Believing in God is the same as believing in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and the Flying Spaghetti
Debate Rounds (4)
Con will argue that it is vastly different.
1st Round is the acceptance and optional opening statement/argument by Pro.
Would Pro please define clearly what the tooth fairy and flying spaghetti monster are for those of us who are not too familiar :)
Looking forward to a great debate!
It may be easier to define what the "tooth fairy" and "flying spaghetti monster" are, but defining what they are not. No one has ever suffered death by torture for "believing" in the tooth fairy. No one has ever brought aide to the poor in the name of the "flying spaghetti monster". The tooth fairy and flying spaghetti monster are certainly NOT creatures that are consistent with the ideas of "aseity".
What is "Aseity"?
Aseity refers to, "the property by which a being exists in and of itself, from itself, or exists as so-and-such of and from itself. The word is often used to refer to the Christian belief that God contains within himself the cause of himself, is the first cause, or rather is simply uncaused, though many Jewish and Muslim theologians have also believed God to be independent in this way."
^ Source: Sauvage, George (1907). "Aseity". Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
There is a great equivocation in terms, when atheists debate theists. That means, both side are using the same word (in this case, "God"), but neither side is using the same meaning. When atheists make the argument that believing in the Christian God is the same as believing in tooth fairy or flying spaghetti monster, the two sides are using an equivocation and mutual understanding is often eluded.
God, in Catholic Theology, is the "unmoved mover", the "first cause". God is the "perpetual act of to be". Yes, God is often, by virtue or circumstance of culture or literary convienance, contained with words like "He" or as a character in a story. The Catholic Idea of God is not the same as that of Zeus. GOD, YWH, is not the same as the gods of ancient Greece. Two entirely different concepts.
And God is certainly not the following:
Tooth Fairy: "In northern Europe, there was also a tradition of tand-f" or tooth fee, which was paid when a child lost its first tooth. This tradition is recorded in writings as early as the Eddas, which are the earliest written record of Norse and Northern European traditions.
The reward left varies by country, the family's economic status, amounts the child's peers report receiving and other factors. A 2013 survey by Visa Inc. found that American children receive $3.70 per tooth on average."
^ Sources: Cleasby, Richard; Vigf"sson, Gudbrand (1957). An Icelandic-English Dictionary. William A. Craigie (2 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press . s.v. tannf" first edition available on An Icelandic-English Dictionary
Hedges, Helen, Joy Cullen. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, Vol. 28, 2003. "The Tooth Fairy Comes, or Is It Just Your Mum and Dad?: A Child's Construction of Knowledge". pp 19-24.
"Tooth Fairy inflation flies high". 30 August 2013.
So no, believing in the idea that there is a "force" that is the unmoved cause of all creation, is not the same as believing in something we tell children to explain why their teeth fall out.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a "New Atheist" term used to illustrate the same fallacious concept.
Let me quote from the website from which this debate's origin is derived:
" When one honestly assesses the Judeo-Christian doctrine of God he will find multiple thousands of years of human testimony and religious development; he will find martyrs enduring the most horrific trauma in defense of the faith; he will find accounts in religious texts with historical and geographical corroboration; etc (these fact are of course not "proofs," but rather "evidences" that elicit strong consideration). Pit this against tales of the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and Spaghetti Monsters and one finds the exact opposite: no testimony or religious refinement, no martyrs, no historical and geographical corroboration, etc. Instead, one finds myths created intentionally for children, for point making, or for whatever. It"s strawman argumentation at its worst."
Now, let's move onto something to consider for the Catholic Faith. I'm going to quote from a book, and will not claim credit for what far smarter men said far in the past. This argument is nothing new, despite the internet culture's suggestion that it is.
Why I believe in the Catholic Faith:
"[f]or all the works of classical antiquity we have to depend on manuscripts written long after their original composition. The author who is the best case in this respect is Virgil, yet the earliest manuscript of Virgil that we now possess was written some 350 years after his death. For all other classical writers, the interval between the date of the author and the earliest extant manuscript of his works is much greater. For Livy it is about 500 years, for Horace 900, for most of Plato 1,300, for Euripides 1,600.
