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A Good God Exists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 658 times Debate No: 35527
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




I propose a Good God cannot possibly exist given the facts of this universe.
Premise 1: Deceit is not a Good.
Premise 2: God deceives at least one person.

God: A Being with, at least, these three characteristics: Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnibenevolence (All-Good).
Omnibenevolence (All-Good): The most beneficial outcome for all things at all times.
Omnipotence: Able to do all things (excepting those things that are not of it's nature, and logically incoherent)
Omniscience: Having perfect knowledge of all actions and outcomes.

1. If God is All-Good, he does All-Good.
2. God does not reveal itself to all honest seekers (see argument from divine hiddenness)*, and thus acts deceitfully.
4. Therefore, God, if it exists, is not All-Good.

Therefore, even if the Argument from divine hiddenness fails to prove a God does not exist, it certainly proves a Good God does not exist with my previous argument.

1. Let an intention refer to a mental state of an agent with the following characteristics:
1.a An intentional state is "directed at or about objects in the world" (Searle**, 48)
1.b An intentional state consists of "a representative content in a psychological model" (Searle, 48). In other words, an intention is a certain mental depiction representing a desired state of the external world.
1.c "such Intentional states as these can be said to be satisfied or not satisfied depending on whether the representative content actually matches or represents anything in reality" (Searle, 48)
1.d Intentions have "conditions of satisfaction" that refer to the state of affairs under which an intention would be satisfied (Searle, 48)
1.e Conditions of satisfaction can only be fulfilled through agency if the agent has the necessary "background capacities" which make this possible (Searle)

Based on theory of intentionality from Searle, in order to be Good one can intend to be good, but never have Good obtain. However, this does not apply to a God which can manifest all desires.

In order, then, to act in a way that is not Good, God must intend to reveal itself to some but not others based on some level of deception or deceit. It must act in way that 1) limits it's ability to reveal itself, and/or 2) limits its knowledge of how to reveal itself to each individual who honestly seeks God.
A Good God, while intending everyone to know of it's existence, would have to limit the use of it's omniscience or omnipotence in order to keep that knowledge from obtaining. This cannot come from a Good intention, since deceit is not a Good.

Multiple concepts of God:
There are many versions of God, and many, if not most, of these version are claimed to be some version of a revelation, or even deduced via logic and reason.
However, not all people receive the same revelation and Good, Honest people disagree on which God exists.
If a God exists, it is clear it is not conveying the knowledge of its existence fairly.
Evidence shows God is either not omnipotent: It is not alerting all of us to it's existence, or, omniscient: does not know how to teach us all of it's existence, or Omnibenevolent: Cares to make us aware of it's existence.

Nazi's at Anne's House:
One of the common rebuttals is that maybe God has a reason to deceive, for a greater Good. But this is not an argument for an All-Good God.
An All-Good God would not lie to the Nazi's at Anne Franks door, but also not allow them to take her. An All-Good God would tell the truth AND avoid any negative consequences.
(If we were omnipotent, we would say "Sure, she's upstairs. Try to take her. Make my day.")
Appealing to some future Good as a reason to do something Non-Good is Theological Utilitarianism, and still means God would have to act in a non-Good way. This is impossible if something is defined as Omnibenevolent.

My opponent will have to show that there is no intention for a Being that is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnibenevolent to practice deceit, or do one act that is in contradiction to it's nature.
Particularly, my opponent will have to show that all actions by God are All-Good all the time, while, at the same time, explaining Divine Hiddeness and other forms of deceit in the evidence of God.

Therefore, I close my opening against the proposition that a Good God exists.

*The argument from Divine Hiddeness is as follows:

(1) Necessarily, if God exists, anyone who is (i) not resisting God and (ii) capable of meaningful conscious relationship with God is also (iii) in a position to participate in such relationship (able to do so just by trying).

(2) Necessarily, one is at a time in a position to participate in meaningful conscious relationship with God only if at that time one believes that God exists.

(3) Necessarily, if God exists, anyone who is (i) not resisting God and (ii) capable of meaningful conscious relationship with God also (iii) believes that God exists.

(4) There are (and often have been) people who are (i) not resisting God and (ii) capable of meaningful conscious relationship with God without also (iii) believing that God exists.

(5) God does not exist.

**Searle, John R. "The Intentionality of Intention and Act." Cognitive Science 4, 47-70 (1980)
(online source)


Basically, you think that god should not punish us, and should give us anything we want? The God that you rebuke raises us like a normal father, punishing us when we need it, and treating us like his children. If god spoiled us, then we would all be like babies, just crying and receiving. There would be no challenges, no adventures!
Debate Round No. 1


With all the Philosophical Charity I can muster, I can't figure out what this has to do with my argument.

Nothing in my argument precludes God from existing and challenging us, but to do so, if God reveals itself to some and not to others, it is acting with deceit - the intention to hide or confuse.

A God can challenge us, test us, and do all the things theists want that God to do, but unless it acts completely good all the time, it can't be considered All-Good.

To be completely Good means you don't act bad some times, even with good intentions.

The extreme example would be Stalin, who believed he was acting with the best intentions. Do we say he was All-Good is it turns out he was right all along?

Pro, by accepting this argument, must argue for a Good God. Our growth has nothing to do with god's character. It's a non sequitur.

God, choosing to create a world in which suffering exists, already chose a less-than-Good path. Whether or not a greater good can come from it does not turn less-than-Good actions into good ones. Certainly not for an omnipotent being.

Pro confuses the issue by asserting, without merit, that our growth somehow ameliorates God's less-than-Good actions. For example, God could have created us like God: perfect with no reason for improvement.

If growth is a greater Good, then God is not perfect. If Pro wants to argue for the supremacy of growth, then Pro would be arguing against a perfect being.

My points stand.


aider forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Since Pro has declined to argue this round, I can only presume he is either bowing out, or, preparing to reassert his original objetion.

Let me clarify, then, the point he may have been making.

The way I interpret this repsonse is that God gives us challenges to help us grow. If he never gave us challeneges, we wouldn't be perfected (or move towards perfection, since we are unable to be perfect according to most theologians).

First, the idea of God as a parent is rather loathesome. As a parent, I understand letting my child risk a scraped knee in order to learn how to ride a bike (which, let's face it, isn't really perfecting us...)

But, to think I would sit silently while my child was raped and murdered would make me the sickest, most despicable parent in the history of the world - and I'm not omnipotent! I would try, knowing I might fail. God, if he exists, watches silently, as women are raped all over the world, while children starve to death (every 5 seconds), or are murdered. God watched while 12 million people were killed in Germany, 100 million in Russia and tens of millions in China.
And, while people die of painful diseases, tsunami's, and let's say that ALL of those dead go onto Heaven.

What of the families they leave behind? What of the baby that is spared for a few days, trapped under the rubble that her mother died in during an Earthquake - unknown until we discover her weeks later?

What of the untold suffering?

The Problem of Evil, while not a solid argument against God, is clearly a solid argument against a Good God in the sense that if that God is Good, then it MUST only commit Good Acts.

Pro is saying that all this lack of action in the face of such misery and the utter hiddeness is a Good Act by an All-Good Being.

If a Superhero was like this, we wouldn't call him a Good Guy, he'd be Evil - or, at least, ineffectual, or non-good.

We can't simply change our definition when we assert that it's for some unknown purpose.

So, the claim that God must have this system in order to make things better is spurious. After all, if I can't know what the possible Good might be, then Pro can't say what the possible Bad might be. Perhaps God is Evil?

If Pro wants to continue this argument, he is still saying that God commits non-Good acts to do a greater Good (Theological Utilitarianism), which is ceding the argument.

Con stands unrefuted.


I once again say, YOU THINK GOD SHOULD SPOIL US. I said he treats us like a normal father. He lets us make our decisions because when we are all judged, he will sort out wrong and right. When the murderer/rapist commits the crime, they will carry it with them until they die. When they die, God sorts it out. The bible says that God is perfect, and does everything he wants for a reason. Someone will die when god wants them to for a reason, like committing one too many murders, and getting caught. My opponent will repeat the things he said if there was another round. If my opponent is correct, then
1. The bible is false, and
2. God is out to destroy the world he created.
If so, then humankind would not be alive and so advanced.(Furthermore, if God is against us, who is stopping him destroying the whole world?)If God is evil, then why are there Christians everywhere, and people proving God is kind?
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
Any of my debates feature good debate technique by me. Here is one for starters:
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
Ah, I understand. I admit I am an amatuer at debating. I have picked up much of my "debate tactics" from William Lane Craig (considered to be a great debater), and he uses the "my opponent must" tactic all the time. Usually, with great effect.

Can you point me to a site that discusses good debate technique and a debate that featured good debate technique?
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
I wasn't asserting anything. (You are shadowboxing.) I was only pointing out hypotheticals that could be used against you in your setup of the debate. I'm not debating here. I'm simply pointing out that you have to argue your points in detail instead of simply asserting them and scratching the surface of a potential debate, and making points outside of a debate does not add anything to what you said inside the debate. Both you and your opponent's debating style is amateurish and lacking in basic debate fundamentals. That's why you keep doing so poorly.
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago

Not all imagined gods can be addressed with a single argument. People have invented literally thousands of gods. We all do our best to argue for or against them. The Christian tries to argue against Greek gods, the Mormon against Pantheistic gods, etc.

This argument is ONLY against a Good God. In order to be Good, you have to act Good. If you have Good intentions, and your intentions as an omnipotent Being must obtain (otherwise you are not using all your power to obtain your intention), you must only act for the Good all the time.

Yes, this might mean that we are all coddled and might make for a universe in which there is no challenge.

But that would presuppose Challenges are Good. This is not obvious. Pro never argued for it, simply asserted it. It's entirely possible a better universe is one in which there are no challenges.

In fact, this is what it would be like if we were God: nothing would be beyond our ability.

If challenges are good, and God has none, then God can't be Good.

Either way you slice it, a Good God does not exist. Pick your poison. One might exist, or none, or many, but not a single perfectly Good God.

You certainly can pick up this argument where it left off!
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
Or, I can just assert as you have, people who believe in God simply haven't looked into the issue enough.
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
You said, "People who disbelieve in God, even if they are not resisting belief in God, do so because they have failed to think carefully about the issue."

This is simply not true.

1. Mother Theresa famously wrote in her private writings that God remained unknown to her.

"Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear."
" Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet

"Where is my faith?" she wrote. "Even deep down" there is nothing but emptiness and darkness... If there be God " please forgive me."

(8 years later)

"Such deep longing for God" Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal," she said.

"What do I labor for?" she asked in one letter. "If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true."

You'd have to show that Mother Theresa was a liar or didn't look into the issue enough. I find it hard to believe you are going to place your own search for God above that of a Christian Saint and icon... or will you?

2. I sincerely sought for God and found the same as Mother Theresa. You'd have to show that I am lying or didn't look into it enough.

So, your point is roundly and soundly refuted.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
continuation of previous comment

Or does he mean that God does not provide any evidence for his existence, in which case the debate ultimately lapses into arguments about God"s existence, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument etc. But then the argument from divine hiddenness is not itself an argument against God but just a renaming of the totality of rebuttals to arguments for God"s existence. And in this case, the evidence for God is universal. It is not revealed to some people and not others, against what Con repeatedly says without argument.

The controversial premise is the one stating that God reveals himself to some people but not others. This needs to be argued, not asserted. Pro barely address this and only talked about spiritual growth. This is a good point but Pro does not develop it. Con blindly asserts that growth has nothing to do with God"s characters, but Pro forfeited instead of responding and then Con derailed the debate into one over the problem of evil, to which Pro did not delve into but only made more assertions.

Both debaters need to stop making assertions and start arguing.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
Horrible Debate

Con stacked the deck in his favor by asking his opponent to argue against his resolution in the specific way he asks instead of by just allowing any arguments against the resolution and by not defining the most important term in the debate. He says:

"My opponent will have to show that there is no intention for a Being that is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnibenevolent to practice deceit, or do one act that is in contradiction to it's nature.
Particularly, my opponent will have to show that all actions by God are All-Good all the time, while, at the same time, explaining Divine Hiddeness and other forms of deceit in the evidence of God."

That is not true. His opponent does not have to EXPLAIN divine hiddenness and deceit by God or show that God unintentionally deceives. He can obviously just argue AGAINST the notion that there is divine hiddenness or deceit, that there is simply no reason to believe that God hides himself or deceives anyone. People who disbelieve in God, even if they are not resisting belief in God, do so because they have failed to think carefully about the issue.

The instigator is telling his opponent what arguments he can and can"t make. That is not fair. He makes it impossible for free debate to take place and hence makes it impossible for his opponent to win.

The instigator has also failed to clarify the word "reveal" when he says that God does not reveal himself, in his second premise. Does he mean that God does not speak to us out of the sky, in which case he is again stacking the deck against his opponent. No theist could or would argue that he should.

continuation in next comment
Posted by aider 3 years ago
I think that this debate was very interesting!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments