The Instigator
jingzhezhang
Pro (for)
Losing
29 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
46 Points

Jesus Christ rose from the dead

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 17 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/12/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,903 times Debate No: 12039
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (36)
Votes (17)

 

jingzhezhang

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.
Danielle

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for beginning this debate.

I'll begin respond to Pro's assertion that Jesus definitely existed in the first place. Pro mentions that the Jesus of the Bible at the very least existed historically. On the contrary, there are many reasons to speculate that Jesus Christ did not even exist as a human being (let alone God). First, there is no primary source of Jesus ever existing. No historian from the time (Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, etc.) mention THE Jesus in question explicitly, so Pro's statements and citations are false. Sure, they mentioned Christians i.e. people who followed Christ, however, I could write about people who worship the flying spaghetti monster and that would not necessarily make the flying spaghetti monster real just because certain people worship him/her. Just because some people believed in Jesus' divinity and those historians wrote about it doesn't confirm that any of the divine qualities applied to Jesus were real.

Another thing we must consider is that while Jesus was mentioned by a few historians, Jesus was indeed a popular name at the time. Also, there is no evidence for the story of the birth of Jesus. Additionally, there is a complete absence of evidence for the events described - no authors mention the phenomenal events that supposedly occurred at the time of Jesus' resurrection, and there are no records of Jesus being crucified in the first place. This is despite there being multiple historians of the time who kept extensive records of events in that era, especially of unusual events and the misdeeds of rulers. The only records we have are those written by Christians themselves which is not very accurate or reliable testimony for obvious reasons [1].

Still, let's consider the fact that Jesus quite possibly existed. Most people accept the reality that Jesus was nothing more than a man who claimed to be a prophet and a messiah. His life story has been intermingled with older pagan myths, most notably that of the Egyptian god, Horus. In fact, the entire description of Jesus is completely paralleled with the story of Horus -- In other words, Jesus' tale is a complete myth and copy-cat of many mythical stories that came before him. The story of Jesus is effectively without historical basis because the real figure is obscured by the mythical ones. A list of the parallels between Horus and Jesus can be found here [2], [3]. So, in short, we do not even know if the historical Jesus even existed, and if he did, all of the attributes given to him were stolen from other myths.

Pro submits that if Jesus existed, he would have had to be risen from the dead in order to be God and validate the Bible. I agree with this assessment. However, Pro's "argument" is basically a series of steps all of which can be dissected and refuted one by one. For instance, number one states that Jesus died by Roman crucifixion. As I've already explained, there is no proof that Jesus was ever crucified meaning number one is already based on mere speculation. The same goes for number two (that Jesus was buried). Number three states that the disciples were discouraged and lost hope, which is again nothing but speculation. Fourth, Pro writes that Jesus' tomb was found empty at some point after his death. Now, even if we accept that Jesus was a real historical person and was crucified, there is certainly no evidence of this (number four) ever happening. This negates the entire resolution alone.

For laughs, let's continue. The fifth point again speculates that the disciples claimed to have seen Jesus post-crucifixion. Again, there is no historical evidence of any of this except for what the Christians have written in the Bible. For obvious reasons this is a biased source of information, especially when you consider the fact that at the time Christianity was thought to be a cult following. Nevertheless, Pro (nor anyone) can prove that who/what the disciples saw was really Jesus. In addition, they could have been hallucinating, under the influence or just straight up crazy. Since Christianity was likened to a cult, there is also the possibility that they could have been brainwashed or imagined the whole thing. Since "raising from the dead" is not really possible in logical, physical or biological terms, these possibilities must be seriously considered if not chosen to be believed over the idea that Jesus rose from the dead.

