I don't know what to say to this really. I've never heard of any historian who would agree with this. Tell me, if historical evidence from long ago is so reliable, why do historians doubt certain accounts? Why is the Xia Dynasty of China considered mostly fictitious? Why do some consider Plato to have altered the works of Socrates? Why is the Trojan War debated as to whether it happened or not?
There are many accounts throughout history that have a level of doubt, and many of them go back to the time when written records began and became common. And that's not even taking into account those who did do writing and those who controlled it. If you're to make such a claim as this, I'd say you should read up a lot on history and historical/textual criticism before doing so.
Actually, I have done a fair bit of research and study concerning historicity and the process of determining the validity of various historical accounts.
Historians generally doubt certain accounts because there is too little written documentation.
I haven't heard of any historians claiming the Xia Dynasty is fictitious. The main reason it remains an obscure part of history is because it predates China's first written system. Most of information modern historians have on that period is from archaeological evidence.
Socrates didn't have any known published works, so your question concerning him is in error. The written record we have of him are primarily by Xenophon, Aristotle and Plato. Some consider that Plato's works are more of an articulation of Plato's own philosophies rather than those of his mentor Socrates, hence it is unknown precisely what Socrates himself thought. Since Plato is the most extensive source describing Socrates, our historical vision of Socrates himself is obscured by the fact that the accounts really only come from one person, who may or may not have been attempting to historically document parts of Socrates' life and conversations.
At one point, there was some doubt concerning the Trojan War, since Homer was a poet and not a historian. Therefore, the entire account of "Helen of Troy" perhaps was a fanciful piece of historical fiction. However, further archaelogical finds provide strong evidence that Troy did indeed exist and that Troy was the site of some conflict at the time commonly referred to as the Trojan War. Currently, the consensus is that the Trojan War did occur.
In these three instances, the cause of doubt is simply the lack of further collaborating documentation and the type of literature from which the historical accounts are derived. Clearly poetry and philosophical writings aren't written with the same purpose as modern history is recorded.
In fact, to discount older records simply because they are older would be to commit argumentum ad novitam, the logical fallacy where something is claimed to be superior/better/more reliable simply because it is newer.
Except that's not at all what I said. Many records that are old are accepted, but they're not all accepted on their own. If only a single record exists, there usually exists more doubt, especially if there are other factors involved. If there are other records that dispute it, if the records aren't contemporary accounts, if the authorship of the writings is unknown, etc. So it's not that something is discounted because it's old, it's just that the older the account there is less probability of good cumulative record.
Agreed. However, in case of the New Testament Gospels, the cumulative record stands head and shoulders above any other record from the ancient world. We have far more manuscripts and multiple independent eyewitness accounts of what Jesus Christ actually did. The vast accumulation of evidence in support of the New Testament Gospels is quite overwhelming. And, they specifically details accounts of miraculous events and exorcisms.
The extraordinariness of an event has no intrinsic bearing on the likelihood of its being accurately reported.
Indeed, but a historian trying to interpret what's true will require more evidence when extraordinary claims are made. And if the claims appear extremely unlikely, like those of ancient god figures physically aiding soldiers in war, those aren't the kind of thing that history can really verify.
While it is true that historians can't verify unlikely claims, it would seem reasonable that historical account that are found to be factual in other regards are just as likely to be factual concerning their unlikely claims.
What senses do we have for non-physical things? The moment we are able to sense and identify such things, they no longer are non-physical. You can't have a bias against something that you can't even quantify. How can I consider an alternative that I can't even perceive?
It requires spiritual senses. One doesn't use physical senses to interact with the spiritual world. Ultimately, it requires faith. In the words of the Apostle Paul, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen." He also writes: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known."
You, Theo, also reject an awful lot of the non-physical things that may or may not actually exsist - such as all the religions you don't believe in - as well as many of the scientific facts. I'm not sure how this is a better, more generous way to live.
I'm not entirely sure how one can reject a religion. There are certain things about other religions that I believe in or don't believe in, but I certainly believe in other religions (that they exist... that they have some valid teachings...etc). I would go so far as to say that I probably agree with a lot more tenets/doctrines of other religions than most people here. However, I only worship the Christian God.
Also. I would love for you to point out any scientific fact that I disagree with...