It is a neologism that blew our minds and shocked the Press Corps. Trump’s P.R. spokeswoman, questioned about the White House Press Secretary’s speech about the numbers of people he said attended the Presidential Inaugurations of Obama and Trump, described her questioner’s statistics and photographic evidence as “alternative facts”. In other words, the Press Secretary had another, perfectly acceptable, version of the facts which contradicted those statistics which he simply chose to deny.
Jesus is believed to have risen from the dead. The reality is that He died – presuming that he had actually lived – and subsequently decomposed. Christians claim that He survived death. They are entitled to believe whatever they like. But faith means accepting as factual what you want to believe, in spite of reality which contradicts it. Rising from the dead contradicts reason and universal experience. Believers admit this but claim Jesus’ Resurrection as a factual exception.
Photos taken an hour before the Inauguration of the President in 2009 and 2017 reveal a much smaller crowd last Friday. President Trump on Saturday referred at the C.I.A. to his speech the day before and his view – from the Capitol -of “a million or a million and a half” attendees. In fact, from the dais from which he was speaking, he experienced an optical illusion, because of the visual phenomenon of what the military calls “dead ground” – the long-distance perception that cannot take into account what is invisible behind objects which hide what is behind them (for example, empty space …). In this case, only when the camera is pointed in the opposite direction, facing the Capitol as seen from the Washington Monument, can one see the empty areas in the “dead ground”. So the President was telling us what he saw. But his spokesperson insisted that what he saw was the reality, a crowd, stretching in one unbroken mass, like Obama’s, from the Capitol to the Monument.
Fundamentalists and Young Earthers calculate, from the figures given in the Old Testament, that the world was created 6000 years ago. Scientists agree that the Big Bang happened 13.8 billion years ago. It is irrational to claim the former figure, whether or not it is called an “alternative fact”. In fact, it is not a fact at all but a myth invented by ignorant, primitive people.
To speak of “alternative facts” – a perfect product of the post-truth era – is to assert that contradictory statements have equal value. Believers believe that their vision of reality alone is correct. Atheists KNOW that only theirs is. The Resurrection is indeed an “alternative fact” because it is sheer nonsense.