“I Was Wrong!” What to Do When You Find Out Your Case Had a Flaw

Jul 27, 2020

Sometimes a fact or line of reasoning we use turns out to be wrong or flawed. What do we do? We needn’t panic, Abdu says. In this episode, Abdu suggests how to address the error and rebuild a robust case that doesn’t depend on just one line of evidence or argument.

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Transcript



Please Note: The Defense Rests is produced to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Abdu Murray: All rise, and welcome to The Defense Rests, I'm your host Abdu Murray. And The Defense Rests is a podcast where we take a look at the claims for, and the objections against the Christian faith from a legal perspective. So we look at rules of evidence. We look at the rules of procedure and apply them, and the way juries think, the way judges make their rulings, the way lawyers argue cases to those objections and to those claims and see if they hold water, would they withstand the kind of scrutiny you would see in a courtroom. Now we're not just subjecting the Christian faith to that kind of a thing. We're also subjecting other worldviews, like Islam and the pantheistic world views of the East. And of course, atheism as well, amongst many different views. And so what we're doing on the show is taking objections and giving them the scrutiny they deserve and trying to find out what is the strongest case.

And we're not creating straw man here either. We're not just looking at things in the light, most positive to Christianity, and then bolstering those claims with some evidence, nor are we looking at the objections against Christianity and making them as weak as possible. No. We want to answer the tough objections with the same rigor any skeptic, any person who holds the Christian view in a sort of non-positive light and apply it to very level of scrutiny so that we can see whether or not the Christian faith holds water. That's been the heart of my own journey from Islam to Christ and the journey of many people I've talked to who were not Christians and they took a look at the evidence, gave it a hard look, gave it the hardest possible scrutiny needed to overcome. And they found the Christian faith to come out shining.

I did too. And it's my hope that if you're a non-Christian and you're listening that you're thinking, this is the kind of thing that I would subject the Christian faith to as well. You may not agree with me at the end of the day. I hope you do, but you may not. My job is not to get you to agree with me. My job is to offer the evidence and the strongest possible case for the Christian faith, but you are the jury. You are the ones who render the verdict. And so ladies and gentlemen of the jury, welcome to another episode of The Defense Rests. I'm looking forward to speaking with you about a topic that is near and dear to me because it really goes to the heart of what it means to be engaged in an apologetic argument, in an argument using evidence and philosophy and all these things to either respond to an objection to the Christian faith or to commend the beauty and the credibility of the Christian faith to non-Christians.

Now, before I begin, I want to give a shout out to Caleb Plat, who suggested this line of thinking that I want to explore today. And it's about the lines of argument in lines of evidence and how you are to assess a general case that is cumulative. Almost no case I'm aware of for anything, whether it's religious, spiritual, or legal, or whatever, is built on just one line of evidence or on one line of argumentation. All cases, as far as I can tell, are built on multiple lines of argumentation. Those that are for or against the position are usually built on multiple lines of evidence and argumentation. And I want to give that shout out to Caleb because Caleb responded to the social media posts that I made both on my Twitter and my Facebook, but also on Instagram. By the way, asking you folks, if you're enjoying the podcast, to send in an objection to the Christian faith that you would like me to address on the show.

So go ahead and do that. You can follow me on Twitter, it's AbduMurray, A-B-D-U M-U-R-R-A-Y. You can follow me on Instagram as well. It's Abdu Murray but one, two, you have to do abdumurray12. If you don't include the one, the two, you'll follow somebody else and annoy them. So don't do that. Follow me instead @abdumurray12. And also on Facebook, it's just Abdu Murray, go to my public figure page on Facebook and post an objection. If you have an objection yourself, if you're not a Christian and you have a serious objection, please post it. It might get featured on the podcast. If you're a Christian, post your objection, it might get featured on the podcast. And by the way, it doesn't have to be an objection. It can also be just a conundrum or a problem, or a way of thinking about argumentation.

