The Instigator
Servant2008
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
rja7
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Historicity of the Bible

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Servant2008
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/10/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,277 times Debate No: 36560
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

Servant2008

Pro

So. Should the Bible be trusted as historical document? That's the topic. In other words, we're discussing the historicity of the Bible. I am saying, "yes". The first round will only be used for acceptance while the second will be used for opening statements. Round three is for rebuttals, and round four for closing arguments.

Rules:
1.) No profanity. Keep your language at best G-PG rated. No cursing, or swearing, please.
2.) Back up your reasoning. You don't necessarily have to cite specific sources, but it would help. Just make sure you're either quoting correctly, or citing correctly. Avoid plagiarism.
3.) Be respectful. Please, do not make disparaging remarks, and avoid insulting another person's intellect, and/or character.
4.) Have fun. This is an open debate. Just keep in mind that the pressure is on since this is a pretty touchy subject.
rja7

Con

The Bible at best is an allegory. Now when you say trusted I'm gonna assume you mean 'can we believe in any or all of it.I'll demonstrate why it shouldn't be trusted as an historical document.
1.The bible is said to be the word of God..The very foundation of the bible .the intrinsic nature of the bible presupposes that it is the word of God!So before we even get into the content of it you have to decide whether or not you believe that God articulated this to begin with.Imo there's no sufficient evidence to suggest this was the case(other than what the book says)

2.the many scientific fallacies.If we wanted to use the bible as tool of understanding our world we would believe the earth is flat and only 6 thousand years old.Natural selection clearly disproves genesis and so on.

3.The lack of evidence to support a great portion of the bible's content should be enough to dissuade any rational thinking person from treating it as historical fact.Even if there are some accuracy to the bible to cherry pick what you think is accurate is dishonest knowing that an overwhelming portion of it is fallacious an inaccurate.There for the bible should not be trusted as an historical document anymore then we would trust the (bible code)
Debate Round No. 1
Servant2008

Pro

Firstly, round one was only for acceptance. But I'll make my opening statements here anyways after I have thoroughly given a reply to the evidence already brought to the table.

1: Word of God-Your first accusation was that the only reason any even accept the Bible as historical fact is due to its position as a religious text. This is not the case, since it is used widely in archeology. Take a look at some of the many archaeological discoveries we have made simply based on biblical text.

2: Scientific fallacies-You claim that the Bible says the Earth is flat, and only six thousand years old. This is inaccurate. Isaiah 40:22 states that God sits enthroned above the CIRCLE of the earth. And in the passage, if you go back to the original language here (Hebrew) the word used is the word for a globe. Also, did you know that long before man discovered that the Earth is suspended in space that the Bible had it down pat? While the rest of the world thought that the Earth was held up by pillars, Job 26:7 says this: "He stretches out the northern expanse, and hangs the earth on nothing". Also, according to many Young Earth Creationists, the Earth would be somewhere closer to ten thousand years, or older. Not six thousand years. That, of course, is only Young Earth Creationists. There are also Old Earth Creationists (who still take the Bible at its word) but agree that the Earth is much older than ten thousand years. They are more in agreement with the scientific community in saying that the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old.

3: Lack of Evidence-As you can see from my discussions of the above topics, there is clearly enough evidence to ascertain that we can trust the Bible as a historical document. After all, it is the most well-preserved document of antiquity that we have, boasting over 5600 manuscripts. So that answers all your concerns. Moving on to my opening statements.

A large portion of academia seems dissuaded of the Bible's accuracy for various reasons including, but not limited to: apparent translation errors, historical errors, scientific fallacies, and even supposed internal contradictions. This, however, is not the case. Firstly, I will address supposed historical errors followed by scientific fallacies, and then internal contradictions of the Bible.

1.) Historical errors: Many claim that the Bible provides no proof of historical accuracy. Many people question whether or not some of the characters depicted were even real. King David, for example, has long been thought to be reserved to myth in the academic world much like King Arthur. Instead of being a historical figure, he is made out to be possibly an amalgamation of other rulers. This, however, was proven false with the discovery of the Tel Dan inscription. This was a tablet erected by a Hazael, King of Aram (today, we call it Syria) detailing a historic military victory. Interestingly enough, the tablet corresponds directly with 1 Chronicles 22. It was the first testament to a Davidic line in Jewish history. Also, some wonder if, indeed, there was a High Priest named Caiaphas during the time Jesus was crucified. For years there was simply no evidence, and that was the fact that skeptics clung to. They were, however, proven wrong when the Caiaphas Ossuary was found. This ossuary (it was basically an urn) dates back to the second temple era (around 30 AD), and it had the inscription of "Joseph, son of Caiaphas" (roughly translated). So Caiaphas had to have existed since he had a son. There are many more supposed historical errors skeptics will claim, but this suffices to prove my point. If the Bible were indeed as inaccurate historically, then these archaeological finds should not be in existence.

