The Instigator
stubsmagee
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

It is more probably that the historical figure Jesus was in fact God than he was not

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/29/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,209 times Debate No: 18528
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (34)
Votes (3)

 

stubsmagee

Pro

First round is for acceptance and clarification of rules only.
Jesus: As mentioned in the Christian bible
God: As mentioned in the Christian bible
We both share equal burdon of proof for showing our position is more probable than the other.
Danielle

Con

Based on the resolution, my primary responsibilty in this debate will be to discredit Pro's evidence. We have every reason to assume that the historical Jesus was in fact just a man. The only evidence I can use to support my case is finding charicature discrepancies between Jesus the person and attributes that the bible ascribes to God.

I will accept my opponent's request to use this round for acceptance and clarification only, and wish him the best of luck in this debate. Hopefully it will be a thought provoking discussion and not rely on semantics or other tactics. Thanks!
Debate Round No. 1
stubsmagee

Pro

As I stated earlier we both have equal b.o.p because I believe we have every reason to believe Jesus was in fact God
1. Who wrote the gospels?
a. The uniform testimony of the early church was Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If those four men were not the original authors you must explain the early church saying they did.
2. Lie about gospels?
a. Craig L Blomberg, PH.D. "Probably not. Remember these were unlikely characters. Mark and Luke weren't even in the twelve disciples. Matthew was, but as a former tax collector, he would have been the most infamous character next to Judas Iscariot […] Contrast this with what happened when the fanciful apocryphal gospels were written much later. People chose the names of well-known and exemplary figures to be their fictitious authors-Phillip, Peter, Mary, James […] So to answer your question, there would not have been any reason to attribute the authorship to these three less respected people if it weren't true." (p.23) Now John was an exception, and he is the one most disputed over!
3. More evidence
a. In A.D 125 Papias said Mark "made no mistake" and made "no false statement"
b. In A.D 180 Irenaeus confirmed authorship.
4. Did Jesus claim to be God?
a. One of significance. Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man. Son of Man does not refer to Jesus' humanity. It refers to the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13-14 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, and nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed" Jesus claims to forgive sins, which only God can do. He accepts prayer and worship.
5. Gospels written too far after Jesus died to be accurate?
a. Most believe the gospels were written 70-90A.D
b. There are two issues
i. Even if there was no evidence that the books were written earlier than the dates I previously provided the argument doesn't work because that is still within the lifetimes of hostile eyewitnesses if false teachings began spreading. We can compare biographies of Jesus those of Alexander the Great.
ii. "The two earliest biographies of Alexander the Great were written by Arrian and Plutarch more than four hundred years after Alexander's death in 323 B.C., yet historians consider them to be generally trustworthy. Yes, legendary material about Alexander did develop over time, but it was only in the centuries after these two writers. In other words, the first five hundred years kept Alexander's story pretty much intact; legendary material began to emerge over the next five hundred years. So whether the gospels were written sixty years or thirty years after the life of Jesus, the amount of time is negligible by comparison. It's almost a nonissue" (p.33)
My second issue is there is evidence that suggest earlier dating of the gospels. If we read Acts, which was written by Luke, Paul is the main character. All of a sudden the book ends when Paul is under house arrest in Rome. So why is that? Well the best answer would be that Paul must have still been alive when Acts was finished. Meaning that Acts could have been written no later than 62 A.D. This also means that Luke had to have been written before that and since Luke incorporates parts of Mark, that must have been even earlier. (p.34)
6. Paul
a. "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles." I Corinthians 15
b. Crucifixion was as early as 30 A.D. meaning Paul's conversion was 32 A.D. He was sent out and his first meeting with the apostles was about 35 A.D. Somewhere in between that time, he gave this creed.
7. Corroborating Evidence
a. Tacitus said, "Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Chrisus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one on our procurators, Pontius Pilatus […] Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty: then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind" (p.82)
b. Yamauchi (PHD) "Regardless of whether the passage had this specifically in mind, it does provide us with the remarkable fact, which is this: crucifixion was the most abhorrent fate that anyone could undergo, and the fact that there was a movement based on a crucified man has to be explained. How can you explain the spread of a religion based on the worship of a man who had suffered the most ignominious death possible? Of course, the Christian answer is that he was resurrected. Others have to come up with some alternative theory […] but none of the alternative views, to my mind, are very persuasive." (p.82)
8. Resurrection
a. Skeptics say when the gospels say Jesus began to sweat blood, it was their imagination. Alexander Metherell, M.D, Ph.D. said "This is a known medical condition called hematidrosis […] it is associated with high degree of psychological stress." (p.195)
b. "The spear apparently went through the right lung and into the heart […] some fluid-the pericardial effusion and the pleural effusion-came out. This would have the appearance of a clear fluid, like water, followed by a large volume of blood, as the eyewitness John described in his gospel!" (p.199)
c. There was no doubt that Jesus was dead
9. Jesus' Body missing from the tomb?
a. William Craig PH.D.,D.TH., "If this burial by Joseph was a legend that developed later, you'd expect to find other competing burial traditions about what happened to Jesus' body. However, you don't find these at all." (p.210)
b. "There was a slanted groove that led down to a lower entrance, and a large disk-shaped stone was rolled down this groove and lodged into place across the door. A smaller stone was then used to secure the disk. Although it would be easy to roll this big disk down the groove, it would take several men to roll the stone back up in order to reopen the tomb" (p.211)
c. "There's no doubt that the disciples sincerely believed the truth of the Resurrection, which they proclaimed to their deaths. The idea that the empty tomb is the result of some hoax, conspiracy, or theft is simply dismissed today." (p.212)
d. From these quotes we se be sure that Jesus was buried in the tomb, the tomb was protected, the disciples believed the resurrection to the point of death, and no one could have stole the body.
e. Gospel accounts are too inconsistent? Historian Michael Grant, in a book called Jesus: An historian's review of the Gospels says, "True, the discovery of the empty tomb is differently described by the various gospels, but if we apply the same sort of criteria that we would apply to any other ancient literary sources, then the evidence is firm and plausible enough to necessitate the conclusion that the tomb was, indeed, found empty."
10. Disciples lie?
a. "The apostles were willing to die for something they had seen with their own eyes and touched with their own hands. They were in a unique position not to just believe Jesus rose from the dead but to know for sure. And when you've got eleven credible people with no ulterior motives, with nothing to gain and a lot to lose, who all agree they observed something with their own eyes-now you've got some difficulty explaining that away" (p.247)

