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Belief in God (Abrahamic) is Logical

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 869 times Debate No: 38751
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




- I am not religious, although I have studied Middle-Eastern history and Islam as a minor in college.

- To not believe in God is illogical and shortsighted for the following reason(s).

- Belief in God does not require a significant decrease in quality of life or change in lifestyle, as compared to the life of a "non-believer." Therefore, we establish that both parties reap an equal benefit during their traditional lives, regardless of whether or not "God" exists.

- If God "isn't real", nobody "wins", as we all are fated to spend an eternity as unaware dirt, regardless of whether we "believed" or not. We establish that both parties reap equal "benefit" during an eternity of death, if God doesn't exist.

-However, IF God exists, true believers are promised a heaven that surpasses the greatest good we could imagine on Earth. Conversely, non-believers are promised a torturous hell, the evil of which they also can't imagine on Earth. We establish that believers reap an infinitely greater advantage over nonbelievers for all eternity (in death), if God exists.

- The choice seems clear. Why would you risk an eternity of damnation, the likes of which we allegedly can't comprehend, for what basically amounts to a, "I told you so"?

Keep it civil, and good luck.


Hello, and welcome to

This is a form of Pascal’s Wager, which has been well refuted. You have not actually argued that it is logical to believe in God. That there are potential benefits to a belief has nothing to do with whether a belief is logical.

You have made no logical arguments for God

It is not logical to believe until you find evidence or a logical argument that reasonably concludes there is a God. Until you do the belief is not logical even if the belief provides potential benefits by hedging your bets.

Problems with Pascal’s Wager:

You are assuming there are only two options

There is no telling how many religions have gone extinct and there are currently around 42,000 distinct religions [9]. In recorded history there have been hundreds, even thousands of God’s. This site lists only some and I counted around 100 gods that begin with the letter ‘A’[1]. Even among devout followers of a single religion there are many versions that contradict each other. There are around 41,000 [2] denominations of Christianity and 73 distinct sects of Islam [3].

Egypt is now predominantly Muslim but for 3000 years they practiced a polytheistic religion and there are many God’s that are no longer worshipped [5]. This is also true of the Celts [7] who are now largely Christian and the ancient Greeks [8]. Choose a country, look into their history and you will likely find several Gods.

It is not a choice between belief and disbelief in one single God. If it were even possible to force a belief it would take a great deal of effort to research all the possible options and new religions are invented all the time. Look into Cargo Cults, Scientology and Mormonism.

There are additional requirements for entrance into heaven beyond belief

Core requirements of many versions of Islam are that you must worship Allah and accept Muhammad as a prophet [4] and Muslims do not accept that Jesus is necessary for salvation. Christians do not Accept Muhammad as a prophet or worship Allah.

According to Christianity you must receive salvation from Jesus. Acts 7:11-12 states, “Jesus is, ‘the stone you builders rejected... Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Jews typically reject Jesus as the Messiah, do not worship Allah and reject Muhammad as a prophet.

Even these three versions of the Abrahamic God are completely incompatible. By practicing one religion you violate the commands of the other risking hell. Since there are so many Gods by accepting one religion you are statistically more likely to anger a God then please one.

You frame religion as costing nothing

Each religion has a specific code of conduct and additional behavior requirements that take a lot of time and energy to learn and practice. The bible is around 1700 pages and is difficult to understand and practice which led to the 41,000 denominations. Many religions have rules that prohibit normal sexual behavior and some, such as Judaism, have detailed dietary restrictions. Muslims often pray five times a day and fast from food and water for the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.

Religions are a way of life and adopting one religion requires a lot of study and dedication. Joining one religion is very costly and requires a lot of energy and discipline to follow. If this is the single life you have then all this time is wasted.

Why are you convinced that belief is a matter of will?

Even if I agreed with you, how would you suggest that non-theists believe? You have in no way proven that it is possible to force yourself to believe. How would someone with a background of religious indoctrination be able to readopt these beliefs that they have carefully considered and rejected. You are assuming that you can will yourself to believe something but this is counter intuitive and is a claim you will need to prove.

If someone claims to believe without being legitimate how would this please God? Jeremiah 17:10 describes the Abrahamic God, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Are you suggesting that God would be pleased if I pretend to believe in him as a form of insurance? If God is willing to punish me forever because I don’t believe, what would he do if I lied to avoid hell?

Your argument can be used to support many, in fact, an infinite number of religious claims

Your argument supports any religion that commits this sort of blackmail. Agree to do this and you get an infinite reward, refuse and you will be punished forever. An argument that works for an infinite number of possible conclusions is not an argument that can be used to support any conclusion.

