The Instigator
DoubtingDave
Pro (for)
Winning
37 Points
The Contender
Muted
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points

Atheism vs. Christianity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
DoubtingDave
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/18/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,677 times Debate No: 30370
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (190)
Votes (9)

 

DoubtingDave

Pro

Thank you muted for accepting this debate.

Resolved: Atheism is more probable than Christianity.

For purposes of this debate, we will be taking a literalistic approach to the Bible and will be using a Calvanistic doctrine of the Bible.

If my opponent disagrees or would like to add any clarifications, please do so in round 1.

Rules:

(1) Debater must have typing experience and internet access.
(2) Place your arguments and sources inside the debate
(3) Structure the debate in a readable, coherent fashion.
(4) No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
(5) Forfeiting any round will result in a 7 point loss.

Rounds:

(1) Acceptance
(2) Opening Statement ONLY
(3) Rebuttal
(4) Rebuttal

Other notes:

(1) 72 hours to argue;
(2) If special circumstances arise, one side may ask the other to wait out his or her remaining time.
(3) If one side explicitly concedes or violates any terms, then all seven points will be awarded to the other;
(4) By accepting this challenge, you agree to these terms.
Muted

Con

I accept. It must be noted that I do not use a strict literal interpretation, but rather a historical-grammatical approach, where the interpretation is not determined by the primary definitions of words but rather the context of the words and the grammar of it. That being said, I do not mind defending a literal approach, and I anticipate this debate to be an intriguing one.
Debate Round No. 1
DoubtingDave

Pro

In my opening statement, I will explain how we can be justified in believing that god(s) do(es) not exist. I would like to thank debate.org and muted for making this debate possible.

It should be noted that there are two types of atheological arguments that I shall be using in this debate: (1) The first is called logical arguments - these attempt to show that the concept of God is self-contradictory or logically inconsistent with known facts; (2) The second is called evidential arguments - these arguments attempt to show that the known facts are inconsistent and incompatible with the Christian God. These will include Biblical errors, contradictions, etc.


Pro 1: The Argument from Non-Cognitivism.

The following syllogism is taken from Magic8000’s debate1:

  1. There are three attributes of existents which concern us particularly, these being:
    1. Primary Attributes - The basic nature a particular thing is composed of. What a thing is, specifically, that it may do particular things or affect those around it in a particular way. The following two types of attributes provided below can only be applied to a thing if they can be related to an existent’s primary attribute and the primary attribute is positively identified
    2. Secondary Attributes - Character traits or abilities a particular thing may enact or possess. examples: being generous, kind, powerful, wise
    3. Relational Attributes – What we associate with the character. For example, in the case of President Obama, the fact that he is the President of the United States is an example of a relational attribute.
  1. B as well as C are dependent upon and must be related to an existent’s A in order to be considered meaningful.
  2. The term “God” lacks a positively identified A.
  3. Because of this, the term “God” holds no justified A, B, or C. (From 2)
  4. However, an attribute-less term (a term lacking A, B, and C) is meaningless.
  5. Therefore, the term “God” is meaningless. (From 3, 4, 5)
  6. Therefore, the god concept is invalid.

When someone says to you, "God exists", how do you normally respond? For most atheists, the answer is simply "prove it." However, this is a bit premature. Before we can get into whether or not God exists, we must first know what a God is. Indeed, many intellectuals have discussed and debated the subject as to what God is throughout history. The fact remains that from its original form, the ANC has stood as one of the most significant threats to the Christian/Theist worldview.

For example, consider the following dialogue2:

Mr. Jones: “An unie exists.”

Mr. White: “Prove it.”

Mr. Jones: “It has rained for three consecutive days—that is my proof.”

If this exchange seems less than satisfactory, much of the blame lies with Mr. White: his demand for proof was premature. Mr. Jones has not specified what an “unie” is; until and unless he does so, “unie” is nothing but a meaningless sound, and Mr. Jones is uttering nonsense. As W. T. Blackstone puts it:

Until the content of a belief is made clear, the appeal to accept the belief on faithis beside the point, for one would not know what one has accepted. The request forthe meaning of a religious belief is logically prior to the question of accepting that belief on faith or to the question of whether that belief constitutes knowledge.”

Conclusion

Until my opponent specifies what a God is, the god-concept is invalid and “god” is just an utterly meaningless sound.

