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Jesus is risen from the dead

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/28/2018 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 458 times Debate No: 113245
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The resurrection was a miracle that showed that Jesus was the Son of God and had conquered death. A miracle must be recognizable, which is possible because it is an event that is very improbable. Resurrection from the dead is an example of this. Even though the prior probability of the resurrection is very low, I am convinced that we can conclude that the resurrection has happened. The reason for that is that the evidence surrounding the resurrection makes any alternative hypothesis even less plausible than the resurrection.

As opening statement I will first describe the source I will use. These sources support four historical events. Based on these four events, I will conclude that the resurrection did probably occur.

The three most important sources I will use, are:

  1. The authentic letters of Paul (ALP);
  2. The “Passion Narrative” in the Gospel of Mark (PNM);
  3. The Gospel and Acts of Luke.

Minor sources are Tacitus, Josephus, three Gospels (by Matthew, John and the Hebrews), the epistle to the Hebrews, First Peter, Revelation, First Clement and Justin Martyr. I will not value these sources more than is done by the majority of the New Testament scholars.

1. The authentic letters of Paul (ALP).

The ALP are written in the 50s of the first century AD by Paul. Paul was a Jew and a persecutor of the christian church (Galatians 1, 1 Corinthians 15, Philippians 3). However, he experienced something he regarded as an appearance of Jesus (Acts 9, 22, 26, Galatians 1, 1 Corinthians 15). Because of that, he became a major proclaimer of the Gospel. He had multiple encounters with the disciples of Jesus (Galatians 1 and 2) and his message was the same as that of these disciples (Galatians 2, 1 Corinthians 15).

2. The “Passion Narrative” in the Gospel of Mark (PNM).

The Gospel of Mark is regarded as the oldest of the four canonical Gospels. Already in the early second century, the church father Papias mentions that Mark wrote a Gospel as the interpreter of Peter. Independently from Papias, Justin Martyr called the Gospel of Mark the “memoirs of Peter”. Richard Bauckham has shown that the contents of the Gospel of Mark fit very well with the idea that he got his information from Peter. There are, however, strong indications that the Passion material (chapters 11, 14-16) goes back to a very old source, written in the 30s or early 40s of the first century. The arguments for that are:

  1. Multiple persons in the PNM are anonymous and make several stories quite weird. The only reasonable explanation for that is that these persons were still punishable (for example, the man that provides a donkey for Jesus, the woman who anoints Jesus, the person by whom Jesus celebrates Passover, the person that draws his sword in Gethsemane, the young man that flees naked in Gethsemane).
  2. The name of the high priest and the function of Pilate are not mentioned. A reasonable explanation for that is that these were very well known in those days.
  3. People are identified by obscure places like Nazareth, Magdala and Arimathea that wouldn’t make sense to anyone outside Palestine.
  4. James the brother of Jesus is called “the younger” to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee. This was only needed when James the son of Zebedee was still alive, i.e., before AD 44.

These arguments point very strong to a very early origin of the PNM and there are still more arguments.

3. The Gospel and Acts of Luke.

Based on the “we-passages” in Acts, we can conclude that the author of Luke-Acts was a companion of Paul. Of course, the other could pretend only to be so, but based on his incredible accuracy in describing places, persons and events, he probably really was a companion of Paul. Luke (the most plausible candidate for authorship) was therefore a friend of the eyewitnesses of the events he describes in Luke-Acts. In particular for the speeches in Acts, he seems to have very ancient sources, as the many semitisms indicate.

These sources support four historical events:

1. Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, then died, and was buried.

The crucifixion of Jesus by Pilate is attested by Tacitus, Josephus, the Gospels (and the PNM) and the ALP. The burial of Jesus is attested by the Gospels (and the PNM) and 1 Corinthians 15.

2. The disciples proclaimed that they saw Jesus alive after his death and that He appeared to them, multiple times, sometimes in groups (and also that the have touched Him and heard Him).

According to 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus appeared to several persons and groups. Luke also mentions that Jesus appeared to multiple groups and persons. He also mentions that Jesus not only was seen, but also spoke to people and ate with the disciples. Paul mentions an appearance of Jesus to himself when he was still a persecutor of the church. James did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, according to the Gospels, but Jesus appeared to him according to 1 Corinthians 15 and the Gospel of the Hebrews.

3. The centre of this proclamation was in Jerusalem and spread from there over the rest of the world.

Jerusalem is regarded as the place of origin of the Gospel in Galatians 1 and 2, Romans 8 and Acts. In the Gospel of Matthew and Justin Martyr we read that the Jews said that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus.

4. The disciples were willing to experience very negative consequences of their proclamation: enmity from the Jews, social exclusion, persecution, suffering and even death.

Of persons who believed they had seen Jesus (two named James, Peter and Paul) we know that they were killed because of their beliefs. The other disciples also suffered greatly because of their proclamation, mentioned in Acts and the ALP. According to the ALP, the epistle to the Hebrews, First Peter, Revelation and Tacitus, also second- and third-generation christians were persecuted for their faith.


No other hypothesis than the resurrection can explain these four events. As an example, I will evaluate the hallucination hypothesis. This hypothesis is very improbable, because of the following reasons:

  1. Paul and James did not believe in Jesus prior to the appearance; they are very bad candidates for a hallucination.
  2. A hallucantion is always experienced individually. Nevertheless, all sources mention multiple occasions in which Jesus was experienced by groups.
  3. A hallucination is almost never multisensory. However, the sources mention that Jesus was not only seen, but also spoke to people and ate with the disciples.
  4. A hallucination would have been recongnized by the disciples as an illusion if they found the tomb still intact.

Even though the resurrection is a priori improbable, every alternative explanation of the historical events mentioned above is even more improbable. Therefore, I conclude that the resurrection was a historical event.

To attack this position, one must show that the sources I rely on are unreliable or that they do not support the historical events I draw my conclusions on.

Debate Round No. 1


That's not very kind. I hope you can bring in some more specific arguments in your forthcoming rebuttals.
Debate Round No. 2


If that's all you have to say, I can conclude my arguments are convincing.


smelly noob
Debate Round No. 3


When weighing the arguments pro and contra, I must conclude that contra has failed to refute my arguments, whereas he has not brought up any arguments against the thesis that Jesus is risen from the dead.


jesus rose from my balls
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by DeletedUser 3 years ago
you are not a noob, and your right...
keep at it!!!
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