Deism is the only reasonable belief system that includes a god
My resolution is that Deism (http://en.wikipedia.org...) is the only reasonable belief system that also beliefs in a god, or a Creator.
Your burden of proof is:
1st: proving Deism not to be s reasonable belief system,
2nd: provide and argue another belief system that believes in a Creator/god to be more reasonable then Deism.
I accept. Thank you for offering this interesting debate. The belief system that I will argue to be more reasonable than deism is that of theism. To clarify, I will argue that there is at least one god, and not only that this god is the creator of the human race but plays a role in the governance of the universe.
Theism- belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world
I look forward to your opening arguments next round.
Since both belief systems acknowledge a creator or a god this debate doesn't have to address that.
Therefore I will be soly concentrating on proving beyond doubt that deism is more reasonable than theism in the aspect of explaining why god exists.
Theism relies on "holy" scriptures, and "revelations" from god to reason their belief.
Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation.
To prove that theism is not reasonable, I will provide evidence that the "Holy" scriptures have fault, i.e. inconsistencies.
If the Bible were really the work of a perfect, all-powerful, and loving God, one would reasonably expect it to be obviously superlative in every respect—accurate, clear, concise, and consistent throughout—as compared to anything that could possibly be conceived by human intellect alone. But there are a number of real problems. And some of these problems are absolutely fatal to its credibility.
Then, the very ungodly origins of some of these "holy" scriptures can be debated.
The Bible was not handed to mankind by God, nor was it dictated to human stenographers by God. It has nothing to do with God. In actuality, the Bible was VOTED to be the word of God by a group of men during the 4th century.
Emperor Constantine, who was Roman Emperor from 306 CE until his death in 337 CE, used what motivates many to action - MONEY! He offered the various Church leaders money to agree upon a single canon that would be used by all Christians as the word of God. The Church leaders gathered together at the Council of Nicaea and voted the "word of God" into existence. The final version of the Christian Bible was not voted on at the Council of Nicaea, per se. The Church leaders didn't finish editing the "holy" scriptures until the Council of Trent when the Catholic Church pronounced the Canon closed. However, it seems the real approving editor of the Bible was not God but Constantine! "Therefore, one can easily argue that the first Christian Bible was commissioned, paid for, inspected and approved by a pagan emperor for church use."
To sum this argument up, theism is innately faulted since it's belief that holy scriptures are the word of god. But it can be easily proven that these scriptures completely defy any archaeological findings of the time period, they defy themselves and they are partly made up, and compiled to the point of completely rewriting it, by humans, by man. Not by God.
Now on with proving deism is reasonable.
One argument that comes up often against deism is "Does God intervene now? How does deism explain what God does after the creation of the Universe?"
Some Deists believe that God never intervenes, others believe that he sometimes, albeit rarely, intervenes. In the latter case, the "Watchmaker" analogy serves to explain. God is like a watchmaker, and his creation is designed to be self-reliant, with all of the little gears turning each other to achieve a higher purpose. Occasionally, the watch has to be wound, but otherwise it is left alone to function as designed. As applied to nature, evolution is arguably a good example of this kind of design, wherein the final, God-intended result was sentient human life amongst everything else. Then again, many Deists might believe that even human life is just another cosmic event. Either way, the Deist God is absent from everyday life. He does not help you out of financial ruin or win the football game. Deists firmly believe that we are the products of millions of years of evolution, and that we should act like it and push through our problems on our own.
Another argument against deism is "If God created the Universe, how could evolution have happend? How can deism not acknowledge scientific evidence?"
Deists believe in science. The ability to reason and discover scientific truth is deist's greatest God-given trait. The idea that God is an Creator only goes as far as the actual creating of the Universe. God didn't create Earth, or Mankind, that is what science and evolution can explain. This is where deism is more reasonable, since it acknowledges and proves these paradigmes to be true.
Thanks, Pro. I will now justify my claim that theism is the most reasonable belief system and why deism is illogical.
