Convince me that the Christian faith is the truth
Debate Rounds (5)
Any questions will be answered in the comments.
My opponent may begin his/her arguments in the first round.
== Negating Evolution ==
Since the primary focus of the resolution is clearly on whether or not Christianity is true, and since my opponent seems to be genuinely interested in exploring the plausibility of Christianity, I will go ahead and try arguing that I don't actually have to refute the theory of Evolution in order for the Christian faith to be true. And that, of course, requires attacking the idea that a literal interpretation of the Bible must be regarded as the ultimate authority on Christian doctrine.
The key part of the term "Christianity" is "Christ", which implies that it revolves primarily around the figure and teachings of Jesus Christ, rather than the Bible. There is simply no reason to believe that the Bible was inspired by Christ or by God; it is a collection of stories, written independently by various people at various times and passed down throughout the course of Hebrew history. The compilation of all those stories into the Bible was not a project endorsed by Jesus or any other divine authority- it was carried out centuries after Jesus died by a random priest .
So the genealogy of the Bible suggests that there is no divine inspiration associated with the Bible at all. At best, it can only be considered as a source of historical information; of course, that does mean that the Gospels can be considered a somewhat reliable source for learning about Jesus's eachings and actions, but that is the maximum extent to which the Bible can really be considered "Christianity"s book". In other words, Christians are *not* obligated to believe in the infallibility of the Bible, and can safely reject a literal interpretation of Genesis. This is accepted by the majority of Christians, as is shown by the Catholic Church's open acceptance of Evolution . The Christian faith and the theory of Evolution are not mutually exclusive, and thus I shouldn't have to refute the latter in order to affirm the former.
== Affirming Christianity ==
I aim to show that the most essential and universally-accepted tenets of the Christian faith are true. To me, it boils down to three: 1) a personal creator God exists, 2) humans are inherently sinful (original sin), and 3) Jesus was crucified and resurrected. If we accept these three premises to be true, then there is really no reason to doubt the standard Christian narrative as a whole (i.e. Jesus being the Son of God, dying for our sins, opening the path to salvation, etc.), as it is the only narrative which accounts for and creates a coherent context for all three premises. I can expand on this later if needed.
P1) A personal creator God exists
a. Transcendental Argument
In order for us to engage in any sort of rational discourse, it is necessary for us accept the existence of logical absolutes, as we rely on them to reach sound conclusions. My opponent has already conceded that logical absolutes exist by creating this debate, as he is assuming that we can, indeed, engage in meaningful rational discourse. With the existence of logical absolutes established, we are then posed with the question of where they come from. We can clearly observe that, just like mathematical laws, these logical absolutes transcend the physical universe; there is no need for any physical objects to exist in order for statements like "1 + 2 = 3" or "If A=B and B=C, then A=C" to be true. In other words, they exist independently of the universe.
However, this poses quite the dilemma-- if these logical absolutes transcend the naturalistic universe, then how is it possible for them to be explained through naturalistic means? It isn't possible; such transcendental laws can only be rooted in a similarly transcendental source. And since the said laws are purely abstract and conceptual (i.e. mental) in nature, it plausibly follows that they must have originated from a conscious mind of some sort. Thus, we reach the conclusion: a transcendent mind which exists independently of the universe (aka. God), is responsible for conceptualizing the laws of logic which govern reality.
b. Fine-Tuning Argument
It is a well-known fact that the universe's physical constants had to be within extremely precise ranges for universe to have ever even existed. According to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, "If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed before it ever reached its present size," . Similarly infinitesimally tiny ranges of precision are there for a number of other physical constants, including the ratio of the electromagnetic force to gravity, the ratio of matter to anti-matter, the universe's mass density, and the cosmological constant .
Unlike logical absolutes, these physical constants do have naturalistic explanations. However, even the most basic knowledge of probability allows us to calculate that the likelihood of all those constants lining up perfectly to result in the universe coming into being "just by chance" (i.e. naturalistically) is so unimaginably small that I can't even find a metaphor to describe it... Meanwhile, under theism, it is fairly obvious why physical constants happen to fall into those precise ranges-- because God set it to be that way with the specific intention of creating the universe. Theism provides a FAR more likely context for the existence of the universe than atheism does, and given that the universe does exist, theism is that much more likely to be true.
