The Instigator
DoulosChristos
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)
Anonymous

Jesus of Nazareth certainly existed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2018 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 972 times Debate No: 113653
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (0)

 

DoulosChristos

Pro

Hello all. I would like to debate the topic of the historical existence of Jesus Christ. I understand in the academic world the historicity of Christ is not called into question, except maybe by a few obscure scholars on the fringe. However, the existence of Christ is something that is frequently called into question in the web. Since this is an online forum for debate, I figured I shall dive right into the topic. There are a few rules though.

1. No videos

I simply don't have the desire to watch videos pertaining to my opponents argument. Simply state the case in the box.

2. You must sincerely doubt the existence of Christ.

Although I do believe there is a time and place for "playing" the other side, I would, for this particular debate be more interested in debating someone who is of the genuine position that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist. Also, keep in mind, this particular debate is just in regards to Christ's existence. His Deity and Messiahship I will save for future debates. Round one will be my opponent's opportunity to state why they believe Jesus of Nazareth did not exist, my response will be a rebuttal and a positive case for His existence. My opponent will then have a chance to rebut, so on and so forth.

As always, have fun and be polite.

-Doulous Christou Iesous

Con

*Please forgive me for any grammatical or spelling errors, as this was written on my phone, and debate.irg us not very mobile friendly. Because of this, and I'm incredibly sorry, but I can not write a constructive, so would it be possible that pro could start first. I'll be able to fully debate after this round.*

I agree with the rules set in place. I'd like to add that standard rules apply with for example no new arguments in closing and such.

I fully expect my opponent to defend the historicity of the the character depicted in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles and Revelation, with most of the emphasis likely being upon the gospels and Epistles. With this comes the expectation of a defense of the historicity of his miracles among the likes of walking upon water, raising the dead, transfiguring water into wine, and such. To narrow it down to one, any discussion of the historcity of Christ must include at the very least the resurrection, otherwise Christianity in it of itself is dead. As the Apostle Paul explains "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not." (I Corinthians 15:14-15). This still avoids the debate of divinity and messiahship of which my opponent wishes to save for another day. Otherwise, we're debating over whether a Galliean carpenter exists who was named Yeshua bin Josef, which frankly is an impossible discussion for both me and my opponent as neither of us could use any of the New Testament nor corroborating documents as they would be based upon the the divine miracle worker and not a plain Jesus.

If either the historcity of Jesus as a character or the ressurection and cruxifiction are not sufficiently proved to the point of certainty, as the resolution states, it's safe to say that the motion has been negated.

As under elementary rules of logic, positive claims require positive evidence, and that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed for the very same reason. As my opponent is affirming, he should make it clear exactly what his arguments are and how it proves Jesus' historicity.

I would prefer a free debate in any subject matter related to the resolution, but if my opponent wants to avoid certain topics for simplicity's sake (i.e. avoiding Socratic wisdom and questioning whether anything exists), I'd be fine with that within fair measure.

In sincerely hope for a productive, thought inducing debate and wish the best of luck to everyone involved.
Debate Round No. 1
DoulosChristos

Pro

Thank you to my opponent for accepting this debate, and the well thought out response. I would like to address this first and foremost:

". To narrow it down to one, any discussion of the historcity of Christ must include at the very least the resurrection, otherwise Christianity in it of itself is dead. As the Apostle Paul explains "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not." (I Corinthians 15:14-15). This still avoids the debate of divinity and messiahship of which my opponent wishes to save for another day. Otherwise, we're debating over whether a Galliean carpenter exists who was named Yeshua bin Josef, which frankly is an impossible discussion for both me and my opponent as neither of us could use any of the New Testament nor corroborating documents as they would be based upon the the divine miracle worker and not a plain Jesus.

I would say yes without the Resurrection, there is no Christianity. However, as much as I certainly believe in the Divinity of Christ, for this particular debate, I was not asking for a discussion on whether or not there was a carpenter named Yeshua Ben Josef, I was specifically asking for a debate on whether a carpenter named Yeshua Ben Josef existed and founded the Christian movement. In other words, there are many who circumvent arguments for the Divinity and Messiaship of Christ by simply saying He never existed in history, but was a creation of the church.

And this sole claim is what I seek to dispute. We can and indeed will have discussions on whether or not Christ performed miracles, or whether He rose from the dead, but we need a starting point. Did the Jesus Christ we read about in the New Testament walk the earth? This was my sole question.

Since my opponent has accepted the debate, I would suppose my opponent has agreed to rule number two. If this is the case, the flow of the debate was to state why my opponent doubts the existence of the historical Jesus (which I do believe is the same as the Christ of the New Testament. But again, we need a starting point.)

I will, however, begin by stating two major points that I believe are positive cases for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth (again, keeping in mind this is merely my starting point.)

1. The attestation by secular sources

2. The existence of the Christian religion.

Anyone who is of the belief that Jesus Christ did not exist, would need to come up with an alternative and satisfactory explanation for the existence of Christianity. Occam's razor and simple logic dictates that the Christian religion exists, and therefore needs a founder. The Christian faith says it's Founder is Jesus of Nazareth, Nazareth being a place that exists on Earth. Therefore our existence is tied directly to the existence of Jesus. Anyone disputing this would need to show why this is not the case, and present an alternative theory of Christianity's founding. Since my opponent is yet to, this is all that I can say on this matter.

I would also like to ask, what my opponent thinks of the secular sources which document the existence of Jesus Christ. Such as the reference in the works of Cornelius Tacitus, Josephus, and Lucian of Samosata. Since these three documents attest to a Man named Jesus or Christ who founded the Christian faith.

Con

I came back to this with 6 minutes and 30 seconds left in counting. My rebuttal and case will be in the comment section, since I think this is a great topic and wish to continue it in spite of my timing. I'm sorry, everything will be in the comment section by the end of the day
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
DeletedUser
The website was either having some trouble or just down for me last night. But it is in now. Sorry about that.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
DeletedUser
(con r2 p3) -ness accounts. Respectively, those cited were born in 37 CE, 56 CE, and 125 CE. It's also vital to note the average lifespan ranged around 35 in the Roman Empire when not getting persecuted, meaning it's unlikely any of them got second or even third hand witnesses,as they were multiple generations later. At best they could report on what others told him, which would likely suffer from Bronze Age Telephone. Second, all of your sources are shrouded in controversy of authenticity, and are subject to being a potential/known forgery like Testimonium Flavium. Third, they could have easily just been using Christian sources or authors for the basis for their writing.

Josephus, in Antiquities of the Jews and the Jewish War, writes of Jesus, son of Damneus and high priest, and Jesus of Anninus, someone in the 2cd century, meaning neither apply.

Tacitus in Annals speaks of the Nero"s Great Fire of Rome, with only passing references to a character that christians spoke of.

For these reasons I negate.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
DeletedUser
(con r2 p2) But if any one objects that He was crucified, in this also He is on a par with those reputed sons of Jupiter of yours, who suffered as we have now enumerated.
"

Similar characters with similar experiences as Christ already existed in local religion at the time, and nothing significant truly varies from the grouping. If all those God's were complete and utter myth, why not the one based on them.

C2 Contradictions

May I suggest a challenge. Without excluding a jot nor tittle of the Gospels, compose a completely non contradictory story of what occurred at least in the Easter story. Then do it with the entirety of the Gospels if you could accomplish Easter.

Of course, with human being testimony comes contradiction, it's abound. For example, after a car crash, two witnesses may disagree on details like the license plate number and such. However, at no point would you have people, say disagreeing over what city occurred. Someone has to be wrong. Why not all? When including the non canonical Gospels, there are about 16-30 different stories of the life if Chirst. Modern Bibles only include 4. How do we know those, if any, are correct?

On to rebuttal, there have actually been religions founded without a founder. Among others is the John Frum cargo cukt craeted during WWII. Within 11 years the cukt had made a mythical god man thought to be a real person. So yes, you can very well have a religion without a founder, and Christianity could very well be one

Regardless, there does actually exist other plausible explanations as explained by the likes of David Fitzgerald and Richard Carrier. I am not a student of history, and I"d likely say neither are you, so neither of us really have enough expertise to debate specific alternatives. Yet even if I can"t come up with a viable solution, it is still your burden of proof to prove that your solution is correct.

On to secular sources, there's 3 general objections. First, non were contemporary nor eye wit
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
DeletedUser
(Con r2 p1)Millenia ago, the great figure of Socrates walked the streets of Athens. Or did he? We have no remaining manuscripts nor texts written directly by him, and know only of his works through his apprentice Plato"s dialogues. Because of this, historians have struggled to find any historical basis for the philosopher; with many concluding there is no reason to believe he existed.

Similarly is the case for Jesus of Nazareth, as no reliable attestable sources exist within a reasonable time period after the crucifiction. The canonical gospels were written decades afterwards by non eyewitnesses, of which we can't conclude are actually Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. At no point do the Pauline Epistles testify to a flesh and blood appearance of Christ, as Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus was with a spiritual Christ. For this, and more, I negate the resolution. Resolved: Jesus certainly existed.

As defined in the prior speech, Christ is defined as the character that appears in the New Testament. His existence must be proven to a point of absolute certainty as the resolution clearly states.

On the point of miracles, a Jesus without any sort of miracles doesn't really qualify as a Jesus as he would be a regular guy. I believe we should continue to debate under at least the miracle of the resurrection, but it isn't fundamental.

C1 Mythical Parallels

Similar savior's throughout Mesopotamia and the Middle East already existed upon the birth of Christ. To state some: Chrishna, Horus, Orpheus, Bacchus, Osiris, Dionysus, Buddha, Apollo, Hercules, Adonis, Ormuzd, and Mithras, Indra.

Saint Justin Martyr, founder of idea of martyrdom and apologetics admits the similarities. In the First Apology of Justin, he states, "And if we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation, let this, as said above, be no extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word of God.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
DoulosChristos
@PhiloChristo and 32Doni, since nobody has taken the debate, I would be more than happy to have either of you play along and debate the other side. I think that would be a good learning experience for me
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
32doni32nido32
@SHARINGISCARINGg so true though...

@philchristos I would've done the same if it weren't for rule 2 lol

@backwardseden You don't need to use videos. Instead, you could use your own arguments. YouTube videos also aren't stone cold truth. Come on. This person seemed much more mature than you yet you're calling him a child? Why? Also, why are you making it seem like ADD is the reason you need videos instead of text? I have ADD as well and do just fine reading the debates if I can keep my brain focused long enough. My mind might wander off a few times, but I'm able to reconnect again and resume what I had previously been typing/reading.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
philochristos
I hope you get a good opponent. This is one debate i have yet to play devil's advocate, which I like to do. i was tempted to take it until you said you wanted somebody who actually doesn't think he exists.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
SHARINGISCARINGg
I love how backwardseden is complaining about no videos because he cant come up with excuses without them.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
DoulosChristos
@themasterdebater Interesting, perhaps we shall save this topic for a future debate.

@dsjpk5 Yep, just couldn't deal with over an hour's worth of material from youtube's best quacks.

@"backwardseden" If my opponent does not have the patience to sit down and type out a logical thought out response, and only needs to rely on videos to make their argument, then that's not a debate, it's just propaganda And I've been in over a dozen debates so far, and have never reached the character limit.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
themasterdebater_101
There certainly was a Jesus of Nazareth, but what he did was certainly exacerbated by the Bible.
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