The Instigator
Zerosmelt
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
blond_guy
Con (against)
Losing
28 Points

If Jesus were born today he would be an atheist (don't vote w/o reading plz!)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/25/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,118 times Debate No: 5137
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (10)

 

Zerosmelt

Pro

This is obviously the type of debate that sends a dagger through the heart of every serious Christian. Still I ask anyone voting to hold back their biases and read the debate thoroughly. The debate will obviously be nothing more than speculation on both sides.

Lets clarify the parameters of the debate:
"Jesus" refers to Jesus of Nazareth. The man worshiped by the Christian religion. This debate has the potential to get sidetracked into a debate over the nuances of what Jesus actually was. This is not a debate about the constituents of Jesus. That is another debate topic and if someone would like to challenge me, be my guest. Christians themselves can't even agree as to what Jesus actually was and the vast majority of people on the planet are not even Christian.
Total non Christians = 4.7 billion
Total christians = 2.1 billion
Therefore it should not a given that Jesus is anything more than a man. (if my opponent wishes to argue this the burden of proof is his. )

"Atheist" refers to an individual who lacks belief in a god. ***An atheist is NOT necessarily an individual who believes there is no god, as such an act requires active belief.*** Accordingly all non-human animals (and all forms of inanimate matter) are atheists.

Resolved: If Jesus were born today he would be an atheist.

My argument is simply and straight-forward like all good arguments.
1) Jesus was concerned with truth about reality. (A rare breed both then and today!)
2) In his day Jesus used the best available evidence to make conclusions about reality.
3) The best available evidence then pointed to the existence of God. (see below*)
4) The best available evidence at that time was not sufficient for making accurate conclusions.
5) If Jesus were born today he would have the evidence we have today.
6) The evidence today does not point to the existence of God.
7) Jesus, as someone concerned with truth, would have used the evidence today and therefore would not have concluded that god exists.

As long as you do not conclude that god exists you are technically an atheist. (once again remember the difference distinguished above, that active belief is not the only form of atheism.)
*In every culture there have been individuals concerned with the truth about reality. These individuals are usually a very small minority as most people just go about their lives w/o ever wondering what reality actually is. People used evidence in ancient times just as much as science does today. In ancient times evidence pointed to there being a god b/c their evidence was very lacking. Visions were a form of evidence used to conclude the existence of the supernatural. All over the world people would eat strange plants, stare at the sun, live in total blackness for months at a time, or just have other mental problems and they would see "visions." Back then they didn't have an appropriate field of study dedicated to the mind and consciousness. Thus they didn't have the evidence we now have. Namely that those "visions" don't actually correspond to anything real. That is why today we call them hallucinations. People today still claim to see visions just like those described in the bible and all other ancient texts (I myself have see countless visions like these). Today, however we call these people insane (or drug users.)
blond_guy

Con

I strongly disagree with you simply because:

1) Jesus believed that he was a physical form of God, which proves that he believed in God in the past.
2) If he was alive today, and remembered his visions, he'd be a member (and prophet) of the Baha'i faith.

I say this, because if I had the visions and beliefs of Jesus, the Baha'i faith would be the only faith to give me explanations to my visions. Also, believing in being sent from God, he'll believe he was just sent from God once more, after the latest Baha'i prophet, Baha'u'llah.

Feel free to ask me any questions on the Baha'i faith in the comments. I know it might be hard if you are not familiar with this "religion".
Debate Round No. 1
Zerosmelt

Pro

Thanks for accepting blond guy. To be honest i was hoping for a christian but this is fine.

"1) Jesus believed that he was a physical form of god, which proves that He believed in God in the past."

My argument was that if he was born today he would not believe the same things he believed in the past. All that this point does is explain what he believed in the past. Explaining what he believed in the past doesn't establish anything in regards to my argument. And furthermore jesus never stated that he believed he was the physical form of god.

"2)If he was alive today, and remembered his visions, he'd be a member (and prophet) of the Baha'i faith."

This claim is completely unsubstantiated. You have not provided any reason or argument to establish that this would be so. Baha'i faith is a Persia faith emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. If jesus were to fall into a supernatural ideology there is no reason to assume that he would choose the Baha'i faith. He could become asphyxiated with shamanism or the new age movement in america.

I would like to draw my opponent's attention to my resolution
R: If Jesus were -born- today he would be an atheist.

I carefully chose the word "born" instead of "alive" to establish that jesus would be born today, as in brought into existence today. He would not have been alive 2000 yrs ago bc he was brought into existence today. That is the premise of this debate. Therefore he would have no such recollection of any visions.

born: (dictionary.com)

1a) Brought into life by birth.
b) Brought into existence; created.

