The Instigator
justin.graves
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
Nimbus328
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

The New Testament is Historically Accurate

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
justin.graves
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,194 times Debate No: 31852
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

justin.graves

Pro

The first round will be acceptance. Rules:
1. Be civil
2. No swearing
3. Use sources or logic to back up your claims
4. Don't use Wikipedia

Remember, history doesn't say anything, historians do.
Nimbus328

Con

There was talk of a coverup even in the day of Jesus. Matthew 28:11-15

Do people rise from the dead? Yes, medicine shows this. After five minutes of no heartbeat though, the brain is a vegetable.

History is written by the victors, in this case, the Christians. I would be hard pressed to prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead.

HOWEVER.

Why was he executed. Because of public outcry. He was causing a rebellion.

I would state that Jesus of the NT was painted in an overly positive light.
Debate Round No. 1
justin.graves

Pro

Ok, so I guess round one is not acceptance...

There are a number of reasons why the New Testament is reliable, I will explain one in each round:

1. The Embarrassing Content

2. Historical Details

3. Martyrdom

1. Embarrassing Details:

If you were going to make up a story and write a pseudo-autobiographical book, how would you picture yourself in the book? I don't no about you, but I'd be making myself look pretty good. Strong, brave, smart, and always doing what is right. The disciples? Not so much. The gospels have accounts of dim-wittedness among the disciples (Mark 9:32, Luke 18:34, John 12:16). It also have them being shown as cowards when all but one disciple hides while Jesus is being crucified. Peter also is called "Satan!" I don't know about you, but if I was writing a book, I don't think that I would say: "And Jesus called the second-in-command of our new religion 'Satan' and told him to shut up." But that is what Jesus does in Mark 8:33! In the books, the disciples refer to themselves as cowards, stupid, and their leader is referred to as Satan!

Let's look at the story of the woman that washed Jesus's feet. The woman was a known prostitute. In those days, if a woman washed your feet with her hair, it could be perceived as a sexual advance, although it was not in that instance (Luke 7:36-39). If I was writing a fictitious or overly positive-light type of story, I can guarantee that my (modernized) version would not have gone like this "then a prostitute came and made a perceived sexual advance on the Son of God, Jesus let her wash His feet, and then spoke directly to her." Talk about embarrassing!

Specifically at the crucifixion, only one disciples was present. The rest had run away in fear. Instead, women that Jesus knew was there! The women was portrayed as braver than the disciples!

One more thing, the resurrection. The first people to ever find the empty tomb were women. In those days, women were not seen as viable witnesses! One of those women were also known to have been demon-possessed! So why would you write that your first witnesses were women, one of whom used to be possessed by a spirit? It makes no sense for a book that puts the story of Jesus in a positive light to contain those details. Only a totally honest writer would say those things.

2. Historical Details

The NT writers gave us plenty us details to verify stories. Names, dates, places, times of day. If my story was fictional, why would I give so much information that could be based as inaccurate? Here are a few accurate geographical details: the proper crossing between named ports (Acts 13:4-5), the proper location of Lycaonia (Acts 14:11), and the place of a landmark that was well-known to sailors (Acts 16:11). These landmarks were properly placed without using a modern map! Only an eyewitness you actually went there would know these things. There are also details about the proper mode of Roman arrests, the condition of imprisonment in certain prisons (Acts 8:30-31), and many other details that only an eyewitness would know about.

There are also literally hundreds of exact names, dates, and places that the NT writers give us. None of these are inaccurate.

3. Martyrdom

The NT writers and believers also obviously believed what they preached. They died. Read the Bible. One was crucified upside down, one was beheaded, and another was banished to die on a deserted island. They really believed.

Now for my opponent's premature contentions

1. There was talk of a cover-up

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money,13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (NIV)

Yeah, even the priests were afraid that Jesus really might have risen from the dead.

2. Jesus didn't really die

Jesus was flogged until He no longer looked human (John 19), He was nailed to a cross (John 20), and He was stabbed with a spear (John 19). You aren't recovering from that by sitting in a tomb without food or water for three days.

3. The NT was written in a positive light

See "Embarrassing Details" above

4. "Why was he executed. Because of public outcry. He was causing a rebellion."

9 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah,the Son of God.”

64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[e]

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered. (Matthew 26:59-66 NIV)

No, He was executed for blasphemy.

Sources:
The Bible
(I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist, Frank Turek, 2004)




Nimbus328

Con

The ancient Greeks built many temples to Hercules, and worshiped him as a god.

Perhaps it would be enlightening to compare the New Testament to the Dodekathlon.[1]

Arguments for the Dodekathlon.

1. Embarrassing Details

Hercules was born of a married human woman and of the God King Zeus. This was adultery.[2]

The sister/wife of Zeus attempted to murder the child by the use of snakes.[2]

Hercules murdered his family.[2]

Thus the story of Hercules must be true.

2. Historical Details

The twelve labors of Hercules must have happened, because each location was named, and can be found on a map today.[3]

3. Martyrdom

Hercules was a martyr, revered for consistent persecution of himself before ascending to Heaven.[2]

Countering arguments for the New Testament

1. Embarrassing Details:

>> If you were going to make up a story and write a pseudo-autobiographical book, how would you picture yourself in the book? I don't no about you, but I'd be making myself look pretty good.

No, the point was to make the hero look good: deep and wise. In this case the others should appear stupid.

>> Peter also is called "Satan!"

Drama. If everyone was all for Jesus' plan then it would make less of a story.

>> their leader is referred to as Satan

Adversary.[4] Which in that role, he was.

>> Let's look at the story of the woman that washed Jesus's feet. The woman was a known prostitute.

The woman was long held to be Mary Magdaline, who was NOT a prostitute.[6]

>>The first people to ever find the empty tomb were women. In those days, women were not seen as viable witnesses!

Jesus would appear to his wife first, of of course.

2. Historical Details

>> Eyewitness accounts

"There are no "eyewitness" accounts written about Jesus during his lifetime, so historians have to rely on interpretations of the four main canonical gospel texts, mostly scrawled several decades after his death."[7]

3. Martyrdom

>> The NT writers and believers also obviously believed what they preached. They died. Read the Bible. One was crucified upside down, one was beheaded, and another was banished to die on a deserted island. They really believed.

My opponent contends that items are in the bible that are not.

Further. Everyone dies. It is up to the storyteller to state how.

1. There was talk of a cover-up

Do not miss the impact of the fact that the prevailing theory was that the disciples had stolen the body. The biblical text cited was written to refute this argument. But the argument was alive and well during that time.

"this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day."[]

2. Jesus didn't really die

Of course he did. My point.

3. The NT was written in a positive light

See rebuttal above.

4. "Why was he executed. Because of public outcry. He was causing a rebellion."

>> Matthew 26:59-66

First, to address the text. The position of the High Priest was that of the religious leader. The Roman Catholic pope would not execute a man for claiming to be Jesus. He might call the police if a man invaded the Vatican.

Under Roman law, even the High Priest did not have the power to execute a person. If a man presented extreme disorderly conduct in the place of worship,[9] he could call the Romans.[10] My opponent's quote is invalid.

The above is the facts of the matter, there is a lot of embellishment in the bible regarding these items.

New Testament contradictions in the next round.

[1] http://www.perseus.tufts.edu...
[2] http://www.perseus.tufts.edu...
[3] http://www.igreekmythology.com...
[4] http://www.blueletterbible.org...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[7] http://www.livescience.com...
[8] http://www.biblegateway.com...
[9] http://www.biblegateway.com...
[10] http://www.biblegateway.com...
Debate Round No. 2
justin.graves

Pro

Two things:
1. I said don't use Wikipedia.
2. Please don't use it again.

First, your comparison of the New Testament to the Dodekathlon is that the New Testament was meant to draw believers away from Judaism and into Christianity. If I was going to make a religion that put its founder in a "good light" I would not include sources such as:

John 6:54
"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 6:56
" He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."

Mark 10:21
" Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."

These were things that were hard to understand. If I was going to put my religious leader in a good light, I certainly would not add that my leader wanted his followers to sell everything they had or eat His flesh! (Of course these verses were taken out of context, but hey.) This would make it hard for a new religion to get off the ground. The only reason thses things would have been put in is if the writers were being completely honest.

2. Historical Details

Look at the Gospels:
Luke 2:1-4

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)"

Just look at the historical details in those four verses.

a. Caesar Augustus was the leader of Rome.
b. He called for a taxation and census of the entire Roman Empire.
c. He did this during the lesser reign of Cyrenius in Syria.
d. Everyone was supposed to go to his birth city.
e. Joseph was in Galille, which was in Nazareth.

