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Belief in God is Rational

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/6/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 426 times Debate No: 84598
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
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You have a very arrogant, and frankly ill conceived notion that belief in God is irrational. To say this would be to say that the countless great minds of the past; Francis Collins, Rene Descartes, Galileo, John Lennox, Isaac Newton, Copernicus, George Lemaitre, and Max Planck, are all irrational, for they believed in God. Now this is not some emotional appeal; I am drawing attention to the fact that countless, eminently rational men, many of whom were the founders of modern science itself, believed in God; and many of them devoutly so. But the pro position also would entail that even earnest agnostic seekers would be irrational for considering the existence of something so ludicrous it is "irrational.".

While you may feel that the vast masses of Christians are foolish, even if they were to be so, this doesn't prove your case any bit. For foolish people can, and often still believe rational things. A 7 day creationist might believe the earth is round. But the inverse however is seldom true. Remember: an idea doesn't necessarily have to be true to be rational, (Though holding a belief known to be false is irrational), merely in accordance with reason. .


Frist I would to thank you for the debate and I would like you to know it is not my intention to offend, but given the subject matter it may happen. This argument reflects my thoughts about the subject of belief along with what science has discovered about it. Because what we believe affects how we think, conversely how we think effects what we believe. Since beliefs effects our actions, what seven billion people matters. The fact that we have this forum, to a certain extent indicates a healthy exchange of ideas. I look forward to learning from your arguments.

The point I am trying to make is that beliefs and faiths do not establish "truths" or facts, that is what reason is use for. Which method works best: acting on beliefs or acting on knowledge? If you have difficulty answering this question, then perhaps your beliefs prevent you from acknowledging the obvious. It does not matter how many people believe or for how many centuries they have believed it. It does not matter how reverent or important people think of them, if it does not agree with evidence, then it simply cannot have any validity to the outside world. All things we know about the world, we can express without referring to a belief. Even at its most benign level, beliefs can act as barriers to further understanding.
My point of view is based from my (and others) experiences, observations, and research about the thought process. I do not present them as beliefs but rather as an investigation into the mechanism of belief. If any of my statements prove false, then they will show simply that, and subject to further revision. Disowning beliefs does not guarantee "truth" or accuracy, only a method to help clear away superstitions and falsehoods.... What do you think?
Debate Round No. 1


Sunfire315 forfeited this round.


When a person owns a belief they must possess two things: a thought and the feeling of that thought as true. but feelings don't represent facts or knowledge. Knowledge is knowledge about reality, to speak of knowledge that we don't understand is a contradiction in terms. Knowledge can only be formed by the use of reason. Reason is absolute. There is no other path to knowledge, not faith not belief.
Although one can believe in knowledge, one can obtain knowledge without owning beliefs.
Debate Round No. 2


Of course a belief does not establish that what you believe is true, but at the same time, a belief in God can be based off of the evidence. Consider the following:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
Now the first premise is frankly common sense. Something simply cannot pop out of nothing, it is worse than magic, because at least then you have the magician, not to mention the hat.

2. the Universe began to exist,
This is established by the current scientific model of the universe; The Standard Model, or the Big Bang Theory. The universe exploded from a point of infinite density, prior to which there is literally nothing. [1]it is furthermore established by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the level of usable energy in a system will decrease over time, until it reaches equilibrium. If the universe has existed forever it would have already ran out of energy. But it hasn't, therefore implying that the universe has not existed forever.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Since the universe cannot cause itself, the cause must transcend the universe. It must therefore be timeless, spaceless and immaterial, incredibly powerful; uncaused(for the first cause cannot have a prior cause.), and plausibly personal. There are two things which are conceivably spaceless: a disembodied mind, or an abstract object like a number. But numbers cannot cause anything. A timeless, spaceless, immaterial, incredibly powerful, uncaused, and personal being, is basically God.



You are going off the topic 'belief in god is rational"
the reason the universe exists is that it caused itself to exist. There are at least three ways the universe can cause itself to exist, by (1) a closed, simultaneous causal loop at the first instant of time, (2) beginning with a continuum of instantaneous states in a first half-open second, with each state being caused by earlier states, and (3) being caused to exist by backward causation, where a later event causes the big bang to occur. This suggests that the principle, "if the universe begins to exist, it has a cause" does not support theism (as traditionally has been thought) but instead supports atheism.

Any way back to the topic at hand "belief".
You are claiming to have acquired knowledge of an entity or mechanism that exited before space time existed. That is an irrational belief. This is merely a "god of the gaps" argument.
You claim to know things that no one can know (like the cause of the universe) and you do so with 100% certainty, this is an irrational belief. It is also a fallacy of Special Pleading, since God himself is said to not need explanation.
By the same token, a proposition such as "there is no god" may be universal, but it does not demand certainty. It demands that we prove it as knowledge, just like any other claim of knowledge.
What grounds do you have to believe that a god is necessary? The right answer is egocentric thinking.
Most humans live with the unrealistic but confident sense that we have fundamentally figured out the way things actually are, and that we have done this objectively. We natural believe in our intuitive perceptions, however inaccurate they may be. Instead of using an intellectual standard of thinking, most humans use self centered psychological standards to determine what to believe and what to reject. Here are the most commonly used psychological standards in human thinking.

"IT'S TRUE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT." Innate egocentrism: I assume that what I believe is true even though I have never questioned the basis for many of my beliefs.

"IT'S TRUE BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT." Innate sociocentrism: I assume that the dominant beliefs within the groups to which I belong are true even though I have never questioned the basis for many of these beliefs.

"IT'S TRUE BECAUSE I WANT TO BELIEVE IT." Innate wish fulfillment: I believe in, for example, accounts of behavior that put me (or the groups to which I belong) in a positive rather than a negative light even though I have not seriously considered the evidence for the more negative account. I believe what "feels good," what supports my other beliefs, what does not require me to change my thinking in any significant way, what does not require me to admit I have been wrong.

"IT'S TRUE BECAUSE I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IT." Innate self-validation: I have a strong desire to maintain beliefs that I have long held; even though I have not seriously considered the extent to which those beliefs are justified, given the evidence.

"IT'S TRUE BECAUSE IT IS IN MY SELFISH INTEREST TO BELIEVE IT." Innate selfishness: I hold fast to beliefs that justify my getting more power, money, or personal advantage even though these beliefs are not grounded in sound reasoning or evidence.

Since humans are naturally prone to assess thinking in keeping with the above criteria, it is not surprising that we, as a species, have not developed a significant interest in establishing and teaching legitimate intellectual standards. It is not surprising that our thinking is often flawed.

An intellectually honest person would admit that there are a great many things that we do not know and may never know, but we do not have to substitute "I believe" in place of, " I do not know" belief itself provides no scientific value at all.

You have yet to show me how god belief is rational.
Debate Round No. 3


Sunfire315 forfeited this round.


The function of thought is to promote understanding. For understanding to be possible, we must have some method of assessing the accuracy of various claims. This method is reason. If I tell you that I believe in unicorns, you are in the position of evaluating the truthfulness of my claim. In applying reason, you expect me to provide evidence. After all, I'm the one making the claim. In your pursuit of the truth, you are likely to discover that my belief about unicorns is based on faith. Faith is required for me to maintain my belief because my belief has no justification, no supportive evidence.

Faith refers to the belief in something for which there is insufficient evidence to otherwise warrant belief. the core of faith entails conflict with reason. Knowledge requires justification in the form of evidence, however, faith is belief in something without adequate justification. If evidence emerged that unicorns do in fact exist, faith would become unnecessary, even irrelevant.
If faith is the basis for holding religious beliefs (and it almost certainly is), then the inherently irrational nature of faith applies to such beliefs. Atheists and theists accept different standards of evidence, but this does not mean that faith is in any way equal to reason as a method for assessing the accuracy of knowledge claims. Of course, it must be acknowledged that just because Christians are irrational with regard to their religious beliefs does not in any way imply that they are necessarily less rational than atheists in any other domain. This may seem like a minor point, but it is actually an important one. By dismissing Christians as completely irrational human beings, we are guilty of the same intolerance with which we accuse them. Their religious beliefs are irrational; nothing else about them need be. Note that many Christians also recognize that the basis of their religious beliefs (i.e., faith) is irrational. The difference is that they may see no problem with this irrationality.
Debate Round No. 4


my round 4 argument.

I never claimed that I am 100% certain God exists. You can still believe in God, while not being certain He exists, as just the same you can disbelieve in God without 100% certainty.

You have shown three improbable ways that it is "possible" that the universe could cause itself, all of which you have failed to explain how and why these are more rational than the obvious principles of normal causality required on a B theory. You need to do more than just present ways how it could be invalidated, you need to present reasons why these options are more probable and rational. Not only that, but you fail to explain how any of the first 2 alternatives enable the universe to cause itself, much less make atheism more probable than theism.

"Since humans are naturally prone to assess thinking in keeping with the above criteria, it is not surprising that we, as a species, have not developed a significant interest in establishing and teaching legitimate intellectual standards. It is not surprising that our thinking is often flawed."

This statement applies to atheists as well, as they are after all humans as well. It is obvious that believing in something does not make it true. What my opponent has failed to show is that this somehow makes belief in God irrational, even if it based off of the evidence. Showing a bunch of irrational ways people can believe something, in no way undermines the rationality of that belief itself. Furthermore, this line of reasoning chops off your own branch, because atheists could disbelieve in God for those very same reasons.

response to round 4:
My only rebuttal is that my opponent has completely misdefined the biblical definition of faith, and to an extent even the common usage of the word. The biblical definition of Faith is trust in something you already believe to be true, not a belief in something which you do not have enough evidence for. Furthermore, the topic is not, "is faith rational?", it is "is belief in God rational". While it is an important question, it is not the one currently up for discussion.


If we see nothing in the universe that cannot in principle be explained by natural processes, the principle of parsimony precludes our postulating a God behind it all. I value reason because I know it works. Most religious believers agree with this and are perfectly willing to apply reason to most areas of their life. But not to the area of god belief. One of the things that concerns me about such believers is their justification of their decision to suspend critical thinking in one case but not in another. They readily laugh in my face when I fail to provide compelling evidence in support of my claim that my neighbor's garden gnome comes to life, but they refuse to apply the same standards to their god belief.
From a nonbelievers point of view, I see thousands of gods invented over thousands of years and all have been myth, so I ask which one do I believe in, this can't be done rationally, because there is no good reason to believe. One need not own beliefs of any kind to establish scientific facts, observe and enjoy nature, or live a productive, moral, and useful life.
If there's no practical difference between believing and not believe in any gods, then there's no practical difference between the existence and non-existence of any gods. Therefore, atheism should be adopted for purely pragmatic reasons.Thanks for reading
Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Stonehe4rt 10 months ago
I would just like to say this, You guys are switched with what your roles should be. If Sunfire is Con to the topic Belief in God is Rational then he would be saying God is irrational and vice versa with Miss Medic.
Posted by missmedic 10 months ago
Agreed, but what can be done?
Posted by Sunfire315 10 months ago
I was on vacation during the time where I failed to post. Usually the conduct in situations like this is to "extend".
Posted by missmedic 11 months ago
Belief words have many meanings. These words can range from a guess "I believe so" to absolute certainty "I BELIEVE in God". So when a person uses a belief word in a sentence, the reader might get an entirely different meaning than you intend. It could mean just opposite of what you mean to your audience. For example, If you say to religious people that "I believe in science," they might think you mean it as an absolute in the way they believe in god. It comes from this very kind of misinterpretation that can lead a religious person to think that science represents a religion. Realize that some religious people quote-mine popular scientific literature just to prove what some scientist believes or has faith in. Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Danniel Dennet, for example, have all used "belief " in their books and speeches but with the intention of justifying their belief with evidence and logic. The reader, however, might think of it as the strong version of the word. So why use belief at all? To avoid this problem, simply don't use belief and faith and substitute it with a more descriptive word. Of course if you do have beliefs stronger than mild forms of belief, for example, if you hold supernatural beliefs, then of course, you should use the word belief or faith.
Posted by Sunfire315 11 months ago
The definition of "belief", as according to oxford dictionary, is "an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists".
Posted by Jerry947 11 months ago

Faith and beliefs are generally based on evidence. The evidence can include things such as truths and facts and etc...but you claim that your point of view is based from your (and others) experiences, observations, and research about the thought process. But the same is true for Christians.
Posted by missmedic 11 months ago
it should read " Since beliefs effects our actions, what seven billion people believe matters."
Posted by Sunfire315 11 months ago
Indeed, I accept the definitions but one.

Rational: reasonable, and sensible.
Do you agree with thid definition?
Posted by missmedic 11 months ago
Some definitions we need to agree on.

Irrational is defined as lacking reason or understanding.

Critical thinking entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue; assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference.

Self-aware The definition of self aware is the characteristic of knowing yourself, understanding your decisions and being conscious of how you behave.

Intellectual honesty; From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Intellectual honesty is an applied method of problem solving, characterized by an unbiased, honest attitude, which can be demonstrated in a number of different ways:
One's personal beliefs do not interfere with the pursuit of truth;
Relevant facts and information are not purposefully omitted even when such things may contradict one's hypothesis;
Facts are presented in an unbiased manner, and not twisted to give misleading impressions or to support one view over another;
References, or earlier work, are acknowledged where possible, and plagiarism is avoided.

So can we agree on these definitions?
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