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

Jesus's death was NOT the greatest sacrifice ever known.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/25/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,358 times Debate No: 35997
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (3)




Jesus's death on the cross was not the greatest act of sacrifice or altruism the world has ever known. In fact, it was a selfish act and says nothing of the virtues of Jesus.

First round will be for acceptance.



I accept.

Let's do it.
Debate Round No. 1


ooberman forfeited this round.


Please don't count this againt Pro.
Debate Round No. 2


ooberman forfeited this round.


I'm hoping my opponent gets chance to provide a case soon. Please, again, if he gets back to this, ONLY fine him conduct.
Debate Round No. 3


So, I want to thank Con for the kind words, and patience.

This will be an abridged version, but hopefully meaty enough to spark a lively debate.

1. The Nature of Sacrifice
The idea of sacrifice is that something is lost, such that a greater good can come of it. When we think of the original version of religious sacrifice, we think of sacrificing an animal to please the gods so that they would provide some benefit (health, peace, rain, etc.).
The animal sacrificed was never a common roach, or a fly, but usually an animal that was valuable. A valueless item sacrificed is no sacrifice. For example, killing a mosquito for the exchange for fame and fortune would seem ridiculous. There is nothing sacrificed if the sacrificer doesn't value the sacrifice.
It's true that one could say they have "sacrificed" the single precious life of the mosquito, and if the sacrificer considered that one life precious, then, certainly, we can consider it a sacrifice.
The point is that, at least, the sacrificer must value that which is sacrificed.

Likewise, we wouldn't consider a billioniare giving away 2 cents a sacrifice. Unless, of course, that billionaire never gave away anything. In this way, we see that it's not just the amount given in the sacrifice, but the importance placed on it by the sacrificer.

In this way, the sacrifice of Jesus's life was meaningful to the people who accept his death as an important event, however, it is not a sacrifice.

Jesus, if human, was offering himself for a greater good and didn't consider his Earthly life to be anything particularly special. in fact, he felt the Earthly life was a temporary and almost meaningless. He believed that his death would result in a promotion: a better life in Heaven with a perfect, spiritual body. His body was a husk, or shell; a set of old clothes that actually kept him from entering teh Kingdom of God.

If Jesus was God, then he not only believed this to be true, but knew it. He knew he was doing nothing more than shedding his Earthly skin for Heavenly perfection. He was actually improving his situation. He lost nothing, since it was so easily gained, and so easily dismissed and considered to be virtually evil.

2. A Greater Sacrifice
Here is a greater sacrifice: An atheist who knowingly gives his life for some universally recognized good.

Let's imagine a scenario in which an atheist joins the army to fight a real and present enemy, knowing he will die.
Or, an atheist runs into a burning school to save children, knowing she will likely die.

The atheist believes that this is their one and only life. This life is infinitely precious, yet, by giving up this life for something else, this is a true sacrifice. There can be no greater sacrifice than that which results in the permanent destruction of something infinitely valuable.

Mortal life to Jesus was not infinitely valuable. It was an inconvenience. Something we should all desire to shed for an eternal, spiritual life.

Or, a more grotesque example only able to be imagined "good" under religion: A woman kills her children so that they will go to Heaven, even if it means she will go to Hell for eternity.

This later example, of Andrea Yates, is a greater sacrifice under the rules of Christianity than that of Jesus, but clearly absurd by any other measure. That is, Andrea Yates (a wretchedly mentally ill woman who believed God told her to kill her children to save them from the influences of Satan when they got older), would have known that even with God's command to kill her children, there was a good chance she would roast in Hell for eternity.

However, this was a worthy sacrifice if the Christian religion is true: if the example of Christ is true.

Imagine, there are 100 million Muslim children in the world. All of them are destined to Hell accroding to the religiopn of Jesus. If one were to kill all of them, God would have no reason to send those poor children to Hell, but would clearly send the murder to Hell.

However, that murder just saved 100 million souls that, if they had lived to an older age of accountability, would have gone to Hell.

Isn't this the exact example Jesus gave us? Yet, Jesus believed he would NOT go to Hell. Jesus believed he would save souls AND benefit.

Whereas, a truly psychotic killer could believe he would go to Hell by saving souls... yet, perhaps god would say "Gee, you saved so many souls that I was going to damn to Hell, you are actually a hero! Come on up to Heaven!"

And, in fact, this is exactly what we see from the examples in Christianity where Moses, Samson and other brutal murderers are lionized for murdering babies.

Yet, as we see, the death of Jesus pales in comparison to any of these examples. Jesus was under no impression that he would suffer. In fact, he was surprised on the cross by what seems to be a realizeation that he was wrong about there even being a God in the first place ("elohim elohim lama sabachthani"). (This sudden realization that he made a mistake doesn't augment the case for his sacrifice, it diminishes it. It makes the case that he may have tried harder to defend himself in his trial, instead of gladly going to his death).

So, not only can we think of greater sacrifices, especially if there is no God, we can even think of greater sacrifices if there is a God.

In summation, Jesus' death, while meaningful to many, and may actually be our path to salvation, is not a sacrifice. Certainly, it is not the greatest sacrifice ever known.

It wasn't a sacrifice, it was a promotion.



I thank Pro for his arguments, and hope his business is doing well.

P1: The nature of sacrifice

To quote my opponent, "the nature of sacrifice is that something is lost, such that a greater good can come of it." I agree entirely. This is exactly what happens in the Bible. Jesus' both the Son of God, and God Himself, chose to sacrifice an eternal life of whatever He wanted, to come down to Earth and teach, care for, and eventually die for, us.

He didn't have to even enter this Earth. He didn't have to do anything for humanity. Being God, He could've created us to be little robots or scared little creatures that ran from an Almighty boot that periodically squished us for His entertainment. But rather, He created us in love. Desiring an eternal relationship with us, He entered His earthly body, what my opponent rightly called "a husk, or shell; a set of old clothes that actually kept Him from entering the kindgom of God".

It would be like a millionaire, billionaire, googol-aire, whatever, who had anything they could ever ask for. They had no obligation to anyone, and were not morally restricted. Yet, they saw all the poor of their surrounding city or hometown, and they decided to live with them, bless them, and give them things. Eventually, they had to go home, but not before they subjected themselves to torture (at the hands of those he had blessed), to create a way for all those less fortunate to live with him in paradise for eternity.

That is essentially the story of Jesus' sacrifice. He lost everything. He went from a God with literally everything and nothing to hold Him back, not physics, morals, nor even logic... to a Man... with no home, money, safety, or even a friend to help Him in His time of need.

He did that all for the people who killed Him.

And that's not a sacrifice? Who else has done this? Who else has even had the status that He did? Who can say that they've been God... and gave it up?

Yes. He returned to being God, but that's because He is who He is. If a soldier goes on the front lines and fights, is wounded, tortured, and suffers this all, but is able to return home. Is his sacrifice lessened by the fact that he didn't die? Neither would it make sense for God's sacrifice to be cheapened by the fact that He returned, especially since it was because He could stay God that we have the ability to live eternally in heaven.

P2: A greater sacrfice

I agree that the examples my opponent provides are great sacrifices. However, I've already shown that Jesus' sacrifice was greater due to the fact that He gave up an infinite amount of everything in order to give us eternal life in bliss. Any sacrifice includes the giving away of something valued and precious to gain something even greater. Maybe it's not personal gain, as in the case of Jesus. But in all cases the thing gained must be of higher value in the eyes of the one who is sacrificing (E.G. those the soldier dies defending).

Whether or not someone believes or knows they have something waiting on the other side is inconsequential. Just like with the soldier who didn't die, his sacrfice is not cheapened by his survival. He still gave up everything for the benefit of others. However, the things he gave up pale in comparison to Jesus' things He gave up. And the benefits gained for others are a mere shadow of the benefits from Jesus' sacrifice.

Jesus did not kill, but made a way for life. I do not see the comparison between the evil acts listed by my opponent, and the Holy sacrifice by Jesus Christ. Jesus gave up His own life, and provided an option for people to live in perfection.

These people and acts describe murdering and taking away the life of people, something the Bible tells us not to do, in order to "send them to heaven". If this was truly a moral act in Christianity worldview, there wouldn't be an opposition to abortion, would there? No.

Next, my opponent seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of how one is saved. We are not saved by works in Christianity, but through the acceptance of Jesus' sacrifice. The idea of "murdering enough people to get to heaven" is nowhere supported in scripture, quite preposterous and perverse, and is unrelated to this debate round.

These "murderers" in the Bible that my opponent says are "lionized" are not so for their murderous acts. When they do kill wrongly, they are punished for it. (Such as Moses being outcast, or Samson going blind and being tortured.) However, if my opponent refers to Samson's killing of the Phillistines after they gauged his eyes out and enslaved him, I will remind him that they were at war.

As for Jesus "realizing" something on the cross, this is unsupported by scripture again. Jesus was just asking why God has forsaken Him, because He had never felt something like it before. He was literally going to Hell for humanity's good. That is worse than death. I think this actually strengthens my case, and thank my opponent for bringing it up.

I think I've said all I need to say in the rebuttals to my opponent's points.

Jesus wasn't promoting Himself. He never had to come down. He never even had to give us hope for life. He chose to enter Earth, to confine Himself, spend time with us, die for us, go to Hell for us (knowingly... which, as I will point out, is something an atheist has never done, considering their lack of belief in Hell). He did this all to give us the greatest opportunity ever.

Yet my opponent insists that this was selfish on His part.

I can't think of anything greater. I certainly can't even consider going to Hell for someone, much less when I wouldn't be morally obligated to, have any reason to, and that person hated me.

Can you? Would you?

I look forward to my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 4


ooberman forfeited this round.


Well... my arguments stand unrefuted so...

Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
Sorry I couldn't follow through on this debate. As I said, business has spiked and I'll be busy for a few weeks.
Thanks, Justin, for agreeing to the debate. Next time, I'll have to leave more time between responses...
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
I'm a small business owner and business suddenly spiked. Didn't have time to post. Will try to do it tomorrow.
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
oops, was busy over the last few days and forgot about deadline. I'll have something ready for next round
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
Justin, just write "accept" in the debate section and let's "do this thing!" Rock on!
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
I contest that even if Jesus was God, then it is still not the greatest sacrifice ever. Whether God exists or not.
Posted by Sotonader 3 years ago
This entire debate will be based on the presupposition of whether A) God exists and B) Jesus was God in the flesh are true or false.

If A and B are true, then it is undoubtedly true that Jesus death was the greatest sacrifice in that the Creator of mankind took human form in order to save His creation from their transgressions.

If A and B(which cannot be true unless A is true) are false, then it is without a doubt that Jesus' death was not the greatest sacrifice ever known.

I look forward to seeing the result. Good luck Ooberman and Justin!
Posted by Babeslayer 3 years ago
The greatest sacrifice ever known is a three way tie between Donnie Darko killing himself for the sake of Gretchen, and the universe, Spock dying for the sake of the Enterprise & The Iron Giant blowing himself up for the sake of Hogarth, as well as the town.
Posted by JustinAMoffatt 3 years ago
Cool :) let's do 4.
Posted by imabench 3 years ago
Dumbledore is the all-knowing wizard who mentored Harry Potter who died to bring peace to the wizarding world and ultimately set the stage for Harry to beat Voldemort

Jesus I think is the name of my mexican ghostbuster who busts ghosts that look exactly like piles of leaves who died when he got hit by a truck.
Posted by TULIP 3 years ago
Who's that?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by yoyopizza 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: I did agree with Pro, not at all because of his arguments, that was terrible. I gave Con spelling and sources, despite both being unnecessary but since I gave Pro that point earlier he didn't deserve... yep. I would love to debate you myself on the topic, and maybe we can actually get a debate going :)
Vote Placed by leonardlewis4 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con argued effectively against all of Pro's points. Pro forfeited rounds and did not refute any of Con's points. Both sides committed a few fallacies during presentation of their position (e.g. special pleading, false analogy, question-begging epithets, irrelevant thesis, etc...).
Vote Placed by GOP 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument stands, because Pro forfeited and therefore did not refute Con.