The Instigator
Randall999
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
general52
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

The Gospel of Jesus is a patchwork of plagiarized material from non-Judeo-Christian sources

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 9,643 times Debate No: 15476
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (101)
Votes (6)

 

Randall999

Pro

Christians claim that eternal life is offered by belief in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for the sins of humanity, by belief in the Jesus of the gospel writings of the bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). The gospel story of Jesus is a remarkable story to say the least. But I maintain it is just that-- a fictional story about a fictional character, and a story composed of fragmented borrowings from other sources.

The gospel story of Jesus is actually nothing more than a mix of characters, names, sayings, and events from other crucified savior mythologies, religions, and ancient writings. There is little to nothing original in the gospel story.

One would think that a God coming to earth as a human (Jesus), requiring humans to believe in such a fantastical story, would at least make the story original.

I posit that the gospel story is anything but original, that the story is almost completely plagiarized, that it is non-original, and as such certainly is not a story of a divine person or god.

Saint Augustine, the eminent early Church leader, himself admitted "That which is known as the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist", i.e. that christianity is simply a retelling of the ancient savior mythologies that have always existed among civilizations. The Christian Father Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 CE) even admitted that christianity offered nothing new that did not exist in ancient pagan religions. In Justin Martyr's First Apology and his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Justin Martyr admits to similarities between Christianity and the many ancient savior gods; he admits to virgin births, of miraculous healings, and deaths and resurrections, of other savior gods outside of christianity (e.g. Justin admits to Hercules' virgin birth, resurrection, and ascension to heaven. Justin admits to Perseus' virgin birth, and how Aesculapius raised the dead and did miraculous healings and imitated the prophecies about Christ). Lactantius (240-330 CE), an early Church writer, wrote, so as to convince the pagan elite to convert to christianity, about how the ancient pagan savior-god stories were proof that christianity was a valid religion, since christianity was thus as valid as those religions.

Thus the challenge: What is original in the gospel story of Jesus, to make it worth even considering as a valid basis for the Christian faith?
general52

Con

Thanks for this opportunity to shed some light on a topic like this and the chance to clear up any misconceptions on this site that their are no historical evidences for the Christian faith.
Challenge by the pro:
"What is original in the gospel story of Jesus, to make it worth even considering as a valid basis for the Christian faith?"

I will answer two other more specific questions that I feel cover the basis of the pro's initial question. They are "how do we know that the new testament is historically reliable?" "How do we know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not made up?"

To answer these questions I will base my historical standards on the military historian, C. Sanders. Who in his "Introduction to Research in English Literary History" lists three basic principles of historiography; they are the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test and external evidence test.(1)

To start I will explain the bibliographical test to make sure we are clear on what that is, the bibliographical test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. Or in other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable can the copies we have today be, based on surviving manuscript copies(mss) and the time interval between the orginal documents and the manuscripts that are still preserved. There are 5,300 Greek mss of the New Testament there over 10,000 latin vulgate and at least 9,300 other early version mss that totals today 24,000 mss copies today.(2)

With these mss we are able to compare our copies of the bible to the original mss and when we do that we are able to see that over time and even though the New testament has 20,000 lines it only has 40 lines or 400 words in doubt. This is a really small error and most of the changes are as small as different word choice, but the different words essentially have the same meaning. That's 24,000 copies that are all essentially the same except for 40 lines this is a very strong testament to the validity of the translated copies and the accuracy of the copies we have today.(3)

So the New testament which accounts for the story of Christ has stayed the same and it passes the bibliographical test but how about the internal evidence test?

On this test John Warwick Montgomery writes that literary critics still follow Aristotle's dictum that "the benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not arrogated by the critic to himself...One must listen to the claim's of the document under analysis, and not assume fraud or error unless the author disqualified himself by contradictions or known factual inaccuracies."(4)
F.F. Bruce, Ryland's Professor of Biblical criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, says, concerning the primary-source value of the NT records "The earliest preachers of the gospel knew the value of first-hand testimony, and appealed to it time and again. ‘We are witnesses of these things,' was their constant and confident assertion. And it can have been by no means so easy as some writers seem to think to invent words and deeds of Jesus in those early years, when so many of His disciples were about, who could remember what had and had not happened."

See verses Luke 1:1-3, 2nd Peter1:16, 1 John 1:3, Acts 2:22, John 19:35, Luke 3:1, Acts 26:24-26
These are examples from scripture where the authors themselves make the same case as F.F. Bruce that they are not making up stories but reporting history. I would also like to point out that these are from four different authors and from five different books and they are all coming to the same conclusions and making the same reports and statements.

