Biblical God exists.
Debate Rounds (3)
Although we cannot prove what existed, exists today - we can see proof that it did change, to what exists today.
If something once existed but then changed, then such change does not undermine it's potential to exist today.
For example, from scientific evidence we understand the Roman Empire once existed. We cannot show it exists today by presenting a Roman Caesar, but we can present the living Roman Catholic State, and we know that it came from the ancient Roman Empire. Modern Rome is evidence of Ancient Romes change.
Ancient historians cannot find any shred of evidence against Jesus' existence, and all agree Jesus Christ of Nazareth has more historical evidence than even Alexander the Great.
The evidence for the truth of Jesus" claims (divinity and authority over death) lies in the faithfulness of his disciples, and the sudden birth and great expansion of Christianity. Regardless of theories to its cause, evidence supports an explosion of the faith as a historical event that changed the world.
For example, secular Roman writings record the founding principle of their message, that Jesus is worshiped as God who rose from the dead, and witnessed by many.
Josephus, Antiquities 18.63-64, cited in Yamauchi, "Jesus Outside the New Testament"
About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he . . . wrought surprising feats. . . . He was the Christ. When Pilate . . .condemned him to be crucified, those who had . . . come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared . . . restored to life. . . . And the tribe of Christians . . . has . . . not disappeared.
And Islamic writings confirm Christian ideas - but Islam wanted to correct Christians by insisting that Jesus didn"t die, but was an illusion made by Allah. Islamic teaching may not appear valid for this conversation, but it's important to note social beliefs of the time. Islam began around the end of the 7th CE, nearly 700 years after Jesus. Yet the belief that he was seen after his death remained constant.
Evidence for the truth of Jesus" claims is found in the faithfulness of his disciples, who were all executed (except John). Unlike other cult followings where peer pressure is used to assist mass suicide by drowning or poison, the twelve disciples suffered separately. They lived with the knowledge that torture and death was inevitable unless they renounced Christ, which would seriously question anyone's conviction.
But none of them did: a fact that suggests they had faith in something that was true. Perhaps, if they died shortly after Jesus supposedly rose from the grave, it might be argued that they were merely infatuated with spiritual zeal and fervor. However, their deaths were as follows.
James 44 A.D - Phillip 54 - James the lesser 63 - Peter 64 -Paul 67.
Matthew 60-70 - Andrew 70 - Thomas 70 - Barnabas 70 - Matthias 70.
Judas Thaddeus 72 - Simon 74.
John died of old age at 95AD. Although, it's reported they tried to stone and boil him to death without success.
Barnabas was faced with the choice to renounce his witness of Jesus the risen Lord or be skinned alive (flayed) and then killed. He had no peer-pressure. There was nothing stopping him renouncing except his own conviction.
James it's recorded:
Clemens Alexandrinus and Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History II.2) both tell how the executioner witnessed the courage and un-recanting spirit of James, and was then himself convinced of Christ"s resurrection and was executed along with James.
The executioner was convinced of the resurrection of Christ by the visible determination shown by James, who had seen Jesus" risen body.
It goes without saying that humans are willing to die for their faith (Islam, for example). But what's important to note about Christianity was the disciples" willingness to suffer torture and death for what they witnessed.
When Barnabas faced being skinned alive, one wonders how serious his testimony was. How many liars now in court would confess if they faced the same torture? These events deserve serious consideration.
Claims of Jesus
Consider this: Steven is the last (imaginary) man on earth. What if he claims such to a female-only tribe in the Amazon, and that here is therefore the key to the survival of humanity? Claims without evidence mean nothing without proof. In Steven"s case, he'd need to prove that no other male is left alive. If, for example, the Amazonian tribe refuse him, and humans then became extinct, we could conclude almost certainly that Steven"s claim was true.
In a similar light we can consider the claims of Jesus. He claimed to be God, that he would rise after death, and that he'd be with Christian followers whenever they met. Jesus explained change would occur for Him and his followers. And that change did occur.
The disciples said that they saw Jesus in a heavenly body, which had scars, the ability to walk through walls or suddenly appear, and the ability to eat food. History tells of the disciples" change, but more importantly the overwhelming change through all Judea and Rome.
If the witness of Jesus risen was limited to only twelve disciples, it would be a inadequate explanation for the radical explosion of the Christian faith.
But historical evidence surrounding the effects of the resurrection can adequately confirm his claim over death, and his deity. If credible historical events point towards his claim to rise from dead, then his claim must be carefully reviewed.
There is enough evidence to support the existence of Jesus in history. Not only does it come from the Bible, but accounts from Rome, Islam, and other sources that are all consistent. Jesus" claim to overcome death and be God in the flesh cannot be easily ignored.
The fact of the explosion of Christian faith and the details of the disciples" deaths make a case for the truth of Jesus" claims.
First, I'd like to thank my opponent for setting up this debate. I must admit, however, that I am slightly confused as to the topic we are to debate; the debate title suggests the existence of God, and yet in Round 1 my opponent focuses almost entirely on Jesus Christ. Given this, I will concern myself with what my opponent has said in Round 1, while leaving the door open to take up the existence of God generally in later rounds.
Now, my opponent has offered several distinct theses in his opening argument; that Jesus Christ did in fact exist, that what Christ "said" was in fact true (presumably referring to the teachings of Christ as reported by the Gospels), and that at least some of the events reported in the Gospels, such as Christ's crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, did occur. It should be immediately clear that these claims do not stand or fall together; it could be the case that one or more are true while one or more is false- it is quite possible that Jesus Christ existed but did not rise from the dead, for instance.
Now, that someone at least roughly corresponding to the Jesus Christ of the Gospels did in fact exist is without a doubt the least contentious thesis my opponent is arguing, but their first argument for this claim is highly problematic; my opponent claims that "historians cannot find any shred of evidence against Jesus' existence"- a claim which needs to be substantiated if it is to be taken seriously and poses some difficulties of its own- what, exactly, would constitute evidence against a thing or person's existence? Many would consider a lack of (positive) evidence for a person having existed to constitute such evidence, but my opponent's phrasing seems to require positive evidence against Christ's existence. But such evidence seems unattainable even in principle; it would seem to require omniscience, i.e. total knowledge of the universe and everything in it.
Thus, asking for evidence against a person's existing is an impossible and thus faulty standard; rather, we need to ask what positive evidence there is for a persons existence. As it happens, there are indeed early sources external to the Bible which speak of Christ- and these sources do in fact constitute some evidence that Jesus Christ did in fact exist. However, we must keep in mind that these sources are not evidence that the rest of the Gospel accounts are true; i.e. that this person raised the dead, walked on water, and so on- for evidence of these events, we must look elsewhere.
Now, my opponent advances four distinct arguments for the theses that the events and teachings attributed to Christ in the Gospels are true (which exact teachings or events my opponent has in mind is unspecified, or whether he means all of them); he cites the "faithfulness" of the disciples and their willingness to die, the existence of eyewitness testimony to some of these events (such as the crucifixion/resurrection), and the "explosion" of Christianity in the subsequent centuries following Christ's death. Importantly, all of these arguments are non-sequitur (i.e. the conclusion does not follow) with the exception of the eyewitness reports. We'll consider each of these arguments briefly in turn.
My opponent cites the disciples' willingness to die, often horrible deaths, for their beliefs as evidence that what they believed was actually true. It shouldn't be too hard to see that this doesn't follow; one can believe something wholeheartedly, sincerely, and be willing to sacrifice one's life for that belief- and yet be mistaken. The fact that someone is willing to die may well be evidence that they think it is true, and are highly confident that it is true, but little more. Consider it this way; is it possible (even common) for someone to believe something, confidently and faithfully (perhaps even be willing to die for them), and yet be wrong? I believe the answer to this question is an obvious "yes"- that someone believes something, and is willing to die for it, does not necessarily imply that that belief is true.
