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The Christian God does not exist

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Thank you, Fruit_Inspector, for accepting this debate!
Topic
The Christian God does not exist
Structure
1. Opening arguments
2. Rebuttals
3. Defense
4. Closing statements
Round 1
Published:
I want to begin by welcoming Fruit_Inspector to the site and thanking you for accepting this challenge! It is a pleasure to be one of your first debate opponents! As the resolution states, I will be arguing against the existence of the Christian God. Best of luck to my opponent!

I. The Argument from Biblical Defects

This syllogism is a modified form of the one written by Theodore Drange in 2006. I am modifying it because it's rather lengthy and I don't want to Gish gallop. [1]

  1. If the God of evangelical Christianity were to exist, then the Bible would be God's only written revelation. 
  2. Thus, if that Deity were to exist, then he would probably see to it that the Bible is perfectly clear and authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship.
  3. Some facts about the Bible are the following:
    1. It contradicts itself in many key places;
    2. It contains failed prophecies; and 
    3. It contains interpolations to the texts
  4. Therefore, the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative, and has the appearance of merely human authorship.
  5. Hence, probably the God of evangelical Christianity does not exist.
I am sure that my opponent will have no trouble accepting premise 1 and 2 as most Christians believe that the Bible is perfect and inerrant; however, when we dig beneath the surface of the Bible, there are some serious blunders that the Bible makes. 

A. It contradicts itself in many key places 

Contradict 1 and 2: What day and what time did Jesus die?

Was Jesus killed before or after the Passover sacrifice? Depends on which Gospel you read. Was Jesus crucified at the 3rd hour or at the 6th hour? Depends on which gospel you read. There is a significant theological impact here. John is portraying Jesus as the Passover lamb. In order to do this, John is having Jesus killed at the exact day and time that the Pascal lamb was sacrificed.


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

12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. (Mark 15:12-16)

“It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.” (John 19:14)

If you compare the events of the last supper, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all clearly state it was the Passover meal. Indeed, we see that Jesus ate the matzah, the cups of wine, and recited Hallel (the hymns that are sung at the Passover seder). John, on the other hand, leaves all of this out. Instead Jesus has an “evening meal” and washes the disciples feet, and eats leavened bread with his disciples. There’s no cups of wine, no hallel, and no "institution of the New Testament claim.” 

This actually has some significant theological implications. John stands alone in claiming that Jesus died before Passover because John's gospel portrays Jesus as being the Passover sacrifice. This is why John's gospel times Jesus to die at the exact same time as the Passover lamb was being slaughtered. 

B. It contains failed prophecies 

Both Isaiah and Ezekiel prophecy that Egypt will be destroyed and the Nile River will be dried up. 

Isaiah 19:5-7
And the waters of the Nile will be dried up, and the river will be parched and dry; and its canal will become foul, and the branches of Egypt's Nile will diminish and dry up, reeds and rushes will rot away. There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile will dry up, be driven away, and be no more.

Ezekiel 29:8-12
...thus says the Lord God..and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste...no foot of man shall pass through it and no foot of beast shall past through it; it shall be uninhabited for forty years. And I will make the city of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated countries; and her cities shall be desolated forty years... I will scatter Egyptian among the nations, and disperse them through the countries.

Both prophets give a timeline when this will take place. Egypt has never been a desolate wasteland and has been continuously inhabited for over 5,000 years. 

C. It contains interpolations into the texts

Interpolation 1: The Pericope Adulterae

There are numerous examples of this, but I will provide only one. The famous story of Jesus and the adulterous woman (known as the Pericope Adulterae) is a well-known example. The internal and manuscript evidence shows that it does not belong in the Bible. Interestingly enough, there are some manuscripts that place this story in the Gospel of Luke [3]! 

Interpolation 2: Ending of Mark

The one above counts both as an interpolation and as a variant; however, the one variant that I want to focus on is the ending of Mark. The ending of Mark is doubtful and dubious. Most scholars agree that the original end to the Gospel of Mark is 16:8 "And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." It is obvious why early Christians would want to change this ending because it blatantly contradicts Matthew and Luke's account that the women immediately ran to tell Jesus' disciples. 

