The Instigator
Pro (for)
11 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

The Resurrection of Jesus is a historically probable event.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/18/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,906 times Debate No: 22952
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (51)
Votes (4)




Microsuck has offered to debate this, so I will issue the challenge. As he has already expressed his desire to debate this, rather than using four rounds for debate with the first being for acceptance, I will go ahead and lead off with my argument and the debate will last for three rounds.

I will briefly give my opening argument here. I will wait until Microsucks rebuttal before going more into detail.

The resurrection of Jesus is historically probable for at least six reasons. In fact, most of these reasons are pretty uncontroversial and accepted by the majority of scholars and historians.

1. Jesus was actually dead. Jesus was crucified on the cross.

2. The empty tomb. The tomb that Jesus was laid in was empty on the third day.

3. Appearances. Post-resurrection Jesus appeared to many people. He appeared to the women at the tomb, to the aforementioned pair of men on the road to Emmaus, to the ten disciples (sans Thomas and Judas, who hanged himself after Jesus' crucifixion), to the eleven disciples (Thomas included), and even to 500 people all at once.

4. Testimonies. The disciples were cowards. Peter denied Jesus three times. They hid when he was captured. They were uneducated and had low social standing. Yet after Jesus rose, they were suddenly bold and empowered. They were willing to die for what they believed (and most of them did). This dramatic change in their character is only explained by the Resurrection.

5. Low status of women. If the disciples had wanted to make up the resurrection event, they wouldn't have used women (Mary, Mary Magdalen, Salome, and the other women with them) as the primary witnesses as the event due to the fact that women were not considered reliable witnesses. The best explanation is that they were actually the primary witnesses to this actual event.

6. Immediate proclamation. The Jews started proclaiming Jesus immediately, in the city in which He was said to have risen. They would not have done this if Jesus hadn't actually risen. If Jesus didn't actually rise from the dead, the body could have been produced and the new movement of believers would have been crushed right then and there.

There have been several alternate accounts suggested to account for many of these claims. However, I believe that all of them have been found wanting. But before respond to any of those accounts, I will wait until Microsuck gives his rebuttal to see how I should respond. I look forward to our next round.


I would like to thank my partner for bringing up his case. I concede that Jesus was a real man and that he died by crucifixion. I also believe that he was dead (i.e., did not survive the crucifixion).


2. The Empty Tomb

What evidence for this does my partner cite? None. Consequently, we should reject such a fable.

3. Appearances

My partner says Jesus appeared to over 500 people! Who exactly are those 500 people? My partner (and Paul) makes the bare assertion fallacy (ipsite dixite) because no proof has been provided. As Gerald Seigal from Jews for Judaism notes:

Paul, writing about twenty-five years after the crucifixion contends, without giving a geographic location, that "upwards of five hundred brethren" had simultaneously seen the resurrected Jesus and that many of them were still alive at the time of his writing (1Corinthians 15:6). No information is provided to indicate whether this experience was a visionary revelation or an actual appearance in the flesh. Moreover, Paul does not tell us whether he was among the five hundred, or whether he had heard the story from one of them, or whether it was merely a story that was circulating among certain Christians. This alleged postresurrection appearance is conspicuously omitted in both the Gospels and the Book of Acts.

Had the Corinthians wanted to verify Paul's statement, it would have been, as Paul must have known, virtually impossible for them to do so, considering the primitive means of communication available in those days. Neither did he mention by name any of the five hundred for possible contact by the Corinthians, had they wanted to seek verification. Who experienced this alleged postresurrection appearance, and when and where this supposedly took place is not stated. The whole incident was either an unverifiable rumor utilized by Paul or simply the result of his overzealous missionary activity. [1]


There are several problems I have with this assertion: (1) Women were trusted; (2) Women were the primary targets of early Christians; and (3) The fallacy of embarassment


Josephus records an account of the sacrifices at Gamala and Masada. What sources does he use? Two women in each case. Does my partner believe such a tale? Probably not. However, it shows no embarrasment for this. Sometimes, Josephus leaveso ut his sources, yet here he goes out of his way to report that only women were his sources. Had it been an embarassment, if my partner claimed, then it would make no sense.


It may come to a surprise to my partner, but women were the primary targets of conversion to the early Christians. Richard Carrier notes: "Historians agree that many more females than males were converting to Christianity in its first centuries," and recognizes" Christianity's appeal to women as an important factor in its success." [3] This might help explain why women were placed at the "empty" tomb. It is also important to note that Christianity, in its early years, had a rival cult called "Mithraism" that only accepted male converts. It is probable that Christianity was trying to rival their Mithraic cult.


Overall, my partner argues an appeal to embarassment--a fallacy.


Actually, the early Christians did not immediately proclaim Jesus. Again, from Gerald Siegal:

The New Testament fixes public announcement of the supposed resurrection not three days immediately following the crucifixion event, but after a period in which some of Jesus' followers regrouped following their initial shock and disappointment and formulated their future plans. Public announcement of a resurrection was set for the Jewish festival of Shavuot, "The Feast of Weeks," approximately fifty days following the crucifixion (Acts 2:1, 22-24). By that day, Jesus' corpse would have been sufficiently decomposed to prohibit positive identification. [4]

So, contarary to my partner's claim, the public pronunciation was 50 days after the crucifixion; far from "immediately."

------------------------->A CASE AGAINST THE RESURRECTION<--------------------------------

Contention 1: Jesus only appeared to his followers

Isn't it quite odd that Jesus only appeared to his followers? Let's see what Jesus said about his "resurrection":

Matthew 26:63, Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Matthew 14:62, And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

These two quotes are directed to Cephias the high priest during his trial. Here, Jesus tells him that he is going to see the Son of Man (Jesus) seated at the right hand of the Power coming with the clouds of heaven. Neither the New Testament, nor outside sources, record such an event. This begs the question as to why Jesus wouldn't appear to the high priest. It would make a lot of sense for Jesus to walk up and say "Ha! I'm alive, you didn't kill me; now repent of your murder!"

Contention 2: The lack of evidence

1. If a claim is extraordinary, then in the absence of extraordinarily strong evidence in its favor, the claim may be considered false.2. The claim that a Jesus rose from the dead is an extraordinary claim.
3. Therefore, in the absence of extraordinarily strong evidence in its favor, the claim that Jesus rose from the dead may be considered false.
4. There is no extraordinarily strong evidence for the claim that Jesus rose from the dead.
5. Therefore, the claim that Jesus rose from the dead may be considered false.

If one were to reject teh Muslim claim that Muhammad split the moon, then why should we believe such an awe-inspiring event that Jesus rose from the dead? As Richard Carrier puts it, why don't these things happen now? [5]

I'm out of room.

1.Siegal, G. (n.d.). Do 500 brethern establish a reliable claim to rhe resurrection? Retrieved April 20, 2012, from Jews for Judaism:;

2. Masada: Josephus, Jewish War 7.399. Gamala: Josephus, Jewish War 4.81. For Masada, Josephus lists their qualifications the same way he would for a male witness: one is an elder, the other is famously sensible and well-educated with respectable connections (we can assume the five children who survived would not have made useful witnesses even if they were trusted). For Gamala, the qualifications of the two women in this case: they were the granddaughters of an eminent man. from: Carrier, R. (2006) Not the Impossible Faith. Web:;

3. Gillian Cloke, "Women, Worship, and Mission: The Church in the Household," The Early Christian World, ed. Philip Esler, vol. 1 (2000): pp. 422-51 (quotes from p. 423). Retreived from Carrier, R. (2006) Not the Impossibel Faith. Web:

4. Siegal, G. (n.d.). Why DIdn't the Jewish Authorities Produce Jesus' Corpse? Retrieved April 20, 2012 from Jews for Judaism:;

5. Carrier, R. Why I don't Buy the Resurrection Story.

Debate Round No. 1


I once again would like to thank Microsuck for this debate, and thank him for actually responding to my arguments, as my last two opponents ignored them completely.

Regarding my first piece of evidence, Con does accept that Jesus was real and that He died. But of course, simply dying is not evidence that He would be resurrected, even though He claimed that He would be. So I will address Con's arguments regarding my other pieces of evidence.

2. The Empty Tomb. Regarding the evidence for the empty tomb, this is attested in all four of the Gospels (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20), as well as in Paul's writings (1 Corinthians 15). Additionally, there were witnesses to the empty tomb. First, there were the women (Matthew 28:1-10), and then there was Peter and John (John 20:1-10).

3. Appearances. Despite Mr. Seigal's claim to the contrary, it is, in fact, his claim that is a bare assertion. Many specific instances of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances are recorded, and many of those He appeared to have been named. We have, in no particular order, Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18); the other women with her, including Mary, the Mother of James and Salome (Matthew Matthew 28:1-10); to Peter (this account is not recorded, but Paul mentions the appearance in 1 Corinthians 15:5); to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12, Luke 24:13-35); to the Ten Disciples (sans Judas, who hung himself, and Thomas, who was not present: Luke 24:36-49, John 20:19-23); to the Eleven (Thomas included, but sans Judas for the aforementioned reason, John 20:24-31); to seven disciples who were fishing (John 21); to the Apostles to commission them (Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-18); to the five hundred (this event is not recorded, but mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:6); to James (1 Corinthians 15:7); at the Ascension (Acts 1:4-8); and to Paul Acts 9:1-9, 1 Corinthians 15:8).

So Seigal's concerns are unwarranted. These appearances were definitely physical appearances (Jesus allowed others to touch Him, Jesus ate with them so they could see He wasn't simply a ghost, etc.). Additionally, while Paul does not mention whether he was part of the 500, we are given an account of Paul's meeting the post-resurrection Jesus on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:1-9. While it is true that no one is mentioned specifically by name from the 500, the ones who had experienced the resurrection were likely well known. Paul obviously knew who they were, since he knew that most of them were "still alive to this day."

4. Testimonies. Con has not addressed this, so I will extend this argument into the next round.

5. Low status of women.

5a. Women were trusted.
Actually, I tend to view the opposite. It was precisely because he went out of his way to indicate they were women that proves it might not have been as reliable as if they were men. First of all, the reason he used women was because there were no men left alive to use as witnesses after the events at Gamala and Masada. If women were not an embarrassment, why weren't they used as witnesses more often as recorded by Josephus?

5b. Women were the targets of early Christians. This actually does come as news to me. I don't think there's really any evidence that women were the primary target of early Christians. Richard Carrier is not know for being the most reliable critic of Christianity, especially since he takes the extremist position that Jesus never even existed, which conflicts with Con's acceptance that there was a Jesus, and He even died by Crucifixion.

The book of Acts is a book of history of early Christianity. It is quite evident that women were not the primary focus of early Christianity. At the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, we see there were many people gathered there, specifically devout men from every nation under heaven. On that day alone, about three thousand people converted. Do you honestly believe them to be only women? The book of Acts recounts many men being witnessed to and saved, such as the lame man in Acts 3, and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8.

5c. The fallacy. Fallacies are not always fallacies. I believe it is very reasonable to suppose that if women were considered unreliable witnesses, then if the story were made up the witnesses would have been men to add credibility. The fact that the primary witnesses were women shows that the events happened and that they were faithfully recorded.

6. Immediate proclamation. My partner is here splitting hairs on the meaning of "immediately." I didn't mean immediately after Jesus rose. After all, there was a span of time in which Jesus appeared to the disciples and to others. By immediately I meant that the disciples didn't wait twenty years, or even a few generations until Jesus' crucifixion was but a fleeting memory. It happened pretty much right away, which would have been religious suicide because a body could have been produced.

I don't think the rotting corpse was an issue because a God who could resurrect a man could certainly keep the body from decay (in fact, the Scriptures state that Jesus' body was kept from decay, cf. Acts 2:31). However, the Romans and Jewish leaders knew that Jesus claimed He was rise again after being dead three days. So they need not have waited until the Christians started proclaiming His resurrection, they could have showed it after the three days of Jesus' burial to quash Christianity right away. If a rotting corpse was really an issue, surely it would behoove the Jews and Romans to have shown the body right away rather than wait until the body deteriorated.

Now regarding Con's further contentions.

Contention 1: Jesus only appeared to his followers.

I think it important to show that this does not "beg the question," which is a logical fallacy, but it might pose the question as to why Jesus didn't appear to the high priest, or anyone who wasn't his follower?

However, Jesus didn't only appear to His followers. He appeared to Saul (later known as Paul), who was a staunch critic of early Christianity and even killed many of its followers (Acts 9). Paul switched gears and suddenly started preaching the truth of Christianity.

Additionally, I believe the reason why Jesus didn't appear to more people who weren't his followers can be found in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16). After the rich man died and was tormented in Hell, Abraham would not let Lazarus return from the dead to warn his brothers because if they didn't believe the prophets, neither would they believe someone who came back from the dead. Jesus appeared mostly to His followers because they were cowering, and Jesus had to strenghten them by showing that He did, indeed, rise from the dead.

Contention 2: The lack of evidence.

First, extraordinary claims do not require extraordinary evidence, only ordinary evidence. If I told you I have a brown dog with four legs and a tail, you would be reasonable in believing me. If I told you I have a purple dog with six legs and four tails, you would reasonably require evidence. What kind of evidence? You would just need to see the dog. The reason you believed me in the first case is because you have seen dogs and know what they look like. The same evidence is required. So Con's first premise is untrue, and therefore his argument is unsound.

Historians have the same kind of evidence that they would need for any other kind of event. They have five independent, contemporary sources that speak of an empty tomb. Jesus claimed He would rise again and all the evidence supports it. Any alternate theories all fall flat.

I have now read the Muslim account in the Qu'ran of Muhammad splitting the Moon. I think the resurrection is more reliable because: one, the Qu'ran does not say Muhammad actually split the Moon; and two, there is no reason that the passage should not be read poetically, as opposed to literally.

I look forward to our next and final round.


I once again would like to thank KeytarHero for this debate and the great deal of professionalism that he has shown. I have neglected to respond to the testimonies contention because I wanted a bit more room for my brief arguments (which, if space permitting, I will defend).


My partner cites the Bible as evidence using the following verses:

  1. Matthew 28;
  2. Mark 16;
  3. Luke 24;
  4. John 20; and
  5. 1 Corinthians 15.

Finally, he attempted to prove the empty tomb via witnesses. The question is begged: how reliable are these “witnesses” and these verses. Moreover, how reliable is Paul? To tackle the empty tomb argument, I will argue these points: (1) Paul, and the gospels, is unreliable; and (2) It is probable that Jesus was removed from the tomb


To summarize this point, I would like to point out several errors that I have with the scriptures, especially the gospels: (1) The ending of Mark 16 is unreliable; (2) The gospels contradict each other in the manner of the resurrection; and (3) Paul has been known to change his story and contradicts himself at times.

The ending of Mark is disputed

What I am about to say is not very popular with mainstream Christianity. The ending of the gospel of Mark is disputed; and thus making it an unreliable source (especially towards the end).

A. Manuscripts

Mark 16:9-19 does not appear in the two oldest manuscripts.[1] Moreover, church fathers such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Ammonius show no knowledge of such an ending. Church fathers testify that the section is absent from Greek copies of Mark known to them (see, for example, Jerome, Epist, cxx. 3, ad hebidiam). [2]

B. Variant readings

There is another ending to the gospel of Mark which shows that the current edition to Mark 16:9-19 isn’t necessarily reliable. This is the ending[3]:

"But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that had been told. And after this Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation."

With these two problems (and I can list more), it is apparent that the gospel of Mark is unreliable. This, I believe, is a nail in the coffin of the testimonies. If the gospels are unreliable, then so are the testimonies concerning the testimonies and the empty tomb.

A world of contradictions

Paul tells us that if Christ is not raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christianity. If the resurrection is the foundation of Christianity, then why can’t the gospels get their story straight? Let’s examine some of these contradictions.

A. What day was Jesus crucified[4]?

after noon on the day before the Passover meal

Mid-morning on the day after the Passover meal

John 18:28

Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.

John 19:14-16

And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.

Mark 14:12

And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that you may eat the Passover?

Mark 15:25

And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

See also Matthew 26:20-30; Mark 14:17-25

Because the synoptic gospels insist that the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, they must maintain that the crucifixion occurred on the first day of Passover.[5]

In summary, here is a chart referencing the time of Jesus death[6]:

Mark's Chronology

Luke's Chronology

John's Chronology

Thursday Night
(14th/15th Nisan)

  • Taken to high priest's house
  • Night trial of the Sanhedrin

Thursday Night
(14th/15th Nisan)

  • Taken to high priest's house
  • No mention of trial at night.

Thursday Night
(13th/14th Nisan)

  • Taken to the high priest'sfather-in-law'shouse.
  • Informal interrogation by the high priest.

Friday Morning
(15th Nisan)

  • "consultation" with scribes, elders and the whole council
  • Handed Jesus to Pilate
  • Trial before Pilate

Friday Morning
(15th Nisan)

  • Trial before the Sanhedrin
  • Handed Jesus to Pilate
  • Trial before Pilate

Friday Morning
(14th Nisan)

  • Handed Jesus to Pilate
  • Trial before Pilate

The gospels contradict each other; therefore they are unreliable.

Paul contradicts himself and is known to change his story

A. Paul admitted to lying.

Romans 3:7(KJV) – For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?

1 Corinthians 9:19-23(KJV) – (19) For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. (20) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; (21) To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. (22) To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (23) And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

2 Corinthians 12:16(KJV) – But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.

B. The conversion accounts contradict each other

  1. 1. Acts 9:7 says that they “stood speechless, hearing the voice.”
  2. 2. Acts 22:9 says that they “did not hear the voice..”
  3. 3. Acts 26:14 says “When we had all fallen to the ground…”

The contradictions are twofold:

  1. 1. Did Paul’s men hear a voice?
  2. 2. Did Paul’s men stand or fall to the ground?


From Roman and Jewish sources; we know that in Jesus’ time the Jews had the full practice of their own laws. Consequently, the laws required that any crucified man (in this case, Jesus), is to be taken down Friday, that he be placed in a temporary tomb for the Sabbath, and that he is to be buried. Saturday night in a special graveyard reserved for criminals.[7]

Gerald Siegal notes[8]:

“To bury the body of a crucified individual (or anyone else) was a matter of obeying G-d’s commandments. Joseph…was probably the Sanhedrian burial agent whose task it was to take care of the crucified once they had died. The approach of the Sabbath and the concern that a corpse not be left hanging after sunset (Deut. 21:23). Added to Joseph’s concern to get the body of Jesus (and the other two victims) buried before the sunset…[O]ne may assume that if it is true that the other two individuals were crucified along with Jesus and died the same day, that Joseph may have asked for their bodies as well.”

Tackling the empty tomb argument left me with no space.The appearances and the testimonies can be combined with the same issues above; namely, they are unreliable.


The gospels are unreliable.

[1] The Nelson KJV study Bible notes on Mark 16:9-19

[2] Slick M. (n.d.) “Baptism and Mark 16:16” CARM: The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Retrieved: 23 April 23, 2012

[3] Ibid.

[4] From the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible

[5] Singer, T. “Crucifixion Chart.” Outreach Judaism.

[6] Tobin, P. The Rejection of Pascal's Wager: A Skeptics Guide To Christianity.;

[7] Carrier, R. “Jewish Law, the Burial of Jesus, and the Third Day.”

Debate Round No. 2


Microsuck has layered a hefty claim against the Scriptures, namely that they are unreliable. Also that the witnesses are unreliable. However, even a cursory read through Microsuck's arguments have led me to the conclusion that his arguments are simply unreliable.

First, I will extend most of my arguments from the opening round since they have not been adequately addressed in Microsuck's last round. These arguments are: Jesus actually died, post-resurrection appearances, testimonies, low status of women, and immediate proclamation. The only argument he attempted to refute is that of the empty tomb.

Reliability of Paul and the Gospels

Con has rightly pointed out that the last eleven verses of Mark (16:9-20) are not in the oldest and most unreliable manuscripts, so they may not even belong (although, contrary to his claims, this is not a controversial statement). However, this does not mean the entire Gospel is unreliable. Microsuck uses an article by Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics Research Institute. But in the same article in which Con takes his argument from, Mr. Slick mentions that the Gospel of Mark is still reliable. Taken from the article:

"...I am not saying the Bible is untrustworthy. It is 98.5% textually pure. The remaining 1.5% of textual variation are almost entirely of insignificant spelling errors and minor word omissions or additions that do not change the meaning of the text." [1]

His argument from contradiction is also unconvincing. First, if the accounts were exactly the same then claims of plagiarism could be leveled against them. The fact that they differ slightly lends credibility that they were written by different people.

As theologian Norman Geisler points out: "The fact that various accounts do not fit together with perfect ease should be expected of authentic testimony from independent witnesses. Were the accounts perfectly harmonious on the surface, there would be suspicion of collusion." [2]

Regarding the difference in time, John was probably using the Roman measurement of time (from midnight to midnight), whereas Matthew, Mark, and Luke, for the most part, used the Hebrew system of measuring a day (from sundown to sunup). John wrote his gospel in Ephesus, the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and therefore in regard to the civil day he would be likely to employ the Roman reckoning. [3]

The Gospels do not overtly contradict each other. Whenever it appears they do, there is always a reasonable explanation for why they differ.

Con has taken Romans 3:7 out of context. Paul was not saying he was lying. First, this passage isn't even about the resurrection, so even if he lied here this would not indicate that he lied about the resurrection. Secondly, in the context of the passage Paul is saying that even if everyone lied, God would still be true. If everyone on Earth didn't believe in God, God would still be faithful to us. In the verse in question, Paul was saying "so if I lie, knowing that God's faithfulness is increased to His glory, why am I still considered a sinner?"

In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul, again, was not lying. He was saying that he became all things to all men. Not that he was lying and telling people he was something that he wasn't. He became as a Jew to the Jews. He reasoned through the Jewish Scriptures to show that Christ rose. To those under the law, he became as those under the law to show why living by the law can't save anyone. And so on. He met people where they were to show the love of Christ, rather than expecting others to rise to his level.

In 2 Corinthians 12:16, again, Paul is not saying he is a liar. Paul and the ones he sent did not take advantage of anyone (he even points this out in the passage). But again, as we see in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul convinced them through his own ingenuity. To some people he reasoned through the Scriptures, others he reasoned with their own poets and philosophers. He met people where they were to save them.

Now, the conversion accounts in Acts are a little troubling if you haven't done your homework. It's telling that Con uses the KJV, which is not the best translation. And here what we have is a simple error in translation. Unfortunately, the translators of the King James Version did not take into account the fact that the same Greek word meant both "heat" and "understand." Also, the same Greek word can mean both "sound" and "voice." The apparent contradiction is correctly solved by the translation of the NET Bible, as well as that of the NASB and the NIV.

Acts 9:7 should read: "And the men who traveled with [Paul] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one."
Acts 22:9 should read: "And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me."

There is also no contradiction in who fell to the ground. Acts 9:7 does not state that no one fell to the ground, just that at one point they stood speechless. [4]

Finally, Con contends that Jesus may have been removed from the tomb. But this contention is baseless. Siegal notes that it is reasonable to assume that Joseph asked for the other bodies as well, but this is not reasonable. The only body, according to the Gospels, that Joseph asked for was Jesus. There is no reason to assume he asked for any others, especially since he was a follower of Jesus.

It is illogical to assume that Jesus was removed from the tomb, especially when no one else knew about it. Pilate and the Jewish leaders knew Jesus was there, a huge stone was rolled in front, and a soldier, who could not let Jesus be removed under penalty of death, was placed there to guard the tomb.

The resurrection of Jesus is a historically valid event. Con has not offered any strong evidence to challenge this. In fact, his last round was really an attempt to undermine the Scriptures by taking verses out of context, and making blatantly false claims.

[2] Geisler, Norman L., The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Books, p. 657.
[3] Archer, Gleason, Encylopedia of Bible Difficulties, p. 364
[4] For a more detailed explanation of these alleged contradictions, see:;


Sorry for such a delayed response. I have been out all day and have just gotten home. Please bare with me as I defend what I couldn’t defend in the previous round.