All these things are intricate details that have been verified by secular sources from that time, so the that part of the NT is historically accurate, down to the minuet details. The same goes for a large amount of the Bible. Felix, Caiaphas the High Priest, and many other ruler have been verified as having existed through archeology.

3. Martyrdom
These people have been verified as being killed by viable by secular sources such as Origen and Tertullian. The death is Peter is very accurately recorded.




Sources
The Bible
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, 2004, Chapter 10
http://www.biblegateway.com...
http://www.biblegateway.com...
http://www.nndb.com...

Nimbus328

Con

Sources

I am starting with this comment because it is so odd. Remember my opponent first contended that Peter's death was recorded in the bible. He has changed his stance to Origen and Tertullian.

3. Martyrdom
These people have been verified as being killed by viable by secular sources such as Origen and Tertullian. The death is Peter is very accurately recorded.

It's not in the bible, my friend. And it's not in secular sources either. Origen and Tertullian were Christian, not secular.

My opponent should apologize for gross negligence in stating sources, proven twice incorrect.

Sources 2
>> 1. I said don't use Wikipedia.
>> 2. Please don't use it again.

Rebuttal #1: This is one source out of ten. Please don't ignore the nine because one was Wikipedia.
Rebuttal #2: Please replace my [5] source above with "Mary Magdalene, the clichés". BBC, Religions"

Dropped arguments
Other religions have the same points in their favor, so should be treated with equal respect. My previous argument was 600 words and was not addressed in its entirety.

Points regarding Mary Magdaline were ignored.

Point regarding Peter as the adversary was ignored.

Point regarding women as witnesses was ignored.

Point regarding eyewitness accounts was ignored.

Point regarding the power of death penalty to the Romans was ignored.

Dropped arguments are like eggs. Once you drop them, you cannot pick them up again.

Misquote
>> First, your comparison of the New Testament to the Dodekathlon is that the New Testament was meant to draw believers away from Judaism and into Christianity

That's not what I said. Read the first paragraph of Dropped Arguments above.

Intentional Texts

>> If I was going to make a religion that put its founder in a "good light" I would not include sources such as:
>> John 6:54
>> John 6:56
>> Mark 10:21

The New Testament was written to affirm an already grown religion. John was different than the Synoptic Gospels in that it was written for a Gentile audience. The Gentiles of the day would have known and revered such comments.

Historical Details

So what. Every history book has historical details. Does this make them supernatural as well?

Nonhistorical Details
Where did Joseph and Mary live before the birth of Jesus?[1]
They lived in Nazareth, and traveled to Bethlehem because of a census.
They lived in a house in Bethlehem, and moved to Nazareth after returning from Egypt.

Who asked for the best seats in heaven?[2]
James and John
The mother of James and John

Who buried Jesus?[3]
Joseph of Arimathaea
Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus
The Jews and their rulers

Was Jesus taken to Caiaphas or Annas first?[4]

Does God prefer castrated men?[5]

Can God do anything?[6]

[1] http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[2] http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[3] http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[4] http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[5] http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[6] http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
Debate Round No. 3
justin.graves

Pro

OK, I am going to reiterate my contentions before moving on to my rebuttals:

1. Embarrassing details

The religion of the day, Judaism, was all the Jewish people had known for 2,000 years. Both Jesus and the disciples, who were the co-founders of the new religion, would have had a lot more converts if they didn't leave in the fact that Jesus said that they should eat His flesh, drink His blood, and stop practicing their old religion. They never liked the idea, so the killed Him. If it did not work the first time, wouldn't you change some things in the story unless you wanted it to be accurate...

2. Historical details

These are things that people could check up on. Details. Look at my opponent's contention above... go on look^^^. He even uses those details. Where did Joseph and Mary live before Jesus was born? Who buried Jesus? Who saw Jesus first? If you were trying to make a fake story, you wouldn't use so many details that could be disproved. Look at Star Wars, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." No the story of Jesus starts with:
"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)" Look at the details. All of those could be discounted and the story of Jesus would be proved fraud, but Luke left them in because they were true.

3. Martyrdom

Admittedly, Peter's martyrdom is not in the Bible, that was poorly worded, but John's, Stephen's, and many others are.


Now for my opponent's "contradictions"

1.Where did Joseph and Mary live before the birth of Jesus?

Text: Luke 2:1

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. AndJoseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)...

Text: Matthew 2:1-2, 11, 22-23

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
...
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him.
...
But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth."

Answer: This one is easy. It only says that Joseph lived in Nazareth. It does not mention him living anywhere else beforeJesus's birth. It says that Joseph lived in Bethlehem afterJesus's birth, but not before So there is no contradiction at all.

2. Who asked for the best seats in heaven?

Text: Mark 10:35-37

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

Text: Matthew 20:20-21

Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

Answer: It never says that one incident happened instead of the other. These could have been totally separate instances. Maybe the sons asked, Jesus said "No.", so Momma got involved. Again, no real contradiction


3. Who Buried Jesus?
I'm just going to bother going over Joseph and Nicodemus vs. the Jews and their rulers
Text: John 19:38-43

"Joseph of Arimathaea ... took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus.... Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus..."

Text: Acts 13:27-29

"For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre"

Answer: "They" in the original Greek is the word for "Jews." We don't know how many people put Jesus to rest in the tomb, but we can all accept at least those we know of were Jews. So there is no real contradiction.

4. Was Jesus taken to Caiphas or Annas first?

Text: Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53, Luke 22:54

"And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled."

"And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes."

"Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house."

Text: John 18:13

"And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year."

Answer: I don't see a contradiction in any of that, at all. The first verses just say that He was taken to Ciaphas, but in no particular order pertaining to Annas, but it does tell us in John that they took Him to Annas first; so I guess Jesus went from Annas to Ciaphas and it simply wasn't recorded in the previous books. Also, notice that in the first texts, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas's house. "brought him into the high priest's house" "and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes." "led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled." Annas could have been in the same house as Caiaphas and they simply stopped by so Annas could say "Blasphemer!" to Jesus on the way to say Caiaphas.

As for the last two, they have absolutely nothing to do with whether the NT is historically accurate or not. They also use the OT more than the NT to make a point. I will not address them because they are not applicable in this situation. Plus I don't have many charcters left.

Summary:

1. Embarrassing Details: The writers were telling the truth. We know this because they added embarrassing details that would have made the spread of Christianity harder than it already was. (i.e. hard to understand passages, bucking religion tradition, etc.) The writers also made themselves look foolish and bad, even though they were the ones spreading the religion. That would have made things more difficult. Only a writer that was telling the truth would add in those things.

2. Historical Details: The writers of the NT use several historical, geographical, and personal details that would have made it easy to disprove the Bible unless the writers were telling the truth. More then 40 of these rules have been confirmed by historians. The others have not been disproved.

3. Martyrdom: The Bible tells of many that died for their faith; several of these are confirmed by secular sources. They had nothing to gain by creating a new religion, nothing but pain, suffering, and death, so they must have truly believed. After all, they had first-hand knowledge of Jesus. They were the only ones who could have truly known the truth, and they died for it.

Sources:
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...


http://www.biblegateway.com...

The Bible

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Chapter Ten


Nimbus328

Con

Closing argument. If the writers made themselves look good, they would be telling the truth. If they made themselves look bad, they would be telling the truth.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Yraelz 3 years ago
Yraelz
Are you joking... the contender only has to find one historical inaccuracy. Con can literally just concede Jesus and pick out the smallest detail to argue. A google search will return multiple simple historical inaccuracies.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by NUMBER_1RED_SOX_FAN 3 years ago
NUMBER_1RED_SOX_FAN
justin.gravesNimbus328Tied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ignore the perimeters for the debate and used wikipedia. So, he loses both the sources points and the conduct point.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
justin.gravesNimbus328Tied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ignored the rules twice. Though trivial, conduct to Pro. Arguments to Con for the mess Pro made. He completely failed in his burden which, if he'd taken the semantically route, would have been trivial to fulfill. Instead he relied on laughable, easily (and successfully by Con) rebuttable religious claims.
Vote Placed by eastcoastsamuel 3 years ago
eastcoastsamuel
justin.gravesNimbus328Tied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate was really a wash, from start to finish. Neither side was able to hold their own and make enough of an impression to award points. Therefore, I'm just going to give out points based on sources and spelling and grammar.