Did Jesus Chris Exist?
Debate Rounds (3)
I will argue that we do not have sufficient reason and evidence to conclude that Jesus Christ existed.
To conclude whether Jesus Christ existed as a historical figure, we must first come to an agreement that the Bible cannot be used as evidence because the Bible is self-confirming; it says that it is true. As pursuers of knowledge, it is unproductive for us to accept that something is true solely because it says it is. In determining fact from fiction, we must use reason and evidence, not faith. Thus we must search for secular, non-biased sources which show us that Jesus Christ existed.
In the case that my opponent would like to use the Bible as proof of Jesus' existence, I will demonstrate more reasons why this approach is flawed.
The Gospels weren't written until 40 years after Jesus was supposedly crucified around AD 30. "...the vast majority of researchers believe that Mark was the first Gospel to be written, sometime around the year 70" . This means that throughout 4 decades, any mentioning of Jesus was shared by word of mouth. Like a game of telephone, any details relating to Jesus Christ were bound to become convoluted, reshaped and misinterpreted over and over again until they were finally written down. "There are no existing eyewitness or contemporary accounts of Jesus. All we have are later descriptions of Jesus" life events by non-eyewitnesses, most of whom are obviously biased" . The authors were biased because they were trying to spread Christianity. The Earliest sources for Jesus only make reference to the "Son of God" Jesus rather than a historical Jesus. "These early sources, compiled decades after the alleged events, all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity - which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources - which they also fail to identify" .
Some may claim that the letters of Paul are proof of Jesus' existence because they were written closer to his death. "The earliest New Testament books, the letters written by Paul, were composed in the decade of the 50s" . While Paul is credited for having authored 13 books of the New Testament, only 7 of them are believed my modern scholars to have actually been Paul's words. "The others come from followers writing in his name, who often used material from his surviving letters and who may have had access to letters written by Paul that no longer survive" . There is no evidence that Paul ever met Jesus in the first place. Besides, why was there still a 20 year gap before anything about Jesus was recorded?
I believe I have given enough reason that we should not trust the Bible to be the ultimate proof that Jesus existed. If I have not, I will supply one last point about the Bible: contradictions. Bible scholar Bart Ehrman writes "In Mark's Gospel, Jesus is not interested in teaching about himself. But when you read John's Gospel, that's virtually the only thing Jesus talks about is who he is, what his identity is, where he came from," Ehrman says. "This is completely unlike anything that you find in Mark or in Matthew and Luke" .
The next most common "proofs" that Jesus was a real are the writings of Josephus and Tacitus. Josephus was a Jewish historian born in AD 37 . He wrote a history of the Jews called "Antiquities" around AD 93 or 94 . In a section called "Testimonium Flavianum" he mentions Jesus and gives a very brief description of him. Tacitus was a Roman historian born in AD 55 who mentioned Christ in his work "The Annals" written in AD 109 and alluded to his crucifixion . The issue with these accounts are not only that they written about 70 years later after Jesus' death, they tell us nothing about Jesus other than what Christian faith had already been teaching. Just because Jesus is mentioned doesn't make his existence more likely; this only shows the spread of Christian beliefs. As historians, it would make sense that these men would make mention of a figure who apparently gave rise to Christianity whether he was real or not.
To wrap up round 1, we simply do not have enough evidence to rationally conclude that Jesus Christ was real. I have shown that the Bible cannot be seen as a reliable source and there are no contemporary accounts of a man named Jesus Christ. Everything written about his supposed existence came many decades after his death, which seems peculiar for someone who was supposedly so influential.
I look forward to my opponent's response!
Over the past couple of years, I've learned to accept God and the Lord. God made all of us, and Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. I would first like to say that I am very proud to be debating with my first friend on this site. I apologize for the misspelled word "Christ". I'd like to give you a few stories of Near Death Experiences. Now, you might be wondering why I am doing this, and I will explain it to you at the end of these stories.
1. This is Ian McCormack's Near Death Experience: http://www.near-death.com...... - This story was voted the most popular Near Death Experience (NDE) by a website known as ListVerse: http://listverse.com......
2. This is Dr. Mary Neal's Near Death Experience: http://www.christianitytoday.com...... - This story was voted 8th most popular NDE.
3. This is Crystal McVea's Near Death Experience, and the story was voted the 2nh most popular: http://listverse.com...... - As you can see, Ian McCormack's NDE is very similar to Crystal McVea's NDE. They both heard the following from God: "Would you like to return?" In my opinion, when God says this, He means if the person would like to go back to their past life, Earth.
