The Instigator
TouchtheSky
Pro (for)
The Contender
Apophis66
Con (against)

Was Jesus Christ the son of God?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2018 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 574 times Debate No: 113236
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

TouchtheSky

Pro

I've been currently reading 'The Case for Christ' by Lee Strobel, and have been thinking a lot about the evidence given. I would love to discuss these ideas with other people and hear the other side of the story. I'm sending this out to multiple people whom I've either seen debating the opposing side to this argument, or have debated in the past. You don't have to have read the book to argue this discussion- we'll be basing our debate solely on the question of Jesus' divinity.

Over two thousand years ago, one man showed up and completely changed everything. He reset the whole timeline, convinced millions of people to completely change their lifestyles, and today, practically everyone alive knows his name. Countless times, I have questioned who he is and what he came to do. His whole message, on the surface, seems utterly bizarre, but if proven true, could completely change everything.

Through research and effort, I've come to the conclusion that Jesus was indeed truly God. I am a Christian- I support Christ's teachings and believe that he was sent from heaven to die for humanity. I would love to discuss this with you and hopefully be able to hear your opinions and discuss this kindly and politely together.
Apophis66

Con

Hello Mercy, welcome to the forum. Its very impressive that you are thinking about these philosophical issues at the ripe old age of 13. When I was a little older than you I began questioning my Mormon faith and eventually became an atheist agnostic. I have thought a lot about Mormonism, Christianity, and science a lot and hope that I do a good job sharing the ideas I have developed over the years.

I don't think Jesus is the son of God for several reasons that I will elaborate more on later:
1: Claims of major historical events that have no backing from any outside sources.
2: Conflicting accounts of the discovery of the empty tomb.
3: False interpretation of the old testament to create prophesies for Jesus to fulfill.
4: Jesus's nonsensical heavenly justice system and backwards beliefs in the new testament.
5: Lack of evidence for any supernatural claims and Christianity being one of many supernatural claims out there.

I'd also like to mention that while it is true that Jesus having a big impact on history that doesn't make him God. Genghis Khan went from a poor nomadic outcast to someone who conquered most of the known world but nobody claims he had any divinity.
Debate Round No. 1
TouchtheSky

Pro

Hello, Apophis66, and thank you for accepting this debate. I think it's wonderful that you are trying to question what you believe and use logic to find out the truth for yourself. I'm excited to hear what you have to say. You haven't presented your arguments yet, but I'll start by addressing your points one at a time, and giving my feedback on them. Just so you know, I'm debating this same topic with someone else, and if it seems relevant, I may copy information from there onto this argument.

1. CLAIMS OF MAJOR EVENTS THAT HAVE NO BACKING FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES
Contrary to your claim, there is actually quite a lot of evidence for Jesus outside of the Bible. He is referred to in Josephus' Testamonium Flavinium [1], Pliny the Younger's tenth letter to Emperor Trajan [2], and Tacitus' Annals [3]. Jesus can be found in archeology [4] and secular records [5] [6]. It is false to claim that these major events had no backing from outside sources.

However, we must also consider that, while Jesus' claims were astounding, and his miracles dramatic, Jesus himself came down in the form of an ordinary man. The people had expected a king and a warrior, perhaps someone who would descend from the clouds and prove himself to be the promised Messiah. When Jesus came as a baby, and an ordinary looking human, he didn't draw much attention [7]. However, when we look closely, we see that Jesus fulfilled precisely what the Messiah was and what he was asked to do. For example, it was predicted beforehand that he would not be extraordinarily handsome in appearance, and that he would look like an ordinary man [8]. I'm going to wait until point number three in order to fully dive into this, however.

2. CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE EMPTY TOMB
You are completely right that there are differences within these accounts, but only in the way that the story is told. If there were no differences, we might accuse the authors of collaborating together to form an account of Jesus. But the stories do not actually contradict each other. For example, in John, he says that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb [9], whereas in Matthew, it says that another woman did too [10]. But then you look at the next verse in John [11], you see that Mary uses the pronoun 'we', indicating that others were there with her. It's likely that John only chose to focus on Mary because she was, essentially, the "main character" [12].

3. FALSE INTERPRETATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT TO CREATE PROPHESIES FOR JESUS TO FULFILL
There are over three hundred prophecies given in the Old Testament that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ [13], and the chances of him fulfilling them by coincidence, or even by trying to do what the prophecies said, is nearly impossible. Professor of mathematics, Peter Stoner, calculated that if you were to fill the whole earth with coins 120 feet high, and then select your chances of choosing one of them, it would be about the same as the probability that Jesus could fill all of the prophecies [14].

Here are a few examples:
Micah 5:2 says that he will be born in Bethlehem, and Isaiah 7:14 says that he would be born of a virgin. It says that he will come through Judah (Genesis 49:10), and that he will go to Egypt (Hosea 11:1). He would destroy the devil (Genesis 3:15), and be made lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5-6). He would teach in parables (Psalm 78:1-2), and few would understand (Isaiah 6:9-10). His ministry would begin in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2), and he would be preceded by John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3-4). He would be despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3), but would be praised when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zachariah 9:9). He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zachariah 11:12-13), and would be abandoned (Psalm 31:11). They would kill him (Psalm 31:13), and would cast lots for his clothing (Psalm 22:18). But he would rise again and conquer death forever (Job 19:23-27).

4. JESUS' NONSENSICAL HEAVENLY JUSTICE SYSTEM AND BACKWARDS BELIEFS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
To be honest, I'm really not sure exactly what you are referring to here, so I'm going to need to hear your perspective before I really counter any of it. I do know that Jesus completely changed society's justice system [15], and, through his death on the cross, spared us the need to make sacrifices to atone for our sin [16]. He reversed many Old Testament laws [17], as prophesied [18], and formed a new covenant between God and the people.

5. LACK OF EVIDENCE FOR ANY SUPERNATURAL CLAIMS, AND CHRISTIANITY BEING ONE OF MANY SUPERNATURAL CLAIMS OUT THERE
There are so many reasons why I believe that Christianity is different, but the primary reason has to do with a lot of what I've already discussed. Christ has been prophecied from the beginning, and there is evidence of his existence both in the Bible and outside of it. The chances of him just being a coincidence is virtually impossible. Unlike other religions, Christianity is not based on wishful thinking- we are encouraged to use logic and ask questions to find out the truth for ourselves, and I believe that God has made it available to us [19].

[1] http://people.uncw.edu...
[2] https://reasonabletheology.org...
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org...
[5] https://www.bethinking.org...
[6] http://coldcasechristianity.com...
[7] https://www.ucg.org...
[8] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[9] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[10] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[11] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[12] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[13] http://www.accordingtothescriptures.org...
[14] http://y-jesus.com...
[15] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[16] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[17] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[18] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[19] https://www.biblegateway.com...
Apophis66

Con

Well you certainly had a lot to say about my points before I fully explained them but you did address some of what I had to say. Lets get into the meat of the topic. I don't want to talk about all my points now and will get to them if I can.

1. CLAIMS OF MAJOR EVENTS THAT HAVE NO BACKING FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES

There are a lot of non-Christian sources that refer to Jesus but these were written in the 95 AD to 110 AD time-frame long after Jesus's death around 30 AD and probably got their information from the Christians at the time. You'd think that if Jesus was so controversial, popular, and even attracted the immediate attention of the top levels of government, someone at the time would have written about it.

In addition the New Testament claims that there was a Roman census that forced everyone to move to their birth towns, Herod slaughtered all the children in a major city in the Palestinian province, there was three days of darkness, and the dead rose from their graves and walked into the city, yet nobody from the time bothered to write anything about it.

So the belief that Jesus even existed is itself pretty controversial, but even if we decide the basic fact that Jesus did exist that doesn't come close to verifying any of the details about him like his birthplace, 12 disciples, death on the cross, or rising from the dead. Some of these details might be true but we really don't know for sure because the only source we have are biased sources from the Christian inner circle 50 years later and we mysteriously have no outside accounts of Jesus from before this.

Fulfilled Prophesies

Micah 5:2 says that he will be born in Bethlehem

If you actually read ahead in the chapter it says this ruler will defend the Jewish lands from Assyria and this matches King Hezekiah who successfully staved off the Assyrians. We have no evidence this prophesy was written before the Assyrian attack.

Isaiah 7:14 says that he would be born of a virgin. It says that he will come through Judah

This virgin who was born was mentioned to be born around the Assyrian times and help resolve the Assyrian conflict.

and that he will go to Egypt (Hosea 11:1)

That verse was talking about Israel not Jesus and how Israel was brought out of Egypt.

He would destroy the devil (Genesis 3:15)

That verse makes no such claim. Its about after God finds out Adam and Eve ate the fruit that he is now punishing them.

and be made lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5-6)

That verse is talking about mankind not Jesus and is even using plural tense.

He would teach in parables (Psalm 78:1-2)

The verse says "I will open my mouth in a parable." That singular, just one parable. The writer then continues to make a parable. Doesn't refer to Jesus at all.

and few would understand (Isaiah 6:9-10)

This is talking about the prophet Isaiah and how nobody believed him. At the time nobody listened to the prophets anymore. And the verse says that nobody would believe until the Jews were in ruin which did happen when they were exiled.

His ministry would begin in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2)

The verse just says God will honor Galilee and says nothing about his ministry starting there.

and he would be preceded by John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3-4)

The verse just says that a voice in the desert cries out prepare the way for the lord. Reading the verse in context it seems to be talking about after the return of the Jews from exile to Jerusalem.

He would be despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3)

This verse simply talks about God's servant and how he is despised. The prophets at the time were often killed and despised including Isaiah and there is no evidence that this refers to Jesus. if Jesus is God how can he be his own servant?

but would be praised when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zachariah 9:9)

This verse only says that a king will ride into Jerusalem the capital city victorious on a donkey a common animal they rode back then after winning against the Jewish enemies and breaking their weapons. The chapter then later says that God will appear over them later and refers to him and this king separately. This doesn't match Jesus very much.

He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zachariah 11:12-13)

This is about how Zachariah shepherded a flock of sheep and was paid thirty pieces of silver. There is nothing about Jesus or a betrayal.

and would be abandoned (Psalm 31:11)

This is King David bemoaning that his enemies had contempt for him and his friends and people who see him flee from him. David didn't have a good latter part of his reign and had military defeats, rebellion from his son, and was punished for cheating.

They would kill him (Psalm 31:13),

This is again obviously David talking about how many people were plotting to kill him. No mention of actual killing here.

and would cast lots for his clothing (Psalm 22:18)

Again, this is David and he is giving a very metaphorical complaint to how he is being beaten down by his enemies.

But he would rise again and conquer death forever (Job 19:23-27)

This is Job after he has lost everything and saying that eventually God lives and will stand on the earth. Nothing about rising from the dead.

One thing you have failed to consider is that the writers could have added in details to the story to fit the prophesies. If we shouldn't just believe supernatural claims on faith then why would we blindly accept claims that a prophesy was fulfilled just because a biased source wrote it? Also Jesus may have done some things in order to fulfill vague verses in the bible. Many of these verses are just so vague and are taken out of context or re-interpreted by Christians and the gospels themselves to make them fit Jesus and "prove" he fulfilled prophesies.

Here is a good example of the gospels obviously misinterpreting the bible:
Matthew 2:
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 "A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more."

This is obviously referring to Jeremiah 31:15:
This is what the Lord says:
"A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more."

But if you read the rest of the chapter its about how the Jews are being exiled to Babylon and Ramah was the last city the Jewish captives were stopped at before being sent to Babylon and this city was in the tribe of Benjamin, Rachel's son, and the captives were no more because they were being taken away. In the next verse it even says that to rejoice because they will return.
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Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by rrbb 3 years ago
rrbb
Being Mormon we are taught that Jesus is the son of our Heavenly Father, and he is the only begotten son of our Father.
No, we don't believe that Heavenly Father came down and had sex with Mary and Jesus was born. That is what some of the anti-Mormon critics make claims we believe. They take clips of what was said by one of our leaders and twist things around, and they eventually make it look like we believe this but we really don't. We don't use unofficial statements as our study tools, and we make know claim on that subject.
Posted by nobleislandbag 3 years ago
nobleislandbag
I always hear people say that Jesus was a great prophet or teacher, but say that Jesus was not the Son of God. Yet Jesus's entire message in the Bible was saying that he was God's Son, the Messiah. To say that he was a great teacher and then deny his place as the Christ is contradicting.
Posted by TouchtheSky 3 years ago
TouchtheSky
No, I would say that although the Bible can be a source for our arguments, it should not be our sole source. I disagree with your point about vague and contradicting verses, but we can debate that another time. Until then, I would love to debate this with you!!
Posted by MesserMessesUpEverything 3 years ago
MesserMessesUpEverything
Hello, TouchtheSky! Are we solely going off of the Bible? The only thing is, there are so many vague and contradicting verses in the Bible that you can almost pull out anything. I can give the list of contradictions if you would like, I need a better clarification before accepting. Are you arguing that Jesus was not the son of God, but God himself? Hope to have a fun debate.
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