The Instigator
Oliver_Douglass
Pro (for)
Tied
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The Contender
harrytruman
Con (against)
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Did Jesus Exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 326 times Debate No: 91526
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

Oliver_Douglass

Pro

Hi, I'm Oliver and I'm looking forward to debate the issue as to whether or not Jesus existed; however before debating I want to make a disclaimer that when talking about the existence of Jesus I'm not talking about a miracle performer or did he rise from the dead but rather the following positions:

1. Founder of Christianity who was a teacher of morals and religious issues
2. Gained a following of "disciples" or simply followers, who caused controversy for the Jewish Sanhedrin and Pharisees
3. Was crucified under the orders of Pontius Pilate
harrytruman

Con

First of all, it is against Jewish law to have someone executed by foreigners even if they were sentenced to death, so it is impossible for him to have been executed by Romans at the will of the Jews. And, Jesus wasn't crucified under the orders of Pontious Pilate, Pilate didn't have anything to do with it except not preventing it from happening, it was the supposed "mob of Jews" that ordered he be killed, again,this was in complete violation of Jewish aw so they couldn't have done it.

Secondly, we have no record from any of the towns he supposedly visited showing that there were miracles done there, if they really happened, or even if a "great religious leader" went through that town there would be records wouldn't there? So, it is impossible for him o have gained his disciples and became so popular since there are no records of this.

I didn't get into the really hard facts but this is only round 1 so I'm going to wait for rebuttals.
Debate Round No. 1
Oliver_Douglass

Pro

The statement you make about it being impossible for Jesus to be executed, as it went against Jewish law doesn't in any way shape or form prove he didn't exist or wasn't crucified, all it demonstrates is the fact that Jesus' death by crucifixion in that particular matter was unlikely, but doesn't discredit the multiple sources we have attesting to the particular single event.

, I would like to know the sources you have chosen to come to that conclusion? The chances are, they are actually the New Testament writings, which wouldn't make much sense, quoting from, as you have to defend the position that they hold no truth and are completely usefulness, to come to such conclusions

Your second point also demonstrates some flaws, absence of evidence is never evidence of absence within historicity, it's very easy to set up standards that particular historical figures, you have to demonstrate the sources such as the New Testament, hold no truth whatsoever, even like Alexander the Great, couldn't pass, I would like to know the standard you implemented, into coming to the conclusion Jesus never existed.

Secondly, the majority of the towns Jesus visited in 1st century Palestine, were highly illiterate places, the majority of the people also lived in poverty, and couldn't afford such scribes, with the further events of the Destruction of Jerusalem, which would've destroyed many Jewish archives, or simply particular writings, thirdly, you're obviously assuming the gospels weren't written by eyewitnesses, which I can take, but to ignore Paul's letters, which are contemporary accounts is very peculiar.

In my opinion, the burden of proof isn't on the one who supports the view of his existence due to the fact there are multiple sources stating his existence, it's on the one who goes against his existence, and that particular person, actually has to show, all the sources which comment on Jesus' life, have no validity and hold no historical truth, otherwise, it's most likely Jesus existed.
harrytruman

Con

First of all, the Jews wouldn't violate the Mitzvah, we 're incapable of it, so not only is it unlikely that we killed Jesus, it's also impossible, especially considering how it was the Romans. Number two, the Romans wouldn't execute someone unless there were some kind of hearing, and there wasn't, thus, it is impossible for him to have been executed. We find a similar issue with the story of Joseph and Mary having to go to Bethlehem to file their taxes, the Romans would hold record of this sort of thing, yet we find that there was zero record of either of these two existing, thus they didn't.

Secondly, the BOP is on you to prove Jesus was real, I proved that there is no proof that he ever existed, and since if he existed there would be proof, we may conclude that he never existed. And your comparison between Jesus and Alexander the great is demonstratibly false, Alexander the great left lasting landmarks as well as brought Greek influence to Egypt which thus proves he existed. Just because someone else wasnt documented as much as usual doesn't mean that the guy with zero proof of his existence was real.

Thirdly, towns in the 1st century Palestine were not illiterate, Jews always knew how to read and write, they never forgot. So they wouldn't need scribes, and Paul's letters don't count as records, in fact there is a lot of evidence that your entire Non-Testament was tampered with by Constantine, while our Torah is the exact same Torah as 4000 years ago.

