The Instigator
SNP1
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
cMitchell13
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

There exists historically accurate evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
SNP1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/29/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,445 times Debate No: 53631
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (39)
Votes (1)

 

SNP1

Con

This is a debate on whether Jesus actually existed as a historical figure, not if he was God or not. As con I will show that there does not exist the evidence for Jesus' existence. You, as pro, must show evidence for the existence of Jesus as a historical figure.

Before we begin we must remember one thing, it is impossible to know with absolute certainty what happened in the past, especially the distant or ill-preserved past. This includes whether or not Jesus even existed. We cannot prove with absolute certainty that he did not exist, just as you cannot prove with absolute certainty that he did. This means that we have to evaluate the evidence and make a conclusion.

If, while evaluating the evidence, we find that it is historically unreliable then we cannot use that piece of evidence.

This debate is debating a positive and a negative, but, as logic says, you cannot prove a negative. Luckily, proving is not what we are trying to do since we cannot know for sure what happened in the past. This means that what we must do is evaluate the evidence that Jesus existed and determine if the evidence is reliable or not. If we cannot find reliable evidence that Jesus existed then we can safely say that Jesus probably did not exist.

Remember, this is a debate about if Jesus was a real person or not. Neither you nor I cannot use any supernatural aspects of Jesus to prove that he existed or not.

So, how do we test if a document is historically reliable? I will be using the Historical-Critical Method, also called Higher Criticism. The Historical-Critical Method is a branch of literary analysis that investigates the origins of a text.

When using this analysis method we must ask 3 questions:
Were the authors there personally or have good access to people that were there?
If they did have access, did they offer reliable testimony?
If they did write reliable testimony, has their testimony survived to the present substantially unaltered and intact?

If the answer to any of these three questions is "No", then that document is not historically reliable and cannot be used as evidence.

As a note, the three questions do not refer just to the document as a whole. If a section of the document that would go through this process would have a "No" as an answer to any of the three questions then that section of the document is not historically reliable and cannot be used for evidence.

Another thing we must do when analyzing the documents is to see if we can determine what they are actually saying. We should take the following steps to determine the meaning of the document:
If words in the document have multiple meanings where a specific interpretation, we must determine what the different meanings could be.
We must determine if there is support in the document (that is relevant to the actual part that we are analyzing) for a specific interpretation of the words.
If there is a specific interpretation, and it passes the test from Higher Criticism, then we can use it as evidence.
If there is not a specific interpretation, even if it passes the test from Higher Criticism, then we cannot us it as evidence.

We must now look at what years Jesus is said to have lived, and afterwards determine the latest year that reliable information could possibly be provided.

It is speculated that Jesus would have been born ~4 B.C.E. and died ~33 C.E. This means that he died at ~37 years old.

Life expectancy in the Roman Empire during the time Jesus would have lived was 35 years of age. We can use as the life expectancy during the early 1st century through the 2nd century.

We can now attempt to find out at what point we can stop relying on documents for evidence for the existence of Jesus. This is possible because of the first question of Higher Criticism. There will be a time where we can expect that the authors could not have been there personally and did not have access to people that were there.

Since it is speculated that Jesus died in ~33 C.E. we can try and find out when the eye-witnesses could have been dead, and then when the last people who had access to eye-witnesses could have died.

Studies show that long term memory starts in a baby at 17-21 months of age. I have yet to meet someone that remembers anything from that young of an age, but let"s just say that people can. This means that anyone that could be considered an eye-witness would have to be at least 1.5 years old.

Jesus" death at ~33 C.E. would mean that people born in the latter half of ~31 C.E. would be able to be considered the youngest eye-witnesses. With a life expectancy at 35 years of age, the expected time that all eye-witnesses died at is 66-67 C.E., which means that all the best evidence that Jesus did exist must come from between ~4 B.C.E. and 67 C.E. We now need to look at the documents that could have been written by people that had access to eye-witnesses. Assuming that learning stories happens at the same time that long term memory develops, the latest someone born that could have been told by an eye-witness is the latter half of 65 C.E. With life expectancy at 35 years of age that means that the last of these people would be expected to have died at about 100 C.E.

100 C.E. is the latest reliable evidence that Jesus existed could have been written, but only if the eye-witnesses and those that had access to eye-witnesses could remember this stuff from when they were 17-21 months old and actually remember it accurately. This is not reasonable, especially since the American Psychological Association says that memories from earlier than about 3.5 years of age is, for most of people, a blank slate.

