The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points
The Contender
safisweetkeyz
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

Jesus Was Probably Resurrected By God

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
safisweetkeyz
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/16/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,450 times Debate No: 40675
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (55)
Votes (4)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Con

The burden of proof is on my opponent to demonstrate historical facts that are best explained by the notion that God rose Jesus from the dead. I only must undermine my opponent's arguments.

My opponent will argue in the first round, but to ensure we have the same amount of rounds to argue, in the last round, Pro must not argue and put:

"No argument will be posted here, as agreed."

Failure to abide by the rules will result in an automatic forfeit.
safisweetkeyz

Pro

My deepest thanks to Con for organizing what is sure to be a very interesting debate.

Con wisely frames the debate as "God probably raised Jesus from the dead," no doubt noting that "proof" in the definitive mathematical sense is an inappropriate and unachievable standard when reconstructing ancient history. Rather, he asks what historical facts serve to justify the conclusion that "God raised Jesus from the dead" as an inference to the best explanation.

Please note that the existence of God is not the topic of debate. Though our respective positions on the topic at hand will be undoubtedly invested with implications for or against the existence of God, we begin our discussion with this as an open question, an answer to which will not be pre-supposed by either party, thus avoiding a fall into circular reasoning.

I will present four historical facts surrounding the death and alleged resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, as argued by Dr. William Lane Craig:

"FACT #1: After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. This fact is highly significant because it means, contrary to radical critics like John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar, that the location of Jesus" burial site was known to Jew and Christian alike. In that case, the disciples could never have proclaimed his resurrection in Jerusalem if the tomb had not been empty"

"FACT #2: On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus" tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers" The fact that women"s testimony was discounted in first century Palestine stands in favor of the women"s role in discovering the empty tomb. According to Josephus, the testimony of women was regarded as so worthless that it could not even be admitted into a Jewish court of law. Any later legendary story would certainly have made male disciples discover the empty tomb"

"FACT #3: On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead" The appearance traditions in the gospels provide multiple, independent attestation of these appearances. This is one of the most important marks of historicity. The appearance to Peter is independently attested by Luke, and the appearance to the Twelve by Luke and John. We also have independent witness to Galilean appearances in Mark, Matthew, and John, as well as to the women in Matthew and John.

"FACT #4: The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary" The original disciples believed in and were willing to go to their deaths for the fact of Jesus" resurrection. Luke Johnson, a New Testament scholar from Emory University, muses, "some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was.""

These four historical facts (Jesus" burial by Joseph of Arimathea, the discovery of his empty tomb by a group of his women followers, Jesus" post-mortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples" belief in the resurrection) must be accounted for by any adequate historical hypothesis. I maintain that as an inference to the best explanation, the notion that God raised Jesus from the dead is more probable than any competing hypothesis.

Again, I thank Con for this debate, and eagerly await his rebuttal.

Source: http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Introduction

I thank my opponent for chosing to engage in this discussion with me (I have been a member of this website for a while, and I have never debated the resurrection of Jesus). Note how I do not have to show that Jesus probably was not raised from the dead, I only need to undermine my opponent's arguments in favor of that notion.

The Burial Of Jesus

Pro asserts that Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. People get buried all the time, so this fact alone does nothing to warrant any supernatural claim (perhaps it does in the cumulative case). It is not even a fact that is accepted by all people of expertise. James Tabor and and Simcha Jacobovici write:

"The gospel of John indicates that the initial burial of Jesus near the place of crucifixion was a hasty emergency measure in the late afternoon prompted by the nearness of the Sabbath/Passover holiday at sundown on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion (John 19:41-42). It was a burial of necessity and opportunity. This particular tomb was chosen because it was unused and happened to be near the place of crucifixion. The idea that this tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea makes no sense. What are the chances that Joseph of Arimathea would just happen to have his own new family tomb conveniently located near the Place of the Skull, or Golgotha,where the Romans regularly crucified their victims?" - James Tabor and and Simcha Jacobovici[1]

James F. McGrath states:

"The idea that Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus’ andburied Jesus in his own tomb (whether immediately after the crucifixion, as some Gospels claim, or at a later point as Tabor believes) is found only in the Gospel of Matthew, and so is of dubious historical value." - James F. McGrath[2]

Jesus may have been buried, but Pro hasn't actually established the details of this burial. This is problematic for his overall case.

The Empty Tomb

This "fact" of an empty tomb has 75% of scholars in the field convinced[3]. While this is impressive, there is still that 25%. If it was really deserving of being called a fact then we should see 97% -100% of experts in the field agreeing with it. To say 25% of scholars to not believe in it leaves room for sufficient doubt is an understatement. Either way, even if more scholars believe in the empty tomb than not, its hard to see how this actually raises the probability of a supernatural resurrection, over a natural explanation. Peter Kirbry argues extensively against the empty tomb story[4], as does historian Richard Carrier[5]. 75% percent of scholars agreeing with this fact doesn't seem to mean that it is a fact. It is argued very heavily and is not viewed as a fact according to all scholars. Pro has to do more to establish this as a fact.

Witnesses Of Jesus After Apparent Death

This is purely psychological. When a huge figure dies it usually entails people of claiming to experience them after their death (they are usually hallucinating, or seeing people that look like the figure). After Elvis Presley died, multiple people claimed to have witnessed him after his death[6]. After 2 Pac died, numerous people claimed to see him after his death (and still do):

"One week after Tupac was pronounced dead, over 1,000 people phoned the police in Haiti saying they saw Shakur…"[7]

Obviously, Elvis and 2 Pac are dead (their deaths are better documented than the death of Jesus, and more recent as well) and did not get raised from the dead. Jesus doesn't seem any different. Just because multiple people claimed to see him after he died doesn't mean anything. People make similar claims about important people and this happens today, and it's psychological with regards to having a huge and impactful figure just leave reality for good. People cannot cope with it, and create their own realities. I do not find this section convincing.

Also, the Syrian Christians believed Judas Didymos Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus:

"In the Book of Thomas the Contender, a text detailing the dialogue between the risen Jesus and Judas Thomas before Jesus' ascension, Jesus calls him 'brother,' 'twin,' and 'friend.'"[8]

If Jesus had a twin, then there is another explanation for the post death appearances.

The Disciples Believed Jesus Has Risen

Even if they had every reason not to, and still believed in the resurrection, that wouldn't seem to indicate that the event probably happened. Perhaps these "sightings" (which I already undermined) fed into their belief. Also, its not clear that they had every predisposition not to believe in the resurrection. Perhaps they were embarrassed because Jesus didn't meet the requirements they thought the messiah was supposed to, so they made up "belief" in the resurrection to save face. Additionally, even if they truly believed something; that doesn't lead much credence to it being true. 5 co-workers of a man named Travis Walton all truly believed that they saw an alien space craft shoot a beam of light at their friend Travis. They all passed the lie detector tests[9], and had no reason to make it up (this incident ruined ruined Steve Pierce's life[10]). Of course, this doesn't mean that there probably exists an alien space craft. Willing to die for beliefs is common. Suicide bombers die all of the time for what they believe in.

Conclusion

Pro claims that he maintains that a supernatural explanation is the best explanation. He does not provide an argument to support this. Also, I questioned some of his "facts". Pro has not met his burden of proof.

It has not been proven that God probably raised Jesus from the dead. I will end this round with a quote:

"It doesn't take a miracle to get a corpse out of a cave." - Chris Hallquist[11]

Sources

[1] http://jesusdiscoverybook.com...
[2] http://www.patheos.com...
[3] Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004
[4]
http://depts.drew.edu...
[5] http://www.infidels.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://thadrill.com...
[8] http://www.netplaces.com...
[9] See the polygraph report on November 13, 1975 by polygraph examiner Cy E. Gilson, Department of Public Safety. Facsimile: page 1 and page 2

[10] You-Tube[watch?v=P4fSCzT0yzI]
[11] http://www.patheos.com...
safisweetkeyz

Pro

I thank my opponent for his thoughtful challenges to the 4 historical facts supporting the resolution. As I will demonstrate, his proposed challenges fail to undermine the aforementioned facts.

-The Burial Of Jesus-
Con is right in perceiving that Fact#1 is part of a cumulative case towards the resolution "God probably raised Jesus from the dead." As such, it does not undermine my argument to say: "People get buried all the time, so this fact alone does nothing to warrant any supernatural claim." It is simply not my claim that "this fact alone" warrants a supernatural explanation, and so Con inadvertently attacks a straw-man. I have stated the significance of the burial towards my cumulative case as demonstrating that the location of the tomb was common knowledge to the people alive at the time of the resurrection.

Con formulates his central objection to the burial of Jesus: "It is not even a fact that is accepted by all people of expertise." As Con surely knows, the fact that not ALL people of expertise agree on something says nothing about whether that thing is true. As established in the previous round, "proof" in the definitive mathematical sense is an inappropriate and unachievable standard when reconstructing ancient history. As such, it should be no surprise to Con, as it is no surprise to our readers, that there not be 100% agreement on any particular detail of ancient history. That being said, I sit comfortably within the mainstream of leading scholarship in affirming the burial of Jesus of Nazareth.

