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Resolved: Jesus Christ Rose From The Dead

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After 2 votes the winner is ...
Speedrace
Debate details
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Category
Religion
Time for argument
One week
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Open voting
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Two weeks
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Contender
Points: 6
Description
INTRO
I would like to debate whether Jesus Christ was resurrected or not. This debate is NOT about whether Jesus Christ is the Messiah or not; it is only about whether he rose from the dead or not.
-- TOPIC --
Resolved: Jesus Christ Rose From The Dead
-- STRUCTURE --
1. Opening
2. Rebuttals
3. Rebuttals
4. Rebuttals/Close
Rules
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is on Pro; Con's BOP lies in proving Pro wrong. Con may make original arguments if he wants to.
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
11. Violation of any of these rules merits a loss.
(Note: I will be using an evaluation previously used in one of my debates for my first round with a few things added. My opponent has agreed to allow this.)
Round 1
Published:
Jesus, as we all know, was an essential figure in history and was very influential; not only did he start the most famous religion in history, with over 2 billion followers, but our very dates revolve around him.
 
The Bible claims that Jesus rose from the dead. First, allow me to establish the reliability of the New Testament, where this claim is made.
To do this, scholars put together the interpretations we have now to establish what the originals were like. The more copies there are, the easier it is to reconstruct the originals. Another factor is how much time exists between the writing of the originals and the copies. Many documents that we’ve reconstructed with high certainty that they are accurate only have a few copies and can span over thousands of years. An example would be The Jewish War, which only has nine surviving manuscripts dating about four centuries after the originals. As you can see, historians are able to do a good job with this.
 
In comparison, the New Testament FAR outweighs any secular document. The one with the most is Homer’s Iliad with 647 copies. The New Testament has 5,366 separate Greek manuscripts. These were all written within a few hundred years of the originals. As you can see, we can have very high confidence that the New Testament is reliable. [1]
 
Now, having established the reliability of the New Testament, I will look at the various theories used to try to falsify the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I would like to say that the existence of Jesus as well as his crucifixion are facts and are not arguable. Unless my opponent asks me to, it is a waste of time to discuss that. I am focusing on what is debated over, which is the resurrection.
 
1.    The Swoon Theory
2.    The Hallucination Theory
3.    The Conspiracy Theory
 
The Swoon Theory
 
The swoon theory states that Jesus never died on the cross, but simply passed out. Let’s first examine the facts of the situation. We know that Jesus was severely beaten, stabbed, pierced with spikes and nails, was bleeding, and he even had a spear thrust into his side. The possibility that he could have survived this is ludicrous. However, besides that, he would’ve had to wake up, roll the GIANT STONE DOOR over the tomb, not a little bit, but all the way out, and he would have had to do all of that without alerting the guards who were posted outside.
Some people say that the guards fell asleep and that the disciples came and stole the body. However, in those times, a guard could lose their life if they did that, so that is simply not true. And even if they did, they would’ve been awoken by all of the noise.
 
The Hallucination Theory
 
This theory states that the people only hallucinated Jesus appearing to them after he had died. Hallucinations are individual events and cannot spread beyond just one person. Here is a list of all of Jesus’ appearances:
 
Luke 24:39 Jesus’ Own Testimony
Revelation 1:18 Jesus’ Own Testimony
John 20:14-16 Mary Magdalene
Matthew 28:9 The Virgin Mary
Luke 24:34 Peter
Luke 24:13-16 Two Disciples On a Road
John 20:19,20,24 The Disciples (except Thomas)
John 26-28 All of the Disciples
John 21:1,2 Seven Disciples
Matthew 28:16,17 Eleven Disciples
1 Corinthians 15:6 Over 500 people
1 Corinthians 15:7 James
Acts 9:3-5 Saul
Acts 1:3 Saul
 
That is over 10 appearances to over 500 people. Quite obviously, it is impossible for 500 people to hallucinate the same thing. The hallucination theory is false.
 
The Conspiracy Theory
 
This one states that the disciples stole the body themselves and fabricated the entire story. First of all, there are absolutely no records of this ever happening. Second, the accounts of Jesus appearing to over 500 people disprove this. Third, they had Jesus appear to women. Women were not considered reliable in Jewish culture, so if they were to fabricate it, they wouldn’t have included women. Fourth, a lot of the Bible is made up of personal letters that are clearly not meant for the public eye. If this theory were true, the personal letters would indicate the exchange between the people trying to determine the logistics of the whole ordeal, but this is not the case.
 