Case for Christ - Lee Stroble
Danielle

Con

Pro has a significant advantage insofar as character space. I must respond to all of his contentions, so arguments in my favor will lie within the rebuttal and discredit of his claims. Although the burden is shared equally, if I can negate his points then we have every reason to assume that a historical Jesus was just a man. Since this debate is 5 rounds, I reserve the right to make additional points in my favor later on in the debate.

1. The uniform testimony of the Gospel indicates their truth.

The gospels are not exactly uniform. There are contradictions in the texts regarding the events surrounding Jesus' life during Passion Week; the Last Supper; the accounts of Judas' betrayal; the arrest of Jesus and denial of Peter; the trial and crucifixion of Peter; Jesus' burial and the empty tomb; and Jesus' resurrection and ascension [1].

Keep in mind that some of the most sensational miracles are only mentioned by one author, such as John's resurrection of Lazarus and Matthew's saints who rose from their graves and strolled through the town. Such spectacular events would not have been ignored by other Gospel writers if they had actually occurred, especially when we consider that comparatively trivial passages are often repeated word for word in the synoptics.

Prophetic claims throughout the Gospels are based upon mistranslated OT texts (Matt 2:5-6), invented OT texts (Matt 27:3-10), and non-existent OT texts (Matt. 2: 23). Upon examination of the OT claims, none of the alleged prophecies stand up. However what should be noted is the fact the Gospels follow the literary pattern of traditional myths. The Gospel of Mark upon which all other Gospels are based [2] is modeled after Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, often following almost identical grammar, story structure and events. It is a well known fact that scribes of Mark's day strove to emulate the works of Homer, and the sheer amount of similarities between the two cannot be explained as mere chance [3].

2. The fact that Mark and Luke were lesser known people means they were probably the authors, as fakes would have chosen more prominent people to ascribe authorship to.

None of the Gospel writers identified themselves. It was not until 180 AD that names were finally assigned to all four Gospel authors, and there is no way to verify the claims. Saying fakes MIGHT have chosen more obscure people is not evidence, and two of the people selected were in fact prominent followers of Jesus. In other words, this dismantles Pro's contention because it means fakes would have absolutely had a reason to ascribe false ownership to those people.

Furthermore, the Gospels were all written in a language foreign to the one spoken by Jesus and his disciples, indicating that they were not written by disciples. The disciples were mostly illiterate fishermen, not Greek scholars. There is also reason to believe that the authors of the Gospels were not in fact eye witnesses. The first Gospel upon which all others are based (Mark) contains many geographical errors, indicating that the author was unfamiliar with the area around Judea [4].

3. In A.D 125 Papias said Mark "made no mistake" and made "no false statement," and in A.D 180 Irenaeus confirmed authorship.

This is false. Irenaeus makes clear that neither Mark nor Luke were eye-witnesses of Jesus or the Gospel Events. Irenaeus agreed with Papias in saying Mark and Luke were NOT eyewitnesses to Jesus, and that Matthew wrote Hebrew [5]. It should also be noted that Papias reports he heard things that came from an unwritten, oral tradition which is very unreliable [6].