Pro 2: Incoherence of God’s Attributes

The following argument is tied in nicely with the last. Theists have attempted to provide us with a list of what God is. According to the 1968 National Catholic Almanac, God is3:

[A]lmighty, eternal, holy, immortal, immense, immutable, incomprehensible, ineffable, infinite, invisible, just, loving, merciful, most high, most wise, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, patient, perfect, provident, supreme, true.

As you noticed, these answer the secondary attribute, but fail to answer the primary attribute. Moreover, and more important, the above definition is incoherent. If God is incomprehensible and ineffable, how can the other attributes of God be known if he can neither be understood nor described?

  1. Anything with contradictory attributes cannot exist.
  2. God has contradictory attributes
  3. Therefore, God cannot exist.

Pro 3: Failed Prophecies in the Bible

According Deuteronomy 18:21-22, if a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and that prophecy fails then he is obviously a false prophet. There are prophecies within the Bible that have failed.

Ezekiel

Failed Prophecy on Tyre

Ezekiel 26:7-14, “For thus says the Lord: "Behold I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a hosts of many soldiers. He will slay with the sword your daughters on the mainland; he will set up a seige wall against you. He will direct the shock of his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers...With the hoofs os his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people with the sword and your mighty pillar will fall to the ground...they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses... I will make you a bare rock...you shall never be rebuilt, for I have spoken," says the Lord God.”

The whole passage prophesied the attack and destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. However, none of this happened. After a long siege of 13 years, Nebuchadnezzar lifted his siege and compromised with the people of Tyre. Thus, king Nebuchadnezzar did not destroy Tyre as Ezekiel said that it would.4

Ezekiel later admitted his error:

Ezekiel 29:17-20, ...the Lord God came to me: “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army labour hard against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder was rubbed bare; yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labour that he had performed against it...”

I rest my case.


  1. http://debate.org...
  2. Smith, G. “Atheism: The Case Against God
  3. 1968 National Catholic Almanac, edited by Felician A. Foy, O. F. M. (Paterson: St. Anthony’s Guild, 1968), p. 360.
  4. http://rejectionofpascalswager.net...
Muted

Con

I would like to thank DoubtingDave for beginning this debate. Honestly, I have yet to read his arguments due to time constraints on myself. I will read it after I finish, though. I will, in this debate, focus on one and only one argument. Firstly though, I must explain why my argument is so important. If my argument is true, there will be no escaping the fact that there is a God of the Christian proportion. My argument is a simple one. I will argue that the Resurrection, the crux of Christianity, happened. Of course, because we were not there, we cannot say that it is an absolute certainty, just like we cannot say with absolute certainty that there is no God either. For the resurrection, we would have to trust eyewitness accounts, and for atheology, we would have to rely on logic.


Con 1: Jesus physically rose from the dead


In the Christian Holy Texts, known as the Bible, we find a whole section (The New Testament (NT)) dedicated to teaching the theology of the Christians. Of vital importance is the story of the physical resurrection of the Head of the Christians, a being known as Jesus Christ.

It is widely accepted among scholars that the historical narrative, clearly recorded by the first four books of the NT (The Gospels), and not so clearly by other historians, is historically credible. [1] That is, they are able to accept that Jesus resurrected in some form.

Let us look at things logically first, before the evidence.

If the disciples were lying, then they were the greatest hoaxers ever to have walked the planet. If they were not lying, then they were telling the truth. There is no middle ground on this. I believe that the background information regarding the death of Jesus is indisputable. If one still thinks that it is, they need look no further than [2].

Most of the evidence I will be taking will be from [3]. To keep focus, I will not be using all the evidence given. Rather, I will take only a few of the many pieces of evidence that can easily be found.

First of all, though, we must confirm the reliability of the NT. “William F. Albright, who in his day was the world's foremost biblical archaeologist, said: "We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today."”
“Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded: "Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. "”
““I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . .” E. M. Blaiklock Professor of Classics Auckland University” [3]
Based off these statements alone, one can confidently say that the NT is reliable. For more on reliability, please see [4], although I will use that source if reliability is objected.

The three pieces which I find most convincing is: The Empty Tomb. Large Number of Witnesses, and the change in Disciples Lives.

