The Instigator
Jerry947
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ThinkBig
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Does the Christian God Exist?

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
ThinkBig
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/11/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,214 times Debate No: 92335
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (43)
Votes (3)

 

Jerry947

Pro

This Challenge is for ThinkBig.

The resolution is "Does the Christian God Exist?"

-Pro argues that the Christian God does exist.

-Con argues that the Christian God does not exist.

Rules...

Round 1:
-Pro gives definitions and sets up debate
-Con accepts the debate (acceptance only).

Round 2:
-Pro gives opening argument
-Con gives opening argument...no rebuttals.

Round 3:
-Pro responds to what Con argued
-Con responds to what Pro argued

Round 4:
-Both debaters conclude their arguments and finish responding to what each other wrote.

Definitions:

Christian God-The God described by the Bible.

Exist-have objective reality or being (https://www.google.com...).
ThinkBig

Con

I woud like to thank Jerry974 (Pro hereafter) to this debate. I have read your previous debates and I know I have a formidable opponent.

As per the rules, this round is for acceptance only. Good luck Pro!
Debate Round No. 1
Jerry947

Pro

1. The Existence of Jesus:

Almost all scholars in our age believe that Jesus was a real person (http://www.is-there-a-god.info...). There are many ancient historians (http://www.gotquestions.org...) that have written about him and we even have writings from the people that knew Jesus (The New Testament). You should have no doubt that Jesus was a real person. The famous historian Josephus for example stated that "Jesus was a wise teacher who was crucified by Pontius Pilate" In other words, we also have proof that Jesus was crucified. The Bible affirms all of this and even explains why Jesus' body went missing from the empty tomb. More on that later...

Jesus claimed to be God and his friends and his brothers claimed that he was God. Josephus tells us that Jesus was a good teacher. But it is a mistake to believe that Jesus was only a good teacher. C.S. Lewis stated that "is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg; or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse." People of the time period indicate that Jesus was a good person and a good teacher...but you can't be these things if you are insane.

Lets go back to the empty tomb. The historian Luke states (chapter 24) that the tomb was found empty by women. How did this happen? The best explanation(http://www.reasonablefaith.org...) is that Jesus was who he said he was and did in fact rise from the dead. People might claim that Jesus never died but this is silly considering that we know he was crucified and that he was buried. No one could survive that process. Others claim that the body never went missing which is ridiculous considering the Romans and the Jews could have merely shown Christians the body and then their faith would be destroyed. And on top of that, there are people such as the New Testament writers that claim they along with 500 other people saw Jesus after his death. Even the brothers of Jesus (who previously disbelieved in the deity of their brother) came to believe that Jesus was God. Think about that for a moment...what would it take for you to believe that your brother (if you have one) was God? Would it take a resurrection? Nevertheless they became Christians.

Here are the specific sources that mention Jesus outside of the Bible...

Tacitus wrote that "Nero fastened the guilt ... on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of ... Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome...."

Pliny wrote that "They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food " but food of an ordinary and innocent kind."

The Babylonian Talmud says "On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald ... cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy."

Lucian wrote that "The Christians ... worship a man to this day " the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account.... [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws."

Source: http://www.bethinking.org...

2. New Testament Sources

Again, the eye witnesses who wrote the four gospels (written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) also wrote that Jesus was killed on the cross and was missing three days later.

b. People that the Bible mentioned have been proven to have existed: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org...

c. Events in the Bible have been confirmed to have happened: http://www.christiananswers.net...

d. And the Bible has been supported by archaeological findings: https://carm.org...

Luke, for example, mentioned "thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities and nine islands without an error" (http://www.everystudent.com...). Then of course there is the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Bethsaida, and etc..that have all been confirmed to have existed (https://www.youtube.com...). The point is that the Bible mentions real places which shows that it is historically reliable.

So the Bible is a reliable source. The gospel writer Luke has around 80 confirmed facts proven in the book of Acts and I just could go on and on (John has 59).

Therefore the information is accurate because it was written by real people who wrote about real people, real places, and about real events that took place. For example, when a person reads the gospel of Matthew, they are reading an eyewitness account of the events that took place. And because the document mentions real people, real places, real events, and details only an eyewitness would know...the source is reliable. There is no good reason to deny the reliability of the New Testament.

3. Gospels show that Jesus raised from the dead proving that Jesus is God

Matthew-https://www.biblegateway.com...

Mark-https://www.biblegateway.com...

Luke-https://www.biblegateway.com...

John-https://www.biblegateway.com...

Paul also has something to say about it-https://www.biblegateway.com...

Since the existence of Jesus is a fact, since he clearly was crucified, and since his tomb was found empty, and since people of the time period say that he rose from the dead, Jesus is the Christian God and he most definitely exists.

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and I hope this turns out well.
ThinkBig

Con

I would like to thank Pro for his opening statements. As per the rules of this debate, this round should be for opening arguments only. As such, I will not make any rebuttals in this round.

I have not debated this topic in a long time and this is one of my favorite topics to debate. I look forward to the challenge.

Introduction: What this debate is not about

This debate is not about the existence of God. Rather, this debate is about the existence of the Christian God. In order for Pro to fulfill his burden of proof, he has to prove that the Christian God exists. I do not have to prove atheism, or any other faith, correct in order to negate the resolution.

Contention 1: The Argument from Confusion

Christianity is not homogenous in any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, the World Christian Encyclopedia estimates that there are over 20,000 Christian denominations (Barrett, 2001). These various denominations of Christianity are vast in practice and beliefs and differ on vital theological issues such as the trinity, salvation, baptism, heaven, and hell.

The reason that these denominations and practices exist is not because of Satan, the Devil, or apostasy; rather, it is because the Bible is unclear on certain issues and is contradicts itself (see my next contention).

In John 17:21, Jesus prayed that all of His disciples (and by extension, all of Christendom) would be one. Sadly, this has not been the case ever since Jesus founded Christianity.

Pro would most certainly agree that Salvation is one of the most important doctrines in Christianity. Indeed, according to Christian belief, without Salvation we would all be doomed to hell.

Certain denominations of Christianity believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, others believe that salvation is a pre-requisite of baptism and that baptism is merely an after-the-fact symbol. Still, others believe that obedience to the Law is a requirement (Matthies, 2002).

So, I will ask Pro, what must I do to be saved?

Putting this all together, we get this syllogism from Theodore Drange (Drange, 2006):

1 If the God of Christianity were to exist, then:

  1. a. He would love all Christians and want a personal relationship with them.
  2. b. People would need to have G-beliefs (among other things) in order to have the sort of relationship with God that he would want them to have.

2 Therefore, if the God of evangelical Christianity were to exist, then he would want all Christians to have G-belief

3 Thus, if the God of evangelical Christianity were to exist, then he would probably prevent Christians from becoming confused or conflicted about matters that are the subject of G-beliefs.

4 But some Christians are confused about such matters.

5 And many Christians disagree with one another about such matters.

6 Therefore, Christians have not been prevented from becoming confused or conflicted about matters that are the subject of G-beliefs.

7 Hence, probably the God of evangelical Christianity does not exist.

Contention 2: Errors in the Bible

There is much that can be said about Biblical errors and contradictions. However, due to the character limit, I will limit myself so Pro can have adequate space to properly rebut my claims. I borrowed and revised a syllogism from Theodore Drange. This argument is known as the argument from Biblical errors (Drange, 2006):

1 If the God of Christianity were to exist, then God would see it that the Bible is perfectly clear, authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship.

2 Some facts about the Bible are the following:

  1. a. It contains contradictions and failed prophecies
  2. b. It contains interpolations

3 Therefore, the Bible is not perfectly clear, authoritative, and has the appearance of merely human authorship

4 Hence, the God of Christianity most likely does not exist.

The Bible Contains Contradictions and Unfulfilled Prophecies

In order to give my opponent enough time to counter these, I will present one contradiction and one unfulfilled prophecy that I believe to be most consequential.

Who was the Father of Joseph?

The father of Jesus was Jacob

The father of Joseph was Heli

Matthew 1:16 “and Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

Luke 3:23 “Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli”

Genealogy is very important. According to Jewish law, the father determines the tribal status of the child. For example, if the mother is from the Tribe of Judah and the father is from the tribe of Levi, the child is considered to be a Levi. However, the mother determines the Jewish status of the child. If the mother is not Jewish and the father is Jewish, then the child is not Jewish.

Christians claim that Jesus was the Messiah. According to the Prophets, the Messiah had to be a direct descendant of King David and also King Solomon (see II Samuel 7:16).

Luke’s genealogy goes through Nathan, not Solomon. Thus, if Luke’s genealogy is correct, then Jesus is not the Messiah and thus the Christian God does not exist.

Failed prophecy: The prophecy of Egypt

The prophet Ezekiel makes several prophecies regarding Egypt that have failed.

Ezekiel 29:8-12 “...thus says the Lord God...and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste...no foot of man shall pass through it and no foot of beast shall past through it; it shall be uninhabited for forty years. And I will make the city of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated countries; and her cities shall be desolated forty years... I will scatter Egyptian among the nations, and disperse them through the countries.”

Ezekiel 29:20 “I have given him [Nebuchadnezzar] the land of Egypt as his recompense for which he has laboured, because they worked for me, says the Lord God.”

Ezekiel prophesized that Egypt will become desolate, will experience a diaspora, be uninhabited for 40 years, and be conquered by Babylon. Unfortunately, none of this ever happened (Tobin, Failed Prophecies, 2000)

The Bible Contains Interpolations

An interpolation is defined as an addition to the work that was added by someone other than the author. Some of the most famous examples are the Pericope Adulterae, the Johanine Comma, and the end to the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:9-20).

Probably the most famous example of an interpolation is that of the Johanine Comma. This is one of the clearest references to the trinity. Unfortunately, the statement is false. Got Questions notes (Got Questions Ministries, n.d.):

“While it would be convenient for there to be an explicit statement confirming the Trinity in the Bible, it is highly unlikely that the Comma Johanneum was originally a part of 1 John. Some ancient scribe, either intentionally or accidentally added it to a Latin manuscript, and then that addition was copied thousands upon thousands of times.”

One of the most beloved stories in the New Testament is the Pericope Adulterae, the story of Jesus saving an adulterous woman from being stoned. However, none of the early manuscripts have this passage, nor do any of the earliest Biblical translations. This passage was also unknown to Christian writers before Ambrose and Augustine. Even more, certain manuscripts have it appear not in the Gospel of John, but in Luke (Tobin, Unauthentic Texts in the New Testament , 2000)!

Finally, the last few verses of the Gospel of Mark has been under dispute. Certain manuscripts, for example, read, "And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation."

Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) notes, “[T]he fact remains that these 12 verses are under dispute and it is necessary to spotlight this issue when dealing with the historic reliability and inspiration of the New Testament manuscripts.” (Slick, n.d.)

I find it ironic that one of the forgeries in the New Testament is that of the Resurrection of Jesus!

Over to Pro!

Works Cited

Barrett, D. B. (2001). World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in The Modern World (2nd Edition ed., Vol. 1). Cambridge: Oxford University Press.

Drange, T. (2006). The Improbability of God. (M. Martin, & R. Monnier, Eds.) Ahmerst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Got Questions Ministries. (n.d.). What is the Comma Johanneum. Retrieved June 11, 2016, from Got Questions: http://www.gotquestions.org...

Matthies, B. S. (2002, February 27). Christian Salvation? Retrieved June 2016, 2016, from The Secular Web: http://infidels.org...

Slick, M. (n.d.). Is the ending of Mark really scripture? . (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry) Retrieved June 11, 2016, from CARM: http://carm.org...

Tobin, P. (2000). Failed Prophecies. Retrieved June 11, 2016, from Rejection of Pascal's Wager: http://rejectionofpascalswager.net...

Tobin, P. (2000). Unauthentic Texts in the New Testament . Retrieved June 11, 2016, from Rejection of Pascal's Wager: http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net...

Debate Round No. 2
Jerry947

Pro

I will quote my opponent and then respond to what he said.

"In order for Pro to fulfill his burden of proof, he has to prove that the Christian God exists. I do not have to prove atheism, or any other faith, correct in order to negate the resolution."

I said in round one that I had to argue for the Christian God's existence and that my opponent would have to argue that the Christian God does not exist. There is an equal burden here. No, they do not have to prove other faiths, but they do have to show that Jesus is not God.

"Christianity is not homogenous in any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, the World Christian Encyclopedia estimates that there are over 20,000 Christian denominations (Barrett, 2001)."

The denominations don't actually differ in beliefs that much. Though, I never see why this has anything to do with the debate.

"The reason that these denominations and practices exist is not because of Satan, the Devil, or apostasy; rather, it is because the Bible is unclear on certain issues and is contradicts itself (see my next contention)."

No, people have differences in beliefs because people naturally have differences in beliefs. There are some things the Bible is unclear about but there are also things that it is clear about. I can never understand why people think Christians have to agree on every little thing.

"In John 17:21, Jesus prayed that all of His disciples (and by extension, all of Christendom) would be one. Sadly, this has not been the case ever since Jesus founded Christianity."

We are all one in the sense that we agree that Jesus is fully God and that he saved us from Hell.

"Certain denominations of Christianity believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, others believe that salvation is a pre-requisite of baptism and that baptism is merely an after-the-fact symbol. Still, others believe that obedience to the Law is a requirement (Matthies, 2002)."

Yes but the thing all of us have in common is that we realize that acceptance of Jesus is necessary for salvation. And that is the part that makes us Christian. And all of us believe that baptism is necessarily...just not for salvation. Obedience to the law is something all Christians believe is important.

"So, I will ask Pro, what must I do to be saved?"

All Christians would tell you that you need to accept Jesus as Savior. Other people may add to that, but we all agree that is the fundamental point.

"People would need to have G-beliefs (among other things) in order to have the sort of relationship with God that he would want them to have."

What is a G-belief?

"Therefore, if the God of evangelical Christianity were to exist, then he would want all Christians to have G-belief?"

Still don't know what that is...

"Thus, if the God of evangelical Christianity were to exist, then he would probably prevent Christians from becoming confused or conflicted about matters that are the subject of G-beliefs."

Believing in God does not mean that we aren't confused about things. We don't become all knowing when we become Christians.

"Therefore, Christians have not been prevented from becoming confused or conflicted about matters that are the subject of G-beliefs."

Why should Christians understand an infinite God perfectly when we start a relationship with him? Your logic isn't making any sense.

"Hence, probably the God of evangelical Christianity does not exist."

I don't think that argument is solid at all.

"If the God of Christianity were to exist, then God would see it that the Bible is perfectly clear, authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship."

No, the Bible was written by humans. Not by God. That is a misunderstanding that my opponent has. It is more correct to say that the Bible was inspired by God.

"Who was the Father of Joseph?"

The genealogies in Matthew was tracing Joseph's lineage and the one in Luke was probably doing the same for Mary's family.

"Christians claim that Jesus was the Messiah. According to the Prophets, the Messiah had to be a direct descendant of King David and also King Solomon (see II Samuel 7:16)."

His father Joseph was Jewish (goes back to David) and his Mother was Jewish.

"Ezekiel prophesized that Egypt will become desolate, will experience a diaspora, be uninhabited for 40 years, and be conquered by Babylon. Unfortunately, none of this ever happened."

Link: http://evidenceforchristianity.org...

This link gives evidence that the prophecy was fulfilled.

"An interpolation is defined as an addition to the work that was added by someone other than the author. Some of the most famous examples are the Pericope Adulterae, the Johanine Comma, and the end to the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:9-20)."

The interpolations are usually obvious and removed. The ending of Mark for example was not an interpolation. This ending was cited by church men which goes back even before the earlier manuscript of the Bible we have.

"Probably the most famous example of an interpolation is that of the Johanine Comma. This is one of the clearest references to the trinity. Unfortunately, the statement is false."

I agree that that statement was added. But it was really obvious since we have over 5,000 copies of the original Bible. You can't get away with adding things to the Bible when we have the original copies.

