Atheism vs. Christianity (Pro - Atheist, Con - Christian)
Debate Rounds (4)
Round one - Pro challenges, Con accepts
Round two - Pro states his case, Con states his case
Round three - Pro rebuttal, Con rebuttal
Round four - Pro rebuttal and closes, Con rebuttal and closes
The bible can be used for this debate and I wish anyone luck whoever accepts this debate.
Before I get started, there are a few topics I would like to address. First of all, I thank my opponent for accepting my debate and eagerly anticipate the outcome. Secondly, In the comments I understand that a well learned debater presented a few ideas (which I don't condemn him/her for) which wish to subject me to limitations I find slightly flawed. Under inspection of your profile I assume that you take a Christian or theistic point of view, claiming that God, the creator of science, can't be disproved by his own creation. This, however, is not what we observe, which I will hopefully prove to you. The next restriction placed on me is not to use theories. The definition of a theory is as follows:
“a scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses." National Academy of Sciences
A theory is a well tested hypothesis. It is still a reliable source. To use only facts would be impossible. My opponent can't even mention God if this method of debating is consistently used. God is a tested theory not a fact. If I interpreted your message incorrectly, be free to align my thinking according to yours.
Religion has been around for thousands of years. Some have gradually receded and wallowed in their own death, others bud and flourish in popular support, or might we say delusional support. Despite the extreme difficulty to track traditional beliefs the farther you decent in history, Glenn Morton, unfortunately another delusional creationist, who is also a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists with a B.S in physics, reports that the earliest sign of religion is roughly 300,000 years ago . As we progress through history these religions dissolved and new ones took their place. Up til around the late 17th century and early 18 hundreds, during the time of the enlightenment, the notion of no God was almost unheard of, according to the University of Cambridge . So once we began to understand the whys of our world, god began to slip away, for a very good reason. Actually for quite a few good reasons. For our debate, we would like to demonstrate the absurdity of the Christian God.
The logic of God
For my first point let's disprove Christianity with logic. Logic is the backbone of Atheism. The main supporting argument that adds sense into atheism is the absurdity of religion. Christianity is an extremely easy topic to prove its primitive origins. For example, simply look in the creation of the world. This basically how and why the world is created.
The world wasn't there, nothing was, only a floating being entitled God. He never came from anywhere, He's just always mysteriously been there. This God having supreme knowledge, powers, and every thing you can ever imagine, was for no reason there, wherever there was.
Suddenly for no reason He decides to create people to worship Him, therefore He forms angels. These people aren't enough for Him so He creates more, including Lucifer. Lucifer is a special angel in His mind. He created him to rebel against Him and lead the future world to Hell. So in this action He made a feeling being to rebel and suffer for eternity for no other reason than being created rebellious.
But this wasn't enough, God decided that one suffering wouldn't satisfy Him. When He created Satin, He knew that he would lead millions of His angels down with him, ultimately in Hell. To get a better picture, this is what happened. God created angels while deciding that one-third of them would suffer excruciating anguish for eternity.
He still didn't stop there. In God's mind, millions of people still needed to fill Hell's gates. Throwing words into utter darkness, planets, light, and life began to grow. Finally he raised Adam from the dust, and shortly after Eve from him. To make sure the human's fall was set in stone, he dumped a tree in the middle of the garden for good measure. Sitting back in Heaven, He watches Satin turn Eve against Him, which HE FULLY EXPECTED! Now millions of people have to burn in Hell, because He decided to make it that way.
According to the bible, Job 21:22 , Romans 11:33-34 , Job 34:21 , and etc... God is all knowing. He's in control, nothing happens unless He allows it. This is God's plan, He created people to go to hell. Even if He didn't have a choice to create satin and sin, He still doesn't allow millions of people into heaven according to the doctrine of election (Eph. 1:5,11 ) This comes in direct contradiction of the bible which claims that He is a loving God. There is no way to avoid this.
The Lack of Proof
But even if we ignore this contradiction among many, we still have zero proof that God exists. Christians; however, decide that there is proof. One example of this is prayer. Christians always speak of the “power” of prayer. In the Bible there are many verses which specifically state that if you pray and have faith, God will answer your prayer, Mark 11:24 , John 14:12-14 , Matthew:18:19 , James 5:15-16 , etc... So if we pray we get an answer. Simple, right? With this in mind, what happens when we pray to God for the healing of an amputated limb? We all can safely assume that nothing is going to happen. Amputated limbs have never healed in all of time. But in the bible, it says that he will answer prayer. Hmm, why doesn't He answer? Well, it's because the the existence of god is an illusion.
To illustrate this further, consider the following evidence from Raymond J. Lawrence in the New York Times. He writes,
“RESPONSIBLE religious leaders will breathe a sigh of relief at the news that so-called intercessory prayer is medically ineffective. In a large and much touted scientific study, one group of patients was told that strangers would pray for them, a second group was told strangers might or might not pray for them, and a third group was not prayed for at all. The $2.4 million study found that the strangers' prayers did not help patients' recovery.” 
Prayer doesn't help, it's all imaginary.
Lack of scientific understanding
In atheism, we realize that the bible is the work of primitive men. Under this conviction we would expect to find outdated thoughts and beliefs. This is exactly what we do find. Consider the following examples.
Creation of the world
Genesis 1:6 - “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 
The “firmament” — raqia in Hebrew — is a solid dome. This is what the bible pictures the world like.
Jesus' lack of understanding
John 3:8 - “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” 
Under modern science, we now have the knowledge of where the wind comes from and goes to realize that it has no control of itself. Here in the bible, Jesus talks as a simple minded person of the past.
Bible lack of understanding
Matthew 4:8 - “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 
Here the Jesus looks on all the world on a high mountain. However the most you can see from the tallest mountain, Mt. Everest, is roughly 250 miles. In this verse, Jesus shows that he has no conception of mountains and the spherical shape of the Earth. The only way for this verse to work is the world has to be flat.
In my opponent's next speech I would ask him to answer the following questions.
:Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?
: Do you believe the Bible should be completely taken literally? If not, which sections would be taken literally and which should be taken figuratively?
: Do you believe abuse, racism, and slavery are moral?
: Is God all-knowing?
: Is evolution a possible beginning for humankind?
: Is God loving?
: Is the eternal life\death literal.
: Are claimed contacts or experiences of God or Jesus today real?
: And why don't amputated limbs heal from prayer?
There are millions of arguments like this which demonstrate the absurdity of Christianity (these will be brought up in a later period of the debate). The only sensible alternative to Christianity is Atheism. In my next argument, I will present the explanation atheists find convincing. I hope my opponent will enjoy debating me as I do. I now await for my opponent's case.
I wondered, reading the challenge-as-posted, was why the "atheist" position is challenging Christianity specifically, rather than belief in God in general, since there are such a variety of "theist" positions to consider. It is thus a little unclear to me whether the main argument is to be for or against God in general, or for or against Christianity in particular. I am making that assumption that, actually, it is in fact both - and that I"m supposed to be arguing in general for the proposition that God exists, in some form, and that Christianity describes the specific nature, character, and actions of God most accurately.
I will take up the more universal topic first, and then see where this all leads.
If one looks across human societies in general, there is actually a reasonable amount of agreement on a basic sense of right and wrong; murder, theft, rape, incest, and a variety of other things are - generally - abhorred and punished. Not by all individuals, mind you, but usually by social groups in general, and by most individuals in those groups. Most religions teach, on some core level, many of the same general ethical principles. What in Western culture is typically called the "Golden Rule" appears with minor variation in many other cultures, and people worldwide, including people living relative isolation from diffusion, often share basic core values of right and wrong. To me, the general ethical/moral similarity among most people, peoples, and faiths - across history, not just at any one time - is a strong suggestion of some common spark within all humans - conscience? - that indicates to me a creator with a common design for humanity. The moral conscience that is reflected in most people and most faiths is, I believe, due to people having been created by God (and, I think, in His image - with at least a vestigial sense of His justice and goodness).
Some might argue that these behaviors, rather than representing any moral sense, demonstrate only instinctive behaviors that provide evolutionary advantage: offering enhanced opportunities for the genetic material of a particular group or individual to be passed on. I find that argument inadequate to account for the breadth of similarity across cultures and environments, persisting through thousands of years of development in varying levels of isolation and contact. Moreover, that argument also ignores other aspects of humanity that are strikingly similar: a desire to make art - paintings, carvings, jewellery - to be visually creative, and to develop and enjoy music - neither of which offer any particular, material evolutionary advantage but which speak to some inner similarity that again crosses cultures and time periods.
Similarly, the very existence of religion and religious faiths - not any specific religion, but religion in general - persisting across cultures, time, and through often savage persecution, speaks to the recognition by mankind of a creator, and the search by mankind to find and understand what the creator is. Arguing that religious faith is merely a tool of control from elites, or instead a societal convenience or crutch, doesn"t make particular sense given the many instances of people holding fast to faith when it was anything but convenient or when a controlling authority wished them to do otherwise. I would not turn specifically to Christianity, or any other single doctrine or belief system to explain the reason to believe in God; to do so would seem illogical and would invalidate as meaningful all of the other faiths that have reached the same general conclusion but with different particulars. On the contrary, that very diversity of particulars while agreeing on their being a God (or gods) is, in itself, evidence of people sensing and agreeing on the existence of some kind of creator.
