The Instigator
Stephen_Hawkins
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
Wandile
Con (against)
Winning
22 Points

Jesus is most likely derived from other mythologies

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Wandile
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,994 times Debate No: 20325
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (5)

 

Stephen_Hawkins

Pro

The debate will be about whether Jesus' existence is most likely originated in other philosophies or religions. This will be about his teachings, events in his life and other such things.
Definitions:

Mythologies
: Other stories from history. These may be historical fiction, purely fictuitous, etc. And factual examples would in theory be allowed (if it weren't for the fact that I won't use them).

Derived: The story of Jesus is derived, meaning inspired from or sourcing from another.

Jesus: I mean the historical figure and his teachings, events in his life and other such things. Not Jesús, the guy who did my garden last month.

Round 1 is acceptance, round 2-4 are debating rounds. In round four, no new arguments may be introduced.
Wandile

Con

I accept the challenge and eagerly look forward to an intellectually exciting debate.

Good luck :)
Debate Round No. 1
Stephen_Hawkins

Pro

As there are no questions regarding definitions, I shall assume they are all accepted.


Firstly, I wish to mention there are no known non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any writer of the time during and after Jesus's purported existence. In the words of Barbara Walker: "No literate person of his own time mentioned him in any known writing." Jewish philosopher Judaeus of Alexandria, alive at the proposed time of Jesus, the wealthiest and best connected citizens of the Empire, says nothing of Christ in his voluminous writings. Nor do any of the many historians and writers who flourished during the first one to two centuries of the era, and even then, nothing comes up until the time of Iraenius.


Secondly, in the words of Justin Martyr:

And when we say also that the Word,
who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He,
Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended
into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those
whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.

This shows again something that one needs to look at. The Biblical idea of Jesus Christ comes up in most people mind at the date 0 AD (the inexistence of the date is irrelevant). However, the canon source of the Bible is what is of importance. The Bible, written in 325 AD by the First Council of Nicaea[1].



The Greeks
The first place to start will be the greeks. They are an old group (older than Christianity at least) and hold many stories which closely link to that of Christianity. Also, due to the geographic proximity, it is highly likely that these two groups had a lot of contact with each other. In fact, it is almost certain: both places being part of the Roman Empire before the first council of Nicaea, after all, made their link almost definite. Homer's work has also been found in the area, as well as references to Aeschylus, so the correlation is very likely to have existed.

The character I wish to recognise first is Prometheus. Prometheus is is a Titan, a champion of mankind, known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals. (or mankind had fire, Zeus took it away, then Prometheus gave it back). Zeus then crucified him, but forgave the sins of man.

Firstly, Prometheus descended from heaven as a deitious being in order to give mankind fire and was punished for doing so by Zeus. Jesus descended from heaven as a deitious being in order to give mankind New Rules and was punished for doing so by the community. The community then crucified him, but forgave the sins of man.


The main clashes here are obvious: Jesus/Prometheus' descendence from heaven, descended as a deitious being, the fire/new rules and the giver of the punishment.

The first requires my opponent to prove that there is a difference[2]. This is also true of the second[2]. The third and the fourth require more allegorical interpretation - that is not to say more forced interpretetation, but simply not taking the phrase "fire" as meaning a literal burning stick of wood.

Fire was allegorical, as were many things in the play, but the fire was one that was an "obvious and transparent symbol"[3]. The fire, according to sparknotes, represents the gift of artistic and technological advancement, however the limiting scope to these two things is undesirable: Vellacott and many other literary scholars[4] put forth that it is complete growth in all aspects, a spiritual and philosophical growth as well as all others, and that limitting it to just science is ungrounded. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the fire was a growth done to increase humanity and human understanding.

Now, the comparison to Jesus in this way is very clear. Jesus being the light to illuminate us all[5] is clear, and Jesus being known as the truth is obvious as well[6].

Regarding the crucifixion, the chaining to the 'stone' is well known as being similar:

Dr. Martin Hengel remarks:

When describing how his hero is fastened to two rocks in the Caucasus, Lucian uses all 
the technical terms of a crucifixion: Prometheus is to be nailed to two rocks above a
ravine in the sight of all, in such a way as to produce the effect of "a most serviceable
cross"

Simone Weil uses the word "crucifies" to describe specifically the event that happened with both Prometheus and Jesus.[7]

There are many people who see this correlation, and it is not one that is rare.


There is a massive correlation between these two ideas. I shall present other correlations in my future post, and await a rebuttal.

Remember, the debate is whether it is
most likely that the ideas of Jesus came from other mythologies, not that they definitely did.


