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

Jesus Christ Existed as a Historical Person and was Not a Myth

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/14/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,556 times Debate No: 60311
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (25)
Votes (3)




My opponent must argue that Jesus didn't exist at all and his whole story as recoded in the Bible was borrowed from pagan myths. He must present his arguments in his opening round, showing why he doesn't think Jesus existed. He must also give sources for his claims. Here I present my opening argument which shows that Jesus was a real person who started the Christian movement.

"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 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, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind." Tacitus Annals 15:44 (writing soon after 100 C.E.)

Here the Roman historian Tacitus confirms that Christus (Latin for Christ) was a historical person who founded the Christian movement, that it began in Judea, and he was put to death under the reign of Pontius Pilate, all of which are the same facts recorded for Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

First century Jewish historian Josephus also mentions James, the half brother of Jesus, who, the Bible tells us, did not initially follow Jesus but later became a prominent elder in Jerusalem. (John 7:3-5; Galatians 1:18-19) He documents James' arrest in these words: "[The high priest Ananus] convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others." ( Jewish Antiquities, Book XX. 200, pp. 495, 497). In writing these words, Josephus additionally confirms that "Jesus, who was called the Christ" was a real, historical person.

Writing before 100 C.E. Josephus also records: "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day." (Jewish Antiquities 18.3.3)

The Gospels include eyewitness testimony, and contemporary testimony of those who knew the eyewitness. Luke 1:1-5; John 20:21; 1 John 1:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:6.

In this connection, Professor F. F. Bruce makes a keen observation: "It can have been by no means so easy as some writers seem to think to invent words and deeds of Jesus in those early years, when so many of His disciples were about, who could remember what had and had not happened. The disciples could not afford to risk inaccuracies (not to speak of willful manipulation of the facts), which would at once be exposed by those who would be only too glad to do so. On the contrary, one of the strong points in the original apostolic preaching is the confident appeal to the knowledge of the hearers; they not only said, "We are witnesses of these things,' but also, "As you yourselves also know' (Acts 2:22)." (Where Is History Going? by John Warwick Montgomery, 1969, p. 51.)

Why couldn't the disciples have made up the whole story?

"(1) Blaise Pascal gives a simple, psychologically sound proof for why this is unthinkable:

"The apostles were either deceived or deceivers. Either supposition is difficult, for it is not possible to imagine that a man has risen from the dead. While Jesus was with them, he could sustain them; but afterwards, if he did not appear to them, who did make them act? The hypothesis that the Apostles were knaves is quite absurd. Follow it out to the end, and imagine these twelve men meeting after Jesus' death and conspiring to say that he has risen from the dead. This means attacking all the powers that be. The human heart is singularly susceptible to fickleness, to change, to promises, to bribery. One of them had only to deny his story under these inducements, or still more because of possible imprisonment, tortures and death, and they would all have been lost. Follow that out." (Pascal, Pensees 322, 310)

The "cruncher" in this argument is the historical fact that no one, weak or strong, saint or sinner, Christian or heretic, ever confessed, freely or under pressure, bribe or even torture, that the whole story of the resurrection was a fake a lie, a deliberate deception. Even when people broke under torture, denied Christ and worshiped Caesar, they never let that cat out of the bag, never revealed that the resurrection was their conspiracy. For that cat was never in that bag. No Christians believed the resurrection was a conspiracy; if they had, they wouldn't have become Christians.

(2) If they made up the story, they were the most creative, clever, intelligent fantasists in history, far surpassing Shakespeare, or Dante or Tolkien. Fisherman's "fish stories" are never that elaborate, that convincing, that life-changing, and that enduring.

(3) The disciples' character argues strongly against such a conspiracy on the part of all of them, with no dissenters. They were simple, honest, common peasants, not cunning, conniving liars. They weren't even lawyers! Their sincerity is proved by their words and deeds. They preached a resurrected Christ and they lived a resurrected Christ. They willingly died for their "conspiracy." Nothing proves sincerity like martyrdom. They change in their lives from fear to faith, despair to confidence, confusion to certitude, runaway cowardice to steadfast boldness under threat and persecution, not only proves their sincerity but testifies to some powerful cause of it. Can a lie cause such a transformation? Are truth and goodness such enemies that the greatest good in history -- sanctity -- has come from the greatest lie?...

(4) There could be no possible motive for such a lie. Lies are always told for some selfish advantage. What advantage did the "conspirators" derive from their "lie" ? They were hated, scorned, persecuted, excommunicated, imprisoned, tortured, exiled, crucified, boiled alive, roasted, beheaded, disemboweled and fed to lions -- hardly a catalog of perks!

(5) If the resurrection was a lie, the Jews would have produced the corpse and nipped this feared superstition in the bud. All they had to do was go to the tomb and get it...

(6) The disciples could not have gotten away with proclaiming the resurrection in Jerusalem -- same time, same place, full of eyewitnesses -- if it had been a lie. William Lane Craig says,

"The Gospels were written in such a temporal and geographical proximity to the events they record that it would have been almost impossible to fabricate events....The fact that the disciples were able to proclaim the resurrection in Jerusalem in the face of their enemies a few weeks after the crucifixion shows that what they proclaimed was true, for they could never have proclaimed the resurrection (and been believed) under such circumstances had it not occurred." (Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection, chapter 6)

(7) If there had been a conspiracy, it would certainly have been unearthed by the disciples' adversaries, who had both the interest and the power to expose any fraud. Common experience shows that such intrigues are inevitably exposed (Craig, ibid)."

Critics claim no one knows who wrote the Gospels, but, the extra-biblical testimony unanimously attributes the Gospels to their traditional authors: the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermes, Theophilus, Hippolytus, Origen, Puadratus, Irenaeus, Melito, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Dionysius, Tertullian, Cyprian, Tatian, Caius, Athanasius, Cyril, up to Eusebius in A.D. 315, even Christianity's opponents conceded this: Celsus, Porphyry, Emperor Julian.

Anonymous works often get caught up by competing authorship; one needs to explain how come there is such unanimous agreement in the first few centuries on who wrote the Gospels if the authors are unknown. Further, there are no manuscripts extant which omit the names of the authors of those Gospels which contain author names today. Were there to be found a copy of John's gospel with a full copy of the first page which omits the author's name, and this was dated earlier than those which contain the author's name, this would prove it was originally an anonymous work; but since no such Gospel has been found, we must attribute the works to their traditional authors.

One question I want to ask my opponent. What is the minimum proof you would require for the existence of a person? And does Jesus pass this test? If not, why not?

I look forward to my opponent's arguments.


Now I'm sure that you are aware that if the man now refereed to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ did exist he was not called Jesus Christ/Jesus of Nazareth. He may have been called Yeshua (English: Joshua) though the chances are he didn't exist.


Assuming that Yeshua was put to death around 33 AD (notice I am not conceding anything) and that for a witness to be reliable they must be around five years old at the time of the event (this is an extreme which probably wouldn't be trusted in a court of law). We know that the average life expectancy of a Judean during this time was about 26 years old [1], while I couldn't find the standard deviation of life expectancy then I can find figures for today (again this is massively on your side) those figures would be a standard deviation of 16 years [2]. So the oldest witness to the latest part of the life of Yeshua would be expected to die around 60AD (at the age of 42). Now the Tacitus account was writen a little after 100AD and the Jewish Antiquities of Flavius Josephus was written a little after 92AD none of these are old enough to have been derived from eye witness testimony.

The Gospels

The Gospels are known to have been hugely tampered with making them less than reliable as evidence of the existence of Yeshua [3]. Furthermore all the gospels seem to be based off of Mark which was at the earliest written around 70 AD [4] (making it too recent to be from personal or eyewitness testimony). This also effectively negates that argument that the biblical authors couldn't have made it up as they didn't make up Yeshua in the cultural context of early first century Judea and the corpse certainly couldn't have been produced. Also I hate to break it to you but the bible is no Dostoevsky and even if it was that would be no reason to claim divine inspiration.

Minimum Proof

Well I don't think you can every prove he existed. A better question would be what would it take to change my mind on the existence of Yeshua. The answer to that would be a Historical account from the claimed life of Yeshua or from the life of someone who could potentially be an eye witness that mentioned relatively specific details (the names of a few disciples or that he was crucified on the behalf of the Jewish elders would do).




[4] Harris Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985
Debate Round No. 1


The translation of the Hebrew name Yeshua to the Greek Iesous into the English (Jesus) is simply a non-issue, nobody disputes that, so let"s deal with the sources.


Con"s argument about Jews having short life-spans in the first century C.E., even if true, ignores the fact that many Jews did live long lives, and we have examples such as that recorded by the well respected first century historian Flavius Josephus, that many Jews lived above 100 years. He says:

"10. Now after the time of their preparatory trial is over, they are parted into four classes; and so far are the juniors inferior to the seniors, that if the seniors should be touched by the juniors, they must wash themselves, as if they had intermixed themselves with the company of a foreigner. They are long-lived also, insomuch that many of them live above a hundred years, by means of the simplicity of their diet; no, as I think, by means of the regular course of life they observe also." (The Jewish War, Book 2. Chapter 8, "Archelaus"s Ethnarchy is Reduced into a [Roman] Province. The Sedition of Judas of Galilee. The Three Sects." Section 10)

The irony in this is that Con is trying to use the short-life span argument to show that the eyewitness to Jesus would have been dead by the time anyone wrote about him if he even did exist, and yet here Josephus is speaking about stuff he was an eyewitness to, the old, long-live Jewish Essenes were still around in his day, which shows its not all that improbable for John to have been an eyewitness of Jesus and lived to write about him in 98 C.E. Now if Con accepts the eyewitness testimony of Josephus about the longevity of Jews in his day, he can"t assume no Jews could have lived long enough to write about Jesus 30 or even 40 years after he died. In fact, we also have testimony from 55 C.E. that Tryphon, and Egyptian contemporary of Jesus, who also lived a long time.

"Tryphon, son of Dionysius, about"years old, of middle height, fair with a long face and a slight squint, and having a scar on his right wrist, has bought from his mother Thamounis" cousin, Pnepheros, son of Papontos, also an inhabitant of Oxyrhynchus, about 65 years old, of middle height, fair, having a long face and a scar above his"eyebrow and another on his right knee"" (Grenfell, Bernard Pyne, and Arthur Surridge Hunt. 1898-99. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Parts 1-2, Nos. 1-207, 208-400. London: Oxford University Press. Cited in The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992, by John Dominic Crossan, p. 27) So it"s simply not true that the oldest witness to the latest part of the life of Yeshua would be expected to die around 60AD (at the age of 42). There are those who would have lived beyond that point.

The Gospels in fact are eyewitness testimony, and testimony of contemporaries of Jesus. John - "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. WE HAVE SEEN his glory." (John 1:14) "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which WE HAVE SEEN WITH OUR EYES, which we have looked at and our hands have touched"this we proclaim concerning the Word of life..." (1 John 1:1-3) Peter -"For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." (2 Peter 1:16) Even Luke says he interviewed the eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4) Luke was also a travelling companion of Paul in the book of Acts who had contact with the apostles, and Matthew was one of the 12, plus Mark was a contemporary, so most NT authors personally knew Jesus and all of them lived in his day.

We know NT authors we believe in today were the original authors, evidence:

(1)Second-century testimony is unanimous on assigning to the Gospels the same authors whose names they bare today. If they were written anonymously, a plethora of names would have been speculated, and we"d have some record of competing authorship for the same books, but we don"t. If the Gospel were anonymous for the first 60 years, how could anyone assign names to them and get the church across the entire Roman Empire to agree?
(2)All the manuscripts of the Gospels we have today that contain the first chapter, all contain authors names such as According to Matthew, According to Mark, etc. There are no earlier manuscripts which lack title authors to show that the authorship was added later.
(3)The fact that such unlikely authors were chosen. After all, if someone was going to invent authors, why chose an obscure person like Luke who is barely mentioned in the NT? Matthew was a tax collector, and Jews hated them. Would you pick the IRS man to write your gospel?
(4)The Gospels must have received their titles immediately - not in the second century. For an anonymous author to have penned a Gospel, and have it accepted as being from any authoritative person, would required them to first produce the Gospel, present it as the work of another; concoct some story as to how it came peculiarly to be in their possession; get around the problem of why a work by such a person disappeared and was previously unknown; then get the church throughout the entire Roman Empire to accept this work as genuine. Yet, we have no historical record of the discovery of previously unknown gospels, which certainly would have caused a stir and controversy!

Most scholars date most of the Gospels before 70 C.E., and John around 98 C.E. Its not unlikely that such authors would have been alive in the time of Jesus.