Even if he did remember/have these visions today he would not take them seriously as he was a man concerned with truth. (see my argument in R1, which my opponent still has not countered) Until my opponent directly disproves my argue it still holds.
blond_guy

Con

<>

Well, sorry I misinterpreted... This changes everything.

If Jesus was born today, he'd be a completely different person. And we don't know whether he'd be an atheist or not, but we know probability. Being that more than 50% of the world population is somewhat religious, probability tells us that Jesus would also be religious.
Debate Round No. 2
Zerosmelt

Pro

Zerosmelt forfeited this round.
blond_guy

Con

My point still stands.
If Jesus was born today he would basically not be Jesus.
He'd be a person very different from what he was.
Therefore we don't know if he'd turn out an atheist,
only probability can help us by saying that the majority of
the world believes in some kind of God.
Therefore, probability says Jesus would believe in God.
Debate Round No. 3
Zerosmelt

Pro

Please excuse me for forfeiting my last round, unfortunately I had more pressing matters to attend. I posted my R3 in the comments sections. I will restate it here as well.

Allow me to sum up my opponents points.
1.) If Jesus was born today he wouldn't be the same person.
2.) We don't know what he would be.
3.) More than 50% of the world's population is theistic so we can extrapolate that there is a greater than 50% chance that Jesus would be theistic as well.

R1>On the surface this arguments seems to make sense. But that is only on the surface once the argument is examined more closely it crumbles (Largely due to the fact that it fails to take in key information.) Let's use an example to illustrate the inadequacy of my opponent's argument. Imagine that I have a basket with 100 trinkets in it. 75 of the trinkets are red and 25 are green. You close your eyes and randomly select a trinket from the basket. Logically there is a 75% chance it will be red. But.... suppose i give you a bit more information. I tell you that of the 100 trinkets 90 are round and 10 are square -and- All the square trinkets are green. Now we do the same experiment; you close your eyes and randomly select a trinket from the basket. Without opening your eyes you can feel in your hand that the trinket you've selected is square. Now what are the odds that the trinket is red? ZERO. Information has a large role in determining probabilities. Willingly disregarding certain information leads to misrepresented probabilities. This is exactly what my opponent has done. He has disregarded key information about the nature of Jesus.

R2>"If Jesus was born today, he'd be a completely different person. And we don't know whether he'd be an atheist or not"
As I stated in my introduction of R1 : "The debate will obviously be nothing more than speculation on both sides." of course we cannot know for certain but i provide a well grounded argument for my claims. An argument my opponent still fails to refute. We do however know some things about what Jesus would be today that my opponent has disregarded. If any part of Ancient Jesus was manifest today it would be his nature or essence (i.e. his personality) He would have the same nature/personality regardless of when he is born b/c that is the only thing that would make him distinctively Jesus. I'm obviously not talking about the physical material that made up Jesus 2000 yrs ago, so the only distinct thing we can say would be consistent would be his essence, or soul if you will. If his essence/nature/personality were not the same then we would not be talking about Jesus. This debate is focused on whether the character who was Jesus would be the same if he was born today. My opponent seems to say we cannot know what his character would be today. Well this isn't true. His character cannot change bc if it could it wouldn't be Jesus we were talking about. When i said that Jesus was created today it is the essence of Jesus that was referred to. We know the essence of Jesus bc of what he did in the past. If we take our knowledge about the nature of Jesus into account my opponent's probability argument does not hold.

A> It is clear that people have different personalities. We do not yet have a full understanding of these personalities, or whether it is even possible to categorize them. There are some obvious distinctions though. Examples are Extra/introversion dominant/submissive types. Etc. My argument holds to the notion that some ppl are just wired for some things and other ppl are just wired for other things. In this case, some ppl are just wired with a desire to understand the world around them. Most people are not truth seekers but there is a small percentage of ppl who are. In ancient times these ppl were religious visionaries (b/c they lacked adequate evidence*see below*) today they are scientists.

*there are four motivations for believing a religion is true:
1. everyone around you agrees it is and/or your ancestors said it was.
2. you have religious experiences which seem to correctly depict reality.
3. it brings your life meaning.
4. fear of eternal torment.

A truth seeker (even in ancient times) disregards #1, 3 and 4, which most ppl actually rely on. Today we have evidence to refute #2. Evidence they didn't have in Ancient times. A "truth seeker" in ancient times would have relied on #2, today a "truth seeker" does not. Jesus was a "truth seeker" today Jesus would disregard #2. So >> the probability of being religious today is greater than 50% if you're an average person but we know that Jesus was not an average person. Therefore it is right to conclude that the probability of a "truth seeker" being religious today is infinitely low. Jesus as a truth seeker would not have been religious.

