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Did Jesus of the Bible ever exist?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2018 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 551 times Debate No: 106509
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
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There is no real evidence to support the existence of Christ and many of the events of the New Testament are proven to be false


I accept your challenge within the parameters you have posted in your opening round.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello Friend, thanks for accepting the challenge I enjoy a good religious discussion. First I would like to start with The complete lack of any evidence for events which are claimed to have occurred in the NT. For example the The darkness at the crucifixion, the rising saints of Matthew, the earthquake, The resurrection, nor the crucifixion are mentions in any of the historical literature of the first century. These events would have been noted by scribes of the time or historians there are thousands of pages documenting that area of the Roman Empire during that period yet not a mention of these events. If the Gospels had been written during the time of the events they could be considered evidence but since they were written long after by anonymous authors they can not be considered historically accurate unless confirmed by other sources which they are not.
Then there is Matthew's claim for the slaughter of the innocent which again is not found anywhere in history or even the other Gospels. Josephus wrote a great deal of material pertaining to the cruelty of Herod yet nothing which matches the Gospels.
Let's look at when Jesus was born. According to Luke, it was during the reign of the Roman governor Quirinius, during a census ordered by Augustus throughout the whole world. According to both Luke and Matthew it was also during the reign of king Herod "the Great." The problem is that Herod died in 4 B.C.E., and this was fully ten years before Quirinius' census. Furthermore, during Herod's reign, no Roman census could have been held in his territory, which included both Judaea and Galilee, the locations of both Bethlehem and Nazareth. Herod would have collected his own taxes, and given tribute to the Romans. Lastly, the existence of a census throughout the whole empire is contrary to the practice of the Romans, who collected taxes province by province. According to maps and texts there was no Nazareth from 100 bce - 300 AD archaeological digs have not found anything older than from 500AD.

As for geography errors, the well-known Gospel story of the Gadarene swine, which rushed down a steep cliff and were drowned in the Sea of Galilee, the Jewish scholar Joseph Leidner points out that because Gadera is actually several miles away from the sea, the whole incident is evidence of either ignorance or total lack of concern with the geographical correctness of the story. Citing other similar examples, he writes, "From the evidence"the blunt conclusion emerges that the Gospel writers did not know the geography and customs of the Holy Land".

The Genealogy of Jesus is different from Matt to Luke, How can they both be historically accurate. Then they differ from the OT requirement for the Messiah.

There are many more historical inaccuracies but I'll discuss these ones unless you want to go a different direction.


Since your lack of excluding the bible or any other type of evidence there is to support my argument, you can argue the bible isn't a reliable source, but in debate-land, the parameters set by you stated, "no real evidence ..." leaves the door open for any reliable definition of evidence. The Cambridge dictionary states, "one or more reasons for believing that something is or is not true." This constitutes a reliable source of an acceptable definition of evidence.

& if the bible's evidence has influenced me to believe that Jesus is who it says He is, that's "real" evidence by definition. Of course there has been other entities that have contributed to my belief, & they are all real to be because the reasons I have gotten from the bible & other sources lead me to believe my evidence is real & therefore valid to believe in Jesus.

Your argument re "... complete lack of any evidence for events which are claimed to have occurred in the NT," is not valid because the evidence is real from the bible's author's witness of events. You are claiming these events did not take place. My evidence, bible, states it's real.

You also state that, "These events would have been noted by scribes of the time or historians there are thousands of pages ..." There's also the argument that the Romans & Jewish leaders did not want this religious movement growing or even validated. This is shown easily by the joint conspiring of the Jewish leaders & Roman officials to kill Jesus & quash His movement. If you can show proof to tell me why the Roman's or Jewish officials wanted to let others know of these events, please tell me. The followers of Jesus were mostly illiterate & hardly any people witnessed Jesus' resurrection. That, plus the horrible persecution of Jesus' followers were reasons enough not to broadcast it from their vantage point.

Some of the authors we know by their names within the first lines of their letters, such as Paul. So, they are not all anonymous. Please reference the Pauline letters. " Romans 1New International Version (NIV)"
"1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God ..."

& you say "... written long after ... (Jesus' death)" Paul, & I'll just use him for example because we referenced his name as a valid author, came upon the scene during Jesus' life, although at that time he was against the movement. But shortly after Jesus' death, Paul's conversion & subsequent letters are certainly within an acceptable time frame to witness Jesus' apostles in a live setting. Using the "not written during Jesus' lifetime, would mean that any historian's cannot be accepted.

You also stated, "... they can not be considered historically accurate unless confirmed by other sources which they are not." How about the secular historians & authors:

As you can see, I have provided several sources to refute your claim that, "... they can not be considered historically accurate unless confirmed by other sources which they are not."

To counter your argument re Luke's description of Jesus' birth, please reference the following sites:

Re your geographical errors of the pig thing, please refer to the below references that explain the "error tht isn't due to audience & language translations.


As far as your questions about Matt & Luke re genealogy,& your historical inaccuracies, one must give credence to the author's intended audience, which for each of them were different, & so they wrote what they thought was more important to whom they were writing. One says, one thing & elaborates on it, while the other author may have a different accounting, or eliminate it entirely from his Gospel. But, just by stating there are these inconsistencies without citing them, is cause for skepticism, and cannot be used as fuel for your side of the debate if not enumerated with reliable sources.
Debate Round No. 2


On your first point, since belief in Jesus from the Bible is referred to as "FAITH" I'm not sure that your argument is solid. Yes it is true that the Bible has convinced you and many others to believe in Jesus but these are people of faith which by definition is belief in something without supporting evidence.
You claim that the Bible states the events portrayed in it's pages are "real" Can you refer me to the chapter and verse which makes that claim?
When the events in the Bible were suppose to have taken place there were many religions in the Roman Empire and Christianity was not one of them so why would there be a bias against a religion which did not exist. The people in the Gospel stories are Jews and there was a large amount written about the Jewish culture of that time. There would be no benefit to exclude the amazing events portrayed in the Gospels.

To sum up for John, it is an early 2nd century book which is heavily Hellenistic in its language and theology. It is markedly anti-Jewish, it contains speeches for Jesus which are not only incompatible with the character of Jesus as he is presented in the synoptics (not to mention that it simply strains all credulity that a 1st century Jewish audience would tolerate a guy claiming he was God) but simply cannot be credibly defended as authentic transcriptions of speeches remembered verbatim for 70 years by an illiterate Palestinian fisherman (and by nobody else) and then translated into Greek by that same fisherman. It contains contradictions with the synoptics which I will get to in time. It shows multiple hands of authorship and it contains an anachronism so glaring that it is a fatal blow to any consideration of eyewitness testimony. Its traditional authorship stems from a single unreliable claim by Irenaeus (a guy who couldn't keep his "Johns" straight) around 180 CE.
One things that goes unnoticed is that the author of "The Pauline Epistles" doesn"t write of Jesus as an actual person that he knew as a human. Here are some examples that show this:
Nowhere do we find the epistle writers even using the word "disciple" (they of course use the term "apostle" but the word simply means messenger, as Paul saw himself. Furthermore, the epistle to the Hebrews (8:4), makes it explicitly clear that the epistle writer did not believe in a historical Jesus: "If He [Jesus] had been on earth, He would not be a priest. Now if he were on earth, he wouldn"t be a cohen at all, since there already are cohanim offering the gifts required by the Torah. The author of the first written works never claims to be witness to a living Christ.
We see from the account in Acts that Paul's vision of Jesus was a purely personal experience. There is a contradiction here in what his companions actually experienced. Acts 9:7 said that the man heard the "sound" but saw nothing. However Acts 22:9 said the complete opposite; his companions saw the light but did not hear the voice! Whatever the case may be, it was obvious that the companions' experience in no way vindicated Paul's vision. In fact Paul's own description of the event conveys clearly its intense personal nature:
II Corinthians 12:2-4
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven -- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise -- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows -- and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.

After all Paul never met the human Jesus, how could he be completely sure that the voice he heard was Jesus'? But this was not what he did, he withdrew into Arabia and did not care to meet the apostles until three years later:
Galatians 1:16-19
I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas [Peter], and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother.
II Corinthians 5:16
If we did know Jesus according to the flesh, that is not how we know about him any longer.
None of the info on the sites you referred to have any secular 1st century authors who wrote a single word the Gospel character "Jesus Christ" I will address anything you thinks would be contradictory to what I have claimed.
If you read the info you referred me to it can't rationalize the time frame without changing what is written and reinterpreting the rewritten text. By changing the name of the place to something different and making the claim it was just a textual error they make the pig story feasible but in it's raw state it still doesn't work just like the other things I have pointed out.