Yet no one seriously disputes that we have accurate copies of the works of these writers. Not only are the biblical manuscripts we have older than those for classical authors, we have in absolute numbers far more manuscripts to work from. Some are whole books of the Bible, others fragments of just a few words, but there are thousands of manuscripts in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac, and other languages. What this means is that wc can be sure we have an accurate text, and we can work from it in confidence. Next we take a look at what the Bible, considered merely as a history, tells us, particularly the New Testament, and particularly the Gospels. We examine the account of Jesus" life and death and his reported Resurrection. Using what is in the Gospels themselves, what we find in extrabiblical writings from the early centuries, and what we know of human nature (and what we can otherwise, from natural theology, know of divine nature), we conclude that Jesus either was just what he claimed to be, God, or was a madman, (The one thing we know he could not have been was merely a good man who was not God, because no merely good man would make the claims he made.) We are able to eliminate his being a madman not just from what lie said"no madman ever spoke as he did; for that matter, no sane man ever did either"but from what his followers did after his death, A hoax (the supposedly empty tomb) is one thing, but one does not find people dying for a hoax, at least not one from which they have no prospect of advantage. The result of this line of reasoning is that we must conclude that Jesus indeed rose from the dead and that he was therefore God and, being God, meant what he said and did what he said he would do.
One thing he said he would do was found a Church, and from both the Bible (still taken as merely a historical book, not at this point in the argument as an inspired one) and other ancient works, we see that Christ established a Church with the rudiments of all we see in the Catholic Church today"papacy, hierarchy, priesthood, sacraments, teaching authority, and, as a consequence of the last, infallibility. Christ"s Church, to do what he said it would do, had to have the note of infallibility. We thus have taken purely historical material and concluded that there exists a Church, which is the Catholic Church, divinely protected against teaching error. Now we are at the last part of the argument. That Church tells us the Bible is inspired, and we can take the Church"s word for it precisely because the Church is infallible. Only after having been told by a properly constituted authority (that is, one set up by God to assure us of the truth of matters of faith) that the Bible is inspired do we begin to use it as an inspired book."
^ Keating, Karl. Catholicism And Fundamentalism (p. 125). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
Please also reference the following Youtube videos for further clarification of my ideas...all of which as by Bishop Robert Barron. It seriously might save you some time and heartache in this debate.
^ On Atheism and Philosophy
^God's Existence and the Argument
^St. Thomas Aquinas and Ipsum Esse
Hope you actually read these sources and watch these videos, I maxed out time for reply so we can look at each other's sources and explore and consider.
1) My opponent starts off by saying that the tooth fairy, santa claus and the flying spaghetti monster (Henceforth referred to simply as CREATURES) are not consistent with aseity whereas God does. To me, it does not at all matter what exactly your definition of God is or what characteristics he has. As a Christian, you may believe your god to be all-powerful and all-merciful. People of a different religion may believe their god to be harsh in punishment and will punish you at a magnitude equal to that of your sins. By the way, some Christians believe that Jesus was in fact the son of God, so in this case God did not just exist by himself, he was produced from another entity.
Maybe you will now be saying "Oh, but my definition of God is so and so based on Catholic teaching." You continue to say that God is NOT THE SAME as the CREATURES. Yeah, no kidding. Of course, we are not saying that an entity which is the creator is the same as mystical CREATURES which we do not attribute to God-like characteristics.
We need to go back to the motion. BELIEVING in God is the same as believing in CREATURES. The characteristics we attribute to the different things we believe in will never be the same. The same way that a microwave does not function the same way a toaster does.
When a kid believes that Santa Claus exists, he doesnt see him, and he relies only on what his parents tell him. Coupled with a simplistic reasoning ability, he decides based on what he does know about the world that santa claus does in fact exist. This is not so different from an adult who believes in god. He doesnt see God. He relies on some religious texts that are supposedly 'true' because mainly other people and religious leaders tells him it's true. Based on all these, he decides God is true.
Is god the same as santa claus? Of course NOT. No one is saying he is. But the BELIEF that a kid has for santa claus and the belief that an adult has for the existence of an entity that cannot be seen is to me, very much similar.
2) My opponent then talks about the supposed accuracy of the biblical works. "No one seriously disputes that we have accurate copies of the works of these writers". Well, I seriously dispute them and the bible itself. The fact that the manuscripts that you have to depend on were so far apart from the author's lifetime should have rang some alarm bells. Even when you talk about Jesus, just this year the BBC News released an article about how our imagery of Jesus as this white guy with flowing hair is so different from what he most probably would have looked like.
We have to remind ourselves that the bible is a collection of works that have been written and rewritten by so many authors. This fact is not even a secret.
However, I will still have to respect you on your religious views. I DO NOT however see any correlation with the religion you have chosen to believe with you making a serious argument that the believing in god is not the same as believing in creatures.