And so Caleb submitted one. He said, “Can you address multiple lines of argumentation and how that works and how there is a cumulative case?” So thank you, Caleb, for that. For the rest of you, many of you have submitted various things and objections or issues you want me to address. Some of them are in the works, some of them by the way, have already been addressed. So I appreciate that. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you all on the topics. It's wonderful to engage with you all. And I try my best to do that as well as time permits to directly engage on social media. So thank you so much for that. And with that said, let's move on.

When we talk about a cumulative case, what are we talking about? What we mean is that in any case, in a legal setting, for example, if you have a criminal case or a civil case, whatever it might be typically, you're trying to get to the point of what happened, who was right, who was wrong in a particular setting. So if it's a civil case it's did thus and such commit corporate fraud in such and such a way? Or did the contract get breached by the first party or the second party? Now that sounds super boring. So it's always better to have criminal cases be the ones you talk about.

So the question is, did the defendant murder the victim with a knife in the back of the establishment at midnight? Or was the suspect or the defendant there at all? Was there some kind of other issue going on with another person altogether? And so you have to build that case on multiple lines of evidence. I mean, think about this. When you see a case, let's say it's a murder case is built on eyewitness testimony. Did someone see something? And oftentimes they didn't even see the entire crime.

They may have seen a shadowy figure enter into an alley after they had come from, or a lighted from a van that was parked outside. And someone later saw a van fitting description, but not exactly like that van that sped away about 20 minutes later. And that van happens to look like the defendant's van and not exactly, but it looks close enough to it. And there's a partial license plate identification on the defendant's van that looks similar to part of the license plate of the suspect's van or the one we knew was used in the crime. You see what's happening here is we have multiple lines of argumentation is that someone who looks like the defendant or someone's van that looks like the defendant's van was used in the perpetration of this crime.

But then you have other lines of argumentation. Let's say there's DNA evidence, or there's partial DNA evidence or whatever it is. Now, that's a scientific line of argumentation. That isn't just saying that we have eyewitness accounts. Although frankly, eyewitness accounts are fantastic, but even they can be flawed because let's say someone saw someone who looks like the defendant, but doesn't quite fit the description. Or you see two different witnesses who are looking at the same thing. And they said, well, a average height man, with a heavier set, maybe a bigger belly or whatever was walking into the alley. I heard a scream and then I saw him run off. But another person from a different angle saw a taller gentleman who wasn't quite so portly in the middle run from the scene. And it's like, well, wait a minute. What does the defendant really look like? Well, the answer could be, it could be two different people. The person who ran from the scene could have been a witness who didn't want to be there, or the person who entered into the scene stumbled upon the murder when it first happened.

So yes, you have eyewitness testimony, but you have to have multiple lines of argumentation, you have to have multiple parts of the case to establish that if the defendant happened to be a medium-sized portly, sort of a little bit more doughy in the middle, kind of a guy, you have to prove not just that he walked into the alley, but that he did something in that alley. What would you need? Not just the eyewitness testimony. That would help, but it doesn't establish the full case. What you would really help is the scientific testimony. Maybe the defendant's DNA was on a murder weapon that was found or was found mingled in the blood at the scene, or is found on the victim's clothes. But another man who was sort of a taller gentleman with a slimmer build, his DNA was not found there.

Now, do you see what's going on here? Yes you have an eyewitness line of argumentation and yes, you have maybe a forensic line with regard to the van. And eyewitness testimony going on there and various vehicle experts, that's another line of argumentation, but then you have DNA as well. So when you take all three of those, you have a very strong case now that this defendant who walked into the scene is more likely than not and probably beyond a reasonable doubt, the one who perpetrated the murder.

But you have to have multiple lines of evidence. If you just had the witness see a medium size, medium height, portlier man walk in, and then you heard a scream that doesn't establish anything by itself. And so if you discredited part of that story, you would have no story. But if you have multiple lines of evidence, let's say you have 15 different lines of evidence. If you discredit one of those lines of evidence, you haven't discredited the whole case, all you've done is discredit the one line of evidence. And maybe that wasn't even the strongest part of the evidence. That could have been an important part, but not the strongest part. And so even if you unravel a certain aspect of the prosecution's case or the plaintiff's case, it doesn't mean the case goes away. It just means that one part of it does.

This applies oftentimes in our discussions about God. We have multiple lines of evidence. In fact, the cumulative case for God really is the case for God. There's no single argument that if you give this argument, that's it, there's no objections at this argument. There's no way to get around this. That's all there is to it. That's the one that proves God's existence. Now I do think there are powerful single lines of argumentation that tend towards proving God's existence, absolutely.

The moral argument, for example, the contingency argument that God as a non-contingent being in the universe, which is contingent relies on his existence. The Kalam cosmological argument, the simple argument that goes like this, “everything that begins to exist has a cause.” The universe began to exist therefore, the universe has a cause. That shows that the universe needs an explanation beyond itself and uncaused cause as it were and that would logically lead through various other lines of argumentation to God. But do you see what I'm saying here? Just pause for a moment.

If you look at the Kalam cosmological argument, which I just gave you two premises, which lead to a conclusion. Everything that begins to exist has a cause that seems evident. The universe began to exist, that's been scientifically shown through the standard model, Big Bang cosmology therefore the universe has a cause. It's a logically solid, it's airtight, it follows one from the other to the inevitable conclusion. But in order to establish premise too that the universe began to exist, I can't just rely on philosophy. I have to rely on additional lines of argumentation, like the scientific models we have now standard Big Bang cosmology, which says that the universe had a beginning at a finite point in the past, all matter, energy, space, and time.

Here's my point though. Let's say we were to discover that the universe did not have the beginning. I mean, I don't think we're going to find that out, but let's say we did find that out that the universe did not have a beginning. It was always here. And your faith relied almost entirely on the Kalam cosmological argument. That the universe began to exist, it must have a cause, that cause must be God. It's more complicated than that, but let's just say that simplistic issue right now. So if science could just demonstrate that the universe did have an eternal existence and never had a beginning, well, that line of argumentation would be wiped out, wouldn't it? You couldn't have a Kalam cosmological argument. And if your faith was based solely on that one line of argument, your faith would be decimated immediately.

So the question now is do we have multiple lines of argumentation? And the answer of course is yes. We have the moral argument for God's existence, which we can get into in future episodes. We have the Kalam, we have the Leibniz contingency argument. These are sort of fancy sounding terms, but if you do some research on these, you'll see how powerful they actually are. You have Anselm's argumentation on the greatest possible being, God being the greatest possible being called the ontological argument. And then of course we have the Fine-Tuning Argument for the universe and of course the resurrection of Jesus.

Now let me pause because I know what you're thinking already. And if you're a skeptic, you're thinking it. And if you're a Christian apologist and you've known the arguments, you're thinking this too. Wait a minute, don't we have a single point of failure in the Christian faith? Doesn't the Christian faith depend on one specific line of argument? And if it's decimated, then the whole thing falls to the ground? And the answer is yes. We asked you to have that. It's called the resurrection of Jesus. In one of my earliest episodes, I defended and I gave the case for the resurrection of Jesus. And the reason why the case was so important was because the resurrection is the central claim of the Christian faith.

Obviously God's existence is the central claim, but not just anybody god's existence, not the god of just any old religion. It is the Christian faith, which says that the God of the Bible is the true God, because He vindicated Jesus' claimed to be the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world by letting him die on a cross and then raising from the dead. Now, if Jesus did not rise, then there is no Christianity. The Bible itself says that.

So you might be thinking, well, wait a minute, Abdu. You just got done telling me how every case is built on multiple lines of argumentation. And if there's any one thread that goes away, then a whole case doesn't go away. But didn't you just admit that Christianity rises and falls out of one line of argumentation? The answer is no. I'm not saying the Christian faith rises and falls on one level of argumentation or one line of argument. That's not what I'm saying. It's far more complex than that.

What I am saying is that the Christian belief is that God exists. That is based on multiple lines of argumentation. And that, that God, the second claim is that that God sent his only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and rise from the dead. To die on the cross, to pay for our sins, to rise again, to prove he has power over death and that he has power over sin. And that we have that resurrection as well in us if we put our faith in Christ. The resurrection is a central claim and if it's defeated, Christianity is defeated. That's true. But the resurrection itself is built on multiple lines of argumentation.

That's why I gave the case in previous episodes, go back and look at those, the case for the resurrection is built on four facts. And there are, by the way, many more facts than just the four, but four facts that all or nearly all scholars agree happened to the historical Jesus, which we can say built a strong case for the resurrection of Jesus. So if those four facts are four different claims, then the resurrection has four lines of argumentation, a four-pronged cumulative case for the resurrection itself.

So follow me on this. Christian theism is built on multiple lines of evidence that God exists and multiple lines of evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. So there isn't just one simple thread that if you pulled at it, suddenly all Christianity would unravel. No, there's so much more of a robust case for the Christian faith that you'd have to pull it quite a few threads to see the whole thing unravel. I hope that makes sense, but it's important for us to understand that the cumulative case for the Christian faith is rich and robust and other claims have that kind of multiple lines of evidence as well. But the Christian faith has a lot. So thanks Caleb for that one.

But I do want to use this as a way to bridge to something else that's very important to me, and I think ought to be important to you as well. And that is the nature of argumentation in terms of how you interact with people on a personal level. It's not just to give them really great evidence and really good arguments. That's a big part of it, but you need to relate to people as well. And a big part of that relatability to people is not only credibility, but compassion and integrity. Now the compassion part, you know I'm a lawyer, right? So you're thinking, you're talking about compassion? No I am, I really do believe in compassion. And I know a lot of lawyers who actually do, believe it or not.

But what I'm saying is that I'm not just trying to prove a case to a jury that who either decides for me or against me. And then I get to go home and I don't care about the outcome. The stakes are just too high. Someone's salvation is at issue here. Someone's eternal soul is at issue. My eternal soul is at issue here. So it doesn't just matter to me if I get the case wrong, I go home and the next case pops up. No, this is a valid case of all cases, does God exist? Does He care? And what does He want from us? So we have to proceed with compassion for others and integrity as well.

And so that leads me to this, what do you do when you present your case and you're wrong about something? Either you made a mistake or the other side of the argument comes to you and the person you're speaking to says, "Hey, wait a minute, you mentioned this fact, but isn't it true that the opposite is the case or that the fact you relied on so heavily isn't really true?" What do you do at that moment? Well, the first thing is you don't panic because like I said, the Christian faith is not built on one line of evidence. So one, you don't need to panic and say, "Oh my goodness, my faith is futile because this person pointed out this one thing that I didn't think of, or they pointed out that the one fact that I presented as a strong fact that suddenly not so strong a fact." Don't panic, do not panic. It will be born out by the evidence in a cumulative way.

Let me give you an example. I remember as an attorney, I was a young attorney by the way, and a partner, a very good litigator, a guy who knew his way around a trial and knew his way around a courtroom, had me go and take a deposition. And I can't give you the details of the deposition. All it was, was that it really depended upon how clean a certain yard was, where these trucks were coming and going because someone got injured. And it was very important to know whether or not debris got caught up by these trucks and then like hurt a person.

We were pretty confident we knew what the answer was. We were deposing the truck driver and there was a seven-hour deposition and it was contentious and it was three lawyers asking this one witness questions. And we had one question. And I was told, ask the question at the end of the deposition. Wait till everyone's done and say, "Sir, I have one question for you. What do you think of the cleanliness of the yard where your truck pulled in and out of?" That's all I had to ask. And I was even told from an interview that he's going to say, the yard is really clean.

Great. Right? It's going to be great for me. Walk in and I had the deposition, I'm waiting for my moment. And I asked him, "Sir, what did you think of the cleanliness of the yard?" And he said, "Really, it's pretty bad." He just decimated everything I was told he was going to say, and what do I do? Do I panic? Do I suddenly think, “Oh my goodness, this thing is done, is over?” No, no. I went back. I felt terrible. I talked to the partner. I said, you'll never guess what he said. And he said, "Abdu, being a good lawyer is getting kicked in the face and looking like it didn't hurt. That's what every case is about. Every case you ever do, boy, it's going to happen." That's what he told me. It's going to happen. You're going to get kicked in the face because no case is airtight." And people are going to say screwy things.

It ended up working out in the end. The case was resolved as it should have been. But yeah, I mean, the fact of the matter is, we were confident in one piece of evidence and then suddenly we were shaking in that. But our case was not built on that one piece of evidence. It was built on so much more than that. So one, don't panic. If you get kicked in the face, don't worry. It'll be fine. Just go back and look at the cumulative case for the evidence. So one, if you're proven wrong or you're shown that a fact isn't as strong as you once thought, don't panic. Number two, admit it, come clean, deal with it because, and I've said this in various other settings, this is important for each one of us to hear no matter what your faith happens to be. The credibility of your message is always judged by the integrity of the messenger.

Now, logically speaking, that isn't the case because, just because a liar gives a case, doesn't mean the case is false. It could be true. A liar could tell you the truth, but the reality of human existence, the way we have personal interaction is that the credibility of the message is always judged by the integrity of the messenger. So keep that in mind. And if you are shown to be wrong about something or you misspoke, or you overstated your case, admit it, come clean. The person on the other side of the conversation will thank you for it. They may pounce on you. That may happen. That may happen, but you know in your heart, you've done the right thing. But the other person likely will be at least a little impressed with the fact that you're willing on such a high stakes issue to come clean about it.

Let me give you an example of something that happened to me in my own practice and worked out in the end because of a cumulative case, but also because of integrity. It's an insurance case. So it's going to bore you a little bit with the details, but I think it's worth you listening to, so hang in there for a moment. Okay? So we had a client who had someone working for him who was stealing, basically forging checks and did this over a number of different incidences. I can't remember how many incidences of forgery it was. I think that this person, the defendant was forging checks, various amounts, very clever to try to hide the amount over the course of maybe a year or so. I can't remember the exact timeframe. This was a long time ago, but it ended up being like 20 different episodes or 20 different checks that were used to steal the money.

So we filed an insurance claim. Our client happened to have a fraud and embezzlement insurance policy. And so we said, "Look, hey, we know our deductible is $10,000, but this person stole way more than $10,000, something like 200-and-something thousand dollars. So we'd like $190,000 please." And the insurance company said, "No, no, the deductible is $10,000 per occurrence under the contract." And because they deemed each single forgery to be a separate occurrence and no forgery went really over $10,000, we were going to be denied the claim almost entirely because each incident of forgery was an occurrence in their mind under the policy, and $10,000 was the deductible for each one, something like that.

Well, we came back and said, "No, our case is that this was one incident of forgery with multiple different examples of that forgery. So this was one continuous scheme to embezzle money and to use forgery as the means by which it was. So it's only one occurrence. So the $10,000 deductible only applies once." So do you follow it? Do you get where the cases going here? It depends on whether or not each incident of writing a check that was forged is a separate fraud or is it one part of a big fraud? That was the claim. We were claiming it was one part of a big fraud and they were saying it was multiple frauds and they wouldn't have to pay on all of them. So that was the deal.

So we go to court because they denied the claim and the insurance contract, I happened to get a bad copy of it. Not like an unclear copy. I mean, one of the pages was missing and I didn't know it. I didn't notice it, or I didn't know. And I didn't even know what the pages were numbered, but the missing page was important because my argument to the court was there was no definition in the contract as to what an occurrence actually is. It's a per occurrence contract, but there's no definition of what an occurrence actually is. So the rule of law I tried to use was when an insurance contract does not define a certain term, then that term will be construed in the light most favorable to the insured, not the insurer, but the insured person, my client.

So we made that argument and we said, "Look, the law shows that this is one big occurrence, not multiple different occurrences. And there's no definition in the contract for this. So Judge, you should rule in our favor." The response came back from the insurance company and it said, "Wait a minute, you didn't include this one page. And it defines what an occurrence actually is." And they tried to argue, it was in favor of them. You can imagine how much my heart sank like, Oh my goodness, how can I have missed this and all this? Well, it turns out because there was a copying error on the contract, that we missed it. But I looked at the law, I looked at the strength of our case and I said, "Okay, I'm looking at the law right now. And even with this definition that they're relying on now that we know it's in there, I can still win. I'm still right on this."

So what did I do? We went to the judge, we admitted the mistake. And we said, "This is why the mistake happened, Your Honor, it was a copying error. Absolutely. They are right to point this out. No, they're right, 100% right. We apologize. But even with this definition that we thought wasn't there, but actually is there, we should still win for the following reasons." So we ended up winning that case because we were right on the law and the facts eventually, even though we were wrong on the facts to begin with, we had to admit the mistake and the court actually thanked us for our integrity. We went ahead and admitted our mistake, saw it was a problem, but we were able to overcome it because there was a cumulative case that was there. It was a legal case. It was a factual case. And that's what ended up. We had a victory and that's the right result that should have happened.

Now, I say this to you because you're going to face a similar situation. And I want you to be prepared for the fact that these are going to happen. Admit the mistake, come clean with the error. And I think you'll find that the cumulative case will be there. It really will be there. Let me give you an apologetics example and we can move on from there and conclude.

So one of the lines of evidence in the resurrection of Jesus is that there are evidences outside of the Bible, but consistent with the Bible that show that Jesus rose from the dead. And we have enemy at a station or a hostile witnesses as it were, people who are not Christians in the ancient world who were against the Christian faith, who testify in various writings, whether it's Flavius Josephus or Cornelius Tacitus, or Suetonius. And I already went into opposite evidence before in a previous episode, they all say that something happened to this Jesus and that people claim to see him risen from the dead. Now, Josephus is one of the biggest ones. He was the Jewish historian who was born around A.D 37, and he was a historian of Jewish descent for the Roman Empire. And he wrote a lot of things called the Jewish Antiquities, and the Jewish Wars and included in that is some references to Jesus.

Now you could actually take what he says and say this is a great example of a non-Christian writing for a hostile Roman audience who admits to the resurrection of Jesus. And this is what he says, okay. So you get this from Josephus Antiquities 18 section 63-64. Here's the full statement. Okay. Pay attention. This is Josephus talking. "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man for he was a doer of wonders, a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew many after him, both of the Jews and the Gentiles. He was the Christ. When Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us have condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day as the divine prophets had foretold these and then thousand other wonderful things about him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day."

Now my goodness, the statement from a non-Christian who was writing of the Roman saying that Jesus is the Christ, and he is a doer of wonders. And he appeared to his disciples alive again on the third day, as was foretold by the prophets. You're thinking to yourself, how in the world can you be a Jew and believe all this stuff and then see it fulfilled in Jesus and then not become a Christian? Well, the answer is because Josephus didn't really say all that stuff. Now, sometimes Christians get excited like, Flavius Josephus said this?

Well, the reality is he said some of it. I guess seeing people, not usually trained apologists, but I've seen people use this quote to show that there is extra biblical evidence for Jesus and his resurrection and all this stuff, only to find a skeptic and someone who studied up on this stuff, point out don't you know that most of the stuff that you just used is an interpolation, it's a forgery? That stuff like if be lawful to call him a man, and he was the Christ, and he appeared with them as live again on the third day, all that stuff. Don't you know that that's forgery? The other stuff might be real, but the stuff you're relying on is forgery?

Now that would be devastatingly embarrassing in a particular manner. Because the reality is, here's what the most skeptical people say Josephus actually said. “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, for he was a doer of wonders. He drew many after him. When Pilate, of a suggestion of the principle men among us, had condemned him at the cross, those that loved him at first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” So that's the most sort of skeptical view of what Josephus actually said. So it admits the whole, if it'd be lawful to call him a man, it omits the idea that he was a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure, both of the Jews and the Gentiles. It omits Josephus as saying “he was the Christ, and for he appeared to them alive again on the third day” and on and on.

The reason why the skeptical version of what Josephus says omits those things is because it is more likely than not, and even conservative Christian scholars will agree, that that stuff was an interpolation or an addition made by a Christian scribe of Josephus, either intentionally or perhaps unintentionally when he was writing notes in the margin. But there is good evidence, even from what we have that's not interpolated. That is from the authentic Josephus, even under the most skeptical of circumstances, the statement that there was about this time, a wise man named Jesus, and that he was claimed to be a doer of wonders, that he was condemned to the cross by Pilate at the suggestion of those who were under the Jewish authority. And that those who followed him did not forsake him. And that there was a tribe of people called Christians named after Jesus.

Now, why is that important? First it establishes the C in my case that Jesus did die on a cross under a Pontius Pilate at the behest of the religious authorities. So we already see very strong historical evidence for Jesus, that he was the Christ and that he rose on a third day is established by other lines of evidence, but not Josephus. So if it's pointed out to you that Josephus contains interpolations, don't panic, don't freak out. The case is strong even without the interpolations because it shows that there is a historical evidence outside of the Bible for this Jesus and for the central claims of Christianity when it's added to the other lines of evidence. But it goes further than that. Professor Shlomo Pines found a different version of Josephus in Arabic, a version from the 10th century, but it's a translation, but it doesn't really show, many scholars will tell you, it doesn't show signs of being interpolated in the same way as sort of the earlier Christian version.

And this is what that one says, “At this time, there was a wise man who was called Jesus, and his conduct was good. And he was known to be virtuous and many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon their loyalty to him.” They reported, notice a difference, he's not saying he did appear to them, just that they reported he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly they believed that he was the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders. So do you see what's going on here is that the Arabic version found by professor Pines takes what was the interpolation by Josephus and just puts it in a more of a historical reporting sense.

So maybe it is authentic. But my point is, is that even if you take out all the stuff about the resurrection and all the stuff about the prophets and all this, you still have wonderful evidence that shows that a non-biblical source says Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. And those who felt loyalty to Jesus did not abandon him and they still existed to that day. Why? Likely because Jesus rose from the dead. Friends, this is the importance of a cumulative case. You don't just rely on one strand of evidence. You build your case cumulatively, but when one strand of evidence might be undercut from you, don't panic, admit the error and then finally see where the case can be strengthened, even despite the error.

Don't create lines of evidence. Don't forge these things out of thin air and don't hyper-rationalize. And the good news is you don't have to because the case for the Christian faith is a strong one. It's a very strong one. So until next time, friends, remember the case is robust. The case is strong. You can weather any storms of criticism if you just know the strength of your case. And you can get kicked in the face and look like it didn't even hurt you. But the reality is the resurrection of Jesus is both a sword and a shield. It will shield you from those kicks because there's so much evidence in its favor and God's existence is so well-established, I think by strong lines of argumentation and evidence. So take heart, learn the evidence, present your case. But until we see each other again, the defense rests.

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