The Instigator
TheOregonian
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
HardRockHallelujah
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

The Bible is Fictional Literature

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
HardRockHallelujah
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 402 times Debate No: 88768
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)

 

TheOregonian

Pro

Self Explanatory.
Structure:
R1: Acceptance
R2: Opening Arguments
R3: Rebuttals
R4:Rebuttals
R5:Closing Statements (No new arguments or refutations)

Definitions:
FICTION: 1 a : something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically : an invented story

THE BIBLE: the Christian scriptures, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. (specifically, I will be using the KJV)

By accepting this, Con will take the argument that the Bible is not a work of fiction.
HardRockHallelujah

Con

Good luck trying to prove your case.
Debate Round No. 1
TheOregonian

Pro

What does it mean, to be an invented story? I would say, any story a particular person came up with. I would say, anything written or said without a factual basis is fiction, regardless of its truth. For, the author had no real way of knowing. If they invented an explanation for a physical phenomenon, without backing it up with facts, they created a work of fiction, regardless of the truthfulness (or lack thereof) of the statements within.

I will not be arguing that the Bible is full of lies. I will not be arguing that the Bible is full of falsehoods. I will be arguing that the Bible is fiction because it a a collection of invented explanations for how the world around them existed in the way it did.

What makes a fact a fact? Why do we consider them stronger, better, than ideas? We know they are true. For the same reason many deny evolution on the grounds of "its just a theory", something we know is better than something we think. we can prove facts, and that is why they are so special.

Now, back to the Bible. The Bible is sporadically filled, usually in the Old Testament, with assertions that have been disproven. The majority of the rest is unprovable either way. For example: Was Jesus the son of God? Despite strong beliefs one might have one way or the other, both sides are as of yet unprovable. It is for this reason that the Bible should be considered fiction. Not because it is false; but because it is unprovable.


The major flaw to my argument is the rest of the Bible. As I said before, the Bible is sporadically filled with falsehoods, and the majority of the rest is unprovable either way. Left are two categories. The first is the yet to be proved. For example, before Yuri Gagarin, no man had been in space, and it was at that point yet to be proven whether or not there was a firmament separating the air from the waters above as is said in Genesis 1:6-7. (I chose the firmament as an example to show the fate of these parts of the Bible: they will be proven one way or the other.) These unproven statements will diminish with time, and eventually, will all be gone.

The last portion of the Bible are the proven parts. They present a danger to my argument in the eyes of many, but can be dealt with aptly, as I will show. To do so, I will use an example of fictional literature which also has true parts: Rick Riordan's series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. For those who have not read it, it records the adventures of the characters of ancient Greek mythology (Apollo, Zeus, Poseidon, etc) in the modern United States of America. Anyways, the appearance of real objects, places, and people in this story does not make it nonfiction. The series mentions the Gates of Hades lying at the Hollywood Sign. The sign exists, Hades does not. I have made my point.
HardRockHallelujah

Con

Pro has stated "What makes a fact a fact? Why do we consider them stronger, better, than ideas? We know they are true. For the same reason many deny evolution on the grounds of "its just a theory", something we know is better than something we think. we can prove facts, and that is why they are so special."

My response:
People who deny Evolution are entitled to do so. Just as people who believe in a flat Earth are entitled to do so; but that doesn't mean they have the truth on their side. And let me say something else. If Evolution is true, that doesn't at all disprove creationism. Some people try to point to the Creation account in Genesis 1 and the fact that the Bible supposedly supports the idea that the Earth is only 6000 years old to prove their contentions. But the fact of the matter is that there are countless interpretation given to Genesis 1 that support the idea that God didn't create the Earth in 24 hour days, but rather days that last a long period of time. And this can hardly be objected to by stating "well this is after Evolution, so it is done after the fact", because these interpretations arose long before the scientific discovery of an old Earth and Evolution.



Pro has stated "Now, back to the Bible. The Bible is sporadically filled, usually in the Old Testament, with assertions that have been disproven. The majority of the rest is unprovable either way. For example: Was Jesus the son of God? Despite strong beliefs one might have one way or the other, both sides are as of yet unprovable. It is for this reason that the Bible should be considered fiction. Not because it is false; but because it is unprovable."