Between 150-160 AD, Ignatius wrote seven letters showing no knowledge of the Gospels. Around 155 AD, Minucius Felix wrote, "He who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men... When you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross you wander far from the truth." Like Ignatius, Felix explicitly denies the incarnation and crucifixion.

Around 170 AD, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, claims Christians were changing and faking his own letters just as they had changed the "scriptures of the Lord." Further, Pagan writers of this time and later pointedly note that Jesus may not have even existed as a historical figure (though I do not wish to make that a focal point of this debate), and that myth forms the basis of the Gospels. Even some Christian writers complained the Gospels were manufactured stories.

4. Jesus claims to be God and says that he forgives sins.

I will address this in the next round.

5. It doesn't matter that the gospels were written long after Jesus died.

There are no original Gospel documents. The earliest viable copies date to the fourth century, and none of the 5,400 extant manuscripts are the same. It is estimated that the number of variations between manuscripts total between 200,000 and 400,000 [5]! This amount of discrepancies certainly challenges the validity of the content. Furthermore, there is a plethora of evidence of tampering and interpolations among the various manuscripts. Various stories were not present in the earliest manuscripts but were added later.

According to the majority of Biblical scholars, the earliest Gospel (Mark) was composed at least 40 years after the death of Christ. Urban legends are known to arise in a matter of days. Forty plus years is plenty of time for serious myth-making to occur. Additionally, the Gospels were written around the same time as numerous apocryphal works on Christ, many of which are similar to the Gospels. It is reasonable to assume that whatever motivated the apocryphal writers to compose fictitious works on Christ also motivated the Gospel writers to do likewise [4].

6. Paul, a converted Christian, says that Jesus is God.

This is not really evidence of anything...

7. Christianity spread after the crucifixion, so the resurrection is probably true.

There are a lot of reasons that attribute to the spread of Christianity; I will expand on that in the next round.

8. Jesus endured a harsh crucifixion and was undoubtedly dead.

This doesn't prove the resurrection to be true; all it proves is that Jesus was put to death like other criminals.

9. There are no competing burial stories about what happened to Jesus' body after he was placed in the tomb. It would have taken several men to roll the stone back up in order to reopen the tomb. The disciples sincerely believed the truth of the Resurrection.

First, there are conflicting stories about the Resurrection within the Gospels themselves. Second, I've argued that the disciples were probably not even present at the time. Third, it is indeed possible that the body of Jesus was stolen from the tomb. Yes, it might have taken several men, but assuming the body was indeed missing then this is the most plausible explanation. A physical ascension violates everything we know about the laws of physics.

Roy Hoover posits that the idea of the ascension is dependent on a certain view of the cosmos, namely that the cosmos has a three-level structure. However Steven Davis responds to the three-story-universe view by declaring that it is a metaphor, not a cosmology. Bringing modern science to bear on the story is a matter of eisegesis (reading into the text something that is not there) rather than exegesis (letting the text speak for itself). This view may be properly accused of being ad hoc and contrived [7]. In other words, we have no reason to believe in a physical ascension.

10. The disciples had no ulterior motives and all agree on what they observed first-hand.

I've challenged whether or not the disciples even wrote the Gospels amongst other discrepancies.

Out of character space - Back to Pro for now. Good luck.

SOURCES ---> http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 2
stubsmagee

Pro

When I mentioned the uniformity of the early church attributing the gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I did not mean all the gospels said the exact same thing. I'm saying the early church claimed Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the gospels and there are no competing authors. If you do not believe they are the original 4 writers you must explain that.

"Keep in mind that some of the most sensational miracles are only mentioned by one author" Just because only one author writes of it does not make that claim any less credible. Think about when Paul wrote of Jesus appearing to 500 people. No one of the gospels mention this and we know for a fact that Paul's letters were written before the gospels. If the gospel writers were making up everything don't you think they would have included this? However, just because they didn't doesn't make Paul's claim any less credible. This is because he even said most of the people Jesus appeared to were still alive. He was inviting any sceptic who didn't believe him to check it out for themselves. I don't have enough space to refute all of your claims about Matt. so I will do the one I feel will be most compelling in this debate. You said in Matt. 2:23 he quotes a non-existent text. "It should be noted, however, that the formula introducing the quotation differs from the regular pattern in two ways: it refers not to a single prophet but to the prophets, and it concludes not with saying but with that. This suggests that it is not meant to be a quotation of a specific passage, but a summary of a theme of prophetic expectation. . . . Thus it has been suggested that Matthew saw in the obscurity of Nazareth the fulfillment of Old Testament indications of a humble and rejected Messiah."
- Enduring word bible commentary

You said that in 180 AD was the earliest confirmation of the gospel authors, but however that is just a false statement all together. In 125 AD Papias confirmed authorship. While we do not have all of the documents there are still pieces of it that show authorship. (http://www.mindspring.com...) Also, you said Irenaeus said that Matthew wrote Hebrew. That is not true. He said "Matthew published his own gospel among the Hebrews"

I am not making a case that the similarities in writing styles between Homer's works and the gospels is by chance. I have read Homers Iliad so I am familiar with that. However I am not seeing how that makes the gospels any less credible. At this point, in much of the known world at the time, most writers are writing in that style because that's just how everybody wrote. I would even expect the gospels to have literary parallels to Homers work.

