The next argument is an appeal to secular history. For the Atheist, the supposed lack of external sources to this event should present a problem to the believer. If something that was that important appeared in a person’s lifetime, it had to have been noticed.
I mean, wouldn’t the resurrection of a person from the dead hit CSPAN? Fox News would probably be covering it wall to wall, while CNN would relegate it to the religion section.
The truth of the matter is that we have much documentation. Atheists need to stop looking at the Bible as “a book” when it comes to this question. You have multiple different authors—many eyewitnesses and secondary witnesses to the events—that documented the occurence.
If that’s not enough, you have the few that the Atheists will agree to1, but you also have many other mentions of Christians originating from that time period:
- Pontius Pilate makes record in Acts of Pontious Pilate by Justin Martyr, First Apolgy 35 and 48 that Christ performed amazing miracles and died on a cross with hands and feet pierced with nails.
- Lucian of Samosata wrote that there were Christians worshipping Christ. They lived by faith and they believed Christ’s teachings. He wrote in D 120.
- Around AD 73, Mara Bar-Serapion writes about the Jews murdering their king—one that lived on in His teachings (British Museum, Syriac Manuscript, Additional 14,658)
- Phlegon, a historian born aboue AD 80, records not only that Jesus died, but that he had knowledge of the future, predicted things to come, that the Sun was darkened during Christ’s death, and that there was a great earthquake.
- Thallus, writing about AD 52, states that there was darkness about the time of Christ’s death, agreeing Matthew’s account. It could not be an eclipse, it had to be a miracle.
- Papyri Graecae Magicae, 2nd BC to Fifth century AD, stated that people were using Jesus’ name in an attempt to heal.
The atheist throws around the idea that there are not external references in an attempt to discredit the wealth and veracity of the Gospels, and yet falls flat because there are many external examples of the name of Christ and what Christians believed.
Neither of these produces a good argument.
- Flavius Josephus—though this is contested and Tacticus—which they will also dispute