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The Contender
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Jesus's story is just another version of many other ancient deities

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,915 times Debate No: 24374
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (37)
Votes (5)




Some people believe that Jesus's story came from many other sources, (ex. Horus, Krishna, Buddha, Mithras, etc.) due to a number of "similarities". I am here to disprove that. The first round is merely an acceptance round.
I will be using this definition of "version".
Version - a particular account of some matter, as from one person or source, contrasted with some other account


I'd like to thank my opponent for opening this debate. I'm going to present my case very briefly this round, and go into more detail/sources when I know where my opponent intends to refute me. This ought to be an interesting discussion.

Since my opponent said he will disprove my case, he accepts the burden of proof.

I accept his definition of version, so long as "one person or source" is interpreted as being from the "one" source of "many other" ancient deities as explained in the resolution. If any grammatical purists think the two are incompatible, then the resolution must come first.

1. If Jesus ever existed, we know almost nothing about him.
There are three main sources for Jesus - canonical gospels, non-canonical gospels, and people who wrote about him in passing (a group I call the "fragmentry writers" - this includes Paul's letters). None of them knew about Jesus.

The canonical gospels first appeared in fragmentry form around 35-65 years after Jesus' death (the average life expectancy in Judea at the time was only 29). All are based on hearsay - Mark, the "closest" to Jesus in this game of ancient Chinese Whispers, wrote at the fourth remove from Jesus. That interpolations and mistakes crept into this process is evident from the range of contradictions - internally (ie Matthew 1:17 and Matthew 1:2), across texts (ie 2 Timothy 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 7:12) and between texts (ie Acts 20:35 referencing a non-existent passage). They also contradict historical fact (ie Luke thinks Nazareth is on a mountain). Furthermore, The texts themselves are written in a midrashic fashion (religious storybooks), especially Mark, and have been further edited over time (for instance, the addition of a resurrection ending in Mark, which is why Mark's Old Testament references to doom and destruction make the book have a "surprise" ending).

The fragments all come from writers born after 30AD, and the earliest manuscripts for any of them date to the third century. Most have been edited over time (such as the Josephus texts, the original versions of which were even quoted by Origen). Furthermore, many of the writings actually talk about Jesus in the future tense, as if Jesus had not yet come for the first time (ie Romans 11, Philippians 3). Finally, for every writer who did write a fragment, dozens of others do not, which is suspicious at the least.

The non-canonical gospels are based on the same unreliable fragments, are usually marcionist or docetist (Jesus did not come in the flesh), and with only two exceptions do not actually tell us anything about his life. The two exceptions (Thomas and Judas) give a completely different narrative to the canonical gospels, another contradiction that is evidence of Chinese whispers going on.

2. If not the actual Jesus, then who are the gospels about?
The gospels today record the narrative of somebody, but it is extremely unlikely that this somebody is Jesus. Rather, with later interpolations both before and after authorship, coupled with the likelihood that there was no Jesus at all (given the complete lack of evidence, the time differential and the origin of the story admitted to being "divinely revealed" by Paul and Peter in Galatians 1 and 2 respectively), it makes it much more likely that the guy talked about in the gospels is somebody else. With the Chinese whispering factor, it is further likely that this "somebody else" draws on a range of influences of different religions.

As it so happens, ancient Judea was a melting pot of religious customs and beliefs. Celsus was the first writer to notice this (this is about 50 years after the gospels), so the idea is not a new one. Here are some of the beliefs in Judea that almost certainly influenced the story of Jesus:

2a) Orphic Tradition
Based on Greek Eleusinian Mysteries, Mesopotamian beliefs and Egyptian mythology. Similarities include:
  • Dionysus was born of a virgin on same day as Jesus in a manger
  • Dionysus was a travelling teacher
  • Dionysus called "Only Begotten Son," "Savior," "Redeemer," "Sin Bearer," "Anointed One," and the "Alpha and Omega."
  • Dionysus rode triumphantly on the same animal as Jesus (profanity filter); symbolism of lambs
  • Bread and wine as symbols of Dionysus; transubstantiation; turned water into wine
  • Dionysus was put on trial for claiming to be God
  • Dionysus died and returned on the same days as Jesus; death resembled crucifixion
  • Dionysus promised a happy afterlife in return for worship (filled with wine)