When we calculate for 3.5 years of age, which is the more reasonable age to use, we get the expected time that people with reliable information died in 96 C.E. This means that any document written after 96 C.E. cannot be reliable for evidence of Jesus" existence. This means that the documents written from ~4 B.C.E. to 96 C.E. would be the absolute most reliable. Documents written from 97 C.E. to, let"s say (since I cannot find what old age was), 120 C.E. have a possibility at being outlier documents, but they still would not be considered that reliable unless you can provide evidence that the author was alive before the latter half of 63 C.E.

Not all evidence is equal. Contemporary evidence, written during the time of the events, is the most reliable. Next, do we have many sources saying the same thing, and are they independent? This is called corroboration without collaboration. Are the sources internally consistent? Are the sources externally consistent? Finally, are the sources unbiased?

Now that I have listed how to find out if the documents are historically reliable or not, we need to list the documents that need to be addressed.
From the reliable years (~4 B.C.E.-96 C.E.):
1. The New Testament (The Gospels, Pauline Epistles, and the other Epistles)
2. Josephus
3. Tacitus
4. Pliny the Younger
5. Thallus (only for an event mentioned in the Bible)
6. Mara Bar Serapion

From the questionably reliable years (97-120 C.E.):
1. Suetonius

From a mix of both:
1. Babylonian Talmud

From after the questionably reliable years (121 C.E-present):
1. Lucian
2. Celsus
3. Mishnah
4. Phlegon of Tralles

Now, we need to see if these accounts are historically reliable or not. We shall start with the New Testament.
Were the authors there personally or have good access to people that were there?
If they did have access, did they offer reliable testimony?
If they did write reliable testimony, has their testimony survived to the present substantially unaltered and intact?

Round 1: Acceptence
Rounds 2-4: New arguments
Rounds 3-5: Rebuttals
Round 5: Conclusion

Sources:
http://sandwichesforsale.blogspot.com...
http://www.apa.org...
http://news.harvard.edu...
cMitchell13

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
SNP1

Con

Thank you, sadly I do not have enough characters to fully address all the documents listed in this round, but I will address them in the next one. I hope you find the analysis of the documents to be accurate. We have to not only address if the documents are historically accurate, but also if they refer to Jesus or not. To simplify that I have combined the three questions of higher criticism with if it refers to Jesus in certain documents.

First, let"s look at what is in the New Testament. The New Testament is made up of 27 different books:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts of the Apostles, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation are the books that have various authors.
We also have 14 Pauline Epistles, but they are not all written by Paul:
Romans*, 1 Corinthians*, 2 Corinthians*, Galatians*, Philippians*, 1 Thessalonians*, Philemon*; 1 Timothy**, 2 Timothy**, Titus** (pastoral/pseudopigraphic); Ephesians***, Colossians***, 2 Thessalonians***, Hebrews (internally anonymous)

Pauline Epistles Key:
*=Undisputed, written by Paul
**=Modern Scholars agree are Forged
***=Scholars about evenly divided on if they are forged or not
Hebrews is thought by an overwhelming majority to be a forgery
We see 27 books in the New Testament, four are to be forged, and three are disputed on whether they are forged or not. Because of that, these books cannot be used as evidence. That leaves 20 books left in the New Testament to address.

Now, scholars agree that Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon are written by Paul. That is seven books from the New Testament. These cannot be used as evidence either. The reason is that Paul never met Jesus while Jesus supposedly lived, instead he met Jesus" spirit. If Paul is to be considered a witness of the life of Jesus then Jesus must have been the son of God in order to appear to Paul as a spirit.

This leaves us with 13 books out of 27 to address.

Now, not only did Paul never meet Jesus, but Luke even says so as well. If Luke did not meet Jesus, then that takes another book out as eye-witness testimony. Only 12 books left.

Now, we must address another part of the Gospels. How did they get their names? Pastors and Bishops will say that they are named after the authors, yet that is not accurate. The authors of the Gospels were anonymous, and the names attached were voted on centuries later. We do not know who wrote them, but we can find out things about them.

The apostles were Arabic speaking, not Greek like the books were written in. They were uneducated peasants and fisherman. They could not even write, and very few people knew how to write. The ones that knew how to read and write were all sons of the rich, rabbis would teach people how to read, but they would not teach people how to write. Peter and John are even said to be illiterate in Acts.

The authors of the Gospels were educated and Greek speakers, and they knew how to read and write.

The alleged authors of the Gospels and the real authors are different people. Not a single author of any book of the New Testament was an eyewitness to Jesus' birth, life, ministry, trial, or death. None of the New Testament authors claim to be a witness, and the books were written in 3rd person view not 1st.

This means we have taken out 3 more (since we already eliminated Luke) books. Only 9 of 27 are left. Acts of the Apostles, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation are all that are left.

Acts was anonymous, but thought to have been written by the author of Luke, which means that is not written by an eye-witness of Jesus either.

Revelation is written by a man named John, but we do not know if it is the apostle John or not, but scholars do not think it was.

John did not write 1, 2, or 3 John. These books were written by John"s followers, meaning they aren"t eye witnesses.

James is just referred to as James, which was a common name during the time. James, being as common of a name as it was, cannot be used as evidence as no one knows who wrote it.

Although the text identifies Peter as its author the language, dating, style, and structure of this letter has led many scholars to conclude that this letter is pseudonymous. Many scholars are convinced that Peter was not the author of this letter because the author had to have a formal education in rhetoric/philosophy and an advanced knowledge of the Greek language.

Jude is also currently in dispute on who the author was. Some say it was the apostle Jude, others say that it isn"t because the author of that letter does not identified himself as an apostle and refers to the apostles as a third party.

So, who wrote the NT?
Except for 7 of the 13 Pauline epistles, we really do not know. Saul/Paul wrote the [undisputed] epistles - earliest NT author, though he and "Luke" (in Acts) both say they never met Jesus. None of the canonical gospels were actually written by their "traditional" authors. Whoever was the author of Luke may have also written Acts. The author of Revelation was named John, but scholars agree that it is not the author of the Gospel of John.

Did the NT authors offer historically accurate testimony?
No, they contradict each other and extrabiblical history on some major points.

There are ~400,000 variations of the New Testament. The New Testament only has ~181,400 words. Even when looking at the oldest versions of the New Testament we can find it is obvious that it has been changed over time.

The oldest fragment of the New Testament is from the Gospel of John. It includes John 18:31-33 and 37-39 (about 3.5"x2.5"). It was dated to be 117-138 CE, 100 years after Jesus's death. It is a copy. The oldest complete New Testament is from the 4th century, ~300 years after Jesus' death. We do not have the original documents.

When was the New Testament written?
Paul wrote in the 50s C.E. (close to 51), but we only have copies of them. The earliest complete copy of any New Testament book comes from the 3rd century. The earliest complete New Testament dates to the 4th century. It is believed that the canonical gospels written between 70-95 CE (After the reliable years). Most scholars agree that all autographs of the canonical NT were written by ~110 CE.

But, what about the three questions?
Were the New Testament authors in a position to offer reliable, primary-source testimony?
No
Did they, in fact, offer a historically-reliable account?
No
Did their testimonies survive to the present substantially unaltered and intact?
No

It only needs to fail one of the questions to be considered historically unreliable. The New Testament fails all three.

The New Testament is not historically reliable. The New Testament cannot be used to prove that Jesus existed.

Now, onto Josephus.

Josephus' writings about Jesus have been admitted, even by Christian Scholars, to have been tampered with. We also see that the one that most likely tampered with them, Eusebius, also forged letters of Jesus. Josephus was not born until after Jesus had supposedly died. He was upper class while Christians are usually portrayed as being the lower class. In this time the upper class did not usually communicate with the lower class.

We cannot take Josephus' writings about Jesus as reliable because they conflict with his personal beliefs and have been tampered with, if not entirely added. In the court of law tampered evidence cannot be used, so why should we be able to use Josephus' "accounts" of Jesus?

The three questions regarding the mentioning of Jesus by Josephus:
Was Josephus in a position to offer reliable, primary-source testimony?
Most likely not.
Did he, in fact, offer a historically-reliable account?
With the knowledge of the tampering, this question cannot be answered.
Did their testimonies survive to the present substantially unaltered and intact?
No.

Josephus is not historically reliable. Josephus cannot be used as evidence for Jesus" existence.

Tacitus is next.

Tacitus was born 25 years after Jesus' death, meaning he could not have been an eye-witness. It"s also important to note that the original Tacitus Annals Books 11 " 16 are lost. We only have copies, written centuries later. It is doubtful that he was quoting an official Roman document from the period. Scholars are quick to point out that he mistakenly calls Pilate a procurator when he was actually a prefect. Tacitus used his friend Pliny for information before, and he most likely got information from him about Christians. What we can tell is that Tacitus is simply repeating what Christians of this period of time were saying about their origins.

Tacitus most likely did not have access to official documents to get information, if official documents even existed, but we do have confirmation that the Christian religion was growing at this point in time. There is not much basis for concluding that he was presenting independent testimony about the historical figure of Jesus.

The three questions regarding the mentioning of Jesus by Tacitus:
Was he in a position to offer reliable, primary-source testimony?
No
Did he, in fact, offer a historically-reliable account?
No
Did their testimonies survive to the present substantially unaltered and intact?
We do not know

Conclusion is that two of the three questions have failed, Tacitus does not offer historically reliable evidence for the existence of Jesus, just the uprising of the Christian religion.

Next round, since I am low on characters, I will address Pliny, Thallus, Serapion, and the Talmud. I will also make any rebuttals if I have enough characters.

Sources:
https://www.youtube.com...
http://ourrabbijesus.com...
http://jeromekahn123.tripod.com...
cMitchell13

Pro

You say that I am not allowed to use Paul's books, because he wasn't an eyewitness. Well, technically, he was, even though it was Jesus' spirit. Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and God are all God. So if you see Jesus, you see the same thing as The Holy Spirit or God; if you see God, you see the same thing as Jesus or The Holy Spirit; and if you see The Holy Spirit, you see the same thing as Jesus or God. Therefore, I am allowed to use those seven books for evidence.

As for the other "forged" books, I think I can still use those, because you say "modern scholars agree this book is forged", but you aren't a one of them. If you can try and prove to me why they're forged and I can't prove why they aren't, that evidence doesn't count.

"You can't use the three of four gospels because they're written in third-person view. Only 9 of 27 left!" Foolish! The four writers of the gospels were either a disciple of Christ, or a close associate of a disciple. So Jesus probably told them the story (because his parents told him).

If there are any other books you find fault in, you find the fault in them and show it to me.

Where Pilate lived, recently people found "The Pilate Stone".[1] On it it says (translated to English) "To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum
...Pontius Pilate
...prefect of Judea
...has dedicated [this]
So...if Pontius Pilate was real, Jesus was--there"s no denying it! Now, the Pilate Stone is in a biblical museum (I forgot where).

[could you maybe make your next argument a bit...shorter?]

[1]https://www.google.com...
Debate Round No. 2
SNP1

Con

"You say that I am not allowed to use Paul's books, because he wasn't an eyewitness. Well, technically, he was, even though it was Jesus' spirit. Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and God are all God. So if you see Jesus, you see the same thing as The Holy Spirit or God; if you see God, you see the same thing as Jesus or The Holy Spirit; and if you see The Holy Spirit, you see the same thing as Jesus or God. Therefore, I am allowed to use those seven books for evidence."

No, you are not, unless you can PROVE that the supernatural event of Paul meeting the spirit of Jesus happened. You must also prove that Jesus was a historical figure since Paul never says that he was, for all we know (looking at the Epistles) Jesus was not a historical figure but a spiritual one.

"As for the other "forged" books, I think I can still use those, because you say "modern scholars agree this book is forged", but you aren't a one of them. If you can try and prove to me why they're forged and I can't prove why they aren't, that evidence doesn't count."

To argue against the majority of modern scholarship"s opinions on these documents is to be counter-productive in this debate. If you wish to make a rebuttal to my argument you need to provide evidence to support your own argument.

""You can't use the three of four gospels because they're written in third-person view. Only 9 of 27 left!" Foolish! The four writers of the gospels were either a disciple of Christ, or a close associate of a disciple. So Jesus probably told them the story (because his parents told him)."

There is NOTHING to say they were written by apostles, I addresses that as well. None of the Gospels were written by Jesus" apostles.

"If there are any other books you find fault in, you find the fault in them and show it to me."

You must also provide EVIDENCE to refute my claims.

"Where Pilate lived, recently people found "The Pilate Stone".[1] On it it says (translated to English) "To the Divine Augusti [this] Tiberieum
...Pontius Pilate
...prefect of Judea
...has dedicated [this]
So...if Pontius Pilate was real, Jesus was--there"s no denying it! Now, the Pilate Stone is in a biblical museum (I forgot where)."

Pilate does almost certainly exist as a historical figure, but this says NOTHING about if Jesus existed or not. Just because one figure mentioned in the New Testament did exist does not mean that all characters mentioned exist.

_________________________________________________________________________

Now, for my next round of arguments:

I left off with Tacitus, so Pliny the Younger is up now.

He wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan asking for advice on how to deal with the rapid growth of the Christian community in his area. Among other things, he describes the Christian custom of holding weekly meetings to sing praises "to Christ as to a god." Pliny was only describing an element of Christian worship. His comments say nothing about the historicity of Jesus. It is just confirming that the religion exists.

The three questions regarding the mentioning of Jesus by Pliny:
Was he in a position to offer reliable, primary-source testimony?
We do not know
Did he, in fact, offer a historically-reliable account of Jesus?
No, he did not give any testimony to the existence of Jesus, only to the worship of Christians.
Did their testimonies survive to the present substantially unaltered and intact?
We do not know

Pliny never accounted for the existence of Jesus, he simply confirmed that Christianity was growing. Pliny cannot be used as evidence of Jesus" existence.

Thallus" mention of a biblical event is now ready for a simple debunk.

Historian Richard Carrier states the following "It is commonly claimed that a chronologer named Thallus, writing shortly after 52CE, mentioned the crucifixion of Jesus and the noontime darkness surrounding it (which reportedly eclipsed the whole world for three hours), and attempted to explain it as an ordinary solar eclipse. But this is not a credible interpretation of the evidence. A stronger case can be made that we actually have a direct quotation of what Thallus said, and it does not mention Jesus"

We do not need to put it through the 3 question system as Richard Carrier already stated it is not a credible source by stating that Thallus never mentions Jesus. If it does not mention Jesus then it does not give evidence of Jesus" existence. Thallus cannot be used for evidence.

Mara Bar Serapion now has to be addressed.

"... What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?"

All this document talks about that is supposedly a reference of Jesus is the mention of the Wise King of the Jews. It does not refer to Jesus directly, it doesn"t even mention Christ. How is this a mention of Jesus? It is not.

During the time that Jesus supposedly lived there were many people pretending to be the Messiah of the Jews. There is also no way of knowing where the information from this letter was obtained. When we put it through the 3 questions, this is what we get.

Was he in a position to offer reliable, primary-source testimony?
We do not know
Did he, in fact, offer a historically-reliable account of Jesus?
No, he did not give any testimony to the existence of Jesus, only to the "Wise King," which does not necessarily mean Jesus.
Did their testimonies survive to the present substantially unaltered and intact?
We do not know

It fails the second question, so it cannot be used for evidence that Jesus existed either.

Finally, we must address the Babylonian Talmud.

Starting in the 13th century, manuscripts of the Talmud were sometimes altered in response to the criticisms made during the disputations. Johann Maier, a talmudic scholar, discounts accounts with no mention of the name Jesus, and further discounts those that do mention Jesus by name, such as Sanh. 43a and 107b, as later medieval changes. As well as that, most mentions of "Jesus" are vague and/or mention Jesus as a different person (for example, Jesus son of Pantera).

Let"s put this through the three questions now.

Was he in a position to offer reliable, primary-source testimony?
We do not know
Did he, in fact, offer a historically-reliable account of Jesus?
No
Did their testimonies survive to the present substantially unaltered and intact?
No

It fails the test, it is not historically reliable. This means it cannot be used as evidence for the existence of Jesus.

Now, we need to look for other evidence that could confirm the existence of Jesus and put it through Higher Criticism after evaluating the evidence itself. We can also look at documents that should include Jesus, but do not. The best thing we can bring up for that is that there exist no official Roman documents about Jesus and there exists no contemporary evidence about Jesus. One other thing we can do is point out that there existed people whose job was to record cult movements around the area but never mentioned Jesus.

We can also look at where Jesus is supposedly from, Nazareth. When we look at records, even from Josephus, we see no mention of Nazareth anywhere but in the New Testament. Josephus even recorded a military campaign where the Romans moved into the very vicinity of Nazareth, but he makes no mention of it. Other evidence people bring up is the caves, yet that goes completely against Jewish traditions and customs. They buried people in caves and did not live near cemeteries or graves, and they would not live near dead bodies. It is always pointed out that a popular website of an excavation of Nazareth calls it a "single family farm." A single family farm is not a city or a town. It seems that there is no evidence that Nazareth even existed, and by the Null Hypothesis it is most logical to think that Nazareth did not actually exist.

We are lacking historically reliable evidence and we have no contemporary evidence of the existence of Jesus, we don't even have evidence that Nazareth existed. It appears that there is nothing to show Jesus actually lived. Furthermore, the earlier copies of many documents that we have say Chrestos, Christos, Christians, etc., but the problem is that that does not automatically make it Jesus. Chrestos could be a person"s name, worshipers of the Pagan God Serapis (sometimes called Chrestos) were called Christians. Further, the word Christ does not even mean Jesus. The word Christ was a title that was given to any "anointed one of God." This included pretty much every priest and king, and occasionally prophets.

Sources:
http://www.doxa.ws...
http://ourrabbijesus.com...
http://www.mountainman.com.au......
http://www.jgrchj.net...
cMitchell13

Pro

Look what I found:

"Virtually all MODERN SCHOLARS agree that Jesus existed".[1] (Wikipedia)

Look what I found:

"Some MODERN SCOLARS agree this is the place Jesus was buried"[2]

Do you still deny it? "the existence of Jesus was never denied by those who opposed Christianity." ([1])

You know he existed! But you"re not sure yet if he is God.

If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.([1])
-Robin Lane Fox

All your evidence against my use of most of the books of The New Testament is all rubbish! [3] [4] [5] [6] (be sure to click these links and find out for yourself if the writers were Jesus' disciples)

[1]https://www.google.com...

[2]https://www.google.com...

[3]https://www.google.com...

[4]https://www.google.com...

[5]https://www.google.com...

