind of evidentiary support is there for this scenario? A: In his book entitled “Jesus Lived in India,” Holger
Kersten purported that a Russian Scholar by the name of Nicolia Notovich interviewed a Buddhist monk who told him of a visitor to the temple who called himself “Issa” whose teachings were remarkably parallel to that of Jesus. Further, a Persian scholar named F. Mohammed who claimed that Jesus received a royal invitation to visit the kingdom of Nisisbis, where he was referred to as “Yuz Asaf.” He reportedly performed many miracles there, taught and behaved in a fashion remarkably similar to that of Jesus. I could go on but I think that these evidences are sufficient to reasonably assume the historicity of the swoon/exile scenario. MR KULACH: Thank you Doctor, the plaintiff has no further questions for the good Doctor at this time Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well Mr. Kulach. Is the Defense prepared to cross? MR MISNER: We are Your Honor.
JUDGE: Very well, you may proceed.
Chapter Two The Cross Examination of Dr. Achmed Deepat
Q: Doctor thank you for availing yourself this morning. I’d like to ask some questions about the testimony you gave earlier and perhaps have you expound on a few points if I may? A: Certainly, that’s why I’m here today. Q: Doctor, you stated earlier that you converted to Christianity at an early age. Do you now consider yourself to be a practicing Christian? A: Well I suppose it depends on your perception of exactly what a “practicing Christian” is. I guess if you ask evangelicals and neo-conservative Church scholars, they probably wouldn’t consider me as a very good “Christian” example. They would probably tell you that I’m going to split Hell wide open, as they like to say (chuckles from the courtroom). But if you ask the more progressive community, they would say that I am indeed a Christian by today’s standard.
Q: And by today’s standard what do you mean Sir? A: Well, in the strictest sense, I guess you could quantify today’s progressive standard as an ever-changing set of beliefs and principals. By ever changing, I mean that as society progresses, we must also progress to a higher plane of understanding and consciousness. We don’t deny that Christ existed and that his life was an excellent pattern by which to live by, but we contend that over the millennia, words, and in some case entire gospels, have been omitted. The Bible has been corrupted by several translations, revisions and biases until they are mostly unreliable. So I would classify myself as a follower of Jesus, but not as a believer in all that was recorded about his life. Q: Wouldn’t you say sir that the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection are points pivotal to the term Christian, which by it’s very meaning infers that you believe these basics tenets of the Christian faith? A: Well, as I said previously, if you’re referring to the
traditional tenets of the neo-conservatives, that is true but if you believe as a growing number do that this perception that certain absolutes must be believed and put into practice in order to achieve salvation is horrendously outdated, then Christianity is a wide and relative term that can be very inclusive. Q: Alright Doctor, I just wanted to clarify that point for the Court. Now sir, you stated that it is your contention the Joseph of Aramathea and possibly Nicodemus, both of whom were members of the Sanhedrin, had conspired with Jesus to secret him away after it was discovered that Jesus had survived the ordeal of the crucifixion, is that correct? A: Yes it is. Q: Just to go back for a moment to your educational history Sir, did any of your studies include any medical practices, theories or fundamentals? A: No they did not. Q: I see. Doctor, in your study of Christian apologetics, at
any time did you become familiar with the practice of scourging? A: I wouldn’t say that I am an expert in the practice but I would say I had an adequate knowledge of scourging and what it entails yes. Q: Now Doctor, do you recall the actual make-up of a typical flagellum, which was the instrument used to inflict the lashes upon Jesus? A: Well typically, the flagellum was comprised of leather thongs attached to a wooden handle. Tied into the leather thongs were bits of metal or bones, which were intended to severely punish the recipient. Q: And do you recall the number of lashes that Jesus was subjected to? A: The Bible does not specifically supply the actual number of lashes but it was Jewish tradition at the time to inflict no more than 39, which was the limit according to Jewish law.
Q: And are you aware of the type or extent of injuries that are inflicted by the scourging process? A: Well I’m certainly not a medical doctor so I can only surmise the amount of damage that could be done, but I would guess it to be very severe. MR. MISNER: Your Honor, I would like to introduce Exhibit 1 into the record. This is a demonstrative exhibit prepared by the Mayo Clinic, which depicts the scourging process and includes a summation of the act of scourging, including that of Jesus Christ. JUDGE: Very well, if there are no objections by the Plaintiff. MR KULACH: There are none Your Honor. JUDGE: You may proceed Mr. Misner Q: Thank you Your Honor. Now Dr. Deepat, in this report, the determination by the medical specialist was that it has been determined that the condition of Jesus before the crucifixion was serious if not critical, would you concede
that point? A: Well, as I am not a specialist in the medical field, I would have to defer that prognosis or the contestation of the prognosis to someone with more knowledge than me. Q: Alright Sir, then are you familiar with the actual crucifixion process that Jesus endured and could you explain that to us? A: Yes, the actual crucifixion of Jesus involved requiring him to carry the cross to the hill where the crosses were to be placed. Jesus, however, in his weakened state could not carry the cross the entire length of the trip so historically it is widely accepted that Simon of Cyrene was commissioned by the centurions to carry the cross for him. He was then forced to lie on the cross while spikes were driven through his wrists and feet in an area that would create the most pain while Jesus was hanging there. Next, the cross was lifted into place and dropped into a hole in order to sustain the cross in an upright position. Jesus hung
in that position for approximately 6 hours until he lapsed into unconsciousness that was mistaken for death. Q: And do you believe that the Roman Centurion who came to break the legs of Jesus to speed the process of dying could have been mistaken about his condition given that this task was part of his profession? A: Well, we don’t know to what extent their medical knowledge allowed them to make such determinations but I would contend given the weight of the supporting facts that he was incorrect in his diagnosis of death. Q: And why is it Sir that you believe that in spite of the horrific torture that Jesus endured, he did not die on the cross but merely swooned or fainted? Is there a solid medical hypothesis that helped you form your opinion? A: Well aside from the evidence that I presented before, I can add that the nominal period for a crucifixion from inception until death was usually 3 to 4 days, which was aided by breaking the legs of the condemned so that they
could not raise themselves up to breathe and they expired from asphyxiation. When the Sanhedrin ask Pilate to have the legs of Jesus broken to speed his death so as not to leave him on the cross during the Sabbath, he was unconscious before they arrived and they assumed that he was, in fact, dead. Q: Sir, when you say that the nominal time of suffering before death was usually 3 -4 days, does that take into account the fact that Jesus was beaten, scourged and then forced to carry his crucifixion cross in his weakened state prior to the actual crucifixion taking place? A: No, I don’t believe it does. Q: Then Sir, what medical evidence can you submit to this Court that would lend credence to your swoon theory? A: As I am not a medical doctor Sir, I cannot submit to you or this Court conclusive medical proof of the condition of Jesus after his removal from the cross. I can only surmise his condition by the actions of those surrounding the story
including Jesus after his alleged resurrection. I can also surmise the condition of Jesus as I stated before by the historical evidence, including the Biblical record of the days surrounding the crucifixion and the 40 days after the reappearance of Jesus afterward. Q: Alright Doctor, I refrain from asking your opinion on medical matters surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus since you admit that you’re not qualified to make a determination as to the actual physical well being of Jesus after the crucifixion process began. MR KULICH: Objection Your Honor badgering the witness! MR MISNER: I’ll withdraw the question Your Honor. Q: Doctor, what are the sources for your assertion that Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus were co-conspirators in the removal of Jesus from the tomb and his subsequent exile into other areas of the world. A: Well, it is a matter of Biblical record that the two men
were the ones responsible for his removal from the cross and placement in the sepulcher. Therefore, it would only make sense that they would be the ones who removed him because they would have been the only people to have known that he wasn’t dead. As far as his exile, I must admit that this is purely conjecture on my part because it makes the most sense. If, for the sake of argument, we say in fact that Jesus was alive, it would not be an unreasonable assumption that they would be the ones most likely to have helped him escape from the area, as I’m sure that his disciples were under heavy suspicion because of the empty tomb. Q: Alright Doctor, I’d like to ask you specifically about the post crucifixion sightings as sited by Notovich and Mohammed. You stated that Notovich referred to a man calling himself “Issa” and Mohammed referred to a man who called himself “Yuz Asaf” is that correct? A: Yes Sir.
Q: Very well Doctor, is it then fair to say that in neither case was the man confirmed to be Jesus of Nazareth but that the mere implication was there due to the fact that his works and teachings were similar if not identical to those of Jesus during His three year ministry prior to his crucifixion? A: Yes, I guess that would be a fair assumption, although the evidence is very compelling. Q: Doctor Deepat, I have just one more question for you Sir. If, in fact, it can be logically proven that the wounds inflicted by the scourging, crowning and crucifixion of Jesus Christ were of a mortal nature, wouldn’t it undermine your entire testimony here today and render you swoon theory ineffectual? A: Well Sir, I don’t know that you could effectively advance the theory that the wounds were deadly. No one here today was there at the time so no one can emphatically say this or that is empirically true, it would merely be
conjecture. Q: Doctor, if you would humor me for just a moment and answer the question put forward. Would it render your argument ineffectual if, in fact, the wounds Jesus received could be proven to be fatalistic in nature? A: If it could be empirically proven, I would suppose that it would place my argument in serious jeopardy, yes. MR MISNER: Thank you Doctor, no further questions you honor. JUDGE: Does the Plaintiff wish to redirect? MR KULACH: No Your Honor we do not. JUDGE: Very well, you can call your next witness Mr. Kulach.
Chapter Three The Direct of Imam Yousef Amin
MR KULACH: Plaintiff calls Imam Yousef Amin to the stand. BAILIFF: Lift your right hand, do you declare that you will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation, to the best of your ability and knowledge? IMAM AMIN: I do. Q: Thank you for coming today Imam Amin. A: You are most welcome. Q: Imam, could you please state briefly for the record you name and qualifications? A: Certainly Sir. My name is Imam Yousef Amin. I was born in Brooklyn, New York City and at the age of 6 became a student of Islam. I attended the Imam Mohammed Abinijad School in Dundee, Scotland where I underwent intensive Islamic teaching under the tutelage of the honorable Imam Osama Sadaam Farouk. I received my B. A. in Islamic studies in 2002 and now lead the Arap
Bayat Mosque in Cedar City, Iowa. I have published several papers critical of the Christian account of the crucifixion of the prophet Jesus and also host the website answersofislam.com. Q: Very impressive Sir! A: Thank you, you are most kind. Q: Now Imam, if you will, could you present us with your views concerning the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth? Could you also include any proof that you might have concerning your assertions? A: Certainly, it is my contention that the Christian account of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus is completely and utterly a fabrication of co-conspirators in the early part of the second century A. D. I believe that the Christian Bible as it exists today is completely corrupted and thus nearly unusable as a source of authority. There are several contradictions concerning the events surrounding the crucifixion and even scriptural references contradicting
the crucifixion itself. There are many other contradictions with the Holy Qu’ran but I will refrain from using them as this is a wholly Christian argument in this context. Q: Now Imam, you stated that there are several contradictions concerning the events surrounding the crucifixion. What might those be? A: Well, assuming the crucifixion actually took place, one would expect such an event to be well documented to the point that those events that took place would be general knowledge that everyone shared, however, there are several conflicting accounts contained within the gospels and the other accepted books within the New Testament. There are several references to the crucifixion being held on a tree such as in Acts 5:30, 10:39 and 13:29. Another reference to the tree crucifixion is found in 1 Peter 2:24. There are also several references to His crucifixion on a cross such as in Matthew 27:40, 42, Mark 15: 30, 32 and Luke 23:26. Christians are forever defending the Bible as the infallible
Word of God but as we can plainly see, the hands of men have roiled the waters as it were in such a way as to render the Bible almost completely moot. Q: Now Imam, you said there at the beginning of your explanation words to the effect that the actual crucifixion might be in question. Could you explain that position for the Court? A: Certainly, it is my contention that the crucifixion of the prophet Jesus never took place. His place on the cross was substituted by Judas Iscariot. In Hebrews 5:7 the Christian Bible tells us that Jesus offered up prayers and petitions to the one who could save him from death and that God heard him because of his reverent submission. Also in the Nag Hammadi texts, in a book called “The Second Treatise of the Great Seth ,” Jesus himself stated that he did not die in reality but only in appearance so as to avoid shame. He states further that another was crucified in his place and that he was laughing at their ignorance.
Q: And if you would Sir, explain what the Nag Hammadi texts are? A: The Nag Hammadi texts were so named because Nag Hammadi was the region where farmers discovered a sealed jar containing thirteen books or codices in 1945. Theses codices contained several excerpts of Gnostic writings including the only complete text of the Gospel of Thomas. Q: Thank you Imam for that explanation. Now back to your point, how is it that so many mistook Judas Iscariot for Jesus who was such a well known figure that it would seem almost impossible that anyone would mistake the identities of the two ? A: We are given further insight into the events in the Garden the night of Jesus’ arrest in the Gospel of Barnabas, which explains that God, seeing Jesus in danger, sent his angels Gabriel, Michael, Rafael and Uriel to take Jesus out of the world for a time. Then God transformed Judas into
the likeness and speech of Jesus. It was he then that was taken into custody and crucified in the place of Jesus because God would never allow his mighty prophet Jesus to come under shame. MR KULACH: Thank you sir. I have no further questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well. I believe we have enough time before the lunch break for cross or at least the beginning of the cross if the defense is amenable. MR MISNER: The defense is agreeable Your Honor JUDGE: Very well, you may proceed with your cross.
Chapter Four The Cross Examination of Imam Yousef Amin
Q: Thank you Your Honor. Imam Amin, how are you Sir? A: Very well sir, thank you for asking. Q: Imam Amin, you have stated before this Court that the Bible is an unreliable document because of the contradictions it contains. While I’m aware of the many so called contradictions sighted by various groups in order to call into question the veracity of the Bible, I’ll confine my questions to the problems you cited here today. Now you stated earlier that there was an obvious contradiction in the account of the crucifixion where several accounts noted that it took place on a tree while others noted that it actually took place on a cross, is that correct? A: Yes it is. Q: Sir, are you aware as to what language the oldest Biblical texts are written in? A: I believe that most if not all of it was written in Greek although I’m not 100% certain.