On a slight tangent, I do not think that the evolution/creation debate has any ultimate bearing on the question of the existence of God. How - and over how long a period - God created the universe and the world is far less relevant than whether or not He exists and created at all. Quibbles over the interpretation of specific lines of scripture are more relevant to the second part of the issue at hand; that is, assuming the existence of God, why should Christianity claim any particular legitimacy in describing Him?
At this point I have elected only to attempt to wrestle in a general way with the "theism"/"atheism" side of the argument. The question of which particular faith represents the best window upon the nature of the creator and mankind"s relationship with that creator is a different topic, and I think it best - not knowing the exact intent of this debate - to wait and see how the topic"s own "creator" wishes to proceed.
Update: Shortly after composing this, I checked my email and noted that "Pro" had posted. Much of the first argument specifically attacks the assumption of ANY god through criticism of specific points of Judeo-Christian theology (interpreted by the writer); as noted above I do not think that the initial question of the existence of God ought be approached through a singular lens. The writer also included a list of questions; I"m not sure that this is the proper point to take on those questions, but out of deference to the request and in the spirit of open discussion I"ll reply - though I expect further discussion on those points will be necessary, and I also expect that my answers will probably not prove satisfactory to the questioner.
Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God? - Personally, yes, I do.
Do you believe the Bible should be completely taken literally? If not, which sections would be taken literally and which should be taken figuratively? No, I do not believe every word of the Bible is to be taken "literally." Nor do I believe that there are "sections" that are limited to "literal" or "figurative" interpretation; the Bible is (to me) a divinely inspired and complex work which integrates literal description, figurative and metaphorical imagery, history, poetry and song, and which incorporates the work of many human authors striving to address specific audiences at specific times while still allowing themselves to be used by God to reveal eternal truths. So, from my perspective, the questioner"s binary categories are not appropriate.
Do you believe abuse, racism, and slavery are moral? No - certainly not today. "Abuse" is a vague term, quite subject to interpretation. "Racism" is as well, but I will agree that in principle race ought not be the basis for our forming judgments of other people. Slavery is certainly immoral in the modern world, and was particularly abhorrent in the form in which it developed a racial connotation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but was universal in ancient societies and was, possibly, preferable to outright slaughter of defeated peoples.
Is God all-knowing? Yes, when He so chooses.
Is evolution a possible beginning for humankind? Yes, it is a possible beginning, although I do think that it would still be a planned beginning.
Is God loving? Yes, but I don"t think our understanding can fully grasp what "loving" means from an eternal God - who is not only loving, but also Holy and Just.
Is the eternal life\death literal. Yes, although I do not think we can fully understand the meaning of those terms in an eternal context; what is it like to "live" forever "with" God? Does "death" mean the end of existence altogether, some kind of eternal separation from other souls, or torment - or a combination of the latter two, or something else? I don"t think we can know that.
Are claimed contacts or experiences of God or Jesus today real? I do not know. I am convinced that God does act in the world, but Jesus also warned of false teachers, prophets, and signs; the best we can do is apply our own best judgment and seek guidance from God in understanding.
And why don't amputated limbs heal from prayer? I don"t guarantee that I know, nor do I presume my answer will be wholly or even a little satisfactory to some. In part, there might be a differing definitions of "heal;" "Heal" could mean "the wound heals and does not become septic;" in that case, to survive amputation might be answered prayer. "Heal" could mean psychologically - to accept and learn to function in the new condition. "Heal" could mean "eventually" - scripturally we are promised new bodies in the future. The ultimate answer really is that we don"t know. My understanding of "healing" may not be God"s understanding of "healing," and sometimes, I believe, God gives us other than what we ask if He knows it"s best for us. I think God always answers prayer, but the answers are not always what we wanted or expected, or when we wanted them. The larger answer to questions about suffering in general is that - from a Christian perspective, which is what the challenger is using - the entire experience of life, good and bad, is brief and pales in comparison with eternity; the loss of a limb, or the death of a person, is a real, genuine, painful tragedy to us, but it still is only temporary because there is a perfect world beyond - and while 10, 50, 60, or 90 years might seem like a long time to us, really it isn"t.
In my last round I gave the strongest, in my opinion, argument for an atheist: the absurdity of religion, in this case Christianity. For this round I will post some of the more common arguments given by atheists today.
Look at the suffering. Look at the prayers
This world is a wonderful midst of brilliant colors and sights. From the tiniest detail, our world flows with excitement and discovery. But terror rips through this place of delight too. Wherever we look, the bad very often outweighs the good. Hundreds of innocent children fall to horrible deaths each day. Wildlife is going extinct, terrorism and torture are rampant everywhere. Articles like these are all over the place.
