The Instigator
emospongebob527
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

Atheism Exists Because Theism Raised The Question First.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
InquireTruth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/24/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,301 times Debate No: 26554
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (26)
Votes (3)

 

emospongebob527

Pro

Go by popular definitions.

First round is acceptance.
InquireTruth

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
emospongebob527

Pro

Serious believers are generally eager to supply you with a catalog of their dearest convictions. They do not just hold positions, they declare them. It is of great importance to them that you know their views. And they are usually presented in a way meant to convince you of their truth, as if your own are variant, if not plainly false. Notice that their beliefs look in two directions at once: every one of them is perfectly matched with a corresponding unbelief. They are as concerned with what they do not believe as with what they do. Belief, in other words, is always belief against.

Because beliefs are so well matched with their opposites, they not only focus on the resistance of others, they are dependent on it. When that opposition fades so does the passion with which one’s own belief is held. To be an atheist you will need to find just the right theist to face off against. How could one deny the existence of God unless someone supplies a God that can be denied? The odd consequence of this is that one cannot be a believer without simultaneously being an unbeliever. Believing is an inherently self-contradictory act.

For this reason, belief can flourish only in situations of collision. And when belief flags, the only way to reanimate it is to provoke hostility in an other. It is a little like the fundamental insight of AA that alcoholics do not drink because circumstances caused it, but cause circumstances that provide an excuse to drink. Belief is a kind of narcotic. It is a state of being inebriated with certainty and reassured by a supporting company of friends—but possible only when an outward excuse can be created. Panslavism, to cite a typical belief system, has been wonderfully strengthened by the military intervention of Americans and western Europeans into the conflict over Kosovo—an issueSerbia worked hard to initiate. There is no thrill for patriots without a dangerous enemy to struggle against. If one doesn’t exist, make one. Iraq, for example?

Notice that no mention has been made of religion. Contrary to popular thinking, religion has very little to do with belief. One could be a believer (a Marxist, a white supremacist, say) without being religious. One could be religious (see Buddhism) without being a believer.

http://articles.exchristian.net...
InquireTruth

Con

Introduction

It’s of some disappointment that I must reckon with the words of another man’s work. You’re young, I understand, so my forgiveness is forthcoming. But let me encourage you to become more comfortable with the skill of your own words and not the intellectually lazy use of another person’s words.

It all tends towards my favor, of course, for even this rhetorical sample that you have presented is naught but folly. But before we begin the verbal rapine of what has been presented here as serious argument, let me be gracious to our readers by laying out some basic definitions and an argument of my own.

To be fair to the atheist and theist respectively, we’ll present two definitions that entail different epistemological standards.

The definition favorable to many atheists is this:
(A1) The absence of a belief in god(s).

The definition favorable to many theists is this:
(A2) The belief that there are or is no god(s).

We’ll have to analyze both (A1) and (A2) separately as the careful reader may already observe, as these two definitions entail different epistemological assumptions.

The easy road to Victory

I’ve entitled this the “easy road to victory” because the definition of (A1) so demonstrably refutes the resolution that victory seems too easy, cheap even. Theism is the belief in God and atheism is simply given a single letter prefix “a.” As it happens, this prefix comes from the Greek “a” or “an” which means, “without.” Thus, quite simply, an atheist is someone without belief in God. This is a favorable definition for many atheists[1] because it, for them, puts the burden of proof where it belongs. Since atheism is not a claim at all (which is precisely what a belief ultimately is: a positive claim about reality) it has nothing at all to prove. Thus the atheist sits in the comfortable position of having only to refute positive claims for the existence of god(s) whilst making little to no effort to make any arguments for atheism per se.

Any atheist who has ever made the claim that everyone is born an atheist is tacitly affirming (A1) as the most sensible definition of atheism. For how could a newborn infant who has little to no capability of forming even simple beliefs be born an atheist if atheism is being defined in a way that requires the conscience and complex denial of abstract and supernatural entities? I think it strains credulity to think that possible, and I think you do too.

So (A1) clearly does not require theism nor could it have possibly originated from any prior questions raised by theists. In fact, (A1) entails, necessarily, that atheism came first. Unless of course humankind was created as fully formed conscience beings and did not evolve over millions of years (a debate for another time, of course).