"The New Testament must be regarded by scholars today as a competent primary source document from the first century."(4)

*To conserve space I will only post liberal dating*
Liberal dating (of the new testament books)
Paul's Letters A.D 50-100
Matthew A.D 80-100
Mark A.D 70
Luke A.D 70-90
John A.D 90-100 (5)

"Thanks to the Qumran discoveries, the New Testament proves to be in fact what it was formerly believed to be: the teaching of Christ and his immediate followers between 25 A.D and 80 A.D"(6)

*Now for the part I imagine everyone is the most interested in
The External Evidence Test
What sources are there apart from the literature under analysis that substantiate its accuracy, reliability, and authenticity?

Eusbebius, in his ecclesiastical History III. Preserves writings of Papias, the bishop of Heirapolis(130 A.D) Which Papias got from the Elder(apostles John):
"The Elder used to say this also: 'Mark, having been the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately all that he (Peter) mentioned, whether sayings or doings of Christ, not, however, in order. For he was neither a hearer nor a companion of the Lord; but afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who adapted his teachings as necessity required, not as though he were making a compilation of the sayings of the Lord. So then Mark made no mistake, writing down in this way some things as he (Peter) mentioned them; for he paid attention to this one thing, not to omit anything that he had heard, not to include any false statement among them.'"
Irenaeous, Bishop of Lyons (A.D 180), who was a student of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna; martyred in 156 A.D., had been a Christian for 86 years, and was a disciple of John the Apostle
He wrote:
"So firm is the ground upon which these Gospels rest, that the very heretics themselves bear witness to them, and, starting from these. each one of them endeavors to establish his own particular doctrine" (Against Heresies III).
Ignatius (A.D 70-156). He was Bishop of Antioch and was martyred for his faith in Christ. He knew all the apostles and was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John. Igantius gave credence to the Scripture by the way he based his faith on the accuracy of the Bible. He had ample witnesses to discover scriptural trustworthiness.(7)

Flavius Josephus- Jewish historian.
The differences between Josephus' account of the baptism of John the Baptist and the of the Gospel is that Josephus says that John's baptism was not for the remission of sin, while the bible says it was; and that John was killed for political reasons and not for his denunciation of Herod's marriage to Herodias. The outline provided by Josephus' account confirms that of the Gospels. (8)
In Ant. XVIII. 5.2, Josephus makes mention of John the Baptist. Because of the manner in which this passage is written, there is no ground for suspecting Christian interpolation. In this passage we read:
"Now some of the Jews thought that Herod's army had been destroyed by God, and that it was a very just penalty to avenge John, surnamed the baptist. For Herod had killed him, though he was a good man, who bade the Jews practise virtue, be just one to another pious toward God, and come together in baptism...And when the others gathered around him, Herod feared that his persuasive power over men, being so great, might lead to a rising, as they seemed rady to follow his counsel in everything."(8)

Well that's it for room there is more info. Thank you

1.Sanders, C. "Introduction in Research in English Literary History". New York: Macmillan Co.1952
2.Charles Leach Our Bible: How We Got It (1898)
3.Geisler, Norman L. and William E. Nix A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968.
4.Montgomery, John W. "History and Christianity." Downers Grove, IL 60515: Inter-Varsity Press, 1971
5.Werner Georg Kummel's Introduction to the New Testament, translated by Howard Clark Kee, Abingdon Press,1973
6.Arndt, William F. and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1952
7.Liplady, Thomas. The influence of the Bible. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1924.
8.Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Downers Grove; IL 60515: Inter-Varsity Press, 1964.
Debate Round No. 1
Randall999

Pro

To my worthy opponent, thank you for taking up this intellectual challenge.

My opponent has strayed from the original point of this debate, namely my claim that ‘The Gospel of Jesus is a patchwork of plagiarized material from non-Judeo-Christian sources’, seeking rather to answer "How do we know that the new testament is historically reliable?" I am not here to debate the historicity of Jesus, the gospels, or the new testament.

Let us return to the original focus of the debate, as I elaborate on the unoriginality of the gospel story.

The Unoriginal ‘Jesus’ Savior Story


Virgin birth of God-savior, Dec 25. Dionysus / Bacchus, Heracles, Horus of Egypt, Krishna, Mithra of Persia, Zoroaster... Dec 25 a common birth-date for saviors.

Born in cave. Common (in savior myths).

Star in the east. Magi / Wise Men. Common. E.g. carved in the temple of Luxor, ancient Egyptian savior-God Horus.

Parents take savior and flee to avoid his being killed. Common.

Baptized, dove appears. Baptism of the Egyptian God Horus in the river Eridanus / Nile where the dove represents the Egyptian Goddess Hathor who brings Horus forth as an adult in a ceremony symbolizing rebirth. Baptism was common before Christianity.

Sermon on the Mount, The Beatitudes. Stolen from Buddha’s sermon 500 years prior to the gospel story.