1 -
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea
2- Hamilton, Edith Mythology
3 -
http://www.sparknotes.com...
4 - Philip Vellacott, Prometheus Bound and Other Plays: The Suppliants; Seven Against Thebes; The Persians
5 - http://www.jesusisthelight.net...
6 - http://bible.cc...
7 - Intimations of Christianity among the Greek philosophers

Wandile

Con

I thank my opponent for his interesting arguments. His contentions appear to be of great value. However, when examined more closely, it becomes apparent that they are simply ambitious in nature with no real authoritative evidence.

C1 : THE HISTORICITY OF JESUS

My opponent begins :

"Firstly, I wish to mention that there are no known non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any writer of the time during Jesus' purported existence... Nor do any of the many historians and writers who flourished during the first one to two centuries of the era, and even then, nothing comes up until the time of Irenius."

What first must be mentioned is that what my opponent presents is completely false. Out of all the documents of this particular time, only a minute portion managed to survive the era. However we are fortunate to have numerous manuscripts from the first two centuries, that survived, which account for the life of Jesus of Nazareth as told in the Gospels. These secular sources affirm the historicity of Jesus.

One of the most revered historians of the time, Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37AD - 100AD) , put forward this account regarding Jesus of Nazareth :

"About this time arose Jesus, a wise man, who did good deeds and whose virtues were recognised. And many Jews and peoples of other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. However, they who became his disciples preached his doctrine. They related that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Perhaps he was the Messiah in connection with whom the prophets foretold wonders."
[Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XVIII 3.2]

Another was the Roman historian Tacticus (56AD - 117AD) ,who is most respected by modern historians, had this to say regarding Jesus :

"The author of the denomination was Christ[us] who had been executed in Tiberius' time by the Procurator Pontius Pilate. The pestilent superstition, checked for a while, burst out again, not only throughout Judea... But throughout the city of Rome also..."
[Tacticus, Annals XV 44]

For more secular references to Jesus by early historians, in the first two centuries AD, follow the link provided ----� http://www.users.binary.net...

This places a severely tough task for my opponent as he now has to disprove the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth ,as reported in the gospels and supported by secular historians of the time, before he can even begin to attempt to compare the story of Jesus to any alleged pagan parallels.

My opponent proceed to say :

"... However the canon source of the Bible is what is of importance. The Bible, written in 325AD by the First Council of Nicea."

My opponent displays his inferior knowledge of Biblical and Church history by providing false information concerning the Bible and the Council of Nicea.

The Bible was not written at one point in history as my opponent claims. Rather, the Bible was written over a period of approximately 1500year-- The first book being written around 1445BC and the last no later than 95AD.

Secondly the Council of Nicea did not in anyway deal with the formation biblical canon. The Council was actually called to bring to attention and deal with the Heresy of Arianism. Also to decide on the date that easter would be celebrated. The First Council of Nicea had nothing pertaining to the establishment of Biblical canon. In actuality, the canon of the bible was decided at the various African synods in the late 4th and early 5th centuries AD.

For more info : http://www.en.m.wikipedia.org...

C2 : THE GREEKS

My opponent states :

"the character I wish to recognise first is Prometheus. Prometheus is a Titan, a champion of mankind, known for his willy intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals. (Or mankind had fire, Zeus took it away, then Prometheus gave it back.). Zeus then crucified him, but forgave the sins of man."

The only parallels to the story of Jesus, in the paragraph above, are my opponents reports Prometheus' alleged crucifixion, and Zeus allegedly forgiving the sins of mankind.

A) Prometheus was crucified?

This is false! The truth is that Prometheus was in no logical way crucified! The only 'evidence' to support the idea of such an event is from the Diegisis by Robert Taylor written in the 19century while he was imprisoned for heresy by the Church. Taylor never gives one piece of evidence for his account of Prometheus' story and it could be safely assumed that his controversial account of Prometheus was simply an attempt to get back at the Church.

The actual Greek mythological account tells us that Zeus, "... Had Hephesites shackle Prometheus to the side of a crag, high in the Caucasus mountains. There, Prometheus would hang until the fury of Zeus subsided... Each day, Prometheus would be tormented by Zeus' eagle as it tore at his mortal flesh and tried to devour his liver. Each night, as the frost but it's way into his sleep, the torn flesh would mend so the eagle could begin anew at the first touch of Dawn."

http://www.en.m.wikipedia.org...
Also see link [1] in references.

Now I pose the question: how is being tied to a rock crag for days on end, in any stretch of the imagination, the same as being crucified? Prometheus was not crucified but rather tied/chained to a rocky crag and tormented ,for days on end, by an eagle in the Caucasus mountains because he stole fire from Zeus and. Gave it to man.

NOTE : Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400BC and was popularised by the Romans. Prometheus could not possibly have been crucified because the myth originated in the 8th century BC---meaning death crucifixion did not exist at the time.

B) Zeus forgave the sins of man?

There is not one shred of evidence for such a claim. Greek mythology never accounts for such an event. Thus question is brought upon the sources my opponent uses to present his case as their is no evidence, anywhere, that Zeus forgave the sins of man. I ask my opponent to provide credible sources for this claim.

My opponent proceeds to say :

"Firstly, Prometheus descended from heaven as a deitous being in order to give mankind fire and was punished for doing so by Zeus"

The flaw of this contention is that unlike Prometheus, who was a Titan- a demigod at most, Jesus was God! Jesus was the full expression of God bodily - he was God incarnate or better yet, God who took on the form of a man to act as an eternal sacrifice as a means to atone for the sins of the world. Secondly Prometheus was one amongst many deities in the Greek pantheon. Further Prometheus was not even part of those known as 'lesser gods'. In contrast to this, Jesus is God in a monotheistic faith. Jesus is the Highest in all heavens and is in complete agreement with God the father... Unlike Prometheus who was in constant conflict with Zeus. Consequently, Prometheus and Jesus are evidently completely different!

My opponent goes on to say :

"Fire was allegorical, as were many things in the play, but the fire was one that was an "obvious and transparent symbol". The fire according to sparknotes, represents the gift of artistic and technological advancement, however the limiting scope to these two things is undesirable..."

This arguments is based on speculatory interpretations that are solely rooted in the opinion of the interpreters mentioned in my opponents arguments. In simple, it is an argument from opinion. This is unauthoritative to the debate as opinion is nothing more than theory and can never be treated as anything pertaining to authority on a particular issue. The only certain understanding of the play of Prometheus is the literal understanding. My opponent is guilty of using an argument from opinion as evidence. The only surety is the literal understanding as that is Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it back to mankind.

I will deal with the appeal the Lucian next round.

#THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT THE STORY OF PROMETHEUS

Prometheus was not "God". The Greek equivalent to the Judeo-Christian God was Zeus. There are also many lesser gods in greek mythology. However Prometheus was merely a Titan. Further Prometheus was neither aligned with Zeus as Jesus is with God the Father, rather Prometheus was frequently in conflict with Zeus. Prometheus did, however, save mankind but did not do so in the manner that Jesus did. Prometheus did not save humanity from sin or eternal damnation like christ did, but simple stopped Zeus from destroying mankind!

Prometheus was not crucified. Well, he suffered at least. Prometheus, like all Titans, was physically immortal. And could NOT die. In Greek mythology, Zeus sentences Prometheus to eternal torment, shackling him to the side of a rocky crag in the Caucasus mountains. Zeus' Pet eagle attacks Prometheus every day, inflicting terrible wounds that heal throughout the night. Prometheus was eventually rescued by Herakles, who kills the eagle. This is the only incident that can be compared to the crucifixion. But since there is no crucifix, no death and no resurrection, this hardly compares to what happened to Jesus.

For a complete debunking of the alleged inspiration that Prometheus had on Christianity, follow the link : http://www.kingdavid8.com...

My opponent has the burden of proof. I have effectively disqualified and falsified his arguments.
Consequently I still lay claim to my position that it is highly unlikely that the story of Jesus was inspired by pagan mythologies.

REFERENCES :

[1] http://www.mythweb.com...
[2] http://www.en.m.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.tektonics.org...
[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[5] http://www.en.m.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Stephen_Hawkins

Pro

I apologise, I'm going to have to resign from this debate, I've just got my new topic for a MACE and BP debate, and I need to start focusing on them. I apologise again, and gracefully concede this debate.
Wandile

Con

I thank my opponent for conceding and letting me know instead of letting the timer run out. Conduct points to Pro.

PLEASE VOTE CON! PLEASE VOTE CON! PLEASE VOT CON!
Debate Round No. 3
Stephen_Hawkins

Pro

Please vote pro!













































*sarcasm sign*
Wandile

Con

Well for what it's worth...this was a fun topic.
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wandile 2 years ago
Wandile
Due the Josephus writings are praise by most historians... Credible ones that is. Flavius Josephus is a historian held in high regard. The forgeries thing has been debated for a long time and it seems your side has been losing dismally for years. The neutrality of his accounts of Jesus of Nazareth as well as the fact that he was in Jewish Orthodoxy contribute to a high credibility of the words in his writings. Secondly Josephus isn't the only historian who referenced Jesus of Nazareth. There were others. Secondly when did I say there is no hyperbole in the bible?

