The Instigator
TheLaw
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
sherlockmethod
Pro (for)
Winning
40 Points

Christianity is an Irrational Religion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
sherlockmethod
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/29/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,299 times Debate No: 13510
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (9)

 

TheLaw

Con

I was inspired to start a debate on this subject after looking at a topic in the forums that had some of this in it. I strongly stand in opposition to this topic and am willing to debate anyone on this matter.

A definition for irrational would be "a. Not endowed with reason. b. Affected by loss of usual or normal mental clarity; incoherent, as from shock. c. Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment".[1] I believe that the first definition is the most appropriate for this topic and the third definition might work as well.

This debate will follow this format:

Round 1:
Speaker 1 (Me) - Gives introduction, defines any terms
Speaker 2 (Opponent) - Agrees to debate, talks about any word definitions, and gives own contentions.

Round 2:
Speaker 1 - Refutes opponent and introduces contentions.
Speaker 2 - Refutes my points.

Round 3:
Speaker 1 - Continue debate into final round.
Speaker 2 - Finish debate and be prepared for voting.

Thank you to anyone that accepts this debate challenge.
sherlockmethod

Pro

I accept. I thank my opponent for offering this topic for debate and I welcome a solid exchange. I agree with the outline he has provided and I accept the definition of "irrational" offered.

Christianity – Due to the size of this religion, I will focus on the belief in the existence of the Christian God, who is omnipotent and omnipresent. This God created the universe and everything in it (Genesis, do I really need a link here?). This God is depicted in the Judeo-Christian Bible (although I do not find exclusion of many books to be proper, I will try to focus on the canonical books if need be, but others can be relevant). This same God, through a miracle, brought his son into the world via a virgin birth and this son was named Jesus (New Testament, I'm sure my opponent has access to one). Jesus was executed via crucifixion (Ibid). After said event, Jesus rose from the dead and "who so ever believes in him …." (Ibid) and Christians are eagerly awaiting his return to earth to take them to heaven before all hell breaks loose. Short, sweet, and to the point. Pardon my brevity and crassness, but we both know what we are talking about in respect to Christianity.

Rationality – "n philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason, a key method used to analyze the data gained through systematically conducted observations."
http://en.wikipedia.org...

If my opponent wishes to add anything to Christianity (the Trinity, young earth creationism, Mormonism, etc) then I ask that he do so in his 2nd round response so I can reply.

Stipulation 1: I don't care which sky daddy/daddies, mammas anyone worships, and I don't ask. For the purposes of this debate, my opponent can assume what he wishes about my religious leanings. My beliefs are not relevant and I am not overly concerned about my opponent's beliefs either.

Contentions Offered:
Per my opponent's request, I offer these contentions supporting my Pro position: Christianity is not a rational religion.

Contention One:
The Christian God, per definition, must exist outside the natural realm (If he created the natural realm then this statement must be true, or we are not talking about the Christian God). Because he exists outside of the natural realm, he must be accepted by faith. This faith is not contingent on observation, experimentation, or testability. Accepting the existence of a non-testable, unobservable, unfalsifiable being is not rational since rational inquiry (see above definition) involves data (material evidence) based on systematic observations. By definition, belief in the Christian God is irrational.

Contention Two:
Because the acknowledgement of the existence of this being is irrational, then Christianity, based on this irrational belief, must also be irrational.

Contention Three: In order to believe the son of this being existed, one must accept:

1.A supernatural being impregnated a human female.
2.The human/god, resulting from the birth, must have died and must have been reborn in a physical sense.

Neither of these two events can be verified, and by their miraculous nature, neither is subject to known laws so no inductive reasoning can apply. I cannot formulate a model to test these events. Only through faith can these events be accepted; faith, not based on systematic observation or reasoning, just simple "because I believe it". Such a position, whether right, wrong, true, false must still be irrational.

Contention Four:
Humans are born with sin, period, according to the Christian religion. Before they make their first sound, they are sinners. These humans are "without excuse" in reference to God. No matter their age, upbringing, etc. all humans are subject to punishment for not believing in a deity that refuses to walk his omnipotent self down here with the rest of us to ensure we all have a viable chance to understand him. Hell is eternal torment and children born outside the scope of Christianity are expected to know the Christian God by the world around them, or face this hell. To believe that a child never exposed to the Christian belief is without excuse to believe in a God that requires special pleading from other humans to even seem viable, is a completely irrational position.

Conclusion:
All of my points are stock arguments, and my opponent should be familiar with them to some extent. I have heard some of these myself so I picked the best ones. I am playing devil's advocate (devil, get it?) and look forward to Con's response.

Very Truly Yours,
Sherlockmethod.
Debate Round No. 1
TheLaw

Con

Introduction:

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and I hope this can be an interesting one. I would also like to elaborate more on your brief summary of Christianity. I agree with it to some degree, however when you say he "brought his son" I do not entirely agree as the Trinity does not exist and there is only one God. My opponent has allowed me to put my own thoughts into his summary on Christianity, for example, the Trinity, which will ultimately help me win this case. So to begin, I'll talk more about Christianity, and then refute my opponent's points.

Christianity:

My opponent opens up his summary of Christianity with saying that God is omnipresent and omnipotent and that God created the universe and everything in it, which I agree with. My opponent then goes on to say that God brought his son into the earth and was named Jesus. I will assume that my opponent is going off the canon Christian belief that Jesus is God and is the literal son of God. However, there are several things wrong with this and there are several things wrong with the Trinity.

Mainly, the Trinity promotes polytheistic views that do not fall in line with monotheistic views Christianity is supposed to be. Additionally, Jesus admits himself that he is not God. Before Jesus gets arrested, he prays to God in John Chapter 17 Verse 3 saying that God is the only true God and separates himself from this equation. Also, since Jesus is not God, then Jesus is not the literal son of God but "a child of God" like everyone else is in that God is our creator. I find these points sufficient enough for now and if you would like me elaborate more I will.

Rationality:

Next, my opponent uses Wikipedia as a source to define rationality, however, that is irrelevant because rationality is not in the topic, however irrational is. My opponent has already declared his agreement with my definition of irrational and also, Wikipedia is not a reliable source as anyone can make changes to it.

Refutation:

My opponent bases their first argument off of his definition of rationality. However, I've already refuted that definition and disallowed him from further usage of that term. Due to how my opponent agrees with my definition of irrational, we will use that term instead which I forgot to mention I obtained from [1], which says "Not endowed with reason". Basically, to defend my position, I would have to prove that Christianity does have reason or explanation. Because Christian God has explanation (the Bible) then the Christian God is not irrational. Since the Christianity God does have explanation and because I've disallowed your usage of rationality, your first contention as been thrown out.

Next, you base your second contention off of your first contention saying that if the Christian God is irrational, then the religion is irrational. Since I've just proved the Christian God is not irrational, then based off of your logic, the religion is not irrational.

On to your third point, since Jesus is not God and is not the literal son of God, like I've explained earlier, then that collapses your whole contention.

Finally, you talk about punishment and how it is irrational. However, you are assuming hell exists when it doesn't. Firstly, God loves his creations and always talks about forgiveness such as Matthew 5:12, Matthew 6:12, Romans 12:14, Matthew 26:28, and Ephesians 4:32. From these two conclusions, why would he throw his creations into hell? Additionally, find me a Bible verse saying that we go to hell. Since hell doesn't exist, then your last contention falls.

Conclusion:

Well that's all on my part. I've thoroughly refuted your points and added more elaboration on Christianity which helped me take out a lot of your contentions. Please feel free to refute back on my refutations.

References:
[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
sherlockmethod

Pro

I thank my opponent for his swift response.

Rationality: A wiki is fine if used for a broad term, or for a simple definition. I try to use wiki and the sort for my online debates because many users do not have online access to the Oxford English Dictionary, which is what I use at home. I see no problem with the wiki when it is used for simple definitions as I used it here. Con did not dispute the definition, only the source. He must do better than this. I welcome voters to determine if the definition satisfies the role of a good, albeit general, definition. In addition, the definition matched yours closely so I thought it was good as any. I wasn't trying to be sneaky just trying to avoid saying "not irrational" and instead say "rational".

Irrational not rational:
I do not have a problem with my opponent's definition (I said as much), but I can't see how the term "rational" is irrelevant to a debate concerning an "irrational" doctrine. If one is acting irrational then he is not acting rationally. The definition is relevant since you, the instigator, used the word "irrational" in the resolution. I used "rational" so we could avoid double negatives and such. Here is the Oxford definition:

a. Having the faculty of reasoning; endowed with reason. Esp. in rational being, rational creature, rational soul, etc.
And
b. That uses, or is capable of using, the faculty of reasoning; having sound judgement; (in extended use) sensible, sane, lucid. Also: characterized by reasoning, as opposed to emotion, intuition, etc.

Saying that the definition of "rational" is not relevant to a debate concerning irrationality is the equivalent of saying the definition of "guilty" is not relevant to a defendant claiming he is "not guilty". Cute lawyering, but not sensible.

Christianity:
Con is new to debate.org so I am going to let this slide for the most part, but I will offer some advice. Don't start a debate without offering a definition of a key term "Christianity" and then remove two of your opponent's contentions when he offers a reasonable definition. Such actions are bad form. I avoided some strict denominational beliefs so we could operate under a broad, but fair, definition. I could, in absence of a definition, have simply defined Christianity as "an irrational belief in God" and been done with it. No good deed goes unpunished, it seems.

My opponent did not offer a definition of Christianity in the opening round; I had to guess so I used a very broad overview and one that fits with mainstream Christianity and would allow my opponent to use a variety tools if he chose such as specific denominational beliefs. My opponent's theology is certainly interesting, but I recommend offering a full definition in this case since this view of Christianity is far from the prominent one. When you intend to define Christianity in such a way, you need to put that up front so we don't waste each other's time. Because my opponent did not offer his unusual definition of Christianity, I must remove two of my contentions as the non stated definition of Christianity does not include Jesus as the Son of God or the existence of hell, interesting but we will move on.

The Trinity:
I simply offered this if you wanted to add this, or some other specific adherence like baptism and what not to the definition; you didn't, so we are done with it.

Circular reasoning and irrationality:
Of the two contentions left, the second is dependent on the first. My opponent wishes to support his case with the "Bible". I am not sure which one he considers authoritative as he never told us, but this bible, whichever one, is evidence that the Christian God exists. And how do we know the bible is accurate? Because God says so in the Bible. Ta-da! Circular reasoning at its finest. This quote says it as well as I can:

"The so-called ‘final proof' relies on unproven evidence set forth initially as the subject of debate. Basically, the argument goes in an endless circle, with each step of the argument relying on a previous one, which in turn relies on the first argument yet to be proven. Surely God deserves a more intelligible argument than the circular reasoning proposed in this example!"
http://web.cn.edu...

Using circular reasoning to justify the existence of any being, a deity or otherwise, is irrational as this same lack of reasoning can be used to justify the existence of any being we wished to conjure into existence. Using the definition offered for irrationality we find, "Not endowed with reason". Circular reasoning is no reasoning at all. One is forced to go back to the original position, which I stated in the previous round and was not rebutted, that belief in this deity must be established on faith, a faith not based on observation or testability.

My opponent will also find that of all the definitions of "rational" necessarily exclude circular reasoning as such reasoning is not based in rational inquiry.

Contention one and two still stand as my opponent has only offered a logical fallacy as support. He cannot find that a case, supported only by failed logic, is not irrational. See how ridiculous the last sentence looks? Hence the reason I wanted to use the word "rational" instead.

With only this logical fallacy present, I have little left to rebut. Contention 1 and 2 still stand.

Very Truly Yours,
Sherlockmethod
Debate Round No. 2
TheLaw

Con

Rationality and Irrationality:

First, my opponent declares that wiki is fine in broad term or simple definitions. I'll accept it this time and agree with my opponent on the use of wiki as a source since it is only a definition. Additionally, he said how I did not dispute the definition, however, I found it illogical to dispute a definition off of a source I found unreliable. Finally, I found a pretty big difference in the definition my opponent found on rationality and my definition of irrationality in which my opponent's had a lot to do with data while mine had to do with reason. I do agree that words are somewhat similar and I will accept definition a from Oxford.

Christianity:

I apologize for not introducing my definition of Christianity in the beginning, but I assumed I could add on to your definition and alter it when my opponent said "If my opponent wishes to add on anything to Christianity…" However, I will keep this in mind for future reference and provide a clear definition in the first round.

Circular Reasoning and Irrationality:

My opponent fails to realize my whole introduction of the Bible. I did not use it as a method to say "because there is a Bible, God exists". However, I used it to match the topic at hand. The topic says if Christianity is an irrational religion. We already have an agreed upon definition in which irrational means "not endowed with reason". A synonym of reason is explanation. I was saying that the Bible gives explanation or reason on the existence of God. I did not say anything about it being PROOF that God exists but EXPLANATION that God exists. Thus my point doesn't fall into this circular reasoning you are talking about which is the basis for your rebuttal. Since the existence of God is not irrational, then Christianity which is based off of the belief of God, like you said, is not an irrational religion. My opponent goes on to say his first two contentions stand because I have provided a logical fallacy, but since I've just disproved that, that must equate to the fact that his first two contentions no longer stand, thus I win this debate.
sherlockmethod

Pro

I thank Con for the opportunity to debate this subject and will respond to last round arguments in brief and finish with my conclusion.

Circular Reasoning:
This is the only point of contention left. I showed that Con relied on a bible as a justification that the belief in the Christian God is rational. He tried to use some fun apologetics by saying that whichever bible of his choosing gave an explanation of a god; therefore, this explanation equals reason, and since the explanation, or reason, is given then Christianity cannot be said to be without reason. Cute but no. My opponent simply used a bait and switch here and used "explanation" in place of reason. I can give an explanation of my actions and I could, correctly, say I can give a reason for my actions. Reason in the sense used for "irrational" is not same as "reason" used for "explanation". This is simply a word game that still relies on circular reasoning. My opponent offered nothing more than word tricks and "the bible tells me so".

Con never could get around the simple fact that the existence on a Christian God relies on the premise of faith, and this faith is not based on rational inquiry. Believe of this nature, true or not, cannot be rational as no form of inquiry based on observation or any known methodology relying on inference or deduction can penetrate it. In addition, my opponent never offered why the Christian God and the biblical explanation fares any better than Allah or any other choice of Gods currently available.

Conclusion:
I generally avoid the "does God exist" debates but this one had the word "irrational" in the resolution so I took it as many of my friends accept that some aspects of their beliefs are irrational but that does not make them false. I agree. I hoped my opponent could show how rational inquiry supports, not just any god, but the Christian God and he failed to do so. I presented two contentions that withstood all the word games and my opponent's logical fallacies did nothing to disturb them. Many of these debates are judged without a reading. I am interested in how DDO Christians respond to the interesting definition of Christianity my opponent offered, but generally these debates are voted on along party lines and I don't think this one will be any different. I do recommend that Con avoid such obvious word games in future debates. I thought I was debating a YEC for a second.

Very Truly Yours,

Sherlockmethod
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
Wait... there's a RATIONAL religion..?
Posted by legendaryangel 6 years ago
legendaryangel
So im the ultimate judge for everyone elses beliefs in this world? And I determine what is irrational for everyone

Wow didn't realize I had such power....
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
"Con...advise Pro that since all cultures on this earth do not share the same beliefs, we want to know who is the ultimate judge of what is irrational and what isn't?
Supernatural beings do not need faith to be existent

Start there...."
legendaryangel.

You're the ultimate judge; I apologize for not consulting you. Con gave the definition for irrational, read it. In other words, start there.
Posted by legendaryangel 6 years ago
legendaryangel
Sherlockmethod you asked for a clear definition on what Christianity is....the primary answer is a radical commitment to Jesus Christ... The best verse in the bible IMO is JOHN 3:16, I guess then you can go to the call of living a Holy life ----- from there you have to sort through the 35,000+ denominations...or non-denomination as I follow, even though as an non-denom I still attend other churches from time to time...Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Calvinistic etc
Posted by legendaryangel 6 years ago
legendaryangel
Con...advise Pro that since all cultures on this earth do not share the same beliefs, we want to know who is the ultimate judge of what is irrational and what isn't?
Supernatural beings do not need faith to be existent

Start there....
Posted by TheLaw 6 years ago
TheLaw
@GeoLaureate8: First of all, me believing something that is not usually believed in Chrisitianity doesn't make the religion irrational. Also, me believing that Trinity does not exist is not something new, some other people that are Christian don't believe this as well.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 6 years ago
GeoLaureate8
@TheLaw

Your argument about how the Trinity is inconsistent with Christian doctrine is just another reason why Christianity is irrational. You can't just take out a part of Christianity that you think is irrational and then say Christianity is consistent and rational. The fact is, the Trinity is part of Christianity and it is irrational and you just showed us why.
Posted by TheLaw 6 years ago
TheLaw
Thanks for the interesting debate sherlockmethod, I guess I did not do a proper job and I will keep working hard to win my debates.

@Zerlingleader: I did not mean it was irrelevant, I was simply saying that the word in the topic was irrational not rational, but whatever, its over now, even though I find that funny that's the reason you lost me. Also, how were my grammar and conduct poor, and how did I use word games? Your comment seems biased.
Posted by Zerglingleader 6 years ago
Zerglingleader
Con lost me the second he said That he said that the definition of Rational was Irrelevant. I'm sorry, but Where I'm from, if you can prove something not rational, the word we use for that thing is IRRATIONAL.

This was the easiest voting case, as conduct, grammar, resources, and argument where ALL Pro.

I believe it is irrational for Christians to use word games to sidestep valid contentions.
Posted by Ls4baseball 6 years ago
Ls4baseball
i agree with con based solely on my personal beliefs, Pro did a much better job stating his case. I think i could have done better as con.
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