For number six Pro writes, "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." This is obvious and entirely irrelevant; it proves nothing. Next Pro says, "The disciples publicly testified to having seen Jesus" and eight reads, "Their whole message centered around the apparent death and resurrection of Jesus." Again, none of this proves anything at all, nor does his ninth statement, "Jesus' brother James was a former skeptic but had been converted after Jesus' death." Pro's tenth statement is similarly random and entirely irrelevant. Nevertheless, Pro's whole point here seems to be that many former skeptics were eventually converted to Christianity. While that may be entirely true, it still does not prove anything. The most devout atheists in the world could have a change of heart and become priests, and that still would not make any of the claims necessarily or even probably true.

Pro also mentions the fact that the tomb in which Jesus was supposedly buried was later found out to be empty. A Christian site admits, "Stealing bodies from graves was well known in antiquity and was the most plausible alternative explanation to the one offered by the disciples" [4]. The disciples themselves acknowledged that Jesus' body was probably stolen; as such, it explains the missing body. Roman guards accused the disciples of stealing Jesus' body in order to make it appear as if a prophecy had been fulfilled. So again, the empty tome does not validate the myth.

Now, Pro does address the idea of the possibility of Jesus' resurrection being a hallucination; however, dismisses this notion by proclaiming that mass hallucinations are all but impossible. On the contrary, when a bunch of people are walking in a desert, they all might hallucinate the same mirage. When a bunch of people watch a magic show, they all hallucinate the same illusion. When people take psychedelic drugs (which was not uncommon during Jesus time), many times they hallucinate the same thing. In fact, the book Apples of Apollo by Carl Ruck even discusses Jesus' direct links with psychedelic mushrooms [5]! So as you can see, there are indeed many possible explanations that explain people's similar visions or experiences, and all of them are more plausible and sensical than Jesus defying the laws of logic.

In conclusion, Pro has not offered one shred of evidence proving that Jesus indeed rose from the dead. Not only is Jesus' life entirely in question, but EVEN IF he lived, and EVEN IF he was crucified, there is still no evidence that he rose from the dead just because his body was missing from the tomb he was allegedly buried in. The disciples themselves believed that his body was stolen, and the only "proof" were the testimonies of a few Christians which is obviously biased as well as inconclusive. A few people said they say Jesus post-death, but thousands upon thousands of people have claimed to see UFOs and yet we don't automatically accept it as truth. There are other possible explanations to Jesus' mystery, and no proof in Pro's round. Thanks and back to ye...

[1] http://www.vexen.co.uk...
[2] http://www.bobkwebsite.com...
[3] http://paganizingfaithofyeshua.netfirms.com...
[4] http://jesus.christ.org...
[5] http://www.cap-press.com...
Debate Round No. 1
jingzhezhang

Pro

I thank my opponent for this great debate.

The first-century Roman Tacitus, who is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world, mentioned superstitious "Christians" (from Christus, which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian, wrote that there was a man named Chrestus (or Christ) who lived during the first century (Annals 15.44).

Flavius Josephus is the most famous Jewish historian. In his Antiquities he refers to James, "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ." There is a controversial verse (18:3) that says, "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." One version reads, "At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."

Julius Africanus quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).

Pliny the Younger, in Letters 10:96, recorded early Christian worship practices including the fact that Christians worshiped Jesus as God and were very ethical, and he includes a reference to the love feast and Lord's Supper.

The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) confirms Jesus' crucifixion on the eve of Passover and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.

Lucian of Samosata was a second-century Greek writer who admits that Jesus was worshiped by Christians, introduced new teachings, and was crucified for them. He said that Jesus' teachings included the brotherhood of believers, the importance of conversion, and the importance of denying other gods. Christians lived according to Jesus' laws, believed themselves to be immortal, and were characterized by contempt for death, voluntary self-devotion, and renunciation of material goods.

Mara Bar-Serapion confirms that Jesus was thought to be a wise and virtuous man, was considered by many to be the king of Israel, was put to death by the Jews, and lived on in the teachings of His followers.

Then we have all the Gnostic writings (The Gospel of Truth, The Apocryphon of John, The Gospel of Thomas, The Treatise on Resurrection, etc.) that all mention Jesus.

