Is Christianity True?
Debate Rounds (3)
For our second debate together, Therearenogods and I will switch sides. I will argue against Christianity (even though I am a Christian) and Therearenogods will argue for Christianity (even though he isn't a Christian).
The best way to show that Christianity is false is to show that the Christian idea of a God is logically incoherent and that Jesus was not who he said he was. By showing that the Christian God is incoherent and that Jesus wasn't who he claimed to be, I will be demonstrating that Christianity is false:
-God is described as merciful and loving in the Bible, but some of His actions make Him seem barbaric and brutish. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a plan for us, a plan that will give us a hope and a future. Psalm 86:15 says God is gracious and "abounding in love." However, punishing those who reject Him for eternity doesn't seem gracious at all. Destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, flooding the world, inflicting Egypt with plagues, and ordering Israelites to destroy other nations doesn't seem loving at all.
-In addition, if God truly was loving, He wouldn't allow countless children in Africa to starve to death. In fact, if God really was loving, there should be less violence, turmoil, chaos, and death.
-Even though God is supposedly omniscient, He still created people. God knew that these people were going to sin, therefore God is responsible for sin.
-In Jeremiah 22:30, God curses Jeconiah and tells him that none of his descendants will be prosperous. In Matthew 1:11, Jeconiah is listed as one of Jesus' ancestors. This makes Jesus cursed and unable to be the Messiah.
-Matthew 16:27-28 quotes Jesus when he says that there are some people in his audience will still be alive when Jesus returns. Jesus has not appeared, thus making him a false prophet.
I have showed you verses from the Bible that invalidate Christianity because God is incoherent and Jesus is obviously not who he said he was. Christianity has been shown to be false by using its own text. Good luck to my opponent, and I look forward to the rest of this debate.
To infer the existence of God, we need only look at the laws of logic and the way the universe is. Everything that comes into existence was caused to come into existence by something else. The big bang theory, and the evidence supporting it, show that the universe itself has not been around forever but came into existence. Therefore, the universe had a cause of its existence. This cause, as it brought the universe into existence, must therefore be separate from the universe and therefore the universe's laws of logic and physics etc. This cause, therefore, requires no cause of its own. It must be powerful enough to bring about the universe and its laws and, being separate and not bound by the universe's laws, this cause should also be all knowing and capable of caring for all its creation: God.
Now we have established the existence of a creator, we need to look at Jesus himself. The old testament or Hebrew bible contains clues and credentials telling God's chosen people how they will know their messiah has come. These include the following:
In Psalm 22: 16-18, approximately 1,000 years before Jesus lived, his crucifixion was foretold. This method of execution was not even practiced at this time - how could this prophecy be made and fulfilled otherwise?
Isaiah 7:14 predicted that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. Jesus was, as it is commonly agreed upon by the gospel accounts - the writers of which knew Jesus and family personally - and by countless biblical scholars.
Jeremiah 31:15 predicted that a massacre of children would occur at the Messiah's birthplace. This is exactly what we know happened when Jesus was born under king Herod.
Psalm 16:10 and Psalm 49:15 both predict that the Messiah would rise from the dead. Based on the fact that all gospel writers and disciples of Jesus, as well as even sceptical people testified that they had seen him after his death. They were, in fact, so convinced it happened that they were prepared to be shunned, tortured and even killed for it. Jesus, therefore, fulfilled the prophecies and should be recognised as the Messiah.
You said the christian idea of God is incoherent, but this is not the case. Being the creator of the universe and the laws of nature themselves, God is also responsible for dictating what is right and what is wrong. If he created the universe and humans with the moral capacity we have, he only judges us fairly based on that. Believing in him, having faith, needs to be rewarded and, in order to make that a reward at all, there needs to be an alternative - there needs to be a punishment. Therefore, hell must exist and people must be sent there for heaven to be a fair reward for good, believing people. It would be unjust of god to send everybody to heaven regardless and punish nobody.
The same goes for worldly events like floods and the plagues of Egypt. Pharaoh and the Egyptians, although understanding the Jews and their religion, chose to treat them that way, abusing their free will given by God. In order for the Jews to be freed and reach the promised land, the unjust Egyptians needed to be punished. How God dealt with them after they passed on, only He knows. When the Israelites attacked the Canaanites, those just among them with not enough understanding to reject God knowingly may well have been sent to Heaven. These events are responses to great evils and to give signs the rest of us that we must believe, and should be understood as such. It could be that, without these actions of God, more of us would not know about the truth.
God cursing Jeconiah does not affect Jesus' messiah-hood, as we know Jesus was not very prosperous at all in this worldly life. Jesus only prospered after his ascension to Heaven; his worldly life was far from prosperous. He was poor, mocked, not-believed, tortured and killed horribly.
Jesus says, in Matthew 16, "Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." The coming referred to seems most likely to be the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, at which time there was so far as we know no visible appearance of Christ in the literal second-coming sense. The destruction of Jerusalem made Christianity completely and manifestly distinct from Judaism, and established the Messianic kingdom in its permanent present state.
Good luck to my opponent for round number 2.
I will show my opponent's words in bold, and my responses will be normal.
Therefore, the universe had a cause of its existence...It must be powerful enough to bring about the universe and its laws and, being separate and not bound by the universe's laws, this cause should also be all knowing and capable of caring for all its creation: God.
The first mistake made by my opponent is that he is begging the question by claiming that the cause of the universe should be capable of caring for its creation. By claiming that the cause has to be caring, he is assuming that God is the cause, thus begging the question. Second, why does God have to be the cause? What explanatory power does God have that the multiverse doesn't have? What makes God more likely than the multiverse?
The old testament or Hebrew bible contains clues and credentials telling God's chosen people how they will know their messiah has come.