YES, no one becomes a martyr defending santa claus. But if you are dying for some idealogy that not everyone believes in, and that only you believe in, then just because you are a martyr it doesnt mean what you are believing in is better than what kids believe in.
I feel that there seems to be a supposed superiority just because someone believes in a higher power. At the end of the day, we all choose what we want to believe in. If I believe in creatures and it makes me happy and hopeful about life and you believe in a god or gods and you feel happy about life, then thats great :) We can all be happy. Your god is not the same as my creatures. But the belief in them fulfils the same need for us to be happy and to carry on living. And that is why BELIEVING in god is the same as believing in creatures.
I agree with you, the Bible is less of a book and more of a library that spans thousands of years, multiple genres, and cultures. And to be fair, the quote I provided has little to do with our actual argument and more to do with giving you something to gnaw on. It's also from a book about Catholics dialoguing with "Fundamentalist" Christians.
If you cannot be bothered to cite sources, read things on your own, or even seriously look at what I've provided you, then why on earth did you accept this challenge? Why do you expect us to take you seriously? Why is the Theist being more intellectually responsible than you?
Moving on to your arguments...
Let's use your definitions of creatures.
The CREATURES straw-man argument proposed by modern "New Atheists" like Dawkins and Harris, is exactly that...a Straw-man argument. And you are falling for it head over heels. The idea being, that we cannot see or "know" the CREATURES scientifically, nor can we "know" even the Catholic concept of GOD, therefore they are equal ideas.
Tell me....are abstract concepts real? Are numbers real? Can you show me an abstract concept like a number? Can I observe it like I would a creature?
Without bogging the debate down with many more examples of abstract concepts that we take for granted everyday, I'll just cut to the chase.
I can observe a creature and know it exists. For example, I know the CREATURE of man exists, and it exists apart from the CREATURE of dog. I can observe this, I can know it through my senses and interactions.
I cannot observe numbers. I cannot observe consciousness or sentience. I cannot observe "liberty" in the same ways, (i.e. through out senses) as we do observe or BELIEVE in creatures.
So no, believing in any observable creature, is not the same as being in a Being under the precepts of "Aseity".
Because God, as in "the perpetual act of to be" or "the first cause", is beyond the natural scope of humans to "observe scientifically", believing in GOD is not the same as believing in a creature that can be observed naturally.
This is not a new argument by the way. These issues have been dealt with by even the Pre-Socratic philosophers, but I suppose you would be too lazy to read up on a debate that's already thousands of years old.
I did not say I will be lazy in my argument. I said I will be lazy to actually copy and paste links. As you can see, I actually am putting up quite a good effort so far despite having to deal with your idiosyncrasies.
"Why on earth did you accept this challenge?" Err, well I think that's none of your business. If you are debating on a website like this you should expect to have all kinds of people to debate against and you don't get to decide how and what I should do.
You then go on to say how we can observe some things and how we can't observe some things. Bla bla bla. Yeah, of course you can't observe numbers. It doesn't mean it doesnt exist. It's a concept that helps us deal with everyday transactions and life in general. Is believing in numbers the same as believing in God? Of course not. A number is a concept or a tool that you use. A God is not a tool. You are literally putting your trust in something that as you say is beyond the scope of human observation. If I believe in a creature that science says does not exist such as unicorns it's the same thing. I am believing in something that is also beyond the scope of current technology because who's to say that unicorns don't in fact exist in another universe or another dimension? We don't even know much about life in other systems and galaxies.
Basically your argument is We can't observe god=God must be real. EVEN IF GOD IS REAL, I am arguing that believing in God is literally the same as a kid believing in magical creatures. Both of them saying "We can't see him/them. But we have faith that they exist."
You finish off by saying I am too lazy to read a debate that's thousands of years old. Yes, I am. You are also obviously too lazy to bother explaining it, instead just merely copy and pasting some articles and some youtube videos for us to watch. How convenient. Despite all this, you are proud of your so called intellectual capacity. Using terms and phrases that sound so fancy so that you appear to know more.
"Your argument in Round 1 is so confusing"
That's why I put a lot of citations and sources, and easy to watch videos to help explain the definitions I will be using. Be honest with everyone, did you even watch the short videos? I'm sorry if big words scare you, but defining important terms essential to your argument is DEBATING 101.
