The Instigator
HolyJebus
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Pro (for)
Winning
33 Points

Did Jesus really live?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 976 times Debate No: 5995
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (5)

 

HolyJebus

Con

i'll let you go first
InquireTruth

Pro

My opponent has given me no argument against the historical Jesus so I will make my case and address the most common arguments presented by the mythological Jesus camp.

The Historicity of Jesus as contested by extrabiblical sources, biblical sources, and basic logic:

1. Tacitus was an early Roman historian who wrote early in the 2nd century. In his writings we have a reference to Jesus as the founder of Christianity and his being crucified under the thumb of Pontius Pilot. Unfortunately much of Tacitus' work has been lost, including portions from 29-32 AD – an area which would have included Jesus' trial had he recorded it (1). The Tacitus quote is as follows:

"Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind."

Tacitus' great historical ability is lauded by most all historians and scholars (2). With Tacitus' reliability it seems unreasonable that he would be wrong in his assessment. Also, Tacitus' obvious disdain for Christianity stands to reason against any notion that Tacitus was biased in the matter.

2. The Jewish historian Josephus is especially interesting (3). Josephus has given us reliable information regarding the existence of high priests Annas and Caiaphas, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, King Herod, John the Baptist, even Jesus' brother James. There is a larger passage in Josephus which talks about Christ which is obviously a later Christian interpolation – and there is evidence for that. But Josephus gives us non-disputed testimony for the existence of many biblical characters, and he also has a small passage that talks of Jesus:

"But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned (4)."

There is no evidence that such a reference is an interpolation because it is in every extant manuscript we have available. The textual evidence suggests that it is genuine specifically because of the nonchristian terminology and even disagreement with Christian history regarding the martyrdom of James (5).

3. Also, if we have extrabiblical accounts that verify the identify of most all major biblical characters (including Jesus himself), why would we presume the Gospels to by lying in regards to the identify of Jesus Christ? Recently in 1961 the first archaeological evidence concerning Pilate was unearthed in the town of Caesarea (6). Even more recently, in 1990 the actual tomb of Caiaphas, the high priest who presided over Jesus' trial, was discovered south of Jerusalem (7). We have mounting evidence for the reliability of the NT's biblical characters, which makes it very unlikely that the Gospels are lying. The Gospels are also separate and confirming accounts for the validity of the historical Jesus – to say nothing of the epistles which are an even earlier witness.

4. William Lane Craig points out the fact that, "There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts (8)." That is to say, no modern scholar thinks of the gospels as bald-faced lies, the result of a massive conspiracy. What is rarely addressed by skeptics is the fact that there was not enough time between Jesus death and the writing of gospels for there to have been a formulated Jesus legend hypothesis. Many modern scholars respond to the Jesus legend idea by saying, "The fact of Christianity's beginnings and the character of its earliest traditions is such that we could only deny the existence of Jesus by hypothesizing the existence of some other figure who was a sufficient cause of Christianity's beginnings - another figure who on careful reflection would probably come out very like Jesus!"

5. The rule of parsimony applies here (9). It is used explicitly as a criterion for deciding between rival hypothesis of equal explanatory power, and the simplest theory wins. If we were to permit the outrageous idea that the Jesus-myth hypothesis has equal explanatory power, it would be negated and rejected by the law of parsimony. However, since it fails to explain the vast majority of the details - passion of the few, triumph in closed locales, resistance to modification by subsequent cultures, uniformity in variegated sources, etc. - it never even makes it this far. Parsimony, we say in summary, is closely related to plausibility, and the most plausible explanation for the origin of Christianity in this regard is that Jesus actually existed.

Common arguments used by Christ-Mythers

1. Comparing Osiris, Horus and Jesus
This is the idea that Jesus is merely a derived character from Hellenistic mythology. Mythers compare the life of Jesus to the mythology of Osiris and Horus. Unfortunately, most all of the connections made there is not a shred of evidence for. Therefore, any use of this argument necessitates the use of the original Egyptian literature to back up this claim. Any such regurgitation of Gerald Massey or Godfrey Higgins should promptly be ignored by the voters as dishonest debating.

2. Comparisons with Mediterranean mystery religions
If this argument is to be used, my opponent must supply the sources for the original material and cite extant manuscripts that confirm his hypothesis. The comparisons must also be from sources that predate Christianity. My opponent then must explain how this myth was promulgated in light of the fact that Christianity was a rapidly growing movement so quickly after Jesus' death, with eyewitnesses still alive.

Conclusion:
This is all I can write for now, my character limit approaches. But let the readers note that I still have Suetonius, Pliny, Thallus, Talmud, and Acts of Pilate as extrabiblical sources for the historicity of Jesus.
I wish my opponent luck and look forward to his response.

Sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://books.google.com...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. Antiquities 20.9.1
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
6. http://en.wikipedia.org...
7. http://www.kchanson.com...
8. http://www.leaderu.com...
9. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
HolyJebus

Con

HolyJebus forfeited this round.
InquireTruth

Pro

It is very unfortunate that my opponent has chosen to forfeit his round. I extend all my arguments and hopefully my opponent will have had enough time to formulate a reasonable response for the following round.
Debate Round No. 2
HolyJebus

Con

HolyJebus forfeited this round.
InquireTruth

Pro

Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists! Jesus exists!
Debate Round No. 3
HolyJebus

Con

HolyJebus forfeited this round.
InquireTruth

Pro

That is all folks!
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
At least my opponent debated with me - Pro all pts.
Posted by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
I AM A BIASED VOTER. I SHALL DISREGARD ALL DEBATE CONTENT AND VOTE BLINDLY...

All points to PRO. Yes, even S&G and Conduct. When someone practically forfeits the ENTIRE debate, then I give all points to PRO.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by mastajake 8 years ago
mastajake
HolyJebusInquireTruthTied
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Vote Placed by Labrat228 8 years ago
Labrat228
HolyJebusInquireTruthTied
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Vote Placed by jjmd280 8 years ago
jjmd280
HolyJebusInquireTruthTied
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Vote Placed by TheSkeptic 8 years ago
TheSkeptic
HolyJebusInquireTruthTied
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Vote Placed by InquireTruth 8 years ago
InquireTruth
HolyJebusInquireTruthTied
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Total points awarded:05