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The Christian God does not exist

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Virtuoso
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Description
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


Round 3
Published:
I. Argument from Biblical Defects

My opponent concedes the validity of the argument, thus if P3 is sound, then the conclusion necessarily follows. Let's recap:

  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.
Even if only 1 of the 3 facts are true, then the conclusion follows necessarily. 

A. Contradictions

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

My opponent completely ignores the issue of John's Christology as Jesus being the perfect Pascal Offering. Please extend this issue across the board. Consequently, it is highly doubtful that John decided to use Roman time while the other Gospel's used Jewish reckoning especially when we consider that Mark [1] was written by a Roman. Why did he decide to use Jewish reckoning while John, who was Jewish, chose to use Roman reckoning? Moreover, as I already mentioned in the opening round, John's Gospel portrays events significantly differently than the other Gospels do because the Last Supper in John's Gospel was not a Passover meal. My opponent fails to adequately address this.

B. Failed Prophecies 

The overwhelming archaeological and historical evidence provides no traces of an Egyptian desolation or diaspora. The burden of proof is on you to show that it did happen. Again, let's look at the actual verses


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.

There are several parts of these prophecies all highlighted in bold. My opponent's admission on the lack of sources is quite striking: If Egypt had become a desolate wasteland for 40 years, we should expect sources on this from all of the surrounding areas. Finally, my opponent's attempt to change the meaning of the verses simply fails. The text does not say that there will simply be a drought, but it explicitly states that the Nile will be completely dried up. Even if I accept con's definition of Beasts, there is no record that Egyptian domestic cattle was wiped out. 

C. Interpolations into the text

My opponent asks if I can find other interpolations. Of course I can. The most obvious being the Comma Johanneum in 1 John 5:7-8 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." The "these three are one" has long been recognized as a pious fraud in an attempt to show the doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament.  Luke Wayne from CARM.org concludes [2]:

As we have seen, the Greek manuscript tradition is unanimously against the inclusion of the Comma Johanneum. So are the majority of the earliest translations. The Latin tradition from which the Comma comes down to us contains quite a few unique examples of added interpolations and expansions of the text, making it difficult to argue for the originality of a reading that is found almost exclusively in the Latin. Finally, most of the so-called citations of the Comma in the early church fathers are just special pleading based on strained parallels. The few that might be legitimate are all, again, in the Latin tradition, and thus only confirm the situation presented to us by the manuscripts. All in all, there is little reason to accept the Comma Johanneum as the authentic, inspired words of John, which is why the majority of modern translations (just as the majority of ancient translations) do not include those words.

If con is looking for an issue that affects theology, this is certainly one of them! Moreover, even if they have no significant theological impact (whatever that means), premise 4 and 5 are proven to be sound. 

Con's correct to note that most good Bible's bracket these parts out. But if the Bible was the word of God, it would be "perfectly clear and authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship." Interpolations into the texts, especially those of pious frauds like the Comma Johanneum shows that Christians had no problem adding to the text to suit their theological needs. This is a far cry from the Word of God!  Now let's get to the other two issues that I brought up.

A. Pericope Adulterae

It's interesting that my opponent brings up Bart Ehrman and calls him "textual bridge troll." However, a closer look at Ehrman shows that he also agrees that it was not original. In his book Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman writes [3]:

Despite the brilliance of the story, its captivating quality, and its inherent intrigue, there is one other enormous problem that it poses. As it turns out, it was not originally in the Gospel of John. In fact, it was not originally part of any of the Gospels. It was added by later scribes. How do we know this? In fact, scholars who work on the manuscript tradition have no doubts about this particular case. Later in this book we will be examining in greater depth the kinds of evidence that scholars adduce for making judgments of this sort. Here I can simply point out a few basic facts that have proved convincing to nearly all  scholars of every persuasion: the story is not found in our oldest and  best manuscripts of the Gospel of John; 18 its writing style is very different from what we find in the rest of John (including the stories im­mediately before and after); and it includes a large number of words  and phrases that are otherwise alien to the Gospel. The conclusion is  unavoidable: this passage was not originally part of the Gospel.
Finally, my opponent IGNORES all the evidence that I brought forth in the opening round. Please extend this argument across the board. As for the theological impact? See my response above. Just for fun, here's even more evidence that this story could not have happened. Any learned Jew who knows the Torah would already know the answer to the question "who should cast the first stone." The answer is so glaringly obvious: The first person to throw the stone is one of the two witnesses necessary for execution. The second stone is thrown by the other witness, and then the rest of the "congregation of Israel" joins with them, assuming the person isn't already dead. [4] 


B. Ending of Mark

My opponent effectively concedes that this is not original. See my response above.  

