I should correct myself; I should have asked for compelling reasons to think that the miracles happened as recorded rather than "proof." I was in a rush and got careless; sorry about that.
Oh, and this one's probably going to be a little long...
As for the Holocaust, I have heard that before, but I think the argument isn't quite the same. The Holocaust didn't involve anything supernatural, so verifying that people and particularly places actually exist is compelling reason to believe the history, I think. If the story was that the Nazis were throwing the Jews into the biblical Hell, then more compelling evidence would be needed than just the existence of the deathcamps. That being said, all the verification in the world doesn't prove that it really happened the way most of us think rather than being a massive government conspiracy with the CIA using mind controlling drugs and what not. It all comes back to compelling reasons to believe; in general, I think ordinary verification, i.e. places and documents exist and aren't thought to be fakes by 'experts', is sufficient for human events. However, if we're talking about supernatural things; ghosts, UFO's, god, etc; I think I'm justified in asking for something more.
No, of course there are no photographs, etc., but one must ask oneself if the adulation heaped on Christ (Are we accepting the existence of the Palm Sunday events?) was merely due to his stirring speeches and personal appeal ... or ... was the message backed up by the miracles.
Sorry, I'm too tired to look it up at the moment, but you mean Jesus riding in to Jerusalem(?) with the people lined up on both sides, laying palm leaves on the path to the city? Um...sure, that or something similar to it (stories can grow in the telling, so to speak) could reasonably have happened.
The Greeks and Romans worshipped imaginary gods, from both of our points of view I think, because of their ability to perform miracles. The priests and oracles of those gods were very respected. The Greeks, at least, went so far as to form mystery cults to gain personal salvation from the gods, rather than just favor for their city.
The Egyptians built to pyramids because somewhere along the way they became convinced that the pharaoh actually was god.
People did and do strange and amazing things because of what they believe to be true. However, that does not mean that they have good cause to hold their beliefs. Think about UFO's today.
BTW, are you familiar with the story of Doubting Thomas?
Just so you know, I attended church extraordiarly regularly (almost every Sunday and some Wednesdays) for 7 years (ending last August), and I've read most of the Bible, so I'm reasonably familiar with the major characters and mainstream beliefs. I live in Alabama (the heart of the Bible belt in the US). I've been an atheist for the last 6 years (I didn't think about it much prior to that). Last but not least, my first name is Thomas. Oh yeah, I've heard. I haven't gotten to touch the nail scared hands though. Actually, if I'm wrong, that might be just a little too much proof. I might leave A2K for a nice padded cell at that point... :wink: