The Instigator
GarretKadeDupre
Pro (for)
Losing
24 Points
The Contender
The_Chaos_Heart
Con (against)
Winning
34 Points

Abraham's Attempt To Kill His Son Was Morally Justified

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 13 votes the winner is...
The_Chaos_Heart
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/23/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,647 times Debate No: 29462
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (53)
Votes (13)

 

GarretKadeDupre

Pro

For the purposes of this debate, the story happened as the Bible tells it.

I await acceptance.
The_Chaos_Heart

Con

I accept. Begin your argument.
Debate Round No. 1
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Thanks for accepting; I'll now present my two main arguments.

I. Abraham knew that Isaac was going to live.

God had already guaranteed that Isaac would father children. To allow Isaac to die would mean God lied:

"Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him." (Genesis 17:19)

God doesn't lie:

"[...] God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time," (Titus 1:2)

Just before Abraham left with Isaac, he told his servants that both of them would return:

"He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.(Genesis 22:5)


II. Based on a similar experience, Abraham knew that good would result in doing as God requested.

The first time God told Abraham to go somewhere, it turned out great; he became wealthy and came into possession of large amounts of land:

"The Lord had said to Abram, “Go [...] to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:1-3)

"[Abraham became] very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold." (Genesis 13:2)

"The Lord said to [Abraham], “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." (Genesis 13:14-17)

Why should Abraham not obey God's second request to go somewhere, since the first time had turned out so well?

"Then God said, "[...] go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice [Isaac] there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."" (Genesis 22:2)

It should be understood that not only did Abraham trust God enough to know that generally good things would happen as a result of his faith, he knew that Isaac would live! Thus, Abraham's attempt to kill Isaac was moral.

Please vote for Pro! Thank you :)
The_Chaos_Heart

Con

"God had already guaranteed that Isaac would father children. To allow Isaac to die would mean God lied"


These statements have no relation to one another. Yes, God promised that he would allow Abraham to father a child. And he got that. Isaac was born, and lived with him for a few years. In no way would his death break God's promise.


"God doesn't lie"

The only evidence you provide for this is that God says so? On what basis does this prove he never lies? How can we be certain that his claim to truthfulness isn't, itself, a lie? All you have provided here is circular logic.


"Just before Abraham left with Isaac, he told his servants that both of them would return"

Or perhaps he told them this because he was about to murder his own son. Honestly, what do you expect him to say? "Oh, hey, I'm going to go off and slaughter my first born now, brb"? Or course not. He probably told them that so he would not seems suspicious. Then when he returned without his son, he would just make up a lie about how they had been attacked, and his son killed.


"The first time God told Abraham to go somewhere, it turned out great; he became wealthy and came into possession of large amounts of land"

And? Just because good things happened once, does not guarantee they will happen again. For instance, I could tell you "Go look under that rock, there's $50,000" and then turn around and say "Kill yourself". That does not in any way guarantee that killing yourself would bring about some form of goodness, and in fact, it would more likely than not result in something bad.

Past deeds do not validate future goodness.


"Why should Abraham not obey God's second request to go somewhere, since the first time had turned out so well?"

Because the second request was to murder someone. It doesn't matter how much "good" God had brought him in the past, murder is still murder. Nothing validates murder. Not even God.


"It should be understood that not only did Abraham trust God enough to know that generally good things would happen as a result of his faith, he knew that Isaac would live! Thus, Abraham's attempt to kill Isaac was moral."

And here is the problem. Just because something good would happen, does not make murder moral. I could go and murder a bank teller, and yeah, that would probably land me a fair amount of cash. Something good. But that has no bearing on whether or not that act of murder was moral.

In the same way, being rewarded for slaughtering your own son, with no justification other than "I was told to do it", sure, may bring you some kind of reward. But that has no logic bearing on whether or not what you did was moral.
Debate Round No. 2
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

"These statements have no relation to one another. Yes, God promised that he would allow Abraham to father a child. And he got that. Isaac was born, and lived with him for a few years. In no way would his death break God's promise."

Yes, they do have relation to another: God promised Abraham would father a child, but he also promised that Isaac would have 'descendants.' Isaac's death would break God's promise; he didn't have descendants yet when Abraham tried to sacrifice him, so if Isaac was actually killed, he couldn't have children!

"The only evidence you provide for this is that God says so? On what basis does this prove he never lies? How can we be certain that his claim to truthfulness isn't, itself, a lie? All you have provided here is circular logic."

No, it's not God saying he doesn't lie. It's Paul saying that God doesn't lie. This proves that God never lies because for the purposes of this debate, the Bible story is assumed true. This was a stipulation we made when this debate began. This isn't circular logic.

"Or perhaps he told them this because he was about to murder his own son. Honestly, what do you expect him to say? "Oh, hey, I'm going to go off and slaughter my first born now, brb"? Or course not. He probably told them that so he would not seems suspicious."

Perhaps, but you have not shown Abraham to be dishonest in any way in any situation in the entire Bible, so we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Until you can provide one example of Abraham being dishonest, your assumption bears no weight.

"Then when he returned without his son, he would just make up a lie about how they had been attacked, and his son killed."

That's just more baseless assertion and speculation. Abraham was an honest man.

"And? Just because good things happened once, does not guarantee they will happen again. For instance, I could tell you "Go look under that rock, there's $50,000" and then turn around and say "Kill yourself". That does not in any way guarantee that killing yourself would bring about some form of goodness, and in fact, it would more likely than not result in something bad."

This comparison cannot be made; you are not God, who never lies.

"Past deeds do not validate future goodness."

I don't think 'validate' means what you think it means.

"Because the second request was to murder someone. It doesn't matter how much "good" God had brought him in the past, murder is still murder. Nothing validates murder. Not even God."

Murder is defined as unlawful killing. What law was Abraham commanded to break?

"And here is the problem. Just because something good would happen, does not make murder moral. I could go and murder a bank teller, and yeah, that would probably land me a fair amount of cash. Something good. But that has no bearing on whether or not that act of murder was moral."

You could go and try to murder a bank teller, but that is different than doing it at the request of God; a trust-worthy God that had already promised you that the bank teller would live.

"In the same way, being rewarded for slaughtering your own son, with no justification other than "I was told to do it", sure, may bring you some kind of reward. But that has no logic bearing on whether or not what you did was moral."

That's a strawman argument. Abraham was not rewarded for killing his son.
The_Chaos_Heart

Con

"Yes, they do have relation to another: God promised Abraham would father a child, but he also promised that Isaac would have 'descendants.' Isaac's death would break God's promise; he didn't have descendants yet when Abraham tried to sacrifice him, so if Isaac was actually killed, he couldn't have children!"

Indeed, you are correct. As I stated, I misread this portion of your argument.

However, it is still flawed.

1) There is no reason to think that God may not lie.

2) God may also have changed his mind. This has occurred several times in the Bible. Hell, according to the Bible, in this very situation, either God (1) lied to Abraham about wanting him to kill his son, or (2) changed his mind at the last second.

Clearly God is either apt to changing his mind, or lying, so why should we trust what he says? You have given no reason.

"No, it's not God saying he doesn't lie. It's Paul saying that God doesn't lie."

Paul saying God doesn't lie, by citing God saying he doesn't lie.

Ergo, the only justification is that "God said he won't lie." The only evidence is that "God says so".


"This proves that God never lies because for the purposes of this debate, the Bible story is assumed true. This was a stipulation we made when this debate began."

This is false. What you said was, quote, "For the purposes of this debate, the story happened as the Bible tells it." Ergo, the only thing we are assuming is that this event actually occurred. We did not agree that the entire Bible is true. You are either mistaken about your own posts, or you are intentionally lying. Neither one bodes well for you.


"This isn't circular logic."

This is indeed circular logic. The logic is as follows:

1) God does not lie.
2) We know this, because he said he does not lie.
3) Therefore, that was not a lie.
Why?
4) Because he said it was not a lie.

It just goes in circles. You have not provided valid justification for why God 'never lies', or at the very least, did not lie in this situation.


"Perhaps, but you have not shown Abraham to be dishonest in any way in any situation in the entire Bible, so we have to give him the benefit of the doubt."

Why? On what grounds do we have to give him the benefit of the doubt? Simply because he hasn't lied in the past? Perhaps I would be willing to grant such a thing if the crime were minor, but we are discussing murder. If someone is going to murder someone, they are, most likely, going to lie about it. Regardless of their past.


"Until you can provide one example of Abraham being dishonest, your assumption bears no weight."

My assumption bears weight on the grounds that murder is a serious crime, and one nearly anyone would lie about, if they intended to commit it, regardless of how "honest" of a person they were.

Either way, whether he truly believed Isaac would come back or not, it does not matter. He fully intended to slaughter his son for his god. That's completely immoral. To kill someone simply upon the orders of a higher up, especially someone who trusts you so much and is so close to you, is horrible.


"That's just more baseless assertion and speculation. Abraham was an honest man."

Again, not baseless, but also, either way, not relevant to the question at hand: Would the murder have been moral?

No. It would not have been, regardless of whether or not Abraham knew his son would return eventually. Murder is murder, and attempted murder is attempted murder. Nothing justifies it. It is a near universally-considered wrong. Even by God's own law.

Which brings me back to my point earlier, about either God being okay with lying, or changing his mind frequently, making him untrustworthy.


"This comparison cannot be made; you are not God, who never lies."

God never promised anything good would come of it. Neither did I. The comparison is entirely accurate, because in both situations, the only reason you are assuming something good will follow, is because something good happened prior. You make an exception for 'God', but not for anyone else. There is no logical reason to.


"I don't think 'validate' means what you think it means."

Validate: To make valid; substantiate; confirm[1]

Yes, I entirely understand what validate means. Perhaps it is you who does not understand. Just because someone does something good in the past, does not guarantee they will do something good in the future. That is an assumption. Which is fine, if you admit it is an assumption. But you are claiming absolute knowledge. Knowledge that you cannot possibly have, because, as I put it, past deeds do not validate future goodness.


"Murder is defined as unlawful killing. What law was Abraham commanded to break?"

The 6th Commandment actually. 'Thou shall not kill'.

...Except when God tells us to. Whoopsie. Guess God just forgot to tell Moses to write that part down, right?

Once again, either (1) God lies, or (2) God changes his mind frequently.


"You could go and try to murder a bank teller, but that is different than doing it at the request of God"

It is absolutely NO different. You are killing someone. Stealing their life away from them, against their will, and spreading much pain and misery to their immediate friends and family. You devalue society as a whole when you allow people to start killing one another, and all they have to say to get out of it is "durrrr...welp, gawd told mei ta du it." What a ridiculous assertion.


"a trust-worthy God that had already promised you that the bank teller would live."

God never promised Isaac would live. God promised Isaac would father children. But once again, as we've seen God do, he could have either (1) lied, or (2) changed his mind.

And in either case, it does not bode well for him, nor does it morally justify the slaughter of another human being.


"That's a strawman argument. Abraham was not rewarded for killing his son."

It is not a strawman argument. You are claiming his attempted killing was morally justified, on the grounds that "god told him so." That must also mean you necessarily would have found it morally justifiable if he had indeed gone through with it and killed his son, at the request of his God. Therefore, you think the promise of reward is moral justification for killing people.

But that is a horrifying perspective, because by that logic, the reward of not having to put up with your ridiculous arguments is enough of a moral reason for me to kill you, and be let off. Reward does not determine whether or not something is moral; And we should not be so quick to embrace something that causes so much pain and misery.

So, no, Abraham's attempted murder of his son was NOT justifiable, and under any other circumstances, that child would have been considered subject to abuse. But suddenly it's not abuse when God does it?

No. That is not okay. That is not moral. And throwing up God haphazardly to defend this atrocity is, itself, immoral behavior.

I rest my case.


Sources

1. http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 3
53 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by AndrewDavis5 3 years ago
AndrewDavis5
Isn't it strange, that God who is Purely Good, would order Abraham to Kill his innocent son, Isaac?
Would our loving Father, God, play a "Trick" like this on His loyal servant?
Could it be that God NEVER told Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac?

All of these questions are answered in this Teaching:
http://bibleofgod.org...

" The Common Understanding of this record
" Why is this "Test" Questionable?
" Did God Tempt Abraham?
" Burnt Offering vs. Sacrifice
" Satan"s Deception
" Not the first time Abraham Miscomprehended
" How old was Isaac?
" Other Important things to Note

-Andrew Davis
Posted by LHartsock 3 years ago
LHartsock
On the debate over murder and killing. It is sad that the new translation of the bible includes the words you should not kill rather than murder. For this reason:

murder according to definition includes the act of killing WITH premeditation
http://dictionary.reference.com...

killing does not include the premeditation act but rather means the act of taking ones life
http://dictionary.reference.com...

In conclusion, the commandment you should not kill is not necessarily accurate. The older versions of the bible that include thou shall not murder is more accurate, which includes a form of premeditation

Use this as an example, if you are driving and someone literally walks out in front of you in efforts to commit suicide does that make you a murder? Do you break one of the ten commandments? No - because it was not premeditated.

Just wanted to share some interesting thoughts :)
Posted by OhioGary 4 years ago
OhioGary
Oh, we're still doing this? Ok, then...

Response here:
http://www.debate.org...
Posted by DudeWithoutTheE 4 years ago
DudeWithoutTheE
The funny thing is tennis47's vote was far worse than OG's in the same direction, in that it didn't even misrepresent the debate, it had nothing to do with the debate, and yet draws no comment.
Posted by bladerunner060 4 years ago
bladerunner060
I know, right?!
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 4 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
The debate over OhioGary's vote was more heated than the debate itself.
Posted by bladerunner060 4 years ago
bladerunner060
Since OhioGary felt the need to repeat his post here and in the forums, I figure I may as well do so too.

.....

You heard it here first, folks: OhioGary has decided there's no such thing as a vote bomb, since a vote is only an opinion. Of course, he ignored the "formal" part of the definition, which indicates that there are RULES that surround the expression of the opinion (such as basing it on things in the debate, etc.). Of course, thanks to OhioGary, there's no such thing as a counter vote bomb, since that's only the opinion of the CVBer. Woo!

Nice failed attempt at pedantry, though.

Look, had you given a valid reason for your opinion, or an arguable reason for your opinion, I wouldn't have called you out. But it's like saying "The earth is flat because ducks, in general, moo". Whether the logic of the entire point is sound or not, ducks do not, in general, moo, and if you state that as your opinion, you are simply wrong. You said something had happened that had simply not happened, and it was on the basis of that thing that your vote was the way it was. Therefore, your vote and by extension, your opinion, was unsound. I countered the absolute minimum because I wanted to give you the ability to address the issue and correct yourself. There are many ways you could have removed the factually inaccurate statement and still given 5 points; as I noted earlier, Pro did a pretty good job, there were just (to me) some glaring flaws...but none of them were that Con accepted terms that Con clearly did not accept.
Posted by OhioGary 4 years ago
OhioGary
JonK doesn't have the vote yet. In DDO, as in life, if you don't vote then you become part of the problem.

Congratulations to the winners. It was truly a team effort.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 4 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Jonk, if I deserve to win, why don't you vote for me? Lol.
Posted by JonK 4 years ago
JonK
kade so should of won this, whatever...
13 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by morgan2252 4 years ago
morgan2252
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was able to rebut against anything that pro said, and definitely had more convincing arguments. conduct and spelling and grammar are the same. Con has one source, as opposed to pro, who has none.
Vote Placed by Raisor 4 years ago
Raisor
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I voted on the Con argument that whether or not Abraham knew his son would return does not impact the morality of the act. Con says attempting to murder someone is wrong, even if you know you will fail. This argument is dropped by Pro but it is pretty substantial and drives at the heart of the argument. I do tend to think Pro wins that Abraham trusts God and probably thought things would turn out alright, I just dont think Pro showed that this is enough to render the situation moral, as Con points out.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 4 years ago
bladerunner060
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD as noted in comments; OhioGary has corrected, but now that JasonGlenn has decided he feels a pressing need to votebomb, I feel as obliged to counter him as I did the one in the opposite direction.
Vote Placed by OhioGary 4 years ago
OhioGary
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RVD in comments.
Vote Placed by JasonGlenn 4 years ago
JasonGlenn
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Really?
Vote Placed by DudeWithoutTheE 4 years ago
DudeWithoutTheE
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Edited to add: DeadlyKris countered most of Tennis47's votebomb. I'm voting persuasion to counter the rest.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: There was not a point made by Pro that Con was unable to convincingly and logically refute. EDIT: countering votebombing. My original vote was just arguments to Con.
Vote Placed by tennis47 4 years ago
tennis47
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I believe in what the Bible tells us.
Vote Placed by Locke33 4 years ago
Locke33
GarretKadeDupreThe_Chaos_HeartTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro hook this by few of his really good arguments.