The Instigator
larztheloser
Pro (for)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
TheAsylum
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

Jesus probably did not exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
TheAsylum
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/12/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,314 times Debate No: 25555
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (76)
Votes (7)

 

larztheloser

Pro

My previous debate on this topic, coupled with some forum discussions, has clearly sparked a flurry of interest, which I believe is a very good thing. My opponent has offered to have this debate with me, so here we are!

Like in my other debate on this topic, I will advance the proposition that on the balance of the evidence available to us, there is good reason to believe that the figure of Jesus of Nazareth is probably not historical. I intend to meet this burden of proof using two key contentions: first, that there is no good evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed, and second, that there is good evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is mythic. I have the burden of proof.

Also, if you don't know how to judge a debate without bringing in your own biases, beliefs or facts from outside the debate, please go away and learn to judge. Or judge not, lest ye be judged. That works too.

I'm going to define Jesus very broadly as the character talked about in the Bible. I do not contest that nobody in Nazareth had the name "Jesus" in the first century AD, but rather that the specific "Jesus" talked about in the Bible is probably a fictional character. "Existance" is pretty self-evident, but I do mean in the physical sense of the word. My opponent will be free to challenge these definitions within the context of the spirit of the motion, but if they do so they must provide an alternative definition for me to argue in favor of.

I shall begin my case in round two. Because I'm way too over-confident, I'll give my opponent the oppertunity of starting their case right away, effectively giving them an extra round. This will help me target my first contention and spare voters a lot of pointless reading, so it's for my good too. Alternatively, my opponent may choose to use this round as an acceptance round and let me start us off. No other structure will be enforced in this debate.

Thank you and good luck to my opponent. I look forward to a fun debate!
TheAsylum

Con

I would like to Thank my opponent for this wonderful debate. It is rare, that I find a debate that I love to discuss. I Love Jesus Christ and find it a blessing to discuss Him in depth.

I would like to offer up someone definitions, history and geographic knowledge before we get this debate under way. I must apologize to my opponent. I thought I would take a few day's and make a full debate in round 1 but I decided to push ahead. Under the circumstances, I felt it would be best if my opponent started his argument first. The reason for this, is, I have a large amount of history in my favor and I am interested in seeing how my opponent wishes to overcome the large amount of documented records verifying Jesus of Nazareth. Because of this I think it will be fair for us both to discuss and argue in every round.

If my opponent thinks Jesus did not live in person on earth then that issue can be tackled. There are atleast 97% of sceptical and non-sceptical scholars that do not doubt Jesus of Nazareth in the Biblical account walked the earth. If you are going to deny the life of Jesus then you will have to throw out everyone in history, because Jesus is the most documented person in antiquity.

Jesus of Nazareth is not only historical but He is also theological. I hope my opponent can meet his burden of proof. I have little doubt that I will. Let's move on and define and describe some things before we let my opponent precede.

I think we should define the word, 'probably', for debate and semantic sake's:

Probably- Is defined most commonly as: Most likely; or presumably. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

My opponent is presuming that Jesus of Nazareth never existed. I would like to offer a little piece in the history of Nazareth.

The city of Nazareth was a small and insignificant agricultural village in the time of Jesus. It had no trade routes, was of little economic importance and was never mentioned in the Old Testament or other ancient texts. Archaeological excavations indicate Nazareth was settled continuously from 900 – 600 BCE, with a break in settlement until 200 BCE, from which time it has been continuously inhabited. http://www.nazareth-israel.com.... Archaeological research has revealed that there was a funerary and cult center at Kfar HaHoresh, about two miles (3 km) from current Nazareth, dating back roughly 9000 years to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B era. http://en.wikipedia.org...

We see that the actual town called Nazareth was around long before Jesus Christ walked the earth. I will use widely known scholars and historians in this debate. Below are just a handful of the Historians and documented accounts that I will bring forth.



Gallic Wars—Julius Caesar



History—Pliny the Younger



History—Thucydides



History—Herodotus



Mara Bar-Serapion

Tallus

Lucian of Samosate

Phlegon

Cornelius Tacitus

Suetonius

Iliad—Homer

Jewish Antiquities



The Babylonian Talmud


Writings of Flavius Josephus

(Second most prevalent writings)



The New Testament

Let's remember folks that it is not my burden to prove Jesus walked on water or rose from the dead. All I must show, is that, Jesus of Nazareth of the Biblical account actually existed. I do again thank my opponent for his chance to debate such a interesting topic. I look forward to his claims. With no further ado', I send it back to my eager opponent--->

Debate Round No. 1
larztheloser

Pro

I accept my opponent's definitions. I think my case from the other debate doesn't need revising given what my opponent has said last round, so I'll just repeat it here.

No evidence he did exist

For most figures we consider historical, we have artifacts. Take Augustus. We can see his temples, buy coins he minted, read his writings carved in stone, dated to a time before his alleged death. There is strong evidence that Augustus is a historical figure. And now take Jesus. We have relics. Trouble is, zero relics have been dated to the time of Jesus, almost all have been proven fake, and there is zero evidence any of the relics were connected to Jesus other than the fact the church said so. There is only one respectable source for Jesus - literary evidence.

Not all the literary evidence supports the idea that Jesus came in the flesh. Most surviving non-canonical gospels belong to one of two schools - docetism or marconism. These both taught that Jesus was not absolutely incarnate. Others aren't very clear about it, such as the gospels of Thomas or Judas, and so don't provide evidence either way. Mark is an interesting case because it's written in a midrashic style, used for Hebrew myths and fables as opposed to histories, but I'm going to give Mark the benefit of the doubt in my investigation.