B>The key bit of information that was missing from my opponents argument was Jesus' nature. His nature was to understand the world around him. In this sense he is like the square that must be green. He was a truth seeker and truth seekers use all the evidence available to make conclusions about the world. The available evidence today does not point to god. Therefore Jesus would not have concluded that god exists. (he would be a 'weak' or 'passive' atheist) When we include the information that Jesus was a truth seeker we see the probability of him being a theist is not what my opponent suggests. << To be extremely clear: I Am In No Way Saying That Every Atheist Is A Truth Seeker. What I Am Saying Is That Every (True) Truth Seeker Is (At The Very Minimum) A Passive Atheist. (whether they are aware of this or not :P)>>
How do we know that Jesus was a truth seeker?
For starters:
Matthew 23:1-39
Jesus openly condemned religious authority in his day. Questioning something that you're supposed to believe/accept just bc someone says so is the hallmark of a truth seeker. b/c of this fallacy http://www.nizkor.org...
But mainly he had visions of "god" which he assumed to be real b/c of a lack of evidence in his day. He then based his philosophy on these visions.
Mark 1:10-11

Conclusion: I successfully disproved my opponent's probability argument and presented a just and valid argument for my side. vote PRO.

That is all... thank you blond_guy that was very enjoyable.
I remind the readers that in this final round it would be unfair for blond_guy to bring up an entirely new argument. All he can do is attempt to refute mine.
blond_guy

Con

blond_guy forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zerosmelt 9 years ago
Zerosmelt
*ding* *ding* *ding*
Posted by Rezzealaux 9 years ago
Rezzealaux
Although manifesting one's desire for truth (if such a desire exists) will inevitably lead to atheism.
Posted by Zerosmelt 9 years ago
Zerosmelt
just to be clear I'm not saying all atheists are truth seekers.
Posted by Zerosmelt 9 years ago
Zerosmelt
sorry i missed a round. Unfortunately I didn't have the time, I will say this for my third round and better explain it in R4. It is clear that people have different personalities. We do not yet have a full understanding of these personalities, or whether it is even possible to categorize them. There are some obvious distinctions though. Examples are Extra/introversion dominant/submissive types. Etc. My argument holds to the notion that some ppl are just wired with a desire to understand the world around them. Most people really are not like this but there is a small percentage of ppl who have this personality characteristic. In ancient times these ppl were religious visionaries (b/c they lacked adequate evidence*see below*) today they are scientists.

*there are three reasons for believing a religion is true:
1. everyone around you agrees it is and/or your ancestors said it was.
2. you have religious experiences which seem to correctly depict reality.
3. it brings your life meaning.

An individual concerned with truth (even in ancient times would have disregarded #1 and 3) Today we have evidence to refute #2. Evidence they didn't have in Ancient times. A "truth seeker" in ancient times would have relied on #2, today a "truth seeker" does not. Jesus was a "truth seeker," today jesus would disregard #2. Most ppl arnt truth seekers though, they rely on #1/3. So >> the probablity of being religious today is greater than 50% if you're an average person but we know that jesus was not an average person. Therefore it is right to conclude that the probablity of a "truth seeker" being religious today is infinetly low. Jesus as a truth seeker would not have been religious.
Posted by Zerosmelt 9 years ago
Zerosmelt
"due to Jesus being born before time."
and what evidence do u have for this claim... None. that is your opinion and unfortunately for you it is not the opinion of most ppl on the planet.
Posted by Amplifier 9 years ago
Amplifier
Zerosmelt.

You theory is hard to conclude, due to Jesus being born before time. But you lay the ground rules as His birth today, if so he would be same as before. Though if you mean His life starts today on earth, then that too can never be possiable. For everything was created through Him, and this world would not 'be'. But then if you say He is just a man, then he cannot be Jesus at all, and so remain just another man.

You say this without knowing who He is to make any statment? You must know a person before you can know his actions.
Posted by s0m31john 9 years ago
s0m31john
You challenge me whenever you can.
Posted by PoeJoe 9 years ago
PoeJoe
Oh God. Redo:

Errr, I'm trying to refrain from debating on this site until school is well underway. I've (regretfully) procrastinated most of my summer reading/essays.

But don't get me wrong. I'm definitely interested.

When the time comes (September 2nd?): Do you want to issue the challenge, or shall I?
Posted by PoeJoe 9 years ago
PoeJoe
Errr, I'm trying to refrain from debating until my school year is well underway. I've (regretfully) procrastinated all most of my summer reading/essays.

But don't get me wrong. I'm definitely interested.

When the time comes (September 2nd?): Do you want me to issue the challenge, or shall I?
Posted by s0m31john 9 years ago
s0m31john
We could debate the issue of ad blockers if you'd like PoeJoe.
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