This House believes that Jesus of the Bible is Messiah
Debate Rounds (3)
Firstly, the claims that He made as well of his view of Himself;
Secondly, the life and works of Jesus Christ;
Thirdly, the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ;
Fourthly, the prophecies fulfilled by Him in His life;
Lastly, the transformative power of Jesus Christ in the lives of those who believe in Him as Saviour, Messiah, and Lord.
As aforementioned, I will be making my case through 5 points.
Firstly, Jesus' claims and self-image of Himself.
Jesus clearly believed that He was the Messiah and the Son of God, and this can be seen in his claims as well as His self-image. To begin with, Jesus' relationship with His 12 disciples. If the 12 disciples represent the renewed Israel, then Jesus is not part of the redeemed group but rather the one that is forming the group, an important clue in assessing His self-image. Also, Jesus made the truly radical claim that it is not what enters a person that defiles him but rather what comes out of his heart. This statement was unprecedented at that time, and sets apart major portions of the OT book Leviticus, which has meticulous rules regarding purity. Also, Jesus used the term "Abba" when relating with God. The word "Abba" connotes intimacy between a child and his father. But Jesus used it on God, and He was the only one to do so at that time. In addition, Jesus made several claims about himself. For example, He called Himself the "Son of Man" several times, and this is a reference to Daniel 7, a messianic prophecy. Also, when responding to John"s disciples" queries about whether He was the Messiah, Jesus replied, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them." This is an allusion to another messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61. Moreover, when Peter told Jesus that He was the "Christ, the Son of the Living God" instead of ducking the issue Jesus replied "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood ,but by my Father in heaven." Clearly Jesus believed himself to be the Messiah, the Son of God!
Secondly, the life and works of Jesus Christ.
Jesus' life and works bear testimony to the fact that He is the Messiah. His life is in sharp contrast to the false messiahs, and is a positive demonstration of what one would expect Messiah to do. Jesus worked many miracles of healing, bringing wholeness into people's lives, forgiving sin and restoring relationships. Also, Jesus proclaimed forgiveness. In Mark 2:1-2, Jesus tells a paralyzed man, "My son, your sins are forgiven." Some scribes sitting there caught the obvious intent of Jesus' words and reasoned: Why does this man speak in this way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone? Jesus challenged them: Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven"; or to say, "Arise, and take up your pallet and walk"? But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and then Jesus healed the paralytic. The implication was obvious. No one forgives sin but God. Anyone could say he is able to forgive sin; but Jesus proved He had the authority to forgive sin when He healed the paralytic. Jesus was clearly claiming deity for Himself. And of course, most importantly, Jesus' death and subsequent resurrection, which I will expound upon in the next point.
Thirdly, the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus.
This is possibly the most crucial piece of evidence in the case of Jesus as Messiah. An assortment of theories has been given to explain away the resurrection as non-historical or non-supernatural. Yet these explanations have not been successful. The possibilities just do not make sense- did the Roman authorities steal the body from the tomb? Then why did they not simply produce it when word started being spread that Jesus was risen? Did the disciples steal the body? But if so, then how did their attitudes change to drastically- from the defeatist mindset that had hoped for Jesus to restore Israel to their willingness to endure persecution to the point of death for a lie, if, hypothetically, they had stolen the body? The "Swoon Theory", as advocated in The Passover Plot by Hugh Schonfield states that Jesus did not die, He simply fainted on the cross. However, if that were the case, then how did Jesus escape from a tomb with a huge stone in front of it and a contingent of Roman soldiers guarding it. Moreover, the Journal of the American Medical Association states "Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross. (http://jama.jamanetwork.com...) Clearly Jesus was dead even before the spear was thrust into His side! Yet according to the Swoon Theory the resuscitated Jesus somehow escaped and managed to convince hundreds of sceptical eyewitnesses that He had conquered death forever. In addition, secular historians such as Tacitus and Josephus documented the crucifixion of Jesus. Clearly, the theories regarding Jesus" death, whether non-historical or non-supernatural hold no water.