And, what is perhaps the biggest part of this, is that 10 out of 11 of the Apostles were martyred for their beliefs. Why do that unless they were telling the truth?
 
Finally, no written record has ever been shown to have found the body of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind, it was in the Romans interest to find the body and put down the Christian uprising instantly. However, that never happened.
 
So, as shown, none of the theories about the resurrection of Jesus holds up; except, of course, the fact that he did rise from the dead and appeared to people afterward. [2]
 
Thank you to voters and my opponent for reading this. Over to you! :)
 
Sources
 
[1] https://www.str.org/articles/is-the-new-testament-text-reliable#.XPAzZIhKi00

Published:
I would like to begin by thanking speedrace for challenging me to this debate. I am looking forward to a fruitful dialogue!
 
I. The historical method
 
The role of the historian is to show what most probably happened in the past. We do this by comparing various sources and weighing the reliability of them. Miracles, by definition, are the least probable occurrence. It is nearly impossible for a historian to prove a miraculous event such as the resurrection and miracles of Jesus. Nobody was at the tomb when Jesus rose from the dead and Jesus only appeared to those who were closest to him. 
 
Let’s compare two miraculous events: The Sinai Revelation and the Resurrection. Although historians cannot verify either one of them, one of them is clearly far more credible than the other. When it comes to Sinai, 3,000,000 Israelites heard the voice of God speak at Sinai. This is the fundamental aspect of Judaism. Indeed, Sefer HaChinuckh explains the following:
 
“[W]hen God wanted to give the Torah to His people, Israel, He gave it to them in the eyes of six hundred thousand adult men, besides the many infants and women, that they all be believable witnesses about the things. Also in order that the testimony be stronger and more believable, they all merited prophecy [at that time]. As doubt never develops about that which one knows by way of prophecy. And that is [the meaning of] that which God said to Moshe, "in order that the people hear My speaking to you, and they also believe in you forever" (Exodus 19:9).” 
If God wanted to reveal Jesus as His son, He would have done the same thing as He did at Sinai. Jesus stated the following in Matthew 16:4: “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.”
 
This is commonly seen as a prophecy foretelling of his resurrection, but he never once appears to the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin. So why doesn’t Jesus give them that sign? 
 
Let’s move on to see how credible the gospels are. As historians, we want lots of documents that are mostly consistent with one another. The gospels contradict each other on super basic facts. 
 
II. Contradictions within the resurrection account
 
There are significant contradictions within the resurrection accounts. As historians, we want sources that agree with each other, not sources that are all over the place. Let’s look at some of the most significant contradictions. 
 
A. What time was Jesus crucified?

Mark 15:25 “It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.”

John 19:14 “It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.” 
 
Christian apologists have tried to reconcile this by arguing that Mark is using the Jewish reckoning while John is using the Roman reckoning. This, however, distorts John’s theology. John wants Jesus to be the Passover sacrifice, thus he times Jesus’ death precisely when the Passover lamb was being offered. 
 
B. Had the sun yet risen when the women came to the tomb?
 
Mark 16:2 “Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb”

John 20:1 “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” 
 
C. Where did the disciples see the risen Jesus? 
 
Matthew 28:6-7 “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
 
Acts 1:4 “On one occasion, while he [Jesus] was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” 
 
III. The Gospels are not reliable
 
Let’s look at Matthew. Matthew repeatedly twists the Hebrew Bible to support his views on Jesus. For example, Matthew misquotes Isaiah 7:14 which says “The young woman is with child…and she will call his name Immanuel” while Matthew quotes it  as “A virgin will give birth…and they will call his name Immanuel.” Moreover, Matthew also misquotes Hosea 11:1 which says “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew quotes only the second half of this to make Jesus fulfill a non-existent messianic prophecy. If you are twisting the word of God like that, one must pause to wonder how reliable these sources are. I could list many more issues with the gospels, but this I think will do. 
 
IV. Conclusion
 
The gospels are written by non-Eyewitnesses and are hopelessly contradictory. As historians,  we want sources that are reliable, consistent, and numerous. We do not have this when it comes to the gospels.
 
Over to pro. 

Round 2
Published:
Thank you to Virtuoso for your response!
 
The Historical Method
 
This wasn't really a rebuttal to my points, but rather just a discussion of historical methods. However, there are a couple of things I wanted to respond to.
 
Jesus only appeared to those who were closest to him. 
That's incorrect. Jesus appeared to a crowd of over 500 people in 1 Corinthians 15:6.
 
If God wanted to reveal Jesus as His son, He would have done the same thing as He did at Sinai.
Why is this the case? God is free to act how he chooses to act. And, besides that, Jesus did still appear to a large crowd.
 
This is commonly seen as a prophecy foretelling of his resurrection, but he never once appears to the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin. So why doesn’t Jesus give them that sign?
Well, firstly it could be because they wouldn't have changed their minds. The Pharisees witnessed many of Jesus' miracles first hands and still didn't believe. Also, it's entirely possible that he did appear to them if they were present in the crowd of 500. But, whether or not either of these is correct, that doesn't disprove the resurrection.
 
Contradictions
 
A. What time was Jesus crucified?
 
The evaluation that Mark is using Jewish time and John is using Roman time is correct. We know this because John has used Roman time before, such as in John 1:39. It says the 10th hour was when Jesus was going to speak. In Jewish time, that would be 4 AM, but it would be 10 AM in Roman time, which seems like a much more likely time to preach. I'm not sure where this claim that John wanted Jesus to be the Passover lamb came from.
 
B. Had the sun yet risen when the women came to the tomb?
 
C. Where did the disciples see the risen Jesus? 
 
I'll respond to both of these at the same time. While there are some explanations for both of these, I didn't include them because they aren't satisfactory. The fact is, a couple of contradictions over minute details such as these hardly does anything to refute the resurrection story. In fact, when police question witnesses, if their stories are too similar, the police start to suspect them because it's more likely that they rehearsed it. So, the fact that contradictions like these exist actually helps the credibility of the resurrection story because it significantly reduces the likelihood that they rehearsed their story. Besides that, none of these are contradictions in the important details. How does the time the women went to the tomb affect the actual details of the story? It doesn't. The fact is, different people remember certain situations differently, and as long as that doesn't start to majorly impede the important part of the story, then it really doesn't affect the credibility at all.
 
The Gospels Are Not Reliable
 
Isaiah 7 and Hosea 11
 
For both of these, the problem is perhaps not that Matthew is misquoting scriptures to be prophecies. He seems to do this many times over, and we must ask ourselves if he thought no one would notice, or if he is not trying to make the scriptures into prophecies? Matthew is describing Jesus in the sense that Jesus had to fulfill and almost parody Israel's history. The even crazier thing is that Jesus did! He went through the wilderness, he crossed the Jordan. This type of interpretation is called typology. It is done time and time again in the New Testament, so why wouldn't Matthew do the same? [1]
 
It is wrong to say that these make Matthew an unreliable author.
 
Over to you, Con! :)

Sources
 
[1] http://exegeticalnotes.blogspot.com/2014/04/did-matthew-misquote-isaiah-virgin.html
Published:
Thank you, speedrace, for your rebuttals. In this round, I will be rebutting my opponent’s opening round. With that, let’s begin.
 
I. NT Manuscripts
 
There is no doubt that we have far more fragments of New Testament manuscripts than any other book in the ancient world. That being said, that’s where the good news ends. The NT manuscripts are highly corrupt with scribes significantly altering the text and adding stories to the narrative. One must pause to wonder if the NT is a God-given book, why would scribes deliberately change the text. Here are a few key examples.
 
A. The Adulterous Woman
 
Almost all scholars agree that the adulterous woman did not happen and was a later scribal addition. Christian apologetics site Got Questions argues[1]:
 
“The fact, however, remains that John 7:53—8:11 is not supported by the best manuscript evidence. Thus, there is serious doubt as to whether it should be included in the Bible. Many call for Bible publishers to remove these verses (along with Mark 16:9–20) from the main text and put them in footnotes.”
B. Ending of Mark
 
There are multiple endings to the Gospel of Mark. Most scholars agree that the original ending of Mark 16 ended at v. 8: “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”
 
If this is how it ended, there is no wonder that scribes purposefully altered the text. Got Questions again notes:
 
“These last verses don’t read like Mark’s. There are eighteen words here that are never used anywhere by Mark, and the structure is very different from the familiar structure of his writing. The title “Lord Jesus,” used in verse 19, is never used anywhere else by Mark. Also, the reference to signs in vv. 17-18 doesn’t appear in any of the four Gospels. In no account, post-resurrection of Jesus, is there any discussion of signs like picking up serpents, speaking with tongues, casting out demons, drinking poison, or laying hands on the sick. So, both internally and externally, this is foreign to Mark… Some, or even one, of the early scribes, however, apparently missed the thematic evidence and felt the need to add a more conventional ending.”
C. Did Jesus sweat blood at Gethsemane?

