The Instigator
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro (for)
Losing
54 Points
The Contender
bored
Con (against)
Winning
56 Points

Jesus the Christ is Probaby the Result of Creative Writing.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 21 votes the winner is...
bored
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/11/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,380 times Debate No: 7806
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (72)
Votes (21)

 

JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

The proposition on offer is that Jesus the Christ is probably the result of creative writing. By way of clarification, the proposition is NOT that Jesus the Nazarene did not exist, but rather that the writers of the New Testament exaggerated the life of Jesus the Nazarene, added components of mythology, and used pieces of the Old Testament to piece together a picture of Jesus that was in line with their personal preferences.

There are several notions that support this claim:

1) Jesus never wrote anything.

Jesus did not write anything during his lifetime. Presumably Jesus was a decently intelligent and literate man. The reason I assert this is that he worked as a carpenter, requiring proficiency in measuring and some rudimentary math, as well as design. Also, he reads from scrolls in the temple, indicating he could read. This just causes one to ask the question, "Why didn't Jesus WRITE anything?" Did God send a son who could read and not write?

2) Jesus' immediate followers never wrote anything.

None of the Twelve wrote anything down. One of them was almost certainly literate, as he was a former tax collector (Matthew, I believe). It is HIGHLY suspicious to me that none of the Twelve wrote anything about Jesus' life. The non-cannonical Gospels attributed to the Twelve are all collections of their teachings after the Commission of the Twelve. So I ask again, why did none of the people intimately involved in Jesus' life write ANYTHING???

3) Contemporary writers do not mention Jesus the Christ.

Philo, who lived from 20 BCE to about 50 CE, wrote specifically about Jewish politics and the conflict between Pilate/Romans and Jews in Judea. He makes no mention at all of Jesus the Christ. He does reference the mocking of a "Jewish King" in 39 CE.

4) Common themes to Jesus' life are in Middle-Eastern mythology.

* Religions of the Middle East have long identified gods with celestial signs.
* These religions believed in hell being a dark place under the earth, and that divine grace was how one stayed out of hell.
* Gods in these religions are easily angered.
* Many of these religions have a savior of sorts or other central figure.
-- Tammuz, for example was a Sumarian shepherd-god who is held to have died and later risen from the dead.
* The life of Jesus bears some resemblance to Egyptian gods like Horus, and even Grecco-Roman gods like Dionysus.

(http://en.wikipedia.org...)
(http://en.wikipedia.org...)
(http://en.wikipedia.org...(deity))

5) Many details of Jesus' life are found in the Old Testament.

As the title of this section suggests, many portions of Jesus' life are found in the OT, and not just in the prophetic books. Some examples:

Zec. 9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

Isaiah 53 gives a rough outline of the theme of Jesus' life.

Isa 50:6b - "I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting."
Psa 22:1 - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Psa 22:8 - "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."
Psa 22:16b - "they have pierced my hands and my feet."
Psa 22:18 - "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."
Psa 69: "They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."
Amo 8:8a - "Will not the land tremble for this"
Amo 8:9 - "In that day," declares the Sovereign LORD, "I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
Eze 37:12b-13 - "O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them."

Birth of Jesus - Isa 7:14 & 9:6
Birth in Bethlehem - Mic 5:2
Egypt - Hos 11:1
Return to Nazareth - Jud 13:5
John the Baptist - Isa 14:30 & 2 Kin 2:8 & Mal 3
Temptation of Jesus - Psa 91:11-12, Deu 6:13 & Deu 6:16
Preaching in Galilee - Isa 9:1
Heals the Sick - Isa 53
Sermon on the Mount - Exo 19
Calming the Storm - Psa 107:28-29
More Healing - Isa 35:5-6
Commissioning of the 12 - Jos 4:1-2 & Mic 7:6
Transfiguration - Exo 34:29, Dan 12:2-4, Isa 40:3
Jesus Predicts His Death: Jonah 1:17, Psa 22
Entry into Jeresulam: Zec 9:9 & Psa 118:26
Fig Tree - Hos 9
Jesus Clears the temple - Zec 14:21, Neh 13:4-9, & Hos 9:15
Judas' Betrayal - Amo 2
Last Supper - Psa 41:9
Cup of suffering - Zec 12:2 & Psa 16:5
Crucifixion - Isa 53, Psa 22, Psa 69, Amo 2, Amo 8
Death - Eze 37, Isa 53, Psa 22, Psa 69
Resurrection - Isa 26:19, Eze 37, Dan 12:2-4

6) As if that wasn't enough, other details are based on mistranslation of Hebrew, obviously written to correlate with OT texts, or are simply fiction.

Isa 7:14 in Hebrew reads: "Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

It is usually translated as "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," or some other virgin-laden text.

The Star of Bethlehem is only "historically" recorded in the gospel of Matthew. Yet it appears in one other place - Numbers 24. No significant celestial events are recorded by Jesus' contemporaries - the star was inserted in the gospels to fit nicely with the prophecy in Numbers.

Luke 2 describes a census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Yet we know from the writings of Josephus and other contemporaries that Herod died before Quirinuius took the census in question... in 6 CE, 6 years AFTER Jesus' supposed birth date. The event is fiction, intended to show the relationship between Joseph and David, who was supposedly from Bethlehem - the census ordered people to return to the place of their ancestors... but there are a LOT of generations between Joseph and David... did they ALL live in Bethlehem?

The gospels describe a massacre of children by Herod (Mat 2:16). The writings of Josephus make no mention of any such event. How Herod managed to pull off infanticide without anyone noticing is beyond me. The event is fiction, based loosely on the account of Pharaoh's similar infanticide in Exodus 1.

The accounts of the death of Jesus state that there was darkness over the land, that the earth shook, and that the dead rose. No other writers recount these events... except Amos and Ezekiel. The event is fiction, written to correlate with Amos 8:8-9 and Ezekiel 37:12-14.

*************************************

As one can see, there is substantial evidence that the events of Jesus' life as recorded by the gospels are based almost entirely on pre-existing writings. Consider:

None of the writers of the gospel was physically with Jesus throughout his life.
All the writers needed to translate from Hebrew to Greek.
The OT text was available to these writers.
Jesus himself nor his closest followers wrote anything about his life.
Early writers like Paul do not give details of Jesus' life.

How hard would it be, given these conditions, to make the "official" story of Jesus concur with the OT, and thereby transform an ordinary man into the Messiah?

The answer - not hard AT ALL.

