The Instigator
followhard
Pro (for)
Losing
56 Points
The Contender
tkubok
Con (against)
Winning
67 Points

Jesus Christ rose from the dead

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,386 times Debate No: 10262
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (32)
Votes (23)

 

followhard

Pro

This debate is for a graduate level class assignment. Please only accept this debate if you are willing to take any arguments seriously and respectfully and have enough time to participate in all three rounds. Thank you!

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If Jesus Christ rose from the dead he first would have lived. The argument of Jesus historically is one that is very rarely objected to. Most agree (even critics) that Jesus of Nazareth lived on earth at some point and that he is a historical figure. The best most thorough source for information regarding Jesus' life is in fact the New Testament of the Bible, or more precisely the Gospels within the NT of the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Though many skeptics see the Bible essentially as one book, it is important to keep in mind that the Bible is actually a resource from many different writers. There are also other resources separate from the Bible who mentions Jesus as historically real whether they held to his divinity.

Josephus, a Jewish historian who was not a follower of Jesus recorded these words: "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats....He was [the] Christ...he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him."

The first-century Roman Tacitus, who is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world, mentioned superstitious Christians who suffered under Pilate and who followed a man named Chrestus or, "Christ."

Pliny the Younger wrote of Christians who were very ethical and refers to the Lord's Supper.

Mara Bar-Serapion stated that Jesus was a wise man and was thought to be king of Israel but was put to death by Jews.

Even the Gnostic writings which are not excepted by most modern Christians speak of Jesus and his life.

All of this is exceptional evidence even secularly and if Jesus lived and was put to death, as most sources confer, he either rose from the dead or he effectively remained dead.

Because of sources like the Bible and the alternative resources listed above, it is evident that Jesus really did live and he really did think that he was God's Son (or at least he said he was). The early Christians who followed Jesus recorded him as saying things like; "follow me," (Mark 1:17) I am the [only] way," (John 14:6) "I Am," (John 11:25) "No one comes to God except through me," (John 6:44) and many more similar. Since the Bible stats the Jesus was God, he died for the world, and he rose from the dead, these events would have to be true in order for Jesus to be Go., I submit that if the final statement is true (Jesus rose from the dead) the other two are also true. The resurrection not only shows that Jesus did what he said he would do, but it shows that he was who he said he was. In the NT Paul also realized that Jesus had to be raised from the dead or everything else was useless (I Cor. 15:14). So ultimately, If Jesus didn't rise from the dead then the New Testament of the Bible is not true and Christianity is also untrue.

Here is some of the information we know about Jesus generally without referencing the Bible. (These are taken from Gary Habermas' book, The Risen Jesus and Future Hope. 2003)

1.Jesus died by Roman Crucifixion
2.He was buried
3.The disciples were discouraged having lost hope
4.Jesus' tomb was found empty at some point after his death (or at least there was some controversy over the whereabouts of his body)
5.The disciples claimed to have experienced that they believed were actually appearances of Jesus.
6.These experiences changed the disciples to the point where they were willing to die for Jesus. This probably where the Christian church as we know it began.
7.The disciples publically testified to having seen Jesus
8.Their whole message centered around the apparent death and resurrection of Jesus
9.Jesus' brother James was a former skeptic but had been converted after Jesus' death.
10.A few years later Saul of Tarsus was also converted and his name was changed to Paul. He had been a persecutor of Christians and eventually wrote most of the New Testament.

We see a general progression here; Jesus' death brought discouragement but soon thereafter we see hope, changes of heart, a whole religion and all of this at a very early point at the turn of the 1st millennium. James the very brother of Jesus who had not believed in Jesus' deity during his life was converted after he believed Jesus rose from the dead. Paul was a man who was very religious and followed the law of the Pharisees extremely zealous. Paul even admitted to holding the coats as the first Christian martyr Stephen was stoned to death. Paul recorded that Jesus actually appeared to him on his was to Damascus and there he was converted and became the most well known apostle of Jesus. We even know that some of the first Christians feared Paul after he was initially converted. Paul called himself the Chief of sinners because of his actions. The fact that Paul was converted to the Christian faith is not denied. Atheistic philosopher Michael Martin states: "However, we have only one contemporary eyewitness account of a postresurrection appearance of Jesus, namely Paul's." Similarly Jesus Seminar member Roy Hoover explained that "Paul's testimony is the earliest and the most historically reliable evidence about the resurrection of Jesus that we have." Paul also met with other early church leaders including Peter. He approved of their message as we see in New Testament writings and Paul also conferred with many that Jesus was alive after his death and the early apostles and teacher were in unison about the death and resurrection of Jesus – including many who had previously been skeptics.

Additionally the tomb in which Jesus was buried was later discovered to be empty. Though this does not prove Jesus rose from the dead it strengthens the argument. If the body was stolen, it shows that the Roman guards failed to protect the tomb. The Gospels are unanimous claiming that women were the first to the tomb of Jesus. This is a powerful argument since it is unlikely anyone would have fabricated this story because the testimony of women at the time of the early first century was not allowed in court on crucial matters. And to top it off, the disciples preached the gospel of Christ in the very town where he was buried; this would have been easy to prove wrong. All the Roman's had to do was drag his body into the street and Christianity would have effectively ended at week one.

