The Instigator
bfitz1307
Pro (for)
Winning
28 Points
The Contender
Casiopia
Con (against)
Losing
21 Points

No current religion is the best guide for being a moral person in the 21st Century.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
bfitz1307
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/3/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,718 times Debate No: 5246
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (7)

 

bfitz1307

Pro

I will allow my opponent to present their case first. First let me define religion so we are both on the same page.

As defined by Merriam-Webster
Religion: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
Casiopia

Con

Casiopia forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 1
bfitz1307

Pro

Wonderful! This is the second time in a row this happened to me. If you had some trouble let me know Casiopia and I'll repost the debate. Also, if anyone else would actually like to have a debate on this topic just make a comment or send me a challenge.
Casiopia

Con

Since the burden of proof falls on my opponent I see the task before for him extremely difficult considering he will have to prove why each religion is not the best guide for being a moral person. This debate topic also assumes that their is an innate morality universally understood by all human beings. I propose that Christianity (non denominational Bible believing religion) based on faith in the the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ referred to in the Holy Bible is the "best guide" for being a moral person. Defining moral person as: Moral character ...good behaviors or [[Habit (psychology)|habits]]. When someone is a 'moral character', it is primarily referring to the assemblage of positive qualities that ... ... functioning across a range of situations"' [http://www.iep.utm.edu...] . So basically what we mean by a moral person is someone who has a good character, integrity, and follows the "golden rule" treat others as you would wish to be treated. If someone were to follow Bible based Christianity to the fullest they would exemplify Jesus Christ who is the Gospel in Human form. Now whether you believe the Bible or not Jesus was the only true moral (or good) person to ever walk the earth. I believe Jesus was the son of God, but if you believe Jesus was a good moral person to be an example for others (which most non believers do) than that in itself shows that Bible based Christianity is the best guide to being a moral person. The Bible says love your neighbors as yourself, give to the poor, take care of widows and orphans and teaches forgiveness and turn the other cheek when hit by an enemy, it tells us to pray for our enemies. I would go as far as to say that the following alone ... The book of Proverbs, Psalms, The New Testament and the Ten Commandments are a better moral guide than any other religion and for anyone who would follow what they say. Even single versus from scripture if followed would be a better moral guide than any other religions entire philosophy. Anyone who knows scripture knows that Bible based Christianity by far would be the best moral guide to anyone in the 21st century or any century for that matter. My opponent is going to have to prove how all other religions compare to Christianity and prove that one is better than Bible based Christianity to win this debate. I have a lot more I can say on this subject especially in relation to actual scripture references that show if believed and followed Bible based Christianity is hands down the absolute best moral guide to anyone in any time past, present, future. I am not going too in depth at this point b/c I'm anxious to see just what my opponent is going to do to considering the burden of proof falls on him.
Debate Round No. 2
bfitz1307

Pro

I agree that the task ahead of me is a great one, but I will do my best to support my clause. Now to win this debate I must either prove why each religion individually fails to be moral, or show an alternative that is better. It would be impossible to point out the flaws of the thousands of religions which people cling to. Instead I will show the failure common to them all, and provide a better alternative. Now since my opponent has specifically mentioned Christianity in refutation to my clause I will deal more specifically with that belief system.

1. Common Religious Failure
The failure which is shared by all religions is the basis on an objective moral standard dictated by a supernatural being. The reason this is such a fatal flaw is because all religions say that their moral code is backed by a god, and logically they cannot all be correct. There is at most one that is correct, and more probably none. For example, how could the killing of a Christian infidel by a Muslim be moral, while Jainism teaches that all human life is sacred and should be valued? The teaching of exclusiveness is the strongest point against, not in favor of belief in any religion and their teachings. The view that God creates the moral law is often called the "Divine Command Theory of Ethics." Consider the following tale. When Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, his followers asked him what they revealed about how they should live their lives. Moses told them, "I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that he kept the number of commandments down to ten. The bad news is that he kept the one about adultery in there." The point is that, according to Divine Command Theory, nothing is right or wrong unless God makes it so. Whatever God says goes. So if God had decreed that adultery was permissible, then adultery would be permissible.

