The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,946 times Debate No: 39933
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (41)
Votes (1)




Pro position is that Jesus was a physical, historical figure.

Con position is that Jesus never existed as a historical person.

The nature of Jesus' divinity is not up for discussion.

Neither position is allowed to deviate from the premises he or she has chosen from the start. For example, the pro position may not discuss gospel accounts in round one and later introduce extrabiblical examples. All arguments must develop from material introduced in round one.

Jesus was a historical figure because of the information revealed in 1) the gospel accounts, 2) the events in the book of Acts, 3) the writings of Paul, and 4) the several contemporary sources outside of the bible.

1) The gospels are the most comprehensive source we have about Jesus. The central character of the gospels selects twelve close disciples and minsters to thousands of other people over the course of 3 years. At the end of his ministry, he is subjected to the most brutal, humiliating, disgusting torture and execution that existed in that time: crucifixion. Many awkward details, such as the crucifixion itself, the women finding the empty tomb, the future leader of the church (Peter) denying Christ, and Jesus spending time with social outcasts like cripples, prostitutes, and worst of all, an adulterous Samaritan woman, suggest that these things actually happened. If Jesus was purely fictional, surely they would've made up a more glamorous death than the crucifixion. Truth is stranger than fiction.

2) The events in Acts detail what happened immediately after Jesus was crucified. One valuable example is in Acts 2. On Pentecost, the disciples were waiting in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. This was just 2 months after Jesus was crucified, and just a week and a half after Jesus ascended into heaven (though not before appearing to several hundred people). Peter simply could not make anything up to lie to this audience in Jerusalem; many of those present were probably witnesses to the crucifixion, or at least had heard the news. People didn't travel a lot, and again, this is only two months after the crucifixion. Yet we find Peter saying this:

"This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hand of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it."

"This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses."

"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the Holy Spirit."

Here we have three very clear statements about what happened to Jesus, and Peter even mentions that they were witnesses to the crucifixion and that the disciples were witnesses to Jesus' bodily appearance after his death. This is impossible to make up only two months after the events, in a discussion with people who were there to witness the events. Impossible.

3) Paul was a Pharisee who grew up hating and persecuting Christians. He famously hunted down Christians in neighboring cities, brought them back to Jerusalem, and facilitated their trials and executions. However, Paul was converted to Christianity perhaps later the same year that Jesus was crucified, after seeing a vision. Quite soon after, Paul began about 13 years of study and ministry in Damascus, Jerusalem, and Syria before making his famous missionary journeys. On one of these journeys, he writes to the Corinthian church. This may have been about 20 years after the death of Jesus. In this letter, he writes:

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep [physically died]. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles."

This passage is usually understood to be a creed, or a statement of faith that a church uses in order to stay focused on the truth. We know this is a creed because of the language that Paul uses,fact after fact after fact, and because he says he also received it, presumably during his studies in Jerusalem. The ability to confirm these events is simple: one must only ask any of the people that Paul named, and they in turn could introduce them to hundreds more. Paul even says they're still alive. He's basically saying, "these things are true. And if you don't believe me, ask these people! They were all there!" To make these events up and then give the people all the information they need to prove these events false would be foolish.

4) There are several references to Jesus in contemporary sources. Before we go there, let's discuss some facts about ancient historians. In ancient times, people only wrote history if they thought it was important. Unlike today, where reporters give news on anything and everything, ancient historians simply would not have written about something just because it happened. They only write about important, interesting things. Combine that with the fact that it hard to preserve ancient materials, especially paper, and we begin to understand what looking at ancient history is like. I'll illustrate with an example. Hannibal was one of the most famous military figures of the Roman Empire. He was the Napoleon of his time. Everyone knew his name. Yet, as of right now, there are absolutely zero contemporary accounts that discuss Hannibal! With this perspective, it would hardly be surprising if no one wrote about a peasant preacher leading a ragtag bunch of fishermen and social misfits from an insignificant town in an insignificant province of the Empire. Yet some people did write about him! Tacitus and Josephus are among the most famous of these, and these accounts combined with other contemporary sources reveal that Jesus, or Yeshua, was a man about whom this group of people called Christians was centralized. This man was crucified during the reign of Pilate. There are other conclusions that we can draw from these sources, but since I don't have the information right in front of me, I won't trust my memory.

Based on the gospel accounts, the events in Acts, the writings of Paul, an the extrabiblical accounts, we can conclude that Jesus definitely did exist.