EMPTY TOMB
After the Resurrection of the Christ, his disciples did not go off to far away places to preach that Christ was raised from the dead. Rather, they went right back to the city of Jerusalem, where, if what they were teaching was false, the falsity would be evident. The empty tomb was "too notorious to be denied." Paul Althaus states that the resurrection "could have not been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned."
Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb. Those resources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the "Toledoth Jeshu." Dr. Paul Maier calls this "positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine."
Gamaliel, who was a member of the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, put forth the suggestion that the rise of the Christian movement was God's doing; he could not have done that if the tomb were still occupied, or if the Sanhedrin knew the whereabouts of Christ's body.
Paul Maier observes that " . . . if all the evidence is weighed carefully and fairly, it is indeed justifiable, according to the canons of historical research, to conclude that the sepulcher of Joseph of Arimathea, in which Jesus was buried, was actually empty on the morning of the first Easter. And no shred of evidence has yet been discovered in literary sources, epigraphy, or archaeology that would disprove this statement." (Quoted largely from [3] without the quotation marks for ease of reading, as is all evidence in this round. I will probably use another complementary source in the next round)

Large Number of Witnesses
The large number of witnesses of Christ after the resurrection morning is perhaps the most convincing of them all. One of the earliest records of Christ's appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience's knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: "What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, 'If you do not believe me, you can ask them.' Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago." If we take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom, and if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.

Change in the Disciples’ Lives
The most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ?
Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts--prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits--we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this "risen Christ ."
As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking.
Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message. I think this is evidence enough.

Considering all these evidence, it is nearly, if not impossible to deny the Resurrection of the Christ. This is evidence of the supernatural having an effect on the natural, which means that the supernatural has to be more “super” than the natural. Something less than the Christian God cannot possibly have such power, because it would be illogical.


1. http://www.leaderu.com...
2. http://www.debate.org...
3. http://www.leaderu.com...
4. http://www.tektonics.org...

Debate Round No. 2
DoubtingDave

Pro

Thank you, muted, for your swift reply. I have been busy Saturday as it was my 18th birthday and did not have time to write up my argument until an hour before it was due. Therefore, I cannot respond to all the arguments in this round. Nevertheless, I will eventually respond to all of your arguments.

My opponent’s sole argument is that Jesus rose from the dead, then the Christian God exists, formally put:

P1: If Jesus rose from the dead, then Christianity is true.
P2: Jesus rose from the dead
C: Therefore, Christianity is true.

For sake of the debate, I will gladly accept premise 1; however, we will be discussing the second premise. Did Jesus Christ rise bodily from the dead? I will hopefully be able to reply to his evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In summary, my opponent’s arguments that Jesus did rise from the dead are as follows:

  1. The New Testament is a reliable historical document
  2. If it was a hoax, it was the greatest hoax in history
  3. Empty tomb
  4. Eye witness accounts
  5. Change in the disciples lives

I cannot respond to all of these right now, but I will attempt to respond to each of these in the next round.

How reliable is the New Testament

Before we discuss the other four items, I feel that it is important to ask ourselves how reliable the New Testament actually is.

The Manuscripts

The manuscripts of the New Testament are riddled with contradictions and vary widely amongst themselves. Here is a chart adapted from Aland’s The Text of the New Testament to show just full story [1]:

Group of Writings

Total Number of Verses

Number of Verses with Variants

Percentage of Verses with Variants

The Gospels

3769

1713

45.4%

The Acts

1006

329

32.7%

Pauline Epistles

2032

495

24.4%

The Catholic Epistles

735

220

29.9%

Revelation

405

191

47.1%

Total

7947

2948

37.1%

It can now be seen that the most corrupted works are the Gospels and Revelations. Half of these verses have variants. In total, more than 1/3 of the verses in the New Testament have variants. [2]

When we talk about these variants, these are not simply grammatical variations such as commas or periods at different places or words spelled differently, we are talking about entire portions of verses moved or deleted from the text.

For example, the story of the woman taken in adultery (“He who is without sin, cast the first stone”), is absent from early manuscripts and does not appear in Codex Vaticanus and Codex Siniticus; however, some of the other manuscripts have it after Luke 21:38! [3]

Other inauthentic texts include I John 5:7-8 (KJV) “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. And there are three that witness on earth, the Spirit, the Water and the Blood and these three agree in one.”

The italicized portion only appears in the Latin Vulgate and in the King James Version of the Bible. If you look in any modern translation, it does not appear. [4]

Some other changes include the final portion of Mark which does not appear in any of the early manuscripts nor was it quoted by any of the church fathers.