2. "Bible based Christianity is hands down the absolute best moral guide to anyone in any time past, present, future."
When you say bible based Christianity are you referring to only the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament, or do you include the OT also? If you include the Old Testament then how do you reconcile the genocide, slavery, and rape with Jesus' teachings in the New Testament? Did the omniscient God of the New Testament forget about what he allowed, and promoted in the Old Testament? If God can change his own rules then we no longer have an objective moral standard to live by. Should we really believe that it was immoral at one point to wear clothing made of two different fabrics as Leviticus 19:19 clearly says. Apparently shaving was a pet peeve of God's also as Lev 19:19 also outlaws this activity. The problem with these religious moral codes is that they reflect the views of a particular culture during a particular time period, and because of this cannot be expected to apply to all people, in all places, throughout all of history. They were nothing special in their time and are far from perfect now. Here are more than 800 examples of violence and cruelty condoned in the bible http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...

3. "The book of Proverbs, Psalms, The New Testament and the Ten Commandments are a better moral guide than any other religion... Even single versus from scripture if followed would be a better moral guide"
Of course we can all pick and choose a decent book from the bible, or a single verse that promotes goodness, but it's the entire picture that matters. Yes narrowing the lense which you look through will obviously make it easier to prove your point. You can do this with the teachings of every religion. Now I would agree that the New Testament is, for the most part, a great improvement over the archaic OT. You cannot forget about God being willing to send all non-believers to burn in a lake of fire for eternity though. I don't believe threatening people with eternal fire is the best way to go about promoting moral behavior. Another area where Christianity and Islam fail miserably is in understanding, and attempting to control our sexual lives. Christians seem to think that just saying that the bible (Islam the Quran) says no premarital sex, or no homosexual sex, or no masturbation that that alone is enough. 4,000 years ago when there was no contraceptives, no understanding of genetics, no protection from STD's, and no medicine to treat their victims, saving yourself for marriage sounded like a pretty good option. In today�€™s world people should be properly educated with all available knowledge, and then allowed to make their own decision regarding their sexual behavior. We should not be basing our morality on the ignorant beliefs of primitive cultures.

4. The Ten Commandments are not what we should be basing our morality on. The first three are completely pointless. They refer to having no other gods, honoring the Sabbath, and not taking the lords name in vain. These are completely irrelevant when it comes to determining morality. The fourth requires children to honor their fathers and mothers, and I see no problem with that. Commandments five through eight require nothing more than common sense. They refer to not murdering, committing adultery, lying, or stealing. The final two are certainly not immoral and don't belong on such a list as this. Why it is immoral to want what someone else has is beyond me. Any person with an above room temperature IQ could improve upon the Ten Commandments in a matter of minutes. Why not add something about slavery, which we all recognize as immoral?

Now up to this point all I have done is state why religion falls far short of today's standards. Now it's time to suggest a better alternative.

4. Morality, whether we like it or not, evolves as our understanding of the world around us, and life in general becomes more clear. We should not expect, nor want, our understanding of moral behavior to be the same as people who had no understanding of genetics, neuroscience, medicine, basic biology, or any proper science. Human understanding of moral behavior has increased a great deal since we climbed down from the trees, but it is far from perfect. Think about how na��ve we consider those of the 18th and 19th century when it comes to slavery, and human rights in general. It is through the study of the sciences, philosophy and ethics that the human race will continue to increase our moral understanding.

5. Now I will suggest a few alternatives for moral behavior which do not require a supernatural being. The reason I will suggest more than one is because it is difficult to rank such abstract concepts such as this. The first I will suggest is Utilitarianism, which is generally understood as the greatest good from the greatest number of people. Merriam-Webster defines is as �€œa theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number.�€� Another major contributer to moral philosophy was Immanuel Kant. Kant maintained that only a "good will" is morally praiseworthy, so that doing what appears to be ethical for the wrong reasons is not a morally good act (such as helping the poor just to get to the afterlife). Kant's emphasis on one's intent or reasons for acting is usually contrasted with the utilitarian tenet that the goodness of an action is to be judged by its results.