This argument has the additional benefit of showing that God most likely is invested in the future of his creation, as it makes very little sense that he would go through the trouble of fine-tuning the universe to support life only to just stand back and leave it that life to its own devices. Thus, God is probably a personal deity, as described in Christian theology.
P2) Humans are inherently sinful
That humans are inherently sinful is obvious. We clearly do violate the commandments of God and the teachings of Jesus; every human regularly engages in numerous acts of impiety, selfishness, promiscuity many other actions explicitly condemned by Christian doctrine. Children do not grow up and learn sinful behaviors-- they have to be disciplined and taught by their parents NOT to engage in those types of behaviors from a very young age; without that discipline, such behaviors seem natural to them, which is why children who were neglected as children often end up engaging in criminal behavior as adults. With all this in mind, denying the doctrine of original sin becomes ridiculous.
P3) Jesus was crucified and resurrected
a. Historical Reliability of the NT
The New Testament may have some contradictions between its various accounts of Jesus's life, but there is a majority consensus among historians that the books of the NT are generally reliable sources of historical information; they were all composed within several decades of Jesus's death by people who lived through the events being described and many other historical documents from Greek and Roman times, which are readily accepted by secular historians as being mostly accurate, actually have less factors lending to their credibility than the NT does . There could, of course, be some parts of it which are exaggerated, but unless given significant reason to believe otherwise, we should accept that the major events which all the NT accounts agree on probably did occur as stated-- such as the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
b. Fulfillment of the Messiah Prophecy
Very few disbelieve that Jesus was crucified; the real controversy is regarding whether or not he was resurrected. However, what many fail to realize is that a miracle like the resurrection was necessary in order for Christianity to survive Jesus's death. Consider the following: Jesus had spent all his life claiming that he was the Messiah-- the divine savior which the Jews strongly believed would eventually appear due to a prophecy made centuries before by Isaiah; this is the primary reason why so many Jews were so eager to follow his teachings.
However, Jesus was brutally crucified before he could even begin to fulfill that prophecy; this should have made it blatantly clear that Jesus was NOT divine certainly NOT the Messiah. No follower of Jesus could still reasonably believe that Jesus was anything more than a false prophet who got what he deserved. Christianity should have died out, yet Christianity continues to thrive two milennia later. The only reasonable explanation for why Christianity was able to retain its followers is that something happened which caused them to believe that Jesus was indeed divine and still capable of fulfilling the role of the Messiah. The miracle of the resurrection certainly fits this bill; appearing to all his followers after death and promising them a second coming in which he would fulfill the prophecy was a very effective way of convincing the early Christians to continue believing in his divinity and spreading his teachings. Thus, there is good reason to believe that the resurrection did occur, regardless of the historicity of the NT.
Having demonstrated that Christianity is most likely true, the resolution is affirmed!
TheRussian forfeited this round.
"I do not need to prove every single aspect and doctrine of Christianity in order to show that the Christian faith in general is true"
I disagree with this point. If there are aspects of Christianity (the Bible, perhaps) that are proven to be false, then the religion itself is flawed. It will be nearly impossible to argue all of the aspects however, so I will simply try to parry and pick apart the arguments that my opponent presents.
"I will go ahead and try arguing that I don't actually have to refute the theory of Evolution in order for the Christian faith to be true"
By doing this, my opponent tosses aside half of his BOP, to disprove Evolution. He does however, take a different course to try to show that Christianity and Evolution can go hand in hand. Since I'm doing this debate for personal curiosity and not to get another win on my profile, I will let this slide.
P1) a. My opponent poses an interesting proof to the existence of a God which I do not refute, as I believe that there is a higher power.
P1) b. My opponent again poses an interesting proof, most of which I will not refute, as I am not an atheist.
"as it makes very little sense that he would go through the trouble of fine-tuning the universe to support life only to just stand back and leave it that life to its own devices"
In sub-point B of argument 1, my opponent only described universal constants that have to be the way they are just for the universe to exist, not necessarily to support life. As we know, there are billions of celestial objects that do NOT support life, and several that we have discovered that have the potential to support life. This was no fine-tuning, but the result of luck (of distance to nearest star, atmospheric composition etc.). The conditions and constants that my opponent mentioned are not enough to support life by themselves.
P2) The basic values that Christianity teaches (such as the lack of morality in killing, stealing, cheating etc.) do not require an almighty being to discover. Many of them, if not all, can be achieved through logic and observation.
For example, Anger/Wrath is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It is easy to see that it is bad for a society to have people who fall into anger or rage and that it's a bad thing. As far as I know, Christianity condemns killing correct? It doesn't take a God to figure out that when people are killing each other within a society, the society does not prosper. Therefore, it is bad. Also, do other religions not condemn killing, stealing etc. and support similar moral values as Christianity? In this respect, I do not see how Christianity is superior to any other religion.
P3) a. I request that my opponent points to sources other than the Bible to prove Jesus' resurrection. If a man truly came back from the dead, the word would spread like wild-fire. There would be dozens, hundreds of sources all exclaiming the same thing, that a man came back from the dead. If such a thing happened, I don't see how there would even be competition among religions, Christianity would have dominated the entire world. Again, I request that my opponent provide sources other than the Bible for Jesus' resurrection.
b. My opponent mentions that people would not have continued believing in Christianity if Jesus wasn't divine and wasn't resurrected. It can be noted however, that other religions, such as Islam, are extremely popular despite the fact that their prophet did not perform any divine acts like resurrection. It can also be noted that Jesus' supposed divinity was determined not by his resurrection, but by the Council of Nicea. It was just a group of 300 or so regular mortals who voted and decided that Jesus was divine.
---Evolution and Christianity do not go hand in hand---
I ask my opponent to explain to me, if possible, how Evolution and Christianity don't directly contradict each other. The Bible teaches that God created the universe and all the things living on this Earth in 6 days. This goes against the theory of Evolution in a very obvious manner.
I await my opponent's response.
I ask that the voters disregard the forfeit in voting.
Pro says that he disagrees with my clarification about not having to prove every aspect of Christianity, but then contradicts himself by agreeing to go with it anyways, so I'm not quite sure what to make of that... the point is that there are quite a few different interpretations of Christianity, so all I can reasonably be expected to do is affirm the core tenets which all Christians unanimously agree on. Also note that Pro does not contest my approach to affirming Christianity-- he agrees that if I can affirm the three premises which I put forth, then the rest of the standard narrative which defines Christianity is probably true as well.
== Affirming Christianity ==
P1) God exists
Pro concedes that a creator God exists, which is good because that was easily the most challenging burden of proof to fulfill in this debate. However, he takes issue with this creator God being invested in human affairs, saying that the fine-tuning of physical constants does not directly facilitate the development of life. However, there *is* evidence of fine-tuning being involved in the development of life too; I actually wrote a whole section about it last round but had to delete it due to a lack of characters.
According the famous evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, evolution is a radically contingent process . In other words, any given evolutionary path is dependent on such a large number of random events (e.g. volcanic eruptions, continental drift, ice ages, asteroids, etc), that if someone were to "replay the tape" of Earth's evolutionary history, things would likely have turned out entirely differently. This obviously also applies to early development of life on primordial Earth; one scientific paper illustrates this particularly well:
"The formation of the Earth as a planet was a large stochastic process in which the rapid assembly of asteroidal-to-Mars-sized bodies was followed by a more extended period of growth through collisions of these objects, facilitated by the gravitational perturbations associated with Jupiter. The Earth's inventory of water and organic molecules may have come from diverse sources, not more than 10% roughly from comets, the rest from asteroidal precursors to chondritic bodies and possibly objects near Earth's orbit for which no representative class of meteorites exists today in laboratory collections. The final assembly of the Earth included a catastrophic impact with a Mars-sized body, ejecting mantle and crustal material to form the Moon, and also devolatilizing part of the Earth." 
Every single one of the aforementioned events had to occur in order for Earth to be suitable for the development of life. There are no specific numbers available on the individual probabilities of these events occurring, but it is safe to say that the combined probability of all of them happening "just by chance" is incredibly small. Even if the conditions on Earth were right for life, the probability of crude cells developing from organic compounds is still incredibly small. Sir Fred Hoyle calculated that probability to be about 1 in 10^40 . As the source states, there are some problems with the assumptions involved in coming up with that number, but it is nonetheless safe to say that the actual probability is still extremely small.
Thus, there most likely *was* fine-tuning involved in the development of life on Earth, just as there was in the establishment of physical constants. Following the logic presented last round, we can reasonably believe that God is invested in the future of his creation because it makes no sense for him to go through the trouble of fine-tuning the universe to produce intelligent life only to just abandon it. We can also find evidence for this in the fact that billions of theists around the world and throughout history have reported having "transcendental experiences" (i.e. dirext interactions with God); the sheer number of such incidences makes it highly likely that many of them are legitimate, thus leading to the conclusion that God is personal and is involved in human affairs.