2.) Scientific fallacies: As I stated in the above rebuttal, science and the Bible are far more in agreement than many skeptics would have us to believe. We saw how the Bible observed the circular earth long before science kicked in, and how the observation of its suspension in space was not something added in later. After all, it was written in Job. Therefore, this really needs no defense. Sadly, the case for scientific fallacies in the Bible is found wanting.

3.) Internal Contradictions: It has been said that the Bible is "riddled with contradictions". Many supposed errors are then pointed out including, but not limited to: the two different creation accounts in Genesis, the different Flood accounts, and even points of interest during Jesus' ministry. Firstly, the different Creation accounts are not actually all that different. If you actually read, the second account (in Genesis 2) indicates that the Earth had already been formed when God created the Garden of Eden. This is actually a literary technique used by many during this time to show the same event from a different perspective. If God had already formed the Earth when he created the Garden of Eden, then naturally, we wind up around the sixth day since that was when he brought it all together. In it, we see the creation of man in much greater detail than we saw in Genesis 1. Same account, different perspective. Nextly, the Flood accounts are accused of being contradictory since first Noah was apparently told to bring two of each KIND of animal into the Ark, and then he is seemingly told to bring seven pairs of some animals, and one pair of other animals. This actually is quite simple to explain. If you notice, the word, "kind" is not what we refer to as "species". Instead, it is closer to "family" or "phylum". It could also be specified as "genus". So as we see, Noah did bring two of each kind of animal onboard. He simply brought extra pairs of some animals in case he had to make offerings to God. And the end of the story proves that he was right. Noah did have to make an offering. He also needed two doves, and a raven to check for dry land. Finally, we have the supposed contradictions within the ministry of Jesus. One day, Jesus leaving Jericho when he came upon two blind men. He healed them, and went on his way to Jericho. Wait. Say what? I thought he just left from there? Well, that's interesting. In another account of the same event, only one man is present. So was he going to, or leaving Jericho? Was there one blind man, or two? To both questions, the answer is "both". How, you ask? There were two Jericho's: the old city, and the new city. Jesus was, apparently either leaving the old, and coming to the new, or vice versa. As for the two blind men, this is simply a way of speaking. If I show you a table with two apples on it, and then say, "There is an apple on the table", am I wrong? No. There is an apple on the table. In fact, there are two. But, if I had said, "There is only one apple on the table" would I be wrong? Absolutely. You could then take me over to the table, and prove to me that there was more than one apple on the table. Simple as that. The other accounts mention only one blind man, but that doesn't mean that there was ONLY one blind man. I rest my case.
rja7

Con


I do apologize for jumping the gun.Ambiguous evidence does not validate anything.You say the Bible is used as a source for archaeological study?You show me someone that believes the Bible can be a source,I'll show you show you someone that doesn't. The problem is that it comes down to conjecture and that ceartainly doesn't bode well for anyone looking for literal context.
A lot of what you say actually supports my argument.You admit that different creationist have contradicting dates as to the age of the earth and shape of the earth.So if the believers can't agree how can we possible take it seriously?As you say in job 26:7 .."he stretches out the northern expanse and hangs the earth on nothing"that's a nonsensical passage.The earth doesn't hang on nothing, or suspended by something.the earth orbits the sun at 60,000 plus mph and rotates on its axis at approx 1,500mph.You put plenty of emphasis on the word CIRCLE..I don't know what other shape they would of thought the earth was?I do know they didn't use the word DUWR which is Hebrew for ' SPHERE' which is what it is.The conjecture that you use is how the Bible has been interpreted for millenniums. Like when you say KIND actually means family or phylum?..Noah did bring two of each KIND of animal aboard.The context of KIND seems very self explanatory. Most importantly you very briefly touched on my first argument.You haven't said anything that would lend any credibility that the Bible is the word of God?You've simply pointed out how the bible is up to interpretation.If the bible was the word of a omniscient being YOU would expect a little more decisiveness and not contradictions and incongruity..If we found out the the declaration of independence was forged by someone else,and Jefferson ,Adams,Franklin,Livingston and Sherman had nothing to do with it,wouldn't we all feel betrayed?it certainly wouldn't have the historical importance it once had.The historicity of the bible is contingent upon the validity of its content and its author..And so far there's been nothing to lend credence to either one.
Debate Round No. 2
Servant2008

Pro

Okay. I'll start with your accusations, and go from there.