6. Both of this moral philosophies are more appropriate for our time because they require you to think rationally. It is a great misconception that all moral decisions fit neatly into two categories; either moral or immoral. There is, in fact, a grey area where contemplation and thought is needed.

7. More on morality regarding the current study of the brain and its effects.
http://richarddawkins.net...
Casiopia

Con

The Old Testament focuses more on Truth and the New Testament focuses more on Grace. The reason a lot of people look down on Christianity is because most Christians don't do a good job balancing Biblical grace and truth. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of how to balance grace and truth. The first miracle Jesus performed was turning water into wine at a wedding so the hosts would be saved embarrassment and the people could laugh, dance, and enjoy the wedding feast. In contrast, the very next scene shows Jesus making a whip, turning over tables, and driving merchant's out of the temple courts shouting, "how dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" Jesus was consumed with His Father's righteous standards. He wouldn't tolerate disregard for holiness and truth. What if we could reduce Christ's attributes to just two qualities that we could wrap our minds around? John 1:14 does exactly that. It describes him as "full of grace and truth." To be Christlike is to be full of grace and truth. Truth-oriented Christians love studying Scripture and theology. But sometimes they're quick to judge and slow to forgive. They may be strong on truth, weak on grace. Grace-oriented Christians love forgiveness and freedom. But sometimes they neglect biblical study and see moral standards as "legalism." They're strong on grace, weak on truth. The Bible balances out Truth (Old Testament) and Grace (New Testament) beautifully and Jesus Christ is the example of this. This is why the Bible and Christianity are the best standard for moral living in the 21st Century. My opponent has to prove this wrong by providing a better moral alternative to Christianity (lived out like Christ) which is impossible.
Debate Round No. 3
bfitz1307

Pro

I must admit, when reading your rebuttal to my argument I was quite dumbfounded. You failed to specifically address the 6 different points that I made, and your "argument" was already refuted in my original argument.

1. I'm not sure how you were using the word truth when referring to the OT. It didn't appear to be a literal usage, and I would hope not since there is very little evidence for a majority of the claims in the OT. I'm sure you'll be able to provide many theories by Christian and Jewish "scientists", but the fact is that main stream science has debunked many of the OT stories. There is no evidence for the Exodus from Egypt, none for the earth being 6,000 years old, none for the flood, and none for the fall of Jericho just to name a few. There is also no reason to believe that these laws were ever worth following, and certainly no reason to suggest that they should be followed now. Our moral philosophies must be based on evidence and logic, not the supposition of a supreme being which wills us to do one thing or another. Christianity is not unique. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Scientology, and countless others believe that we must live our lives by their rules, or else. The fact that there is no evidence whatsoever for any of these faiths is reason enough to not base our morality on them. Like I mentioned before the beliefs of primitive, unenlightened, and naive, cultures should not be the basis of 21st century morality. We have come too far, and gained too much from our predecessors to willing subjugate ourselves to these teachings.

2. Old Testament truth? ... How 'bout Old Testament absurdity!
Many Christians have never read the whole Bible, and are not aware of the moral teachings that are found in it. Let's look at some. Exodus 23:19 tells us we cannot cook a baby goat in it's mother's milk. Do you worry about keeping this commandment? Gen. 17:14 tells us a child is to be punished when his parents neglect to have him circumcised. Is that fair? Ex. 20:8-11, 31:15-17, 34:21, and 35:1-3 tell us that no work may be done on the Sabbath (Saturday) not even the lighting of a fire. The penalty is death. Do you recommend that we kill people who light a fire in their fireplace on Saturday? Lev. 3:17 tells us that we may never eat fat. So how is it that we eat hamburgers without guilt? Lev. 27:1-7 tells us that males are more valuable than females. Do you agree? If you are female, do you think males are more valuable than you are? No? Than these verses are mistaken, aren't they? Num. 5:12-31, tells us that if we suspect our wife has committed adultery, she is to be tested by making her drink water mixed with dirt. If she gets sick, she is guilty. Do you recommend that we implement this test procedure? Interestingly, there is no such test given for men. Is this fair? I could give many more examples.

3. Some may say the New Testament supersedes the OT, and is a Better moral guide... Not so fast. Matthew 23:1-3 says, "Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore [all that they tell you, do and observe], but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them." In this passage Jesus explicitly states that his followers should follow the teachings and laws of the scribes and Pharisees so it looks like we're back to inspecting the make-up of our clothing, and stoning for adultery.

4. As I stated in my original argument, the bible does not offer any teachings in either the OT or NT that we wouldn't expect from someone living during that time. Both writings are obviously writings of the time, and neither moved us beyond one of the most critical moral questions of our past, slavery. The bible fails miserably when it comes to the question of slavery. Any Christian or Jew opposed to the practice of slavery holds this view [despite] not because of the teachings of their holy book. To illustrate all one must do is actually read the text. Eph 6:5 says, "Slaves obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." Eph 6:9 "And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him." Not do not practice slavery for it is an abomination, but treat your slaves well. Is this really the best that an Omni-benevolent god can do?

5. In my opinion Christianity is the most moral of the worlds religion's, but as I have shown even it falls far short of the moral teachings of secular philosophy. Teaching a child, without any evidence, that they will go to hell if they don't follow certain ancient belief systems is immoral alone. See this debate http://www.debate.org... Many of the teachings of Christianity are valid, but it is not because of a supernatural basis. Their soundness is derived from logic, evidence, and reason and those that aren't logical nor reasonable are subliminally disregarded by the followers. Our moral philosophy should only include that which we have a logical reason to follow, such as not murdering, or stealing.

6. In a secular society it is not possible to put forth one system and claim that it is the epitome of moral teaching, but I have already listed two philosophies that are worth living your life by. That is the problem with religion, it tries to make everything black or white without recognizing the grey area where many decisions must be made. There isn't always a good answer for everything. Consider the question of the runaway train. The train is barreling down on a group of 5 people, and you can throw the switch to divert the train, but it will kill one person. Nearly everyone has an answer for this question, but most will agree that there isn't one good answer. A more real situation is that of homosexuality. The bible is explicit in its condemnation of gays, and therefore cannot be open to scientific research and modern discoveries. Whether it's a choice that people make or not should not reflect on its morality in my opinion, but suppose there is a gay gene. Should people really suffer the wrath of God because He created them in that way? Reasons such as this are why we should not be basis our moral systems on the beliefs of 40th century B.C.E. cultures. Utilitarianism and Kantian ethics are both good alternatives to a religiously motivated moral system.

7. Utilitarianism from the Encyclopedia Britannica "...an action is right if it tends to promote happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the reverse of happiness—not just the happiness of the performer of the action but also that of everyone affected by it. Such a theory is in opposition to egoism, the view that a person should pursue his own self-interest, even at the expense of others, and to any ethical theory that regards some acts or types of acts as right or wrong independently of their consequences. Utilitarianism also differs from ethical theories that make the rightness or wrongness of an act dependent upon the motive of the agent; for, according to the Utilitarian, it is possible for the right thing to be done from a bad motive."

8. Kant's ethics are deontological, revolving entirely around duty rather than emotional feelings or end goals. All actions are performed in accordance with some underlying maxim or principle; it is this that the moral worth of an action is judged according to. Kant's ethics are founded on his view of rationality as the ultimate good and his belief that all people are fundamentally rational beings. Simply put, the test is that one must universalize the maxim and then see if it would still be possible to perform the maxim in the world. Such as, I am going to kill anyone that displeases me. This maxim would not be sound.

Please specficically address the points made in both of my arguments
Casiopia

Con

One of the biggest dilemmas Christians face today is that modern thinking has descended to the belief that if you can't prove a thing scientifically, it can't be true. We all accept as true many facts that cannot be verified by scientific methods. We cannot scientifically prove anything about any person or event in history, but that doesn't mean that proof is impossible. The difference here is between scientific proof and legal historical proof. Scientific Proof is based on showing that something is a fact by repeating the event in the presence of the person questioning the fact. It is done in a controlled environment where observations can be made, data drawn, and hypothesis empirically verified. The scientific method is related to measurement of phenomena and experimentation or repeated observation. If the scientific method were the only method we had for proving facts, you couldn't prove that you watched television last night or that you had lunch today. There's no way you could repeat those events in a controlled situation.

The other method of proof, the legal-historical proof, is based on showing that something is a fact beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words we reach a verdict based on the evidence and have no rational basis for doubting the decision. Legal-Historical proof depends on three kinds of testimony: oral testimony, written testimony, and exhibits (such as a gun, bullet, notebook, or diagram). Using the legal-historical method to determine the facts, you could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you went to lunch today. Your friends saw you there, the waiter remembers seeing you, and you have the restaurant receipt. The scientific method can be used to prove only repeatable things. It isn't adequate for proving or disproving questions about persons or events in history.
To uncover the answers for the evidence of Christianity, the validity of the Bible, and to prove that Jesus Christ is the Son of God only the legal-historical method will work. Then the primary question becomes this: Can we trust the reliability of the testimonies and the evidences?

When the Bible is put through the same rigorous criteria that we apply to all historical documents, it passes with flying colors. The three basic principles of historiography are the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test.

In regards to the bibliographical test, which determines that the text we have now is what was originally recorded, we discover that, more than twenty thousand copies of New Testament manuscripts are in existence as of 2004. The Iliad, which is second to the New Testament in manuscript authority, has only 643 manuscripts in existence.

Jewish scholar Jacob Klausner says, "If we had ancient sources like those in the Gospels for the history of Alexander and Caesar, we should not cast any doubt upon them whatsoever". When it comes to manuscript authority of the New Testament, the abundance of material is truly remarkable in contrast to the manuscript availability of other classic texts.

The internal evidence test is used to determine to what extent the written record is credible. The ability for the eyewitnesses to give an accurate account of events is closely related to their nearness both geographically and chronologically to the events recorded.

The accounts of the life and teaching of Jesus were recorded by men who had been either eyewitnesses themselves or who related the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events or teachings of Christ. What this means is the writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means "good news," the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.

Historian Will Durant who has trained in the discipline of historical investigation and spent his life analyzing records of antiquity, writes: "Despite the prejudices and theological misconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed—the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus' arrests, Peter's denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to his possible insanity, his early uncertainty as to his mission, his confessions of ignorance as to the future, his moments of bitterness, his despairing cry on the cross; no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty and ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels" .

The external evidence test determines whether other historical material confirms or denies the internal testimony of the documents themselves. In other words, what sources, apart from the literature under analysis, substantiate the document's accuracy, reliability, and authenticity?

Research uncovers, "two friends and disciples of the apostle John confirm the internal evidence that appears in John's accounts. The first was Papias, bishop of Hierapolos. The second friend of John was one of his disciples, Polycarp, who became the Bishop of Smyrna and had been a Christian for eighty six years. Polycarp's student Irenaeus, later bishop of Lyons (A.D. 180) wrote what he learned from Polycarp: "Matthew published his gospel among the Hebrews (i.e. Jews) in their own tongue, when Peter and Paul were preaching the gospel in Rome and founding the church there".

We can clearly see that when the Bible was put through the rigorous criteria that is applied to all historical documents, specifically the three basic principles of historiography which are the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test. The Bible confidently passed all three tests and was more attested by ancient manuscripts than any other piece of ancient literature.

After we put the documented historical evidence through the historiography gauntlet we then ask the following question of the disciples? Who would die for a lie? We can trust the apostles' testimonies because eleven of those men died martyrs' deaths because they stood solid for two truths: Christ's deity and His resurrection.

Peter, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, James & Simon were all crucified. Matthew & James (son of Zebedee) were killed by the sword. Thomas was killed by a spear. Thaddaeus was killed by arrows. John died a natural death. The Apostle Paul also died a martyr. So 1 out of the 12 closest followers and disciples of Jesus died a natural death and the rest died an extremely violent death. Common sense tells us that if these were the death statistics for hanging out with or preaching about Jesus then one would have to realize without a shadow of a doubt that these men believed Jesus Christ to be the son of God and were witnesses to His crucifixion, resurrection and then ascension into Heaven.

All of the above gives proof to the Bible and Christ being absolutely true and this being said my opponent still has the burden of proof against him and has not been able to prove that no current religion is the best guide where I have been able to show that Christianity is the best guide if lived out like Christ with the proper balance between truth and grace.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Casiopia 9 years ago
Casiopia
Also Bfitz...Another factor crucial to interpreting Christ's appearances is that He also appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced. Some critics comment that Jesus was seen alive after His death and burial only by His friends and followers. Using that argument, they attempt to water down the overwhelming impact of the multiple eyewitness accounts. No informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a follower of Christ. The facts show the exact opposite. Saul despised Christ and persecuted Christ's followers. It was a life-shattering experience when Christ appeared to him. Although he was at the time not a disciple, he later became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection. Saul's conversion to the Apostle Paul as a result of his Damascus Road experience is evidence that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and Son of God. Paul immediately transformed from a Christian bounty hunter and bitter antagonist to a determined protagonist of the Christian faith. "Immediately Paul began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is indeed the Son of God!'" (Acts 9:20).
The most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ? Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts--prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits--we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this "risen Christ." As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking. Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.
Posted by Casiopia 9 years ago
Casiopia
BFITZ 1307...as Inquire Truth explained earlier, "We can trust the apostles' testimonies because eleven of those men died martyrs' deaths because they stood solid for two truths: Christ's deity and His resurrection" Peter, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, James & Simon were all crucified. Matthew & James (son of Zebedee) were killed by the sword. Thomas was killed by a spear. Thaddaeus was killed by arrows. John died a natural death. The Apostle Paul also died a martyr. So 1 out of the 12 closest followers and disciples of Jesus died a natural death and the rest died an extremely violent death. Common sense tells us that if these were the death statistics for hanging out with or preaching about Jesus then one would have to realize without a shadow of a doubt that these men believed Jesus Christ to be the son of God and were witnesses to His crucifixion, resurrection and then ascension into Heaven.
After Christ's crucifixion the disciples went back to their previous occupations hoping to pick their individual lives up right where they left off and put the entire Jesus debacle behind them. Millar Burrows of Yale University Divinity Schools states, "Jesus was so unlike what all Jews expected the son of David to be that His own disciples found it almost impossible to connect the idea of Messiah with Him"
The extreme shift of the disciple's behavior from depression and regret immediately following the crucifixion to elation and steadfast faith in Christ 3 days later proves that Jesus was resurrected & seen by the disciples & many others. Had Christ not been raised from the dead & seen by hundreds of witnesses over a 40 day period the disciples would have gone back to fishing & leading their lives as if they were never supporters of Christ and as a result, Christianity would not have been preached to the world with a conviction so fierce that can only be attributed to absolute truth. This foundation spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire & then the World
Posted by Casiopia 9 years ago
Casiopia
The competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus' arrests, Peter's denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to his possible insanity, his early uncertainty as to his mission, his confessions of ignorance as to the future, his moments of bitterness, his despairing cry on the cross; no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty and ethic, and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels"
The external evidence test determines whether other historical material confirms or denies the internal testimony of the documents themselves. In other words, what sources, apart from the literature under analysis, substantiate the document's accuracy, reliability, and authenticity?
Research uncovers, "two friends and disciples of the apostle John confirm the internal evidence that appears in John's accounts. The first was Papias, bishop of Hierapolos. The second friend of John was one of his disciples, Polycarp, who became the Bishop of Smyrna and had been a Christian for eighty six years. Polycarp's student Irenaeus, later bishop of Lyons (A.D. 180) wrote what he learned from Polycarp: "Matthew published his gospel among the Hebrews (i.e. Jews) in their own tongue, when Peter and Paul were preaching the gospel in Rome and founding the church there. We can clearly see that when the Bible was put through the rigorous criteria that is applied to all historical documents, specifically the three basic principles of historiography which are the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test. The Bible confidently passed all three tests & was more attested by ancient manuscripts than any other piece of ancient literature.
Posted by Casiopia 9 years ago
Casiopia
The 3 principles of historiography of ancient text are the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test.
In regards to the bibliographical test of the Bible, which determines that the text we have now is what was originally recorded, "more than twenty thousand copies of New Testament manuscripts were in existence as of 2004. The Iliad, which is second to the New Testament in manuscript authority, has only 643 manuscripts in existence".
Jewish scholar Jacob Klausner says, "If we had ancient sources like those in the Gospels for the history of Alexander and Caesar, we should not cast any doubt upon them whatsoever" . When it comes to manuscript authority of the New Testament, the abundance of material is truly remarkable in contrast to the manuscript availability of other classic texts.
The internal evidence test is used to determine to what extent the written record is credible. The ability for the eyewitnesses to give an accurate account of events is closely related to their nearness both geographically and chronologically to the events recorded.
The accounts of the life and teaching of Jesus were recorded by men who had been either eyewitnesses themselves or who related the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events or teachings of Christ. What this means is the writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means "good news," the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of Christ's resurrection.
Historian Will Durant who has trained in the discipline of historical investigation and spent his life analyzing records of antiquity, writes: "Despite the prejudices and theological misconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed. Continued in next comment..
Posted by InquireTruth 9 years ago
InquireTruth
Of course when I offer ample evidence for the existence of something, you merely ask for the evidence of the thing prior. Such games are futile to play. Christ's crucifixion is corroborated by independent sources. Evidence for Christ's crucifixion comes from the Jewish Talmud (not Christians, nor Christ sympathizers), the historian Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, and even Josephus acknowledges Jesus' trial under Pontius Pilate (a man who just recently by archeology was proven to exist). If the bible is analyzed like any other ancient historical document, it provides us with definite proof of numerous things - Jesus was crucified, the Tomb was empty, Post-mortem visitations, the disciples and other eye witnesses were persecuted (many even killed).
The existence of Alexander the Great comes from second hand sources which date long after his death - do you question his historicity as well?

