General rules for evidence: Reference: Josh McDowell’s “a ready defense of Christianity” and the Lennox/ Dawkins debates.
-A witness is always initially accepted as credible, unless proven otherwise. “innocent, until proven guilty”. (The atheist defies this rule).
-A witness can be direct evidence, written testimony (a book, or diary) or DNA etc.
-A Prior written statement of an event is more credible than a living witness to that event, if the statement was written before the living witness testifies.
-Hostile verification confirms an event as fact. If the opposing party confirms an event, it is accepted as an undisputable fact. For example, The Jews, and the Romans (hostile verifiers) confirmed the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Jews and Romans had everything to lose, and nothing to gain in confirming the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Because of this, and the fact they were hostile witnesses, it is accepted as historical certainty, and is not even debatable.
-Corroborating testimony of two or more witnesses confirms an event as a fact. And the more witnesses, the more of a certainty it is. The number of witnesses to an event increases the certainty of it exponentially. Two people can lie, Three? possibly. Four? or five hundred telling the same lie is just not possible. If two or more men tell the same lie, One, or usually all of the liars can easily be impeached in a courtroom. Ask any lawyer.
-Written COPIES of original testimony can be accepted as credible, unless it can be impeached, and the more copies of that particular statement there are in existence, the more credible the text of a given testimony. The other existing copies serve to corroborate and confirm the testimony in question, and any error of text, or fact is quickly vetted, and corrected by the other texts in existence. One copy of the text of an email sent to 50 people would be impossible to credibly deny, because the others in existence stand as witnesses to the original message. John the divine sent 7 original copies of the book of Revelation to the seven churches, a good example, and a testament to the credibility, and integrity of its writer..
-The longer a given testimony goes without rebuttal, the MORE credibility it has, not the other way around. The Bible is a perfect example. It has stood for thousands of years with no credible rebuttal.
-Any written lie is always eventually exposed for what it is. This is one reason evil men hate “documentation”, log books, diaries and journals, and nowadays, emails. No rational person will willingly sit down and write a false statement for no reason, which is why the credibility of written testimony is so powerful. A written testimony can actually take a jury back in time, to the moment of the event, or shortly after the event, and again is considered more credible than a living witness testimony at a later time, to the same event.
-A liar who thinks to write a known lie for publication knows he will eventually be refuted, humiliated, and subject to open ridicule, or conviction, while spoken words are quickly forgotten. His earlier written statement stands as witness against him.
Determining credibility of written testimony. (Source: Paraphrased summary Josh McDowell’s “a ready defense of Christianity, compiled by Bill Wilson, and the Lennox Dawkins debates)
-Did the writer have a reason to lie? or was he under duress or coercion at the time of the statement? If it cannot be proven that he was, then the statement is accepted as credible.
-Does, or did the writer confirm his written testimony after the fact? If he does, then he stands as another witness to his own earlier statement.
– If he denies it, he is not a credible witness, He’s simply stating he was telling the truth at the time of the statement, and is now lying, unless he, or another party can impeach, or convict HIS OWN earlier written testimony (a standing witness of sorts). Even in his later denial, The earlier written statement will stand unless he can prove otherwise. This is one reason people who recant a written confession after the fact cannot be treated as a credible witness in a courtroom. Even in recanting an earlier written confession, he convicts himself and throws his own credibility out the window. A jury would not believe anything he says from this point forward, but his earlier written confession will still stand, unless proven otherwise by another party,, and the jury would be forced to treat the written testimony as the truth and the recanter as a liar. The written word is that powerful. This is one reason the men who killed the Apostles tried so hard to get them to refute their testimony.
-Variations in details and descriptions contained in different statements concerning the same event only serve to add MORE credibility to the fact that it did happen. If four people, each standing on a separate corner of an intersection were to write about witnessing the same wreck, their testimony would invariably be different. One could say “the red car went right by me on the right side of the road into the intersection, (viewers right) while another could say “the red car was coming TOWARDS me, on my left(the viewers left facing the first viewer, which is the first viewers right) through the intersection”. There is no contradiction here, it just means the witnesses were standing in two different locations, facing in different directions, at the intersection. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are a prime example of this analogy..
Four different witnesses, at different locations, to the same event. All have the same general common denominators with different, but not conflicting descriptions and details. This alone adds to the credibility of all four Gospels, and the New Testament..
-If statements corroborate TOO much, it is viewed as suspect in any courtroom, by any reasonable person..This needs little elaboration.
– Use of a witness statement by a hostile party to prove a point, or resolution, or to attempt to impeach the witness, automatically confirms the credibility of the statement in its totality. The Prosecutor is saying “this is something whose credibility I agree with, it is true, all of it.”
– A statement stands or falls in its entirety. It can only be accepted, or denied in its entirety. If one part of the statement is impeached, the whole statement is impeached. If the hostile party confirms part of it, he confirms all of it.
– An example is. A Muslim using the Bible to say Jesus is not God for example. If he uses what Jesus said, “I can do nothing apart from the father” must also accept John 14;6 also “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. In using one scripture, and denying the other, he is defeating his own argument.
-Objective, neutral evidence known to both parties is admissible, and cannot be ignored or omitted. “Absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence of evidence” (Josh McDowell, “a ready defense of Christianity” ) Denial of the existence of evidence does not make the evidence go away. Here is an example (1st party) “Lincoln was a president” (2d party) “how do you know this”.. (1st party) “we have the historical proof of Lincoln being president” (2d party) “well, if that’s the case, then you must accept the same historical evidence Jesus lived” the same objective source he confirms Lincoln with, also confirms Napoleon, and Hitler, and Jesus Christ. (they had no reason to lie) Not to mention Jesus is the most written about, celebrated, loved and confirmed man who ever walked the planet.
Here’s another example. (atheist) “there is no evidence God exists”
(2d party) “Prove it.” (end of argument)
Atheists turn the rules of evidence upside down. When he says there is no God, he must be ready to PROVE there is no God. And to prove there is no God, he would have to know all things, and be able to prove there is no evidence out there that proves there IS a God. He cannot do this, He cannot prove the evidence does not exist, that’s impossible under the rules of evidence in a court room.