"About 21,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. This is one person every four seconds, as you can see on this display. Sadly, it is children who die most often." 
"The violence in Iraq has killed more than 5,500 civilians over the first six months of the year, according to a report by the United Nations that documents the massive humanitarian toll of the Sunni militant offensive."
All this is going on, but no answer from God. He's just sitting back in His infinitely luxurious throne while little precious jenny gets her head hacked off along with her family, ignoring their pleas and prayers. Incidents similar to this happen everyday. God just waits in heaven, never answering suffering people's prayers. However, in America and other wealthy countries, the story is quite different. Jenny is 32 years old living in the upper middle class. She and her family have a problem. They need a large amount of gravel to complete their little patio. They pray to God to help them find a great discount on gravel. Suddenly, the next week they receive a truck load of gravel from a family member who just happened to buy too much. They add this to their list of answered prayers and share with their church the amazing power of prayer.
Look at this situation. God gladly will help Jenny find cheep gavel or Joel Osteen search for the perfect parking spot. When people in Africa pray for their lives, God strangely never hears them. Their is no possible way for their to exist a loving or even just God that answers prayers who answers rich people's trifles and not the miserable people's problems in Africa, even for the ones who fall under submission to Him. With an atheist's perspective, this scene would make sense. Nothing is fair in life. Some live and some don't.
Look at all the religions
Have you ever contemplated all the religions that exist in the world today. Consider this article,
"According to David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world. 'Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations.'" 
There are many religions in the world today. The total increases even more the farther back in history we go. Now what does this info actually mean? People have been trying to find some form of explanation for their existence. However, no one is quite sure who or where he/she is. If there was a god, we'd expect a definite being who proclaims his existence instead of letting the people take a wild guess. This brings me to my next point.
Look at the timeline of religion
The timeline of religions goes into direct proof of the non existence of a God. Thousands of years ago people believe in gods of fertility, life, food, etc... They created them to explain processes that they saw. They wanted a god who could fill their ignorance. As time progressed and discoveries were made, some of these gods disappeared and natural explanations took their place. As I have shown before, true atheism began during the time of the enlightenment . Once people can explain their existence without God, he too begins to slip away. What we are in now is the time when the idea of a God is beginning to fade.
Christians today begin to realize this too. In America pastors all over are beginning to accept evolution as a reason for our existence. Evolution is also confirmed by my opponent. I will be addressing this in the next round.
Try to look for God
Speaking of god's lack of response to prayer and the beginning of our knowledge of natural explanations to our existence, it brings to mind another topic. Why is god so hidden, especially today? Back in bible times, god always showed himself. Verses such as Exodus 7:14-11:10 , Exodus 16 , and pretty much all the life time of Jesus, god shows himself. He had no trouble demonstrating his power and authority over them. Miracles and wonders were a common sight then. Today this is not so. As I have stated before there are many religions that try to find him. If anything, god is working against himself. If there was a god, he not only hid himself, but also set up our world so it can easily be explained without him. If there was a god, this would be the most idiotic being in existence. But he isn't an idiot, he's an imaginary friend that ignorant people made up.
As wonderful as these arguments posted by my opponent, there is a slight issue. All of the arguments presented against me were completely unsourced. They were all based on mental gathering and interpretation. Though my opponent may be quite intelligent, they still contain no weight to them. Nevertheless I will counter them. In my opponent's rebuttal, I would be very appreciative if he would site his arguments.
Moral recognition in the world (changes!)
Morality doesn't need a supernatural creator for its existence. We, as the human species, created it as time goes on. Consider the following article,
"Morality comes from us - we make it. It starts with a few biological sources, such as the basic survival instinct, and behaviors of social species. After that, human philosophy, and assessment of harm versus benefit, establish the remaining nuances of morality. Atheists use this "Secular" morality explicitly, which is basically a derived set of behaviors that allow multiple humans to cooperate in a society. The goals are to maximize benefit and happiness while minimizing harm and misery (which biology primes us to desire). Actions taken can be evaluated towards this goal as moral and immoral, respectively. How do we know not to kill people? Societies break down fairly fast if people run around slaughtering each other. It does not take long to figure out that this is a behavior that gets in the way of society - thus, it is determined to be 'bad'. It is reality based, not supernatural." 
We, as the only known species to have consciousness, are able to develop and change morality. This is exactly what we do see . Morality is not proof of God.
Religious knowledge (ignorance)
As I have demonstrated in argument 3, religion isn't proof of God. It is proof of total ignorance. Religion dies as our knowledge grows.
These are my arguments and hopefully all of the arguments posted by my opponent. The questions you answered will be brought up in the next round with interesting connections. I hope my opponent realizes that this debate will continue debating the topic of Atheism vs. Christianity. I now await my opponent's response.
Argument 1 - Is a combination of the problem of the existence of evil in the world, and of the efficacy of prayer.
As noted, there are two arguments embedded in the descriptions given. One is the problem of how evil, pain, suffering, war, disease, etc. can exist in the world if God exists, and the other is why God appears to answer some prayer but not others.
On the first point, I do not know if we can find agreement or common ground. Since I have been asked to reply from a Christian perspective, I will; the Christian answer ultimately comes down to only two concepts - sin and free will. God, after making the world, said "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us." (Gen 1:26 NLT). Later, the created humans allowed themselves to be deceived and chose not only to disobey God, but to then attempt to hide their guilt. Why did God allow this to happen? God created humans with the gift of free will; the freedom to choose, and to choose to love, lie, hate, and kill. Having given humans that gift, God does not violate it; if someone chooses to do evil, and in doing so inflicts harm on others, God respects that freedom as much as He respects the freedom to worship or to serve the poor. One of the things that makes Christianity different from many other religions is the importance placed on human free agency AND human individuality - God cares about each person, and each person is rewarded or judge individually based on the acts and choices of one lifetime. There are no repeats. However, "even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction." (Rom 9:22, NLT)
Coming to grips with the messy world that God has allowed us to create means keeping all the strands of God"s character in mind. Yes, God is loving - and in fact personifies love in its purest form - and that love is why He gave us freedom in the first place. God is also Holy - God cannot tolerate sin, evil, or wickedness, and God"s standards of purity are unimaginably high. And God is Just - and will and must punish those who sin. BUT - because of His love, God has also agreed to take the just punishment for sin onto himself, sparing us, provided we accept and sincerely try to follow Him.
I addressed the basic issue of prayer in the first posted argument. God knows and will provide what is ultimately good for us, as long as he does not violate the free will of other people. But what God understands as good may be different from what we understand as good, and God also has a longer frame of reference; what is terrible in the short term is far less significant on a timeline where "eternal" is in play.
Argument 2 - Religions
"Pro" argues that multiplicity of religions argues against the likelihood of God, since God would presumably want to clearly announce himself: "People have been trying to find some form of explanation for their existence. However, no one is quite sure who or where he/she is. If there was a god, we'd expect a definite being who proclaims his existence instead of letting the people take a wild guess." First, God has done an awful lot to directly announce his presence, and communicate it. Personally, as you can see, I have come to find the evidence compelling and convincing - and I don"t think I"m guessing. From the grandeur of creation itself and the physical beauty of the world and the universe to the attempts by God to communicate - including the inspiration and preservation of scripture - He has provided plenty of evidence.
As I argued in my first post, the plurality of religions I find to be an argument FOR God. The mere fact that humans have such a deeply instinctive and universal impulse to seek the divine suggests to me a Creator, and the common threads that interweave through the religions of human history suggest vestiges of a common created nature and a common grasp of at least elements of God"s character and message.
To the extent that they touch on similar aspects of God, I think that most world religions are trying to approach and understand the same God, and achieving varying degrees of closeness - but that only Christianity has pulled in all the elements of God"s character and successfully incorporated them into a coherent explanation for a messy world and for the problem of how a Holy and Just God can hold us to His standards - with the answer being that "God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God"s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins." (Rom 3:21-24, NLT)
Argument 3 - Timeline of Religion
The proposition is that some form of evolutionary process is leading to a simplification and ultimate irrelevance and extinction of religion. I see the same process in a very different light: that God has been moving forward a plan for the salvation of the world, using imperfect vessels - humans - and has been contending for the future of the world and to get His message out correctly. The overall reduction in the number of faiths is part of the process of distillation - and eventually everyone left on earth will have to choose. When that happens, no one knows - we "do not know the day or the hour." (Matt 25:13, NLT) Rather, "the day of the Lord"s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, "Everything is peaceful and secure," then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman"s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. (1 Thess 5:2-3, NLT)
In rebuttal to part of my previous argument, "Pro" argues that "Morality comes from us - we make it. It starts with a few biological sources, such as the basic survival instinct, and behaviors of social species. After that, human philosophy, and assessment of harm versus benefit, establish the remaining nuances of morality...The goals are to maximize benefit and happiness while minimizing harm and misery (which biology primes us to desire). Actions taken can be evaluated towards this goal as moral and immoral, respectively. How do we know not to kill people? Societies break down fairly fast if people run around slaughtering each other. It does not take long to figure out that this is a behavior that gets in the way of society - thus, it is determined to be 'bad'. It is reality based, not supernatural." 
This argument breaks down quite a bit just looking at the 20th century. It"s always dangerous to make a National Socialist reference ("Godwin"s Law") - but Germany between 1939 and 1945 was a society where the killing of at least some people was seen as a "good" and even necessary by the ruling authority and by many who subscribed to the views propagated by that authority. And in that particular case, the killing of selected and targeted people or groups was not at all a threat to social order - on the contrary, it provided material benefit for many immediately and promised to do so for almost all eventually, and without anarchy or physical threat to the majority. By the logic above, the behavior should have been judged "good" on a reality basis by the society at large. Nonetheless, a large enough number knew it to be wrong that the government deliberately tried to hide its most brutal actions, and a minority of those who knew the truth believed it wrong enough to risk their lives in opposition. I am not using the example to argue that the Christian connections of many of those who resisted is an argument for a higher place for Christianity - there were far too many who kept silent. But I think the case does point out that very many people understood that the senseless killing was wrong even if it brought gain to their society, and enhanced its homogeneity and evident stability.
I also submit that there needs to be some external standard by which we judge right and wrong - some absolute to which we repair for comparison when individual desires and social interpretations differ.
Though I think there are some things I could add, I'm running out of allocated space (and time!), so I'll have to hand it back over for now.
This will be my last speech for this debate. Fortunately (or maybe for my opponent, unfortunately) I've have a rather ample amount of information to present. Let's get started with the last round.
The free will we don't have.
In my opponent's first point, he makes a dramatically wild claim that God has given us a free will. Here he presents his case as most Christians do, which is this.
“God wanted man to live with him forever. Man, however was tricked by satin (Which God made by the way), and now God can't be with man because of sin (Which was also created by Him). Now it is our choice to accept Jesus into our hearts so we can be together again.”
This warm and gushy thought is completely against the bible. In my first argument, which my opponent has neglected to address, show specifically what the bible actually shows. I stated,
“According to the bible, Job 21:22 , Romans 11:33-34 , Job 34:21 , and etc... God is all knowing. He's in control, nothing happens unless He allows it. This is God's plan, He created people to go to hell. Even if He didn't have a choice to create satin and sin, He still doesn't allow millions of people into heaven according to the doctrine of election (Eph. 1:5,11 ) This comes in direct contradiction of the bible which claims that He is a loving God. There is no way to avoid this.”
We have no free will. God determined exactly what would happen in the world. There is but one problem with God's plan. That is that's it is impossible. In the Bible, verses verifying this load it's pages. Such as Jeremiah 29:11  which says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God knows our future, he knows the past, he planed everything before the creation of the world. My opponent must agree with this statement. Most Christians are aware of this. The part that they don't think about is what happens in life that flows according to God's “plan.” With what happens in life, God's plan is impossible.
For example, in Psalm 139:16 , God states that he knows everyday of our life, including our life and death. Sounds fair, right? What about abortions. God has specifically decided that a baby will be ripped apart before birth. And millions of these are going on. If God planed for them to be aborted, the doctor and the mother are blameless. They're just puppets of God's plan. The Christians who protest abortions would technically be protesting God's plan.
Also, what about murders? The murderer had no choice. God randomly decided in heaven, “Let's see, James died peaceful? No! He'll be choked. Yeah that's better. Sorry James. Phil, you're the murderer, go crazy.” God wanted Phil to murder so he should also be blameless.
Now God plans our birth as well. Rapists then should be rewarded. God picked out the parents and they carried out the plan.
If we follow in the thinking that this God has a plan, we then have no free will. Which comes in direct contradiction on how we are presented in the bible. We don't even have limited free will. Anything that happens is what God wanted.
To believe in the Christian God, which is what our opponent is advocating for, they then have to believe that God plans all abortions, murderers should go free, rapists should be rewarded, and we're a slave to God.
Argument 2 and 3
Religions of ignorance
In my arguments, I don't see how I could have made it any clearer. But since my point isn't getting across, I will break it into individual facts. What my opponent doesn't quite understand is the pattern religion follows. I stated in my last round is that certain deities and eventually religions are dying. People then had no conception of why the sun set. So to explain this phenomenon they created a god who ruled the sun. To them, this seemed like a good explanation. After years, we slowly found why the sun rises and sets, so we didn't needs Ra's help anymore. This is the pattern we see in history. My opponent got from my argument is that all the religions are narrowing down to Christianity. However this is not close to what is happening. The ideas of a deity is being pushed away, with our ability to explain nature without God. The presence of religion is the absence of knowledge.
Morality is slowly solved
This argument presented by my opponent is slightly illogical (No offense). If it does anything, it moves to my favor. The article I presented was clearly followed through. Hitler went against the moral agreement, might we say, of that time. His reign didn't last because of his moral changes. The idea of treating a race as less than, which is what he was doing, was ruled out not too long ago. For example consider slavery. We treated the African Americans as below us. We finally discovered that this treatment, was not as productive to us, so we bonded with them. Any racism that happens today is now looked down upon.
Question 1: Do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God? - Personally, yes, I do.
Since you agree that the Bible is inspired by God then you would expect to find zero contradictions and errors in it. I've repeatedly shown you several times that the bible is full of contradictions and outdated thoughts. Since you have not rebutted these arguments, you must then agree with them which means that the Bible is flawed which makes it a fable created by man.
Question 2: Do you believe the Bible should be completely taken literally? If not, which sections would be taken literally and which should be taken figuratively? - No, I do not believe every word of the Bible is to be taken "literally."
No where in the bible do you find the command to take the bible figuratively. In fact it tells you the opposite (to its own destruction) . If we are to correctly handle the bible Christians must take it as it is. If they don't, according to the bible, flawed man can misinterpret it. However, if we take it literally, problems occur, which Christians also see.
For example consider John 6:53-56 which says"Jesus said to them, 'Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.'" Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Christians demand that we take the Bible literally. However, once we do this, the bible doesn't make sense. Here Jesus commands us to eat flesh and drink blood, aka cannibalism.
Question 3: Do you believe abuse, racism, and slavery are moral? - No, certainly not today
Then you have to give up Christianity, because it firmly supports these practices. The bible clearly supports Beating slaves, drilling holes in their bodies and separating families. Jesus even refers to a Gentile woman as a dog. All the evidence for this is in you very bible in the bookshelf somewhere.
Question 4: Is God all-knowing? Yes, when He so chooses.
Then you have to agree with argument 1 of the second round.
Question 5: Is evolution a possible beginning for humankind? -Yes, it is a possible beginning, although I do think that it would still be a planned beginning.
Ties into question 2
Question 6: Is God loving? Yes, but I don"t think our understanding can fully grasp what "loving" means from an eternal God - who is not only loving, but also Holy and Just.
I have shown how there is no possible way for their to exist a loving or even just God that answers prayers who answers rich people's trifles and not the miserable people's problems in Africa, even for the ones who fall under submission to Him.
These are the some of the questions I've asked you. These six have to most weight as a result of your answer.
This has been quite a fine debate. I would first like to thank my opponent for his part in this debate. In my opinion he debated well, but I will leave the judging to the voter.
My opponent, "Pro-" characterized my claim of God offering people "free will" as "dramatically wild." If this is true, more than half of the world"s Christians are pretty wild people. On the contrary, theologically, free-will is the majority claim in the Christian world; my opponent appears to be drawing conclusions based on a couple of propositions to which the majority of Christians do not adhere, and even those that would agree in part with his conclusions would not agree with his overall argument.
The concept of "election" by God is a concept primarily of Calvinist/Reformed churches; globally that is a somewhat small percentage of the world"s Christians, though a very influential group. Calvinists essentially believe that both the sovereignty of God and the complete fallen nature of man mean that God must choose us, because we are too wicked to freely choose him and because everything that happens must be a part of God"s divine plan. Calvinist-inspired churches are influential, and have actually been increasing somewhat in influence, particularly among the young, since the 1990s (see this long but thoughtful article from 2006 at http://www.christianitytoday.com...). A rival camp, from which my own tradition comes, are the Arminians - who believe in man"s ability to choose freely and God"s willingness to give us the choice, even though He does not have to. In point of fact there is, as noted below, scriptural support for both positions, depending on how certain verses are interpreted - and the debate over the interpretation of things like "elect" and "called" has been going on for about 2000 years. A somewhat middle position between the two also exists, and was probably best explained by C.S. Lewis: God is eternal and transcends time, so for God past, present, and future are basically simultaneous; for Lewis, like the vast majority of Christians, in fact, it makes no sense to divide ourselves over single verses here and there which are open to interpretation and about which we cannot be absolutely certain, and miss the larger and more important points on which we all agree (see below).
As far as interpretation of scripture goes, my opponent contends that the Bible must be taken literally, and that Christians would have to say so. First, I disagree, and contend that the Bible is quite clearly more complex than that, and, second, even if I and other Christians would agree to that proposition we"d still ultimately disagree on "literal" meaning since people interpret words differently. For example, in relation to the first proposition above, one might look at Ephesians 1:11: "Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan." (NLT). Some Christians see in this proof of God"s foreordination of events and election of individuals; others see it as reflecting God"s ultimate plan for the universe and the salvation of mankind in general dependent on individual choice. A summary of just some of the possible interpretations of the passage can be found at http://biblehub.com.... Probably we will never know in this life which interpretation is correct - but even Christians who disagree about the meaning of the passage can and do agree on broader principles about God and salvation.
Such contentious details aside, however, Christians simply do not interpret the Bible literally. Metaphor and imagery are used throughout scripture. For example, seeing Jesus, Jesus"s cousin John (the Baptist) called him "the Lamb of God." (John 1:36 NLT). Jesus clearly was not a sheep. In Matthew 5:13 Jesus tells his followers that they are "the salt of the earth." But the people were not salt. In one of the racier books of scripture, the narrator (presumed to be Solomon) tells the object of his love that "your thighs shelter a paradise of pomegranates with rare spices" (Song of Solomon 4:13). If that is taken literally, I have no idea how the young woman could walk. Jesus tells his followers that they must be "born again" in John (3:3); he did not mean that literally. He also said in Matthew (5:30) "if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell" (NLT). He was speaking of the importance of turning one"s back on sin and resisting temptation - not actual self-maiming. Proverbs and Psalms are both full of imagery as well, and so is Revelation. To suggest that every verse of scripture was ever meant to be taken completely literally just doesn"t make sense, and even among the most fundamentalist and literal of Christians there would be no support for such an absolutist position. Christians have always understood the "blood" and "wine" to be metaphor, though sharp disagreements exist about whether or not the ceremony/sacrament of communion alters the physical properties of the elements in any way.
I have no idea why Timothy 2:15 ("Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.") is cited by my opponent as a command to take scripture literally; the verse does not say anything like that.
The key point in response to both of these arguments put forward is that there are certain core things on which Christians agree, and there are other areas on which there is disagreement. In a generalized debate I need to focus on those things that are most essential in Christian faith and also recognize that the divisions over specific points of theology are far less important than the key facets including (but not limited to): there is a holy, loving, and just God who created the world and man, who took on a mortal and human form in order to pay the penalty for people"s sins, and who will ultimately triumph over evil.
As to the other points raised in reference to my responses to direct questions:
The challenger says the Bible supports slavery, abuse, and racism. I disagree that it does so in the modern world. As noted in my first post, the Bible is, in some books and always on some level, a work of history as well as one with an eternal message. It was written with specific immediate purposes, as well as a larger purpose for all time. Slavery, patriarchy, and clannish tribalism were realities of the ancient world. They are not, or should not be today, and Christians have not argued that they should be for almost 150 years. The Old Testament has lots of references to slaves - they were a part of everyday society and slavery was also a part of the story of the Israelites. The books of the Law (including Deuteronomy and Leviticus) contain specific rules regarding slaves - rules for the ancient Israelites under the first covenant; Christians do not live or operate under those rules, which are addressed specifically to a place and time, although most Christians agree that moral principles of the Old Testament, as opposed to specific rules, apply across history. The New Testament was also written in an age when slavery was normal (and in all of these cases, it should be remembered, slavery was not racial or ethnic in character - that was a creation of the European colonial world of the 1600s-1700s). Writings about slavery in the New Testament are very different in character. Paul instructs slaves to "obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord" (Col 3:22, NLT); slaves are to show obedience and good service as a way of demonstrating good faith and a good example. Masters are addressed in Col 4:1 (NLT): "Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master"in heaven." In both cases, good service, kindness, and submission to the authority of God are the point. Again, my opponent seems too wedded to a highly and unrealistically literal and narrow view of the Bible, based either on his own beliefs or perceptions of what Christianity seems to be or on stereotypes and fragments of text ripped from all context. Personally I used to view the Bible a little bit of the same way, but the more I read of it, and the more I learned about it, the more sense it made and the more I came to see the many layers of what God"s word was saying and doing at various times in history. There is nothing in the Bible that would support slavery today.
On prayer - clearly we still simply disagree, both in terms of what it (prayer) is and what it means, and probably whether or not the supposed examples of "answers" and "non-answers" are really what they are purported to be. "Pro-" expects that prayer should be understood as an immediate transaction of asking and getting, and that failure to get what is asked for or to see material improvement in condition indicates a lack of response, or cynical and malicious whimsy on the part of God. My position, already articulated, is that that does not describe what Christians understand of prayer. I don"t think I can add much to what I already explained, without launching into an extremely expansive theological discourse on that topic too. I would suggest reading C.S. Lewis"s Mere Christianity or works by Philip Yancey (Where is God When it Hurts, Disappointment with God), among others, for a much more full examination of prayer from a Christian point of view than I can summarize here.
I'm out of space, so I must close!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chaosism 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's strongest arguments were not firmly rebutted. For instance, in response to Pro's "free will" argument, Con explained the that differing branches of Christianity held differing views, but this does not refute Pro's argument. Pro made the most use of sources.
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