Debate: Atheist Claims Jesus is a Hoax – Slippery Philosopher David Skrbina v. Factual Theologian Peter Williamson

MY NOTES – Including transcriptions:

21:35 Skrbina disbelieves the gospel accounts of Jesus and doubts Jesus even existed: “I think he did exist. I think he was a mortal man. I’m not totally sure. I’m kind of on the fence on this one. But for the sake of this debate, let’s say he existed. …”

28:16 Skrbina claims many secular authors would have written about Jesus from Palestine in the 1st century, 2000 years ago.

Wiliamson: We only have one secular author’s work from Palestine on any subject, Josephus, who does write about Jesus:

Williamson: “David, how many published authors were there in the 1st century to your knowledge from the area of Palestine?”

Skrbina demonstrates he falsely believes there were many. He only suggests authors from other regions.

Williamson: “The ones that lived in Palestine were eight. … The six are: Matthew, Mark, John, James, Jude and Peter. The only two non-Christians from that period are Josephus…. That one other author is Justin of Tiberius, and none of his works are found. We only know about him because he’s mentioned in another work.”

“The three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke were written prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D..” [Some believe they referenced an earlier document that has been lost, called by scholars as ‘Q.’]

Skrbina says Pontias Pilate must have written many documents to Rome, and would have mentioned Jesus’ miracles.

Williamson: “The truth is no documents from Pontius Pilate remain. … We’re dealing with quite a limited selection of resources.”

37:25 Williamson questions Skrbina’s dismissal of all of the writings written by Christians, saying: “It’s not legitimate for the prosecution to say all of the defense witnesses don’t count because they’re friends of the accused. In other words, it’s important to take into account all of the witnesses.”

42:00 Reliability of the New Testament. Williamson: “When it comes to the New Testament, the texts are better attested than any other ancient works.”

43:15 Williamson: “In the ancient world, disciples memorized what they learned from their teachers. They rehearsed their memories by recitation and teaching.”

44:20 Williamson: “Many writings preceded the gospels.”

Luke 1:
Since many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus; that you might know the certainty concerning the things in which you were instructed.

48:50 Williamson: Jesus set a higher standard: “You have heard it said ‘do not kill.’ I say do not be angry with your brother. Don’t insult your brother, don’t hate your brother. You have heard it said ‘Don’t commit adultery.’ I say don’t look at a woman to lust after her.” Jesus moved the law to an interior dimension. Forgive others if you want to be forgiven. He taught a radical departure from possessions.

56:45 Archeological evidence: 1st century ossuaries of “James, brother of Jesus, son of Joseph,” found in Jerusalem. Another found in Bethany with the names of Mary, Martha and Lazarus written on it. Another: Caiaphus, the high priest. The pool of Bethesda with five porticoes, where a famous miracle of Jesus took place has been found underneath St. Anne’s church.

1:18:00 Williamson demonstrates Skrbina uses circular reasoning:

Williamson: “Though we do have Luke mentioning that there are many people who have written it down.”

Skrbina: “… He can’t just say that. He’s part of the hoax, so we can’t trust him.”

Williamson: “That’s again a circular argument. You’re presuming he’s a hoax, and therefore you can’t take anything that he says. That’s reading your premise into your conclusion. … That’s the difficulty in your thesis.”

1:21:15 Williamson: “There is no evidence that Paul had anti-Roman attitudes [as Skrbina claims].” Paul’s focus is on the spiritual dimension.

1:24:30 Williamson: Skrbina falsely racial profiles Paul: “Jews, it says were known to be liars. Paul was a Jew; therefore, Paul is a liar.”

1:27:25 Williamson on the thousands of Christian martyrs: “People will die for their country, for their beliefs, but I’ve never heard of people dying for what they knew to be a lie.”

Debate: Is Jesus (Isa) a HOAX? David Skrbina v. Peter Williamson at Wayne State University

Nov 24, 2018

A debate between an atheist, David Skrbina (University of Michigan Dearborn) and a theist (Peter Williamson, Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit) on the credibility and reliability of the New Testament narration of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

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