There are two main endings. The most common ending is: 


9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.
12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
While others have:

Then they quickly reported all these instructions to those around Peter. After this, Jesus himself also sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

There are actually some serious theological implications here. If Mark ends at vs 8, then the rest of the Gospel's accounts are clearly contradicted. If the women told no one, then how did everyone else know? Moreover, Mark portrays the women as being afraid while the other Gospels portray the women as being filled with joy. Secondly, vs 9-12 seem to indicate that Jesus' resurrected body was not a physical body he appeared to the disciples in different forms. Finally, there are churches, mainly in the Southern United States, that practices snake handling and deliberately being bitten by venomous snakes to prove their faith. Not surprisingly, this practice kills. [4] 

II. The Christian God is Incoherent 


  1. Anything with contradictory attributes cannot exist
  2. The Christian God has contradictory attributes
  3. Therefore, the God cannot exist.
In philosophy there are several types of entities: (1) actual entities that exist (such as humans, cats, apes, etc.); (2) entities that could exist but do not (such as a fire breathing dragon); and (3) impossible entities that cannot exist due to their contradictory nature (a married bachelor, for example). I contend that the Christian concept of God is utterly and hopelessly incoherent.
 
Subpoint A: All-Knowing vs. All-Powerful
 
God is said to be both all-knowing and all-powerful. This leads us to an absurd contradiction. Since God has perfect knowledge about what will happen in the future, God cannot act in anyway contrary to that perfect knowledge. If I had perfect knowledge about tomorrow, for example, then nothing I can do will change that. Thus, a being with perfect knowledge cannot act freely contradicting the idea of an all-powerful god; indeed, the idea of any being with perfect knowledge negates any possible
 
Subpoint B: The Trinity
 
God is supposedly a trinity of persons (whatever that means) while being one God. This is logically incoherent and incompatible. How can 3 distinct "people" be one God? What does the word "person" even mean in this context? Moreover, if you have 3 persons that are "God," then you have 3 gods, not one! Christians try to get around this by arguing they're of one substance, but what does substance mean? The lack of a coherent concept of God and a coherent definition for God makes the Christian god non existent. 

Published:
Thank you for the welcome and I look forward to discussing this topic with you. I had hoped to take less time to post my first argument, but you seem like an intelligent individual and I did not want to waste your time with sloppy arguments. This ended up being somewhat long, but I think makes a compelling case for the message of the Bible, and thus, the God of the Bible.

1. The Bible is Unique

I will start by summarizing an argument from Josh McDowell on the uniqueness of the Bible (Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, pg. 3-16, 1999):

The Bible was written over about 1,500 years by more than forty authors. It was written on the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe in the languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It contains a variety of literary styles such as poetry, historical narrative, and prophecy. The Bible addresses many controversial issues, yet all of these diverse writers have an amazing degree of harmony. No other book compares in terms of copies distributed or sold. No other book has been translated into more than 2,200 languages as the Bible has. The Bible continues to grow in distribution despite being viciously burned, banned, and outlawed. The Bible has withstood and disproved countless criticisms that have come against it. The Bible is unique in that it gives a large body of predictive prophecies relating to specific people and places that have been found true. While these characteristics do not prove the claims of the Bible, it shows the prominence of it over any other book. and make it worth considering and reading rather than dismissing it as mythology.

2. The Bible is Trustworthy

Next, I want to argue for the authenticity of the claims of the Bible. I will put forward some quotations that make bold assertions that should be easily refuted if they are untrue. The Bible has the best manuscript evidence of any ancient writing. There are nearly 25,000 total manuscripts of the New Testament, of which about 5,700 are in the original Greek.

“It must be said that the amount of time between the original composition and the next surviving manuscript is far less for the New Testament than for any other work in Greek literature…Although there are certainly differences in many of the New Testament manuscripts, not one fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading” (David S. Dockery, Foundations for Biblical Interpretation, pg. 182, 1994.)

This quote shows the difficulty zealots would have had in altering religious texts in different languages centuries after Christ's death:

“The earliest versions of the New Testament were prepared by missionaries to assist in the propagation of the Christian faith among peoples whose native tongue was Syriac, Latin, or Coptic.” (Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, pg. 67,1992)

This quote references the extra-biblical writings of the early church fathers:

“These quotations are so extensive that the New Testament could virtually be reconstructed from them without the use of New Testament manuscripts.” (Harold J. Greenlee, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, pg. 54, 1977.)

Keep in mind that lack of archaeological evidence does not disprove biblical events or places:

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.” (Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert: History of Negev, pg. 31, 1959)

As an historical document, I don’t believe it is possible to refute the authenticity of the Bible. Rather, one would have to come up with Dan Brown-level conspiracy theories to undermine the text. I think that historical records, archaeology, and textual criticism can clearly attest to the confidence we can have that the text of the Bible has been accurately preserved. If not, then we would have to reject any ancient text for being unreliable.

3. The Bible is Exclusively True

Lastly, I will argue for the preference of the Bible over any other religious or non-religious system. If two truths contradict each other, both cannot be true. For example, Christianity claims that Jesus is the eternal and uncreated God. This contradicts Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and atheism to name a few worldviews. Jesus cannot both be God and not be God at the same time. If the claims of Christianity are true, other worldviews must be in error.

A. The Bible is True Because it Contains the Highest Standard of Objective Morality

The Ten Commandments alone would be enough to revolutionize a society for the better if everyone adhered to them. Let’s just look at a few:

“You shall not steal.” I think the benefit of this command to a society is pretty self-explanatory, but I will say that I wouldn’t mind saving $20 by not needing a deadbolt on my door.

“You shall not murder.” The nation mourns every time we receive news of a mass shooting because of the tragic loss of life. I believe this shows that people long for a society where no one is wrongfully killed. Yet, this concept is primarily a biblical one when combined with a standard of justice that also enacts the death penalty for particularly evil acts. Humanism and pacifist religions cannot provide this same standard.

“You shall not commit adultery.” This one is significant given the sexual revolution in America. According to the Bible’s standard, sex is prohibited outside of marriage to one person. Polygamy is condemned in the Old Testament, even if God allowed it to happen. Jesus prohibits us from even lusting after another person because it shows our desire to commit adultery (Mat. 5:28). If sex only happened between married couples, a few results would ensue.
STD’s would virtually disappear.
Abortion would significantly diminish. Abortion has turned into a common form of reactive birth control for unwanted pregnancies. If children were not conceived outside of wedlock, it would be a much less prevalent issue strictly from the perspective of this one command.
The sex trafficking industry that we detest would disappear. If men did not lust after women outside of marriage, there would be zero demand for the women being trafficked and the industry would completely die off.

The only systems that can propose morals like these as objectively good require God, and there is one that stands out from all the rest: Christianity as found in the Bible. In an atheistic worldview, there can be no objective morality because what is “good,” whether actions or outcomes, is subject to human opinion. What is good to one person or society may be completely different than what another views as good. I do not see any secular ethical framework that can act as the arbiter between two competing views of “good.” It would then become dependent on who has the bigger stick.

B. The Bible Gives a Diagnosis for the Problem with the World

Not only does God’s perfect standard of morality show us how we should live, it also shows us the state of the immaterial part of humans. This verse shows the duality of material and immaterial (outward appearance/heart):

“…For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

This verse makes clear that humans are inclined toward evil because there is something actually wrong with us in our heart (or our internal and immaterial thoughts, emotions, and will).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

The Bible shows that man has an immaterial side and it is inclined toward evil. If you are convinced of man’s basic goodness, try parading around as a homosexual in the Middle East, or claim to be a Christian in pretty much any other country and you will experience the “moral uprightness” inherent to mankind.

But let’s briefly do some self-examination to see if we are in fact good as individuals. If you have stolen anything in your life, no matter how small, you are a thief. If you have told a lie, you have willingly deceived someone and you are a liar. If you are married and have looked at someone with lust, you have definitively expressed your desire to commit adultery against your spouse. If you have watched pornography, you have willingly participated in an industry that primarily subjugates women while you have found pleasure in abominations such as rape, incest, bestiality, and homosexuality. Have you failed any of these tests? I know I have.

“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, murder, theft, adultery,” (Mark 7:21)

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)

C. The Bible Provides a Cure for our Diagnosis

The real problem of evil that Christianity faces is not how a good and just God can allow evil to happen in the world. The real problem that needs an answer is how a good and just God can allow evil people into heaven instead of punishing them in hell. The basic gospel message that the Bible teaches is that our sin demands the punishment of hell. But, Jesus took the punishment on Himself by paying the penalty we deserved. This is the message that runs through both the Old and New Testament:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

Conclusion:

I believe that the uniqueness and reliability of the Bible, and the accuracy with which it describes humanity are some of the most compelling evidences for the God who revealed these truths to us. While other religious and non-religious systems mirror some of the principles of the Bible, they do not provide as high a standard of morality that the Bible gives, an accurate diagnosis of the spiritual state of mankind, nor the solution to the problem of coming judgment.








Round 2
Published:
Thank you for your response. I can tell that this is going to be a great debate and that you will be a quality addition to the site.
 
I. The uniqueness of the Bible
 
There are several fallacies that are rooted in this argument. The first two, and most glaring are the appeal to accomplishment and the appeal to tradition. Just because it is old and survived does not make it true. The third fallacy is the cherry-picking fallacy. I can point to numerous ways in which the Qur’an or Baghavad Gita are unique. Indeed, the Baghavad Gita is much older than the Bible and survived far longer.
 
With regards to prophecy, I’ve already shown that there are failed prophecies in the Bible, namely with regards to Egypt. However, the messianic prophecies that point to Jesus are either: (1) nonexistent; (2) not even a prophecy; (3) taken out of context; or (4) based on a mistranslation. I have shown this pretty well in my debates “Is Jesus the Messiah” and “Is Jesus the Promised Jewish Messiah?” [1].
 
II. The Bible is Trustworthy
 
The first thing to note is that there are a lot of contradictions and hugely problematic textual variations within the New Testament. I think I conclusively demonstrated that in my opening speech, but I think I want to dive a bit deeper here. Let’s first look at evidence that we do NOT have:
 
  • We do NOT have any writings by Jesus;
  • We do NOT have any writings by Paul before he became a Christian;
  • We have NO evidence of Paul outside the Bible – including the Jewish Talmud. You’d think that if Paul was a “pharisee of Pharisees” and a “student of Gamaliel” that he would be at least mentioned in the Talmud;
  • There is NO records of Jesus anywhere in the Talmud;
  • There are no early manuscripts;
  • The gospels are not written by eye-witnesses; and
  • There is no evidence for some of the fantastical claims in the Gospels such as the Zombies of Matthew.
These lines of evidence are hugely important and would provide strong evidence for the New Testament. 2 of the Gospels (Mark and Luke) are explicitly written by non-eyewitnesses. Matthew, who claims to be an eyewitness, copies extensively from Mark, who is a non-eyewitness. Moreover, the disciples are said to be illiterate and were Aramaic-speaking Jews. This begs the question: Why were the Gospels written in Greek? It is clear that whoever wrote the Gospels were highly literate Greek-speaking Christians.
 
When one examines the evidence, it is clear that there are a number of forgeries in the New Testament.
 