Accusation 1: Contradiction=confusion=untrustworthy
Accusation 2: DUWR
Accusation 3: Kind is self-explanatory
Accusation 4: First argument

Accusation 1: Contradiction=confusion=untrustworthy. If I tell you that there is an apple on the table, but then my friend comes up to you and reports that there are two apples on the table, does that make me untrustworthy? I think not. We're both right. There is AN apple on the table. In fact, there are two. There's still a contradiction, but definitely no confusion. You can trust both people because both are right.

Accusation 2: DUWR
Reportedly, DUWR is the Hebrew word for sphere, but actually, if you look up the word, it's not the word for sphere. It is the word for moving in circular motion; that is, to dwell. And the word used in Isaiah is indeed the word for circle. But, at the time, the people understood a circle to be any round object including a sphere. So no, DUWR is not the word for sphere, the argument still stands because the word in Hebrew used in Isaiah is, "chug". It means anything from a flat circle to a compass to a sphere. Also, it is pronounced, "KHOOG".

Accusation 3: Kind is self-explanatory
Not actually. The word, kind could be closer to our word for genus. I was simply trying to point out that "kind" is a broader term. For example, there are of 400 different breeds of dogs, but they all belong to the same genus, "Canis familiaris". We could say that there are 400 different KINDS of dogs and still be accurate, but that is not how this phrase was used here. Notice that the passage talks of birds, and land animals. There are many different species of both. But notice that no specific species are mentioned. Only different groups of animals: birds, cattle, creeping things, etc. It's general. So no, the word, "kind" is not self-explanatory, after all, since we don't use it in reference to large groups of animals anymore. We tend to use it for specificity (as in, "this kind of flower" or "that kind of dog" accompanied by a finger pointing out what we're talking about).

Accusation 4: First argument
You mentioned that I touched on your argument about the Bible being the Word of God. That's true. I did touch on it. But the simple fact is, that if the Bible isn't the Word of God, then it shouldn't be trusted. But, if it is God's Word, and God cannot lie, then how can we NOT trust it? That's probably what will be the centerfold point of this debate, so it's best if I simply explain that we have evidence that suggests biblical accounts are accurate. For example, some skeptics will ask, "Who was the last king of Babylon?" We answer that it was Belshazzar. Then, many skeptics grin widely as they pull out the historical records, and prove that the last king of Babylon was Nabonidus. So which is it? Belshazzar, or Nabonidus? The answer, both. They were co-regents. History records this.

I have one last piece of evidence to bring to the table, and then I have a quick question about this debate since we sort of skipped ahead.

If the Bible is not true, then no prophecies held within it should have been fulfilled (and I'm talking about the specifics). For example, Daniel prophesied of Alexander the Great's rise and fall from power. Look it up in Daniel 8. True, it's symbolic, but the meaning of each symbol is made clear. Daniel saw a vision of a two-horned ram, representing the Medo-Persian Empire, charging in every direction, and he couldn't be stopped until a one-horned goat came from the west, killed the ram, and "became great". Then, at the height of its power, the horn on the goat's head was broken, and split in four ways. So here's what we know. Medo-Persia was the ruling power at the time of Daniel, and it seemed unstoppable. That is, until Alexander the Great conquered them, and basically conquered the known world of the time. Then, just when you thought nothing could beat him, he died. Alexander also had no clear heir, so his kingdom was divided among his four generals. Daniel's vision is later interpreted for him within the same chapter. History, of course, reports the exact same story. This is so accurate than many skeptics try to post-date Daniel's writing after the fact despite numerous manuscripts indicating otherwise. Now, on to the debate question.

Since we sort of jumped the gun a little, I say we close this out on round three, and just use round four to bid farewell. We're already well into the rebuttals portion of this debate, but I'll go with whatever you decide. I do want to point out, though that you misspelled a word in your last response. I believe it was, "certain". You spelled it with an additional "a". Again, whatever you decide about round three is up to you. I can do this either way. Thank you.
rja7

Con

I get your apple analogy ..but to simplify it in that way would be like me trying to explain the 9/11 attacks to someone by saying "some planes hit the twin towers"does it really matter if its one ot two?We can all agree that should be a very specific answer.its about being factually accurate. Once again conjecture.
As far as the words(DUWR, CHUG, KIND)You have Proven there is no clear way to interpret the meaning of those words.Interpreting them to fit your conclusion would be a fallacy from ambiguity.How can we trust something that we can all play fill in the blanks with?
Yes the author of the Bible should be the centerpiece of this debate if we are to rely on it as a historical document and yet you've given no valid argument to suggest this is factual.You reference the Bible as your authority to determine this(who was the last king of Babylon)Yet it tells us nothing of the authenticity of its content or author.
The profound problem with Bible prophecy is it tells us nothing about future events.It only (according to you)describes event that have taken place.Its very easy to assert the meaning of something that's already taken place.Does this sound familiar?