So what if Tacitus and Josephus are not eyewitnesses of Jesus? They are certainly close enough to his time to know the historical facts. For example, most historians accept that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River on 11 Jan, 49 B.C. But nothing written by eyewitnesses exists today. "There are no firsthand testimonies to Caesar"s having crossed the Rubicon (wherever it was). Caesar himself makes no mention in his memoirs of crossing any river. Four historians belonging to the next two or three generations do mention a Rubicon River, and claim that Caesar crossed it. They are: Velleius Paterculus (c.19 B.C."c.A.D. 30); Plutarch (c.A.D. 46"120); Suetonius (75"160); and Appian (second century). All of these evidently depended on the one published eyewitness account, that of Asinius Pollio (76 B.C."c. A.D. 4)"which account has disappeared without a trace. No manuscript copies for any of these secondary sources is to be found earlier than several hundred years after their composition." (The Evangelical Quarterly 58, 319-336) The NT manuscripts extant today are even closer in time to the life of Jesus which they describe, than the copies of Herodotus, Tacitus and most other classical writers surviving copies are to the events they describe. So the NT is so much better attested than any other ancient document that to reject the NT as reliable is to reject most of ancient historical writing as reliable. In that case, our libraries' history section would be very small. What a price to pay just to deny Jesus existed!

As for being tampered with, scholars have found the NT text to be 99.5% accurate. (Metzger, Bruce M. 2005. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Oxford, Oxford University Press) How? We have over 5000 Greek manuscripts to compare, plus thousands of other in different languages, plus enough quotations from the church fathers within the first 300 years of Christian history to make up the entire NT. All this comes from so many diverse lines of transmission, so wide, its not possible anyone could have changed all of them. Any change, in any manuscript, is always detected when compared with the thousands of others that read the same in that particular verse. This is how we know the "three-in-one" Comma Johannaeum was added to 1 John 5 because it isn"t in the oldest manuscripts, nor is it in the majority of manuscripts, nor was it quoted by most of the early Christian writers even in controversy over the Trinity. If Con"s claim is that these documents were changed from not having a Jesus, to having a Jesus, he needs to show us proof there was ever a copy of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John that said nothing about Jesus.

The earliest historical witness, such as Papias, testify that Matthew was written first, but if Con goes by the majority of scholar, let's remember that most scholars admit Jesus existed. Even skeptics like Bart Erhman who doesn't believe in the Gospels reliability.

All of Con's arguments have failed to show Jesus didn't exist. My evidence still stands.


The non issue of Yeshua/Jesus/Isus

This may not be an issue for you but it is for many.

Where Did The Yeshua Myth Come From?

In my previous round I invalidated Pro's attempt to provide some evidence for the historicity of Yeshua (some rebuttal coming don't worry). Now in this round I will attempt to show where the influences that came together to form the character now called Jesus.

Saviour Gods

In the hundred or so years before Yeshua is claimed to have been born there were many different saviour gods and mashiah's wandering about iron age Judea [1] [2] [3]. There is a good chance that Yeshua could have been a mix of these characters. Even if this is not true it is certainly the case that these early claimants to the title of mashiah and the hellenistic death cults prepared the way for the rise of Christianity in the 4th century AD (yes Christianity did exist before then but it really took off with the conversion of Constantine [4] [5]).

Mitras (I know there are many different spellings)

The Mitra religion was popular in the Roman army during the 1st century though the religion had made it to what was then the Hittite empire fifteen hundred years previously [6] and there is some chance that the Mitra religion and Christianity have a common ancestor somewhere. There are some interesting similarities between the two deities for instance Mitras was born of a virgin called Aredvi Sura Anahita. Mitras was also referred to as "The way the truth and the light" as well as Mitras the redeemer.

Furthermore when this common scene [7] when interpreted with Christian iconography it is eerily similar to the story of Yeshua.

Simply Invented

Throughout history we see various cults popping up without explanation. It is possible that Christianity was simply invented to attempt to try and quench humans fear of the unknown and human fear of death.


How Long did Jews Live?

The evidence I presented last round (that being the average age and the standard deviation) were not based off of the hearsay of a single person but instead off of a number of factors namely genetics, primary testimony and archaeological evidence. Sure there are outliers in any population but those outliers are a fraction of the total population.

Also I'm sure that my opponent accepts that there is a time when you question the legitimacy of a primary source. For instance would my opponent accept a persons word that they fought in the mexican civil war? There is at least one person who fought in it living but that one person is very much the outlier and not the norm. The longest a person could be expected to live is 42 and so when you get past that age you require evidence that can be cross referenced with other earlier testimony and or archaeology.

What I am Actually Arguing

My point about the lifespans in Iron age Judea was that if Yeshua existed as described then it would be expected that he would be recorded within the lifespans of his followers.

John Claiming To Have Seen

Just because someone claims to have seen something doesn't mean they have.


No one knows who wrote the gospels. Almost every biblical scholar accepts that we don't know who wrote them [8]. They were probably not actually written anonymously and that the names are correct (at least to some degree) but that doesn't mean we know who those writers were.

Furthermore there are many other dozens gospels which did not make it into the cannon and many are simply contradictory.



[3] Jewish Antiquities 17.278-284





Debate Round No. 2


Con"s argument strikes me as very bizarre. He says "in the hundred or so years before Yeshua is claimed to have been born there were" many people messiahs, and somehow this implies Jesus the Messiah didn"t exist but was a mixture of these. That"s like saying "in the hundred or so years before Obama is claimed to have been born there were" many Presidents, and this somehow shows they invented Barrack Obama as a mixture of these. Amazingly, the folks listed in his Wikipedia link, most of them came after Jesus, and the few who predate Jesus such as Alexander the Great, Cyrus, David and Simon were all real historical people, not myths. So if these messiahs existed, surely Jesus too, existed. I also contend that if you search his sources you won"t find a single savior-god predating Jesus that bares any resemblance to Jesus, so that we could say his story was copied from that previous one. In fact, I challenge Con to provide a single quote from ANY ancient text predating Jesus, and show me the parallel from the New Testament. This he CANNOT and WILL NOT do, because the parallels claims by some who want to discredit the existence of Jesus, do not exit!

The cuneiform engravings of Mithra shows that Mithra was never an infant, nor was this god born of a virgin, but first appears as a full adult emerging out of a rock. (Manfred Claus, The Roman Cult of Mithras, p. 81) While it is true that like Jesus, Mithra is here attended by shepherds, this account comes in the 4th century, over 300 years after Christianity; so in this case, if there was any borrowing, it was Mithra"s shepherds being borrowed from the Gospels, not the other way around!

Since my opponent trusted Wikipedia as a source, maybe he will accept this Wikipedia article that debunks a number of parallel falsely claimed to exist between Jesus and Mithra. Con is defending a view that has been abandoned by most scholars because it is so weak and the evidence is against it.
Con is simply ignoring recent scholarship on the issue. Gary Lease, "Mithraism and Christianity", in: ANRW II, p.1328: "To be specific, it is clear that the few scattered remarks in Christian polemical literature against Mithraism, together with the scanty archaeological remains of the Mithraic religion, do not bear out a direct influence of one religion upon the other."

"1.2. Salvation
A painted text on the wall of the St. Prisca Mithraeum (c A.D. 200)14 in Rome contains the words: et nos servasti (?) . . . sanguine fuso (and you have saved us ... in the shed blood). The meaning of this is unclear, although presumably refers to the bull killed by Mithras, as no other source refers to a Mithraic salvation. However the servasti is only a conjecture.15 According to Robert Turcan,16 Mithraic salvation had little to do with the other-worldly destiny of individual souls, but was on the Zoroastrian pattern of man's participation in the cosmic struggle of the good creation against the forces of evil 17

1.4. Marked with the sign of the Cross
Some scholars have stated that initiates of Mithras were marked with the sign of the cross on their forehead. The idea has been described as a scholarly myth.20
The basis for the idea is found in Tertullian, who states that followers of Mithras were marked on their forehead in an unspecified manner.21 There is no indication that this is a cross, or a branding, or a tattoo, or a permanent mark of any kind.22"

We don"t even know what Mithrism was about before the Christian era. The earliest references to Mithra come from the ancient Hindu literature. However, just what people believed about him at that time is unknown. J.P. Arendzen writes, "The origin of the cult of Mithra dates from the time that the Hindus and Persians still formed one people, for the god Mithra occurs in the religion and the sacred books of both races, i.e. in the Vedas and in the Avesta. In Vedic hymns he is frequently mentioned and is nearly always coupled with Varuna, but beyond the bare occurrence of his name, little is known of him (Rigveda, III, 59)." (Arendzen, J.P. . "Mithraism."

Because of the lack of textual evidence for early Mithraism, there is no way to positively assert that the ideas that seem to correspond to Christianity were ever taught prior to the second century A.D. after all of the Christian texts that make up the New Testament had been in wide-spread circulation. In fact, most scholars take a dim view of that idea. Dr. Edwin Yamauchi dismisses this hypothesis in stating "Those who seek to adduce Mithra as a prototype of the risen Christ ignore the late date for the expansion of Mithraism to the west (cf. M. J. Vermaseren, Mithras, The Secret God, 1963, p. 76)." (Yamauchi, Edwin M. . "Easter: Myth, Hallucination, or History?." March 29, 1974.

In fact, Mithraism seems to change drastically from its Persian roots when it becomes a Roman cult. Romans adapted the military cult into something much more comfortable and understandable for their form of worship. Scholars Beard, North and Price agree stating, "The form of the cult most familiar to us, the initiatory cult, does not seem to derive from Persia at all. It is found first in the west, has no significant resemblance to its supposed Persian 'origins', and seems largely to be a western construct." (Beard, Mary, John North and Simon Price. Religions of Rome Volume I, Cambridge university Press. New York NY. 1998 p.279)

So if any of these religions influenced the other, Christianity influence Mithrism, not the other way around. Because of the above evidence, we must dismiss the claims that Christianity borrowed from Mithraism in order to codify its own set of beliefs. The ancient form of Mithraism would not have looked anything like Christianity. It in fact was a very pagan form of worship. Ronald Nash writes: "Allegations of an early Christian dependence on Mithraism have been rejected on many grounds. Mithraism had no concept of the death and resurrection of its god and no place for any concept of rebirth - at least during its early stages.... During the early stages of the cult, the notion of rebirth would have been foreign to its basic outlook.... Moreover, Mithraism was basically a military cult. Therefore, one must be skeptical about suggestions that it appealed to nonmilitary people like the early Christians." (Yamauchi, loc cit)

Nash goes on to assert that instead of Christianity borrowing form Mithraism, it was the other way around. Mithraism tried to make its pagan rituals look and feel more Christian.
"The taurobolium was a bloody rite associated with the worship of Mithra and of Attis in which a bull was slaughtered on 'a grating over an initiate in a pit below, drenching him with blood. This has been suggested (e.g., by R. Reitzenstein) as the basis of the Christian's redemption by blood and Paul's imagery in Romans 6 of the believer's death and resurrection. Gunter Wagner in his exhaustive study Pauline Baptism and the Pagan Mysteries ( 1963) points out how anachronistic such comparisons are: The taurobolium in the Attis cult is first attested in the time of Antoninus Pius for A.D. 160. As far as we can see at present it only became a personal consecration at the beginning of the third century A.D. The idea of a rebirth through the instrumentality of the taurobolium only emerges in isolated instances towards the end of the fourth century A.D.; it is not originally associated with this blood-bath [p. 266].Indeed, there is inscriptional evidence from the fourth century A.D. that, far from influencing Christianity, those who used the taurobolium were influenced by Christianity." (Nash, Ronald. Mystery Religions of the Near East as quoted in "Mithraism." Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. 1999) So we have evidence from the scholars who have studied the religion of Mithra that the so-called parallels came after the rise of first century Christianity, and hence, it was Mithraism that borrowed from the Bible, not the other way around.

Con puts more trust in modern men trying to reconstruct history hundreds of year later by speculating about the age of ancient bones, over the testimony of an eyewitness who was there. Go figure.

He says the majority of scholars say they don't know who wrote the gospels, but when the majority of historians accept that Jesus existed, he doesn't take their word. Bias? Majorities don't decide truth. I defended based on the rules historians use the reliability of the Gospels as contemporary and eyewitness accounts, to which I have seen no rebuttal. The evidence for Jesus therefore still stands.



While I can concede that Mitras was not the sole inspiration for the Yeshua myth I think there are sufficient similarities to state that Mitras was at least part of the inspiration for the Yeshua story. Some of these similarities are:

Both savior gods
Both active in the same region at the same time
Born of a virgin (yes in some stories he was [1])

I have seen zeitgeist and know the many fallacies and lies used in that film but there are some real predecessors to Yeshua and Mithras is one of them. Also if you want to claim that Christianity borrowed from Mitra then you have some real explaining to do. For instance how come Mitra existed as a fully formed religion 2000 years before the birth of modern Christianity (assuming the birth of modern Christianity to be around 400 AD with the conversion of Constantine) [2]?

