The Instigator
Sunta
Pro (for)
Winning
54 Points
The Contender
revleader5
Con (against)
Losing
49 Points

Jesus is a mythological figure. Christianity is not for thinking people.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/18/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,421 times Debate No: 638
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (47)
Votes (33)

 

Sunta

Pro

Jesus is a mythological figure and as such is very similar to earlier pagan, Egyptian, Greek/Roman, and Asian mythological figures. In addition to sharing many similarities with other warrior/savior Gods, Jesus is based primarily on sun worship and therefore shares many aspects of that religion. It is easy to look at pagan symbols, statuary, and paintings and see distinct parallels between Jesus and figures such as Horus, Mithras, and Dionysus. There are few, if any, credible references to support Jesus as a historical figure other than the bible. The bible is a fictional account just the same as any other fictional book. There are no prophesies, only writers picking up where others left off. Many historians who lived at the same time as Jesus do not mention him. Why? If Jesus was a historical figure, he most certainly did not perform miracles such as walking on water and turning water into wine. Why? Because those things are impossible. They are impossible now and they were impossible then. Any thinking, rational person can clearly and easily see that this is so. People who believe in Jesus have not one shred of evidence that Jesus existed or that he performed miracles other than the word "faith." They turn away from their own intellect, their minds, their intelligence, and everything that we as people know to be true, and cling to one word: "faith." Children have faith in Santa Claus too, but that does not make Santa Claus real.

The fact is, there is no proof, no evidence, that Jesus even existed, let alone that he performed miracles. Why can Christians scoff at Pagan beliefs and call them myths and then turn around and call Jesus' miracles (which are equally impossible) real? This makes not one shred of sense whatsoever.

People who think about Jesus for ten minutes and use their intellect will swiftly and completely come to realize that these stories are not real, and that they are no different than all of the other mythological stories which existed much before Jesus appeared on the scene. Just as Neptune did not fly out of the water on a horse, so Jesus did not walk on water. A painting of Neptune resides in the Vatican, along with many other early pagan paintings. It is amusing to view the Pagan paintings next to paintings of Jesus and realize that they were being painted at the same time period, and yet today people still believe in one of the paintings and scoff at the other. What makes Jesus any more credible than Neptune?

Perhaps I can draw a parallel between the current book "Wicked" and the book "The Wizard of Oz." The book Wicked is based on the Wizard of Oz and as such has many of the same characters from the earlier book. How did the author of Wicked do this? Is L. Frank Baum a "Prophet"? or did the author of Wicked simply read the Wizard of Oz and then write Wicked based on the Wizard of Oz? Are either of the books real? No, they are not real. They are works of fiction. Because we all know that there is no such thing as flying witches. But what if both authors had an agenda, and they submitted their books as real, and claimed that there really was a land of Oz and good witches and bad witches? Would you buy it? If not, then why do people buy the bible? What makes the bible real and the Wizard of Oz not real aside from the fact that the writers of the bible said it's real? Why are "cults" considered cults yet Christianity is not considered a cult? It's just as outlandish, if not more so. People only believe it because they are not thinking for themselves and because the fear of death is too overwhelming to deal with.

Further, the religion one believes in is a matter of geography. Those who believe in Christianity believe it because they were told to believe in it. They've been fed a line of nonsense and they have bought it. However if they had been born in the middle east chances are they would not be Christian but would be Muslim. What makes Jesus real and Allah or Buddah a myth? Just geography, that's all. The very fact that Muslims believe in their own religion as the one true correct religion and that Christians believe the same about Christianity creates a huge problem in proving either. In fact, it renders both completely unprovable.

The challenge is, to win this argument without using the word "faith". I submit that it can't be done.

I want my opponent to deliver to me credible historians who were not biblical writers, who talk about Jesus. And no historians with one line thrown in about Jesus such as in the case of Flavious Josephus (this is proven to be a forgery). I'm asking for Roman historians, actual records. No Christian historians and no historians who mention "Christians". I know that Chrisitans existed. What I'm asking for is records of Jesus' existence other than the bible which is simply a fiction book, perhaps somewhat based on real events or people, but highly fictionalized. The fact is, if we remove Flavious Josephus from the record and we look at all of the other historians of the time period who were not Christians or biblical writers, we are left with absolutely nothing. No records, no proof, nothing. I have done the research and all I can come up with is records of "Christians who believed in Jesus". That is not proof that Jesus existed. I need independent historians.

I also want my opponent to offer proof that the miracles that Jesus performed are not a work of fiction.
revleader5

Con

I believe that it is fair enough to say that I can't prove he exists. I don't think that you can prove he can't though, because you wouldn't find out until you kick the bucket.
Here are my return questions to you-
1)Do you have any proof he doesn't exist?
2)Do you have any proof not older than 2500 years that he doesn't exist?
3)Any proof written after you were born?
Debate Round No. 1
Sunta

Pro

My opponent has posed the following questions:

1)Do you have any proof he doesn't exist?
2)Do you have any proof not older than 2500 years that he doesn't exist?
3)Any proof written after you were born?

I will address each question as they all relate to written proof, or proof in general that Jesus did not exist.

First let me re-iterate my main point. I am submitting that Jesus as he is portrayed in the bible, did not exist. As I mention in my first argument, the bible may be based on actual people and events, but is highly fictionalized. Therefore, there may have been a man named Jesus or a man with a similar name who existed at that time, but as I mentioned in my first argument, that man most certainly did not perform miracles and he was not/is not a savior.

My proof for this statement can be found in modern science, and has been proven through exact studies and highly controlled experiments that prove that the "miracles" Jesus is claimed to have performed, are impossible.

For example, walking on water. It is not possible to walk on water without the aid of either something under the water or something suspending the person above the water. This is due to a rather weak but important force called gravity. Gravity can be proven by controlled scientific experiments and can offer us proof that such a feat is impossible without assistance (in which case it would be a trick). Just because Jesus lived in "olden times" does not make it possible for him to walk on water. If it is not possible now, then it was not possible then. The people that lived back then were just like you and I. Just people. They were much more gullible and superstitious to be sure, but they did not possess any magical qualities that would allow them to walk on water.

I think that longevity of the impossibility of such a feat is also important. What I mean is, if for thousands and thousands of years God has not appeared again to give someone the ability to perform miracles, I think it's safe to say that he wasn't doing it back then either. History is important. Humans have never been able to fly through the air on their own, and this has been true since the beginning of time, therefor we can conclude that it is impossible to fly through the air (without an airplane of course). But, if a bible chapter was suddenly "discovered" that said Jesus could also fly, I suppose people would believe it. That is just pure gullibility and superstition. It's a complete turning away from science and intellect.

It would be the equivalent of people today worshiping David Blaine and calling him a savior. As a matter of fact, I'll bet he could get people to believe he really has magical powers bestowed upon him by God, because people are just that non-thinking. What makes David Blaine a magician but Jesus a savior? They appear to do the same "miracles" and no one knows how David Blaine does his. Since the bible says Jesus will come again, what makes us so sure that David Blaine is not the second coming? Well, for one, he doesn't claim to be. But what if he did? What if he said he was the second coming of Christ and he performed his "miracles" and he had people working with him to support his claim? Would Christians believe it? See, there is nothing about David Blaine that is different from Jesus, except that he does not claim to be the son of God.

And while we are discussing the second coming, let us review how the bible states that Jesus will come again not in thousands of years, but before his apostles die. The bible states clearly time and again that the second coming was supposed to have happened a long, long time ago. Almost every passage that speaks of the second coming warn the apostles and the people of the time period, to keep watch for the second coming (Just one example: Mark 9:1 "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.") So...where is he?

Now let us turn to the very heart of the matter... the total and complete nonsensical nature of the idea of God sending his son to earth.

The very concept defies every ounce of logic one could think of. If God is God and he is the ruler of the universe, then he has no need to send his "son" to earth. He can do whatever he wants. He can give people free will and at the same time, let people know he exists. He can have humans act exactly as he wants at any time. He does not have to play a game with us by sending his son to earth and then sitting back and being amused at what happens next and delighting in some of his own creations turning against him. It makes no sense. The God of the old Testament is a vengeful God, full of rage and fury. Actually he is more like a devil. I guess this is the God who would do something like play a game with humans by seeing who accepts his son and who doesn't. If one really reads the old testament one can see this terrifying version of "God". A God who just can't wait to see people burning and screaming in the eternal fires of hell. A God who orders people to smash their own infants against the rocks. A God who orders his prophets to put to death those who don't believe in him. Leviticus 26 is a pretty good support for this argument of God being hateful for those who which to research this on their own. Just as we now view the Old Testament as metaphorical (I don't think even fundamentalists believe we should kill non believers and blind ourselves of we use a curse word), so we can see that Jesus was also mythological and metaphorical. If the God of the Old Testament is over the top, so is the story of Jesus.

Now that we have touched on the silliness of God sending his son to earth, let's review human psychology. I touched on this very briefly in my first argument. Human beings have always needed something to believe in, and they have always needed to be part of a group, and to belong. It is this need that forms religions. Religion is in the brain, and as such is a creation of our own imaginations. It is a release and a relief of our troubles and worries, and it is an escape from the great unknown: death.

It is really people's extreme fear of death that creates religion. Let's face it, death sucks. It sucks so badly that humans had to find a way to deny it, and this has created religions throughout history which promise that they will not die.

If the story of Jesus were true, it would be wonderful. It really would. I would love to believe in it, but unfortunately, it is not true. Science and our own intellects tell us that it's not. In addition, we can point to thousands of years of evidence that proves that human beings can't walk on water, raise people from the dead, and turn water into wine. And by the way that one (water into wine) was performed by Dionysus way before Jesus appeared on the scene.

I welcome my opponent to disprove my arguments and the evidence I have presented.
revleader5

Con

About the walking on water event...

Is that not why Jesus is the son of God? Because he performed such amazing feats like that? There is not a shred of evidence around that can possibly prove Jesus was not the son of God on the reasoning of nobody can prove he couldn't do certain things with science because he didn't use science, he used the power of God. You keep saying that it's impossible to do this or that. It isn't impossible for the son of God.

Questions for You
1)Do you beleive in God?
2)Why do you refer to me as "my opponent"?
Debate Round No. 2
Sunta

Pro

Let me first respond to your questions and then I will address your arguments.

1)Do you beleive in God?

I believe in a higher power.

2)Why do you refer to me as "my opponent"?

Generally in a debate that is the normal terminology. It's nothing personal.

Now, let me address your argument. You state "nobody can prove he couldn't do certain things with science because he didn't use science, he used the power of God."

That is not a valid argument.

I asked you to prove that Jesus existed as he is portrayed in the bible and that he performed miracles. I asked specifically for independent historians (not biblical historians and not Flavious Josephus) who can corroborate that he existed. I asked you to provide Roman records of Jesus' existence, written non-biblical records. I would still like to find those records. Records from historians who were contemporaries of Christ.

I state in my argument that being Christian represents a turning away from science. You seem to agree wholeheartedly with that in your statement above.

What of the other questions I have posed in my argument? You have no answer for them? Questions about modern day magicians and what makes them different from Jesus, questions about works of fiction and how one author can pick up on an earlier author's work, questions about why God gave someone the power back then but would not do that now, and questions about using your intellect and reasoning to prove scientifically that Jesus performed miracles.

All Christians ever point to is faith (in God and the Bible). Since my argument is that none of these things are scientific, and that they are fictional, I would like other proof or evidence, supported by highly controlled scientific studies, to prove why Jesus could do such things in biblical times. Obviously it can't be done.

Let me reiterate once again... a man named Jesus or a man with a similar name may have existed in biblical times. But he did not perform miracles. Just as people today can't perform miracles. Belief in a "savior" is extremely childish, wishful thinking.

Think for a moment about modern day cults. We call them "cults" because they often have a dynamic leader who tells people that God will do this or God will do that if they follow him. We think of the cult leader as a nutcase, don't we? What makes these cult leaders any different from Jesus? Some of them claim to be the son of God or to be prophets of God. Warren Jeffs claims to be a prophet of God (and many people believe him, too).

There is absolutely nothing about these people that is any different from Jesus.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, that the bible had never existed. Now we're living in 2007 and the bible and Christianity does not exist. Can you imagine that for a moment? Really try and remove the bible and Christianity from your thinking. Imagine, in fact, that in 2007, we are BC. We are just like the people in BC and there has been no Jesus and no bible. Ok, now. Tomorrow, you turn on CNN and there comes a report that a man is claiming to be the son of God and he can do miracles and everyone should stop what they're doing and follow him. And this man has a bunch of followers and they believe him. Now in 2007, knowing what we know about science, about technology, and about human beings, what do you think the general consensus would be about this man? The general consensus would be that the man is a cult leader. And in fact, that consensus would probably be correct. It would be correct because we know that human being cannot perform miracles and they cannot raise people from the dead. Period.

Now why, in 2007, would everyone dismiss the man as a cult leader, but in biblical times, it was all "true"? You see, it makes no sense. It is completely and utterly nonsensical.

It is a romantic notion to think that in "olden times" there was a man who could perform magical miracles and that God sent his son because it was long, long ago. The bible also states that giants roamed the land at that time, just like in a fairy tale. In fact, the bible IS a fairy tale. It is a romantic notion, but unfortunately it just not so.

I think that most Christians, deep down, probably know deep in their hearts that it doesn't really make any sense. But because of being told over and over over again that it's true, they begin to believe it on some level. I think if Christians really thought about it and really researched it, and thought about it a logical way, they would come to the conclusion that it is a bunch of total nonsense. Giants don't exist, men don't walk on water, and there are no talking snakes.

I think that's why Christians become so enraged when people question them. Because it is threatening to be confronted with something that could shake their belief system. They turn blindly away from reason and logic, and place belief in something that defies all logic, defies all reasoning and rational thought.

Now let's imagine that it's 2,000 years in the future. Someone has written a book about David Koresh. In the book it states that he was the son of God and that he had followers and that they were persecuted. They embellish the book and state that David Koresh performed miracles and that when he was persecuted and died at the hands of the government of the time, he took all of our sins onto himself. The book states that everyone should follow David Koresh and that he is their savior.

Now it's 2,000 years in the future and people have kind of turned away from Christianity. The numbers have dwindled and people are looking for something new to believe in. There is unrest among the people. The government in 4007 sees an opportunity to unite the country under one religion again and so they wage an enormous public relations campaign with advertisements all over the place for people to become Koreshians. They bombard the people with advertisements all over TV, the internet, and in the movies. They drum the message of David Koresh into people's minds over and over again.

David Koresh was a man who existed, yes, and he called himself a prophet and he had followers. Now in 4007 there is a "bible" that documents everything he did and documents his miracles and all of his followers. And many, many people come to believe it, because they are brainwashed by the government, their families, and their schools. Does this make David Koresh the people's savior in 4007? No, it does not.

Now please explain how David Koresh is different from Jesus in this scenario.

You can't, because he is exactly the same as Jesus in this scenario. In 4007 there is a book that is a written record of his existence and it states that he did miracles and that he is a savior, and in 1993 he had followers. There are millions of Koreshians worldwide who all believe in this book and in the message the government is giving them.

He is no different from Jesus, and Jesus is no different from Allah, and Allah is no different than Buddah. And who you believe in is based solely on your geographic region and the time period into which you were born.

Now please address all of questions and arguments without relying on "bible", "God", or faith."
revleader5

Con

So you say he didn't exist at all. Interesting. Why would the Romans mention him in record though, they killed him! The Jews used Romans as their army to kill him. If he did exist, who would mention that? Especially thousands of years ago.
Debate Round No. 3
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
>>If Christ isn't real, then how do you explain AD and BC throughout history?

You think that AD and BC dating schemes have been used throughout history? Like Caesar died and they said, "We will miss Caesar taken too soon in 44 before Christ?"

Anno Domini dating became popular in 6th century. There's generally a need for a start date in calendars if you aren't going rework all of the numbers every year. Different dating systems use different start points. As for the birth of Jesus the date is sometime before 4BC (during Herod the great's rule) and after 6AD (during the rule of Cyrenius as governor of Syria). These actually rule out the 9 years between the dates as possible by Matthew and Luke. In any event, 1AD is pretty arbitrary there too.

It's just that Christians were typically historians and switching the dates is a pain... not proof there is a historical Jesus. You might as well claim the God Janus exists because January is a month.

You were certainly raised Southern Baptist, you weren't born a specific religion.
Posted by shelbih 9 years ago
shelbih
If Christ isn't real, then how do you explain AD and BC throughout history?

I am a born and raised Southern Baptist Christian though...
so I completely disagree with you.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Tnf, if only it were that easy. Chrestus was a common name for slaves rather than the Christ or messiah it means good or useful. Also, this writing was well more than 20 years after the death of Jesus in the gospel accounts. You're hard pressed to argue that a reference to a common first name, sharing a couple of the same letters to the word for Christ, twenty years after the fact actually counts as contemporary or mentioning Jesus.

Though, you are right that that entry is beyond reproach on the grounds you cite. A non-Christian source, secular source, and a mention exactly what we would like. Had it been written contemporary to Jesus, about Jesus, and not taken place in Rome (where the story never says Jesus was)... you'd have a point. But, those are the types of mentions which would go far to establish a historical figure.

To believe this you need to assume:

* Chrestus is misspelled, Christ.
* The date isn't 20+ years off.
* Jesus lived in Rome.
* Chrestus isn't a common slave name.
* There wasn't a possible guy named Chrestus in rome making trouble in 69–140AD.
* It doesn't just refer to Christians.

I have little doubt the mention isn't accurate. Or that the events took place. In fact, Acts 18:2 mentions the expelling of the Jews from Rome by Claudius. Some historians are comfortable ascribing this to refer to Christians but, 20 years after Jesus' death, I don't think any of them are going to say this is a contemporary source for evidence of a historical Jesus.
Posted by tnf38118 9 years ago
tnf38118
Tatarize,

Suetonius, Chief Secretary to Hadrian wrote:

"As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

Life of Claudius 25.4

A clear mention of Christ by a non-Christian source who was also a Roman official and whose works are considered by secular scholars to be quite accurate and valid.
Posted by aaroncoleman 9 years ago
aaroncoleman
Josephus, Tacitus, The Gospels. The existence of a man named Jesus is probably more well documented by more people than any of ours. The notion of his existence being mythological is absurd. Whether or not he was who he says he was is the debate...
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
TNF, they mention the story not an actual person. It's third hand information at least. Ask a Christian today and you'll get the same story, it no more establishes a historical Jesus than people telling the story of William Tell. It isn't that high of a standard of evidence. Just a contemporary mention of the person. There doesn't seem to be one.

I would argue that that alone is just an argument from silence, and can't conclude that the story is thusly false, but it's still accurate: there is no contemporary historical evidence that this story is anything other than fiction.

Sure some of the mentions are like, I went to this place and found some Christians who apparently worship some Christ fellow, I threatened to hurt them and they renounced their faith. -- That isn't a contemporary historical source for the Jesus story, it's good evidence Christians existed and that Christians knew the Christ story.
Posted by Korezaan 9 years ago
Korezaan
No warrants for arguments from revleader5.

RFD: PRO
Posted by tnf38118 9 years ago
tnf38118
Tatarize, he did tie his hands by saying he could not use sources who even mention christians. There are secular, non-Christian sources who mention Jesus, or Christ, but most also mention Christians since that was the source of the unrest. You know as well asa I do that "records" from that time period are scarce. What does he want? A birth certificate? A death certificate signed by Pontius Pilate that on such and such a date Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and determined by the Jerusalem Medical Examiner to be not only "merely dead, but really most sincerely dead"? (sorry, had throw in a little Wizard of Oz munchkin humor there)
Posted by SolaGratia 9 years ago
SolaGratia
I'm a Christian, but I voted for Sunta. Why? Because he obviously knows how to debate, and did better than the other person. Not that I agree with him.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Hardly tied hands. Those are all reasons why they should be dismissed. Though, in the into it's a bit of a waste. It should be established after the fact. If the con knew of those authors it isn't hard to take a look at the record and know it's hogwash.

No. The entire text is a fraud. Later Christian writers are not contemporary and do not count as historians. Other writers report on the existence of Christians who certainly exist in the second century.

Sunta should take you up on that offer because his case is still strong and those sources are still crap. He wasn't trying to tie Con's hands, rather he was launching a preemptive strike against that complete nonsense.
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