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The Bible is reliable

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 620 times Debate No: 102840
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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I believe the Bible is reliable in that it accurately recorded events as it happened. It's up to Con to present an argument that prove this cannot be true. Please use only one or two examples at most per round.

Examples must preferably prove that God made an error or contradicted Himself. Humans are able to err. History books contain lots of examples where people lied or made a mistake but that do not make the history unreliable.

If more than two arguments are mentioned I will choose which ones I want to answer without any obligation to address the rest.

I hold to a literal interpretation of the Bible in the same way we interpret things literally during normal communication today. In other words, parables, figure of speech, examples, sarcasm etc. has an essential literal interpretation. For this debate, please use the King James Version Bible as reference as support for your arguments.


I will use a historical inaccuracy and contradiction for this debate. We can focus on those two throughout with rebuttals and counter-rebuttals probably going on for some time. As an aside, I greatly dislike the KJV for scholarship, but I'm using it for my opponent. That being said, I had to replace the word for donkey synonymous with one's posterior with as$ in order to get past the profanity filter.

In this debate, I will focus on:

1) What did Jesus ride on into Jerusalem?

2) The lack of evidence for the Exodus

1) What did Jesus ride on into Jerusalem?

This is a fairly simple and non-technical one. What did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on?

Matthew 21.1-11: A colt and a donkey

"And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an as$ tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them... And brought the as$, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon."

Mark 11.1-11: Just a colt

"And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?... And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.

The issue here is pretty clear. In Matthew, Jesus rides in on a donkey and on a colt. In Mark, it's just the colt. But it's more difficult than just that. Perhaps you could say Mark, for whatever reason, was focusing on the colt and just didn't mention the donkey... but there's a problem: the pronouns Jesus uses. Jesus himself uses plural pronouns in Matthew and only singular ones in Mark to refer to the animal(s). That's not just an author focusing on different things... that's changing the words of Jesus. He cannot have used both and singular pronouns at the same time.

2) No evidence for the Exodus

There is, very simply, no evidence to directly collaborate the Exodus story. 1 Kings 6:1 tells us it was built 480 years after the Exodus, putting the date of the Exodus at 1446 BCE. (

But does the evidence for that date match up?


The Decimation of Egypt.
Exodus 12:37–38 says the Israelite population leaving Egypt was 600,000 men alone, besides women and children. So if we do conservative estimates, with 2 kids and one wife, that means there were 2.4 million Israelites leaving Egypt. The problem, however, is that Egypt in total maybe had 3-3.5 million citizens. (Mattis Kantor, 2005, Codex Judaica, p. 70). This means that when Israel left, Egypt's size was reduced to, at best, 1.1 million citizens.

But it gets worse. The plagues clearly killed the cattle, the fish all died, and the crops were ruined. This causes terrible famine. Then, of course, all the firstborn die. We're looking at a loss of life on a monumental scale. As Pharoah's own advisors said before the plagues were even over, "Egypt is destroyed." (Exodus 10:7)

Then, finally, there is the destruction of the entire army of Egypt. In the crossing of the sea, all of the army is destroyed. The pharaoh himself is killed. "there remained not so much as one of them" (Exodus 14:28)

This mas$ive loss of life, the loss of the entire army, and the loss of the entire workforce would be devastating to Egypt. Yet, the pharaoh in 1446 BCE was Thutmose III. His reign was not a time when Egypt was destroyed, it was a time of great expansion. Great building projects were made post-1446 BCE, with what workforce, pray tell? He conquered mas$ive areas in the Levant after 1446 BCE, with what army, pray tell? And how could he if he was dead? (

Simply put, there is no evidence of this large scale destruction occurring. Instead, quite the opposite. This was a period of mas$ive growth and expansion. The Exodus did not occur.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the Debate.

The Donkey Problem

Two people give an account of the same event but do not match each other. There can be multiple reasons why this happened which makes it hard to establish a contradiction. Instead of one or the other being in error, perhaps Mark and Matthew mentions only the information they feel is relevant to what they want to say. What is the use of both of them writing the exact same thing anyway?

1. Two donkeys are mentioned in the one account but it is never said there had to be ONLY one donkey brought to Jesus in the other account.

2. The Donkeys found in Matthew's account was found tied down and loosened and do not contradict anything Mark recounts about a Donkey being tied down and loosened. The only difference is that Mark does not mention the other Donkey.

3. Two writers who give an account of the same event are under no obligation to mention the exact same detail. For example: If I say to Tom and Harry that I want Tom to make me coffee will it be a lie if Jane recounts the story and say I told Tom to make me coffee without mentioning Harry? The answer is no.

4. It is required of you to prove that Matthew and Mark tried to give the exact same account of the same event to establish that they really did change the words of Jesus as you infer. If not then the two writers are therefore entitled to make bona fide selections supporting their account of what was said relative to their intended narrative. Matthew mention what was applicable to both Donkey's and for Mark to mention only what was applicable to one donkey does not contradict the overall story.

5. Deduction can isolate one as intended although two are mentioned. Basically, the prophet said the Messiah would ride in on a Colt and therefore Mark could possibly only have mentioned the Colt because the other Donkey, although mentioned, was irrelevant to him.

My argument is that the different accounts are justifiable based on the writers intentions. The two accounts allows room for harmonization to get an overall picture that is not contradictory.

No evidence for the Exodus

Your argument basically comes down to whether there were enough people left over in Egypt to accomplish certain tasks. My answer is there probably was. I do not agree with your conclusions that the Egyptian race was reduced to such a degree that it was impossible for them to attain anything else.

1. You state Egypt MAYBE had 3.5 million people. Exact numbers eludes us therefore your theory is impaired already.

2. The animals died, the crops were ruined but only the first born of every household was killed. Let's entertain the idea of 2 million Egyptians and 4 members per family (based on your 2 children reasonable assumption). That means that 1 in 4 people were probably killed leaving a population of three fourths in tact.

3. The entire army was not destroyed as you claim. It was the chariot riders and horse riders that were destroyed. There was no mention of the foot soldiers pursuing Israel into the sea and it is also mentioned that the "chosen" captains perished with Pharaoh.

Ex. 14:23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

Ex, 15:4 4 Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
"Chosen" indicates not everyone joined Pharaoh and therefore it cannot be established that in fact the entire army was destroyed.

4. Egypt made use of Slaves to accomplish what they set out to do. This means that a small number of people controlled a vast majority of people to accomplish tasks. Egypt's slave trade spread into many different nations and they obviously had overseers everywhere who was not part of the army that joined Pharaoh. Egypt conquered many nations and would obviously have had many citizens outside of it's borders to oversee its affairs. The plagues were localized to Egypt and would not have affected all the Egyptian citizens and soldiers located outside of the Egyptian borders.


Thanks to my opponent for his response.

What did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on? Counter-rebuttal

My opponent did the exact thing which I expected would occur and that I already addressed in round 1. Essentially, he says that Mark focused on the donkey while Matthew talked about both. The issue is still Jesus' words. What did Jesus say? Did Jesus ask for both? Or just one? In the original account, if it's historical, he said actual words. Were the pronouns in the imperative plural or singular? Or is my opponent suggesting perhaps he commanded for one and then commanded for both a separate time? He can't say singular pronouns and plural pronouns at the same time.

Egypt and the Exodus

1) Issue of population
My opponent seems to miss the point here. 3.5 million is the estimate for ALL of Egypt. ALL inhabitants. Slaves, citizens, foreign residents, EVERYONE. The 3.5 million was actually the highest estimate, I was being nice. Lower ones are more probable. You're looking at about 2.4 million Israelites leaving Egypt. That already brings the population down to 1.1 million at best, the plagues notwithstanding. This was a decimating event, yet Egypt entered its golden age during this period? Absurd.

2) Destruction of the army
This is also where the KJV makes things complicated, so I will go back to the original Hebrew. My opponent says "The entire army was not destroyed as you claim. It was the chariot riders and horse riders that were destroyed. There was no mention of the foot soldiers pursuing Israel into the sea and it is also mentioned that the "chosen" captains perished with Pharaoh."

Yet Exodus 14:9a specifically says "But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army," The word for army here is חָ֫יִל, this word in a war context specifically encompasses all armed forces of a ruler, including chariots and foot soldiers. (

Further, the syntax of the Hebrew in this sentence means that the ENTIRE army was thrown into the sea. All of it. The Hebrew word כָּל means "all" or "every." ( In the construction of verse 9, this "all" expands to the army. Even beyond that, God himself says that the entire army will be destroyed in verse 17.

3) Only the chosen captains died?

Here is, again, where the KJV makes things more difficult than necessary and hindered my opponent's argument. In 15:4 the word used is מִבְחָר, meaning "best," not that they were chosen out of a group of chariots, but that even the best chariots were destroyed along with the rest of the army.

4) Dead Pharaoh?

If Pharaoh died in the Red Sea, as is indicated, then why did Thutmose III live like until 1425 BCE, not dying in 1446 BCE?

5) No alternative evidence

My opponent also never supplied any evidence in favor of the Exodus. Instead, he just used misunderstandings of an Old English word to misrepresent the story and miss the point. No one, not Egyptians enemies not Egypt itself ever mentions the Exodus at any time. I may also add that we have a good amount of records from this time, so you'd think we'd find something...


1) My opponent did exactly as expected for Mark/Matthew. He claims one was focusing on one animal while the other discusses both. If this were all, perhaps it wouldn't be a contradiction. But Jesus's very words change from singular to plural depending on the Gospel. My opponent must address that coherently.

2) My opponent misunderstood the argument against the Exodus which I put forth. The total number of people living in Egypt, including slaves, citizens, and foreign residents, was as best 3.5 million. The loss of the 2.4 million of the Israelite workforce and plagues would have destroyed their country, as Pharoah's advisors admit. Yet Egypt during this entire period entered a golden age, not destruction.

3) My opponent missed the parts in the passage where it specifically says Pharoah's entire army went with him to the Red Sea, and all of them died. This misunderstanding was largely based on the use of an older English word. An understanding of the Hebrew cleared that up.

4) My opponent gave no positive evidence of the Exodus occurring. This is a major, gaping hole of evidence.

I look forward to my opponent's response
Debate Round No. 2


The Donkeys Rebuttal:

You are correct, I did say that it was possible that Mark focused on one Donkey and Matthew on two. I used the word "perhaps" because no one knows why they chose to report the events they did in the way they did. However, my argument as stated is that they are free to report anyway they seem fit and that the two accounts do not contradict each other in the end. In any court of law you will often find that you get two witnesses that recall the same event but do not express it exactly the same. Is someone lying? No not necessarily. The differences in the accounts are actually evidence that the writers truthfully recorded the events as they recount it. However, the two stories are including and excluding information that makes it impossible to qualify the different stories as a contradiction. What the writers actually heard is arbitrary and how they report it was up to their discretion. If there was four different Gospels written exactly the same and included exactly the same material then what is the use of having four?

The issue is not what Jesus said as you claim; it is what the writers reported He said based on their perception of the intended meaning of His words. The two writers reported what they thought is applicable to their narrative. They are under no obligation to report the exact same words. The phenomenon is also known as the Rashomon effect. "The effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it." The Rashomon effect obviously creates problems for those who observe it but it does demonstrate that seemingly contradictory recollections are not necessarily so and that both accounts may be valid and true. In this case, the problem here is that the conclusion you draw is based on your perceptions that relies on a limited amount of information and no clear statements to make either account the ONLY true account without a doubt.

I maintain that the two accounts are plausible and that it was not the intention of the writers to recall the exact same details and that no contradiction can be reasonably be established.

Egypt and the Exodus rebuttal:

I did not miss the point. I pointed out that you use the word "maybe" and now again "estimate" to establish a number for the population. That is speculation and makes your argument improbable unless you can determine factual and actual numbers. I stated that your argument is "impaired" before you even began because of the speculation your argument is based on to determine a population number.

If you have the "original Hebrew" then you have something no one else has had for thousands of years. Perhaps you should have specified which Hebrew you refer to in order for me to rebut it properly.

You stated that there is no evidence for the destruction that occurred not the Exodus. I argued that the destruction that occurred was not as massive as you make it out to be which would substantiate my conclusions rather than yours. I have mentioned that Egypt conquered many nations and flourished in the slave trade. This would require many Egyptians and also soldiers to be located out of Egypt to oversee the said affairs. If you study the conquests in history you will find that the nations who attacked the other ones would sent the majority of their armies to the front and only leave a minority at home. This seriously draws your speculation into question to estimate a total number for the Egyptians alive at the time. You talk about Egypt and estimate a number but what about the rest of the world that they conquered and stationed their armies in and sent their citizens to in order to oversee their affairs? Could it be possible that these expat citizens returned to help rebuilt Egypt? I say yes. Your estimation is partial and do not reflect the true situation of the Egyptian population at the time and therefore your argument is flawed on this basis.

As for evidence for the Exodus: If the account is factual then we would expect to find artefact's of some kind on the bottom of the Red Sea right? There are many different websites that posts photos and even video footage of chariot structures etc. preserved in coral at the bottom of the red Sea. I would say that is evidence for the Exodus.

Thanks for the Debate!


Essentially, my opponent has conceded that Matthew and Mark contradict each other. One claims Jesus says one thing, one says the other, but that's ok. They are each "plausible."

Either Jesus rode on one donkey, or on both. Either he asked for two, or for one. The fact that the writers supposedly had the "Rashomon effect" collaborates this. They're both saying different things. Both are plausible, but both are exclusive to each other.


The fact that an archeologist cannot give exact census-level data does not mean they cannot give data which is accurate.
Egypt had 3-3.5 million inhabitants. I gave the reference. We cannot give an exact number, that is true. But that does not mean that the population wasn't within that range. The manuscripts of the Bible have variants, that doesn't mean the Bible is completely flawed and we can't know what it says.

Even if it was higher, let's give it 5 million, you're looking at a loss of population of over 1/2 and the death of the Pharoah. These are not consistent with what we find. Thutmose III lived long past 1446 BCE, and Egypt entered a golden age. It was not "destroyed" as the Bible says.

Finally, the so-called "archeology" my opponent put forth is not archeology in any sense. It's essentially a faith-based blog, this specific article written by a journalist, not a historian. And the wheels were found by "Bible enthusiasts," not archeologists. It further brings up Ron Wyatt, who also claims to have found the blood of Jesus and that it lacked a Y chromosome. While Wyatt says this makes Jesus born of a virgin, it actually makes Jesus a female. Or, at best, intersex. This is the type of "evidence" that it there. It's non-existent and comes from secondary testimony by fraudulent sources not supported by qualified historians of any kind. It also originally stems from a fake news and satire site. Even Christian sources refute these claims. (
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by kwagga_la 2 years ago
An example of the Rashomon effect:

A sales manager addresses a group of people. He says: people I want you to go out and make a difference. I want you to sell at least 5 cars today."

Salesman 1 recounts the instruction: My boss said he wants me to make a difference and that I must sell at least 5 cars. (Because the same instruction was given to a group its intended meaning was for each individual. Salesman 1 can therefore rightfully claim his boss said that to him without having to mention all the details)

Salesman 2 Recounts the instruction: My boss want me to make a difference. (Salesman 2 omits a lot of detail. What he does mention however is truthful)

Salesman 3 recounts the instruction: My boss wants everyone to sell at least 5 cars. (Did the boss mean everyone as a group must collectively sell 5 cars or did he mean each one in the group must sell 5 cars individually? That is open for interpretation by the listener and plausible however they interpret it because there was no clarification)

All three accounts are valid and true.
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