I accept the debate and I'm confident this should be an interesting healthy debate. Hope my opponent enjoys the debate and I will counter argue his claims he made in his opening statement. ( Will post the sources I'm going to use in this debate in the comments section at the end of this debate or whenever my opponent desires)

1.) Are the gospels really the most comprehensive source we have about Jesus?

First and foremost the gospel authors are unknown for the most part and they are written in a narrative format, third person, not an actual eye witness account which would have been written in first person. For example, many of the statements of Jesus claim to have come from him while allegedly alone, if so, who heard him? It becomes even clearer when it's reported what Jesus was thinking, who did Jesus confide his thoughts to in order for them to be recorded? Clearly, the gospels are not a suitable source for providing proof of a historical person.

Another factor to consider is that there are no surviving original texts that provide all the gospel accounts, even dating close to the time of Jesus life. (Just copies of copies of copies) His supposed life story isn't written down until way after his alleged crucifixion and death. The gospels are a prime example of hearsay and nothing more, no proof that they came from an actual eye witness account.

The most overlooked yet most outstanding piece to show that the gospels are a poor source for evidence towards his existence is writings from important figures that were alive during the supposed time Jesus was alive. Consider that the gospels write about how Jesus was so famous that people are claimed to know him from far and wide. Not only is he supposedly known far and wide but that great priests of the day, Roman governor Pilate, and Herod claim that they too heard "of the fame of Jesus" (Matt 14:1). There are several scriptures written in the gospels where Jesus is portrayed as being famous enough that he is heard from other nations and close neighboring cities.

So here we have the gospels portraying Jesus as famous far and wide, a prophet, and a healer, with great crowds of people who supposedly knew about him, including very important figures in history, yet not a signal one of them wrote anything concerning Jesus. If the poor, the rich, the rulers, the highest priests, and the scribes knew about Jesus, why didn't they not write about him, if he had such an impact? Then we have a supposed miracle that occurred, that should have been recorded by anyone witnessing it that day. The day when he died on the cross and there were celestial events going on, earthquakes, the dead rising, etc. none of which are recorded by contemporary historians, not even a lowly simple person just happen to be around.

I will elaborate on the next round more argument against the gospels to prove further that they are a unreliable source for his existence.

2.) The events in Acts detail what happened immediately after Jesus was crucified.

Paul's biblical letters serve as the oldest surviving Christian texts known to date, dated to around 60 C.E. Most scholars have little reason to doubt that some of them were in fact written by him (including Acts). With that in mind, not a single instance in any of Paul's writings though claim that he ever meets or sees an 'earthly' Jesus (except for the alleged Damascus incident) nor does he give a detail written account about the life of Jesus. His accounts are an example of hearsay at best.

3.) Paul was a Pharisee who grew up hating and persecuting Christians.

This is a failed attempt to provide evidence for the existence of a historical person seeing that this can be likened to someone hating Hindus until one day the persecutor sees a vision of Krishna and stops hurting and starts serving Krishna's followers. Not a valid way to provide evidence toward someones existence.

4.) There are several reference to Jesus in contemporary sources.

Instead of me rewriting what my opponent had written, I will consolidate it by just presenting my counter argument. Essentially all claims about a Jesus comes from sources outside of Christian writing, yet when used as evidence for his existence it becomes poor at best because the fact that all of these accounts come from authors who lived years after the alleged life of Jesus. Since they did not live during the time of the supposed Messiah, none of their accounts serve as eyewitness evidence, only hearsay.

I will cover a few historians of old that made mention of Jesus:

A.) Josephus Flavius - this is a fairly overused historian that Christians use as piece to prove that Jesus in fact existed, yet his short accounts of Jesus came years after Jesus supposed life and death. Josephus was born in the year 37 C.E. which puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Moreover, he wrote Antiquities in the year 93 C.E., after the first gospels got written! Therefore, even if his accounts about Jesus came from his hand, the information he presents could only serve as hearsay.

B.) Tacitus - the Roman historian's birth year was 64 C.E. put him well after the alleged life of Jesus. He gives brief mention of a "Christus" in the his Annals book which was written around 109 C.E. Seeing that his writings regarding Jesus are set well after his alleged life, this also puts the writings as merely hearsay.

C.) Talmud - this is used almost as much as the references made by Josephus, Christians claim that Yeshu in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Yeshu, according to scholars depicts a possible disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perchia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus. In any case, Talmud can only serve as a controversial Christian or Jewish legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.

