The Instigator
InquireTruth
Pro (for)
Winning
90 Points
The Contender
JustCallMeTarzan
Con (against)
Losing
74 Points

The Jesus of the Bible Probably Existed

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 26 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,773 times Debate No: 6352
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (46)
Votes (26)

 

InquireTruth

Pro

I will make my case and address the most common arguments presented by the mythological Jesus camp.

The Historicity of Jesus as reported by extrabiblical sources, biblical sources, and basic logic:

1. Tacitus was an early Roman historian who wrote early in the 2nd century. In his writings we have a reference to Jesus as the founder of Christianity and his being crucified under the thumb of Pontius Pilot. Unfortunately much of Tacitus' work has been lost, including portions from 29-32 AD – an area which would have included Jesus' trial had he recorded it (1). The Tacitus quote is as follows:

"Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind."

Tacitus' great historical ability is lauded by most all historians and scholars (2). With Tacitus' reliability it seems unreasonable that he would be wrong in his assessment. Also, Tacitus' obvious disdain for Christianity stands to reason against any notion that Tacitus was biased in the matter.

2. The Jewish historian Josephus is especially interesting (3). Josephus has given us reliable information regarding the existence of high priests Annas and Caiaphas, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, King Herod, John the Baptist, even Jesus' brother James. There is a larger passage in Josephus which talks about Christ which is obviously a later Christian interpolation – and there is evidence for that. But Josephus gives us non-disputed testimony for the existence of many biblical characters, and he also has a small passage that talks of Jesus:

"But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned (4)."

There is no evidence that such a reference is an interpolation because it is in every extant manuscript we have available. The textual evidence suggests that it is genuine specifically because of the nonchristian terminology and even disagreement with Christian history regarding the martyrdom of James (5).

3. Also, if we have extrabiblical accounts that verify the identify of most all major biblical characters (including Jesus himself), why would we presume the Gospels to by lying in regards to the identify of Jesus Christ? Recently in 1961 the first archaeological evidence concerning Pilate was unearthed in the town of Caesarea (6). Even more recently, in 1990 the actual tomb of Caiaphas, the high priest who presided over Jesus' trial, was discovered south of Jerusalem (7). We have mounting evidence for the reliability of the NT's biblical characters, which makes it very unlikely that the Gospels are lying. The Gospels are also separate and confirming accounts for the validity of the historical Jesus – to say nothing of the epistles which are an even earlier witness.

4. William Lane Craig points out the fact that, "There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts (8)." That is to say, no modern scholar thinks of the gospels as bald-faced lies, the result of a massive conspiracy. What is rarely addressed by skeptics is the fact that there was not enough time between Jesus death and the writing of gospels for there to have been a formulated Jesus legend hypothesis. Many modern scholars respond to the Jesus legend idea by saying, "The fact of Christianity's beginnings and the character of its earliest traditions is such that we could only deny the existence of Jesus by hypothesizing the existence of some other figure who was a sufficient cause of Christianity's beginnings - another figure who on careful reflection would probably come out very like Jesus!"

5. The rule of parsimony applies here (9). It is used explicitly as a criterion for deciding between rival hypothesis of equal explanatory power, and the simplest theory wins. If we were to permit the outrageous idea that the Jesus-myth hypothesis has equal explanatory power, it would be negated and rejected by the law of parsimony. However, since it fails to explain the vast majority of the details - passion of the few, triumph in closed locales, resistance to modification by subsequent cultures, uniformity in variegated sources, etc. - it never even makes it this far. Parsimony, we say in summary, is closely related to plausibility, and the most plausible explanation for the origin of Christianity in this regard is that Jesus actually existed.

Common arguments used by Christ-Mythers

1. Comparing Osiris, Horus and Jesus
This is the idea that Jesus is merely a derived character from Hellenistic mythology. Mythers compare the life of Jesus to the mythology of Osiris and Horus. Unfortunately, most all of the connections made there is not a shred of evidence for. Therefore, any use of this argument necessitates the use of the original Egyptian literature to back up this claim. Any such regurgitation of Gerald Massey or Godfrey Higgins should promptly be ignored by the voters as dishonest debating.

2. Comparisons with Mediterranean mystery religions
If this argument is to be used, my opponent must supply the sources for the original material and cite extant manuscripts that confirm his hypothesis. The comparisons must also be from sources that predate Christianity. My opponent then must explain how this myth was promulgated in light of the fact that Christianity was a rapidly growing movement so quickly after Jesus' death, with eyewitnesses still alive.

Conclusion:
This is all I can write for now, my character limit approaches. But let the readers note that I still have Suetonius, Pliny, Thallus, Talmud, and Acts of Pilate as extrabiblical sources for the historicity of Jesus.

I wish my opponent luck and look forward to his response.

Sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org.........
2. http://books.google.com.........
3. http://en.wikipedia.org.........
4. Antiquities 20.9.1
5. http://en.wikipedia.org.........
6. http://en.wikipedia.org.........
7. http://www.kchanson.com.........
8. http://www.leaderu.com.........
9. http://en.wikipedia.org.........
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

Thanks to InquireTruth for this interesting topic. I might be arguing a revolutionary view of Jesus, but we shall see where this leads us.

First of all, I am not contending that Jesus of Nazareth existed. However, this is not what the resolution states. The resolution states that Jesus of the Bible existed. This presumably means the conjunction "Jesus of Nazareth AND Jesus the Christ existed." That is the resolution I shall be arguing against. I assume that we are not going to be quibbling about probabilities and whether or not our arguments satisfy 50 % probability. I submit that "reasonable doubt" is a high enough bar to negate the resolution.

Second, I'd like to personally interject that I am quite happy to be debating InquireTruth again, as he seems to be a theist that thinks with his brain and not the Bible. The quality of his argument pleases me to no end. However, I shall still begin my attempt at tearing it apart.

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1. Tacitus speaks of Jesus of Nazareth. The passage my opponent refers to is concerning Nero's persecution of Christians, and mentions Christ in passing - it doesn't say anything about whether or not Jesus the Christ was really the son of God, just that Jesus of Nazareth existed and was sometimes called Jesus Christ.

>> "With Tacitus' reliability it seems unreasonable that he would be wrong in his assessment."

Tacitus' assessment was that Jesus of Nazareth existed and was killed because he was considered the leader of the Christian movement. The point is moot towards the resolution.

2. Josephus has merely verified the existence of historical figures that we know to have existed. This is again directed towards the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, not Jesus the Christ.

3. Other extrabiblical accounts that verify the existence of historical figures are not good evidence for the existence of Jesus the CHRIST, but work well for Jesus of Nazareth.

*** I should interject that I will address the 2nd and 3rd points a little later ***

4. I do not find this position to be very compelling ("There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts"). The notion here seems to be that there was not enough time after Jesus's death to falsify an account of his life before the four gospels were written. A timeline (http://en.wikipedia.org...) with conservative dates first and later dates second:

0 CE - Jesus is born.
~ 33 CE - Jesus is crucified.
~ 65 CE - Mark (as late as 73 CE)
~ 70 CE - Matthew (as late as 85 or even 100 CE)
~ 80 CE - Luke (as late as 100 CE)
~ 90 CE - John (as late as 110 CE)

Thus, we can see that there is roughly 30 years between the death of Jesus and the authorship of the first gospel, which is plenty of time for there to be an adaptation of pre-existing legend to the historical context of Jesus of Nazareth's life. My opponent even admits (or presents) that "we could only deny the existence of Jesus by hypothesizing the existence of some other figure who was a sufficient cause of Christianity's beginnings." I submit that there is evidence that another figure or the combination of other figures can satisfy this proposition.

5. The rule of parsimony (similar to Occam's Razor) is not a very good one to apply to Biblical discussions, as the simplest answer is most likely "The Bible contains exaggerations and fairy tales," NOT "The Bible is true." My opponent includes this point to combat the notion that Christ-Myths can be introduced as a good explanation. Passion of the few, closed locales, and modification can be explained simply by asserting that those that spread the myth of Jesus did so quite eloquently. Consider that not many people had actually met Jesus to begin with (many had HEARD of him), and the spread of Christianity was based on people that had never met Jesus believing stories that were told to them by eloquent speechcrafters. So it would not be surprising that many people firmly believe a myth, if they can believe the SAME story as fact.

***************************** (That took longer than I expected...)

I indeed do intend to compare Jesus to other legends and myths including Horus. However, the only evidence I can find for the exclusion of Massey is that he is self-taught. I ask that my opponent provide evidence for their exclusion.

I might as well do as my opponent expects and get the similarities between Jesus and Horus out there. There are many of these parallels, some of which are in question, but the ones that seem to be valid are:

Born of a Virgin and a God (Mary's virginity afterward is in question; Isis was a virgin till she & Osiris did the nasty).
Of Royal Descent (Duh - sons of Gods. Horus was supposedly related to a Pharoah, Jesus to David).
Birth "Announced" by a Star (Sirius for Horus, probably a supernova, Sirius, or Orion for Jesus).
Had Murder Plots (Set for Horus, Herod for Jesus)
Gap in Historical Record from about 12-30
Both Performed Miracles
Both Can Control the Weather

These comparisons seem fairly well documented, if not highly compelling on their own. However, there are additional, less specific parallels... Jesus walked on water - Horus attained power in a boat race. Horus had a collection of devout followers (20) - Jesus only had 12...

Additionally, there are other aspects of mythology that contribute to the construction of the character Jesus Christ to fill a convenient hole in history. For example, the God-Mortal birth story is common to Egyptian, Pagan, Christian, and Greek/Roman mythology. Dionysus was the son of Zeus and a mortal, later given to Hermes to be cared for. It is easy to see that only minor adaptation would yield a story consistent with Christianity. Many of these comparisons only serve to show that the adaptation of universal mythic elements (Such as gods, conflict, resurrection, etc...) could have easily been applied to Christianity.

Furthermore, these parallels were acknowledged by early Christian writers like St. Justin and St. Ireneaus. Other early Christian writers apparently omit mentions of Jesus the Christ (Justus Tiberius and Philo) or make mention of Jesus as a political figure, but not as the son of God (Suetonius). Other figures have incomplete and suspect records (Thallus' reference to darkness at Christ's death, even though he was probably not alive at the time; Acts of Pilate has an amendment that is supposedly written from Pilate to Claudius as an account of the resurrection).

Lastly, every person that wrote about the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth had already read the Old Testament. Thus, it would be child's play to make the minor modifications to one's writing necessary to "fulfill" these prophecies. Also, Christianization of pre-existing events (dei solis; the winter solstice) may have contributed to the spread of Christianity by supplementing these events with Christian themes.

I too, must cut my dissertation short if I am to remain within the character limit. I look forward to a very engaging debate.

***********************

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Other Wiki articles on Horus, Thallus, Pliny, etc... I will run out of characters if I include them all. My apologies.
Debate Round No. 1
InquireTruth

Pro

Introduction:
I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate and I hope we can enjoy ourselves.

It seems what we will be quibbling about is the understanding of the resolution:

"This presumably means the conjunction 'Jesus of Nazareth AND Jesus the Christ existed.' That is the resolution I shall be arguing against."

My opponent assumes something that the resolution does not say and my arguments make quite clear that I am not arguing for. I am arguing for the Jesus OF the Bible, not according to or as stated by. This means that I am not arguing for the actions, miracles or titles ascribed in the Bible, but rather for the historical existence of the one they were ascribed to. There is no indication in either the resolution or my arguments to think otherwise. My opponent has wrongly suggested that I have a burden to prove the title of "Christ."

Such a disingenuous and egregious misrepresentation of the resolution is to be disregarded. This was no misunderstanding of the resolution but rather a sly trick of semantics – a failed trick it seems.

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My opponent admits the existence of Jesus of Nazareth and has therefore conceded the debate. If he wishes to retract his forfeiture via concession, than he will have to change his answers to my first 3 points.

4. My opponent suggests that there was plenty of time for there to be a legendary adaptation. He believes that thirty years should suffice. The problem is that the time between the events themselves and the authorship of the gospels is too short for the MEMORY OF WHAT ORIGINALLY HAPPENED (or had not happened) to be erased. My opponent is also forgetting that the gospels are most probably based on oral tradition, as they draw upon the supposed gospel Q – a much earlier tradition. Paul's letter to the Galatians was written sometime in the 40's – approximately ten years after Jesus' death (1).

5. My opponent must show that stating Jesus of Nazareth did not exist is a more parsimonious explanation for the numerous writings that state the contrary. He did no such thing. It is most probable to believe that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed, and therefore I fulfill the resolution. He insists that the spread of Christianity was by people who never saw Jesus. The spread of Christianity happened through his disciples. Indeed, my opponent must suggest that all of Jesus' disciples, and numerous others including Paul, were willing to be persecuted, tortured, and put to death in heinous ways for something they knew very well to be false (except John was never martyred, only exiled). What is more probable?