You are correct that the disciples were not Greek scholars however it is a strong possibility that they got someone who could write Greek to transcribe for them. Irenaeus did confirm authorship in his writings "Against the Heresies" You can read it if you like.

I have already proved that the resurrection of Jesus could not have been manufactured stories but I will restate and give more evidence. Paul made a creed in Corinthians somewhere in between 32AD and 35AD which includes Jesus resurrection. Tell me why people are so accepting of the reliability of the bibliographies of Alexander the Great when they were written 400yrs after his death but when numerous credible people write biographies of Jesus between 30-60yrs of his death everyone thinks those are written way to far after his death to be reliable?

The statistics about discrepancies in the gospels is actually a huge piece of evidence for the reliability of the gospels. We have more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. The second most of any literary work near that time is in fact Homer's Iliad with 650 Greek manuscripts, and those manuscripts were written a thousand years after. You said the number of variations was between 200,000-400,000 however I have never heard any scholar throw a number around that big, so I checked out the source you listed. You got your information from qdj.50megs.com That is a free hosting site. Literally anyone with a computer can make a website threw 50megs.com. The numbers I have seen repeatedly are in the tens of thousands. That may seem like a lot but scholars Norman Geisler and William nix said, "The New Testament, then, has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, but it has survived in purer form than any other great book - a form that is 99.5% pure." (Case for Christ p.65). Bruce Metzger who has a masters degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and both a masters degree and a doctorate from Princeton University said that no major Christian doctrines are in jeopardy with the discrepancies. (p.64)

The fact Paul says Jesus was resurrected is evidence because he made the creed, as I said earlier, somewhere in between 32-35AD which is a short years after Jesus' death.

You said there are a lot of reasons that contribute to the spread of Christianity. I agree but I think the biggest is the resurrection. And if the resurrection was a myth, the spread of the myth can be explained but not the origin. The early Jewish believe was that the Messiah would not suffer, much less die. So if the resurrection is a myth you must explain who started it because it certainly wasn't any of the disciples. We can be sure of that.

You said that the crucifixion does not prove the resurrection. I completely agree. I was just showing the point because some people will argue Jesus was not even dead when we have other early writers claiming he was clearly dead which I already included in the earlier round.

You said there were conflicting stories about the resurrection in the gospels. I do not believe they are contradictory but I did not make the claim that they aren't. I said there are no competing burial stories. I am not going to waste character space talking about whether the body was stolen when that theory is almost universally dismissed by new testament scholars. Whether a physical ascension violates what we know about physics is irrelevant if there is enough evidence to believe Jesus is God, which I believe there is. This is because God is not bound by the natural laws of the universe.

You responded to about half of my arguments and I believe I refuted all of your claims. If you don't feel I have done a good enough job on one of the arguments please let me know and I will try to make my opinion more clear.

Thank you and good luck.
Danielle

Con

1. The uniform testimony of the Gospel indicates their truth. / 2. Fakes would have chosen more prominent people to ascribe authorship to.

In explaining what he meant by uniform testimony, Pro writes, "I'm saying the early church claimed Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the gospels and there are no competing authors. If you do not believe they are the original 4 writers you must explain that." I've explained at length in the last round reasons to believe that the Evangelists were not the original authors (examples - the authors did not speak the language the Gospels were written in; the disciples were illiterate fishermen; there were reasons to ascribe false authorship to those men; the Gospels indicate that the writers did not know the geography of Judea, etc.). Pro only responded to some of those, and dropped my point about all of the contradictions within the Gospels choosing only to explain why some stories were mentioned twice and others not.

3. In A.D 125 Papias said Mark "made no mistake" and made "no false statement," and in A.D 180 Irenaeus confirmed authorship.

Nowhere in Pro's source could I find verification that in 125 AD Papias confirmed authorship. If his link says that and I missed it, my opponent can feel free to copy and paste where that source mentions this into the comment section. Nevertheless, this is irrelevant because Pro dropped my point regarding the fact that Papias heard things that came from unwritten, oral traditions which are very unreliable. Pro also dropped my arguments pertaining to other historians and prominent figures from the time, such as Ignatius, Felix and the Bishop of Corinth who challenged the Gospels, their authorship and why.

4. Jesus claims to be God and says that he forgives sins.

I can proclaim to be God; it doesn't make it true. This is not evidence - this is the claim that is trying to be proven. Further, it can be argued that the bible doesn't support Jesus ever claiming that He is in fact God. Mirza has done a debate in which he argues against several bible quotes indicating that Jesus and God are one in the same [8]. Nevertheless, the main point is that Jesus proclaiming this is not evidence at all.