Now take for example the works of Philo Judaeus whose birth occurred in 20 B.C.E and died in 50 C.E. He was known as the greatest Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher and a historian of the time. He lived in the area of Jerusalem during the alleged life of Jesus. He wrote detailed accounts of the Jewish events that occurred in the surrounding areas, yet, not once in all of his volumes of writings, do we read a single account of a Jesus "the Messiah" nor do we find any mention of Jesus from other known historians that were alive during Jesus' supposed life. You would think that if Jesus truly had an impact, was able to draw the amount of crowds that he supposedly did, was known far and wide, you would think that a known historian living around the same time Jesus supposedly did, there would have been mention of him, but there isn't a single shred.

Based on failed supposed eyewitness accounts in the gospels, the hearsay of Acts - the writings of Paul, awful outside bible sources, we can conclude that Jesus did not in fact exist.

Look forward to the opponents response
Debate Round No. 1


I"m afraid my opponent has misunderstood me and has jumped to a few conclusions too soon.

I think it might come from a misreading, or perhaps no reading at all, of my discussion of the writings in Acts and those by Paul; points 2 and 3. In my discussion of Acts, I made no mention of Paul. Paul is definitely not the author of Acts; I have never heard a serious discussion on this subject. A quick skim through Acts brought me to Acts 21:18, which says:

"On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present."

How is it possible for Paul to use the first person plural "us" (and "we" in the surrounding verses) and then list himself as an addition to the group? It would be as if I said "Brian and I went to visit the elders." It doesn"t make sense, unless the author is someone other than Paul.

In my discussion of Acts, my primary point was that Peter was preaching about Jesus only two months after his death and only a week and a half after his resurrection. Peter was indeed a person who had seen the risen Jesus, and who had walked with him during his three years of ministry as one of his closest disciples. My opponent did not address this topic, but was instead distracted by issues of authorship and the nature of Paul"s vision, which were not discussed by me in point 2.

In point 3, my opponent appears to identify my support for the existence of Jesus to come from the fact that Paul used to be a Jew. This is not my main point in this section. By saying Paul was a Jew, I was simply giving some historical background. My main point was that Paul wrote the creed in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere, indicating that he and other Christians had developed a statement of faith about the facts of Christianity. My opponent does not discuss this topic, but instead argues that someone changing his or her mind is not valid evidence for the existence of some other figure. I agree. That"s why I didn"t use it as such.

If I may go back to point one, my opponent discusses the fact that Herod, Pilate, the poor, the rich, great priests, rulers, and scribes knew about Jesus. Since they knew about him, they should"ve written about him. Why? Herod and Pilate didn"t write about anything; why should we expect them to write about Jesus? They were rulers, not writers, and Jesus was nothing more than a hiccup in the system to them. Why should the priests write about him? Again, they were not writers, and if they were, why would they be interested in preserving the life and teachings of their opponent? Rulers were not writers either. And which scribes were supposed to write about him? Why? I discuss Philo below, and why it doesn"t make sense to conclude that he should"ve written about Jesus. Which other scribes should"ve done so? I believe that the only "scribe" who had any interest in such figures as Jesus is Josephus, and he mentions Jesus twice.

Also, my opponent discusses the "contemporary" Talmud as a source that can be used to prove Jesus" existence. I agree that the source must not be used to do this, not only because of the references to a figure other than Jesus, like my opponent said, but also because it is not a contemporary source. The Talmud was written before Jesus was born. I don"t understand why this is in the conversation.

Also, the issue of Philo Judaeus, a "historian" from "the area of Jerusalem" is misleading. Philo was not a historian; he was a philosopher. I found no support for the idea that Philo was a historian. Also, Philo was from Alexandria, not, the area of Jerusalem, whatever that means. It is doubtful that someone from a city as distant as Alexandria would"ve heard about Jesus during his lifetime. He was not known far and wide; he was known throughout Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and even then to only several hundred people. Jesus was not known far and wide until the ministry of the apostles and disciples several years after Jesus" death, and even more so during the time of Paul. However, Paul didn"t travel or write until about 20 years after Jesus" death, meaning that Philo probably would"ve died before hearing about Jesus, especially since Paul never went to Alexandria. To my knowledge, the earliest reference to Alexandria in the book of Acts is in chapter 18, which mentions a Jew from Alexandria named Apollos. However, he turns up when Paul is in Corinth, which is again around AD 50. We must be careful when making statements like "Philo should have written about this." The argument from silence is rarely convincing. Precisely why should he have written about it?

Let me divert from responding to my opponent to bring up a point that I believe is important here. Even though we can argue (unconvincingly) that the gospels were written by non-witnesses (during a time when many eyewitnesses were surely still alive), that Acts is mostly hearsay (even though the author uses the first person plural, especially toward the end of the book, indicating that he was indeed there), and that the outside sources are "awful" (even though the opponent agrees that they do in fact mention Jesus within the first century), we are still left with the fact that each of these sources mention Jesus, and from them we have a very clear picture of who Jesus was, and the fact that he actually existed.

What is the alternative to all this information? This is a question I hope my opponent will soon answer. Why are people writing about Jesus during the first one hundred years after his death? Why do so many sources say he was crucified? Why are Paul"s, Peter"s, James", and other writings so harmonious about the fact that Jesus lived, died, was buried and rose again? If Jesus never existed, why do all these sources say he did?


I will like to quickly clear up a few things: Philo Judaeus did in fact live in Alexandria, I've checked my sources and I misquoted, I do apologize. This doesn't negate the fact that Alexandria traded goods with Jerusalem, and inhabitants of Jerusalem traveled to Alexandria, so the news of Jesus would have easily been recorded by Philo of seeing that he was very interested in Jewish culture and religion.

Now I would like to clear up Acts is a mesh of several authors, not just one, but Paul is believed by scholars to be one of the ones who wrote parts of the middle and later chapters of the book. Again, Paul never saw Jesus in person but only was told by others. Also, the writings that he did record were only focused on his death and resurrection, not valid pieces of evidence to suggest a historical person.

As my opponent stated, sources made references to Jesus of the first century which indicates that his existence was valid. This is a fallacy because as an example let's take Josephus a keen historian that Christian apologists use in order to defend Jesus as being an actual historical person. He makes mention of Hercules in his writings, speak of him as being a real historical person, are we to believe that Hercules the demi-god son of Zeus existed? That the supernatural fetes that he accomplished actually happened? Josephus in these instances clearly shows he only wrote about these incidents because they are hearsay and took them as supposed facts. The other ancient historians that did make mention of a Jesus did so years after the supposed death of Jesus, usually referencing to those that called themselves "Christians". Recording acts of groups that follow a "god" doesn't serve as proof that such a deity, demi-god, superman even existed at all. Also, just as Tacitus mentions a Christus, so does he also mention Hercules many times in his Annals.

I will like to elaborate further on this regarding Hercules (commentaters used Spiderman but this might be better). Examine the evidence for Hercules of Greek mythology and you will find it parallels the "historicity" of Jesus to such an amazing degree that for Christian apologists to deny Hercules as a historical person belies and contradicts the very same methodology used for a historical Jesus.

Note that Herculean myth resembles Jesus in many areas. The mortal and chaste Alcmene, the mother of Hercules, gave birth to him from a union with God (Zeus). Similar to Herod who wanted to kill Jesus, Hera wanted to kill Hercules. Like Jesus, Hercules traveled the earth as a mortal helping mankind and performed miraculous deeds. Similar to Jesus who died and rose to heaven, Hercules died, rose to Mt. Olympus and became a god. Hercules gives example of perhaps the most popular hero in Ancient Greece and Rome. They believed that he actually lived, told stories about him, worshiped him, and dedicated temples to him.

Pro said: "What is the alternative to all this information? This is a question I hope my opponent will soon answer. Why are people writing about Jesus during the first one hundred years after his death? Why do so many sources say he was crucified? Why are Paul"s, Peter"s, James", and other writings so harmonious about the fact that Jesus lived, died, was buried and rose again? If Jesus never existed, why do all these sources say he did?"

What is the alternative to all this information?

Quite simply that the Jesus story isn't new, this story has been used before by other cultures to support their savior myth. Almost all demi-god savior beings have the same attributes ascribed to Jesus like Horus, Buddha, Krishna, Odysseus, Romulus, Dionysus, Hercules, Glycon, Zoroaster/Zarathustra, and Attis of Phrygia. All of whom have similar if not exactly the same story attributed to Jesus of the bible and who all pre-date the time Jesus supposedly existed.

Why are people writing about Jesus during the first one hundred years after his death? Why do so many sources say he was crucified?

Seeing that this savior folklore have been used for centuries, well before the time Jesus supposedly lived, there's no wonder why another demi-god savior figure is invented in Judea which leads to many believing in that story. Now why do so many mention his supposed crucifixion? Well it's not because of any eyewitness report, but rather hearsay. Those ancient historians that recorded the name Christ or Jesus did so because they were simply told by those that were believing in that movement.

Lastly, Pro stated "why are the stories harmonious"?

This is your view but the facts show that there are wealth of surviving documents that are not included in the bible yet speak about Jesus. What's very interesting is there are several books that are referenced by other bible characters but are also 'missing' from the bible canon. Those lost books though have been found for the most part and in fact tell a much different story about Jesus (as well as other bible characters) then what the early church fathers wanted the masses to be familiar with. It has the appearance of being harmonious because the 'committee' decided which books stayed and which books went, it's that simple which puts into the question the entire bible. (a whole different topic)

History has shown that every culture had a "super-savior" demi-god of some kind, who did virtually the same things that are reported to what Jesus of the bible apparently did. When it comes to using ancient historians for Jesus in particular (excluding other mythical figures like Hercules) many problems occur with the reliability of the accounts from ancient historians. Most of them did not provide sources for their claims, as they rarely included bibliographic listings, or supporting claims. They did not have access to modern scholarly techniques, and many times would include hearsay as evidence. No one today would take a modern scholar seriously who used the standards of ancient historians, yet this proves as the only kind of source that Christology comes from. Couple this with the fact that many historians believed as Christians themselves, sometimes members of the Church, and you have a built-in prejudice towards supporting a "real" Jesus. If you want to believe something so bad, you can always find a way to convince yourself and others by manipulating the facts or fabricating stories out of thin air.

Some people actually believe that just because so much voice and ink has spread the word of a character named Jesus throughout history, that this must mean that he actually lived. This argument simply does not hold water. The number of people who believe or write about something or the professional degrees they hold say nothing at all about fact. Facts derive out of evidence, not from hearsay, not from hubris scholars, and certainly not from faithful believers. Regardless of the position or admiration held by a scholar, believer, or priest, if he or she cannot support a hypothesis with good evidence, then it can only remain a hypothesis.

There is insufficient or no evidence to support a person of divinity, Jesus, ever existed who performed the fetes that my opponent will like to believe. Even for the sake of the argument, if there is evidence that "a" Jesus existed in Jerusalem, this doesn't serve as proof that his miracles actually happened, that he healed the sick/lame, that he walked on water, that he turned water into wine, or that he was raised from the dead.

I hope my opponent understood my position clearer and I'm looking forward to his response

Debate Round No. 2


I will focus much of my response to the "Jesus myth" hypothesis that has finally come up.

Unfortunately, my opponent has committed the same illogical errors when it comes to the claim that Jesus was a reinvention of one or several pagan gods. Most obvious is the fallacy that "post hoc, ergo proctor hoc," or "to precede is to cause." This fallacy holds that if figure A comes before figure B, then figure A must have caused figure B. Undoubtedly, this happens sometimes, but it is fallacious to claim that this always happens.

Also fallacious is the jump from "similar" to "parallel." Many Jesus mythicists claim that, if two figures are similar, they are the same. Put this simply, the fallacy is obvious.

We could go through each of the figures you listed (that long list was very convincing!), but rather than wearing us both out, I"ll state why basing Jesus on any pagan god is a fool"s errand, and then I"ll discuss Heracles, since my opponent focused on him, and since I"ve never seen Heracles mentioned in discussions like these.

In Jerusalem in the first century, nearly all people were devout Jews. According to Jewish belief, adopting any pagan belief was to be avoided at all cost. Many Jews cut their hair and shunned gymnasia because of their associations with pagan culture. These people simply would not have adopted any pagan beliefs into their lives. Yet according to mythicists, many hundreds did; not only that, but they also claimed he actually existed. Jesus mythicists must explain how hundreds of devout Jews merrily adopted the myths of Horus, Dionysus, Attis, and others, combined them into a Jewish/pagan hybrid (which they would"ve viewed as an abomination), forgot he didn"t exist, and then claim that he actually did, as early as two months after his fictional death. This alone is reason enough to dispense with the Jesus myth nonsense.

Like I said, my opponent has committed, or at least perpetuated, the fallacy that precession equals causation, and similarity equals parallel. In the accounts of Heracles, my opponent mentioned that he was born of a chaste mother (which is the same as being a virgin), that Hera wanted to kill him (which is the same as Herod wanting to kill Jesus), that he died (which is the same as being crucified), went to Mt. Olympus (which is the same as heaven), and became a god (which is the same as always having been God for eternity). The author of the article my opponent cited goes further: that he was his fathers" son and great-great-great grandson (which is the same as Jesus existing before David), and that he did many good works (which is the same as the good works Jesus did, and for that matter, the good works that, say, Gandhi has done). The author also claims that the Ephesians verse indicates that Jesus descended to hell. This is not claimed in the Ephesians verse, and the idea of Jesus descending into hell is not a scriptural idea, so there is no parallel here. I hope my opponent can see how these characteristics, though similar, are not the same, and how Heracles, though a predecessor of Jesus, did not necessarily cause Jesus.