The Alternative Route


There are always multiple routes to victory and (A2) is still a way to get there, though less observably obvious. Here we must remember the proposition in question. Namely, “atheism exists because theism raised the question first.” Under the definition (A2), atheism is, in fact, making a claim about something. It is saying that God does not exist. Of course, HOW could atheism make this claim if the belief that such an entity existed was not already present?

But that seems rather silly, doesn’t it? For no amount of people need to believe something first before it can be denied. The verity of this claim and be tested presently, in the comfort of your own home. Imagine any preposterous thing you like, something your brain has never considered before. The one condition is that this one thing must be something that you will not believe in before or immediately after you’ve thought it. For instance, I thought about a purple ninja in my underwear silently and invisibly boxing my nether-boys like speed bags. So far as I can tell, there is not a single person in the world who believes that there is an invisible purple ninja in my underwear (or theirs for that matter). Thus, even though I have raised the question of such a ninja, absolutely no positive belief in its favor was necessary for it to be denied.

Therefore, it is a huge and indefensible non sequitur to believe that the belief in God MUST come chronologically prior to the belief that there is no God. Since no belief in favor of purple ninjas in my underwear came chronologically prior to the belief that there are no such ninjas, the resolution has been discovered void of any logical coherence.

Responding to Rhetoric


So what then do we do with the argument that you’ve presented? By comparison to what I’ve presented, it seems rather weak (or at least I think so), doesn’t it? This sort of ying-yangish view of belief requiring its corollary opposite is rather strange and ultimately without any merit. For if beliefs required a set of opposite beliefs to obtain, then it is literally impossible for either atheism or theism to exist chronologically prior the other. Thus, the resolution is refuted because the logic presented in your own argument requires that neither atheism nor theism existed chronologically prior to the other. One way to resolve this is to say that a belief does not require the existence of some corollary opposite belief and thus deny the entire argument all together.

Or, you could resolve this issue by adopting (A1), which denies that atheism is a belief at all. The problem, of course, is that this means that atheism necessarily came chronologically prior to theism and thus the resolution as been shown false.

Conclusion

In sum, I think it is obvious that the resolution as been negated beyond any reasonable doubt. Given the two most judicious definitions of atheism presented by opposing camps, it has been demonstrated that there is no reason at all to infer that theism existed chronologically prior to atheism. Moreover, the weak and wanting rhetorical argument presented in favor of the resolution was found to be self-defeating and only saved by admitting to a definition that necessitates the negation of the resolution.

Thank you for the debate and I faithfully anticipate your response.

Source:
http://atheism.about.com...
Debate Round No. 2
emospongebob527

Pro

emospongebob527 forfeited this round.
InquireTruth

Con

Extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
emospongebob527

Pro

Under prescriptive reasons I do not wish to undisclose, I must concede this debate to InquireTruth.
InquireTruth

Con

I appreciate emospongebob527 beginning this debate and allowing me the opportunity to participate. I also appreciate his willingness to expedite this process.

InquireTruth

Debate Round No. 4
Debate Round No. 5
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
This debate could have been won, emospongebob527, shame to see it go to waste.
Posted by emospongebob527 4 years ago
emospongebob527
Dang now I'm gonna lose.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
Damn, InquireTruth. I bet you wish I accepted now lol.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
* Five round debates tend to get _fewer_ votes than shorter debates.
Posted by wiploc 4 years ago
wiploc
I'll accept if you make it three or four rounds instead of five.

I don't usually read or vote on five round debates myself, so I don't like to inflict five rounds on other readers. Five round debates tend to get votes than shorter debates.

In five round debates, the last two rounds are often tedious rehashing of what has already been said.

Three rounds seems right to me, except, as here, where the first round is challenge and acceptance.
Posted by Marauder 4 years ago
Marauder
you should not be starting new debates while completely ignoring ones your already in with me and forfieting
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
That's why you should include the full resolution and your meaning in the first round. Check out RoyLatham's opening rounds to see how it's done.
Posted by emospongebob527 4 years ago
emospongebob527
Maybe it should be: Theism Had Sex With Skepticism and Atheism Was Born.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Just make semantics against the rules
Posted by emospongebob527 4 years ago
emospongebob527
I don't know how to word my resolution without a trickster using semantical wordplay.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
emospongebob527InquireTruthTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Plagiarism aside, Pro was completely slaughtered. Also, forfeit.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 4 years ago
Ore_Ele
emospongebob527InquireTruthTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
emospongebob527InquireTruthTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: As usual, Pro's entire case is plagiarized. Full forfeit.