Gift of Eternal life. Common.

Savior speaks many wise parables to prove his wisdom. Derived from Indian Vedas as spoken by Krishna, Dhammapada, Lao Tzu, and Egyptian God Horus.

Lord’s Prayer. Maxims of Ani, from ancient Egypt, contains this almost word for word.

Tempted in the wilderness. Common.

Water into wine. Common (priests had a device to do this to fool the people); story of turning water into wine at Cana was modeled on a Dionysian rite of sacred marriage celebrated at Sidon, and the gospel tale wording is copied almost verbatim.

Miracles. Common. E.g. Honi the Righteous, and Hanini Be Dosa, resided in the biblical lands at the time of Jesus, known for their paranormal powers.

Sabbath. Pre-dates Jewish religion.

Raises Lazarus from the dead. Tales of resurrection common.
Lazarus tale borrowed from ancient Egypt.

Alpha, Omega. Egyptian Goddess Isis, "I am all that has been, that is, and that will be."

Second Coming. Pre-christian, expected of several savior Gods.

Casts demons out of swine. Seen in Egyptian scenes of the Judgement, where condemned souls are ordered back into the abyss, and then make the return pdonkeyage down to the lake of primordial matter by taking the shape of the swine.

Rides a donkey into Jerusalem. Greek mythos Hephaistos ascends to heaven, at the instigation of Dionysus, and is depicted as returning riding on a donkey.

The Last Supper. "This is my blood you drink, this is my body you eat" is a standard part of the theophagic (God-eating) ritual of many ancient pagan religions.

Peter as rock, head of the church. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Petra (Peter) is the name of the divine doorkeeper of heaven. Mithraism had Pater as head of the temple. Peter denies Savior, 3 cocks of the crow. Found in ancient pagan religions. e.g. in the Zohar a cock crowing 3 times is an omen of death.

Savior is betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, hangs himself in potter’s field. Sumero-babylonian Goddess Aruru was worshipped as a Potter in the Jewish temple, where she received 30 pieces of silver as the price of a sacrificial victim. Aruru owed the Field of Blood, where she mixed clay with the blood of victims so bought-- hence the origin of Potter's field.

Sacrifice for sins of humanity. Common.

A cloaked stranger throws off his cloak and runs away naked. Found in The Odyssey by Homer.

The Pdonkeyion. Baal or Bel of Babylon/Phoenicia as seen on a 4000 year-old tablet in the British museum: Baal is taken prisoner, tried in a hall of justice, tormented and mocked by a rabble, let away to a mount, taken with two other prisoners (one of whom is released), sacrificed on a mount after which the rabble goes on a rampage, his clothes are taken, he is put in a tomb, he is sought after by weeping women, he is resurrected-- appearing to his followers after the stone is rolled away from the tomb. Sound familiar?

Golgatha (“Place of Skulls", Latin: Calvary). Many ancient religions in the middle east had a habit of preserving skulls of the dead for later necromancy; their place of sacrifice was called Golgotha.

Spear of Longinus plunged into Savior’s side. The Hindu God Vishnu (Bal-ii) was crucified with spear in his side. The Gods Wittba and Adonis were also crucified and "side-wounded" saviors.

On the cross, cries out ‘My God, My God, Why has thou forsaken me!’. Sacrifice of Aleyin by his Virgin Mother Anath, Like Jesus, Aleyin was the Lamb of God and said "I am Aleyin, son of Baal (Lord/God). Make ready then, the sacrifice. I am the Lamb which is made ready with pure wheat to be sacrificed in expiation." After Aleyin's death and resurrection by Anath, she told him that he was forsaken by his heavenly father El. "My El, My El, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Temple curtain is rendered (torn). Horus rends the curtain of the Egyptian temple.

Sky darkens. No historian ever wrote about this. Odd. But this is found in other savior myths.

Buried 3 days. Common.

Resurrects. Common.

Transfigures on the Mount of Olives. Mount Bakhu (mount of olives) was the way of ascent to the risen [Egyptian] Savior as he issued forth from Amenta to the land of the spirtis in heaven. A transfiguration on a mountain was common with many ancient savior Gods.

As an unoriginal story, I find the gospel story of Jesus highly suspect in terms of being a story of an actual historical God-man. It seems more likely to be just a retelling of the common 'God comes to earth as a Virgin born man, provides moral teaching, is crucified and resurrected to provide a solution to mankind's universal fear of death'. A true Savior it seems to me would have a more undergone an original life story, have no need to plagiarize literally His entire story from previous stories. So again, I ask readers and my opponent-- what is there in the gospel story of Jesus that is original?