Fourthly, no, the burden of proof isn't on me because you made the claim that Jesus existed, I proved there is no proof of this, and if it happened, there would likely be proof, thus it is false. So far there is zero proof that a man named Jesus ever existed, I can prove G-ds existence, but you cant prove Jesus's existence, Moshe and Avram they also have been proven, why then can't Jesus be? And why does your belief get to be "true until proven wrong" that's not how it works, claims are to be false until proven true, something you failed to fulfil.

For example, I say G-d exists, can I prove this- yes, G-d have us a very simple way to prove he exists, and here's how; there were 3 million witnesses of G-d giving Moshe the Torah on mount Sinia, very simple. If you think that Jesus is the same G-d, and that G-d never changes, why then didn't he do likewise and give you irrefutable evidence of his existence? No, rather, he tells you to just have faith, congratulations, your religion offers the same reasons to believe as Islam and many others, believe what I want you to or burn in hell, what's new?

Which brings me to yet another point, you in round 1 defined Jesus as a "teacher who taught morals," while this is easily refutable, since Jesus didn't teach morals, that would imply he told people to be a good person, yet, your entire Non-Testament seems to say that you go to heaven by worshipping a man as G-d. That faith, not works, saves you, something in direct violation of these verses:

Ezekiel 14:14 says
"even if these three men--Noah, Daniel and Job--were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD."

Ezekiel 18:21-23:
"But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord God, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?"

So as you can see, Jesus's version of morality was a little off, especially since he wanted to be G-d, which is a very bad sin, see Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. Also, you might want to see this debate, it's very interesting and every Christian should see it. (http://www.debate.org...)
Debate Round No. 2
Oliver_Douglass

Pro

"First of all, the Jews wouldn't violate the Mitzvah, we 're incapable of it, so not only is it unlikely that we killed Jesus, it's also impossible, especially considering how it was the Romans."

In other words, a Jew can't break the commandments of God? Which is completely false, otherwise there wouldn't be any separation of God and Man in the first place, but this is a theological issue not a historical one.

"Number two, the Romans wouldn't execute someone unless there were some kind of hearing, and there wasn't, thus, it is impossible for him to have been executed."

I don't understand how you can claim anything to be impossible? Something can be more probable/improbable but to claim something is impossible, is equivalent of claiming 100% knowledge, and secondly, where is the source of information for this? Can you provide me evidence that Roman Executions always needed trials? We see constant persecutions of minority groups such as the Christians during Roman times without having any trials? Can you provide the contrary?

In addition to this, there is multiple attestation from the gospels, which are the earliest accounts of Jesus' life, which demonstrate Jesus did have a trial or hearing, something that doesn't press any doctrine onto the reader.

"Secondly, the BOP is on you to prove Jesus was real, I proved that there is no proof that he ever existed, and since if he existed there would be proof, we may conclude that he never existed."

So far all you have try to deal with is minor issues, where I haven't seen you sight one historian or ancient writing at the time to support your case, what have you proven? You haven't actually dealt with the gospels, or Tacitus' writings or the 40 other mentions within 150 years of his life? Until you start to show that the gospels have no truth, zero, you haven't proved anything.

So In your next argument, I want you to thoroughly debunk the Gospels Reliability, otherwise they still stand, along with multiple other writings, as evidence for the existence of Jesus.

We? If your'e referring to scholars and historians academics with relevant fields, then you're in a serious minority, I can only think of a handful out of the thousands of scholars who deny the existence of Jesus or cast doubt, in fact the amount of historians and scholars, who deny Jesus' existence, is as much as those who deny the holocaust, it's beyond academic discussion. This doesn't prove he existed, but if you believe in the contrary you must present some pretty damn good evidence to debunk it.

The idea of Jesus existing, was present in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th century, the first time his existence was even questioned was 1800 years later, surprisingly, attacks on Christianity had nothing to do with whether or he existed, but if he was God etc. and why is this? Most likely, because the amount of documentation was so much greater then and even today, the sources overwhelmingly support the view of a figure called Jesus.

"Alexander the great left lasting landmarks as well as brought Greek influence to Egypt which thus proves he existed."

To bring up influence of Alexander the Great to prove his existence, doesn't come close to the influence of a Jewish carpenter in 1st century Palestine, none of it proves the existence of a Character, Jesus influenced the whole of the Roman Empire by the 4th century, and caused Christianity to grow, but Nero's reign (60s AD) not just in Judea, but widespread as far as Rome, There a early christian writings in the 2nd century as far as Syria, Turkey, Egypt etc etc.

"Thirdly, towns in the 1st century Palestine were not illiterate, Jews always knew how to read and write, they never forgot. So they wouldn't need scribes."

"The most thorough examination of literacy in Palestine is by a professor of Jewish studies at the University of London, Catherine Hezser, who shows that in the days of Jesus probably only 3 percent of Jews in Palestine were literate."

The vast majority of Jesus' followers were fisherman and those living in Poverty, they certainly wouldn't be able to read and write during the early years of Christianity, until the following grew to the extent, where schooling was available and scribes such as Silas, the scribe of Peter's letters in the 60s AD.

"and Paul's letters don't count as records, in fact there is a lot of evidence that your entire Non-Testament was tampered with by Constantine,"

Explain why and with sources, how a contemporary writer who lived at the time and place of the supposed figure, met with Jesus' brother and disciples, a convert, from Judaism who in many letters, show very little interests in promoting an agenda, take Galatians, doesn't count as records, you couldn't get much more reliable if you tried.

Secondly, the New Testament has by far of the greatest manuscript attribution in ancient history, Here is a list of Writings around the same time of the Gospels, with there earliest and manuscript tradition, and I'm also going to include the Old Testament (Torah)

Tacitus we have 20 manuscripts dating 1000 years after his life
Suetonius we have 8 manuscripts dating 800 years after his life
Caesar we have 10 manuscripts dating 1000 years after his life

Before the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls the Earliest Manuscripts we had for the Old Testament, dated to after the 1st century, or centuries after, they provide us with pre 1st century writings, remarkable, but compared to the New Testament, it's a no contest.

New Testament 5800 Greek Manuscripts alone, 24,000 in other languages, earliest copy, depending on the dating of Gospel of John 25-50 years.

In fact, by the turn of the 3rd century, we can construct the majority of the New Testament, including whole gospels, way before Constantine. There are quotations also from early church fathers, dating to the 1st and 2nd century.

Please provide evidence for the contrary.

"Moshe and Avram they also have been proven, why then can't Jesus be? And why does your belief get to be "true until proven wrong" that's not how it works, claims are to be false until proven true, something you failed to fulfil."

Actually, Moses and I guess that's Abraham, have no sources outside the Penateacuh for hundreds of years, historians highly doubt their existence, unlike Jesus who even atheist scholars believe existed, due to multiple attestation from numerous sources of different locations and opinions, we have 4x more sources for Jesus than Emperor Tiberius within
150 years.

"there 3 million witnesses of G-d giving Moshe the Torah on mount Sinia"

It's obvious you're just talking out of your mouth, you can't historically demonstrate this even occurred, whilst Jesus is easily demonstrable due to multiple sources from followers of Jesus, there followers, Jews such as Josephus, Tacitus the greatest Roman Historian of all time, Pliny the Younger a Roman writer it goes on and on.

Your last part of the argument went off on a tangent, which doesn't matter, so im not going to even talk about it.

So again, to disprove the existence of Jesus, please refute the gospels 100% unreliability.

Oh, and as you're jewish here are two Jewish sources about Jesus

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, , a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was called the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross,[9] those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for they say he appeared to them alive again the third day;[10] . And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

Josephus, Jewish Historian during 1st century, born in Pharisee family

"On the eve of the Passover Yeshua was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy."

JEWISH TALMUD Sanhedrin 43a, Yeshua or Joshua in English, is the Hebrew name for the Greek name Jesus.
harrytruman

Con

It is a historic issue because a roaring mob of Jews demanding the Mitzvot be violated, not going to happen, thus, the story of Jesus's crucifixion is unrealistic. And yes, we can't violate the laws of G-d, think of it, when is the last time you saw a Jew eat of the pork? Yeah, never going to happen, much less a law like this one, and an entire mob of Jews all wanting to violate this law, it isn't going to happen, sorry.

And I didn't say trial, I said hearing, see the difference? A trial includes a Jury a Judge and etc. A hearing is only when they decide to punish you. To deal with the rest, there is a reason his existence wasn't question until the 1800's, that being before this you would be burnt at the stake for something like that. And most arguments deal with the divinity of Jesus is because claiming you are G-d is far worse than not existing.

Oh, and here's a good point t bring up, Mark 16:9-16, it isn't in he original manuscripts, {1} {2}. And the Sanhedrin isn't a historic record, even if it was its story is different than that told by the Non-Testament since it says Jesus was hung, number three, there are many people who are Named Joshua, fourth of all, Josephus was born in 37 C.E., 4 years after the death of Jesus, {3} so.....

{1}. http://www.bible-researcher.com...
{2}. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net...
{3}. https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Oliver_Douglass

Pro

"And yes, we can't violate the laws of G-d, think of it, when is the last time you saw a Jew eat of the pork?"

This is obviously false, due to the fact that if Jews never violated the laws of God, that would make you sinless, which means the Burnt Offerings and Sin Offerings to God during the exile of Egypt would've been pointless? From a biblical standpoint, the suffering of the world enters through sin, are you saying that all the times God punished the Israelites by losing battles and becoming captive wasn't because they broke his commands and disobeyed him?

"That being before this you would be burnt at the stake for something like that."

This is a fair argument once the Roman Catholic Church was established during the 4th century onwards, however, you still have 300 years where political enemies such as Lucian of Samosata who had a great hatred for Christianity in the 2nd century, never doubted the existence of Jesus.

"and here's a good point t bring up, Mark 16:9-16, it isn't in he original manuscripts, {1} {2}"

We don't know whether or not Mark 16:9-20 was within the original manuscripts, since for no ancient work do we have original documents, and before you try to use this to your defense, just remember my previous argument of manuscript tradition in comparison to other ancient writings.

Mark 16:9-20 as you said, probably wasn't within the manuscripts, as it isn't present in the Codex Vaticanus and Siniaticus of the 4 century, since it wasn't within the original, you then can't use this to historically undermine the gospels narrative of Mark, as it wasn't his writing in the 1st place.

Secondly, Mark 16, has nothing to do with the crucifixion, and is one of the two examples of interpolations along with John 7:56-8 within the gospels, apart from these two, 99% of the text is can be established by scholars and historians as original, that 1% is spelling punctuation and grammar.

"And the Sanhedrin isn't a historic record, even if it was its story is different than that told by the Non-Testament since it says Jesus was hung,"

It's quite a paradox when someone who is Jewish undermines the reliability of the Talmud, the main source for a large amount of Jewish History and commentaries on the Torah. Crucifixion, was actually a form of hanging, the majority of people crucified, didn't die as a result of bleeding, but rather the asphyxiation or suffocation, caused by the bodyweight collapsing onto the lungs, even in Acts, we find the word "hung" being used, the same author as that of the Gospel of Luke, it's a common term for crucifixion that the Romans used.

"there are many people who are Named Joshua,"

The same way there are many people called Aaron? That's an irrelevant comment, there's only one person we know who in the 1st century was called Jesus and considered a sorcerer and leading the Jews astray who resulted in dying by crucifixion, can you name another who had these events? I don't think so.

"Josephus was born in 37 C.E., 4 years after the death of Jesus, {3} so....."

yes, so what? I even stated this in my previous argument, are you saying historians of today can't make sense of the events of WW2? through primary sources?

From the educated background, being raised by Jewish Pharisees who had internal divisions within Christians, following the rising of Christianity throughout his life and fighting in the Jewish War, don't you think in his antiquities of the Jews when mentioning Jesus, TWICE, if he didn't exist would state it?
harrytruman

Con

No, we aren't sinless, but it's ridiculous to say we would violate the laws because you don't see why not. Truth is truth, we wouldn't get in a mob and demand the Mitzvot be violated, it isn't realistic.

Christianity came into existence around 100 C.E., while the Catholic Church came into existence at 312 C.E. so that's 212 years in between where Christians were persecuted, on the other hand, everyone believed in Jesus because someone else told them about him, not because they met him, and the scrolls of the New Testament weren't circulating all that much, there weren't very many of them, and the ones that were often conflicted each other, for example, in the original scrolls of the book of revelation, the number "666" was sometimes written "666" and sometimes as "616," a contradiction in the texts thus disproving their reliability. {1} P.S. Constantine got to decide what went into the New Testament and what didn't {2}.

Also, the Talmud is extremely unreliable in every way imaginable, {3} so it really doesn't matter what it says. Number two, it actually said stoning, which never happened to Jesus. Number three, yes- there are many people named Joshua, including Joshua the prophet, and the Talmud was referring to another Joshua just as it was when it said Joshua is in hell boiling in hot excrement.

{1}. http://www.endtime.com...
{2}. http://www.equip.org...
{3}. https://docs.google.com...
Debate Round No. 4
Oliver_Douglass

Pro

"Christianity came into existence around 100 C.E."

I don't know where you got the idea the religion came into existence 70 years after the events, please explain?

"everyone believed in Jesus because someone else told them about him, not because they met him,"

This isn't true, the original disciples such as Peter, John and James, believed in Christ through personal conviction of his Resurrection the same applies to his women followers, In addition to this, the historian Tacitus was a senator who had access to the Roman Archives called the Acta Senatus and a style of Roman Gazette at the time, which recorded famous deaths and events during the reigns of the Emperors, which is why he mentioned Jesus' death by crucifixion.

Also, this isn't a problem, in a short time span whilst the original disciples were alive, you would have to demonstrate where there was additions to the oral tradition in order to disprove it, secondly, there are creeds dating back to the 30s to the original disciples themselves, so we can clearly see that the idea of Jesus' crucifixion came from the very beggining

" and the scrolls of the New Testament weren't circulating all that much, there weren't very many of them, and the ones that were often conflicted each other,"

Again, how can you necessarily know this? What are your sources to coming to this conclusion? In the first periods of Christianity, it was mainly orally spread, with the exception of the letters of Paul, the reason for this was because Christianity was in it's early stages, where the religion wasn't held by hundreds of thousands in a wide range of areas, once persecutions started to occur, and the death of the disciples, they realized they would have to preserve there word, what we find is that when we examine the gospels and early church fathers, written in the time frame of 50-150 AD, there isn't a change in doctrine to Paul's letters, and the creeds pre-dating Paul, the idea of the crucifixion literally is ridiculously early.

"in the original scrolls of the book of revelation, the number "666" was sometimes written "666" and sometimes as "616," a contradiction in the texts thus disproving their reliability. "

Again, do you have the original scrolls? No, so you can't make this assumption, secondly, I'm very concerned when a Jew tries to talk about numerical contradictions when you look at the Old Testament, there are multiple contradictions between Chronicles and Kings for example, does this undermine the text? No, not at all, does this change doctrine? no not at all, EVERY text has variants, whether or not they affect doctrine is what matters, and none of them do, you never find one Christian stating the crucifixion never happened, with the gospels and early church fathers. Also, this is revelation, which has nothing to do with the crucifixion.

Please, demonstrate that the gospels are 100% untrue along with all the other sources, then, and only then, can you claim that Jesus never existed.

"S. Constantine got to decide what went into the New Testament and what didn't"

Not true, at all, the Council of Nicea is massively misunderstood, and actually had nothing to do with what went within the New Testament, but rather to do with the Bishop Arian, who tried to claim Jesus and the Father are separate gods, in the end he was defeated by an overwhelming majority.

There are manuscripts, predating all the Councils of where the New Testament is canonized, none of these documents don't contain the 4 gospels, or the writings of Paul, not one, the Murotorian Fragment also in the 2nd century, gives a canonized list of the Syriac Church, and we find all 4 gospels, and never the Gospel of Thomas, Phillip etc within them.

Secondly, even the New Testament book of Peter, calls Paul's letters scripture, Clement of Rome and Ignatius make quotes from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but never from any other supposed Gospel/
harrytruman

Con

The first gospel was written around 100 C.E. which was not within the lifespan of the original diciples since the average ife expectancy of a Roman was 20-30 years, the diciples couldn't have lived until then. {2}


{1}. https://www.washingtonpost.com...

{2}. https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Oliver_Douglass 6 months ago
Oliver_Douglass
Okay, if you set up a debate question, I will challenge
Posted by harrytruman 6 months ago
harrytruman
Yeah I want to debate his divinity/messiah ship with you.
Posted by Oliver_Douglass 6 months ago
Oliver_Douglass
On his last point of the gospels being written in 100 CE, below is the standard saying for the gospels;

Mark 65-70 CE
Matthew and Luke 80-90 CE
John 90-95

To note, these are actually arbitrary dates, there is no universal consensus amongst scholars and historians the only dates which are certain is within the 1st century due early manuscripts and church father quotations, however I don't see the dating much of an issue, since as long as it's within the timeframe of the disciples and early eyewitnesses which they are (John you could argue against), however the actual content such as crucifixion and resurrection is pre Pauline
Posted by Oliver_Douglass 6 months ago
Oliver_Douglass
Partially, but not necessarily about whether or not Jesus rose from the dead, I've listed the positions I will be defending, however If you want to debate his Resurrection we could do in another one?
Posted by lyokowarri0r 6 months ago
lyokowarri0r
I think it is widely believed that he existed. Is the debate whether he existed like in the Bible?
Posted by thebestdebate 6 months ago
thebestdebate
I agree that he existed. I would have loved to have this debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.