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Debunking the Old Testament is not Debunking Jesus as Messiah

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/14/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 713 times Debate No: 78691
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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Atheists constantly use the word "debunked" when referring to the Bible. I would say most if not all "debunking" claims are from the Old Testament. Furthermore, I challenge someone to prove that "debunking" the Old Testament proves "debunking" of Jesus as Messiah.

To make the argument clear, let's say debunking the Old Testament is not debunking Jesus as Messiah. I pick the pro position since this is my argumement.


I accept the challenge, and wish you good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Jesus challenged parts of the Old Testament, so I argue that anyone else's debunking of concepts from the Old Testament possibly makes their observations of the Old Testament similar or the same as Jesus' view on it. Perhaps even he felt some Old Testament laws, statements of fact, and commands were nonsense. Perhaps he felt that parts of the Old Testament were manmade manipulations of well intended words that were now being used to enslave the minds of men. He may have thought the original words of God were changed over time and had lost any divine inspiration and he may have believed they were poorly interpreted. The so named Son of God, if truely divine may have simply deemed the Old Testament as archaic, outdated, and not always useful when it came to the relationship between God and the modern, intellectual man.

The Pharisees challenged Jesus and his apostles. Here are two verses from the New Testament's book of Mark describing the Pharisees displeasure.

King James Bible
Mark 7:2
And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashed hands, they found fault.

American King James Version
Mark 7:5
Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not your disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?

In this example the Pharisees were challenging Jesus and his apostle's ways of eating as unclean, thus meaning they were breaking commands of the Old Testament.

These next two verses are examples of the Old Testament verses that the Pharisees were using to challenge Jesus and his apostles. Their claim was that the actions of Jesus and his apostles broke the Law of Moses mentioned in Leviticus concerning clean hands.

Leviticus 15:7
King James Version
7Whoever touches the man who has a discharge must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

Leviticus 15:10
King James Version
10And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

One might expect Jesus to bow to the authority of the Laws of Moses and the religious Pharisees' points, but Jesus responded by denying the logic of the religious laws and the points of the Pharisees by correcting them. Here are verses demonstrsting his defense of his personal practice.

Matthew 23:36
American King James Version
You blind Pharisees, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Matthew 15:11
New International Version
11What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.

This was my first point using examples to demonstrate that Jesus may have been a debunker himself, and if he truely was the Messiah or God the Son, his words give the Old Testament no full authority over the people of Earth.


I had trouble following your line of argument but think I have maybe caught on towards the end. If I understand it correctly, Jesus could not be debunked if the Old Testament were nullified because he was a debunker himself and found all sorts of flaws and blemishes himself. I will proceed with this understanding of your argument as I cannot see it any other way.

I would agree with your statement that someone else challenging the Old Testament would be similar to Jesus, but I do not find it possible to say that they would be exactly the same; besides, even if they were, this could be easily understood as someone reading the New Testament and regurgitating what Jesus is quoted as saying. To be sure, the entire Bible is composed of manmade manipulations, the well-intended aspect of your comment is up for debate, but surely these ideas were used to enslave humanity. As for your last sentence in the opening paragraph, I find it hard to believe that Jesus found the Old Testament to be "archaic, outdated and not always useful when it came to the relationship between God and the modern, intellectual man." There is no evidence that humanity was any more intellectual in the time of Jesus than when the Old Testament was composed; most people could not read or write the same as in the time of Moses and Abraham. Moreover, and most importantly, Jesus was born to a Jewish mother, in Galilee, a Jewish part of the world, preaching from Jewish scripture; thus, by all accounts, Jesus was Jewish.

The next section, where you quote passages from the book of Mark, both seem to be cherry picked. If you look at the very next sentence after "Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not your disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" the author of the book of Mark asserts as follows:

"He said to them, "Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines" (Mark 7:6-7).

As you can see then, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their installment of purely human traditions in these practices but does not condemn or even address the Old Testament here, only the Pharisees. I think it is worth noting that it seems to me that you have ascribed the Pharisees the mouthpiece for Old Testament scripture, when in fact they were but one of about ten other Jewish sects at the time, all of which claiming they were the rightful interpreters and people of God.