Religions all use the same standards of proof

Please correct me if I am wrong but there are no sound logical arguments or evidence for any kind of God. All religions use some version of faith to support their validity so one religion is as good as the next. This is equally true of all extinct religions.

Since religions use the same standard of evidence and contradict each other it is logical to withhold belief until sound logical arguments and evidence are found for one particular religion.


You argue that there are potential benefits to a belief in God, which does not support your resolution. Not only that but there are no such benefits to a belief in the Abrahamic God. It’s not possible to believe on cue and if you could, following one single God would only offend the thousands of other possible Gods.









Debate Round No. 1


To the readers, yes, I know I misworded this resolution, but it may still be salvageable.

"Until you (prove God exists) the belief is not logical even if the belief provides potential benefits by hedging your bets."

I don"t think proof of existence is necessary for logical belief. If somebody comes along with a closed box, and offers me a trillion dollars if I can guess what"s in it, I"m guessing. Sure, I don"t actually know what"s in the box. Heck, I don"t even know if there IS anything in the box, or if the guy is good for the wager. But it would be LOGICAL to at least venture a guess, as it costs me essentially nothing to do so, but could potentially reward me with everything.

"Your next paragraph is essentially saying there too many religions for us to accurately choose the right one to worship."

-Unless there were an infinite amount of religions (which there aren"t), then it"s still statistically favorable to pick one and believe, as you are gambling with infinite happiness/pain (heaven/hell).

-This is a common fallacy, to assume that because we can"t prove any religion is true, then they are all equally false. If we are attempting to seek out the "best" religion to believe in, we could significantly narrow the field. Most religions have tenants/claims that are demonstrably false, as they clash with basic scientific laws that we know to be true. Assuming an omniscient God is logical, we can rule out religions that aren"t widely available/known, or those that simply don"t exist yet.

-This "narrowing down" is actually not nearly as difficult as you portrayed, and would likely end with a choice among the major Abrahamic faiths.

"Since there are so many Gods by accepting one religion you are statistically more likely to anger a God then please one."

-You would be angering EVERY God by not believing in any religion. By choosing even a random religion, you have just decreased your chances that you have angered a "God", and will be sent to hell. Ergo, logical.

-As mentioned earlier though, we can disqualify a significant number of religions almost immediately, and by choosing one of the more "reliable" ones, you can significantly increase the probability of success (not going to hell).

"You frame religion as costing nothing"

It has a NET cost of nothing. As you clearly state, being a religious believer entails a certain amount of time and studying, thought nothing to strenuous. The question is, would that time invested take away from something infinitely amazing you would otherwise be doing? Remember, this is a risk-free gamble to avoid eternal suffering, and achieve eternal happiness. Its safe to say the few minutes/hours a day devoted to religion isn"t robbing you of an everyday activity, that rivals heaven/hell.

"Why are you convinced that belief is a matter of will?"

Belief in religions, especially Abrahamic, isn"t so much a deep profound feeling for God, as much as its the following of written guidelines, something almost everyone is capable of. While the "feeling" of belief is certainly a part of it, and something that can"t be contrived, I don"t think a lack of this profound feeling would damn you. A common theme in the Abrahamic faiths, is "God" commanding his subjects to do the best they can, and leave the rest to the infinite mercy of God.

Again, this tact doesn"t need to give you a 100% chance of getting to heaven (assuming you chose the correct religion, and it actually exists). As long as it has ANY chance (which based on scripture, it does), then its logically favorable to take up the wager, and try.

"An argument that works for an infinite number of possible conclusions is not an argument that can be used to support any conclusion."

I don"t see how that follows.

I address your closing statement throughout the body of my response.


You still haven’t made a case for the Abrahamic God. To support Pascal’s Wager you still need to make logical arguments for the specific god or why would we choose one over all the others? You indicate how this might be done but do not demonstrate that one god is better than the next.

Your box analogy doesn’t work

For one it does not require any belief, which is the main requirement of your resolution. You essentially admit it would not be rational to believe the stranger. Also it would take you two seconds not a lifetime of dedication and we know that millionaires exist so the scenario is possible.

"Your next paragraph is essentially saying there too many religions for us to accurately choose the right one to worship."

Sure, but the fact that each culture invents it’s own God(s) supports my other points. We know that gods are made up. You have not brought up any evidence that the Abrahamic God was not arbitrarily invented, as we know so many other gods have been.

“Unless there were an infinite amount of religions (which there aren"t), then it"s still statistically favorable to pick one and believe”

There are an infinite number of possible religions. The general definition from Merriam Webster for religion is:

1. The belief in a god or in a group of gods

2. An organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

I demonstrated that religions are arbitrarily invented all the time so there are an infinite number of possible religions. With all the advancements in knowledge over the last century why do you assume we would be aware of the correct god? Since they are all arbitrarily invented what makes Jehovah unique?

“This "narrowing down" is actually not nearly as difficult as you portrayed”

Suggesting that you can narrow out all other gods is the same as suggesting that you have a great strategy for this debate without using it. If you can eliminate other gods why is Pascal’s Wager necessary or relevant? You are only asserting a particular God but you have not provided any evidence that suggests that the end result would be the Abrahamic Faiths.

Why would you rule out religions that are not widely known or those that don’t exist? Just because something is popular in no way suggests that it is truer and our knowledge has drastically increased over the last hundred years. Your pet God does violate scientific laws which I’ll address later.

“You would be angering EVERY God by not believing in any religion.”

Another assumption, are all gods desperately in need our belief to massage their ego? Pretending to believe in one god for no good reason could just as easily anger the majority of possible gods. How do you know so much about the thousands of deities out there, none of them value intellectual honesty? Correctly identifying and accepting the truth is the basis of science and all inquiry and human progress.

It’s not logical to believe in an afterlife which is needed to support your resolution

Since we know that our personality is dependent on the brain and our brain is destroyed after death it is logical to conclude that we only have one short life to live and that any claim of an afterlife is false. Any time spent on a religion is wasting the one life we have.

Its safe to say the few minutes/hours a day devoted to religion isn’t robbing you of an everyday activity, that rivals heaven/hell.

Your time commitment is going up. The Old Testament introduces us to the Abrahamic God and His 613 [11] commandments that govern every aspect of life. You are instructed to spend the majority of your time meditating on the law (Deut. 6:7), give a significant amount of your money to the priesthood (Num. 18: 21), not cross breed cattle (Lev. 19:19) and not to wear garments of wool mixed with linen (Deut. 22:11).

There are around 100 commands about various required animal sacrifices, 25 that cover dietary restrictions and 24 that govern sexual practices. Where are you getting this laid back easy going God that does not require any time? This is completely inconsistent with the revealed control freak.

Belief in religions, especially Abrahamic, isn’t so much a deep profound feeling for God, as much as it’s the following of written guidelines

I thought the changes to my lifestyle would be minimal. Belief is not a feeling or a choice. You’re trying to squirm out of your resolution. Now belief is following a set of commands? Since you did not supply your unique definition initially standard dictionary definitions of belief apply:

1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing [12]

2: something believed; especially: a tenet or body of tenets held by a group

3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

Since I can’t trust something that doesn’t exist you’re left with definition three and this is clearly what you were referring to in your resolution. If it is logical to believe than it needs to be possible. Belief without evidence is not a choice.

As long as it has ANY chance (which based on scripture, it does), then its logically favorable to take up the wager, and try.

No you’re advocating intellectual dishonesty that would somehow please an omniscient God. Wishful thinking has consequences. You are essentially arguing that the truth is not important but every area of advancement in the modern era has been due to accepting the facts we learn about reality not pretending.

An argument that works for an infinite number of possible conclusions is not an argument that can be used to support any conclusion.

Your argument can be used to support many gods and religious claims. An argument that supports multiple mutually exclusive positions does not get you anywhere.

Your narrowing process should eliminate the Abrahamic God

-His miracles violate scientific laws

We are introduced to the Abrahamic God in the Old Testament, which makes several miracle claims that violate the laws of science. For 40 years God fed the wandering Israelites with bread that fell from heaven, see Exodus 16. Around 5,000 years ago in Genesis 6 God floods the entire earth without leaving geological evidence.

In Joshua 10 Joshua commands the Sun to stand still and it does for around a full day. God creates the universe and all of life in 7 days in Genesis 1-2 contradicting what we know to be true about evolution.

-He does not grasp basic morality

God condones sexual slavery in Exodus 21:7-11 and general slavery in Leviticus 25:44-46. Exodus 21:20-21 says that you are allowed to beat your slave as long as he does not die within a couple days.

The death penalty was commanded for minor offenses: anyone who worked on Saturday (Exodus 31:15), worshiped another god (Deuteronomy 17:1-5) or ‘cursed’ his or her parents (Exodus 21:17). The Old Testament condones genocide on multiple occasions. In First Samuel 15:3 God commands the Israelites to kill the Amalekites making sure also to kill the children and infants.

Not only is God ignorant of basic morality but also why should I pick the evil untrustworthy God?

-He created a hell when there are more humane options

For an all-powerful creator there are better options: completely destroy sinners avoiding suffering, create a world where sin and punishment are not necessary or punish sinners individually based on what they deserve etc.

His choice is unnecessarily cruel or incompetent and is inconsistent with his supposed concern for mankind.

-He is completely incompetent with a series of failed schemes to help mankind

God creates man. Man immediately sins and God kicks them out of the paradise Garden of Eden. Mankind quickly becomes so evil that God just decides to kill all of mankind except Noah and his family in Genesis 6. 150 years later God is concerned that mankind is challenging his authority so he decides to mix up their languages so they can no longer talk to each other (Genesis 11).

Next God decides to make a covenant with a chosen people who are promptly enslaved by Egypt (Ex 1). God frees the Jews from slavery after a series of miraculous signs and supernatural plagues. Moses leaves for a few weeks and they immediately start worshipping a golden calf so God commanded the Levites (priesthood) to slaughter several thousand Jews.

The Old Testament continues like this with every other generation rebelling and receiving God’s wrath until they are conquered and enslaved. How are these the plausible plans of an omniscient, all knowing omnibenevolent God?




Debate Round No. 2


Hey 2D I'm really swamped right now, and can't finish the debate.

I can't really win regardless. I structured my initial resolution from a place that's nearly indefensible, and although I could score points by picking holes in my opponent's criticisms, the whole debate is somewhat depressing considering I don't technically agree with my own position.

2D was a great, both in terms of logic and civility, and should get the votes. I'd like to continue this type of debate some other time, but now is simply not the time.


Ok, no harm no foul. Now I have a personal version of Pascal's Wager objections that I can use. If you're interested in general God arguments here is a link to a decent counter apologetics Wiki:

At the bottom of the page is a list to the common arguments for a god. These are linked to an argument summary and common objections.

Thanks for the debate!
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
@Liberty I like it. I don"t know if I have heard anyone respond to PW like this. Accepting a your own convenient God highlights that the standards of evidence are the same for all religions.

Yes, good show but I"ve probably only seen half the episodes. I just searched and it"s on netflix so maybe I"ll watch em sometime. Next Generation made a lot of points that supported humanism, the philosophy of science and atheism.

I agree with the point and intellectual honesty is very important to me as a skeptic. It"s definitely foundational and supports my other values.

I"m betting you"re right. It"s the nature of religions to be mutually exclusive to forbid conversion to other religions. The religions that didn"t wouldn"t last very long.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
"Sounds legit... except logic often requires human thought, emotion, feeling to decipher it."

Wait I spoke to soon I think you reversed this. I think creative thinking, imagination and emotions are vitally important and a major part of who we are. Logic is very helpful at deciphering our emotions not the other way around.

Emotions are helpful to direct our thinking but have no power to decipher anything. If I am depressed or angry, for example, it's important to admit this experience the feeling and then try to understand why I am feeling this way. If possible, I shouldn't adjust my actions until I understand why.
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
@ Joker
"Sounds legit... except logic often requires human thought, emotion, feeling to decipher it."

I agree with you here.

"You know the stuff that actually makes us human."

I would say our ability to be rational along with the ability to imagine future events or other scenarios make us human. Other animals have emotions although ours are uniquely advanced. What"s unique is our ability to stop and consider what our emotions might be telling us whether they are leading to a better alternative or something potentially harmful like wishful thinking.

Often emotions are good. Say for some reason I do not trust someone I have just met. I should pay attention to this feeling but not assume it is correct. Maybe I sensed subtle body language and expressions associated with malicious intent and the emotion is correct. Maybe he just reminds me of someone I dislike and this distrust is just a subconscious bias and my emotion is wrong.

"So... you know, whether or not you believe is irrelevant, it is logical if that person feels they have had a moment affected by religion."

You"re losing me. Our unique ability is to listen to and evaluate our emotions and not just follow where they lead with an automatic reaction. You are advocating wishful thinking, which is harmful as liberty has discussed. Feelings do not trump reason but they can warn you of a problem you are not aware of.

"And you cannot say it is ignorant, some of the most educated, intelligent people on the planet were deists (I think that's right; correct me if I am wrong)"

Yes smart people are great at coming up with complex rationalizations to believe whatever makes them feel good. That someone is intelligent and rational in one area does not mean they are in all areas. Many people are brilliant at work but clumsy and inefficient in there personal lives or other areas.
Posted by The_Joker9633 3 years ago
Whether or not it is logical is in the eye of the beholder, I think. Does logic only involve hard, cold facts? Sounds legit... except logic often requires human thought, emotion, feeling to decipher it. You know the stuff that actually makes us human. So... you know, whether or not you believe is irrelevant, it is logical if that person feels they have had a moment affected by religion. And you cannot say it is ignorant, some of the most educated, intelligent people on the planet were deists (I think that's right;correct me if I am wrong) which means they weren't religious but believed the universe was so perfect there had to be a supreme being.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
@ 2-D That wasn't my best expression, let my try to simplify it by example.

As you pointed out in the main debate the number of people believing in any given god is irrelevant to the likelihood of it being the real god. Knowing that most if not all these gods are just made up you could simply make up your own God.

This God agrees with everything you think and say, will reward you for doing whatever you want to do and punish all those who you don't like.

The cost is nothing, you can just keep doing what ever you want. Pro might say that it's not the same since you 'know' this one isn't real. Well you don't know, not anymore than you know the others aren't real. There is no evidence for this one or those ones, maybe this God doesn't reveal himself because he's got nothing to say.

Even in this case you should not take the gamble, for what it would mean to your reason. If the reader isn't a trekie this is going to make no sense. In a certain episode Picard was captured by cardassians, he was tortured and the torturer simply wanted him to say there were five lights when there are were only four. (2+2 = 5 from 1984).

This was done because the cardassian knew the foundation of Picard's reason, loyalty, and purpose was his grip on the idea of truth, not any specific fact but the idea of a truth independent of risk and reward, pleasure or pain, but most of all his imagination. We are all placed in that position to some small degree.

A few more comments..

While there are 'main' religions, I guarantee none of them; even one's as lax as Buddhism teach that you can gain the benefits they offer with a 'hedge my bets' mentality or a few superficial words or deeds.

If this game is just about choosing the best risk reward scenario, how about this. I invent a God that doesn't care about what you do or think or say, he's always going to be kind and give you the eternal reward. However he also promises to negate all the negative consequences in every other relig
Posted by 2-D 3 years ago
I have met some Christians with a strong separation between their faith and reality but I do agree that Faith can have a strong impact on your confidence and self respect. With a fundamentalist background it seems to me that Churches can be like the military. They tear down your self esteem and rebuild it around the God concept.

Christians may be better off than they were pre faith if they converted but end up stifled to improve since new information and critical thinking are threatening. Since they know they are using a poor/unique standard of evidence when it comes to God they tend to develop anxiety and guilt as they avoid new information. When they isolate themselves within the church this tends to get worse and they tend to develop a persecution complex.

In the internet age curious youngsters can find problems with the faith early and our country is secularizing. This is why tend to advocate skepticism and tolerance of atheists rather than an anti-theist position. It may be too painful for adults to let go of faith after a certain point but their kids are often less dogmatic. If we were largely a skeptical society we would be able to get rid of a lot of problems.
Posted by ADreamOfLiberty 3 years ago
Pro you mislabeled the resolution, you meant belief in God is practical, and even that you didn't really support.

Believing in the superiority of the Aryan race is practical in Nazi Germany, that doesn't make it logical or ethical.

I am not saying Con should make this argument, but there is a value in truth beyond any social or physical consequences. A mind that is willing to believe something because it makes them feel better or helps them fit into their society has already chosen lies over truth. Such a mindset is the truest slippery slope I can imagine. Every form of emotional or rational dysfunction can be generally described as the inability or unwillingness to seek and accept a truth.

A personality like a society has a philosophy and is constructed from elements of identity, if someone is willing to alter their self-image (as choosing a religion necessitates) without a good reason there is no reason why they shouldn't do so again, and again for any given reason.

The result is unstable self-pitying self-hating eternally guilty irrational personalities and the degree to which this is not the result is determined by the walls people build between their religious beliefs and their 'real world' beliefs. Religious leaders know all about these walls, they talk about your church or mosque mask and how people take it off when they leave the building.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
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 Checkmark1 point
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded, although Con defeated all posted arguments despite that. Pro's entire case was Pascal's Wager, and even he notes it doesn't support his resolution. Con supplied sources, while Pro did not. Pascal's wager, though, generally doesn't require sourcing, it's a more pure philosophical argument (even if it's a total failure). S&G was close enough. As to conduct: I reward concession with conduct point on general principles (barring extenuating circumstances). So while Con's conduct was fine, that Pro didn't make him suffer through waiting on an auto-forfeit gets him a LITTLE credit.