P2) Original Sin
Pro's response seems to completely miss the point of this argument. It doesn't really matter how we decide which actions qualify as "sins". All that matters is that it is in human nature to commit those sins on a regular basis, and thus the Christian doctrine of "original sin" is true (which is important because it's necessary for the Christian concept of Jesus dying for humanity's sins to make any sense).
a. Pro requests that I provide sources outside of the Bible for the resurrection, but there really isn't any reason to; as explained last round, the four books of the Gospels are reliable historical sources which were each independently written-- they just happen to have been compiled into a single book a couple centuries later. I have provided four different sources each confirming the resurrection of Jesus, and Pro is discrediting them for no reason at all. Pro says that "word would spread like wild-fire" if a man came back from the dead-- and he's right: it did. That is why Christianity spread so incredibly fast after Jesus died-- because news of his resurrection was spreading like wild-fire. The majority of people at the time were not literate, so it shouldn't be surprising that written documentation of the event is not prevalent. Instead, let's look at the effects of the event for evidence that it occurred-- "Christianity was wide spread in the Roman Empire within 80 years of Christ's death".
b. Pro has misunderstood my argument. I am not saying that all religions need miracles in order to survive; I'm saying that due to the specific context of Christianity's development, with the Messiah prophecy and all, something like the resurrection would have been necessary for anyone to continue believing that Jesus was really the Messiah. The Council of Nicea is irrelevant because, as Pro notes, it was just 300 or so people voting on the issue; what matters more is what most Christians actually thought, and they were preaching that Jesus is divine long before Nicea, as evidenced by later books in the Bible.
== Negating Evolution ==
I greatly appreciate that Pro is willing to discuss whether or not Christianity and evolution really contradict, rather than being a rule-stickler and forcing me to defend Creationism. However, Pro's only response to my argument is that the Bible contradicts evolution... I literally wrote three paragraphs last round on why a literal interpretation of the Bible *doesn't* necessarily govern what Christians have to believe. Pope John Paul II openly stated that the Bible can be interpreted metaphorically and that Evolution need not be denied . Pro has no rational basis for believing that Christianity and Evolution are mutually exclusive.
In conclusion, the Christian faith remains affirmed.
P1) My opponent continues arguing that the chances of a planet having the conditions to sustain life are very small, meaning that it is more likely that a God created these conditions on purpose. However, if one is to "zoom out" and look at the entire universe, or even our galaxy, it is easy to see that it is entirely possible that there would be planets with Earth-like conditions. Astronomers at Harvard estimate that in our galaxy alone, there are 17 billion habitable Earth-like planets while astronomers of the University of Auckland claim that number to be closer to 100 billion. With these numbers, one can easily see that it's possible that many celestial objects have conditions ideal for life. With conditions fit for life, protobionts (early forms of cells) could be formed, as demonstrated in laboratories.
In conclusion, to me it seems almost silly to think that out all of the billions upon billions upon billions of planets in the universe, not one of them is fit for life without the interference of a higher power. (And as sources show, there are, in fact, billions of planets that do seem to be fit for life).
P2) My point is that my opponent mentions that Christianity condemns many "sinful" acts, but don't other religions do the same? My question stands that, in this respect, how is Christianity superior to other religions? Christianity's condemnation of acts of selfishness, lust etc. are not unique. I also have another question. How did Jesus' death for "the sins of humanity" help or change anything? Humans sinned before then, and continued sinning afterwards.
P3) a. First of all, the Gospels were written 40 or more years after Jesus' death. It can be debated how accurate accounts can be if they are written so long after the event. Secondly, the Gospels cannot be considered reliable for several reasons that I will examine below.
-----------------------Error #1: Jesus' last words on the cross-------------------------
The authors of the Gospels have different things recorded as Jesus' last words.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished:" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
How could they give different accounts for such an important thing, the last words of Jesus?
--------------------------Error #2: Geography------------------------------------------
There several geographical errors that the authors make.
"And again he [Jesus] went out from the borders of Tyre, and came through Sidon unto the sea of Galilee..."
