Dear Believer, Why do you believe what you believe?
I wanted to start this series for a while now, thinking of it as a convert me debate. If all went well, it will be a first of many to come, with each one a different religion.
This debate is for Theists in general, no specific religion required. But anyone who wants to debate, must be an adherer of a major religion and believes that it's my loss in disbelieving in your religion. The purpose of this debate is simple, you have to provide 3-5 points that are most convincing and unique about your religion. My job is to efficiently refute them or prove that there is nothing special about your religion.
Pro must start debating immediately, no acceptance round. However, in the last round Pro must write "As agreed", so we can have a fair number of debate rounds. So the rules are simple:
Round 1: No acceptance round, Pro presents his arguments straight away.
Round 2: Con Rebuttal/ Pro Rebuttal & Closure.
Round 3: Con Rebuttal & Closure / Pro MUST say in this round "As agreed" only.
A. Plagiarism is not allowed, copy pasting will result in an automatic 7 point loss penalized by the voters. Use your own arguments.
B. Only 3-5 arguments allowed, with a maximum of 2-3 sub points each. Giving each argument around 2000-3000 characters max.
C. Sources is a must, any uncited claim will be dropped immediately.
D. The debate will be formatted as points and sub points. For example, Pro will provide point A (I,II), B (I), C (I,II,II). Thus each point can be refuted efficiently without skipping any part of the debate and allowing each debater not to copy paste the other's argument. Neglecting any point or sub point will be penalized by voters as they see fit.
E. Burden of proof is solely on Pro, Pro must give convincing arguments as to why he believes in his/her religion.
F. In Round 3, if Pro debates or argues, an automatic loss of 7 points. Pro is not allowed to debate in Round 3.
G. No forfeiture, if you are not sure you can comply, then don't.
I. This debate is three rounds, 10,000 characters each round.
II. 72 hours for each argument
III. Two weeks voting period.
I've made this debate impossible to accept at the moment. If you want to debate, please post a comment in the comments section and I will invite you to this debate.
If you don't like any of the rules and want to change any, please post a comment and we will negotiate the rules and terms of this debate.
Arguing for the existence of God is never an easy task, no matter the specific religion and God you are advocating for. This is why many theists only argue for a Creator God, rather than focus too much on proving the God of a specific religion. I hope to mix it up by providing arguments for both the basic concept of a Creator God and specific arguments for Christianity. I aim to start with the beginning concept of why theism is acceptable, and then end with why trusting the testimony and resurrection of Christ is reasonable. I would like to thank my opponent for the debate, and hope for a pleasant discussion that is seeking out what explanations best represent the reality we live in.
A) The Standards of Logic and Morality in both the theistic and non-theistic paradigm. I will supply two worldviews (not how they are practiced by people that hold to these worldviews, but what logicaly entails from the premises of these paradigms).
1) In the theistic paradigm, God exists. His nature is what is good, and anything that goes against His nature is less than good, essentially, that which is evil. God created mankind to be rational beings who uphold objective moral standards. Humans adhere to logic to understand reality, and attempt to obey an objective moral framework, so that life can have purpose.
2) In the non-thesitic paradigm, God does not exist. Reality must be explained by natural causes. In the present era, the best naturalistic explanation is that we are here by random chance and evolution. We are products of chance. We cannot trust that what we see is ordered and trustworthy. Human logic is a societal construct; a human concept. Objective truth may not exist, and we cannot know with certainty that logic is trustworthy. For example, we have never seen the law of non-contradiction broken, but it is possible that contradictins do exist, and the human perception of reality is only subjective; there is no correct and incorrect view of reality. Also, we are the products of chance, so moral relativism is all that is available. Each person may have their own ethical systems, but one person cannot say to another person that their ethics are wrong, because truth and morality is relative.
3) So long as people are consistent in these two paradigms, everything is fine. However, if a non-theist wants to debate a theist, saying that it is objectively true that God exists, and that it is morally correct to discover truth, then the non-theist has just stepped onto princples only found in the theistic paradigm. For an atheist to debate that God doesn't exist, he/she must invoke God to do so. This is inconsistent, and grounds for dismissing the atheistic claims.
B) Information is different from matter and energy, and we are filled with information.
