The Instigator
GarretKadeDupre
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Iredia
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Deism Is Absurd

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Iredia
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,405 times Debate No: 48349
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

GarretKadeDupre

Pro

First round is for you to (hopefully) accept my challenge!
Iredia

Con

Accepted. I am a deist and I don't think it's absurd. It's a more reasoned approach to the issue of God's existence. Not to credulous to build entire religions, revelations and rites based on that; not to doubtful to dismiss it as unevidenced. Ready when you are.
Debate Round No. 1
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

Thanks for accepting. According to Google, Deism is:

belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

Deism is absurd because it posits that itself doesn't matter. What word is better suited to describe a belief which demands that subscription to itself has no relevance in the final analysis, than the word “absurd”?!

If one subscribes to Deism, one subscribes to belief in a God who doesn't care whether you believe in him or not. That's what Deism is: belief that your belief doesn't matter.

Deism is absurd. Good luck, Con.

Iredia

Con

A better definition of deism would be a belief in God based on reason. Some deists believe that God intervenes in the universe. In fact, there is a wide spectrum of deists from Christian (or quasi-Christian) to agnostic deists, even deist anti-theists who criticize religion as strongly as some atheists. Hence, it's best to capture all deists as people who belief in God based on reason and outside the scope of organised religions. Deism has evolved from the quasi-Christian movement it was to something larger.

Your point on deism's absurdity rests on the proposal that deism involves a belief that denies itself (a belief that believes it doesn't matter). You state the reason for this is because deists believe in a God who doesn't care whether or not He is believed in. This is wrong because

1) Believing your belief doesn't matter isn't absurd; what is absurd (or logically contradictory) is to believe you don't have a belief. Na"ve skeptics are an example of this, atheists too. Examples of people who think their beliefs don't matter include Unitarian universalists (who accept all beliefs), liberal Christians (who believe other faiths are as valid as theirs), Bahai followers who think the brotherhood of all men is more important.

2) Even then, not all deists think God doesn't care about someone's belief. Some may think God cares and it seems Edward Herbert was that sort. Some are agnostic about it, and some do think God doesn't care. Your statement that deists believe God doesn't care is a hasty generalization, especially since deism has been a loose movement for centuries, even till now.

3) Finally, what if God doesn't care ? How must it follow that deism undermines itself ? Christians say the Bible teaches that they shouldn't care for secular matters but spiritual ones; does it follow that Christians undermine themselves ? It doesn't. No more than a painter who doesn't care whether people like his painting or not makes him less a painter. I think a Yahweh who is omniscient would have foreseen atheists and deists and couldn't (and shouldn't IMHO) be bothered with them. Even then, I can argue that Yahweh didn't care about deists or atheists, and undermined himself since there is no mention of deists, and atheism is mentioned once in Psalm 14:1.

I hope these points show that the absurdity lies with your claim and not deism.
Debate Round No. 2
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

A better definition of deism would be a belief in God based on reason.

This implies that all non-deist religions are irrational. Because of this absurd (or at least, unsubstantiated) assertion, Deism must remain defined as the belief in a god who doesn't interfere with nature.

Examples of people who think their beliefs don't matter include Unitarian universalists (who accept all beliefs), liberal Christians (who believe other faiths are as valid as theirs), Bahai followers who think the brotherhood of all men is more important.

Deism is just as practical a belief as Unitarian Universalism. Deism offers no solution to any of life's problems, and neither does Unitarian Universalism, by virtue of it's inherent self-contradictory nature.

Your statement that deists believe God doesn't care is a hasty generalization( … )

It's not, actually. If God does not intervene in the universe, there can be no evidence that God cares about what you believe. To think otherwise would be irrational, which would contradict your earlier claim of Deism being “based on reason.

Christians say the Bible teaches that they shouldn't care for secular matters but spiritual ones; does it follow that Christians undermine themselves?

Pointing out examples of hypocrisy does not undermine the rule being broken.

I think a Yahweh who is omniscient would have foreseen atheists and deists and couldn't (and shouldn't IMHO) be bothered with them.”

I assume you're referring to the Old Testament God because you call him Yahweh. Yahweh loves all people, so to say he “couldn't” or “shouldn't” be bothered with the people he loves makes no sense.

I can argue that Yahweh didn't care about deists or atheists( … )

You can't, for the same reason I just explained.

Deism has no practical value.

Iredia

Con

The definition of deism you emphasize is constrictive. I have said some deists believe God intervenes in the universe. For example, Benjamin Franklin was deist who believed in miracles.
But let's assume the deist's God doesn't interfere with Nature. What next ? You don't effectively rebut my points: you simply cherry-pick it as I will show.

1) I actually stated why believing a belief doesn't matter isn't absurd. It isn't a mutually exclusive statement. And you didn't show how my examples of beliefs like the Bahai faith was wrong. That said, deism is of practical value in knowing the truth about reality, which matters to everyone and how they live. Furthermore, deists believe that man should follow the pursuit of good based on reason and empathy. As for deism solving life's problems, you may want to reconsider that. Thomas Paine was an example of how deism in a man solved problems. He wrote his book 'On The Age Of Reason' in part to stem the tide of atheism in France during the period of the revolution; you may confirm this by reading the preface of the book. America's founding fathers a number whom were deists like Thomas Paine (also a founding father) specifically emphasized the seperation of church and state because they didn't want religion to be used to oppress people. They may not have done this if they were deists.

2) God can care about a universe he doesn't intervene in. For example, audience of a sport eg wrestling match, baseball etc care about it, but they don't intervene; they aren't allowed to. A father can deeply care about a child who is now independent and since being no longer a minor. Caring about things you don't interact with is very common.

3) Pointing out a hypocrisy undermines a rule being broken; especially if, as in your case, the rule is not consistently applied. You say because the deist's God doesn't care deism is absurd. I reply that the Christian God doesn't care too, now why shouldn't the Christian God be absurd; you still believe in Him and defend Him. Finally, you simply assert God loves all people; you don't bring evidence. Not to mention how I pointed out God doesn't mention deists or atheists at all. And the doctrine of hell contradicts a loving God.

Deism is practical. It believes in a God without being too speculative. I think that's a more reasoned approach to faith as opposed to taking what a man says or writes as divine fiat.
Debate Round No. 3
GarretKadeDupre

Pro

The definition of deism you emphasize is constrictive. I have said some deists believe God intervenes in the universe. For example, Benjamin Franklin was deist who believed in miracles.

Yes, there who people who identify as Deist who believe in things contradictory to Deism. There are also people who identify as Christians yet don't follow Jesus, and people who identify as homosexual who are married to the opposite sex. The actions of people who bear a title do not change the definition of the title itself, anymore than myself identifying as Asian makes me an Asian (I'm not, by the way.)

But let's assume the deist's God doesn't interfere with Nature.

Awesome.

[D]eism is of practical value in knowing the truth about reality, which matters to everyone and how they live.

Knowledge of the truth is not necessarily practical; a truth may be the fact that it took me 3.22342 seconds to get out of bed this morning. I don't think that piece of knowledge is of practical use to anybody.

As for deism solving life's problems, you may want to reconsider that. Thomas Paine was an example of how deism in a man solved problems [by stemming the tide of atheism]

So the only practical value Deism has is fighting atheism? This makes Deism sound like a belief whose only practical value is encouraging others to believe it; it's like a plague, whose only purpose is to spread and reproduce itself.

they didn't want religion to be used to oppress people. They may not have done this if they were deists.

That sounds like an argument from ignorance to me: because we can't know what they would have done if they weren't deist, it must be deism that caused their actions.

God can care about a universe he doesn't intervene in.

Yes, and there can be unicorns on a foreign, unobserved planet. However, there is no evidence for unicorns, and no evidence for God caring about people (according to Deism), so to assume unicorns exist, or the Deist God cares, is irrational. If this is representative of Deism, it makes Deism absurd.

Pointing out a hypocrisy undermines a rule being broken

No, not necessarily. Particularly if the rulemaker is not bound by the rule. Was my childhood curfew of 8:00pm undermined just because my parents stayed up later than that? No.

I reply that the Christian God doesn't care too, now why shouldn't the Christian God be absurd; you still believe in Him and defend Him. Finally, you simply assert God loves all people; you don't bring evidence.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son( … )

According to Deism, it's impossible for you to bring any evidence that God cares.

Not to mention how I pointed out God doesn't mention deists or atheists at all.

Deists and atheists are included in “the world” that God loves. Should the Christian God named every single religion that were to ever exist in the Bible by name?

And the doctrine of hell contradicts a loving God.

Hell is defined as the absence of God; you only go to Hell of your own accord, by rejecting God. It's a pretty dumb thing to do, but hey, it's not God's fault people choose to go to Hell. This doesn't show God isn't loving.

Deism is practical.

You say that, but the only point of Deism you've argued for so far is the replacement of Atheism with Deism.

It believes in a God without being too speculative.

Didn't you say God cares? That's pure speculation, since by definition of Deism, you can't have any evidence for that claim.

I think that's a more reasoned approach to faith as opposed to taking what a man says or writes as divine fiat.

Comparing Deism to Christianity (which is what I assume you're referencing) doesn't make Deism any less absurd.

Deism is absurd. Good luck with your final turn!

Iredia

Con

I'll just end it with why I think deism isn't absurd and the case for deism.

I argued that deism is a reasoned approach to faith and that it generally rejects organized religion. My opponent says deism is absurd because it is a belief in a God who doesn't care whether one is deist or not. I countered that it wasn't so because it wasn't mutually exclusive to believe in a thing that doesn't bother over someone eg virtual particles, dust etc He also maintains that deism has no practical and repeats that since a deist's God doesn't care, it's absurd. My counter has been that a deist God does care and some deists believe this. I earlier argued that there were a wide category of deists some who are quasi-theist; therefore, partly explaining why a deist can believe God intervenes. I also noted America's founding fathers were deists and that their beliefs were vital to the principle of seperation of church and state. 'Nuff said.

As I said earlier, deism is a reasoned approach to faith. And it is important to note that deism, since it lost prominence, has quietly evolved in ways people like Garret no longer appreciate. For example, why I will call myself a deist who believes in an intervening God is that my understanding of it is significantly different from religionists. But more importantly, I believe God to be transpersonal, who transcends human personality as its source; and hence, is different in many ways from the personality box we place him in. A Brahma if you will. This is my own approach. There are some deists who are pretty much classical deists; some deists are strong anti-theists, some aren't; some believe in evolution, some like me remain deist because of ID: the deist community has become more varied. I think deism is a viable alternative to spirituality without religion since it allows one to choose one's way to undertsanding God without the constraints of revealed religion, and without perforce having to be diametrically opposed to it. There's no a priori belief in Scripture or clergy or a community they adhere to so they are relatively less biased than either sides. In light of this deism is not absurd, it's the most logical approach towards finding the truth about final cause(s) in reality.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by A906500a 3 years ago
A906500a
An even better definition of Deism: observation of the the universe [i.e. mathematics, physics, reason, etc.] are sufficiently determine the existence of a Creator.
Posted by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
Ok that's cool.
Posted by Iredia 3 years ago
Iredia
Busy atm. I'll respond later.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Jackthemarine86 3 years ago
Jackthemarine86
GarretKadeDupreIrediaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Given the fact that renown individuals - to include the likes of Albert Einstein and Aristotle were deists, I believe Pro had is work cut out - I'm not saying that status in society is a contributing factor towards establishing truths, but intellect and reason are. If you are to surmise that Deism is absurd, then you have to acknowledge proponents of Deism have flawed reasoning to some extent. I take comfort in the fact that these individuals were highly philosophical and scientific, and did not come to that particular belief lightly. The definition of deism refutes the title of the debate : It's a belief in a creator based off REASON - if something is reasonable, how can it be absurd? I suggest that Pro look up Sir Antony Flew, and read about him.
Vote Placed by jwcmcorbin 3 years ago
jwcmcorbin
GarretKadeDupreIrediaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: What complexly lacked in this debate was the question of "how?" In the first speech I was given that by the Pro that "Deism is: belief that your belief doesn't matter" but that doesn't tell me why it is absurd! Even in a philosophical debate there needs to be proof, at least more substance, before there are major turning points of "Deism has no practical value." okay, HOW does it not have practical value. How does non-deism have that practical value. With Con able to refute the Pros points well (but not fully) I voted Con in this debate.