Q: Yes, in fact, it was written in part in Greek and Sir, did you study foreign languages at the University you attended and if so what were they? A: Yes I studied extensively in the forms of Arabic language. Q: So would it be fair to say that you don’t have even a cursory knowledge of any of the languages in which the Biblical text was written in? MR KULACH: Objection Your Honor, argumentative! JUDGE: Overruled, please answer the question Sir. A: Well, I have done a bit of research on the subject of Greek interpretation. Q: But would you quantify your knowledge on the subject as extensive? A: No Sir. Q: Alright Sir, are you familiar with the Greek word for cross? A: No I am not.
Q: And are you familiar with the Roman practice of crucifixion at the time Jesus was allegedly crucified? A: I’m somewhat familiar with the procedure. Q: And could you please tell the Court what the practice involved? A: Well, the Roman practice involved impalement on a stake in an earlier period but then evolved into the practice of crucifixion on a stake or a cross. Q: And what were these stakes or crosses made out of? A: Why, wood I would suppose. Q: So is it possible that the accounts referring to a tree and a cross are interchangeable in much the same way as say a car may be referred to as a “set of wheels” or a “ride”? A: I find it highly unlikely that in a document of this theological magnitude, that the authors would be intentionally unclear. Q: But would it be fair to say that it could be conveyed in that fashion.
A: Possible, but again, highly unlikely. Q: All right, now Sir, you stated that Judas was substituted for Jesus as was related by the Gnostic gospels, is that correct? A: Yes, that is what is written and the Qu’ran further confirms it. Q: Now Imam Amin, are you aware of the general consensus of modern day Biblical academia concerning the Gnostic views contained in the Nag Hammadi scrolls? A: I know that they’re opposed to it because it conflicts with their current belief system. Q: And Sir, can you give us a brief history of Gnosticism such as where it began, it’s core beliefs or it’s definition of who God is? A: Well...I’m not an expert on that subject by any means other than as it pertains to the teachings of the Qu’ran but I firmly believe the Qu’ran’s version of the crucifixion which, I believe, is very similar to the Gnostic version.
MR MISNER: Thank you Sir, I have no further questions for this witness. JUDGE: Alright, does council for the Plaintiff wish to redirect? MR KULACH: Yes Your Honor, we do. JUDGE: Very well, proceed.
Chapter Five The Redirect of Imam Yousef Amin
Q: Imam Amir, would it be fair to say that the counsel for the defense has advanced the notion that the Nag Hammadi Codices are unreliable? A: I believe that was his aim, yes. Q: Sir, can you sight for us any supporters of note regarding the accuracy or authenticity of the codices? A: Well, I certainly don’t know all of them, there are quite a few, but some supporters outside of Islamic circles would be James M. Robinson who was the theologian who translated the codices into the English version we have today. Another noted supporter would be George MacRae from Harvard who said that Robinson had done more than any other person to advance the study of the Nag Hammadi texts. Also from Harvard, there was Helmut Koester who said that the final form as translated by Robinson was in some cases perhaps more accurate than the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
MR KULACH: Thank you Imam, you’ve been most helpful. No further questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, I believe we’ll stop there for the lunch break and resume at 12:30 this afternoon.
Chapter Six The Direct of Doctor Michael Gesser
JUDGE: Good afternoon everyone, Mr. Kulach, are you prepared to call your next witness? MR KULACH: We are Your Honor, Plaintiff calls Dr. Michael Gesser to the stand. BAILIFF: Lift your right hand, do you declare that you will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation, to the best of your ability and knowledge? DR GESSER: I do. Q: Sir could you state your name and qualifications to offer an expert opinion in this case for the court please? A: Yes, my name is Michael Gesser Ph.D., I am currently a professor of Philosophy at Ashland State University in Mapleton, Ohio. Q: And where did you attend college? A; I graduated from Ashland State in 1976. Q: And did you do your Ph.D. dissertation there?
A: No I did my dissertation at Fallon University in Fallon, Ohio. Q: And what was that dissertation on Sir? A: My dissertation was titled the Dogma and Mysticism of Aboriginal Religions. It delved into the various aboriginal religious modalities and how they have formed various religious and philosophical dogmas in the world. Q: I see, so is it fair to say that you have a more than average knowledge pertaining to the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth? A: Well, I’m not one to toot my own horn as it were but I feel I have a better than average understanding of the facts surrounding the event as well as the fictitious stories that have arisen by various motivation. Q: Now Dr Gesser, concerning the Christian belief of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, have you performed any research as to the authenticity of the event and if so could you share with us your findings.
A: Yes I have, and I have come to the conclusion on several points. First, the fact that there has always been stories of virgin-born, miracle-working, savior-gods, even centuries before the birth of Jesus. There were a plethora of such figures such as Dionysus, Osiris, and Tammuz, whose stories were circulating either long before or during the era of Jesus, so the story was not new. Second, the accuracy of the Biblical account of the event is in question. We have to remember that followers of Jesus himself wrote the accounts put forth in the books included in the New Testament so of course they would conceivably be derived from a stance favorable to the account they wished to convey. Even so, their conspiracy was ill conceived because the accounts don’t match. There are numerous inconsistencies and contradictions in the gospel accounts as well as the historical letters. There are numerous texts that were left out of the finalized version of the Bible. Why was that? I believe that there was a concerted effort to drive
home a specific dogma and anything that conflicted with that was purposely omitted. Hitler said words to the effect that if you tell a lie loud enough and long enough, people will begin to believe it and I believe that is what we have here. The last point that I’d like to make is that the Bible in its present form is different from its original form. Over the years, omissions, typographical errors and outright biased inclusions have made their way into the so-called revered text so as to make it incomprehensible from the original. We have evidence that various Church leaders in an attempt to reconcile protestations from various pagan religions, compromised the message in order to make it more palatable for conversion. We have evidence throughout the ages that the Biblical text has been utilized to rationalize the imprisonment, slavery, torture and murder of countless human beings. It has been the premise of wars from time immemorial due to differences in the textual interpretations held within its pages. These are just three of the main
points of contention I have with the historicity of any story pulled from the pages of the Bible. Q: Alright Doctor, I’d like to take each premise that you mentioned and spend a bit of time on them. Your first point of contention was that there were various legends regarding man-gods. Could you expound a bit on that? A: Certainly. As I said, there were many legends circulating long before the birth of Christ. If I were to tell you a story that was nearly identical to any number of stories that had been circulating for years albeit with minor differences, would that be believable to you? Of course not. You would be able to discount my story on the spot. If I were called on the fabrication, what could I possibly say in my defense to make my position more believable? I liken it to a child who, upon being caught in a lie, continues to insist that they are telling the truth even in the face of evidence to the contrary. The only difference here is that Christians over the centuries have used various means of force to foist their
position on non-believers. Q: So you’re saying the sheer preponderance of man-god legends during that time renders the whole story suspect? A: Yes, it definitely brings it under suspicion. Even in the present, we see an abundance of those claiming to be the reincarnation of Jesus. Now of course, our knowledge and level of technology would make it far more difficult to perform so-called miracles as Jesus allegedly did, but just the same, we see people such as Jim Jones, David Koresch and Marshall Applewhite of Hale-Bop fame, misleading otherwise normal cogent people into absolutely incredible acts of barbarism, debauchery, and incoherency. How much easier would it be for Jesus, with a few willing participants and a few tricks up his sleeve, be able to formulate a movement that has experienced the exponential growth of Christianity down through the ages? Q: Now Doctor, I’d like to ask you some questions in regard to your second point of contention. You stated that
you have a problem with the Biblical account of the resurrection because of what you termed inconsistencies in both the Gospels and historical letters. Could you give us some specific examples of the inconsistencies that you are referring to? A: Certainly. I’ll start with the most glaring inconsistency, that of the guard at the tomb. There are so many inconsistencies in this one aspect that it throws the complete resurrection account into complete turmoil. In the Gospel of Matthew we find the only included account of soldiers being stationed at the tomb. We’re not certain whether the guard referred to by Matthew was of Roman or Jewish descent but we find that it is reasonable to infer that he was Jewish because after the Pharisees requested the guard, Pilate replied, “You have a guard, make it as secure as you can .” In the apocryphal gospel of Peter, there is an assertion that the guard was Roman. Thus we have conflicting stories. If the guard in the Matthean account
were of Roman descent, it would have made sense for this point to be included because it would have strengthened his apologetic. The fact that the guard reported to the Pharisees after the disappearance of the body of Jesus further strengthens the Jewish guard argument. Here, as well as elsewhere we have a series of contradictions that can’t be over looked. One would think that if this important point were true, all of the synoptic gospels should have included it. Another glaring inconsistency is the ongoing argument of whether Jesus rose in a purely physical or spiritual body. There are aspects of the accounts of Luke and John that tend to suggest that the resurrection was ethereal in nature while at the same time, there is contradictory elements in the same books that suggest that the body was more of a physical nature. These are just two examples of the contextual inconsistencies found within the Bible. There are many more that have nothing to do with this case but they are there nonetheless.
Q: Alright Doctor, I’d like to delve into your last point a bit, on what do you base your assertion that the Biblical documents, and I’m referring more specifically to the New Testament documents, are corrupted by omission, errors and biased inclusions as you previously stated? A: I’m going to cite a few sources here but perhaps the most telling is that of the Institute for Religious Research. Even they admit that none of the manuscripts in existence today match. They confirmed that these differences led to literally hundreds of thousands of variations so how can we know which “variation” is, in fact, reliable. In the context of the resurrection, there are so many variants contained within the Gospel accounts the they render them unreliable. The earliest documents, that is, James and the four undisputed Pauline letters make no mention of the life and death of Jesus. It was only after the circulation of the Gospels that word of a miraculous resurrection began to spread. Another obvious deception is the contention of
Christians that Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecy. All of the writers of the New Testament were raised in the study of the Old Testament so of course their versions of the life and times of Jesus would be skewed toward previously referenced prophecy. All of these inconsistencies, whether intentional or not, substantiate the contention that the Bible is not a reliable document of reference when presenting an argument. MR KULACH: Thank you Doctor, I have no further questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well. Is the Defense ready for cross? MR MISNER: We are Your Honor
Chapter Seven The Cross Examination of Doctor Michael Gesser
MR MISNER: Doctor Gesser, I’d like to go over a few of the points that you made in testimony if I may? A: Certainly. Q: Now Doctor, your first point of contention with the resurrection account was that there was an abundance of man-god legends prevalent at the time of Christ and you named several by name as being very similar to the Gospel accounts with minor variations, is that correct? A: Yes it is. Q: Alright Sir, and would you say that you’re well versed in the legends associated with each of the man-god figures that you referenced? A: Yes, I would say that I am. Q Great! I’d like to have you elaborate on these figures if I may. Now, the first figure that you referenced was Dionysus is that correct? A: Yes, that’s correct.
Q: Doctor, let’s begin by identifying the similarities of these two man-gods as you refer to them. What are the main similarities in the two versions? A: The main similarities are that both were born of virgin mothers, both performed miracles such as changing water into wine at a wedding and both were crucified. There are others but those are the primary similarities. Q: And Doctor, are there any differences in the stories of Jesus and Dionysus? A: Yes there are, but that wasn’t my point. My point was that there were similar stories being circulated at the time so the story that Jesus was proposing was nothing new. Q: Isn’t it true Doctor, that the mother of Dionysus is a point of contention among historians? A: Yes there are some variations within the story. Q: Aren’t these variations quite wide ranging Doctor? A: Well as with any legend, information is added or removed depending on the particular bias of the storyteller.
Q: Isn’t it true Doctor that in the Frazer account, “The Golden Bough”, Dionysus’ mother is identified as a deity such as Persephone or Demeter? A: Yes, in some accounts the mother is identified as deity, but in the Christian account, Mary has herself been suggested by some as being deified as well. Q: But Doctor, isn’t it fair to say that in the Christian related accounts of Mary, the deification comes after the birth of Jesus and not before? A: Yes but you must admit that the time lines may get muddled at times depending on who the teller is. There are accounts referring to Dionysus’ mother as human as well. Q: Yes Doctor, let’s explore the similarities in that account as well. Now, in the accounts referring to the mother of Dionysus as mortal, she is identified as a woman named Semele. Is that correct? A: Yes, by most accounts that is how she is identified. Q: And isn’t it true Doctor, and I’m referring to the account
as related in the Frazer, Dionysus was first born of a union of Zeus, otherwise referred to as Jupiter and either Demeter or Persephone, and was later torn apart by titans? A: Yes I believe that is how the story is referenced in the Frazer account. Q: And Doctor, isn’t it true that the remains of Dionysus were then gathered and transferred to the womb of Seleme? A; Yes, I believe that’s an accurate summation. Q: And wasn’t Semele attributed in some accounts as being a descendant of the god Neptune which would make her at the very least a demi-goddess? A: That is one account that had been advanced yes. Q: So how then Doctor is this account similar in any way other than superficially to the birth of Jesus through the Virgin Mary? A: The requirement is not that the stories are an exact match, but rather that the story of Dionysus had been circulating before the writing of the gospels and some of
those attributes were transferred to the Jesus legend. Q: Would it be fair to say doctor that there are scriptures prophesying the virgin birth of Christ that predate the account of Dionysus. A: Yes, I would concede that point but it was the early Christians who attributed these qualities to Jesus and his mother Mary. Q: Now on to your second similarity Doctor, the turning water into wine. Are you aware of the first reference to this miracle that was attributed to Dionysus? A: I believe the first reference was from the Achilles Tatius romance novel “Leucippe and Cleitophon .” Q: And when was that novel written doctor? A: I believe it was some time in the early second century. Q: Doctor, the water to wine account as written in the Gospel of John has been attributed with borrowing from the legend of Dionysus, is that correct? A: Yes, that is correct.
Q: And are you aware of the date attributed to the authorship of that Gospel? A: I believe the dates are given to be anywhere from 50 A.D. to sometime in the early second century. Q: So because of the similar dates of origin, would it be a fair assessment that the water to wine account could have been borrowed from the Gospel of John and incorporated into the Dionysian account? A: You certainly could assert that but there is no clear evidence that this was the case. Q: Is there any more evidence to claim the opposing view Doctor? A: They could certainly be interchangeable. Q: I’ll take that as a yes. Now on to your third point Sir, the crucifixion accounts. On what do you base your assertion that Dionysus was, in fact, crucified, died and was resurrected? A: The death and resurrection account comes from the
Semelian vein of his account in which he was torn asunder and re-gestated in Seleme, who was later accidentally incinerated, and then grafted to the thigh of Zeus and reborn or resurrected. Q: Even if this account were known to first century Jews, would it be viewed as death and resurrection similar to that of the story of Jesus? A: Well, you have all the elements there, the torture, death and resurrection so I could reasonably come to the conclusion that it is possible that the story was plagiarized to some extent. Q: Let’s discuss the crucifixion Doctor, how is it related to the story of Dionysus? A: There was reported to be an amulet depicting a crucifixion that had the alternate name of Dionysus which was Bacchus inscribed on it. Q: And where is that amulet located now sir? A: No one knows for certain but is was said to have been
lost or destroyed during the second world war but there is a rendering of it on the cover of a book entitled “The Jesus Mysteries .” Q: By rendering you mean a picture drawn from memory or a description of some sort? A: Yes, exactly. Q: And when was this amulet said to have been created? A: Of that I’m not sure but I believe that it may have been from the third century A.D. Q: So wouldn’t it be a fairer assumption to say that the amulet borrowed from the Gospel of John rather than the contrary? A: Well, one could make that argument but I would revert back to the initial legend of Dionysus predating Christianity. Q: Since we’ve already covered that ground, I won’t ask you to go back to the subject, I’ll let the testimony speak for itself in this case. Doctor, I’d like to move on to Osiris.
You said there are similarities with this legend as well. What are they? A: The legend of Osiris is said to have originated about 5,000 years ago which well predates Christianity. He is said to have been entombed in a wooden box or coffin if you will and drowned in the Nile. His body was then said to have been recovered and torn into 14 or more pieces and scattered throughout world. His wife Isis is said to have collected his remains and reassembled them by wrapping them with linen. Plutarch relates in his work “Osiris and Isis” that Osiris later came to his son Horus from the other world and exercised and trained him for battle. Q: So am I to assume that you are using this argument to advance the notion of the bodily resurrection of Osiris? A: No, the reference is too obscure to support that position. What I am proposing is that there were stories of torture, death and resurrection in one form or another of so-call god-men for centuries prior to the inception of Christianity.
Q: Let me ask you Doctor, if there have been stories or prophecies concerning life after death as well as the arrival of a savior/conquering king since the inception of time itself as it exists in this world today, would it be fair to say that it is possible that the stories of these several man-gods arose from a single source, namely the written history of man as related in the Pentateuch? A: That is assuming that the Pentateuch was written at or near the inception of history and not some time later. Q: And is there evidentiary documentation concerning the beginning of time as we know it? A: Well, we believe the world to be somewhat over 4.5 billion years old but as to the inception of modern written history, I believe the common belief is that it began sometime between 8000 and 4000 B.C. but I don’t think anyone can offer substantial proof of that inception. Q: Alright Doctor, let’s move on to your last example given, that of Tammuz. What similarities are there between
the two? A: Legend has it that both were born of virgin mothers, referred to as shepherds and healers, died and were resurrected. Now there are differences in the intricacies of each story but there are parallels. Q: Who was Tammuz’s virgin mother Doctor? A: I believe it was said to be mother earth. Q: And what type of healing did Tammuz perform? A: I believe it was what we would look upon today as medical but at that point in history it may have been perceived as miraculous. Q: Has it ever been referred to as miraculous in any accounts that you know of? A: No but that doesn’t necessarily negate the possibility of perceived miracles. Q: It doesn’t necessarily lend credence to the possibility of perceived miracles either does it doctor? Couldn’t it be just as fair to say that the mere silence on the subject lends
credence to the belief that the healing was perceived as merely of a medicinal value? A: There may be equal weight to each argument. Q: Now Doctor, could you relate the legend surrounding the resurrection of Tammuz? A: It was said that his wife and demons rescued him from the underworld. Q: And how does this account relate to the account of the Biblical resurrection of Jesus? A: It bears no relation other than the facts that both legends described a return from the dead which could have been intertwined in each legend. Q: Is it fair to say that the Biblical account and the account of Tammuz have some striking differences? A: Yes, that would be a fair statement but it doesn’t belie the fact that both accounts have similar elements as well. As a matter of fact, Tammuz is even mentioned in the Bible in the 8th chapter of Ezekiel.
Q: And in that reference, doesn’t God imply that the worship of Tammuz is an abomination? A: Yes it does. Q: Then how Sir, can you possibly believe that the mere mention of the name Tammuz is any way a supporting element of your argument? A: I didn’t. I merely said that he was mentioned in the Bible. Q: Doctor, if I may I’d like to continue on with your second point of contention with the Christian account of the resurrection, which, I believe was that the Biblical account was somewhat in question, is that correct? A: Yes, I believe that the account as was told by the followers of Jesus was concocted in order to explain the disappearance and reappearance of Jesus. Q: And you believe that this conspiracy has been supported and perpetuated by Christians down through the ages? A: Well, not necessarily. I believe that the original tellers
perpetuated it and it took on a life of its own to the point where the line between reality and myth became blurred and continue to be blurred to this day. Q: Let me clarify Doctor, do you question the historicity of Jesus as a person or merely the exploits of Jesus? A: Well, I believe that there is credible evidence as to the fact that Jesus was, in fact, a person of history, but I do believe that his exploits have been embellished to the point that they are far from the actual events. Q: Alright Doctor, I like to explore your contention then that the resurrection itself is a product of human conception. How far reaching would this conspiracy have to be in order to gain a firm set of roots upon which to grow Sir? A: Well, I do concede that the initial conspiracy would have had to include a number of people but I believe it took on a life of its own very quickly because there was such a strong desire for a Messiah during that time.
Q: So let me understand what you’re trying to say here Doctor. Your contention is that after the crucifixion of Jesus, a band of conspirators concocted a story about his resurrection after the tomb was found to be empty and various groups knowingly perpetuated it until it became considered fact? A: Well, we’re kind of beating a dead horse here but yes, I would say that is a fair assessment of the events. Q: Now considering this conspiracy angle of your theory, wouldn’t it have had to include the Jewish Pharisees, The Roman Centurions who verified that Jesus was dead, The Roman Guards at the tomb and over 500 witnesses to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection? A: Well, assuming that all of them were privy to the ongoing conspiracy, yes but remember that my contention is that not all of the Biblical account is accurate. Q: Doctor, have you read “The Antiquities of the Jews” written by Flavius Josephus?
A: I have. Q: Would you give the Court a brief summary of who he was. A: He was a Jewish historian who wrote an historical account of the Jewish people for the Roman government. Q: And Doctor, would you consider Josephus as a reliable source of information concerning the Jewish people? A: I would. Q: And are you aware that Josephus himself referenced the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus? A: I’m aware that he referenced it in his writings yes. Q: And do you know Doctor, was Josephus a Christian? A: I don’t believe he was, no. Q: So Doctor, how can you say that the writings of Josephus are accurate and that he was no friend to the Christian and that he verifies the story of the resurrection in his writings to a government who couldn’t have been happy with that information yet deny the story as related by both
Biblical and extra-Biblical sources? A: Josephus wrote “The Antiquities” near the end of the first century. That was more than enough time for the stories as concocted by the conspirators to become entrenched in the historical record. Q: Doctor, do you know who Abraham Lincoln was? MR KULACH: Objection Your Honor, relevance! MR MISNER: Your Honor, I’m merely trying to prove a point in history, I request a bit of leeway here. JUDGE: Very well. Please get to the point. Q: Thank you Your Honor, Doctor, do you know who Abraham Lincoln was? A: Of course, he was our 16th President. Q: And Doctor, when did he die? A: I believe it was in 1865? Q: And how did he die? A He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while at the theater.
Q: And how do you know that Doctor? Were you alive during the life of Abraham Lincoln. A: (chuckles) No, I’m not quite that old! No, I know because it is recorded in history. Q: And what is the current year Doctor? A: 2009 Q: So am I to believe that a murder committed over 140 years ago actually happened merely because some historian wrote it down? A: By several historians and several eyewitness accounts. Q: But Doctor, isn’t it true that Booth escaped for a 12 days and was later killed in a gun battle in a barn? A: Yes, that’s correct. Q: So how do we know that Booth was the actual killer Doctor? MR KULACH: Objection Your Honor, where is the relevance here! JUDGE: Overruled, I’m getting the point Counsel.
Q: Thank you Your Honor, Doctor, the point I’m getting to is; how can we be sure of the historical account of the assassination of President Lincoln any more than you believe the crucifixion of Jesus really happened? We have accounts of the crucifixion from reliable sources who could have been corrected by the very people about whom the accounts were written if they were incorrect don’t you agree Doctor? A: Well, no and I’ll tell you why. We were a bit more advanced technologically in 1865 than we were in the first century. A conspiracy would have much easier to promote in the first century. Q: And you cited as your evidence for this conspiracy..let’s see here, I believe you said numerous inconsistencies and contradictions in the Gospel accounts and that there were several accounts left out of the finalized version of the New Testament is that correct? A: Yes that’s my contention.
Q: Doctor, in your testimony for the Plaintiff in this case you stated that the most glaring inconsistency in the Gospel accounts was that of the guard at the tomb is that correct? A: Yes, I believe that is an inconsistency that causes many to question the authenticity of the Bible. Q; Doctor you referenced a question as to whether or not the guard was of Roman or Jewish descent. How is this pertinent to the overall message of the resurrection story? A: Well, it’s pertinent because if the guard were of Jewish descent, the conspiracy surrounding the account would not have been as wide spread. Q: So you believe that there was a far-reaching conspiracy to cover up what fact? A: The fact that the Disciples of Jesus had stolen his body from the tomb. Q: But Doctor, Jesus appeared alive to many people after his crucifixion, doesn’t that lend credence to the Biblical account?
A: No, it just shifted the details of the conspiracy. As with any lie that is purported, facts come up which by their very nature change the specifics of the falsehood, the conspirator must then shift his story to match the facts as they arise. For a lie to be believable, there has to be a morsel of truth to it. Q: And what was the morsel of truth in your opinion in this account? A: The truth was that Jesus was crucified, was placed in a tomb and some time later was seen mingling with his followers for a period of time before disappearing again, which incidentally, increased his legend. Q: I’ll ask you again Doctor, if there were a conspiracy wherein the followers of Jesus had removed him from the tomb, nursed him back to health, the foisted a conspiratorial story involving the death and resurrection of Jesus, wouldn’t the Pharisees and the guard, whether Jewish or Roman, have had to have been involved?
A: Yes I believe they would have had to have been involved or perhaps duped into the conspiracy. Q: And Doctor, whether actively involved or merely duped into the conspiracy, what would have been the motivation for the enemies of Jesus and his followers to go along with the conspiracy? Do you realize how nonsensical that argument sounds Doctor? A: I can’t testify to the motivation of these men. Perhaps they were embarrassed by the whole situation and in their haste to cover up the fact that they had been outwitted by a bunch of common fishermen, they unwittingly played directly into the conspiracy and were too proud to admit fault. I don’t have a clue! But what I do believe is that there was, in fact, a conspiracy and it has been perpetuated by the Church ever since. Q: Doctor, you sound as if your starting point of reason is from a pre-supposed position. Is that what I’m hearing here?
A: Presupposed or otherwise, I believe it to be true! Q: And so it must be! Now Doctor, can you reference any more of these inconsistencies or contradictions for the Court? A: Well, there are quite a few but some them are that the accounts differ as to the question of who carried the cross, the last words of Jesus on the cross, how many days were there from the crucifixion to the resurrection and how many men or angels appeared at the cross. Theses are just a few examples, I could reference more if you’d like. Q: Well Sir, let’s deal with the ones you’ve mentioned here for the time being. You said that the accounts differ as to who carried the cross, how do they differ? A: The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke relate that Simon of Cyrene carried the cross and the Gospel of John reads that Jesus carried the cross to the place of crucifixion. Q: Now Doctor, let me ask you, can you site the specific Biblical verses where these discrepancies are found and
how the wording differs? A: Well, I’m certainly not a Biblical scholar but I believe Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 and John 19 are the Biblical references and of course the wording differs where the first three intimate that Simon carried it and John intimates that Jesus carried it. Q: Doctor, do any of the accounts say that one or the other carried it exclusively or could it have been an omission by written style? A: By written style... what do you mean there? Q: What I’m asking Doctor is could it be reasonably concluded that both Jesus and Simon of Cyrene carried the cross? A: One could assume a lot of things concerning the crucifixion account, I’m merely referencing what was written. Q: But Doctor, let’s be intellectually honest here, isn’t it possible that both men carried the cross? Is there any
language within the Gospels that infer exclusivity of the account? A: Well one could read a lot of things into the Scriptures and conceptualize a differing view, that’s how we’ve arrived at so many differing views on religion over the millennia. Q: What I’m asking though Doctor is does each Gospel account specifically exclude the possibility of both men, that is Jesus and Simon, carrying the cross at least part of the way? A: No, I suppose that none of the accounts specifically exclude that possibility but you would have thought that the disciples would have related the story the same way. Q: Doctor, Isn’t that like saying that contemporary poets living and writing at the same time about the same subject should have the same wording in their poetry? A: Now you’re comparing apples to oranges Sir! Q; Well Doctor, I think we’ve made our point there. Let’s
discuss your next point, the last words of Jesus on the cross. How do the accounts differ there? A: The accounts of Matthew and Mark have Jesus saying “My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” , the Gospel of Luke has Jesus saying “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” and the Gospel of John has Jesus saying “It is finished.” Q: And again Doctor, I must ask you is there exclusivity within the Gospel accounts. Do any of them exclude any other utterances by Jesus? A: No, not specifically, but again, as they must have known that these accounts would be circulated and assuming that they were said to be inspired by God to write them, one would presume a more similar record of the events. Q: But regardless of how disconnected you feel that the Gospel accounts are Doctor, the fact remains, does it not, that there are no claims by the authors of the Gospel that their account is the exhaustive and exclusive account of
historical events? A: There are none that I know of in the New Testament. Q: And the other two examples that you referenced Doctor, are there exclusivity claims attached to either of those? A: No but there is a glaring inconsistency in the amount of time between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Q: How so Doctor? A: Jesus prophesied that he would be in the grave for three days and three nights. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke have him in the tomb for three days and two nights and the Gospel of John has him in the tomb for two days and two nights. Q: Now Doctor, you stated yesterday during the direct by the Plaintiff that you were an expert of sorts pertaining to the historical accounts of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus, is that a fair statement. A: I don’t believe that I quantified my knowledge as that of an expert but I think I said that I had ample knowledge of
the Gospel accounts. Q: So seeing that you have ample knowledge of the Gospel accounts, can you educate the Court as to how days were measured during the period of time when Jesus was crucified? A: They measured a day from sundown to sundown where we measure it from midnight to midnight. Q: I see. And Sir are you aware of the amount of time that an event would have to last for it to be considered a day long event? A: I’m not sure what you’re asking Sir. Q: What I’m asking for Doctor, is a chronology of events as it pertained to the Jewish tradition of time measurement. Isn’t it true that an event that occurred during any period during that day, no matter how small, was considered to be included as an event that occurred on that day? A: Yes, I believe that was the traditional measure at the time.