AFFIRMED.
bored

Con

Hello Tarzan,
Thank you for taking the time to make this a well-written debate.
I am going to use Before Common Era and Common Era rather than Anno Domini and Before Christ.
I am also not going to use Wikipedia as a source, as it is not always accurate. With Google, I'm sure I can find some more legitimate texts.

There are two ways that your argument could be rebutted and I suppose they are opposites. a) Jesus is completely creative writing, and b) everything about the stories is true. I shall try to cover both.

Much of my opponent's argument has to do with the lack of tangible literary work from that time dealing with Jesus. Let me start by explaining that there was never anything specifically written about Jesus during Jesus's lifetime that has been found. The key words being, 'that has been found'. Jesus's lifetime was so long ago that not much remains from the first and second century C.E. The few written articles that have been excavated were found in dry, dehydrated places, i.e. Egypt and the Dead Sea. Both times the documents were stored in mass quantities, probably with the purpose of protecting from natural decay. I doubt that the scholar were thinking as far ahead as the 21st century but that doesn't mean that they were inexperienced in the art of preservation.
However, as Jesus was, by all accounts, a modest man, he probably didn't want a library made in honor of him. Also, the Qumran Library was the result of many centuries, from the third century B.C.E. to the first century C.E. Documents from the Alexandrian Library go back as far as 300 B.C.E. http://www.ibiblio.org...

I hope I have explained how writing's from Jesus's time could plausibly, even probably, have disappeared. Now, I attempt to provide reasonable doubt why his disciples did not write about Jesus at the time.

Now, I am not Christian, so I may be confusing these terms but my opponent says that Jesus was a carpenter. That is stated in the Gospel of Mark. Isn't the Gospel of Mark part of the New Testament, which my opponent deems creative writing? Clearly, even creative writing has a basis in fact, but how are we supposed to know the difference? It is just as easy to make up plausible events, or events that put someone in a light that seems to humble but actually enhances. http://www.americanbible.org...

Anyway, if Jesus was a carpenter, how much math did that job actually require back then? Perhaps measuring, to some degree, but most was probably measured by eye.

You make it sound ridiculous that God could have made man and not given him the talents we consider essential today. However, it wasn't that common for average people (which is what Jesus's social class defined him as) to learn how to read and write. I'm going to bring in other examples, of which I am more familiar.
Take the Qur'an, for example.
http://www.usc.edu...
According to Muslim beliefs, an angel came down and commanded the Prophet Muhammad to 'read'. Prophet Muhammad could not read or write. However, Gabriel was talking in Arabic, obviously translatable in many ways. What we assume is that Gabriel meant "Recite!" because Muhammad listened, then repeated. http://islamzpeace.com...
Muhammad recited the Qur'an and spread the word, literally. After a recitation with the angel, he would tell many different people who would make it their jobs to memorize it. Then, one Caliph compiled it all. Since then, the common thought is that it has never been changed and the vast majority of Muslims believe so. Prophet Muhammad did not write it down on paper.
If Muslims (who are currently considered the more religiously devout of the two) are able to be proud of the tale that their prophet could not read or write, then why should Christians feel so differently?

Much of the Christian and Islamic and Jewish religion is very similar. We all have the Great Flood and the Ark, the Whale swallowing a Prophet, Adam and Eve, etc. Our prophets were similar too. Even though we don't have a truly accurate description of life back then, if those three religions can agree on common miracles, who's to say they weren't actually happening?
It's not true, however, that they all had different people doing the same thing. Credit is given where credit is due, as shown above.
To refute some of my opponent's other arguments, let's move on to Philo. Philo may never have mentioned Jesus Chris in particular, but he did spend a lot of time on Logos, a Greek term for the word of God.

"...that in the one living and true God there were two supreme and primary powers, Goodness [or Creative Power] and Authority [or Regent Power]; and that by his Goodness he had created every thing; and that by his Authority he governed all that he had created; and that the third thing which was between the two, and had the effect of bringing them together was the Logos, for it was owing to the Logos that God was both a ruler and good (Cher. 1.27-28)".
http://www.utm.edu...

He is also considered one of the forerunners for Christian beliefs. However, most of his ideas stem from the Greek philosophers, people who were older than Jesus and had not been exposed to much of what he had done. Since Philo's writing is aimed at combining the two, he might have looked upon Jesus as already implicated. Another idea is that he may have been cautious to mix up classical Greek philosophy with new, outrageous by some standards ideas. How could he truly know if Jesus was from God or Satan? Perhaps Philo was wise for his time and didn't want to record something that was still being tested.
For the other argument, we could say that Philo's writing testify that Jesus was completely fictional, tall tales told by the people around him to influence people. I see Philo as a better argument for the con side here.

Now, moving onward. I feel like this debate is going to be a very long one, with five rounds and so much space. Kudos to the people who take the time to read it all.

I'm not sure what my opponent is trying to prove in statement five, so I shall do my best to understand but I may be off completely at a tangent. Yes, Jesus's life is portrayed in the Old Testament..so what? I guess my opponent is trying to say there is no need for the New Testament? Well, I shall go with that assumption but I'll try to be brief.
Yes, Jesus's life has been covered in the Old testament. However, the reasons and fulfillment are better explained in the New Testament. Most religion needs someone or some people to explain why things happened the way they did. That is probably where we get our different religions. However, this does not make it creative writing. For instance, a large part of the National Budget during Washington's presidency went toward fighting the Native Americans. If you have the journal of an American Indian and a European who fought each other, do you expect to get different sides of the story? Of course! However, that doesn't mean one is correct and the other is creative writing.
http://www.abibitumikasa.com...

Okay, now to explain the details. The devil's in the details, right?
For number six, I assume that we are still talking about the New Testament, since that is what this debate focuses on in general. However, since the information before the New Testament refers to Mary's conception, I wish to begin there.
"The oldest recorded information about Mary is believed to be in St Paul's letter to the Galatians, 4:4, written before any of the canonical Gospels. Here Jesus is stated to have been "born of woman"." implied virgin
his followers the disciples, wrote about him. trusted? http://www.sundayschoollessons.com...
Affirmation Denied
Debate Round No. 1
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

I'll keep my reply short and sweet, as much of my opponent's argument is off-topic, irrelevant, or advances MY case...

>> "Let me start by explaining that there was never anything specifically written about Jesus during Jesus's lifetime that has been found. The key words being, 'that has been found'."

This is NOT the familiar "Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack" argument. This admission by my opponent points out that there is evidence AGAINST Jesus' divine nature, yet there is no evidence FOR his divine nature. This point cannot be used to support his case, as it is an explicit appeal to ignorance paired with the admission that I have a salient point.

