The Instigator
proglib
Con (against)
Tied
6 Points
The Contender
philochristos
Pro (for)
Tied
6 Points

It can be proven that Jesus rose from the dead

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/10/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,867 times Debate No: 34271
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (70)
Votes (5)

 

proglib

Con

Thank you to Philochristos for accepting this debate challenge. From what I've seen of your debates and comments on forums, I couldn't ask for a better "opponent."

BoP on Pro, as I don't propose to prove that Jesus Christ of Nazareth DID NOT rise from the dead*, just to say that it is a matter of faith as opposed to science, including the science of history.

Gish Galloping will be very difficult as the number of characters is only 4000.

Pro will argue first and will leave the last argument empty.

Usual debate rules:
Semantic abuse is discounted as BS
No personal attacks
Definitions anytime before the last round, if agreed on.

Feel free to suggest other rules.

Let the arguing begin! :)

* To start off with a definition: by "dead" I mean that Jesus of Nazareth was literally brain and body functions zero. I do not mean that the people observing him *thought* that he was dead. This is meant to be a strict definition of dead. For a miraculous resurrection to have occurred, a certifiable brain and heart, lungs etc. death must have occurred.
philochristos

Pro

Def. Prove: To demonstrate the truth of something by the use of evidence and argument.

The argument

My argument is that the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation for why Jesus' movement survived his death. I'm going to explain why the survival of his movement requires an explanation and press Con to come up with a better one than mine.

Why we need an explanation

We should expect Jesus' death to have ended his movement.

According to the Old Testament, God made a promise to always have a man on the throne of David.[2] David's dynasty ended near the beginning of the Babylonian exile. The prophets explained that God would fulfill his promise by re-establishing David's throne.[3] The messiah is a king who will sit on the throne of David and rule forever.

According to all the unambiguous messianic prophecies, the coming of the messiah was to be marked by the reunion of Judah and Israel, a full return from exile, national sovereignty, expulsion of oppressors, and everlasting peace and security for Israel.[4]

Instead of fulfilling these expectations, Jesus was killed by the very people he should have prevailed against--the Roman occupiers. To any Jew living in the first century, that would've proved that Jesus was not the messiah after all. N.T. Wright writes, "Messiahs were supposed to defeat the pagans, not die at their hands. Worse, dying thus actually demonstrated that one was not after all the Messiah; follwers of a Messiah who was then crucified knew beyond question that they had backed the wrong horse."[5] Marcus Borg agrees, saying that a "crucified messiah" was "perhaps an impossible combination of terms."[6]

Consistent with this observation, Paul tells us that "Christ crucified" is a "stumbling block to Jews" (1 Corinthians 1:23). Luke tells us that some of Jesus' disciples were initially disillusioned (Luke 24:20-21). There were several messianic movements in the first and second centuries, and every one of them ended when the supposed messiah was killed. Wright says, "Nobody in 71 C.E. said that Simon bar Giora was the messiah, or even a great prophet; nobody in 136 C.E. continued to believe that Simeon ben Kosiba really was Bar-Kochba, 'the son of the star.'"[7]

The explanation

The best explanation for why Jesus' movement survived his death is the one given by Jesus' followers themselves--that they saw him alive. Unless he was alive, he couldn't have been the messiah. This is such a powerful explanation that it has lead most scholars to conclude that the disciples saw something, though they differ on what they saw. E.P. Sanders writes, "That Jesus' followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgement, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know."[8]

Imagine a dead relative standing before you. There are five possibilities:
  • You're dreaming
  • You're hallucinating
  • You're seeing a ghost
  • They didn't really die
  • They have risen from the dead
With these options, the last thing you'd conclude is that they had risen from the dead. According to Luke, the disciples initially thought they were seeing a ghost (Luke 24:37), but then Jesus ate in front of them. Thomas wanted to actually touch Jesus (John 20:25). 1 John begins with "what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands..." The emphasis on touching makes sense because otherwise they wouldn't have concluded that Jesus had risen from the dead. So the best explanation for the survival of Jesus' movement is that he really did rise from the dead.



Notes:

1. The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright.

2. 2 Samuel 7:16, 1 Kings 2:4, 2:45, 8:25, and 9:5.

