The Instigator
A341
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ksang
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

Theories against the Resurrection of Jesus Christ are incorrect

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
ksang
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 700 times Debate No: 49229
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

A341

Con

Sorry, just realized that I messed up the first round.

I accept your terms (so long as I can check the sources of any article presented).

Here is my argument against the resurrection of Yeshua*.

1. Yeshua never existed and so resurrection is impossible. There is no historical evidence of the life of Yeshua until the writings of Tacitus who mentions a person who he refers to as Iesus (though to be the Latin of Jesus).

There were people who recorded all the cults practicing in the area at the time and none have any mention of Yeshua. Certainly the riot in the temple recorded in Mark 11:15"19 would not have gone down unrecorded (as it has).

2. The Romans would have been unlikely to allow the burial of Yeshua. In fact the roman's burnt the bodies of those crucified [1], this invalidates the story of the resurrection of Yeshua as he never would have been placed in a tomb.

* I use the Hebrew because I see it as authentic (I also think it sounds better).

[1]
http://infidels.org...
"The bodies of the crucified Christians were displayed for six days and then burned so that the ashes might be scattered in the Rhone. Christian fellow-disciples complained, "We could not bury the bodies in the earth...neither did money or prayers move them, for in every possible way they kept guard as if the prevention of burial would give them great gain.""
ksang

Pro

Thank you Con for posting this new debate.

Let's analyze your fist claim, that Jesus never existed, therefore his resurrection was impossible. You claim that there was no historical evidence of the life of Jesus until the writings of Tacitus, in his work Annals, which was written in around AD 116. However, around AD 93, Josephus, a Roman historian, in his work Antiquities of the Jews, mentions Jesus saying, "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned... (1)." Also, you seem to claim that although Tacitus mentions Jesus, "Iesus" is only thought to be the Latin for Jesus and therefore he could be referring to a different person. Let's assume that "Iesus" was not actually Jesus but a different person. How, then, can you explain Tacitus's reference to Jesus in his Annals that says: "Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus..."(2)? This goes hand in hand with the biblical narrative of Jesus being sentenced to death ("extreme penalty") by Pontius Pilate. These two documents alone refute your argument that Jesus never existed. You must also realize that Tacitus was considered one of the greatest Roman historians ever! (3). Your claim also discounts the validity of early Christian sources that talked about Jesus. Regarding your claim about people who recorded all cults in the area at the time: you have not provided me with any source for which you can validate your statement.

As for your second argument that states that the Romans burnt victims of crucifixion and therefore he could not have been placed in the tomb, you must realize that the Biblical narrative has it that Pontius Pilate handed over Jesus to the Jews to be crucified (4). The Roman government was involved in the sentencing of Jesus and not the execution of him. But let's assume that the Roman government was indeed involved in the actual execution process of Jesus. Your source, which I believe to be legitimate, does indeed say that crucified Christians are to be burned. However, we must realize that the Jesus was a Jewish man and the Christian religion had not yet been founded. Your source claims that the Romans allowed crucified bodies to be given to those who requested it for burial, EXCEPT for those who were followers of the Christian RELIGION (5). The Christian religion had not yet gained widespread notoriety considering that the fundamental beliefs of the religion had not yet taken place!

I firmly believe that my above arguments are sufficient in refuting both of Con's arguments and I challenge him/her to come up with more.

(1) http://en.wikisource.org...
(2) http://en.wikisource.org...(Tacitus)/Book_15#44
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(4) John 19:16
(5) http://infidels.org...
Debate Round No. 1
A341

Con

Josephus

Josephus's work regarding Jesus is widely regarded to be a forgery by a member of the church possibly even after 900 AD, this is because a number of eminent Christians including but not limited to Justin Martyr, Anatolius and Photius (nearly 900 years after the death of Christ) [1] examined the works but failed to mention anything about the quote:

"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned..."

This should be enough to cast doubt on the authenticity of the mentioned passage.

Tacitus

"Also, you seem to claim that although Tacitus mentions Jesus, "Iesus" is only thought to be the Latin for Jesus and therefore he could be referring to a different person."

I am perfectly willing to grant Tacitus is referring to Yeshua. But even so you are talking about someone who was writing around 80 years after the death of Yeshua (by which time Christianity had taken hold), this would be the same as a person writing today talking about person who lived in the 1930's and hadn't been mentioned by historians before.

For what it's worth Iesus was a common enough name and I wouldn't be surprised if more than one person named Iesus was executed by the Romans.

Lack of Eye Witness Accounts

The two accounts you mention (regardless of their accuracy) were not written by people who would have been alive at that time [2] [3] [4]. If you claim that a historical figure existed you must back up your position with contemporary accounts. If a historian today claimed that a certain person not mentioned before died in WW2 (about the right time difference) they would be asked to provide citations from the time. If that same historian claimed that this person had a cultish following (while still not siting any previous accounts) they would be risking their credibility as an academic. But if this same person claimed that this same person was given to the Jews by the Germans for execution (I use this because of the oppression of the Jewish people by Pontius Pilate [5]) and then this same person rose from the dead three days later they would loose all reputation and possibly be asked about counseling.

You have provided two accounts (one seriously doubtful) from decades after the death of Yeshua that account to his existence and have not provided any evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus.

My mistake

"Regarding your claim about people who recorded all cults in the area at the time: you have not provided me with any source for which you can validate your statement."

Sorry about that, this should be enough [6].

[1] http://vridar.org...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] http://www.tyndalehouse.com... (I don't agree with this account but if that's the date Christians will pick then ok)

[5] Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.85-89

[6] Jews, Christians and Jewish Christians In Antiquity, page 202 by James Carleton Paget
ksang

Pro

Thank you Con for your thought provoking response.

I would like to repeat the fact that I am only refuting Con's presented arguments against the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am not wholly proving the event.

Josephus

Con claims that the text that I presented, authored by Josephus, was a forgery, and therefore could not serve as evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ and cited a source to back up his claim. However a closer look at his source reveals that it's goal is only to discount the validity of the Testimonium Flavianum, a reference to Jesus in Josephus's works that is widely held to be a forgery [1]. However, the text that I presented was not part of the Testimonium Flavianum (Book 18, Chapter 3, 3 of the Antiquities of the Jews), but instead was a part of Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities of the Jews, a portion widely held to be authentic by modern scholars. [2]

Tacitus

Con argues that because Tacitus's reference to Christ was written around 80 years after his [Christ's] death and his sources are not cited, his credibility is therefore doubtful. However, scholars argue that Tacitus most likely used sources that are now lost to us and that because of his position as a senator, he would have had access to official Roman documents. It is also considered to be highly uncharacteristic of Tacitus to obtain information for his historical documents from hearsay or gossip [3].

Con states again that Jesus must have been a common enough name that Tacitus could have been referring to a different Jesus. This claim is invalidated by the fact that Tacitus, in the text I presented, used the term "Christus", and not "Iesus." "Christus", is a Roman transliteration (or translation?) of the Greek word "Christ"s", itself a translation of the Hebrew word "Mā""aM17;", meaning "Messiah." [4] He says that this "Christus" was executed by Pontius PIlate. I challenge Con to cast reasonable doubt on the notion that there were many people called "Messiah" who were executed by Pontius Pilate.

Lack of Eyewitnesses

I'd like to refute Con's analogy to the absence of citations by Tacitus and Josephus to the absence of citations by a historian writing about a person who lived before WWII. It is reasonable to assume that we would still have documents preserved in mint condition that eyewitness a person living during WWII. Thus, if a historian does not have such documents, we can reasonably doubt this historian. However, we cannot assume such documents did not exist for Tacitus and Josephus considering that such documents would have been written almost 2000 years ago. Tacitus as a senator would have had access to official Roman documents.

People who Recorded the Cults

I took a look at the book and page you mentioned and couldn't find any reference to such a group of people who recorded all the cults in Judea at the time. The link to that page is below:

http://books.google.com...
(page 202)

As for his argument on the bodies of Christians, I assume Con has either forgotten about it or has found it useless in light of my refutation.

[1] http://vridar.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
A341

Con

Josephus

No this works for both mentions of Yahshua, early Christian scholars scanned the works of Josephus many times, they tended to use his works for debates against pagans and would have loved a mention of Yahshua to use against the pagans, however vague.

Tacitus

Pro claims that Tacitus probably sourced his work from previous documents. Obviously this is possible but we still do not have the original documents, just because someone is held in high regard does not mean they do not have to cite sources.

Also saying that Tacitus could have got his information from "hearsay or gossip" doesn't help you in any way, decades old gossip will have moved far from the truth (a bit like a game of telephone).

Many "Messiah's"

Many "Messiah's" existed now and then, many people come to Jerusalem to proclaim themselves the Messiah, this is called the Jerusalem syndrome [1].

Lack of Eyewitnesses

It would also be reasonable to assume Tacitus had mint condition documents but still failed to mention them.

Overall Arguments

A person who never existed cannot be resurrected. The only evidence of the existence of Yahshua comes from (at least) second hand accounts that don't cite any source. This means we have no primary sources for the existence of Yahshua and conclude that evidence of his existence is lacking and therefore a negative is assumed.

Furthermore there is absolutely no evidence for the resurrection of Yahshua and we can conclude it didn't happen.

I urge you to vote Con.

[1] http://www.psychiatriapolska.pl...
ksang

Pro

Thank you Con for your final arguments.

Josephus.

Again, his above cited website only concerns itself with disproving the "Testimonium Flavianum", not the text that I presented. In fact, it states that Origen, a church father, referenced the text from Josephus that I presented.

Tacitus

Again, historians regard Tacitus as one of the greatest historians and it is considered highly uncharacteristic of him to get information from non-reputable sources. Con obviously neglects to realize just how well renowned Tacitus was as a historian.

I stated that Tacitus probably DID NOT get his information from "hearsay or gossip." Obviously Con thought I did.

Many "Messiahs"

Con's argument is completely unfounded and the source he provides talks nothing about said "Messiahs." His source talks about "Jerusalem syndrome" which has nothing to do with Messiahs or Jesus. Do a quick Ctrl-F search for the word "Messiah" or "Jesus" in his source and you will find nothing.

Con fails to cite the Gospels as a source.

Con also fails to realize that the point of this debate was to disprove the disproof of the Resurrection that he presented.

Thanks Con for a thoughtful debate.

I urge anyone viewing to vote Pro in light of the weak theories presented by Con.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by MartinKauai 2 years ago
MartinKauai
"Any document that affirmed something so in favor of the Christian religion (i.e. the Resurrection) I think could be referred to as "Christianity supporting." "

Again, open to subjective interpretation. You are generalizing. This simply begs the question of how they came to view the documents as "favorable" to Christianity in the first place.

"Considering the widespread hate of the Christians by the Romans, I think Tacitus or any pagan Romans would not find the Gospels a valid source of information."

This is self-refuting. If they did not consider the sources valid in any sense, why would they consider the sources affirming of the Christian religion, and a front to Roman Rule? Romans did not consider Christianity relevant until 2 centuries after Tacitus. In Tacitus's time, Christianity was a small and peculiar sect. Your answer also does not address why Tacitus should be held accountable for such a thing.

"I don't think Tacitus would have used the Gospels when it claimed an idea (worship and deity of Jesus, a man who died by way of crucifixion) so absurd to the general populace."

Absurd indeed, but you are forgetting Tacitus wasn't reporting on whether or not these things were true, merely what these people believed and the supposed events surrounding their beliefs. So why shouldn't he have used a New Testament document? Merely bringing into account Tacitus referencing events that happened beforehand, as reported in the bible, does not constitute proof. This still does not refute CON's claim that Jesus never existed. (Keep in mind, I am not claiming that).

"A theory of mine is that perhaps he managed obtain possession of a non-Christian account of Christ or his interactions with Pilate. These theories of mine, are of course, a product of my own musings, not one of rigorous historical research."

Then using Tacitus as a source for confirming either Jesus, or more-so his resurrection, is not a rigorous point to make in a debate. Fair?
Posted by ksang 2 years ago
ksang
MartinKauai

Any document that affirmed something so in favor of the Christian religion (i.e. the Resurrection) I think could be referred to as "Christianity supporting." Considering the widespread hate of the Christians by the Romans, I think Tacitus or any pagan Romans would not find the Gospels a valid source of information. Christians were often ridiculed around the time of Tacitus. I don't think Tacitus would have used the Gospels when it claimed an idea (worship and deity of Jesus, a man who died by way of crucifixion) so absurd to the general populace. A theory of mine is that perhaps he managed obtain possession of a non-Christian account of Christ or his interactions with Pilate. These theories of mine, are of course, a product of my own musings, not one of rigorous historical research.
Posted by MartinKauai 2 years ago
MartinKauai
"That he would use Christianity-supporting documents as a source for his Annals (which is mainly about the history of Nero), when they were hated by so many I think would be unlikely. My ASSUMPTION is that if Tacitus were even found with a document such as the Gospels, he would be in lots of legal trouble. Again this is only an assumption."

Interesting. On the face of it I consider this highly unlikely. But I am open to persuasion that a historian of the time would be chastised for being in the possession of a document while using it solely for the purpose of reporting on the circumstances of a sect the document represents. I think whether or not he had a document in the first place could be a reasonable assumption, but not him being in legal trouble. He was a historian after all.

Also, that they were "Christianity-supporting documents" is to be interpreted subjectivity. Most people of the time did not consider the documents to "support" Christianity: they were merely Christian documents. That some people had a personal conviction that the documents proved the resurrection of Jesus is irrelevant. Do you consider this reasonable?

Last, if you assume he did not have a gospel document, then by what authority are you assuming Tacitus had on reporting the the existence of Jesus as true? To me, it can be assumed either way, making Tacitus a mute point on the existence of Jesus.

"Belief in the Resurrection I guess is a matter of faith and although this debate could prompt interest and reflection over the validity of the event, it probably won't serve as hard evidence for it. I am trying to prove arguments such as the ones presented by Con cannot falsify the Resurrection. As for proof for the event, that can be a subject for another debate."

Fair enough. You are correct that strictly speaking the resurrection cannot be falsified; I would add vice versa. Therefore, it is ultimately a matter of faith. But, as you say, it can be saved for another debate.
Posted by ksang 2 years ago
ksang
MartinKauai,

Considering that in the portion of Tacitus's Annals which I referenced, he mentions a "most mischievous superstition...broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular" which is probably a reference to the Resurrection. Also, in his works, he seems to be unsympathetic to the Christian people.
That he would use Christianity-supporting documents as a source for his Annals (which is mainly about the history of Nero), when they were hated by so many I think would be unlikely. My ASSUMPTION is that if Tacitus were even found with a document such as the Gospels, he would be in lots of legal trouble. Again this is only an assumption.

My goal in this debate is to refute common arguments against the Resurrection. Belief in the Resurrection I guess is a matter of faith and although this debate could prompt interest and reflection over the validity of the event, it probably won't serve as hard evidence for it. I am trying to prove arguments such as the ones presented by Con cannot falsify the Resurrection. As for proof for the event, that can be a subject for another debate.
Posted by MartinKauai 2 years ago
MartinKauai
Tacitus was indeed a great historian. Can you provide any reason to believe he did not simply use a gospel text to refer to Jesus? Not that it validates his resurrection, I am just curious because it is not immediately apparent that you refuted his claim. Don't get me wrong, CON has just made this debate harder than it needs to be by teasing this red herring in the first place. Jesus existence can be easily assumed. His resurrection is the belligerent claim that needs justification.

Also, are you satisfied with the debate topic? Even if you "won" by invalidating explanations against his resurrection, the burden is still on you (not in this debate) to prove that he did rise from the dead as the creator of the cosmos.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sojourner 2 years ago
Sojourner
A341ksangTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to Pro for effectively rebutting all of Con's arguments. Con had BOP and it was not upheld in light of the refutation. Most effective was Pro's response addressing the Josephus forgery. Sources to Pro for being more targeted and effective.