A theist believes that we should accept the word of God as the proof of their existence. It is simply logical that if you are a believer of a religion, you should be able to accept your god's scriptures as true. For example, if you believe in God, and God states that He created the universe and mankind, why should we need any more "evidence" for this to be true. Now I am not attempting to prove the existence of God through holy scriptures. Rather, if you are a believer of a religion with a god, it is superfluous to attempt to justify their existence through your own reason. The proof of their existence should be self-evident if you are a believer.
Also, the fact that a deist feels the need for human reason to justify a god's existence implies that they are questioning his existence to begin with. Many religions believe in blind faith, the idea that you should believe in God no matter what He says. In Genesis 22, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, for him. Although Abraham loves his son, he has full faith in God and does what he says. However, an angel comes down to stop him before he actually does it. If Abraham did not question God when he asked him to sacrifice his son, why should a devout Christian question God either?
The problem with deism is that it relies on human reason to prove God's existence. However, human reason is flawed and humans do not think or act rationally. It is illogical for something flawed like human reason to explain something perfect such as God. Take for example, Descartes book, Discourse on the Method. Descartes' proof of God is that he can imagine a more perfect being than himself, which must be God. To make matters worse, he claims that it must be the case that his ideas, "insofar as they are clear and distinct, cannot fail to be true". Therefore, God exists because Descartes can imagine Him, and all Descartes' clear and distinct ideas are absolutely true, because God put them there. This argument has huge flaws, as it is based on circular reasoning. Also, he claims that because he imagines something superior to him, this must be God. I could imagine an alien race being superior than us in every way. Does that mean that they exist? Humans simply do not have the capability to rationalize something so complex and perfect as God.
While a deist believes that God does not interven in the world, a theist believes that God plays an enormous role in governance of the world. You stated that "the idea that God is an Creator only goes as far as the actual creating of the Universe." However, there are several instances where God has played a role in the world. The opening of the Red Sea, the Great Flood, and the plagues sent by God are all instances of how God has helped or punished mankind to steer them on the right path. When Sarah aksed God for a child, he kept his promise and gave her the ability to bear a child even though she was very old. And in almost every religious scripture, it tells of how a god or gods have interacted with humans to teach them a lesson. If God's only role was creating the universe, the Bible would have stopped at Genesis. Seeing that God has intervened several times throughout the Bible, why should we suspect that he doesn't do the same now? Of course, a deist will object to miracles as unscientific. However, since God is omnipotent, He has the power to perform these miracles and intervene in the world. Although we may not be able to understand this through science, this just further proves the limitations of the human mind. And how can we not view the creation of the universe as anything but a miracle? Therein lies the contradiction of deism.
I will now address rebuttals so that my opponent may have a chance at counter-rebuttals in the next round.
My opponent's main argument is that since there are contradictions in holy scriptures, they can not be considered reliable and we must instead turn to human reason. First of all, this debate is not about Christianity or Islam or any other religion. If I were a Hindu theist, contradictions within the Christian Bible would certainly not affect by position on theism. There are so many bogus religions such as Scientology that attacking them would do nothing to the institution of theism. My opponent is simply beating around the bush by attacking specific sections of scripture rather than theism itself.
Many of my opponent's arguments aren't even true. First of all, he cites an atheist website, which will have some bias when it comes to interpretting the Bible. For example, let's look at his argument against the Ten Commandments.
And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.
This doesn't even address the Ten Commandments. It is simply stating that Moses was angry that his people were worshipping pagans.
The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
God is just telling Moses to make new tablets to replace the ones that he broke.
Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
15 “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
17 “Do not make any idols.
18 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
19 “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.
“No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
22 “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.[b] 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.
25 “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.
26 “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.
This does not necessarily contradict Exodus 20. This is actually the only time the phrase the "Ten Commandments" was used, so you may consider this to be the technical Ten Commandments. However, these are only a set of rituals and are not different than the ones found in the rest of Exodus and Leviticus. What we consider to be and call the Ten Commandments are the ones found in Exodus 20 and are repeated in Deuteronomy 5 because they form the basic laws of Christianity.
Thanks Con, I will now rebut your arguments and your rebuttal's to my argument.
