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

Theories against the Resurrection of Jesus Christ are incorrect

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,302 times Debate No: 49228
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




First round is acceptance and agreement that Wikipedia is an acceptable and legitimate source.

First round also consists of Con presenting his/her theories that seem to debunk the Resurrection of Christ.


I accept the debate and that wikipedia can be used as a legitimate source (so long as I am allowed to check the sources of the wikipedia article).
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Con, for accepting my debate challenge.

To begin, I would fist like to prove that the tomb of Christ was indeed empty.

The Testimony of Women
The fact that all four Gospels of the New Testament state that women were the first witnesses to the empty tomb is extremely significant for this reason: the testimony of women in Jewish culture at the time was considered less than that of a man's (1). If indeed the narrative of the empty tomb was a lie, then why wouldn't the authors of the Gospels claim that men were the first witnesses, thus providing more credibility to the story? If you wanted people to fall for your lie, then you would want to obtain testimony from sources perceived to be credible!

The Inability of the Jews to Produce a Body
If the disciples of Jesus claimed to have seen Christ come back to life in bodily form, all the Jews would have to do is produce the body of Christ to completely snuff out the Christian religion and any of it's credibility. The fact that they couldn't achieve this simple feat (it would have been something they definitely wanted to do) says that indeed the tomb must have been empty and the Jews could produce the body of Christ.

Also, I would like the refute a few arguments against the Resurrection of Christ.

The Stolen Body hypothesis
The Stolen Body Hypothesis basically says that the reason the tomb of Jesus was empty was because his disciples stole the body in order to fake the resurrection and claim that Jesus was truly the Messiah. My fist argument against this hypothesis is that according to the Gospels themselves, the disciples of Jesus wouldn't have even tried to steal the body because they were fleeing or in hiding (2) and didn't even know that Jesus was supposed to come back to life from the dead (3). But let's assume that the apostles did indeed attempt the feat of stealing the body of Jesus. Considering that there were Roman guards stationed at the tomb of Christ (4), and sleeping on the job was punishable by death, how did the disciples manage to overcome these guards? Also, if the disciples had indeed stolen the body and faked the resurrection, why were they so willing to become victims of martyrdom? It would not be logical to suffer prolonged torture or even death for something you know is completely false.

The Swoon Theory
This theory says that Jesus never actually died but was simply unconscious and managed to escape from inside the tomb (5). If we agree that the description of how Jesus was executed in the New Testament is accurate, it is simply ridiculous to believe that Jesus somehow managed to survive lashings, crucifixion, and having a spear thrust into his chest. Even if he did survive the ordeal, how did he have the power to survive inside the tomb with no food, water, or medical care for a period of three (or maybe a little less) days? And let's assume that yes, he did manage to go without food, water, or medical care after the Romans tried to execute him. How then, in his current state, did he manage to open up the tomb he was in and overpower the guards at his tomb?

I challenge Con to refute the above arguments but also provide other arguments against the Resurrection.

(2) Mark 14:50
(3) John 20:9
(4) Matthew 27:64 - 66



Josephus's work regarding Jesus is widely regarded to be a forgery by a member of the church possibly even after 900 AD, this is because a number of eminent Christians including but not limited to Justin Martyr, Anatolius and Photius (nearly 900 years after the death of Christ) [1] examined the works but failed to mention anything about the quote:

"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned..."

This should be enough to cast doubt on the authenticity of the mentioned passage.


"Also, you seem to claim that although Tacitus mentions Jesus, "Iesus" is only thought to be the Latin for Jesus and therefore he could be referring to a different person."

I am perfectly willing to grant Tacitus is referring to Yeshua. But even so you are talking about someone who was writing around 80 years after the death of Yeshua (by which time Christianity had taken hold), this would be the same as a person writing today talking about person who lived in the 1930's and hadn't been mentioned by historians before.

For what it's worth Iesus was a common enough name and I wouldn't be surprised if more than one person named Iesus was executed by the Romans.

Lack of Eye Witness Accounts

The two accounts you mention (regardless of their accuracy) were not written by people who would have been alive at that time [2] [3] [4]. If you claim that a historical figure existed you must back up your position with contemporary accounts. If a historian today claimed that a certain person not mentioned before died in WW2 (about the right time difference) they would be asked to provide citations from the time. If that same historian claimed that this person had a cultish following (while still not siting any previous accounts) they would be risking their credibility as an academic. But if this same person claimed that this same person was given to the Jews by the Germans for execution (I use this because of the oppression of the Jewish people by Pontius Pilate [5]) and then this same person rose from the dead three days later they would loose all reputation and possibly be asked about counseling.