"One of the most beloved stories in the New Testament is the Pericope Adulterae, the story of Jesus saving an adulterous woman from being stoned."

Again, the story is referenced by early church fathers. But this isn't a bid deal since it has no affect on Christian doctrine.

"I find it ironic that one of the forgeries in the New Testament is that of the Resurrection of Jesus!"

It isn't a forgery. "The reader of the New Testament may be confidently assured that these verses are original"written by the Holy Spirit through the hand of Mark as part of his original gospel account" (https://apologeticspress.org...). All you have to do is read that article to find out that the ending is the original one.

I thank my opponent for that well thought out post. Though, he didn't really do anything to argue against the existence of the Christians God. But they can do whatever they please.
ThinkBig

Con

I wish to thank Pro for his response. I will begin by responding to his opening arguments and then defending my opening statements, if time and space permits.

-- Pro's case --

I. The existence of Jesus

The vast majority of intellectually honest historians and scholars agree that Jesus existed. I also agree that Jesus existed; however, I will take issue with two of your sources.

The first source you use is Josephus. Most scholars believe that his work was re-written in favor of Jesus. Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) writes [1]:

"The problem with the copies of Antiquities is that they appear to have been rewritten in favor of Jesus and some say too favorable to have been written by a Jew. Add to this that the Christians were the ones who kept and made the copies of the Josephus documents throughout history and you have a shadow of doubt cast upon the quotes."

The next source I have an issue with is from the Talmud Bavli which writes "On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald ... cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy."

For centuries, anti-Semites have been using this source to prove that the Talmud is anti-Christianity and to justify the Jewish expulsions. The problem with this source is that it is not talking about Jesus. Yeshu was a common Jewish name during this time period.

To conclude, Charles Guignebert writes, “Jesus was arrested, tried, condemned and executed. Of that alone we are certain.” [2]

2. New Testament sources

Pro writes “Again, the eye witnesses who wrote the four gospels (written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) also wrote that Jesus was killed on the cross and was missing three days later.”

This leads me to the next question: Who wrote the gospels and were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John eye witnesses? First, taking the gospels on face value, Mark and Luke were NOT eye witnesses to the life of Christ and neither was Paul [3]. This leaves us with only half the gospels written by possible eye witnesses. But let’s get a bit more in depth.

Mark

Mark was the first gospel to have been written. Keep in mind, the historical Mark was not an eye-witness to the life of Christ. This is significant for the development of the rest of the gospels and the New Testament cannon as Matthew draws heavily from Mark.

Mark is descried as being from Palestine native and close disciple of Peter and thus wrote his gospel from his knowledge from Peter.

However, we can be reasonably certain that Mark was not authored by John Mark. The Gospel of Mark makes too many geographical errors and customs errors to be made by a native Palestinian. For example:

Mark 7:31 "Then he [Jesus] return from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee."

This passage suggests that Sidon is in between the roads of Tyre to the Sea of Galillee. However, we can see from the map below that the Sea of Galillee is to the southeat of Tyre, while Sidon is to the north of the city. It would be like going from New York to D.C. by the way of Boston. Simply not possible!





(Image credit: http://rejectionofpascalswager.net... )

Mark further makes mistakes when writting about Palestinian customs.

Mark 10:11-12 "He [Jesus] answered, 'Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.'"

This passage implies that women had the right to divorce their husbands. However, according to Jewish law, a woman did not have that right and still do not have such a right. Only the man is allowed to give the woman a get.

Simply put: A native Palestinian who was a disciple of Peter simply could not have made that many errors with geography and customs.

Matthew

Matthew was allegedly written by an eyewitness of Jesus. However, it has been demonstrated that Matthew draws heavily from Mark. Why would an eyewitness draw heavily from a non-eyewitness? (http://rejectionofpascalswager.net... )

This map nicely maps out the development of the New Testament cannon:




(Image credit: http://infidels.org... )


3. Gospels show Jesus being raised from the dead

Pro writes that the Gospels show that Jesus was raised from the dead. However, they contradict each other on almost every manner of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. For an event that is so central to Christianity, you'd think that the Gospels would agree, but they do not.

What time did the women visit the tomb?

Mark 16:1
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James, and Salomebought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen .

Matthew 28:1
After the Sabbath, at dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdelene and the other Marywent to look at the tomb.

John 20:1
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark , and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

What was their purpose?

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen.

Matthew 28:1
After the Sabbath, at dawnof the first day of the week, Mary Magdelene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

Luke 24:1, 9-10
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb...When they came back from the tomb, they told all these to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdelene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with themwho told this to the apostle.

Paul Tobin writes:

"This contradiction is probably the most glaring example of how each evangelists twist the story to suit their respective plots. In Mark and in Luke, the women brought spices to anoint Jesus body. Note that this option was not possible for Matthew has had added his little interlude about the soldiers sealing and guarding the tomb, thus he mentioned that the women simply went to look at the tomb. John already had the body anointed two days ago by Joseph of Arimathea and Nocidemus (John 19:40), thus there was no mention of what Mary Magdalene was doing by visiting the tomb." [4]

So, how do we explain the "empty tomb"? Gerd Ludemann writes "We can no longer take the statements about the resurrection of Jesus literally...So let us say this quite specifically: the tomb of Jesus was not empty, but full, and his body did not disappear, but rotted away." [5]

Conclusion

I have shown that the New Testament's gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. I have shown that the Gospels contradict each other in the manner of Jesus' resurrection, further disproving the gospel narratives.

Note: Due to time constraints, I will not be able to respond until Sunday or late Saturday night. I ask that my opponent wait to post his response.

I will defend my opening statements in the following round.

Sources

1. http://carm.org...;
2. Guignebert, Jesus: p489
3. http://carm.org...
4. http://rejectionofpascalswager.net...
5. Ludemann, What Really Happened to Jesus: p134-135
Debate Round No. 3
Jerry947

Pro

1. The Existence of Jesus

a. My opponent agrees that Jesus existed so there is not really much else to say here. But I will quickly defend two of my sources just in case anyone is interested. There is no evidence that any additions were added to Josephus' work. That said, nobody questions that he mentioned Jesus, the parts that people think were added were the parts about the resurrection. My opponent then cites an article from carm to prove his point. However, that same link my opponent provided also states that "there is no proof that such insertions into the text were ever made. They may be authentic. The "Testimonium" is found in every copy of Josephus in existence. Second, Josephus mentions many other biblically-relevant occurrences that are not in dispute (see outline below). This adds validity to the claim that Josephus knew about Jesus and wrote about Him, since he also wrote about other New Testament things" (http://carm.org...). So therefore this source cannot be dismissed.

b. My opponent then questions the Talmud Bavli. He claims that the verse wasn't talking about Jesus and that Yeshu was a common name back then. My response is that this specific Yeshu in question was hanged (on a cross), accused of sorcery, and etc...Who else could that be referring to?

2. New Testament Sources:

a. My opponent asks me who wrote the gospels. The early church unanimously declared Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as the authors. Nobody from the time period disputed that. Also, Irenaeus wrote that "Matthew also published a gospel in writing among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter & Paul were preaching the gospel and founding the church in Rome. But after their death, Mark, the disciple & interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing what Peter used to preach. And Luke, Paul's associate, also set down in a book the gospel that Paul used to preach. Later, John, the Lord's disciple --- the one who lay on his lap --- also set out the gospel while living at Ephesus in Asia Minor" (Against Heresies 3.1.1). There is no reason to not believe that they wrote the gospels.

b. Mark is thought to be the first gospel written but this is not a fact. Though my opponent is right, Mark was not an apostle though he did know the people who knew Jesus. I don't think that the other gospels drew from him but it is possible that the other writers used him as a source.

Then my opponent claims that John Mark certainly did not write the gospel due to geographical errors. He cites Mark 7 and says "this passage suggests that Sidon is in between the roads of Tyre to the Sea of Galillee."

That would be the wrong way. But "what it means is that they had an itinerary of 1) Tyre, 2) Sidon, and THEN 3) the Sea and the Decapolis region. The journey to Sidon is NOT a case of 'what they went through to get there,' but, where they went also" (http://www.tektonics.org...). Therefore there is no error here.

Then my opponent says that "Mark further makes mistakes when writting about Palestinian customs." This is also not true. The Bible never says that women cannot divorce their husbands if my memory serves me correctly. I know that people cite Deuteronomy 24, but that passage never says that women can't divorce their husbands. That said, a woman could certainly divorce their husband according to Roman law. Also, keep in mind that Mark wrote his gospel in Greek and it was for the gentiles (not the Jews). So there are a lot of things to keep in mind here.

c. My opponent thinks that Matthew drew heavily from the gospel of Mark. I disagree with him. All of the early church fathers agreed that Matthew was the first gospel written. For example, Augustine wrote that "Now, those four evangelists whose names have gained the most remarkable circulation over the whole world, and whose number has been fixed as four, "are believed to have written in the order which follows: first Matthew, then Mark, thirdly Luke, lastly John" (http://taylormarshall.com...).

It is only recently that people have thought that Mark was written first. But this all really doesn't matter since the authorship is not the key to them being historically reliable. Though I do think it is safe to stay that Matthew was written first and by him for the many reasons I just gave.

3. Gospels show Jesus being raised from the dead:

a. My opponent claims that the gospel accounts contradict each other. He questions whether the women found the empty tomb at dawn (when the sun had risen) or at dark. This is not even close to being a contradiction. The minutes before and after dawn always resemble twilight (part dark, part light). It just depends on the perspective of the person speaking. At dawn, the terms light and dark are relative. So it is really desperate to claim that there is a contradiction here.

b. The verses from Matthew and Luke do not contradict each other. Yes, Matthew does not mention the fact that the women brought spices but so what? Both writers are correct that the women went to look at the tomb. Luke just so happened to give more detail that Matthew didn't give. But this is again not even close to being a contradiction. And by the way, the guards were posted so that no one could rob the grave. This wasn't to prevent people from preparing a dead body.

As for John, if you read John 19:41-42, we can see that the preparation of Jesus' body had to stop since the Sabbath was quickly approaching. So Mary (Luke 24:1) went to the tomb to complete the burial preparations.

Therefore the gospels are complementary. They add details but they do not contradict each other. It is kind of like when a police officer is solving a crime. He might get multiple accounts of what happened. Not everyone is going to give the same exact details.

4. Conclusion:

People have been trying to discredit the Bible for 2,000 years and it has withstood the test of time. I am convinced that nothing will ever change that.

My opponent has not shown that the gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and he has not shown that the gospel accounts contradict each other. I have thus proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus is God and that he exists. I thank my opponent for a good debate and I hope he has the time to post his last argument. I waited as long as possible to post my round to give him time. I hope it was enough.
ThinkBig

Con

I would like to thank Pro for a fun debate. I will begin by defending my opening statements, and if space permits, I will defend my rebuttals.

==My Case==

1. The argument from confusion

To restate my argument:
  1. If the God of Christianity were to exist, then:
    1. He would love all Christians and would want a personal relationship with them.
    2. People would need to have G-beliefs (among other things) in order to have the sort of relationship with God that he would want them to have
  2. therefore, if the God of evangelical Christianity were to exist, then he would want all Christians to have G-belief
  3. Thus, if the God of evangelical Christianity were to exist, then he would probably prevent Christians from becoming confused or conflicted about matters that are the subject of G-beliefs.
  4. But some Christians are confused about such matters.
  5. And many Christians disagree with one another about such matters.
  6. Therefore, Christians have not been prevented from becoming confused or conflicted about matters that are the subject of G-beliefs.
  7. Hence, probably the God of evangelical Christianity does not exist.
Pro was confused as to what I meant by "G-beliefs." G-belief is defined as "matters about which it would be very beneficial for people on earth to be knowledgeable. Included among them would be God's nature, God's laws, the nature of the afterlife, the requirements for salvation." (1) To put it more clearly, these would be considered by evangelical Christians to be "essential doctrines," doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith (2).

Because the Bible is ambiguous in certain areas, issues about God's nature, Salvation, Baptism, and other essential doctrines (G-beliefs) are contradictory among the thousands of Christian denominations.

In response to the fact that there are contradictory denominations, pro writes, "The denominations don't actually differ in beliefs that much. Though, I never see why this has anything to do with the debate."

The problem is, they do differ, and differ quite significantly. While there are some issues that are relatively minor (e.g., when do we observe communion? What is the order of the end times?), there are certain issues that causes a rift in Christianity. For example, according to the Catholic church, it is only by them that you are saved. There is no salvation outside the Catholic church (3). However, some other denominations say that it is the Catholic church that is in error and that they are a damnable cult that will send you to hell (4).

Pro writes, "There are some things the Bible is unclear about but there are also things that it is clear about. I can never understand why people think Christians have to agree on every little thing."

I did not say that they have to agree on every little thing. They do, however, have to agree on the essential doctrines, the G-beliefs.

One of my examples was how is someone saved? How does someone come to salvation? In response to this, Pro writes:

"All Christians would tell you that you need to accept Jesus as Savior. Other people may add to that, but we all agree that is the fundamental point."

Yet what does that mean? How do I come to accept Christ? Catholics teach that it is "Merit gained through God's grace, belief in Christ's sacrifice, and baptism. Good works performed under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Believes the Eucharist becomes the body and blood of Christ and the change is permanent (i.e., transubstantiation)." (5) Still, the Southern Baptist Convention states that one simply needs to believe and pray a "sinner's prayer" in order to be saved (6).

I believe that this argument is one of the strongest against the Christian God. According to the words of Robert Green Ingersoll: "Every sect is a certificate that God has not plainly revealed his will to man. To each reader the Bible conveys a different meaning." (7)

2. The argument from Biblical defects

Once again, I will restate the argument:
  1. If the God of Christianity were to exist, then God would see it that the Bible is perfectly clear, authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship.
  2. Some facts of the Bible are the following:
    1. It contains contradictions and failed prophecies
    2. It contains interpolations
  3. Therefore, the Bible is not perfectly clear, authoritative, and has the appearance of merely human authorship.
  4. Hence, the God of Christianity most likely does not exist.
As we have seen in the previous contention, I have defended the premise that God would want the Bible to be perfectly clear, and avoidance of ambiguities. These ambiguities lead to various contradictory denominations.

Contradictions

The contradiction that I bring up is the lineage of Jesus. Who was Jesus' grandfather? According to Matthew, it was Jacob, and Luke has it at Heli.

The father of Jesus was Jacob

The father of Joseph was Heli

Matthew 1:16 “and Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

Luke 3:23 “Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli”


Pro claims that the lineage in Matthew was Joseph's whereas the lineage in Luke was Mary's. This is nothing more than an ad hoc explanation. On what basis do we believe that one is Joseph's and the other is Mary's? Pro has failed to prove this. Furthermore, the text is plainly clear that these lineages are tracing Joseph, not Mary.

The final problem with pro's explanation is the fact that Jews do not trace genealogy by their mother. As St. Jerome points out "It is not the custom of the scriptures to count women in their genealogies."

Failed Prophecies

I argued that a failed prophecy of Egypt exists in the Book of Ezekiel. To respond to this, Pro writes:

"Ezekiel prophesied that Egypt will become desolate, will experience a Diaspora, be uninhabited for 40 years, and be conquered by Babylon. Unfortunately, none of this ever happened."

Link: http://evidenceforchristianity.org......

This link gives evidence that the prophecy was fulfilled.

I am debating you, not your source. Thus, I ask the voters to disregard his link. All arguments need to be made within the debate to count. It is poor conduct to link to a large article to have as your rebuttal. I simply do not have the time to respond to it.

Interpolations

There are several interpolations within the Bible. I pointed to three: Pericope Adulterae, the Johanine Comma, and the end to the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:9-20)."

A. The end of Mark

Pro writes:

The interpolations are usually obvious and removed. The ending of Mark for example was not an interpolation. This ending was cited by church men which goes back even before the earlier manuscript of the Bible we have.

It isn't a forgery. "The reader of the New Testament may be confidently assured that these verses are original"written by the Holy Spirit through the hand of Mark as part of his original gospel account" (https://apologeticspress.org......). All you have to do is read that article to find out that the ending is the original one.

Once again, I find it poor conduct to link to a Christian apologetics ministry and have me respond to the article. I'm debating you, not Apologetics Press. That source is over 16 pages long and 36,000 characters in length and a word count of over 7,000. I do not have the time to adequately go through the article to respond to it.

B. Pericope Adulterae

Pro writes "Again, the story is referenced by early church fathers. But this isn't a bid deal since it has no affect on Christian doctrine."

This directly contradicts pro's claim that the interpolations are obvious and removed. Further, he has failed to prove the claim that it is referenced by early church fathers. Even if it was, it does not change the fact that it is most likely a forgery. Even further, it does not change the fact that this story often appears in a completely different book!!

C. Johanine Comma

Pro writes "I agree that that statement was added. But it was really obvious since we have over 5,000 copies of the original Bible. You can't get away with adding things to the Bible when we have the original copies."

Wait, we have the original copies? The original manuscripts? Major citation is needed!

We do not have the original manuscripts (8), like pro claims. This statement is quite laughable and easily dismissed.

This, once again, contradicts pro's claim that the interpolations are obvious and removed. In the KJV Bible today, and in other translations, this dubious passage is still printed (9).

== Conclusion ==

I am out of characters, otherwise I would respond further. Pro has failed to prove that the Christian God exists. Further, he has not been able to respond to the challenge that many denominations of Christianity exist and that they are contradictory.

The resolution is negated.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...;
Debate Round No. 4
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 5 months ago
42lifeuniverseverything
RFD Continued:

.... therefore Christianity must be false because God has gone against his nature. This syllogism makes sense in a logical sense, barring exceptions that Pro might point out. Pro responds with "What is a G-belief?" I think Pro is serious, and if so this means the argument has gone over Pro's head. Uh oh. But Pro responds to the rest with "Believing in God does not mean that we aren't confused about things. We don't become all knowing when we become Christians. Why should Christians understand an infinite God perfectly when we start a relationship with him? Your logic isn't making any sense.I don't think that argument is solid at all." This is not a bad response. Con responds a round late with "G-belief is defined as "matters about which it would be very beneficial for people on earth to be knowledgeable. Included among them would be God's nature, God's laws, the nature of the afterlife, the requirements for salvation." Now this is a good definition of what was meant and Con should have provided it earlier. Con finally adds that "The problem is, they do differ, and differ quite significantly. While there are some issues that are relatively minor (e.g., when do we observe communion? What is the order of the end times?), there are certain issues that causes a rift in Christianity. For example, according to the Catholic church, it is only by them that you are saved. There is no salvation outside the Catholic church (3). However, some other denominations say that it is the Catholic church that is in error and that they are a damnable cult that will send you to hell (4)." Proving that clarification is absolutely necessary. But since this is the final round I consider the argument to be Con's only because Con has sources and Pro did not.

In Conclusion, Con wins arguments 2, 3, and 4. Thereby winning this debate.

I VOTE CON.

This votes has been brought to you by 42lifeuniverseverything. Have a good day.
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 5 months ago
42lifeuniverseverything
RFD Continued:

But Con has more. "Failed prophecy: The prophecy of Egypt The prophet Ezekiel makes several prophecies regarding Egypt that have failed." Con has a citation, and what appears to be a source for the failure. No link unfortunately. So the source is doubtful. Pro responds with "Link: http://evidenceforchristianity.org...... This link gives evidence that the prophecy was fulfilled." A lame response that falls flat. So Con wins this argument.

Con also has interpolations. "examples are the Pericope Adulterae, the Johanine Comma, and the end to the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:9-20)." These interpolations are examined by Con and have sources. Pro first reponds that "The interpolations are usually obvious and removed. The ending of Mark for example was not an interpolation. This ending was cited by church men which goes back even before the earlier manuscript of the Bible we have." But there is no citation from someone quoting the church men, so I cannot take Pro's word for it. Then Pro has responses to all interpolations. "I agree that that statement was added. But it was really obvious since we have over 5,000 copies of the original Bible. You can't get away with adding things to the Bible when we have the original copies." Where is the citation for the original manuscripts? Con even asks this later. I agree with Con that a citation is needed. This interpolation goes to Con and because an interpolation exists (in this figurative debate) I must assume that within this debate, the Bible is uncredible and therefore the New Testament sources do not have credibility. So Con wins the entire argument.

4. I want to finish with Theodore Grange's syllogism to explain why Christianity is false.

Con proposes a syllogism that because God did not specify the right beliefs to Christians, they could be following the wrong ideology unknowingly and because God is righteous and this has happened....

To be continued.
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 5 months ago
42lifeuniverseverything
RFD Continued:

Pro has one response for the two arguments. First Pro argues that. "He questions whether the women found the empty tomb at dawn (when the sun had risen) or at dark. This is not even close to being a contradiction. The minutes before and after dawn always resemble twilight (part dark, part light). It just depends on the perspective of the person speaking." I agree with this so I give this to Pro however it lacks a source. Pro fails to address the rotted body. The way I saw Con's argument it makes no logical sense (How can a body completely rot away in three days?!?). However because Pro fails to respond and drops it, the argument goes to Con. So at the moment, Con and Pro mostly tie this argument, but ultimately due to lack of sources on Pro's final response, I give Con the entire argument on Jesus's divinity.

3. New Testament Sources.

Here was a large one. The debate over whether the gospels were real or not. Pro begins with "Again, the eye witnesses who wrote the four gospels (written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) also wrote that Jesus was killed on the cross and was missing three days later." So all gospels confirm Jesus was resurrected. Got it. Pro also adds "b. People that the Bible mentioned have been proven to have existed: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org...... c. Events in the Bible have been confirmed to have happened: http://www.christiananswers.net...... d. And the Bible has been supported by archaeological findings: https://carm.org...... Luke, for example, mentioned "thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities and nine islands without an error" To bolster the credibility of Pro's sources in the gospels. So far I follow.

Con chooses to question the credibility of the whole book first by examining contradictions. I have already examined the father of Joseph argument.

To be Continued.
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 5 months ago
42lifeuniverseverything
RFD Continued:

Con responds that "Who was the Father of Joseph?" Now apart from this not being a response to C.S. Lewis, clearly Con intends this as the response. Joseph has a conflicting genealogy according to Con. As far as I can tell based on the evidence, this is true. But I need a counter. Pro responds that "The genealogies in Matthew was tracing Joseph's lineage and the one in Luke was probably doing the same for Mary's family."
But where is the source? There is none thus I discount such a significant response automatically on credibility purposes. So I believe that so far the argument rests with Con.

But Pro has a second prong to the divinity argument. "How did this happen? The best explanation(http://www.reasonablefaith.org......) is that Jesus was who he said he was and did in fact rise from the dead." Now the idea here is obvious to me. Con and Pro debate this back and forth, but the conclusion from Con should sum it up. "So, how do we explain the "empty tomb"? Gerd Ludemann writes "We can no longer take the statements about the resurrection of Jesus literally...So let us say this quite specifically: the tomb of Jesus was not empty, but full, and his body did not disappear, but rotted away." [5]" Also Con argues "When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus" body. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen.Matthew 28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawnof the first day of the week, Mary Magdelene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Luke 24:1, 9-10 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb...When they came back from the tomb, they told all these to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdelene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with themwho told this to the apostle. "

To be continued.
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 5 months ago
42lifeuniverseverything
RFD: This will be a multi comment RFD.

Congrats to both debaters for a solid debate. I feel that both sides had equal conduct (roughly), and equal S&G. I will be giving arguments and sources to Con for reasons to be explained.

Let's begin with sources because that is easier.

The reason Con will win sources is because of Con's stellar handling of sources throughout the debate. Pro did not handle some sources that well. And those sources were impactful to the debate. The first source was in Round 3. Pro said this "Link: http://evidenceforchristianity.org...... This link gives evidence that the prophecy was fulfilled." Giving a link without any explanation is poor source handling. This source does not count in the debate.

The second source is ""The reader of the New Testament may be confidently assured that these verses are original"written by the Holy Spirit through the hand of Mark as part of his original gospel account" (https://apologeticspress.org......). All you have to do is read that article to find out that the ending is the original one." Now clearly this is dealing with one of the contradictions so it is important yes? But once again Pro does not give any explanation where to even find the information Pro wishes to share. Hence another example of poor source handling.

Now Con had exemplary source handling, and never tossed a link around the entire debate that I could find. Thus I give sources to con based on the handling of sources, not the number of sources.

Now for arguments.

Argument 1: The Existence of Jesus.

I won't spend too much time on this one, but both sides agreed Jesus existed and was real. So this point is moot.

Argument 2: Jesus was divine.

Pro opens with "Jesus claimed to be God and his friends and his brothers claimed that he was God." And and argument from C.S. Lewis which is well thought out and good logic.

To be continued.
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 5 months ago
42lifeuniverseverything
So sorry for the late vote but I will work on it now.

42
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 5 months ago
42lifeuniverseverything
I will vote on this. A large RFD mind you. However I am halfway through reading this and realize how difficult the vote will be. I will have my vote and RFD in by tomorrow.

42
Posted by fire_wings 5 months ago
fire_wings
I'll vote after school ends
Posted by ThinkBig 5 months ago
ThinkBig
This structure actually worked out better:

1. Acceptance
2. Opening statements
3. Rebuttals to opening round
4. Defense of opening round.

It would have given me an unfair advantage had I been able to defend my rebuttals to him.
Posted by ThinkBig 5 months ago
ThinkBig
Since the source link did not work, here it is again http://www.debate.org...
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by David_Debates 5 months ago
David_Debates
Jerry947ThinkBigTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UPcNO7bGvQFK0cY1zq-fL6Ln4-pWB7vFMhEneXNhKVQ/edit
Vote Placed by 42lifeuniverseverything 5 months ago
42lifeuniverseverything
Jerry947ThinkBigTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 months ago
RoyLatham
Jerry947ThinkBigTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con presents the Argument from Non-belief (which Con calls the Argument from Confusion). The argument is self-contained and conclusive if the Christian God is defined as both omnipotent and good. The counter argument has to be that the Christain God is not necessarily omnipotent or good, or that somehow the failure to make the existence of God clear serves one of those purposes. Pro doesn't present an identifiable counter-argument, and seems not to get the point. Because the point is clear, that suffices to lose the debate. Pro argues that because the Bible cites certain facts correctly, the entire work should be taken as inerrant. Con correctly points out that the Bible contains contradictions, so therefore it cannot be assumed inerrant. Scripture from many religions confirms the tenets of the religion, thereby confirming different Gods. Scripture is therefore a doubtful source. Pro relied to heavily on scripture as a reliable reference; Con had independent sources.