The Instigator
cchess9
Con (against)
The Contender
Bi0Hazard
Pro (for)

Religious texts are valid forms of evidence when advocating for the validity of a religion.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/10/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 368 times Debate No: 99796
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

cchess9

Con

Evangelists often times have the best of intentions when engaging in debates with potential converts. However, they typically seem to fail to even consider the possibility that their particular religious document could be an elaborate work of fiction that has no foundation in credible fact. They essentially set up a self confirming feedback loop that cannot be broken until they consider their religious texts as subject to error. This is different from scientific articles used to support a scientific hypothesis because each accredited scientific article is first subjected to peer review before being published. I propose that you cannot use religious text as evidence to support the validity of a given religion.
Bi0Hazard

Pro

The title here is that "Religious texts are valid forms of evidence when advocating for the validity of a religion", which essentially means that in any given religion, the sacred text can be used as evidence or reason to accept the validity/truth of a religion. Religion is generally based upon divine revelation and the supernatural, so a miraculous nature is needed to demonstrate a religious claim. Religious texts can do this and already have. I will start with the holy book of the Judeo-christian religion, the Bible.

The Bible is a bunch of collected documents written separately in different times. The "old testament" preceded the "new testament". It turns out that many prophecies have been made in the earlier texts and fulfilled later. The bible has many archaeological accuracies that go to demonstrate the prophecies being fulfilled.

Fulfilled biblical prophecies: http://www.reasons.org...

1. Psalm 22, 34:20; Zechariah 12:10. This describes the death of the future messiah four hundred years before the crucifixion of Jesus, described by King David of Israel and Zechariah the prophet.

2. Micah 5:2. In 700 B.C., prophet Micah named the birthplace of the future Messiah, Jesus.

3. 1 Kings 13:2 and 2 Kings 23:15-18. A prophet predicted that King Josiah would burn bones of occultic priests on Jeroboam's altar. Three hundred years later, it happened.

Here is a list of fulfilled prophecies: http://www.bible.ca...

My opponent might say that the writers just carefully crafted the texts to fit the prophecies foretold years before, but if you want to go by archaeology and actual discoveries, the bible is a remarkably accurate book of history.
Here is what scholars that rigorously study the historicity of the bible say:

"But the amount of evidence for the text of the New Testament , whether derived from manuscripts, early versions, or patristic quotations is so much greater than that available for any ancient classical author that the necessity of resorting to emendation is reduced to the smallest dimensions." [The Text of the New Testament, Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Fourth Edition, Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman, pg. 230]

"Fortunately, if the great number of MSS increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be feared; it is in truth remarkably small. The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice." [The New Testament Documents; Are They Reliable?, F.F. Bruce, pgs. 14-15.]

"In spite of these remarkable differences, scholars are convinced that we can reconstruct the original words of the New Testament with reasonable (although probably not 100 percent) accuracy." ['The New Testament: A Historical Introduction To the Early Christian Writings', 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), pg. 481.]

The bible also has many scientific accuracies unknown before: https://www.livingwaters.com...
The bible predicts that the earth is round (Isaiah 40:22).
The Bible predicts that the earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7)
The bible predicts that blood is needed to keep you alive (Leviticus 17:11).
The bible predicts that there are different time frames all across earth (That it is day in one part of the earth and night in another part of the earth) [Luke 17:34"36]
The bible predicts that there are a cycle of air currents (Ecclesiastes 1:6).
The bible predicts the Hydrologic Cycle (Job. 26:8, Job 36:27-28)

Next, I will go to the miraculous nature of the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. Muslims have been boasting about how miraculous their holy book is, and it turns out that they do have a point.
The Qur'an is a mathematical miracle in itself. There are 114 chapters in the Qur'an. If you add up the number of verses in each chapter to each chapter number corresponding (For example, Chapter 1 has 7 verses, add them up, 1+7=8, Chapter 2 has 286 verses, add them up 286+2=288), divide the number of each chapter into even and odd numbers, and add up the even numbers and odd numbers separately, you will see that the total sum of the odd numbers will exactly equal the sum of all the chapter numbers and the sum of the even numbers will exactly equal the number of verses in the Qur'an. If you switch the order of any of the chapters, or change the number of verses, this will no longer be valid.
There are more mathematical miracles in the Qur'an here: http://eholyquran.com...

The Qur'an also speaks about the stages of embryonic development by using the word alaqah (means leech, suspended thing, and blood clot). It speaks about the shape of the embryo being mudghah (chewed substance). This is located in Quran 23:12-14. There are more scientific miracles in the Qur'an than this: https://www.islam-guide.com...

I have demonstrated the fulfilled prophecies of the bible, scientific accuracies of the bible, mathematical miracle in the Qur'an, and scientific accuracy of the Qur'an.
The nature of these books (mathematical miracles, fulfilled prophecies, and scientific accuracy) provides a very strong indication that this cannot have been done by average humans of those times, but of superknowledge. Considering that the texts of these religions claim to be inspired by God, the miraculous foreknowledge of these texts is best explained by supernatural origin. This means that the miraculous nature of these texts can be used as evidence for the truth of these religions. They can provide strong reason to accept a supernatural origin.
Debate Round No. 1
cchess9

Con

I would like to first thank my opponent for his argument. Everything he stated was civil and well thought out. That said, I see some logical fallacies I would like addressed. Especially concerning the use of biblical verses to strengthen his argument in a debate on whether or not religious texts are valid in a debate about the validity of a religion.

The chief logical fallacy my opponent has made seems to lie in the definition of a "miracle". Without a proper understanding of what constitutes a miracle, it is too easy to overstate the strength of arguments made for religious documents based on so called miracles. Merriam-Webster defines a miracle as something supernatural or brought on by divine intervention (S1). It is imperative that we realize a literal miracle involves something that cannot be explained by science because it does not adhere to laws of nature.

With regards to the biblical prophecies my opponent mentioned:

1. There is almost nothing prophetical in nature about the first two texts listed. They are non-specific instances of poetry that can be loosely quoted by a dying man some years later, but that does not make the dying man a messiah. As for the third scripture, it is yet again vague in nature, only resembling the crucifixion through its description of Jerusalem mourning for a man "they have pierced." More importantly, there is very little evidence to support the crucifixion of Christ outside of the bible anyway ("outside of the bible" being the point of this very debate). Christian scholars have a few ancient historians of biblical times they like to point to, despite how unreliable ancient historians are for specifics due to strong biases pervading their works and the second-hand nature of their accounts (S2). Flavius Josephus, for example, is commonly quoted for his account of the crucifixion. This account, however, is widely accused of having been forged by the church early on to establish power (S3).

2. This text actually refers to someone to be "ruler in Israel." The biblical Jesus never ruled anything in Israel. Furthermore, the passage you mentioned actually goes on to discuss other things that never came true. Many Israelites never made it back home as verse 3 said would happen. The Israelites that did get to return home did so well before the birth of the biblical Jesus. And Babylon actually wasted Assyria in battle some years later, Israel never did. If Micah were making a truly miraculous prophecy, every detail must be correct AND there should be more details regarding the conditions. Why not specify the exact date of his birth? The time of day? The weather conditions? Well, if he had, then the trivial nature of his predictions would be further exposed.

3. The ONLY sources of evidence for the existence of King Josiah are from the bible. Can we assume something is factually accurate just because it agrees with itself in one specific instance? This is the exact purpose of this debate. My opponent has proven my point here by using evidence from the bible that cannot be substantiated by anything else but other scriptures in the bible. This is why arguments for "why the bible can be used as credible evidence for Christianity" fall flat. If I make a prediction in a written document then later in the same document say that it came true, has something miraculous happened? Of course not. This is just another instance of the bible being an elaborate work of fiction that is able to fool some people into accepting it as literal truth due to its depth and volume.

With regards to the scholars my opponent mentioned:

My opponent is correct, I would like to go by "archaeology and actual discoveries," that's the purpose of this debate. In doing this, the bible is not substantiated as a strong source of evidence for Christianity. Scholars like the ones my opponent mentioned have extreme discrepancies amongst their ranks regarding many different parts of the bible. Each scholar seems to have their own set of interpretations and beliefs. In fact, one of the few things they typically all agree on is that the bible has A LOT of historical inaccuracies and contradictions (S4). Therefore, texts from it cannot be used to strengthen the argument for Christianity.

With regards to science in the bible:

Regrettably, I feel this is the strongest argument opponent made, as it is not wholly dependent on the bible or scholars dedicated to studying it. Still, stating easily observed scientific facts is not enough to validate the entire bible. I won't go through each verse, but lets look at a few. And keep in mind none of these are predictions, as my opponent stated, but instead just statements about things that were already known by many cultures around the world at the time.

Isaiah 40:22 actually clearly says "the circle of the earth." I assume we all agree that the earth is not a flat circle with someone above us.

Luke 17:34"36 is not a very impressive accomplishment. Simply traveling west or east a great distance provides sufficient knowledge that the sun sets and rises at different times in different places.

The Job scriptures you mentioned simply state that water precipitates from clouds and goes back to do it again. The hydrological cycle is more complex than this, so the write of Job simply realized that it can rain when there's clouds overhead but it can't rain when there's no overcast.

While we are looking at science in the bible, it should be noted that there are plenty of scientific impossibilities and inaccuracies in the bible. Aside from the global flood story of genesis, there's the stationary earth in 1 Samuels 2:8 and Psalms 93:1, the misidentification of stars and moons and their properties in Genesis 1:16 and Isaiah 13:10, and many different indications of a flat earth throughout many different old testament passages. (S5 for this whole paragraph). A divinely inspired text should not have any disagreements with science or logic, yet the bible is riddled with them.

On the Quran:

Your explanation of the Quran is a clear indicator of the misunderstanding of what a miracle actually is. As I already defined, it is something supernatural in nature. It cannot be explained by science because it is supernatural. The very fact that you were able to explain the mathematical anomaly associated with the Quran scriptures is what proves it is not miraculous. Just because someone was able to cleverly format the scriptures of the Quran with mathematics does not prove it is a miraculous text that is permissible as evidence which supports Islam as a proven worldview.

Conclusion:

I have defined what a miracle actually is because my opponent incorrectly attributed naturally occurring things to miracles. I went through and refuted each point my opponent raised to indicate a religious text (the bible in one instance and the Quran in the other) is a miracle. I pointed out that a divinely inspired text should have no logical contradictions or scientific inaccuracies. The onus is now on my opponent to explain why a religious text is allowed to have contradictions and inaccuracies and still be cited as credible evidence. My opponent should also keep in mind that the purpose of this debate is to illustrate why a religious text can or cannot be used to factually prove its own religious doctrine. Quoting scriptures does very little (or nothing at all) to further the debate.

(S1) https://www.merriam-webster.com...
(S2) http://history-world.org...
(S3) http://www.strangenotions.com...
(S4) https://www.quora.com...
(S5) http://biblebabble.curbjaw.com...
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Bi0Hazard 11 months ago
Bi0Hazard
I hope my first round post is similar to how it is normally done on here. I am pretty sure it doesn't matter in this specific case.
Posted by Bi0Hazard 11 months ago
Bi0Hazard
Maybe I will accept this challenge.
Posted by canis 11 months ago
canis
"Religious texts are valid forms of evidence when advocating for the validity of a religion."
Well Spiderman 3 is a valid form of evindense when advocating for the validity of Spiderman 3.. The movie... But not Spiderman
Posted by Capitalistslave 11 months ago
Capitalistslave
Well, of course you can't use religious text. There are hundreds of religious texts that all point to a different god, they can't all be right, so what makes your religious text any better than any body else's?
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