5. It doesn't matter that the gospels were written long after Jesus died.

Pro writes, "Tell me why people are so accepting of the reliability of the bibliographies of Alexander the Great when they were written 400 yrs after his death, but when numerous credible people write biographies of Jesus between 30-60 yrs of his death everyone thinks those are written way to far after his death to be reliable?" First, none of that is "evidence." At best it's an analogy, but not a very good one. Alexander the Great never claimed supernatural powers such as rising from the dead and ascending full body into Heaven. I've explained in the last round why a heavy burden falls upon those who claim such spectacular physical impossibilities. Also, we don't know for certain who the authors are, so it's misleading the audience to say that "credible people" spoke of the resurrection - especially since it's been proven that other people falsely spoke of Jesus (the apocryphal writers).

Pro has dropped my argument that the Gospels were written around the same time as numerous apocryphal works on Christ. It is reasonable to assume that whatever motivated those writers to compose fictitious works on Christ also motivated the Gospel writers to do likewise. At the very least it proves that we have reason to be skeptical. Ironically, Pro challenges my source yet the source he provided regarding Papias confirming authorship was also from a free hosting site that "anyone with a computer" can make up (mindspring.com). He also challenges my proposed number of variations of the New Testament, as I noted there have been between 30K and 400K reported. If Pro wants scholarly sources for these numbers, they can be found here [9, 10].

6. Paul, a converted Christian, says that Jesus is God.

Pro writes, "The fact Paul says Jesus was resurrected is evidence because he made the creed, as I said earlier, somewhere in between 32-35AD which is a short years after Jesus' death." This does not prove in any way whatsoever that Jesus was God; it only proves that some man named Paul wrote a creed that may have claimed that. It doesn't make the creed true.

7. Christianity spread after the crucifixion, so the resurrection is probably true.

Pro states, "If the resurrection was a myth, the spread of the myth can be explained but not the origin... So if the resurrection is a myth you must explain who started it because it certainly wasn't any of the disciples. We can be sure of that."

8. Jesus endured a harsh crucifixion and was undoubtedly dead.

This doesn't prove the resurrection to be true; all it proves is that Jesus was put to death like other criminals. Pro agrees.

9. There are no competing burial stories about what happened to Jesus' body; The disciples sincerely believed the truth of the Resurrection.

Pro says he will not waste character space addressing the probability that Jesus' body could have been stolen from the tomb. Fine, but then it must be considered as a possibility in my favor - otherwise I could easily say I don't want to waste character space responding to Pro's points, which I must take seriously no matter how absurd they might seem to me. Pro also says that whether a physical ascension violates what we know about physics is irrelevant if there is enough evidence to believe that Jesus is God, because God is not bound by the natural laws of the universe. However this is fallacious insofar as it relies on circular reasoning. The laws of physics could only be violated by Jesus if He were God, yet Pro is trying to use Jesus being God as an explanation for the violation of the laws. These cannot be used to prove each other.

Has Pro given us enough evidence to warrant Jesus being considered God? So far his ONLY evidence are the unity of the Gospels (which I have discredited in questioning both the content and authorship, including but not limited to discrepancies and contradictions among them); prominent historical figures verifying authorship and the claims (which I have discredited in citing other prominent figures who were against the Gospel's content, and noting that Papias' confirmation was unreliable); Jesus claiming to be God (which is irrelevant - people in mental hospitals claim all kinds of things, but that doesn't make them true); Paul saying that Jesus was God (also irrelevant); the spread of Christianity (which does not verify that the claims were true, only spread) and "no competing burial stories." There are in fact other stories, and we have no reason to assume that Jesus could violate the laws of physics. Pro's evidence in suggesting why he could has been circular.

All we have from Pro in support of the resolution are based on he said/she said testimony which includes no tangible evidence. The testimony itself can even be questioned based on who allegedly said it and no verifiable proof of authorship of the claims or their motives for doing so.

10. The disciples had no ulterior motives and all agree on what they observed first-hand.

Again, I've challenged whether or not the disciples even wrote the Gospels amongst other discrepancies.

[8] http://www.debate.org...
[9] Bruce M. Metzger, Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration. Oxford University Press. 2005. p. 71.
[10] Bruce M. Metzger. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart 2001). p. 45.
Debate Round No. 3
stubsmagee

Pro

1. I explained how the language problem could be simply solved (see previous round). I went back and read all of your previous round and could not find a reason why early Christians would have a reason to attribute authorship to Mark and Luke, who weren't even in the 12 disciples. Also, Matthew was but "as a former tax collector, he would have been the most infamous character next to Judas Iscariot." I could see why the apocryphal gospels, which were written close to 100 years after, would have been attributed to people like Judas and Mary. That's because those names hold weight. However that makes the case even stronger that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were the original writers.