4. This source is of a testimony that someone submitted on an online forum. http://www.precious-testimonies.com...
I said that I would explain why I was sharing with you people's stories, and the reason is because when you ask God for forgiveness just before death, you will probably go to Heaven. Some people say that when you accept Christ in your life, your past is nonexistent to Him. Also, please take the time out of your busy schedule, and read these astonishing stories; they deeply touched my heart.
Thank you Stephen7.
If this debate was over the legitimacy of NDE (near-death experiences), I would have many questions for my opponent. How do we know all these people are being truthful? Some people have created these stories about their NDE, only to later admit it was all fake . So how do we know who is telling the truth (or what they believe to be true)? Also, why are people always so quick to assume that they really saw God rather than at least consider that they may have had a vision or a delusion? During NDEs, the brain is undergoing tremendous stress and is often deprived of sufficient oxygen levels, so it makes perfect sense that as a last resort, the brain's neurons would be firing off rapidly and spontaneously, conjuring all sorts of images and sounds. "It could be the afterlife, as many people who have come close to dying have asserted. But a new study says it might well be a show created by the brain, which is still very much alive. When the heart stops, neurons in the brain appeared to communicate at an even higher level than normal, perhaps setting off the last picture show, packed with special effects" .
But this debate is not over NDEs, but whether Jesus Christ was real. For the sake of argument, I will momentarily assume that NDEs have some validity (there is currently no scientific proof). How would this prove that Jesus was a real human being? I'm sure Christians have dreams about Jesus, but that does not mean he was real. People also have dreams about unicorns. They may say "it felt so real!" but we have no reason to believe that unicorns are real just because people dream about them. Also, people's visions almost always coincide with what they had been brought up to believe. You never hear about a Hindu seeing Jesus or a Christian seeing Muhammed. If there is one true god, shouldn't everybody be seeing the same thing? And why must Jesus/God demonstrate his existence when people are at their absolute weakest? These people have been in catastrophic accidents (car crashes, drownings, etc.) and are in no shape to think clearly.
When people claim to have seen Jesus in their NDE, they mostly like see someone who looks like this:
In reality, Jesus would have looked like any other man in the time and region he supposedly lived, or something like this. The following photo is an artist's render based off of a skull that dates back to this time and location :
I await my opponent's response!
Thank you for responding! I"d like you to know that I have been enjoying participating in this wonderful debate with you.
You are right that a Near Death Experience (NDE) isn"t concrete evidence that Jesus Christ existed; however, a child named Colton Burpo once had something akin to a Near Death Experience, and since he never died, it wasn"t actually classified as a Near Death Experience.
I also agree with you that we may not know if these stories are all true or not. A few months ago, I read an article that said that someone went to Heaven in a NDE, and later stated that it was all a hoax to receive money and support. So, I completely understand what you are saying.
You can order the book of this child"s journey to Heaven either manually or online. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com...
Or, you can read his astounding story to Heaven online here: http://ndestories.org...
Since Burpo never had a Near Death Experience, I"m not sure why he has his story on http://ndestories.org... - Either way; I certainly believe that his story is one hundred percent true and real. I have watched the movie; however, I have never read the book. One of these days, I hope to read the book of his story. Until then, that is the only information I have.
As a closing statement, someone can deny the fact that God and Jesus Chris were both real; however, they cannot deny the fact that Christianity has made a huge impact on humanity and that it is the biggest religion in the world in population.
My opponent mentions how Christianity is the world's largest religion. While true, this statement is irrelevant to the nature of this debate. Just because a belief is popular does not mean the belief is true. For example, the geocentric theory used to be extremely popular, in which the sun, stars and planets went around the Earth. Now, we know that this belief was never true, and in fact it is the Earth that revolves around the sun, as explained by the heliocentric theory .
To conclude, I believe I have demonstrated that there is currently no evidence that Jesus Christ was a real person.
Thank you for debating me Stephen! I also had fun and I look forward to future debates.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by philochristos 8 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con made arguments to the effect that none of our written sources, whether in the Bible our outside of the Bible, are sufficiently reliable to establish that Jesus existed. Pro didn't dispute any of that. Instead, his argument for the existence of Jesus was based on NDE's. In his opening, though, Pro merely linked to stories about NDE's. He did not so much as even say that Jesus appeared in any of these experiences. So he essentially made no argument at all, but expected the reader to click over and read the stories. He ought instead to have discussed the stories, explained their content, and given some reason for why we should believe them. In Con's response, he explained the different ways that NDE's can go wrong. Pro essentially conceded the debate when he agreed in the conclusion that NDE's are not concrete proof of Jesus' existence and that we may not know if the stories are true. That was effectively the end of the debate. Pro was unable to demonstrate Jesus' existence.
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