In fact, we can almost reconstruct the gospel just from early non-Christian sources: Jesus was called the Christ (Josephus), did "magic," led Israel into new teachings, and was hanged on Passover for them (Babylonian Talmud) in Judea (Tacitus), but claimed to be God and would return (Eliezar), which his followers believed, worshipping Him as God (Pliny the Younger).

There is overwhelming evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, both in secular and biblical history. Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus did exist is the fact that literally thousands of Christians in the first century A.D., including the twelve apostles, were willing to give their lives as martyrs for Jesus Christ. People will die for what they believe to be true, but no one will die for what they know to be a lie.

http://www.atheists.org...
http://www.religioustolerance.org...
http://truth-saves.com...
http://www.nobeliefs.com...
Danielle

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for the debate.

Pro opens up the final round explaining that Tacitus mentioned superstitious Christians, and cites Annals 15.44 as an example of historical mentioning of Christians. As you can see, this does not prove that 'the' Jesus existed but rather that there were people who believed in 'a' Jesus' divinity. Nothing about these sources exclaims something contrary to what I said in the last round. I proposed that just because there were people who believed in a potentially mythical figure (Christians) doesn't mean that Christ (a) existed or (b) was as divine as they claim. In fact, I will gladly cite the verse my opponent is talking about so the audience can see for themselves that these texts merely mention Christians in general and are simply describing what was then seen as a cult following [1].

Further, Josephus' testimony about Christ is clearly biased and therefore barely admissible. Quite obviously he was a Christian himself as he refers to Jesus as the Messiah, which is something a Jewish person at the time would never have done. Only a Christian would claim that Christ was the Messiah, so a Christian believing in Jesus' divinity is not exactly proof that Jesus was in fact divine. Many historians believe that Josephus' testimony about Jesus is riddled with arguments against authenticity [2]. So again, just because this particular individual believed in Christ dying and rising from the dead does not make it any more true then me writing about a flying spaghetti monster makes it true.

As you can see, Pro has merely cited people who believed in Christ's divinity. Again, just because people believed he was divine does not make it so. Indeed it does help the case that Christ may have existed as a historical figure, but again there is no direct conclusive evidence and Pro has not provided any even if there IS evidence. A bunch of people can write about those who believe in the lochness monster, but just because historians, journalists, etc. write about a group of people who believe something once again does not make their beliefs valid; they merely report what is going on.

Additionally, Pro did not fulfill his burden in the last round. Sure, he mentioned a bunch of people who MAY have written about 'the' Jesus in question. However this debate isn't only about whether or not Jesus existed - it's about whether or not he rose from the dead. In the last round, I presented several arguments assuming that Jesus did exist as a historical figure. I pointed out that even if he existed as a historical figure, there is no proof that he rose from the dead. The only "proof" my opponent has offered is that many people believed in Christ's cause. However, once again that does not prove anything. It is Pro's burden to prove that Jesus rose from the dead, but he hasn't even proven that Jesus was crucified to begin with (for which there is no direct evidence... and again, if there is, he hasn't provided it).

Most frustratingly, Pro has completely ignored all of my arguments. First, he completely ignored the fact that the story of Jesus mirrors the story of the Egyptian god Horus. This is crucial to my argument as it demonstrates that the story of Jesus' ressurrection is probably just a similar myth. Second, Pro never responded to my arguments about how mass "hallucinations" or brain washing was possible, or why the cult following of Christianity (as it was considered) probably lead people to believe or repeat unplausible things. Third, he did not respond to my argument that just because people converted to Christianity or chose to believe in Jesus' divinity does not necessarily make Jesus divine. In fact, all Pro did in this round was repeat the same individuals who did believe in Jesus (which doesn't prove anything but merely shows that some people believed it).