Since the disciples had fled and were discouraged after the death of Christ, it is logical to agree that there was an event that changed their attitudes after Jesus' death. There was great preaching, evangelism, and teachings that followed their despair; something big happened. Almost no historian disputes the fact that the disciples were transformed at a time after Jesus' death. Biblical and non-Biblical sources alike attest that after the death of Jesus there were a number of followers who were led by men who believed they witnessed Jesus alive after his death. So many have tried to explain the belief of these men and women as simply hallucinations but logically mass hallucinations are all but impossible.

Habermas explains that, the resurrection of Jesus was the center of early Christian belief and this points to its reality. It was investigated by believer and non-believers alike and because countless men and women followed Jesus along with the additionally arguments above, we have excellent historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead.
tkubok

Con

Might as well accept, since my last debate went sour.

First, id like to thank my opponent for this debate. I shall start with debunking my opponents arguments, and then go onto my own.

Now i shall completely decimate my opponents arguments.

A1: "it is important to keep in mind that the Bible is actually a resource from many different writers."

The only parts of the Bible that are actually relevant to Jesus is the 4 gospels, and we do not know who the authors of those books are. In fact, a lot of scholars agree that at least 3 out of the 4 gospels are from the same source. That leaves 2, maybe 3 authors, to which we know nothing of.

A2: Josephus.

We can throw out Josephus in an instant. Most, if not all historians agree that Josephus, specifically the phrase you are quoting, is at least a 1st-2nd century interpolation. The reason for this is three-fold. First, Josephus was a known Jew, and calling Jesus Christ as a "Messiah" is something that could not have come out of Josephus. Second, when you read the antiquities, you notice that the story flows and flows, and then the insert that has nothing to do with the story is inserted, namely, Jesus Christ, and then the story goes back to what it was previously talking about. But, i wont stress that point, because it isn't too much of an extraordinary thing that people talk and talk, and then go off on a tangent for a couple sentences. Third, well known early church fathers such as Origens, never ever mention Josephus, not once. These guys were well read, well informed, they quoted from each other, quoted from historical texts, yet they never even slightly mention Josephus at all. This would've been an easy thing to confirm that Jesus at least existed.

A3: The rest of the sources that talk about Jesus.

Great. I have no problem in assuming that there was a man named Jesus. But none of this confirms or denies the exceptional claim of how he rose from the dead. No one is denying that Christians existed. No one is denying that there was probably a man named Jesus who was crucified.

A4: "However, we have only one contemporary eyewitness account of a postresurrection appearance of Jesus, namely Paul's."

No, this is not an eyewitness account. Paul never met Jesus. His Damascus road experience was relating to the spirit of zombie Jesus, not the physical resurrected body of Jesus. In fact, it doesn't even say that Paul actually saw anything, he only heard the voice of the lord, and was also blinded by the light. This is far from an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Its as if i were to say "I was an eyewitness to this Car Crash. I saw it in a spirit vision". That is not an eyewitness account to the physical occurrence of the car crash. Its absurd to claim this was an eyewitness event.

A5: "This is a powerful argument since it is unlikely anyone would have fabricated this story because the testimony of women at the time of the early first century was not allowed in court on crucial matters."

This would be a powerful argument if any of the women were required to testify in court. This is an extremely weak argument because none of the women were required to testify in court, nor were the gospels used in any court proceedings in the early 1st century as evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A6: "All the Roman's had to do was drag his body into the street and Christianity would have effectively ended at week one."

My opponent is completely ignoring the rather obvious possibility, that the body had already been removed before the Romans could have cared enough to bother disputing the Christians. Oh, and no, it doesn't take a resurrection to do that. Furthermore, I say "If the Romans cared enough", because the Romans could have just dragged out any body and claimed he was Jesus, and no one would know the difference(Especially if the body was in the stages of decay). Yet, they didn't. Why? Because the Romans didn't care about Jesus, it was the Jews who cared.

A7: "Almost no historian disputes the fact that the disciples were transformed at a time after Jesus' death."

I would like to ask my opponent to give the source that claims that the Apostles were discouraged after Jesus' death.

A8: "logically mass hallucinations are all but impossible."

Actually, no. Mass UFO sightings.(1)(2)

Im running out of words, so ill start on my own arguments.

C1: Eyewitness testimony that is decades removed, and passed on orally, cannot be used as evidence for a supernatural event.

Take UFOs as an example. We have multitudes of people who have claimed to have seen UFOs. Couples. Families. All these people have claimed to have been abducted, experimented upon, and seen/interacted with real UFOs and aliens. If absolutely no one talked to these people, and we were to wait a couple decades, collected these stories, and made a book, every historian in the world would agree that that book would not be worth its weight in gummy bears as to whether or not any of it is historically accurate or true. And that's in today's society. 2000 years ago, when we are relying on oral traditions in order for those 3+ decades to be filled, we have even more reason to doubt those visions.