Concerning historicity of the <strong>gospels</strong> :

The gospels are considered historical artifacts by the vast majority of scholars and theologians both secular and religious.

Secondly concerning the other accounts in the rest of the bible. There has been some evidence of the Exodus found recently. Want to debate this?
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 2 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Again, a large amount of historians do not count Josephus in high regard due to his use of hyperbole and a lot of injections into his work making it very difficult. However, the most famous part of Josephus' writings regarding Christ are well known for being forgeries. You simply need to do a google search to find them. Also, stating there was no hyperbole in the Bible is like stating there is no cream in an éclaire.

You seem to be stating that "because Josephus said it, it is true". Unfortunately, not only did Josephus not say it, it isn't true in the first place.

And Josephus used exaggeration of Caesar's army to make them seem more powerful and noble. They supposedly managed, with only eighty men, defeat Jerusalem which had one hundred thousand soldiers defending it (Study of the Jewish Tribes).

Also, which stories are deemed as historically accurate? For example, the slave exodus led by Moses?
Posted by Wandile 2 years ago
Wandile
Sorry buddy but they were not being hyperbolic. They were doing their job... Writing and accounting for all the things that happened exactly as they were. These guys were HISTORIANS not some mythological scribes... They were secular historians. They were telling the things that happened in their time just as our history books tell us about World War 2. You don't want to get into this with me. You're good with greek gods and stuff like that... Well this is my stuff! You don't want me here... Take my word for it.

All you are dong is arguing from opinion. The words speak for themselves. Josephus said he worked miracles. This is no coincidence that his account agrees with what the gospels said. Dude Jesus worked miracle.. HE WAS REAL as the gospels tell him!

Bare in mind that Josephus was Jewish so he rejected Jesus as a false messiah. So if Josephus was ever going to be hyperbolic or guilty of doctoring the account of Jesus, he most like would've made Jesus seem more human rather than state that he performed supernatural miracles.

The gospels, despite what you believe, are actually very historically accurate, and are actually considered by most scholars to be trustworthy as historical documents.

Ok if you want to debate me again then sure. It's your own funeral.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 2 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
To an extent. I regard near all of his actions as hyperbole and mythological. Regarding Josephus, his testimonium flavium is well known for being full hyperbole, and injections, Tacitus is well suspected of being injections, and the Bible...if that's not hyperbole, then I don't know what is.

In a few weeks time, I'll be happy to restart this debate.
Posted by Wandile 2 years ago
Wandile
Yeah I made a mistake with the whole Titan thing. However you do realise that Jesus was a historical figure right??
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 2 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Yeah, working on my round 2 ESU Mace. It's along the lines of celebrities being punished more harshly for crimes, and I am prepping my rebuttals and speeches.

Also, just so you know, I do a lot of work with Greek philosophy, and a titan is a God - there's a lot of false information on some of the websites about mythologies. Titans were fathers to the Gods, in fact, before the titanomarchy. There's a website (I forget the name, it's david8 or something like that) that proclaims differently, but any look at Greek literature or culture tells a different tale.
Posted by Wandile 2 years ago
Wandile
Haha its ok man. I understand. You debate off the site too?
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 2 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Sorry Wandile, I'd have messaged you before the timer was on a couple hours left, but I was only told of my two debates this afternoon... useless trainer. :P
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 2 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Apologies for small font.
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 2 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
Apologies for small font.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by DelilahRawr 2 years ago
DelilahRawr
Stephen_HawkinsWandileTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: <3
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 2 years ago
Man-is-good
Stephen_HawkinsWandileTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: One point of conduct to Pro for not wasting Con's or the audience's time. However, Con destroyed Pro's arguments and analogy to Prometheus; differences between the former and Christ--as status as god, fate (crucifixion or bound to rocks and crags), and even the nature of fire vs. light were shown; Pro's erroneous claims were also exposed (i.e. the Bible, written at the Council of Niceae) and so forth. Pro also set a heavy burden since he needed to discount Jesus' existence as a historical figure
Vote Placed by tvellalott 2 years ago
tvellalott
Stephen_HawkinsWandileTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It's a shame, because Pro got off to a good start and I didn't feel like Con was successful in his rebuttals. Never the less, Pro conceded.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 2 years ago
Maikuru
Stephen_HawkinsWandileTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: concession