Debate Rounds (4)
As stated by my opponent, this round is for acceptance and clarification.
I accept the challenge to prove that there is a Creator to the universe that has been actively involved since the beginning of time. If this is the case, those interactions would likely have been recorded, so I ought to argue for one particular religion.
I will argue that the Christian understanding of history is the correct one. I will argue that the interventions by God that have been recorded were events that probably did happen. I will also use the argument for miracles, and give evidence that this God is still interacting with humanity at present.
I look forward to an engaging and thought-provoking discussion with my opponent.
My first argument: Biblical irrelevance.
The Bible was written as a guide to mankind many many years ago. The Bible was written for an ancient culture and contains information written in a way that they would understand. The Bible is, in modern days, out of context and confusing. We are forced to try to imagine the appropriate context for the separate Bible writings while reading them. The Bible requires a lot of effort to extract relevant instruction from. Wouldn't a caring, all-knowing, absolutely powerful god provide relevant, easy-to-understand instruction? The Bible can be taken as little more than a history book. Such a God would know how hard it is for us to understand the Bible and how many conflicting interpretations there would be. Knowing this, why wouldn't he create us new and obvious instruction?
My second argument: lack of modern 'acts of God.'
The God of the Bible has done many miracles. He has also communicated with man on a number of occasions. Neither miracles nor communications from God are easily noticeable. Things often considered to be miracles could easily be coincidences. Coincidences will happen. If you don't notice coincidences, but see a lot of miracles and favors from God, you should re-examine the way you look at things. It seems reasonable to expect any God actively involved in the world to make himself known and to assure that he gets credit for his works. People claim to have been spoken to by God in some way. These occasions are always obscure in some way, such as a radio, written text, or gut feeling. A God would want people to know when he's talking to them.
As said by Eric Erickson: "at some point, some human had to communicate with God. Whether through meditation, inspiration, or direct conversation, every religious founder claims to have touched God mentally and communicated his thoughts to you." You are relying on their testimony that God spoke to them and wants you to follow them." These revealed religions are often cloaked with the mists of time, making it hard to get real evidence for their claims."
My third argument: God regretted making mankind.
Genesis 6:6 says that God regretted making man. If this is so, it makes sense that he would have left mankind on our own.
My fourth argument: struggle and decay.
The universe is in a constant state of decay. The existence of life both physically and socially becomes more difficult every moment. Every generation has a harder time living than the past one did. If a god was caring for the world, wouldn't he at least make it stay the same for the sake of fairness?
My fifth argument: human creation and modification of life.
The god of the Bible stopped mankind when we created the tower of Babel. He is "jealous" (Duet 4:24). This god likes to maintain superiority over mankind. We have created life. We have made clones. We have made living organs. We have changed the fundamental operations of some plant life. According to the nature of God, it seems that he would not have let us do these things if he was watching us. I admit, any argument on the nature of God is a weak one, because the nature of God cannot be fully known in this world.
I look forward to your opening argument.
I won't be defending the proposition that God exists, as my opponent and I are both assuming that this is true. What is in debate is whether this God has ceased to interact with humanity or not.
This first important piece to this debate is to understand what God is. The general agreements from philosophers are that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.
If God is omnibenevolent, then He must always act in accordance with the correct moral choices.
A creator has a moral duty to uphold any contracts made with its creation. Now, all of humanity has ingrained in them a sense of justice. There are regions in the brain the specifically deal with making moral judgements.
It would be immoral for God to create in people a sense of justice- a desire to do what's right.
Now, I expect that one would ask why is it that so much of humanity disagrees about what the correct view of morality is, and what the right religion is. If God really did care and interact with humanity, why would he not lead them towards righteousness? I argue that it is because of free will, that because we have the ability to make choices about what we can believe it, than correct beliefs can become distorted, and generations can be lost in ignorance because of a succession of incorrect beliefs indoctrinated upon the children. However, anyone willing to allow reason to guide their thinking will be able to come to understand what is truly just and moral in this world. And a moral creator has a moral duty to resurrect those people who lived righteous lives.
Christ's Resurrection Proof of Interaction
A few thousand years ago, a person claimed to be the son of God, a messiah, and he was killed and rose again three days later. Most scholars agree that Jesus did in fact exist was crucified, and the best evidence suggests that Jesus did rise again:
There are 12 historical facts that most secular (non-christian) critical scholars agree to. They are:
-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.
-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).
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.
The apostles directly denied that what they saw were hallucinations. This either leaves the apostles lying and then dying for that lie, or the resurrection actually happened. 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 to be true, but what they definitely knew was false). If these two problems are not refuted, one must conclude that Christ was resurrected by God.
Craig S. Keener is received his Ph.D in New Testament Studies from Duke University. He has published a book on miracles. Here is a brief, few minute interview (link below) and a longer lecture for viewers of this debate who are interested (link below)
The author researched the credibility of miracles from various cultures all around the world. There are over one thousand accounts in his book (he was very extensive and it took him many years to accomplish).
In the book, he provides examples of everything from simple medical healings to people being raised from the dead, all by people praying in the name of Jesus.
Also, 73 percent of American physicians believe in miracles, and 55 percent claim to have witnessed treatment results they consider miraculous.
I would argue that since so many people around the world now have documented evidence of their testimonies, and that well trained and educated physicians can corroborate the claims, it would be irrational to dismiss miracles as impossible or false.
And, if people are praying to Jesus and are being healed in ways that define medical explanation, even to the point where they are being raised from the dead, one should find it rational to believe that there does indeed exist a God who does interact with the world, and cares enough to answer the prayers of the faithful.