If one is to look at the map provided below, it is obvious that Jesus couldn't have gotten to the Sea of Galilee through Sidon because Sidon is NORTH of Tyre while the Sea of Galilee is SOUTH of Tyre, the opposite direction.
"Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid. Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there."
The key parts to notice here is the very first and last sentence. The boat could not have crossed the lake to get from Bethsaida to Gennesaret because the two locations are on the same, Northern, side of the lake. (Shown in the map below)
-----------------------Error #3: Legal issues-------------------------------
Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin occurs at night (which was forbidden) and is also held on Passover. This is very implausible as Jewish law absolutely forbids such activities on high holy days.
It can also be noted that 2 of the authors of the Gospels were not eye-witnesses even by tradition, and it can be debated that the other two authors weren't eye-witnesses either.
I can add more errors next Round if my opponent requests, but I think that it's already evident that the Gospels are not very reliable sources. So again, I ask that my opponent brings credible, reliable sources to prove Jesus' resurrection.
My opponent notes that "Christianity was widespread in the Roman Empire within 80 years of Jesus' death". This is not so. By year 312, only about 5% of the Roman Empire was Christian. This is more than 250 years after Jesus' death (if we agree to say that he was crucified around 30 AD) and the religion was still not widespread.
b. I ask that my opponent provide a source to support that "Most Christians...were preaching the Jesus was divine long before Nicea".
On the subject of Evolution: I would ask that my opponent provide a metaphorical interpretation of the first piece of the Bible (the Days of Creation) that doesn't contradict Evolution.
I await my opponent's response.
Pro's rebuttal essentially boils down to "there are billions of earth-like planets out there". I agree. However, this doesn't show that there wasn't fine-tuning involved in the development of life. All "earth-like" means is that the planet has a habitable temperature range and that it has an atmosphere which protects it from cosmic rays. Obviously, these conditions alone are not even *close* to what is necessary for life to evolve. There needs to be an ample amount of water, a huge array of organic compounds, very specific weather conditions, and much more; very few planets other than Earth meet *all* of those conditions. Furthermore, remember that Dr. Hoyle calculated the chances of a bacterium forming through abiogenesis as being 1 out of 10^40 *even* on Earth, which had all the necessary conditions for it to happen. To claim that there was no fine-tuning involved in the development of life on Earth is ludicrous.
In addition, Pro never responds to my point about transcendental experiences; the fact that so many different people have reported instances of direct contact with God, in conjunction with the strong evidence for the universe being fine-tuned for life, makes it highly likely that God is a personal deity who is involved with human affairs, just as Christianity preaches.
Again, Pro misses the point. I did not claim that Christianity is the only religion which condemns certain sins; the fact that these sins are universally condemned across many religions just serves as evidence that the Christian moral standard is objectively true. But that is irrelevant; the point is that it is part of human nature to engage in those sins, and thus the doctrine of original sin is true. As for Pro's random question about Jesus's sacrifice, he seems to misunderstand the Christian narrative... Jesus did not prevent sins from occurring; rather, his death symbolically represented the *forgiveness* of those sins (past, present, and future).
Pro says that the Gospels were written more than 40 years after Jesus died and that there are contradictions between them, but as I explained in my opening argument, that is all actually highly typical of historical documents from that era. Many Greek and Roman histories were written down decades or even centuries after the events occurred, yet secular historians gladly accept them as being generally accurate. Contradictions between different sources were also common, especially when the accounts were passed down orally for decades before actually being transcribed (such as with the Gospels). If anything, these contradictions just go to show that the resurrection of Jesus could not have been a coordinated attempt between the writers of the Gospels at manufacturing a story, as some skeptics proclaim it to be (because a coordinated attempt would be more internally consistent). I have provided four separate, authentic, generally reliable sources, each of which independently confirms that the resurrection of Jesus occurred.
Pro cites a random blog to show that "only about 5% of the Roman Empire was Christian", but compare that to my source, which is relatively reputable and cites a number of primary sources throughout it confirming that Christianity was quite widespread. It is clear that my source should be trusted over his source. The fact that Christianity became so popular so quickly adds credence to the claim that a miracle like the resurrection actually did happen.
As for the Council of Nicea, that literally has nothing to do with anything with my original argument. The point is that the Christian faith depends on Jesus being the Messiah, and without a miracle like the resurrection, no one would have continued believing that Jesus was the Messiah. Thus, in addition to the recorded evidence from the Gospels, we also have a sound deductive basis to believe that the resurrection did happen.
== Negating Evolution ==
Pro asks me describe a specific metaphorical interpretation of Genesis, but that is an absurd request which has nothing to do with my argument. The whole point was that Christians are free to take whatever meaning they want from the Bible's stories, or they can even completely reject those stories. It doesn't matter. The Bible doesn't have any official influence over Christianity, so it does not need to be taken literally, and thus Christians do not have to deny evolution.
The Christian faith remains affirmed...
P1) "All "earth-like" means is that the planet has a habitable temperature range and that it has an atmosphere which protects it from cosmic rays."
My opponent has provided no source to prove this claim. I would also like to note that there are many species of bacteria, mostly Archaebacteria, that can survive extreme conditions. Scientists noted that there are certain bacteria that were carried on a Mars rover that could be able to survive the conditions on Mars. It is not known for sure, but these bacteria managed to survive the "cleaning room" before the launch of the space-craft. My source notes that: " Only the hardiest of microbes can survive inside a spacecraft clean room, where the air is stringently filtered, the floors are cleansed with certified cleaning agents, and surfaces are wiped with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, then heated to temperatures high enough to kill almost any living thing."
"To claim that there was no fine-tuning involved in the development of life on Earth is ludicrous."
Once again, out of the trillions upon trillions of planets, it is hard to believe that not one could fall in a hospitable area with a habitable environment/atmosphere. As my sources noted in the previous round, there are many planets that do have conditions that could allow for life.
"the fact that so many different people have reported instances of direct contact with God, in conjunction with the strong evidence for the universe being fine-tuned for life, makes it highly likely that God is a personal deity who is involved with human affairs, just as Christianity preaches."
1. My opponent provides no examples or evidence of "so many different people [having] reported instances of direct contact with God". I would also like to note that often times such experiences are between people (a person reported that he saw a ghost) rather than with God.
2. My opponent hasn't managed to prove that the universe is finely-tuned for life. The only real evidence he provides is that the probability of such an event occurring naturally is small, which was refuted by the fact that many scientists have concluded that billions of other planets could be hospitable.
3. Christianity may preach this, but so do many other religions. Christianity is not unique in this matter.
I will admit that while this is a very interesting point, it does not point to Christianity, but to a God in general.
P2) "Jesus did not prevent sins from occurring; rather, his death symbolically represented the *forgiveness* of those sins (past, present, and future)."
It may just be my mind-set, but this seems absurd to me. That God would send down his son to die a horrible death to not even help, but simply "symbolize" forgiveness? I also don't see how the death of a Son of God would represent any forgiveness, if anything, it would just show the barbaric nature of human beings because of the way he died.
"Pro cites a random blog to show that 'only about 5% of the Roman Empire was Christian', but compare that to my source, which is relatively reputable and cites a number of primary sources throughout it confirming that Christianity was quite widespread. It is clear that my source should be trusted over his source."
The author of my source is a professor who received his PhD from Princeton. He is also the recipient of numerous awards and therefore, I believe my source is rather credible.
I would also like to note that my opponent keeps repeating that his source says that "Christianity was widespread". "Widespread" is an opinionated word and cannot be proven. While I have provided numbers, my opponent provides the word "widespread" which could mean anything from "popular in Rome's largest cities" to "popular among small farming communities whose population is very small".
Point being, Christianity was not all that popular, even several hundred years after Jesus' death.
"Pro asks me describe a specific metaphorical interpretation of Genesis, but that is an absurd request which has nothing to do with my argument."
My opponent claimed that the Pope declared that the Bible can be interpreted metaphorically. It is logical that I ask my opponent for an example of such an interpretation, which he fails to do.
When arguing the credibility of the Gospels, my opponent mentions that "Many Greek and Roman histories were written down decades or even centuries after the events occurred, yet secular historians gladly accept them as being generally accurate. Contradictions between different sources were also common", but provides no sources or evidence from this claim. I would like to stress the fact that at least HALF (2/4) of the Gospel authors were NOT EVEN EYE-WITNESSES. This, along with the numerous mistakes (some quite blaring) that were made, that I mentioned in my argument, allow me to conclude that the Gospels cannot be regarded as quality sources.
That is all.
Honestly, when my opponent brought up the Gospels, I was quite convinced. But upon looking deeper, I realized that they are pretty "shaky" sources. In conclusion, I don't think that one can use such sources to prove something as big as the ressurection of Jesus.
I thank my opponent for the debate, I have been greatly enlightened and now and figured out what I believe.
Again, thank you.
== AFFIRMING CHRISTIANITY ==
My opponent requests a source confirming how lax the prerequisites for a planet to be considered "earth-like" are. Here ya go . All that is required for a planet to be "earth-like" is be a certain distance away from its star (i.e. have habitable temperatures) and have a protective atmosphere. That isn't even *close* to what is needed for life to develop. I have shown that the chance of even the most simplest lifeforms evolving *even* in favorable conditions is about 1 in 10^40. Most estimates show that at *most* there are only 10^15 earth-like planets in the *entire universe* . The chance of life evolving *anywhere* in our universe is infinitesimally small. The existence of a personal creator God creates a far, far more likely context for the evolution of life than an atheistic/deistic viewpoint. Fine-tuning was almost certainly involved in the development of life on Earth.
Combine that with that fact that billions of people have experienced spiritual contact with God. My opponent wants a source confirming this as well. Here ya go . Such instances of contact with the divine have been well-established throughout human history and continue to remain so in the present. Considering that, along with the fact that God almost certainly was involved in the development of life, it becomes very difficult to continue claiming that he isn't a personal deity. This premise is resoundingly affirmed.
I'm not really sure how to respond to Pro's comments here. All he has done is tell us that he is personally incredulous of why Jesus would sacrifice himself to symbolize the forgiveness of humanity for its sins and open up a path to salvation. That isn't a rebuttal-- it is an unsupported opinion, and should be dismissed as such. The point is that the doctrine of original sin is true, as my opponent seems to concede anyways. This premise is affirmed.
It doesn't matter that the writer of Pro's cited blogpost is a professor; it is still a blogpost, rather than one of the professor's published papers. Outside of academia, a professor has no obligation or incentive to be completely accurate in his claims. My source, which uses several primary sources, is clearly superior-- Christianity was very widespread just decades after Jesus was crucified, implying that a miracle like the resurrection really did happen.
Pro says I didn't cite a source to support my claims comparing the historical accuracy of the Gospels to that of Greek and Roman histories, but I did-- in round 1. Here it is again: . Pro also notes that 2 out of the 4 Gospel writers were not eye-witnesses to the events they are writing about, but he provides no source for this at all. Biblical scholars flat out disagree with him on that . The Gospels represent four separate, reliable historical sources, and so the major events which they all agree upon, such as the Resurrection, should be accepted as having actually happened (especially since we have already established the existence of a personal creator God, which makes such an occurrencemuch more plausible).
*** Moreover, Pro has completely dropped my argument that the Resurrection was necessary for the continued survival of Christianity as a religion, and is thus conceding this premise to be true ***
== NEGATING EVOLUTION ==
Pro has utterly failed to contest this argument. He is hung up over me providing a specific example of a metaphorical interpretation of Genesis, but that has literally nothing to with anything. He completely misses the point: Christians are *not bound at all* by the Bible, because there is no reason to believe that it was divinely inspired. They can take any interpretation they want from it, or only pay heed to the New Testament, or reject the Bible as a whole completely; it makes no difference at all. The Bible does not dictate what Christians must believe, and thus Pro's only basis for believing that Christianity and Evolution are mutually exclusive is fallacious. I do not have to disprove the theory of evolution to affirm Christianity.
== CONCLUSION ==
Pro has not contested my framework; he agrees that if I affirm all three premises, then I have affirmed that the Christian faith as a whole is true. Since I have successfully shown that all three premises are most likely true, I have fulfilled by burden of proof.
The resolution is affirmed.
 The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology " (Kindle Locations 13933-13940)
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Varrack 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: At the start, both Pro and Con seem to agree that if Con's premises are sound, then Con wins. Thus, his BoP is not that big. Pro tries to tie evolution to Christianity but Con shows that the Bible needn't be interpreted in a literal sense. Con demonstrates the historical validity of the Bible and shows how widespread the religion became after the resurrection, along with arguing how fine-tuned our earth is in comparison to other planets. Pro tries to meet these claims but cites blogs that aren't quite as reliable, thus rendering his assertions less convincing. Con seem more prepared with his arguments and knocked down Pro's rebuttals thoroughly enough to warrant a win.
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