As for the next two sections, where you quote passages from Leviticus and Matthew, I will address these in together. Surely the two passages from Leviticus are part of the Torah, but I would submit that the most important of these laws in the Old Testament were the Ten Commandments given in the book of Exodus. As for these laws, Jesus not only ascribes to them but pushes the envelope further according to the book of Matthew and Jesus's Sermon on the Mount found in 5:20-48. By all accounts, Jesus was portrayed in the Gospels as the fulfillment of Old Testament scriptures and prophecies.

As for your conclusion, I see no reason to think Jesus was a debunker of Old Testament scripture, rather he was simply reinterpreting the passages; something that is in no way unique to him. The only way that Jesus could be the Messiah is if he is fulfilling Old Testament prophecies, this is true by definition. As for being the Son of God and his ultimate authority, in that case, seems to be irrelevant for this debate. In sum, if the Old Testament were proven to be completely false, Jesus as the Messiah would also be disposed of in the same manner; unless of course you are willing to grant that he was a false prophet, in either case however, he would have to be regarded in the same manner.
Debate Round No. 2


One of your points was that you feel I have used the Pharisees to represent the Old Testament. I did indeed quote the Pharisees, but in fairness, I also quoted the actual Old Testament verses that they were using as a direct reference as to where they got the information that they were using to try and trap Jesus in the first place. The Pharisees had ill motives, but they did not make up or invent these rules. These rules came from the Old Testament.

Jesus was facing the Pharisees in person, but he was in reality challenging the Old Testament. The Old Testament did say to kill the adultering woman. (with or without Pharisee involvement) Jesus did not inforce the Law of Moses from the Old Testament in this story. The adultering woman walked away alive. He may have been physically talking to the Pharisees, but technically he was facing the Law of Moses from the Old Testament and allowing it no power over him or her. He completely dismissed the religious law from the Old Testament and did what he felt made sense or was right. He felt the Law of Moses' command to kill her was wrong based off of his reaction, in my opinion. Otherwise the Pharisees and he could have rid Israel and the world of her "deathworthy" ways.

Next, I will use Old Testament verses that are not mentioned by the Pharisees in the New Testament. These verses seems like at one time it held strong authority with Jews from well before Jesus' life that lost power somewhere along the line, and in the New Testament Jesus and his apostles do no mention them as having any authority or even mention them at all. Why is this relevant? The Old Testament gets very specific about blood sacrifices, and Leviticus 1:5 is a focal point within a long, grueling line of verses that describe how to sprinkle blood, which direction to face, washing for cleaness, and animal parts. It seems fair to say based on these sets of verses, the Old Testament was getting ignored more and more as time progressedand then by Jesus and his apostles. The Old Testament's words had little authority or divine strength, if any. In fact, Christians today do not even relate to many of these verses in any way. Why? I believe because much of the Old Testament didn't offer Jesus or even the Christians of today anything useful or logical. While man progressed, the Old Testament simply became less powerful and became more or less like the words of prehistoric men from a time of ignorance. Jesus never was faced by the Pharisees on these particular Old Testament verses. If we say Jesus was divine, we assume he would respond with basic logic and common sense as he did against the Old Testament verses presented by the Pharisees.I now pose the question, did Jesus or his disciples execute or apply any of the following verses from the Old Testament within in their own lives?

Leviticus 1:5-9
King James Version
And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
6"And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
7"And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
8"And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
9"But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

Leviticus 1:11-17
11"And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.
12"And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
13"But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.
14"And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
15"And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:
16"And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes:
17"And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord

Jesus did not practice burnt offerings. And interestingly enough, since Jesus' crucifixion, neither do practicing Jews of Judaism.


I again had trouble following your line of argument. Moreover, I am struggling to find the relevance to the actual debate topic. As interesting as your post is, I can't seem to find any applicable ideas to the nullification of the Old Testament transferring to Jesus as the Messiah. If your argument in this round was that Jesus didn't follow the Old Testament, surely this must be granted as obvious. If your point is that because Jesus didn't follow the Old Testament that if it were proven wrong he wouldn't be, this is simply not the case. If the Old Testament were found to be wholly false, Jesus as the Messiah is by definition left in the same place. What I mean is, the term "Messiah" literally means "the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible." He cannot be the Messiah of the Old Testament (which is what he is depicted as) if that "person" was completely made up in the first place. Even if he did embody that "person" it would literally serve no purpose in the event of the Old Testament being falsified. Furthermore, Judaism and Christianity do not necessarily believe in a "different" God, they are essentially the same; the difference is Jews do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Anyway you spin it, the Old Testament is absolutely essential for Jesus to be who he is depicted as in the Bible.
Debate Round No. 3


Matthew 5:17
King James Bible
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

If one reads this verse word for word, Jesus says that he came to fulfill the law and the prophets. By stating this, he is giving power and authority to the Old Testament prophets concerning their visions and testimonies about the future concerning the Messiah that the Jews waited and longed for.