You have provided two accounts (one seriously doubtful) from decades after the death of Yeshua that account to his existence and have not provided any evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus.

My mistake

"Regarding your claim about people who recorded all cults in the area at the time: you have not provided me with any source for which you can validate your statement."

Sorry about that, this should be enough [6].




[4] (I don't agree with this account but if that's the date Christians will pick then ok)

[5] Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.85-89

[6] Jews, Christians and Jewish Christians In Antiquity, page 202 by James Carleton Paget
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you Con for your thought provoking response.

I would like to repeat the fact that I am only refuting Con's presented arguments against the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am not wholly proving the event.


Con claims that the text that I presented, authored by Josephus, was a forgery, and therefore could not serve as evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ and cited a source to back up his claim. However a closer look at his source reveals that it's goal is only to discount the validity of the Testimonium Flavianum, a reference to Jesus in Josephus's works that is widely held to be a forgery [1]. However, the text that I presented was not part of the Testimonium Flavianum (Book 18, Chapter 3, 3 of the Antiquities of the Jews), but instead was a part of Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities of the Jews, a portion widely held to be authentic by modern scholars. [2]


Con argues that because Tacitus's reference to Christ was written around 80 years after his [Christ's] death and his sources are not cited, his credibility is therefore doubtful. However, scholars argue that Tacitus most likely used sources that are now lost to us and that because of his position as a senator, he would have had access to official Roman documents. It is also considered to be highly uncharacteristic of Tacitus to obtain information for his historical documents from hearsay or gossip [3].

Con states again that Jesus must have been a common enough name that Tacitus could have been referring to a different Jesus. This claim is invalidated by the fact that Tacitus, in the text I presented, used the term "Christus", and not "Iesus." "Christus", is a Roman transliteration (or translation?) of the Greek word "Christ"s", itself a translation of the Hebrew word "Mā""aM17;", meaning "Messiah." [4] He says that this "Christus" was executed by Pontius PIlate. I challenge Con to cast reasonable doubt on the notion that there were many people called "Messiah" who were executed by Pontius Pilate.

Lack of Eyewitnesses

I'd like to refute Con's analogy to the absence of citations by Tacitus and Josephus to the absence of citations by a historian writing about a person who lived before WWII. It is reasonable to assume that we would still have documents preserved in mint condition that eyewitness a person living during WWII. Thus, if a historian does not have such documents, we can reasonably doubt this historian. However, we cannot assume such documents did not exist for Tacitus and Josephus considering that such documents would have been written almost 2000 years ago. Tacitus as a senator would have had access to official Roman documents.

People who Recorded the Cults

I took a look at the book and page you mentioned and couldn't find any reference to such a group of people who recorded all the cults in Judea at the time. The link to that page is below:
(page 202)

As for his argument on the bodies of Christians, I assume Con has either forgotten about it or has found it useless in light of my refutation.




No this works for both mentions of Yahshua, early Christian scholars scanned the works of Josephus many times, they tended to use his works for debates against pagans and would have loved a mention of Yahshua to use against the pagans, however vague.


Pro claims that Tacitus probably sourced his work from previous documents. Obviously this is possible but we still do not have the original documents, just because someone is held in high regard does not mean they do not have to cite sources.

Also saying that Tacitus could have got his information from "hearsay or gossip" doesn't help you in any way, decades old gossip will have moved far from the truth (a bit like a game of telephone).

Many "Messiah's"

Many "Messiah's" existed now and then, many people come to Jerusalem to proclaim themselves the Messiah, this is called the Jerusalem syndrome [1].

Lack of Eyewitnesses

It would also be reasonable to assume Tacitus had mint condition documents but still failed to mention them.

Overall Arguments

A person who never existed cannot be resurrected. The only evidence of the existence of Yahshua comes from (at least) second hand accounts that don't cite any source. This means we have no primary sources for the existence of Yahshua and conclude that evidence of his existence is lacking and therefore a negative is assumed.

Furthermore there is absolutely no evidence for the resurrection of Yahshua and we can conclude it didn't happen.

I urge you to vote Con.

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by A341 7 years ago
I messed up, I have another debate I have challenged you to because I didn't do everything you outlined in clause 1.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Geogeer 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: As Pro has the burden of proof for the debate, Con has shown enough reasonable doubt on the external sources. Con however never contended any of Pros initial four pieces of evidence presented by Pro. It is as if there was a disconnect in the debate. The debate was about the "Theories against the Resurrection of Jesus Christ are incorrect" and only Pro actually argued that point. Points to Pro.

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