The Instigator
SarcasticMethod
Con (against)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Truth_seeker
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points

A god exists, as defined by the PRO side.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Truth_seeker
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/11/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 768 times Debate No: 60319
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

SarcasticMethod

Con

In this debate, PRO will attempt to prove the existence of a god, as defined by them. I expect clear, rational arguments and unambiguous definitions. Round 1 will be used for the definition of the word 'god', and of other definitions that may be useful. Round 2 will be for setting one's preliminary stance. Round 3, 4 and 5 will be used for rebuttal of one another's points. Correct English is preferable, but mistakes should not be grammar nazi'd.

To make this ABSOLUTELY CLEAR; I am an agnostic atheist. I know that many apologists like to ask their opponents about whether they are agnostic or atheist, which I consider to be something of a silly question. I am atheist because I do not believe in a god, and I am agnostic because I am not 100% certain of my stance. However, I can state, within reasonable doubt, that a god does not exist, which is why I am an agnostic atheist. I hope this is clear to you.

Empirical evidence and logical reasoning are the two tools that will be used in this debate. When using evidence, please provide sources, lest the claim is absolutely trivial. When using logical reasoning, please describe your deduction clearly.

Happy debating!
Truth_seeker

Pro

I will be arguing for the Christian God and because of time purposes, i will only focus on only logically arguing for him and bringing evidence (historical, scientific, archaeological, etc. for the Bible. Your welcome to bring in other religions in your counters, but you have to specify which one.

Here are my terms:

Reality - state of being real

objective - based on external truth not on personal opinions and feelings

subjective - influenced by personal opinions, thoughts, etc.

Truth - conformity with fact or state

Evidence - anything observable that can be used to support a position

Absolute Truth - the state of knowing everything about the Truth

Know - to perceive with the mind truth

Experience - personal encounter or observance with something external

Divine experience - Personal encounter with the divine in some way, shape, or form

Mind - the consciousness that perceives, thinks, feels, senses, etc.

Illusion - something deceiving and leading to a false conclusion of reality

Physical - of pertaining to that which is material

Spiritual - pertaining to that which is spirit
Debate Round No. 1
SarcasticMethod

Con

Thank you very much for responding to my debate. There is nothing I disagree with pertaining to your definitions, so I will now state my position.

The Christian God, as explained in the Bible, is supposedly an entity that has created the universe, and that can affect it at will. However, with the exception of:

References from the Bible (a book that, by all means, has no evidence behind it and is entirely fictional),
Eyewitness accounts with little backing, and
Subjective experiences (NDEs, anyone?) that give no reason to think that they are not lies,

there is otherwise no evidence for anything remotely resembling the God of the Bible.

Furthermore: in Matthew 19:26, among other various Biblical verses (http://www.openbible.info...), God is implied as being omnipotent, and also in Psalms 145-9, he is described as being omnibenevolent. (http://biblehub.com...) This presents various contradictions; the Problem of Evil (if God is all powerful, why is there suffering?) and the Impossible Rock (Could God make a rock that he could not move?) are good, classic examples. Other contradictions are abound in the Bible, with no indication of which verses are allegorical and which are meant literally. Should an all-powerful, perfect being want to write such a book riddled with inconsistencies?

Many apologists and theodicists invent excuses, but it does not detract from the sheer, blatant impossibilities that occur when we assume that an all-powerful, perfect being could write such a mess as the Bible.

I now hope to hear your position. As previously stated, we may begin rebuttals in round 3.

Good luck!
Truth_seeker

Pro

first, I would like to point out that science is not the only way to reality.we aren't born scientists, we are born humans. We have the ability to think and to use logic. Our own experiences are the basis for everything that we do. how do we find out whether we exist or not? We don't, we simply assume based on personal experience. Unlike most Christians, I will not use the cosmological, ontological,excetera any argument of the sort, seeing how it can be refuted. I take the approach that is based on experience.

during the 19th century, people began to question the historical accuracy of the Bible as many events and places as well as people were unsupported by evidence, however it was not until much later that the field of archaeology reaffirmed us of the historical accuracy of the Bible and the ancient world. Many problems were resolved and knowledge was gained.

I may or may not use personal testimonies, but if I do, it will not be counted as scientific evidence. I will use it for counters.

I believe that many logical arguments against God can be resolved once we have an understanding from God's own Word.

while I do use apologetics to an extent, I will most likely be quoting experts in this debate to make my case.
Debate Round No. 2
SarcasticMethod

Con

"I would like to point out that science is not the only way to reality...I take the approach that is based on experience."

In this paragraph, you seem to imply that you trust unverified, personal experience over peer-reviewed, scientifically proven fact. I feel that this approach is naive at best, for reasons I hope are obvious.

"...the field of archaeology reaffirmed us of the historical accuracy of the Bible..."

As I have mentioned earlier: When using evidence, please provide sources, lest the claim is absolutely trivial.

"I believe that many logical arguments against God can be resolved once we have an understanding from God's own Word."

Please do describe such logical arguments when possible.
Truth_seeker

Pro

I don't take personal testimony as reliable evidence, but i do rely on personal experience. Science cannot refute experience because it's not confined to a lab and it doesn't deal with the supernatural (2).

Here is my logical approach to God:

1. Evidence can only lead us to discover the physical aspects of reality, but not the spiritual
2. Because of this, we cannot achieve absolute truth, we need other methods to be objective
3. You cannot distinguish between reality and illusion if you restrict yourself to science
4. We as humans rely on several things to know: the mind, and experience
5. Therefore, it is only fair to rely on a divine experience to verify God and the spiritual realm

"As I have mentioned earlier: When using evidence, please provide sources, lest the claim is absolutely trivial."

On the reliability of the Bible, lets begin with transmission. Scholar F.F Bruce said this about the Masoretes (group of Jews who transmitted the O.T)

"[The Masoretes wrote] with the greatest imaginable reverence, and devised a complicated system of safeguards against scribal slips. They counted, for example, the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurs in each book; they pointed out the middle letter of the Pentateuch and the middle letter of the whole Hebrew Bible, and made even more detailed calculations than these." (2)

The Dead Sea Scrolls (one of the oldest manuscripts) were discovered and compared to the Masoretic text. Only 3 spelling changes were found, none affecting the entire message (3). The body of manuscripts of the O.T create a self-correcting system of the errors in the O.T, creating essentially a perfect O.T (4). As for the new testament, only minor errors were made in transmission none affecting doctrine (5). Plus, it's been shown that the New Testament is not required as the church fathers quoted from it so much, so even if we didn't have it, the church fathers would technically be our "new testament."

"if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, [the patristic quotations] would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament." (6).

Archaeological reliability of the Bible:

"On the whole " archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the Scriptural record. More than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine. Archaeology has in many cases refuted the views of modern critics." "" Millar Burrows, Professor of Archaeology, Yale University (7)

"It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever contraverted a biblical reference", whereas on the other "Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible." (8).

Accuracy of prophecy:

According to Peter W. Stoner's book "Science speaks", he uses probability and science to prove that Biblical prophecy is in fact very accurate (9). In the book "Evidence that demands a verdict" by Josh McDowell (pg. 167), his work is verified to be reliable by the American Scientific Affiliation.

Various experts have studied the universe and from the original languages, the simple poetry of the Bible has consistently proven itself to align with highly advanced scientific discoveries (10).

Because of time purposes, i will only present and refute the logical counter-arguments on God's existence.

1. The problem of evil -

God is all loving, all knowing, all powerful
If God is all good, he would want to stop evil
If God is all powerful, he can stop evil
If God is all knowing, he knows how to do it
Evil exists
Terefore, he cannot be all three at once and if he isn't all three, he cannot exist

the problem with this argument is that it commits the fallacy of false dilemma. It only gives two options, it never gives any other explanation.there could be many reasons why God allows evil to happen. on top of that, God's morality has nothing to do with his existence. In the case of job (Job 40) , he questions him to see if he knows about his morality. No where is his existence questioned.

As for the impossible rock, I expose its weakness with the following :

1. God is all powerful
2. Because he is all powerful, he cannot deny that he is (2 Tim. 2:13)
3. Therefore he cannot create something that can defeat himself

The problem with this argument is that it is logically impossible for anyone to harmonize it. If God is powerful enough to cause himself to not be powerful, he's not God. If he's not, he's still not God, so this argument is futile.

Sources:

1. http://undsci.berkeley.edu...

2. F.F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (London: Pickering

3. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and Relevant? (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2001), p. 45-46.

4. Bruce, The New Testament Documents, 14.

5. Geisler and Nix, 475.

6. Metzger, 86.

7. Millar Burrows, What Mean These Stones? (New York: Meridian Books, 1956), p.1.

8. Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy, 1959), p.31.

9. http://sciencespeaks.dstoner.net...

10. http://www.creationmoments.com...
Debate Round No. 3
SarcasticMethod

Con

"1. Evidence can only lead us to discover the physical aspects of reality, but not the spiritual
2. Because of this, we cannot achieve absolute truth, we need other methods to be objective"

This assumes the existence of spirit. Spirit can only be assumed to exist, as it is unprovable.

"3. You cannot distinguish between reality and illusion if you restrict yourself to science"

Yes, we can. Science can clearly show this.

"4. We as humans rely on several things to know: the mind, and experience"

Yes, but experience isn't enough. Events must be controlled to be well-understood, which is why one-time, subjective events cannot be scientifically proven.

"5. Therefore, it is only fair to rely on a divine experience to verify God and the spiritual realm"

Can we experience God in a laboratory, under controlled circumstances?

"[The Masoretes wrote] with the greatest imaginable reverence, and devised a complicated system of safeguards against scribal slips. They counted, for example, the number of times each letter of the alphabet occurs in each book; they pointed out the middle letter of the Pentateuch and the middle letter of the whole Hebrew Bible, and made even more detailed calculations than these."

This is irrelevant detail.

"The Dead Sea Scrolls (one of the oldest manuscripts) were discovered and compared to the Masoretic text. Only 3 spelling changes were found, none affecting the entire message (3). The body of manuscripts of the O.T create a self-correcting system of the errors in the O.T, creating essentially a perfect O.T (4). As for the new testament, only minor errors were made in transmission none affecting doctrine (5). Plus, it's been shown that the New Testament is not required as the church fathers quoted from it so much, so even if we didn't have it, the church fathers would technically be our "new testament."

Accuracy of transmission between the Qumran scrolls and the Masoretic text proves nothing, and the other points are worded quite confusingly.

"if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, [the patristic quotations] would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament."

Irrelevant.

"On the whole " archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the Scriptural record. More than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine. Archaeology has in many cases refuted the views of modern critics."

No actual evidence is provided in this quotation.

"It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever contraverted a biblical reference", whereas on the other "Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible."

Excepting the extensive evidence for a 13.75 BY old universe.

As for the books on accurate prophecy, I don't have much time to read them, so I'll get to the logical arguments (mm, my favourite!)

1. The problem of evil: Yes, I acknowledge that there are many possible explanations for evil. Classic examples include:
Free will: If god intervened in the world, it would not affect free will. God has been said to intervene in the Bible, but never does today.
He has a plan: ...which involves people constantly dying of cancers, illnesses, wars, crime and faith-healing scams.
He is teaching a lesson: ...which is lopsided and affects mostly poor, third-world nations.

2. The impossible rock: If God is all-powerful, he must have the power to do everything. This means everything! If he was to lack the ability to do anything at all, he wouldn't be the God of the Bible, because the Bible says he is omnipotent.

Sources: I made no evidence-based claims, only logic-based ones, so I have no sources.
Truth_seeker

Pro

"This assumes the existence of spirit. Spirit can only be assumed to exist, as it is unprovable."

You have to assume the existence of something. Your not born a scientist, you are born a human being with more than one way to figure out reality. Logic and experience are the only things at your disposal. You assume the existence of this debate and us as individuals. Science isn't meant to prove existence, but to discover how the world works. This is taken from wikipedia:

"Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe." Metaphysics according to Encyclopedia Britannica:

"A common set of claims on behalf of metaphysics is that it is an inquiry into what exists"

"Yes, but experience isn't enough. Events must be controlled to be well-understood, which is why one-time, subjective events cannot be scientifically proven."

You agree, but then you say that we need science.

"Can we experience God in a laboratory, under controlled circumstances?"

1. Science is focused on observable evidence
2. God is not observable by nature
3. Therefore God cannot be confined to a lab and is outside Science's reach

"This is irrelevant detail."

Wrong, it's important to know the people transmitting the manuscripts in order to determine the accuracy of the manuscripts themselves.

"Accuracy of transmission between the Qumran scrolls and the Masoretic text proves nothing, and the other points are worded quite confusingly."

"Irrelevant."

You ignore the evidence presented and do not explain why it's irrelevant. You claimed in round 2 that the Bible "all means, has no evidence behind it and is entirely fictional", i refuted that statement.

I will now present specific archaeological discoveries made:

1. The walls of Jericho have been discovered with evidence of a mud-brick wall collapsing just as the Bible describes

2. The city of Beth-shean (1 Kings 4:12) was mentioned by other historical writers (Pliny).

3. An inscription made reference to the biblical house of David (1)

These are just samples. There are plenty more

"Excepting the extensive evidence for a 13.75 BY old universe."

Not sure what you mean by that.

"1. The problem of evil: Yes, I acknowledge that there are many possible explanations for evil. Classic examples include:
Free will: If god intervened in the world, it would not affect free will. God has been said to intervene in the Bible, but never does today.
He has a plan: ...which involves people constantly dying of cancers, illnesses, wars, crime and faith-healing scams.
He is teaching a lesson: ...which is lopsided and affects mostly poor, third-world nations."

You never address how the problem of evil argument disproves his existence. We are now drifting to his morality.

Like i said, you commit the fallacy of argument to the point of disgust by repeating the same argument. You ignored the fact that this argument is logically impossible to fulfill and is just a play on words. I stated:

"The problem with this argument is that it is logically impossible for anyone to harmonize it. If God is powerful enough to cause himself to not be powerful, he's not God. If he's not powerful enough, he's still not God, so this argument is futile."

You still failed to argue why this disproves his existence.

Sources:

1. http://www.biblestudysite.com...
Debate Round No. 4
SarcasticMethod

Con

"You have to assume the existence of something..."

The existence of reality is an assumption I make because if I did not, I would not be able to function in reality. This assumption is far more reasonable than the assumption that spirits, (I take to mean invisible beings that can nonetheless affect the world) exist.

"Therefore God cannot be confined to a lab and is outside Science's reach"

If God cannot be observable, how do we expect to know him?

Your archaeological evidence proves still nothing. Even if the Bible contains some historical information, it isn't all correct. For example, the story of 6 day creation is impossible.

When I mention the 13.75 billion year old universe, I mention it in contrast to the supposed 6000 years old universe that the Bible suggests.

"You never address how the problem of evil argument disproves his existence. We are now drifting to his morality."

God is described in the Bible as being omnibenevolent, so if he was not omnibenevolent, he would not be the God of the Bible.

"The problem with this argument is that it is logically impossible for anyone to harmonize it. If God is powerful enough to cause himself to not be powerful, he's not God. If he's not powerful enough, he's still not God, so this argument is futile."

Similarly to the previous argument: God is described in the Bible as being omnipotent, so if he was not omnipotent, he would not be the God of the Bible.
Truth_seeker

Pro

"The existence of reality is an assumption I make because if I did not, I would not be able to function in reality. This assumption is far more reasonable than the assumption that spirits, (I take to mean invisible beings that can nonetheless affect the world) exist."

You commit the fallacy of circular reasoning:

1. I assume reality exists
2. If i didn't, i would not be able to assume reality exists

It's therefore not more reasonable, it's just as reasonable. I've had an experience that God exists. How can i show you he exists? (I can't) but hypothetically what is needed to find out if God exists in order to become a Christian? several ways, 1) Prayer 2) miracles 3) revelation. By praying for him to manifest himself to exist, you open yourself to "testing" that he exists. By witnessing miracles, you can infer that he is the cause if he is the only simplest explanation. Why resort to this method? Well because that's how it would work with a natural being. Take for example fossilized dinosaur bones, no one is just going to sit back and say "bring me the evidence", someone has to be pro-active and go to the source of the evidence itself.

"If God cannot be observable, how do we expect to know him?"

As i have said in my previous argument, you assume that observation leads to knowledge when it doesn't always. We can also receive knowledge from logic and abstract ideas. You never showed how science is the only knowledge leading to truth.

"Your archaeological evidence proves still nothing. Even if the Bible contains some historical information, it isn't all correct. For example, the story of 6 day creation is impossible."

The Bible doesn't actually teach a literal 6-day creation period. Hebrews had no concept of "past, present, and future" in the same way we do. Time is defined by completed events, so if creation took billions of years, that would define a biblical creation "day" (1).

"1. The problem of evil: Yes, I acknowledge that there are many possible explanations for evil. Classic examples include:
Free will: If god intervened in the world, it would not affect free will. God has been said to intervene in the Bible, but never does today.
He has a plan: ...which involves people constantly dying of cancers, illnesses, wars, crime and faith-healing scams.
He is teaching a lesson: ...which is lopsided and affects mostly poor, third-world nations."

I see several problems:

1. you did not define evil, therefore i will define it

2. The argument commits the fallacy of false dilemma, meaning that there are only two choices: 1) God stops evil now and is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent or 2) he's evil and not omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent. There's never a third choice or a fourth choice.

3. Your imposing your own will on God. Humans can only be benevolent with finite knowledge and power. Logically, your will can only do that which is benevolent, within your knowledge, and power, but not what is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent. God's reasons for allowing evil are then justified and subjected to his wisdom.

4. This does not disprove his existence, it's just ambiguous why he allows evil to happen, but his morality is not connected with his existence.

I'll use the book of Job to illustrate. Job was a righteous and good person (Job 1:1). Satan tested Job's integrity and directly harmed him with God's permission (Job 1:6-12), thus God was never the direct cause of his suffering. However you can see that Job prevails throughout his suffering through faith and God rewards him tenfold (Job 38). Job 42:10-11 " 10 And the Lord restored Job"s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold."

As we can see, God allows evil only to show that evil is powerless when it's at work. From revelation of Scripture, we can see that God himself shows his omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence in allowing evil to happen but rendering it powerless with pure faith rather than preventing it from happening and not having faith. With that in mind, God's existence is not being questioned.

I rest my case.

Sources:

1. Doukhan, p. 200. Cf. Von Rad, Vol. 2, p. 100-101.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by HumbleAmerican 2 years ago
HumbleAmerican
I find it interesting that Truthseeker uses archeological evidence based on Torah versus the new testament.
Posted by SarcasticMethod 2 years ago
SarcasticMethod
HumbleAmerican: I agree fully. However, if a hypothesis cannot be proven or disproven, it is foolish to assume that it is correct. This is a reason for my position.
Posted by HumbleAmerican 2 years ago
HumbleAmerican
The 2nd mistake, whoever poses the question first; prove G-d exists or prove G-d doesn't exist, wins. Truth seeker won't prove G-d exists nor can Sarcastic method prove G-d doesn't exist.
Posted by HumbleAmerican 2 years ago
HumbleAmerican
The first mistake is having a debate about G-d with someone from the Christian faith.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Vexorator 2 years ago
Vexorator
SarcasticMethodTruth_seekerTied
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro didn't prove that a god exists, so arguments to Con. Pro leaves letters uncapitalized at the beginning of his sentences, so S&G to Con. Pro used sources to fulfill his BoP, so sources to Pro.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
SarcasticMethodTruth_seekerTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro used sources, the Bible in particular, that proved his God exists. His arguments were not very well refuted (lots of fallacies and not very good evidence provided), and Pro's Job Example was what brought him up the most in the last round.