(An oddity of this next link is it says 353 prophecies, but the page itself says 354 prophecies. I don't find this all that important, but to be fully informative and intellectually honest, I felt the minor discrepancy should be pointed out to show I have no motive to distort sources or facts.)
In this link
it says there are 354 prophecies about the future Messiah that were fulfilled, and it gives a long, grueling chart providing every single one of its claims. In Jesus' own words, he said he came to fulfill the prophets. I find it fair to say that if Jesus were divine and spoke in truth, based on his words he has to fulfill all of the prophecies of the Messiah that concern his life. As can be expected, the New Testament points out times where he supposedly fulfilled prophecies.

Old Testament Prophecy
Zechariah 12:10
New International Version
10 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

New Testament Prophecy Fulfilled
John 19:34
New International Version
34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus" side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

Old Testament Prophecy
Psalms 30:3
King James Bible
3 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.(Messiah/The Lord speaking here)

New Testament Prophecy Fulfilled
Luke 24:6
King James Bible
6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

He also says he came to fulfill the law. What reference can be used to declare what exactly that means? What source tells us how to fully fulfill the law?

In the verse below, Jesus describes for us what he means in Matthew 5:17 when he says that he came to fulfill the law.

Matthew 22:38"40
New International Version
38"This is the great and first commandment.
39"And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40"On these two commands depend ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS..

Jesus had come to fulfill love and the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. Love fulfilled the law. In the next verse below, this same principle is reinforced.

Galations 5:14
King James Bible
14 For ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED in one word, even in this; Thou shat love thy neighbor as thyself.

I have supported the argumenet that says debunking the Old Testament does not equal debunking Jesus as Christ. I feel I have demonstrated this by making 3 seperate points.

First, Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. With examples I have demonstrated that "the law" to Jesus is love your God, neighbor, and enemy.

Second, Jesus said he came to fulfill the prophets. I've given exames and a link that cover claims of Jesus fulfilling prophecies from the Old Testament.

Third, Jesus challenged and ignored much of the other parts of the Old Testament. He never claimed that outside of prophecy the Old Testament was 100% true, useful, or had authority/power.

Articles or youtube videos "debunking the Bible", almost always attempt to "debunk" something in the Old Testament, not the New Testament, and the "debunking" is not of prophecies, but rather things dealing with laws, stories, or some animal classification, despite that the Carolus Linnaeus: Classification System used today not being the system used in Old Testament times. Nevertheless, I claim Jesus only gave power to the Law(love), and the prophets(prophecy). He gave no power to anything else in the Old Testament. In closing, I feel I have made my case as well as I am able to claim that debunking the Old Testament does not debunk Jesus as the possible Messiah. Thank you for considering my argument whether for against the argument.


I will address the fourth rounds comments in the three separate points that were made at the end.

"First, Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. With examples I have demonstrated that "the law" to Jesus is love your God, neighbor, and enemy."
The love of God, neighbor and enemy are all rather vague, and seem reasonable enough if thats all that he was fulfilling. However, there are all sorts of ear marks if you will, on what those three things mean. It appears that you are well aware of the Sermon on the Mount, as you referenced verse 17 from chapter 5 of the book of Matthew; but I must ask, what would we be able to say about these laws if they were not originally proposed in the Old Testament?

As for the second point, "Jesus said he came to fulfill the prophets. I've given exames and a link that cover claims of Jesus fulfilling prophecies from the Old Testament," I think you have proven my point for me here. Why was Jesus said to have fulfilled all these prophecies? Quite simply, because he had to fulfill them to be the Messiah. If the Old Testament were wholly false, or even nonexistent, would we be able to say that Jesus was the Messiah? No. There is no basis for such a claim; and if in the former case, the basis would be false, so at the most, as I have said before, he would be a false prophet or Messiah.