Another argument that Pro ignored was that of the empty tomb. I presented many plausible scenarios about why the tomb Jesus was allegedly buried in was later found empty. In fact, I cited a source proving that Jesus' disciples agreed that his body was probably stolen (as grave robbery was very common at the time). Yet another argument Pro ignored was that of Jesus and his documented relation to psychadelics. Finally, Pro did not respond to my most important contention - that rising from the dead contradicts every single logical, physical and biological law. I pointed out that many other explanations were plausible or at least POSSIBLE, wheras Christ rising from the dead is logically impossible. It is/was Pro's burden to prove that the logically impossible was more likely to have occurred then the logically possible.

In conclusion, Pro's argument was far from conclusive. I explained how some historians doubt that Jesus lived in the first place let alone was crucified [3]. Christ myth theorists often cite the lack of contemporaneous non-Christian sources that mention Jesus. The few non-Christian sources that do refer to Jesus are rejected as corrupt (such as the remarks of Josephus) or viewed as dependent on the beliefs of later Christians (such as Tacitus's passing reference to a Christ), and thus providing no independent corroboration [4], [5]. Now, for the sake of debate, I have accepted that we can argue from the position that Jesus did indeed exist as a historical figure. Pro has failed to present evidence of his crucifixion let alone his ressurrection. But let's even assume that we accept Christian testimony as proof of his crucifixion. Pro expects us to accept that Christ probably died simply because a few Christian women said that this was so, and a few people subsequently wrote about what they saw.

First - how do we know these women really saw dead Jesus? Couldn't it have been someone who looked like him? That is far more plausible and logically permissible then accepting that a man defied the laws of logic and physics. In other words, there is probably a more realistic explanation: either they were mistaken, or the entire thing was fabricated. Either way, documents of hearsay do not prove a thing. If I understand Pro correctly, the argument here is that because people wrote about Jesus rising, that in fact it must be true. This is nothing more than wishful thinking (at least from a debating standpoint). Indeed many people at the time DID refute what was said about Jesus as complete and utter fabrications; there was a LOT of opposition to the story at the time. So again, just because a few believers wrote about Jesus does not make his story true.

Even if you personally believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, you must accept that my opponent hasn't proven it whereas I have given other plausible and possible arguments demonstrating how he probably did not. Thank you.

[1] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.vexen.co.uk...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.jesusneverexisted.com...
Debate Round No. 2
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by gamemaster 6 years ago
gamemaster
Wikipedia or no wikipedia, any reasonable, healthy, logical human being knows that nobody rises from the dead. Only in video games.

So the whole talk about wikipedia is irrelevant. Jesus did not even exist, for him to have a go at rising from the dead. case closed.
Posted by jingzhezhang 6 years ago
jingzhezhang
thanks for the debate....

and thank you all who voted and posted comments on this debate.....

great debate....
Posted by yayawhatever 6 years ago
yayawhatever
Jflooo said: I sure am voting without reading, because when I see a debate like this, I automatically, vote for the person the is pro, because its something I believe in. Sorry but o well!

I say: if you know its a belief, why be so dogmatic about it? Facts and thoughts are very good things!
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
I don't care about the end voting results, but I just dislike that people only get mad when I do it lol. There doesn't seem to be a widely held standard. Some people admit it (Jfloo) and yet there aren't entire forum topics dedicated to it, or massive announcements on the DDO Wiki, etc. Either we're going to look down upon it or we're not. Hmm.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
I don't think so.

Look at the profiles of those who voted Pro and I think you will find many are devout Christians...actually, that is sort of vote bombing isn't it?
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
Wtf @ vote bombing?
Posted by jingzhezhang 6 years ago
jingzhezhang
yes you are right...

Wikipedia can't be trusted...
Posted by DzK 6 years ago
DzK
Just so everybody knows i totally agree that no one can raise from the dead but... if you havent noticed Con used wikipedia as a source! Is that trusted?
Posted by Jflooo 6 years ago
Jflooo
I sure am voting without reading, because when I see a debate like this, I automatically, vote for the person the is pro, because its something I believe in. Sorry but o well!
Posted by jingzhezhang 6 years ago
jingzhezhang
lol..
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