Convincing McCulloch

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McCulloch
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Convincing McCulloch

Post #1

Post by McCulloch »

Without presuming that the New Testament is true, can Jesus Christ be shown to be the Son of God?
  • The affirmative side (that answers yes to the question for debate), begins in a single post outlines his argument.
  • Following that, the negative side, outlines in a single post, his argument.
  • Then each side, in a single post, posts a refutation of the arguments made by the opposing side. The second posting in the debate, may not include any new arguments, but must only address the flaws in the evidence, logic or reasoning of the other side of the debate.
  • Each debater is then allowed one more post, to answer the criticisms leveled at him during the refutation. As in the previous post, no new arguments may be introduced here.
  • The debate is over. A grand total of six posts, plus the OP.
An open discussion for comments on this debate is open here.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

meshak
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Post #2

Post by meshak »

First of all. I would like to thank McC to agree to do this with me who never have experienced one on one. So I may goof up often but he can always get me back on track. I don't mind being corrected how to do it all. I am glad to be corrected to improve my debating skill.

And McC, I ask your patience with my poor English skill too.

McC suggested these and I will follower:

I suggest the following format: You will start by presenting your case. I will respond, attempting to show how your argument does not actually demonstrate what you say that it does. You and I will then follow with two more posts each, alternating. If this format is acceptable to you, then I'll post it and send you a link, so we can get started.

1)You will start by presenting your case.

Here is what the Bible says:

Matthew 16:16-17
New International Version (NIV)
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.�
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

I would like to convince McC that Jesus is Son of God as He says He is. I don't have any scientific proof but I believe in the Bible and I believe Jesus is Son of God because that's what He says He is. I believe Jesus' word is true because I tested it by actually striving to obey all His teachings without exception. Then my life has chaged completely for the better that I did not expect. This is nothing but miracle. He is a miracle maker and that's what He did to my and my family's lives.

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Post #3

Post by McCulloch »

Without presuming that the New Testament is true, can Jesus Christ be shown to be the Son of God?

I answer this question with "No".

What does it mean to be the Son of God? The word Son can be taken four ways:
  1. Literally
  2. Figuratively
  3. Mythically or
  4. Spiritually


If taken literally, it would be like the pagan anthropomorphic gods, like Zeus, who have been said to have impregnated humans at various times. If this interpretation is taken, then the only source of this information is the New Testament. Without presuming that the New Testament is true, then Jesus Christ cannot be shown to be the literal Son of God.

Figuratively the word son can be used like the sons of freedom or the daughters of the American revolution. In this sense, all Christians are sons and daughters of god and Jesus is in no way distinctive or set apart. He is not the Son of God but merely a son of God.

Now, mythically, Jesus Christ is the Son of God, in the same sense that Prometheus sacrificed himself to provide humanity with the advances of civilization. Or that Snow White escaped the machinations of the Wicked Queen with the help of dwarves to marry the Handsome Prince. Again, the ultimate source of this myth is the New Testament. While various churches and cultural institutions have brought this myth forward, ultimately the myth of Jesus' divine parenthood is rooted solely in the writings of the New Testament.

I've included spiritually on the list because some people make claims about the spiritual realm. However, I have to admit my own ignorance regarding things spiritual. I do not know that there is a spiritual realm and I do not know how anyone anywhere can validate a spiritual claim. So if Jesus' sonship is claimed to be spiritual, the burden of proof extends, as far as I am concerned, to demonstrating that there is a spiritual realm and that spiritual claims are somehow valid.

I would like to thank Meshak for the opportunity provided by challenging me to this debate.

We have now both make our first posts, outlining our arguments. Next, according to our agreed upon format, we will each refute the argument(s) made by the other.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Post #4

Post by meshak »

McC,

I already presented my case, Isn't it your turn to refute mine firest?

thanks.

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Post #5

Post by McCulloch »

meshak wrote: McC,

I already presented my case, Isn't it your turn to refute mine firest?

thanks.
We did not actually agree on who refutes first. It probably does not matter. I'll refute what you posted and I'll not count your previous post in your count.
meshak wrote: Here is what the Bible says:

Matthew 16:16-17
New International Version (NIV)
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.�
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
I find it odd that in a debate where the question for debate explicitly states "without presuming that the New Testament is true ..." my debating opponent begins with a quote from the New Testament. In fact, without the testimony of the New Testament, we would have no knowledge that Jesus even claimed to be the son of the living God.