On the final point, "Jesus challenged and ignored much of the other parts of the Old Testament. He never claimed that outside of prophecy the Old Testament was 100% true, useful, or had authority/power," the prophecies are the most important part of the Old Testament for Jesus; for without them, as I have said, he would in no way be regarded as the Messiah. The laws and the prophecies are the part of the Old Testament that are most necessary for Jesus to be the Messiah, without them, he is not the Messiah.

In sum, I would assert that you would not need to go as far as "debunking" the Old Testament as a whole; rather, all that is required for Jesus not to be the Messiah is to find that the prophecies that he is fulfilling are false or that he never really fulfilled them.
Debate Round No. 4


Is "debunking" the Old Testament actually "debunking" the Old Testament?
The Bible, religion, and God, just like life, can not be viewed from a black and white perspective. This is why I named the debate is "debunking" the Old Testament "debunking" Jesus as Messiah? The debunking isn't debunking in the first place.

Sometimes critics use particular rules of thumb and interprets these as absolute principles. Critics equivocate. The "debunker" uses the same sense of a word in two sets of verses, when sometimes it is the case that the word has two meanings. For example, peace could mean lack of war or it can mean an internal sense of tranquility.

Critics many times assume that the Bible is written in one perspective or a literal account. While the Bible does contain literal accounts, it also contains many other Styles. The Proverbs list rules of thumb, the Psalms use poetry, and many prophecies and teachings are hyperbole and metaphors. Parables contain deeper messages, but debunks through using literalism are inaccurate debunks, therefore not debunks at all. The Bible is actually many books of different genres by many authors. The debunker's assumption leads them off course if it is used to create contradictions.
In some cases, it is the fact that aspects of Hebrew idiom are not always captured in English translations.

Some "debunkings" claim contradictions. Consider the verses below.

Proverbs 26:4
"Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself."

Proverbs 26:5
"Answer of fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."

"Debunkers" will claim these verses as contradictory teachings seeing it as "oh so obvious" because the verses are right next to each other. In fact, this is very illuminating that these teachings are closely tied. They highlight the fact that Biblical thoughts do not neccessarily fall under the either/or criteria, but can be more properly understood in terms of both/and.

Another typical debunking mistake is to take things out of context. It is easy to create contradictions when there are none by violating the context of the passage in question.

In closing, unless the "debunker" knows ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, there is no debunking in the first place. Taking a verse written in English(which is a translation), then deciding if it is is literal, poetic, rules of thumb, etc., then translating a translation and possibly misinterpreting or taking the verse out of context does not make for a debunk. It makes for a maze of blind assumptions. This is why when a believer reads the Bible, they must not overanalyze, but use the teaching to get what can be reasonably taken from the passage. Any proveable, "divine" writing would have to be the true, original version. In Genesis it says this.

Genesis 11:6
King James Bible
6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Genesis 11:7
King James Bible
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

If God is divine and forsees no good purpose in revealing certain things to mankind or making them obvious to mankind yet, debunking attempts and attempts to block debunks are just a part of the division of man and language barriers used to keep us in a place of faith currently for a purpose only known to he himself.

Having said that, my closing statements are, debunking the Old Testament is not debunking Jesus as the Messiah. If Jesus is the Messiah, God is real, and God is allmighty, what God declares, debunking can not undeclare.


This is in fact quite a surprising term of events in this debate. It seems my opponent has led me into an unforeseen and inescapable "trap" of sorts. I suppose this way the point of their comment "Lets see if I have a plan" in the comments section. If the point was to argue semantics and linguistic translations of Biblical scripture, I would have had no problem with that; but it wasn't. The title of the debate, "Debunking the Old Testament is not Debunking Jesus as Messiah" is essentially, if not literally would accept that the Old Testament could be "debunked," BUT even if it were, that would not impede the claim or assertion that Jesus is the Messiah. Thus, the very clever attempt by my opponent to say that "debunking" the Old Testament is not really "debunking" at all, and therefore, could not ever be used to "debunk" Jesus as the Messiah cannot be accepted in this debate as supporting the claim my opponent is making.

The next point I would like to make is yes, I agree completely that words can be understood and utilized differently; but I think my opponent has conflated, or at least "downplayed" the significance of context in a words use. Sure, if we are just given the term "peace," we could interpret it many ways. However, if we insert it into the following sentence, "The United States is in peace talks with Russia after five years of conflict," I assume that the use of the term "peace" may be implied quite easily. It seems my opponent is aware of this mistake, "Another typical debunking mistake is to take things out of context. It is easy to create contradictions when there are none by violating the context of the passage in question," but fails to apply the same scrutiny to their understanding of the Bible. Moreover, what makes their understanding of the context and application more valid then others? As they do not provide an example of this "mistake," I can't respond to what they are referring to.

As for the portion on the interpreting of the Bible, it seems my opponent has failed to recognize the different denominations that the Bible lends itself to. Moreover, in arguing in this manner, it seems they are supporting a specific denomination that doesn't take the Bible literal; however, there are those that do. Biblical literalism and fundamentalism is no more irrational then whatever denomination my opponent is arguing for; there is no way to prove either one of them conclusively as what God intended. In sum, although my opponent may view the Bible non literally, it is an indefensible claim to try and assert that their position is the correct position.

I find the paragraph starting with "In closing" to be quite illuminating to the illogical reasoning that has taken place in this debate. Let us replace the terms "debunker" and "debunking" with "student" and "lesson" and we are given this little gem, "In closing, unless the "student" knows ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, there is no lesson in the first place." Quite a different view in my opinion. Moreover, lets change the term "debunk" in the next sentence to "truth." An even more illuminating flaw in rational appears, "Taking a verse written in English(which is a translation), then deciding if it is is literal, poetic, rules of thumb, etc., then translating a translation and possibly misinterpreting or taking the verse out of context does not make for a truth statement." And please, spare us the circularity of saying that Biblical scripture must be true because the Bible says so. Unless you are willing to grant any and every interpretation of the Bible as just as valid as the next, including fundamentalism or literalism, then this statement simply has no basis. Plus the justification for some of the most heinous and disgusting acts to be committed in human history have found themselves rooted in Biblical scripture.

As for the final sentence, lets unpack this a little bit to see what is really being implied. Again we see the statement "debunking the Old Testament is not debunking Jesus as the Messiah" used, where my opponent has dedicated a good deal of time to show how impossible debunking the Old Testament is, but here seems to allow for the former to be done, but that it wouldn't change the status of the latter. Moreover, in no way does the next claim "If Jesus is the Messiah, God is real" true in any fashion. First, because you are presupposing Jesus being the Messiah on fallacious grounds, saying it is true because the Bible says so is circular and illogical. Furthermore, theoretically, Jesus could not be the Messiah and God still be "real" surely Islam and Judaism would have some issue with this claim. God is real and Jesus being the Messiah are two independent statements; the first need not have the latter present to prove its validity, but the latter necessitates the former for its truth.

In conclusion then, although my argument may be guilty of some ad hominem portions, that shouldn't take away from the refutation being made. Also, although I did not provide many arguments for why I think that if the Old Testament were proven false, Jesus could not be the Messiah, in this round, I would ask that it is understood that my opponents round five contents made it necessary for me to sort through what was being claimed. The simple fact of the matter here is that Jesus as the Messiah is predicated, and probably more accurate, necessitated by the Old Testament being historically accurate. If it were found not to be, the ability of Jesus to be the Biblical Messiah is impossible.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Sooner 2 years ago
Itblooks like you grasped it well. I was impressed by your strategy too. I come. Let's see if I get squahed or have a plan. Good luck still. You're doing great!
Posted by SNP1 3 years ago
Pro, if you want to send me an identical debate challenge but with a minimum voter elo of 2500, I will accept it.
Posted by Sooner 3 years ago
You can say what you said. To me it sounds like saying Jesus is only messiah if he fits old testament prophecy therefore I am wrong. That would be a rational argument. I think you read it correctly. In plain English I am saying that if a person proves something in Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, etc.are 100% false, that Jesus could still be the Messiah despite the proof saying a concept in the Old TestAment is 100% wrong. I'm putting myself totthe test.
Posted by thenewkid 3 years ago
Well, I am either not understanding what you are arguing, or it doesn't make sense what you are arguing. If you are arguing that in the case of the Old Testament being found to be "debunked" that this would not leave Jesus as the Messiah in the same position, I would have to disagree. The term "messiah" refers to the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. Thus, if the Old Testament is seemingly nullified, how exactly would this not leave Jesus in the same position as the Messiah? If I am misunderstanding your argument, please correct me.
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