Your claim that Jesus existed, claimed to be the son of God, and was crucified is not one that stands by itself. This is just an assertion without a good source or sources to back it up. You show that if there was such a man, he was probably Jesus of the Bible, but you show no reason to believe that there was ever such a man. I'd like to point out the either-or fallacy you used when you said that there are three possible scenarios. There are always more possibilities. The apostles have agreed that Jesus was resurrected, but in one document. You have shown no other document that says this. I could write a document that says that three different people agree that there is civilization on Mars. In hundreds of years, historians may read that document, and believe that there was civilization on Mars, but it will be no more true. If these men existed and claimed the resurrection happened, they could have been lunatics. This would explain why they stuck to their claims. Lunatics can influence each-other and the same ideas could be propagated among them. A less likely option is that they were part of an institution that desired to use this to control people, and they had very strong loyalism caused by propaganda or obscure moral objectives. If the death and resurrection of Jesus was faked, the torture and death of these men could easily have been also. Even if Jesus came, was killed, and was resurrected as in the Bible, God could have still left. I admit that this would make it highly improbable that he did, but it's still possible.
Effective healing can't be attributed to miracles because there is no consistency in the situations. If people we use a computer to type a paragraph then we would expect to have a paragraph. If we were to then have a novel, that would be a miracle. These "miracles" lack a testable standard to tell us if it really is a miracle or not. There are an infinite number of variables in any medical situation. For more on this argument, see the source from Dr. Kam Yuen below.
Well trained people make mistakes all the time, the belief by multiple well-trained persons is still just a personal, fallible belief. There was a time when all well trained people believed that the world was flat.
People can be "raised from the dead" using defibrillators, cpr, and other techniques. It is a scientifically possible phenomenon and doesn't necessarily indicate supernatural intervention.
Dr. Kam: https://www.youtube.com...
I wil only address the arguments my opponent made in round 2 due to the agreed upon structure from round 1.
My opponent argues that because there are so many different religious traditions, and even within Christianity there are numerous ways to interpret the Bible, why is it that a God would not guide so many to the truth? Why would He not make the truth simple, and understood in every context.
The Bible was not meant to be a code written for a guide to the truth. The Bible is a set of historical books, written at various times and was meant for specific cultures.
What God does require is all humans to follow truth, to be righteous people. Studying religious history can be useful, so we can see how God did interact with people in past times, but having a relationship with God is not diminished to just studying useful texts.
So I would argue that the Bible, while useful in understanding the religious past, is indeed irrelevant to have a relationship with the existent Creator, so this argument does not defeat my position.
Lack of modern acts of God:
I addressed this issue in my opening arguments, so I will address this issue in the next round, when I can respond to my opponents rebuttal to my position.
God regretted mankind:
God did regret making man, but instead of wiping them all out, He allowed one family to survive into the next world, and rebuild the human population. He has since guided this new system of humanity to towards Him.
Struggle and Decay:
My opponent raises an interesting question- as each generation builds up more mutations and becomes weaker as a species, headed for decay, and since the resources of the earth are continually dimished over time, how is it fair for the later generations that they did not have as much to offer them? While earlier generations may have had less mutations and corruptions in the world, the later generations have accumulated more knowledge. This knowledge allows us to compensate. Modern medicine helps to prevent or heal existing issues. Societies do what they can to make the earth a healthier place. There is a balance, and knowledge is what helps that.
Human Creation and Modification of life:
Humans haven't really created anything, they've only altered pre-existing materials. They have only changed to already existing structures, but have not come up with a completely new and complex system made from nothing. There is nothing wrong with humans learning about and taking over creation, however, humans can never create the way that God creates.
I'd like to argue that God does not have a relationship with most, or possibly all people. The Merriam-Webster definition of relationship is: "the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other." This requires interaction. Most people do not claim to have been directly spoken to by God. Most people do not claim to have interacted with God. Prayer is not an interaction, because it is a one-way monologue. An interaction requires communication from at least two entities.
I see no good reason to believe that God started to enjoy mankind after the flood when he did not before. Would the fact that humanity came from one family change the nature of mankind so significantly that God would like us again? I think not. Would God suddenly change his opinion of us when he has always known everything about us from all times? I don't see why he would.
Yes, technology can help compensate for the state of physical decay. However, technology relies on peace and morality. With violence or corruption, the development of technology slows, stops, or even regresses in severe cases. I could show you many great technologies that never made it into production due to corruption. There is no compensation for the decaying moral state of society.
We are getting closer all the time to creating living things from raw materials. It is currently possible to print living organs using genetic information. I admit that nothing is truly created. The nature of our world dictates that things may only be modified, never created or destroyed. However, we are able to make living tissue from nonliving materials and bring dead bodies to life. There are sources below for more information on this. In the 1920s Sergei Brukhonenko kept a severed dog head alive and responsive. No we cannot create something from nothing, but we it seems that we can create life where there is none.
I have made an effort to demonstrate how there appears to be a large but blatant absence in the world. Mankind seeks out comfort in knowing that there is a God and an afterlife. People seek out moral code to abide by. People want to know the supernatural dimension and be able to interact with, and benefit from it. However, none of this is black and white, no matter how hard we seek it out. Our world appears to be ruled solely by the laws of nature. There is no obvious presence of God though there appears to be a creator.
Thank you for debating with me and being a good sport. This has been very enjoyable and thought-provoking.
Lupricona forfeited this round.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.