The Gospel of Luke is the only gospel that records Jesus sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. However, this is not in the best manuscripts. Bruce Metzger writes: “These [Luke 22:43–44] verses are absent from some of the oldest and best witnesses, including the majority of the Alexandrian manuscripts. It is striking to note that the earliest witnesses attesting the verses are three Church fathers – Justin, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus – each of whom uses the verses in order to counter Christological views that maintained that Jesus was not a full human who experienced the full range of human sufferings. It may well be that the verses were added to the text for just this reason, in opposition to those who held to a docetic Christology.”[2]
 
D. Luke 22:19– 20
 
This, to me, is one of the most significant interpolations. Luke 22:19-20 reads:  "19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." 
 
The problem is, a significant number of the text omits “which is poured out for you.” This is significant as the idea of Jesus being a vicarious atonement is an idea that develops much later.[3]
 
E. Conclusion
 
The inevitable conclusion is to ask why there are all these variants. While it is true that the majority of textual issues are insignificant and can’t even be translated, there are other variants that are incredibly significant that altar the theology and how you read the text!
 
II. Post-death resurrections
 
Pro lists several people who supposedly saw the risen Christ. Let’s first address the “500” people who “saw” Jesus. This is an easy claim to make up. Indeed, who are these people and how credible are these witnesses? Indeed, if you read the Gospels and the Book of Acts, the only people who see Jesus are his closest followers. If you only had the 4 gospels, you would have thought that Jesus ascended to heaven immediately after those appearances – not 40 days later. Why would Paul make up “500 witnesses”? Easy: To make his arguments for Jesus more compelling. Paul is woefully unreliable and is well known to make up facts and twist the Hebrew Scriptures for his own benefit. Once again, let’s list some examples.
 
A. 1 Corinthians 9:20-22
 
“20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
 
Would you buy a used car from Paul? Paul has no qualms with making himself to all people for the sole purpose of winning them to Christ. Paul rejects the Torah, yet when he is around Jews, he observes the Torah to win the Jews.
 
B. Acts 21
 
I believe this to be the most significant indictment against Paul. In Acts 21, Paul appears before the disciples. It is clear that the disciples do not trust Paul and ask him to undergo a Temple purification ritual.
 
17 When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
 
20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”
 
26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.
Once again, we see 1 Corinthians in play. The disciples did not trust Paul and accused him of preaching against the Torah. Paul himself says that he is not under the Torah, but to win these people over, he sponsors the Nazarite sacrifice. Oddly enough, one of those sacrifices was a sin offering for atonement!!
 
So I ask, would you buy a used car from Paul?
 
Even if I concede that 500 people “saw” Jesus, there is no reason to say that it could not be a mass hallucination. Indeed, in the early 1900s, 70,000 people “saw” the Virgin Mary and the “miracle of the sun.”[4]Indeed, this is not the only case. There are repeated examples of people who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary.[5]
 
Outside of religion, many people claim to have seen aliens, UFOs, and have been abducted by aliens.
 
In courts of law, eyewitness testimony is often the least reliable witnesses and are often cause wrongful convictions. In one case, Kirk Bloodsworth was convicted of rape and murder and convicted on the testimony of 5 eyewitnesses. However, DNA evidence later exonerated him.[6]
 
III. The most probable explanation
 
I want to conclude with what I believe to be the most probable explanation. The story and person of Jesus evolved overtime and grew more fantastic. Christians would tell and retell stories and change details in order to convert people. You see this clearly with the interpolations within the New Testament manuscripts, but it is even clearer when you look at non-canonical writings. For example, here are a few verses from the Infancy Gospel of Jesus[7]
 
II. 1 This little child Jesus when he was five years old was playing at the ford of a brook: and he gathered together the waters that flowed there into pools, and made them straightway clean, and commanded them by his word alone. 2 And having made soft clay, he fashioned thereof twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when he did these things (or made them). And there were also many other little children playing with him.
 
The Gospel of Peter records the cross talking upon Jesus resurrection! This is certainly the result of many decades of evolution.
 
IV. Conclusion
 
The role of the historians is to show what most probably happened in the past. When we take the evidence that we have, the resurrection is the least probable explanation.

 



Round 3
Published:
NT Manuscripts

I will respond to all of these arguments at once.

Yes, it seems as though many of these were added to the original manuscripts, and that fact I won't contest. However, in what way does that disprove the reliability of the New Testament?

First of all, this doesn't prove the Bible to be wrong, it proves later translations and editions to be slighlty altered, which is a fact that we already knew. That is the very reason why we do our best to compare what we read to the original manuscripts!

Second of all, none of the issues mentioned by my opponent contest any significant doctrine in Christianity and therefore show a lack of malice in the intentions of the interpolators.

Third, we know that God wrote the Bible through humans, and that humans make mistakes and have their own agendas. If this was the Qur'an, which is said to have directly been written by God, then there would be a problem. However, this isn't one for Christians and the Bible and certianly doesn't disprove the reliability of the scriptures.

Fourth, the fact that no problems such as these have been found in the resurrection accounts bolsters my arguments even further! We know we have the ability to detect errors and mistakes in the scriptures, yet none such as the ones mentioned by my opponent are in the resurrection accounts (except for supposed "contradictions" which I have already addressed).

Fifth, none of the things mentioned by my opponent change how one reads the Bible as a whole, and it doesn't affect any major Christian teaching at all.

Paul's Reliability

Would you buy a used car from Paul? Paul has no qualms with making himself to all people for the sole purpose of winning them to Christ. Paul rejects the Torah, yet when he is around Jews, he observes the Torah to win the Jews. 
My opponent grossly exaggerates the passage here.

A. 1 Corinthians 9:20-22
 
“20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” 
Did Paul say that "I tell Jews that I am Jewish and I observe the Torah when I am around them"? No. He said, "I became like a Jew." That in no ways implies deception, but rather intelligence and a willingness to teach. In fact, Jewish teachers did this themselves! 

This attitude had formed part of Jewish missionary practice long before Paul. Two Talmudic illustrations of Hillel’s work are relevant: he accepted into the fold a gentile who refused to acknowledge the oral Law, and he accepted another who refused to acknowledge any Law beyond the most fundamental ethical principle. … At the decisive moment of conversion, he fell in with the notions of the applicant and declared himself satisfied with recognition of the written Law or a single, basic moral precept. …
This is something we do today! I am frequently asked to help other students with various problems in my classes, and I adopt a persona akin to theirs so that I can teach them the best I can. Can I explain algebra as someone who already understands it to someone who doesn't? Of course not! However, if I start to think like them to see how hard it is for them, I can then know how to best help them. And even in other times, like with an autistic person, if they like to get on the floor, a teacher or friend or whoever may get on the floor too to interact with them in their environment.

Finally, why would Paul write about this if he was being purposefully deceitful? Wouldn't it make more sense to keep that to himself? Unless he wasn't being deceitful and had nothing to hide.

Simply put, all this shows is that Paul is making an effort not to show dominance over anybody, and to show that he is on the same level as them. However, that in no way shows deceit.

Acts 21

To this, I just say that Paul was trying not to unnecessarily offend the Jews by refusing their customs. Whether or not that was right is a question for another debate, but that still doesn't show malice in Paul, and neither does it show deceit. I will refer you back to what my opponent said:

Paul is woefully unreliable and is well known to make up facts and twist the Hebrew Scriptures for his own benefit
This is not even close to true. Neither of the passages given by my opponent shows Paul twisting scriptures to suit himself. All it shows is that he makes an effort to assimilate himself into different cultures in order to effectively teach to them. However, this in no way shows deceit, and it doesn't show intent to make up stories or lie in the scriptures. This claim is completely unfounded.

Even if I concede that 500 people “saw” Jesus, there is no reason to say that it could not be a mass hallucination. Indeed, in the early 1900s, 70,000 people “saw” the Virgin Mary and the “miracle of the sun.”
Firstly, those 70,000 people did not see the Virgin Mary. That wasn't mentioned anywhere in the source that my opponent cited, so I don't know where that came from. However, the part about "the miracle of the sun" is true. And to that, I ask my opponent, how do you know that they didn't see the miracle of the sun? Even the source that my opponent cites says,

Hume wrote, “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.”

Hume’s test applied to Fatima would be to observe that it is very improbable that 70,000 people could simultaneously be deluded, or simultaneously collude in a mass lie. It is also very improbable that 70,000 people experienced the same hallucination. [2]
It certainly seems as if the 70,000 people saw what they did, so I'm not sure why my opponent cites that as evidence against the 500 people.

Indeed, this is not the only case. There are repeated examples of people who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary.[5]
Many such appearances are to individuals or very small groups of people. That's not near 500.

Outside of religion, many people claim to have seen aliens, UFOs, and have been abducted by aliens. 
Again, a large majority of these are to individuals. One person does not equate to 500.

In courts of law, eyewitness testimony is often the least reliable witnesses and are often cause wrongful convictions. In one case, Kirk Bloodsworth was convicted of rape and murder and convicted on the testimony of 5 eyewitnesses. However, DNA evidence later exonerated him.
Again, a number of 5 witnesses is nowhere near 500.

The most probable explanation

I want to conclude with what I believe to be the most probable explanation. The story and person of Jesus evolved overtime and grew more fantastic.
This is not true. The "evolved" part would imply looking at current scriptures. However, I cited the New Testament, specifically the original manuscripts, as my evidence in the first round. They can't "evolve" because they're literally the originals. That, simply put, is a terrible theory because the resurrection is literally mentioned and stressed in the original documents.

Is the Bible sometimes exaggerated? Yes, of course, and that is to be expected with flawed humans. However, that is precisely why we compare it to the originals to show that those exaggerations aren't true.

The role of the historians is to show what most probably happened in the past. When we take the evidence that we have, the resurrection is the least probable explanation. 
Notice that my opponent didn't talk about any of the resurrection theories that I mentioned in the first round. I debunked all of them, so it seems as if the resurrection is the most probable explanation. As it is already an established fact that Jesus lived and was crucified, I will now ask my opponent what happened to the body of Jesus Christ? It was in the Romans' interest to squash the growing Christian rebellion by simply opening the tomb and parading the body around. However, that never happened, and no records show anyone finding his body. So what happened to it?

Source

Published:
Thank you, speedrace! In this round, I will defend my opening arguments.
 
I. The historical method
 
As I mentioned in the last round, the 500 people seeing the resurrected Jesus is an easy claim to makeup. Indeed, this number appears only in 1 Corinthians. If this actually did happen, it is shocking that it is only mentioned here and not in the Gospels or in the Book of Acts.
 
Next, with regards to the national revelation at Sinai, the national revelation was done so that we will know exactly who God is. Deuteronomy 4:35 states: “You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him, there is no other.” This is why God revealed Himself publicly. God has a track record of doing so. In contrast, nobody was at the tomb when Jesus resurrected. No one actually presents when Jesus rose from the dead!
 
My opponent says that appearing to the Pharisees wouldn’t have changed their minds. Why does my opponent think this? Moreover, even if (and that’s a big if), Jesus actually performed these miracles, Deuteronomy 13 says that false prophets can perform miracles. Moreover, the 1st century was not a time of enlightenment and critical thinking. Indeed, Josephus mentions in Jewish Wars that the region was filled with “cheats and deceivers claiming divine inspiration.”[1]The Talmud also notes miracles that the Rabbis were able to do.
 
II. Contradictions within the resurrection account  
 
A. What time was Jesus crucified?
 
I’m not quite certain where Pro is getting his information from. The 10th hour in Roman time would be 4 in the afternoon (this is the translation that the NIV, NLT, ISV among others use). In Jewish time, “an hour in halacha is calculated by taking the total time of daylight of a particular day, from sunrise until sunset,1 and dividing it into twelve equal parts… For example, on a day when the sun rises at 5 a.m. and sets at 7:30 p.m… The third hour of the day will come to a close at 8:37:30 a.m.”[2]Thus I’m not sure where Pro is getting the information from by saying the 4th hour is 4 am.
 
Finally, with regards to Jesus being the Passover lamb in John, this is repeated time and time again. Let’s take a look at some examples:
 
John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
 
Finally, as mentioned before, John has Jesus’ crucifixion timed exactly at the same time that the Passover lamb was offered.
 
B. Had the sun risen when the women came to the tomb?
C. Where did the disciples see the risen Jesus?
 
Pro essentially admits that these texts are problematic. The ultimate issue here is that all scripture is supposedly given by inspiration of God. How could God let such issues into his text? These contradictions prove my contention that the story of Jesus evolved over time. Did Jesus tell the disciples to stay in Jerusalem or not? This is a huge issue! Galilee to Jerusalem is 182.2 km away. This is a greater distance than from Washington DC to Philadelphia, PA! Both of these events could not have taken place. Either Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem until Shavuot (Pentecost) or he did not. It’s hard to believe that a disciple of Jesus would forget such an important detail!
 
III. The gospels are unreliable
 
I mentioned that Matthew misquotes 2 passages of scripture to apply them to Jesus. While I could have pointed out dozens of passages like that, I only focused on these two. The problem with my opponent’s argument is that they did notice! Matthew was written for a Jewish audience. The knowledgeable Jews who were reading Matthew were quickly able to fact check Matthew and knew right away that he was false. In contrast, Paul was writing to Gentiles who were illiterate and were unable to fact check him. This is why Paul was successful, but Matthew was not.
 
Finally, prophecy is only based on the plain and literal meaning of the text and never “types and shadows.”
 
In the next round, I will continue my rebuttals!
Round 4
Published:
As I mentioned in the last round, the 500 people seeing the resurrected Jesus is an easy claim to makeup. Indeed, this number appears only in 1 Corinthians. If this actually did happen, it is shocking that it is only mentioned here and not in the Gospels or in the Book of Acts. 
Firstly, there is no reason to believe that Paul would make up such a fact. Secondly, some say that Matthew 28 could reference this event:

“The eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted” (Mt 28:16-17).

This was after Jesus had appeared to the eleven, so there is no reason why the eleven would suddenly be doubting. However, it would make sense if this was referring to the same group of 500 people.

Either way, there's no reason to doubt the testimony of the 500.

In contrast, nobody was at the tomb when Jesus resurrected. No one actually presents when Jesus rose from the dead! 
Yet many people saw the tomb open, the body gone, and Jesus appeared to them later.

My opponent says that appearing to the Pharisees wouldn’t have changed their minds.
I never said that. I said it could be because they wouldn't have changed their minds. I never claimed to know this for sure.

Moreover, even if (and that’s a big if), Jesus actually performed these miracles, Deuteronomy 13 says that false prophets can perform miracles.
Deuteronomy 13 also says only to doubt those prophets if they tell you to worship a god that you do not know. Jesus didn't do that.

II. Contradictions within the resurrection account  
 
A. What time was Jesus crucified?

The misinterpretation over time is my bad. However, 4 in the afternoon still seems like a more likely time to preach then 8 in the morning, when people are still groggy. Besides that, my opponent still gave no reason to discredit John using Roman time.

Finally, with regards to Jesus being the Passover lamb in John, this is repeated time and time again. Let’s take a look at some examples:
 
John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 
My opponent says we'll look at "examples," plural, but only mentions one. This isn't proof of anything.

Finally, as mentioned before, John has Jesus’ crucifixion timed exactly at the same time that the Passover lamb was offered. 
So the Roman time of the time John mentioned just so happened to match up EXACTLY with the Jewish time that was said to be when Jesus was crucified? Is that a coincidence? I think not.

B. Had the sun risen when the women came to the tomb?
C. Where did the disciples see the risen Jesus?

Pro essentially admits that these texts are problematic. The ultimate issue here is that all scripture is supposedly given by inspiration of God. How could God let such issues into his text? These contradictions prove my contention that the story of Jesus evolved over time.
No, they do not. The reason why is, if the story's matched up perfectly, the first thing my opponent would do would be to point out that they must be colluding since all of the details are the same. The very fact that some details differ proves that they weren't colluding. Secondly, yes, it was the inspiration of God, but it was still humans writing it down, and humans are fallible. This is not like the Qur'an, which is claimed to have been the direct word of God. If that was the case, such "contradictions" which are not really contradictions would be a problem.

Did Jesus tell the disciples to stay in Jerusalem or not? This is a huge issue! Galilee to Jerusalem is 182.2 km away. This is a greater distance than from Washington DC to Philadelphia, PA! Both of these events could not have taken place. Either Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem until Shavuot (Pentecost) or he did not. It’s hard to believe that a disciple of Jesus would forget such an important detail! 
Allow me to lay it out.

In one scripture, it says that Jesus told the disciples to meet him in Galilee. In another, it says he said to stay in Jerusalem. However, for this to be a contradiction, they must have happened at the same time. The scriptures do not say that they happened at the same time, and therefore, if they happened consecutively in some order, it is no longer a contradiction. The scripture does not say that Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem on the same day that he was resurrected.

I mentioned that Matthew misquotes 2 passages of scripture to apply them to Jesus. While I could have pointed out dozens of passages like that, I only focused on these two. The problem with my opponent’s argument is that they did notice! Matthew was written for a Jewish audience. The knowledgeable Jews who were reading Matthew were quickly able to fact check Matthew and knew right away that he was false.
He can only be "false" if he was purposefully trying to falsify a prophecy. If he was not, as I said in my round, then he could not be "false" in the first place.

Finally, prophecy is only based on the plain and literal meaning of the text and never “types and shadows.” 
Again, as I pointed out, this would not apply if Matthew was not attempting to make a prophecy in the first place, but rather showing how Jesus fit Jewish history.


Conclusion

My opponent and I will be waiving the next round since we only needed 4.

That said, I have clearly outlined the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and shown how the writers of it are reliable and can be fully trusted. The New Testament is reliable, the writers are truthful, and if both of those factors are true, which I have sufficiently shown they are, then there is no doubt that Jesus truly was resurrected.

Thank you to voters for reading this, and thank you to my opponent for an awesome debate!
Forfeited
Round 5
Published:
Waiving, but to Con, please feel free to post the round you were supposed to post last time here
Forfeited
Added:
--> @Wylted
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: Wylted // Mod action: [Not Removed]
>Points Awarded: 1 points to pro for conduct
>Reason for Decision: Con forfeits which merits a loss according to the rules
Reason for Mod Action> this vote is borderline:
Why is it insufficient: The CoC prohibits awarding conduct solely on the forfeit with assessing arguments.
Why is it sufficient: The CoC allows the rules of a debate to be taken into consideration.
What makes it border line: the voter could have awarded three points for the rule violation with an almost identical RFD and it would be okay - as such it seems overly obtuse to remove the vote for awarding fewer points on such a technicality
*******************************************************************
#18
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
What happened? :(
Instigator
#17
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
This was cool :D
Instigator
#16
Added:
--> @Speedrace
Let’s waive
Contender
#15
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Are we waiving the fifth round since I put 4 rounds in the description or do you want to keep going?
Instigator
#14
Added:
--> @Dr.Franklin
.
Doc,
YOUR ONE OF MANY IGNORANT QUOTES: "your an atheist"
First off, I hate correcting your English all the time, you are to use "You're" next time, okay? You can thank me later.
How dare you perceive that I am an Atheist! Who in the hell do you think you are? Just because I know more about our Christian faith than you will ever learn in your lifetime, you don't have to use another EXCUSE to call em an Atheist, understand? I am a TRUE Christian that accepts ALL of the Bible, praise Jesus!
As shown ad infinitum here on DebateArt, you are no more a Christian than the burning in Hell Christopher Hitchens!
.
#13
Added:
--> @Speedrace
Posted!
Contender
#12
Added:
--> @Speedrace
.
Speedrace,
Uh, your silence is deafening to my #4 post to you in this thread. Why? Do you deny what Jesus' inspired words stated about raising the dead, and how common it was within our scriptures?
Shhhhhhhh, Speedrace is hiding from our bible again.
.
#11
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Thanks, dude! I’ll probably post on Saturday
Instigator
#10
Added:
--> @BrotherDThomas
your an atheist
#9
Added:
--> @Speedrace
Posted!
Contender
#8
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
Alrighty, cool, I just started a 8 hour a day/5 day a week summer internship, so I feel the busyness too
Also school is still in for you? Are you in graduate school or something?
Instigator
#7
Added:
--> @Speedrace
I know. Almost done. Working on my homework essay right now. Will get to it tomorrow afternoon (cross finger)
Contender
#6
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
You've got a daaaaaaaaaay
Instigator
#5
Added:
.
Speedrace,
What is the big deal about our Jewish Jesus being raised from the His death, especially when Jesus said to His disciples to raise the dead as they go out and preach the Gospel:
“And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, RAISE THE DEAD, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matthew 10:7-8).
“Your dead shall live; THEIR BODIES SHALL RISE You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19)
Our Jesus also stated that we as TRUE Christians, and if we truly believe, will be able to raise the dead as well by relating to Jesus’ notion of “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing.”
“Very truly I tell you, WHOEVER BELIEVES IN ME WILL DO THE WORKS I HAVE BEEN DOING, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
Therefore, what is the big deal of Jesus’ resurrection other than our faith has no merit if it didn’t happen?
.
#4
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Rule 1 of debate description is no forfeits. Look at last 2 Rounds from Con.
Rule 11 states "Violation of any of these rules merits a loss."
Loss being total.
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Con forfeits which merits a loss according to the rules