Does God Exist?
Debate Rounds (4)
I'm new to the forum, but I'd like to take the affirmative position in the debate proposal: "Does God exist?" Since the argument is in the form of a question, I'd like my counterpart to offer positive arguments to think that God does not exist, as opposed to taking the so-called "weak atheist" position. Here's how I'd like the debate to go:
Opening Statements: 2,000 words each
First Rebuttals: 1,000 words each
Second Rebuttals: 1,000 words each
Closing Statements: 500 words each.
I'll be upfront and say that I will be defending Thomas Aquinas's first, third, and fifth ways. For the purposes of the debate, "God" is defined as an eternal, indestructible, designer of the cosmos.
I stand in negation of Resolved: Does God exist?
I will be negating that No, God does not exist.
I am quite new at this, and I am looking forward for a good debate round. Good luck to my opponent.
In this debate, I'll be defending two basic contentions. First, there are good reasons to believe that God exists. Secondly, there are no good reasons to believe that God does not exist. In the context of this debate, "God" refers to an eternal, indestructible designer of the cosmos. I will defend three arguments in support of God's existence: a) the argument from change; b) the argument from contingency; and c) the argument from cosmic order.
Since it would be inappropriate for me to address any atheistic arguments before my opponent has a chance to defend them, in my opening statement I will focus solely on the positive case for God's existence.
I. The Argument from Change
The argument may be summarized as follows:
1. Changing things exist. (Premise)
2. Changing things exhibit actuality and potentiality. (Premise)
3. No potentiality can actualize itself. (Premise)
4. There is a regress of sustaining causes of change. (Premise)
5. Hence, either a First Cause in the order of sustaining causes of change exists, or else there is an infinite regress of sustaining causes or a circularity of sustaining causes. (Implied by 1 " 4)
6. There cannot be an infinite regress or circularity of sustaining causes of change. (Premise)
7. Therefore, a First Cause in the order of sustaining causes of change exists. (From 5 and 6)
As we have noted, changing things do exist. An acorn, for example, may develop into an oak tree. This brings us to premise (2). The acorn is merely an acorn in actuality, but in potentiality it exists as something else, one of those potentialities being an oak tree.
However, the acorn cannot actualize its own potentiality to become an oak tree. Rather, it requires sustaining causes, such as water, sunlight, and soil. If at any point these sustaining causes are removed, then the acorn will cease its development. To put it more technically, no potentiality can actualize itself. This is because in order for a potentiality to actualize itself, it would have to exist and not-exist simultaneously, which is contradictory. Hence, premise (3) is confirmed.
Premise (4) follows naturally from (3). After all, the acorn is dependent upon a series of sustaining causes, each of which is either dependent upon something else, or is first in the series. Yet, if it is first in the series, then we have already arrived at our conclusion that a First Cause exists. It will be necessary, then, to lay out the possible options in (5). Unless a First Cause exists, then it is either the case that there is an infinite regress of sustaining causes or else there is a circularity of sustaining causes.
In defense of premise (6), let's first consider the idea that there could be a circularity of sustaining causes. Suppose A causally sustains the change in B, and B causally sustains the change in A. This would be an example of a causal circularity. The reason this is impossible is because by A's causing B and B's causing A, it follows that A causes A (by the transitive axiom). Thus, A causes the change in A. But, since no potentiality can actualize itself, it follows that A cannot causally sustain A.
Now, why can there can not be an infinite regress of sustaining causes? First, notice what the argument is not stating. It does not state there can be no infinite regress of originating causes. There is a difference between why something begins to change and why it continues to change. In the acorn analogy, let's say the originating cause was a person who planted the seed. The originating cause is not needed for the change to continue, but sustaining causes (e.g. water, sunlight, and soil) are required.
With that being clarified, here is just one reason an infinite regress of sustaining causes is impossible. At each new moment of time " let's say that t1 has elapsed and it is now t2 " the regress of sustaining causes begins anew. However, we know that it is impossible to count to infinity whenever one begins counting. After all, there will always and indefinitely be another number to count before arriving at infinity. This means that at each new moment of time in which a change is causally sustained, the regress must be finite. For if it were infinite, then an infinite regress would have been formed even though the regress had a beginning. Since we have seen that this is absurd, it follows that there can be no infinite regress of sustaining causes.
Given that there can be no infinite regress of sustaining causes and that there can be no causal circularity of sustaining causes, it follows logically and inescapably that a First Cause exists.
Now, the First Cause cannot exhibit any potentiality. If it did, then its potentiality would have to be actualized by another sustaining cause, meaning the First Cause isn't actually first, but this is contradictory. The First Cause, therefore, is purely actual. Since the First Cause exhibits no potentiality, it must be immutable. For only things that exhibit potentiality are susceptible to change. The First Cause must also be eternal and indestructible, since coming into being and ceasing to exist both constitute changes. Given the First Cause's immutability, it must also be eternal and indestructible.
II. The Argument from Contingency
1. Something presently exists. (Premise)
2. Something cannot come from nothing. (Premise)
3. Hence, there was never a past time at which nothing existed. (From 1 and 2)
4. Necessarily, everything that exists is either contingent or necessary. (Definition)
5. The past is infinite. (Assumption)
6. Given infinite past time, all potentialities will have been actualized. (Premise)
7. The concurrent non-existence of all contingent things is a potentiality. (Premise)
8. Hence, there was a past time at which nothing contingent existed. (From 5 " 7)
9. Therefore, something necessary exists. (From 3, 4, and 8)
Premises (1) and (2) should be uncontroversial. Descartes's "I think therefore I am," should suffice to establish (1); and we know that (2) is true not only from experience, but also because being cannot arise from non-being. If nothing exists, then nothing will ever exist. (3) logically follows from (1) and (2), and (4) is true by definition. By "contingent," I mean whatever is generable and destructible, and by "necessary," I mean whatever is eternal and indestructible.
We are assuming the truth of (5) for the time being, so let's go straight to (6). If the past is infinite, then there is a correlation between the number of past events and the number of potentialities to be actualized. Yet, according to (7), the concurrent non-existence of all contingent things is a potentiality. If each contingent thing potentially does not exist, then the sum total of all contingent things potentially does not exist. An example may help. If every part of a mountain is contingent, then the mountain as a whole is contingent.
Hence, it follows that (8): there was a past time at which nothing contingent existed. Yet, we already know that there was never a past time at which absolutely nothing existed. The only thing that could exist would be a necessary (eternal and indestructible) entity. Therefore, something necessary N exists.
Suppose, however, that one rejects (5) and insists that the past is finite. This will not affect the argument in the slightest. Since something cannot come from nothing, then the first moment of time must have been brought into being by a timeless entity. However, whatever is timeless is not subject to change, for time is a measurement of change. Therefore, this entity must still be eternal (meaning there is no time at which "N exists" is false) and indestructible. Whether the past is finite or infinite, there must exist a necessary entity.
III. The Argument from Order
1. Whatever exhibits regularity is not the result of chance. (Premise)
2. The forces of nature exhibit regularity. (Premise)
3. Hence, the forces of nature are not the result of chance. (From 1 and 2)
4. The forces of nature are either the result of necessity or design. (Implied by 3)
5. They are not the result of necessity. (Premise)
6. Therefore, the forces of nature are the result of design. (From 4 and 5)
Consider (1). Whenever something happens over and over again, it is surely not the result of chance. If you were to win the lottery once, you would probably chalk it up to luck (chance). Imagine, however, that you win the lottery a thousand times in a row. At some point it would become unreasonable for you to say that you keep winning as a result of mere chance. Instead, you would rightly conclude that someone had rigged the lottery so that the same person would win each time.
We also know from our study of the cosmos that there are forces of nature " gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak atomic forces " that exhibit regularity. Based on this we may conclude that the forces of nature are themselves not the result of chance.
Since necessity and design are the only remaining alternatives, why think necessity is implausible? One reason to think so is simply because there is no contradiction is postulating different equations that describe the forces of nature. If the forces of nature were the result of necessity, then surely we could find some contradiction in stating that gravity could be X instead of Y. Barring any such contradiction, the most plausible conclusion is that the forces of nature are the result of design.