Q: So then Doctor, by the accepted means of time measurement during that period, Jesus was crucified and died and was buried before nightfall, so that would be considered one day, the Sabbath, which began at nightfall on what we would consider the day of the crucifixion would be considered the second day or the day after the day of preparation, and the day of the alleged resurrection would be considered the third day. Is that a correct representation of the Jewish tradition in relation to time measurement? Q: That would be one way of translating it, yes. A: Doctor, you’re playing a game of semantics here! Isn’t that the reason the Pharisees wanted the stone sealed before the third day because they knew exactly when Jesus had said he would arise from the dead? A: It’s true that the Pharisees requested the stone sealed but I don’t believe they specified a time. Q: Isn’t it true Doctor, that in the book of Matthew, the 27th
chapter in verse 64, the Pharisees ask Pilate to, and I quote, “give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day.”? A: Again, I would have to reiterate my contention that the Bible is not always accurate because it has been amended to reflect the teachings that the conspirators wanted to put forth. Q: So Doctor, help me to understand here. The Bible can be used as long as it supports your contention but if it differs in a way in which you can’t...(Plaintiff: I object!)...explain, you summarily...(Plaintiff: Your Honor I Object!)...discount it by saying that it’s a fabrication? MR KULACH: Your Honor, I object to this entire line of questioning as argumentative! JUDGE: Now counselor, the Defense let you make your case and I think he’s entitled to present his cross in any way reasonable. I happen to think that the line of questioning and in particular the question submitted here is a valid
question given the statements made earlier by the witness during these proceedings. I’m going to allow the line of questioning to move forward but I’ll take Plaintiff’ objection under advisement. Defense may proceed. MR MISNER: Thank you Your Honor. Doctor, I’d like to ask you about your argument that the Bible in its present form does not represent the Biblical account in its original form. Is that a fair representation of your belief? A: I would say that was a fair representation, yes. Q: And on what do you base your argument? A: On the fact that there are over 25,000 transcripts ranging from the second century up to the 15th century and there are over 200,000 recorded variations within the various codices. Q: Now Doctor, when you say variations Doctor, to what are you referring. A: I’m referring to the fact that there are differences in the various texts as they were written.
Q: Would it be fair to say that some of these variations include a letter placement or spelling such as the word “favor” in American English and “favour” spelled with a “u” in the British version? A: Yes, some variations of this type are included. Q: And aren’t some of them merely variations in punctuation?
A: Yes there are some of those as well but I don’t believe they are the majority of differences. Q: And isn’t it true that if you have the same variation that appears in say 200 codices, those are recorded as 200 variations. A: Yes, I believe that is correct. Q: Doctor, I have one more question for you and I’ll be done. Can you tell me how many variants there are in the collected codices excluding the minor spelling and grammatical differences and of those variances, how many
affect the current Christian doctrine as we know it today? A: I don’t have those facts at hand. I would suppose that there are still quite a few variances and as to their affect on doctrine, I truly couldn’t tell you. You’d need a Biblical scholar for that. MR MISNER: Thank you doctor. The Defense has no further questions at this time Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well Counsel, we’ll redirect tomorrow morning if the Plaintiff wishes to do so. Court is adjourned until 8:30 am tomorrow morning.
Chapter Eight The Direct of James Van Devere
JUDGE: Good morning everyone. Does the Plaintiff wish to redirect Doctor Gesser? MR KULACH: We do not Your Honor. The Plaintiff calls Mr. James Van Devere. BAILIFF: Lift your right hand, do you declare that you will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation, to the best of your ability and knowledge? MR VAN DEVERE: I do. Q: Mr. Van Devere, would you please state briefly your qualifications for appearing as a witness before this Court? A: Certainly! I am the founder of the North American
Atheists Association or N triple A as an acronym. I have a B.A. in History from Volmund College. I am also the owner of the NAAA website NationalAtheists.org, and have studied extensively into the historical background of Christianity. Q: Why the study of Christianity’s background Sir?
A: Well, I began to search because of what I thought was a need for religion and peace in my life and the further I studied, it seemed the more I was inviting turmoil into my life so I finally arrived at the peace I’m experiencing today after much study and contemplation. Q: Sir after studying, to what conclusion did you arrive? A: I came to the conclusion that the historical figure Jesus never existed in reality. I found that he was most likely a fabrication of myth much like the other man-gods present at the time such as Tammuz, Osiris and Krishna, among others.
Q: And Sir, what information did you find that convinced you that Jesus was, in fact, a mythical figure. A: There were numerous evidences such as no viable references to the character known as Jesus during the time in question, evidence of possible forgery of historical documentation such as “The Antiquities of the Jews” by Josephus as well as lack historical evidence for supernatural events such as the darkening of the sun after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus. Q: Alright Sir, you’ve made some jarring statements here so let’s take each one you mentioned separately and explore them if that’s acceptable to you? A: Certainly. Q: Now Sir, you mentioned that there exists no viable evidence that Jesus is anything but a mythical figure, what evidence is there that supports your position? A: During my studies, I came across a book entitled “Did Jesus Ever Live” by Gordon Ryland. As I studied the book,
I found that there is a definitive lack of rabbinical reference to Jesus during the period directly after Jesus was said to have lived and died. Justin Martyr, in his work, “Dialogue with Trypho” quoted Trypho as saying “ye follow an empty rumour and make a Christ for yourselves” and also “If he was born and lived somewhere, he is entirely unknown.” Ryland credited the writers of the Talmud with being confused as to the identity of the historical Jesus that was referenced by early Christians. They knew of a Jesus ben Pandira who was said to have been a wonder worker and had been stoned and hung on a tree at some point around 100-79 BC in Jerusalem. Then there was a Jesus ben Stada who was similarly said to have been stoned and hung on a tree in Lydda in the first thirty or so years of the second century. They had no knowledge of him as referred to in the Biblical account, the history was simply not there. Q: But weren’t there a plethora of extra-Biblical references to Jesus as a person in history?
A: Well historically, Christians have often used Josephus as their coup de grace to the ‘was Jesus real’ argument but the earliest copies are conspicuously missing the most often referenced quotation where he refers to Jesus in a historical context but when one reads the complete section where the reference was made, it is obvious even to the most skeptical of viewers that it is a product of later insertion by some other source. It simply doesn’t fit in the section in context. It seems to me to be as comically blunderous a job of position supporting that I have ever seen. Q: Are there any other examples that you could give us Sir? A: Another source that Christian apologists like to advert to is the pagan writer Tacitus who is supposed to have referenced Jesus in his Annals. He is quoted there as saying “Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name,
had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate...” It was argued that, by this time, the lie that had been propagated by the early Christians had taken hold time and that Tacitus was merely repeating the story that he was told. There were glaring omissions in his account such as his failure to refer to Pilate by his proper title “Prefect” but rather, referred to him as simply procurator. Also, he never referred to the person sentenced to death as Jesus. All this would have been readily available to him if he had referred to the archives and if that information were present. Instead, his story, as told, seems to be simply a repetition of an earlier story as related to him by someone else. Q: I see! Now Sir, you also mentioned the absence of historical documentation of supernatural events that happened around the time of the alleged crucifixion of Jesus. Could you cite for the Court your conclusions about these absences?
A: The Bible gives reference to various supernatural phenomena which supposedly occurred immediately before or just after Jesus expired on the cross. It says in Matthew 27: 45-53, and I quote, “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour...Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom; and the Earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” If this truly happened, it would be only reasonable to expect that there would be any number of sources of information pertaining to such an historic event, but history, outside of that of Christianity, is conspicuously silent on the matter. Sextus Julius Africanus did have a disagreement with the writer Thallus’ contention that there was a solar eclipse during the time of the crucifixion saying that it was
an impossible event due to the position of the moon in relation to the Earth and Sun during that time, but this does nothing but cause the crucifixion account to come under further suspicion due to the inaccuracy of the time frame. Q: Sir, is there any other evidence that you can present to this Court today that would further support your positions as stated here today?
A: I do have further arguments but if I may make an aside for a moment to clarify my position regarding evidence? Q: You’d like to make a statement concerning the introduction of evidence during these proceedings? A: No, not during the proceedings here. I’d like to make the point that since the assertion of the Christian is that there was an historical figure called Jesus, the burden of proof lies with them. If I were to tell you that there was a pink elephant in the next room plotting to kill us all as we left the courtroom today, you would reasonably expect that I
could prove my case for it to become believable. The same should apply here to Christians in regards to Jesus. The onus is upon them to prove their position, not the reverse. I have heard nothing in the way of hard evidence in my studies that would lead me to believe that Jesus is an historical fact. None! All we can certifiably ascertain from the annals of history is that there are many conflicts concerning Jesus but very little in the way of fact so when I’m asked to present “facts” to support my position, I always bristle at the question, no offense intended of course. Q: None taken Sir! A very well stated point too I might add. Do you have any other information to share concerning the counter arguing what the Christians point to as fact? A: Well, I’ve discussed the extra-Biblical “evidence” that Christians use. But I also have a problem with the Bible’s use as anything other than a collection of fairy tales. There are so many discrepancies not only concerning Jesus but
also the rest of it’s recorded history as well, I scarcely know where to begin. I know that we’re discussing the resurrection specifically here, but the authenticity of that resurrection hinges on the reliability of the Bible as an historically accurate document, which it is not. Q: Without veering too far off subject Sir, could you cite some specific examples of biblical difficulties? A: Well, the first and most glaring difficulty is that men who were supposedly led by the “Spirit of God”, as it exists today wrote the Bible. There were several writings excluded from the finalized canon of scripture. Some of these are even mentioned in the books that are included in the Bible. Why weren’t these books included. Secondly, the accounts of so-called historical events vary from writer to writer. Some books appear to be near copies of other books which suggest plagiarism. This theme seems to run through the entire book. Conflicts and inconsistencies abound! The “perfected” canon was not agreed upon until somewhere in
the range of 1546 to 1672 depending on whom you ask. There is simply too much inconsistency for this to be a historically reliable document, therefore, I view the entire life and times of Jesus as something akin to a fairy tale fit only to be told to overly trusting children. Q: So Sir, are you saying that it is mainly the Gospels that you have a problem with or the Bible in general? A: It’s not just the Gospels. Mistakes permeate throughout the Bible. If I were to simply confine my argument to the New Testament, I could spend all day pointing out the flaws held therein. For instance, in the Pauline letters, several of which have been discredited as far as authorship, there is no mention of the very heart of the Jesus argument. Things such as the virgin birth, his trial before Pilate or someone as important as John the Baptist. Are these willful omissions or are they evidence that the Jesus of the Gospels never existed. I think that the weight of the evidence, the very evidence used by Christians to support their belief in
Jesus, rather supports the argument that Jesus never existed. MR KULACH: Thank you Mr. Van Devere, you’ve been a great help. Plaintiff has no further questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Alright, Is the Defense prepared to cross? MR MISNER: we are Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, you can proceed.
Chapter Nine The Cross Examination of Mr. James Van Devere
MR MISNER: Mr. Van Devere, may we take a closer look at your testimony for the Plaintiff? A: Certainly Sir! Q: Now Sir, just as a matter of reviewing your earlier testimony, you said that it is your belief that the Jesus of the Bible is a mythical character, that there were serious forgeries in historical documents that allegedly extraBiblically verify the existence of Jesus and that there was a lack of historical evidence pointing to the supernatural phenomena as described in the Bible, is that a fair summation of your testimony this morning?
A: Briefly yes. Q: Now Sir, as to the question of tampering or the forging of extra-Biblical documentation of the historicity of the person Jesus, you cited the writings of Josephus as a specific example, is that correct? A: Yes Sir. Q: Now Mr. Van Devere, let’s suppose for arguments sake that I allowed that the possibility exists that the work of Josephus was a victim of intromission at some later date. Are there any other arguments against any collateral proofs that you would like to assert? A: Yes, I believe there are. Christians love to reference ancient writers such as Tacitus as an indirect “proof” that Jesus was a real person. If, in fact, this is supposed to be a reference to Jesus, why didn’t he refer to him as Christus also known as Jesus, or words to that effect. Q: So are you discounting even the possibility of this reference as pertaining to Jesus?
A: No, I’m not discounting the possibility, if Jesus were, in fact, a real person. I’m merely asserting that it can’t be used as evidence for the historicity of the person Jesus because it doesn’t refer to him specifically by name. Q: Do you like to watch football Sir? A: I’ve watched it before, yes. Q: Do you recall a player by the name of Walter Payton? A: Yes, he played for the Bears. Q: Yes, and do you recall his nickname Sir? A: Yes, he was called Sweetness I believe. Q: That’s correct Sir, now, if I were to use a sentence like, “Sweetness was the greatest football player ever,” would you know who I referred to? A: Yes, it would be a reference to Walter Payton. Q: How would you know that Sir? A: Because that was his nickname. People commonly referred to him as Sweetness. Q: Now Sir, if we were say one hundred years in the future
and I repeated the same sentence, how likely would you be to arrive at the same conclusion? A: Not at all likely unless I were a historian of the game of football. Q: So Sir, using the same line of reason, wouldn’t Jesus’ contemporaries have know to whom Tacitus was referring? A: I suppose it would depend upon several factors including how much knowledge the person reading the work possessed. Jesus’ fame didn’t really begin to rise until the second century. Tacitus wrote the work in, I believe, somewhere around 64 or 65 CE so one would infer that he would have been a bit more specific. Q: But sir, does the very fact that he wasn’t as specific as you would like destroy, absolutely, the possibility that he was referring to Jesus? A: One could argue either way. Q: Sir, your contention here is that you have problems with the historical references by both Josephus and Tacitus.
Considering other extra-Biblical historical references by others such as Pliny the Younger, Rabbi Eliezer, Suetonious, and the Benediction Twelve, as well as inscription evidence at the site of the late city of Pompeii, how can you, with any intellectual honesty, make the argument the Jesus was not an actual historical figure? A: All of the references you gave are second hand evidences, that is, that they were not contemporaries of Jesus so they were merely repeating what they heard regarding the mythical story of Jesus. Some of them are akin to the Tacitus account in that they don’t specifically refer to Jesus by name, only an obscure allusion to Chrestus or some other form of identification close enough to the spelling of the word Christ to lend what they deem is credence to their argument. Q: Sir, how many ancient historical writings are you aware of that specifically deny the existence of Jesus and his resurrection.
A: I can’t offhandedly comment as to their availability but I’m sure they are there. Q: Well, we’ll look into that a little later. Sir, how many people do you know who would willingly die for what they knew to be a lie? A: Not many. Q: How can you explain then the fact that many of the people who were present during the time of Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection went willingly to their deaths? Do you truly believe that so many people would do such an unreasonable thing as die for someone who they knew to be a myth? A: As we’ve seen in recent years, deception comes in many forms. I can’t speak to the reasoning of those people because I wasn’t there but there have been many in recent years who have willingly died for what they believed to be the truth when, in fact, it was a lie. I can only imagine that the myth was started by a few conspirators and quickly
grew into a movement that took hold very quickly and deceived many even to the point of death. As we’ve seen in recent events, it’s not all that uncommon. Q: But Sir, didn’t you, just moments ago, state that the popularity of Jesus didn’t rise until the second century, at least seventy years after his death. How is it possible then for such an unpopular charlatan to generate such devotion by so many people? A: The campaign against the Christians was confined to a small region during that period of time. The exponential growth that Christianity experienced in the second century was as a result of their persecution by the authorities that caused them to scatter in order to avoid death. Such was their devotion to their leader. Q: But again, this conspiracy theory of yours is mere speculation on your part. You don’t have any empirical evidence to back that claim do you? A: Other than what I’ve already attested to no.
Q: Sir, in your earlier testimony, you said that there was a lack of rabbinical reference to Jesus. Is that correct? A: Definitive reference was the wording I used I believe. Q: Yes, that’s right definitive reference, pardon me. Sir could you tell the court how the rabbinical writings to which you refer came to be written in their present form? A: I don’t quite understand the question. Q: Sir, isn’t it true that the Babyonian Talmud as they exist today were changed in the 17th century to expunge any references to Jesus of Nazareth? A: I’m not sure where you get your information there, but I fairly certain that the works as we have them today are fairly representative of the originals. Q: Sir, I’d like to read to you a quote from a declaration by the Jewish Assembly in Poland from 1631. It reads: “We enjoin you under the threat of the great ban to publish no new edition of the Mishnah or the Gemara anything that refers to Jesus of Nazareth...” My question to you Sir is that
if scholars from the antithetical view say that because the Bible has undergone so called “revisions” throughout history and is therefore not a reliably quotable source, how can you reference a work that has undergone revisions as well? Doesn’t this fact render your argument hypocritical to say the least. A: I would contend Sir that this could also be an attempt by the Assembly to correct additions by scribes who were supportive of the Christian position or textual presuppositions that occurred over the course of the centuries since the original words were inscribed. Q: I’d like to emphasize to the Court that you said that it “could be” these things. They were not in other words a certainty, is that correct? A: Yes that’s correct but so is the fact that the Bible has undergone revisions as well and therefore cannot be held to the authoritative standard that Christians hold it to today. You simply can’t have it both ways.
Q: Let’s examine that for a moment. You also stated earlier that the Bible, or more specifically, the New Testament was an unreliable work of fiction. What is the oldest reliable work, other than the Bible, that you can reference that is fairly certain in your estimation to be close to the original work? A: I would have to guess that it would most likely be Homer’s Iliad. Q: And are you aware of the age of the oldest version as it relates to the original copy? A: I believe that the oldest know copy of the work dates to about a 400-year gap. Q: And are you aware of the gap between the finishing of the New Testament literature and the oldest confirmed documentation history has produced? A: I believe the earliest version of the entire document dates to somewhere within 200 to 250 years of the original with bits of writings from them that date to within a
century. Q: And how many manuscripts of the Iliad exist today. A: I believe about 640 or so, the exact number escapes me. Q: Does the number 643 sound correct Sir? A: Yes that sounds correct. Q: And do you know how many manuscripts exist of the New Testament Biblical document? A: I believe figures range in numbers in excess of 24,000 in one form or another. Q: And can you tell the Court what the lines of textual corruptions that exist in the Iliad? A: I believe that there are about 760 or so. Q: And Sir, do you know the lines of textual corruptions that exist in the New Testament? A: I do not. Q: I’ll help you out there. It’s about 40. So Sir, in summary, there are 643 copies of the Iliad manuscripts which contain about 760 lines of textual corruption and there are 24,000
New Testament manuscripts which contain about 40 lines of textual corruption. That’s a 5% variance in the Iliad as compared to one half of one percent variance in the New Testament. Which book, in your opinion would you consider to be more grammatically correct? A: Well, one would have to conclude from the numerical evidence that the New Testament documents would be considered more reliable but the Iliad work doesn’t weigh on religious implication as heavily as the New Testament. Q: Aren’t both used by their devotees to argue points of divine implication such as Heaven, Earth and Hell? A: Yes but the Iliad is not literally implied as scripture. Q: But is it a work that is held in intellectual esteem by its devotees? A: Intellectual esteem and religious zealotry are far from similar motivations. Q: But wouldn’t you consider them a valid motivation for an a priori point of argument?
A: I would consider that a possibility, yes. Q: Now sir, you said in your prior testimony that there was a lack of evidence surrounding the alleged paranormal occurrences during and after the crucifixion of Jesus, is that correct. A: Yes, there are several difficulties surrounding the solar eclipses and the earthquake that supposedly occurred during that time. Q: And sir, you cited Sextus Julius Africanus as your point of reference for that argument correct? A: Yes, that is one source of contradiction. Q: Are you aware Sir of a certain letter that Pontius Pilate wrote to Tiberius in which he describes a darkness that commenced in the sixth hour and that the moon was blood red during the entire night? A: Yes, I’ve heard of it. Q: And why didn’t you reference this document? Was it because it didn’t support you’re a priori argument?
MR KULACH: Objection! Argumentative! MR MISNER: I’ll withdraw my question Your Honor. No further questions from the Defense Your Honor. JUDGE: Does the Plaintiff wish to redirect? MR KULACH: We do Your Honor.
Chapter Ten The Redirect of
Mr. James Van Devere
Q: Mr. Van Devere, you stated earlier that the onus of proof is upon the Defense in this case. Has the counsel for the Defense been successful in convincing you to reconsider your atheistic position concerning Jesus. A: No he hasn’t. If anything, he’s strengthened my resolve. Q: And why is that Sir? A: Because the Defense has merely regurgitated all of the common arguments that we in the atheistic community have heard constantly throughout the years. They present absolutely no evidence to back their claims, only obscure passages from questionable sources and so called proofs
that are really nothing of the sort. Q: The Defense referenced quite a few so-called extraBiblical references that he said supports their contention. How do you contend with the fact that he has so many sources? A: I could site just as many sources attesting the contrary, in the end, it basically becomes a we said/they said game that has no end. Again, the onus is upon the claimant to provide the proof of their conviction. Short of that, they have no case. MR KULACH: Thank you Mr. Van Devere, We have no further questions for the witness Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well the witness may step down. Does the Plaintiff have further witnesses to call? MR KULACH: Yes Your Honor, Plaintiff wishes to call Mr. Douglas Farclough.
Chapter Eleven The Direct of Mr. Douglas Farclough
BAILIFF: Lift your right hand. Do you declare that you will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation, to the best of your ability and knowledge? MR FARCLOUGH: I do. Q: Mr. Farclough, would you kindly state your qualifications for appearing before this Court as an expert witness. A: Yes Sir, I am a Research Professor of Mathematics at Vista College Miranda, Louisiana and I live in Shawnee, Louisiana. I pursued my undergraduate studies at Wharton College and received a B.A. in Mathematics in 1971 and
graduate studies at Triad University where I received an M.A. in Mathematics in 1974. Q: Now Sir, are you familiar with Hume’s argument against the mathematical improbability of miracles, specifically the alleged resurrection of Jesus? A: I am.
Q: Could you explain to the Court Hume’s argument? A: Certainly, I realize that we don’t have any mathematical scholars in here so I’ll try to make the explanation as simple as possible. Hume argued that no matter how much so called evidence there is in support of a miracle event, there always exists a more reasonable explanation that involves natural cause. Q: Sir, could you explain this theory a bit further? How does it relate in particular to the resurrection account.
A: Well, there are a number of arguments that are counter to the resurrection event such as the tomb thieves’ argument, the swoon theory, and the Judas substitution theory among others. Hume’s argument was that as improbable as these accounts may have been, they were still more probable mathematically than the resurrection account and therefore more feasibly believable. There also exists the argument against the credibility of the reporter. Jesus had repeatedly informed his followers of his impending “death” and resurrection, therefore, it is far more feasible to believe one of the non-miracle explanations because of the preconceived miracle notion that Jesus had planted in the minds of his followers prior to his disappearance and later reappearance. Q: So what you’re saying is that a naturalistic explanation would be more believable than that of a miracle taking place?
A: Exactly. According to Hume, one must accept the more conditionally probable explanation because miracles are less likely to occur due to the fact that they violate the laws of nature. Q: So how did Hume apply this logic to the resurrection? A: He said, and I’m quoting here,” When anyone tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should have really happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of the testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.” Q: So, in other words, the more fantastic of the two
possibilities is tossed out in deference to the more credibly believable of the two, is that correct? A: Yes, common sense dictates that by way of reasoning, the mere incredibility of an event can discredit even the otherwise most reliable of witnesses. Q: Now let me ask a question here because I know that counsel for the defense would probably ask it if I didn’t. As you can see, I’m not in the best shape. Now, suppose that I ran a race and won the race against incredible odds. Let’s say that I was running against an Olympic level runner and happened to win the race. Now let’s say that the story was reported to you by a person who was correct in his reporting in let’s say 30 percent of the time. Would you immediately throw out the possibility of my winning because the probability of my winning the race was far less probable than the possibility of the reporter telling the truth?
A: Well, here’s where the Humean argument runs into some trouble. There are other factors that one must consider before arriving at a conclusion. There may be mitigating circumstances which exist such as the possibility that the Olympic level runner tripped and fell, thus removing him or herself from the competition. There has to be something added to the Humean equation in order to account for the unexpected. That is where Bayes’ Theorum comes into play. Q: Alright, now I’m not a math scholar so you’re going to have to explain this in terms that a mathematical simpleton like me can understand. A: Well look at it this way, when you hear of a miracle taking place, you must ask yourself how probable is it that the event actually took place, how probable the report of the incident would be reported if it were, in fact, true and how probable would it be for a report of the incident to be
given regardless of whether it was true or not. Q: You lost me there. A: Basically, what I’m saying is the an otherwise incredible event can be lent credibility due to the fact that if it didn’t occur, it would likely not be reported but likely would be reported if it were true. Q: But what about the possibility of reports from witnesses who would otherwise be credible but were somehow fooled into believing that a miracle occurred? A: That’s where we weld the two theories into one. Hume’s argument seems justified if a person takes into account the possibility that the probability of a miracle occurring would only be acceptable if the acceptance of the miracle were less miraculous than the possibility of a false report, however sincere. Q: So the possibility of an actual miracle is practically nil?
A: Yes, Hume said, “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature, and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as could possibly be imagined.” Q: So getting back to the probability of the resurrection, how does all this apply in simple layman’s terms? A: Basically, using Hume’s argument, if twelve disciples of Jesus reported that he was crucified and rose from the dead three days later, then were martyred for their belief, how plausible is it that their story was true given the fact that they were willing to die for that belief? Is it easier to believe that twelve disciples were so delusional that they were willing to die for it or that a man was crucified, died, and three days later rose from the grave alive and well? Which version seems more plausible? In light of the laws of nature, that, on one hand, dead men stay dead, and on the
other, people are often convinced to the point of psychotic belief to the point that they are willing to die for it, one must conclude that the resurrection story as told in the Bible is highly and mathematically improbable. Q: So the fact that the frequency of an event can lend credence to the plausibility of the event prohibits possible belief in a miracle such as the resurrection specifically because of that lack of frequency of resurrections, is that what I’m hearing here? A: Yes, because we have no prior or consequent resurrection events, we must lend credence to an alternative theory based solely on the frequency of a more natural explanation. If I may quote Hume again, he said, “Though the being to whom the miracle is ascribed be almighty, it does not, upon this account become a whit more probable; since it is impossible for us to know the attributes or actions of such a being, otherwise than from the experience
we have of his productions, in the usual course of nature. This still reduces us to past observation, and obliges us to compare the instance of the violations of truth in the testimony of men, with those of the violation of the laws of nature by miracles, in order to judge which of them is more likely and probable.” Q: So the gist of your argument is that because this event, the resurrection that is, is so supremely incredible that it cannot mathematically be justified and because there are no other events in which to compare it to, it must be attributed to something other than miraculous, is that correct?
A: Exactly! There is no way to scientifically attest to the accuracy of the resurrection account and because it is untestable, it cannot be attributed as truth. Keith Parsons said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that science is naturalistic or atheistic and that it basically operates on empirical data.
So many miracles are affirmed after the fact and leave no naturalistic trail by which to test its authenticity that it impossible for miracle believers to confirm it’s empirical nature, therefore we must assume that miracles in the Biblical sense do not exist. Q: So, in your opinion, the resurrection of Jesus can be attributed to what? A: There are so many naturalistic explanations in which to choose from, one would be hard pressed to pin one down and say, “This is it!” I believe at some point, the body of Jesus will be discovered and it will sound a death knell to Christianity. Of course, there will always be those few who, no matter what the evidence, will continue in their “faith” no matter what. Q: So you believe that Christianity will never die? A: No, not in name, but we can already see a metamorphosis beginning. Christianity is changing,
becoming more naturalistic and prepared to usher in a new era. Of course, there are still many fundamentalists who hang onto the old ways and will continue to do so until they are eradicated by some means. Then I believe that the Church and science will be able to coexist peacefully within the empirical boundaries set forth by the immutable laws of nature. MR KULACH: Thank you Sir, Your Honor the Plaintiff has no more questions. JUDGE: Very well, I think this would be a good time for the lunch break so we’ll adjourn until 1:30 this afternoon at which time the Defense can cross if they wish.
Chapter Twelve The Cross Examination of Mr. Douglas Farclough
JUDGE: Good afternoon everyone, is the Defense ready to cross? MR MISNER: Yes Your Honor. Mr. Farclough, I’d like to
discuss Hume’s argument with you a little further if I may? A: Of course! Q: Isn’t it safe to say that Hume’s argument has come under scrutiny because of the fact that the argument assumes an outcome by the way the question is posed? A: I’m afraid I don’t follow you there. Q: What I’m asking Sir, is that if Hume’s argument is presumptive in nature, how can there ever be a fair chance of equal outcome if the universal human experience is the end all of any question? A: I don’t believe that Hume was assuming that the human experience was the end all. I think he assumed that there would be revisions due to our evolving nature. Q: But isn’t it true that no amount of abnormal, supernatural or unique evidence of an event could ever be sufficiently proven because the human experience was the
guidepost? A: From a strict interpretation, I suppose one could arrive at that conclusion, however, there are certain immutable laws of nature that have been proven to be uncompromising. For a man to lie dead for three days and then return to life as if nothing ever happened to him, certain laws of nature would have to be compromised. That is where Hume’s argument lies. Q: So in order to agree with the Humean argument one must cast aside even the most minuscule possibility of a sovereign God who set the laws of nature in place and therefore, can operate outside of them. A: I suppose that would be a fair assumption. It really comes down to semantics. Christians have faith to back their claims and science has empirical evidence. Q: So by assuming that the resurrection is an impossibility from the genesis of thought, you must come to the logical
conclusion that the resurrection is unbelievable in any case, is that correct? A: Yes, I believe that the resurrection would be an impossibility unless I saw it with my own eyes and even then, I would have to do some research to determine if my conclusions were logical. Q: So you can’t necessarily believe your own eyes? A: No, because there are still logical alternatives to what I may or may not have seen. In other words, my eyes could be fooling me. Q: So Sir, if you are under the presumption that there is not even the least inherent probability that miracles occur, isn’t that a statement of faith in itself? A: No I don’t believe so because I have empirical science on my side. Q: And Sir, what is the definition of empirical?
A: Something that can be proven by observation and experiment. Q: So according to Humean thought, there could be nothing proved beyond human understanding that could not be observed or reproduced in an experiment. A: Correct. Q: So let me ask Sir, Hume lived in the 18th century before such things as jets, helicopters, personal computers or any of the modern advancements that we enjoy. Wouldn’t these objects have been logically inconceivable and thus out of the realm of possibility because they would have been considered a machine of miracle dimensions? A: Well, in that day yes, but as I said before, humanity’s perception of reality is ever evolving. Things are proven and disproved on a regular basis due to the empirical nature of science.
Q: So would it be fair to say that you have faith in the empirilogical nature of science? A: I wouldn’t term it faith. I would term it as extreme confidence. Q: Now we’re certainly playing a game of semantics aren’t we? Let me ask you Sir, if, just for the sake of argument, there were a sovereign God as the first cause of the universe who enacted and created the laws of nature. Would he conceivably be able to operate outside of those created boundaries? A: Yes, but you’re assuming that I would acquiesce to your assertion that there is such a god. Q: So you would say that if I were to profess that I believed that there was enough empirical evidence to point to such a creator that it would still require faith on my part? A: Yes I would.
Q: Why is that Sir? A: Because the miracles attributed to your god have never been recreated. Q: So following your logic, if were to take a time machine back to Hume’s time and show him this laptop computer that I have here, he would doubt it’s existence because it would have never been empirically tested? A: Yes, it would be fair to assume that line of reasoning because they would have never seen such a thing before. Q: So if I got back in my time machine and immediately returned to present day, Hume would have to concede that his mind was playing a trick on him because that argument would be more plausible than what he thought he saw with his own eyes? A: Maybe not to Hume himself but to those around him who didn’t witness it would have to arrive at that
conclusion. Q: Then why, Sir, do you perceive that it is impossible for the resurrection to have happened just as reported. In the scenario I just described, Hume would have been the only one to have seen the laptop in his lifetime yet we now know that his perception would have been correct. There was far more than one person who witnessed the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus yet you steadfastly refuse to accept even the most minuscule possibility that it actually happened because of your absolute disbelief in God. Doesn’t that require faith on your part? A: Again, I contend that it requires extreme confidence in my position, not faith. Q: Wouldn’t you say that a devout Christian is equally as confident in their belief in God as you are in your disbelief? A: There are some undeniable fanatics out there, yes.
Q: So you would consider yourself as an undeniable fanatic on the side of science? A: I didn’t say that. MR MISNER: You didn’t have to Sir, I have no further questions for this witness your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, does the Plaintiff wish to redirect? MR KULACH: No Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well. Sir, you may step down. Does the Plaintiff wish to call the next witness? MR KULACH: No Your Honor, the Plaintiff rests. JUDGE: Alright, I think we could all benefit from a break so if the defense has no objection, we’ll adjourn until tomorrow morning at 8:00 am when the Defense can begin his presentation. MR MISNER: The Defense has no objection Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, Court is adjourned until 8:00 am
PART THREE THE DEFENSE
Chapter One The Direct of Pastor James Lynn
JUDGE: Good morning everyone, I trust we all had a well-
deserved break. Is the Defense ready to present its case? MR MISNER: We are Your Honor, Defense calls Pastor James Lynn. BAILIFF: Lift your right hand, do you declare that you will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation, to the best of your ability and knowledge? PASTOR LYNN: I do. Q: Pastor Lynn, could you please state you qualifications for appearing before this Court as an expert witness today. A: Yes Sir, I am a professor of Apologetics at Eastern Gate School of Theology in Dover, South Carolina where I’ve been since 1999. I pursued my undergraduate studies at Davis Theological College (B.A. 1985) and graduate studies at Wheeler Seminary (M.A. 1988) and Arcadia University (PhD 1991). From 1992 until 1999, I taught Apologetics at Edenbrock University until transferring to
Eastern Gate. Q: And Sir, did you do your PhD dissertation at Arcadia? A: Yes, my dissertation was entitled, “ Critical and Apologetic Modalities Concerning the resurrection of Christ.” Q: Now Sir, you’ve written several papers concerning the resurrection of Jesus is that correct? A: Yes, I believe I’ve written somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 papers or articles referring to the resurrection and I’ve lectured extensively on the subject as well. Q: It has been attested before this Court that there are several alternate theories about the resurrection such as the swoon theory and the Judas substitution theory among others. Are you aware of these several theories and how do you deal with such critiques when they arise?
A: Well, first of all I tell them that I believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ because the Bible tells me that it happened and that I believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. Q: Now Doctor, from that perspective, as it relates to the resurrection, how can we be so sure that the Bible doesn’t contain numerous errors, as has been the contention of several of the witnesses for the Plaintiff in this case? A: Well, I don’t know how deep you want me to go into the veracity of the Bible, seeing as how this is a case against the resurrection account, but if you could cite a specific example of a so called inconsistency, I’d be happy to discuss it directly. Q: Doctor, it has been suggested here that the Bible is an unreliable document due to the many revisions it has undergone throughout history. Are you aware of these assertions and how do you counter these arguments when
they arise? A: I was asked about this subject when I was just beginning high school. I studied quite a bit and it was this topic that eventually led me to be interested in the field of apologetics. When I consider the authenticity of the Bible, I look at two types of sources for verification, internal and external. Internal verification are those proofs that originate in the Biblical texts themselves and external proofs are those that verify various Biblical accounts by sources outside the Biblical texts. Q: So what are some examples of internal verification? A: Well, I believe that the most astounding internal verification is the dissect of the texts. When one considers that the Biblical documents were written over a period of 1,500 years by 40 different authors, in several different locations and in several different languages, yet there is a non-conflicting universal message throughout, it is hard to
believe that it is a book of fairy tales. Q: Sir, now it has been argued here that there are several inconsistencies and conflicts located in the Bible. How do deal with that argument? A: Well, when some people find a supposed contradiction they are quick to point to it as proof that the Bible has been corrupted. It one were to study farther, you would find that by closely examining the text, there is really no conflict at all. Q: Can you cite an example for the Court? A: Well, one of the ones that I hear bandied about the most has to do with the numbers of Syrians that David killed in battle. In 1 Chronicles 19:18, we find that the Bible reads that David slew seven thousand men which fought in chariots but in 2 Samuel 10:18 we find that the Bible reads that David slew the men of seven hundred chariots. Now skeptics often use this verse as an inconsistency in order to
prove that the Bible is corrupted and on the surface, it appears that they are correct. But if you dissect the verses, you find that the first account says that David slew seven thousand men which “fought in chariots” and in the second we find that David slew the “men of seven hundred chariots.” Now examine those statements closely. The writer is not contradicting himself here. If the chariots held several men, as we knew they did, it would not be unreasonable to say that it would be possible for David to have slain seven thousand men who rode in those chariots. This is a common ruse that the opposition uses to bolster their argument against the authenticity of the Bible. It’s regrettable that they resort to such diversionary tactics to try to prove their point. Q: Pastor, are there grammatical errors found in the Bible as we have it today? A: There are a few but when compared with other works of
antiquity, the existence of the Bible as it was originally written is unparalleled. There is a textual variance of one half of one percent contained in the modern Biblical documents as compared to the most ancient documents. Most of these are grammatical differences in punctuation, spelling or other such minutia. Q: Pastor, is there archeological evidence pointing to the authenticity of the Biblical record? A: There is ever increasing archeological support for the Biblical record. Several skeptical archeologists have been convinced of its’ authenticity after setting out to prove it’s fallibility. I could cite men such as Albright, Ramsey, or Garstang, all of whom attested to the Biblical documents in part or as a whole. Q: Is there any other evidence that would lend credence to the assertion that Jesus was, in fact, crucified, dead, buried and resurrected, just as the Biblical account reads.
A: I believe that several factors, when considered as a whole, lend incredible credence to the fact that Jesus was an historical figure who claimed to be the Son of God and therefore, His equal, performed many miraculous feats during a three year period of ministry, was falsely accused by the Jewish leaders of the day and sentenced to die by crucifixion by Pontius Pilate, was, in fact, crucified, certified to be dead, placed in a tomb, and three days later came back to life just as he had predicted. When we consider the internal attestations by eyewitnesses or contemporaries of Jesus, external evidence such as the writings of Pilate, and several other historians who could have been discredited by those who were living during the historical period in question, there can be no other conclusion arrived at except that Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be and therefore, all the events surrounding his ministry, death and resurrection actually happened.
MR MISNER: Thank you Pastor, you’ve been very helpful, the Defense has no further questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well. Does the Plaintiff wish to cross? MR KULACH: We do Your Honor.
Chapter Two The Cross Examination of Pastor James Lynn
Q: Good morning Mr. Lynn. How are you today Sir? A: Very well thank you. Q: Now, Mr. Lynn, it has been suggested here, that the inerrancy of the Bible is in question. You’ve given an example and have offered a rather sensible counterargument to it but what about the plethora of other examples that might not be so easy to explain? A: Well, if you can give me an example, I’ll try to explain a solution if I can. Q: Alright, We’ll stick with the contradictions contained in the resurrection account. In Mark 16:12, the Bible reads that the group of women were on their way to the tomb “just after sunrise” while John 20:1 says that Mary went to the tomb while it was still dark. Now here we see two
contradictions in this set of scriptures. Was it a group of women or only Mary who went to the tomb and secondly, did they go before daylight or after? A: Well Sir, a careful examination of the scripture reveals that this scripture is not contradictory at all. Let’s suppose you and I and perhaps another person were walking somewhere and began our trip sometime before daylight and didn’t arrive at our destination until after sunrise. If all three of us reported the trip to someone else, I might say that we went on a trip before daylight, you might say that we went to the destination just after sunrise and the other person might say that we began our journey before sunrise and arrived sometime after sunrise. All three accounts would be correct, but related in different ways. Additionally, let’s suppose two different people saw us on our journey, in a subsequent discussion, one of the people might say that he saw you on the road and the other might
saw that he saw all three of us. There is no contradiction in either scenario, just a different frame of reference. Q: I suppose that any contradiction that I could come up with could be construed in one form or another as simply a variant of the same story but when it comes to mathematics we deal with certainties. How do you explain the fact that in 1 Kings 7:23 the Bible reads that a molten sea was made that was “ten cubits from one brim to the other” and that it measured a line of thirty cubit around it. If the value of Pi is 3.14, how can a bowl ten cubits from brim to brim measure only thirty cubits in a line around it? A: Well Sir, I’d like to point out that you began your argument with an incorrect reference to the value of Pi. If you were to mention the value literally, you would have to give the value as 3.14159265. Even in modern times, we tend to round off values so it would not be a stretch to say that the value mentioned in your Biblical reference may be
a rounded figure. Furthermore, a cubit was a rough form of measurement where one used his forearm length as the rule. This means that a cubit measurement of ten could be anywhere from 9.5 to 10.5 cubits, so it would be reasonable for the author to record the measurement as ten cubits. We also have to assume that the molten sea was not a perfectly circular vessel because a perfect circle simply does not exist so you argument about the certainty of mathematics is somewhat flawed. Q: Well Sir, I’m sure that anything critical that I say can be twisted to seem in some way logical so I’ll move on. Now Sir, you believe the Bible to be a God inspired book written by men, is that correct? A: Yes, I believe it is the inspired, inerrant word of God. Q: Sir, the Bible is replete with fanciful stories about multitudes living in a desert for 40 years, a boy killing a 910 foot giant, various people being brought back to life and miracles beyond comprehension, can you honestly say that you believe all of these stories to be true and accurately recorded?