_________________________________________________
Sources:

Sixteen Crucified Saviors by Kersey Graves (book).
Biblical Origins in Ancient Egypt
The Christ Conspiracy- The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Acharya S. 1999.
Suns of God--Krishna, Buddha, and Christ Unveiled by Acharya S. 2004.
The Jesus Mysteries-- Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God? 1999.
Temple of Luxor, inscriptions
Parallel Myths -- A Fascinating Look at the Common Threads Woven Through the World's Greatest Myths, and the Central Role they Have Played Through Time by J.F. Bierlein (book) 1994.
Christ a Fiction by Robert Price (essay)
Hindu, Buddhist writings and alleged sayings of Jesus:
http://oregonstate.edu...
http://users.cyberone.com.au...
Jesus
and Buddha, the Parallel Sayings (book)
Mithraism and Christianity: How are They Related? by Donald R. Morse. Journal of Religion and Psychical Research, January 1999 volume 22, issue 1, pp.33-44.
Rivalling with Incipient Christianism by C.F. Dumermuth. Asian Journal of Theology, October 2002 Volume 16 issue 2 pp 409-415
Ritual, Myth, Doctrine, and Initiation in the Mysteries of Mithras: New Evidence from a Cult Vessel by Roger Beck. Journal of Roman Studies. 2000. Volume 90, page 145-193.
On Mithra's Part in Zuroastrianism by M. Boyce. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 1969. 32: pp 10-34.
The Competition by Everett Ferguson. Christian History. 1998. Volume 17 Issue 1.
Mithras Myths and Legends of the World, John M. Wickersham editor in chief. 2000.
Osirus and Horus-- Egyptian origin of Jesus savior myth?
http://www.religioustolerance.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

general52

Con

let us go from the top down shall we?

Story: a fictional narrative shorter than a novel

History:a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events

The question was asked:
What is original in the gospel story of Jesus, to make it worth even considering as a valid basis for the Christian faith?

The question assumes (we know what that does) it's own answer in a sense that the story of christ is simply that a story. A story invented, and the pro expects me to show how the "story" is original. I say it is original not because it is a story but because the events described actually took place. I say that the New Testament provides a primary source first hand testimony of the story of Jesus Christ. The evidence's above show's that.

Do we call the invention of cell phones un-original because star trek had a communicator we may of mimicked? I don't think so, I am sorry a story reflects reality but what can I do about that? Wouldn't real life events reflecting myths and legends just make those real life events so much more amazing? I ask that people after reading this might revisit the evidences above for the historical reliability of the bible.

Ok so the pro has provided other myth's and stories that are similar to events that had taken place in the first four books of the New Testament. Wait a minute here. The book of Isaiah also talked about events that took place in the life of Christ. How old is the book of isaiah?

"Tradition ascribes the book to Isaiah himself, but for over a hundred years scholars have divided it into three parts: Proto-Isaiah (chapters 1-39), containing the words of the 8th century BCE prophet and 7th century BCE expansions; Deutero-Isaiah (chapters 40-55), a 6th century BCE work by an author who wrote under the Babylonian captivity; and Trito-Isaiah (chapters 56-66), composed probably by multiple authors in Jerusalem shortly after the exile."[1][3][4][5]:pp.558-562 (this is from wikipedia but it should suffice with it's sources) This makes the book of isaiah 800 years old

Like the new testament though how can we trust the book of Isaiah to be accurate?

Well luckily thanks to the Dead Sea scrolls which were dated to have been preserved for nearly 1,900 years one of the scrolls found was the scroll of Isaiah

"Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only 17 letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjuctions. The remaining three letters comprise the word 'light,' which is added in verse 11, and does not affect the meaning greatly. Furthermore, this word is supported by the LXX and IQ Is. Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission- and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage." (6)

Gleason Archer states that the Isaiah copies of the Qumran community "Proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95% of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of pen and variations in spelling." (7)

So what's the point of this?

Well chapter 53 of the book of Isaiah is likely the clearest prophecy about Jesus. Based on our sources from wikipedia that portion of the old testament was written around 600 B.C this is where I will ask a question to the pro how do the details of those story's compare to the details about Christ in Isaiah 53 and how old are they also compared to the book of Isaiah?

It does not disqualify the New Testament if events taken place in the first four books have been written down before it, in fact it just proves that they were truely prophecied events. Which makes them miracles and shows proof of divine intervention. Also I would like to ask why couldn't the Christian God reveal bit's and pieces of what is to come to other parts of the world?

I ask you to read Acts chapter 17. Where the Apostle Paul makes it clear as long as people were looking for God which I now call the Christian God they were fine and that (Acts 17:30) "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent."

There isn't anything biblically recorded in detail I imagine about how God could of reached other parts of the world but that's because the Old Testament is a recorded history of the Jew's I'm sorry they didn't travel the world over though they did get around pretty good I would say.