In sum, we have seen three arguments that, when taken together, provide us with a powerful cumulative case for God's existence. We have seen good reasons to believe that an immutable, eternal, indestructible, Cosmic Designer exists. In the words of the Angelic Doctor, "this everyone understands to be God."
My opponent stated that something cannot come from nothing, which ALSO means something (god) cannot come from nothing, therefore doesn't exist.
How might we prove that God is imaginary? One way would be to find a contradiction between the definition of God and the God we experience in the real world.
What would happen if we get down on our knees and pray to God in this way:
Dear God, almighty, all-powerful, all-loving creator of the universe, we pray to you to cure every case of cancer on this planet tonight. We pray in faith, knowing you will bless us as you describe in Matthew 7:7, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19 and James 5:15-16. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
We pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways.
Will anything happen? No. Of course not.
Funny, because Jesus makes specific promises in the Bible about how prayer is supposed to work. Jesus says in many different places that he and God will answer your prayers. And Christians believe Jesus -- according to this recent article, "54% of American adults believe the Bible is literally true." In some areas of the country the number goes as high as 75%.
The act of praying is made by a thing called, Human Immagination. The only thing prayer helps is stress. After one prays, they feel like they just handed all their problems to 'God' to handle and therefore there is no need to worry anymore.
"I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent." Timothy 2:11
In other words, woman were not supposed to teach, yet now in our society, most teachers are woman. And, they don't seem to be evil.
"Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery." (Luke 16:18)
So if anyone was divorced or re-married, then they are obviously going to hell.
"He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord."(Deuteronomy 23:1)
First of all, yes, the King James Bible actually calls them "stones." You are now aware of the fact that the "stones" euphemism is a Biblical reference.
Also, God hates people with testicular cancer, apparently.
Those who believe, only believe because they were taught that way. It doesn't matter if one million people believe in one thing, it doesn't make it true. But, obviously our society hasn't catched on to that quite yet.
Absolute proof your god can not really heal anyone. Gather together christians in the largest church possible. News media notified. Prayer event can be televised live worldwide.
Get a christian volunteer to walk on stage as every christian watching commences praying. There is no chance that a real god could miss several 100 million or so praying christians. As prayer continues the christian volunteer has a finger or hand chopped off. The severed limb must be allowed to fall to the floor with camera close ups from all angles to prevent fraud.
Meanwhile all christians are still praying enmass, begging their god to pick it up and heal it back on.
Praying can continue until the volunteer either bleeds to death or is treated by a DR.
The volunteer will NOT be healed. GUARANTEED.
It should be unambiguous to the reader that I have not suggested that God could come into being from nothing. In fact, my claim is precisely that God did not come into being at all, since he exists eternally. What my opponent will have to argue is that the entity I argued for does not exist, as opposed to knocking down a straw man. Now, what other arguments has my counterpart offered in defense of atheism?
Strangely, there was a disproportional amount of emphasis on the Bible. The Bible, she says, makes promises about prayers, forbids divorce and remarriage, and makes other supposedly spurious claims. Let's assume for the sake of argument that everything my opponent has said about the Bible is correct. Where does that leave us? I suggest it has no effect on my case for God's existence whatsoever. Even presupposing that what the majority of the Bible says is wrong, we are not left with atheism as being true by default. One could, for example, adopt a liberal form of Christianity, Islam, deism, or a host of other worldviews instead. Arguments against the Bible, therefore, amount to no more than a red herring.
The only argument that comes close to being a defense of atheism is my opponent's brief summary of the argument from evil and suffering. If God is so great, why is there evil? The reader should note that even this isn't actually an argument for atheism. One could believe that God is all-powerful and perfectly good, but is not all-knowing, for instance. However, we don't even have to concede that, for as philosophers have come to recognize, there is no contradiction between the existence of a maximally great God and the reality of evil. As even atheistic philosopher, Michael Martin, comments, the concept that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good is logically compatible with there being evil. We need only add the additional premise that God has a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil.
 Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, Temple University Press, 1990, p. 335.
BlueEyed_Masterpiece forfeited this round.
punkforchrist forfeited this round.
BlueEyed_Masterpiece forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm giving the full 7 points to Pro, since his arguments wer ebetter, and Con's were plagiarized.
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