>> "I hope I have explained how writing's from Jesus's time could plausibly, even probably, have disappeared."

Not at all considering we have many, many documents from that time period, and as your own source notes, from even 3000 BCE. It's hard to imagine that only the documents involving Jesus' divinity were destroyed or lost...

>> "Clearly, even creative writing has a basis in fact"

Explain the basis in fact present in the book by L. Ron. Hubbard that sparked the Church of Scientology. The Bible is simply another book that sparked a following.

>> "You make it sound ridiculous that God could have made man and not given him the talents we consider essential today."

Incorrect - I point out that it IS ridiculous to hold that God would send a Son to Earth that could read in the temple, but not write on a scroll. THAT is ridiculous.

>> "If Muslims (who are currently considered the more religiously devout of the two) are able to be proud of the tale that their prophet could not read or write, then why should Christians feel so differently?"

Because the Christian God is supposed to be omnipotent and omniscient. If Jesus could not write, he was neither. Furthermore, Jesus could read, so it stands to reason that Jesus could write. It is difficult to imagine how one could be taught to read without being taught to write at the same time, or why any school would ever teach individuals one, but not the other skill.

>> "Much of the Christian and Islamic and Jewish religion is very similar. We all have the Great Flood and the Ark, the Whale swallowing a Prophet, Adam and Eve, etc. Our prophets were similar too."

This supposes that common trends are indicative of truth. It was common in Salem Massachusetts to accuse women of being witches and burn them, but that does not indicate they are true. Furthermore, the Great Flood has some actual basis in fact as being a localized flood in the Middle East as a result of the flooding of the Mediterranean basin if a seawall at Gibraltar broke. Stories of large fish and magical gardens are not the stuff of truth - they are the stuff of fairy tales and mythology. Nobody thinks Venus was really born in a seashell or that Dionysus is the true God of merriment and wine...

>> "Philo may never have mentioned Jesus Chris in particular, but he did spend a lot of time on Logos, a Greek term for the word of God."

Again - appeal to ignorance. Furthermore, Philo has a section in your source titled "First-Born Son of God." If he had anything at all to say about Jesus' divinity as it related to this "Logos-God," it would be in THAT section. And it is not.

>> "He is also considered one of the forerunners for Christian beliefs. "

That's interesting, considering he was a historian and your own source says he was a Hellenistic Jew.

>> "Jesus's life is portrayed in the Old Testament..so what? I guess my opponent is trying to say there is no need for the New Testament?"

No - you miss the point. The point is that the story was already laid out for them. The authors of the New Testament simply needed to insert a figure into preexisting verses to create the myth of Jesus the Christ from Jesus of Nazareth.

>> "The oldest recorded information about Mary is believed to be in St Paul's letter to the Galatians, 4:4, written before any of the canonical Gospels. Here Jesus is stated to have been "born of woman"." implied virgin"

Considering ALL humans are born of a woman, and no woman that bears a child can be a virgin, I utterly fail to see how that passage can possibly imply "virgin."

*****************************************

My opponent has not responded to the following:

1) Jesus could presumably write, but did not.
2) At least one of Jesus Apostles could almost certainly write, but did not.
3) Middle-Eastern Mythology contains themes common to Jesus' life as outlined in the Bible.
4) Virtually all the details of Jesus' life pre-exist the writing of the gospels.
5) Some texts in the gospels are obviously mistranslated or incorrectly referring to the Old Testament.
6) Some events in the gospels are historically impossible, but coincide nicely with prophecy or creative intent.

There are more pieces of evidence, but I feel that an actual rebuttal to the first round is necessary before we proceed.

AFFIRMED.
bored

Con

As this is a very long debate, I'll respond directly to the points my opponent claims I have not realized. However, I believe that if you read my argument carefully and perhaps check the links, most if not all of his points have been answered.
To clarify:
1) Jesus was by no means presumably able to write. The majority of people then were illiterate: they did not know how to write or read. As my opponent pointed out in his first statement, Jesus could write for two reasons: "The reason I assert this is that he worked as a carpenter, requiring proficiency in measuring and some rudimentary math, as well as design. Also, he reads from scrolls in the temple, indicating he could read. This just causes one to ask the question, "Why didn't Jesus WRITE anything?" Did God send a son who could read and not write?"

First of all, carpenters in that time period were not required to write. In fact, almost no one knew how to write, as it was a scribe's job, not the worker's. Second, Muslims at least, believe that God put down a son who could not read or write: Muhammed.
Third, my opponent mentioned Jesus reading scrolls, yet failed to give a reliable source, or any source for that matter. Here is what a quick Google search produced:
Luke 4:16
"And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
***********
John 8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground."

This implies that Jesus read. However, Luke and John are parts of the NEW Testament, the one that my opponent considers creative writing, therefore, the point is not valid. He is calling from the same text that he is trying to discredit.

2. Excuse me? "At least one of Jesus Apostles could almost certainly write, but did not."
At least one could, but did not. Well, if you have twelve men and only one can write (I believe you assumed it was the tax collector, Matthew: well, he did write something, Book 1--the Gospel of Matthew http://www.ccel.org...
Of course, it isn't 100% positive that Matthew wrote the Gospel of Matthew but he definitely contributed to it and most likely authored it.
Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts. http://www.carm.org...
okay, at least two could write and they did write.
3. What themes of Middle Eastern mythology? Why could they not be true for both? Gods=celestial signs. Check for most religions. Plausibility of Hell. Check for almost all religions. Easily angered Gods (are you referring to God or Jesus? God's anger plays no part in the factuality of Jesus' story. Whether God was or wasn't, does not make Jesus' story more believable.
Yes, most religions have a messiah. Are you suggesting that they all saw others doing it and wanted one for themselves? Why is it so hard to believe in multiple prophets?
Okay, there is a lot of talk about Jesus rising from the dead, but it never actually states that. He has not come back; all we know is that his body dissapeared. That doesn't mean he has risen and is among us.
Oh really? Dionysus, God of wine? please don't tell me you made the connection between Dionysus' indulgence and Jesus changing water into wine.

Then, still on that note, there are two more points.
1) All your sources were from Wikipedia. Even if it were a reliable site, you shouldn't use one source of information for everything, even if it is an 'encyclopedia'. Would you do that on a research paper?
2) Much of this can be related to the fact that there most likely have been more than one 'messenger from God' and the stories of that time were similar because people were experiencing the same circumstances.
4. I'll make this one short and sweet: Practically none of Jesus' life is mentioned in the OT. http://www.juliantrubin.com...
5. Fine. However, most documents of that age are mistranslated in parts. That does not make them creative writing. Someone made a mistake or didn't fully comprehend an idea and you want to call it fiction?
6. historically impossible..like the fact that we could have evolved from apes a few years ago, right?

okay, I realize that I didn't go into depth here, but I see plenty of room for a new round.