But let us look at what evidence we do have. We have four canonical gospels, and one or two non-canonical, such as the Acts of Pilate. We have a tiny number of references by other historians, although this number is of course dwarfed by those who made not one mention of Jesus, including historians who wrote books about the lives of important Bible figures, as well as every single contemporary writer. And we have a few dozen early letters.

Let's start with the easiest - the group I tentatively called the "other" historians. There are three important ones - Suetonius, Tacitus and Josephus. Others existed also, but their flaws fall into either the Suetonius, the Tacitus or the Josephus category. Suetonius mentions that followers of Christ were causing trouble (actually he says Chrestus, but let's assume he can't spell). However, that does not prove that Christ came as a physical person. Furthermore, it does not prove that this "Christ" was in fact Jesus. There were many messiahs called Christ back then, which isn't very surprising because Christ means "anointed" in ancient Greek. Tacitus mentions that Christ was executed by Pilate. However, he does not tell us how he found out this information. It cannot have been an official document, because they would have called the man "Jesus" and not "Christ" (Christianity being illegal at the time). In fact, the only people who were calling him Christ were either Christians themselves, or Romans who knew very little about Christian beliefs and hadn't done enough fact-checking to know his name was Jesus. It is more probable that Tacitus was the latter. Josephus mentions Jesus twice, but the text has almost certainly been edited by Christians, because before the 4th century, writers quoting Josephus give a very different account of the passages. In all likelihood, the original version probably had a Tacitus error, but given that we don't have access to it in full there's nothing we can say about it, therefore it is not evidence.

The letters are all not eyewitness accounts. Galatians 1 and 2 respectively make it clear that Paul and Peter, the two most proximate authors of the letters to Jesus (if the authorship of Peter is authentic, which even Christian historians doubt), were giving their testimony through divine revelation instead of meeting the guy. Most of the letters are from long after Jesus' death. But here's where it gets interesting. Every letter authored before about AD 80 (Romans, Philippians etc) only mentions Jesus in the future tense, as if Jesus will soon come and be a saviour. After the gospels, later letters (including the infamous book of Revelation that even Eusebius and Origen had serious doubts about) clarify this by explaining Jesus both has come and will be coming back. This theology is not reflected in the early letters. And to really ram the nail home - NONE of the epistles mention a HUMAN Jesus.

According to Randall Helm's book "Who Wrote the Gospels", Mark could not have been writing at closer to the third remove from Jesus, and probably the fourth. Luke and Matthew primarily copied Mark, while John was written much later. According to the Christian estimate, the gospel was written in AD 70, 40 years after Jesus' death. From a sceptical perspective this is quite ridiculous, as it is based upon nothing but the fact that tiny portions of the text are attributed to a gospel by John Mark in church accounts written around AD 95, and the church just assumes the church fathers took 25 years to notice the gospel's existence at a time when the average Judean life expectency was 29. Imagine if I was to ask five friends about Hitler (died a little less than one modern lifetime ago), put all that into a grand narrative about Hitler's life, and then have somebody else add in an ending 150 years later (where Hitler rises from the dead to make it consistant with Hollywood movies). Now imagine if, 2000 years from now, that's the BEST evidence we have for the existence of Hitler. Before now, nobody thought to write anything about this guy. It might be rational to conclude the NAZIs existed, but not Hitler. I don't know whether my five friends lied, made a mistake, or genuinely believed something that did not happen. Remember that none of the people the author of Mark asked knew Jesus. And that's presuming that Mark told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Good evidence he did not exist

I'm going to point to two bodies of evidence. Character counts limit the detail I can give to these points, but they will be expanded on in later rounds.

The first body of evidence is the apparent similarity of the Jesus story to that of pre-existing saviour narratives. Given that everything we know about historical Jesus is literally by Chinese Whispers, it seems more than plausible that it developed out of other traditions. Narrative similarity is itself strong evidence that the later narrative was written to be as the earlier one.

Examples would include:

Orphism (Dionysus)
Similar or same birth, death, trial, afterlife, epithets and symbols

Zoroastrianism (Zoroaster)
Similar or same birth, baptism, temptation, miracles and second coming

Egyptian religion (Horus)
Similar or same birth, baptism, miracles and death

This is not to say that Jesus was the same as these characters, but that the fitting of the Jesus narrative to these narrative archtypes indicates the the Jesus narrative is a traditional saviour narrative rather than a historical record.

The second body of evidence is that writings detailing Jesus' life are notoriously contradictory and counterfactual. The real world is completely consistant and factual, so these stories cannot possibly be both non-fiction and accurate. We have very early copies of the stories available to us in the latest Bibles, and they're pretty accurate (not entirely, but probably better than most historical texts). This shows that the stories are almost certainly not factual narratives. Some examples of contradictions:

Matthew 1:17 and Matthew 1:2 - is it 41 or 42 generations?
2 Timothy 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 7:12 - one says all scripture is of God, the other that some was written by the author (apparently Paul) and is not of God.
Acts 20:35 - references a passage that does not exist
Luke 4:29 - Nazareth is not on a mountain but in a depression
Matthew 14 - John the Baptist was beheaded 5 years later according to Roman records
Luke 2:1 - The census actually took place a decade after Herod's death
Judas' ending - contradicts Gethsemene story
Thomas 42 and Luke 10:25-37 - conflicting advice of Jesus
TheAsylum

Con

I would again like to Thank my opponent for this debate.


I ask, How do we know that my opponents whole argument is just not a whim of his own imagination? He offers not one reputable source or reference at all. Well, let's take a look at his argument.

Rebuttal


My opponent commented that most historical figures leave artifacts of themselves. These artifacts he mentions are mostly of famous ruling class, in fact, kings, caesars and emperors. Was Jesus either of these? Jesus was virtually unknown for thirty years of His life and only in the last three years of His life was He a public figure.

My opponent also brings up gospel's of Thomas, Judas and the acts of Pilate. None of these are canon in any way. There would be a number of reasons why these writings would contradict actual canon scripture. This does not help my opponents case. This in fact help's my case because most of these record's note a man named Jesus of Biblical record. Giving creditability that He actually existed. The following link take's you to the act's of Pilate.-->

http://www.gnosis.org...

Then my opponent say's there are just a few recording's of the Biblical Jesus. Well, Jesus did live in Judea. Judea was just a small providence. This would be like us not knowing and hearing about some tribesman king or ruler in the bush of Africa or Australia. Chances are we would not hear much about him. Jesus in fact flies in the face of that though. As we know, Jesus is known world-wide to this very day.

Q: Matthew 1:17 and Matthew 1:2 - is it 41 or 42 generations?

Well, Matthew never made the statement that there were a total of 42 generations. My opponent, mistakenly missed that David was listed twice in the account in Mat. 1:17.

Q: 2 Timothy 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 7:12 - one says all scripture is of God, the other that some was written by the author (apparently Paul) and is not of God.

My opponent should explain his interpretation here. In no way does scripture suggest this.

Q: Acts 20:35 - references a passage that does not exist

Again, my opponent is making his own interpretations that He should explain.

Q: Luke 4:29 - Nazareth is not on a mountain but in a depression

There are two mentions of acient Nazareth. The canonical texts and the noncanonical texts. Are we suppose to take the noncanon over the actual canon? The Nazareth Range, in which the town lies, is east-west hill ranges that are elevated.

Q: Matthew 14 - John the Baptist was beheaded 5 years later according to Roman records

My opponent really should supply these records. If not then this means nothing.

Q: Luke 2:1 - The census actually took place a decade after Herod's death

My opponent must show that there could have never been a census before the one He mentions.

Q: Judas' ending - contradicts Gethsemene story

My opponent again provides no sources here, He should elaberate. This also, is suggesting that we should take the Gethsemene story over canon scriptures.

Q: Thomas 42 and Luke 10:25-37 - conflicting advice of Jesus

We have already determined that the book of Thomas is not canon scripture and is not comparable to actual canon scripture.

My opponent then offers us other characters that have similar stories as the Biblical Jesus but this in no way prove's Jesus never existed. Is my opponent going to suggest that all these people never existed also?

Argument

I will offer in this round, as many recording's of the Biblical Jesus of Nazareth as room permit's. I, different that my opponent will go by historians from during or just after Jesus's time. We know about the Biblical account, well, let's look at other accounts.

" About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease."

(Josephus ben Mattathias)Antiquities, XVIII, 33 http://www.josephus.org...

"And so he convened the judges of the Sanhedrin, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, the one called Christ, whose name was James, and certain others, and accusing them of having transgressed the law delivered them up to be stoned. "

(Jewish Antiquities 20:29- Flavius Josephus) http://www.sacred-texts.com...

Cornelius Tacitus

(AD55-120) Roman historian: Most acclaimed works are the Annals and the Histories. See Annals XV,44: "Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius."

http://classics.mit.edu...

Suetonius

: Roman historian and court official wrote in his Life of Claudius: "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome." (Life of Claudius 25.4).

http://penelope.uchicago.edu...*.html

Pliny the Younger

: Recounts that he had been killing Christian men, women, and children. He is concerned that so many have chosen death over simply bowing down to a statue of the emperor or being made to "curse Christ, which a genuine Christian cannot be induced to do." (Epistles X, 96)

http://www.ancient-literature.com...

Julius Africanus, who wrote around AD221. He quotes Tallus' comments about the darkness that enveloped the land during the late afternoon hours when Jesus died on the cross. Julius wrote: Tallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun'unreasonably, as it seems to me (unreasonably of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was at the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died." Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18.1

http://mb-soft.com...

The Babylonian Talmud

:"It has been taught: On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu. And an announcer went out, in front of him, for 40 days (saying): 'He is going to be stoned, because he practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead in his behalf.' But, not having found anything in his favor, they hanged him on the eve of Passover."

http://www.sacred-texts.com... ("Hanged" is another way of referring to a crucifixion.),"Yeshu the Nazarene."

Let's remind readers that a few names are used for Jesus Christ of Nazareth from the Bible. They spread many cultures and tongues. We have the Hebrew, "Yehoshua", in Aramaic, "Yeshu", in Greek and Roman, "Chrestus or Christus". http://de.wikipedia.org... http://www.tektonics.org... http://en.wikipedia.org... http://en.wikipedia.org...

Conclusion

My opponent never gave us one reference. I provided many. I will offer this before I turn it back. The scriptures have been scrutinized for over two thousand years with minimal if any errors found. They remain some of the most well documented recording's in history. If my opponent's case be true, then He must show how canon scripture are with the hugh error's he claims, when not even Historians can claim this. I have alot of argument left that I just could not fit in this round. So, I await till next round. I turn back over to Pro.

Debate Round No. 2
larztheloser

Pro

You will recall that I have two arguments - no evidence for Jesus, lots of evidence against. In this round I will review these two points in light of my opponent's contentions.

Evidence against

My opponent does not rebut the first argument against, except for a general lack of external sources. Here are three web links:

Orphic Dionysus: http://www.the-goldenrule.name...
Zoroaster: http://en.wikipedia.org...
Horus: http://www.religioustolerance.org... and http://www.religioustolerance.org...

The best evidence comes from books and journal papers by academics, but seeing as my opponent didn't think those were proper sources last round and thus didn't count them in my case I'll just be done with these. The only other thing he says is that this is not proof. I agree, it is evidence, not proof. He also asks whether I suggest that none of these existed. You tell me - do you believe in Horus or Dionysus?

On my second argument, my opponent gives a brief refutation of each of my contradictions:

Matthew 1:17 and Matthew 1:2
He says I'm skipping a generation. If that were the case, then 1) Matthew has made a grammatical error, and 2) Matthew 1:17 must list one generation too few, because the same structure applied to David is also applied to exile from Babylon. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...

2 Timothy 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 7:12
This is not interpretation. Corinthians is a part of the scripture. It STATES it is not of God. Timothy STATES all scripture is of God. You cannot get more clear-cut than this. Look up the two verses for yourself.

Acts 20:35
Again this is not interpretation. The NIV Bible translates it thus: "the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’". Jesus simply does not say this anywhere in the Bible.

Luke 4:29
First he rejects that Luke is canon. That's very unorthodox, but it does not disprove the evidence. Then he says it's in the Nazareth range. Note that Luke does not say "amidst mountains", he says Nazareth was on a mountain. The Hebrew is unambiguous as to the meaning of "on" - the antonym is "under".

Matthew 14
He says I should provide the records. Since my opponent apparently has a copy of Josephus' history, he should simply read that.

Luke 2:1
My opponent asks to prove the census as stated was impossible. Simple - Quirinus was not in charge at the time of Herod. There was a census, but it was later.

Judas' ending
Interestingly my opponent accepts the ending of the Gospel of Judas but rejects the canonical Gethsemane narrative. Unfortunately I cannot give a web link as the text is under copyright. You can buy a copy of the gospel at any good bookstore for a nominal fee (or you can look for it on Google Books). Highly recommended read.

Thomas 42 and Luke 10:25-37
My opponent adknowleges the contradiction and is absolutely sure one work is lying, but not the other. If one work is lying, how can he be so sure both works are not lying?

Evidence For

My opponent begins by admitting we have nothing but literary evidence for Jesus. He further agrees that non-canonical gospels are works of fiction. Therefore, these all provide evidence of a fictitious Jesus, since they are fiction and they state Jesus was real. His assertion that these provide evidence for his case, despite being works of fiction, is unsubstantiated. He further agrees that the literary evidence for Jesus is extremely sparse. I agree with my opponent's assertion that the story of Jesus flies in the face of what we would expect of the spread of the narrative of a real person, although this only confirms that the narrative does not fit the archtype of a true biography. So it's good that we have so much agreement in the debate.

Now let's look at the evidence my opponent ignored. He ignored my discrediting of the gospels. I thought my Hitler analogy was pretty awesome. He ignored my discrediting of the Bible letters. And he ignored what I had to say about Josephus, Suetonius and Tacitus. So that he appears to have more references than me, he cites online copies of the latter with a web link - one of which is a digital transcription of a translation from the 1800s! He added Julius Africanus, who he admits wrote almost two centuries after Jesus' alleged death. He also quotes Pliny the Younger, who commits a very obvious Tacitus error for the same reasons as Tacitus himself did. And he also cites the Talmud. If you do a search on his source, you will note that he has obviously mis-quoted the Talmud, because the words he has put there do not appear on the page he uses as his source. So, assuming my arguments are correct because my opponent did not refute them, there remains no good evidence for Jesus.

But what about my apparent lack of sources? First, note that my opponent has zero sources for the Bible. I provided several Bible verses where relevant. My opponent just assumed that the Bible says Jesus came in the flesh and did not provide evidence. Here's my sources, aside from a bit of logic and one or two facts my opponent has already himself conceeded:

Mark being midrashic - http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com...
Christ meaning anointed - http://en.wikipedia.org...
Josephus being edited - http://www.godlessgeeks.com...
Most of the letters being from long after Jesus' death - http://www.friktech.com... (note: pro-Christian estimates - benefit of the doubt)
Mark composition date: http://en.wikipedia.org... (aim is obviously to be neutral, but sceptical criticism of this date is my own)
Judean life expectancy: http://followingjesus.org... (note: pro-Christian estimate - benefit of the doubt)

Where I have already revealed my sources in the last round, such as that none of the epistles talk about a human Jesus (you can read the epistles for yourself to find that out, I have many times over), I have not repeated them here.

With so much of my case against being simply ignored, my opponent has done little more than spend over half his characters quoting the ancient texts, without actually engaging with my material. Until my opponent actually attacks my case, it stands and therefore I have met my burden of proof.

The resolution is affirmed.
TheAsylum

Con

I again, send Thanks to my opponent for this debate.

Rebuttal:

My opponent said, I did not rebuttal his first argument but only against lack of sources. Well under the circumstances, since we are debating, I thought it would be proper if He did give sources. He basically tried to subtle readers with His own story telling as long as He could convince them ahead of giving resources that made it justified.