Perhaps Con finds it harmful to my case that it may not have been J of A's tomb used for the burial when he quotes James Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici? Firstly, I fail to see the relevance of the question "what are the chances" Joseph had a tomb near the site of the crucifixion? If there were any tombs near the site of the crucifixion, it doesn't seem particularly far-fetched that a wealthy member of the Sanhedrin would own one! But say we suppose, for the sake of argument, that we cannot confidently claim the tomb belonged to J of A, that would do nothing to undermine the fact that Jesus was buried BY J of A in a location known to the people alive at the time of the crucifixion.

As a last resort, Con quotes James F. McGrath stating:
"The idea that Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus' and buried Jesus in his own tomb ... is found only in the Gospel of Matthew, and so is of dubious historical value."

As we've noted, my claim is that Jesus was buried in a tomb by J of A. Whether or not this tomb belonged to Joseph is irrelevant to my claim. The question Con raises must then be: Does the burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea enjoy multiple, independent attestation? The answer is yes: Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, and John 19:38-42 all mention Joseph of Arimathea by name as burying Jesus' dead body, with Pilate's permission.

Con's challenges have failed to undermine the truth of Fact#1. Thus, we can be confident in the historicity of Jesus' burial by Joseph of Arimathea.

-The Empty Tomb-
Con opens his challenge by pointing out that a large consensus doesn't equal truth. Though this is true, notice that I did not appeal to the majority. It is merely Con's assumption that this is why people accept the truth of the empty tomb. Though this vast scholarly support for the historicity of the empty tomb demonstrates that intelligent, rational thinkers can confidently affirm the truth of the empty tomb, Fact#2 stands on it's own merits.

Dr. Craig explains:
"1. The empty tomb story is also part of the old passion source used by Mark. The passion source used by Mark did not end in death and defeat, but with the empty tomb story, which is grammatically of one piece with the burial story.
2. The old tradition cited by Paul in I Cor. 15.3-5 implies the fact of the empty tomb. For any first century Jew, to say that of a dead man "that he was buried and that he was raised" is to imply that a vacant grave was left behind.
3. The story is simple and lacks signs of legendary embellishment. All one has to do to appreciate this point is to compare Mark's account with the wild legendary stories found in the second-century apocryphal gospels, in which Jesus is seen coming out of the tomb with his head reaching up above the clouds and followed by a talking cross!
4. The earliest Jewish allegation that the disciples had stolen Jesus' body (Matt. 28.15) shows that the body was in fact missing from the tomb. The earliest Jewish response to the disciples' proclamation, "He is risen from the dead!" was not to point to his occupied tomb and to laugh them off as fanatics, but to claim that they had taken away Jesus' body. Thus, we have evidence of the empty tomb from the very opponents of the early Christians."

Con's challenges have failed to undermine the truth of Fact#2. Thus, we can be confident in the historicity of the empty tomb.

-Jesus' Post-Mortem Appearances-
Con appeals here to the alleged sightings of Elvis and 2pac, attempting to undermine belief in Fact#3. The challenge fails immediately because these claims simply have no bearing on whether or not Jesus appeared to people after his death. Fact#3 being true does not preclude people from falsely or mistakenly claiming that someone else was seen alive after their death. Con's assertion that "This is purely psychological," is therefore not adequately supported by these irrelevant "sightings." If Con wishes to hold to this assertion, he will have to provide an adequate psychoanalysis of each individual who witnessed Jesus' post-mortem appearances, and then demonstrate why we should take these as accurate. On the other hand, do we have good reasons for believing Fact#3 to be true? The answer is yes.

Dr. Craig explains:
"1. The list of eyewitnesses to Jesus' resurrection appearances which is quoted by Paul in I Cor. 15. 5-7 guarantees that such appearances occurred. These included appearances to Peter (Cephas), the Twelve, the 500 brethren, and James.
2. The appearance traditions in the gospels provide multiple, independent attestation of these appearances. This is one of the most important marks of historicity. The appearance to Peter is independently attested by Luke, and the appearance to the Twelve by Luke and John. We also have independent witness to Galilean appearances in Mark, Matthew, and John, as well as to the women in Matthew and John.
3. Certain appearances have earmarks of historicity. For example, we have good evidence from the gospels that neither James nor any of Jesus' younger brothers believed in him during his lifetime. There is no reason to think that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus' family had they been faithful followers all along. But it is indisputable that James and his brothers did become active Christian believers following Jesus' death. James was considered an apostle and eventually rose to the position of leadership of the Jerusalem church. According to the first century Jewish historian Josephus, James was martyred for his faith in Christ in the late AD 60s. Now most of us have brothers. What would it take to convince you that your brother is the Lord, such that you would be ready to die for that belief? Can there be any doubt that this remarkable transformation in Jesus' younger brother took place because, in Paul's words, 'then he appeared to James'?"