C2: If historical evidence is evidence for supernatural events, then we would have to include other holy books such as the Quran as being accurate.

Paul never met Jesus or the body of the resurrected Jesus, only the "spiritual" Jesus. Furthermore, it is generally agreed that Paul was converted some time around 33-36 AD, a couple years after Jesus died. Therefore, the gospels are the only possible accounts that talk of the resurrection of Christ. Since we have no idea who the authors are, and the fact that 3 gospels are identical to the point of each gospel being a copy of one another, it is safe to assume that 2, if not 3 authors are responsible. We also know that the gospels were written atleast a couple decades after Jesus died. The Quran, also written shortly after Muhammed died, by 2 authors who were also companions of Muhammed, and were eyewitnesses to the miraculous events that occurred to him, would have to be accepted by your stands. Yet, the Quran completely contradicts the claims that Jesus was God, or that he was in any way greater than a simple prophet.

C3: Not any other event in the bible has been corroborated outside the gospels.

This has to do with the credibility of the gospels as a whole. There are instances in the bible, such as Matthew 27, where the bodies of the dead saints rose from the dead and walked into town. What? Bodies of dead people walking into town, and yet no one, not one scholar saw this as even slightly odd? Not only that, but taking a quote from Pat Condell, this person should have been the talk of the desert! He rose the dead, healed the sick, healed the blind, walked on water! Yet not one scholar bothered to write about any of this.

I am out of characters, so i shall end it here.

Sources:
1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
2. http://www.rense.com...
Debate Round No. 1
followhard

Pro

Tkubok, Thanks for taking the debate, I really appreciate it!

--"The only part of the Bible actually relevant to Jesus is the 4 gospels."

Actually there are numerous books in the Bible that are relevant. The OT is full of prophets who predicted the coming Messiah. Isaiah 7 predicted the birth of the Messiah. It was prophesied that the virgin would conceive and give birth to a baby boy who would be called Immanuel the baby born would be called Mighty God and Everlasting Father. And finally that He would be punished for sins and he would not defend himself. There is also much more. In fact Isaiah seems to be a picture of the NT stories of Jesus. Isaiah was understood by the Jews long before Jesus. Daniel 9 predicted that the Messiah would be cut off and thereafter Jerusalem would be destroyed. (Christ was crucified around 33 A.D. and Jerusalem was destroyed around 70 A.D.

Micah, Zechariah, Malachi and many more also predicted the birth, life and/or death of a coming messiah. Astonishingly Isaiah 53 almost seems like a Gospel account of the cross.

The Gospel of Matthew was probably not written by Matthew as most scholars now point out. Matthew was written in Greek according to Papias. Most scholars including critical scholars believe the author was a Palestinian Jew who took Mark's work and Matthew's work to compose this Gospel in Greek.

Mark - the first of the four Gospels. Papias, a Bishop of Hierapolis in A.D. 60 recorded that John-Mark wrote this Gospel and that he was an interpreter to Peter. Eusebius tells us that John-Mark composed his gospel in Rome while in the service of Peter. They would not have credited authorship of Mark to John-Mark if they did not have good reason to do so; he was such a minor figure.

The Gospel of Luke is written in a style unlike any of the other four. It was also written by a man who spent much of his time with Paul, something that could not be said about the author of Matthew or Mark. Luke was probably the last Gospel written and in chapter one the author points out that he has studied other works and investigated them clearly so that he could provide an accurate account. This infers that he was not the author of previous similar Gospels. In A.D. 175 Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, identified the author as Luke, the companion of Paul and Eusebius agreed adding that Luke was from Antioch. This means it is a logical conclusion that Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke.

Historically John is the author of the Gospel of John and the fact that the author was an eyewitness of Jesus confers. Additionally, John 1, 2 and 3 in the NT are so grammatically similar to the Gospel of John that all four books were likely written by the same person. It has been said by many critical scholars the author of the Gospel was actually John the Elder, a disciple of John the Apostle. Even if this is true, The Gospel of John does not have the same author as any other of the Gospels.

The New Testament is also full of references to Jesus, his death and resurrection by different writers.

--"Josephus"

You are right there are interpolations within this passage. If you look at the regularly used vocabulary of Josephus it is obvious some of phrases have been added here. Miami University Professor Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi (leading expert in ancient history) says the first line is almost certainly authentic: "About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man." Yamauchi goes on to say that "if indeed one ought to call him a man;" seems to be an interpolation. "For he was one who wrought surprising feats" seems to be genuine for various reasons. And finally, "He was the Christ" is almost certainly an interpolation. Josephus wouldn't have called Jesus the Messiah but he did confer that Jesus lived, we both agree here so let's move on.

--Paul meets Jesus? "However we have only one contemporary eyewitness account of a postresurrection appearance of Jesus, Namely Paul's."