"...talking about aseity and what not and jumping to the Bible"
Actually, I did not cite the Bible once. And yes, the reason why I am taking the time flesh out what "Aseity" is, and what my definitions are, is because I do not want there to be an equivocation of terms. When atheists talk about "gods" they are not talking about the same concept of God that Catholics believe in. The conversation goes no where unless both parties are using the word in the same meaning. You just seem upset because you don't understand the term, but you thought you did, and your argument fell apart.
"This is not a debate about the truth of Christianity"
Nor do I intend it to be, but rather demonstrating that believing in an observable CREATURE, as you put it, is not the same as believing in something that cannot be observed, though it exists (like abstract concepts). You're either not understanding that, because you're frustrated, or you are intentionally misrepresenting my arguments.
"...and I will mostly be debating based on what I know. In other words, I am too lazy to provide any links."
Translation, you cannot be BOTHERED to back-up what you "know" or do any research on your own. Your laziness shows, and you should be embarrassed. Are you that arrogant that you think you can win by showing us what you "know"?
"You then go on to say how we can observe some things and how we can't observe some things. Bla bla bla. Yeah, of course you can't observe numbers. It doesn't mean it doesnt exist. It's a concept that helps us deal with everyday transactions and life in general. Is believing in numbers the same as believing in God? Of course not. A number is a concept or a tool that you use. A God is not a tool. You are literally putting your trust in something that as you say is beyond the scope of human observation."
HAHAHA. You literally agree with my argument here, even though you are too frustrated to realize it. "Is believing in numbers the same as believing in God? Of course not!" Yes, because believing in something that can be observed is not the same as believing in something that cannot be observed.
Thanks for conceding!
God IS beyond the scope of human observation with empirical science. Science cannot comment on the existence of God one way or the other, just like it cannot comment on the existence of "sorrow" or "independence" or "numbers". So when you say basically, that is believing in something that CAN be observed the same as believing in something that CANNOT be observed, you are PROVING MY POINT. Thank you.
Furthermore, the whole point of R1, which you found so confusing, was to illustrate the difference between the CREATURES (as you named them) and the concept of GOD.
"You finish off by saying I am too lazy to read a debate that's thousands of years old. Yes, I am. You are also obviously too lazy to bother explaining it, instead just merely copy and pasting some articles and some youtube videos for us to watch. How convenient. Despite all this, you are proud of your so called intellectual capacity. Using terms and phrases that sound so fancy so that you appear to know more."
Maybe if you even read what I actually wrote, and took it in, you would see that I explain it. And then explain why your'e wrong. And then read this Round, and see why you actually end up agreeing with me.
Thanks you playing.
My opponent, in his typical simplistic mentality thinks that I have conceded the debate by stating that believing in something that can be observed is not the same as believing in something that cannot be observed. If I indeed said that believing in something that can be observed is not the same as believing in something that cannot be observed, then it's probably fair enough to say that I have conceded this debate. However, the question is, "Did I ever say that?"
In Round 3, my opponent clearly said that numbers are abstract concepts. An abstract concept cannot be observed while creatures can be observed. In other words, Numbers ARE NOT THE SAME AS CREATURES. I agree with what my opponent said here.
So when I said believing in numbers is not the same as believing in god, my opponent suddenly became excited and thinks I have conceded. Let me remind everyone that numbers (as my opponent first defined it) is an abstract concept. God is also an abstract concept. So when exactly did I say that believing in something that can be observed is not the same as believing in something that cannot be observed. What I did say was believing in ABSTRACT CONCEPT 1 is not the same as believing in ABSTRACT CONCEPT 2. I think my opponent needs to reread.
At the end of the day, my point was to say that just because John believes in numbers (ABSTRACT CONCEPT 1) does not mean he should also believe in god (ABSTRACT CONCEPT 2) nor is the believe that John has for numbers the same as his believe for God. But, if John is convinced that unicorns exist (OBSERVABLE CONCEPT BUT LIMITED TO OUR TECHNOLOGICAL ABILITY) then his believe is the same as someone else's believe in God (ABSTRACT CONCEPT) because at the end of the day, even an abstract concept is only abstract because we still have not yet had much scientific evidence to prove or disprove it.
My opponent continues on in his frustration until he had to post stuff in his comments. This reflects his poor structure of argumentation throughout this whole debate. He just writes down everything he needs to rant in a mess of paragraphs that you need to analyse. This reflects poor communication and a state of mind which is confused.
It all sums up in his last sentence in this debate "Thanks you playing."
Thanks you playing
Thanks you playing
Thanks you playing
Yes, thanks you too. :) :)
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