Consideration of examples like these leads to the working definition that most scholars employ regarding the subject: a “fact” is a properly grounded belief. It is a belief that corresponds to reality.Mistaken beliefs are not facts; but all known facts are the subject properly held belief.
This then leads to the question of how one determines the accuracy – the factual nature – of historical events. Unlike conducting scientific experiments to test a hypothesis, the historian must employ a different method. He cannnot perform a repeatable experiment. By the challenger’s definition, however, we must therefore concede that all historical events are mere “beliefs” at the point that no one is around to be “cross-examined” about their statements. By this reasoning, we would have to call the assassination of Lincoln a “belief” because there are no eyewitnesses who can be cross-examined. Every historical murder conviction would move from a “fact” to a mere belief as soon as enough witnesses died, or enough evidence was lost, that it could no longer be tried in court. That’s simply not how history is done.
Christianity has withstood this challenge from its earliest days. Indeed, as Paul wrote, if the Resurrection did not occur, we are to be pitied as fools. Paul staked Christianity’a future, and its credibility, on the truth of this core claim. For two thousand years, it has withstood that test for a very good reason – it is based in fact, not fiction.
via Please Convince Me.