DENIED.
Debate Round No. 2
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

Interesting - lets examine some of my opponent's positions...

>> "Jesus was by no means presumably able to write."

John 8:8 - "And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground."

Is there something about this that confuses you? You JUST posted evidence that completely undermines your argument. And the position that Jesus wasn't able to write is completely unsalient. You already undermined your other opposition by providing a verse where Jesus reads. So in other words, you hold that although Jesus could read in the temple, and write on the sand, he did not write anything because he was not presumably able to write? That's nonsense.

>> "okay, at least two [Matthew and Luke] could write and they did write."

Here's a wonderful link concerning the authorship of the gospels and how contemporary scholars agree that the gospels were not written by the persons that bear those names... (http://www.cygnus-study.com...). Interestingly enough, most of the gospels could not have been written before 70 C.E., because they mention destruction of the temple and other historical events of the time. The Twelve would have been 70 when the first of the Gospels were authored. And John would have been penning his gospel with a very shaky hand in 110 CE...

>> "What themes of Middle Eastern mythology? Why could they not be true for both?"

That's EXACTLY the point. Jesus the Christ is another Middle Eastern myth.

>> "Okay, there is a lot of talk about Jesus rising from the dead, but it never actually states that. He has not come back; all we know is that his body dissapeared. That doesn't mean he has risen and is among us."

At least someone has figured this out....

>> "Oh really? Dionysus, God of wine? please don't tell me you made the connection between Dionysus' indulgence and Jesus changing water into wine."

Well besides the humorous wine connection... Dionysus and the Egyptian god Osiris have long been equated... since the 5th Century BC in fact... ("The Jesus Mysteries" - Freke & Gandy). Here are some interesting connections between the Osiris-Dionysus character and Jesus...

- Born of a God and a mortal woman who was a virgin at the time of conception.
- Born in a cave/other humble dwelling around the winter solstice.
- Followers should be baptized.
- Rides into a city on a donkey/mule/colt celebrated by palms.
- Life celebrated by a meal of bread and wine.

And there's the interesting and humorous connection between the two gods of wine...

>> "All your sources were from Wikipedia."

Yes - my all of my three sources on Middle Eastern mythology were from Wikipedia. However, I also extensively referenced the Bible as a source. If you would like, I can go back and visit the extended Wikipedia references... but then again, my opponent didn't actually respond to any of those points.

>> "Much of this can be related to the fact that there most likely have been more than one 'messenger from God' and the stories of that time were similar because people were experiencing the same circumstances."

Right... that's why Judaism, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, Taoism, Confucianism, Greek Gods, and Roman Gods are all so similar... .

>> "Practically none of Jesus' life is mentioned in the OT"

Your source mentions Ps 22:16, Zec 11:13, Isa 53:7. Did you not read some of these passages:

Isa 7:14b - "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Mic 5:2 - "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
Hos 11:1 - "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt."
Jud 13:5a - "For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb"
Psa 107:28-29 - "Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still."
Jos 4:1-2 - " And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,"

It is trivially easy to see how the story of Jesus can be plagiarized from these Old Testament passages. Furthermore, if you read the passages referenced here, you will see that these elements are intended to show commonality with older church leaders, not establish Jesus' divinity. For example, if you examine the transfiguration of Jesus, you will see clear parallels to Moses as he comes down from the mount with the 10 commandments and Daniel as he prays to God and is told that the righteous will shine forever. In the story where Jesus smites the fig tree, it is clearly a parallel to a story from Hosea where God finds the Israelites like "grapes in the wilderness" and the "firstripe on a fig tree" - the story is an allegorical account about how Jesus finds no people ripe for his message, not what actually happened.

>> "However, most documents of that age are mistranslated in parts."

When you have mistranslations like from Hosea 11:1 to Matthew 2:15. Here are the relevant parts of the two verses:

Hosea: When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt
Matthew: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

However, the passage in Hosea is clearly a reference to Ephraim and the Israelites' exodus from Egypt, NOT a prophecy that the Messiah will go to Egypt and come back. Furthermore, if it IS a prophecy, it stands more to reason that the Messiah would be BORN in Egypt. But then again, that would contradict all the other prophecies about where the Messiah would be born.

>> "historically impossible..like the fact that we could have evolved from apes a few years ago, right?"

This is not a valid response to the point. This response simply underlines a radical misunderstanding of the science behind evolution. However, evolution is immaterial to this debate. The issues raised above are historically impossible even in the context of the history as presented by the Bible. Regardless of how man evolved, the "history" presented in the gospels contradicts all other historical accounts from the same time. The fact that these "historical" accounts are present in the Old Testament too highly suggests that they are indeed creative writing.

>> "He is calling from the same text that he is trying to discredit."

This is simply incorrect - I am trying to discredit the Bible as an account of Jesus the CHRIST. I accept that there may have been a Jesus the Nazorean, but the resolution is concerning the creative writing employed by the authors of the gospel to transform this ordinary man into the Messiah. The facts of Jesus the Nazorean being able to read and write are completely immaterial to the notion of whether or not he is the Christ.

******************************

As stated before, the authors of the gospels have simply used extant Old Testament writing to transform an ordinary man into their Messiah... Lacking details of Jesus' life, since none of the gospel authors were actually there (remember there wasn't an Apostle named Mark...) and other early writers like Paul make no mention of the details of Jesus' life, the writers turned to the only place they could get details:

Crazed, dehydrated primitives wandering in a desert who talked to burning shrubbery and thought the wheelbarrow and chariot were fantastic pieces of cutting-edge technology.

What a wonderful source.

AFFIRMED.
bored

Con

The point that I was trying to make was that the sources that actually mention Jesus were part of the New Testament, the one you call creative writing.
Also, I find your arguments rather inconsistent.
--"Birth of Jesus - Isa 7:14 & 9:6
Birth in Bethlehem - Mic 5:2
Egypt - Hos 11:1
Return to Nazareth - Jud 13:5
John the Baptist - Isa 14:30 & 2 Kin 2:8 & Mal 3
Temptation of Jesus - Psa 91:11-12, Deu 6:13 & Deu 6:16
Preaching in Galilee - Isa 9:1
Heals the Sick - Isa 53
Sermon on the Mount - Exo 19
Calming the Storm - Psa 107:28-29
More Healing - Isa 35:5-6
Commissioning of the 12 - Jos 4:1-2 & Mic 7:6
Transfiguration - Exo 34:29, Dan 12:2-4, Isa 40:3
Jesus Predicts His Death: Jonah 1:17, Psa 22
Entry into Jeresulam: Zec 9:9 & Psa 118:26
Fig Tree - Hos 9
Jesus Clears the temple - Zec 14:21, Neh 13:4-9, & Hos 9:15
Judas' Betrayal - Amo 2
Last Supper - Psa 41:9
Cup of suffering - Zec 12:2 & Psa 16:5
Crucifixion - Isa 53, Psa 22, Psa 69, Amo 2, Amo 8
Death - Eze 37, Isa 53, Psa 22, Psa 69
Resurrection - Isa 26:19, Eze 37, Dan 12:2-4"

this is part of your earlier argument, where you used OT sources: http://www.masterstech-home.com...

Now, you say: "This is simply incorrect - I am trying to discredit the Bible as an account of Jesus the CHRIST. I accept that there may have been a Jesus the Nazorean, but the resolution is concerning the creative writing employed by the authors of the gospel to transform this ordinary man into the Messiah. The facts of Jesus the Nazorean being able to read and write are completely immaterial to the notion of whether or not he is the Christ."

Hmm..well, to me, resurrection doesn't sound like a normal-man type of thing. How many people do you know who have been resurrected? Personally, I can't name one. You also include Calming the Storm, Healing the Sick, Jesus' Prediction of his own Death, etc. Again, this makes him out to seem rather magical, for lack of a better word.
Here's a nice little column on the transition from Calming the Sea in the Psalms (OT) to Calming the Seas in the New Testament: http://psalterium.wordpress.com...

Here is a site that really does a good job of explaining the connections between the OT and the NT. It is comparing the similarities, and comes to the conclusion that Jesus was Yahweh, to the writers of the NT. The details are the same. Therefore, I come to the conclusion that it was NOT creative writing. The same magical events had happened, to make Jesus/Yahweh the Messiah and the majority of texts from that time refer to one of the two. Jesus was considered Yahweh by those, who, if not exactly at the time of Jesus, were close enough to formulate better estimates than I. http://www.forananswer.org...

Thank you
Debate Round No. 3
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

Initial Responses:

>> "The point that I was trying to make was that the sources that actually mention Jesus were part of the New Testament"

Once again - I must remind you that the resolution states "JESUS THE CHRIST is the result of creative writing." Not "THE NEW TESTAMENT is the result of creative writing." The mention of the historical Jesus of Nazareth is completely different from the mention of Jesus the Christ.

>> "Here's a nice little column on the transition from Calming the Sea in the Psalms (OT) to Calming the Seas in the New Testament: "

This source concludes that "by the calming of the storm we find Jesus engaging in a parabolic action declaring to all who will see and understand that their king was coming, their exile was ending and that their God was returning to Zion..." One could just as easily conclude that the writers of the New Testament thought it would be really great if the Messiah they were creating matched up with the Old Testament texts that they already have.

Psalms is NOT a prophetic book. The content of Psalms cannot be understood as making predictions about Jesus. Thus, the story of Jesus calming the waves is not fulfilling any sort of prophecy - it is clearly allegorical fiction intended to portray Jesus in a certain light.

>> "The details are the same. Therefore, I come to the conclusion that it was NOT creative writing."

Based on the fact that the details are exactly the same, you conclude that it is a true reference, and not plagiarism. That's very strange. So despite the fact that NO OTHER HISTORICAL accounts make reference to these facts, you choose to believe a self-corroborating source on this matter? Hopefully anyone with a rudimentary understanding can see that self-corroborating sources that conflict independent sources are NOT VALID.

**************************

Since my opponent seems to have ignored most of my points so far, or has answered them by means of links to external sites that do not address the point, I shall move on, but remind the reader that my opponent has still not provided any sort of meaningful answer to the following:

1) My opponent recognizes that OT and NT texts are nearly identical, yet in conflict with other historical accounts, but holds that self-corroboration is a valid form of evidence, despite the fact that it is not.
2) My opponent admits Jesus could write but gives no explanation for why he would not do so.
3) My opponent defends traditional authorship without answering any of the objections concerning them.
4) My opponent has apparently dropped argumentation concerning Middle Eastern mythology.
5) My opponent has not addressed mistranslations and deliberate misreading of OT text in NT literature.

*********************************

Now... on to further argumentation:

1) The crucifixion of Jesus would have violated several Jewish laws.

There were prohibitions at the time of Jesus' crucifixion on holding capital crime sessions at night, holding trials at places other than the temple precincts, trying capital crimes in a one-day sitting, and holding trials on the eve of a festival or the Sabbath (http://rationalrevolution.net...).

Furthermore, the punishment for blasphemy at the time was stoning (http://www.law.umkc.edu...). The fact that Jesus was crucified, and the manner in which it was done aligns suspiciously well with Isaiah 53 (Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows), Psalm 22 (My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?), Psalm 69 (They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.), Isaiah 50 (I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.), more Psalm 22 (He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.), even more Psalm 22 (they have pierced my hands and my feet.), holy cow... MORE Psalm 22 (They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.), Amos 8 ("In that day," declares the Sovereign LORD, "I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.), and even some Ezekiel 37 (O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them;).

Coincidence? Most apologetics will state that this is an example of Jesus fulfilling prophecies. However, some of the most specific passages from from Psalms, which, as stated before, is NOT a prophetical book.

2) The Gospel of Mark reads like allegorical fiction, and not a historical account.

Historical books reference events in a larger context - for example, "The Roman Empire fell around the year 400 CE." Historical accounts do not explain the over-arching point in terms of individuals - for example "Adolf Hitler ordered Hans Muller to investigate the home of the Franks in order to see if there were any Jews in hiding there." The Gospel of Mark reads as a narrative - for example:

"As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.' And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him."

Such writing is not the stuff of history - but much more like a narrative intending to point out that the writer was of the opinion that Jesus was the Messianic Prophecy fulfilled. Other formal historical accounts at the time of Jesus (and preceding that time) are written with a completely different flavor (Tacitus, Josephus, Livey). Furthermore, elements of Mark's writing are clearly taken from the Old Testament and meant to refer to other OT characters. For example:

2 Kin 1:8 - ""They replied, 'He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist.' The king said, 'That was Elijah the Tishbite.""
Mark 1 - "Now John [the baptist] was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist"

This is not the work of an actual account of something that took place, but rather the work of allegorical fiction.

3) There is no evidence for the "Empty Tomb" ("Beyond Resurrection" - Wedderburn).

The empty tomb of Easter morning and central to the Christian doctrine of the resurrection is not mentioned by Paul or other writers of the epistles. The tomb itself would have been one of the most important sites to early Christians, yet there is no mention of anyone making a pilgrimage to this site. And of course, according to Acts, Jesus ascended into heaven bodily, so there are no remains. But still the tomb itself would have been a central focus of early Christians.

The writings of Philo mention what is usually considered the passion of Jesus, but make no mention at all of his burial and resurrection ("Flaccus IV" - Philo). These passages even include minute details, such as:

"...and they, driving the poor wretch as far as the public gymnasium, and setting him up there on high that he might be seen by everybody, flattened out a leaf of papyrus and put it on his head instead of a diadem, and clothed the rest of his body with a common door mat instead of a cloak and instead of a scepter they put in his hand a small stick of the native papyrus which they found lying by the way side and gave to him;"

*******************************************

Unfortunately, I'm at the end of the character limit, but it should be clear to the reader that my opponent has a LOT of work to do.

AFFIRMED.
bored

Con

1) The NT and the OT are not identical, the NT tries to explain what the actions in the OT produced. Here is some actual evidence that points to at least the true setting for the New Testament's acts:
"Recent archaeological discoveries include both the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1f) and "The Pavement" (John 19:13). Their existence was doubted just a few decades ago. Confirmation of the accuracy of the setting of Jacob's well has also been found (John 4).[4] Such findings have caused many scholars to reverse earlier skeptical opinions on the historicity of the Fourth Gospel. Its author has demonstrated an obvious intimate knowledge of the Jerusalem of Jesus' time, just as we would expect from the Apostle John. Such detail would not have been accessible to a writer of a later generation, since Jerusalem was demolished under Titus' Roman army in 70 A.D.

Also, the recent recovery of a Roman census similar to the one in Luke 2:1f, and the historical confirmation of his "synchronism"[5] in Luke 3:1f, underscores the care Luke took in writing his Gospel (Luke 1:1-4). "

Here are some of those historical documents, which you claim differ with the NT.
"Additionally, outside the Bible, Jesus is also mentioned by his near-contemporaries. Extra-Biblical and secular writers (many hostile) point to Jesus' existence, including the Roman writings of Tacitus, Seutonius, Thallus and Pliny, and the Jewish writings of Josephus and the Talmud. Gary Habermas has cited a total of 39 ancient extra-Biblical sources, including 17 non-Christian, that witness from outside the New Testament to over 100 details of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.[8] "

Also, why would these authors of 'creative writing' want to portray their idols in anything but the most rosy hue?
"There are also characteristics within the texts themselves which mark the four Gospels as sober history and neither legend nor fictional propaganda. Consider that the Gospel writers set the leading disciples in very poor light (Matthew 14:30, Mark 9:33f, Luke 22:54f). Notice as well that they included hard words by Jesus, which in fact repelled many hearers (Matthew 21:28f, Luke 9:23f, John 8:39f). "

To prove that the NT is authentic: "Sir Frederic Kenyon, former Director of the British Museum, comments:

"The interval between the dates of the original composition and the earliest extant evidence [i.e. our oldest manuscripts] becomes so small as to be negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed."[11]"

http://www.christiananswers.net...

2. Jesus (according to the NT) could write and read, however, that cannot be part of my opponent's argument as it is part of the NT! Whether he could or could not is immaterial to my opponent's argument.
I shall try to explain (again). Jesus was a very busy man, right? Jesus had all his disciples and many others who could write for him. Jesus' writings may have been lost, in fact, they were probably lost if there were any.

3) By 'traditional authorship' I suppose my opponent is referring to the Gospels. In which case, I do not see how eponymous they are has to do with their validity. If anything, I think that men are more likely to enhance their involvement in parts of their stories. In any case, as I mentioned above, the Gospels are not always flattering to the apostles and Jesus.

4) Middle Eastern mythology. I agree that the stories may have similar roots but that is possible without making the NT invalid. The events could have happened and multiple battles could have been fought against them. The events could have happened simultaneously (or almost) in different areas and the heroes of the day dealt with them in the most current fashion. The different cultures could have had a different name for the one legend who was the sole hero.

5) As far as mistranslations go, the first recount of facts could have been more off base and influenced by those around. Only when one is away from the general bustle can one look into the actual events. Also, there is little in the OT directly pertaining to Jesus that can be mistranslated.

*****************************************************************************
1) The crucifixion of Jesus was engineered by Pontius Pilate, a notoriously vicious man. Even though the NT tries to portray him as less pugnacious, that, is the result of creative writing. Plenty of historians agree: Pilate was a blood thirsty man. "Information about Pilate comes from the writings of Philo Judaeus and Flavius Josephus. Neither has positive things to say about him: he is described as insensitive, cruel, ready to use brutal force to keep order, and incompetent. Because he kept his post for 10 years, it's unlikely that he was incompetent. Brutality was, however, the norm for people in his position. Pilate was recalled to Rome for brutality, even by Roman standards, when he massacred a group of Samaritans at Mount Gerizim."
http://atheism.about.com...
"he is the only Roman governor discussed in any detail by the famous chroniclers of that period, Philo and Josephus. Philo describes him as "a man of inflexible disposition, harsh and obdurate" (Legatio, 38, 302). "
http://www.answers.com...

this is rather long but it tells of 500+ witnesses:
5
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
6
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
7
After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8
Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.
9
For I am the least 4 of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
http://www.usccb.org...

"In my opinion, every book of the New Testament was written by a baptized Jew between the 40's and the 80's of the first century."
William F. Albright, archaeologist

I was under the impression that the Gospels WERE narratives, not written by avid historians. It's supposed to be in detail about Jesus' life.

3) The empty tomb is mentioned in the Gospels: Empty Tomb Narratives (a few days after Jesus' death, some women find his tomb empty, his body missing):
Mark 16:1-8; Matt 28:1-8, 11-15; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-13
here's a timetable:
) Overview of the Resurrection Accounts in the Four Gospels:

Event/ Mark / Matthew / Luke / John
Some Women Find Jesus' Tomb Empty/ 16:1-8/28:1-8/24:1-11/20:1-2, 11-13
Peter and the Beloved Disciple Run to the Tomb/ --/ --/ /24:12/ 20:2-10
Jesus Appears to the Women (esp. Mary Magdalene) [16:9-11] 28:9-10 -- 20:14-18
The Guards Report to the Authorities -- 28:11-15 -- --
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples on the Way to Emmaus [16:12-13] -- 24:13-35 --
Jesus Appears to the Disciples on Sunday Evening -- -- 24:36-43 20:19-23
Jesus Appears to the Disciples a Week Later (with Thomas) -- -- -- 20:24-29
Jesus Appears to the Eleven as They Sat at Table [16:14-18] -- -- --
Jesus Appears to the Eleven on a Mountain in Galilee [The Great Commission] -- 28:16-20 -- --
Jesus' Last Words and His Ascension to Heaven [16:19-20] -- 24:44-53 --
The Original Ending of John -- -- -- 20:30-31
Jesus Appears again to the Disciples at the Sea of Tiberias -- -- -- 21:1-23
The Second Ending of John -- -- -- 21:24-25

Discovery Channel did a program on Jesus' tomb and how likely it was that people knew about it and revered it. Besides being (probably) a pilgrimage place, it holds a coffin with Jesus' name on it and others, with Jesus' family members on it. http://dsc.discovery.com...

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

My opponent is unfortunately still under the misconception that I'm trying to discredit the entire New Testament. I have stated numerous times that accounts of Jesus the Christ and Jesus the Nazorean are different claims, and the validity of one account does absolutely NOTHING for the validity of the other. The authorship and accounts of Jesus the Nazorean are immaterial to the debate itself. We are concerned with the fact that everything the writers of the gospel would need to create Jesus Christ is in the Old Testament, and easy to invent in their heads, and there is considerable evidence to support this notion.

*********************************

1) On NT-OT Identicality, Historical Inconsistency, and Corroboration.

Identicality with the OT in the story of Jesus shows that it would have been trivially easy to apply the ALREADY EXISTING story of the Messiah to a man who did similar things. Consider this passage:

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

At first look, it is impossible to distinguish whether or not that specific passage is from Zechariah 9 or from Mark 11. The passages are virtually identical, and Mark, the first gospel written, makes no effort to attribute this passage to the OT scripture. Another good example:

"He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him." Psalm 22 or Mark 27?
"I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight." Mark 27 or Amos 8?

Secondly, the NT makes reference to historical events that are not corroborated by any extrabiblical sources, but are conveniently self-corroborated by other parts of the Bible. For example, the Star of Bethlehem - it is not recorded in any historical account... but it is in Numbers 24. The NT states that the earth shook, the land darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two at the time of the resurrection. This is not recorded in any historical account... but is perfectly described in Amos 8 and Ezekiel 37.

My opponent must explain how a story that is supposedly true can incorporate these sorts of clearly metaphorical and/or simply false events and be not considered a product of creative writing. And self-corroboration is NOT a valid explanation.

2) On Jesus' Literacy.

My opponent admits Jesus could read and write, yet despite the fact I have reminded him in every round that this is a fact about Jesus the Nazorean, refuses to give an explanation for why Jesus did not write anything. Surely the Son of God would have written SOMETHING.

3) On Traditional Authorship

As I mentioned above, this point is mostly moot. However, I would like to point out that my opponent stated: "I think that men are more likely to enhance their involvement in parts of their stories," which clearly indicates at least SOME literary license and creative writing in the gospels. Furthermore, the Gospels are authored in Greek and contain mistranslations of Hebrew... traditional authorship would have suggested that the gospels be penned in HEBREW and that the authors could actually READ it.

4) On Middle Eastern Mythology

My opponent readily admits to the similarities to other mythologies that predate Christianity. He needs to provide some explanation for the multitude of similarities other than "so what?"

5) On Mistranslations.

Wouldn't you think if you were translating the WORD OF GOD that you would make pretty darn sure you got the translation right?

>> "Also, there is little in the OT directly pertaining to Jesus that can be mistranslated."

I'm sorry, but this is simply false - if Jesus is understood to be the Messiah, which the gospel authors clearly thought he was, then there are entire BOOKS of the OT that directly pertain to Jesus.

6) On the Crucifixion & Resurrection

My opponent asserts that Pilate engineered the crucifixion, even though the gospels are very clear that he had no hand in it. Furthermore, the works of Philo in Flaccus IV make it clear that the persons mocking Jesus were doing so in such a manner consistent with King Herod - a figure to the Jews. What use would the Romans have for arresting Jesus for something that is not a Roman crime and then mocking him as a Syrian King? My opponent's explanation makes no sense historically OR logically.

>> "this is rather long but it tells of 500+ witnesses"

No... this account is Paul telling people who have no idea what really happened that 500 people (some of whom are apparently sleeping) saw a man who looked like Jesus. Here's something interesting... "Thomas" is derived from the Aramaic T'oma. The same character is also called Didymus. T'oma and Didymus mean "twin" in Aramaic and Greek. Coincidence, or did was Thomas called "The Twin" because he looked like Jesus?

Did 500 people see Jesus, or did they mistake Thomas for Jesus??

>> "I was under the impression that the Gospels WERE narratives, not written by avid historians. It's supposed to be in detail about Jesus' life."

That's interesting, considering that if the purpose was to make a narrative, it would have been much better to write about Jesus' life as he was living it, not 30 years after he died. Furthermore, the gospels must necessarily contain some historical elements, as they reference events that occurred before Jesus summoned the Twelve (if you even accept traditional authorship). And the gospels are surprisingly lacking in detail about Jesus' life... but seem to math pretty darn well with details in the OT that were written a thousand years before... How strange...

7) The Empty Tomb

Of course the Tomb is mentioned in the gospels - they had to make up the story of the Resurrection somehow... And the Discovery Channel Documentary??

"I just think it's a shame the way this story is being hyped and manipulated" and "all of the names [contained in the tomb] are common." - William Dever, Archaeologist, Washington Post 2/28/07

"A hyped up film which is intellectually and scientifically dishonest." - Amos Kloner, tomb excavator

"Conclusions were already drawn in the beginning [and the] argument goes far beyond any reasonable interpretation." - William Dever

It would seem that based on professional consideration and the opinions of those who actually went INTO the tomb that the Discovery Channel's interpretation is faulty at best and an outright lie at worst. And Yeshua? It's a VERY common Jewish name from the time period - means Jesus or Joshua.

******************************

As the reader can clearly see, my opponent has significant obstacles to overcome in order to show that the writers of the New Testament did NOT exaggerate the life of Jesus the Nazarene, add components of mythology, and use pieces of the Old Testament to piece together a picture of Jesus that was in line with their personal preferences.

I have repeatedly pointed out the shortcomings in my opponent's argument, yet he has not addressed them in any sort of substantial way.

The story of Jesus Christ is the result of creative writing.

AFFIRMED.
bored

Con

I never said that you were trying to discredit the whole New Testament. I am merely explaining the reliability of the narrators. I am trying to point out that the Jesus we know from the NT is the same Jesus that walked this earth and was mentioned in the OT.
--------
Now, I do not see the reasoning behind your argument strategy. First you say that you are not trying to discredit the NT. Then, you say this: "Secondly, the NT makes reference to historical events that are not corroborated by any extrabiblical sources, but are conveniently self-corroborated by other parts of the Bible. For example, the Star of Bethlehem - it is not recorded in any historical account... but it is in Numbers 24. The NT states that the earth shook, the land darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two at the time of the resurrection. This is not recorded in any historical account... but is perfectly described in Amos 8 and Ezekiel 37."

Jesus' writings were probably lost, or he deemed it the jobs of other men to record what he was saying.

Traditional authorship, in Hebrew, would have been less mobile. However, I believe that we have agreed that the Apostles did not write the Gospels named after them. Therefore, what reason would an unbiased party have for fudging the books?

I have provided explanations for the similarities is Middle Eastern mythology:

"4) Middle Eastern mythology. I agree that the stories may have similar roots but that is possible without making the NT invalid. The events could have happened and multiple battles could have been fought against them. The events could have happened simultaneously (or almost) in different areas and the heroes of the day dealt with them in the most current fashion. The different cultures could have had a different name for the one legend who was the sole hero."

"3. What themes of Middle Eastern mythology? Why could they not be true for both? Gods=celestial signs. Check for most religions. Plausibility of Hell. Check for almost all religions. Easily angered Gods (are you referring to God or Jesus? God's anger plays no part in the factuality of Jesus' story. Whether God was or wasn't, does not make Jesus' story more believable.
Yes, most religions have a messiah. Are you suggesting that they all saw others doing it and wanted one for themselves? Why is it so hard to believe in multiple prophets?
Okay, there is a lot of talk about Jesus rising from the dead, but it never actually states that. He has not come back; all we know is that his body disappeared. That doesn't mean he has risen and is among us.
Oh really? Dionysus, God of wine? please don't tell me you made the connection between Dionysus' indulgence and Jesus changing water into wine."

Now, for mistranslations. I am sure the translators did their best but everyone makes mistakes and there is no set way to translate from one language to another. You need context clues, which may have been misread.

The Messiah stories do not directly pertain to Jesus. Back then, a messiah was one who could save them from foreign (i.e. Roman) empires.

nice tidbit of information: "Here's something interesting... "Thomas" is derived from the Aramaic T'oma. The same character is also called Didymus. T'oma and Didymus mean "twin" in Aramaic and Greek. Coincidence, or did was Thomas called "The Twin" because he looked like Jesus?

Did 500 people see Jesus, or did they mistake Thomas for Jesus??"
Why would Thomas be there?

Now, my opponent states that the Gospels match "pretty darn well with details in the OT". I suppose these details are not the ones that dissuade him of Jesus Christ's reality? Why is it so hard to believe, that, 30 years after the fact, people are having a hard time coming up with details? Isn't it more likely that they remember the big events?

Perhaps the Discovery Channel movie was not the most researched, but the theory holds. Jesus' tomb could easily have been found, worshipped, moved, lost, etc. Since we do not really know where it is, is it that surprising that we don't have records of people visiting? If we did, we might be able to find it.

In conclusion, the possibilities of this argument are endless. However, I hope I provided you with enough reasonable doubt to vote Con. Thanks to my opponent for the interesting debate.

Denied. Than you all and please vote Con
Debate Round No. 5
72 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MattPalumbo 6 years ago
MattPalumbo
You're correct, we don't have any writings from Jesus himself, hell, we don't have any writings from any first century Rabbi. It was customary for a Rabbi's disciples to write down his teachings.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Because while Jesus the CHRIST was the result of creative writing, Jesus of NAZARETH, the political radical, was not.
Posted by Jesusrules 7 years ago
Jesusrules
If he wasn't real, why were history books later on (a few decades after Jesus's death) made mentioning Jesus written by people who were haters of Christianity?
Posted by Eros 7 years ago
Eros
I have read a few of these existence debates and it occurred to me that some people object to God writing a new show based on an old formula. People like doctor shows. To me they are all the same boring hospital, yet someone thinks of it as creative writing.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
"You little hypocrite." LOL
-SAC

If you believe in something without evidence, then you can believe anything.
Posted by bored 8 years ago
bored
I agree!
I probably shouldn't be saying this, but I really don't think I should have won. Pro was much more prepared than I, and with 21 voters, it should not have been this close. Some vote bombing took place, I assume.
Posted by sorrylol 8 years ago
sorrylol
Haven't been on this site in quite awhile. I'm interested though, how exactly did Pro lose this debate? Something is skewed here.
Posted by snelld7 8 years ago
snelld7
OUch!! lol The virgin mary====> A cheater who lied in order to save a marriage lol
Posted by rangersfootballclub 8 years ago
rangersfootballclub
lets sum this debate up in a nutsshell shall we ?

jesus christ probably did exsist , but was greatly exagerrated as "rumours" got passed a long the line of time. He was most likley not seen as the jesus chrsit we know of today back then , and was probably just a natural leader and since mary the "virgin" was pregnant , everybody placed him into the spot of being jesus christ before he was born , most likley she was banging another guy at the time.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
yeahyeah - if you'd read the debate, you would have seen the part where I addressed exactly this. Not only were the gospels not written by the disciples that carry those names (probably people paraphrasing their teachings), but there WERE people that wrote about Christ during his lifetime, and make NO mention of him being the son of God.
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Vote Placed by kevsext 8 years ago
kevsext
JustCallMeTarzanboredTied
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Vote Placed by bombmaniac 8 years ago
bombmaniac
JustCallMeTarzanboredTied
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Vote Placed by snelld7 8 years ago
snelld7
JustCallMeTarzanboredTied
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Vote Placed by bored 8 years ago
bored
JustCallMeTarzanboredTied
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Vote Placed by Xie-Xijivuli 8 years ago
Xie-Xijivuli
JustCallMeTarzanboredTied
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Vote Placed by Lunar_Daze 8 years ago
Lunar_Daze
JustCallMeTarzanboredTied
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Vote Placed by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
JustCallMeTarzanboredTied
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Total points awarded:07