The Instigator
devout_skeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
tryanmax
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

Atheism is a reasonable position for a person to hold.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
devout_skeptic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/7/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,492 times Debate No: 36458
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (26)
Votes (2)

 

devout_skeptic

Pro

Atheism is a reasonable position to hold given that it is perfectly reasonable to know ones own mental space and what one believes and what one does not. There is no persuasive evidence Atheists are ignoring that conclusively show that God is certain to exist so on that front it is reasonable as well. Please make round 1 a short opening statement.
tryanmax

Con

I accept and will immediately cede the first point, that it is reasonable to know one's own beliefs so long as it is agreed that there is no absolute correlation between belief and reason.

I will also agree that atheists are not ignoring any evidence. However, that means little in the face of the problem that devout believers and atheists alike often point to identical evidence as proof of their own ideas. It is a question of perspective. So my argument is that atheism is no more reasonable than religious belief, which is itself unreasonable.
Debate Round No. 1
devout_skeptic

Pro

Thank you for agreeing to debate and I look forward to an engaging and informative debate. I am truly interested in trying to understand the perspective of others. This is also my first formal debate in this or any venue or media. Still I have thought much about this topic and have watched many debates on a variety of topics so it is my hope that I will be a worthy opponent.

While it sounds as though we may not disagree about very much for this round I will just provide my arguments in support of the proposition.

The meaning of atheism that I am using is simply the lack of belief in a god. It is not unreasonable to lack belief in a god because it is just an acknowledgment or perhaps an assessment of a mental state. There are not very many things that one could know better empirically than the thoughts and ideas in ones own head. And even if you don't know them very well no one else is in a position to know them any better than you. Since atheism is about belief in a god, for the reasons stated previously, it is not unreasonable to hold this position and likewise since theism is about belief in a deity it is not unreasonable to know that one believes that either.

However there are beliefs that are unreasonable to hold. I am a proponent of rationally justified belief and I think peoples beliefs should conform to evidence and logic. Many religious beliefs do not conform to evidence and logic. Since this isn't even an argument I intended to make initially I will give just a brief example of what I mean. I find the idea of substitutional atonement to be incoherent and nonsensical (i.e. not conforming to evidence or logic). Just the idea that sacrificing young "pure" (whatever that means) animals to God for wrongdoing is something god wants or wanted is bizarre and I haven't heard any good evidence that any person could realistically know that a God would want or accept that.

Atheism is generally more reasonable than religious belief because atheism is about a singular thing while religious beliefs are actually a plethora of varying incredibly complex tapestries of ideas. So it must be admitted it is far easier for religious belief to run afoul of reason than the more basic notion of atheism. There are very sophisticated elaborations of religious beliefs which I find not much fault with but these differ markedly from most people's understanding and belief about their religions.

The form of atheism I am arguing is reasonable is the lack of belief in a god. As opposed to the belief that there are no gods. Now you say in your opening statement that "atheism is no more reasonable than religious belief, which is itself unreasonable.". But what good reasons do people have to think that their religious beliefs are true? Not many and often the contradictions and contra evidence make the beliefs even more untenable and unjustified. Now what good reasons do I have for not believing? Well I have never heard or examined evidence or a reason for believing that I found compelling and I think that in that absence my position is more reasonable. For most other things I think we would agree unless we have reasons and evidence to believe something exists we don't believe it does.

One last thing before I close. I find that while religious people very rarely ascribe their belief to the ontological argument or the kalam cosmological argument. Many atheists who were formerly religious do ascribe their atheism to logical arguments and the concept of justified or rational belief. I am not among them. Non belief for me was just a personal realization. I was raised catholic and it always seemed weird to me. I finally just admitted to myself and everyone that I didn't believe. I was eight or nine. I then later thought well what if I am wrong but I could never find a compelling reason to believe.

I am going to close here. I look forward to reading your opening argument. I thought I would need a lot of space to explain why what religious people think is evidence for God isn't but judging by your acceptance statement that is unnecessary as was some of what I included anyway.
tryanmax

Con

I'm afraid I have to throw in the towel on this one.
Debate Round No. 2
devout_skeptic

Pro

I respect my opponents desicion to withdraw and hope that this debate will be ruled a draw. He was entirely magnanimous and I wouldn't want someone to loose a debate they did not feel like engaging in as long as they communicate it within the debate time frame. We are both new at this so I think it would be fair as we are both getting used to the workings of debate.org.
tryanmax

Con

Thanks to my opponent for being so amenable. Hopefully we can find a different topic on which to spar.
Debate Round No. 3
devout_skeptic

Pro

And just to close out the debate... Thanks again to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 4
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CatholicTraditionalist 3 years ago
CatholicTraditionalist
God casts all atheists into the eternal torments of hell which was first created as a holding place for the fallen angels.
Posted by tryanmax 3 years ago
tryanmax
It isn't that I'm not of religious persuasion, per se (it really depends on how you define it), it's just that I recognize the limitations of religious reasoning. I could've argued the existence/non-existence of God/gods/deity to a point of singularity, which was my plan of attack. But when atheism is defined as agnosticism (which I should have ruled out immediately, but failed to do) you're basically arguing against the singularity itself. That's what stumped me.
Posted by sparks 3 years ago
sparks
Very magnanimous of you both I hope devout_skeptic does get someone to debate that "Not believing in a god is a reasonable position to hold" but you really need someone of a religious persuasion for it to have any mileage.
Posted by tryanmax 3 years ago
tryanmax
I just want to emphasize that I think Devout Skeptic's approach was completely fair and, likewise, completely foreseeable had I taken the time to consider it. With that in mind, I can say that Sparks was ultimately correct that, had I considered Pro's most likely arguments, I would not have accepted. Please don't let any of the chatter in the comments sway your voting; Devout Skeptic deserves the win.

I'll choose better next time.
Posted by sparks 3 years ago
sparks
ego as in if we continue our debate trying to convince each other our position is the right one instead of agreeing to disagree. Mind I don't really think it was much of an argument really. You didn't want to debate atheists who believe with certainty there is no god which I am fine with. I think you should make this clearer when creating these debates which you said you would. In all we actually agree.
Posted by devout_skeptic 3 years ago
devout_skeptic
I don't know what ego has to do with it but fair enough. We just disagree and that is fine.
Posted by sparks 3 years ago
sparks
Having said all that if I were arguing against "it is reasonable to be a theist" I would certainly attempt to cloud the water with religion and hope they bite and if they have religious beliefs they always will.
Posted by sparks 3 years ago
sparks
Not at all if a theist wanted to debate "it is reasonable to be a theist" they wouldn't have to defend any religion because a theist is someone who believes in god or gods nothing to do with a religion. They would have absolutely no obligation to defend any particular story told in any holy book. Their argument is about the existence of a god or gods be it a Christian god Muslim god or the big spaghetti monster they could have their own interpretation of a god. I know a guy who goes for the rock and roll loving alien "Petri dish" supreme being theory and to be honest it has significantly less holes than any conventional religion has.

If the topic were "The God of Christianity exists" that's a game changer the would then have to defend/prove that a god of Christianity exists, including all that Christianity entails a much tougher prospect than "it is reasonable to be a theist".

Look this could go on you already said you would clarify in future the narrower definition of atheist you wish to debate, Tryanmax is attempting to continue the debate all be it with a different approach. Its been resolved now this is simply coming down to ego.
Posted by devout_skeptic 3 years ago
devout_skeptic
By this reasoning if someone were arguing "it is reasonable to be a theist" their opponent could give reasons why it is unreasonable to believe in John Frum, Poseidon, Isis, Anunnaki or Quetzalcoatl but in all the debates where that or something similar is the topic I have never once heard an atheist debater tell a theist that they had to defend the existence of Quetzalcoatl in order to win the debate. It honestly buggers the mind that you would think this is the case.

Even if the topic were "The God of Christianity exists" a debater in support of the motion would not and should not be required to defend all conceptions of the Christian God. Do you really think that is the case?
Posted by sparks 3 years ago
sparks
The title is clear you are defending "Atheism is a reasonable position for a person to hold." Atheism includes those who believe a God does not exist. Regardless of your position, your beliefs and what you wanted to defend your title indicates you are going to defend Atheism as a whole not a narrower band of Atheism that you subscribe to. You did say you would ensure clarity in your future debates but tryanmax I feel would of struck a fatal blow on the belief in no God until you narrowed down the definition in round 2. I'm not saying you should defend a position you do not support just be aware that this later narrowing down may mean your opponent is forced to support a position they don't support.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
devout_skeptictryanmaxTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by ObiWan 3 years ago
ObiWan
devout_skeptictryanmaxTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: FF