Agnosticism is the only valid position in the Existence of God/s debate.
Debate Rounds (4)
So, from what I've seen, people usually define terms.
Agnosticism- The state of not knowing; not to make a claim
God- an omnipotent, omniscient being (not limited to any religion/belief)
valid- having a sound basis in reason and fact
only- and no one or nothing more besides
existence- in a state of objective reality
1st round will be acceptance, and from there until the final round, we will see where things go. Thank you!
I accept this challenge and am looking forward to a constructive debate. To clear something up are you saying that atheism is NOT a valid position and that ONLY agnostisism is?
The notion of God hasn't been proven or disproved yet. Now, there are many arguments for god and many against, some with sound reasoning behind it, and other with none. Now, it is impossible to objectively say that that God does not exist, as there is no scientific proof supporting that claim. To make it clear, I'm not speaking of any one god from a religion, but a general god. Now, it will be impossible for science to disprove a god, since, as of now, the nature of a god is not known. Thus, if science disproves a popularly held notion of god, theists would be able to assign a new feature to that god. Thus, objectively, to know whether there is or is not a god is truly impossible.
The Importance of Terms
Now the downfall of pros arguments rests mainly on his misunderstanding of the terms. Now while agnosticism is in fact a very valid stance on the debate of gods existance it is not the ONLY valid stance. See gnosticism and by converse agnosticism are claims from knowledge. If one is agnostic one simply does not know and the terms gnostic and agnostic can be applied to basically any topic. For example I am gnostic to the statement of "There is an aligator under my bed" as I can check and thereby know for certain if the statement is true or false. I would be agnostic to that statement if I could not know for certain whether there was or was not an aligator under my bed. Now that that's out of the way it's on to the real problem.
Now while gnosticism and agnosticism are claims from knowledge theism and atheism are claims from belief, and more specifically the belief in a god. While one may not know for certain however one may still believe or not believe. Both are still stances on the issue and both are still equally valid. However the terms agnostic and gnostic along with theistic or atheistic are not mutually exclusive terms. One could be an agnostic atheist, an atheist who doesn't believe in a god but does not conclusively know there isn't one. Or a gnostic atheist, one who does not believe in a god and knows there isn't one, and the same applies to the other side. A theist that believes in a god and knows there is one and a theist who believes but isn't sure which is the strangest of the four but they exist none the less. Now let's use the example from before. Now if you told me that there was an aligator under my bed and I didn't check I definitely would not know for sure but I still probably wouldn't believe you as to the unlikelyness of that being true.
Essentially your problem is lack of knowledge on the terms. Agnosticism is a perfectly valid stance however so is atheism and theism proving that agnosticism is not the ONLY valid stance.
I would like to ask Con from where did he get his definition of Gnosticism. According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary, the definition of Gnosticism is as follows:
The thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis.
The definition of gnosis is as follows:
Esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation
Con never specified the definition of Gnosticism, and I have provided the definition above.
To also quote from the oxford dictionary, the definition of Gnosticism is as follows:
A prominent heretical movement of the 2nd-century Christian Church, partly of pre-Christian origin. Gnostic doctrine taught that the world was created and ruled by a lesser divinity, the demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit.
In Con's argument, he refers to Gnosticism as being claims from knowledge. Here, I demonstrated that Gnosticism is, quote, "A prominent heretical movement of the 2nd-century Christian Church". There is no correlation between the argument that Con makes with Gnosticism and the actual definition of Gnosticism.
2.) Atheism and Theism being valid positions
As of now, the position of Gnosticism can be invalidated, as the actual definition of Gnosticism and the argument Con makes with Gnosticism show no correlation, as demonstrated above.
To quote from Con, his last sentence goes like this: " Agnosticism is a perfectly valid stance however so is atheism and theism proving that agnosticism is not the ONLY valid stance". As one can tell from Con's argument, he makes no points of why atheism and theism are valid stances. He makes the argument of Gnosticism, but none for atheism and theism alone. Atheism and Theism are fine beliefs to hold, but not a valid position to make a claim on. As there is no evidence to back up either position. But agnosticism makes a claim that is justifiable as it states that the existence of God cannot be known, and thus far, that claim is correct, as there has been no solid evidence to show that God exists or doesn't exist.
Pros first argument relies fully on taking a word out of context and playing a game of semantics with it. Dictionary.com is actually where I get my definitions from as it's more frequently updated.
Theism is a tad more tricky as a lot more personal bias comes into play when forming this belief. Now belief in a god can stem from many places but by far the most common is that the person was raised in a religion by their parents and so they simply follow that religion. The thing here is that a lot of people in religions simply follow them for the previous reason but never stop to look at the evidence and so they believe because they have never seen opposition to what they believe. Even then belief is still justified albeit nieve. On the other hand theists who do research the evidence and keep a belief in a deity normally do so because of their interpretation of the evidence. A lot of people interpret evidence differently based on personal biases from whatever experiences they've had in the past. One man may look at a fossil of a human skull and go "Wow another step for evolution" while another may go "Wow what an amazing example of Gods creation! Another point to Intelligent Design!". Now I'm not saying that this sort of interpreting is right in any way shape or form, however forming a belief in a god based on what you've been taught in a holy book or religion would influence how you see evidence. Now the thing is is that theists will commonly believe in a god based on personal experiences such as "I felt moved by the holy spirit" or "I talked to Jesus" and things such as that. That's still justified for belief in a god although it's not any sort of evidence for one.
1.) Definition of Gnosticism
I concede that I took Con's argument out of context, but to rebut, I took a look at the definition of Gnosticism on Dictionary.com, the very site Con cited. Notice how in his round 2 argument, Con used the example of gnosticism, and then used gnostic to describe that belief. From Dictionary.com, this is the only definition of Gnosticism:
Noun: A group of ancient heresies, stressing escape from this world through the acquisition of esoteric knowledge.
Now, when Con uses the adjective Gnostic, on Dictionary.com, this is the definition that appears (note that since Gnosticism is defined above, the correct adjective must be used due to the context of Gnosticism):
Adjective: Possessing knowledge, especially esoteric knowledge of spiritual matters.
Using the very site Con used, I showed that he took the term Gnosticism for something else than its actual definition, and attempted to make an argument with said erroneous definition.
2.) Gnostic atheism/ Theism
Con makes the claim in round 2 that Gnosticism is a claim from knowledge, and attempts to "get me" on the basis of properly defining terms. But, I will nonetheless rebut his argument. Yes, Gnostic atheism/ theism makes the claim to know 100% whether a God exists or whether a God does not exist. My whole argument has been that one cannot make a definite, 100% claim. This is due to, as I have stated, a lack of objective evidence. Thus, since there is not objective evidence to either confirm of deny 100% knowledge of the existence of God, the Gnostic view cannot be taken as valid in an argument based on objectivity, but is still a fine opinion to hold.
3.) The Burden of Proof
I would like to debate the point Con made of atheism requiring no evidence and that it makes no claim. A definition of Atheism, from dictionary.com (the website Con used to get his definitions) states Atheism as follows:
(Noun)1.The doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2.Disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
From dictionary.com, Theism is defined as follows:
(noun)1.The belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation (distinguished from deism ).
2.Belief in the existence of a god or gods (opposed to atheism ).
A keyword I would like to draw attention to in the definition of both words, is the word belief. Dictionary.com defines belief as follows:
Something believed; an opinion or conviction:
"A belief that the earth is flat."
Confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof:
"A statement unworthy of belief."
Confidence; faith; trust:
"A child's belief in his parents."
Belief is defined as having an opinion, confidence in the truth, but that truth not being susceptible to rigorous proof. Both atheism and theism are beliefs (according to the dictionary Con uses), theism a belief in the positive (the existence of God), and atheism being the belief in the negative (God does not exist). There is no evidence supporting either claims. For the atheist that says they don't believe in God because there is no evidence for it, I have this question; All because something isn't discovered yet, does that mean it does not exist? When the geocentric theory was popular, many people believed in that. They rejected the heliocentric theory (because to them and their worldview) there was not evidence for it. But we now know that that theory was wrong, and now (it isn't even a theory), the sun is in the center of the solar system. Using this example, to claim that there is no god due to a lack of evidence, is merely a belief that there is no god. I will repeat this throughout my argument; there is no proof for either side. Yet for agnosticism, there is ample of proof. Has there been any scientific breakthrough confirming or denying God? No, there has not. Science has made no comment on the existence of god.
As for Con's argument of theism arising from different places (parents, personal revelation, etc.), all of these are subjective. None are objective. In a debate, one can't claim subjective evidence, for not all can experience the evidence. The evidence that can only be claimed is objective. Again, this is where theism fails. It can provide no objective evidence for the existence of god. Like Con said, there is a lot more personal bias when it comes to theism.
Thus, the burden of proof lies on both atheists and theists to justify their beliefs, as I have shown neither of them can be taken on objective fact. But agnosticism's claims are all justified, as I have shown above.
Seeing how pro has already conceded to taking the word out of context I see no point in continuing a pointless discussion on the semantics of the word gnostic. I've already defined my term and as such will not be discussing it further.
I never actually claimed that gnosticism was a valid stance so this entire paragraph is essentially irrelivant.
The main thing that undermines pros 3rd argument is that he overlooks his own definition. Atheism is not the "belief in the negative" it is the DISbelief in the positive as defined by yourself. As I stated before atheism does not make a claim it simply rejects someone elses. The next point in this paragraph was that if something isn't discovered yet that does not mean it does not exist however this goes back to my point of the absence of evidence is warrant for disbelief. By not believing it atheists are not saying "Well it looks like it doesn't exist so we shouldn't even consider it." they just are not believing it because at this time there is no evidence to back it up.
Pros next pseudo paragraph is just sort of restating what I've already said. Yes theists have no objective evidence because of how they subjectively interperit it. This has alrady been established so I'm wondering what the relevancy is.
Your last paragraph is just a total misunderstanding of what I've already said. Atheists have no beliefs they just reject a claim. It seems like this entire round can basically be refuted by my last one.
In summary pro has done nothing to refute the fact that disbelief in something due to lack of evidence is not a valid stance due to his lack of understanding for the actual words themselves as well as to their deeper meaning. I thank pro for this debate and urge voters to vote con.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dhardage 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: While I agree that agnosticism is a valid stance to hold it is not the only one. Pro failed completely to examine the belief systems of theism and a-theism as stances with Gnosticism and an agnosticism as qualifiers for each.
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