My reponse:
I disagree with your assertion that Jesus being the Son of God is 'unprovable'. One could very easily start with proving that Jesus probably was not a lunatic or a manaic, so it follows that if he said something about himself, it probably means is telling the truth (he is not a manaic nor is he a lunatic).
What I am referring to are sayings of Jesus that can be shown to go back to the Historical Jesus with a high degree of certainty.

A saying of Jesus that is demonstrably authentic is the parable of the Wicked Tenants found in Mark 12:1-8.

"And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country.When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully.And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard." (Mark 12:1-8)

Among the reasons for thinking this to be an authentic saying of the Historical Jesus are the following:
1) The saying is multiply attested. It appears not only in Mark, but also in Matthew and Luke as well as the Gospel of Thomas which appears to be independent of the Synoptics rendering of the parable.
Multiple attestation is one of the clearest marks that a saying or event is authentic. Usually when historians are studying the past, with an event that is attested by 2 fairly independent sources, they conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that they have a historical fact. With the parable of the Wicked Tenants, we have 4 sources attesting to the saying, 2 of whom are almost certainly independent (The Synoptics and the Gospel of Thomas)

2) The saying fits the historical context of Jesus' day. New Testament scholar Craig Evans notes "This parable reflects the Jewish-Palestinian experience of absentee landlords, thereby showing the saying is of the historical situation of Jesus' day" (1)

3) This saying is unlikely to be a creation of the Church because the parable ends abruptly with the death of the Son and no mention of the Resurrection. If this saying were an invention of the early Church it is very hard to explain why they wouldn't have put on Jesus' lips a theme that they so forcefully emphasized in their evangelism.

This parable has all the marks of authenticity and therefore goes back to Jesus.

Craig Evans concludes: "When understood properly and in full context, everything about the parable of the wicked vineyard tenants - including its context in the New Testament Gospels - argues that it originated with Jesus, and not with the early church." (2)

Among New Testament specialists who accept the authenticity of this Parable are James DG Dunn, Craig A. Evans, Ben Witherington, James H. Charlesworth, Raymond Brown, Marcus J. Borg, David Flusser, and more than can be listed.

I therefore conclude that this saying goes back to Jesus.

What then does this saying tell us about the self-understanding of Jesus? It shows us that he distinguishes himself from the prophets by calling them servants and himself the Son. This is significant because if Jesus distinguishes himself from prophets by calling himself "the Son" it shows that Jesus expressed a very unique and intimate relationship with God the Father which no one else shares and more importantly shows that the Historical Jesus did claim to be the Son of God.

What's my point? My point is this: Jesus called himself the Son of God. Jesus was either a liar, lunatic, or the Son of God.

In order to avoid the conclusion that Jesus was the Son of God you have to try to argue that Jesus was either crazy and/or deluded, good luck trying to prove the impossible.



Pro has stated "The major flaw to my argument is the rest of the Bible. As I said before, the Bible is sporadically filled with falsehoods, and the majority of the rest is unprovable either way. Left are two categories. The first is the yet to be proved. For example, before Yuri Gagarin, no man had been in space, and it was at that point yet to be proven whether or not there was a firmament separating the air from the waters above as is said in Genesis 1:6-7. (I chose the firmament as an example to show the fate of these parts of the Bible: they will be proven one way or the other.) These unproven statements will diminish with time, and eventually, will all be gone."

My response:
Unproven is not the same thing as disproven, there is a big difference between the two. What you have to do is disprove something with evidence for me to take your claim seriously.



Pro has stated "The last portion of the Bible are the proven parts. They present a danger to my argument in the eyes of many, but can be dealt with aptly, as I will show. To do so, I will use an example of fictional literature which also has true parts: Rick Riordan's series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. For those who have not read it, it records the adventures of the characters of ancient Greek mythology (Apollo, Zeus, Poseidon, etc) in the modern United States of America. Anyways, the appearance of real objects, places, and people in this story does not make it nonfiction. The series mentions the Gates of Hades lying at the Hollywood Sign. The sign exists, Hades does not. I have made my point."

My response:
Where exactly did you prove your point? Again let me make it clear, unproven is not the same thing as disproven if that is your argument. If you can disprove something in the Bible rather than show that something in the Bible has been unproven, then make your case and i'll examine your arguments.


Sources used:

(1) Craig A. Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels, pp. 132-135
(2) Ibid.
Debate Round No. 2
TheOregonian

Pro

Just a friendly reminder, round 2 was opening arguments and round 3 rebuttals, but no matter.

"People who deny Evolution are entitled to do so. Just as people who believe in a flat Earth are entitled to do so; but that doesn't mean they have the truth on their side. And let me say something else. If Evolution is true, that doesn't at all disprove creationism. Some people try to point to the Creation account in Genesis 1 and the fact that the Bible supposedly supports the idea that the Earth is only 6000 years old to prove their contentions. But the fact of the matter is that there are countless interpretation given to Genesis 1 that support the idea that God didn't create the Earth in 24 hour days, but rather days that last a long period of time. And this can hardly be objected to by stating "well this is after Evolution, so it is done after the fact", because these interpretations arose long before the scientific discovery of an old Earth and Evolution."

Did you miss the entire point of my argument? The evolution statement was an unimportant sidenote. I am calling the Bible fiction on completely different and unrelated terms.

"I disagree with your assertion that Jesus being the Son of God is 'unprovable'. One could very easily start with proving that Jesus probably was not a lunatic or a manaic, so it follows that if he said something about himself, it probably means is telling the truth (he is not a manaic nor is he a lunatic).
What I am referring to are sayings of Jesus that can be shown to go back to the Historical Jesus with a high degree of certainty."

Since we have no other accounts or evidence of Jesus' live and personality, any proof of Jesus' sanity must come from the Bible, and, because we have no reason to trust it's teachings, it is not a viable source. Ergo, Jesus' sanity is unprovable either way.

"A saying of Jesus that is demonstrably authentic is the parable of the Wicked Tenants found in Mark 12:1-8.

"And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country.When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully.And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, "They will respect my son." But those tenants said to one another, "This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard." (Mark 12:1-8)

Among the reasons for thinking this to be an authentic saying of the Historical Jesus are the following:
1) The saying is multiply attested. It appears not only in Mark, but also in Matthew and Luke as well as the Gospel of Thomas which appears to be independent of the Synoptics rendering of the parable.
Multiple attestation is one of the clearest marks that a saying or event is authentic. Usually when historians are studying the past, with an event that is attested by 2 fairly independent sources, they conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that they have a historical fact. With the parable of the Wicked Tenants, we have 4 sources attesting to the saying, 2 of whom are almost certainly independent (The Synoptics and the Gospel of Thomas)"

Assuming all of the Gospels were forged/nonauthentic, it wouldn't matter, because they would still agree on this.

"2) The saying fits the historical context of Jesus' day. New Testament scholar Craig Evans notes "This parable reflects the Jewish-Palestinian experience of absentee landlords, thereby showing the saying is of the historical situation of Jesus' day" (1)"

As would any well-made forgery.

"3) This saying is unlikely to be a creation of the Church because the parable ends abruptly with the death of the Son and no mention of the Resurrection. If this saying were an invention of the early Church it is very hard to explain why they wouldn't have put on Jesus' lips a theme that they so forcefully emphasized in their evangelism."
1) Who said the Church was doing the forgery?
2) Human error/personal beliefs? Anything, really.

"This parable has all the marks of authenticity and therefore goes back to Jesus."

Marks of authenticity like this can be forged easily.

"Craig Evans concludes: "When understood properly and in full context, everything about the parable of the wicked vineyard tenants - including its context in the New Testament Gospels - argues that it originated with Jesus, and not with the early church." (2)"

See above.

"Among New Testament specialists who accept the authenticity of this Parable are James DG Dunn, Craig A. Evans, Ben Witherington, James H. Charlesworth, Raymond Brown, Marcus J. Borg, David Flusser, and more than can be listed."

A mix of Bandwagon and Appeal to Authority logical fallacies.

"I therefore conclude that this saying goes back to Jesus."

I contest this conclusion.

"What then does this saying tell us about the self-understanding of Jesus? It shows us that he distinguishes himself from the prophets by calling them servants and himself the Son. This is significant because if Jesus distinguishes himself from prophets by calling himself "the Son" it shows that Jesus expressed a very unique and intimate relationship with God the Father which no one else shares and more importantly shows that the Historical Jesus did claim to be the Son of God."

As I have shown, this very well could have been faked.

"What's my point? My point is this: Jesus called himself the Son of God. Jesus was either a liar, lunatic, or the Son of God."

And we have no way to prove any of those possibilities true or false, ergo, it is as I said before "unprovable either way".

"In order to avoid the conclusion that Jesus was the Son of God you have to try to argue that Jesus was either crazy and/or deluded, good luck trying to prove the impossible."

My entire point in that paragraph is that it is impossible to prove, either way.

"Unproven is not the same thing as disproven, there is a big difference between the two. What you have to do is disprove something with evidence for me to take your claim seriously."

I understand, and that paragraph did not say that they are disproven. In fact, it explicitly says "they will be proven one way or the other."

Where exactly did you prove your point? Again let me make it clear, unproven is not the same thing as disproven if that is your argument. If you can disprove something in the Bible rather than show that something in the Bible has been unproven, then make your case and i'll examine your arguments.

"My point" was referring to the point of that chapter, i.e., a story can include truth while being fiction.

I do not think you fully comprehended my main point: "It is for this reason that the Bible should be considered fiction. Not because it is false; but because it is unprovable." If something cannot be proven, than the only way for it to originally exist was for it to be invented. And that makes it fiction, by the definitions set.
HardRockHallelujah

Con

I must say that I am completely dissapointed in the bad responses given by Pro. It's obvious that Pro has no regard for actual scholarship when dealing with the issues at hand. Pro either needs to be more aquianted with how New Testament scholars know whether or not a saying of Jesus can be traced back to him amidst what they consider forgeries and embellishments.

Let me go through one-by-one the points made by Pro and demonstrate that this kid has absolutely no clue what he is talking about.


Pro said "Did you miss the entire point of my argument? The evolution statement was an unimportant sidenote. I am calling the Bible fiction on completely different and unrelated terms."

No...I didn't. I was responding to your claim. If Evolution was as you say a side note to your argument, then why bother mentioning it at all? You claim to call the Bible fiction on other grounds yet you still haven't provided any argument to support your case.


Pro said "Assuming all of the Gospels were forged/nonauthentic, it wouldn't matter, because they would still agree on this."

Maybe Pro should pay closer attention to what I am saying rather than attack a strawman argument. Whether or not the sources I am appealing to are forgeries is completely irrelevant to my argument. Pay attention to what I am saying. I said that the parable of the wicked tenants is multiply attested by independent sources. Independent means that one account doesn't rely on another already existing source for their material. So the Gospel of Thomas is independent from Mark in this regard as I already explained if you had even bothered to read what I said instead of just glancing at what I wrote and attack a position I don't even hold.


Pro said "As would any well-made forgery."

Again, Pro is completely clueless in how historiography works. You don't start with the assumption that it is a forgry until proven innocent, then go to the data and conclude that it is contexually credible because it is a well-made forgery. That is a mixture of circular reasoning, begging the question, and special pleading. You can't assume what you have yet to prove. How about instead of just assuming what you have yet to prove, actually prove it.


Pro said "1) Who said the Church was doing the forgery? 2)Human error/personal beliefs? Anything, really."

Again, stop assuming the conclusion you have yet to prove. What evidence can you give me other than 'well this conclusion is convenient to me so I will hold it, but don't ask me to prove it' can you give? I have yet to see a single piece of evidence from you proving your case. In a debate the whole point is to prove your point, it is not to assume your conclusion, then run off to some unknown source and ask me to read it and believe it. This is not how we do scholarship.


Pro said "Marks of authenticity like this can be forged easily."

This is a perfect demonstration of the circular nature of Pro's argument. "I will assume that anything Jesus says in the Bible could not have been said by him because they are forgeries, then with this unproven ssumption in mind I will go back to the data and dismiss any saying on the grounds that 'marks of authenticity can be forged'". You don't even realize that even skeptical New Testament scholars would laugh at your approach. Absolutely not, marks of authenticity cannot be forged. The marks of authenticity are there to weed out unhistorical from historical; it cannot be said that they are forged. Why? Because if Mark and Thomas are independent sources - which they are, then that means you have to prove that Mark forged the parable of the wicked tenants, then Thomas came along independent of Mark, forged the exact same parable word for word independent of Mark. And have you proved any of that? No, therefore your assumption is just that - an assumption.


Pro said "A mix of Bandwagon and Appeal to Authority logical fallacies."

If you're going to act like this; be consistent. Therefore, since I cannot appeal to scholarship on the Bible, then you cannot appeal to scholarship on Evolution, nor can you make the assertion that Atheism is the correct view because it is very popular among a growing number of people. Therefore you have not only proven that scholarship cannot prove anything, you have also proven that scholarship cannot prove Evolution, nor can the fact that Atheism is growing rapidly prove that Atheism must be the correct worldview. Therefore, everyone if free to believe anything they wish regardless of the facts, because nothing can be proven, and any worldview someone has (including Atheism) hold their view completely on faith, in a faith that has no evidence supporting it.

Be consistent. Don't apply one standard to New Testament scholarship, then apply a completely different standard to Atheism. If you don't then you are inconsistent. And inconsistency is a sign of a failed argument.


Pro said "I contest this conclusion."

No one cares what you think. You aren't a New Testament scholar. Heck, your not even in High School yet (LOL). What you have to do for me to take your claim seriously is to provide evidence supporting your view that the saying cannot go back to Jesus. Simply saying 'well I don't believe that' is merely an unproven assertion, just like everyone one of your other unproven assertions. Simply dismissing my arguments isn't a refutation. Either show me the flaw(s) in my arguments or your objection or contesting to my view is groundless just like everything else you have said so far.


Pro said "As I have shown, this very well could have been faked."

Shown what exactly? Faked on what evidence? As you have been doing your entire rebuttal so far, you have not been interacting with my arguments, you simply dismissed it without explaning the flaws in my argumentation. Then you run off and say 'as I have shown'. Well guess what, you haven't shown one flaw in my argument. And on top of that, you still haven't provided an argument to dismiss the saying as inauthentic. So what have you proven? Obviously nothing as is evident by your lack of an argument and your lack of a refutation of my argument for the saying being authentic.


Pro said "And we have no way to prove any of those possibilities true or false, ergo, it is as I said before "unprovable either way".

While nothing in the past can be proven 100% one way or the other, at least I have provided reasons for thinking my view is the correct view. You on the other hand assume your conclusion, then act like you have proven your case without providing any reasons for thinking you are right.


Pro said "My entire point in that paragraph is that it is impossible to prove, either way."

Like I said, I provide arguments for thinking I am right, you on the other hand don't do the same, nor do you interact with my arguments. So your claim is baseless.


Pro said "I do not think you fully comprehended my main point: "It is for this reason that the Bible should be considered fiction. Not because it is false; but because it is unprovable." If something cannot be proven, than the only way for it to originally exist was for it to be invented. And that makes it fiction, by the definitions set."

What is the evidence that because something is unproven, therefore by definition is fiction? Talk about a typical case of special pleading, begging the question, and non-sequitur. I have said this many times before, I will say it again: You cannot assume what you have yet to prove. What joke of a dictionary are you reading to come up with your bogus definition of fiction? To argue your case on a false assumption means your whole case collapses; because you are assuming something that is already false to prove your contentions; thereby showing that your contention is false.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by seichiro 10 months ago
seichiro
In the history of mankind, unlike Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, or anyone else,
Jesus Christ is the ONE & ONLY ONE to be resurrected.

If you desire the most powerful eternal love, grace and salvation, state the following at least once EVERY DAY of your earthly life:

"Lord Jesus, I repented my sins, come into my heart, wash me clean, I'll make you my lord and saviour."

If you are dying, or about to die, pray with an open heart, and say (even if only thinking it in your mind, if - for whatever reason - you are unable to speak:

"Lord Jesus, forgive me."

May the Holy Spirit touch your heart!!!

Yours in Christ,

John
Posted by TheOregonian 11 months ago
TheOregonian
PLEASE do not vote on this post
Posted by TheOregonian 11 months ago
TheOregonian
Actually, do you want to start a new debate for rounds 4-5?
Posted by TheOregonian 11 months ago
TheOregonian
My apologies, I wil re-create debate, only 3 rounds. My bad.
Posted by canis 11 months ago
canis
To "Spidermanions" Spiderman is not...
Posted by jkgraves735 11 months ago
jkgraves735
Are you proposing that ALL the Bible is a work of fiction? And if I choose to accept could we use a version like the ESV or NASB?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Everything 11 months ago
Everything
TheOregonianHardRockHallelujahTied
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