As for the Genealogy of Jesus here it is
Matt 1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah"s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Luke 23 Joseph,
the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,
the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath,
the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
the son of Josek, the son of Joda,
27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,
the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon,
the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna,
the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,
the son of Salmon,[a] the son of Nahshon,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[b]
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob,
the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu,
the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan,
the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
the s


My 1st point established that the bible is a valid source that can be used by me for supporting evidence that Jesus existed because you did not exclude it. To refute a reason to believe in Jesus though faith is not supported by your, "... I'm not sure that your argument is solid," leaving the reader of this argument to realize that that indeed, that using what I stated before, can surely indicate my argument is solid. Eve you are not sure on this point, so my argument is sound until proven otherwise.

Your statement of, "... faith which by definition is belief in something without supporting evidence," may be your personal opinion of that definition, but I have never heard of such a limiting definition as the one you have used. I'll source this definition, which seems to coincide with many other valid definitions of 'faith' with the "Oxford Dictionary" online, "Complete trust or confidence in someone or something."
If you will notice, there is no mention of "... without supporting evidence." We must have some semblance of 'evidence' for anything we do or believe, or we would not do, or believe in whatever we partake of. So, I'll have to refute your reasoning for excluding faith taken from the bible as a reason to believe in its words. (Please refer to the 1st round for a valid definition of 'evidence.'
BTW, there are many verses in the bible that belief in Jesus did not require 'faith.' During His lifetime, Jesus had said that those that have seen Him & His miracles, yet still do not believe, such as in John 14:9.

My claim regarding the word 'real,' was about the bible being able to be used as a 'real' source because you stated that on the opening round, but did not define what constituted 'real,' as explained in my 2nd round. This error on your part seems to be repeating itself, so please slow down.

Please provide a reliable source whenever you make claims. Your, "... Christianity was not one of them so why would there be a bias against a religion which did not exist," says that Christianity did not exist. Hopefully you are referring to the name of Jesus' following not yet being called Christianity. But to make a claim that there was "... no benefit to exclude" Jesus' following & to make a claim that there was a "large amount of writings of Jewish culture of that time," without a reliable source is just opinion, & must be proven as I challenge both. Two examples of a benefit is no record to challenge either the Roman or Jewish leaders regarding the magnitude of how the bible depicts it.

1st of all, John didn't live in the second century, so how could he have writing as you claim?
You also state that John is "heavily Hellenistic." You may be confusing John with Luke here because John wrote to all people regarding his audience.
You make other claims, " ... markedly anti-Jewish, it contains speeches for Jesus which are not only incompatible with the character of Jesus ..." among other without reasoning or examples .... just your claims. I disagree, so please furnish your sources & reasoning here which should include these verses to prove your point.
Thing is though, you cannot challenge the bible as a reliable source since the bible has been considered an authentic source within the rules YOU stated in the 1st round of this debate. You stated "real evidence" without limited what was considered "real" or not. This is the third time I have had to bring this up to you. If you wanted to limit the "real evidence" to this or that, then you should have stated so in your rules for accepting this debate.

Your claim of, "Nowhere do we find the epistle writers even using the word "disciple," is ridiculous at best. Matthew used the term 72 times with an example of Matt 11:2 "2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples" NIV. It is used 261 times in the NT.
So please, start stating facts, rather than supposition, or whatever or wherever you're getting your information from. This debate is not a debate of facts. It's me challenging what I see to be false information on a grand scale. If you cannot get the simple things correct, you'll never be able to convince anyone that your argument is valid in any way shape or form.
Please show your source for your next claims for the apostle Paul. Instead of giving more personal opinion, you should have listed verses & expert & reliable interpretations that support your claims. I'll show why below:
Your use of, "Hebrews (8:4), makes it explicitly clear that the epistle writer did not believe in a historical Jesus: "If He [Jesus] had been on earth, He would not be a priest. Now if he were on earth, ..." This show your lack of biblical knowledge & using verses out of contextual meaning. The verse that is in question mean using "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
(4) For if he were . . ."The oldest Greek MSS. and two important versions read, "If then He were"; and two other changes in the text of this verse also rest on high authority. In its correct form the verse will stand thus: If then He were on earth, He would not even be a priest (that is, He would not be a priest at all), seeing there are those who according to law offer the gifts. The argument somewhat resembles that of Hebrews 7:13-14; there, however, the impediment is that of tribe; here the thought is that the place is preoccupied by men who by express command are bringing the gifts unto God."
Hopefully you had noticed the "(He would not be a priest at all)." This in reinforced by "Barnes' Notes on the Bible
For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest - He could not perform that office. The design of this is, to show a reason why he was removed to heaven. The reason was, that on earth there were those who were set apart to that office, and that he, not being of the same tribe with them, could not officiate as priest. There was an order of people here on earth consecrated already to that office, and hence, it was necessary that the Lord Jesus, in performing the functions of the office, should be removed to another sphere."
The above interpretations are from biblical experts, not my or your opinions .... as you have constantly, & quite foolishly, relied upon.