I too do not agree with this statement either (for different reasons); however, in context I was pointing out that Paul was changed after the resurrection – for whatever reason, and quoted from the atheist philosopher Michael Marin. This statement has nothing to do with being an eyewitness account here but does show that Paul was changed by a bizarre event.

--"This would be a powerful argument if any of the women were required to testify in court."

This is a powerful argument period. The writers of the Gospel accounts where not only appealing to the average person, they were appealing the greatest minds of the time and men of the highest authority. Their argument was risky to say the least; they wouldn't have used it unless it really is what they thought happened. The writers knew all to well that those in the legal system were paying attention as the Roman authorities where the ones who crucified Jesus in the first place. If the Romans could care less about Jesus, why did they crucify him and why were men like Paul imprisoned and even beaten. There is no doubt that there were early martyrs and while this doesn't prove Jesus rose, it does show that the authorities cared about what was going on.

--Were the disciples changed after Jesus' death?

It is widely held by Christian and secular scholars alike that something happened to the disciples after the death of Jesus. Of course the Bible makes this point clear in over 25 places recording the disciples being discouraged and then being changed shortly after… I am sure you are not interested in the Bible as a reference source here. We see that both Paul and Peter were martyred according to Clement of Rome and both Josephus and Hegesippus give accounts of James, the brother of Jesus being martyred. James the brother of John, Peter and Paul are also included in Eusebius. There is also a change in the disciples mentioned in Christian testimonies of Clement of Rome and Ignatius. Secular reports are found in Tacitus and the Josephus. These sources along with the Bible make it extremely likely historically that the disciples were changed. We also know they would have been naturally discouraged after his death since they did follow Jesus.

--Mass Hallucinations are impossible.

Mass hallucinations are extremely unlikely. Paul recorded that over 500 people believed that they had witnessed Jesus after his death. You are also making an assumption that the people in your source did not see a UFO; these sources have pictures of this particular UFO so the people in these articles you have provided were obviously not hallucinating, they took pictures...

--Eyewitness oral testimony reliable?
Critical scholars usually agree that Paul's records had remarkable early origins. Joachim Jeremias calls it "the earliest tradition of all." Ulrich Wilckens declared that Paul's material "indubitably goes back to the oldest phase of all in the history of primitive Christianity." Walter Kasper even states, "We have here an ancient text, perhaps in use by the end of A.D. 30." Most other scholars who provide a date think that Paul received his tradition between two and eight years after Jesus' death. Not Decades of Oral tradition as you mentioned. Put that against other ancient works that secular scholars hold as accurate and there is simply no comparison. Even match the oldest manuscripts of the Bible with today's modern translations and the accuracy is extremely remarkable, over 90 percent accurate.

--"We would have to include other holy books."

You have mentioned twice that we have no idea who wrote the Gospels, this is incorrect there are likely candidates. You have said it is safe to assume that 2 or 3 different men wrote the four Gospels. Let's just say 3 men wrote the Gospels and not four. Does one copied Gospel prove the other three wrong? I have already explained that some of the four were translated into other languages and it is possible that Mark could have been used to complete the Gospel of Matthew. Actu
tkubok

Con

Well, this is gonna get fun.

A01: "Actually there are numerous books in the Bible that are relevant."

Not at all. And i can answer this with one easy word: Judaism. The reason why Judaism rejects Jesus as the messiah is strictly because he DIDN'T fulfill the requirements, even in Isaiah. Although Jesus was never called Immanuel, it is also stated in Isaiah that the Messiah will be of paternal lineage to that of King David via King Solomon, neither of which Jesus or Mary was. Isaiah talks about the Messiah bringing an era of peace, lead nations to admit they were wrong about Israel, etc etc etc... The list goes on. The Talmud states that "If a man claims to be God, he is a liar". Deuteronomy states that any person who claims to contradict the laws of God cannot be a prophet or Messiah because Gods laws are firm. Astonishingly, the rest of Isaiah almost seems like it contradicts the Gospels accounts.

Furthermore, Isaiah 7 predicting the virgin birth, most scholars agree, is a mistranslation from Hebrew to Greek. The original Hebrew word used describes "Young woman", which does not mean a virgin. This is further confirmed when we know that the hebrew word for Virgin exists, separate from the hebrew word of "young Woman".

A02: "They would not have credited authorship of Mark to John-Mark if they did not have good reason to do so;"

The sole authority on the authorship of Mark stems from the obscure mention by John the Presbyter. Although i usually have no problem with the claim that Mark is the author of the Gospel of Mark, I dont think this is a good reason at all.

A03: Regarding Matthew and Luke.

Although most scholars agree that the Gospel of Luke is written by a different author, this is why i say that at most, the 4 gospels are written by 2-3 authors. Both the Gospels of matthew and Luke have such similarity to Mark, that many scholars accept the two-source hypothesis, regarding Mark and the Q document. Therefore, regarding Mark, Matthew and Luke, there could not have been more than 2 principle authors that are responsible for the most important aspects of the three gospels.

A04: Regarding John.

Historically, yes, the author of the Gospel of John is attributed to John. And that The gospel of John and the epistles of John were written by the same author. However, modern scholars beg to differ. Papius, for example, who is also the sole authority of the authorship of the Gospel of Mark, indicates that the two Johns must be distinguished between John the Apostle and John the Presbyter. When you consider that even the Bible states that John is "Unlearned" as a fisherman, it is unlikely that he authored the Gospels at all, since the Gospel of John is written in an intellectual manner in accordance to rabbinic traditions. Furthermore, the Gospel is dated to be written around 100 AD, making John very, very old, which is even more uncommon. This makes the Gospel of John, increasingly obvious that it was written by someone other than John.

A05: "The New Testament is also full of references to Jesus, his death and resurrection by different writers."

Different writers, yes. Eyewitnesses, no.

A06: Josephus.

An additional note that makes that argument even less conspicuous. Jospehus wrote about many different Jesus'. Jesus was a popular name in the 1st century.

A07: "This is a powerful argument period."

No, it isnt, and ill tell you why. The Divinity of Jesus does not rest on the resurrection alone. There is a reason why the Apostles are all male. There is a reason why Jesus did other miracles, like heal the blind, heal the sick, walk on water, etc etc. Its not as if these things were of a daily occurrence in 1st century Jerusalem. Its not as if the resurrection is the only miracle that could have come from God, and all the other miracles could be replicated by men. The argument that Women were the first to discover the tomb, does nothing to diminish the fact that apostles were also claimed to have seen, met and talked with Jesus after his death, and therefore is not a powerful argument, period. If all they had was the word of the women, then yes, that would lead credence to your argument. But the fact remains, the apostles met and talked with Jesus, which means that the authors of the bible were not using the Women as an especially strong argument at all.

Again, read my argument. The Romans did not care. The Jews did. Theres a reason why Paul was only arrested after he caused a stir in the temple.

A08: "Secular reports are found in Tacitus and the Josephus. "

I have a copy of the antiquities on my computer. Where does Josephus say that James was discouraged after Jesus' death?

A09: "Mass hallucinations are extremely unlikely."

Extremely unlikely, yes. All but impossible, as you previously claimed? Absolutely not.

Paul recorded that over 500 people witnessed Jesus after his death. Or so the story goes. Do we have their names? Do we have any confirmation that they were telling the truth? Do we know that they knew who Jesus was and could identify him?

Furthermore, are you saying that these people witnessed a UFO, and that this is historical proof that aliens have been observed and exist?

A10: "Paul's records had remarkable early origins"

First off, I don't exactly understand what you mean by "Tradition", but if you mean "Started to collect eyewitness testimony regarding Jesus' resurrection", then yes, he probably talked about the resurrection with other christians who were at Antioch. Congrats, because this is STILL several decades off when you consider the epistles were written around 50 AD.

Secondly, if i put that against other ancient works that secular scholars hold as accurate, congrats, i would have to accept the Quran, which was written only a decade or so after Muhammad's death by 2 authors who we know. Although this goes into the next section, i am sure you do not accept the Quran as a historically accurate depiction.

A11: "Does one copied Gospel prove the other three wrong?"

When 3 out of the 4 are of extremely questionable authorship, while the 4th has only one source by a known follower of the religion who obviously has reason to lie, then yes, one copied gospel casts extreme doubt.

Furthermore, i feel as though you have not addressed two of my arguments at all. The argument regarding how eyewitness testimony of alien abductions, despite the fact that we can visit these people right now, is not valid, and the argument of how other holy books, such as the Quran, have the same amount of historical credibility yet are easily rejected, and am sure that you reject them too.
Debate Round No. 2
followhard

Pro

--"Jews don't accept Jesus."
If by using the word Judaism, you mean Jews who don't accept Jesus then yes, Judaism rejects Jesus. However, Jews as a whole have not rejected Jesus as Messiah. There are large groups of Jews who follow Jesus and even today many Jews are being converted to Christianity. Additionally the same OT book you claim is not accepted as prophesy of Jesus also predicts that the Messiah would not be accepted by the Jews – Isaiah 53. So if Judaism has rejected Jesus as messiah, it makes him a candidate to be the Messiah.
*If the Judaism would have accepted Jesus then he could not have been the Messiah.

--"Virgin Birth"
This question alone could be a whole debate; I'll just say some scholars accept this OT passage and others do not.

--The Gospels
I will concede that the 4 Gospel could have been written by three men. This is why I pointed out that Matthew may have used Mark's work to translate the Gospel into another language. I have also already stated that John the apostle probably did not write John, see my above argument.