Also Zoroastrianism very much teaches about a heaven and a hell after death, in fact Zarathustra invented that whole concept [3].

My Point About Mashiah's

Many of these messiahs very almost identical to how Yeshua was recorded. There are many who are generally considered to be lacking evidence for their very existence and yet we treat this one claimed mashiah (please note this is not a misspelling) differently from all of the others.

Majority of Scholars

Are you disputing that we don't know who wrote the gospels? We can discus that if you want though it scholarly doesn't help your case. The reason I trust the scholarly opinion on the gospels is because I have looked over where that assertion comes from and find the argument reasonable.

How Long Did Jews Live

I consider this my strongest argument and yet pro has not responded to it. Here is what I wrote in round 2: "The evidence I presented last round (that being the average age and the standard deviation) were not based off of the hearsay of a single person but instead off of a number of factors namely genetics, primary testimony and archaeological evidence. Sure there are outliers in any population but those outliers are a fraction of the total population.

Also I'm sure that my opponent accepts that there is a time when you question the legitimacy of a primary source. For instance would my opponent accept a persons word that they fought in the mexican civil war? There is at least one person who fought in it living but that one person is very much the outlier and not the norm. The longest a person could be expected to live is 42 and so when you get past that age you require evidence that can be cross referenced with other earlier testimony and or archaeology."

[1] Kangavar temple inscription Islamic Republic of Iran "Anahita, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of the Lord Mithras"


Debate Round No. 3



I wasn"t able to access Con"s source for these claims that Mithra was born of a virgin, orr was a savior. I would like to see a quote from any ancient text he has access to, along with the name of the professional who translated it, the book title and page number, so I can check it for myself. For I am saying that no such work exists! I dare my opponent to provide it. I bet he hasn"t seen it. All we hear are claims about what ancient people believed, but no actual quotes from the ancients text. I once debated a guy who told me that Jesus" crucifixion was borrowed from the crucifixion of Osiris and Horus, but he could only quote self-proclaimed historians who believe this. Not once did he go back to the ancient source text and give me the actual words to show a parallel. I quoted from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and read directly to him where it says Horus died from a scorpion bite, and Osiris was chopped to pieces by his evil brother Set. None of the two were crucified. And this is the same problem we have right now with my opponent"s argument, and is the reason I made this debate challenge.

We hear people claiming that Jesus" life story was plagiarized from previous myths, but when asked to give us the quotations from the pre-Christian, pagan texts, so we can see the parallels for ourselves, they don"t ever do it. They want us to accept their theory based on modern writers who CLAIM these parallels exist. But they don"t. Show them to me! You can"t!

Yes, Mithrism existed before Christianity, but the only parallels that actually do exist between the two only appear after Christianity came on the scene. So how is it that we have no parallels before the Christian era, but we have them afterwards? Also, Con"s argument that modern Christianity began 400 AD fails because this debate isn"t about modern Christianity with all their new interpretations, but its about whether Jesus existed or not. And the New Testament documents as well as the quotations of the church fathers from those documents predate Constantine by hundreds of years. So before there was a Constantine, the virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection and so forth were already in the Bible.

Furthermore, if we have proof that the 12 apostles were real men who actually existed, then Jesus choosing 12 apostles simply cannot be a myth borrowed from Mithra or anywhere else. The fact is, there were people alive in the second century C.E. who had personally met the apostles.
"Papias describes his way of gathering information in his preface:[7]
I shall not hesitate also to put into ordered form for you, along with the interpretations, everything I learned carefully in the past from the elders and noted down carefully, for the truth of which I vouch. For unlike most people I took no pleasure in those who told many different stories, but only in those who taught the truth. Nor did I take pleasure in those who reported their memory of someone else"s commandments, but only in those who reported their memory of the commandments given by the Lord to the faith and proceeding from the Truth itself. And if by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders arrived, I made enquiries about the words of the elders"what Andrew or Peter had said, or Philip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord"s disciples, and whatever Aristion and John the Elder, the Lord"s disciples, were saying. For I did not think that information from the books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice.
Papias, then, inquired of travelers passing through Hierapolis what the surviving disciples of Jesus and the elders"those who had personally known the Twelve Apostles"were saying. One of these disciples was Aristion, probably bishop of nearby Smyrna,[8] and another was John the Elder, usually identified (despite Eusebius' protest) with John the Evangelist,[9] residing in nearby Ephesus, of whom Papias was a hearer;[2] Papias frequently cited both.[10] From the daughters of Philip, who settled in Hierapolis, Papias learned still other traditions.[11] All this supplemented what Papias could learn from the written Gospels also available to him, and some years after collecting his information, Papias seems to have finally composed his work." Such folks who knew the apostles couldn"t have existed if Jesus choosing the 12 didn"t literally happen.

It doesn"t occur to Pro that Zoroastrianism along with many other world religions teach about heaven and hell because people around the globe have grasped the fact that its true? That such places do exist? No need for borrowing. But the NT didn"t need to borrow from pagan sources because the Jewish OT writings on which the NT writers grew up already taught a heaven and a hell, so there was no need to borrow from pagans. The issue in this debate is Jesus" existence though, not heaven and hell.

My Point About Mashiah's

Con claims that many of these messiahs very almost identical to how Yeshua was recorded, yet he doesn"t give us a single quote from a single ancient text and compare it to a passage in the NT so we can see the parallels for ourselves. He wants us to take his word for it. Or the word of other people!

Majority of Scholars

Con is being biased here. He doesn"t accept the majority of scholars who say Jesus existed, which is the topic of the debate, but accepts the majority of scholars view that the gospels were anonymous, which isn"t the topic of the debate. In fact, he didn"t even respond to my arguments showing how we know who wrote them, and until he does that evidence still stands.

How Long Did Jews Live

"When John was aged, he trained Polycarp who later became Bishop of Smyrna. This was important because Polycarp was able to carry John's message to future generations. Polycarp taught Irenaeus, passing on to him stories about John. In Against Heresies, Irenaeus relates how Polycarp told a story of

" John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within."[41] "

It is traditionally believed that John was the youngest of the apostles and survived them. He is said to have lived to an old age, dying at Ephesus sometime after AD 98."

Tertullian, an early Church Father who wrote just before AD 200 reports the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul. (Tertullian, Scorpiace, 15, in Roberts, Donaldson, and Coxe, eds. and trans., The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325 (Oak Harbor, OR: Logos Research Systems, 1997). Atheist NT scholar Gerd L"demann concludes, "It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus" death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ." (Gerd L"demann, What Really Happened to Jesus? A Historical Approach to the Resurrection, John Bowden, trans. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995), 39, 42) The contemporary biblical critic and skeptic, Bart Ehrman concedes: "We can say with some confidence that some of his disciples claimed to have seen [postmortem] Jesus alive." (Bart Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 200)

Yes, these men who knew Jesus also existed, and the unanimous testimony through the centuries that they wrote the Gospels is irrefutable. Con simply cannot explain how anyone could attempt to put a name to an anonymous work and convince the entire church without multiple other names even arising as suggested authors, as is the usually the case with anonymous material in ancient times. So Con's argument that most Jews didn't live beyond 42 years old still doesn't show that no one could have.

"A remarkable statement mentioned by Diogenes Laertius (c. 250 AD) is the earliest (or at least one of the earliest) references about plausible centenarian longevity given by a scientist, the astronomer Hipparchus of Nicea (c. 185 " c. 120 BC), who, according to the doxographer, was assured that the philosopher Democritus of Abdera (c. 470/460 " c. 370/360 BC) lived 109 years. All other accounts given by the ancients about the age of Democritus appear, without giving any specific age, to agree that the philosopher lived over 100 years. This possibility is likely, given that many ancient Greek philosophers are thought to have lived over the age of 90 (e.g., Xenophanes of Colophon, c. 570/565 " c. 475/470 BC, Pyrrho of Ellis, c. 360 " c. 270 BC, Eratosthenes of Cirene, c. 285 " c. 190 BC, etc.)" So people did live long in those times, and Con can't just assume the Gospel writers didn't.

He doesn't reply to the fact that the Gospels are closer to the events they record than most documents we have from classical historians, nor does he deal with Josephus and Tacitus on the existence of Jesus. Clearly, Jesus Christ did walk the earth. His life was no myth.



Ok I thought that the location of the inscription and a translation of the inscription itself would be enough but fine (by the way this is really easy to find and I'm kind of shocked that you didn't find anything if you even looked at all) [1].

When Does Modern Christianity Arrive?

Yes this is important to the debate as it seems to be the case that the modern religion of Christianity only started to be practiced in a recognisable form with the conversion of Constantine who transformed Christianity into a state religion. During this time there were massive changes made to both the gospels and Christianity as a whole [2]. In fact it was only during the fourth century AD at Constantine's council of Nicaea when basic elements of christianity were decided for instance wether or not Iesous was divine [3] so when we are talking about Christianity we must think of it starting at the beginning of the fourth century BC. This is for the same reasons that we think of Mormonism starting in the early 19th century and not when Mormon apparently carved the record of the Nephites onto gold plates in the fourth century BC.

This is important because it shows that modern Christianity didn't come from Yeshua (at least directly) and it also shows that the gospels are not enterally accurate (due to the numerous revisions at the time).

Was Christianity All Borrowed

You assume I think that Christianity was all borrowed from previous paganism and try to rebut that. In reality my position is that Christianity was influenced by paganism during its formative years (from the second to the fourth century's AD) I think there are sufficient parallels (Mithras, saviour gods, Prometheus, Mashiah's ect) to show that Christianity was certainly not original to one person. Some of it was probably made up around the time of Nicaea and more of it was probably thought up by individuals in the previous several centuries.

Other Mashiah's of the Time

Here is a record of one Mashiah claimant from around the same time according to Josephus (remember I am still not conceding that he is accurate):

"There was also Simon, who had been a slave of king Herod, but in other respects a comely person, of a tall and robust body; he was one that was much superior to others of his order, and had had great things committed to his care. This man was elevated at the disorderly state of things, and was so bold as to put a diadem on his head, while a certain number of the people stood by him, and by them he was declared to be a king, and he thought himself more worthy of that dignity than any one else." "He burnt down the royal palace at Jericho, and plundered what was left in it. He also set fire to many other of the king's houses in several places of the country, utterly destroyed them, and permitted those that were with him to take what was left in them for a prey. He would have done greater things, but care was taken to repress him immediately. [The commander of Herod's infantry] Gratus joined himself to some Roman soldiers, took the forces he had with him, and met Simon. And after a great and a long fight, no small part of those that had come from Peraea (a disordered body of men, fighting rather in a bold than in a skillful manner) were destroyed. Although Simon had saved himself by flying away through a certain valley, Gratus overtook him, and cut off his head."

Again here is Josephus (remember I am still not conceding that he is accurate): "Athronges, a person neither eminent by the dignity of his progenitors, nor for any great wealth he possessed. For he had been a mere shepherd, not known by anybody. But because he was a tall man, and excelled others in the strength of his hands, he was so bold as to set up for king. This man thought it so sweet a thing to do more than ordinary injuries to others, that, although he risked his life, he did not much care if he lost it in so great a design.

He had four brothers, who were tall men themselves, and were believed to be superior to others in the strength of their hands, and thereby were encouraged to aim at great things, and thought that strength of theirs would support them in retaining the kingdom. Each of these ruled over a band of men of their own (for those that got together to them were very numerous). They were every one of them also commanders; but when they came to fight, they were subordinate to him, and fought for him. After he had put a diadem about his head, he assembled a council to debate about what things should be done, and all things were done according to his pleasure. So, this man retained his power a great while; he was also called king, and had nothing to hinder him from doing what he pleased.

Together with his brothers, he slew a great many of both of Roman and of the king's forces, and managed matters with the like hatred to each of them. They fell upon the king's soldiers because of the licentious conduct they had been allowed under Herod's government; and they fell upon the Romans, because of the injuries they had so lately received from them. But in process of time they grew more cruel to all sorts of men, nor could anyone escape from one or other of these seditions, since they slew some out of the hopes of gain, and others from a mere custom of slaying men.

Once, they attacked a Roman company at Emmaus, soldiers who were bringing grain and weapons to the army, and fell upon Arius, the centurion, who commanded the company, and shot forty of the best of his foot soldiers. The other Romans panicked after this slaughter, left their dead behind them, and were saved by Gratus, who came to their assistance with the king's troops that he commanded. Now these four brethren continued the war a long while by such sort of expeditions, and they much grieved the Romans; but they did their own nation also a great deal of mischief.