A: I can say without reservation that I believe every account written in the Bible to be accurate and as true as the fact that we’re sitting here today. There have been numerous archeological finds that have yet to disprove a single fact recorded in the Bible. The Bible is also replete with prophetic evidence that has come to fruition and we’re seeing more and more of it being realized before our eyes today so I believe that there is sufficient evidence to support the Biblical record as a factual historical document. Q: Would you say Sir that if there were an archeological find that countered a Biblical claim, it would undermine the entire foundation of the Biblical record? A: I would have to say that it would depend on the extent and veracity of the find. There are so many layers involved in your question that it would be hard to give you a firm yes or no answer without a specific example. Q: Well, let’s talk about the walls of Jericho shall we?
MR MISNER: Objection Your Honor! Relevance? MR KULACH: It is relevant Your Honor in that I’m attempting here to verify the veracity of a single Biblical account in order to call into question it’s historicity, and thus, the overall truthfulness of the document. JUDGE: Overruled, I’ll allow the line of questioning. Q: Thank you Your Honor. Now Sir, are you aware of the several archeological digs performed at the site believed to be the city of Jericho? A: Yes I am. Q: And Sir, are you aware of the dig performed by Dame Kathleen Kenyon from 1952-1958? A: Yes, I’m acquainted with the circumstances of that dig. Q: Isn’t it true Sir that her research concluded that the walls of Jericho had fallen for a final time in the year 1550 BC which predated Garstang’s estimate of the Israelites journey
through the region by somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 years? A: Yes, that was her initial finding due to the absence of pottery commonly imported from Cyprus during that period, however, the cross section which she concentrated her efforts on was found by Bryant G Wood to be in an impoverished area of the city that would normally be lacking in imported pottery in favor of the more affordable local variety. Pottery shards and charcoal excavated from the Kenyon area have been carbon dated to approximately 1400 BC, which coincides with the excursion led by Joshua. Further, Kenyon and Garstang both found that the north wall had been spared the destruction visited upon the other areas of the wall which would verify the Biblical account that Rahab, who had helped the Israeli spies escape the city and was therefore promised protection from the coming destruction, lived on the north wall. I believe that when you look at a picture as a whole you get a much better appreciation for the meaning of the artwork, don’t you? Q: Hasn’t William Stiebing published a book questioning the veracity of the Israeli migration further by pointing out that the Pharaoh resided in Thebes, which is some 400 miles to the south of the area where the Israelites supposedly dwelt, yet there are numerous references to Moses and Aaron having face to face discussions with him?
A: Yes, it’s true that there seems to be conflicting data there but lack of data may be just as viable an explanation. It may be that his primary residence was in Thebes but historical data doesn’t exclude the possibility that he had another or that he made excursions into the area to investigate the goings on there. Absence of information doesn’t prove that the Biblical account is false. Q: But doesn’t the fact that the Biblical reference to the events surrounding the migration of that magnitude excludes this important information lend credence to the question of Biblical historicity? A: It depends, I suppose if you are beginning your search with an a priori mind set. While I admit that I do have certain unavoidable biases because of my belief system, too many so called scholars and intelligentsia claim that they were completely unbiased in their research of Biblical matters when, in fact, they are anything but. The book you
mentioned earlier written by Stiebing was published by Prometheus Books that has a reputation of being a decidedly atheistic publishing house so you see both sides may be guilty of engaging in a priori arguments in order to shore up their opinions. Q: It appears here that were playing a game of semantical ring around the Rosie Sir. I have no further questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, does the defense wish to redirect? MR MISNER: We do Your Honor.
The Redirect of Pastor James Lynn
Q: Pastor, the counsel for the Plaintiff has asked several questions pertaining to the account of the Israeli migration of the 15th century BC. Are there any archeological evidences which support the veracity of the central issue of these proceedings, namely the resurrection of Jesus Christ? A: Yes there is. Aside from the written historical evidences, there have been archeological finds that, while not
referencing specifically the crucifixion of Christ, does support the historicity of the Biblical accounts. There have been finds confirming the historicity of certain cites and cities thought to be fictitious such as Nazareth, the Pool of Bethesda, Synagogue buildings and so forth, the affirmation of the presence of various persons, such as Pontius Pilate, Joseph Ciaphas and others as well as several men and women involved intimately in the ministry of Jesus such as James the Just, Paul of Tarsus, and Salome. I would venture to say that there is as much or more evidence of the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as any other historical figure. Q: Pastor, you stated earlier that too many people approach a problem with a preconceived idea of the outcome. Can you expound a bit on that? A: Well, I think that there are those on both sides of the argument that are so convinced that there position is the
correct position, that they latch on any information that may be construed as supportive and spin it in such a way that it appears to be a piece of affirmative evidence. Christians have used things such as a boat uncovered near Kibbutz Ginosar and made the leap that it is a piece of evidence supporting the Jesus story. While it may be a piece of ancillary evidence, it really doesn’t prove anything other than it was dated from the period of Jesus and that it was large enough to have afforded Jesus the opportunity to sleep in it during the storm described in Mark chapter 4 and Luke chapter 8. On the other hand, critics point to things such as minor textual variations and use that as an excuse to throw out the entire historical text. How many works off antiquity would we have lost if that were the rule for gauging the authenticity of a text. I think it’s safe to say that there are those on both sides that would “throw out the baby with the bath water” if it proved their point.
MR MISNER: Thank you Pastor. The Defense has no further questions for the witness Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, the witness can stand down. Call your next witness Counselor. MR MISNER: The Defense calls Mr. Gene Swanson.
Chapter Four The Direct of Mr. Gene Swanson
BAILIFF: Lift your right hand, do you declare that you will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation, to the best of your ability and knowledge? MR SWANSON: I do. Q: Good morning Sir, could you please state your qualifications for your expert testimony before the Court
today? A: Certainly, I am the Webmaster of Christiananswersinmath.org, formerly answersinmath.org. I attended the University of Aiken and received a B.A. in 2001, as well as an M.A. in 2004 in mathematics. For the last five years, I have hosted the website as a forum for answers to mathematical probabilities. Q: And Sir, have you been asked on your website about the mathematical probabilities concerning Jesus? A: Yes, I have. Q: And what were your findings there Sir? A: Well, I’ve always approached the area of religion with somewhat of a skeptical mind because of what I believed was the sheer improbability of the events as they were conveyed in the Bible but I did the research in order to remain true to the purpose of my website. What I found
was astounding because I came to the conclusion that it would be a mathematical impossibility for Jesus to be viewed as anything other than what the Bible claims He was due to the fulfillment of several prophetic statement made about him. Q: And during your research, how many prophecies did you find that pertained to Jesus that came to fruition? A: I found more than 350 prophecies concerning the coming Messiah in the Old Testament. Q: And how many of those prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus Christ? A: From my research, I concluded that Jesus fulfilled all of them according to the Biblical record. That is assuming that the Biblical record is correct as written of course. Q: Is that a question for you? A: Well, as I said, I’m a skeptic at heart so I had to reserve
my final decision until I completed my probabilities research but I can safely say that the chances of the Messiah being anyone other than Jesus of Nazareth is so minuscule that it would be beyond mathematical probability. Q: Now Mr. Swanson, to the average person on the street, when you say that something is beyond mathematical probability, it’s pretty difficult to pin down exactly what that means. Could you explain it to the Court in layman’s terms? A: Well, to try and break down the possibility of one person in history fulfilling over 450 identifying characteristics is mathematically incalculable but I’ll try to break it down in part. In other words, I’ll section it off and attempt to explain each part and then tie them all together. Alfred Edersheim studied the Bible and it’s Messianic prophecies. He found 456 in all, 75 from the Pentateuch, 243 from the
prophets, and 138 from the Hagiographa. These references were further supported by 558 quotations from various rabbinical writings. Now if we break down the mathematical probabilities of each separate prophecy, and then bring them back together as a combined probability, we get a clearer picture of just how improbable any alternate theory becomes. For instance, the probability of Christ being born in Bethlehem is about 1 in 280,000. For Christ to enter Jerusalem riding a donkey represents a chance of 1 in 100. The chance of 30 pieces of silver being cast down and used to buy a potter’s field represents a 1 in 100,000 chance. These are just a few examples I can cite for you here. Q: When you refer to “combined probabilities, to what are you referring to exactly? A: Well if we say that the possibility of one instance is, say, 1 in 10 and the possibility of another is 1 in 5 and then a
third possibility is 1 in 100, these would all be well within the realm of possibility. However, if you said that a certain instance must combine all of the three aforementioned possibilities, the chance of their alignment is much less probable. Now, in specific reference to Jesus, there are many prophetical possibilities that described him that would not be beyond the realm of mathematical probability such as the Messiah being wounded by his enemies, which would be a 1 in 10 chance. If, however, you combine that 1 in 10 chance with the other 455 prophetic statements fulfilled by Jesus, the number becomes astronomically large. Q: How large Sir? A: Emile Borel, who was a French probabilities expert, said that the chance of an incident happening beyond a 1 in 10 to the 50th power would be so minuscule that it could be said to be impossible. Peter Stoner Professor Emeritus of
Science at Westmont College conducted an experiment using the laws of probability looked at only 8 of these possibilities being attributed to one man in history as 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That is only 8 of 456 attributes. The more attributes added the greater the number exponentially. If we expand the number of attributes to only 17 of 456, the number exponentially grows to 1 chance in 480 billion x 1 billion x 1 trillion. That would be a number equal to 480 with thirty zeros following. This would be, according to Borel, a mathematical impossibility so for Jesus to have possibly been anyone other than who He and other historians claimed He was is virtually nil. Q: A number that large is hard to imagine. Could you put that into perspective for the Court? A: Well, to put the enormity of this number in perspective would be difficult because the number is simply
incomparable but I can give you some smaller figures that will give the Court a better appreciation of the numbers involved. The weight of the Earth is 10 to the 27th grams. It’s circumference is 1.6 x 10 to the 9th inches. The length of the known universe is 10 to the 27th inches. When you consider the sheer enormity of the numbers involved it nears incomprehension. MR MISNER: Thank you Sir, the Defense has no further questions at this time Your Honor. JUDGE: Alright does the Plaintiff wish to cross? MR KULACH: We do Your Honor.
Chapter Five The Cross Examination of Mr. Gene Swanson
Q: Mr. Swanson, is one of your degrees in Logistical Math?
A: No they aren’t. Q: So it would be safe to say that you’re not an expert in the field, is that correct? A: Well the numbers speak for themselves, that doesn’t require a degree. Q: Do you know the difference between deduction and induction? A: Yes, I do. Q: Well, perhaps you could enlighten the court by explaining the difference? A: Deduction is a conclusion brought about by evidence that is entirely reasoned without and fallacies. With induction, there are varying degrees of probability based on the proposition that led to a conclusion.
Q: So because there is a chance, no matter how small, that
Jesus was not who he said he was, it must be, by definition, an induction not a deduction, is that correct? A: In the strictest sense of the definition, yes, however, as I said earlier.... MR KULACH: Thank you, you answered my question. No more questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, does the defense wish to redirect? MR MISNER: Yes Your Honor, we certainly do!
Chapter Six The Redirect of Mr. Gene Swanson
Q: Now Mr. Swanson, the plaintiff was talking about
probabilities. Are the definitions that you gave the Plaintiff all-inclusive. A: No, there are many facets to inductive reasoning. There is a plethora of statistical datum that must be examined in order to classify and define both the type of induction and the likelihood that the induction is correct. Q: Could you elaborate on that a bit more? A: Well, in order to have an inductive argument, one must consider the type of inductive argument to utilize, whether it be from inductive prediction, analogy, generalization, authority, signs, or inference. Q: You totally lost me there. Could you break that down for me? A: Well, as I said, there are variables of probability depending on the type of inductive reasoning. Some are very probable, such as induction from authority or signs,
while others are more speculative in nature, such as generalization or inference. Q: So when the plaintiff argued that credibility must be given to Jesus as the Messiah counter argument simply because there is a vastly remote chance that there is an alternate explanation for it, how sensible is that argument? A: Well, let’s just say that there is less of a chance that Jesus wasn’t who he claimed to be than the character in the movie “Dumb and Dumber” when, after being told that chances were one in a million that the girl would fall for him said, “So you’re saying there’s a chance!” Q: So what would you say to someone who, in the face of such odds, refuses to acknowledge the obvious? A: I would have to say that they were being “willfully ignorant” as the Bible describes them. MR MISNER: Thank you Sir. The Defense has no more
questions for Mr. Swanson at this time Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, court will adjourn for lunch and reconvene at 1230 this afternoon.
Chapter Seven The Direct of Dr. Anderson Silversmith
JUDGE: Good afternoon everyone, is the Defense ready to
call it’s next witness? MR MISNER: We are Your Honor, the Defense calls Dr. Anderson Silversmith. BAILIFF: Lift your right hand, do you declare that you will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation, to the best of your ability and knowledge? DR SILVERSMITH: I do. Q: Doctor, could you please state your qualifications for the Court Sir? A: Certainly, I completed my undergraduate studies at Polk University in Polk, Kentucky. I completed medical school and internship at the Medical University of Carolina and my residency at Good Hope Hospital in Nankin, South Carolina. I am a member of the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals.