3. Jeremiah 33:14-17, Isaiah 9:7, and Ezekiel 37:25.

4. Jeremiah 23:1-8, Ezekiel 37:15-28, Isaiah 9:2-7, 16:4-5.

5. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, p. 609.

6. Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again For the First Time, p. 116.

7. N.T. Wright, Jesus: Two Visions, p. 102.

8. E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, p. 280.




Debate Round No. 1
proglib

Con

Thanks again to Philochristos

Argument Con1:
  • “...the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation for why Jesus' movement survived his death”

The fact that Jesus of Nazareth could apparently die was certainly a blow to the credibility of Christianity for followers of biblical tradition. From what Con tells of biblical prophecies, it was only one of many blows.

It is a rather interesting use of Occam’s razor to claim that a supernatural occurrence is the simplest way to explain historical events. Unless one begs the question of the existence (or nonexistence) of immortal beings or miracles, this might be a simpler explanation than the physically more probable one that I make.

Certainly the story that Jesus rose from the dead is important to the survival of Christianity.
However, as Con states there are other explanations for this story.

Unfortunately for Con’s case, he actually gives one of the best explanations for the promotion of this story by Jesus’ disciples:
  • “Unless he was alive, he couldn't have been the messiah.”

There are a number of non-supernatural explanations for why some people at the time may have believed Jesus was still alive. The more fanciful is that he had a body double or twin. Again, without begging the question of miracles, this is not as simple an answer, but it is physically/medically more plausible than resurrection.

Other possible non-supernatural explanations:
  • hallucination by one or more severely stressed follower, passed along to others who convinced themselves of the truth;
  • Lazareth Syndrome: Jesus was not, indeed, dead when taken down from the cross, but only badly wounded.

For my skeptical mind, even if we accept the purported eye witness accounts by the relatively few people who could have seen Jesus post-crucifixion, the last explanation is the most plausible. The other non-supernatural explanations cannot be ruled out, either.

Most importantly, the passing along of the resurrection story by not only the disciples and early Christians, but by millions who did not witness it themselves is, again, best explained by fact of its necessity to the continued existence of Christianity.

The youthful religion being promoted by Paul and others depended for its very survival on the reappearance of Jesus after His humiliating apparent death. Is it so far-fetched to believe that the disciples of early Christianity wanted it to be true so badly that they made it a matter of (almost) historical fact?

To say that the Roman guards could not possibly have left Jesus for dead without being certain that his brain and cardiovascular functions had failed, is disingenous at best. I would submit that not only are ther few or no reliable witnesses of Jesus' physical/medical death, but that there almost could not be one, in any sense acceptable to modern medicine.

philochristos

Pro

Thanks to you, too, Proglib.

Con agrees that Christianity could not have survived as long as his disciples thought he was dead. While the resurrection would surely do the trick, Con offered a few alternative explanations, so let's see how they compare.
  • Jesus had a twin

Pro admits this is fanciful, and there are some other problems. First the twin theory is ad hoc. It's cooked up, and there's no evidence for it. Second, if Jesus had a twin, then his apostles would've known about it. And if they didn't know about it ahead of time, surely James, the brother of Jesus, would've known. And surely James would be able to tell Jesus from Jesus' twin. Third, it's inexplicable how a twin could've convinced the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to them over a short period of time. According to Paul, his appearance experience was unusual in the fact that it happened last and much later than anybody else's, which raises the question of what happened to the supposed twin. Did he fall off the face of the earth? Wouldn't his mother have known?

  • Hallucination


The hallucination hypothesis does not explain why Jesus' disciples believed Jesus had risen from the dead. As I explained earlier, the last thing you'd think if you saw a dead loved on in front of you is that they had risen from the dead. You'd sooner believe they either had not died to begin with, that you were hallucinating, or that you were seeing a ghost. According to the Biblical record, they initially thought they were seeing a ghost. But something obviously convinced them that it was much more than that. According to the record, he ate in front of them, and they physically touched him, and that's what convinced them he was really alive. People frequently experience grief hallucinations. My grandmother did after my grandfather died. But these types of experiences never lead people to believe their loved one has risen from the dead. It takes much more than that.

  • Jesus didn't die


Con thinks it would be necessary to verify his vital signs to ensure that he dead, but it wouldn't. Death on a cross is death by axphxiation. The whole reason the legs are broken is so they won't be able to push themselves up in order to breath, thereby ensuring a quicker death. If Jesus was not dead, it would've been plainly obvious to anybody that he was struggling to breathe. If he went limp and quit trying to push himself up, he would've been dead within minutes at the most. A second problem is that if Jesus was in such bad shape that he appeared dead, there's no way he could've convinced his disciples that he had risen to immortality. He would've been in seriously bad condition, and they'd sooner fetch a doctor. And if that is the manner of his appearance, then what became of him? Are we to believe his disciples abandoned him in that condition and that nobody ever heard from him again?

  • Cognitive dissonance


Con raises the possibility that the disciples wanted it to be true so badly that they "made it a matter of (almost) historical fact." This doesn't explain what caused the disciples to think Jesus had risen from the dead. It's also inconsistent with the behavior of other followers of messiahs who, when their "messiah" died, became disillusioned, decided the brother was the messiah instead, or found some other messiah to follow. It also ignores the evidence I presented earlier than the disciples initially were disillusioned.

None of these theories are as powerful as the resurrection in explaining why Jesus' movement survived his death because they are ad hoc, they diverge from the evidence, they raise more questions than they answer, and they are insufficient to explain what they are invoked to explain.

Con's only problem with the resurrection is that it's a miracle. If not for that, he'd agree that it's a much better explanation than his. He hasn't offered any argument against miracles, though. If a miracle explains the evidence when nothing else does, we should go with the miracle.


Debate Round No. 2
proglib

Con

Excellent argument by Pro*.

As a skeptical Con, however, I would point out that Pro implies much more knowledge of the crucifixion of Jesus than we in fact have.

Documentation of medical details of Jesus’ crucifixion.

From my understanding of the documentation:

  • we have no first person accounts recorded in their own words of the details of the crucifixion. We know how crucifixions were usually carried out, but not how this one, particular crucifixion was performed--whether Jesus’ legs were broken, that he was clearly dead in the medical sense that we would use, etc. There is obviously no physical evidence.

  • There is disagreement over who exactly was in attendance.

  • In fact, we are not even sure of the year in which he died.[1]

Pro then seems to get his cases mixed up claiming that “if Jesus was in such bad shape that he appeared dead, there's no way he could've convinced his disciples that he had risen to immortality...” The question between us isn’t whether or not Jesus appeared dead. We both agree that he appeared dead. The question is was he dead (and then alive.) Whether his apostles sought medical help or not, he was in bad shape. There is disagreement in different gospels about whether he wanted to be touched. It is claimed that he still had wounds for Thomas to put his hands in.

Cognitive dissonance and the argument from embarrassment

While the argument from embarrassment may be evidence of the crucifixion, it proves nothing regarding the resurrection. Truly followers of a messiah would not have wanted him to be crucified or to die. If he were crucified, though, they would absolutely want him to rise again. What other followers of putative messiahs did is beside the point. It is clearly possible and though not as moving, more probable that the disciples wanted to believe in a resurrection, and may have seen a near miraculous post-crucifixion survival.

Pro asks if we are to believe that Jesus’ disciples abandoned him in his weakened state. Isn’t it possible that they saw him later die with a few of them in attendance and that he was buried in secret to keep his “second” death quiet. Would it be so strange that founders of a religion exaggerated the life and death of their prophet?

The power of various explanations

Pro says the miraculous resurrection would be a more powerful explanation. CLEARLY, that is why hundreds of millions of people have followed a religion based on that story. However, it is not the only explanation that agrees with the evidence.

Pro says that people at the time would have believed other explanations, except that the resurrection explanation overcame their skepticism. Shouldn’t we from the 21st century world of science and medicine, and with no first hand evidence, be skeptical of the supernatural claims, based mostly on hearsay of over 2000 years ago?

Interestingly Pro states, “Con’s only problem with the resurrection is that it’s a miracle.” Well, yes, but that is a BIG problem. The reason I haven’t offered any argument against miracles is that I don’t have to. When it comes to the supernatural the BoP is on Pro. We agreed to that from the beginning.

Pro needs to provide stronger evidence in support.

SUMMARY

I will repeat my case in opposition to proof that Jesus rose from the (medically) dead:

  • Impossible to prove he was medically dead;

  • Scarcity of first person accounts of the details of his crucifixion;

  • Clearly possible that his appearance post-crucifixion was embellished by the founders of Christianity.

Again, I thank Pro for his thoughtful arguments. And look forward to his next round.


NOTES

* I made a mistake in Pro/Con. I’m Con.

1.http://en.wikipedia.org...

philochristos

Pro


  • Jesus didn't die
Con may have misunderstood me. I argue that given the way crufixion kills, it's not possible for Jesus to have appeared dead if he didn't really die. If Jesus was not dead, his strained efforts to breathe would've been obvious. If he appeared dead, then he would've been still, and therefore unable to breathe, and therefore quickly dead.

It's irrelvant whether his legs were actually broken, and we don't need medical proof of his death. I mentioned leg breaking to illustrate that person on a cross had to push themselves up to breathe, making it obvious they were still alive.

Con also seems to misunderstand my comment about Jesus appearing dead, then convincing his disciples that he had risen to immortality. The was that if Jesus appeared dead, then he must've been a very bad physical shape, and if he was in very bad physical shape, his appearance to the apostles would not have made them think he had risen to immortality. There's nothing glorious about being mangled half to death.
  • cognitive dissonance
Con claims it is beside the point what followers of other messiahs did when their messiah died. But it is relevant because it shows a pattern of behavior among messiah followers. If there had only be one person to continue Jesus' movement, we might be able to dismiss that as an anomaly, but apparently, not only all of Jesus original apostles claimed to see the resurrected Jesus, but even Jesus' brother, James, claimed to see the risen Jesus.

Con moves from cognitive dissonance to disception. If there was deception, then they knew Jesus wasn't the messiah. That is completey implausible for two reasons: (1) because it would mean they gave up hope for the redemption of Israel and the fulfillment of God's promises, which is the whole reason anybody followed a messiah to begin with. If they still maintained hope, they would've looked for another messiah, not pretended that a dead one came back to life. (2) It doesn't makes sense that the apostles would be willing to suffer persecution and risk their lives over something they knew wasn't true.
  • The power of alternatate explanations
Con says the resurrection is not the only explanation that accounts for the evidence. Actually it is. Every other theory must either dismiss some part of the picture, or come up with ad hoc and distinct explanations. For example, the hallucination hypothesis would explain an appearance, but it does not explain conversion or the empty tomb (which admittedly I haven't brought up). You'd need separate explanations for that. The resurrection is the best explanation because it explains all of the evidence, and does so more powerfully and with fewer ad hoc assumptions. It's really the only explanation that follows the evidence where it leads.

Yes, I do think we should treat miracle claims with a general degree of skepticism just as the original apostles did. Like I said, they initially thought they were seeing a ghost, and it took much more to convince them that Jesus had risen from the dead. They required what we would require--touching, eating, etc. They behaved just as we would expect them to behave.

Yes, I agree that a person who claims a miracle bears the burden of proof. But I fulfilled my burden of proof in my opening. If Pro wanted to dispute it on the mere basis that it's a miracle, then he needed to offer some kind of argument against miracles in order to overcome my argument for a miracle.
  • Embellishment
If the resurrection was a later embellishment, then nobody believed it early on, and if nobody believed it early on, then we're left without an explanation of why Jesus' movement survived his death.

Conclusion

The resurrection of Jesus is a superior explanation of the survival of Jesus' movement.

There are a lot of issues surrounding the resurrection, including presuppositions, background knowledge, etc. It was a real challenge doing this debate with only 4000 characters per post, but it was a lot of fun, too. Thanks proglib.
Debate Round No. 3
proglib

Con

Thanks back at you PhiloChristos for agreeing to 4000 characters and engaging in an excellent debate.

While I’m still not convinced that resurrection is the only explanation for the continuance of Jesus’ movement that makes sense, I appreciate that many people believe it is an excellent and elegant one. Add to this an experience of the power of any particular person’s experience of Christianity in their own life, and I can see why the story has the power that it does.

Jesus didn’t die on cross

I stand by this as a possibility. We know so little about the physical details of Jesus’ crucifixion. As stated in The Journal of the Royal Medical Society, crucifixion was meant to be a slow, painful, humiliating death. People sometimes suffered for days.[1] Pro makes too many assumptions about something from 2000 years ago that is very poorly documented in its particulars.

Pro also, IMHO, assumes too much about the disciples’ belief that Jesus was fully recovered in order to be considered resurrected. If somehow Jesus was removed from the cross apparently dead, but in fact alive, and recovered enough to eat and preach some time later, wouldn’t they have considered him resurrected? This is clearly possible.

That the apostles say Jesus was arisen to immortality is without question. That they believed he was so arisen is pure speculation on their mental states. Many other myths and magical stories have been passed down through the centuries. We cannot conclusively say that this isn’t another.


Deception, Exaggeration and Embellishment

To say that deception is completely implausible, strains credulity. The stories we have of Jesus’ life and death were all created well after his death and after a new religion had been founded. How do we know what purpose the several apostles have in telling the story the way they did? That a half dozen founders of a religion stretched the truth a bit is not at all implausible to my way of thinking. There are dozens of religions with dozens of miraculous stories. All of them can’t be true.

Isn’t it possible, and many who follow Jesus in fact believe this, that his story and message was amazing enough to follow and risk one’s life for even without the miracles? Survival after crucifixion even for several months is amazing. Also, many people who have had nothing to go on but the word of others concerning Jesus’ crucifixion have given their lives to great suffering based only on that.

Alternate explanations

Contrary to Pro’s claim, the alternative suggested here does account for enough parts of the picture to be credible to those who have not already made up their mind. We must remember that this picture is VERY sketchy in terms of particulars. The story that we have relies on after the fact, second and third hand accounts. Where are the first hand, independent contemporary accounts on the details that would establish the miracle that Pro (and hundreds of millions of other folks, admittedly) claims to substantiate?

Obviously neither of us has convinced the other, which no sane person would have expected going into this, of course. It is my opinion that Pro has not proved that Jesus rose from being medically dead to ascend to heaven. Those who did not believe there was enough evidence before, will still hold that opinion.

I thank PhiloChristos very much for the debate, and respect his opinions and beliefs, though I don’t share them.

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...


philochristos

Pro

[This space intentionally left blank because I went first.]
Debate Round No. 4
70 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by proglib 4 years ago
proglib
Thanks folks for the comments and RFDs. I enjoyed the exchange.
Posted by Ian_Scott_Wilson 4 years ago
Ian_Scott_Wilson
"My argument is that the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation for why Jesus' movement survived his death. I'm going to explain why the survival of his movement requires an explanation and press Con to come up with a better one than mine."

This is saying: "It is true because so many people believe it and because so many others in the past thought it was, or so I am told."

How the fuc.king f.uck is that an argument? Truth isnt democratic.
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
wrichcirw, you obviously put a lot of thought into your RFD's, though. I am not complaining. :-)
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
Thanks, wrichcirw!
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
I'm also surprised people think I spend an ungodly amount of time reading these debates, lol.

I'd say that typing my opinion in such length takes another 10-15 minutes more than the actual reading of the debate. Most of what I write is actually just copy/paste from the debate proper. It makes it easier for me to reach a justifiable conclusion.

I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth though lol, so THANKS! =)
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
@philo,

Good catch and fair enough. I'll just refrain from scoring this then. I didn't see the resolution being debated, so that's a fair position to take.
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
Oh, and about the resolution, I've come to believe you are right based on a recent debate between johnlubba and Rational_Thinker. However, I interpreted the resolution a little differently, and since proglib apparently interpreted it the same way I did, and since he wrote it, and since the meaning of it is determined by the author, I don't think you should've given me a win on a technicality. If you think his arguments were better, considering the intention behind the resolution, then you should give him arguments.
Posted by philochristos 4 years ago
philochristos
wrichcirw, I appreciate you spending so much time on this, but it looks like you missed something. You said, "Sources CON because I found his case to be substantial, even though sources were minimal, as PRO did not source." You need to look again. I gave 8 sources in my opening, including N.T. Wright, Marcus Borg, and E.P. Sanders.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
10) PRO: "The resurrection of Jesus is a superior explanation of the survival of Jesus' movement."

Again, irrelevant to the resolution. This debate is not about superior explanations but whether or not a credible explanation centering around the resurrection is possible. Both of you are not arguing the resolution.

