Suppose that you have been falsely accused of committing a crime, say, a murder, that occurred many years ago. There is very little evidence connecting you to the murder except the testimony of 4 people named Mike, Monty, Larry, and Jacob. Your defense attorney puts them on the witness stand and interviews them one at a time. During the questioning several important facts about their belief that you committed the murder are revealed. It turns out that none of the four actually saw you commit the murder. They’ve never even met you before. But each one of them admits that they heard some stories from some other people that you committed the murder. And it cannot be established that these other people were witnesses either and they are not available to be questioned. None of the 4 knows how many times the story was repeated or passed around before they heard it. They heard that a lot of people were witnesses to the murder, but again, none of those people are available and it is not known who they are. It turns out that the murder happened 30 years ago and they heard about it because the accusation that you did it has been talked about and remembered by these other unavailable people during all these years.
It also turns out that Mike and Larry got the story from Monty. They believe that you did it entirely on the basis of Monty’s telling them that you did. Furthermore, when the attorney tries to get the details straight about what happened at the crime scene, none of them tell the same story. The important details (that they all got from other people) are different in every case.
At one point, the prosecution puts a man named Perry on the stand and he affirms that you did it too. But he admits that he wasn’t there and he did not see it. Rather, he had a powerful vision during a trance while he was walking down the street one day and a voice he heard told him that you committed the murder.
The prosecuting attorney makes an attempt to assure the jury that you are guilty because there are lots and lots of people out there who believe it because they heard it from Mike, Monty, Larry, Jacob, and Perry. But the judge prohibits it because “Everyone knows that it is true,” is not an admissable form of evidence in court. But it never becomes clear why the judge allowed the hearsay evidence of the 5 men to be heard in the court in the first place.
The prosecuting and defense attorneys close their case. And the jury, all being good Christians, promptly convicts you of murder and sentence you to death.
If you haven’t figured it out: Mike, Monty, Larry, Jacob, and Perry are all Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul, respectively.
Does it sound like fair grounds upon which to convict a person?
A murder charge and conviction are no less important in their impact on a person’s life than the changes that Christian’s believe we should enact in our lives for Jesus. If it is not reasonable to convict a person of murder on these grounds, it is no more reasonable to believe that 2,000 years ago a person came back from the dead on similar grounds, especially since it matters so much.