[6]https://www.google.com...
Debate Round No. 3
SNP1

Con

"Look what I found:

"Virtually all MODERN SCHOLARS agree that Jesus existed".[1] (Wikipedia)"

I reject the conclusion for many VALID reasons.
1. The conclusion is founded off of what documents exist WITHOUT looking at the historical accuracy of the documents
2. The majority of Scholars that specialize in this time period are Christians, hence there is a VERY possible bias
3. Psychology shows that since the overwhelming number of Christian Scholars say Jesus existed the minority of non-Christian scholars would tend to agree
4. Overall, not always, the scholars that do NOT believe in a historical Jesus actually make better arguments than those that say he existed.

"Look what I found:

"Some MODERN SCOLARS agree this is the place Jesus was buried"[2]"

From your source:
1. "has subsequently been considered by some Christians to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus."
NOT Scholars
2. "several nineteenth century scholars had rejected the traditional site's validity."
Scholars rejecting that claim
3. "Due to the archaeological issues the Garden Tomb site raises, several scholars have rejected its claim to be Jesus' tomb."
Again, a rejection.

Your source shows that it is CHRISTIANS, not Scholars that accept it as Jesus' tomb.

"Do you still deny it? "the existence of Jesus was never denied by those who opposed Christianity." ([1])"

Still using Wikipedia? Very reliable. You realize there are Scholars and Historians that also think Jesus did not exist, right?

"You know he existed! But you"re not sure yet if he is God."

I do not know he existed and think that there exists no histoically accurate evidence for his existence. I also know that if he did exist that he almost certainly is not God.

"If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.([1])
-Robin Lane Fox"

First, red herring. This is NOT about the pagan personages, this is about the existence of Jesus. Second, I applied the same criteria as is applied to other ancient writings in my second round. The conclusion is that it is NOT historically accurate. If you wish to say otherwise then make a PROPER rebuttal.

"All your evidence against my use of most of the books of The New Testament is all rubbish! [3] [4] [5] [6] (be sure to click these links and find out for yourself if the writers were Jesus' disciples)"

You need to do some REAL history study. The Gospels were written ANONYMOUSLY, the names were assigned CENTURIES later.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

If you notice, my opponent has yet to make a single proper rebuttal. He also has ignored my evidence, and has not even bothered to check out my sources as he is bringing up arguments that my sources also talk about. He has one more round to bring forth evidence and two rounds to attempt to make a PROPER rebuttal.

My opponent has not even debated about the topic at hand. The topic is that there is no historically accurate evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, not if Jesus existed or not (though that answer can be concluded from the answer of this debate). My opponent has only insisted on ignoring the popular opinion among scholars about the documents about Jesus of Nazareth while also talking about the popular scholars view on if he existed or not, which does not answer the question of if there exists any historically accurate evidence for Jesus of Nazareth.

I hope my opponent can bring forth some good evidence in this next round and attempt to make some proper rebuttals to my evidence in the next 2 rounds.
cMitchell13

Pro

Tacitus:

Was he in a position to offer reliable, primary-source testimony?
You weren't there. You do not know.
Did he, in fact, offer a historically-reliable account?
That's what we're debating on.
Did their testimonies survive to the present substantially unaltered and intact?
It seems so. If it isn't, it was just changed to be more understandable.

We only have the present. When you're in the present, you don't have the past to use, only what exists in the present. So if we look at what exist today and it fits what happened in the past, that event is historically reliable.

For Jesus, we have the bible, and all the other documents, like this part from Tacitus's:

"But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called 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." (The misspelling of Christ as "Christus" was a common error made by pagan writers).

He said that Christ was put to death by Pontius Pilate. Since when could that mean something else? They couldn't have changed that part!

Now, "virtually all MODERN SCHOLARS agree that Jesus existed":

"1. The conclusion is founded off of what documents exist WITHOUT looking at the historical accuracy of the documents"
I'll bet you they did! You don't know they didn't!

"2. The majority of Scholars that specialize in this time period are Christians, hence there is a VERY possible bias"
Yes, it is certain that they have a bias. But it is also certain that the atheists you got your info from have biases! Everyone does.

"3. Psychology shows that since the overwhelming number of Christian Scholars say Jesus existed the minority of non-Christian scholars would tend to agree"
Show the resource. That's impossible, because Christians are Christians because they believe Jesus existed and is God! So "Christian Scholars" that you say are really "Atheist Scholars", by definition.

"4. Overall, not always, the scholars that do NOT believe in a historical Jesus actually make better arguments than those that say he existed."
Show the resource. How could you say that they make "better arguments?"

"From your source:
1. "has subsequently been considered by some Christians to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus."
NOT Scholars
2. "several nineteenth century scholars had rejected the traditional site's validity."
Scholars rejecting that claim
3. "Due to the archaeological issues the Garden Tomb site raises, several scholars have rejected its claim to be Jesus' tomb.""

1. No, it says "some scholars".

2. Probably atheists. Biased atheists.

3. Could have been someone else's tomb, but again, they could've been biased atheists.
Debate Round No. 4
SNP1

Con

As this is the final round we can not bring any new claims forth and must make a conclusion. I will address my opponent's last round and write my conclusion.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Tacitus:

Was he in a position to offer reliable, primary-source testimony?
You weren't there. You do not know."

This is the equivalent of saying nothing in history can be judged.

"Did he, in fact, offer a historically-reliable account?
That's what we're debating on."

Yet, you have not made a single proper rebuttal of my information, you make a claim after claim and provide no evidence for any of them.

"Did their testimonies survive to the present substantially unaltered and intact?
It seems so. If it isn't, it was just changed to be more understandable."

Even if it did that proves nothing about him providing reliable information, which he most likely did not because of the reasons I already provided and you did not make a rebuttal on.

"We only have the present. When you're in the present, you don't have the past to use, only what exists in the present. So if we look at what exist today and it fits what happened in the past, that event is historically reliable."

This is your claim, you have not provided evidence for such a claim that I have not made a rebuttal on.

"For Jesus, we have the bible, and all the other documents, like this part from Tacitus's:"

I have already shown how the New Testament is NOT reliable, I also showed hot Tacitus did NOT provide historically reliable information. You also failed to provide a source for your quote, meaning that it is worthless in this debate.

"He said that Christ was put to death by Pontius Pilate. Since when could that mean something else? They couldn't have changed that part!"

I also provided an explanation for this. Christus does not mean Jesus, it is a title that can belong to MANY people. He also did not have access to any official documents, if they even exist, about the execution.

"Now, "virtually all MODERN SCHOLARS agree that Jesus existed":

"1. The conclusion is founded off of what documents exist WITHOUT looking at the historical accuracy of the documents"
I'll bet you they did! You don't know they didn't!"

I have actually interviewed historians. One used Josephus to provide evidence for Jesus and later in the conversation said that Josephus's claim about Jesus was not historically reliable (as I pointed out its unreliability above).

""2. The majority of Scholars that specialize in this time period are Christians, hence there is a VERY possible bias"
Yes, it is certain that they have a bias. But it is also certain that the atheists you got your info from have biases! Everyone does."

You are saying I got all this information from atheists, but I have been addressing the majority of these documents with the same claim that the majority of scholars and historians make, including the Christian scholars.

""3. Psychology shows that since the overwhelming number of Christian Scholars say Jesus existed the minority of non-Christian scholars would tend to agree"
Show the resource. That's impossible, because Christians are Christians because they believe Jesus existed and is God!"

Since you asked, https://www.psychologicalscience.org...

"So "Christian Scholars" that you say are really "Atheist Scholars", by definition.""

How do you come to this conclusion with anything that has been stated?

""4. Overall, not always, the scholars that do NOT believe in a historical Jesus actually make better arguments than those that say he existed."
Show the resource. How could you say that they make "better arguments?""

This is one that I cannot provide sources for as it is a personal opinion.

"1. No, it says "some scholars"."

No, it does not. I even copied and pasted that text. Also, for more evidence:
http://tinypic.com...

A picture of that webpage with the section highlighted.

"2. Probably atheists. Biased atheists."

Where is your evidence? This seems to be denying your own source.

"3. Could have been someone else's tomb, but again, they could've been biased atheists."

You have no proof for this.

_______________________________________________________________________________________-

I have successfully shown how the documents are not historically reliable. My opponent has not even addressed the issue and instead chose the focus on "Is Jesus a historical figure" when the topic of the debate is "There exists historically accurate evidence that Jesus of Nazareth existed".

In my opponents second round he tried refuting my evidence by saying that I am not a scholar. He also argued that if Pilate existed that Jesus existed. Both of these are fallacious.

In my opponents third round he simply said that scholars say Jesus existed and linked Google searches to try and make a rebuttal of my break down of the Gospels. The first thing does not address the topic of the debate, the second is not evidence or an argument. The only thing that he did that can be seen as an argument was bringing up his Jesus' tomb claim, but I showed how that claim is not supported.

In my opponents forth round he argued without sources, he brought up Tacitus as evidence without refuting my breakdown of his works about Jesus not being historically reliable. He also ignored my point that Christus does not mean Jesus that I brought up earlier as well. He then proceeded to making many assumptions and even made a blatant lie about his own source about his Jesus' tomb claim.