Q: Thank you Doctor, now, are you familiar with the historical documentation of the crucifixion of Jesus? A: I am. Q: And Doctor, in your professional opinion, is it possible that Jesus survived the crucifixion ordeal, and instead, merely swooned and was later revived and nursed backed to health as has been purported in earlier testimony before this Court? A: I could say with a great deal of professional certainty that it is a physical impossibility that Jesus was removed from the cross alive. Q: Doctor, how can you be so sure? A: When the Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus, the issue from the wound was both water and blood, which would be indicative of myocardial rupture. The mortality rate of Myocardial Rupture at the level of today’s medicinal
knowledge is near 100%, depending on the type of rupture and the area in which the rupture occurred. I can’t imagine the mortality rate being less in the early first century given their lack of medical knowledge and technology that we now possess. Q: Could you explain to the Court how the heart of Jesus ruptured? Was it a result of the physical torture that he endured prior to the crucifixion? A: Well, without the benefit of an autopsy report, it would be hard to ascertain exactly what type of rupture occurred and exactly where the rupture occurred. It could have been the result of extreme physical and emotional exertion or perhaps as a result of a heart condition such as myocarditis, tuberculosis or sarcoidosis. It may have also been the result of a blunt force trauma such as falling face down with the cross member tied to his shoulders, which may have resulted in a compression rupture of the heart known as a
cardiac tamponade. Without an autopsy though, it would be mere speculation to try to make a definitive diagnosis. Q: So what would be your professional answer to those who contend that Jesus swooned or fainted on the cross? A: I would conclude that they were either ignorant of the facts surrounding the case or of the indications of heart conditions such as myocardial rupture or cardiac tamponade. Aside from that, I would have to conclude that they simply don’t want to believe what the facts are indicating. MR MISNER: Thank you Doctor, the defense has no further questions at this time Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, does the Plaintiff wish to cross? MR KULACH: We do Your Honor.
Chapter Eight The Cross Examination of Dr. Anderson Silversmith
Q: Doctor, on what do you base your findings of a cardiac
rupture in the case of Jesus and his alleged death? A: I’ve based my conclusions on the fact that there was an issue of both water and blood from the site of the centurion’s spear thrust. Q: And where did you learn that there was, in fact, a spear thrust that resulted in an issue of blood and water? A: From the Biblical account. Q: Are you aware of any inconsistencies contained in the Bible? A: Do you mean concerning the crucifixion of Jesus? Q: Are you aware of any inconsistencies contained anywhere in the Bible? A: No, I’m not a Biblical Scholar. MR KULACH: That much is obvious... MR MISNER: Objection Your Honor! MR KULACH: I’ll withdraw the remark Your Honor.
JUDGE: Very well. Counsel is advised against such comments in the future! Q: Yes Your Honor, Doctor, are you aware of an alternate account that contradicts the death of Jesus prior to the centurions spear being thrust into his body? A: No, I’m not. Q: To which version are you referring when you discuss the crucifixion of Jesus? A: Well, I’ve read the account in several versions. I guess the King James and the NIV would be the two that come to mind most readily. Q: Have you read the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus? A: No Q: How about the Codex Ephraemi, L, 5, 48, 67, 115, 127, 1010, five good copies of the Latin Vulgate, the Jerusalem Syriac (Aramaic), the Egyptian Coptic, Armenian, Gothic,
and the Ethiopic? A: No, I haven’t. Q: Are you aware that in all of the aforementioned ancient texts, Jesus was said to have been killed by the spear thrust? A: No, but I... MR KULACH: Thank you Doctor, no further questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, does the defense wish to re-direct? MR MISNER: We do Your Honor.
Chapter Nine The Redirect of Dr. Anderson Silversmith
Q: Doctor, in all of the texts that the Plaintiff just cited,
Jesus was reported to be alive when the spear was thrust into his body. Is that consistent with your professional diagnosis? A: No, it is not. Q: How so? A: Well as I stated before, the fact that it was reported that both water and blood issued from the wound indicates that the blood had begun to separate into coagulum and serious fluid. It has been reported that some patients have survived for a period of time after a myocardial rupture, but under the conditions which Jesus was subjected, I find it hard to conceive the possibility that Jesus could have survived for more than six hours of torture without expiring. Some have opined that the rupture occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane when he was reported to have sweated drops of blood but I firmly believe that he would not have survived the torture he underwent after being seized and
would have passed well before the crucifixion event. MR MISNER: Thank you Doctor, no more questions Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, you may step down Doctor. Call your next witness Counselor. MR MISNER: The Defense rests Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, this Court will adjourn until tomorrow morning at 8:00 am at which time we’ll begin hearing closing arguments from the Plaintiff and Defense.
PART FOUR CLOSING ARGUMENTS AND FINAL INSTRUCTIONS
Chapter One Plaintiff’s Closing Arguments
JUDGE: Is Counsel for the Plaintiff prepared for closing arguments. MR KULACH: We are Your Honor. JUDGE: Very well, you may proceed. MR KULACH: Thank you Your Honor. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, during these proceedings you have been given a lot of information in a short period of time. I know that it has been difficult to digest so I would like to summarize what has been presented here. We’ve heard that the crucifixion story as it is related in the Bible is flawed, flawed in the sense that it cannot be empirically proven which account to believe, if any. It is flawed because there were several crucifixion/resurrection stories floating around well before Jesus came along. It is flawed because we’re not certain if Jesus actually died or if he merely swooned and was later nursed back to health by sympathizers. We don’t know if it was, in fact, even Jesus himself on the
cross, tree or stake, whatever you happen to believe was used. In fact, we don’t even know if Jesus was a real historical figure. We don’t know these things because we have no reliable documentation to go by. We’ve shown that there are variants in the Gospel accounts to which the defense offers the excuse that omission is not grounds for exclusion. It is the contention of the Plaintiff that if the God of Christianity were truly omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, he would be able to ensure that all of his stories aligned and didn’t conflict with each other. No, what we have here is a man- made production that has been ongoing for thousands of years and it needs to stop. Christians have foisted their beliefs, morals and laws on non-believers for far too long. It is wrong and absolutely immoral for Christians to expect others to believe and act as they do on the mere notion that some unknowable allpowerful being said so. There has been a history of torture
and bloodshed for centuries that the Christians have to assume responsibility for. More people have been murdered over this fairy tale than anything else in history. We’ve discussed the laws of probability. Now, the Defense has tried to confuse you with astronomical numbers and big equations but the fact remains that Humean Logic portends a death knell to the Christian miracle argument. The fact remains that the more far fetched an argument, the more unlikely it is that it ever happened. Have we seen men and women returning to life after death? Some would say yes and I tend to side with them. We hear from time to time that someone has died and been revived some time later without serious consequence but come now folks, are we to believe as the Christians do that a man could suffer the torturous treatment that Jesus was supposedly subjected to, died, was buried for two to four days depending on the account and then revived without the benefit of medicinal treatment? I
think that this preposterous story has, over the ages, simply grown wings and took flight. It has become an accepted and unquestioned dogma for so long that we are only now beginning to chip away at the grip it has on our society. Until we can free ourselves from the restrictive moral fabric that has been intrinsically woven into our reality, we can’t truly worship as we like and be spiritually free. I am asking you to look inside yourselves and ask if you truly believe that the possibility exists that thousands of years ago, one lone man could have started a movement that has blossomed into what we now know as Christianity or is it more feasible to believe that there was a concerted effort by a few co-conspirators to circulate a story by which they could profit richly. We see it everywhere today. One only need turn on the television any day of the week to see one of these religious charlatans at work. They prey on the uninformed and delusional masses, all the while enriching
themselves and driving $100,000 cars. They tell us that god wants us to be prosperous. They say that they deserve the riches that they amass because they’re doing god’s work. These people make me ill. When there is poverty and pestilence all around us, they preach a feel good message that god has reserved something better for us if only we’ll send them $19.95 for a prayer stone or rag or whatever. Together, we can send these charlatans a firm and resounding message, a message that they may believe in fairy tales but the rest of us shouldn’t be forced to believe them too. The witnesses that I called to the stand during these proceedings have testified to some things that, I’ll admit, I find preposterous, but call them I did! Now, you may be asking yourselves why I would call someone to the stand whom I share no common ground with in my fundamental beliefs. You may also be asking yourselves why in the
world I would stand here and admit it. I did it because I’m not afraid to present points that are counter to my own. The very fact that there are so many different views, angles and explanations regarding the alleged life and death of Jesus lends credence to my argument. When what was supposed to be the single greatest event in man’s history cannot be related consistently by it’s own adherents, how can we be expected to make the leap of faith and believe it as well. I know that you’ve been ask to sit here and listen to a lot of information and assimilate the meaning of things that we don’t normally have to deal with. For that, I thank you and ask that you find in favor of the Plaintiff in this case.
Chapter Two Defense’s Closing Arguments
JUDGE: Is the Defense prepared to present closing arguments? MR MISNER: We are Your Honor. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Plaintiff in this case would love for you to believe that what we have here is a “we said, they said” situation. He would like you to believe that his evidence is equally balanced and therefore offsetting. However, what we do have is a solid case in favor of the historicity of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A witness for the Plaintiff said the onus of proof is upon the claimant in this case, but who exactly is the claimant? If I were to make the statement that George Washington never existed but was rather a fabrication of 18th century hoodlums, where would the onus of proof lie? Doesn’t the onus lie with me due to the fact that George Washington was a verified historical figure as evidenced by a plethora of eyewitnesses and written accounts? What makes the case of Jesus Christ any
less historical? Now, I don’t want to bore you by meticulously going back over every point in this case but there are some that bear repeating. By their own admission, some of the very witnesses that the plaintiff called to testify believe that Jesus was an actual figure in history. While they may disagree on certain points of view regarding Jesus, they none the less believe that Jesus actually lived, died and in some cases reappeared to several, if not hundreds, of witnesses. The Plaintiff contends that we have no reliable documentation of the New Testament account. I, however, believe hat we have shown conclusively that the documents used to generate the Bible as we know it today are reliable according to the standards and methods utilized to verify other works of antiquity. The plaintiff contends that Humean logic proves that the resurrection account is impossible due to the improbability of miraculous occurrences. We have shown through verifiable
mathematical methods that it is mathematically impossible for Jesus to be anyone other than who he said he was. We shown that it would be nearly impossible for Jesus to have lived through the crucifixion experience as some swoon theorists have contended. In his closing arguments, my counterpart launched into a diatribe about the indiscretions, abuses and outrages committed by the Church throughout the ages. Let’s face it folks, we are imperfect beings. John Dalberg-Acton once said that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We see evidence of this in nearly every walk of life whether it be in personal relationships, politics or the Church. The fact remains that if given a position of power, people will abuse it and that abuse is exponentially greater as more power is given. Hitler’s abuses were relatively minor until he rose to power. The Catholic Church used the power of nationalized religion to justify abuses, television evangelists and local Pastors have abused the power
afforded them. There is simply no end to the examples that we could cite here today. These facts beg the question, “What does the fallibility of the creation have to do with the Creator?” God gave us the inherent ability to choose our own path, right or wrong, for better or worse and the fact remains that most of the time, we make the wrong decisions in life. That fact, however, doesn’t make the life, death and resurrection of Jesus any more or less factual. It really has nothing to do with the issue before this Court today. The Plaintiff has argued that he deliberately called witnesses that differ with him concerning spiritual matters and thus implied that all of mine were in line with my beliefs. In fact, I made it a point to avoid the question of their spiritual beliefs because I don’t believe that it is relative to the argument. We are here to examine facts not feelings or beliefs and I believe that the facts have spoken for themselves. The evidence presented in this case,
whether mathematical, historical or medical has been presented and has undeniably pointed to the apologetic of the Defense. Ladies and gentlemen, I want to personally thank each one of you for taking the time to examine the facts of this case in order to arrive at a cogent verdict, a verdict that I believe will favor the Defense. I therefore humbly submit to your reason in this case. Thank you.
Chapter Three Judge’s Final Instructions
JUDGE: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I do not envy the task that has been set before you. You have been placed in an extremely powerful position. You have been given the power to affect not only your own lives, but the lives of countless others as well. Your government has placed it’s faith in you and your ability to arrive at a fair and unbiased decision in this case. It is entirely up to you to examine the facts of this case and to decide, based on the preponderance of the evidence submitted, if the Plaintiff has proven their case. Remember that because this is a civil case, the burden of proof is not required beyond a reasonable doubt, but instead, is based solely upon the weight of the evidence. You must not render your decision upon what you think the law should be, but rather, what the present law instructs as given by me. You are to confine your deliberation to the facts presented in this case and may not consider testimony to which I have sustained an objection. It is understood that
you may draw upon your own observational and experiential history in arriving at a reasonable inference in this case. Any statements made by either Counsel should be disregarded unless supported by the facts presented in this case. Being that direct evidence is that evidence regarded as first-hand and circumstantial evidence is evidence presented to support a reasonable inference of the fact to be proven, all evidence presented in this case, whether direct or circumstantial, should be given equal weight. You are the ultimate authority as to the credibility of the witnesses presented here. It is you who must be persuaded by their testimony, whether it be credible or incredible, and give it the weight you feel it deserves. You may, if you wish refer to the transcripts of this case if need be to retrieve testimony presented and are encouraged to avoid a rush to judgment. These instructions will be available to you in their entirety for perusal and reference. I would like to
thank you all for your time and attention and I look forward to your decision in the case of the resurrection of Jesus. You may retire to the jury room at this time in order to render your verdict.
EPILOUGE THE VERDICT
To the reader:
The witnesses are a derivation of my imagination but the information concerning the death and resurrection comes from actual sources. You, the reader, must now become the jury. Each person reading this publication must decide what is fact and what is fiction and which position is most plausible. I have tried to present a case for each side but I admit some a priori bias may be present. The fact remains that your verdict is of utmost importance because it has eternal implications. If the Plaintiff in this case is correct, the eternal impact of your passing through this life into the realm of death has very little meaning. If, however, the Defense in this case is correct, the veil through which you step into death’s grip has a monumental ramification. If the Defense is correct, death is not the end of a life, but rather,
the beginning of an eternity. Let me encourage you to consider these things when you render the verdict in this case. If you find that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is real in your life, there is but one thing to do; ask Him to be the Lord of your life and Savior of your soul. Romans 3:23 says that, “…all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” That means that all of us, you, me, your mother, your father, your Pastor, have sinned and are in need of help in order to be counted worthy to come into the presence of our righteous God. Romans 6:23 tells us that we are all deserving of a death sentence because of our sin “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”” and that “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8) That means that God loves you whether you love Him or not. At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “OK, I believe, now what?” There are three things
that you must come to grips with: 1. Realize and Acknowledge (that you have sinned) 2. Repent (or turn away from your sin) and believe (that Christ died for your sins and was resurrected by His own power) 3. Ask and Receive (Jesus as your Lord and Savior). Romans 10:9-10 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For it is with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” It is my prayer that each of you will make the right decision because, like the song says, ““we’ll never get out of this world alive!” God Bless Your Humble Author
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