Con's challenges fail to undermine the truth of Fact#3. Thus we can be confident in the historicity of Jesus' post-mortem appearances.

-The disciples' belief in the resurrection -
Does Con claim hallucination or conspiracy? Surely it cannot be both. I will wait for clarification before responding to this section.

So far, Con's challenges fail to undermine the facts. The resolution is the best explanation of these facts, as I will demonstrate in my final round.

Source: www.reasonablefaith.org/the-resurrection-of-jesus
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Introduction

My opponent has essentially wasted an entire round. Even if those 4 facts are true, the resolution being true doesn't follow. He says he is going to wait until the last round to argue in favor of the resolution, but the whole point of the entire debate is to argue specifically about the resolution (Pro hasn't even attempted to show the resolution true yet, and he has the burden of proof in the debate). I could just leave this round blank; but I have some things to say.

The Burial Of Jesus

"[M]y claim is that Jesus was buried in a tomb by J of A. Whether or not this tomb belonged to Joseph is irrelevant to my claim." -Pro

Fair enough (as I said, this is the first debate I have had on the issue). The specific details I mentioned do seem irrelevant, but all these facts are irrelevant without the explanation for the facts leading to the resolution being true. Pro is wasting precious debate rounds here.

He also says that I am straw-manning him by saying this fact alone doesn't prove the resolution, but I also specifically said "perhaps it does in the cumulative case" to avoid such a charge of straw-manning, which Pro ironically points out.

I'll accept the burial of Jesus.

The Empty Tomb

My opponent is correct that majority doesn't determine truth. My only point was that Pro presented this as a "fact" without support, and expected us to take it on faith. I was just pointing out that not all historians believe it is a fact. Either way, as I said, I don't care about these facts. I only care about the resolution; Pro hasn't tied the two together yet.

I'll accept the empty tomb. Why not?

Apparent Witnesses Of Jesus After Death

"The challenge fails immediately because these claims simply have no bearing on whether or not Jesus appeared to people after his death."- Pro

If we have countless examples of people claiming to see people after they died, even though they couldn't have actually seem those people because those people were really dead, then this would seem to be a reasonable explanation for why people claimed to saw Jesus after he died. It certainly undermines the notion that a miracle took place, because we don't even have any evidence that miracles are possible; we have evidence of people claiming to see people people after they died even though they didn't. This certainly hurts a probability case.

"[B]eing true does not preclude people from falsely or mistakenly claiming that someone else was seen alive after their death." - Pro

I never said that was the case. This seems to be a straw-man from Pro, as I never implied that if people mistakenly or falsely claim to see someone alive after death, that it cannot be true. I only implied that that alone can explain it without appealing to the notion that some supernatural wizard violated the laws of physics to magically raise people from the dead. That's a clear violation of Occam's Razor.

"[H]e will have to provide an adequate psychoanalysis of each individual who witnessed Jesus' post-mortem appearances, and then demonstrate why we should take these as accurate." -Pro

Pro forgets who has the burden of proof in the debate. Pro has to show that they really most likely saw Jesus, and that all other explanations are implausible.

Dr. Craig's Arguments In Favor Of People Really Seeing Jesus

"The list of eyewitnesses to Jesus' resurrection appearances which is quoted by Paul in I Cor. 15. 5-7 guarantees that such appearances occurred. These included appearances to Peter (Cephas), the Twelve, the 500 brethren, and James." -WLC

Just because people claimed to have seen Jesus, that doesn't mean they did. They could have either been mistaken or lying.

" The appearance traditions in the gospels provide multiple, independent attestation of these appearances" - WLC

This assumes the Gospel's are completely reliable. Why believe such a thing? Either way, multiple independent sources attest to seeing Elvis and 2 Pac even though they were dead and not resurrected. Why should we treat Jesus any differently? Who cares if people claimed to have seen him? That doesn't mean they actually did (or even probably did).

"For example, we have good evidence from the gospels that neither James nor any of Jesus' younger brothers believed in him during his lifetime. There is no reason to think that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus' family had they been faithful followers all along."- WLC

Once more, who said the Gospels are completely reliable? Pro has to prove this. Even if I agree with certain facts, that doesn't mean I agree with them all (remember that Pro has the burden of proof). Why should we believe any of these "facts" specifically?

"In my view, there is certainly historically reliable information in the Gospels; of course.But there are also pieces of historically unreliable information"- Bart Ehrman (American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)[1]

Pro just expects us to takeallthe Gospels on faith, I see no reason to let him get away with it. Also, Pro didn't respond to the possibility of Jesus having a twin and people being mistaken due to this. Additionally, why would a sudden change in the view of James mean anything? How does any of this tie into the resolution? Pro has made absolutely no real case for the resolution.

"What would it take to convince you that your brother is the Lord, such that you would be ready to die for that belief? Can there be any doubt that this remarkable transformation in Jesus' younger brother took place because, in Paul's words, 'then he appeared to James'?"- Pro

People are willing to die to false beliefs all the time. I am sincerely confused as to how these facts are supposed to prove the resolution.

Conclusion

Pro has literally given us no reason to think the resolution is true. Even if I grant that Jesus was buried, there was an empty tomb, people claimed to have seen him, and people were willing to die for the belief; that doesn't mean the resolution is true. Pro is wasting his time instead of actually arguing for the resolution.

Since Pro has not even tried to defend the resolution; the resolution has not been established.

Sources

[1] You-Tube[watch?v=CTPk9dp_uxk]
safisweetkeyz

Pro

-Reliability of the Gospels-
Con accuses me of presupposing the complete reliability of all 4 Gospels and thereby demands justification for this position. The problem is that I do not claim, nor do my arguments imply the reliability of the Gospels. Rather, I legitimately approach the Gospels as nothing more than ancient manuscripts, before successfully establishing 4 specific facts about Jesus without assuming the Gospels' general reliability (which is perfectly consistent with the Bart Ehrman quote Con cites). I do this by testing the proposed facts against the "Indicators of Authenticity" used in contemporary scholarship to determine the historicity of ancient events. As Dr. Craig explains, these Indicators are "statements about the effect of certain types of evidence upon the probability of various sayings or events in Jesus' life. For some saying or event S and evidence of a certain type E, the criteria would state that, all things being equal, the probability of S given E is greater than the probability of S on our background knowledge alone. So, for example, all else being equal, the probability of some event or saying is greater given its multiple attestation than it would have been without it. What are some of the factors that might serve the role of E in increasing the probability of some saying or event S? The following are some of the most important:
(1) Historical congruence: S fits in with known historical facts concerning the context in which S is said to have occurred.
(2) Independent, early attestation: S appears in multiple sources which are near to the time at which S is alleged to have occurred and which depend neither upon each other nor a common source.
(3) Embarrassment: S is awkward or counter-productive for the persons who serve as the source of information for S.
(4) Dissimilarity: S is unlike antecedent Jewish thought-forms and/or unlike subsequent Christian thought-forms.
(5) Semitisms: traces in the narrative of Aramaic or Hebrew linguistic forms.
(6) Coherence: S is consistent with already established facts about Jesus."
All of the facts I have presented in favor of the resolution display most (if not all) of these Indicators of Authenticity (notice that these Indicators aim at stating sufficient, not necessary, conditions of historicity). Thus we can be confident in the historicity of Facts#1-4 without appealing to the general reliability of the Gospels.
-Notice, though, that Con cites The Book of Thomas the Contender for support, a Gnostic work likely composed in the first half of the third century (well after the Gospels). The present Coptic version was likely translated from the Greek. According to The Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia,the existence of the text is otherwise unattested in antiquity.
The general (much less "complete") reliability of the Gospels isn"t necessary to my case. As such, our readers may disregard this objection.

-Resolution is the Best Explanation of the Facts-
Con's ironic indifference to the Facts supporting the resolution is ill-conceived (He required facts when he framed the debate!). A successful case for the resolution will depend on defendable facts. Though I appreciate his concerns for my round-management, a thorough exploration of the facts was necessary in successfully establishing the resolution as the best explanation. I will attempt to cure Con of his sincere confusion by demonstrating what it means to be a "best explanation" when arguing an inference to the best explanation:
In his book Justifying Historical Descriptions, historian C. B. McCullagh lists 6 tests which historians use in determining what is the best explanation for historical facts: Explanatory scope, explanatory power, plausibility, ad hoc-ness, accord with accepted beliefs, and superiority over rival hypotheses. The hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" passes all these tests:
"1. It has great explanatory scope: it explains why the tomb was found empty, why the disciples saw post-mortem appearances of Jesus, and why the Christian faith came into being.
2. It has great explanatory power: it explains why the body of Jesus was gone, why people repeatedly saw Jesus alive despite his earlier public execution, and so forth.
3. It is plausible: given the historical context of Jesus" own unparalleled life and claims, the resurrection serves as divine confirmation of those radical claims.
4. It is not ad hoc or contrived: it requires only one additional hypothesis: that God exists. And even that needn"t be an additional hypothesis if one already believes that God exists."
-Note that any attempts to "naturalistically" explain away the 4 Facts individually, requires the addition of MULTIPLE hypotheses beyond necessity. As our readers know, THIS action violates Occam"s razor. The resolution does not. Even if Con uncharitably mocks it. Our readers surely know that mockery is not an argument.
"5. It is in accord with accepted beliefs. The hypothesis: "God raised Jesus from the dead" doesn"t in any way conflict with the accepted belief that people don't rise naturally from the dead. The Christian accepts that belief as wholeheartedly as he accepts the hypothesis that God raised Jesus from the dead.
6. It far outstrips any of its rival hypotheses in meeting conditions 1-5. [V]arious alternative explanations of the facts have been offered, for example, the conspiracy hypothesis, the apparent death hypothesis, the hallucination hypothesis, and so forth. Such hypotheses have been almost universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. None of these naturalistic hypotheses succeeds in meeting the conditions as well as the resurrection hypothesis."
The only way to avoid the resolution "God probably raised Jesus from the dead" as the best explanation is to harbor an unjustified naturalistic pre-supposition, as is implied by Con when he doubles-down on the refuted objection; Some people falsely or mistakenly claim to see dead people alive, therefore the people who claimed they saw Jesus alive were either lying or mistaken. If the resolution is even possible, then the resolution is the more probable explanation for reports of Jesus being seen alive, given the corroborating evidence, namely the other 3 Facts (We can be sure that Elvis and 2pac are still in their graves). This is unless, of course, Con wishes to beg the question and assert that God does not exist.
-Note that even if I have the burden of proof, simply making unsupported assertions is not a legitimate method of undermining my arguments. Wherever Con makes an assertion or presents a positive claim, he burdens himself with the responsibility of justifying said claim.
It is now clear how an explanation must function if it is to qualify as a "best explanation." If Con rests his hopes on "The Twin Theory" as the best explanation, he might be forced to argue that "Jesus of Nazareth had an unknown, identical twin brother, who was separated from him as an infant and grew up independently, but who came back to Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion, stole Jesus' body out of the tomb, and presented himself to the disciples, who mistakenly inferred that Jesus was risen from the dead!" Of course, if Con presented such a radical assertion, he would have to demonstrate why this is more probable than the resolution, without presupposing the non-existence of God.

-Conclusion-
Con has conceded the historicity of Facts#1 & 2. Additionally Con has failed to undermine Jesus' post-mortem appearances (Fact#3). The Fact of Jesus' followers coming to truly believe in the resurrection (Fact#4), is indisputable. Therefore, any adequate explanation must account for all 4 firmly established Facts, as I have demonstrated.
The resolution "God probably raised Jesus from the dead" is the best explanation of these Facts.
Therefore, the resolution has been irrefutably established.

Source: www.reasonablefaith.org/the-resurrection-of-jesus
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Introduction

Pro is right that if I make an assertion, I must support it. However, I do not have to argue that God probably did not raise Jesus from the dead as the burden is not shared. Thus, I do not need to endorse an alternative hypothesis. Now, Pro in fact did presume the general reliability of the Gospels without real warrant. He mentioned things from the Gospels as if they were facts without actually justifying this in his earlier rounds. Also, citing William Lane Craig the whole debate only shows one mans interpretation of the evidence. He is not the ultimate authority, and many historians and scholars disagree with his views. He then lists 6 factors which go into making something more probable. However, he never justifies why we should actually accept this standard of authenticity, over another standard of authenticity. He then commits the bare-assertion fallacy by saying:

"All of the facts I have presented in favor of the resolution display most (if not all) of these Indicators of Authenticity (notice that these Indicators aim at stating sufficient, not necessary, conditions of historicity). Thus we can be confident in the historicity of Facts#1-4 without appealing to the general reliability of the Gospels." - Pro

He simply bare-asserts that all the facts he mentions display all of the indicators of authenticity. Where is the support for this? Also, I wasn't attacking the 4 facts when I was mentioning how Pro is presupposing the Gospels were reliable, I was mentioning all the little sub-"facts" based on them that Pro mentioned. Thus, my opponent seems to be straw-manning my position. Regardless, this is all a big red-herring. My position is that even if these 4 facts are true:

(i) Jesus was buried
(ii) His tomb was empty
(iii) People claimed to see him after his supposed death
(iv) People believed who had every reason not to

There are plenty of explanations for the facts. Pro must show that Jesus was probably resurrected by God, and that no other theory is as plausible (he attempts to do this in his last round).