Fourthly, the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in the course of his life.
This is yet another important evidence in the case for Jesus as Messiah.
Prophecies Jesus fulfilled:
Old Testament Prophecy / NT Fulfillment:
Messiah to be born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2/ Matt 2:1
Messiah to be born by a virgin Isaiah 7:14/ Matt 1:22-23, Luke 1:26-31
Messiah to be a descendant of Abraham Gen 22:18 / Matt 1:1, Rom 9:5
Messiah from the tribe of Judah Gen 49:10, / Luke 3:33
Messiah heir to King David's throne 2 Sam 7:12-13 / Luke 1:32-33
Messiah to be called Immanuel Isaiah 7:14 / Matt 1:23
A messenger to precede Messiah Isaiah 40:3-5/ Luke 3: 3-6
Messiah to be rejected by his own people Psalm 69:8 / John 1:11
Messiah would be declared Son of God Psalm 2:7 / Matt 3:16-17
Messiah would be called a Nazarene Isaiah 11:1 / Matt 2:23
Messiah's price money would be used to buy a potter's field Zechariah
11:12-13, / Matt 27: 9-10
Messiah would be betrayed Psalm 41:9 /Matt 26:14-16
Messiah would be hated without cause Psalm 35:19 / John 15:24-25
Messiah would be given vinegar to drink Psalm 69:21/ Matt 27:34
Soldiers would gamble for Messiah's garments Psalm 22:18/ Luke 23:24
Messiah's bones would not be broken Exodus 12:46/ John 19: 33-36
Messiah would resurrect from the dead Psalm 16:10, Psalm 49: 15,/ Matt 28:2-7
Messiah would ascend to heaven Psalm 24:7-10/ Mark 16:19
Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin Isaiah 53:5-12 / Romans 5:6-8
This list is definitely not exhaustive. Some Bible scholars suggest there are
more than 300 prophetic Scriptures completed in the life of Jesus. Using the principle of probability, the odds of one man in how many men, the world over, fulfilling even 8 of 300 prophecies is 1 in 2.8 x 10 to the power of 28. In other words, when simplified to 1 in 10 to the power of 28, it would be 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 when written out. Reference is is http://sciencespeaks.dstoner.net... . Clearly, Jesus must be the Messiah!
Finally, the transformative power Jesus has in the lives of those who believe in Him as Saviour, Messiah and Lord.
While I understand that this is highly empirical and as such subjective, I do believe that Jesus has the power to transform the lives of those believe and trust in Him as Lord, Messiah and Saviour. Because he provides atonement from sin and reconciliation with God, Jesus provides true peace, healing and direction in His followers" lives. Apart from faith in him, there is no basis for true peace or direction.
Between the objective evidence and the subjective verification experieced by the followers of Jesus, I strongly believe that there is a case for Jesus as Messiah. Once again, thank you for accepting the debate and I look forward to your arguments with great anticipation.
1. Biblically The Holy Trinity is core to the Christian faith, and my opponent makes no different assumptions towards that being not the case. The Holy Trinity can be disproven if in fact evidence can presented to disprove anyone of them individually, the theist must have adequate evidence supporting all three in order to prove biblical claims accurate, the atheist/sceptic only needs to disprove one of them substantially.
2. Arguments exist to prove the contradictory elements of God, which you have not proved to exist or even made an argument to support his plausibility.
3 You cannot presume Biblical inerrancy, and there is ample evidence to prove that the bible is an unreliable and a very poor 'primary' source.
1. The Evil God hypothesis.
I will deal with two parts of the trinity, making philosophical objections to an 'omnipotent all-powerful and ever-loving' God of the bible. My definition is not that controversial and I prefer not to delve into semantics over it. After I have made a brief objection to the first premise you presumed, I will then move onto the unreliability of the bible and it's various problems and then I will address if necessary any remaining points you have made.
This is a version of the evidential problem of evil. There is plenty of bad and unjustified evils in the world, namely human evil and natural evil, ex. disease and natural disasters. This unnecessary evil/suffering presents a problem for the theist. Using a very easy to explain example, would be how a pack of wolves or how a pride of lions rip apart usually a still alive animal and devour their prey, while the animal suffers the pain of literally being eaten alive. Some might object saying these are just animals or how else would they kill their prey, but those are not adequate objections to deal with the evidential problem of evil. Looking at humans, we can look at a random disease to get a better grasp of unnecessary death in the world. In the us, in 2010 83,494 people died from Alzheimer's disease, this is not just figures and statistics this is 83,494 people who have died for no adequate reason. For opponent's God to exist, there must be not just a vague explanation to why this occurs, there must be a fully adequate and sufficient answer for why there is so much evil/suffering in the world. Not only that but if no reason can be given apart from 'We don't know Gods will' which is special pleading then the likely hood of an ever-loving all powerful God existing becomes highly improbable. If I postulate now that I now believed in an evil god I could found the premise on there is as much evidential evidence for evil as there is for good. The point of this being is the evil god hypothesis can be disproven and found inadequate then there is no reason to believe the good god hypothesis can have any bearing either. For any cosmological argument or ontological argument you presume my evil god hypothesis is as valid as your good god, namely the god of the bible. The argument stands to disprove the nature of gods character, namely the god of the bible, Kalam's cosmological argument or the ontological argument make no specific claim to the nature of god, even though I find them unconvincing anyway there is no reason to try use them as an objection. The opponent must deal directly with my objection to the nature of his god and specifically the problem of evil for any plausible argument supporting his belief in god.
2. Biblical inerrancy
I have briefly highlighted one argument to contradict the nature of the god of the bible, a core concept in biblical terminology, as I have said the trinity must be equally supported or abandoned. If any of the three, The Father, The Son or the Holy Ghost/Spirit is adequately proven to be highly implausible or wrong then we can conclude the other three which rely heavily on each other is unjustified and can be presumed to be incorrect. Now if my opponent feels it necessary to delve into semantics or denominational issues, I will remind him to not go to a fringe theory denomination, which he has not previously stated in his first point. Cessationism and continuationism might differ beliefs but yet confirms the holy spirit existed at one point.
The origin of the bible is not only speculative at best but undoubtedly raises tough questions for the theist, including why would God allow copies and lost scriptures to occur and forgeries in the bible? Not to mention the bible the opponents used is in fact a copy of a pre-existing transcript. The original bible has been lost and not only that but its original language translated numerous times over throughout thousands of years leaves a lot of room for error. Lets deal with the copies issue, for the bible to be infallible then we must assume over two thousand years and numerous translations that not a single sentence or paragraph has been wrongly translated or even entire pages removed. During the time of the original bible for a copy to be made, a scribe must sit down and translate word for word everything which is contained. To believe that no errors were kept or meanings changed is wishful thinking, not to mention richer men and women would get translations of the bible not the poorer men and women. The bibles we have today are not primary sources nor are they in anyway reliable or justified in accurately telling a story 2 thousand years ago.
Forgeries are also evident. Looking at one point in the bible we see evidence of a forgery, Pauls writings are a particular style, they are short sentences which are quite particular, but in the book of Ephesians it is written in long sentences, and not only that but does not match Pauls own convictions but match the Ephesians views, the context and style do not match any of Pauls previous writings and makes no sense in line with what was written. Some of this can be put down as small details, others are extremely important. There is just no way we can compare original scripture with the existing ones now.
Is the bible inaccurate in what Jesus said?
I have no dispute on the existence of Jesus but I do have major issues with what the bible claims he said, and the agenda of the apostles to present certain views. For example in comparing the gospels there is one point which stands out. In the gospel of John, Jesus believes himself to be God and calls himself divine Jesus answers, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
These are sayings found only in the gospel of John, yet we never see this mentioned in Luke Mark and Matthew, which are the earlier gospels. There is serious confirmation among biblical scholars that Jesus did not in fact say this. Bart Ehrman points out that in the Gospel of John, the narrator, John the Baptist and Jesus all sounds exactly alike, how do three uniquely different people all speak the same theology? This is because we are hearing one voice.
This leads us to conclude the entire gospel of John has been modified and written by one person which is the author and is not Jesus' own words.
Even in the resurrection we see a major contradiction between the gospel of mark and the gospel of Luke.
"In the Gospel of mark during the last moments of Jesus' death, he remains completely silent, he says nothing as even as he is crucified he remains silent. While both robbers mock him and passersby mocks him. He remains completely silent. This continues till the very end when he finally cries our 'my god my god why have you forsaken me. then he dies on the cross.
"In the gospel of Luke, he carries his cross and upon seeing women crying he turns and says 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say'. After he carries his cross, gets crucified and only one robber mocks him the other defends him by and Jesus says ' Today you will be with me in paradise'.
This is not a minor flaw, these are major issues relating to the bible which cannot be overlooked by any serious believer or sceptic. These are two completely different stories of Jesus one portraying him as silent and saddened and the other as confident and knowing of what is to become, they do not comply with each other
By only a few examples we see that the bible is not infallible and has been modified and distorted by its writers, if we agree that the bible is not 100% correct, how do we confirm it is at all correct? Is there any way to confirm it? I do not feel the bible can be used as a primary source as it proves to be way too unreliable as it is a copy of an unknown amount of previous copies. I feel this is extremely important in proving or disproving Jesus as the son of God.
If we even look at the gospel of Luke we find very obvious evidence for an adapted re-telling of the story of Jesus in order to force prophecies. According to Luke, Caesar Augusts issued a decree to have a census of the entire Roman world. By purely historical and even contradictory biblical accounts this is just not true. There is no evidence for this ever occurring. The implication is Luke lied in his Gospel in order to fulfil the prophecies.
As a minor point I would like to remind my opponent that over two thousand years of biblical change, constant conferences were called in order to pick and choose carefully what should be allowed into the bible and what should not, this implication means the bible is an assortment of handpicked stories and even in that we find obvious problems and contradictions, a poor example of how an all powerful god did not know this would happen.
With this the question remains is the bible a trusted source? No, I have problems with the other biblical claims relating to the evidence for God, and the lack of substantial evidence for the biblical claims. The miracles cannot be proven and the likely hood is that they did not happen, and with many prophecies unfulfilled you cannot use it as a source or confirmation of the bible.
With these points I believe I have made major objections to the source you used but also the presumptions you made, with that many of your claims fall short of not having sufficient evidence but also based on premises that are not supported with evidence.
You make the statement ' Jesus' life and works bear testimony to the fact that He is the Messiah. His life is in sharp contrast to the false messiahs, and is a positive demonstration of what one would expect Messiah to do.' My issue with this comes from an problem with comparison and origin. If your definition of messiah is based on Jesus, and by that admission you base the others as a comparison then no other 'messiah' can fit into the definition apart from Jesus. You use him as a definition to prove him being the messiah, then compare him to the definition. This is circular arguing, unless you have an objective definition for messiah which pre-exists, which undoubtedly you cannot then this statement is a fallacy.
I find your next point quite confusing, you discuss the healing claims of Jesus but really without evidence the biblical claims do not stand to sceptical review and cannot be used as evidence. Also you claim ' No one forgives sin but God ' we cannot confirm that claim either, and to say 'well Jesus would not say it unless it was true is not a good objection to make'. I would say there needs to be substantial historical and scientific evidence to support these claims or else they cannot be used as evidence.
Your final point about the transformative power of Christ in people's lives is not evidence and we both know that, I don't want to go into too much detail because it's a poor point to make. Only to mention evidence is objective by nature and his 'power to change' people is not evidence, I can point to the millions of Muslims who claim the this also. Thanks for the debate.