He then gives us claims of people like, Dionysus, Zoroaster and Horus. What does the claims of these people offer to discredit that a man named Jesus Christ of Nazareth from the Bible ever walked this earth? None. These people at best discredit's that Jesus was a God, not a man. Should we think that Jesus, Zoroaster, Horus and Dionysus were not all actual people, that were just given elaberate stories around thier lives? Most likely they were actual people, instead of created figments. We can be confident that Zoroaster was, http://en.wikipedia.org....

My opponent then goes about discrediting the Bible itself. He must do this, because the Bible gives the best documentation of Jesus Christ. Let's notice, as I go over my opponents attempt at discrediting the Bible, the weakness of his claims on top of the fact that they are false.

Q: Matthew 1:17 and Matthew 1:2

"He says I'm skipping a generation." No, I said you are adding a generation.

Matthew 1:17

"So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon to Christ are fourteen generations."

We can see here that David is added twice, making it 42. When all are written from Mat. 1:2-16, we see David added once which counts the total at 41.

Q: 2 Timothy 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 7:12

"I say, not the Lord." Paul had restated the direct teaching of the Lord Jesus concerning divorce, but Jesus had not given any instructions about mixed marriages. Paul was going to provide it under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Q: Acts 20:35

"and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus;"

The apostle had collected a sense of some passages of Jesus and/or had been a saying of Jesus. Passages such as:

Luke 12:15

Ephesians 4:28

Ephesians 4:28


Q: Luke 4:29

"First he rejects that Luke is canon." Lol, I never stated this. The city of Nazareth is nestled in the hills of the Lower Galilee. I provided evidence of such.

Q: Matthew 14

"He says I should provide the records. Since my opponent apparently has a copy of Josephus' history, he should simply read that." My opponent makes a claim then expects the reader and I to find the literature ourselves? That is highly irregular and completely fallious in a debate.


Q: Luke 2:1

My opponent does not know nor can He prove that Quirinus was not governor twice. Once before the famous census He refers and after. Not even historians can prove that.

Q: Judas' ending

My opponent again fails to provide His example and expects the reader and myself to look up evidence that He should provide. This is dropped by concession.


Q: Thomas 42 and Luke 10:25-37

I never stated either work is lying. I said, that one was canon and one was not. To be mistaken is not to lie. Thomas could be mistaken and that would make sense why it is not canon.

S: Mark being midrashic:

Most Jewish sources read the book of Mark as midrash. This does not mean the literary work of Mark is solely a midrash interpretation. According to early Church tradition, c. 140 C.E., the author of the text is ascribed to be Mark the traveling companion of Paul, the apostle of Christ, and the interpreter of Peter.(Kealy, Sean. Mark’s Gospel: A History of Its Interpretation.)

S: Christ meaning anointed:

Christ does mean anointed one or Messiah. My opponent, as I, have shown that the Christ wrote about, is Jewish and the Biblical Jesus Christ. Though others could have this title, none offer a Jewish heritage or a Biblical recording.

S: Josephus being edited:

Considering Josephus is Jewish and his writings are sacred for Jewish historians, it seem's hard to believe they would allow Christian's to touch His works, much less edited them. Jewish people do not reconize Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Furthermore the recordings of Josephus do not reconize Jesus as the Messiah at all. My opponent has not shown without a doubt that these writings have been edited by Christians. He furthermore is tarnishing Jewish historians by suggesting they would edit thier history for Jesus Christ and Christians.

S: Most of the letters being from long after Jesus' death:

A minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 50. Revelation makes some prophetic references to the Fall of Jerusalem, which occurred in 70AD. The other disciples were dead before 70 AD, they had to have written their "books", about 40 years after Jesus died.

S: Mark composition date:

Most scholars date the gospel between 65-70 C.E.(Kealy, Sean. Mark’s Gospel: A History of Its Interpretation.)

S: Judean life expectancy:

There many things that comes into play in life expectancy. The average has no weight in individual's.

My oponent states, "He further agrees that non-canonical gospels are works of fiction." I never stated this, and my opponent seem's to either make claims on his own or is just dishonest.

Clarification of this debate:

My opponent must fully overcome the 2000+ years of documentation by historians to prove his case in which he hasn't. Jesus is mentioned by historians far more than any other religious figure in history. 96% of historians agree that Jesus Christ of Nazareth did walk this earth either by man or God, my opponent must dispose of atleast half of them and their records to even attempt to be justified in his claims. My opponent should circulate a petition against most the historians in history that his claims and stories provide more evidence than theirs.

P1) Validality of the Bible:

The quality of the Old Testament is excellent, that of the New Testament is very good also. Both are considerably better than in other acient document. With the countless verifiable evidence that show Biblical claims are true, it would be foolish to think that the man named Jesus Christ of Nazareth was not real at all. There is no readings or variant that are significant enough to call into question any of the New Testament documents. The New Testament is considered 99.5% pure. The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls dating back to 200 B.C. for the Old Testament, to 68 A.D. for the New Testament, drastically reduces the time span in which the New Testamant was written. This gives the best evidence in itself that Jesus Christ did walk this earth. The time span of the New Testament remains exceptional. To summarize this, the Old and New Testament are far greater in terms of quanity, quality, and time frame than any other acient document. I offer a video of the Bible's history.---->

Affirmation:

To summarize my opponent's case is like expecting us to pull into a gas station to get gas and wanting us to wash our entire car with the window washer, it is ridiculous. Then He gives me slack about my sources, which Btw were completely valid, is like someone who is big into worrying about the threat of global warming and rejecting their own carbon dioxide and body heat contribution to the planet. His sources and conduct have been just the same if not more harmful. My opponent has failed to provide reason to reject recorded history. He has failed to give reason to reject Biblical history. He has failed to show any errors of scripture. He has done nothing but try to convince us with flash and elaberate stories, I hope that did not work on the reader. His argument has some rather blatant errors.

I thank my oppponent and send it back his way.

http://bible.org...

http://www.seeking4truth.com... http://www.seeking4truth.com...

Debate Round No. 3
larztheloser

Pro

It's funny my opponent says I'm the one trying to convince you with flash and elaborate stories, because I think the Bible is a much better candidate for that description.

Evidence Against

My opponent says that all the mythical people I talked about were real. Let us first consider this from the perspective of a gospel writer. They have every intention in the world to portray the other Gods as fake, false idols. If we assume Jesus was real, it makes no sense to go to great lengths to write about Jesus and his life in a similar style to all of the other histories of what they considered false idols. If I was to tell you a story about a guy who was hit by a meteor and gained super-powers, you would immediately associate that with the narrative archtype of the comic book superhero. This plot element is evidence that I am borrowing those narrative conventions. Now it may still be true that somebody really was hit by a meteorite and gained super-powers, but the fact that this is a common narrative convention for a particular type of character makes it more probable that my character fits that type. The same is true of Jesus. I should also note that my opponent's Zoroaster source makes no claims as to whether Zoroaster was fictional or not.

Now let us examine my evidence that accounts of Jesus are inconsistant, while reality is not.

First the Matthew passages. Whether a generation is added or skipped, the number is still wrong. If David is only added once the same must be done to the generation from Babylon, and that makes the numbers wrong again. While I'm at it, with the other Matthew passage, if you can point me to a out-of-copyright edition of the Josephus text then I can point you to the exact passage. However, just because a source is not a web link, too new to be legally put on the internet, does not make it invalid or conceeded.

Secondly with Timothy and Corinthians, the Lord cannot both be saying all scripture and not saying that part of the scripture. Explaining the one passage does not refute the contradiction with the other.

With the Acts passage, the author clearly did not mean to indicate sense because he wrote it as a direct quote. Therefore, he is quoting something Jesus did not say.

Fourth, the Luke passages. There is no mountain in Nazareth, end of story. There are mountains AROUND Nazareth, but not within the bounds of the city - not now, and not in ancient times. Any map should provide sufficient evidence of this, or even a photo of Nazareth. The other question was how we know Quirinus was not governor twice. This is not possible because the post of governor was already taken by Saturninus and Varus. Furthermore, prior to AD7, Judea was not part of the Roman province of Syria and under the King's administration, rather than a Roman official. This is why Herod had any power at all. (http://www.positiveatheism.org...)

The Judas text has not been conceeded by me but my opponent. He simply does not believe the original text because he has never read it, which is not my problem. The Judas gospel is too new a discovery to have lapsed copyright on the translation, but that doesn't mean the evidence is useless.

Finally the Thomas text has been conceeded by my opponent. Regardless of the reason for the contradiction (that one author is mistaken) that doesn't affect my argument at all. My opponent has no response to my argument that if one author can be mistaken, so too can both authors be mistaken.

Evidence For

First let us examine the gospel passages, focusing on Mark because he's likely to be the most reliable. The idea of Mark being a travelling companion of Peter I have already dealt with as necessarily false - and even if there was a Mark that was a travelling companion, it cannot have possibly been that same Mark who wrote the gospel, because the gospel originated in Syria. I also provided a well-respected book, probably the most widely published book about the historiography of the gospels in modern times, where you can read close to 200 pages of proof on the matter, but for my purposes it suffices to say that there is zero evidence backing up the claim. If we agree 70 as a composition date for Mark, then that makes Mark 40 years after Jesus' death, or more than one average lifetime. It's like us writing today, for the first time, that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Those who remember it in any detail, even today are considered old. Back then, they would have been near-impossible to find.

I agree completely with my opponent's evidence that the New Testament and Old Testament has been reasonably well preserved. This does not provide evidence that the stories contained therein are true.

Moving on to Suetonius. My opponent has by now conceeded most of my objections, except to claim that while I'm right about Christ meaning anointed, none of the other Christs had a Jewish heritage or a Biblical recording. On the Jewish heritage, this is false - Simon of Peraea lived at the same time and in the same place as Jesus, rose again after three days, and was also called the Christ (http://en.wikipedia.org...). On a Biblical recording, how many people do you think early Christians would have wanted to be called "anointed" in their holy book? It seems entirely unsurprising that a Christian book would be exclusively on Christian subjects, with others only having an incidental role. This is in fact what the Bible does.

For Josephus, my opponent says Jews did not allow Christians to touch their works. Considering that they were ruled by Christians for many centuries, and that most of the world's important libraries (such as Alexandria) were under the control of Christians, it isn't very improbable. If he believes the text has never been under the purview of Christians, perhaps he could explain how the earliest copy of the Antiquities we have dates to an 11th-century Christian monastery? This is no tarnishing of Josephus - if anyone has tarnished it on my account, it was Christians willing to use the authority of the brilliant scholar to back up their own fiction.

He has changed his mind and said the non-canonical works are true. However in the same round he said the non-canonical gospels made mistakes. A text cannot be both mistaken and accurate.

Note that my opponent has dropped a variety of sources in this round, notably Tacitus and the letter writers. Remember that extra arguments he uses in the last round are not fair as I cannot respond to them, and for the same reason so is bringing up these sources again.

Conclusion

Sources is about more than just providing more links than your opponent. I have given evidence from scholarly papers and research you can't even access on the internet, having gone to extraordinary lengths to find accurate information about everything I have written, but for this extra research my opponent says my sources are no good. I have taken my opponent's arguments respectfully and, excepting right now and in round one, never addressed him personally, so I don't see his claim of poor conduct on my part, and wish that he clarifies this that I may apologise.

In this debate I do not need to refute every single pro-Jesus historian ever. I simply need to show that on the balance of the evidence I and my opponent present to you (as opposed to all the evidence that exists) there is more good reason to conclude Jesus is not real than that Jesus is real. This is not a popularity contest of ideas, nor a chance to voice scholars opinions - this is a formal debate. I began this debate with two contentions - that there was no evidence for, and that there was evidence against. My opponent has tried to show you several sources mentioning Jesus, but all of them have failed a simple reliability test. My evidence against has been the main point of contention. If even one of my contradictions, or one of my parrells stands, that is some evidence for me against none for my opponent. The motion stands.
TheAsylum

Con

Thank's for the debate, Larz!


Last retort:


My opponent claims that the Bible is a candidate for flash and elaberate stories. This considering that the Bible is the most well preserved document in history and has endless archeaological evidence.


My opponent brings elements that Biblical writers are dishonest. I think, I shown shown that my opponent himself puts words out there that just was not said, this right here show's my opponents case can not be trusted. My opponent claims Zoroaster was fictional. Zoroaster was born in eastern Iran and lived from about 660 BCE to 583 BCE by most resources. My opponent then still goes on about Matthew being incorrect about the number of generations. It is not Matthew's fault if my opponent can not read nor add properly when it is clearly shown that David was added twice and Matthew never stated 42 generations, that is a addition by my opponent. In Timothy and the Corinthians claim, I offer you this: If I go around saying things and people hearing me write it down, then later on a friend of my companions write something that it is known I said, is that making things up I did not say. No, it would still in fact be my words. Then my opponent tries give indication what Biblical authors meant in Acts. Well my opponent's judgement is faulty at best and that is not what we are looking for, we are looking for correct interpretation. My opponent then further claims that there is no mountain in Nazareth, well no there is not, Nazareth sit's on a mountain, again in round two I provided varification for this. Then my opponent suggest that it impossible for Quirinus to not be governor twice, Lol, any respectable historian would not make any claims of the such because that is very well what it is, a claim. Then my opponent claims that scripture is false and then want's us to accept non-canonical scripture as fact. My opponent then suggest that Mark was to old to recount Jesus Christ to give us a accurate portraile in the gospels. That is just nonsense to think older men could not remember what they have seen, then or today.


Debate Summary:


Let's summarize this debate in short. I have stated that, Jesus was virtually unknown for thirty years of His life and only in the last three years of His life was He a public figure. This fact is just one of many reasons why Jesus Christ would have little records outside the Bible. Another reason I mentioned, is that Jesus lived in Judea a small providence outside the major landscape of the world. My opponent brought up non-canonical scripture that in fact helped my case because these record's also noted a man named Jesus Christ of the Bible. We know, Jesus is known throughout the world to this very day, which shows that either the world has love for fantasy instead of real life or Jesus Christ actually existed. Scriptures have minimal errors. They remain some of the most well documented recording's in history and my opponent concedes this fact.


We have shown numerous acient historians as recording Jesus Christ as follows:


(Josephus ben Mattathias)Antiquities, XVIII, 33 (Jewish Antiquities 20:29)- He says Josephus's account was edited by Christians despite modern day historians and scholars having the surving original copies.


Cornelius Tacitus, (AD55-120) Roman historian- Tacitus is a renowned historian by not only Roman's but most of the world. He is not even the shadow of the character my opponent paints nor is his accounts.


Suetonius: Roman historian and court official- Suetonius places Christians in the Roman capital less than 20 years after Jesus Christ. He reports that they were suffering for their faith and dying for their conviction that Jesus had really lived. He also reported that they made numerous disturbances.


Pliny the Younger was the governor of Bithynia (AD 112) and a Roman senator- Pliny refers that Jesus Christ was worshipped as God. That Christians met on a fixed day of the week. They sang songs to Christ and committed Holy behavior.


Julius Africanus- around AD221- wrote that an eclipse happened in the same time period as Jesus's death and records that fact.


The Babylonian Talmud- The Talmud simply recorded what the Jews were merely accounting towards Christian's and Jesus Christ. My opponent never offered any reason why the Talmud would record a made up account.


We established that Jesus Christ had a few names. In Hebrew, "Yehoshua", in Aramaic, "Yeshu", in Greek and Roman, "Chrestus or Christus".


Voting:



Who had better conduct? I feel we both had fairly good conduct. I think this is a even vote here but that is always up for the voters discretion.



Who had better spelling and grammar? I know I had a couple of spelling errors. This could go evenly but I can understand if my opponent takes this vote.



Who made more convincing arguments? Since my opponent really had all the BOP and I have poked many wholes in his case, then this should be awarded to Con. Pro failed to make any sure fire points against The Bible or historians(weither Jewish, Greek, Christian or any variant).


Resolution is not affirmed!!!


Vote Con!

Debate Round No. 4
76 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by larztheloser 3 years ago
larztheloser
No facts are indisputable. You can always have a friendly debate.
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
"In the entire first christian Century, jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references!"

---- Dr Bart Erhman Professor of Religious Studies University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill :)

Please provide ONE single person, along with their authentic writing, that can prove the simple living-human, historical existence of the new testament jesus the christ of nazareth, that meets 2 simple requirements listed below:

A.) A contemporary 1st century person that lived between the years of 1-36 AD, who was a first-hand eye-witness, who actually saw, met, spoke to, and knew jesus personally.

B.) Provide this person"s authentic: secular, unbiased, non-bible, non-gospel, and non-scripture writing about jesus (with references/citations), dated between the years of 1-53 AD. Additional writings that can"t be used: didache, apocrypha, gnostic, catechism, and pseudepigrapha.

The jesus birther movement on Facebook is issuing this challenge for the 3rd year now :)

The preceding challenge is brought to you by our faithful sponsors, CHECK and MATE :)
Posted by MattHarrison 3 years ago
MattHarrison
You know Jesus Christ existed right? This is indisputable fact.
Posted by devient.genie 3 years ago
devient.genie
IntellectualHonesty 1:38--The truth is, its always been a war for intellectual honesty against religion. Science is just an extremely effective expression of intellectual honesty. Math is another expression of honesty. Expressing and advocating intellectual honesty includes understandings vs beliefs. We dont believe water is 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, we understand it is. 2 +2 = 4, you understand that, your beliefs wont change that fact. Rotation, revolution and evolution are like simple math problems, they are understandings, and denying them wont make your god anymore real :)
Posted by ockcatdaddy 4 years ago
ockcatdaddy
there are actual documents stating that juesus christ or jesus christo did in fact exist
Posted by 100_percent_Syd 4 years ago
100_percent_Syd
Almost all religions, including atheism and agnostics, acknolage that Jesus existed, whether they believe he was the messiah or not. This debate is pointless because there is so much evidence Jesus existed you can't deny he lived. Whether you believe he is the savior or the son of God is worth being debated, but I firmly believe he is the Christ.
Posted by david12 4 years ago
david12
"The scriptures have been scrutinized for over two thousand years with minimal if any errors found."
I am wondering if exaggeration is included in your assessment of the scrutinization of scripture. Many famous stories in the Bible, mainly the Old Testament, are fabricated and exaggerated. For example,

"The Bible says that King Solomon had 'A hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone' (1 Chron. 22:14)
The NIV Bible says that a hundred thousand talents of gold is equal to 7.5 million lbs.
The U.S. federal gold depository at Fort Knox holds only 19% more than that, or 9.2 million lbs.
It's difficult for anyone today to believe that ancient kings, ruling over relatively parched and moderately populated lands like ancient Palestine, lacking modern methods and machines for gold mining and refining, could have accumulated 81% of what currently lies at Fort Knox. Likely, the author of 1st Chronicles was inflating the wealth of King David and King Solomon just as he inflated the numerical sizes of their armies" -- http://etb-biblical-errancy.blogspot.com...
So, if exaggerations like the one described above happen in multiple stories of the Old Testament, how are we able to interpret the truth from the exaggeration in a literal sense? But that's an entirely different debate.....
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
I have to admit, I've been quite disappointed so far with the quality of the RFDs on the votes. None so far have made any attempt at reconciling their decision with the engagement that went on, beyond the mere arguments that we raised. Only one vote has not committed the error of discounting arguments simply because of what the argument was, without regard for any specific objections the other debater raised, and that vote was ambiguous on the subject. Only baggins has made any attempt at all to try to convince me that I've won/lost.
Posted by GODisreal 4 years ago
GODisreal
You guys know the asylum is no longer on ddo?
Posted by Erlend 4 years ago
Erlend
"This debate was about whether Jesus existed physically. Not spiritually. Not as a concept. Not as a friendly ghost. But as a physical being. Docetism rejected that."

Well we can end this conversation here then. But I am pleased that we have established some facts. That they believed Jesus, walked, talked, did the events that are recorded in the Bible. He wasn't a concept, or a ghost. He was a firm character they held had a different constitution from other humans. They would expect him to be talked about, believed in and referenced by later historians- as Jesus was. Docetism has little to no relevance to your debate. They would argue exactly as Asylum has been arguing, only they would have a caveat or footnote on their beliefs on his flesh. That's it. I understand why it is confusing at first; but you will understand why this odd belief never took off.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Chicken 4 years ago
Chicken
larztheloserTheAsylumTied
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Reasons for voting decision: the asylum is gone :(
Vote Placed by medic0506 4 years ago
medic0506
larztheloserTheAsylumTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had BoP but wasn't able to convince me that Jesus prolly didn't exist. Con provided historical evidence that poked holes in Pro's case, much of which revolves around the assumption that absence of evidence equals evidence of absence. Pro also depended on his interpretation of the Bible to make a good portion of his case, which Con refuted effectively enough to win the arguments.
Vote Placed by Billdekel 4 years ago
Billdekel
larztheloserTheAsylumTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro used argument from silence and that argument that from Zeitgeist, however this is unsourced and has been proven wrong.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
larztheloserTheAsylumTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering askbob's troll account.
Vote Placed by badbob 4 years ago
badbob
larztheloserTheAsylumTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This was an uphill battle for pro to begin with. Clearly, there is evidence which con showed, thus he wins.
Vote Placed by MouthWash 4 years ago
MouthWash
larztheloserTheAsylumTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This wasn't a debate, this was pure murder. Con ignored crucial points of Pro's case, conceded others (such as the editing of Josephus), and used multiple strawmen, for which he loses conduct as well. S&G and sources are obvious.
Vote Placed by baggins 4 years ago
baggins
larztheloserTheAsylumTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments...