The Instigator
AlexThunder
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
TheOncomingStorm
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points

Should the Bible be taken as a historically accurate source?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
TheOncomingStorm
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/14/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,246 times Debate No: 40509
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (6)

 

AlexThunder

Con

I would love to debate with a Christian on why they think the Bible should be taken seriously.

I believe that almost everything in the Bible is fiction, as science proves it wrong or there is no evidence to support that it happened.

Anyone is welcome to debate. Thanks.
TheOncomingStorm

Pro

I'll take you up on this debate. Understand I don't have 100% proof of Biblical history, but I will offer reasons why I believe it can be taken seriously as a historical document. I ought to clarify, however, I'm arguing for the Christian (Protestant) Bible not the Catholic Bible (the two are different).
Debate Round No. 1
AlexThunder

Con

Thank you for accepting this challenge. I don't think i can win this, but this should be both entertaining and interesting.

My first argument why the Bible cannot be used as a source of historical events is the Great Flood, aka Noah's Ark. Not only i, but science too thinks that it is pretty unlikely that Noah was able to embark 2 of every kind of the 2 billion different species that existed at that time, and that after the flood was over he managed to take the animals where they belonged. Also, the year that the Pyramids were supposedly built was 100 years after the flood. That means, that a couple of humans managed to reproduce enough to inhabit Egypt, and produce all the slaves required to build the Pyramids.

I think that makes a good enough argument and i'm excited for your reply.
TheOncomingStorm

Pro

I would like to start off by thanking AlexThunder for this debate. I'm going to respond to your points then make some of my own.

I feel I ought to start off by addressing by our argument about how Noah got the animals on the ark. I find this argument irrelevant for a simple reason. If God exists then it's easily possible.

On a logical basis God cannot be limited in the universe. If God could create something beyond his limits then he would be finite and also needing of a creator. Since it's impossible for God to create something that is beyond his capabilities to control, there is a multitude of ways that God could have gotten those animals on the ark, but what matters is that assuming God exists, it's easy for that to happen. I'm assuming the existence of a God isn't what's under debate so that is a legitimate scientific explanation.

I'd also like to see what your sources are for the creation of the pyramids and the Great Flood (as it's generally referred to), because it's exceptionally difficult to pinpoint a date for either one of them. In fact, while I was researching I found a range of nearly 1,000 years for the building of the pyramids.

Now I'll move onto my arguments:

I will first make an observation:

The Bible is not all made up of history. The Bible is composed of several genres: law, history, wisdom, poetry, gospel, epistles, prophecy, and apocalyptic literature.

Keep in mind we are only debating the genre history, which means we are debating primarily Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Jonah, and Acts. There are, however, historical parts of some of the prophetic books in the Old Testament, but there are also many books which do not make an attempt at history at all.

Moving on.

1) The books in the Bible designed for providing history show a care for historical recounting.

For example, Nehemiah 1:1 says, "The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah: In the month of Kislev in the twelfth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa."

Why is was this significant enough for me to post? Let's examine this piece by piece. The first part mentions the specific person who's telling the story, which isn't unique, but it does show that they cared for other people to know. Where it really matters is the part where it says "in the month of Kislev in the twelfth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa." Nehemiah gave us a date for when he's starting the story, and he gave a location for where it happened. What moral value does this have, or how does this teach us about God? It doesn't, it was used specifically for documentation of an event.

In fact, we can find many examples like this. Even further there is more of a historical focus in other books.

In 2 Kings 13:8-9 it says, "As for the other events of the reign of Jehoahaz, all he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jehoahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoash his son succeeded him as king."

First of all, the Bible tells the original readers to go cross reference with other historical documents. The care shown to history is obvious. After telling the people to go check the book of the annals of the kings of Israel, the books tells you where he was buried and who it was that succeeded him.

Then again in 2 Kings 13:12-13 it says, "As for the other events of the reign of Jehoash, all he did and his achievements, including his war against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jehoash rested with his ancestors, and Jeroboam succeeded him on the throne. Jehoash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel."

I will bring up one more example for now which is that of the first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles, which I will not be typing out for the sake of sanity. You may look it up, but you may not want to read it as it is simply a list of tribes and patriarchs and their descendants. Why would someone write down a genealogy for a religious document? Once again, it is because they cared about history.

I can bring up more examples if you want me to because it would take a lot of characters up for me to continue for much longer.

2) The Bible doesn't have historical contradictions.

According to the Smithsonian Institution,

"Much of the Bible, in particular the historical books of the old testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories.

"These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient documents in archaeological work. For the most part, historical events described took place and the peoples cited really existed. This is not to say that every event as reported in the historical books happened exactly as stated."

Essentially their point is that the Bible is historically accurate except for everything with God in it, which isn't part of this debate. The Smithsonian being non supportive of religion as fact has nothing to gain by making this statement if it's a lie. If the Bible is that historically accurate.

Now I have used evidence to prove that the writers of the historical parts of the Bible cared about history, and once again if you want more I can present more, and even the Smithsonian, who has nothing to gain by this admission, admits its historical value.

That's why it can be at least taken seriously as a historical document.
Debate Round No. 2
AlexThunder

Con

Interesting to read, but here's what i have to say.

I think that when i say that the Bible can not be used as a source of history, i mean the Bible and not parts of the bible. Yes, parts that you presented i have no doubts about them being historically correct, but the fact that some parts include God, therefore should be excluded from the equation i do not agree with. I'm sure you have heard of books of Homer, like Iliad and Odyssey. There are parts that are historically correct, and i can prove it to you if you want me to, which would be the same thing that you did in your previous, very interesting argument. Still though, the Odyssey can not be taken as a historical book, because there are many parts that are contradicted by both different sources of historical events and science too. The meaning of presuming the Bible is a reliable source of history means that i can open my bible, and i would see historical events. The flood is presented an an event that really did happen, but science contradicts it. My sources for the flood taking place at the time i mentioned are some shows like the atheist experience and some sites that i can't really find them right now, but maybe had i had more time i could have found the sites. My point is, that you can't really say that a book presents historical events correctly if you DISMISS most of it because it refers to god.

I'm curious to see what your next argument will be.
TheOncomingStorm

Pro

Thank you for the response.

I will respond to your last post and add anything I feel ought to be said.

Concerning your point about the Iliad and the Odyssey, I think your argument is false on a couple of points:

1) Greek Mythology can be empirically disproven since it uses gods as an explanation for why things happen in nature whereas Christianity does not. Christianity only names miracles, which are times when God interferes with the laws of nature (which he created and can therefore control), but does not control every aspect of nature randomly as the Greek gods and goddesses did. You cannot empirically disprove the existence of God because the only way to gain evidence on him is to observe him (proving his existence), or to use scientific instruments to measure him (which is logically impossible as God would be immeasurable in comparison to his creation).

2) The Smithsonian Institution agrees that the Bible is historically accurate enough to open it up and see historical events written in it that can be and have been used for historical reference. Keep in mind the admission is also made that it is more accurate than the other historical records of other ancient cultures. At the very least, it is taken seriously as a historical document by at least one named secular organization.

You make the claim that science contradicts the possibility of the flood. I have two responses for this:

1) The Great Flood is logically coherent and scientifically accurate given that God exists. Like I said above, given that God exists and created our universe, he is capable of controlling anything in our universe.

2) The canopy theory offers a legitimate explanation as to how this could have been accomplished.

The Biblical support for the Canopy Theory is in Genesis 1:6-7, "And God said, 'Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.' So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so."

The canopy theory states that this action was a separation of massive amounts of water in the sky that would have covered the earth as a cloud. When it rained down, it would have created a worldwide flood that would have gone down to caves and carve out modern geographical features found on earth today when the waters receded. With the force of water and amount needed, forty days makes sense as a time period for the flood until mountains could be reached.

Is it possible this happened? Yes one cannot rule out the possibility. Is there solid evidence of a contradiction? Not so far.

Now moving on to the dates of the flood and building of the pyramids. Again, I feel sources need to be provided as the consensus of the building of the pyramids is shaky, and it's nearly impossible to pinpoint a date for the Great Flood aside from the fact that the estimation thereof can easily be twisted.

Moving on, your final argument has one main problem: the parts of the Bible that do not make historical claims are not under debate. For example, the book of Proverbs and Psalms cannot be debated historically because they are the genres of poetry and wisdom. You can arguably draw history from Psalm, but the assumptions drawn from it cannot be substantiated since it was a poetic book written by several people and does not make historical claims. Certain books like the epistles only minority mention history, and those are so non-contradictory with history.

So far in this debate, there is no evidence that the Bible contradicts history, but there has been evidence that it is seen as a credible source by at least one large secular organization, and there is evidence that the writers were careful about history.

Thank you for a good argument so far, and I expect it will continue as a good debate.
Debate Round No. 3
AlexThunder

Con

Thank you for that excellent argument. I will try to ask some questions then and try to make a point.

So, you have to believe in God's existence in order to say that the flood could have happened. For me that I don't believe a God exists, there should either be science explanation available to us now or in the future, or it never actually happened. Still can't find the sources where I read about the pyramid argument, so I give you that one, as I don't have a proper source of information.

About the Greek Mythology. If the Odyssey is supposedly Greek mythology, it must prove that Greek mythology can be used as a source of history. Here is my proof. In 1876, Heinrich Schliemann pulled off something unexpected for the time. Odyssey is said to be a not so reliable source of history or real events that happened, and people say it's just mythology. What Schliemann did, was to use the Odyssey and went where the tomb of Agamemnon was supposedly placed in Mycenae, and actually found a mask that, chances are, it actually belonged to Agamemnon himself. This is an example of a Odyssey, a mythological book being used as an accurate source of history. The fact that they refer to Gods a lot doesn't mean that an event didn't happen. It probably didn't happen when the one who caused the event was God himself. You can't believe that in the Great Flood and at the same time being an atheist. You need to believe in God's existence to actually say that yes, since a God exists he can do everything. That makes no sense.

As Karl Marx said: Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.

With that a want to say that we don't have scientific evidence to support that the great flood actually did take place. The only evidence we have is the bible, and in order to take the bible literally you need to believe in the existence of a higher being. Other than the Bible there is no other scientific evidence that proves that the great flood did take place. And you can't take the bible literally anyway.

I shall cover some points of the bible i do not agree with:

Firstly, Genesis. Science suggests that this can't be true, as the order of which God created the universe makes no sense. Who would create the plant life first, and then the Sun. In order to take the bible as a source of history, you need to dismiss all of science to get there. As of now, science suggests that without the sun, plants can't exist. And sure, God can do the impossible possible. That means we don't care what science (science = truth, reality) suggests, we just use God to explain things we do not have the answer for, yet.

As you clearly said, Greek mythology is dis-proven since it uses gods as an explanation for why things happen in nature. I'm sorry, but that's exactly what Christianity does too. "How can God create the sun after the plants? Well, he is God" This shows ignorance. You clearly use a God to explain why plants were created before the sun was. It is ironical, isn't it.

If the Bible suggests that the Earth is 6000 years old (although science begs to differ), why do we know about Adam and Eve, and why do we have writings and texts for them, while at that time there was no scripture? God's intervention again?

Is there any other scientific evidence to prove that what happened in Genesis was true, except for the bible itself? I mean, really.... It's like a comic talking about the existence of Superman, and although there is no scientific proof that suggests that Superman exists, people believe it's true because the comic about Superman suggests that Superman exists! It's so confusing and illogical.

I'm not going to present any more examples, as they all lead to this statement: You have to have deep belief in God's existence to explain the things that supposedly took place 6000 years ago, as the Bible suggests. If you want real, scientific evidence, you won't find any. If someone believes that what is written in the Bible is true, there is no way that reasoning and explaining that there is no scientific evidence what-so-ever to support it will change your mind. But if you want truth in your bible.... welcome to the Atheist group. Welcome to reality.

Thank you for the argument and i'm curious to see what you have to say.
TheOncomingStorm

Pro

Thank you for the reply, I'll make some closing statements and leave it up to the voters.

I would like to point out the clear red herring fallacy thought your argument. You completely changed this from history to science and the existence of God.

Granted I use the existence of God to prove the coherence of the Bible, but only because you claimed incoherence.

I believe it ought to be noted that my evidence from the Smithsonian Institution has been undisputed, and I believe my claim that the Bible is a good historical document backed up by an unbiased source is enough to claim winning the resolution, which is whether the Bible is a good historical document or not.

I will, however, continue to address points. My opponent says it makes no sense that if God exists he can do everything. Actually it is impossible for God create our universe and not have the ability to assume absolute control. If god himself were finite that would require he have a creator. Ultimately the only logical analysis there is that there is an ultimate creator.

The reason to believe there is a creator is simple. There are a few options for the beginning of the universe. They either require the eternal existence of matter and energy or an infinite being to begin the universe. An effect cannot be it's own cause therefore nothing could have merely spawned, so there's an uncaused cause.

Matter and energy can't be eternal due to the theory of entropy because matter and energy tend toward a state of ultimate disorder. Therefore, the universe had to be created. The creator would have to exist outside of time making it relatively eternal. It must be conscious because there mist be a cause for an effect and something that just sits there doesn't create ordered universes. He just have the ability to assume absolute control over his creation because he is logically more powerful than what he created. That's our best bet right now.

I'm sorry if I offended you by using the Bible as examples for demonstration of coherence, but technically given that God exists it is scientifically coherent for the Genesis account to be true.

Despite all of the scientific arguments, I will remind he voters once again that my argument on the historical value of the Bible has generally gone undisputed by my opponent aside from assertions without warrant. Seeing as I presented undisputed evidence, I ask for a vote of pro from everyone in evidence and argumentation.

Thank you, AlexThunder, for the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by AlexThunder 3 years ago
AlexThunder
No problem jesusfreak22. My opponent proved a lot stronger and i didnt have enough arguments. Thanks for voting.
Posted by jesusfreak22 3 years ago
jesusfreak22
AlexThunder... no convincing arguments. Sorry!
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
TheOncomingStorm
@wizardofspace: I would agree with you, and the reason I specified the Protestant Bible is because I have yet to read the Apocrypha, although I do intend to read it.
Posted by wizardofspace 3 years ago
wizardofspace
I've gotta say, I'm Catholic and I think one thing that really stuck out to me was that Pro said the Protestant Bible and the Catholic Bible are different, and I have to say that the reason why they're different is the Protestant Reformation, wherein many left the Catholic Church to form other churches, and in doing so removed some books from the Bible that were already noted to be canon at the time. On the other hand, for the books of the Bible that both Catholics and Protestants continue to maintain as canon, they are all, for the most part, the same in meaning, aside from wording differences. However, Pro did a good job convincing me that the Bible could be handled as an accurate historical source, and Con didn't have a good basis for their argument. I will go on further to state that the Bible is better handled in some senses in a context that isn't literal. The writers of the books of the Bible did not have an accurate guide to tell them how old the universe and Earth are -- science wasn't really abound, if not just making baby steps when the Bible was written. And in the story of creation in Genesis, you could go on to say that if God and heaven are outside of time and space, and are not entities of this physical world, but rather things from beyond, then His perception of our time and space is different from our perspective of time in space -- in other words, to God, time and space might seem faster than for us on Earth, which could explain why it seems creation only took the course of 7 days rather than millions of years. God could have spent only 7 days creating the universe, and it would only seem to us to be a large expanse of time.
Posted by Zhege 3 years ago
Zhege
Was an enjoyable debate. Although, Con quoting Karl Marx and then saying "And you can't take the bible literally anyway." feels like he had no intention of leaving the debate with a resolution from the very beginning. Science claims Earth to be billions of years old and cannot account for billions of those billions of years. Does this mean Earth was in a stale state frozen in time until scientists had a time to document what was happening? Not at all. If the contrary can't be proven, then it's called giving the benefit of the doubt.
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
TheOncomingStorm
@calculatedr1sk: Well despite popular belief water actually goes into the ground and is capable of forming caves. The power of water would actually be able to form the caves we have and continue to penetrate the earth until water levels became what they are now.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
There isn't enough water to cover Earth unless it was flat. It isn't flat.
Posted by AlexThunder 3 years ago
AlexThunder
No, we don't know if the Bible is wrong or not. We just don't have scientific evidence that the Great Flood happened, or Genesis and more.
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
TheOncomingStorm
@TG2333, I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand what your sentence meant. Would you mind rephrasing?
Posted by TG2333 3 years ago
TG2333
you do know that 90% of the bible is wrong and 10% of the bible right now is what jesus really said right ?
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by AndrewB686 3 years ago
AndrewB686
AlexThunderTheOncomingStormTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: However painful this may be I must vote in an objective manner. The arguments by con were, for the most part, unrelated to the topic at hand. While I tend to agree with him, con mistakenly strayed from history to science, thus losing the debate for him. The unaddressed claim concerning the Smithsonian and the inability to present a source validating his assertion concerning the pyramids also contributes to his downfall.
Vote Placed by Beverlee 3 years ago
Beverlee
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro argues that the bible cannot be relied on for historical study because stories like Noah's Ark cannot be considered as accurate accounting. Pro responds with a fallacy, saying that if the bible is true, then the flood is reasonable.Pro also argues that the bible seems at times to have tried very hard to maintain historical accuracy. Con answers by pointing out that the bible must be cherry-picked in order to be described as historically accurate. Pro again answers with fallacies, saying that Greek gods are not real and Christian ones are. He also repeats the fallacy that says that if the bible is true, then it is true - without showing it to be true outside of a few examples.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
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Reasons for voting decision: I agree with Con on this debate,however his points he raised were only fully addressed in the final round. In terms of arguments Con had made some really good points, however he did not cite sources. I thus called the arguments a tie as in my opinion the Smithsonian citation, is important and as Pro's argument rest heavily on this historical fact I think a citation is necessary. Both Pro and Con did not give citations and a such I call that a draw as well. With respect to conduct and grammar. Pro was far more tolerant and well versed in arguments. As such both points go to Pro for these. In total Pro won this debate due to Con not addressing the facts with facts. The one argument that got addressed was Noah's Ark but the debate required more than one example.
Vote Placed by chrimill 3 years ago
chrimill
AlexThunderTheOncomingStormTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con didn't properly address the argument of Pro, selectively choosing parts of the Bible that best fit his objections; while providing little to no evidence against the stronger arguments for the historical value of the Bible.
Vote Placed by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by janetsanders733 3 years ago
janetsanders733
AlexThunderTheOncomingStormTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Thank you both debaters for having this discussion. I will have to give points to Pro, for his convincing arguments, excellent research and data, and sources. It seemed like Con did not really cite any evidence for his arguments, and he kind of stayed of topic throughout the debate, by giving opinions on Religion from Marxists, etc. This had nothing to do with the debate. Points go to Pro.