Also, my opponent asserts that every culture has a "super-savior." Let"s go back to Heracles. What exactly did Heracles save the world from? Saving the world from lions and hogs and hydras and rivers is not the same thing as saving the world from sin and death. To be parallel is not the same thing as being equal.

Also, my opponent claims that many historians were Christians, and were biased as such. This is completely untrue. The two historians about whom we have been centering our discussion, Philo and Josephus, were both Jews. They would not be motivated to perpetuate the discussion of a person who, in Jewish opinion, was an imperfect Messiah. Unless it was historical fact.

I hope I"ve illustrated how fallacious it is to say that parallels indicate that the figures are the same. As I said before, the idea of Jews adapting the Greek myth of Heracles and building a religion around it is ridiculous. It does not deserve scholarly review, and it hasn"t received any. The names "Acharya S." and "Kersey Graves" have no weight.

My opponent still has not tackled the issue of the accounts in Acts or in Paul"s writings. I look forward to a response to those topics. My opponent has stated many times that all the gospel accounts and such are all hearsay. But I remind him that from the start I included a passage from the book of Acts where an eyewitness, Peter, speaks to other eyewitnesses in Jerusalem two months after the crucifixion, and states it as a fact that Jesus had died and was buried.

I would like to invite my opponent to consider the cited source I have included. This post was written by a man named Tim O"Niell, one of the more prolific writers on the website Quora. Tim is an atheist bible scholar and historian who systematically demolishes arguments in support of incorrect theories, including the Jesus myth hypothesis and others, such as the theory that science was squelched by the church during the middle ages. Many of his thoughts I have adapted and used in my opening remarks.

I repeat my very specific challenge at this point. In my opponent"s rebuttal to this round, I expect him to respond to the account in Acts and the creed in 1 Corinthians. How does he expect the world to discredit the eyewitness account in Acts and the creed in 1 Corinthians?


I will address the Acts issue, Pro stated: "2) The events in Acts detail what happened immediately after Jesus was crucified. One valuable example is in Acts 2. On Pentecost, the disciples were waiting in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. This was just 2 months after Jesus was crucified, and just a week and a half after Jesus ascended into heaven (though not before appearing to several hundred people). Peter simply could not make anything up to lie to this audience in Jerusalem; many of those present were probably witnesses to the crucifixion, or at least had heard the news. People didn't travel a lot, and again, this is only two months after the crucifixion."

Claims of this "supernatural" event isn't evidence and there isn't any evidence to suggest such a phenomenon even happened. No contemporary information is available to suggest that people began speaking foreign language out of thin air that weren't familiar with the language. Stating that Peter could not lie about this is an emotional plea to authority, there is still no evidence for Jesus and citing scriptures regarding him isn't valid either. I don't want to waste our time going through why gospel writers were unknown, gospels being contradictory, and are unreliable sources to consider. The book of Acts is of no exception. (

For Peter to make mention of a Jesus, claiming that he was crucified, was buried, and raised from the dead is not foundation for evidence to the claim.

I've been following a renowne scholar by the name of Richard Carrier who, among others, who have been putting out work regarding this very subject. Most of the information that I'm presenting stems from some of the books that he's published. I would invite my opponent to consider the following video in where he lectures regarding this very subject to basically give my opponent something to consider.

To answer regarding historical myths that are similar to the same story attributed to Jesus, this is still being investigated by scholars, and I will agree with my opponent that there are several similarities and some that aren't. I've brought that point up to provide my opponent this simple fact, Jesus wasn't the first myth to be used by a culture to personify a savior of their community. Every culture has a savior myth, as I've already pointed out thoroughly, and I wish not to repeat myself. The information is readily available online for anyone, including to my opponent, to consider and to read further into.

So far my opponent has done the same argument from any apologists, that is to cite the bible as being authoritative, and reliable, when in fact (this debate won't permit) there is a wealth of information showing that the gospels alone are contradictory, not to mention the rest of the bible, so I'm not to sure as to why it's being used to provide as a source of dependable evidence. The following cite is one out of many that has a plethora of information concerning the bible being filled with contradictions, laughable scientific claims, out right evils things, etc. So how can anyone consider the bible as a good piece of evidence? (

I will admit that currently there are scholars who are agree that Jesus was a historical person and there are other scholars that believe the contrary. Richard Carrier is one who doesn't and provides a wealth of information, sources, etc. that people can consider to show that Jesus highly likely did not exist but was likely a fabricated story. I don't want to show that he is the only dependable resource to consider, again a simple search will help anyone discover others, like in the case of Robert M. Price who wrote the book "The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man" which I highly recommend reading.