Nostradamus was a 16th century French apothecary and prophet according to some scholars.However the accuracy and meaning of his writings are largely debated.The bible is very similar in equivocation.You hit the nail on its head when you said"if the bible is God's word,and God cannot lie,then how can we not trust it?Your right!So untill the day comes where it can be proven to be the word of God we can't and shouldn't trust it as historical fact.

Debate Round No. 3
Servant2008

Pro

Okay. I have to at least say that I had fun with this debate. It was very interesting. You brought up some excellent points, and I applaud you for being very logical in your arguments. I already made my closing statement by bringing out Bible prophecy, but I would like to remind you that any prophecies of the Bible (at the time of writing) were written BEFORE they happened. After all, Alexander the Great was never actually called by name in the Bible. You can, however look at the historical record to prove that it was Alexander who conquered the Medo-Persian Empire (which is what the two-horned ram in Daniel 8 represents, and we are told so within the passage itself). Also, it is worthy to note that the Bible is THE most well-preserved document in all of antiquity. No other writings even come close. We have more manuscripts that were written sooner after the events recorded in the New Testament, and that are more in agreement with each other than even Homer's Iliad. That's pretty impressive if you ask me.

Thank you for taking the time to debate with me. I very much appreciate it. This concludes my farewell. I hope we may meet up again elsewhere for another debate. Again, thank you.
rja7

Con

Thank you..it was my pleasure..I know this subject matter can be very touchy with certain individuals, so I try and make it a point to not go over that fine line between making a point and being insulting.I'm glad you didn't take anything to personal as some do..And maybe we'll do it again sometime..take care!
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Servant2008 3 years ago
Servant2008
Just take the time to say farewell. I did. That's what I decided to do. We'll just congratulate each other. By the way, you did very well, my friend.
Posted by rja7 3 years ago
rja7
Hey servant..I'm good with calling it..May start getting kinda redundant..so lemme know how you wanna end it..if you want last word I'm good with that to..just lemme know
Posted by Servant2008 3 years ago
Servant2008
It's okay. Read my rebuttal. I have a proposition about this debate, and what to do with Round 4.
Posted by rja7 3 years ago
rja7
Hey servant..since we skipped the acceptance part is that it?or were we gonna do a rebutal again?just curious..I know I kinda messed up the format
Posted by rja7 3 years ago
rja7
Sorry about the lack of paragraph formation.having problems with my device
Posted by Servant2008 3 years ago
Servant2008
I am basically saying that we can trust the Bible as historical document (which means we can take the history presented in it as fact).
Posted by rja7 3 years ago
rja7
Subutai....awesome name! I was gonna use that..You should if you haven't, check out Dan carlins wrath of the khans!
Posted by rja7 3 years ago
rja7
Thats why I decided to just make some assumptions..wasn't really sure what I was arguing..sorry servant I realized half way through that I jummped the gun on the format
Posted by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
Define the "Historicity of the Bible". Does it mean that one thing in the Bible is historically accurate? Some things in the Bible are historically accurate? The entire Bible is historically accurate?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by dj21 3 years ago
dj21
Servant2008rja7Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: My vote hinged on the difference between "any" and "all" historicity of the Bible. If the standard had been any historical veracity and value, I would have voted for Pro. That is what I was expecting. But Pro stated, " the simple fact is, that if the Bible isn't the Word of God, then it shouldn't be trusted. " For this reason, I have to vote for Con. I believe the Bible is a document that contains a lot of useful information about Jewish history. It also contains an awful lot of contradictions and implausible scenarios (that may be conceivable, but are the least likely scenario, and thus would have any incredibly high standard of proof - which is not achieved, imho). I thought Con's arguments against inerrancy were correct, and Pro's rebuttals were implausible or relied upon the inductive circular logic: Bible says God is truth, God says Bible is true.
Vote Placed by leonardlewis4 3 years ago
leonardlewis4
Servant2008rja7Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were more comprehensive and he rebutted Con's arguments/assertions point for point. Points to Pro for spelling and grammar because Con didn't space between sentences and the formatting was very difficult to read. Conduct was appropriate from both sides... No one really provided sources.
Vote Placed by snamor 3 years ago
snamor
Servant2008rja7Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Minor S&G mistakes by Con. Enough for Pro to get the nod. Con made assumptions and unfounded statements beginning in R1 and failed to adequately adress Pro's main points.