My opponent makes a lame attempt to insist that parsimony suggests that the Bible is fairy tale. We are talking about historicity and he comparison of contemporaneous and corroborating accounts.

Just like ANY OTHER historical documents, we should assume that the gospels are reliable unless they are proven to be unreliable.

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"However, the only evidence I can find for the exclusion of Massey is that he is self-taught."

I don't pull my arguments from Dr. Dino's website because I know Hovind is unreliable. Unless you wish to do the virtual equivalent, I suggest you stay away from the research done by people who MAKE THINGS UP!

You may very well use what you like. But what you must do is show the original Egyptian literature to back up your claims. You have done no such thing thus far.

"Born of a Virgin and a God"

This is false. What ACTUALLY happened was Isis was married to Osiris (the assumption is that they consummated the marriage) and then Osiris got hacked into 13 pieces and scattered all around the world. So Isis went out and got all the pieces except the penis (it was eaten by a huge fish monster). So instead she fashioned a substitute penis, reanimated Osiris, and humped him to get Horus (2).

"Of Royal Descent"
This proves nothing and is thoroughly unconvincing.

"Birth "Announced" by a Star"
Well first of all, Orion is not a star, it is a constellation, so this already fails. Secondly, show me the extant Egyptian manuscripts that say it announced Horus' birth. There is no evidence for this, just a fanciful concoction by Massey (who was quoted by Acharya) (3).

"Had Murder Plots"
So did Abraham Lincoln. He therefore did not exist? It was his jelous brother set that wanted to kill him by the way.

"both preformed miracles"
"Miracle stories abound, even among religious groups that could not possibly have influenced one another, such as Latin American groups (e.g. Aztecs) and Roman MR's, so this 'similarity' carries no force. (4)"

"both can control the weather"
Can you give me the Egyptian literature? He was considered a sky god, but it was his brother Set who could control the weather. It has been said that Isis priestesses controlled the weather (5).

"Jesus walked on water"
Yes? And Horus didn't.

"Horus had a collection of devout followers"
Not 20. Many of them were semi-gods too. This means nothing.

"It is easy to see that only minor adaptation would yield a story consistent with Christianity."

False. My opponent then must explain how this myth was promulgated in light of the fact that Christianity was a rapidly growing movement so quickly after Jesus' death, with eyewitnesses still alive.

"these parallels were acknowledged by early Christian writers like St. Justin and St. Ireneaus."

Irrelevant even if true. Can you give and source the precise quotes?

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Conclusion:
My opponent has already conceded the debate. He has not answered my first three points (indeeds he concedes them). He has not shown Jesus' non-existence to be more parsimonious, nor has he given any substantive evidence for us to believe that Jesus was a mere mythological construct. My opponent is not giving us the Egyptian literature and is sourcing virtual-hovinds.

I am under no obligation to prove the validity of the titles ascribed to Jesus, but merely the historical existence of the person they were ascribed to.

Thank You,
InquireTruth

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Sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. "Ancient Egypt", page 137 in chapter 10 by Dr. Robert K. Ritner. Oxford University Press, 1997.
3. http://www.notyourmamasreligion.com...
4. http://www.tektonics.org...
5. http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk...
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

I argue that the resolution, while not explicitly referencing Jesus the Christ and Jesus of Nazareth as two separate persons, inherently makes the claims that (first) Jesus of Nazareth existed, and (second) that he was the Messiah. Jesus of the Bible can only be understood to mean Jesus the Christ, who happens to cohabitate the body of Jesus of Nazareth.

I fail to see how any reading of the resolution can refer to ONLY Jesus of Nazareth, considering the Bible explicitly states the Jesus is the Christ.

My opponent calls my interpretation of the resolution "egregious," a "failed trick of semantics." I ask the reader - who is mincing words now??

******************************

>> "My opponent admits the existence of Jesus of Nazareth and has therefore conceded the debate. "

False - unless my opponent contends that the Bible only gives an account of Jesus of Nazareth.

******************************

4. On Time for a Legend.

Actually, from what I have read, the first of the Epistles was Thessalonians, then Phillipians, and THEN Galatians, all written in the early 50's (BTW - your source says LATE 40's). However, all the Epistles are slightly suspect because no original copies survive - we only have copies from the second century that have been edited by history. However, the "original" versions of the Epistles contain very little information about Jesus' life and ministry - they focus more on how to follow his example, how to be "Christ-like" with love and such. Also, some of Paul's comments such as Rom 11:26-7 call into question why he would say things like "Out of Zion will come the Deliverer; he will banish ungodliness from Jacob" without actually mentioning Jesus, who is mentioned in the Gospels as being the fulfillment of these prophecies. So basically, the Pauline epistles are a collection about the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, but do not indicate that this person is the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament - which would have been one of the MAJOR themes following Jesus' death and supposed Resurrection.

5. On Parsimony.

Again - I contend that Jesus the Christ did not exist. It is strange that my opponent would make this distinction now, given his earlier zeal to collapse the two persons into one concept. Is it so strange to believe that people would end their lives for a mere belief? Suicide bombers take their own lives on a misinterpretation of the Qu'ran. Why is it so strange to believe that people would stand up and die for a misinterpretation of stories they've been told? Weighing the strong belief of some against the impossibilities of miracles and the nebulous presentation of the New Testament... seems more likely to believe a grand hoax.

>> "we should assume that the gospels are reliable unless they are proven to be unreliable"

You mean with things like contradictions concerning the same events?

************************

On Horus...

Actually, the legend of Osiris and Isis is a combination of several different Egyptian legends. The notion that Isis was a virgin is somewhat based on her not touching Osiris' actual penis, but in any event, legend has it that she was a virgin until she conceived via a God.

Glancing around the sources you so kindly provide, it is revealed that Horus was also called "Harakhte: two gods of the morning sun." Thus, it would be easy to see how Horus' birth could have been heralded by a conjunction of Venus and Sirius.

The murder plot against Horus is simply a piece of the story that is relevant given the appearance of the same element later in the story of Jesus... It's not highly compelling on its own, I'll agree, but it adds to the totality of the circumstances.

My opponent holds that Horus may have performed miracles, but that this carries no force. Thus, the miracles of Jesus carry no force in this debate... which goes to the consideration of parsimony. If miracles carry no force, then we have massive irrelevancy in the gospels...

(I must apologize concerning the weather... I had read that Horus was the Sky God and misread another passage concerning weather that was indeed about Set. )

>> ""Jesus walked on water" Yes? And Horus didn't."

I never pretended he did - I noted that Horus attained power and standing via a boat race where his boat stayed afloat and his rival's boat sank. This could easily be interpreted as a parallel to the power of God enabling Jesus to walk on water, and the rival to that power - lack of faith - causing someone (Peter) to sink.

>> ""Horus had a collection of devout followers" Not 20. Many of them were semi-gods too. This means nothing."

Horus had a close following of 4 demigods and 16 blacksmiths. A close following of dedicated individuals means nothing? It seems like my opponent is discrediting the close followings of the disciples of Jesus. If the disciples of Horus mean nothing, what about the 12 Apostles? Also, were not some of the Apostles and early church figures far more important than others? Peter, the "rock" for example?

>> "My opponent then must explain how this myth was promulgated in light of the fact that Christianity was a rapidly growing movement so quickly after Jesus' death, with eyewitnesses still alive."

Considering the myths of Egypt and Mesopotamia had pre-existed Jesus' birth by hundreds of years, it is not inconceivable that common elements would be woven in. Consider the ease of which a new idea would spread if it incorporates commonalities between cultures. For example, in many cultures, the winter solstice (or Dec 25, the day that is noticeably longer) is a day of celebration. Christianization replaced some of these elements with new things concerning Christ.

>> "these parallels were acknowledged by early Christian writers like St. Justin and St. Ireneaus"

Wikipedia article on the Epistles... I will track down the quotes from their actual works and put them in the comment field - they are too long for here. Also, this is not irrelevant - it goes to the application of Christianization and how the message was spread.

*********************

A response to the Conclusion:

I have not conceded anything other than a man named Jesus of Nazareth probably existed in the past. However, the resolution concerns the Jesus of the Bible. The Bible calls this man Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah. Pretending that the Jesus of the Bible is merely a man from Nazareth is a weak way to weasel out of an argument.

I would like to point out that while my opponent is debating the historical existence of Jesus, the resolution states Jesus of the BIBLE, not Jesus of the historical writings of the time period. If this is what he wished to debate, the resolution should read: "Jesus of History probably existed."

*******************************

One of the most interesting things to me in the whole debate concerning Jesus is that NOBODY wrote anything about Jesus while he was alive. Two immediate problems strike me. First, why would Jesus not write anything? He could clearly read, as evidenced by his reading of scrolls in the temple... Second, one of the close disciples of Jesus was a former tax collector who was surely literate. Why did he write nothing?

Furthermore, a writer named Philo (http://en.wikipedia.org...) wrote extensively on Jewish politics and activity throughout that region between 20 BC and 50 CE., but makes no mention of Jesus the Christ. However, he does reference the mocking of a "Jewish King" in 39 CE. I shall delve into this more in the next round, for I am running out of characters, and the similarities between Philo's writing and the Gospel of Matthew are UNCANNY.

Another small point - the name "Yeshu'a' was a very common Hebrew name at the time as evidenced in the writings of Josephus... and it is exactly the same translation for Jesus and Joseph - both are "Yeshu'a." And there were a LOT of those...
Debate Round No. 2
InquireTruth

Pro

Introduction:
I hate to repeat myself but it seems I am not being understood. I am not arguing the existence of Jesus according to or as stated by the Bible. I am arguing for the historical existence of said person. While the Bible does refer to Jesus as Christ, son of God, son of man, the true vine, and etcetera, I am only referring to the existence of said person and not the validity of the titles ascribed.

Jesus "of" the Bible in no way implies that I am arguing for the actions, miracles or titles ascribed in the Bible, but rather for the historical existence of the one they were ascribed to.

"I fail to see how any reading of the resolution can refer to ONLY Jesus of Nazareth, considering the Bible explicitly states the Jesus is the Christ."

Sad I suppose. I expected more from my opponent. We are not arguing the validity of ascribed titles; we are talking about historical existence. My opponent's misunderstanding does not change the resolutions proper understanding. If he needed clarification he should have asked. His misrepresentation still stands as egregious and conniving.

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"False - unless my opponent contends that the Bible only gives an account of Jesus of Nazareth."

What other Jesus does it give an account of? The existence of the Jesus of the Bible is not contingent on the titles ascribed therein. I wrote about how my Dad was superman once. It turns out I was wrong. My dad, the one I wrote about, still existed even though the ascribed superhuman title was incorrect.

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I accept my opponent's forfeiture via concession. I have given him another round to respond to my first 3 arguments and he has left me with nothing to refute. Indeed he concedes that Jesus existed.

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4. Well what you have read is apparently not congenial with contemporary scholarship – but that is neither here nor there. Textual criticism has revealed that all extant manuscripts have virtually no margin of error. The fact is that Paul wrote epistles approximately ten years after Jesus' death. The Gospels as oral traditions existed even before that! The notion that Paul does not mention Jesus in Romans 11:26-27 is ridicules – he is quoting Old Testament scripture. Before that he refers to the Gospel, which, by definition, is the good news of Jesus. Even still, Paul's entire ministry was predicated on the idea that Jesus fulfilled Jewish prophecy. Before he ever starts preaching to the gentiles, he visits the Jewish synagogues to try and convince the Jews. Let me say this again as my opponent is not getting it: the problem is that the time between the events themselves and the authorship of the gospels is too short for the MEMORY OF WHAT ORIGINALLY HAPPENED (or had not happened) to be erased.

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5. I am arguing for the historical existence of Jesus, not the validity of the titles ascribed. My opponent compares suicide bombers to Jesus' immediate followers. The problem? The suicide bombers had convinced themselves that there interpretation of the Quran was correct. That is to say, they died for something they thought to be true. The difference? My opponent would have to contend that Jesus' immediate followers were persecuted, tortured and killed for something they knew very well to be false. If they actually did not see an empty tomb, and really did not have post-mortem visitations – they all died for something they knew was not true. Why?

It is more parsimonious to believe that they died for a person that literally existed.

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A.The Horus Comparison
My opponent is not showing any extant Egyptian sources. First of all, Horus was not born of a virgin. Isis was married beforehand and had sex with a makeshift penis on a revivified Osiris (1). Then my opponent goes on to make the lamest connection between a boat race and Jesus walking on water.

Horus only had 4 followers that were demigods. There is vague mention of 16 human followers and then an unnumbered amount of blacksmiths that joined him in battles (2). This is supposed to be considered a viable parallel?

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"Wikipedia article on the Epistles... I will track down the quotes from their actual works and put them in the comment field - they are too long for here. Also, this is not irrelevant - it goes to the application of Christianization and how the message was spread."

My opponent gave only 2 quotes from Justin. These quotes actually show that mythology was stealing from Jewish tradition.

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Conclusion:
A. My opponent believes that I need to argue for what the Bible called Jesus. This is not the case. I needed only to argue the historical existence of the Jesus of the Bible – not for the validity of the names they called him.
B. He conceded Jesus' existence and thus loses the debate
C. He fails to give extant Egyptian manuscripts to support his points.
D. His idea that Jesus is a compilation of Greco-Roman mythology is neither parsimonious nor defensible. The supposed parallels are dubious, lies, oversimplifications, or post-date Christianity.
E. Where's the beef?

Thank you,
InquireTruth

Sources:
1.Frazer, J. G. Adonis, Attis, Osiris. 1961.
2.http://tektonics.org...
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

** On The Resolution **

My opponent titles the resolution "The Jesus of the Bible Probably Existed." When one looks in the Bible, there are several assertions about this man:

1. Mat 1:16 "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, WHO IS CALLED CHRIST."
2. Mat 2:23 "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, HE SHALL BE CALLED A NAZARENE."
3. Mat 17:5 "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."

Thus, the Jesus of the Bible is Christ, A Nazarene, and the Son of God. My opponent is attempting to argue for the historical Jesus the Nazarene, regardless of that fact that Jesus of the Bible is all three of these identities.

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4. On Time for a Legend.

Paul's lack of mention of Jesus even when quoting the Old Testament is STILL highly suspect. Why would Paul mention the old Testament prophecies without stating that Jesus fulfilled them? It's very strange. My opponent continues to assert that the thirty years between the crucifixion and the authorship of the gospels is far too short to spawn a legend. It seems he has never played the telephone game - oral tradition quickly becomes corrupted (not morally...) over time. Even the ten years between the crucifixion and the authorship of the Epistles is plenty of time for oral tradition to become muddled. And after thirty years, the muddled tradition would have created significant problems in the authorship of the gospels.

5. On Parsimony.

It seems to me that the problem in this consideration is that there is no distinction between these people dying for a true belief and dying for what they BELIEVED was a true belief. All that would have been required is for them to have understood the events of Jesus' life as the true. Consider that the two main "endorsements" of Jesus (if you will) were the Baptism (Mat 3) and Transfiguration (Mat 17). None of the Apostles (taken in Mat 4) were present at the baptism, and only Peter, James, and John witnessed the transfiguration. So there are three people that actually witnessed God endorsing Jesus... Has anyone considered if what these people thought they saw, or interpreted was exaggerated a little???

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On Horus and Mythology.

I never held that Isis was a virgin - I stated she was a virgin until she conceived via a God, which is true. My opponent seems to have ignored the totality of the comparisons between Horus and other mythological figures. This totality goes to show that the backbone of Jesus' life story is comprised of pre-existing mythological concepts, concepts that Justin Martyr was well aware of. My opponent treats Justin's mention of this issue as Justin holding that Grecco-Roman mythology stole from Jewish tradition without providing any sort of explanation for why on earth Grecco-Roman mythology would be based on Hebrew traditions. It seems far more likely that the traditions evolved independently, as we see the same core themes in Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Sinic, Grecco-Roman, and Hebrew mythologies.

On Other Concepts.

My opponent falied to address three important concepts I put forth in Round 2:

1. Nobody wrote anything about Jesus during his life.
2. Writers at the time did not mention Jesus.
3. Jesus' name and story are common in Hebrew tradition.

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On Lack of Writing from Jesus.

Jesus did not write anything during his lifetime. Presumably Jesus was a decently intelligent and literate man. The reason I assert this is that he worked as a carpenter, requiring proficiency in measuring and some rudimentary math, as well as design. Also, he reads from scrolls in the temple, indicating he could read. This just causes one to ask the question, "Why didn't Jesus WRITE anything?" Did God send a son who could read and not write? Furthermore, none of the Twelve wrote anything down. One of them was almost certainly literate, as he was a former tax collector (Matthew, I believe). It is HIGHLY suspicious to me that none of the Twelve wrote anything about Jesus' life. The non-cannonical Gospels attributed to the Twelve are all collections of their teachings after the Commission of the Twelve. So I ask again, why did none of the people intimately involved in Jesus' life write ANYTHING???

On Mention of Jesus/Jewish Tradition.

Philo, who lived from 20 BCE to about 50 CE, wrote specifically about Jewish politics and the conflict between Pilate/Romans and Jews in Judea. He makes no mention at all of Jesus the Christ. He does reference the mocking of a "Jewish King" in 39. Consider these couplets from Philo (before 50) and Matthew (around 70):

P: "There was a certain madman named Carabbas..."
M: "Then released he Barabbas unto them..."

P: "and they, driving the poor wretch as far as the public gymnasium...[dressed him in a leaf crown, door mat, and fake scepter - paraphrased]... the young men bearing sticks on their shoulders stood on each side of him instead of spear-bearers, in imitation of the bodyguards of the king, and then others came up, some as if to salute him, and others making as though they wished to plead their causes before him, and others pretending to wish to consult with him about the affairs of the state. Then from the multitude of those who were standing around there arose a wonderful shout of men calling out Maris!; and this is the name by which it is said that they call the kings among the Syrians; for they knew that Agrippa [King Herod of the Jews] was by birth a Syrian, and also that he was possessed of a great district of Syria of which he was the sovereign;

M: "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

HIGHLY similar. Now consider the fact that almost all of the main events of Jesus' Life are contained in the Old Testament, some in ways that are not considered to be Prophetic. For example, consider the following couplet from the gospel of Matthew and Psalm 107:

P: "Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still."
M: "And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish... Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. "

Psalm 107 is a song of praise. In fact, none of the Psalms are considered prophetic, yet the Psalms contain details about the temptation of Jesus (91), the cup of suffering (16), and the crucifixion/death (22). This may seem like coincidence, but when one considers that ALL the major stories/themes of Jesus are in the Old Testament, including things like the sermon on the mount (Exo 19), healing of the paralytic (Isa 53, 35), and the commission of the twelve (Jos 4; Mic 7).

Coincidence? Or the writers of the gospels tailoring their writings to match prophecy? Odd that men who had not witnessed Jesus doing these things would write that he fulfilled ALL these prophecies...

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Conclusion:

I have cast reasonable doubt upon the notion that Jesus of [as described by] the Bible probably existed. There may have been a Jesus-like figure at the time, but one can see the ease of which this individual could have been adapted to "fulfill" existing prophecy. Again - consider the lack of writing about Jesus by his contemporaries. HIGHLY suspicious, and more than enough to cast reasonable doubt upon the resolution.
Debate Round No. 3
46 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DiablosChaosBroker 7 years ago
DiablosChaosBroker
Hey, InquireTruth, challenge me to this debate about this when you want, okay?
Posted by InquireTruth 7 years ago
InquireTruth
Hey mattvauxhall,
When you are ready to seriously present your case, challenge me to a debate and we'll see where the evidence lies.
Posted by mattvauxhall 7 years ago
mattvauxhall
Seems really brave to me when christians or their apologists try to distance the story of jesus from the mystery cults...( mithras dates from ad 90...really????? ) st augustine ...diabolical mimicry.
Mid winter pagan festivals are common and dying reborn saviour gods born of virgins are a dime a dozen...But whats really bizzare is the sources claim where christians scream for sources knowing full welll that their forebears did their level best to book-burn, slaughter and oppress any opponents ( sorry.. heretics ) for the best part of 2000 years.....Theirs a burden of proof issue here. Youre peddling the stuff...burdens on you.. And it aint been discharged....
Posted by jason_hendirx 7 years ago
jason_hendirx
I'm not talking about the people, I'm talking about the strength of the ideas. That's all that really matters.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Now Jason, to be fair, InquireTruth usually does think with his brain, and he did present a good argument for Jesus of History... unfortunately, the resolution wasn't about ONLY Jesus of History.
Posted by jason_hendirx 7 years ago
jason_hendirx
>And thus, our debate becomes an opinion poll instead of an intelligent dialogue :(

That statement assumes an equality between the respective sides that simply does not exist.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
And thus, our debate becomes an opinion poll instead of an intelligent dialogue :(
Posted by InquireTruth 7 years ago
InquireTruth
Split between Christians and Atheists/Agnostics.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Sigh... that's REALLY disappointing.
Posted by InquireTruth 7 years ago
InquireTruth
now 90. I noticed that.
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