In conclusion, my opponent has barely even addressed the topic of the debate. His arguments were mostly unsupported. He did not make a rebuttal of my breakdown of different pieces of "evidence" and just made a claim that they can be used, and those claims were not supported with evidence either. My opponent also made a lot of assumptions in his debate. Lastly, my opponent lied about his own source for the only thing that can be seen as a real argument in this debate after I showed it was not historically reliable.

I wish that my opponent would have provided more sources and better arguments, but he did not. Vote for Con.
cMitchell13

Pro

Just because I didn't put the link on my last argument:

https://www.google.com...

Now we know that Tacitus actually wrote that. I couldn't find the link that I got the quote from before, which had quotes about Jesus that all use the name "Christus" from other ancient writers. Now, "Christus", like I said, was a common error made by pagan writers. You may say that it could mean other things, but because it says suffered extreme penalties by Pontius Pilate[us], it's undeniable that he was referring to Jesus. The four gospels are also undeniable evidence for Jesus because they were written in different years at different times and have the same story. So it couldn't have been made up.

So, on

Round 2: You

said that the New Testament isn't historically reliable because scholars said it isn't. And for Paul's books you said his documents weren't reliable because he wasn't a "eyewitness", but he saw Jesus. You also said that Josephus and Tacitus's writings weren't reliable, because, basically scholars said they weren't.

Round 3: You

Basically supported round 2.

Round 4: You

Gave rebuttals, and said in your first that the scholars were Christians even though it said virtually ALL modern scholars. You said that more Christ-ian scolars, reject Christ's existence than not.

And, round 5, gave rebuttals.

LET THE VOTING BEGIN!
Debate Round No. 5
39 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jusblack18 1 year ago
Jusblack18
http://www.forensicsciencetechnician.net...

Here are twenty five cases were people have died and or been imprisoned due to a lack of evidence supporting their claims. In many cases, later advancements in technology have lead to their exoneration. For others, it was already too late for them to be set free.
Posted by Jusblack18 1 year ago
Jusblack18
"This is a debate on whether Jesus actually existed as a historical figure, not if he was God or not...You, as pro, must show evidence for the existence of Jesus as a historical figure."

"it is impossible to know with absolute certainty what happened in the past, especially the distant or ill-preserved past. This includes whether or not Jesus even existed. We cannot prove with absolute certainty that he did not exist, just as you cannot prove with absolute certainty that he did."

You've contradicted yourself here.

In essence, this is not a debate on weather or not Jesus existed. This is a debate on weather or not the evidence provided is historically reliable. And you've seen how evidence in the court system today can lead to false accusations even though the truth remains.

"This means that we have to evaluate the evidence and make a conclusion"

How can you make a conclusion about something that cannot be proven one way or the other. Whatever conclusion is made cannot be proven your eyes, so in this debate nobody wins.

Just like in a court system, we have to choose even when the debate lacks evidence.
Posted by cMitchell13 2 years ago
cMitchell13
Yes, that's what it said:
http://en.wikipedia.org...
"since the mid-nineteenth century has been proposed by some scholars to be Golgotha" (oops, I meant where he was crucified)
Posted by SNP1 2 years ago
SNP1
""Some MODERN SCOLARS agree this is the place Jesus was buried""

AND

"No, it says "some scholars"."

I even took a screen cap of it HIGHLIGHTED and linked the pic of the screen cap on my round 5 reply.
Posted by cMitchell13 2 years ago
cMitchell13
where did I lie?
Posted by SNP1 2 years ago
SNP1
cMitchell13, don't assume you would have had a chance. You never made any valid argument and even lied about your one of your source. I do NOT appreciate people that lie and continue to lie after it is pointed out.
Posted by cMitchell13 2 years ago
cMitchell13
Good...game. Let's virtually shake hands.

Too bad there's only one voter, otherwise, I would've had a chance.
Posted by SNP1 2 years ago
SNP1
Really now? What part of this debate does not follow history?
Posted by Installgentoo 2 years ago
Installgentoo
snp1, ad hominem doesn't mean what you think it means.

And yeah, I would love to debate you on Jesus... if you understood anything about history, which you don't going by this "debate".
Posted by SNP1 2 years ago
SNP1
Dam, lol. Okay.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by demonlord343 2 years ago
demonlord343
SNP1cMitchell13Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Alright, since the last vote was taken down, I will remake it. I agreed with SNP1 prior and I still agree with him after. Conduct goes to SNP1 due to a violation of the proper rules by Pro. Last round Pro introduced a new link which is new information, a violation of the rules. Spelling and grammar : It must go to Con. Pro did make errors in his puny argument. Speaking of which, arguments must go to Con. Pro made smalllll litttttle arguments when there was clearly a lot to address. They were not sufficient or organized. Sources must go to Con. The links provided by Pro were "Copy link location"-ed from Google, which is likely to mean that Pro did not look at his own sources. I hope Pro does better in the future.