friend also believed that the gospels were written sometime in the 2nd century-maybe 100 years after Christ.
But no, the evidence supports a very early composing of all the gospels, probably within 30-40 years. Take a look at this helpful article for some detail. Watching a programme about the London blitz on TV last night was very moving. There were eye witness accounts of that fateful time in London's history and folk were speaking of events 70 years ago!!! There was no reason to doubt the veracity of what they were saying. In an oral tradition such as 1st century Palestine why should we doubt the eye witnesses?
Take a look at this 3 minute video of Richard Baukham New Testament scholar from Cambridge University (previously St Andrews) speaking about the value of the eye witnesses in the New Testament