II. The Christian God is Incoherent

A. All-Powerful vs. All-Knowing

I don't understand your solution here at all. God already knows the future, so he is unable to do anything to change that. Thus if an all-knowing God exists, he is not free to do things like create a universe. Since he already knew he would create a universe, then he had no free choice in that matter. That's the argument at hand. 

B. Trinity

I am debating you, not your link. Please provide an actual argument. 



Sources and Notes
1. Interestingly enough, the name Mark means "consecrated to the god Mars." Mark was one of the most common Roman names. 
3. Ehrman, B. Misquoting Jesus p. 64-65
4. See Mishnah Sanhedrian chapter 6 for a full discussion on the types of executions

Published:
I. The uniqueness of the Bible

I never claimed the uniqueness of the Bible proved it to be true, nor does my argument hinge on this point. Quite the opposite, I just said that it gave the Bible merit to be seriously considered. The general point was that an objective argument could be made that the Bible is quite literally the most popular book in the entire world. That actually seems like an accomplishment worth appealing to.

I would respectfully point out that my opponent rightfully refused to debate an outside source, so I will exercise that same refusal regarding previous debates on prophecy. There were only two passages provided talking about Egypt, and my rebuttal round provides direct references from historical records that show the likelihood of those events. I also argued that we cannot rip out a few verses in the English translation while ignoring the original languages and surrounding context.

Due to limited space, I am not going to address the topic of messianic prophecies since that was not part of my argument. Since I did claim there were fulfilled prophecies, let me point out just a few popular examples:

  • Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would be king of Persia and that he would be instrumental in reconstructing the Temple many years before by Isaiah. Both of these predictions came to pass (Isa. 44:28; Ezra 1:1-2).
  • The accuracy in which Daniel portrays the future empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome in chapters 8 and 11 is also hard to deny. In fact, I would argue the only defense against the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecies would be to claim that the book was written after these events happened. However, I do not believe this defense holds up.

II. The Bible is Trustworthy

The first four points are illogical pieces of evidence to even look for because they likely never existed, nor would they have reason to be preserved. We don’t need writings from Jesus because we have the biographical accounts from eyewitnesses that include direct quotations of His teachings. There would be no reason to include Jesus in the Talmud since mentioning Him would not contribute to the purpose of commenting on their understanding of Jewish law.

There would be no point in preserving any pre-Christian writings of Paul by Christians because they would not contribute to the Bible. There would also be no reason for the Jews to preserve any possible writings of Paul in the Talmud, which came well after his time; why would they want the writings of someone they considered a heretic and apostate?

The gospels are recorded eyewitness testimonies, even if they aren’t directly written by the eyewitness. Mark was in close relationship with Peter (the eyewitness) and recorded under his supervision. In the same way, Luke was in close relationship with Paul (also an eyewitness) and specifically states that he carefully recorded eyewitness testimonies that were not his own (Luke 1:1-2). There was no substantiation given to the claim that Matthew copied Mark, and there is no good reason to believe it was just a copy rather than the actual testimony of Matthew, who was an eyewitness. There are similarities but there are also many differences, including unique perspectives not found in Mark. Perhaps the similarities are there because they are telling the same story about the same person.

The apocryphal literature has no reason to be considered part of the Bible, nor does it influence any fundamental Christian doctrine, thus it has no place in this debate. Premise 1 of your syllogism clearly identifies the Bible as God’s only written revelation.

Acts 4:13 does not specifically say “illiterate,” and most English translations do not use this word. The word can also mean unlearned or unschooled and is likely the more accurate rendering of the Greek. Coming from the Jewish religious leaders, they probably meant the disciples were not formally educated as those in the Jewish council were. But even if we assume John was illiterate, how do we know he didn’t use a scribe to record his gospel? He wasn’t strictly writing to Jews so it would make sense for him to write in the common language, Koine Greek, to reach a larger audience. Also consider that John’s gospel was likely written around 50 years after these events took place. I learned basic Greek grammar in six months. Even if he couldn’t write at the time, 50 years is a long time to figure it out.

III. The Bible is Exclusively True
A. Moral Standards

My point was not that everyone finds all the moral standards of the Bible appealing; many people do not find monogamy to be an appealing choice, yet I think I provided good examples of the benefit it would have on society. Rather, my conclusion was that the Bible, as a whole, is a superior moral standard than any secular or religious system.

God showed the seriousness of certain offenses with the death penalty. Cursing your mother and father was one such offense because it was a direct violation of God’s clear command in Exodus 20:12. In Exodus 21:20-21 the owner is clearly being punished for acting wrongfully in both cases. The passages from Psalms and Numbers are references to specific events of God’s judgment on specific wicked people and should not be taken as normative moral principles.

“There are numerous passages in the Bible that we would find abhorrent today.”

I don’t find these passages abhorrent after studying their context to avoid a superficial reading of the text. By what standard do you consider these abhorrent? The Midianites in Numbers 31 were wicked people who were judged by God. America executes wicked people. America goes to war with wicked people. But for some reason, when wicked people die in the Bible, people find it “abhorrent” by some undefined moral standard. Is it abhorrent that God used Israel to kill Canaanites who were burning their babies alive as an offering to Molech? I find little issue with the death penalty being carried out for rapists and child-murderers.

“Moreover, every culture bans murder and theft regardless of the Bible and the Code of Hammurabi banned adultery and punished it with drowning.”

Every culture does not ban murder and theft. One need only look to the reign of leaders such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot to see this. Or one could look to the violent practices of South American empires such as the Maya, Aztec, and Inca. American Indians were also known for their brutality, especially toward opposing tribes. Or we could look to the subjugation of women and non-Muslims that is found in Sharia Law. Honor killings are also quite prevalent today in the Middle East and South Asia. I would also mention that Christians, along with other religious groups, are constantly persecuted around the world today, often by their governments. I think these examples are sufficient to show that many cultures and societies have abhorrent standards of morality regarding such things as murder and theft.

I should also point out that you have appealed to ancient Babylon as an example of morality - murdering, raping, pillaging, back-stabbing, enslaving ancient Babylon. The Code of Hammurabi is a poor standard overall. Even the condemnation of adultery was really only applied to women rather than men. Also, punishment was dependent on a person’s rank in society. Some people were considered to be of inherently less value and were not given equal justice. Poor people were usually on the short end of this deal. Should monetary wealth determine how justice is exercised? Not according to the Bible. Getting one moral precept right does not make a system inherently moral or good. You have still not provided another moral standard that, as a whole, is superior to the Bible. Perhaps a better way to approach this would be to ask, what moral standard do you hold to? How do you judge right from wrong?

B. Diagnosis

My point here is that the Bible accurately describes the spiritual state of mankind. I believe that a duality of material and immaterial components is the most accurate view of humanity given our thoughts, will, emotions, etc. The Bible teaches this duality, as well as our inclination toward evil as I explained. My argument is that the Bible gives the most accurate portrayal of the human condition.

C. Cure

As stated earlier, I will refrain from debating external sources. Thus, I don’t think it is appropriate to assume that Isaiah 53 has been proven to be speaking of Israel based on previous debates, and then forcing me to disprove it. However, the Bible is filled with references to the message of salvation outside this text and other messianic prophecies (Ecc. 7:20, Eze. 18:4; 36:25-27). If the Bible’s portrayal of God and humanity is accurate, then the necessity of salvation as a free gift from God must follow. This sets Christianity apart from basically every other belief system which, in essence, require you to have a religious experience and be a good person; this is only a slight generalization. The Bible claims you cannot be good enough to earn God’s favor, thus a Messiah is required to act as a mediator between God and man. The issue of sin must be dealt with, and the Temple sacrificial system is only a temporary, insufficient solution. My reason for including this brief overview is that most of the world claims some religious affiliation, and many people have some sort of belief in an afterlife. It would make sense then to argue for the superiority and exclusivity of Christianity in debating the existence of the Christian God.

An Additional Point:

As far as the Trinity, I think the best way to explain is to describe what is clear. Christians believe in one God. We are not polytheists. We do not see the Father, Son, and Spirit as three distinct people that would be three different gods. Rather, we hold to the biblical teaching that they are three distinct personalities that are all equally God. While it is a complex and difficult subject, I would refer back to my argument that our ability to rationalize something does not necessarily determine its existence. I can’t rationalize how a person could like having a cat, yet cat-owners still exist!

Round 4
Published:
I want to thank my opponent for this great debate. I had a wonderful time and I hope you did too. I really have nothing to add in the closing round. I'll simply summarize my main arguments and turn it over to the voters. 

I. Summary of my main arguments

My main argument is the argument from Biblical Defects:

  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.

My opponent accepts the validity of this statement. What makes this argument strong is that even if one of the three facts is correct, the argument is still sound. For example, if only point 3 is true, then we get:


  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 contains interpolations to the texts
  4. Therefore, the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative, and has the appearance of merely human authorship.

This is important because my opponent concedes that there are at least some major interpolations into the text. One must pause to wonder, if the Bible is truly God's word, why would the Church feel the need to add to the text and make up stories that did not and could not have happened? Moreover, my opponent's response to the contradictions and failed prophecies are very weak indeed. 

I have only 30 minutes left, otherwise I'd have made a longer post, but I now turn it over to the voters and ask for a vote for pro. Thank you. 
Published:
I will also thank Virtuoso for a challenging and respectful debate. It has been great to address these important issues in this format.

I think it would be fair to say that if only one single fact makes the argument valid, it would have to be:
 
     1.       A major contradiction with no logical explanation;
     2.       A prophecy that can be clearly proven to have failed; or
     3.       A major interpolation that seriously impacts the teachings of Scripture

I say this because I don’t think that the argument should come down to a technicality over a few insignificant words being added to any translation at any point in history negating the entire Bible. It is also the audience judging these points, not me. I will address these three facts to show that it does not seem any of them have been definitively proven.
 
1. It contradicts itself in many key places
 
Let me start by listing the only two contradictions that were provided throughout the debate:

     i.                     What day did Jesus die?
     ii.                    What time did Jesus die?
 
My argument clearly shows that Jesus celebrated a Galilean Passover meal on Thursday evening, and He dies as the Paschal Offering (the Passover lamb) on Friday at 3:00 pm. This gives an explanation that is both plausible and probable to show there is no contradiction in any of the gospel accounts. It should also be noted that Jesus as the Pascal Offering is important to the Christology of every writer of the New Testament, not just John. The whole purpose of Jesus dying on the cross was so that His blood would cover God’s people from final judgment, and the events of the Passover in Exodus give clear symbolism of this.
 
2. It contains failed prophecies

We only dealt with two prophecies regarding Egypt in this debate from Isaiah 19 and Ezekiel 29. My opponent specifically highlighted these parts of the prophecy as failing:

     i.                    The Nile will be dried up
     ii.                   Egypt shall be a desolate wasteland for 40 years
     iii.                  No foot of man or beast would pass through Egypt
     iv.                  The Egyptians would be scattered

My rebuttal for this assertion of failed prophecy showed that there is no reason to think that an absolute fulfillment of these predictions was necessary for the prophecy to be true, nor does the language demand it. We cannot take a simplistic reading of the English text and ignore that the original text was written in Hebrew. I also provided what little archaeological and historical evidence exists for this time period in favor of my argument. No evidence or sources were provided to controvert these claims. I believe I have shown that the possibility of these events occurring is entirely reasonable.
 
3. It contains interpolations into the text
 
This is probably the strongest argument my opponent has provided. However, this argument only deals with 4 of the 27 books of the New Testament, and none of the 39 books of the Old Testament. The opening argument provided two passages that are only 12 verses in length. There are 31,102 verses in the Bible, which means that each of those passages accounts for about 0.0004% of the Bible. The reasons I asked my opponent to provide any other interpolations that are more than two verses in length is because there are none.
 
I may not have been perfectly clear in my rebuttal, but I agree that the 12 verses we call the Pericope Adulterae were likely not a part of the original text. My argument was that even Ehrman claims the story was probably an actual event that took place, it was just not a part of the original gospel manuscripts and should not be in the Bible as my source shows. Even with these two “major interpolations,” that still leaves over 99% of the Bible as textually sound.
 
The other factor is that no fundamental Christian doctrine is drawn from, or contradicted by, any of these questionable texts. Even the two-verse Comma Johanneum is not used by any serious biblical scholar today to establish and defend the doctrine of the Trinity.
 
The conclusion of the argument then is that 1,500 years of recorded Scripture ought to be thrown out. Why? Because we have identified a fraction of a percent of the entire text that was likely added (intentionally or by mistake) to the first four books of the New Testament, none of which has any significant effect on any fundamental Christian doctrine, and has been bracketed off to clearly distinguish it from the rest of the text in English translations.
 
Morality
 
I would like to briefly mention this portion of my argument. When trying to determine what the moral principles of the Bible are, I think my defense section showed the importance of not taking verses out of context and then universally applying them to all situations. To do so can put you in the position of having to justify why the child-murdering rapists of Canaan didn’t deserve to be expelled from the land.
 
I believe I also provided positive evidence on how even the three commandments I provided would revolutionize a society if they were adhered to by all.  My argument isn’t that you have to like the moral principles of the Bible. As with any set of laws, there will be some you agree with and some you don’t. My argument is that no moral standard, religious or secular, is superior to the one found in Scripture. My opponent has also not provided any standard outside the Code of Hammurabi which I referenced in my defense section.
 
Conclusion
 
The topics discussed in this debate are important ones that I certainly don’t shy away from. The overall topic of “The Christian God does not exist” was mainly focused on the Bible, which makes sense if Christians hold this as a revelation from God. My opponent brought three main charges against the Bible:
 
     1.       It contradicts itself in many key places;
     2.       It contains failed prophecies; and 
     3.       It contains interpolations to the texts
 
While it is up to the audience to weigh the arguments, I believe it must be shown that there is:
 
     4.       A major contradiction with no logical explanation;
     5.       A prophecy that can be clearly proven to have failed; or
     6.       A major interpolation that seriously impacts the teachings of Scripture
 
I do not believe we have been given a convincing argument for any of them to be true. I hope I have also shown that there are at least convincing reasons to believe that the Christian God exists, even if you don't personally believe it. I know that my opponent has challenged me to think through my beliefs, and I hope I have given anyone reading this reason to think through their own as well. I appreciate your time.

Added:
either all of them exist or none of them exist
#16
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
"We have NO evidence of Paul outside the Bible – including the Jewish Talmud"
Argument from silence is a fallacy btw.
#15
Added:
--> @Dynasty
Yes
Instigator
#14
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
"There is NO records of Jesus anywhere in the Talmud;"
Have you read it?
#13
Added:
--> @OoDart
Thanks for the feedback!
Instigator
#12
Added:
--> @Virtuoso, @Fruit_Inspector
---RFD (1 of 3)---
Interpreting the resolution:
Pretty straight forward, with definitions open to argumentation.
1. Biblical Defects
I will say right off the bat that I do not buy the conclusion to pro’s five-part logical form (unless I’m mistaken it’s also not a syllogism, as that implies just two premises and a conclusion). It follows that the bible is not evidence for God (a step or two more could connect that to the probability ... don’t get me wrong, this is well executed, it’s just not an instant victory).
Con does an ok job defending the time discrepancy, even if it feels like it’s missing a couple key details. Pro points out that the time ends up in reverse of what it would be by cons defense.
Con’s defense of the prophecies got bad, as he dropped the bible being true to use a defense that it did not mean what is written in it (a really bad example of special pleading).
#11
Added:
2. God is Incoherent
A genuinely nice syllogism introduction followed by some detailed discussion of attributes. A highlight being the comedy of monotheism on three distinct gods. Con much later defends t his that because they are all gods, they are all God (I don’t follow this logic at all, other than to understand that he believes it strongly).
These are basically dropped by con. Denial by assertion, and throwing a link out without saying any reason something is wrong just that someone else could make a convincing argument against it, just doesn’t cut it... This isn’t to be mean, but 10,000 is a lot of space, and how you budget it is part of debating.
3. The Bible is Unique
It’s an old book with lots of authors, and there are no disharmonious pieces of the bible (unless it’s countered I’ll treat that as true, but the different books included in different bibles wholly refutes this claim). It contains prophecies... “While these characteristics do not prove the claims of the Bible, it shows the prominence of it over any other book.”
Small thing I feel the need to clarify, “...rather than dismissing it as mythology.” As a couple nuns I know would say: Of course it’s mythology, which is not in any way a dismissal of it, merely an acknowledgement of our language.
Anyway, pro swiftly lists the fallacies to refute this contention. He then showed the existence of older religious texts, which by con’s argument would mean they’re better. And of course pointing out the failed prophecies he listed pre-refuted the prophecy talk offered by con.
#10
Added:
4. The Bible is Trustworthy
It’s a very reliable collection of documents...
Pro casts doubt on the witnesses, for not being eyewitnesses, and then one who claimed to be an eyewitness but plagiarized those non-witnesses. He goes on to suggest John did not write John, and of course implies there’s much more.
5. The Bible is Exclusively True
Everyone else is wrong was the opening takeaway from this... The rest did not get much better, talk of how wonderful and perfect theocracies are, and a couple claims against the entire audience (and himself) which I cannot in good conscience repeat.
Pro counters the morality claim by pointing out how repugnant the biblical laws are, by citing ones such as how fun it is to murder babies, plus calls to commit rape and genocide. Con tries to defend these with special pleading that it was God being wishy washy...
---
Arguments:
See above review of key points. Pro showed that the bible failed too many times (con even agreed with the logic in the first contention), and no other big proof of God was offered for consideration.
Sources:
These probably should go to pro, but I’m a little too tired to add the justifications for that right now.
#9
Added:
--> @Virtuoso, @Fruit_Inspector
I’ll try to get this voted on in the next couple days.
#8
Added:
its the same animal as the jew ish g*d
#7
Added:
do any of them?
#6
Added:
--> @Virtuoso
I recommend you listen to dr james white and his explanation of textual tradition. erasamus only worked with a few greek manuscripts and translated the vulgate to some greek as well. Compared to today where we recognize over 5k greek manuscripts. alot of bibles keep interpolitions because of "tradition" or "familarity" and obviously want their books sold and not exposed for perserving textual variants. many people read kjv and there are Kjv Onlyist movements that say it is the best translation of recieved text. Notice i said "recieved text" not majority or critical text. Textus receptus is also a "recieved text" most of which is based off of erasamus and his limited manuscript supply and besa who i believe comments on his works and adds to it, not knowing that one of the greek manuscripts wasn't an orginal, but i could be wrong about besa.
#5
Added:
How do you explain the utter perfectness of how our organs and body parts are arranged if not for an intelligent designer? Or the immense beauty that surrounds us every day, and the way nature works perfectly with one another?
#4
Added:
--> @Fruit_Inspector
Thank you.
Instigator
#3
Added:
--> @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
#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:
I don't know if I've ever seen a 4-point system debate be what I believe to be a tie, but if there ever was one, it is this one.
Sources: Con and Pro both used a variety of wonderful sources, ranging from History.com to JSTOR
S&G: No major errors
Conduct: Both very polite
Arguments: The majority of this debate was about specific discrepancies in the Bible. This debate was not about what is and is not correct in the Bible, but about the impossibility of the existence of the Christian God (Resolution: The Christian God does not exist). The most relevant bit here is when pro provides the All-Knowing vs. All-Powerful argument, but con does a great job of explaining how that is possible. Pro just repeats what he said earlier, not really refuting con. Both pro and con could have taken their argument their one step further to prove their point, but neither did so. For that reason, it is a tie.
#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:
See comments:
https://www.debateart.com/debates/1388/comment_links/21240