Well I have extra space this time so I will just highlight my major questions. Again thanks for this opportunity to debate this topic.

* how do the details of those story's compare to the details about Christ in Isaiah 53 and how old are they also compared to the book of Isaiah?

*Also I would like to ask why couldn't the Christian God reveal bit's and pieces of what is to come to other parts of the world?

*Do we call the invention of cell phones un-original because star trek had a communicator we may of mimicked? I don't think so, I am sorry a story reflects reality but what can I do about that? Wouldn't real life events reflecting myths and legends just make those real life events so much more amazing?

Oh, one more thing you may want to look into the first geneaology in Genesis predicts the birth and death of Jesus Christ to you should look into that it's cool and Genesis is old. It's hard to make up geneaology and I doubt Moses knew about Christ specifically. You have to line of the hebrew meaning of the names though to see it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.May, Herbert G. and Bruce M. Metzger. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. 1977.
2.http://www.haaretz.com...
3. Williamson, Hugh Godfrey Maturin, "The Book Called Isaiah" (Oxford University Press, 1994: ISBN 978-0-19-826360-9)pp.1-3
4.Lemche, Niels Peter, The Old Testament between theology and history: a critical survey, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, p.96 [1]
5.Kugel, James L. (2008). "chapter 30: The Book of Isaiah(s)". How To Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now. New York, NY: Free Press. pp. 538–568. ISBN 978-0-7432-3587-7.
6. Geisler, Norman L. and william E. Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968
7.Archer, Gleason. A Survey of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1964.
Debate Round No. 2
Randall999

Pro


WARNING
: Zombie monster tale within!

My opponent has decided to stick to arguing for the gospel story of Jesus as historical, of a real person, instead of dissecting the many unoriginal elements of the story.

“I say it is original not because it is a story but because the events described actually took place. I say that the New Testament provides a primary source first hand testimony of the story of Jesus Christ. The evidence's above show's [sic] that.” (CON)

Very well then.

My opponent states: “Ok so the pro has provided other myth's and stories that are similar to events that had taken place in the first four books of the New Testament. Wait a minute here. The book of Isaiah also talked about events that took place in the life of Christ. How old is the book of isaiah? [sic]” (CON)

The only relevant point here is that Isaiah was written long before the gospel. Fine. All that means is that to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah the gospel writers had to simply incorporate the prophecies into their fictional story and abracadabra-- the prophecies are fulfilled!

My opponent states: “It does not disqualify the New Testament if events taken place in the first four books have been written down before it, in fact it just proves that they were truely [sic] prophecied [sic] events. Which makes them miracles and shows proof of divine intervention.” (CON)

Only if the gospel story events actually took place would the prophesied events of Isaiah “prove that [the gospel story events] were truly prophesied events.”

My opponent states: “Oh, one more thing you may want to look into the first geneaology [sic] in Genesis predicts the birth and death of Jesus Christ to you should look into that it's cool and Genesis is old. It's hard to make up geneaology [sic]...” (CON)

It is easy to fulfill such the genealogy if all you are doing is making up a fictional story that comes after the prophecy.

The Gospel, and Jesus, as Fiction

No ancient historians of Jesus' time ever witnessed and then wrote about Jesus; there were some 40 historians of the biblical regions who wrote during the first and second centuries including Plutarch and Philo. None of them wrote about Jesus.

Here are some ancient writers who wrote at or within a century of the alleged Jesus, yet none of them ever mentions Jesus in any of their writings: Arrian, Petronius, Seneca, Dion Pruseus, Pliny the Elder, Appian, Juvenal, Theon of Smyrna, Martial, Plutarch, Apollonius, Pausanias, Valerius Flaccus, Florus Lucius, Quintilian, Favorinus, Lucanus, Damis, Silius Italicus, Aulus Gellius, Statius, Columella, Ptolemy, Dio Chrysostom, Hermogeones, Lysias, and Valerius Maximus.

Philo and Justus of Tiberias were Jewish historians that lived at the same time Jesus allegedly lived (Justus even lived in Capernaum where Jesus supposedly often stayed), and yet neither mentions anything about Jesus in their many historical records of the events of the time.

None wrote of the sky darkening during the crucifixion.

None of the historians of the time mentions the many zombies coming out of their graves and walking around in town, as told in the gospel story. Odd? Scary? You decide.

Christians generally rely on the following ‘evidence’ for a ‘historical’ Jesus:

The Gospels. The problem with using the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) as evidence of Jesus' existence as a real person is that that involves circular reasoning. To say a character in a story is true because the story says it is so is circular logic and thus without merit. Was Alice historical because the story Alice in Wonderland says she existed? No.