2b) Egyptian religion
Similarities include:
  • Horus was born of a virgin with a star signalling his coming in a manger; birth celebrated in Egypt on the same day of the year as Jesus
  • Horus' father was the God Osiris, who judges the dead and died for people's sins (but was born again)
  • Horus' parents fled to Egypt to save his life
  • Horus baptised at age 30; baptiser was beheaded; started ministry afterwards
  • Horus performed many of Jesus miracles, ie exorcism, healing, walking on water
  • Horus was crucified, died, and rose again after three days

2c) Zoroastrianism
Ancient religion still active today. Similarities include:
  • Zoroaster born of a virgin; conception called "immaculate"; Zoroaster called "word made flesh"
  • Zoroaster astounded wise men with his wisdom as a child
  • Zoroaster began his ministry with a baptism at age 30; baptised in a river with fire/water/"Holy Wind"
  • Zoroaster was subsequently tempted by Satan in the wilderness
  • Zoroaster performed many miracles ie exorcism, healing
  • Zoroaster slain; will return in a future "second coming"
This is only a tiny selection of the beliefs that probably had some degree of influence on the development of the early church.

My argument is that since the story of Jesus is likely to be derived from other dieties, Jesus is likely to be just another version of the many figures that have gone before. There is zero evidence that any elements of the story of Jesus were not taken from previous religions, and zero evidence that the Jesus story had an original Jesus behind it to act as an alternative account.

I look forward to seeing which of these facts my opponent denies and having a great discussion.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting and also for providing an interesting approach.

Since I did say that opening round is an acceptance round (I understand though because you're pro) then you can't argue the final round. Now I will begin debunking my opponents arguments.

1. Jesus had his 12 apostles.

"None of them knew about Jesus." Except for the ones that spent their lives following him around and preaching his word. The 4 gospels are written from people who were Jesus's disciples. Mark witnessed Jesus's death. Peter was made the first pope. Paul had his life turned around once he saw the light and became an apostle. They were published a number of years after Jesus's death, but they were written by people who lived by Christ. These "contradictions" you point out aren't really contradictions. It's almost like you picked out random verses.
You said that not everyone who knew Jesus wrote in the Bible. Of course not! Why would they extend the book even more to include stories of Jesus that have already been told.

"The fragments all come from writers born after 30 AD." That's not true at all. Paul's writings take up much of the New Testament, and he was born in 5 AD (sources below). When you say that "many writing talk about Jesus in the future tense", I actually understand what you're saying there from looking at the Scripture. But the reason they talk about him in the future tense is because they're speaking of Jesus in Heaven, the Kingdom of God, the afterlife.

When you point out your contradictions with Thomas and Judas, you're going to have to give a specific passage.

2. a. Dionysus, or Bacchus, was the Roman/Greek god of wine.

  • While Dionysus was a "travelling teacher", he was not a spiritual teacher like Jesus. The legend goes he travelled around teaching people the secrets of the vine (wine making).

  • There is no record of Dionysus having December 25th as a significant day. Besides, while Jesus's birthday is celebrated on December 25th (the day known as birth of the sun in Pagan traditions), it is believed that he was born sometime in the spring. There are actually 2 accounts of Dionysus's birth, neither of which imply a virgin birth:

Zeus impregnates a mortal woman, Semele, much to the jealously of Hera. Hera convinces Semele to ask Zeus to reveal his glory to her, but because no mortal can look upon the gods and live, Semele is instantly incinerated. Zeus then takes the fetal Dionysus and sews him into his own thigh until his birth. Dionysus is the product of Zeus and Persephone. Hera becomes insanely jealous and tries to destroy the infant by sending the titans to kill him. Zeus comes to the rescue but it's too late- the Titans had eaten everything but Dionysus's heart. Zeus then takes the heart and implants it into the womb of Semele.

  • Titles - The list is fabricated, as Dionysus was only a semi-deity. Example:"Only Begotten Son" - Zeus had several relationships with women and fathered many children. This is just an example to show that the list is fabricated, because Zeus had many other children and Dionysus was merely the ancient god of wine
  • "Bread and Wine as symbols"--again, this is because he was the god of wine.
  • Dionysus's death was not anything like a crucifixion, he was eaten alive by Titans as an infant. After that, he ascended to Mount Olympus and had an infant rebirth.

As you can see, it is ridiculous to compare these two because they are very different.

2. b. Horus

  • Horus was NOT born to a virgin. His story goes like this: When we examine Isis as Horus' mother, we are told Isis was not a virgin, but the widow of Osiris. Isis practices magic to raise Osiris from the dead so she can bear a son that would avenge his death. Isis then becomes pregnant from the sperm of her deceased husband. Again, no virgin birth occurs:

"[Isis]made to rise up the helpless members [penis] of him whose heart was at rest, she drew from him his essence [sperm], and she made there from an heir [Horus]."

  • Horus's birth is celebrated in the month of Khoiak (October/November)
  • Horus's parents fled to another part of Egypt, but not to Egypt because they were already there.
  • Horus was never crucified. Egyptian mythology never mentions him dying either. The closest thing to a resurrection he has is his merging with Osiris.
You can see here that there are plenty of differences. Hopefully enough to dispel the theory that they are the same person (many important facts like birth and death are nothing alike). If you would like more differences, I can provide them in the next round.

2. b. Zoroastrianism

  • Again, no mention of a virgin birth in the account of his birth. Here it is: Zoroaster's parents (Dukdaub and Pourushasp) were a normal married couple who conceive a son through natural means. Zoroaster is described as laughing when he is born as well as having a visible, glowing aura about him:

"[Zoroaster]had come into the posterity...who are Pourushasp, his father, and Dukdaub who is his mother. And also while he is being born and
for the duration of life, he produced a radiance, glow, and brilliance from the place of his own abode..."
Denkard, Bk 5 2:1-2

  • Zoroaster began is ministry at age 30 like Jesus, but that's only because Zoroaster came out of seclusion at that time. He had been shunned and ignored for 12 years until his religion was accepted by King Vishtaspa. Jesus had followers much earlier in his life.

  • Zoroaster was slaughtered (not crucified) the age of 77. His death had no spiritual purpose.
  • Zoroaster is not mentioned in texts until hundreds of years after the widespread of Christianity. The Zoroastrian priests added his "incredible acts" hundreds of years after his death, to make the religion more appealing.

The similarities you mentioned that I didn't cover were mainly "miracles" they performed. That being
because many gods at the time had similar stories of miracles (because they believe they are holy). This doesn't prove that they are the same person.

Jesus is not the same as others you mention. Not only were the historical accounts of each religion at different
time periods, they also had many differences. More than similarities.

My argument is that the religions can coexist and have their savior - they are not the same story, and Jesus was a real person.



I thank my opponent for answering my contentions. As my opponent has requested, I won't use the last round.

1. Apostles
1a. Mark
Randel McCraw Helms' insightful book "Who Wrote the Gospels?" discusses Mark's testimony in some depth. She concluded that Mark must have been writing at the third remove from Jesus, and almost certainly at the fourth. There was no evidence, either within Mark's gospel or outside of it, that Mark actually knew Jesus, and in fact, given that the gospel was written long after Jesus' death when less than a few percentage points of the population would be still alive (historians think maybe one or two because of the recent two wars and high mortality rate - Iraeneus, the church father, himself said that Mark did not know Jesus but wrote "Peter's testimony" - which, first off, Paul revealed to be "divinely revealed" (Galatians 2), and secondly, is incredibly unlikely if you know anything about the life-story of Peter, as there is no convenient gap where he could have written memoirs (if the book of Acts is not mistaken).

1b. Peter
There are two books of Peter in the Bible. The authenticity of 2 Peter is almost certainly impossible to be from Peter according to every sincere scholar that has investigated the work ( Furthermore, the style of 1 Peter makes it highly unlikely that Peter wrote it, because it seems to come from a Greek source, not a Hebrew one ( At best, the authorship of the epistles is highly contestable.

1c. Paul
The page you linked gives a "not found" error for me, but it's true, Paul was born in 5AD according to church accounts. When I made the statement, I was referring more to the secular authors than to fragmentry Christian writers, and even there, Paul would be the only known exception. Still, as I'm sure you know, the book of Acts describes Paul's conversion. His testimony is just as poor as Peters, according to his letters to the Galatians, and he admits several times to never having met or known Jesus. It isn't even Chinese whispers - he got all his knowlege about Jesus from himself! The first time he met the apostle Peter, all that is recorded in his letters is that he argued with him on theology, not learnt more about Jesus. In fact there is no biblical or extra-biblical evidence Paul ever really interviewed an eyewitness at all about Jesus.