11) CON: "To say that deception is completely implausible, strains credulity. The stories we have of Jesus" life and death were all created well after his death and after a new religion had been founded. How do we know what purpose the several apostles have in telling the story the way they did?" My point #8 addressed.

---

CONCLUSION

I found this debate to be unsatisfying because both debaters deviated from the stated resolution. This debate was not about which explanation was the BEST explanation, but about the possibility of the resurrection being a credible explanation. CON's case was substantial in this regard, and he brought out voluminous arguments and evidence to prove his case. PRO's case was built on what I first considered to be an absolutely indefensible position, yet PRO somehow defended it admirably.

I side will just about ALL of CON's points and positions - however, CON inadvertently conceded the resolution (point #7). I have to take this into account when scoring this debate, even though PRO did not recognize it.

Arguments PRO for the concession. Sources CON because I found his case to be substantial, even though sources were minimal, as PRO did not source. Conduct to CON, not because PRO's conduct was bad (in fact it was excellent), but because I don't think PRO should win on a technicality.

Tie. In the future, please be mindful of the resolution. Otherwise, an excellent debate, thanks to both PRO/CON for participating.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
(note, my point #3 mentions PRO, when it should mention CON)

6) PRO: "As I explained earlier, the last thing you'd think if you saw a dead loved on in front of you is that they had risen from the dead. You'd sooner believe they either had not died to begin with, that you were hallucinating, or that you were seeing a ghost."

...UNLESS you thought that they were the Messiah and were SUPPOSED to live forever. THEN you would not think you were hallucinating, even if you were.

7) CON: "Pro says the miraculous resurrection would be a more powerful explanation. CLEARLY, that is why hundreds of millions of people have followed a religion based on that story. However, it is not the only explanation that agrees with the evidence."

This reads as an unintended concession of the resolution by CON. If the resurrection is NOT the ONLY explanation WITH agreeable evidence, then CON concedes that "it CAN be proven that Jesus rose from the dead".

This is unfortunately critical. If PRO even breathes on this I will award arguments to PRO.

8) PRO: "If there was deception...it would mean they gave up hope for the redemption of Israel and the fulfillment of God's promises, which is the whole reason anybody followed a messiah to begin with."

Hmmm, no. You can have deception and still have hope in all of these things, only that the hope would be based upon a lie. Will wait to see how CON addresses this.

9) PRO: "Con says the resurrection is not the only explanation that accounts for the evidence...The resurrection is the best explanation because it explains all of the evidence, and does so more powerfully and with fewer ad hoc assumptions."

This is irrelevant to the resolution. PRO does not directly call out the concession here by CON. It makes me wonder exactly what both of you are debating.

(con't)
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Bullish 4 years ago
Bullish
proglibphilochristosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter BennyW.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
proglibphilochristosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: see comments. Please be mindful of the resolution.
Vote Placed by Milliarde 4 years ago
Milliarde
proglibphilochristosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro simply provided stronger reasons, to which Con didn't adequately counter. The paragraph that supposedly shuts down Pro's case in the previous voter's response is a simple question that Pro tackled, and could have given even more thought to if needed. Simply asking a question "is it possible that they wanted to believe it?" is hardly a counter, as it provides no evidence unless there's an alternate theory to explain it. However, Pro deduced that no alternate theory explains the facts nearly as well.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 4 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
proglibphilochristosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The argument here is that the "Jesus movement" had every reason to fail, but did not. Therefore, it is genuine because it best explains the religion's success. Con countered this by using Occam's Razor sufficiently. We know natural explanations exist, but not supernatural ones. Therefore, assuming the supernatural is unnecessary and non-parsimonious. In the second round, Con shut Pro's case down with this paragraph: "The youthful religion being promoted by Paul and others depended for its very survival on the reappearance of Jesus after his humiliating apparent death. Is it so far-fetched to believe that the disciples of early Christianity wanted it to be true so badly that they made it a matter of (almost) historical fact?". We know people lie, but we do not know that people can get supernaturally raised from the dead by invisible tri-omni wizards. Therefore, Con presented a much more compelling argument. They could have lied about the appearances, and the resurrection.
Vote Placed by BennyW 4 years ago
BennyW
proglibphilochristosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con put up a good fight but ultimately his explanations were just grasping at straws.