Afterwards they were subdued; one of them in a fight with Gratus, another with Ptolemy; Herod Archelaus took the eldest of them prisoner; while the last of them was so dejected at the other's misfortune, and saw so plainly that he had no way now left to save himself, his army being worn away with sickness and continual labors, that he also delivered himself up to Archelaus, upon his promise and oath to God to preserve his life. But these things came to pass a good while afterward."

So here are some parallels:

Yeshua: Inner core of followers (we don't know it was 12) Athronges: Inner core of followers.

Yeshua: Vandalised buildings of the established powers Simon: Vandalised buildings of the established powers

Yeshua: Killed by the romans Simon: Killed by the Romans Athronges: Killed by the Romans

Yeshua: Humble beginnings Athronges: Humble beginnings

Yeshua: Claimed (of said to have claimed) mashiah Athronges: Claimed: mashiah Simon: Claimed mashiah

This shows that their were similar mashiah's talked about during the time when the life of Yeshua was recorded.

People Who Met the Apostles

You claim that their were people alive in the second century who had met the apostles? Really? The apostles were probably aged between 20 and 25 when Yeshua died (going with biblical chronology) which would have meant they would have almost certainly died soon after. But even if they lived a normal life by todays standards (several times their life expectancy)
they would have lived to a little past the middle of the first century. So in reality you are claiming that the apostles(or at least some of them) lived several times their life expectancy (quite possibly outliving many of their great grandchildren) and that the chose to pass on what they knew to people who would live equally as long?

You also claim that the gospels show the same story "the unanimous testimony through the centuries". Here is the story of Yeshua's tomb being found open according to Matthew "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”"

And here is John:

"Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

[1] Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies. Manchester U. Press, 1975, p.

[2] McManners Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity p. 37

Debate Round No. 4



I looked at Con"s source which is paper that discusses what Cumont said, but it doesn"t quote from any Mithraic text. Thus, no parallels again that we can see and compare.

When Does Modern Christianity Arrive?

Secular writers of the first two centuries also acknowledged the presence and influence of early Christians in their pagan world. For example, Tacitus, a Roman historian born about 55 C.E., tells of the rumor charging that Nero was the one responsible for burning Rome (64 C.E.), and then says: "Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices [as the Romans viewed matters], whom the crowd styled Christians. . . . First, then, the confessed members of the sect were arrested; next, on their disclosures, vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for hatred of the human race. And derision accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts" skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night." (The Annals, XV, XLIV) Suetonius, another Roman historian, born toward the end of the first century C.E., relates events that occurred during Nero"s reign, saying: "Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.""The Lives of the Caesars (Nero, XVI, 2).

Flavius Josephus, in his Jewish Antiquities (XVIII, 64 [iii, 3]), mentions certain events in the life of Jesus, adding: "And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day [about 93 C.E.] not disappeared." Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia in 111 or 112 C.E., also mentions them in his correspondence with Trajan "The Letters of Pliny, X, XCVI, 3, 5; XCVII, 1.

So Christianity was around long before Constantine. The letters of Paul are addressed to churches already established in Corinth (1 Cor 1:1-2), Rome (Rom 1:7), Galatia (Gal 3:1), Ephesus (Eph 1:1), Philippi (Phil 1:1), Colossae (Colossians 1:1-2) and Thessalonica (1 Thess 1:1). We even have evidence of Christians copying Gospels in Egypt in the 2nd century. The first council of Carthage in Africa was before Constantine, and Christianity was already a well organized faith.

Was Christianity All Borrowed

Con provides no quotes to show any parallels at all between Jesus and pagan gods, so we can reject his claims as unsupported by evidence. Notice also that Con gives a lengthy quote from Josephus, but when asked to give the same for Mithra, he cannot do so, why? The parallels don"t exist.

Other Messiah's of the Time

Con says "Yeshua: Inner core of followers (we don't know it was 12) Athronges: Inner core of followers." What does this prove? All leaders of any movement tend to have an inner core of followers. Selassie I had an inner core of followers, does that mean he didn"t exist and was a myth borrowed from previous messiahs of his time? Pro can"t even show Simon had the same number of inner followers of Jesus, so this isn"t a parallel at all.

Con claims that "Yeshua: Vandalised buildings of the established powers," where in the Gospels does it say Jesus ever did that? He gives no Scripture for this because it doesn"t exist. Pro is making up stories about Jesus to invent his own parallels to Simon.

Yes, both Yeshua and Simon were killed by the Romans, and how does that prove plagiarism? All the thousands of people killed by the Romans, by your own logic, simply didn"t exist and were myths borrowed from pagan religion because you can show they were all killed by the Romans? Con couldn"t even show Simon was killed by crucifixion as Jesus was. This just isn"t a parallel.

He says, "Yeshua: Humble beginnings Athronges: Humble beginnings." So Barrack Obama had humble beginnings. Does that make his life story a myth borrowed from pagan sources? You have to be more specific than that. Huckleberry Finn and Harry Potter both had humble beginnings, but no court of law would charge one author for plagiarizing from the other. Was Athronges born in a manger? Was he born of a virgin? Ws his birth heralded by a star? Now these would have been interesting parallels.

The term messiah was applied to all kinds of people who really did exist, such as Alexander the Great and Cyrus, so the fact that others were called messiah in Jesus" day doesn"t prove he didn"t exist and was borrowed from surrounding religions. He was simply another real person, like Cyrus and Alexander, to whom that title was applied. Sharing the same title is too weak to prove he didn"t exist. Obama shares the same title as all the presidents before him, does this show our beliefs about Obama are shaped by those who preceded him? No, we believe based on what he does now, just as Christians who wrote about Jesus documented what they knew to the case.

People Who Met the Apostles

Con gets the life expectancy of people in the first century from people living today. I get it from people who actually were around in the first and second centuries. The votes will decide for themselves whom they will believe. But even if the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses, the fact remains they are much closer to the time of the events than anyone living today, and the authors of these Gospels are thus in a better position to tell us what happened in history then folks coming 2000 years later, trying to reconstruct what happened. The facts about Jesus would not have magically disappears in just 2 or 3 generations. Certainly people just 50 years after Jesus died were not suddenly fooled into thinking that he did exist, and were so convinced without a shred of evidence, that they were willing to die for this belief.

Con"s final attempt at discrediting the Gospel"s reliability was to compare Matthew 28:1-7 with John 20:11-16. But no contradiction exists between these passages.

Early on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, along with Salome, Joanna, and other women, bring spices to the tomb to treat Jesus" body. En route they say to one another: "Who will roll the stone away from the door of the memorial tomb for us?" But on arriving, they find that an earthquake has occurred and Jehovah"s angel has rolled the stone away. The guards are gone, and the tomb is empty! Matthew 27:57"28:2; Mark 15:42"16:4; Luke 23:50"24:3, 10; John 19:14, 31"20:1; 12:42; Leviticus 23:5-7; Deuteronomy 21:22, 23; Psalm 34:20; Zechariah 12:10.

When the women find Jesus" tomb empty, Mary Magdalene runs off to tell Peter and John. However, the other women evidently remain at the tomb. Soon, an angel appears and invites them inside. Here the women see yet another angel, and one of the angels tells them Jesus was raised and sends them off to report to the disciples. By this time, Mary has found Peter and John, and her report brings them running to the tomb. By this time the women have left, so no one is around. Peter and John inspect the tomb, and return home, but Mary, who came back to the tomb with them, remains. In the meantime, the other women are hurrying to tell the disciples that Jesus has been resurrected, as the angels commanded them to do. While they are running along as fast as they can, Jesus meets them.

Mary Magdalene, who remains behind at the tomb, is overcome by grief. Where could Jesus be? Stooping forward to look into the tomb, she sees the two angels in white, who have reappeared! After conversing with them, she meets Jesus whom she mistakes for the gardener at first. Upon recognizing Jesus, she goes to tell the apostles. Matthew 28:3-15; Mark 16:5-8; Luke 24:4-12; John 20:2-18.

So when properly understood there is no contradiction. Just because John says that Mary went to tomb doesn't mean that ONLY Mary went to the tomb. Its stuff like this that shows how weak my opponent's arguments are.


1) Con has not explained with any plausibility how the NT documents could have been forged and gain universal unanimity regarding who the authors in the early church without even a single dissenting voice, or suggestion of other authors

2) He has not shown how the Gospels could have gained wide acceptance in churches across the Roman Empire before Constantine, unless the church knew who had authored them

3) He hasn't refuted the honesty of the writers in documenting stuff that would be embarrassing to Christians, such as Jesus having limited knowledge thought worshiped as God (Mark 13:32; John 20:28; 1:1-3, 14; Heb 1:1-2, 8-10) and all the apostles abandoning Jesus when the Romans came to arrest him, or even women being the first witnesses of the resurrection at a time when the status of women was very low and their testimony wasn't even accepted as credible.

4) He hasn't given us any impressive parallels to anyone (real or imagined) that predates Jesus.

5) He hasn't addressed the fact that Tacitus and Josephus were early enough to know the historical facts about Jesus. I don't need to be alive in the days of President Kennedy to know he existed. Were Josephus and Tacitus duped? These are generally very good historians.

Unfortunately, I won't get to rebut any new arguments he makes against the evidence I presented. Please keep this in mind when voting.

I thank my opponent for this debate.


A341 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by A341 7 years ago
Sorry, I was away from my computer for a couple of days. Please vote pro but tell me what you though of the argument.
Posted by daley 7 years ago
I never said I don't don't share burden of proof. I began with presenting proof up front for Jesus existence, so keep this in mind when you vote. Also, if Con wants to argue Jesus is a myth, then I'm looking forward to hearing where this myth came from? Was it borrowed from pagans? Was it an outgrowth of Jewish tradition? These are important questions and such theories do exist. I want to see which one Con will defend, or if he has a new theory to present.

Asking him to prove Jesus didn't exist is no different from asking an theist to shoulder some proof for the positive claim that God doesn't exist. He could use the argument from evil, the incoherence of God as having contradictory attributes, the argument that if he did exist we would see more evidence of it than we do see, and why, and the list goes on. So there is plenty he could have argued to show Jesus didn't exist, and he still has more rounds. I don't think I'm asking too much to share BOP.
Posted by Garsot 7 years ago
How can one present an argument and then expect the other person to have the burden of proof. That is an illogical notion. He is the one that is bringing up the question and making the statement, the burden of proof is completely on him.
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
I agree with SNP1. You're too good of a debator to need to control your opponent's arguments like that.
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
I don't understand why you're trying to share BOP here. I personally think this is a topic worthy of 2 debates. You should accept full BOP to prove Jesus's existence and then Con the pagan myth hypothesis and give the BOP to your opponent there.
Posted by Ozzyhead 7 years ago
I so want to take this
Posted by Garsot 7 years ago
Jesus did not exist because that is not even the correct name of the person you are referring to. I like to know why people dismiss the "translation" of the name as okay then want to go ahead and bolster their religions as truth. You would think getting the correct name would be a bit important. If my name was bob and you translated it to steve, I would tell you that is not my name. So why do the religious people of today do that to the person that they are supposed to be following? First example why many religious people are not actually representing the beliefs they talk about.

Secondly, Yeshua, if that is even the right way to spell it, may or may not have existed. Speculative accounts by historical figures is not proof of someone existing. There have been many accounts of big foot sighting but this is easily dismissed as being untrue by a lot of people.

If this person did exist, I doubt he was the non-sinning golden child that he is depicted as. I am sure he was just as "sinful" as everyone else. Also, if he was the son of god, assuming the monotheistic god is true, then his sacrifice wasn't that spectacular since afterwards he would become the right hand man of god and have control over the fate of the living and post-living.
Posted by autodidact 7 years ago
I will not be taking this debate. It is my view that there was a man named Jesus but all the magic was added in afterwards.
Jesus as depicted in the bible did not exist but the story was inspired off of a real man who had 2 human parents.
Posted by daley 7 years ago
SNP1, why don't you just challenge me to that debate, that jesus was not a historical figure?
Posted by Emilirose 7 years ago
My guess is that Vajrasattva knows אפס (zero) about Hebrew.
How exactly does a translation impact the authenticity of something? Not a good argument.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ff a round, so conduct to pro. The rules stated con must prove Jesus DIDN'T exist. This is impossible to do (proving a negative), so arguments to pro (con accepted the challenge).
Vote Placed by 1Credo 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Daley provided much better arguments to support his position that Jesus Christ existed as a historical person. Full points to Pro for better arguments+forfeit by Con.
Vote Placed by republicofdhar 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: I found Pro's arguments hard to grasp but the ones I could seemed logical, so its going to be a tie.

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