--"Eyewitnesses to the resurrection"
The NT accounts of the resurrection were being circulated at least during the lifetime of those men and women who encountered the resurrection. These people could have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such claims. The writers of the gospels were also either themselves a witness or writing on behalf of a witness. How do we know this? According to Josh McDowell: "By the end of the 19th century archaeological discoveries of early papyri [had] bridged the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from later dates. Those findings increased scholarly confidence in the reliability of the Bible. William F. Albright, who in his day was the world's foremost biblical archaeologist, said: ‘We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the [NT] after about A.D. 80.' Coinciding with the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light (over 24,000 copies of early [NT] manuscripts are known to be in existence today). The historian Luke wrote of "authentic evidence" concerning the resurrection. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the [NT], finally concluded: "Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. "" So not only did many NT writers witness Jesus but their works are the most reliable sources of any other know.

--"Jesus' other miracles."
Right, the divinity of Jesus does not rest solely on the resurrection however the resurrection backed-up all the other miracles of Jesus. Also I think you are missing my point, the writers being unanimous in their recording that women were the first to see Jesus' empty tomb is a valid argument. It doesn't prove Jesus rose from the dead but it does support the writer's credibility in that they were all willing to admit women were the first witnesses even when they probably would have rather not. This is simply a powerful supporting claim that the gospels are reliable.
--Did the Roman's Care?
Absolutely, and for precisely the reason you mentioned. Paul and the other Christians were causing a stir. They were all converted Jews and were telling of the Jewish Messiah, the Romans most definitely cared of riots as they feared this even before Jesus' death. Frankly you should be defending your idea that the Romans didn't care about Jesus or the early Christians. It is common historical knowledge that the Romans were worried of riots, they wanted to put down Jesus quickly and quietly and the early Christians were causing the Romans to take notice at what was happening. Even later around A.D. 65 when Rome burned, Nero blamed Paul and the Christians for the whole event. Ultimately, the Romans killed Peter, Paul, Jesus and countless early Christians and we know this from extra biblical sources. The Romans cared, period.
--Josephus referring to James.
Josephus may have referred to different Jesus' but I have only quoted one time that he referred to Jesus and this is obviously the Jesus of Christianity. And referring to James, I never stated that Josephus gave an account of James being discouraged after Jesus' death! I said that Josephus reported James as a martyr and nothing more. James was a skeptic during the life of Jesus and at some point after Jesus' death we see James as a leader in the early church, that is a change of heart.
--Mass hallucinations impossible?
You stated that mass hallucinations are "absolutely not" all but impossible. The phrase "all but impossible" means "nearly impossible" or "next to impossible." How can anyone say that 500 people seeing the same hallucination is possible? Aditionally, If we did have their names you wouldn't believe it. You already don't believe the greatest and most protected manuscripts on earth. What makes you think that having the names of 500 people would make this point any better for you? Thankfully evidence does point to the 500 witnesses as being accurate anyways! Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: "What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, 'If you do not believe me, you can ask them.' Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago. Let's take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history." Also important is the fact that the 500 witnesses all saw Jesus at the same time. This means there were many more than 500 people who saw Jesus. Also am not advocating aliens, I don't have a stance on the matter. I am only saying the acronym UFO does not mean aliens. It could be a number of non-alien, unidentified aircrafts.
--"The Quran"
Though it seems irrelevant in this debate ill touch on it; Muhammad, performed no miracles to back up his message (even when he was asked to by his followers. Only in much later tradition (the Hadith) do any alleged miracles even show up and these are all quite fanciful (like Muhammad cutting the moon in half) and have zero reliable testimony to back them up. Further, the Quran makes clear historical errors. Muslims believe the Bible is inspired but with some errors from editing the question they cannot adequately answer is: "When was the Bible corrupted?" If they say before 600 A.D. then how can the Quran admonish believers to read it? If they claim it was after 600 A.D., then they have even bigger issues, for we have absolutely no doubt as to the accuracy of biblical manuscripts from at least the 3rd century forward. Even if Christianity were false, the Quran still has an insurmountable problem because it makes judgments against Christians for believing things that they do not (nor have they ever) believed. For example, the Quran teaches that Christians believe the Trinity is the Father, the Mother (Mary), and the Son and the Quran also teaches that Christians believe that God had sex with Mary to have a son. If the Quran is really from God, then it should at least be able to accurately report what Christians believe even if Christianity is false. Thank you for debating T, I have run out of Characters again and I had more to go! C.S. Lewis Said, Jesus was either Lord, Liar or Lunatic...
tkubok

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for an interesting debate.

A01: "Jews as a whole have not rejected Jesus as Messiah"

There are two ways of looking at the word "Jew". One is religion, the other is ethnicity. If you are talking about Jews as an ethnicity, then you are correct, there are people of Jewish lineage who are christian. However, clearly i was not talking about Jews as an ethnicity, as clearly there are some people of Jewish lineage who are Muslim, and some who are Hindu. All I care about are those Jewish Rabbi scholars who've spent their lives reading and interpreting the Torah, to which their lineage dates back even further than Christ, yet they all systematically reject Jesus Christ.
As for the Jews rejecting the Messiah in Isaiah 53, although i was not able to find the passage, it makes littler difference, as it still does not change the fact that Jesus fails the prophecies on multiple accounts.

A02: "These people could have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such claims."

Again, do we know the names of these people?

As for Josh Mcdowell, although he isn't a scholar at all and I've read his books and they all fail miserably, here is what is wrong with his arguments.

First, what William F. Albright wrote, has nothing to do with whether anything in the bible is true. Although this is only the opinion of one scholar, as most other scholars and historians agree that since Paul was written at least as late as 95 AD, and thus there could not POSSIBLY be a new testament before that, this says nothing to the fact that the date of the bible and the historical accuracy of the bible are not related, any more than dating the Quran and the historical accuracy of the Quran are related.

Second, Sir William Ramsay is a chemist. I am sorry if i am reluctant of taking advice about medicine from my car mechanic.

A03: "the writers being unanimous in their recording that women were the first to see Jesus' empty tomb is a valid argument."

I never said it wasnt a valid argument. I said it was a completely and utterly WEAK argument.

A04: "This is simply a powerful supporting claim that the gospels are reliable."

Again, no. You are completely ignoring, and failing to take into consideration the fact that the apostles, who are all male by the way, saw and talked to Jesus after his resurrection, on the mount. It doesnt matter if the first eyewitnesses were women, because, guess what, if the bible were to be taken to court in 1st century Rome, the Christians would use the fact that the apostles, a group of men, witnessed Jesus Christ as an argument!

A05: "--Did the Roman's Care?"

Sure, the Romans cared about keeping the peace, stopping riots, etc etc. And if we were talking about those, you would be right. But guess what, Jesus wasn't causing Riots and only when Paul was causing riots, was he arrested. The Romans did not care about the Christians as long as they were not causing trouble. Clearly they had no reason to bring out Jesus' body, because, oh, the Christians weren't causing massive riots around the city. And by the time they would've cared enough because the Christians had become a nuisance based on their constant protests and riots, the Body of Christ would've been long rotted to the point that no one would notice who the body was anyways. This does nothing to dismiss my original point of how the Romans didn't care enough about the Christians to pull out Jesus' body to disprove their faith.

But, if that is not enough, I submit Pontius Pilate into evidence. He, despite being a governor of Rome, didn't want to execute Jesus, but because the Jewish council pressed him, he reluctantly agreed.

A06: "I never stated that Josephus gave an account of James being discouraged after Jesus' death!"

Actually, you did. And this is where the English language comes into play. You wrote:
"There is also a change in the disciples mentioned in Christian testimonies of Clement of Rome and Ignatius. Secular reports are found in Tacitus and the Josephus."

I never said that James did not exist. I never said that James was not killed for his beliefs. But what I did say, was ask for sources on where it states that the disciples were discouraged after Jesus' death. You brought up the entire fact about how the Christians were changed, and then directly after, mentioned that the secular reports are found in Tacitus and Jospehus.

A07: "The phrase "all but impossible" means "nearly impossible""

Actually, the phrase "All but" can mean both "Nearly" or "virtually". Since you titled your previous argument with the words "Mass Hallucinations are impossible", yet made no stride to discredit the fact that you never meant to say that, i thought you meant virtually. Since you start off your argument with "How can anyone say that 500 people seeing the same hallucination is possible?" You clearly mean "Impossible in the literal sense".

A08: "If we did have their names you wouldn't believe it."

That alone? Of course not. But it does give credence to Paul's writings. When we know that Paul of course had ample reason to lie, if Paul had provided a proper name list complete with a lineage background(assuming that these people had parents) we could at least confirm that some of the eyewitnesses existed.

A09: "St. Paul says in effect, 'If you do not believe me, you can ask them.'"

Sorry, but I can trump your argument with one easy question.

Who is "Them"?

And this is the point. This is the equivalent of saying "If you don't believe me, you can ask my friend who lives in Montana." Well, that's great, cause there are hundreds of thousands of people who live in Montana. Am i going to ask them all?

A10: "500 witnesses all saw Jesus at the same time."

This is the other problem with no-name witnesses. How do we know if these people saw Jesus? If i take 1000 people in front of me and say "I am Christopher", great, 1000 people saw Christopher. That does nothing to the possibility that i am NOT Christopher, and furthermore, none of the witnesses know this, because they've never met me or Christopher. We have no idea if these witnesses had known beforehand who Jesus was or how he looked like.

A11: "It could be a number of non-alien, unidentified aircrafts."

It doesn't matter if we use Unidentified air crafts, or the grey skinned large-eyed aliens themselves. It doesn't matter if 100 people testify that they've met Aliens. No historian is ever going to give credence to any of these testimonies at all, and i doubt you will either, if 100, no, 1000 people claimed to have met Vishnu.

A12: "Though it seems irrelevant in this debate ill touch on it"

How is this irrelevant to this debate? Were discussing the evidence that is required to accept a supernatural claim!

A13: "Muhammad, performed no miracles to back up his message"

Nor did i, or any Muslim, claim that Muhammed did any miracles. Furthermore, this does nothing to change the fact that the historical evidence of the Quran is just as good as the Bible.

A14: "Further, the Quran makes clear historical errors"

So does the bible.

A15: "makes judgments against Christians for believing things that they do not"

Ive tried searching for your examples, like the trinity, and have not found them. Not sure if you are confusing the Quran, and general Muslim ignorance regarding Christianity.

CS Lewis forgets the fourth option, Legend. I have no problem agreeing that a rabbi preacher named Jesus walked around and preached peace. But when you consider the UTTER lack of scholarly evidence, such as the supposed earthquake and the ZOMBIES who walked into town(Matthew 27), sorry, no. There is barely any reliable evidence, and no Good evidence to support that Jesus rose from the dead.
Debate Round No. 3
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tkubok 7 years ago
tkubok
Theyre christian...Must they have a reason beyond that? I mean, i notice that every single person who voted pro, had admitted to being christian, and that not a single person of another faith, even Muslim, or Hindu, or atheist, had not voted pro at all. And its especially sad that FollowHard had to vote for himself, and yet im still winning.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
In looking at who voted Pro, I have to say that a few of them surprised me. Not so much that they voted Pro, but because they didn't post an RFD explaining their reasons for the votes.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
The fact that followhard actually has 53 points makes me lose faith in humanity.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
cipher, can you prove your assertion?
Posted by tkubok 7 years ago
tkubok
Ciphermind,
You win the nobel prize in biology.
Posted by ciphermind 7 years ago
ciphermind
People do not die and resurrect.
Period.
Posted by nickthengineer 7 years ago
nickthengineer
I am not going to vote on this unless I get around to reading all of it, but I did see that one of Con's arguments was that the Romans didn't care about Jesus, only the Jews did, so that's why the Romans didn't bother to go get the body to show everyone He was still dead (of course He wasn't though). If Pro didn't refute this already, here it is:

The Romans ABSOLUTELY cared about Jesus and they wanted Him dead!!!! This is extremely clear in the Gospels and is undeniable. The Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead because He was drawing attention away from them, but the Romans ALSO wanted Jesus dead because He was calling himself a king (King of the Jews) and talking about setting up His Kingdom. The Romans saw this as a threat to Caesar when Jesus started gaining popularity, so if they could have proven that Jesus didn't rise from the dead by dragging His body through the streets, they would have done so.
Posted by daniel_t 7 years ago
daniel_t
followhard, "Daniel, nowhere did I say we are to accept the Bible on hearsay. We are to examine it carefully and critically."

I'm not saying that you wanted us to accept the Bible on hearsay. I'm saying that the Bible *is* hearsay. Everything written in it is "information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate." (The Oxford American Dictionary.)
Posted by followhard 7 years ago
followhard
Tkubok, Thank you for a very interesting debate, I had fun and you are extremely intelligent.

Daniel, nowhere did I say we are to accept the Bible on hearsay. We are to examine it carefully and critically. I have done that to the best of my knowledge and the Bible with other sources, seems like a logical reason to accept the resurrection of Jesus. The Bible can be a source of circular reasons, I get that. But to throw the Bible out as "notoriously unreliable" is unacceptable. We have more early resources to compare the Bible than we do with any other ancient book in history, including the Quran, and the Bible is most accurate as far as being preserved. This leaves me to hold the conclusion that If Jesus Christ didn't rise from the dead it is because either, (1) the writers lied or (2) they were lunatics and mistaken.

Roy, Houdini didn't claim to be able to miraculously disappear. This is a different situation when we refer to Houdini we are not referring to the Miraculous rather we are talking about entertainment. Jesus never claimed nor did the Bible claim that he was a philosopher. Jesus and the Bible claimed he was the messiah. Again, he was either, a liar, crazy or... messiah. That is the only three options. Jesus said he was Messiah.
Posted by followhard 7 years ago
followhard
Tkubok, Thank you for a very interesting debate, I had fun and you are extremely intelligent.

Daniel, nowhere did I say we are to accept the Bible on hearsay. We are to examine it carefully and critically. I have done that to the best of my knowledge and the Bible with other sources, seems like a logical reason to accept the resurrection of Jesus. The Bible can be a source of circular reasons, I get that. But to throw the Bible out as "notoriously unreliable" is unacceptable. We have more early resources to compare the Bible than we do with any other ancient book in history, including the Quran, and the Bible is most accurate as far as being preserved. This leaves me to hold the conclusion that If Jesus Christ didn't rise from the dead it is because either, (1) the writers lied or (2) they were lunatics and mistaken.

Roy, Houdini didn't claim to be able to miraculously disappear. This is a different situation when we refer to Houdini we are not referring to the Miraculous rather we are talking about entertainment. Jesus never claimed nor did the Bible claim that he was a philosopher. Jesus and the Bible claimed he was the messiah. Again, he was either, a liar, crazy or... messiah. That is the only three options. Jesus said he was Messiah.
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