1) "lloHe" is something that should not mean anything to the reader, however, it should be noted that the letters are made up of matter. "Hello" should mean something to the reader. Information uses matter to convey a message.
2) DNA is made up of information, telling our body how to function. We can upload computer information onto DNA like a flash drive (1). Our genome is comparable to 1.5 GB of information (2). It should be noted that our genetic code is superimposed, meaning that multiple instructions can be read from the same code (3), which makes this information more densely packed than we are capable of with modern technology.
3) In a crime scene, there are multiple explanations for how the crime happened. However, an alternate scenario does not automatically refute the true scenario. So, there are two explanations for the information in DNA. Either God created the information in the DNA, or chance and evolution built up the information over long periods of time. I will concede for the sake of argument that chance and evolution is a possible alternative. That does not make it the more likely scenario. We always notice that information comes from a source. Should we allow evolution to be the exception so that the naturalistic philosophy can be satisfied?
C) How do we explain Judaism?
1) Judaism claims that at some point, millions of Jews were at the foot of Mount Sinai and they heard God speak to them.
2) If you ask any Jew today, they will tell you that their ancestors did hear God speak. If this is not true, how was that lie started?
3) If the event never happened, and somebody later wrote down that this event happened, how did he convince an entire nation that their ancestors heard God speak? They would know that this tradition hadn't been passed down.
D) The Resurrection of Christ is More than Likely True.
1) There are 12 historical facts that secular (non-christian) critical scholars agree to. They are (4):
-Jesus died by crucifixion.
-He was buried.-His death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope.
-The tomb was empty (the most contested).-The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus.
-The disciples were transformed from doubters to bold proclaimers.-The resurrection was the central message.
-They preached the message of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem.-The Church was born and grew.
-Orthodox Jews who believed in Christ made Sunday their primary day of worship.-James was converted to the faith when he saw the resurrected Jesus (James was a family skeptic).
-Paul was converted to the faith (Paul was an outsider skeptic).
2) There are three possible scenarios: The early disciples all had hallucinations of Christ at different times and places and were convinced that it was real; The early disciples hid Christ's body from the tomb, spread the lie that he was resurrected, and were tortured and killed to protect that lie; or Christ was resurrected by God and this is what the apostle's saw and preached.
3) The apostles directly denied that what they saw were hallucinations. (5) This either leaves the apostles lying and then dying for that lie. I argue that Christ was really resurrected by God, because it is not reasonable to believe that they lied. If anyone objects to this (like my opponent), then they must give a motive for why the apostles would be tortured and killed for the lie- what was their benefit? Also, examples must be given for people who died protecting something they knew to be a lie (not examples of people dying for what they believe in). If these two problems are not refuted, one must conclude that Christ was resurrected by God.
1) If there were any place where we could see if miracles happen or not, I would argue that the best place would be in a hospital. 3 out of 4 doctors believe in miracles (6). As people who are trained in their field would know when something happens that defies natural human biology, then if we trust the testimonies of the doctors in the survey, we can conclude that miracles do exist and happen today.
2) The common objection is that miracles are not an explanation of an event- they are merely people appealing to a phenomenon out of ignorance. This objection does not work for doctors trained in the medical field, as they are very familiar with how the human body works. They understand when diseases and problems disappear when they shouldn't. This isn't an argument about how unlikely it is that a life was saved, it is an argument showing that doctors admit that certain things have happened that go against natural biology.
3) Because we can trust that doctors understand what they are doing and how medical science works, we should trust their testimony that miracles do happen.
A theistic paradigm gives someone a foundation for rationality and morality, while atheism only provides relativity and subjectivity. In atheism, discussion about truth and morals becomes no different than discussing chocolate ice cream over vanilla ice cream- there is no objective answer to what humans ought to do or believe in. This reasoning is fine, so long as atheists do not attempt to debate someone with a paradigm that allows them to argue for objective truth and morals. Since I allow that objective truth exists, because of the information that my body is filled with, I also conclude that the divine revelation at Sinai and the Resurrection of Christ are two events in history that are likely to have happened, which is why it is intellectually fulfilling to be a Christian.
I look forward to my opponent's rebuttals. Cheers!
(5) Luke Chapter 24
I would like first to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I am hoping we will both find this debate informative and come out with something useful on both ends. However, my opponent missed a point I stated in the first round, is that this debate is about religious beliefs and not God. I clearly stated in round 1 to provide 3-5 points that is most convincing and unique about your religion. I was not intending this to be a "God exist" sort of debate. The arguments for God does not really make his religion stand out from the other religions. So my opponent has put me in a tough spot about a topic, I was not willing to debate in the first place. Anyway, I will be replying to his arguments, but hope he can provide in next rounds, more specific arguments for his religion.
I will be looking at this debate from an epistemological point of view. Does the evidence justify a belief or is it just faith based? Does the evidence contradict or comply with what my opponent claims? Is there any other plausible explanation for the evidence provided? And lastly, does the evidence, exclude the other alternatives and proves his claims, without any reasonable doubt?
A) This is my opponent first argument; Logic and morality. I think the summary of my opponent two propositions are, logic and rationality comes from God and Theism provides objective morality, Atheism provides moral relativism. I will argue against each point:
1. So if God is good, why did God create evil? What is the nature of God? So if humans are created in the image of God, does that make human nature good? If all humans are born good, then why is there evil? Also if intelligent or logical beings such as humans need a creator, doesn't that make God also need a creator? Or is God illogical/irrational?
B) Information is different from matter and energy:
1. Sure. Nothing to be argued against in this point.
(Those previous points are philosophical questions, that we can argue for and against for ages and never reach a conclusive answer. So I hope my opponent skips those points and focus solely on his religion. I never stated I was against the idea of a God in the first place, only religion.)
C) Judaism: My opponent is asking for an explanation for Judaism. However, I find that my opponent provided no evidence to justify his position. How do we explain Judaism? The same way we explain any other religion. How do you explain Zoroastrianism or Islam? Anyway, I will reply to Pro's points:
1.Circular reasoning. You are using a Biblical story to prove the Bible. My opponent is basing his argument on the accounts of the story of the exodus and Moses. So can my opponent provide me with any historical independent evidence, that confirms the accounts of the exodus? Is there any evidence that such extraordinary events, such as splitting of the sea, ever occurring? Egyptians used to record almost everything, yet such a magnificent event, did not leave one trace of evidence? If millions of Jews left Egypt, why is there no archaeological evidence for the event? Also, did everyone else hear God or was it simply exclusive to the Jewish people?
D) The Resurrection of Christ:
1.My opponent claims that secular sources agrees, yet did not provide one secular author, who attests to the 12 historical facts. The historicity of Jesus is not really an issue at stake. Muhammad did exist, however, I doubt my opponent accepts the theological claims from Muhammad. Same can be said of Christianity. Not because some evidence can correlate with the story, does not make the entire story true. If my opponent disagrees, is he willing to accept Muhammad's prophecy and claims? Why should I believe Jesus's claims, yet refuse Muhammad's claims?
E) Miracles: First we have to define the word miracle. Miracle:
an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency .
For example, if someone grows back a limb, this is a miracle. However, the other explanation for miracle is "Against all odds". For example, "He survived his heart attack, it's a miracle". So without defining the word first, this argument would have no basis.
1. Which kind of miracle? I am quite sure, no doctor has seen a limb re grown on their own. Something that is unlikely to happen, yet happens is not a miracle. If someone survives against all the odds is not a miracle. Did any of these doctors witness a re grown limb? I think not.
2. Please provide an example of something going against natural biology. If miracles as I stated them before, then I believe in the second type of miracles. However, the first definition, I don't think anyone can claim to witness one.
3. Appeal to false authority. I don't think doctors can attest to a miracle actually happening better than anyone else, if miracles actually happen.
I think my opponent has not really provided any compelling evidence to justify his beliefs. Most likely as I stated, it is just faith based with no objective evidence. Actually the lack of evidence for historical figures in Biblical history stand much against him. For example, can he prove that Abraham or Moses ever existed? Can we verify their stories through historical evidence?
In comment section
My opponent disproved of my arguments for arguing the existence of God. I want to point out that, the Judeo-Christian understanding of a deity is the Creator of all things. This is a substantially unique understanding of god, foreign to most all other religions (Islam still comes from this tradition). So, when I present arguments for a Creator, it has everything to do with proving that the God that I worship exists. I do apologize for the misunderstanding, but I will contend that the existence of God arguments are needed for this debate.