The "Explosion" of Christianity
The argument regarding the "explosion" of the Christian faith is a similar case; it does not establish the desired conclusion, and comes awfully close to being an argumentem ad popularum (i.e. a fallacy); simply because a lot of people adopted Christianity (i.e. believe it is true), doesn't imply that it is true- this is non-sequitur. There is no logical or necessary connection between how quickly a belief or ideology gains popularity, and its truthfulness. Moreover, we have more plausible and parsimonious explanations for the rise of Christianity- historical circumstance. Just as Europe in the wake of the second war proved to have just the right conditions to lead to an explosion in popularity of existentialism, Christianity enjoyed some historical circumstances that proved crucial in the spread of its popularity; its adoption by the Roman Empire, with all of its influence and resources, for one. The fact that Christianity piggy-backed on and associated itself with an existing religion (Judaism) rather than starting from scratch. The fact that Christianity made spreading "the Word" a central point of focus from the very beginning (indeed, there has never been as large a marketing campaign in the history of humankind as Christianity has enjoyed, beginning with Paul). We could go on, but in any case, we can readily explain the "explosion" of Christianity without needing to add any mysterious entities to our ontology (such as Gods, god-men, or Holy Spirits).
Lastly, let's consider the one valid argument my opponent does offer for the truth of the Gospel accounts of Christ; the existence of (purported) eyewitness testimony. If we had eyewitness reports of some event X this would indeed constitute evidence that X had occurred; although importantly, not infallible or conclusive evidence (eyewitness testimony is known to be highly prone to error). Unfortunately, we're not sure we have any eyewitness reports at all, and if we do, we have reasons to doubt their credibility. Most crucially, it is the consensus of contemporary Biblical scholarship that the Gospels were not written by the disciples whose names they bear, but rather are composed from earlier sources, including an unknown source referred to as "Q". The approximate age of the Gospels also makes it highly unlikely that they are authentic documents, in the sense of having been written by the person they were supposedly written by.* Worse, even if there was good reason to suppose that they are eyewitness reports, they don't appear to be credible at all; the various Gospels conflict with one another, both in details and theme, and the authors appear to have taken a great deal of artistic license in their accounts (particularly Luke). Ultimately, whatever evidence the Gospels provide is very weak, and cannot reach the desired conclusion.
So this is the situation we are left with; we have some very old documents which provide evidence that there existed a person at least roughly corresponding the character Jesus Christ as described in the Gospels, but no evidence that what the Gospels report him saying or doing ever actually happened, much less that what Christ taught is actually true (i.e. that God exists, that there is a heaven and a hell, and our beliefs about God and about Christ determine which we visit once we die, etc.).
Id like to summarize my replies to Enaidealukal from his statements listing 1-3 throughout Round 2. I hope if my rebuttal to these points hold value, then my original points shall speak for themselves.
1) I believe the answer to this question is an obvious "yes"- that someone believes something, and is willing to die for it, does not necessarily imply that that belief is true.
However this doesn't disprove, only indicates a logical margin of potential error. The potential error I've noted in round one under Criticism.
But the underlying bases to conclude a serious review of the evidence has not been addressed. Explosion of Christian faith is just as mysterious as the eye witness accounts.
Similar in my example of Steven, who claims he's the last male alive. We logically conclude his claim is creditable when mankind becomes extinct. Noted, this doesn't provide an absolute conclusion, but does provoke intellectual review, that Stevens claim is very likely - instead of very unlikely. A point which deserves review by debaters.
2) Christianity enjoyed some historical circumstances that proved crucial in the spread of its popularity; its adoption by the Roman Empire, with all of its influence and resources, for one. The fact that Christianity piggy-backed on and associated itself with an existing religion (Judaism) rather than starting from scratch.
Christian faith began with persecution, and by these conditions the faith spread. It appears your statement indicates Roman sheltered and assisted the faith for it's growth, when historical evidence disputes your claim.
For a long time early Christians were alienated from Roman, Greek and Hebrew ideologies and society. The message of the faith was interpreted as; Cannibals, incest, and attempting to drown new converts to the faith as initiation. All these detestable to Jews and Romans.
Eating the flesh and blood of Jesus; referring to those in the faith as brothers and sister(imply incest in social norm); and baptism for new converts.
Greeks viewed followers as illogical fools, such as Paul. The doctrine of Jesus a man rising from the dead as sign of deity was foolishness to Greeks. The rejected doctrine that God could become man and die, was similar rejected by Islamic doctrine to follow.