2. Contradictions
2a. Matthew 1:17 and Matthew 1:2
Present conflicting genelogies of Jesus Christ.

2b. 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.

2c. Acts 20:35
Passage referred to in this verse does not actually exist.

2d. Thomas/Judas
Thomas - saying 42 "Jesus said, 'Become passers-by.'" - clearly contradicts the Good Samaritan narrative.
Judas - the very end completely contradicts the Gethsemene narrative, and explains that some scribes would have betrayed Jesus anyway if Judas had not done it because they "were afraid of the people", indicating that Jesus was not a popular prophet but an infamous one.

3. Lack of evidence
3a. Why would others extend the book even more to include stories of Jesus that have already been told?
First of all, the Bible wasn't compiled into a single "book" until at least the late third century, and gospels were not grouped together until the late second. Second of all, Mark didn't write for 30 years, and the other gospels were all much later. It's as if nobody thought to mention OPEC until about 5 years ago, and didn't put all these fragments about OPEC into a complete narrative for about another 15 years. You'd think that somebody would have thought it important enough the mention Jesus before then, would you not? Because at that time, during that 30 year gap, no stories had been told, and a whole generation lived and died.

3b. Future tense
Take Romans 11 as an example. It starts with a few OT references, where God explains that the Israelites were in the dark because the savior had not yet come. He then explains that this shows God has also promised salvation to Gentiles, and he uses an analogy to explain that thus "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." None of this is clearly about the afterlife, but prima face about things happening on Earth - ie it seems unlikely, given Paul's other teachings, that the gentiles would be able to repent after they die. This makes it clear that "The deliverer will come" refers not to a coming after death, but a future coming in life.

4. Alternatives
4a. Dionysus
  • My opponent agrees he was a travelling teacher, and used similar symbols.
  • December 25th was the date placed by the writer Macrobius for Dionysus, previously it was December 17th. Still, Macrobius assertion is likely to have derived from earlier, unpublished rituals. It seems unlikely he would have just made it up and everyone initiated into the mysteries to just accept it.
  • Persephone's title is "the virgin goddess." If you think it strange she can still be a virgin after mothering a child with a god, just look at Mary mother of Jesus.
  • These are all titles taken from Orphic mystery writings and some later coins. In the Orphic sect, Dionysus had a much greater role than merely being God of wine. I suspect that my opponent is confusing Greek religion with Orphic tradition.
  • With the death, Bacchus was slain as an infant. Here's what that looked like:

And then he was slain a second time by being hung from a tree. It wasn't a crucifixtion, but many of the elements are the same:

And here's an ancient plaster cast of the same thing:

And here's Jesus:

See the similarity?

4b. Horus
  • Similar to Persephone, Isis was called the "divine virgin," even though she clearly concieved with a God (or rather, in this case, a golden phallus made of the god's scattered body parts).
  • Being a non-human, Horus didn't have a set "birthday," but at Winter Solstice celebrations it was custom to offer to him and parade images of a manger/baby representing him, so I think that's as clear as it gets. As you rightly point out, though, his holy month was Khoiak. His birth was not celebrated then specifically, but rather he was celebrated more generally.
  • The point about the fleeing is that Egypt was the place of refuge for the appointed saviour.
  • The Egyptian death myth is a bit strange, but it revolves around the idea that Gods are timeless - so when Osiris and Horus merged, the crucifixion and resurrection of Horus became that of God. Egyptian archeologist and art expert Thomas Doane wrote about this in "Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions" - he concludes "Horus ... was represented, like ... Jesus, with outstretched arms in the vault of heaven." The early Christian Minucius actually wrote about how he got fustrated with Egyptian Osiris cross-symbolism.

4c. Zoroaster
  • There are two accounts of his birth - one non-virgin, but then this was replaced by a virgin account by the time of Jesus. Also, did not Jesus have a glowing aura at his birth? Joseph even had to recoil from the aura, it was that strong...
  • There is no evidence Jesus had followers before the age of 30.
  • I never said Zoroaster was crucified. Glad we agree he was slain by his enemies.
  • I have already shown that the Christian texts, just like the Zoroastrian, were edited over time (ie Mark's ending).