I answered you question about the "non-existent" OT texts. I thought the solution was easy enough. Matt 2:5-6 is in reference to Micah 5:2, I do not see what you're pointing out there. In Matt 27:3-10 it is not invented, there is a problem with it though. Matthew attributed the quote to Jeremiah when it is found in Zachariah. There, I just made your argument for you (: There are 3 thoughts on this subject.
1.Some think it could be a copyist error. Perhaps Matthew wrote Zechariah, but an early copyist mistakenly put Jeremiah instead, and this rare mistake was repeated in subsequent copies.
2.Some think that Jeremiah spoke this prophecy and Zechariah recorded it. This may be the word spoken by Jeremiah, but recorded by Zechariah.
3.Some think that Matthew refers to scroll of Jeremiah, which included the book of Zechariah.
There, I believe I covered all the scripture you mentioned and if I didn't please tell me the exact passage and I will be sure to do that in the next round.

When you say there are contradictions surrounding Jesus' life you need to be specific so that I can clarify them for you. Simply saying there are contradiction at "the last supper" is not specific enough.

You said you could not find where Papias confirmed authorship so I will paste it here:
And the presbyter would say this: Mark, who had indeed been Peter's interpreter, accurately wrote as much as he remembered, yet not in order, about that which was either said or did by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who would make the teachings anecdotally but not exactly an arrangement of the Lord's reports, so that Mark did not fail by writing certain things as he recalled. For he had one purpose, not to omit what he heard or falsify them.

You can read it in the Greek which is provided right next to it if you would like. That was his confirmation of Mark, He goes on do the rest. Also Papias would have gotten his information from Hierapolis who listened to Polycarp, who had heard John the Baptist speak himself. That's one of the most reliable sources you will ever find in literature written around the date. I'm not arguing that people have not always challenged the Gospels. People have always and will always deny the incarnation and crucifixion. Does not hurt any of my cases that the gospels are reliable.

You are right when you say that just because Jesus claims to be God does not make true. I just point it out for the fact some people will say Jesus never even claimed to be God. Muslims will often claim this and others. None of my points, by themselves prove Jesus is God. They all work together to show that it is more probable that Jesus is God than he is not.

The Alexander biographies comparison to the biographies of Jesus was to compare time tables of how long true statements tend to last. It is not misleading in the least bit to say that credible people spoke of the resurrection. I know people spoke falsely of Jesus in the apocryphal gospels. Are you trying to make the connection that since some people lie about Jesus, that makes them all liars? I would not make that connection. The fact that the apocryphal writers lied about Jesus has no impact on the reliability of the actual gospels.

Yes mindspring is a a free hosting site but then the Greek is right there. If you think that is not the original text just let me know.

Again, Paul, claiming Jesus was crucified and resurrected does not make it true by itself. But it does add to the evidence. You claimed that it was "some man named Paul" well you are correct but this guy named Paul also wrote several other letters that have all been found historically accurate. It wasn't some random guy.

I like how you quoted me but took out the part where I explained it. Thanks for that haha. I said the disciples did not believe in a Messiah who would suffer much less die. Think about what they did after Jesus died. They hid because they were scared they were going to be killed. And then all of a sudden we see them going out and boldly preaching the Gospel. What caused the change? I would say the resurrection. What would you say?

Jesus death was not like a lot of other criminals. Crucifixion was one of the most horrendous deaths someone could die at that time. Jesus dying does not make him God but it is certainly a piece to the belief.

Jesus being God is my explanation for the violations of physical laws. That seems to be the most logical in my opinion. What would be yours?

Thank you for your time and again if I have not responded in an appropriate manner to any of your arguments just let me know please and I will clarify.
Danielle

Con

Danielle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
stubsmagee

Pro

I will not add any arguments due to my opponents forfeit in their last round. I would just like to close with a few things. I believe we can be confident the 4 names attached to the gospels actually did write the gospels, the writings have been well preserved, Jesus was a historical figure, Jesus claimed to be God, and rose from the dead, which would lead us to conclude that it is more probable that Jesus was God than He was not. However, I by no means, do these debates to win points based on how voters choose to vote. I only do them to prove that Christianity is not anti-intellectual, and I believe I have done that. I also had the great opportunity to talk to people in the comments about Christianity and if anyone has any questions about Christianity please feel free to message me, or if you just want to message me to tell me I'm an idiot for believing Jesus is God you can do that too. Thanks for your time and thanks to Danielle for the debate.
Danielle

Con

I'm terribly sorry for the forfeit; I have been extremely busy.

Here's a re-cap of the points from the debate...

1. The uniform testimony of the Gospel indicates their truth. / 2. Fakes would have chosen more prominent people to ascribe authorship to.

I've explained at length reasons to believe that the Evangelists were not the original authors (examples - the authors did not speak the language the Gospels were written in; the disciples were illiterate fishermen; there were reasons to ascribe false authorship to those men; the Gospels indicate that the writers did not know the geography of Judea, etc.). Pro only responded to some of those, and dropped my point about all of the contradictions within the Gospels choosing only to explain why some stories were mentioned twice and others not. He says the writings have been well preserved whereas I explained how many variations and discrepancies there are, making the content problematic and unable to be accurately verified.

3. In A.D 125 Papias said Mark "made no mistake," and in A.D 180 Irenaeus confirmed authorship.

Nowhere in Pro's source could I find verification that in 125 AD Papias confirmed authorship. If his link says that and I missed it, my opponent can feel free to copy and paste where that source mentions this into the comment section. Nevertheless, this is irrelevant because Pro dropped my point regarding the fact that Papias heard things that came from unwritten, oral traditions which are very unreliable. Pro also dropped my arguments pertaining to other historians and prominent figures from the time, such as Ignatius, Felix and the Bishop of Corinth who challenged the Gospels, their authorship and why. We have no reason to believe Papias with his shakey proof over the other historians.

4. Jesus claims to be God and says that he forgives sins.

I can proclaim to be God; it doesn't make it true. This is not evidence - this is the claim that is trying to be proven. Further, it can be argued that the bible doesn't support Jesus ever claiming that Jesus is in fact God. In fact, Mirza has done a debate in which his challenger was unable to deny that here [8]

5. The gospels were written long after Jesus died.

Pro writes, "Tell me why people are so accepting of the reliability of the bibliographies of Alexander the Great when they were written 400 yrs after his death, but when numerous credible people write biographies of Jesus between 30-60 yrs of his death, everyone thinks those are written way to far after his death to be reliable?" First, none of that is "evidence." At best it's an analogy, but not a very good one. Alexander the Great never claimed supernatural powers such as rising from the dead and ascending full body into Heaven. I've explained in the last round why a heavy burden falls upon those who claim such spectacular physical impossibilities. Also, we don't know for certain who the authors are, so it's misleading the audience to say that "credible people" spoke of the resurrection - especially since it's been proven that other people falsely spoke of Jesus (the apocryphal writers).

Pro has dropped my argument that the Gospels were written around the same time as numerous apocryphal works on Christ. It is reasonable to assume that whatever motivated those writers to compose fictitious works on Christ also motivated the Gospel writers to do likewise. At the very least it proves that we have reason to be skeptical. Ironically, Pro challenges my source yet the source he provided regarding Papias confirming authorship was also from a free hosting site that "anyone with a computer" can make up (mindspring.com). He also challenges my proposed number of variations of the New Testament, as I noted there have been between 300K and 400K reported. If Pro wants scholarly sources to support these figures, they can be found here [9, 10].

6. Paul says that Jesus is God.

Pro writes, "The fact Paul says Jesus was resurrected is evidence because he made the creed, as I said earlier, somewhere in between 32-35AD which is a short years after Jesus' death." This does not prove in any way whatsoever that Jesus was God; it only proves that some man named Paul wrote a creed that may have claimed that. It doesn't make the creed true.

7. Christianity spread after the crucifixion.

Pro states, "If the resurrection was a myth, the spread of the myth can be explained but not the origin... So if the resurrection is a myth you must explain who started it because it certainly wasn't any of the disciples. We can be sure of that." Resurrection myths (almost EXACTLY like Jesus') have been been around for centuries; this is probably 1 of many copycats [11].

8. Jesus endured a harsh crucifixion and was undoubtedly dead.

This doesn't prove the resurrection to be true; all it proves is that Jesus was put to death like other criminals. Pro agrees.

9. There are no competing burial stories; the disciples sincerely believed the truth of the Resurrection.

Pro says he will not waste character space addressing the probability that Jesus' body could have been stolen from the tomb. Fine, but then it must be considered as a possibility in my favor - otherwise I could easily say I don't want to waste character space responding to Pro's points, which I must take seriously no matter how absurd they might seem to me. Pro also says that whether a physical ascension violates what we know about physics is irrelevant if there is enough evidence to believe that Jesus is God, because God is not bound by the natural laws of the universe. However this is fallacious insofar as it relies on circular reasoning. The laws of physics could only be violated by Jesus if He were God, yet Pro is trying to use Jesus being God as an explanation for the violation of the laws. These cannot be used to prove each other.

So far Pro's ONLY evidence are the unity of the Gospels (which I have discredited in questioning both the content and authorship, including but not limited to discrepancies and contradictions among them); prominent historical figures verifying authorship and the claims (which I have discredited in citing other prominent figures who were against the Gospel's content, and noting that Papias' confirmation was unreliable); Jesus claiming to be God (which is irrelevant - people in mental hospitals claim all kinds of things, but that doesn't make them true); Paul saying that Jesus was God (also irrelevant); the spread of Christianity (which does not verify that the claims were true, only the spread which Pro agrees can be attributed to a variety of things) and "no competing burial stories." There are in fact other stories, and we have no reason to assume that Jesus could violate the laws of physics. Pro's evidence in suggesting why he could has been circular.

