The Instigator
SkepticsAskHere
Pro (for)
Winning
40 Points
The Contender
OMGJustinBieber
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Bible is a reliable historical document.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
SkepticsAskHere
Started: 5/28/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,931 times Debate No: 16751
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (50)
Votes (8)

 

SkepticsAskHere

Pro

My last opponent's account was deactivated in the middle of the debate so I will be debating it again:

The Bible is a reliable historical document.

I will be Pro, 5 rounds but the first is acceptance, 8,000 characters, 72 hours, and I do have a few requests for my opponent.

Please limit your arguments to only one or two that you feel strongly about. Also, please no dropping or adding arguments throughout the debate.

This is not a debate for the existence of God, the identity of Christ, or the inspiration of scripture. This is the question of are the Biblical scriptures reliable documents. Is what was originally written down what we posses now? Has it been changed? Can we trust the Bible? Does it contradict history? That is how we must interpret the resolution. So the first round is just to accept the debate, and then we'll proceed with the actual debate. Good luck and God bless whoever my opponent is going to be.

I look forward to the debate.
OMGJustinBieber

Con

I accept!

I'm thinking this is all that's needed when you say the first round is for acceptance?
Debate Round No. 1
SkepticsAskHere

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and look forward to it.

And yes that's what you do for the first round!

Well I will not offer definitions, but I reserve the right to define terms late of necessary.

Onto my case!

(If anything is in quotes it is most likely from carm.org)


Contention 1: The Bible is the most documented ancient text in the history of the world. We obviously don’t have the original books written in the Bible. So how do we know if what we have carries any resemblance of the original? We you look at the earliest copies that we have and we compare them. Let’s say someone wrote an essay that was 100 words. The problem is that the original essay is nowhere to be found, but there are two hand copies of the essays. Every word in the essay is the same except the last. So we would have a 99% pure text in the two manuscripts. It’s the same process when dealing with any ancient document. So let’s see how the New Testament Scriptures compare to other ancient documents.

Author

Date
Written

Earliest Copy

Approximate Time Span between original & copy

Number of Copies

Accuracy of Copies

Lucretius

died 55 or 53 B.C.

1100 yrs

2

----

Pliny

61-113 A.D.

850 A.D.

750 yrs

7

----

Plato

427-347 B.C.

900 A.D.

1200 yrs

7

----

Demosthenes

4th Cent. B.C.

1100 A.D.

800 yrs

8

----

Herodotus

480-425 B.C.

900 A.D.

1300 yrs

8

----

Suetonius

75-160 A.D.

950 A.D.

800 yrs

8

----

Thucydides

460-400 B.C.

900 A.D.

1300 yrs

8

----

Euripides

480-406 B.C.

1100 A.D.

1300 yrs

9

----

Aristophanes

450-385 B.C.

900 A.D.

1200 yrs

10

----

Caesar

100-44 B.C.

900 A.D.

1000 yrs

10

----

Livy

59 BC-AD 17

----

???

20

----

Tacitus

circa 100 A.D.

1100 A.D.

1000 yrs

20

----

Aristotle

384-322 B.C.

1100 A.D.

1400 yrs

49

----

Sophocles

496-406 B.C.

1000 A.D

1400 yrs

193

----

Homer (Iliad)

900 B.C.

400 B.C.

500 yrs

643

95%

New
Testament

1st Cent. A.D. (50-100 A.D.

2nd Cent. A.D.
(c. 130 A.D. f.)

less than 100 years

5600

99.5%

The New Testament is the best documented ancient text in the world, and the Old Testament has a 99% accuracy when we compare the Dead Sea Scrolls to each other.

"It should be obvious that the biblical documents, especially the New Testament documents, are superior in their quantity, time span from original occurrence, and textual reliability. People still question if the documents are reliably transmitted to us, but they should rather ask if the biblical documents record actual historical accounts."

Contention 2: The Bible documents the world, and the world vice versa. The Roman historian Josephus mentions several people from the New Testament along with other writers who confirm the story.

Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?) mentions Jesus - Antiquities, Book 18, ch. 3, par. 3.

  1. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

Here are the rest of the non-biblical accounts.

http://carm.org......

And also the Bible is a book of history.


"It could be said that the Bible is a book of history -- and it is. The bible describes places, people, and events in various degrees of detail. It is essentially an historical account of the people of God throughout thousands of years. If you open to almost any page in the Bible you will find a name of a place and/or a person. Much of this can be verified from archaeology. Though archaeology cannot prove that the Bible is the inspired word of God, it has the ability to prove whether or not some events and locations described therein are true or false. So far, however, there isn't a single archaeological discovery that disproves the Bible in any way."

"Nevertheless, many people used to think that the Bible had numerous historical errors in it such as Luke's account of Lysanias being the tetrarch of Abiline in about 27 AD (Luke 3:1). For years scholars used this "factual error" to prove Luke was wrong because it was common knowledge that Lysanias was not a tetrarch, but the ruler of Chalcis about 50 years earlier than what Luke described. But, an archaeological inscription was found that said Lysanias was the tetrarch in Abila near Damascus at the time that Luke said. It turns out that there had been two people name Lysanias and Luke had accurately recorded the facts."

"Also, the walls of Jericho have been found, destroyed just as the Bible says. Many critics doubted that Nazareth ever existed, yet archaeologists have found a first-century synagogue inscription at Caesarea that has verified its existence. Finds have verified the existence of Herod the Great and his son Herod Antipas. The remains of the Apostle Peter's house have been found at Capernaum. Bones with nail scars through the wrists and feet have been uncovered as well demonstrating the actuality of crucifixion. The High Priest Caiaphas' bones have been discovered in an ossuary (a box used to store bones)."

"There is, of course, a host of archaeological digs that corroborate biblical records on places such as Bethsaida, Bethany, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Cyprus, Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, etc. For more on this see, http://carm.org...;

"There are many such archaeological verifications of biblical events and places. Is the Bible trustworthy? Absolutely! Remember, no archaeological discovery has ever contradicted the Bible. Therefore, since it has been verified over and over again throughout the centuries, we can continue to trust it as an accurate historical document."

Good luck to my opponent in the next round and just so you know, I have a lot of info under my contentions and I only really expect you to attack my contentions. The info is what my arguments represent. I do this so that I don’t have to use all 8,000 characters in each round.

Sources:

http://carm.org......

http://carm.org......

http://carm.org......


OMGJustinBieber

Con

Unfortunately, I feel this debate is going to boil down to the existence of God because much of the Bible consists of claims which are physically impossible. Animals speak in several instances in the Bible, the first being the Adam and Eve story. In order for historians to generally consider a document a reliable historical guide, it needs to first abide by the rules of nature. If there was an account in the Civil War of amputees growing back limbs, there is no doubt that this document would be looked upon with severe skepticism. Perhaps some theists could have a different perspective of this phenomenon, but even if there were several eyewitnesses this is not enough to confirm the event.

If one has an "extended" view of the laws of nature and reality, then I really don't know how to argue against that person besides debating their core premises that make up this reality. Perhaps this debate was better left to a Christian or a Jew with a different perception of the Bible. Frankly, if I truly believed in any of the impossible events listed in the Bible then I would have much less of an obstacle in terms of believing in the rest, and in that sense I understand you. Do you seriously take the creation myth literally? I know this is an obvious criticism (damn science) but it does seem to boil down to faith.
Debate Round No. 2
SkepticsAskHere

Pro

I thank my opponent for his quick response and I will try to do the same.

Unfortunately, I feel this debate is going to boil down to the existence of God because much of the Bible consists of claims which are physically impossible.


Well let's pretend for a second that the God of Christianity was real, then the unreasonable things in the Bible become somewhat logical. Also, the miracles were used to affirm people's faith in that time because they saw the evidence for themselves. The inclusion of the supernatural does not downgrade it's historical accuracy.

The supernatural should not be a factor in this debate as I stated in my opening round. That this is not debating the claims the Bible makes, but rather that it has not been changed, it aligns with history, and so on and so forth.

Do you seriously take the creation myth literally? I know this is an obvious criticism (damn science) but it does seem to boil down to faith.

Yes, I most certainly do. And I do have evidence for why creationism is valid.

My opponent makes no attack against my contention that the Bible is the most reliable ancient text in the world. Because this is true, we can say that the Bible is a reliable historical document. Also my opponent did not talk about how the Bible documents the world, and the world has documented the events described in the Bible. Remember that no archeological find has ever contradicted with the Bible.

I extend all of the arguments my opponent has neglected to attack, and I hope the voters remember this round when making their decisions.

For these reasons I urge a pro vote and I look forward to my opponent's response so that we will be able to determine the historical accuracy and the reliability of the Bible.
OMGJustinBieber

Con

I'm happy to make this a quicker debate and thank Pro for the quick reply.

"The supernatural should not be a factor in this debate as I stated in my opening round."

The premise is whether the Bible a reliable historical document. How do I argue about the Bible without God? I think the issue of God's role in quite important in evaluating how reliable it is. In my view, the the vast number of physical impossibilities mentioned in the Bible make it a dubious historical guide due to those facts alone. Certainly, most of us would consider a textbook that made outlandish claims about talking animals or the Earth being created in 7 days or people being turned into salt as a shaky historical piece even if some parts may present a version of the truth.

Even history textbooks need to pick and choose what is included, and similarly the Bible is presented from a certain viewpoint. "Reliable" historical accounts generally mesh several viewpoints and examine the issue from multiple angles rather than one view framed in a black and white form.

"Yes, I most certainly do. And I do have evidence for why creationism is valid."

Scientific evidence? That humans appeared under a week after Earth's creation?

"My opponent makes no attack against my contention that the Bible is the most reliable ancient text in the world."

This is not the premise. The premise is whether the Bible is a reliable historical document, period. Reliable historical documents tend to make claims that don't contradict our natural laws or claim the happening of physical impossibilities. A "reliable" historical document should not be based on pure faith as to whether a snake actually spoke, people were turned to salt, the sea split in two, or any number of other events which are considered impossibilities. If you want to even argue for these things you must include a divine element, which is a topic you're trying to avoid.

Pro contends that there is no archaeological evidence that contradicts the Bible. I don't agree with this, but before we even go on this issue we must address the fundamental issues here. If you wanted to argue from an archaeological perspective you should have made that clear in the premise, but from the viewpoint of a non-believer there are much larger problems. If you're going to claim that "God did it" then you must have proof for the skeptics rather than gloss over the more far fetched parts and illegitimately place the burden of proof on me asking that I prove that such and such event is not true. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Debate Round No. 3
SkepticsAskHere

Pro

I thank my opponent once again for replying so quickly.

The premise is whether the Bible a reliable historical document. How do I argue about the Bible without God?

My opponent is not staying on topic what so ever. All of his points are made on the stance that the supernatural is impossible. The super natural things are things outside of the metaphysical world that cannot necessarily be seen. I stated in the beginning that this is not about the supernatural. I have not made any arguments like “God has protected the Bible from being corrupted” or “it is impossible for the Bible to be corrupted because it is holy”. Therefore my opponent shouldn’t make non-topical claims by saying “the supernatural doesn’t exist so this is impossible”. He could have presented some evidence that historically contradicted the Bible, or evidence that the Bible has been altered in some manner. However, he has not presented anything, so we must assume there is no evidence that contradicts the Bible.

Even history textbooks need to pick and choose what is included, and similarly the Bible is presented from a certain viewpoint. "Reliable" historical accounts generally mesh several viewpoints and examine the issue from multiple angles rather than one view framed in a black and white form.

The fact that there are several viewpoints only confirms its validity. The Bible is really a collection of several eyewitness’s testimonies. This only confirms its reliability in the sense that no one removed or added parts of the testimonies to make the story easier to follow.


Scientific evidence? That humans appeared under a week after Earth's creation?

Well actually my opponent takes the first chapter of Genesis out of context. If you look at the root word in Hebrew for the word day, it has four meanings: a 24 hour day, all of the daylight hours, part of the daylight hours, and finally a long but finite piece of time. Now if you read the chapter you will see that each day begins and ends, however not the seventh day in which God rests does not end. This would lead us to believe that we are now in the seventh “day” so to speak. It’s merely a misinterpretation of the original language, and I can assure you that the Bible is parallel to the 4 billion year old Earth model.

My evidence for this came in the video.

"My opponent makes no attack against my contention that the Bible is the most reliable ancient text in the world."

My opponent gives us no reason to doubt the historical accuracy of the Bible, he has been very non-topical, taken verses out of context, and does not provide any evidence that the Bible has been altered.

I have provided mass amounts of evidence that the Bible has not been altered, and so my claim stands the Bible is a reliable historical document.

I have also presented evidence that confirms events in the Bible.

For these reasons and more I urge a Pro vote.

I look forward to my opponent’s response.

OMGJustinBieber

Con

"However, he has not presented anything, so we must assume there is no evidence that contradicts the Bible."

The impossible occurring in the Bible is not sufficient evidence that the Bible is not a reliable historical document? In order to rationalize the impossible, God must be brought in. Belief in God is faith based. Historical evidence needs hard evidence rather than faith for something to be reliable, at least in my view. I could pick any number of impossible events to use as an example here.

What if we learned of an account in the Revolutionary War of soldiers in a certain battle getting wings and flying away? Does such an event coincide with our scientific understanding? No. Is it possible if the source brought in the idea of an infinitely powerful God who intervenes in human affairs? Yes. But in doing so, the latter undermines the natural understanding of human possibility. Usually, historical analysis starts a step after this in that the possibility of these events is already acknowledged and we can therefore find evidence for the claims. In this case, we've failed to satisfy the first principle, and this occurs in numerous instances in the OT and NT. If I'm not mistaken, we both agree that there are a large number of divine inspired events in the Bible that cannot be ignored.

"The fact that there are several viewpoints only confirms its validity."

It's difficult for any historical document to capture the "full truth." It may present several viewpoint at certain cases, but to claim a full complete analysis of every event is just not something that you see. I'm sort of arguing details here and even getting a little nit picky, but it's just presenting an underlying skepticism of viewing anything of a completely objective historical account. For example, when Moses brought down the ten commandments he saw the Israelites worshipping an idol. Who's idea was it to make the idol? Were there divisions in the tribe?

"Well actually my opponent takes the first chapter of Genesis out of context."

I'm not even going to address this since you've never adequately addressed my first concern that the impossible occurring is a major stumbling block for considering something reliable. We could have turned this into an existence of God debate, which was likely it's proper, logical end - but when I extended the invitation you refused. I was arguing the premise the entire time that "the bible is a reliable historical document." The idea that it may be the most reliable historical document in the ancient world is irrelevant, and not the topic.

Anyway, in conclusion I feel this discussion was limited because Pro insisted on focusing on archaeological or historical evidence rather than ever confronting the view that the impossible supposedly happened. To address this honestly, Pro would have had to bring up God which I was entirely happy to discuss with him. Pro repeatedly dodged this invitation claiming that the debate was not about God (because God clearly has little to do this with the Bible?). I refused to get side tracked onto whether there was evidence for such and such event and insisted on staying focused on my core argument.

Regardless, thank you Pro for putting forth the effort and good luck.
Debate Round No. 4
SkepticsAskHere

Pro

This is not a debate for the existence of God, the identity of Christ, or the inspiration of scripture. This is the question of are the Biblical scriptures reliable documents. Is what was originally written down what we posses now? Has it been changed? Can we trust the Bible? Does it contradict history? That is how we must interpret the resolution. So the first round is just to accept the debate, and then we'll proceed with the actual debate. Good luck and God bless whoever my opponent is going to be.

I stated this in the first round of this debate. My opponent has ignored all of my arguments and refused to debate me because he insists upon the impossibility of the supernatural. My opponent has no concept of the supernatural of any desire to know what the supernatural aspects of the universe encompasses.

Because my opponent refused to debate the resolution, or argue against my contention or any other argument, Pro should easily win this debate. I hate to win on topicality, but this is how we must have interpreted the resolution, and even though my opponent accepted the debate, he chose not to do so.

My opponent also should not bring up any new arguments in the next round or else he will be forfeiting the round due to abuse. Because of course I can't debate those arguments because I don't have another round. Thank you

Vote Pro due to topicality
OMGJustinBieber

Con

"Is what was originally written down what we posses now? Has it been changed? Can we trust the Bible? Does it contradict history?"

Can somebody in the comments explain to me why stories of sticks turning into snakes, animals speaking to people, or seas parting in two would be considered nonsense in every modern source but not the Bible?

Do the events described contradict history? I'm quite sure they do.

The premise itself was whether the Bible is a reliable historical document. I've made my case, and I implore that our conception of the possibility of events not be altered by the fact that it was "a long time ago." I can't engage Pro on his platform because certain core assumptions were never satisfied. I refuse to ignore blatant impossibilities in arguing about the "reliability" of a historical document.

Core weakly tried to answer my queries with appealing to "what if" the Christian God did exist, but this is something that should have been spelled out in the premise rather than later rounds. From a purely historical view, rather than one that is faith or religion based, any text that claims physical impossibilities should be seriously questioned. The Bible should be considered no different from any other source in this sense if it's supporters insist it be judged on that strict historical standard.

I wish Pro good luck in his future debates and intellectual development.
Debate Round No. 5
50 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Tatarize 2 years ago
Tatarize
Awe, pretty please. I'll even vote for you.

(I always vote for my opponent in every debate, you can check my record).

--
The people would understand why Luke would say that Joseph is the son of Heli but actually be knowingly saying something false for the purpose of misleading people (who otherwise might balk at the idea).

It also shouldn't escape one to note the underlying assumption that it's reasonable to give women's geneologies when nobody ever would in a book that treats women as chattel. Like it's stealth feminism between the women are at fault for everything bad in the world and they shouldn't speak in church bits.
Posted by SkepticsAskHere 2 years ago
SkepticsAskHere
Haha no not lying, the people that Luke would be writing to would have easily understood his reasons for doing so. Especially because even in America where women didn't get a right to vote until the past century, we can see that you wouldn't even address the mother because she is of no significance to the audience.

And I might, I already debated it twice so I'm looking for a new topic you know? And I don't see why i would use an argument that had to do with scientific accuracies to debate about the historical reliability of the books of the Bible.
Posted by Tatarize 2 years ago
Tatarize
So skeptics, your claim is that the Bible is lying. That it says Joseph but it only says that because Mary's genealogy would be off-putting. So it tries to pull a fast one on the readers of the Bible who are sexist dupes. Is that the claim? Because I keep looking and it seems to be.

Pretty please offer this same debate to me, even use these scientific accuracy arguments if you want. It sounds lovely.
Posted by SkepticsAskHere 2 years ago
SkepticsAskHere
How does it show it's unreliable at all? And in the culture you would of course not show mary in the genealogy because women weren't regarded as highly as men, so in Luke we can assume that the father listed for Joseph can be his step-father, the genealogies of the time weren't nearly as advanced as we have today, so in all due respect why wouldn't this be a reasonable explanation?

And even though the Bible contains no rocket scientists, there are scientific accuracies such as the shape of the Earth, the suspension of space of the Earth, the water cycle, ocean currents, valleys in the oceans, etc.
http://carm.org...
Posted by wolfhaines 2 years ago
wolfhaines
Doesn't work like that SkepticsAskHere. The very fabric of this debate shows it is unreliable. There shouldn't be any genealogy for Joseph as he wasn't actually Jesus' biological father, so didn't carry his genes. Your own beliefs say that, so why would those same beliefs deny that? Unreliable.

How can an ancient peasant trace their family history that many generations? We struggle to do it and we have millions of records for hundreds of years. It is all fabrication.
Posted by wolfhaines 2 years ago
wolfhaines
KeytarHero- Italy has the technological and scientific know how of how to get a man to the moon. All corners of the modern world contribute to space programmes. To try and make a comparison between a country in the modern world and that of one in the ancient world is silly. Don't lower yourself to that.
Posted by Tatarize 2 years ago
Tatarize
>>Yes you would have lost because your evidence is most likely false

Offer the same debate to me. I'll gladly accept. It's not really hard to figure out how such things would have gone down, as we're both here. Come on, whoop me for Jesus.
Posted by Tatarize 2 years ago
Tatarize
>>Look at the context of those two passages. Mark says that Joseph was Jesus's father, however Luke said that Joseph was thought to be the father. So Mark shows the genealogy of Joseph, while Luke shows the genealogy of Mary (because while Joseph took care of Jesus as the father it is believed to be God who is the father). Another verse taken out of context.

No. Mark is the original gospel and Matthew and Luke are the ones that appended genealogies to them to show that Jesus is of the house of David. The problem is that you need to absolutely deny what Luke says and where it says Joseph who was son of Heli, you need to say that the Bible is lying and it means to say Mary. The problem is that *IN* context it oesn't work. You need to make things up, to get them to fit. Which at the very least means that the Bible doesn't speak for itself. And as the apologetic is that the Bible lies, I'm not impressed.

The reason why it says Joseph and really give Mary is that people wouldn't take genealogy of a woman (so the Bible lies).

3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

You are honest to God saying that that line is out of context and it means, by special magical argument, Mary there where it says Joseph.
Posted by SkepticsAskHere 2 years ago
SkepticsAskHere
Haha nice point
Posted by KeytarHero 2 years ago
KeytarHero
Wolfhaines

Italy has never sent anyone to the Moon. Does that make their history or science books unreliable?
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Grape 2 years ago
Grape
SkepticsAskHereOMGJustinBieberTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Bieber's argument did not follow the resolution and he ignored the rules in the first round. Pro had much better documentation and sources. Clear win for Po.
Vote Placed by Tatarize 2 years ago
Tatarize
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Reasons for voting decision: *yawn*
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 2 years ago
KeytarHero
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Tatarize's vote bomb.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 2 years ago
ReformedArsenal
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Reasons for voting decision: Con completely missed the point of this debate... also I gave pro the S
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 2 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
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Reasons for voting decision: Bieber, this went way off topic, it was supposed to be about the Bible as a historical document.
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 2 years ago
quarterexchange
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro defended the bible's credibility very well and con did not refute them at all. He also had a slew of sources
Vote Placed by vardas0antras 2 years ago
vardas0antras
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Reasons for voting decision: Spelling and Grammar: Pro - clearly - took his time and made his rounds easy to read. On the other hand, Con didn't invest any visible effort. Arguments: Con didn't debate the resolution.
Vote Placed by kohai 2 years ago
kohai
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Reasons for voting decision: Con didn't refute a single of pro's arguments. In round 2, he attempted to change the topic of the debate.