As the story of Jesus evolved, details were added and changed in order to attract people to convert to Christianity. There’s a huge body of apocryphal literature that shows how wildly different these teachings were. In the Gospel of Peter, for example, there is a vivid account of the resurrection:


“When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders, for they too were close by keeping guard. And as they declared what things they had seen, again they saw three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them. And the heads of the two reached to heaven, but the head of him who was led by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, You have preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yes.” [3] 

Acts states that John was illiterate (Acts 4:13) yet both books ascribed to them are composed in a highly skilled form of Greek. On John 3:16, Bart Ehrman notes in his book Misquoting Jesus [4]:

Since Jesus was a Jew who lived in first century Palestine, any tradition about him has to fit in his own his- Liar, Lunatic, or Lord? Finding the Historical Jesus context to be plausible. Lots of our later Gospels—written in the third or fourth century, in other parts of the world—say things about Jesus that do not make sense in his own context. These things can be eliminated as historically implausible. But there are implausibilities even in our four canonical Gospels. In the Gospel of John, chapter 3, Jesus has a famous conversation with Nicodemus in which he says, “You must be born again.” The Greek word translated “again” actually has two meanings: it can mean not only “a second time” but also “from above.” Whenever it is used elsewhere in John, it means “from above” (John 19:11, 23). That is what Jesus appears to mean in John 3 when he speaks with Nicodemus: a person must be born from above in order to have eternal life in heaven above. Nicodemus misunderstands, though, and thinks Jesus intends the other meaning of the word, that he has to be born a second time. “How can I crawl back into my mother’s womb?” he asks, out of some frustration. Jesus corrects him: he is not talking about a second physical birth, but a heavenly birth, from above.

This conversation with Nicodemus is predicated on the circumstance that a certain Greek word has two meanings (a double entendre). Absent the double entendre, the conversation makes little sense. The problem is this: Jesus and this Jewish leader in Jerusalem would not have been speaking Greek, but Aramaic. But the Aramaic word for “from above” does not also mean “second time.” This is a double entendre that works only in Greek. So it looks as though this conversation could not have happened—at least not as it is described in the Gospel of John

Thus we are reasonable to conclude that John did not write the Gospel of John.

 
This is a sampling of the huge amounts of problems when we thoroughly examine the New Testament.
 
III. The Bible is Exclusively True
 
A. Moral Standards
 
This is an argument from authority fallacy and also engages in cherry-picking. There are numerous passages in the Bible that we would find abhorrent today. For example:
 
·      Psalm 137:9, “Happy is he who takes and kills your infants against the stone.”
·      Exodus 21:17, “Whoever dishonors his father or his mother shall be put to death.”
·      Exodus 21:20-21, “If a man strikes his male slave or his female slave with a staff so that he or she dies as a result of the blow, he will surely be punished. However, if the injured servant survives one or two days, the owner will not be punished, for he has suffered the loss.
·      Numbers 31:17-18, “Now therefore kill every boy, and kill every woman who has had sexual intercourse with a man. But all the young women who have not had sexual intercourse with a man will be yours.”
 
Moreover, every culture bans murder and theft regardless of the Bible and the Code of Hammurabi banned adultery and punished it with drowning [5]. These commandments are not unique to the Bible.
 
B/C. Diagnosis/Cure
 
I really don’t understand pro’s argument here. With regards to Isaiah 53, I proved in the first debate cited that Isaiah 53 isn’t talking about Jesus, but about Israel. That is another prophecy taken completely out of context.
 
Over to you!
 
Sources
1. https://www.debateart.com/debates/741/is-jesus-the-messiah
2. https://www.debateart.com/debates/436/is-jesus-the-promised-jewish-messiah
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Peter
4. Ehrman, B. Misquoting Jesus p. 154-155
5. https://www.britannica.com/topic/adultery
 

Published:

I. The Argument from Biblical Defects
 
I don’t think I have any issues with the syllogism presented here.
 
A. It contradicts itself in many key places
 
Jesus died on Friday, Nisan 15, at 3:00 pm. No contradictions necessary.

Oh, you wanted more of an explanation? Ok...

“As you dig into this history a little bit…the Galileans, that’s the northern people, and the Pharisees, counted the day from sunrise to sunrise, the day of Passover.  Whereas the Judean and Sadducees counted it from sunset to sunset…The Mishnah, which is the codification of Jewish law, tells us that.”
(John MacArthur, timestamp-49:52, link)

Here is a summary of the sermon above starting at 39:49: Galilean Jews (which would include Jesus and the 11 disciples who weren’t backstabbing douchebags) began their Passover celebration on Thursday at sunrise. They would sacrifice their lamb between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, then eat their Passover meal shortly after that on Thursday evening. However, the Judean Passover began at sundown on Thursday, sacrifices happened between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon (when Jesus died), and their Passover meal was eaten Friday evening. Thus, He ate the Galilean Passover meal on Thursday evening to institute the Lord’s Supper, and died during the Judean Passover sacrifices on Friday to act as the sacrificial Passover lamb (see also link, pg. 87-88).