A. Women were trusted

My partner hasn’t refuted my claim and attempts at a straw man and asks why aren’t there more evidences outside of the example I gave? In fact, there are. One of which comes from John 4:

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Here, we see that an entire town believed in Jesus just because of one woman. If women were not considered reliable, would this story be scoffed at or what? Sure, there are many more examples I can give other than this one; though I shall leave it at that.

B. Women were the targets of the early church

Unanswered objection. In fact, Carrier is not the first to make those objections. Let’s take a look at others who came to the same conclusion:

  1. 1. Gillian Cloke, in "Women, Worship, and Mission: The Church in the Household," The Early Christian World, ed. Philip Esler, vol. 1 (2000): pp. 422-51 notes: “[M]any more females than males were converting to Christianity in its first centuries. "Christianity's appeal to women as an important factor in its success." Indeed, "in the first Christian centuries the new belief system used women and their position in the family/household environment to transmit and reproduce itself”

C. Fallacies

This is the fallacy as he is arguing that women were an embarrassment (to which there is NO evidence in the scripture); and therefore the resurrection is plausible.

Out of time. Good luck

Debate Round No. 3
51 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Microsuck 6 years ago

Not a problem. I made some mistakes in the debate that I probably should't have made. -
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
I appreciate a person who is humble and pursuing the skills to become better.
Posted by Microsuck 6 years ago
Thanks also. I also appreciate it. I am nt the best debater, but i like the analysis that you gave me.
Posted by KeytarHero 6 years ago
Gileandos. Thank you for your very thorough analysis of the debate.
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
I have to disagree with Con's case of Biblical discrepency within the debate. First, I think we both agreed it was a VERY poor argument, non-scholastically sourced, that Paul was a self proclaimed liar.
But the contradictions of the resurrection account were refuted by Pro and Con's last round did nothing to reestablish as it was cut short. Con needed to use the last round to redirect. He was unable to so cannot win the debate arguments point.

Just some food for thought in the future.
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
Arguments to Pro with the clearly stronger case. Con only gave an in depth argument for an empty tomb and did not detract from Pro's points. Con invalidated his very argument by unconvincingly attempt to claim that Paul was a self proclaimed liar, while not citing any New Testament critic who proposes this Idea was claiming to be deliberately dishonest and thus we should believe he created Christianity.

Sources to Pro as Pro did a much better job of citation and Con used known dubious minority detrator such as Richard Carrier.
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago

Rnd 2 Con:
Point 2: Con says Mark's disputed ending should cause the discounting of the gospels.
Con also says that the resurrection accounts are contradictory
Con also states that Paul's accounts are contradictory as well.
Con cites possible discrepancies.
Con cites Paul is a liar.
Con cites that Paul deliberately became other people.
Con cites that Paul actively was deceptive.
Con cites the conversion account of Paul is contradictory.
Con then cites an alternate empty tomb theory.

Round 3 Pro:
The empty tomb:
Pro shows that even Con's source hold's Mark's Gospel as reliable and the last few verses in the text do nothing to detract. Con will need to show why it does invalidate the whole attested account.

Pro convincingly refutes the Gospel variations as more reliable BECAUSE they are not duplications. If they were exactly the same you would expect duplicity.

Pro cites different time measuring standards within the ancient world correctly. This is not a dogmatic problem for the texts.

Pro refutes the ‘Paul is a self confessed liar' concept by citing context convincingly. This was a very bad argument by Con. "See Paul says he is a liar, so he invented Christianity!" Absurd.

Pro refutes the discrepancies of the account via actually harmonizing the Damascus road conversion.

Pro rightly points out a sealed and guarded tomb is a HUGE detractor to an alternate theory.

Round 3 Con:
Point 5a: Con cites more women testimony to invalidate Pro's rationalization.
Point 5b: Con seems to fallaciously appeal to another authority to validate Carrier as a source. Not convincing.
Point 5c: There was no refutation to Pro's final claim.
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago

R2 Pro:
Point 2: Pro restates "Yes huh!" by again citing the historical documents that claim the resurrection. Con must invalidate this point or will tacitly concede.
Point 3: Pro points out there ‘historians' concern was a bare assertion as a great amount of detail was included, including many of the names. Merely focusing on one limited reference is not a concern for the veracity of the testimonies. Additionally, Pro asserets the work is written as though, the recipients of Paul's writings, were to ask the people themselves, not just take Paul's word for it.
Point 4: No address from Con
Point 5a: Pro states we should have seen Josephus us women more if they were so trusted. So the clear implication is no trust.
Point 5b: Pro cites the Richard Carrier's known bias and low reliability as he asserts a very minority view against the existence of Jesus entirely. I concur.
- Pro then cites a plethora of internal evidence that denies the mere claim of Christianity was ‘marketed' toward women. Much of the Bible cites male conversion with apparent male targeted audience from the texts themselves.
Point 5c: Pro points out that fallacies are conditional and not absolute. He then states he does not meet the condition.
Point 6: Pro rightly points out splitting hairs on the term immediately. I do not feel Pro adequately addressed Con's concept of a 50 day old corpse identification.

Con's Contention 1:
Pro rightly retorts that Paul was not a believer and yet had a visitation from Jesus. Of course the implication being that anyone that was not a believer or on the fence, when seeing a resurrected Jesus would only be a believer.
Pro also states that Jesus taught he would visit more for strength than for convincing unbelievers, that unbelievers will need to go through a process and will likely not receive a visitation.

Con's Contention 2:
Pro masterfully addressed this concept of extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. Well done.
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
R1 Pro:
Pro lays out a clear 6 point case

R1 Con:
Point one was not contested
Point 2: really? "Nuh Uh!"
Point 3: Con asserted Pauls account did not include enough detail
Point 4: This point went uncontested
Point 5: - Con asserts Women were used by Josephus thus trusted sources
- Con asserts women were the target of early Christian.
- Con asserts an unsupported red herring:
"It is also important to note that Christianity, in its early years, had a rival cult called "Mithraism" that only accepted male converts. It is probable that Christianity was trying to rival their Mithraic cult."
- Con then claims an appeal to embarrassment fallacy – Ludicrous made up fallacy.
Point 6: Con asserts pronouncement was not immediate but 50 days after. Time to reformulate claims and allow Jesus' body to decompose.

Con's Contention 1:
Assertion was basically a complaint of how things were recorded in the Bible and how Con would like to have had it asserted.
Con's Contention 2:
Assertion was a syllogism that stated Con required extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims and that Jesus' resurrection was an extraordinary claim.
Posted by Mrparkers 6 years ago
RFV continued:

I didn't like Pro's response to Con's claims of contradictions. Saying that they actually give the Bible more credibility is silly. If the Bible was truly the divinely-inspired word of God, it shouldn't be this easy to misinterpret, as you claim Con does.

But yeah, this was close, and the point that really won me over was the different accounts of the resurrection. Pro should have spent a LOT more time on that, seeing as that is what this entire debate was about in the first place. But that's just my opinion.

Great debate, I enjoyed reading it.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Con failed to prove that the witness's of Jesus after his death were unreliable. The various inconsistencies in the gospels speak of their authenticity. Pro essentially countered the majority of Con's objections, and Con dropped many arguments. I liked how Con gave a diagram though. I'm giving him a point for that. Because he clearly put a lot of work into this debate.
Vote Placed by Gileandos 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Con only gave an in depth argument for an empty tomb and did not detract from Pro’s points. Con invalidated his very argument by unconvincingly attempt to claim that Paul was a self proclaimed liar, while not citing any New Testament critic who proposes this Idea was claiming to be deliberately dishonest and thus we should believe he created Christianity. Sources to Pro as Pro did a much better job of citation and Con used known dubious.
Vote Placed by Mrparkers 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a tough one to judge. I actually had to read it twice before I could begin to make up my mind. In the end, I gave the arguments to the Con because he provided a good enough reason to diminish the credibility of the Bible. I didn't buy Con's argument that Paul was a liar (Pro did a good job of refuting that), but I did buy the contradictions because Pro didn't give me a reason not to. RFV continued in comments
Vote Placed by Cobo 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm giving pro arguments as all of his were dropped in the sake of discrediting his source..but hat is also why con gets source point as he easily showwed how the accounts vary, but didin't apply this to the other points of pros case, thus dropping he rest of his arguments...but great job to both sides.