It looks to me that the only argument made by Meshak is that he believes that this is true, because he wants to believe that this is true. He has striven to obey the teachings of the New Testament and as a result, his life has changed dramatically. By the way, no matter how remarkable this change was, it was not miraculous. People's lives have changed greatly by various things: finding the right mate, getting elected, going to the right school, joining AA, immersing oneself in just about any religion or philosophy, war, natural disaster (acts of God) and other things both trivial and important. Your own subjective reaction to the belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God does not in any way prove or demonstrate the truth of that belief, any more than the profound reaction of someone who has joined Islam, Bahá'í, Mormonism, Scientology, Evangelical Christianity, Buddhism or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, proves the truth of those groups' claims.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

meshak
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Post #6

Post by meshak »

McCulloch wrote:
I find it odd that in a debate where the question for debate explicitly states "without presuming that the New Testament is true ..." my debating opponent begins with a quote from the New Testament. In fact, without the testimony of the New Testament, we would have no knowledge that Jesus even claimed to be the son of the living God.

It looks to me that the only argument made by Meshak is that he believes that this is true, because he wants to believe that this is true. He has striven to obey the teachings of the New Testament and as a result, his life has changed dramatically. By the way, no matter how remarkable this change was, it was not miraculous. People's lives have changed greatly by various things: finding the right mate, getting elected, going to the right school, joining AA, immersing oneself in just about any religion or philosophy, war, natural disaster (acts of God) and other things both trivial and important. Your own subjective reaction to the belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God does not in any way prove or demonstrate the truth of that belief, any more than the profound reaction of someone who has joined Islam, Bahá'í, Mormonism, Scientology, Evangelical Christianity, Buddhism or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, proves the truth of those groups' claims.
Yes, it is very typical of atheists' refutation against rerigious people. I am not scholastic so I cannot prove anything inteligiably scientifically.

I would like to prove to you practical ways.

We, human, are born to search what is right thing to do in order to survive and get along with others all around us. So naturally, we seek to live logically and farly to convince ourselvs how to live true to ourselvs and to others.

Do we agree so far?

I have tried my ways and it failed miserably. I tryed to adopt secular common sense; it failed misarably because there are too many ways to choose from and of course I chose wrong ones.

That's why I decided to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt if that works.

It worked perfectly for me and for my family. I strived to obey all His teachings and commenments to be true to Him. Then within a year, it started show clear evidence.

My dysfunctional family became orderly, peaceful and healthy mentaly and emotionally.

I will stop here for McC to question me, and I would like to correct misunderstanding of my username "meshak". I am famale. sorry about that.

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Post #7

Post by McCulloch »

meshak wrote: Yes, it is very typical of atheists' refutation against religious people.
Thank you for pointing that out. However, this information is of no value in debate. A typical refutation may be valid or invalid but merely being typical, does not help us in any way to determine the validity of what I said.
meshak wrote: I am not scholastic so I cannot prove anything intelligibly scientifically.
We are not asking nor do we expect anything close to rigorous science here. Intelligibility, on the other hand, is a requirement. An unintelligible argument is not likely to convince anyone rational.
meshak wrote: I would like to prove to you practical ways.

We, human, are born to search what is right thing to do in order to survive and get along with others all around us. So naturally, we seek to live logically and fairly to convince ourselves how to live true to ourselves and to others.

Do we agree so far?
I agree. I am a Humanist. Link to an outline of Humanist principles. I believe that the solutions to the world's problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. While the world's major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognizes that reliable knowledge arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision.
meshak wrote: I have tried my ways and it failed miserably. I tried to adopt secular common sense; it failed miserably because there are too many ways to choose from and of course I chose wrong ones.
I too have tried different ways. I tried to follow the teachings of God, which I understood, were given to humanity in the Bible. It failed miserably because there is no rational basis to justify the beliefs, there are too many ambiguities for it to be a reliable guide and it is horribly outdated.
meshak wrote: That's why I decided to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt if that works.

It worked perfectly for me and for my family. I strived to obey all His teachings and commandments to be true to Him. Then within a year, it started show clear evidence.

My dysfunctional family became orderly, peaceful and healthy mentally and emotionally.
This is what we academic types call anecdotal evidence. The expression anecdotal evidence refers to when someone tries to to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion based on only a few short or interesting stories about real incidents or people. Because of the small sample, there is a larger chance that it may be true but unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases. Anecdotal evidence is considered dubious support of a claim; it is accepted only in lieu of more solid evidence. This is true regardless of the veracity of individual claims.

Your argument is essentially this: "I failed to live the way I thought that I should when I was not a Christian. When I became a Christian, things really improved. Therefore, the supernatural claims of Christianity must be true." I am sure that I can find people who would say the same about Islam. Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. But both are supported by similar anecdotal evidence. If Christianity is true because it has made an impact to your life, then Islam must also be true because it has made an impact to Harun's life. And because of its impact on Shoghi, the Bahá'í faith must also be true.
meshak wrote: I will stop here for McC to question me, and I would like to correct misunderstanding of my username "meshak". I am female. sorry about that.
Don't be sorry. My wife is female and so is my mother. Being female has been really great for them.
If you go Profile, Profile http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/p ... ode=profil in the Your Profile section, you can change your user's gender attribute from undisclosed to female, if you wish.

Meshach is a masculine name, identifying one of the guys who survived the fiery furnace in the Book of Daniel, so it is no wonder that you might be mistaken here for a male.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

meshak
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Post #8

Post by meshak »

McCulloch wrote:
We are not asking nor do we expect anything close to rigorous science here. Intelligibility, on the other hand, is a requirement. An unintelligible argument is not likely to convince anyone rational.
I dont know accurate meaning for intelligence. But I do try my best. I hope you dont mind. And please skip the meaning of intelligence or anything unrelated to the topic, thanks. My interest here is to communicate with your about my faith of Jesus and God.
I agree. I am a Humanist.
I know, and I know most human are. I sure was one of them. Just rely on our own ideals and the society's.

Link to an outline of Humanist principles. I believe that the solutions to the world's problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention.[/quote]

I understand. I sure believed that. But they are failing miserably. Take a look at the world; They are fighting endlessly since the beggining of the human history. This world is filled with hate and all kinds of hateful and selfish things abandant.
While the world's major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognizes that reliable knowledge arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision.
To no avail.


I too have tried different ways. I tried to follow the teachings of God, which I understood, were given to humanity in the Bible. It failed miserably because there is no rational basis to justify the beliefs, there are too many ambiguities for it to be a reliable guide and it is horribly outdated.
Did you try to be obey all His teachings and commandmenst? All of them? It is crucial for Jesus' followers. Jesus commands us to be perfect.
This is what we academic types call anecdotal evidence. The expression anecdotal evidence refers to when someone tries to to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion based on only a few short or interesting stories about real incidents or people. Because of the small sample, there is a larger chance that it may be true but unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases. Anecdotal evidence is considered dubious support of a claim; it is accepted only in lieu of more solid evidence. This is true regardless of the veracity of individual claims.
When you look around, we seem most churchgoers are not strive to be obedient to Jesus with their practice. So your analysis is not accurate.
Your argument is essentially this: "I failed to live the way I thought that I should when I was not a Christian. When I became a Christian, things really improved. Therefore, the supernatural claims of Christianity must be true." I am sure that I can find people who would say the same about Islam.
Muslims don't believe in love. They don't believe in Jesus' command of "love your enemy" So you are compraring apples and oranges.
Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. But both are supported by similar anecdotal evidence. If Christianity is true because it has made an impact to your life, then Islam must also be true because it has made an impact to Harun's life. And because of its impact on Shoghi, the Bahá'í faith must also be true.
the same as the above.
Don't be sorry. My wife is female and so is my mother. Being female has been really great for them.
If you go Profile, Profile http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/p ... ode=profil in the Your Profile section, you can change your user's gender attribute from undisclosed to female, if you wish.
I know meshak is biblical male name. I picked this name to disguise myself as male because I had some stalkers stalking me because of my anti-mainstream position, and making harrassing posts needlessly and causing meaningless and disgraceful arguments. I will keep it. thanks.

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Post #9

Post by McCulloch »

meshak wrote: But they are failing [Humanist principles] miserably. Take a look at the world; They are fighting endlessly since the beginning of the human history. This world is filled with hate and all kinds of hateful and selfish things abundant.
This is just not true. The principles of the Enlightenment: freedom from ideologies and religious dogma; the value of education and science; equality and justice; toleration ; have been some of the most successful ideas ever developed by humans. We live in a time when the probability that we would be deliberately killed by another human, whether as a crime, an act of war or an act of our own government, is lower than it has ever been in human history and probably pre-history as well. Consider these facts:
  • Since 1945, nuclear weapons have not once been used against human targets.
  • Since 1945, none of the major powers have gone to war with another major power. On May 15, 1984, the major powers had been at peace with each other longer than any time since the second century.
  • 1956 was the last interstate war in Europe. This is rather amazing considering that on average from 1400 to 1900, European countries started two wars per year.
  • The Soviet invasion of Hungary was the only war between major developed countries since 1945. In the past, wars were often fought by major developed countries.
  • Wars are no longer being fought to acquire territory. No nation has gone out of existence due to military conquest since WWII, with the arguable exception of South Vietnam.
  • Slavery is no longer institutionalized or acceptable to any national government.
  • Torture is not being done, except clandestinely, secretly and ashamedly.
  • Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, virtually all nations accept the principles of basic human rights.
  • Violent crime, on a per capita basis, is lower now than in any previous century.
Yes, we have more progress to make, but the world is measurably a much safer and happier place for most humans than it ever was.
McCulloch wrote: While the world's major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognizes that reliable knowledge arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision.
meshak wrote: To no avail.
You are being quite dismissive of one of the most successful endeavors of humanity: the sciences. Since the time of the Enlightenment, when philosophers began to reject the idea of divine revelation as a source of knowledge, our knowledge of the world and how it works has grown faster than it had ever done before.
meshak wrote: Did you try to be obey all His teachings and commandments? All of them? It is crucial for Jesus' followers. Jesus commands us to be perfect.
No, I have to admit that I was unable to follow all of Jesus' teachings. I could not bring myself to amputate any of my limbs nor to poke out an eye. I did become very poor, but I did not give away all my possessions. I did not love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength; I somehow could not entirely give up my own ability to think. While I have gone door to door with the message at times, I have never actually shook the dust off my feet. A good friend of mine (he was the best man at my wedding) subsequently married a divorcee. I did not treat him as an adulterer, nor did I disfellowship him nor stone them to death. I have never washed anyone's feet. I have never asked for the elders of the church to anoint me oil instead of seeking medical help. Yes, I admit, I was not a perfect Christian. Are you?
meshak wrote: Muslims don't believe in love. They don't believe in Jesus' command of "love your enemy" So you are comparing apples and oranges.
Again, this is a blatant untruth. I'll bet you don't know any Muslims. Love is as important to most Muslims as it is to anyone. But love is not the issue here. You claim that your belief in Jesus miraculously changed your life. I know Muslims who believe that their belief in the message from Allah delivered to humanity by Mohammed, miraculously changed their lives. How is your claim any more valid than theirs?
McCulloch wrote: Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. But both are supported by similar anecdotal evidence. If Christianity is true because it has made an impact to your life, then Islam must also be true because it has made an impact to Harun's life. And because of its impact on Shoghi, the Bahá'í faith must also be true.
meshak wrote: the same as the above.
That's right. Only Christians experience true love. We Humanists cannot love. Muslims cannot love. Hindus, Sikhs, Bahá'í, Jews and Buddhists cannot love. Our love is merely an imitation of the real love that Christians experience. Is that what you are saying?
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

meshak
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Post #10

Post by meshak »

McCulloch wrote:
This is just not true.
There are still wars and hatred abound. Nothing has changed since the beiggining of human history. Destruction is even worse because of science improvement.
McCulloch wrote: While the world's major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and seek to impose their world-views on all of humanity. Humanism recognizes that reliable knowledge arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision.
Christianity does not involve secular world. Jesus says His followers are not of this world. We are supposed to be moral model for the world, even though most of us are failing big time, engaging in killing our enemy like the rest of the world against Jesus' command of "love your enemy".
You are being quite dismissive of one of the most successful endeavors of humanity:
Yes, because Jesus' moral standards are much, much higher than secular world's
No, I have to admit that I was unable to follow all of Jesus' teachings. Yes, I admit, I was not a perfect Christian. Are you?
No, I am not a perfect Christian and no one is. But Jesus says anyting is possible with God's help. Jesus' sent His followers the Holy Spirit who are true followers.

If we strive to be truthful to Jesus to obey all His teachings and commandments, the Holy Spirit will cover their imperfection and weakness part. That's how we become sinless: with the Holy Spirit's help, that is.
Again, this is a blatant untruth. I'll bet you don't know any Muslims. Love is as important to most Muslims as it is to anyone.
Jesus commands us to "love your enemy" and I know it is fact that the Muslims believe in killing their enemy. They practice eye for eye and Jesus does not condon it. Eye for eye is OT practice, not Jesus' teaching.
That's right. Only Christians experience true love. We Humanists cannot love.
What I am saying is that Jesus' standards are much, much higher than all the religion and the sociey I know.

Disclaimer: I know most christians are failing to obey Jesus, and I am only talking from complete Jesus' messages, not based on what His followers are practicing.

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