Could a book from God have gotten so corrupt that changes and variants often infringe upon Christian doctrine?

Sorry, but I’m out of time, I’ll expand in the next round.

Muted

Con

I would like to wish Dave a happy belated birthday! However, due to my work schedule, I will be unable to complete this debate because I am preparing for a major exam just around the corner. I will like to say that the failed prophesy argument is one that I am still unable to refute. I am able to refute the rest, but till further research into the topic, I will have to concede that Ezekiel made a false prophecy. Please vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 3
DoubtingDave

Pro

Vote pro!
Muted

Con

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
190 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Yes, but Deists believe that God will never ever have anything to do with humans.
Essentially they believe God started the Creation and Evolution processes and then left for bigger things.
One Philosopher put it.
A Deist is a person that believed God got killed by the Big Bang!
To a Deist, God is no longer around, so they never pray to it, nor do they worship it.
Most Deists consider The Bible as just a stupid Book Of Lies, such as the famous Deists who assisted in forming the US constitution like Thomas Paine and John Adams.
Posted by cybertron1998 4 years ago
cybertron1998
there is evidence
Posted by Solomon_Grim 4 years ago
Solomon_Grim
I agree with giraffe. Also, I am now thoroughly convinced there is no evidence for evolution. After so many debates in my life, I find that almost everything that evolutionists use for evidence is either looked at in a biased way, or does not support evolution.
Posted by giraffelover 4 years ago
giraffelover
No, but one can believe in a god but not believe in miracles. Such a person is called a Deist.
Posted by cybertron1998 4 years ago
cybertron1998
not an atheist look at my profile page
Posted by giraffelover 4 years ago
giraffelover
Cybertron, you're making a very common mistake: you're assuming that evidence points toward one world view and against the other. In reality, one's world view determines what he/she will believe about evidence. For example, you and I can both see the Grand Canyon. Your world view bars miracles, so you believe the Grand Canyon was formed naturalistically, such as a big local flood or the river over millions of years. My world view says a global flood (Flood of Noah) occured. Therefore, I believe the Grand Canyon is one of God's statements telling us He WILL judge sin. The question is What is your world view? I wish more Evolutionists knew this.
Posted by cybertron1998 4 years ago
cybertron1998
ah you're using life as we know it. does that mean its right know. you have to think outside of the box when coming to life. also you can't believe everything you read. all of the evidence you have is the bible. evolution has far more evidence that you are clearly ignoring
Posted by Solomon_Grim 4 years ago
Solomon_Grim
Really. Than why does the bible have no contradictions in it at all. None. Also, the bible commanded priests to wash their hands under running water after the sacrifice, years before knowing that running water opens pours. Plus, look at the problems with evolution. Are you implying that there is another option for everything. The bible says the stars sing, we now know that the stars set off a high pitch sound unique to each star.

We also live on a planet a perfect distance from the sun. We are made of so many complex things that it is silly to say it was by chance. Look at the eye. Without any of its parts, it can't work. How does it exist than. By evolution, it would mean we would have a useless organ for millions of years.
Posted by cybertron1998 4 years ago
cybertron1998
so your god is a belief and you can't prove him
Posted by Solomon_Grim 4 years ago
Solomon_Grim
1. Yes, animals do stay the same for a long while, how this shows evolution is beyond me.

2. Tiny variations through time, its called micro evolution.

3. Never been seen, can only be assumed or guessed at.

4. Yes, because mass extinction shows how information can be added.

Oh, and it just so happens that you just changed your opinion. What happened to " macro and micro evolution is the exact same thing" thanks for changing your mind. Plus, everything you have wrote either does not support the addition of information or has never been seen.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
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Reasons for voting decision: conceded
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter.
Vote Placed by zezima 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Because
Vote Placed by samurai 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: He's smart
Vote Placed by Jarhyn 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession by CON, for 7 points, as per rules
Vote Placed by morgan2252 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: In the first round, it says that concession will lead to a 7 poin loss for the other side. Thus, this is how I will vote. However, even if con did not concede, I still would have given arguments to pro unless the "How reliable is the New Testament?" was well-refuted. That was a great argument on pro's part, and it was a great analytical approach to the debate. But, as it says in the first round, concession will lead to a 7-point loss.
Vote Placed by qopel 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con Said to Vote Pro
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession