Debate Synopsis

How do I think last night went? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I had my debate last night with Matthew Ferguson. For those who want to listen to it, a link can be found here. It was certainly an interesting debate and a fast one.

I do think the numerous people who listened in and the many who have given good compliments and good ideas on how I can improve on a performance they already thought was well done. Such is an important aspect of doing any endeavor like this. There will be much time to study and review and look back.

I also will be writing when I get done with the current series that I am on more on the debate as there were several aspects that due to time restraints, I did not get to cover. As is the case with any debate, there are also aspects that need to be explained in a fuller sense and what better forum to do so than on my own personal blog?

In fact, it is one reason that I have not been doing much writing here on the front of the historical Jesus. I have not wanted to share any cards that I had, a number of which I can add the opportunity to use did not come up last night.

Overall, I am pleased with how I did. I really last night cannot think of any persuasive argument that I saw on the other side. As I am expecting, there will be people who will be supporting what I said and people who will be supporting what my opponent said. It is my hope that this will in fact inspire people on both sides to do further research into the subject matter.

My approach is also a unique one and I plan to hammer it out further in my future in working on my Master’s at North West and then eventually a PH.D.. My argument has a minimal facts approach, but I much more prefer as well to look at the idea of Jesus from a social science perspective in the climate of an honor-shame society. (As we’ll see later, this is why a comparison to Mormonism really misses the mark.)

Many people spoke to me afterwards about how this by and large depended on Carrier’s arguments. Yes. That will be looked at as well as we move further along. My thanks does still extend to everyone who was a part of the endeavor as well. I also realize this could be the first debate of many. It might be that there will be a round two perhaps three or four years or so down the line. If we both continue on our studies, I do not doubt that our paths will cross again.

So when I get done with my series on sexual ethics, readers can expect that I will be coming back to this and devoting more time to subjects I’ve been wanting to write about for the past couple of months anyway. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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11 Responses to “Debate Synopsis”

  1. DagoodS Says:

    I posted a few thoughts after listening to the debate.

  2. Bunto Skiffler Says:

    [NPeters] “In fact, it is one reason that I have not been doing much writing here on the front of the historical Jesus. I have not wanted to share any cards that I had, a number of which I can add the opportunity to use did not come up last night.”

    Heh. I think Saint Paul said the same thing before he died slipping off the john while reading about the Shrould of Turin… or maybe that was Elvis Presley?

  3. Lion IRC Says:

    I quite enjoyed it. Thank you and thanks to the organizers.
    Anyone can debate a weak opponent but you did well IMHO against a strong one – especially on the probability theme of ‘best explanation”.
    I think you came across as winsome and your use of humour was great but delivered a little bit too ”dry”. No doubt you have a better feel for the likely audience and were tailoring it accordingly. I like the occasional laugh amid the serious stuff (light and shade) and your opponent didnt even connect with me on a personal level.
    Speaking of humour, I laughed at one point where your opponent scored an “own goal” in relation to religious sects that demand castration. NO guy is going to do THAT for something they know isnt true. 🙂

    • apologianick Says:

      Personally Lion, I’m not sure I’d do that for something that I know is true.

      On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 8:52 PM, Deeper Waters

      • Lion IRC Says:

        I’m glad I wasnt in your shoes, I would have been so nervous. But I were debating I would always want to clarify with Resurrection counter-apologists;

        1. Whether they are talking about the Historical Jesus – who actually existed. (Dont want to start a debate with a Jesus myther only to see the chess pieces knocked over with some lame…. ”oh well He never even existed so there…I win”)
        In order to be Crucified/Resurrected, Jesus had to have actually existed in history.

        2. Whether they accept that God is (theoretically) capable of doing things we find miraculous/supernatural. Is their claim that God cant do miracles or that in Jesus’ case God did NOT do a miracle. Or that God doesn’t exist. In which case, why pick the Resurrection as your debunking target. The bible is full of miracles any one of which stands alone as a defeater of atheism.

        3. If Jesus’ Resurrection really was a supernatural/singularity intervention in human history, how many times God is expected to repeat the same Resurrection. (Background information/probability) We only know of one time in history when a Big Bang singularity took place and nobody generally asks for background information about the probability of such an unlikely event.

        4. If they claim the Resurrection accounts are exaggerated versions of some natural/secular historical event, let us see their counter-Gospel documents which tell how it REALLY happened instead and let us critique them the way they attempt to critique our historical documents (which actually do exist.)

      • Bunto Skiffler Says:

        [LionIRC] “In order to be Crucified/Resurrected, Jesus had to have actually existed in history.”

        Please allow me to clarify for you something called ‘Basic Mythicism’. First, you must understand that it is quite possible to read the GOSPAN (Gospel Narratives) completely outside of any dogma of this religion. When one can do this (unchained from sentiment), the 4 root components of ‘the Jesus Story’ can be ascertained/derived:

        a. A man is perceived as holy & a wise teacher.
        b. The man goes to the capitol city of the Old Religion.
        c. The man antagonizes the administrators of the Old Religion.
        d. The man is executed for his transgression against the Old Religion.

        The ancillary context of the Resurrection quickly becomes apparent. Therefore to use this allegorical device as proof of the historical, will of course, confound the honest historian or methodological naturalist.

        As per my video “God: A simple question and it’s lengthy non-answer”,

        Flimsy evidence is:
        Assertions, when carefully thought out, that are often demonstrated as based mostly upon conjecture. It is also understandable that, for ancient things, many times conjecture is all that is available to us.
        But sentiment and religious faith shouldn’t be a factor.

        -bunto

      • Lion IRC Says:

        Bunto Skiffler, I can’t read the Gospels without reading the OT embedded in that same text. Take the OT scripture out of the NT and you have a text which is quite meaningless.

        Thus, “Old Religion” Jews like Peter, Paul, James, Andrew, Matthew, Bartholomew, Anna, Simeon, etc…you get the gist, did not see the same threatening ‘outsider’ you apparently do. And 2000 years on, we see that the renewed ‘Jewish’ religion has morphed into an even bigger religion.

        And I have to challenge your claim that all we see in Jesus, is [just] a holy & wise teacher. The Old Testament is full of holy and wise teachers. No problem there. The Jewish Sanhedrin didnt stone people for being holy and wise neither did the Romans crucify non-violent Rabbis.

        No, your GOSPAN depiction of Jesus has a glaring omission of something which perhaps you cant see unless you are unchained from a certain type of sentiment.

      • Bunto Skiffler Says:

        [LionIRC] “Bunto Skiffler, I can’t read the Gospels without reading the OT embedded in that same text. Take the OT scripture out of the NT and you have a text which is quite meaningless.”

        Thanx for admitting you could never provide an honest investigation about NT scripture. When you happen upon a mystery, I do not believe your foremost solution is that immediate one, earnestly gift-wrapped for your own consumption. It’s just a lazy way of approach if you are serious about unbiased analysis. No Dogma will ever assist you in that.

        [LionIRC] “Thus, “Old Religion” Jews like Peter, Paul, James, Andrew, Matthew, Bartholomew, Anna, Simeon, etc…you get the gist, did not see the same threatening ‘outsider’ you apparently do. And 2000 years on, we see that the renewed ‘Jewish’ religion has morphed into an even bigger religion.”

        Where to start? (*SPOILER ALERT*) Besides knowing GOSPAN is full of fairy tales & IC (invented characters) an investigator must actually rely upon unbiased deduction for ascertaining motive. Since Judaism in the NT is the ‘Old Religion’, I do not see how IC sentiment is applicable towards the motives of the administrators of the Old Religion in any way. Regarding the Jesus Story, they are opponents of one another.
        2000 years on here’s two for you to investigate on your own: 1)Population Growth and 2)Judaism v Xianity number-of-adherents. Notice some patterns? Deduce anything? Congratulations! You did all this outside of the OT scriptures! Trust me LionIRC, I won’t tell anybody.

        Listen, I have to stop this fisk now because the STUPID burns so bad with your last statement. Sorry, maybe later on I’ll complete it…. really para 3 is neither-here-nor-there & para 4 is just the hectoring of non-believers.

        -b

  4. DagoodS Says:

    Lion IRC,

    I am always interested how well we skeptics communicate our position, and your comment regarding Matthew Ferguson scoring an “own goal” in mentioning the Galli puzzled me. If you could clarify by answering these questions, it would be helpful:

    1) What point did you understand Matthew Ferguson was making in mentioning the Galli?

    2) How does that point provide evidence Jesus was miraculously raised from the dead?

    Thank you.

  5. Lion IRC Says:

    I think he was trying to show that suffering for ones religious convictions was not uncommon. (That’s true)
    What he unintentionally did however, IMHO, was to amplify the point that Nick had made, viz; that people like Paul don’t endure suffering and persecution for something they think is false.
    That Matthew Ferguson used the example of castration actually made the point all the more vivid!
    This then goes right to the heart of the…’best explanation’ concept.
    a) Did Jesus actually die by Crucifixion? I think history says yes.
    b) Did His followers sincerely believe they had visual sensory, tactile and auditory evidence suggesting post mortem appearances by Jesus. History says they did sincerely think that. Torture and execution and even threats of CASTRATION are powerful lie detectors.
    c) Was it within the power of the prevailing State authorities to ensure that Jesus body was not stolen and that His followers be prevented from circulating claims about His Resurrection? Yes. If anyone could they could. Where are all the counter-gospels stating “it never happened”? Why would Saul convert from politics and power to persecuted Christian for a lie or an all-too-common hallucination? Remember, madness and hallucination was the claim that persecutors OF early Christians were making against Jesus’ followers. Delusion was not something unknown to Hellenistic Jews.
    So why didn’t Saul/Paul simply plead temporary insanity and save himself?

    I don’t think Nick Peters argues that this proves the Resurrection. I think he (rightly) argues that the Resurrection is the best explanation given the absence of more plausible, DOCUMENTED evidence to the contrary. I would add that background probability should/must also take into account God’s existence and His motive in wanting to show us that sin is not a terminal illness. Death is not the end. Forgiveness is offered. There is hope for all who seek The Kingdom of God.

  6. DagoodS Says:

    Thanks, Lion IRC.

    If that was the point you understood Matthew Ferguson was making, we skeptics clearly need to do a better job explaining the relevance of the Galli. Appreciated the feedback.

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