While it is true Jesus is not exactly the same as any of the above, it is also true that Jesus incorporates all of the elements of these Gods and more. Nothing about the story of Jesus is unique - therefore, it is all an amalgamation of many stories from many dieties. And now I have no characters left.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for complying with my request.

1. Apostles
1a. Mark
Mark was alive during Jesus's time. It is a widely accepted fact that he died in 68 AD. Many approximate his birth in 15 AD. He was young when Judas betrayed Jesus, and he mentions this account in the book of Mark. Iraeneus was a saint, but not the church's father! Besides, I don't know where you would've gotten the idea that he said that. I'll need evidence.

1b. The two epistles written by Peter were actually written by St. Peter. First of all, he signed each letter. Yes, it was from a Greek source. But believe it or not, people could speak more than one language back then. He wrote it in Greek because he was writing to people who spoke Greek. It only makes sense.

1c. I'm sorry the link didn't work. When I click the address bar and hit enter though, it works all of a sudden. I'm not sure why.

While it is true that Paul didn't meet Jesus in person, he saw a vision that turned his life around. Whether or not youbelieve Jesus is real, it is an accepted fact that he persecuted Christians, had a revelation of sorts (even his companions at the time heard an audible sound). He completely changed his life after that experience, going from one extreme to another. See Galatians 1:13-14 and Acts 7:57-8:3

If you have the evidence saying that Paul's meeting with Peter was not beneficial and only had arguments, I would appreciate a source.

Either way, Paul wrote letters, not narratives.

2. Contradictions

2a. Matthew 1:17 and Matthew 1:2
I don't see the contradiction here. Maybe you're confusing Judah with Judas, two people from completely different time periods, but they both check with each other.

2b. 2 Timothy 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 7:12
I see why you have confusion about this, but it is not a contradiction. In 2 Timothy 3:16 he says that God is writing the scripture through the author. In 1 Corinthians 7:12, Paul is saying to the recipient of the letter that the particular sentence is not God's word, but is an exception because it's his personal opinion. So not a contradiction.

2c. Acts 20:35
Here, Luke is not referring to a passage. I would recommend that you read John 20:30. Not everything Jesus did was included in the Bible. So not a contradiction at all; he wasn't referencing another part of the Bible.

2d. Thomas/Judas
Again, Thomas's is not a contradiction. The Good Samaritan Narrative is saying "have mercy", and Thomas's quote of Jesus can also be translated as "be wanderers". This is for a few reasons. Physically, he wanted them to travel around teaching His word. A passer-by observes, and moves on. He was also telling them that they have to keep moving on in life. There's a great article here about that:

As far as Judas's, once again, you'll need to provide a source for that since I don't know what you're referencing.

3. Lack of evidence
3a. Even though the Bible may have not been grouped together in a large book called "The Holy Bible", the apostles were still travelling around teaching the word of the Lord. Did they think their narratives would be the most widely read and controversial book of all time? Probably not. Even though they knew that Jesus would be important for centuries to come, the idea came to them later that they should write down their personal experience with him. Much of the Bible that was written later was Paul's letters, so it wasn't necessary that that be written as soon as Jesus died.

3b. How do you know that he's not referring to the afterlife? How do you know where his intentions were? Many denominations believe that people can repent after they die, we just don't know. Either way, the passage you referenced really doesn't act like Jesus hasn't come yet. It said something will happen and they will be saved. This is a very generic statement, and you really can't draw such conclusions from that.

4. Alternatives
4a. Dionysus
  • I did say they were travelling teachers, but one taught spiritually and one taught wine-making. Completely different.
  • Once again:
    • Dionysus - Born on December 17th (or you can have the 25th if you want)
    • Jesus - Born sometime in the spring, birth celebrated on December 25th because of ancient Pagan "birth of the sun"
  • Virgin birth, still different
    • In Persephone's version, the title "virgin goddess" meant she was unmarried. She was still said to be the product of two gods.
    • In Seleme's version, Dionysus is the product of Zeus and Seleme. Nowhere does it say she had a virgin birth.
    • I am not confusing Greek mythology. He was not the "only begotten son" of Zeus. Zeus had many other kids. If you could source your claims that all of those titles are actually used in Greek mythology, that'd be great.
  • As it turns out, that plaster cast came from about 200 AD. Nowhere in Greek mythology does it actually say that Dionysus was crucified.

4b. Horus
  • I couldn't a source where Isis was known as the "divine virgin". The goes that Osiris was chopped up into many pieces, so Isis brought him back from the dead (except his penis was eaten by a fish) so she made an artificial one. A little after that, Horus was made. She was not a "virgin".
  • Your point about a birthday proves my point even further
  • I don't see what your point is on the last one.
    • A few people will always come out with theories like that to gain money and publicity.
    • Horus and Jesus both had their arms outstretched in a picture. That's not that big of a deal.

You can see from the points above that since they are so completely different, it is absurd to say that they're the same person.

4c. Zoroaster

  • So that just means that the Zoroastrians had to make his birth more interesting as time went by. It's not a very big religion, so they tried very hard to attract followers about 2,000 years ago.
  • The slight "editing" you call Mark's ending was because the original ending was lost and recovered around the 2nd Century. They didn't make anything up, because the ending matches the other gospels.


    You say that nothing about the story of Jesus is unique. The Bible is thousands of pages long, and you happened to find a generic similarity with other gods. Many of those traits (i.e. the miracles performed) pertain to any god that people believe in.
I thank my opponent for debating with me and I look forward to a great closing round.



I thank my opponent for an enjoyable debate and will now proceed to conclude my case.

1. Did any of the writers of the NT know Jesus?
It is true that Mark was alive in Jesus' time, but false that he knew Jesus. He was not a fragmentry writer as he wrote a whole gospel. And the book of Mark does not state "I was only young at the time" or anything like that. The closest you get is if you assume the guy in the linen cloth who ran away was Mark, which is:
  • not supported by the text, and
  • makes no sense if the story is midrashic, which it is, and
  • at best, proves that Mark saw Jesus passingly and then ran away from him, which is different from knowing him and his teachings. Remember I'm not saying Jesus did not exist, only that the reporters knew almost nothing about him
Also, Iraenus was one of the "fathers" of the church, in the same sense as people in the USA talk about their "founding fathers" (

If signing each letter is sufficient to prove he wrote the letter, then I guess you'll also need to accept the Acts of Peter, Gospel of Peter, Preaching of Peter, Revelation of Peter, and Judgement of Peter too. Furthermore, Acts 4:13 states Peter was "unlearned and ignorant," which given the state of education in Judea at the time, probably meant he could not read or write, let alone speak two languages. Poor fishers rarely got much of an education at all.

Paul was boastful of the argument he had with Peter and his victory over him, talking about it in 2 Galatians:11-21 - that argument is all that is recorded about the meeting. Luke writing about Paul's revelation is probably what he heard from Paul himself, given that Luke says he got his information from "eyewitnesses". So how do you know that Paul knew anything about Jesus? The point is that Paul is not a primary - nor I would argue even a secondary - source for the life of Jesus, since he did not know him and did not ask others about them.

2. Evidence of Chinese Whispers - are there contradictions?
Matthew 1:17 vs 1:2
Contradiction is simple - the passage starting 1:2 lists 41 generations, and 1:17 states there would be 42. Matthew must have skipped one (see for the lists).

The text in Timothy does not state "unless stated otherwise", it says that ALL of the scripture is of God. Corinthians is a part of the scripture. It states it is not of God. So while you can say Corinthians is the exception and Timothy is the rule, the fact is that Timothy does not allow for exceptions to be made.

Given that Luke wrote a gospel, and all his other gospel quotations were from his own gospel, it seems unlikely that Luke forgot to write it in. He opens his own gospel by saying that he has carefully investigated "everything" and will write an "orderly account" of his investigations, showing that he did not intend to leave information he has found out about Jesus out.

For Thomas, the idea of a person who passes by and then moves on sounds suspiciously like the Pharisee in the story of the Good Samaritan. Tell me how the two are not alike.
For Judas, the translation is under copyright to National Geographic so I can't cite it, but if you have it then it's the very end of the book.

3. Evidence of Chinese Whispers - Lack of Evidence
3a. So the apostles preach the story of Jesus for two lifetimes and then one of them gets a smart idea and decides to write it down? Doesn't sound very likely, or else that would make the apostles immensely stupid. At the very least one would expect more than just a fragmentry saying or two after one lifetime.

3b. I know because if what you're saying is true, then Paul is arguing that Gentiles can repent after death. However, this is inconsistant with the rest of the Bible which makes it clear that we are judged based on how we act in life, not after death. That's why God did such things as write 10 commandments etc. Otherwise the whole thing would be quite pointless and we might as well not bother with the whole Bible. Besides that, your interpretation makes no textual sense in context, which is why I went through the whole text passage by passage last round. As anyone can see who has read the passage, it is definitely NOT generic.

4. Gods that contributed to the Jesus narrative.
Orphic Tradition Dionysus
  • Dionysus' teaching was highly spiritual - as the "good" side of man personified, he was the teacher of Orphism, which included many spiritual beliefs ("")
  • As my opponent will do several times, he is confusing what actually happened with what people believe happened. We're dealing with what some people thought the birthday was, not what the actual birthday of Dionysus or Jesus was (which we don't know in both cases anyway). People's beliefs are what provide the evidence that one influenced the other, as people influence on the basis of belief. In this case, what people believe about Dionysus influenced what they believed (and thus passed on) about Jesus.
  • Calling the mother of a God a "virgin" is sufficient to establish similarity.
  • Seleme birthed the reincarnation of Dionysus, after he had previously been born to the virgin Persephone.
  • Dionysus was called "Dionysus Zagreus" by Orpheus himself, in his first manifestation. "Zagreus" is not a Greek word but part of the vocabulary of the Orphic priests. It means either "first-born" or "only child", however when other children have been born the correct word is the Greek "Prototokos." "Only child" is thus the only gramatically correct translation. Can also be rendered as "Only begotten son."
  • That specific cast was of a piece of jewellery made around then, but the symbolism goes back to well back, as is evidenced by my red-figure amphora from the golden age of Athens. I should add that the first Christian jewellery of Jesus hanging from a cross dates from about the same time as this one.

Egyptian Horus
  • I am not saying they are the same, only that the story of Horus was one influence on the story of Jesus
  • Isis was called the Divine Virgin. Dr. Reginald E. Witt wrote in his book "In Isis in the Ancient World" that she was "The Egyptian goddess who was equally "the Great Virgin" (hwnt) and "Mother of the God" was the object of the very same praise bestowed upon her successor [Mary, Virgin Mother of Jesus]." In fact on the temple wall of the Abydos Temple of Seti I, Isis herself says "I am the great virgin." She sounds like a virgin to me.
  • Similar art implies similar religious motifs - the point is that it shows people believed he was crucified. The truth of it is irrelevant - all that matters is that people believed it and could have applied it to other "saviour" narratives.

Zoroastrian Zoroaster
  • It's completely irrelevant whether the myth of the virgin birth is true. What matters is that some people believed it.
  • My opponent's narrative for Mark's gospel's ending cannot be true, because:
    • I gave litrary evidence in round 1 that such an ending makes no sense in the context of the story, and
    • Eusebius (in "Quaestiones ad Marinum I") states the ending is "not accurate" (this was shortly after the "change"), and
    • Jerome (in Epistle CXX.3) testifies all the authentic manuscripts of Mark lack the resurrection ending
  • Furthermore, the ending of Mark differs from the other gospels in several important respects, such as who discovered the empty tomb.

Please bear in mind that I am not debating the authenticity of the Bible - nor am I saying there was no Jesus. I am saying that the story of Jesus as reported in the Bible is unlikely to have been sourced from any real Jesus, but rather by religious influences . If there was an original saviour, you'd expect him to behave differently from the rest in SOME way. Jesus fits the archtypes of all the other Judean religions nearly perfectly, and thus is unlikely to be an original story.
Debate Round No. 3


Originally, I was going to go back and attack each one of my opponent's points, but I will quickly brush over a few things for these reasons:

- I'm very limited on the time I have left
- I feel like I've already said everything needed to win the debate in previous rounds
- I feel like I'm repeating the same things

1. Gospels

Here is a great website that shows all the evidence that Peter wrote Peter 1:

Peter did not write the Gosel of Peter or any of the other fake books that you mentioned. That's why they're not included in the Bible - it's not historically accurate at all and the earliest version they found was about 400 AD.

Overall, it seems like you're not using common sense, but instead looking at the ancient translation like a lawyer, nitpicking every word.

I feel like I have argued these points in the last round.

Your evidence comparing the other ancient dieties to Jesus is not substantial. Wine being a part of their story doesn't make them the same person.


As per the rules we both agreed to, I'm not allowed to argue in this round. Just two quick reminders:

1. My opponent has the BOP.
2. I'm not arguing Jesus is identical to any of the dieties I identified.

That concludes the debate. Please vote pro.
Debate Round No. 4
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
Funny you should say that - I used to think everyone on DDO was a Christian. I did a "did Jesus exist" debate once and got votebombed against by actual votebombs leading to my defeat - with RFDs like "This is just stupid, Jesus didn't have magic powers but he existed" (ie just stating opinion, not saying why one side won the debate or not). Several Christians also used the RFDs to attack my actual arguments, despite the fact my opponent hadn't made those arguments. Maybe it's just that Christians need to learn how to give good reasons for their choices. In other debates I've devils advocated on the Christian side and won easily. I think to some extent there is also a luck factor on DDO - since you rarely get many votes, and since most users will probably factor in their own biases a bit too much, it's very rare that an overall outcome will be a fair reflection of the debate.
Posted by Mrihearvoices 4 years ago
While that may be true, I feel like I got snuffed because almost everyone on DDO is an atheist. That leads to a huge bias.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
Yes, but it doesn't give a reason why you won it. Plus this debate wasn't about apostles - they only came up in one of the arguments.
Posted by Mrihearvoices 4 years ago
"apostles debate" means i won the apostles debate, and apparently that's illegitimate.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
I thought Man-is-good's vote was legitimate - after all, he did provide more of an RFD than anyone else. Your votes had RFDs that said things like "better research" and "Apostles debate", both of which are totally meaningless and not directly related to the arguments that I raised in the debate. So I must disagree that you were votebombed.
Posted by Mrihearvoices 4 years ago
I believe I got vote bombed here, because I got one Atheist to counter every positive vote I got. And then no one to counteract the original vote he got. Besides, how did he have better spelling and grammar?
Posted by Meatros 4 years ago
That Got Questions site is a trip - it attempts to claim the gospels were all written in the 50's.

Posted by Meatros 4 years ago

It's very suspicious that Marcion didn't include them in his Canon, don't you think?

In any event, the website above includes several reasons for rejecting authenticity.
Posted by Meatros 4 years ago
Sorry, I wasn't convinced by the simple assertion on that website. I'll stand with the majority of scholars on this one:

The modern challenge to Pauline authorship began with the work of German theologians F.D.E. Schleiermacher in 1807 and J.G Eichorn in 1812. (Eichorn extended Schleirmacher's critique of 1 Timothy to all three Pastoral letters.) This was argued in further detail by F.C. Baur in 1835.[11] Following these arguments, a large number of scholars continue to reject Pauline authorship, citing various and serious problems in associating it therewith. For example, Norman Perrin analyzed the Greek used by the author or authors of the Pastoral Epistles, finding that over 1/3 of their vocabulary is not used anywhere else in the Pauline epistles; more than 1/5 is not used anywhere else in the New Testament, while 2/3 of the non-Pauline vocabulary are used by 2nd century Christian writers.[12] Richard Heard, in 1950, had this to say: "The evidence of teaching as of style and vocabulary is strongly against Paul's authorship, nor are these arguments seriously weakened by any supposition that the epistles were written late in Paul's lifetime and to meet a new type of situation. The three epistles show such a unity of thought and expression that they must be the work of one man, but for the author we must look rather to one of Paul's admirers than to Paul himself."[13] Robert Grant noted the afore-mentioned parallels to Polycarp's Epistles and suggested he might be the author.[14]
Posted by Mrihearvoices 4 years ago
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter-VB Tomlive. In addition, pro had better arguments. If necessary, I can provide an RFD in comments upon request.
Vote Placed by TOMlive 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: better research
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter VB jwesbruce for providing an unsatisfactory RFD.
Vote Placed by jwesbruce 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Apostles debate
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: See vote in comments.:)