Early Church writers. Unfortunately this involves a rather biased group of writers, who neither met nor witnessed Jesus in the flesh. Such writers simply believed in a Jesus story.

Martyrs. All religions have had martyrs. A person can sincerely believe in something, even if it is false, and even die for that belief. History has shown this repeatedly.

Josephus Flavius, Jewish historian (circa 37-95CE): A passage in his historical writings mentions Jesus, but this passage is considered a forgery by even many Christian apologists. The passage mentioning Jesus is believed to have been added to Josephus' writings by the early Church Bishop Eusebius. Josephus was alive when Jesus supposedly lived, and yet nothing is mentioned about Jesus Christ by Josephus except for perhaps one forged passage (the original passage does not exist, and no Christian writers prior to Eusebius ever quote the alleged Josephus Flavius passage mentioning Jesus). At most we have a controversial passage by one of many historians living at the time of Jesus, which may or may not be a forgery; certainly an almighty god could have kept the original passage about his Son intact so that mere mortals would not have to rely on forged copies.

Pliny the Younger (circa 62-113CE): An alleged letter by the Roman historian Pliny to Trajan once mentions "Christians". The word Christians may have been changed from the word Essenes during the many revisions and copies of the letter. At most, there is a secondhand reference to Christians, only showing that a group of people called Christians existed that were following the christian belief system. No mention of Jesus Christ is in the letter. The existence of Christians is not disputed, only the object of their worship.

Tacitus (circa 55-120CE): The historian Tacitus lived two decades after the alleged death of Christ, so anything Tacitus wrote of Christ was secondhand and very postdated. Tacitus mentions Christians being persecuted under Nero; but this passage is considered by many to be a forgery, since it was never mentioned by the zealous defender of Christianity Bishop Eusebius, and no other christian writer mentions it prior to the fifteenth century. Tacitus writes about the great fire of Rome in 64 CE, in which he recounts how the roman emperor Nero blamed the Christians and that "Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius' reign by the procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate." Tacitus called Pilate the "procurator" of Judea when in fact Pilate was the "prefect", so clearly Tacitus is stating hearsay information, not the information of Roman records; the Romans kept copious records of their legal proceedings, yet nothing is to be found in them of any such Christ being executed in Judea by Pontius Pilate.

Suetonius (circa 69-140CE): A single passage from the Roman historian Suetonius mentions someone named "Chrestus" or "Chrestos" at Rome. Jesus Christ was never at Rome, so it is highly unlikely Suetonius refers to Christ. The title "Chrestus" or "Chrestos" was also a common title used by freed slaves and various pagan gods. Suetonius' mention of a Chrestos is hardly evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ.

The Jewish Talmud (circa 200CE): Written long after the supposed gospel story, the Jewish Talmud does mention a "Yeshu the Nazarene". But Yeshu is short for "Yehoshua" or "Joshua" which is Greek becomes "Jesus", a very common name (like Brad or Robert today); Jesus was a common name of the time.

As my opponent will get the last response, I will say it has been both a pleasure and an opportunity to present what I hope is thought provoking evidence and intellectual discourse to let readers reconsider the nature of the gospel ‘story’ as one of many savior myths.


Thank you to readers of this debate for bearing with me. This is my first debate on debate.org

general52

Con

I will start by responding to some of my opponents statements and then explain why my opponents case falls short of winning this round.

"Martyrs. All religions have had martyrs. A person can sincerely believe in something, even if it is false, and even die for that belief. History has shown this repeatedly."

There is a huge difference between any of the disciples of christ dieing and being martyred than their is for anyone else in history, this is because they were all dieing for one simple event. They all said they saw Jesus rise from the grave they were dieing for something they were certain they saw. They had no promise of wealth except for in the afterlife unless someone can prove otherwise. History show's us that people will not just die for a lie they will confess they were lieing especially when it's over an event not a faith. The Christian faith wouldn't of been strong enough to brainwash anyone in fact I want to point out the disciples sadly were cowards when it came to Christ being crucified. Why all of a sudden are they willing to die if Christ never came back from the dead?


*"The Gospels. The problem with using the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) as evidence of Jesus' existence as a real person is that that involves circular reasoning. To say a character in a story is true because the story says it is so is circular logic and thus without merit. Was Alice historical because the story Alice in Wonderland says she existed? No."

We must in order to be fair literary critics:
Aristotle's dictum that "the benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not arrogated by the critic to himself...One must listen to the claim's of the document under analysis, and not assume fraud or error unless the author disqualified himself by contradictions or known factual inaccuracies."
The New Testament claims to be history and provides no contradictions, Alice in Wonderland doesn't claim to be history.

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Okay so the pro has provided a lot of examples of people who never wrote about Christ. For starters let's say a guy is responsible and is only going to write about the history of the city of Rome. Only if Christ walks in to the city of Rome is he going to possibly end up in that report of history. That does not mean a historian recording events further east cannot write legitamitely about Christ.

One thing we never took time to look at was Christs family and there reports but the reality is, is that their is no source as accurate as the New Testament. This brings me to my next point that I still have three people who lived for a while after Christ and attest to the credentials of Luke, Mark, Matthew and John in their recording and they account for the accuracy of the recording in the Gospels. My opponent has failed to attack those evidences, thefore he must agree or can show no flaw in them. Also none of his sources ever directly contradict any of mine. In fact he has a few sources that beg the question of Christ potentially being a real person when his case his about saying he christ never existed so the pro's evidences hurt the pro a little bit.

(In fact if we used Aristotles dictum in this case we could from my opponents case give credence to the existence of Christ and consider my opponents case to be to some degree factually inaccurate by never showing certainty in his information about


"The historian Tacitus lived two decades after the alleged death of Christ, so anything Tacitus wrote of Christ was secondhand and very postdated. Tacitus mentions Christians being persecuted under Nero; but this passage is considered by many to be a forgery, since it was never mentioned by the zealous defender of Christianity Bishop Eusebius, and no other christian writer mentions it prior to the fifteenth century."

"A passage in his historical writings mentions Jesus, but this passage is considered a forgery by even many Christian apologists. The passage mentioning Jesus is believed to have been added to Josephus' writings by the early Church Bishop Eusebius. Josephus was alive when Jesus supposedly lived, and yet nothing is mentioned about Jesus Christ by Josephus except for perhaps one forged passage"

Also the pro fails to say how we know these are a forgery, all he says is "considered by many to be a forgery". Consider is defined as "to think about carefully" it is not enough for the pro to have me just think that the story of Christ is true so why is it enough for the pro to just think my information might be a forgery. Should we not require proof of forgery. Again none of his information directly contradicts mine. So according to Aristotles dictum we actually must give my information the benifit of the doubt initially. However I have sources to allow anyone to follow through and check my accuracy.

Finally. The pro has not attacked any of my information in this first round about the accuracy of scripture and I just want to do some comparison to other pieces of history we consider reliable that have less accuracy.

In comparison to other works of text in antiquity we have the Illiad by Homer with the second most mss at 643 mss in extant, In the case of Caesars Gallic wars there are only 9 or 10 good mss. There were 142 books of the Roman History Livy and only 35 survive, these are know to us from not more than 20 mss of any consequence. The NT has 20,000 lines with only about 40 lines or 400 words in doubt while the Illiad has about 15,600 lines, where 764 lines of the Illiad are questioned. This 5% corruption compares with one half of one percent of similar emendations of the NT.

Why do we consider Roman texts reliable when there is less to account for their accuracy than that of the New Testament this is incredibly intellectually dishonest.

Well that's about it for the case thanks for the debate. Also I would again just like to say my information for the reliability of the bible only scratched the surface I have about 30 sources worth of information on the Archaeology. However good debate.
Debate Round No. 3
101 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by daley 6 years ago
daley
I would love to debate Randall999 on this issue; sadly, his opponent didn't do a very convincing job. But Randall999 didn't have any solid evidence either.
Posted by general52 6 years ago
general52
I am believe it or not reading the site you have provided and I can't help but noticed arguements being brought up I've seen dwarfed in Norman L. Geisler's "Christian Apologetics". I just haven't had the life span necessary to take the notes and practice these arguements (efficently) and then present them in an appropriate manner. I am sorry I have only recently had the attention span for them. Nor the intelligence to go over them till now.
Posted by Randall999 6 years ago
Randall999
@Christians / General52 / ReformedArsenal
You might be right, maybe Jesus was real, maybe he rose from the dead, was beamed up. I could be wrong. Peace to you. Enjoy the Matrix. :) Debate.org has been sucking up too much of my time, I gotta get back to living life-- screenwriting, filmmaking, music composition. It was an enjoyable debate. Hasta la vista. :)R
Posted by general52 6 years ago
general52
How about many attempts to totally remove scripture (biblical scripture) from the face of the earth and that's failed and Christianity has stilled had a much larger effect on history. Name one other faith that has had people try to remove their scriptures from the face of the earth, and still has large numbers of bibliographical evidence and has changed the world as much as Christianity. It was the believe in the Judeo-Christian God, that changed the west. Look at the writings of the founding fathers.

I can't see how something fictional could change the world so much. Name one other case where a fictional story has impacted the world like the account of Jesus Christ.
Posted by general52 6 years ago
general52
No Randall the resurrection of Jesus Christ case I have starts with the death of Christ and works it's way up. The case in short claims that Christianity couldn't start unless Christ had been resurrected because if a body could of been shown, the Jews, or the Romans would of loved to have showed it to everyone. I mean come on they killed the guy, why wouldn't they. But they bribed the guards to keep quiet about the whole situation. Where roman history has showed us if roman guards fail there job they get killed they get punished for leaning up against something on the Job why weren't they killed in this case? Because the body wasn't stolen it vanished. Christ rose from the dead, the evidence for the resurrection of jesus Christ simply put is the fact that his body vanished

"I must say, as a "practicing atheist," I experienced a number of people that totally rejected Jesus as an historic figure. They staunchly defended their various myth and conspiracy theories. However, I found their arguments to be very weak. Come on, the entire English-speaking world divides history into two principle periods: BC ("Before Christ") and AD ("Anno Domini" -- Latin for "Year of Our Lord"). Whether one subscribes to the BC/AD labels or the new "politically correct" BCE/CE ("Common Era") labels, the birth of Jesus Christ has always been the dividing line in history. "

"Muslims recognize Jesus as a prophet, while Jews either see him as a blaspheming rebel or an exceptional rabbi elevated to deity by idolatrous Gentiles."

Pilate existed
http://www.bible-history.com...

How can a fictional character have such a large effect on the world? Isn't that more insane than a real person having this effect, why haven't any other ancient fictional characters had such a huge effect on history?
Posted by Randall999 6 years ago
Randall999
@General52 -- debate on resurrection has been done
http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Randall999 6 years ago
Randall999
@General52 - Here is the best essay I have ever seen about why the resurrection story of Jesus is not to be believed. Read it or not, I suspect you will not, but I am just providing the link for anybody interested. After all, the entire basis of christianity kind of distills down to the resurrection, even if you prove a historic Jesus
http://www.infidels.org...
Posted by Randall999 6 years ago
Randall999
>> I'll get the case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ up today.

Let me guess-- you have 500 witnesses from the book of Acts? As I said, going by that type of evidence, Gandalf the Wise from LOtR existed and came back from the dead. "Witnesses" from a storybook about another storybook character don't count. Egor saw Winnie the Pooh steal some honey, so I guess Winnie really truly stole that honey!
Posted by Randall999 6 years ago
Randall999
>> "I'm sorry Randall but requiring a non-Christian source for the historical reliability of the bible is almost the equivalent, of requiring a creationist source for evolution. It shouldn't be the view point of the author it should the credentials of the author that we way. How else are we going to give everyone regardless of differences a voice?"

Sorry, but I won't take evidence of faith-biased writers. Otherwise if you want to go down that path then I guess YOU will have to believe the writings of ancient people who believed in Horus, Osirus, Ra, Tammuz, and a host of other crucified saviors that you think are fiction-- but hey, if people believed in them and wrote about them, aren't they just as real as your Jesus? I would look at any credible evidence, but by its nature, evidence of belief or unsubstantiated ancient writings from people of faith tend to be less credible. You want unbelievers to buy into a supernatural story whether it be a god-man crucified and risen from the dead, or a haunting of the Amityville house, well you need to bring forth something very credible, not ancient tales written when people were pretty much all superstitious, believed in magic, and were mostly illiterate sheep duped by charlatan leaders.

Evolution? I'll look at any evidence a creationist has to show, if it is scientific, if it refutes theories of evolution. That has been done, google Dover Trial; creationists lost.
Posted by general52 6 years ago
general52
"There just aren't any unbiased (non-christian) credible sources that witnessed Jesus and wrote about him, period."

I'm sorry Randall but requiring a non-Christian source for the historical reliability of the bible is almost the equivalent, of requiring a creationist source for evolution. It shouldn't be the view point of the author it should the credentials of the author that we way. How else are we going to give everyone regardless of differences a voice?

I'll get the case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ up today.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by feverish 6 years ago
feverish
Randall999general52Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments
Vote Placed by Dmetal 6 years ago
Dmetal
Randall999general52Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's conclusions do not necessarily follow his premises.
Vote Placed by darnocs1 6 years ago
darnocs1
Randall999general52Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had superior evidence.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Randall999general52Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides tended to speak around each other, this should have been a longer exchange.
Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 6 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Randall999general52Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con never adequately addressed the nature of Pro's objections - namely that there are very specific examples of events that are found in the Christ Myth that are common to regional mythology. Also, Con seemed to assert that the corroboration of the OT/NT (Isaiah 53) supported correct historicity, when plagiarism is an equally likely explanation. In other words, when the validity of the material was questioned, Con relied on self-corroboration, which is not very compelling at all...
Vote Placed by kweef 6 years ago
kweef
Randall999general52Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: I have to go Pro on this simply because Con swayed away from the question posed by Pro, while Pro laid out numerous examples of similarities, none that were essentally refuted by Con.