Thus, John’s account does not contradict the other writers. He clearly shows he is talking about the same Passover meal. Omittance of a clarifying detail is not the same as the denial of it. As for the time issue, Romans had a different way of telling time and if you use that system, John’s time matches up perfectly; that seems like too strong of a correlation to brush off as mere coincidence.

B. It contains failed prophecies

To conclude that these were failed prophecies, you would have to conclusively show that the predicted event(s) over any 40-year period never happened after the prophecy. A few notes about these prophecies:

These were made directly to Egypt and so only applies to Egyptians, not foreigners. The word for “beasts” is almost exclusively used for domesticated animals such as cattle (link, see also Eze. 32:13 “…hoofs of beasts”, implies animals such as cattle) The prophecy does not require a complete desolation where not a single person or animal resided in the land. Similar prophecies were made about the Babylonian exile of the Jews, yet 2 Kings 25:12 clearly states some of the poorest people were left behind to tend the land while the rest of the populace was exiled. The Nile would also not have to completely dry up, just experience severe drought. Isaiah 19:8 specifically mentions the frustration of fishermen casting their hooks into the river without success. How could they fish if all the water was gone? It would not make sense to require absolute fulfillment of the poetic judgments (no people, no animals, no water). You would just have to see a Babylonian conquest and a drought that caused extreme devastation.

The best guess we have on when the prophecy was fulfilled is King Nebuchadnezzar’s attack on Egypt in 568 BC (link, see page 187-188, view with free account). The only significant record I can find of that time comes from Herodotus. What seems apparent is that Apries was somehow replaced by Amasis as pharaoh of Egypt in 570 BC. Herodotus briefly records that the reign of Amasis was relatively peaceful. Although, Herodotus is also known to show some bias, particularly toward the propaganda-fueled records of the Egyptians (link, see page 40, section c). Josephus records a conflicting account that King Neb invaded Egypt, plundered it, and placed Amasis as king (link, Josephus, Antiquities, Book 10, Chapter 10, Line 7). There has also been evidence that drought may have been devastated Egypt around this time:

“But Lecuyer and his colleagues also found a jump in aridity before the downfall of Egypt in the 6th century B.C. during the Late Period, when it was conquered by Alexander the Great.”(link)

Given the small amount of information we have, and the conflicting nature of the two sources referring to this period, isn’t it at least quite possible that King Neb invaded Egypt, killed many, exiled many, and left a few Egyptians in the rubble? Could Herodotus, who came around years later, have naively recorded what the biased Egyptians told him? I don’t think there is enough evidence to conclusively say the prophecy failed.

C. It contains interpolations into the texts

“There are numerous examples of this, but I will provide only one.”

This statement is highly misleading because it implies there are many more major interpolations in addition to the two provided. I will ask my opponent to clarify or to address this question in defense of this claim: Can you identify any other interpolations that are more than two verses in length?

Any Bible worth reading makes a clear note of these variants and brackets them off to show they are most likely not part of the original manuscripts. It seems the only reason those two passages remain in the main text rather than being moved to the footnotes is for tradition. Publishers can make that decision for themselves. Not only do we clearly note this, the passages are not a hinge for any major doctrine, nor do they contradict any. The overwhelming amount of accuracy from the rest of the tens of thousands of manuscripts support the Bible’s authenticity over these two relatively insignificant variants. With this statement about variants applying to both of the interpolations presented, I will address each individually.

Interpolation 1: The Pericope Adulterae

It is interesting to note that even the textual bridge troll Bart Ehrman acknowledges that a version of this story likely happened because of its preservation in the Didascalia (link). It just doesn’t belong in the Bible. That being said, Can you name a major Christian doctrine that the inclusion or exclusion of this passage would affect and how it would be affected?

Interpolation 2: Ending of Mark

“Moreover, Mark portrays the women as being afraid while the other Gospels portray the women as being filled with joy.”

On what evidence did you base this claim that Mark portrays the women as fearful in contradiction with the other gospels? Almost every translation of Matthew 28:8 clearly records that the women were filled “with fear and great joy.” Luke does not record any emotions, fear or joy, after the angels spoke to them, but he does say they were terrified when the angels appeared. John also does not record any emotions. This assertion is found to be untrue just by reading of the text.

“If the women told no one, then how did everyone else know?”

This verse does not say how long they didn’t tell anyone. Even the phrase “they said nothing” is in the aorist tense in the original language (somewhat similar to our past tense), which makes clear it was not a continuous silence. They started talking again at some point. What if they just didn’t talk to anyone on the way back to the disciples and then told them? Remember, the omission of a detail is not a denial of it.

“Secondly, vs 9-12 seem to indicate that Jesus' resurrected body was not a physical body he appeared to the disciples in different forms.”

On what basis do you make the claim that appearing in a different “form” (Grk. morphe) should be interpreted as Jesus not having a physical body? The appearance to Mary Magdalene in verse 9 mirrors John 20:15 where Jesus appeared as a gardener. The appearance in verse 12 mirrors Luke 24:15-16 where Jesus appeared to them, but He veiled His appearance so they did not recognize Him. I notice you did not include the appearance in verse 14, which mirrors Luke 24:36-43 where Jesus ate food before them, and John 20:19-25 where “doubting Thomas” referenced needing to touch Jesus before believing He was raised; Jesus later appeared and allowed Thomas to touch His wounds in John 20:27. Also, if Jesus did not have a physical resurrection, where did His physical body go (Mark 16:6)?

In reference to churches practicing snake-handling, these are Pentecostal churches; the ones you mentioned that partake in this activity are a fringe of even that movement, thus an even smaller fringe of Christianity. First of all, we have acknowledged that this passage is most likely not inspired and does not belong in the Bible. If they decide to ignore the newer, more reliable manuscripts found in the 1930’s, that’s up to them. But, even if a person holds that it is inspired, this practice violates the command of not testing God (Mat. 4:5-7; Deut. 6:16) so it would still be unbiblical.

II. The Christian God is Incoherent
Our ability to rationalize something does not determine if it exists. Nor can we just reason our way to certain conclusions and allow them to determine reality. You are basing the existence of God on one seeming contradiction that you have reasoned to by creating a logical impossibility. This is similar to Zeno’s Dichotomy paradox. Should we conclude it is impossible to walk anywhere because we always have to reach a halfway point? We both know that would be ridiculous.

As far as God being All-Knowing and All-Powerful, it is not a contradiction at all. God is All-Powerful so He determined what would happen tomorrow and causes it to come about. Your claim seems to assume a timeline that has already been set by something other than God. Tomorrow only exists because God created it, as well as time itself. If tomorrow happened any other way than He intended, He would not be All-Powerful. If tomorrow happened any other way than He knew it would (because He caused it), He would not be All-Knowing, nor All-Powerful because something happened that He did not cause. Rather than being mutually exclusive, the two are interdependent.

As for the Trinity, I am including a link that provides a very succinct answer to your questions. I would be happy to expand on any particular point if this seems like a cop-out, perhaps in the defense portion or even in the comments, but I am already running out of sp


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--> @Fruit_Inspector
Thank you.
Instigator
#3
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--> @Virtuoso
I realized I made a mistake on one of my links for sources in Section B of my response:
"The best guess we have on when the prophecy was fulfilled is King Nebuchadnezzar’s attack on Egypt in 568 BC (https://www.jstor.org/stable/27927044?read-now=1&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents, see page 187-188, view with free account)"
This is the correct link to the article I meant to cite. My apologies.
Contender
#2
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oooh this gonna be good
#1
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