Rome used religion for power and control. To disobey Roman gods, or teach others not to bow was viewed as treason. Execution by Rome wasn't a quick death, and every Roman citizen knew this.
Pliny the younger said "Disgusting fanatical superstition."
Under Nero Christians were blamed for the great fire, which showed all Romans what ultimate end is waiting for anyone deciding to convert. Though Romans pitied them, it's obvious they'd pause to consider converting in future.
In conclusion, this indicates Christian growth without the assistance of Roman protection. Consequently, the rapid growth under persecution ultimately was used to unity Roman because of it's influence.
You comment falls to 'Chicken and egg' scenario. You cannot unify Rome by Christianity unless it's wide spread. And you cannot claim it became wide spread because it was used to unify Rome.
3) If we had eyewitness reports of some event X this would indeed constitute evidence that X had occurred --
Unfortunately, we're not sure we have any eyewitness reports at all, and if we do, we have reasons to doubt their credibility.
Historical time-line for all writings fall less then 70AD, Jesus died and rose 30AD. Matthew and Mark can be dated early as 50AD, and Luke before 62AD. John between 70-90AD which is mentioned and taken into consideration.
Letters to Greek, Roman, Asia minor and Middle East speak about daily life and events. The Jewish temple was destroyed in 70AD, so it would be mentioned if writings were more then 70AD. However dead men cannot write which is our case for almost all the the disciples. As listed in round one, only 3 died after 70AD adding further time-line accuracy. A quick read of this link will explain the factual content of my statements.
"we find agreement 95% of the time. And the 5% differences are minor spelling variances and sentence structure that doesn't change the meaning of the sentence."
Since no deviation is found within gospel records, and how close they're written to the resurrection. Eye witnesses would still be alive while letters and reports are in circulation. Generational knowledge and accounts would stand or fall due the writings close proximity to the events. Many converts and skeptics would have heard rumors of his miracles, death and resurrection, adding to falsifiable witness to the credibility to the faith. Such as Saul who hunted Christians, then reports to see Christ.
Luke was highly accurate for historical evidence, regarded by Ramsay's as:
I may fairly claim to have entered on this investigation without prejudice in favour of the conclusion [the historical reliability of Luke] which I shall now seek to justify to the reader. On the contrary, I began with a mind unfavourable to it.
Ramsay's conclusion was that:
Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy... this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians... Luke's history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness.
A liberal critic reviewed Professor Ramsay’s book, and concluded his discussion with this barb: “If Luke is a great historian, what would the author of this book [Ramsay] make of Luke 2:1-3?” Ramsay mused, “Nothing more was needed. This brief question was sufficient” (The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, p. 223).
For many years, Luke 2:1-7 had been perceived as containing more error per square inch than almost any other section in the New Testament. Thanks to the work of Sir William Ramsay, those objections have vanished – every one of them.
Continues for seven main points which have been addressed.
Historical accuracy - conclusion.
It's justified to question historical evidence within fairy tales, however evidence becomes intensified when critical review fails. When it's quoted by Ramsay's:
"...this author [Luke] should be placed along with the very greatest of historians... Luke's history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness."
As mentioned - 70AD ultimately limits all writings within the same generation as all eye witnesses being alive and present while gospel's were circulating.
When compared to writers such as Homer, the biblical accuracy and credibility stands alone. When the biblical foundation is compared to Koran, the historical evidence and foundation for reference is not comparable. This is due to Koran having no historical background to question, due all documents burnt by the author of the first Koran. This link is Islamic.
We can try to explain these appearances away as hallucinations if we wish, but we cannot deny they occurred. Paul's information makes it certain that on separate occasions various individuals and groups saw Jesus alive from the dead. According to Norman Perrin, the late NT critic of the University of Chicago: "The more we study the tradition with regard to the appearances, the firmer the rock begins to appear upon which they are based." This conclusion is virtually indisputable.
I'm going to begin by responding to my opponents counter-arguments from the previous round, before I go on to advance a couple of arguments of my own.
RE: Faithfulness of Disciples
Pro had originally argued that the willingness of the disciples to die for their beliefs constitutes evidence that their beliefs were in fact true. As I have pointed out, this is a fallacious argument since it is possible that someone is willing to die for their belief and for their belief to nevertheless be false. Pro mentions that this indicates a "logical margin of potential error"- a rather curious way of characterizing an argument which is simply not valid; if the conclusion (that the beliefs of the disciples were true) does not follow from the premise (that they were willing to die for their belief), then one could grant the premises and still deny the conclusion- thus it cannot be a successful argument. That someone believes something and is willing to suffer torture and death for their belief does not create a presumption that the belief is in fact true, it only suggests that this person did indeed believe it, and must have done so with a great deal of conviction. There is, however, a rather large gap between conviction and truth- they are not the same.
RE: Explosion of Christianity
In the previous round I mentioned several crucial historical factors that led to the proliferation of Christianity; Pro has objected to one of these factors in particular, but importantly, did not respond to my claim that historical circumstance provide an adequate explanation for the popularity of Christianity in general. But even on this point, Pro is mistaken; while it is true that in the first few centuries Christians suffered persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire, it is also true that Christianity became adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine around 312 AD*. Being adopted by what was at the time the most powerful and influential empire in the entire world was certainly a fateful and crucial step in the rise of Christianity. But we also should mention the discovery of the New World and European colonialism; Christianity was brought to the New World and the colonies by Christian Europeans, and the native populations were (often forcibly) converted to Christianity. So we have here a perfectly adequate explanation for the "explosion" of Christianity; thus, the argument that Christianity must be true due to its popularity is also non-sequitur.
Reliability of the Gospels
I'd just like to briefly point out that several of the claims Pro has made are highly dubious; he claims that the Gospels agree with each other "95 percent of the time" and that the points of divergence are mere "minor spelling variations and sentence structure"- a claim which is simply not true. The inconsistencies between the Gospel reports are widely documented, and concern matters of fact more often than not, not simply grammatical differences.** Pro also cites Sir Ramsay as claiming that Luke's credibility is beyond reproach- a claim that is rejected by most Biblical scholars; not only do many scholars consider Luke to be not historically credible, there is a widespread consensus that the author of Luke is unknown, and is not Luke the Evangalist, as tradition would have it; many scholar believe that whoever did write Luke could not have been any associate of Paul.*** Indeed, it is the opinion of quite a few prominent contemporary Biblical scholars that none of the Gospels were written by the disciples whose name they bear and that none are credible historical sources of information****.
Standard of Evidence and the Absence Necessary Evidence
It should be relatively clear that different types of claims require different amounts of evidence; if my brother tells me he went for a walk yesterday his testimony alone should suffice as evidence because this is not implausible; whereas if he claims he flew to the moon, I should require a good deal more evidence. Similarly with the Bible; we are considering reports of a man (Christ) doing things which are, so far as we know, not physically possible- rising from the dead, walking on water, and so on. In order to consider these prima facie highly implausible claims to be true we should require more evidence than we would, if, for instance, it was claimed that Christ visited his aunt and brought her some flowers. Different claims require different evidence, and the more implausible a claim seems the more evidence is required to substantiate it.
Now, there's a familiar phrase "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"; the idea is that just because we have no evidence for something doesn't mean that that thing doesn't exist or didn't happen- e.g. at one point in time humans had no evidence for the existence of atoms; this absence of evidence was due to our lack of technology, not because atoms didn't exist. On the other hand, there are cases where an absence of evidence is evidence of absence; when the evidence that is absent is necessary evidence. Necessary evidence is evidence which could not fail to exist if the claim in question were true; if I claim that I drove to Disneyland yesterday, the additional miles on my odometer are necessary evidence- if I did drive to Disneyland, there must necessarily be a good deal more miles on my odometer now than there was previously. If there is not, it is not possible that I drove to Disneyland (at least in my car, anyways). So we must ask what the necessary evidence for a particular thing happening or being true would be, and see if we do indeed find that evidence. Now, with respect to the truth of the Bible (the existence of the Christian God, the divinity of Jesus Christ and the factuality of the Gospel reports claiming Christ performed miracles) there would seem to be some necessary evidence which turns out is absent- thus suggesting that the Bible is not true on these crucial points. Some things which we would expect to see if the Bible were true-
A Moral World Order: Given that the Bible describes God as being good, merciful and just, and as being the divine creator and intervener, we would expect a moral world order to exist unfortunately what we find is the exact opposite- the evil and greedy often flourish, the innocent and the good suffer, and the universe as a whole seems indifferent to it all.
Fulfilled Prophecies: If there is a God who knows everything then we should expect some of the many prophecies in the Bible to come true- however, to the extent th we can even make sense about what exactly such prophecies predict, they don't look to be accurate. And, of course, we must mention one of the largest errors of all; Christ's failed prediction that the world would end during the lifetime of his disciples (Luke 9:27). And yet, we're still here.
Miracles: We have never observed a miracle in a laboratory, or caught one on tape, or had one performed in front of a large crowd of impartial witnesses. All reports we have of miracles are anecdotal, and problematic. Moreover, if the miracles that are purported to have occurred did indeed occur, we should expect more documentation. It is highly curious to suppose that Christ actually rose from the dead, and was observed by many people- all of whom failed to ever record what they saw; we would expect the opposite, i.e. an abundance of eyewitness reports of this event which, even to people in first century Judea, would have had to have struck people as unprecedented and extraordinary. Alas, we do not, we only have the Gospels.
***Theissen, Gerd and Merz. 1998, Ch. 2 and
Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2010 “Biblical Literature” and
Fizmyer. 1981-1985, and as many others as care to pick
**** This is what Ehrman argues in Forged and Jesus, Interrupted, and elsewhere.
This round ill address his rebuttal and further emphasis my standing for each point, then rebuttal his three points about God.
RE: Faithfulness of Disciples
There is, however, a rather large gap between conviction and truth- they are not the same.
My original argument wasn't dogmatically indicating death for beliefs constitutes evidence to be true. So I agree with your comments above, however id like to expand on a few points.
Just as gaps between conviction and truth are obvious - similarly, assuming to close the gap between conviction and fairy tale is obvious, unless proven. Such as: was Muhammad a prophet? History cannot answer this, likewise we cannot assume the disciples testimony is false unless proven.
To conclude these historical events fall short of fact or proof, is simply pointing towards histories giant hole - that's; history cannot prove much at all, including known events. In light of history's struggle for proof, it's clear that historical deaths with such conviction cannot be sifted into fact or false so easily. If so, we must throw large portions of history.
Disciples died holding onto their conviction, as did many followers. Roman scribes recorded details and clear testimony from Christians. These historical events confirm their conviction, and reasons. Unless it's proven they believed a lie, or held doctrines contrary to Jesus the risen Lord, we can accept their testimony.
e.g. at one point in time humans had no evidence for the existence of atoms; this absence of evidence was due to our lack of technology, not because atoms didn't exist.
Similarly, because we're unable to comprehend a miracle, doesn't exclude the historical testimony. From this, no absolute rejection or affirmation is attainable - however the surrounding testimony of the resurrection must be weighed. If Jesus' claims X and something similar to X occurs, we can conclude it's possible.
Which is exactly what you've pointed out by saying:
if I did drive to Disneyland, there must necessarily be a good deal more miles on my odometer now than there was previously. If there is not, it is not possible that I drove to Disneyland.
Reliability of the Gospels
Pro has made are highly dubious; he claims that the Gospels agree with each other "95 percent of the time"
That wasn't my claim. The historical records of each gospel are 95% accurate within each book. I didn't claim all gospels are 95% accurate with each other.
Ill need to read links supporting your other statements. You must understand I wont accept opinions or purely just your word since we're talking about scholars.
This Round is my last, so I'm unsure what approach ill take. Since I cannot cross check your comments, I can only consider them. But I cannot debate scholars opinions without real links, so I'm stuck.
RE: Explosion of Christianity
*Id like to re-address that Roman growth is a partial topic, rather the explosion of the faith as a whole is primary. Roman culture isn't the cause for explosion, so it's not the pivotal point for this topic. *
Christianity rose with such conviction, testimony and witness from day 1. Day 1, or explosion is topic for discussion.
Day 1 explosion from the Empty Tomb is one of many, however it's unfair introducing new topics on my last round. Though I've made it clear eye witnesses is another case for the explosion, which we're still discussing.
Round 2 post from Enaidealukal.
In the previous round I mentioned several crucial historical factors that led to the proliferation of Christianity; Pro has objected to one of these factors in particular, but importantly, did not respond to my claim that historical circumstance provide an adequate explanation for the popularity of Christianity in general.
Circumstance alone is theory of what's current, however the explosion my primary point. Managing to explain what current is one aspect yes, but how it began is another. Example, Evolution - Origins of Life.
Although I didn't address all three in great detail, I did however link all three into what I saw them as. ill explain the other two more.
the fact that Christianity piggy-backed on and associated itself with an existing religion (Judaism)
Jewish believers clashed with Christianity, and still does, but if we take Islam for example who tired the same tactic, Islam failed.
"St. John's opinion, its failure to live up to even the most basic scrutiny."
It was only by the sword did Christians and Jew accept. Likewise Mormons and Jehovah's witness piggy backed off Christianity, however they're expansion isn't anywhere near Christianity. If we take 20% of 100,000 Christians in 2013 and they join a cult, the cult would be 20,000. But if we took 20% from Judaism at 30AD, the numbers alone couldn't account for the spread of the faith. 20% from a minority religion is 20% of nothing.
The fact that Christianity made spreading "the Word" a central point
*Warning* -Using an example for direct reference, which may appear offensive. Hopefully fellow DDO understand it's use without intention to offend.
Employment of spreading the faith wasn't easy, adventurous, or favourable as we might think. Imagine travelling through Iraq 2013 with the message Muhammad was a homosexual prostitute who wore woman's cloths. I wonder how many would raise their hand to preach this in market squares? Truth is, you'd die slowly and painfully, just like Christians did.
Its up to Enaidealukal to prove circumstances effected their choice of converting and walking into suicidal painful death.
A Moral World Order:
Given that the Bible describes God as being good, merciful and just, and as being the divine creator and intervene, we would expect a moral world order to exist...
With all due respect you haven't provided links to support the idea God enforces a moral world order. Noah's flood shows God's in control -over- man, not in control -of- man. The flood shows mankind out of control, but God is controlling the system -over- man.
The God you depict which we'd see evidence of a "moral world order" indicates a God of robots. If the world was "moral world order" we'd be unable to commit evil, since we're all controlled by God who enforces "moral world order." Similar to trannical rule.
However God has raised men for specific times, such as Pharaoh. God says "I raised you up for a time such as this, and harden your heart." But God tells us why He did this... "So my glory shall be seen." This was so Jews would believe and see.
Fulfilled Prophecies: If there is a God who knows everything then we should expect some of the many prophecies in the Bible to come true- however
Numerous have, although seem broad by definition, are actually very unlikely.
Since you've used the bible itself as material, it's fitting I use material back to remain consistent.
Reading Daniel shows direct names of kings, such as Greece invading Persia etc. By direct names the broad theory is reduced. However this doesn't stop criticism of the text itself. However if we continue like this, we'll be battling historians forevermore.
Miracles:...It is highly curious to suppose that Christ actually rose from the dead, and was observed by many people- all of whom failed to ever record what they saw; we would expect the opposite,
Id expect anyone stumbling over twelve identical writings from all disciples writing word for word the same account, they'd use equal logic to conclude; a desperate attempt to manufacture a lie.
But a more realistic answer to why numerous didn't record their accounts is factored by culture, traditions and money. Recollection was essential for daily life, since scrap paper for doodling while on the phone would cost a months wage. Their paper and writing is similar to our modern art, so it's clearly understood why five hundred people didn't record their testimony.
enaidealukal forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Pennington 3 years ago
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||1||0|
Reasons for voting decision: I thought both put forth a good effort. I thought Pro made a good case and that Con did not refute all of Pros arguments. Same so I do not think Pro covered all of Con's rebuttals. I give both arguments. I think both had good spelling and sources. I give conduct and the winning point to Pro because Con ff'd the last round.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.