The Christian god exists and rules over the universe - read rules!
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R1. my rules, your argument
R2. my refute, your defence
R3. my summary and refute, your summary and defence
To introduce myself, I am a 20 year old Australian believer in Jesus. I am studying psychology and economics at university, with the aim to eventually change the Australian economy to make it fairer.
The Christian God exists based on a variety of evidences, the most powerful of which is the prophecies which describe in detail the life of Jesus of Nazareth before it occurred. Without these prophecies, there would be no good case for the existence of the Christian God. However, with these prophecies, there is a substantial case. Not only do they contain startlingly specific predictions (in the Bible), but the Bible also creates a new and strange theology which continues to be in stark contrast to all other religions and "normal life" today.
This theology poses that salvation is a free gift, which is received whether or not the person has done a single good deed in their life, or whether they have done multiple atrocities. To repeat, salvation is a free gift which is offered to everyone because God loves them. Eternal life is, therefore free.
That is just one of the odd beliefs that distinguish the Bible, although many Christians do not believe what the Bible has to say about this topic. Other evidences for the existence of a supernatural god include teleology, although physicists have posited numerous alternatives to the teleological argument. There is also a strange, almost spiritual influence that human beings have. Numerous established peer reviewed scientific journal articles discuss the almost telepathic (psychic) influence that we have on our environment. Moreover, a prominent interpretation of various quantum physics experiments posits that matter does not exist until its "position" (for lack of a better term) is observed by an observer.
However ultimately, the only evidence for the Christian God can be found in the Jewish and Christian scriptures. It is a strange form of evidence which I believe has not been considered in too much detail by either proponents or critics of Christianity.
Thank you. I look forward to your response.
I linked my refute for 1 reason.
1. I hyperlinked all of the bible passages and some other sources I make reference too, but debate.org does not let me include them.
With regard to the prophecies which my opponent has spoken of, I neglected to mention the theological concept of "types". Types in the Old and New Testaments are really interesting. They are textual elements which represent other textual elements or acclaimed realities. For example, a type for Jesus dying on the cross would be the Bronze Serpent that Moses placed on a pole to save his people from their sins. Jesus refers to this event in John 3 to describe himself.
Now it appears to me that even the most vehement historical critics of the Christian narrative concede that Jesus died on a crucifix and seemed to many people to be alive afterwards. For example, Bart Ehrman is a radical New Testament scholar who disregards most but not all of the sightings of Jesus after his alleged death. So not all Old Testament types or prophecies are fabricated in the New Testament, although I humbly concede the possibility.
Even if the types and prophecies are found to be grounded in falsehood rather than history, it's important that we realise that there are extraordinary textual links between the Old and the New Testaments that, at the very least, are highly poetic and very complex. The Bible, in this view, would seem to become the greatest novel ever written. Speaking for myself, I find the links otherworldly as I am constantly finding more types in places where previously I never would have expected to find a type. The claims that Jesus made about himself being the temple, the Rock, the sacrifice, and every other Old Testament symbol, open up an amazing world to be explored.
My opponent's third point argues that Psalm 22 is not a messianic prophecy. However, the Jewish community prior to Jesus viewed this as messianic, if not a prophecy. It refers to royalty and the concept of God's kingdom rule. For example, the Babylonian Talmud (c. 500 BCE) links the Psalm to Esther. Now, messiah does not mean "saviour" or "Lord". It means "Christ" or "king". The royal nature of this psalm does allow for a messianic religious interpretation--as indeed occurred!
I do not have any information about types and prophecies that are not found in either Testament. All I can say is that the Scriptures have a complicated linguistic and theological background. For example, the Greek translations of antiquity share considerable variance with the Hebrew and Aramaic.
With the prophecies that go unfulfilled, my opponent needs to be very careful. For example, Matt. 16:28 is fulfilled in the very next passage! The context yields that the Transfiguration is the fulfilment.
He also needs to address the "free gift" idea.
Starting it off with your "types" concept, I am very confused as to how this changes anything. This seems to be what I addressed in my 3rd section of the "Prophecies" section. i.e. " "Most of the Old Testament prophesies claimed by New Testament writers to be prophesies that Jesus fulfilled were not even meant as messianic prophecies""
I am glad that you "concede the possibility" that "not all Old Testament types or prophecies are fabricated in the New Testament", however, I do agree, not all are, but as I said in my 4th "prophecies" argument, "Some of the prophesies claimed to be fulfilled in the New Testament were not in either Testaments. Examples"". Like I said in my 1st argument, "referring me to corroborating credible primary sources" could discredit such problems. You did mention Bart Ehrman, but I would never take anyone"s word for such a claim, without evidence.
"The Bible, in this view, would seem to become the greatest novel ever written", no offence to you, like the whole debate, but I like my novels to be consistent and non-threatening. I am glad that you do acknowledge the chance of the bibles prophecies to be "grounded in falsehood", but I gave you evidence as to why this is a fair conclusion, to prove that the prophecies are not "grounded in falsehood" you can simply refer "me to corroborating credible primary sources".
Just to set this straight, my 3rd argument argues "Most of the Old Testament prophesies claimed by New Testament writers to be prophesies that Jesus fulfilled were not even meant as messianic prophecies in the first place.", and I used Psalm 22 in conjunction with Matthew 27 as an example. I also referred you to a list of even more examples. Back to Psalm 22, I do not see how singing to god for help is prophesizing, but I guess that is up for debate, like I said, if you need more examples there are plenty there.
I do see what you mean by the translation, but you must remember, the 1st line of the debate is "My opponent must be a Christian that believes in every word of the bible." Now this is not a bible that you theorize, but the copy"s available to all of us.
I don"t know how but I did make a mistake with Matthew16:28, but that is fine, there are another 15 examples I gave you. GOOD PICKUP!
You didn"t address the psychic and quantum mechanics, however, I do understand that we were both short for characters, you can include that in this round to come!
Free gift time! I am fairly sure there is no free salvation gift. Like all religions, you must follow the rules given in each of the holy books. From the bible itself, there is a lot of talk about suffering (hell, Satan, revelations), not nice stuff, and the way you avoid this suffering, follow the bibles rules! No believing in another god, no murder etc. Not really free, or any more free than some/most/other religions.
Thanks for debating, lucky for you, you have the final word and can address "the psychic and quantum mechanics" refutes without defence.
The Bible was not written to us. It is not meant to be understood through our modern perspective. Our modern perspective, driven by morals-based religions and the general social environment (a market economy, earn-your-own-keep society), cannot understand the Bible. In fact, the free gift is such an anti-human concept that most humans cannot even understand it.
Let me begin my counterargument with the most vivid demonstration of how false this idea is. Luke's gospel gives an account of how a "bandit", "terrorist", "insurrectionist", or whatever the translation says, dies on a crucifix next to Jesus. While Jesus is hanging on the cross, he tells this sinner, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Basically, he told a bad man that he was going to Heaven when he died.
The reason was this: The man said, "We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong" (v. 41). He realised that he had sinned, but that Jesus had never done anything wrong. He realised that Jesus was the king of Heaven (v. 42). In simply believing that Jesus could save him, he became immediately saved from Hell. There was no good deed required to achieve this.
Even Abraham, who is buried all the way back in Genesis, did not achieve salvation by obeying God's rules. God accepted him before he was circumcised (that is, before he was even "Jewish") because Abraham BELIEVED God. Genesis 15:6 says that "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." So without doing a single good deed, Abraham was credited as righteous.
Have you read the story in which Abraham gets his son to carry the wood of his sacrifice up a hill near Jerusalem? Similarly, Jesus carried a wooden cross up a hill near Jerusalem to sacrifice himself for all of humanity. Abraham believed in Jesus through his son, Isaac, even though Jesus had not been born yet. As a result, Abraham is in the kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 8:11; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Heb. 11:19 especially).
So you see that even without showing the many verses that clearly say that salvation is a free gift (Eph. 2:8, Rom. 9:14-16, etc.; Acts 16:30-31), I have demonstrated that following rules does not get you into the kingdom of Heaven--the sacrifice of Jesus does, and his resurrection from the dead. For example, Paul said that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all" (1Tim 1:15). So Paul was the worst sinner, but Jesus saved him. One must simply "believe in him for eternal life" (v. 16).
The Bible even says that if you try to follow God's rules to be saved, you will be eternally condemned (Gal. 5:4). If salvation is through God's rules, then Christ died for no reason (Gal. 2:21).
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