The Instigator
Romanii
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
philochristos
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

Christianity is the one, true religion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
philochristos
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,997 times Debate No: 49415
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (2)

 

Romanii

Con

Burden of proof is on Pro to prove that Christianity is, indeed, the one, true religion.

DEBATE RULES
1) Pro will post his/her argument in round 1
2) Pro will also refrain from posting anything in round 4, in order to ensure an equal number of rounds for both sides to debate.

I look forward to a great debate!
philochristos

Pro

This is probably an impossible debate for me to win because it requires me to prove so much and for Con to prove so little. But I thought it would be fun.

My argument in a nutshell:

1. If Christianity is true, then it is the one true religion.
2. Christianity is true.
3. Therefore, Christianity is the one true religion.

1. If Christianity is true, then it is the one true religion.

According to the law of non-contradiction, two claims that contradict each other cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. All religions contradict each other, which is how we distinguish them. So if Christianity is true, then all other religions must be false. So if Christianity is true, then it's the one true religion.

2. Christianity is true.

What is Christianity?

This is what I take Christianity to be essentially:

i. There is a god.
ii. The god imposes moral obligations on people.
iii. People violate those moral obligations.
iv. God judges people for violating their moral obligations.
v. Jesus is the Christ.
vi. Jesus died for sins.
vii. Jesus was raised from the dead.

I said earlier that my burden in this debate is far greater than Con's. While I've got to prove all seven of those points, Con only has to disprove one. If all seven are true, then Christianity is true. If just one of them is false, then Christianity is false.

The reality of morality

Whether we affirm or deny morality, we all percieve it as if it were real, which is evident in the following observations:

We all judge others as if others are actually obligated to keep the moral view that we hold to.

When judged, our first instinct is not to deny the reality of the standard we are being judged by, but to give excuses for why we didn't violate that standard.

We struggle with moral dilemmas. Moral decision making is difficult because there really are correct answers to moral questions, and we have to find out what they are.

Moral non-realists are rarely consistent. People generally live consistently with what they actually believe, so people who deny morality are just kidding themselves.

We all find moral non-realism to be counter-intuitive. We all think it's prima facie absurd to suggest that morals could have been radically different. For example, it's absurd to think it could've been the case that mother stabbing and father raping are morally right, and kindness and generosity are evil.

Now, consider a person who does not percieve a difference between right and wrong at all. Would we not consider such a person to be mentally ill? Would we not attach such lables as "sociopath" to a person like that? Well, if there isn't really a difference between right and wrong, then such people are seeing the world more accurately than we are. While we all percieve a difference between right and wrong that isn't actually there, the mentally ill are percieving the world as it actually is. If that is the case, shouldn't we consider them sane and ourselves as mentally ill?

If a correctly working mind is a mind that percieves things that are really there and doesn't percieve things that aren't there, and if sociopathy really is a mental illness, then it follows that morality is real. There actually is a difference between right and wrong, and it isn't just in our heads.

The implication of morality

Rules of right and wrong are prescriptive. That is, rather than merely describe how people behave, they prescribe how people ought to behave. Prescriptions cannot exist without prescribers because without some authority, there are no rules. Since it's possible for there to be unjust civil laws, it follows that the moral law transcends human authorities. That means there is a transcendent authority who imposes moral obligations on us. We will come back to this shortly.

The argument from contingency

The only way it's possible for anything contingent to exist is if something necessary exists. To be contingent means it possible for it to have not existed. Since contingent things don't exist by necessity, they depend on something outside of themselves for their existence.

But consider the borrower/lender analogy. Suppose you need to borrow something from your neighbor, but he doesn't have it. So he asks his neighbor who doesn't have it either. The only way it's possible for you to get what you're after is if somebody has it who doesn't have to get it from somebody else.

In the same way, the only way it's possible for anything at all to exist is if there's something that exists that didn't get its existence from something else. Such a thing would be a necessary being.

Since obviously lots of things exist, then it must be the case that a necessary being exists, and everything else ows its existence ultimately to the necessary being.

Consider the two arguments together

Now, consider these two arguments. One shows that a necessary being exists, and the other shows that a transcendent moral law-giver exists. It may not be obvious that these two beings are the same being, but when you consider how nicely they compliment each other, it seems reasonable to believe they are the same being.

We know that no mere human is sufficient to impose moral obligations on us, nor is any concievable alien that exists in the universe. But if there were a creator who existed necessarily and was absolutely autonomous, then it's hard to think of a better candidate for a being that is sufficient to ground morality. This would literally be that being's world. So it makes a lot of sense to think that the transcendent moral law-giver is one and the same as the necessary ground of the rest of existence.

If there is a necessarily existing person who is the ground of morality, then we are clearly justified in referring to such a being as a god. But we have still not proven that it is the same person as the Christian God.

Jesus

That brings us to Jesus. Jesus was a Jewish man who lived in the first century, claimed to be the Christ, and got crucified. Now, any Jew in his right mind would've taken Jesus' crucifixion is absolute proof that Jesus' claim to be the Christ was false. After all, the hope for a Christ was a hope that God would fulfill his promise to David, and that promise was that there would always be a man on the throne of David. So the Christ was to be a king of the Jews, and that meant national sovereignty, and that meant no Roman occupation. That's why messianic hope was so high in the first century. The hope was in deliverence from Roman occupation. So if the Romans killed the supposed Christ, that proves he isn't the Christ.

Yet Christianity survived the death of Jesus. The only possible way Jews could've continued to believe Jesus was the Christ is if they had some reason to think he was still alive and could therefore fulfill all the messianic promises. And that is exactly what Jesus' early followers claimed. Moreover, they claimed to have seen him alive after he had died. These appearances are apparently what caused them to believe since the record shows that they lost hope after Jesus died, which is what we would expect them to do. Also, Paul and James both converted because they saw Jesus resurrected. When you consider these appearances along with the empty tomb, it becomes apparent that Jesus really did rise from the dead. Without the resurrection, we have no viable explanation for the survival of Christianity.

Now, either Jesus really was who he claimed to be, or else it's just a big coincidence that he would rise from the dead by some freak of nature after making such unusual claims. So the more rational conclusion is that he really was the Christ sent from God. And that entails that the Christian God exists.

It also entails that Christ died for sins, which entails that God judges people for their sins and that people do in fact sin.

3. Therefore, Christianity is the one true religion

Since all the essential claims of Christianity are true, and since all other religions contradict Christianity in some way, it follows that Christianity is the one true religion.




Debate Round No. 1
Romanii

Con

Thanks to Pro for accepting this debate.

I would also like to give my apologies to Pro for not clarifying in the first round that, for the purposes of this debate, we will assume that a God exists, as that would be an entirely separate debate on its own. Hopefully, that lessens the immense burden of proof on him.

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I agree with Pro's assessment that proving the following premises is essential to proving Christianity's truth:

I. Jesus was the son of God
II. Jesus died for our sins
III. Jesus rose from the dead


However, that alone does not prove that Christianity holds exclusive claims to the truth:


A) Pro must also show why other religions with similar claims to exclusivity, mainly Islam and Judaism, are false, as they all have their own "miracles" going in their favor (e.g. scientific predictions in the Quran [1] )


B) The resurrection does not necessarily mean that Christianity is the only true religion; Islamic theology accepts the resurrection of Jesus yet rejects Christianity's exclusivity claims. The only thing that would directly prove that Christianity is the only true religion is if Jesus specifically said so, and the only source we have of him saying that is the Gospels. However, it can easily be shown that the Gospels are not a valid sources of historical information:

a) Motive for Fabrication-
the Gospels were written by people trying to spread Christianity; speaking of things like exclusive claims to truth certainly helps increase the appeal of the new religion to potential converts.

b) Internal Contradictions-
the Gospels rarely agree on who said what, where and when, especially around the parts recounting Jesus's resurrection [2]. This, in combination with the fact that the Gospels were written a few decades after Jesus's death [3], shows that the Gospels are not at all historically accurate.

These two facts show that there is a high likelihood of any claims to exclusivity having never been made by Jesus.



Unfortunately, I do not currently have the time to do the research to build a strong case against Pro's argument supporting the three starting premises; I will do so next round.
However, for now, I have sufficiently shown that even if Jesus did rise from the dead, it wouldn't mean that Christianity is the one, true religion at all.



SOURCES
[1] http://www.answering-islam.org...
[2] http://agnosticreview.com...
[3] http://carm.org...

philochristos

Pro

Thanks to Con for that opening.

Recall that my overall argument for the resolution was this:

1. If Christianity is true, then it is the one true religion.
2. Christianity is true.
3. Therefore, Christianity is the one true religion.

I defended each of these premises, so let's see how Con responded to them.

1. If Christianity is true, then it is the one true religion.

Here, I argued that since every other religion contradicts Christianity, it follows that if Christianity is true, then it is the only true religion.

Con gave two arguments against the first premise.

First argument

Pro claims that Christianity being true is not enough to show that it is exclusively true and that I must take the further step of showing that other religions (like Judaism and Islam) are false. Con must not have noticed that I already did so by appealing to the law of non-contradiction. Since all other religions contradict Christianity in some way, it follows that if Christianity is true, all other religions must be false.

Concerning Islam, one of its essential teachings is that God has no son. But one of the essential teachings of Christianity is that Jesus is the son of God. They cannot both be true. If it's true that Jesus is the son of God, as Christianity teaches, then it follows by the law of non-contradiction that Islam is false.

Judaism denies that Jesus is the messiah. Christianity affirms that Jesus is the messiah. They cannot both be true. If Jesus is the messiah, as Christians claim, then Judaism is false by the law of non-contradiction.

Second argument

Con claims that the only way to show Christianity is exclusively true is to show that Jesus made such an exclusive claim. But since the gospels are historically unreliable, it cannot be shown that Jesus made any such claim.

Con's error is in his premise that the only way to show Christianity to be exclusively true is to show that Jesus said so. I have already shown another way--the law of non-contradiction. By the law of non-contradiction, if Christianity is true, and if every other religion contradicts Christianity, then it follows that every other religion is false and that Christianity is the only true religion. That did not require showing that Jesus made any claims to exclusivity. So Con's second argument is fallacious.

So, my first premise has survived Con's critique. He gave two faulty arguments against the first premise, and I refuted both of them. The first premise is unscathed. Now let's look at the second premise.

2. Christianity is true.

In the last round, I said that for Christianity to be true, seven points must also be true, and for Con to disprove Christianity, he only needed to refute one of them.

Unfortunately for Con, he didn't even attempt to refute any of them. He explicitly conceded that God exists and didn't so much as deny any of the other points. So, my second premise remains unrefuted as well.

Conclusion

Since I have defended both of my premises, and since Con has failed to rebut any of my arguments or show why either premise is false, so far my burden of proof has been met, and Con's has not.

Don't get tripped up on my use of "burden of proof" when applied to Con. Yes, it is a stipulation of this debate that I have the burden of proof, which means that I must show that the resolution is true. However, Con has a burden to show that my argument is unsound. When I say Con has a burden of proof, what I mean is that Con has the burden of showing that my arguments are unsound. He doesn't have to show that the resolution is false; only that I haven't proven it to be true. Of course he can show it to be false if he wants to, and that would satisfy his burden.

Debate Round No. 2
Romanii

Con

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My apologies, Pro.
I unfortunately do not have the time to form a coherent argument presently.

I would love to have a go at retrying this debate with you some other time.
But, here and now, I concede the debate.
Sorry for wasting your time.

Vote Pro n' stuff... Unless Pro says otherwise :P
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philochristos

Pro

Well, I guess it's better than just forfeiting. This is why I try to only do one debate at a time. You never know when something unexpected will come up causing you to run out of time.

Debate Round No. 3
Romanii

Con

Yes, definitely.

I actually had a rough outline of the argument I was going to make, too >.<

You can take the debate, if you wish :D
philochristos

Pro

This space intentionally left blank per Rule 2.
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
@Geogeer:

Lol, no, he hasn't.
All that happened is that I showed how bad I am at time management.
Posted by Fanath 2 years ago
Fanath
@ Philochristos:
don't you dare...
Posted by Fanath 2 years ago
Fanath
It was more of a joke, sorry that I came off the wrong way.

http://www.bajiroo.com...
Posted by philochristos 2 years ago
philochristos
I might use Pascal's wager just to piss you off. :-)
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
@Fanath:

...wanting a challenging debate does not equate to wanting a loss.
Posted by Fanath 2 years ago
Fanath
I just really hope Pro doesn't use Pascal's wager.
Posted by Fanath 2 years ago
Fanath
"I'm looking forward to losing a debate"

Well then, you seem to know what you're doing.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
@Fanath:

hmmmm... yeah that is a bit much for one debate...
I think I'll just assume that God exists for the purposes of this debate, so that he can concentrate on the Bible and other religions.
Philoschristos is a talented debater, though, so I'm really looking forward to this :D
Posted by Fanath 2 years ago
Fanath
I bet you'd have better luck arguing if the Christian God was real.

The BOP on Pro includes proving the bible true/historically accurate, and God's existence.

Also he has to disprove the other religions and prove not only that god is real but that it's the Christian god...

I think thinning it a bit would be better. All these topics he has to prove seem like separate debates on there own...

Or maybe I should just go to bed.... Idk.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
@Lady:

And why is that?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Cooldudebro 2 years ago
Cooldudebro
RomaniiphilochristosTied
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by Geogeer 2 years ago
Geogeer
RomaniiphilochristosTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did not refute Pro and concede the debate. Pro has shown that Christianity is the one true religion.