A) Logic and Morality
1). If you argue that evil does exist, that must mean that good exists. You either argue that there is no evil, thus you have no argument, or you concede evil and good exists, which invokes the need for God.
2). You seemed to have conceeded my points, but argued it's irrelevance to the debate. I disagree. In a debate, you must use logic, which is only allowable in a theistic paradigm. By including yourself in a debate, you have already conceded logic is trustworhy and can lead to objective truth, which requires a deity.
3). This argument is not about proving God's existence at all. This is not the point; I want to make this very clear. This is merely comparing two worldviews, and it shows that rational debate and discussion is only permissable in a theistic paradigm.
3). My opponent acknowledges the undesired consequence of arguing for Creation or Evolution. I think this debate is important, but I did not use this argument, and this topic alone requires too much discussion. Getting back on topic- this argument is about induction versus the argument of ignorance. Allow me to demonstrate the inductive argument:
P1: We always see information come from information.
P2: All living things contain information.
P3: If God exists, He is a source of information, and can create things to have information.
C: It is probable that all living things come from God.
Now, this is an inductive argument. It argues that God probably exists. Since we have never seen information come from non information, it is only an argument from ignorance to say that information could come from non-information. An argument from ignorance is not necessarily untrue, but it shows no valid reason to accept an alternative to the conclusion.
1). I did not use the Bible to argue for this event. I argued that we now have Jews who claim that their ancestors heard God speak at Mount Sinai. My question was when this lie was started. This is not circular reasoning.
2). The question regarding the Jews not meeting their ancestors who heard God speak is nonsensical. This is a historical argument- we can't observe the past, but we rely on the testimonies of the people who lived it to understand what events happened in the world. To deny that we can't trust anyone's testimony and tradition of the past is to suggest that we cannot trust that anything in history ever happened. If you want to argue this, fine, but I don't think it's a very wise position. You argue that the Torah was written by different authors over many centuries. Yes, this is a hypothesis by secular historians, which is really a disprovable claim, but this agument is irrelevant to the topic, so I dismiss it. I am not using the Bible for my argument. I am using the evidence of Jews today claiming a tradition of an historical event.
3). Again, you are arguing from the Bible, which is irrelevant to the argument. However, you claim that the Bible acknowledges a time when the Torah was not used, and then rediscovered later. This does not prove a later invention, as it was a rediscovery, not a creation. You have not argued an explanation as to how this tradition got started. Remember, written histories are just the oral traditions in text form. This event comes from oration, not from documentation. You cannot use the Bible to argue against this claim. You must provide an explanation as to how this false tradition came to be. You have not done so. My point still stands.
D) Resurrection of Christ
1). I think my opponent should check my source again. This is an author who has compiled the testimonies of thousands of secular historians. Those facts I laid out are very much agreed upon in the critical historical community. My opponent then brings up Muhammed, which is irrelevant. Muhammed claimed a personal revelation, something that cannot be proved or disproved. Christ claimed he would be resurrected. His tomb was actually empty. This does require an explanation, which is in no way similar to Muhammed, who could have just had no revelation and written down whatever he wanted to. This is faulty analogy.
2). My opponent erroneously claims that I made a false trichotomy. He then offers alternative explanations that go against the facts that the historians agree upon. If my opponent wants to disagree with secular historian agreement on this issue, that is fine, but as he has not studied this issue, I don't think he has the qualifications to argue his alternative situations.
3). My opponent missed my point. The apostles stated that what they experienced was not an illusion. He then conceded that no one will die for a lie. This ONLY leaves the situation that Jesus was actually resurrected.
This argument is complete, and shows that Jesus was resurrected. My opponent has already conceded his points. My opponent has nothing left to bring to the table for this argument, so there ought to be no rebuttals from him in this round on this topic.
1). I reject the explanation of a miracle being against all odds. This was not the explanation I was arguing for, which I clearly addressed in my opening argument. I also defined what I meant by a miracle. This request for definitions was irrelevant as shows he did not follow my argument. Just because we do not see limbs regrown, does not disprove that miracles don't happen.
2). Doctors see tumors disappearing; diseases disappearing, etc, that go against a naturalistic explanation. I am sure that I also addressed this point in my opening arguments also.
3). I don't even know what to say to this one. My opponent argues that doctors are a false authority. Fine. I'll concede this. However, if my opponent ever is in need of medical attention, and then proceeds to allow a doctor to save him, then he is contradicting his statement.
I have provided philosophical, historical, and objective evidence that proves the likeliness of the Christian God, and I have done so in a way that rationally explains why my particular faith is reasonable. My opponent wishes to dismiss half of my arguments, maybe because he was unable to refute them, and then argues that we cannot truly know any historical claims. If my opponent ever takes a class in history, he is contradicting this statement, as he would be paying money for a history department to teach him claims about the past that cannot be empirically proven. I think skepticism is helpful, but when it succumbs to an irrational philosophy of disbelieving in almost any truth claim, then I think it has become unhealthy. My arguments stand strong, and my opponent can only cast relatively small doubt on them, showing just how much more reasonable a theistic paradigm is over a non-theistic worldview.
wateva232 forfeited this round.
I will respond to the arguments made by my oppoent in the comments section.
1. If morality is subjective, there is no such thing as good or evil. People may think some things are good or bad, but that is just subjective opinion, not objective truth. You have conceded that evil exists. Because evil exists, good must exist. If good and evil exist, God necessarily exists.
2. Objective truth requires a deity. If there is no god, there is only subjective truth. In a subjective world, every person creates his/her own reality, but it is all subjective. By conceding that objective truth exists, you concede that God exists.
3. This argument is not about proving God. However, if you concede the first two points, which you have done so, albeit unwilling to admitt the reprocussions, then you have conceded that God exists. It's not about me proving God exists, it's about you conceding to it.
3. This does not lead to a God of the Gaps argument. You completely missed what I said. I argued that if we logically induce the information argument, then God probably exists. If you deny it, you can only use the argument from ignorance against it. You left this unaddressed. By using a fallacy you have not countered this argument.
1. You kept bringing up the Bible, when I repeatedly said the Bible is irrelevant. I can provide another source. Jews living today claim their ancestors heard God speak at Sinai. If you reject this claim, you had to have provided an argument as to how this lie got started. You never did so.
2. We don't have to accept the testimonies of Buddhists or Hindus because they are not making historical claims. We don't have to accept the testimony of Islam because it is a personal revelation to Mohammed, which cannot be tested, versus a revelation to a society of 3 million Jews, which is a historical claim that can be tested.
3. You keep bringing up the Bible. It's irrelevant. Unless you are trying to argue that some scribes made up the Exodus event and wrote it down then convinced all of the Jews that this is what their ancestors went through. But this is not even likely to have happened, and you provided no case for which one scribe may have convinced an entire nation of a lie. You have ignored my arguments. This still stands.
1. My opponent makes a lot of innacurate statements about history and Jesus that are irrelevant to the argument at hand: People will not die for a lie.
2. Scholars agree to the historical facts because of the recognized truth that people will not die for a lie. He continues to bring up Islam, which is a faulty analogy. You cannot test the Isalmic claims, because it was a personal revelation. However, the Gospel message was not personal. Many people witnessed his resurrection. They died from preaching that truth. This is nothing like Islam.
3. You argued that early Muslims died for what they believed in. That's not the same as dying for a lie, which you keep misunderstandings. Either the apostles died for a lie, or Jesus was resurrected. This is not a false dichotomy; all other scenarios are refuted.
1. I did define a miracle in my opening round. My opponent should not continue to claim false statements. This is not an argument from ignorance. Our educated doctors understand human biology. If people were healed because of reasons not yet known, they would say this. Yet, their testimony says that we do know what is healing people; it is miracles. This is not an argument from ignorance, rather, it is my opponent rejecting the testimony of doctors.
2. Argued above.
3. I disagree with you that you would notice a miracle better than a doctor. They understand how the body works and is healed, they understand medicine, yet you are a mere layman. You wouldn't know if a miracle had healed someone. You argue that you and the doctor both have to recognize that it is a miracle for it to be true. No, true things can exist and people can deny them. That is why we have debates. I'll accept the testimony of a doctor that miracles happen over your denial of believing in them when you aren't in hospitals seeing these events happen.
Even with my opponent's conclusions in the comments section, he still did not refute many of my arguments. Mostly, he misunderstood or strawmanned mine and argued irrelevant topics.
I would like to thank my opponent for the debate; it was very good.