All we have from Pro in support of the resolution are based on he said/she said testimony which includes no tangible evidence. The testimony itself can even be questioned based on who allegedly said it and no verifiable proof of authorship of the claims or their motives for doing so.

10. The disciples had no ulterior motives and agree on what they observed.

I've challenged whether or not the disciples even wrote the Gospels amongst other discrepancies. I've also brought up that there were other known fake stories about Christ from this time, meaning obviously ulterior motives existed for people to lie even if they are unclear.

The resolution has been negated.

[8] http://www.debate.org...
[9] Bruce M. Metzger, Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration. Oxford University Press. 2005. p. 71.
[10] Bruce M. Metzger. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart 2001). p. 45.
[11] http://www.paganlibrary.com...
Debate Round No. 5
34 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
Conduct goes to pro because Danielle forfeit. In spite of the forfeit, con still one. Danielle blew pro's claims out the window. Saying that you are god and forgiving sins=/=God
Posted by SK 5 years ago
SK
The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim.

So if you say "Jesus was a god", you have the burden of proof. If I then say "Jesus is NOT god", I *too* have the burden of proof, but it does not absolve you of yours.

Since you started the debate, and made a claim, you have the burden of proof for you claim. Any claims made by the con will have a burden of proof, but it need not be met for *this* debate.

So if you cannot meet your burden, or Con refutes your argument, Con wins. Regardless of what other claims she makes, as long as an unsubstantiated claim of hers is used to debunk your argument
Posted by stubsmagee 5 years ago
stubsmagee
Yes, I said Christianity was a religion based on your definition
Posted by drafterman 5 years ago
drafterman
It's a moot point. You've recanted and admitted that Christianity is, in fact, a religion (even if it is more than that). Should you change your mind, we can continue this discussion.
Posted by stubsmagee 5 years ago
stubsmagee
I already said I usually do agree with the textbook definitions of words. Its not that I just want Christianity to be exempt. I dont agree with other words too. The very fact that in nearly all DDO debates first round is clarification of definitions proves that not everyone agrees with the textbook definition of every word in the dictionary. If everyone did then we would not need to do that.
Posted by drafterman 5 years ago
drafterman
Yes. Words can mean different things at different times. Those different meanings, and the times in which they are appropriate, are part of their dictionary definition. You don't need to deviate from the meaning of the word to acknowledge that words have different meanings. What is unacceptabe is when someone insists that the word means something completely different than any of the definitions in any textbook. You can't expect to communicate effectively (or at all) when you do that, and you can't expect anyone else to comply without good reason.

To adhere to the actual definition of the words does not, in any way, mean I conform to what everyone else things, or mean I have no personality. After all, while I can't arbitrarily choose what words mean, I can, nevertheless, choose which words I wish to use to convey my unique thoughts. Again, you provide no reason why Christianity shouldn't be considered a religion other than your own personal whims, nor do you provide a reason as to why ONLY Christianity is subject to your whims, and not any other word. The very fact that we are having a discussion in which we can understand each other PROVES that you, too, adhere to the definition of the words being used. You just want Christianity to be exempt. Sorry, but no.
Posted by stubsmagee 5 years ago
stubsmagee
In most cases yes. But words can mean diffrent things at diffrent times. Thats why there are lots of discussions on what certain words mean when we try and look at them in context, especially in biblical discussions. If you agree with every textbook definition then you don't think for yourself, you simply just conform your thoughts to what everyone else thinks.
Posted by drafterman 5 years ago
drafterman
Yes. I do agree with the text book definition of every word. That's the point. It's the only way we can communicate. Think about it. You read the words I've typed here. How are you able to understand what I'm saying? Because of the implicit agreement that I'm using the words in accordance with their textbook definitions. I don't see why Christianity should be given an exception here. It's special pleading, nothing more.
Posted by stubsmagee 5 years ago
stubsmagee
Sorry sir I dont mean to be dismissing a definition. Im just saying I personally dont agree with it. Im sure there are somethings you don't agree with the textbook definition right? If someone told me they agree with every definition thats in the dictionary then I would say they dont have much of a personality. I think Christianity is better considered a relationship. Thats just my own personal opinion.
Posted by drafterman 5 years ago
drafterman
You just can't dismiss a definition because you personally don't like it. At least not if you expect to be able to effectively communicate with anyone.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
stubsmageeDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter.
Vote Placed by bozotheclown 5 years ago
bozotheclown
stubsmageeDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: let the arguments speak for themselves.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
stubsmageeDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comment