Instigator
Points: 21

Jesus of Nazareth existed

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 3 votes the winner is ...
Dustandashes
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Religion
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Required rating
4
Points: 15
Description
No information
Round 1
Published:
Greetings, welcome to my first debate art debate. I would firstly like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I would like to thank the community for taking the time to read and judge this debate. Today's topic is whether Jesus of Nazareth existed. The case I will be presenting will be strictly historical. Now let me state unequivocally that I firmly believe in the New Testament and it's teachings and inspiration. That being said, I pretend, for the sake of this debate, that all I had were non-biblical sources to establish the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. 

I will use several of many historical witnesses from ancient history, and my opponent will then be given the chance to rebut these and explain why they feel these sources do not firmly establish the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Let me state now though, that the existence of Jesus is not disputed among reputable scholars. 

First source, and first mention:


CORNELIUS PUBLIUS TACITUS:

Roman historian and senator Cornelius Tacitus, when writing his "Annals" in the late first century/early second century, made a clear and specific reference to Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. 


But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their

centre and become popular.  Annals, Tacitus, 15:44

Here Tacitus gives reference to Christus, the founder of the movement, and references His death under Pontius Pilate. I believe the "superstition" Tacitus references is the Resurrection, but that is a debate for another day. 





SECOND REFERENCE, FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS:

Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also references Jesus Christ in his work "Antiquities of the Jews" 




Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law..  Flavius Josephus, "Antiquities of the Jews" book 20.9.1) 




I could also quote the works of Lucian of Samosota, an ancient playwright who gives a reference to Jesus in his second century satire "The passing of Peregrine". Also could be quoted are the writings of Suetonius and Pliny, as well as the letter of Mara Bar Serapion, and the Jewish Talmud. 

I will leave off for here now. I believe the two quotes by reputable ancient historians are sufficient to establish that a man named Jesus of Nazareth lived in 1st century Palestine and started the Christian religion. 


If my opponent does not agree with this resolution, then my ending demand is for my opponent to better explain the founding of Christianity apart from Jesus. My opponent needs to not only dismiss the historical evidence, but also create a counter-theory as to how Christianity was founded, and show why that theory is superior to the one that is most supported by the facts. That Jesus actually lived and preached, starting a new movement. 

I look forward to hearing my opponent's treatment of the historical evidence presented, as well as hearing my opponent's alternative theory. 

Thank you all!


ICXCNIKA
Published:
You're arguing in good faith.  Excellent Start. 

What year did Tacitus Write that? Because that has a lot to do with the accuracy of it. 

Same question for Josephus.  What year? 

Your other quotes were vague, but I get the picture.



I agree with the part of your resolution about historical arguments.  I'm not sure if I agree with the second part where I need an alternative.  That's an argument from ignorance fallacy.  

You're saying "We don't know, but idea X is best, so it's true"

This does not logically follow. 

However, I will admit that if you can prove it necessary for the starting of Christianity, then it will require more heavy lifting on my part. 


So the historical documents.  All of them are written long after Jesus Died.  

Actually, they were written long after the grandchildren of the people who would have seen jesus die. 

Some are even further up than that. 


There are pretty well laid out standards for historical claims and historians don't think Jesus was real, so why should I believe over them? 

Since histories not on your side, I think that settles it there for you. 


As for your claim about alternatives.  I'll fully consider that when you prove jesus necessary for the faith to have existed. 


In the mean time I'll do a couple hypotheticals in good faith that you'll be ready for me. 


1. Christianity Came From Judaism.

Just establishing this before we dive in. 

The Old Testament wrote a prophecy for the messiah.  It is possible that one or possibly even many Jews tried to fulfill the prophecy and it would not have been difficult to pass of such lies.  Even in the modern era, people get scammed by religious cult leaders all the time.  this is no different. 

It is possible that One of those priests succeeding in pulling off the messiah lie. 

Another possibility is that all of the candidates for the messiah got lumped into a archetype the same way JP suggests. 

Some Guy did exist, but he was a total can artist and his name was probably "Bob Christer"  and he changed his name and became the fake messiah. 


Moving forward, I have one question. 


Does jesus in your argument have the super powers? 



Round 2
Published:
Greetings again, I would like to thank my opponent for his response. My opponent has chosen to go the route of calling into question the historical validity of my citations from the works of Tacitus and Josephus by asking me "when were they written." My opponent seeks to cast doubt on these historical works by insinuating they are simply too late in the first and second century to have adequately documented anything valid in regards to Jesus. In other words, my opponent wants contemporaneous accounts of Jesus. 

My opponent however, is not taking into account the basic facts of historiography. The quotations from Tacitus and Josephus are exceptional in the historical world. Let's take some other historical figures into account:


PYTHAGORAS:


There is no reputable historian that I know of who questions the historicity of Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. His widely popular theorem is still used in mathematics across the world. However, there are no known contemporary accounts of Pythagoras. None. The first account we have of Pythagoras comes from around 150 years after Pythagoras lived. 

First, Pythagoras himself wrote nothing, so our knowledge of Pythagoras’ views is entirely derived from the reports of others. Second, there was no extensive or authoritative contemporary account of Pythagoras. No one did for Pythagoras what Plato and Xenophon did for Socrates. Third, only fragments of the first detailed accounts of Pythagoras, written about 150 years after his death, have survived 

If my opponent is going to disregard Tacitus and Josephus on Jesus, my opponent must be consistent and doubt the historicity of Pythagoras. 



ALEXANDER THE GREAT


Again, no reputable historian that I know of questions whether Alexander the great existed. They may call into question some things Alexander did, but that he existed is not called into question. Here's the issue, the first accounts of him come from a man named Arrian who wrote of Alexander's military campaigns writing in the late second century A.D.. This is a dramatic discrepancy considering Alexander died in the mid 300s B.C. Again, these types of time gaps are not an issue for historians.


JUDAS MACCABEUS:

This one hits home a bit more, because my opponent is willing to disregard what Josephus wrote concerning Jesus. I will ask my opponent a question, are you willing to disregard the very same Josephus on Jewish revolutionary Judas Maccabeus? Josephus devotes some time discussing the Jewish revolutionary Judas Maccabeus in the very same book he references Jesus. Here's the issue, Jospheus was writing in the late first century A.D. Maccabues lived around 166 B.C.

EMPEROR TIBERIUS:


Using a similar parallel for Tacitus, my opponent is willing to disregard what Tacitus wrote about Jesus, is my opponent willing to disregard what Tacitus wrote about emperor Tiberius? Tacitus and Tiberius were not contemporary, and the year gap between them was roughly the same between him and the Lord Jesus. Tacitus chronicles several details of Tiberius's life in his book. 


So, if my opponent is to be consistent, none of these figures should have existed. The accounts of them are far too late. 


Secondly, allow me to address my opponent's charge of the argument from ignorance fallacy. I never stated "we don't know but idea x is best so it's true." I stated 

"Idea x is best supported by the evidence, any alternative theory (y) needs to be supported with equal evidence."

Now, getting into my opponent's rebuttal of my demand that an alternative history of the formation of the church needs to be addressed, firstly, in this particular debate I am not calling into question whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. I believe He is, however, what this debate is about is whether or not He existed. Not whether He is the Messiah, and the same goes for your question:

"does Jesus in your argument have superpowers."

This is hardly relevant, as the debate was about the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, which many atheists assert that he did not exist. This debate does not address the Divinity of Christ, which we could save for a future debate. 


In summary, my opponent has not handled the historical evidence carefully enough. My opponent simply dismissed credible ancient historians on the account of "They're too late." My opponent is now faced with several other historical figures from which we derive primary sources sometimes centuries after their existence. 

My opponent has not come up with a satisfactory theory of how Christianity came to be without Jesus. 


For these reasons, the resolution stands. 

Thank you all!


ICXCNIKA

Published:
I'll keep this simple. 


Your evidence only shows that people mentioned Jesus, it doesn't prove they were telling the truth.  

It is only the opinions of people quoted who happened to have heard the extremely popular Jesus story. 


Furthermore, it is fallacious to say that your claim is proven because there is no alternative theory, that is not true. 

The theory has to fall or stand on it's own merits.  Theories don't use the principle of "being right by default" and that's what you're trying to say here. 

The only other theory that matters is the negation of your theory "Jesus doesn't exist"  or any other theory that is more likely, but that wouldn't prove the more likely theory, it would just show the unlikeliness of your theory. 


Now, getting into my opponent's rebuttal of my demand that an alternative history of the formation of the church needs to be addressed, firstly, in this particular debate I am not calling into question whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. I believe He is, however, what this debate is about is whether or not He existed. Not whether He is the Messiah, and the same goes for your question:
This was what you said earlier.  You can't have it both ways.  If the jesus that you're talking about actually existed, then you have to assume what the accounts are telling you.  You can't use the accounts as evidence and then discount the parts that don't fit your evidence.  That's Ad Hoc arguing.  The accounts clearly state him as being claimed the messiah. 

So if there was more than one "messiah" then we have no way of knowing if any of them existed and most historians would probably lead to the conclusion that jesus was not an actual man, but rather an Archertype that was extrapolated from those other "messiahs" 

Furthermore, historical evidence is limited in it's application.  Even historians know that even there best assessments can easily be wrong. Without artifacts to verify this, It's all speculation. 



No need to be sensitive about the super power thing.  I just wanted to know more about your position. 


Your floor. 
Round 3
Published:
Thank you again for your response, I apologize if I came across a little strong in response to your superpower question, I was just trying to keep the debate on track, it wasn't personal. In my defense I am used to debating some pretty mean people, it seems a little more relaxed at this site. Sorry again. 

Moving on, I think I will use this round to respond to some things that you have brought up. I will use this round as a sort of cross examination. 

Your evidence only shows that people mentioned Jesus, it doesn't prove they were telling the truth.  

It is only the opinions of people quoted who happened to have heard the extremely popular Jesus story. 
Ok, so, not only could this literally be said about every figure from ancient history, but it just isn't a reasonable level of skepticism. Let's say this was about you and I. Let's say that there were a group of historians from the future trying to figure out if Wrick it Ralph existed. After scouring some old internet archives, they came across some old quotes from a debate moderator saying "One of our members Wrick it Ralph destroyed some guy in a debate about Jesus." Let's say we only had about two or three short lines like that. This is about 1000 years in the future. 

One could point to these quotes from the archives and say "See, Wrick it Ralph was a real user! Not just a debate legend." 

However, some person with an anti-Ralph bias could say:

Your evidence only shows that people mentioned Wrick It Ralph, it doesn't prove they were telling the truth.  

It is only the opinions of people quoted who happened to have heard the extremely popular Wrick it Ralph story. 

Is this a justifiable level of skepticism? What WOULD prove they were telling the truth? Are the facts that they mentioned you as a real person not enough??




Moving on, again, the same level you apply to Jesus, can easily be applied to Pythagoras, or any other historical figure out there, namely the ones I mentioned. I would like to point out that I do not believe the list of historical figures I brought up were handled adequately. 


This was what you said earlier.  You can't have it both ways.  If the jesus that you're talking about actually existed, then you have to assume what the accounts are telling you.  You can't use the accounts as evidence and then discount the parts that don't fit your evidence.  That's Ad Hoc arguing.  The accounts clearly state him as being claimed the messiah
Yes, the accounts do state Him as claiming to be the Messiah. And I do believe He claimed to be the Messiah. I do believe He IS the Messiah, however, it's just not in the scope of the debate to question whether or not He is the Messiah, we're trying to establish His existence first, I'm certainly not discounting the parts that talk about Him being called Christ, I'm simply saying His Messiaship is not yet relevant to the discussion. 


So if there was more than one "messiah" then we have no way of knowing if any of them existed and most historians would probably lead to the conclusion that jesus was not an actual man, but rather an Archertype that was extrapolated from those other "messiahs" 
What other "messiahs" would those be? And if they were real people why could not Jesus have been one of them?


Furthermore, historical evidence is limited in it's application.  Even historians know that even there best assessments can easily be wrong. Without artifacts to verify this, It's all speculation. 
I think you pretty much just discarded the vast majority of ancient history. 


Again, Tacitus and Josephus, I believe I have shown, do not need to be treated with your level of skepticism. That would make ancient studies virtually impossible, and lead us into historical solipsism .
Published:
Excellent response.  Lets dive in. 

You said:


Your evidence only shows that people mentioned Wrick It Ralph, it doesn't prove they were telling the truth.  

It is only the opinions of people quoted who happened to have heard the extremely popular Wrick it Ralph story. 

Is this a justifiable level of skepticism? What WOULD prove they were telling the truth? Are the facts that they mentioned you as a real person not enough??


Well if you're talking about the Wrick It Ralph you're talking about.  There's plenty of evidence for me, so they don't have to rely on testimony at all.  They can just walk up to me and  meet me. 


But let's say I was a historical figure.  I would say that people are not justified to say that Wrick It Ralph existed in this case.  Even if it would be really cool that I was named after a historical figure. 


You said: 
Is this a justifiable level of skepticism? What WOULD prove they were telling the truth? Are the facts that they mentioned you as a real person not enough??
To the first question, Yes, it's a justified level of skepticism.  

To the second question.  Nothing can prove their testimony because they didn't live in the right time period.  The only way to prove them right would be to prove the claim Jesus existed, which would render their testimony redundant.

No, the fact that they said he was real is not enough.  They didn't live in Jesus's lifetime, so they never could have met Jesus.  Therefore, their testimony is necessarily not justified.  They could be right, but it doesn't matter, because they don't have evidence anymore than you do. 

You said:
Moving on, again, the same level you apply to Jesus, can easily be applied to Pythagoras, or any other historical figure out there, namely the ones I mentioned. I would like to point out that I do not believe the list of historical figures I brought up were handled adequately. 
I agree that any potential historical figure that has the same level of evidence as Jesus should not be accepted.  As for other historical figures, they meet a standard of evidence that Jesus did not.  Some of them raised armies and left physical evidence of themselves everywhere.  We have no physical evidence for Jesus.  Not a cloth nary a beard among it. 


Yes, the accounts do state Him as claiming to be the Messiah. And I do believe He claimed to be the Messiah. I do believe He IS the Messiah, however, it's just not in the scope of the debate to question whether or not He is the Messiah, we're trying to establish His existence first, I'm certainly not discounting the parts that talk about Him being called Christ, I'm simply saying His Messiaship is not yet relevant to the discussion. 
Well you're just splitting hairs here.  We're talking about the history of a biblical figure, so if The Bible predicts a messiah and Jesus is the messiah, then it actually does matter because other wise you could just say it was any guy named Jesus walking around during 20 AD. 

It could be Jesus Jones. 
Or Jesus Peters. 
Or John Jesus Jinglemeyer down the street. 

I think it matters a lot. 


You said:

What other "messiahs" would those be? And if they were real people why could not Jesus have been one of them?
Excellent question and it gets to the heart of the problem.  If there were multiple messiahs around, how can we tell which one was real?  What if none of them were actually name Jesus but somebody just named him Jesus after the fact?  Would it even matter which messiah they picked to be the real one?  What if Jesus was one they didn't pick? 


There's too many variables and it was over 2,000 years ago.  The problem isn't ONLY the history end, it's the fact that it was a long time ago.  

It happened during a time when we didn't have a lot of good evidence for things. 

If this was evidence about artifacts, it would be easier. 

But we're talking about one specific person existing.  That makes it difficult. 





In conclusion, I don't really see any good evidence that should get us past "I don't know"   and saying we don't know is a lot different than saying it happened or even than saying it was likely. 






I thank my opponent for the debate and commend him on taking an evidentiary approach to this. 



Added:
--> @Dustandashes
The policy on tied votes which allows for their removal was only implemented after RM cast his vote on this debate. Since rules are not applied retroactively, his vote is essentially grandfathered in. It's obviously not a good vote, and not a "perfectly fine" one either, but it is not a removable one.
#28
Added:
--> @bsh1
Is this a joke? So someone could put out an honest and legitimate vote but have it removed for not being detailed enough, but a tie vote (which is against policy in this case because there's no explanation) that uses profanity is perfectly fine?
Instigator
#27
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
So, the use of profanity, unless it is insulting another user specifically, is not grounds for removal. RM's vote has been left up because it was not in violations of the standards in place when he placed the vote.
#26
Added:
--> @bsh1
So far you have deleted several votes for supposedly not following guidelines, but on this debate and my other one with virtuous, rational madmans profanity has not been deleted. What's up?
Instigator
#25
Added:
--> @Sparrow
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: Sparrow // Mod action: Removed
>Points Awarded: 6 points to Pro for arguments, sources, and conduct
>Reason for Decision: Pro at least provided arguments backed up by evidence, whereas con just questioned the credibility of that evidence without providing counter-evidence. I also consider it poor conduct because he is trying to shove all the BoP onto pro even though by default nothing can be assumed to either exist or not exist without some kind of logical or empirical basis for that conclusion, otherwise you may as well make no assumption either way.
>Reason for Mod Action: The voter insufficiently justifies argument, sources, and conduct points. To award argument points, the voter must (1) survey the main arguments and counterarguments in the debate, (2) weigh those arguments and counterarguments against each other, and (3) explain, based on the weighing process, how they reached their decision. The voter completes none of these steps. To award sources points, the voter must (1) explain how sources impact the debate, (2) directly evaluate at least one source from the debate, and (3) compare each side's use of sources. The voter completes just one of these steps. Finally, to award conduct points, the voter must explain how the violation was " excessive, unfair, or in violation of mutually agreed upon rules of conduct pertaining to the text of the debate."
************************************************************************
#24
Added:
--> @Alec
gracias
Contender
#23
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
Nice joke in R1.
#22
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
The thousands of biblical manuscripts...
#21
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
Since the debate has chilled out now. I'd like to point out that I don't necessarily think that Jesus didn't exist. It's too difficult to prove one way or the other. I tend to lean towards the con side because there are no contemporary accounts, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't exist. In fact, it's probably quite likely that some Jesus like character existed, although, I'm not sure if he would 100% match the biblical Jesus. At the very least, the supernatural parts of the account are completely unprovable.
Contender
#20
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
Can you stop leaving profanity and tie votes on my debates?
Instigator
#19
Added:
--> @killshot
Your opinions do matter. Any voter can vote however they choose so long as they adequately explain their voting decision and so long as they are not engaged in cheating. There are site rules (linked below) which determine what constitutes and adequate or sufficient explanation for a voting decision. These rules are fairly broad, and they are broad precisely because we do not wish to circumscribe the range of opinions open to voters. To put it another way, moderation does not adjudicate voters on how they voted (which is the "opinion") but rather the extent to which their articulation of their voting decision met the baselines rules for sufficiency. We do not moderate against opinions, only how well they were explained.
Comments are not judged to be part of an voting decision unless so stated explicitly within the vote itself. Therefore, I was not permitted to include them in my review of your vote. The adjustment I encouraged you to make for your vote was relatively minor, and could have been accomplished in a sentence or two.
I am sorry that you find this to be an abuse of power, but, in fact, it was a simple application of the rules of the site, and was clearly explained in my moderation verdict post. Quitting the site over this is an overreaction, and I hope you will reconsider. Nevertheless, the decision stands. You are always free to re-vote if you wish to comply with site rules.
#18
Added:
--> @killshot
Dude, he told you your argument one was sufficient, he only removed it because your conduct explanation wasn’t, please don’t leave :(
#17
Added:
--> @bsh1
If my opinions don't matter, why should I bother voting or using this site? If mods are simply just going to overrule me and replace my opinion with their own, it's an enormous waste of time and they should be the only ones voting. I read the entire debate, and formed my own subjective opinion. I then, explained my opinion, from my perspective. I'm sorry you found it inadequate, but it was not a two sentence vote. I put effort into explaining why I disagreed. After being interrogated for my own opinion, in the comments section, I continued to explain and defend my view using sources such as DM Murdock (scroll down in the comments to my last one). I felt my vote was sufficient in it's point, but nonetheless I continued to defend it in the comments. I'm sorry we disagree, but that's the nature of debates, and I find this to be a selective abuse of power. I will not be recasting my vote, or continuing the use of this site as I feel my efforts can be better spent elsewhere. Respectfully, KS.
#16
Added:
Killshots RFD (2/2)
4) Pros rebuttals of the historicity of Pythagoras, Alexander the Great, etc for me fell short for one reason: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (Carl Sagan). If Pythagoras never existed, I could care less - the math still works. If Jesus never existed, there is an entire indoctrinated world view that would collapse and have enormous impacts on society. His argument just isn't convincing when we're referring to a messianic figure.
In the end, pro's arguments all came down to unverifiable non-contemporary testimony. This is not extraordinary evidence and it is not compelling for the existence of Jesus. I feel that pro failed on every attempt to meet the burden of proof, and that is why I have to give this debate to con. I tied them on sources and spelling/grammar because I think they both did a good job of conveying their arguments.
#15
Added:
Killshot's RFD (1/2)
Ok, so this is a subject I'm fairly familiar with, and I enjoyed reading their arguments & rebuttals. That being said, I feel this was a clear win for con, for many reasons which I will outline below.
1) Pro came into this argument citing a source with known historical interpolation issues, which I find either dishonest or lazy. The Josephus account is clearly an interpolation made by a Christian who is transcribing the text from a previous source. Even numerous Christian scholars agree this is not a good extra-biblical account for Jesus's historicity. Answers in Genesis also recommends not using Josephus as a source. Furthermore, historians such as Robert Price, DM Murdock, Richard Carrier and others have argued that the writing style is different from Josephus, once again, demonstrating its failures in authenticity. I did not in any way find this argument compelling or creative. I do wish both pro and con would have delved deeper into this, but I certainly had to side with con on this. Because of these sources, I gave con the point for conduct.
2) Pro cited Tacitus as another source. Even if it is a legit source, it was not contemporary, as con pointed out.
3) Con required pro to cite a more parsimonious explanation as to the rise of Christianity, assuming it did not come from a literal Christ figure. As con, pointed out, providing a new hypothesis is not a requirement in order to disprove an existing one, but he provided one anyways. I think con's example of how it was derived from Judaism as a product of active attempts to fulfill a prophecy goal makes more sense and actually is more parsimonious. New religions popped up constantly in this area and it's neighboring tribes; many of the ideas were amalgamated. Using Occam's razor, I find this option much more parsimonious than pros failed attempts to show that his was the one of many that were actually true.
#14
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Pros argument sites two documentary sources of evidence from antiquity concerning the existence of Jesus. In the second round, Pro points out this is a similar amount of evidence - and nature as other historical figures s
Con doesn’t initially argue these are wrong, but generally implies they are mistaken by arguing they were written well after the facts being described.
Con goes on to effectively try and shift the burden of proof - that just because several documentary sources mentioned Jesus, pro must prove they are not lying.
Pro points out this exact same issue can be true of accepted historical figures. Pro lists several of them, and asks whether assuming they are lying is a justified level of criticism.
Cons response felt similar, arguing that there’s not sufficient proof, that other historical figures had other evidence to support their existence.
Note: discussion about the messiah or not was not considered topical and was ignored.
Basically, pro provides evidence and con attempted to simply cast doubt on that evidence. While that’s all he could do, I think given that he can’t prove a negative, the argument was too generic and too open ended. For me to award this to pro, con needed to give me compelling explanations for pros sources: rather than simply claim two independent non-Christian sources were making it up.
If con had provided such a reasonable argument in favor of skepticism - I would have voted for him; but as he didn’t I must award arguments to pro.
All other points tied
#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:
Kiss my goddamn ass.
#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:
Before I start, I just want to say that I am trying my hardest to approach this from a non-biased viewpoint. Please feel free to message me if you think I let bias seep into my vote and I will delete it.
Argument:
So we start out with Tacitus and Josephus, the common people used in these debates. Pro presented these and why they should be used as evidence for Jesus' existence. Con's main argument was that these accounts were written a long time after Jesus has been said to have lived. I would have given the argument point to him based on this alone, but Pro responded by showing how we say other figures exist who have the same standard or less of a standard of proof towards their life. Con responded simply by saying:
"I agree that any potential historical figure that has the same level of evidence as Jesus should not be accepted. As for other historical figures, they meet a standard of evidence that Jesus did not."
The problem I find with this is that it doesn't respond directly to what Pro says. He said that the people we as a society generally agree as having existed have the same or less of a standard for their life as Jesus, yet he is the one being brought into question and not them. If I am operating from a standpoint that takes into account societal norms (of accepting these people's existence), then Con simply saying that their existence should be taken into question as well is not sufficient. If I don't take that standpoint, then Con's rebuttal goes through. However, after deliberating, I personally think that the former is a better stance, because we are talking about the way historians operate and the process through which Jesus' existence should be established, a process which already exists and therefore must be taken into account by voters.
As to providing an alternative for the origins of Christianity, I agree with Con that it was unnecessary. My only confusion is why he gave one at first and then backtracked later, but I'll still count this point towards him.
This was extremely close for me and I was definitely editing a lot of this as I decided. In the end, I think that if Con had given a good explanation as to why we should dismiss the existence of those other figures as well as Jesus', I would have given him the point. Because he didn't, I am giving it to Pro.
I hope that this was detailed enough and that both parties are satisfied with my evaluation of the debate. Great job to both of you! :)
Sources:
My instinct is to give sources to Pro, because his obviously helped his position quite a bit. However, Con's critiques of them were very good, and I ended up giving the point to Pro because of his points about other figures, not because of his original arguments. Because of this, I am making sources a tie. I just wanted to explain why.
*Tied In All Others*