My opponent hasn't provided any credible evidence, outside the bible, where Jesus is shown to be a historical figure. The ancient historians that I've cited weren't in fact dependable seeing that they even mention mythical figures like Hercules, so it places into question the sources that those historians used. Again I must reiterate, ancient historians techniques were poor at best in documenting factual ancient history (i.e. Josephus: this is why scholars dig deep into what they write to determine if in fact the events mentioned did happen or were fabricated or simply were hearsay.

The mentioning of Jesus by these historians do not provide evidence that Jesus existed, seeing that they wrote about him years passed his supposed life, and we have philosophers (i.e. Philo) who was around the time these supposed events occurred. One such occurrence, which I will now mention, is that of the great massacre that was supposedly ordered by King Herod after hearing the news from the magi that a king was born. (Matt. 2: 16-18) No mention of that incident is found anywhere, and logically if such an occurrence did in fact happen, someone would have mentioned it, even Philo. This simple fact shows how the gospels are unreliable and can not be used as evidence to support Jesus being a historical figure.

Look forward to my opponents sources that provide evidence for Jesus that are outside the bible and answer why philosophers like Philo, never heard of Jesus, and why no historians mentions the "great massacre" that King Herod supposedly did if we are to believe the gospels are dependable.
Debate Round No. 3


Brian_Zwick forfeited this round.


I will forfeit this round as well seeing my opponent has done so.
Debate Round No. 4


Brian_Zwick forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SimpleObserverofThings 3 years ago
In speaking with Richard Carrier myself personally, this is what he had to say regarding this: "Because mythicism hasn"t been properly argued (through academic peer review, by a suitably qualified expert, using standards of citation and argument respected in the field). Therefore it"s easy to dismiss (it"s easy to straw man, etc.). It isn"t even being taken seriously enough to have a fair review (see Ehrman Recap, for example). My next book (and in necessary part, Proving History) is designed to answer that defect. We"ll see what the effect of that is in ten years time." - Richard Carrier

As he had mentioned, that topic isn't being taken seriously because scholars hasn't heard a sound argument. Reason is because those that have tried to disprove Jesus as a historical figure, came up with straw man fallacies, unfortunately, but in more recent times they are being investigated again. This time, the evidence is showing that the historicity of Jesus is open to question seeing that the evidence currently being used for the defense of his existence aren't actual first hand accounts of his existence. With that said, it all comes down to the ancient historians that are being used, the bible (NT) reliability, and factual historical accounts. As I've already highlighted in my debate, ancient historians when mentioning Jesus did so by collecting hear say accounts from others, never a face to face account. The New Testament gospels are a unreliable source seeing that the story is told in third person, there striking contradictions, and it puts the entire gospels into questions as a reliable source. This, among others, is why scholars like Richard Carrier is urgently seeking the validity behind this seeing that the information presented is incomplete and some scholars that are on the side of Jesus being a real historical person, they are put into question seeing that their studies are for the most part religiously bias.
Posted by PGA 3 years ago
"Because I am telling you right now, no historian other than Richard Carrier and Robert Price, actually deny that Jesus existed."

Not only that, you have to understand the mindset of a Robert Price or Richard Carrier.

For Price you would have to have read about the Jesus Seminar and the scholarly farce that it was. They determine if a verse of Scripture was an actual saying of Jesus by using beads to vote. You would also have to understand his worldview underpinning in Higher Criticism, how scholars 17-20 centuries remove determine what should be believed in Scripture.

Some of these same Jesus Seminar scholars have been the most vocal members in opposing what Scripture says. They come with an agenda.

"Use of a flawed voting system

The voting system has been criticized by, among others, N. T. Wright, who says '... I cannot understand how, if a majority ... thought a saying authentic or probably authentic, the "weighted average" turned out to be "probably inauthentic". A voting system that produces a result like this ought to be scrapped.'
Ignoring evidence for eschatological teachings of Jesus

Dale Allison of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, in his 1999 book Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet, cited what he felt were problems with the work of (particularly) John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, arguing that their conclusions were at least in part predetermined by their theological positions. He also pointed out the limitations of their presumptions and methodology. Allison argued that despite the conclusions of the seminar, Jesus was a prophetic figure focused to a large extent on apocalyptic thinking.[27] Some scholars have reasserted Albert Schweitzer's eschatological view of Jesus.[37]"

See the rest of the article - Creating a Jesus based on the presuppositions of the members, etc.