I am going to run out of character space if I show you all of your errors here. & since you haven't used any reliable sources, I will challenge the rest of them. All of the claims that you have made so far in this debate I have challenged & used sources to show your errors, is enough proof that the rest of your claims are most likely of the same degree of quality ... poor.

The sources that I provided regarding secular authors that confirmed what the Gospels told us of ... the followers of Jesus. I never stated that the sources named Jesus by name. Those sources referred to Jesus' followers & His religious movement, which the gospels & other NT writings are regarding. You asked for "other sources" than the bible that referred to regarding Jesus.

I have no idea what point you're attempting to make regarding Jesus' genealogy. Always keep your eye on the "characters remaining" in red letter at the bottom of the box you are writing from. hen you review your text, make sure everything you typed is present, & if not, make corrections.
But if you are going to point out discrepancies, please look at the following link for an explanation:

BTW, you haven't challenged all of my challenges to you in the 2nd round.
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by DeletedUser 9 months ago
"who have a very closed-minded perspective on the subject"
So, Bart Ehrman is closed-minded?
Posted by smilinbobs64 1 year ago
To Knight Dragon the reason the majority of religious scholars don't doubt the existence of Christ is because they are christian scholars who have a very closed minded perspective on the subject. Many Christian scholars through the years however have after really studying the religious texts lost the faith that they had.
You have cited some examples of references to Jesus outside of the scriptures but if we are to check the time line all of these are a century or more after the supposed life of Jesus. There are 42 historians Greek, Roman, And Hebrew who lived and wrote about the events of the time when this Jesus was supposed to have lived yet they mention nothing about a person or demigod who is remotely close to the Jesus described in the Bible.
As for Josephus the mention Of Jesus and John the brother of Jesus. The other passages in that chapter refer to the religious leader Jesus Ben Ananias. The Christian reference was added later by Eusebius along with the "Testimonium Flavianum"
It was with Eusebius' help that his close friend, Pagan-turned-Christian Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, Won the crown. His close relationship with Constantine, Then made it easy to bring about the Edict of Milam in 313 CE which removed penalties for professing Christianity. It was not until Theodosius I, On February 27, 380 CE, Declared "Catholic Christianity" the only legitimate imperial religion. Until this time the New Testament as we know it today did not exist. What did exist were various writings and notes written by unknown authors. Now let's look a couple of quotes from Eusebius ""It will sometimes be necessary to use falsehood for the benefit of those who need such a mode of treatment
"I have repeated whatever may rebound to the glory, And suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace of our religion"
Posted by DeletedUser 1 year ago

"There is no real evidence to support the existence of Christ "
Yes, There is evidence for the existence of Jesus. To deny his existence, Is to deny the vast majority of scholars, Who don't doubt the existence of Jesus. He is mention outside of the Bible (E. G, Jewish Talmud, Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Etc. ? So yes, There is evidence for the existence of Jesus.

"and many of the events of the New Testament are proven to be false. . . "
You do know that you can still believe that Jesus existed, And still think that the Gospel are a myths, Right?
Posted by DeletedUser 1 year ago
Then, How come the vast majority of scholars don't doubt the existence of Jesus?
Posted by Jaguar_King 3 years ago
Con, I want to address your argument on the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke. It is quite simple really, Matthew is writing the genealogy of Joseph while Luke is writing the genealogy of Mary. But in their culture it was disgraceful to use a woman's name instead of a man in a genealogy so Luke put Mary's husband's name (Joseph) in her place.
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