First of, how dare you say I only concentrate on Christianity and Islam, and then you go on and base every single argument on just Christianity. If I where a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew, of Baha’i Faith, a Confucian, a jainist, of Shinto beliefs or a Sikh, (full list here http://www.religionfacts.com...) don't you think I would be offended? I focused on the Bible and the Koran since they are the two largest religions based on number of followers, and they are a few of the more widely known religious texts. If I where to point out all the faults and contradictions within all religions Holy Scriptures, I would be here for days.
And how dare you accuse me of using a bias website (which I by the way only cited once), when all your arguments are purely backed up by a Christian website. If you would like to cite the bible, use this https://www.bible.com... since it just shows the bible, and doesn't include things like a blog http://www.biblegateway.com..., which clearly is bias.
Now that that is out of the way, I would like to address your arguments.
"A theist believes that we should accept the word of God as the proof of their existence."
Well, are holy scriptures really the word of god? The Bible, the Koran, the Vedas, they are all based on visions, revelations, hallucinations of mankind, not God. From the historical point of view, holy scriptures are just works written by humans.
But then theists argue that God told them that these holy scriptures are the word of God. But where does it say that?; In holy scriptures. Therefore theists are bound to circular reasoning, something you denounced quite clearly in your argument. This is one of the major flaws of theism.
"It is simply logical that if you are a believer of a religion, you should be able to accept your god's scriptures as true."
But one can't know if the holy scriptures are true, something I established before.
"Also, the fact that a deist feels the need for human reason to justify a god's existence implies that they are questioning his existence to begin with."
How does proving his existence, much beyond simply listening to what holy scriptures and preachers say, make deists less faithful believers. On the contrary, that is what makes deists such strong believers, since they have found their own path into a religion, they have reasoned their own believes and found them to be true, they have risen above sheep just following the herd. Very few theistic scholars have committed themselves of reasoning their religion.
"Many religions believe in blind faith, the idea that you should believe in God no matter what"
Interestingly enough, a Christian (I am just following Cons trend, if someone would like to see examples in other religions, say that in the comments) preacher has made a sermon about this, and he says this "As already pointed out, listening to God must involve God's Word and the Holy Spirit working together in the mind and heart of the believer." So not complete blind following, but rather communication with god. http://www.brandonweb.com...
"Why should a devout Christian question God either?"
I would like to clarify something you clearly misunderstood when researching deism. Reasoning god isn't the same as questioning god. Deists don't question god, they just reason that he exists, unlike most theistic religions. http://en.wikipedia.org...
"However, human reason is flawed and humans do not think or act rationally."
This is somewhat off topic, but if you believe humans cannot reason rationally and logically, why are you still arguing?
"Take for example, Descartes book, Discourse on the Method."
Your major argumentation is because Descartes fails to reason logically on your eyes, all humans on earth don't have the ability to reason logically? I beg to differ. Descartes has had no profound impact on Deism, but rather Locke, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Franklin and Paine, a collection of the most brilliant minds of the past few centuries. I sincerely doubt that these men don't have the ability to reason logically. http://en.wikipedia.org...
"However, there are several instances where God has played a role in the world. The opening of the Red Sea, the Great Flood, and the plagues sent by God are all instances of how God has helped or punished mankind to steer them on the right path."
You are arguing god intervenes with the world by performing miracles. But none of these miracles where proven to happen, so your argument is rendered useless.
"And how can we not view the creation of the universe as anything but a miracle? Therein lies the contradiction of deism."
The effects we acknowledge naturally, do include a power of their producing, before they were produced; and that power presupposeth something existent that hath such power; and the thing so existing with power to produce, if it were not eternal, must needs have been produced by somewhat before it, and that again by something else before that, till we come to an eternal, that is to say, the first power of all powers and first cause of all causes; and this is it which all men conceive by the name of God, implying eternity, incomprehensibility, and omnipotence.
This quote also represents how deists view the creation of the Universe, something unexplainable. The so called "Miracles" of some theist religions can be explained as faux.
"These are the Ten commandments, plain and simple."
How do you know that? Did god come down and program that website? Excuse me for going for stupid examples, but this isn't as plain and simple as you think it is. There are two obvious sets of quite different rules/customs in the same scripture that can't b explained.
I would just like to conclude this debate on a few thoughts.
First of, I would like to thank my opponent for participating in this very interesting debate.
I am sorry if I might have attacked you to strongly in this round in particular, it was the heat of the debate!
This has been a very unique debate, I believe the first of it's kind, contrasting deism and theism. This debate http://www.debate.org... never finished.
In my humble opinion, both deism and theism can be argued to be reasonable religions. Both views should be able to exist together in a modern, un-bias world.
I am looking forward to your final argument.
Thanks, Pro. No need to apologize, as it is all part of the debate. First of all, I would like to address the issues of sources. Bible Gateway is simply a search engine for the Bible, and should have no bias whatsoever because I am directly quoting the Bible. I understand that there are other websites for the Bible as well, but this one suited my needs nicely. Also, I did not use the blog at all in my arguments and having a blog on the website does not destroy its credibility. CNN is a reliable news network, but its website has a blog. You even cited a blog for The Telegraph in one of your sources.
And while you criticize me for using a website with a blog that I did not reference, most of your websites are blogs with a
very heavy bias. Biblicalnonsence.com? Answers in Genesis Busted? How are these websites in any way reliable?
I'll now address the rebuttals. Yes, these religious texts are written by humans. God didn't physically write the Bible himself. However, the people who wrote it were prophets, apostles, and other people close to God and Jesus who heard what they said. They are the most reliable people to write the Bible and certainly wouldn't say anything that God himself didn't say. The Bible itself says this on the matter in 2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
And though you state that deists are merely trying to prove God's existence, the tenets of this belief system are inherently questioning God. Deists reject holy scriptures and revelations and instead rely on their own reason. However, since holy scriptures are considered the word of God, they must also be rejecting certain aspects of God they deem to be impossible. Why might a deist do this? They question God's omnipotence and do not believe that God has the power to perform these miracles.
When I stated that human reason is flawed, I am not implying that our reasoning is on the verge of insanity. Humans do of course have a degree of reasoning and hence why we are able to have this debate. I am instead questioning the extent of this reasoning by stating that it is not perfect. This is clearly true because humans do make mistakes and errors in judgement. Yet somehow they are able to reason something so complex as God? This is like saying humans are able to do differential calculus without being able to add.
My argument for Descartes was similar to your argument against religious text. I was simply finding fault in one of the greatest and most influential philosophers for deism, just how you were attacking parts of the Bible and Quran. I will say this, however. Neither one is a definitive argument against either religion. Even if all the religious texts had some error in them, this would not necessarily disprove theism. It is possible that all of those gods do not truly exist and there instead is another god that is the right one. Likewise, I could find fault in almost every philosopher of deism. To disprove even some of the other major philosophers would go well beyond the extent and character space of this debate.
Your argument against these miracles is that it is scientifically possible that they could have happened without God's intervention. First of all, pretty much all the websites in that paragraph are grossly biased or unreliable. Perhaps it is possible that the parting of the Red Sea could of occurred by a strong wind at that location. However, what are the odds that a wind of that caliber would occur at that spot allowing for the Israelites to cross safely but then for the
Egyptians to get crushed?
Theism is simply the most logical and reasonable belief system that we know of. I will summarize it as "Believe what God tells you" and it should be self-evident that God would want you to believe in what he says. In case my words may be misinterpreted, I am not supporting fundamentalist groups killing others because "God told them to". Rather, I am saying that we should accept what the religious text says and this should be enough "proof" of God (assuming that you are a follower of that religion to begin with). Deism falls short of giving us a definitive proof of God and relies on the flawed institution of human reason to explain the most complex entity in the universe. My opponent has had to focus on attacking religious texts instead of theism itself, using unreliable websites in the process of doing so.
I thank my opponent for this fascinating debate and I ask the voters to give a fair assessment for both sides.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||3||2|