Posted by janetsanders733 3 years ago
Nazareth did exist at the time of Christ. We have the Nazareth Inscription that mentions an edict to not steal bodies from tombs, specifically sepulcher-sealing tombs. Only Jews had these kinds of tombs who were wealthy.

evidence from Nazareth in the first century, including The presence of kochim tombs with fragments from ossuaries indicates that the people living there were Jewish and that this is the relevant time period.

Second, is not a historical credible website.

Name one peer reviewed, scholarly article that says that Jesus did not exist.

Because I am telling you right now, no historian other than Richard Carrier and Robert Price, actually deny that Jesus existed.
Posted by PGA 3 years ago
Hi Project ID,

I suspect you were a Dispensationalist when you attended church.

Here is another link for you, Project ID, that gives good indication that the Book of Revelation was written before A.D. 70. It is the time statements of Revelation, in fact the whole NT, that suggest an early time frame for its writing. It is also amazing how these books of the NT tie into the whole of the OT in its themes.

Something was shortly to take place that would be catastrophic to this 1st century people that Jesus came to (John 1:11-12).

In the following link please listen to the first audio, titled 'Revelation 101 " Thematic Study':

Posted by PGA 3 years ago
Making lots of mistakes tonight. I meant to say dud instead I said dude.

Posted by PGA 3 years ago
"You may believe they were written before 70a.d but what proof do you offer for this claimed?" -Project ID

This would have been some of the reasoning I would have used if I was debating you from the Bible on objective morality. The first line of evidence is that there is no mention in the Gospels or Epistles of the Fall of Jerusalem, a pivotal point of omission that you would expect to see in at least one of the gospel accounts or epistles because of the centrality of the temple in fulfilling OT law.

There are a number of authors who have listed some of the evidences for the early writing of the NT that go into the evidence in more detail. Kenneth Gentry has written a couple of books on this subject that presents the evidence. I actually downloaded a copy of the book, The Fall of Jerusalem, but you can also view some of his reasons presented on YouTube.

Posted by PGA 3 years ago
That last link was a dude. Try this. This is not light reading but it is thorough in presenting a Christian perspective.

Posted by PGA 3 years ago
"Try to read the arguments honestly, as for your link, it still shows no evidence that Nazareth existed during the life of Jesus, hence Jesus of Nazareth." -Project ID

IOW's, it is not honest unless it coincides with what you or like-mind people believe.

Ancient historical evidence is not evaluated/judged on the same principles that modern historical evidence is. Simon Greenleaf explained his general rules for ancient evidence evaluation and modern rules of interpretation. Here are a couple of examples.

" Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise." Testimony of the Evangelists, p. 8.

"The credit due to the testimony of witnesses depends upon, firstly, their honesty; secondly, their ability;
thirdly, their number and the consistency of their testimony; fourthly, the conformity of their testimony with experience; and fifthly, the coincidence of their testimony with collateral circumstances." Ibid, p. 480 & 545.

W.R. Miller has also provided an excellent webpage on evaluating the Bible as an ancient source.

Posted by Projectid 3 years ago
You may believe they were written before 70a.d but what proof do you offer for this claimed?
Posted by PGA 3 years ago
"Nice in referencing someone who believes firmly in the Bible yet it has been demonstrably proven to be a poor source for factual history. For someone who believes that the bible is absolutely true puts into question into his so-called research. This is no different than how Answer in Genesis takes findings that agree with the bible (few I would like to add) say that the bible is correct all along and ignore the huge amount of evidence that contradicts the bible, deliberately. They even highlight in their website that they will disregard evidence if it "disagrees" with the bible and that's what Joseph M. Holden has done here, ignored the wealth of information that goes against his claim and only stuck with his own bias opinion and obscured facts." - SimpleObserver

Neither one of us is bias free and we tend to favor, even look, for information that fits our worldview. If you want to find out what a person believes then find out who influences them. Most of this carp you believe stems from 17-19th century higher criticism. In other words, you have scholars almost twenty centuries removed laying their bias on the data.

The Bible does not stand or fall on one line of evidence and a lot of these arguments are arguments from silence. Since there is no evidence of Nazareth existing other than an account that you dismiss you mark it as lack of evidence. I believe ever book of the NT was written before A.D. 70. I notice you guys put the date after this time for a lot of the books. I think the evidence speaks well for my supposition.

1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
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