Sources dating 1 - 200 years later is not a big gapping at all - especially that whole 1 part?

If you are unwilling to treat the Bible like any other historical source, then you are playing a cheaters game. You are putting historical requirements on the Bible which do not exist for other ancient texts.
Posted by bfitz1307 9 years ago
bfitz1307
So as proof you source the bible and Christians living 1-200 years later. Not sure that holds up man. Even if we do grant you the benefit of the doubt and say they were persecuted it doesn't provide any evidence towards the prior claim that Christ was crucified. Sounds like we have the making of an interesting debate here though...
Posted by InquireTruth 9 years ago
InquireTruth
Acts 12:2 talks of James martyrdom. Origen of Alexandria circa 185 AD spoke of Peter being crucified upside down so that he may suffer thus. We have Eusibius circa 260 AD who identifies the most complete history of the apostles' martyrdom, although he quotes even earlier sources. Their martyrdom notwithstanding, there is ample evidence in Acts, the letters of Paul, and the Pastoral epistles that the apostles of Christ were in the very least being persecuted. Paul, according to Acts for example, was imprisoned numerous times and was even stoned and left for dead.
So yes, there is evidence for both persecution and martyrdom - some evidence arguably more concrete than others.
Posted by bfitz1307 9 years ago
bfitz1307
What evidence is there that the disciples were ever killed for their belief?
Posted by InquireTruth 9 years ago
InquireTruth
"Your epistemology is self-contradictory- because martyrs exist who were opposed to this notion."

Of course no contradiction exists if one notices the not so subtle difference between the disciples and other martyrs. The disciples were eye witnesses to the death of Christ and the empty tomb. It is not that they died because they believed something to be true - but that they saw with their own eyes. We take the testimony of the disciples to prove that the tomb was indeed empty and that they did truly believe they had post-mortem visitations by the risen Christ. We take this to be true because if it is not - then they all willingly suffered vicious persecution, torture and death for something they all knew was false. Other martyrs die in faith that what they believe is true. If Christ had not died, if the tomb was not empty, and if they did not have post-mortem visitations then you must contend, therefore, that the disciples died for a cause they knew very well to be false. This is to say nothing of the martyrs' John the Baptist, Paul, James brother of Jesus, and other such followers of Christ who were not just believers, but eye witnesses of the Jesus movement.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"Who would die for a lie? We can trust the apostles' testimonies because eleven of those men died martyrs' deaths because they stood solid for two truths: Christ's deity and His resurrection."

Your epistemology is self-contradictory- because martyrs exist who were opposed to this notion
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