Can You Disprove a Single Atheist Argument?
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Debate Rounds (5)
(Attention! Despite the title, you may not submit just ANY atheist argument to argue against).
I present below a series of arguments in favor of God, along with rebuttals of them.
Your invitation is to find ANY theistic argument below which you think is correct, with just ONE atheistic rebuttal which you believe is mistaken.
Announce your chosen argument in a comment, along with YOUR ARGUMENTS. I'll accept your challenge and the debate shall begin.
1. Where do morals come from without a God?
Where do morals come from WITH God? Suppose He exists, suppose he wants certain things, or has a character consistent with certain things. On what grounds do either of those facts determine morality?
2. I've been given a conviction by God that He exists.
Distinguish between observation and inference. What experience have you had that leads you to conclude that God has communicated His existence to you? How do you know that it was God, as opposed to anything else? How could you distinguish between it being God, versus a lying deity tricking you? Or a lying non-deity? Or some natural phenomenon?
3. The Bible(Koran, whatever) is perfect
You may point to proofs of the truth of certain parts, but how do you know the other parts are perfect? How do you know some parts aren't true and other parts false?
4. What if you're wrong?
If I'm wrong, then I suppose Thor will never let me into Valhalla. Oh, did you mean YOUR God? Why yours? What if YOU'RE wrong about Thor?
If someone REALLY thought this way, they'd go around and investigate which religion has the worst Hell, so that they can decide to believe in that one, since they"re just believing to try and avoid the bad consequences that might occur on the off-chance that a religion happens to be true. What if you"re wrong about Allah? Or Jesus? (depending on your religion)
5. Could you be wrong? I could be wrong about Batman; maybe he really does exist. That applies to lots of things, Superman, Spiderman, fairies, talking rabbits, flying bears, God, Darth Vader, Harry Potter. I"m willing to grant you that, but I think anyone who went around making sure everybody admitted they could be wrong about flying bears is probably making a mistake somewhere in their thinking. The same applies to God, unless you have more evidence for God than you do for sentient sock puppets.
6. Disorder does not beget order
Now, that"s not entirely true, is it? If you put the right chemicals together and add a supply of energy, atoms will form into crystal shapes, now, won"t they?
The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that a CLOSED system will not increase in order, more or less. Well, are we in a closed system? Not at all. The sun's pumping in energy all the time, and there are tens of thousands of tons of matter from outer space falling onto earth every day. Not-closed systems CAN increase in order.
Plus, even in a closed system, it"s only the total "order" or negentropy that decreases. So long as the total decreases, there"s no reason a local part of it can't increase in "order," even while its surroundings become less orderly.
7. You send yourself to Hell
So, supposing that we were all somehow here, but God didn"t exist, or say he was just a Deist God, who created nature (not heaven or hell), and then never touched anything beyond that, would I go to Hell and SUFFER when I died? Would Hell even exist? If yes, then how? If no, then what difference does God make that ends up with me in Hell, and why shouldn"t he be held responsible for that? Why is it that when God doesn"t intervene, I don"t go to Hell, but when do does, I go to Hell?
8. Atheists have a higher suicide rate than Christians
Atheists may commit suicide more than Christians, but Christians commit suicide more than Hindus. And the Muslims commit even less suicide. Does this prove Islam? I think not. I think it would be a mistake to assume that a position is true or false based on how often the people who hold the position commit suicide. In each case, I suspect there is a different cause of the rate of suicide.
Muslims, for example, might have a closer watch on each other. Hindus might feel they"re needed more by their families, since they tend to live in poorer places.
Atheists may be more isolated than Christians, because there are fewer of them in some countries, like America, and they may not be socially accepted by the Christians that surround them
It"s worth pointing out, also, that global atheist statistics just tend to reflect whatever's going on in China. There may be something about china other than atheism that makes it the way it is, and it would be a mistake to confuse the two.
9. Historical evidence shows that Jesus appeared to people after His death, and that his disciples were genuinely convinced of His resurrection, despite having every predisposition not to be.
- Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, died for his faith. He showed the golden plates that were revealed to him by the Angel Moroni to 11 witnesses, 3 of whom signed a testimony saying Moroni had come to show them the plates. Several of these witnesses later left the church, some were excommunicated against their will. Many were persecuted. The Mormons were kicked out of their homes time after time, until they finally left the country and moved to Mexico (back when Utah was Mexican territory).
Some of these witnesses eventually returned to the church, but even those that didn't affirmed that the angel showed them the plates, 'til the day they died, and none of them denied their testimony while they were estranged from the church.
Does this prove that the Mormons are right? I think not. I think rather, we recognize the following principle:
People seeming to be really convinced of supernatural things is not strong evidence for the truth of those supernatural things, even when they suffer because of their beliefs, or you figure they'd know if they were lying.
If you happen to be Mormon, and accept both the Jesus' disciples idea, and the Mormon witnesses idea, just ask yourself if you'd be convinced of Islam if you were told of similar witnesses about Mohammed flying to heaven on a winged horse.
10. Prophecies come true in the Bible/Koran prove that it's true.
How does that prophecy prove that the other parts of the book are true? Is it possible that some parts are true and other parts false? What about the book that don't have prophecies? Does the "truth" of Isaiah somehow prove the truth of 3 John and the Song of Solomon?
11. The universe must have a cause/explanation. That's God, so God exists.
You've proven that there is a cause/explanation (if the argument is true). Why should it be God? Why not a great cosmic fish? Why not aliens from beyond the universe? Why not Vishnu or Cronos?
12. Fine-tuned universe shows it must have been designed. Therefore God.
So there's design. Why God? How do you know it's not a supernatural troll? Or a computer simulation? Or a giant cosmic possum? Or a flying bear that coughs out universes, and died 11 billion years ago, so there's no longer a creator of any kind?