In order for a prophecy to be legitimate, it must predict what will come, not be interpreted in such a way after the supposed event has happened that would make it appear to be a prophecy. A legitimate prophecy must also not be generic nor self-fulfilling.
In Psalm 22:16-18, approximately 1,000 years before Jesus lived, his crucifixion was foretold. This method of execution was not even practiced at this time - how could this prophecy be made and fulfilled otherwise?
The problem with this example is that it doesn't even claim to be a prophecy. Another problem with this supposed prophecy is that the authors of the Gospels easily could have included those details as an allusion to Psalm 22, not necessarily because it actually happened that way. Another problem is that the prophecy isn't that specific, and it is entirely possible that Psalm 22 is read that way because we live after Jesus and not before him.
Isaiah 7:14 predicted that the Messiah would be born of a virgin.
What evidence is there that Jesus was actually born of a virgin? Secondly, Isaiah made this prophecy as a sign to King Ahaz. Why would God give a prophecy and promise a sign to a king, then fulfill the prophecy several hundred years later?
Jeremiah 31:15 predicted that a massacre of children would occur at the Messiah's birthplace.
The verse mentions the city Ramah, but Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem, but Ramah is north of Jerusalem.
Psalm 16:10 and Psalm 49:15 both predict that the Messiah would rise from the dead.
What evidence is there that Jesus rose from the dead? Why couldn't one disciple have a hallucination that Jesus rose from the dead, and through the power of suggestion, have the others think that Jesus had risen from the dead as well?
God is also responsible for dictating what is right and what is wrong.
Did God dictate them because they were right, or were they right because God dictated them? Either God is arbitrary in His morality, or He isn't the source of morality, and thus not God.
The coming referred to seems most likely to be the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus...
This is not a convincing response. Just because this made Christianity and Judaism different, this does not necessarily mean that this is a fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy. The only reason that you interpret it in this way is that you cannot afford Jesus' supposed prophecy to fail. Jesus clearly stated that at least one of his disciples will not die before Jesus returns in his Heavenly kingdom.
God is also capable of caring. Stephen Hawking has estimated that if the rate of the universe"s expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have re-collapsed into a hot fireball. The creator must, therefore, have fine-tuned the universe willingly so that it would be as it is today. That indicates a conscious will, and therefore the ability to care. the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life points to this cause"s being a personal, intelligent mind, and it becomes only rational to believe God would care for what he has created.
Regardless of what is written by new testament authors after his death, which are, admittedly, potentially vulnerable to corruption, of Jesus the majority of New Testament scholars agree that he deliberately stood and spoke in the place of God Himself, that he claimed that in himself the kingdom of God had come, and that he carried out a ministry of miracle-working and exorcisms as signs of that fact.
The vast majority of critics agree:
(1) that after his crucifixion Jesus of Nazareth was interred in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea,
(2) that the tomb of Jesus was found empty by a group of his women followers on Sunday morning,
(3) that various individuals and groups of people on multiple occasions and under different circumstances saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death, and
(4) that the original disciples" belief in Jesus" resurrection was not a result of their faith in him or of wishful thinking, but that, on the contrary, their faith was the result of their having come to believe in this resurrection.
The best interpretation of these agrees upon facts is that Jesus did, indeed, rise from the dead and therefore is incredibly likely to have been divine as he said he was. Your idea that he appeared to only one via hallucination, who then persuaded the others is just grabbing at straws because it would still be incredibly irrational to concede that a person had rose from the dead without empirical, literal evidence for them. The best explanation of their conviction is that what they believed they saw - they being many many people - they really did see.
Finally, your dissatisfaction at Jesus' kingdom coming before the death of those in his audience being a referral to the falling of Jerusalem, while a shame, does not refute the point. Jesus said the kingdom would come before some present were dead, meaning the distinction of Christianity and, therefore, clarity of the true path to God and Heaven.
God is also capable of caring.
Why must the cause of the universe be caring? You are again assuming that the cause of the universe is alive, and therefore capable of caring, in order to argue that the cause of the universe is alive.
...raise other questions as to the origins of the multiverse itself.
The multiverse is eternal and necessary, and therefore doesn't have a cause.
The creator must, therefore, have fine-tuned the universe willingly so that it would be as it is today.
The multiverse also explains the apparent fine-tuning of the universe, as a very large number of universes would ensure that one would be fine-tuned for life.
Your idea that he appeared to only one via hallucination, who then persuaded the others is just grabbing at straws.
I said that one disciples hallucinated, and told the other disciples. However, by telling the other disciples of seeing Jesus, the other disciples could then imagine that they also hallucinated and saw Jesus. This explanation only requires one person to hallucinate in order to get the belief in Jesus' resurrection started, and the logical assumption that that one disciples would tell the others.
Jesus said the kingdom would come before some present wre dead, meaning the disticntion of Christianity and, therefore, clarity of the true path to God and Heaven.
A problem with this explanation is that Christianity was never referred to as a kingdom, but only Heaven. If Jesus said that some of them will see Jesus' kingdom, he is most obviously referring to Heaven, and not the inception of Christianity.
Your idea that telling other disciples could cause them to imagine that they themselves had seen Jesus too is rather far fetched. To suggest that as many people that did claim to see Jesus (some of whom were even sceptics) were all made to totally imagine their visions merely by verbal persuasion does not seem like a good enough explanation. It would make more sense to assume that they were telling the truth and did in fact see the risen Jesus.
Even if Jesus is referring to Heaven in that passage, Heaven did come in that, Christianity becoming distinct, the pathway to Heaven was clear and distinct itself. In this way, the kingdom of Heaven did come to them, as the straight path of clarity came due to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.
I thank my opponent for another fun debate!
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