Firstly, I would like to clarify why I did not attempt to prove the presuppositions I made. I am not making "special pleading", as my opponent alleges. As aforementioned, the scope of the argument is whether Jesus of the Bible is Messiah. The term Messiah refers to the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation as prophesied of in the Hebrew Bible. As such, I approached this debate with a theological perspective instead of a fully apologetic one and did not even attempt to prove the presupposed points. I fully intended for this debate to be regarding whether Jesus in the Bible is Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament, and as such made no effort to prove neither the validity of the Bible nor the existence of God, as these are foregone conclusions that my opponent would have had to make before even accepting the debate. Previous debates on this very site also have presupposed these claims (http://www.debate.org..., http://www.debate.org... , https://www.debate.org...), among others. Thus, there is clear precedent for me to presuppose the above, and I believe that con"s attempt at arguing against the existence of God as well as validity of the Bible does not fit under the scope of this debate, which goes to explain why I did not attempt to prove the above points. Nevertheless, I will have to attempt to disprove what con claims, despite the fact that I am wholly unprepared to do so through no fault of my own, and apologize in advance for introducing new arguments in the final round.
To begin with, I shall rebut my opponent"s argument against God"s existence. My opponent argues against the nature of God due to the presence of evil in the world today from a philosophical standpoint. Once again, I would like to reiterate my lack of grounding in philosophy, and the fact that the debate does not encompass this topic, and as such shall not dwell too long on this topic. I shall begin with by firstly pointing out the obvious implication of this argument, that evil suggests an ethical law. My opponent defines evil in two ways, as "human evil and natural evil". However, what then is evil? If my opponent were to postulate that God does not exist simply because evil exists, then he must have some notion of an ethical standard of which evil is defined, which implies the existence of God. Furthermore, evil is merely the absence of good and disease the absence of health. Since evil has no positive reality of its own, it cannot be caused to exist, and so God cannot be held responsible for causing it to exist. Therefore my opponent"s argument regarding the lack of existence of God due to the problem of evil clearly holds no water. Finally, as mere mortals, we cannot comprehend God or His ultimate plan. When a parent takes an infant to the doctor for a regular vaccination to prevent childhood disease, it's because the parent cares for and loves that child. The infant however will be unable to appreciate this. Just as an infant cannot possibly understand the motives of its parent due to its cognitive limitations, so too are humans unable to comprehend God's will in their current physical and earthly state. Thus, I believe I have demonstrated that it is not true that God does not exist despite the alleged problem of evil.
Next, I shall rebut my opponents challenge towards the inerrancy of the Bible. Firstly, I would like to state for the record my belief in the Holy Trinity. However, I feel that the scope of this debate as already mentioned does not allow for a full discussion of this topic. Thus, I have included 3 links that make the case for the Trinity: (http://www.bible.ca..., http://www.bible.ca..., http://www.bible.ca... ). Next, I shall make the case for the accuracy and validity of the Bible. Once again, I request that it be noted that I believe that this topic is not encompassed in the scope of this debate. As such, I am wholly unprepared to defend it, and freely admit that I am not an expert in this area. Due to this fact, I shall be unable to make a full case for this based on my prior knowledge and will have to simply provide links which summarize my position on this topic. (http://bible.org..., https://www.christiancourier.com..., http://irr.org..., http://www.christiananswers.net...). I am willing to debate on this topic in a separate thread.
Finally, I would like to address your claim of my using circular logic. You assert that "If your definition of messiah is based on Jesus and by that admission you base the others as a comparison then no other 'messiah' can fit into the definition apart from Jesus. You use him as a definition to prove him being the messiah, then compare him to the definition. This is circular arguing, unless you have an objective definition for messiah which pre-exists, which undoubtedly you cannot then this statement is a fallacy." I strongly believe that this is not the case. As previously mentioned, the term Messiah refers to the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation as prophesied of in the Old Testament. I am basing my criteria for Messiah not on Jesus Himself, but rather the Old Testament prophecy that Jesus fulfills, found in my previous argument.
In conclusion, my opponent makes special pleading that this debate be approached from an atheistic viewpoint rather than a theological one, despite this being the exception rather than the norm, as can be seen from previous debates on this very site. Thus, I believe that he has not addressed the issue raised in the topic of the debate. Also, I have made the case for Jesus as Messiah through 5 points, Firstly, the claims that He made as well of his view of Himself; secondly, the life and works of Jesus Christ; thirdly, the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ; fourthly, the prophecies fulfilled by Him in His life; lastly, the transformative power of Jesus Christ in the lives of those who believe in Him as Saviour, Messiah, and Lord.
I would like to thank my opponent for this debate, and look forward to further debates with him.
If a presupposition is false or unfounded without evidence, it does not matter what argument you build upon it, unless you clearly back it up with actual evidence, It is special pleading to allow you to claim the bible is infallible and all other books are fallible. That is special pleading.
1. God exists is a wild unfounded presumption.
2. Biblical inerrancy is a nonsensical claim, with huge amounts of clear evidence to oppose that.
3. Both your presumptions are ungrounded, unsupported and you have made no actual attempt to prove any of the claims you have made.
The Evil God hypothesis is not based on standards of evil, they are based on two arguments about the nature of reality. I never claimed God doesn't exist because evil exists, that is not the argument, re-read it. Disease is not the absence of health it is the deterioration of health. These sorts of claims on biology are unfounded and absurd. Now my standard or ethical claim to know evil is not actually a good objection to the evil god hypothesis. If God is good like the theist claims, then in fact he is saying evil exists as a comparative. If evil does not exist, then how can something be good? In an attempt to place the Burdon of where I have an ethical standard of good and evil you have conceded good and evil exist, and that is all the argument needs.
1. The theist claims God is good.
2. We see an abundance of good and evil in the world.
3. The claim good God can be countered with an evil god hypothesis.
4. If evil God is an absurd claim or cannot be proven true, then the good God claim is equally as absurd.
It's a very simple premise, one which you seemed to not understand and that is unfortunate.
Claiming other debates allow presumptions like God exists and the bible is infallible is argumentum Ad Populum. You are trying to cement your claims as reasonable or true because other debates don't argue against the premises, well that's unfortunate because any reasonable person will know a failed starting premise usually means a failed argument.
Your definition of Messiah is also questionable, one because the definition is a Christian definition for the Christian god, it is biased. The definition of messiah is directly related to the Christian God of the bible, meaning the definition is a just word play and not actually objective. It's another point which you didn't address.
' the claims that He made as well of his view of Himself; secondly, the life and works of Jesus Christ; thirdly, the death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ; fourthly, the prophecies fulfilled by Him in His life; lastly, the transformative power of Jesus Christ in the lives of those who believe in Him as Saviour, Messiah, and Lord.'
'the claims he made of himself'. That is not evidence for anything, and it's also questionable if he said most of the things that are written.
Jesus' life is only documented in the bible in any detail, and I presented three strong points with references to show the unreliability of the bible, points which you never addressed, this cannot be used as evidence.
'The death and resurrection of Jesus in the bible' I already pointed out huge problems and errors regarding that, and you never addressed any of them, so this point is irrelevant.
' the prophecies fulfilled by Him in His life' I already addressed this point also, and you made no attempt to address it, so I do not know why you still try to bring it up.
' the transformative power of Jesus Christ in the lives of those who believe in Him as Saviour, Messiah, and Lord.' This is subjective, opinionated and very unreliable claims which cannot be given as a major point in your argument.
Pro didn't address any of the problems of the bible, and I'm afraid your entire argument ends up never holding any weight. I used historical research and philosophical arguments to put major objections on both of your premises, but you barely addressed either of them substantially. My arguments directly link to your claim of ;Jesus is the messiah.
1. If god does not exist, then the messiah is a nonsensical title to hold.
2. if the bible is in fact fallible and filled with major mistakes, then is it not justified in being basically your main source of information.
3. if both premises are weak and flawed then your argument never gets off the ground, and in fact is not true.
You didn't deal with any of the issues I raised and as a result, there is no evidence for Jesus being the messiah and the son of god. Thanks for the debate I enjoyed it.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.