13. God is defined as perfect. Perfection includes existence. Therefore God is defined as existent. So, God exists.
This argument works equally well for the existence of a perfect leprechaun. You can define ANYTHING as "perfect," as "existent." That doesn't make it exist.
If an argument works equally well for leprechauns and Batman, that's usually a sign that something's gone wrong.
14. Were you there?
No, but let me ask you. If you were strolling along the beach and found a watch, and observed the intricate workings of its many parts, would you not be justified in inferring that there was a watchmaker? But, were you there when the watch was made? How can you know that the watch was made if you weren"t there?
You already understand implicitly the principle I am going to state explicitly: There are things in the present which tell us things about the past. Evidence. By careful examination of things in their present state, we can often infer things about the past.
15. Science can"t prove or disprove religion
Not so. Religion claims that there are certain things going on in the real world, that we can look for, to see if they"re really there or not. If they are there, then that"s evidence for religion, and it"s evidence against religion if they"re not there. Prayers, for example, are claimed to increase the chances that someone will recover from an illness. So, we could have studies which measure if people get well more often when other people pray for them. If that was a finding, the doctors would recommend prayer, because it was known to work. There would be studies trying to figure out what kind of prayers were most effective, and there would be hand-outs recommending the kind of prayer that most improves someone"s health. That none of these things happens suggests that prayer does not increase the chances of someone"s recovery.
Whenever religion claims something is going on in the real world, that"s an opportunity for there to be evidence in favor of religion. Whenever that evidence is not found, that's evidence against religion.
16. It"s like an elephant that some blind men feel. You can"t tell what it"s like as a whole. Things which are unclear shall become clear.
You can say that ANYTHING will be made clear later on. Leprechauns or flying bears or talking socks. But if someone is going to say that we should pay extra attention to the possibility of flying bears being real, and that even though that seems to not make sense, it"ll all make sense later on...
then we need to know on what grounds you privilege the bear idea instead of the leprechauns.
In short, you need evidence just to make a hypothesis worth even considering, and then, of course, you need more evidence to see if it's true or not.
Or a God that died and doesn't exist anymore?
Or a God that made the universe but never knew what was inside it?
Or a GROUP of "gods?"
Or a group of scientists?
Or a non-being cause, like some natural phenomenon (like gravity or electricity)?
That doesn't sound to me like proof for God.
It can't be a group of scientists since they didn't exist.
groups of gods are still gods.
Then maybe that non being cause created god.
If god made the universe and didn't Know what was inside its still god.
So, you think this argument proves that cause of the universe...
May or may not be a being
May or may not exist anymore
May or may not be honest
May or may not have been a committee of multiple beings.
Soooo...what do you think is the appropriate reaction to this conclusion? Should people be doing something about it? Believing something about it? Anything?
(P.S. Why can it be a group of gods, but not a group of scientists? Or leprechauns, or fairies or flying bears?)
There is a reason why there are multiple religions:
its because there are multiple possibilities.
People can believe in whatever they want and whatever created the universe is god.
(PS: because if it were then those fairies or bears or any of those thing would become god.
And i am new to this site so please don't be to hard since i have a really stressful debate going on about the war of 1812).
You've probably heard the ol' "If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound?"
And one says, "Yes! For the tree will make air vibrations as it falls, and as it crashes into the ground, therefore it makes a sound."
And the other says, "No! For without someone to hear it, there is no auditory experience, and therefore it makes no sound."
You might think, since one says "yes" and the other "no" that they disagree about something.
You might think, since one says "sound" and the other says "no sound" that they are disagreeing.
But, in fact, both believe the same things. Both believe that, under the circumstances specified, air vibrations will be created, and that there will be no resulting auditory experiences.
Why don't they FEEL like they agree? Because they're getting confused by using two different meanings of the word "sound."
Likewise, if I say "This argument does not prove God," and another says "This argument does prove God," then you might think we are disagreeing.
But...actually...we're just mixing up two different uses of the word "god," like the other people mixed up the different uses of the word "sound."
Now, there's no "real" meaning of the word, words are just what we use to REFER to actual ideas in our minds. Whether we can describe them in words or not, we have a specific IDEA that we're trying to communicate.
When it is said: "Whatever is the cause of the universe (even if it's a committee of flying bears that are now dead) is "God."
Then I think we need a little clarity to clear up our confusion.
Try this quick fix. Substitute out the WORD, and substitute in the MEANING.
That clears things up.
The one guy who says YES to "sound" would say instead:
There will be vibrations in the air.
And the other, instead of "sound," would say:
There will be no auditory experiences.
You see the point? The two statements don't disagree at all! The argument is gone, dissolved.
Let's do the same with our dispute.
When I say: "Does not prove God," I substitute out the word "god," and substitute in what I MEAN by it. Like so:
"This argument does not prove that there exists an 'all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing, honest, male being that hears prayers, wants to be worshipped, and intends to provide an afterlife.'"
And when you say "Does prove God," substitute out the word "god, and substitute what you MEAN by it. Like so:
"This argument proves that there exists and/or existed a 'cause to the universe.'"
The two statements do not disagree.
There is no argument. What I am saying and what you are saying can both be true. Maybe they are.
Allow me to finish by saying, that my judgment is that neither of these two conclusions, yours and mine, would justify anyone who believes in any mainstream religion. Neither justifies believing that the IDEA of God in their head really exists.
The cause of the universe may no longer exist. It may have been a natural phenomenon. It may have been a group of people. One person might have caused the universe to exist, a second person might have caused the universal constants to be fine-tuned, and a third might have overseen the creation of life. A fourth may answer prayers and a fifth may effect miracles.
And on and on...
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