Many unbelievers have dismissed the testimony of the Biblical writers regarding the resurrection of Jesus on the basis that these witnesses are Christians. They argue that as Christians, the Biblical authors were biased to believe in the resurrection, making their testimony unreliable. Greg Koukl discussed the merits of this argument on his radio broadcast many years ago. I would like to share some of his ideas with you, as well as add a few of my own.

This objection presumes that rational objectivity is impossible if one has taken a position on a matter (in this case, the resurrection of Jesus Christ), but this ignores the fact that rational objectivity may be what led these individuals to believe in the resurrection in the first place. The evidence could have been so strong in favor of that conclusion that they were incapable of remaining intellectually honest without affirming that Jesus rose from the dead.

Furthermore, this standard works both ways. Those who deny the resurrection have taken a position on the matter. If taking a position eliminates objectivity, and hence trustworthiness, then we should dismiss the evidence against Christ’s resurrection presented by those who deny it. Their belief that Jesus was not raised from the dead makes their testimony against it unreliable. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

It also ignores the fact that those who are psychologically biased (i.e. have come to a conclusion) are still capable of rational objectivity. If that were not so, none of us would ever change our mind about anything we have come to believe. Clearly we have, and thus psychological bias does not preclude rational objectivity. Another way of saying this is that psychological objectivity (i.e. having formed no conclusions) is not a prerequisite for rational objectivity.

Secondly, it presumes that objective evidence for the resurrection of Jesus could only come from those who do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. But if one does not believe Jesus rose from the dead, why would they present evidence for the resurrection of Jesus? If they had objective evidence for the resurrection, presumably they would believe in the resurrection and become Christian. The moment they became Christian, however, the critics would claim that they are biased and their evidence can no longer be considered objective. Can you imagine this standard being applied to any other topic? What if I said the only valid, objective evidence for global warming must come from opponents of global warming? That is nonsensical. We would expect the evidence for global warming to come from those who are convinced that it is a real phenomenon. The same is true of the resurrection of Jesus.

The skeptics have set up an impossible, self-serving standard, and then claim victory when it cannot be met. Don’t take the bait. The testimony of those who believe in the resurrection is valid evidence, and needs to be evaluated on its own merits.