Pro then claims:

"The general (much less 'complete') reliability of the Gospels isn't necessary to my case. As such, our readers may disregard this objection." - Pro

Actually, the readers should not disregard my objection. This is because, as I said the whole time, even if I was was willing to grant the 4 facts, that doesn't mean I accept the little sub-"facts" my opponent had attached to them. Without justification, this is a fallacy of presumption; Pro just assumes that the document he cites is valid. All he did in his last round pertaining to this section is bare-assert a standard, then bare-assert that the facts meet that standard. That is not going to cut it.

Is The Resolution The Best Explanation Of The Facts?

I do not have an indifference to facts; this is a straw-man. My only point was that even if those 4 facts are true, the resolution doesn't follow (and Pro has the burden of proof in this debate). My opponent does actually try to give justification in this round. It is just unfortunate that he waited till his last round to present his argument in favor of the resolution with no chance to respond. He lists things which make an explanation more plausible:

1. Explanatory scope
2. Explanatory power
3. Plausibility
4. Ad-Hocness
5. Accordance with accepted beliefs
6. Superiority over rival hypotheses

I am going to grant that the hypothesis that God rose Jesus from the dead passes 1 and 2, but argue that it fails so badly when it comes to 3, 4, 5, and 6 to the point where this failure over shadows everything else. Of course, this would severely undermine Pro's case to the point where we can safely say he did not meet his burden of proof.

Plausibility

Pro's support for plausibility is rather laughable. Just because Jesus was unique like and made radical claims, and a supernatural resurrection would confirm it, that doesn't mean that a miracle from God is plausible. People make radical claims about themselves theologically all the time; most of the time they are false. Also, another huge problem pokes its head. In order the resurrection by God to be plausible; God would have to be plausible. Pro has not actually argued in favor of God's existence. If God is not plausible, then Jesus' story is not plausible it seems. Pro just expected us to take God's existence as plausible on faith. Also, As Bart Ehrman notes:

"What are miracles? Miracles are not impossible. I won’t say they’re impossible. You might think they are impossible and, if you do think so, then you’re going to agree with my argument even more than I’m going to agree with my argument. I’m just going to say that miracles are so highly improbable that they’re the least possible occurrence in any given instance. They violate the way nature naturally works. They are so highly improbable, their probability is infinitesimally remote, that we call them miracles. No one on the face of this Earth can walk on lukewarm water. What are the chances that one of us could do it? Well, none of us can, so let’s say the chances are one in ten billion. Well, suppose somebody can. Well, given the chances are one in ten billion, but, in fact, none of us can." - Bart D. Ehrman

Here is why Pro fails; The very nature of a miracle is an improbable event. If a plane crashes and I was the only survivor; people would refer to it as a "miracle". Why? Because it was so improbable. Using a miracle (which by its very nature is improbable) as the most probable explanation appears to be a non-starter. For how can an improbable event by its very nature, be the most probable explanation without strong outrageously external grounding? It cannot. One has to presuppose God's existence in order to seem a miracle probable, but Pro hasn't given us a reason to believe God exists in order to make this event probable.

A resurrection fails the plausibility test so badly, that this alone casts a shadow over the 2 tests the hypothesis in question does pass.

Ad-Hocness

The assumption that God exists violates Occam's Razor to an unnecessary extreme because we only know for a fact that the natural world exists. Positing something (a supernatural world) that we have no evidence of is complete violation of Occam's Razor. If we can explain the evidence naturally this is to be preferred. Otherwise, when you lose your keys and you cannot think of an explanation the best one is; the key stealing angel took them. No rational being thinks this way. Natural explanations are far superior, as they are in accordance with what we know.

Accordance With Accepted Beliefs

The accepted belief is that people don't just get raised from the dead... it simply doesn't happen as far as we know, and we have nothing which would indicate it can happen. Whether we are talking about a resurrection which occurred supernaturally or naturally is irrelevant. Therefore, the attempt to cover up this obvious blemish fails for my opponent.

Superiority Over Rival Hypotheses

Pro claims that other hypothesis are universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. However, most New Testament scholars are, well, Christian. The fact is that most historians don't accept the resurrection as the best hypothesis. As Historian Richard Carrier notes:

"Misplacement fits the evidence better than most scholars think, and theft fits the evidence even better still, though I only discuss these possibilities elsewhere. I think it is most likely by far that the original belief was derived from dreams, hallucinations, or 'inspired' readings of scripture, which later became embellished into fabulous legends serving different dogmas." - Richard Carrier

I am not saying I endorse Richard Carrier's beliefs, I am just noting that what Pro claims is "universally rejected" is still up for debate.

Conclusion

God passes 1 and 2 with regards to Pro's criteria, but fails 3, 4, 5, and 6 so badly that Pro's case falls apart. Vote Con.

Source

[1] http://www.infidels.org...
safisweetkeyz

Pro

I thank my opponent for a very engaging challenge.

"No argument will be posted here, as agreed."
Debate Round No. 4
55 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Max.Wallace 2 years ago
Max.Wallace
Con is an aspiring Dr, and knows he will never be god.
Posted by Death23 2 years ago
Death23
I'm tired of seeing Con's face on the front page.
Posted by R0b1Billion 2 years ago
R0b1Billion
LOL at the resolution-fail. Either you believe in the supernatural events surrounding the Christian faith, or you don't. What's left for "probably?" 0_o
Posted by illuminati 2 years ago
illuminati
Pro failed to prove his argument. Most of his facts are assumption based. Furthermore, Pro only uses "Mr. Graig " as his only source. Just because one person claims something, does not make it true. In order to convey a convincing argument with legitimate points, I as a spectator would want to see several sources supporting his statements. Pro failed to do this.
Posted by Longline 2 years ago
Longline
Jesus was called a God in the Bible, but then so was Satan, and a mere human. The word God is just A Title people, you have to know that. Saying God is like saying the president or doctor, its just a title, But Jesus and Jehovah are two very different being with power.

Jehovah created Jesus, Jehovah is the one and only whom the Title of God rightly belong to, if you read the Bible Jesus himself even said who created him, and it was not him, And there is a major reason why Jesus keep calling God my father.

the Bible have two very distinguish people name.
Isaiah 41:8
I am Jehovah. That is my name;
I give my glory to no one else,
Nor my praise to graven images.

Luke 1:31
And look! you will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus.

Jesus was also seen standing next to Jehovah in his thorn in a vision given to a men in the Bible

. Acts 7:55
But he, being full of holy spirit, gazed into heaven and caught sight of God"s glory and of Jesus standing at God"s right hand.
Posted by mylittleponytrampstamps69 2 years ago
mylittleponytrampstamps69
Jesus was resurrected by Hitler
Posted by BearWithMe 2 years ago
BearWithMe
Pro never proved that it is probable. Saying that someone came back to life is absurd, especially when your evidence is personal experience or just filling in blanks. Tomb shenanigans or not, it is never demonstrated that he supernaturally came back to life or that it is the best possible explanation.
Posted by SNP1 2 years ago
SNP1
Sees this on the front page, reads it, goes to vote, voting period is over... wtf?
Posted by PrincessOzma 2 years ago
PrincessOzma
Jesus can raise Himself, thank you very much. BUT-- Jesus is God, as is the Holy Spirit. Sooo.... I'm neutral. I think whatever He did that worked is good enough for me. Actually, better, thinking that He gave us grace through it. That's beside the point. I'm still neutral.
Posted by Philosophybro 2 years ago
Philosophybro
lol how is this on the front?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by supershamu 3 years ago
supershamu
Rational_Thinker9119safisweetkeyzTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This didn't feel like an incredibly productive debate but I was interested none the less. It didn't feel very impactful no either side but I also think that pro's arguments had more evidential backing while con's seemed to be constructed of mostly "coulds." I didn't really see the factual refutes involved.
Vote Placed by johnnyvbassist 3 years ago
johnnyvbassist
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not argue as strongly based on his thesis. Con had terrible conduct calling Pro's case "laughable" and using several straw-man arguments. Con' did not effectively argue. Pro needs to work on building his thesis as the burden of proof is his job. However, Con had no legitimate points against the thesis that I could see and Pro adequately countered every argument Con presented.
Vote Placed by 2-D 3 years ago
2-D
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Reasons for voting decision: I read this through once and there were good points on both sides. I was going to read this again but the last minute jump to God as the likely reason for a resurrection was just too little. Con gave reasonable explanations for any possible post death sightings while Pro relied on scriptures and church history to establish this in the first place. Arguments to Con
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
Rational_Thinker9119safisweetkeyzTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments