The Instigator
Seeksecularism
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
mypatronusisaseaurchin
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Does God exist?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Seeksecularism
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 979 times Debate No: 53420
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (3)

 

Seeksecularism

Con

In the following debate I want to defend the thesis that God does not exist. By God I mean an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, creator and sustainer of the universe who is described by the 3 traditional monotheisms. I intend to demonstrate the that the Deity described above probably does not exist do to the existence of gratuitous suffering present in our world not being compatible with the attributes contributed to God. A rough outline of the evidential problem of suffering is provided below:

1) If God exists, gratuitous suffering does not exist
2) Gratuitous suffering does exist
3) Therefore God does not exist

The above argument is logically valid, therefore one of the 2 premises will have to be shown to be false or else the conclusion will follow necessarily.

Premise 1 is true by definition. If an all powerful, all knowing, and perfectly good being exists, then he does not allow his creations to suffer needlessly. If one of his creatures is suffering then he knows about it, has the power to stop it, and has motivation in the highest degree to stop it.

Premise 2 is (to me) an obvious fact about reality. Just take a stroll down the ICU of any child hospital or take a trip to a third world country where children needlessly starve to death every day or die of preventable/curable diseases. These children die horrible and agonizing deaths for no apparent reason. But the evidence is not limited to child suffering. Life on this planet has been evolving for billions of years, and for all this time, species have been needlessly suffering and dying out- mass extinctions. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and plagues have been causing suffering of animal species for billions of years. This massive amount of suffering over such an enormous period of time seems to be good evidence against the existence of God.

Just one instance of needless suffering is all that is necessary to demonstrate that God is either not omnipotent, not omniscient, or not all loving and therefore does not exist. The theist will have to provide a necessary justification for all the suffering that we observe in our world to demonstrate that gratuitous suffering does not exist. I very much look forward to someone to take up this challenge as this argument is what lead me to finally abandon my faith. I consider it one of the strongest evidential cases against the existence of God.
mypatronusisaseaurchin

Pro

Does God exist? Why would an all knowing, all loving God allow suffering? Both great questions. I will first address the latter of the two. If God is all knowing and all loving, why would he allow needless suffering? This excludes suffering used to teach or self inflicted suffering.

Well, clearly gratuitous suffering exists, so I will go on to say that the statement "If God exists, gratuitous suffering does not exist." is false. But,why would an ALL LOVING God allow people to suffer needlessly? Because the latter is much worse. God created men with free will. Unlike himself who is unable to sin, we are free and have a choice to do anything. This includes good and bad things. God cannot give humans the free choice to do evil but prevent them from doing so. That's pretty self defeating. So, pain and suffering has to exist for free will to exist.
Debate Round No. 1
Seeksecularism

Con

I want to first take a moment to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. This is my first debate on this website, so I'm looking forward to some stimulating exchanges.

I want to start by making the first premise of my argument as clear as possible since premise 2 has been conceded, and premise one was brought into contention. Premise 1 states:

1) If God exists, gratuitous suffering does not exist.

When I refer to God (capital g) I mean to say that he has three necessary attributes:
-omnipotence: unlimited power to act
-omniscience: unlimited knowledge
-omnipotence: wholly good
If the being we are referring to lacks any of these 3 properties then it is not God and suffers some serious theological implications, but does free itself from the conclusion of my gratuitous suffering argument as currently formulated.

When I refer to gratuitous suffering I mean to say suffering that occurs without a justifying reason. It is unnecessary, unwarranted, and arbitrary. For example, when I discipline my child for drawing on the walls it inflicts suffering on my child, but that suffering is not gratuitous suffering. I had a justifying reason for inflicting it i.e to prevent him from drawing on the wall again. The suffering inflicted is necessary, warranted, and non-arbitrary at least to the extent that I believe it will prevent my child from drawing on the wall again. In theological terms I'm using a necessary suffering (discipline) to bring about a greater good (not drawing on the walls again).

So what can be said about gratuitous suffering if God exists having the 3 properties mentioned above:
-An omnipotent being would have the power to eliminate or prevent any gratuitous suffering, otherwise he would not have unlimited power to act.
-An omniscience being would know of all gratuitous suffering, otherwise he would not have unlimited knowledge.
-An omnibenevolent being would want to prevent or eliminate gratuitous suffering, otherwise he would not be wholly good.

Care must be taken in the 3rd point. If God were to have a justifying reason for allowing suffering (like bringing about a greater good) then it would not be gratuitous suffering. But my argument is specifically in reference to gratuitous suffering i.e suffering with no justifying reason. So where does this leave us? We can redefine God to not include one of the 3 properties mentioned and face the theological consequences that come along with doing so, or we can deny the existence of gratuitous suffering. But my opponent has already explicitly conceded the existence of gratuitous suffering. So my opponent can either deny 1 of the 3 properties traditionally attributed to God, or retract his statement that gratuitous suffering does exist and then demonstrate that gratuitous evil doesn't exist by giving justifying reasons for permitting the suffering to bring about greater goods. Otherwise my conclusion that God does not exist will still stand.

This is where my opponents Free Will theodicy will come into play. I would ask that in my opponent's rebuttal he clearly define what he means by free will. What greater good comes from God granting us this free will? Because this leads to a very crucial question:

Why couldn't God create creatures in such a way that they always chose not to do bad things?

I do not want to attack concepts of Free Will that my opponent has not presented, so a clarification that also addresses the above question specifically is needed for either of us to have a productive conversation about it. I agree with my opponent when he says that suffering must exist if free will is to exist, but it is not clear why gratuitous suffering must exist.

It is also unclear how this free will theodicy is relevant to gratuitous suffering inflicted by natural causes such as hurricanes, diseases, and tsunamis. Natural disasters do not have agency and are not capable of possessing free will. The process of biological evolution is also strong empirical evidence for the existence of gratuitous suffering for billions of years. A justification for this gratuitous suffering must be accounted for if it is to be the result of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being. Remember that only 1 instance of gratuitous suffering is necessary to demonstrate that if god exists, then he does not have all 3 properties mentioned.

To sum up crucial points for my opponent:
1) He must address whether he is going to give up 1 of the 3 properties that have been attributed to God and defend the theological implications that result from this.
2) Address whether he's going to continue to concede premise 2 or provide justification for why gratuitous suffering does not exist
3) Clearly define what he means by free will, why free will is necessary to bring about greater goods, and why God could not have created us in such a way that we always chose not to do bad things.
4) Address why God permits natural sufferings and how the process of biological evolution over billions of years is compatible with an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being.
5) Present a case for why he believes God exists.

As far as my argument is concerned my opponent must do either 1 or 2 above and has to do 3 and 4 in order to show one of my premises as false or at least dubious. He will also have to do 5 to move us past a neutral ground or what is sometimes referred to as the agnostic position. Otherwise it necessarily follows from my argument that God does not exist.
mypatronusisaseaurchin

Pro

Wow, your arguments have sincerely made me review my faith again, however, i think I may have something. Free will...Free will being the ability to make any decision apart from any bounding. What kind of free will would it be if God only gave us the ability to do good. The point of free will is to be absolutely free to choose whatever we want. Free will is not necessary to bring about greater goods. Free will is there because God wants us to choose him. What kind of love is it if it was forced? Unfortunately we often choose not to love him. I will go on to provide two arguments that address points 1 and 2. The burden of proof isn't on me. I just have to show how there could be no needless suffering or for an all loving God to allow it.

1) One theory that I don't particularly love (which doesn't mean it isn't valid) is that there is no gratuitous suffering. This is because any non-lethal suffering CAN be used to grow a person. Any suffering that cannot grow a person is death. Which is the ultimate place where your soul comes to rest.

2) God does not have to fix every issue to be all loving. God is all loving, but he is also a God of justice. There clearly has to be a balance between the two. So, God leaves the world in a state of chaos because because we turned our backs on him. That's why it's possible for an all loving God to allow needless suffering.

Things evolve because of free will. Why wouldn't God allow the growing of his creation? It might not make sense. But why not? He lets our live change (small scale), why not the whole species (large scale)?

And I'm sorry, I'm going to have to withdraw from this argument because i really don't have time for it. I really do hope you see where im coming from though. It does't real matter that i lost, I just hope you can maybe change your perspective. Sorry for just leaving.
Debate Round No. 2
Seeksecularism

Con

I'm very sorry to hear your withdrawal from the debate, but I certainly understand other time commitments. Since I had the first word in the debate, I'll leave the last word with you.
mypatronusisaseaurchin

Pro

mypatronusisaseaurchin forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Seeksecularism

Con

Seeksecularism forfeited this round.
mypatronusisaseaurchin

Pro

mypatronusisaseaurchin forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
If your code system isn't like any of the others then you must demonstrate how. I demonstrated that yours was no different than numerology and I continue to reject it as such. You are making the claim, you have a burden of proof- all you've done is attempt to shift that burden of proof on me. You also have failed to demonstrated how even the presence of a code could demonstrate the existence of a deity- much less the god of Christian theism. There's an enormous logical gap. That which is asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

I'm very skeptical about even continuing a conversation with you as we'll probably talk past each other because it seems our epistomologies are radically different. Glossing over your nonsense on stilts, unless you can state a specific piece of evidence that would falsify the claim you've presented, I have no intention of continuing a conversation with you.
Posted by truthoverbelief 2 years ago
truthoverbelief
Clearly you are jumping to conclusions. The code system that I have revealed relates to neither of the examples that you have mentioned.

You seem to have let your "eyes" think for you.

In my younger days my mind noticed that motion, and what my "eyes" saw of it, and the "eyes" of all others saw of it, was absolutely impossible. In turn I analyzed motion to see what was really going on. The eventual outcome produced the same results as Albert Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity and all of the mathematical equations related to it.

For those who have any doubts about that, I threw a video collection together. See http://goo.gl...

Point being....what your "eyes" may quickly see on the surface, is not always the truth.

You also say "This approach has long since been abandoned even by the majority of Christians", yet what was done in the past dealt with a specific sloppy code language that is soooooooo sloppy that you could find what ever you wanted to find when using it.

If German is too brutal a language for opera, as mentioned within the movie Amadeus, that in no way means to say that "ALL" languages are too brutal for opera. Simply put, "ALL" languages are different.

The code language that I had revealed is a different code language than that which is now laughed at by the majority. It's a different language !

If a false(counterfeit) twenty dollar bill is identified as such, that does not mean that all other twenty dollar bills are also false(counterfeit).

If a false code language is identified as such, that does not mean that all other code languages are also false. "ALL" code languages are different.
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
Truthoverbelief: you are presenting an example of numerology. It is a pseudoscientific approach much like astrology that employs the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy in order to appeal to people's confirmation bias.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

This approach has long since been abandoned even by the majority of Christians, because it doesn't actually demonstrate anything that we could assign a truth value. To demonstrate what I mean, here's a video using the same numerology technique to demonstrate the truth of Islam:

http://m.youtube.com...

You can either conclude that both Christianity AND Islam are true, a mistake has been made, or that numerology is not a reliable method for determining truth. I think any reasonable person would conclude that numerology is unreliable. It only serves the purpose the believing person wishes it to serve. In other words, you aren't discovering a truth, you're creating a pattern to justify what you already believe.
Posted by truthoverbelief 2 years ago
truthoverbelief
Why not let God resolve this debate.

True proof of God's existence is found hidden within the Bible in code form, but it has been completely ignored for years on end.

Go to http://goo.gl... and click on the flashing words "Watch / Listen". This takes you on a web page tour of such proof of God's existence, and does so via automatic web page scrolling along with complete audio coverage.

Simply put....No one wants proof, so they ignore it, always!
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
Free Will is an illusion: Our will is governed by brain chemicals such as endorphins, Oxytocin, Dopamine, Vasopressin, Testosterone, Adrenaline, etc.
These are regulated throughout our early live by nurture and hormonal changes at puberty, etc.
While we are nurtured as children (if our parents are caring/nurturing parents) we are constantly being bathed in Oxytocin (cuddles/kisses) and rewarded (Dopamine). so we naturally seek such a euphoric state after we leave that nurturing environment or seek to return to it even though our parents no longer nurture us as young children, so already some of our will is formed, to seek nurture and dopamine highs.
Puberty arrives and our testosterone and vasopressin receptors are finally engaged and give us dopamine highs (which we now seek) when the chance of gaining a sexual partner is in sight.
Thus we are now driven by another set of urges and perceptive needs. We also take some risks and play sport which brings us adrenaline rushes which results in natural endorphins which relieve pain and also produce a natural high and added dopamine levels.
We get jobs, money now becomes a way to buy nurture and comfort.
So money becomes a path to return to the childhood nurturing environment and also adrenaline producing activities for natural highs as well as acquiring sexual success.
This is dramatically oversimplified.
But, essentially our entire lives are driven by what brain chemicals we produce.
Thus we don't really have Free Will, our wills are predicted by our childhood environment, the levels of brain chemicals we seek which comes from or personal experiences.
We are puppets to Brain Chemistry.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
@Seeksecularism thank you. Glad you were interested. I think you can see some like Valtin say you are building a straw man by adding that in.

I'll keep an eye out for this anti-theistic argument you forming.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
Well in the bible in some King James verse it says god delivers evil onto a town, people etc.. The Hebrew word, translated as evil really should be translated as disaster. So he is a God that brings destruction. Is that "evil" in a moral sense. I don't think necessarily.

The other kind of evil is God's protection withheld, argument.

Another kind of evil is God allowing freedom to choose what influences yourself. If you let evil influences guide one's actions then that means a human can do evil to someone else. And God though not powerless to do something, has to obey his own rules. So God may choose ways to use the evil or lessen it's effect.

Take the holocaust, and oh boy will I get in trouble for this, But without the Holocaust the promise God gave in the bible of reestablishing the state of Isreal and bringing back to life the dead Hebrew language, would never had happened. (at least would have happened in a different way)
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
I welcome all competing views on my debates @Mhykiel, so feel free to give feedback. I am sympathateic to certain philosophical arguments, but I only put them forth to be discussed. Without a discussion, these arguments aren't interesting to me.

I find your views of omnibenevolence very interesting. Since I'm putting forth an argument against theism, I use the most widely accepted conception of God which is St. Anslems's greatest conceivable being. I maintain that the only internally consistent way to avoid the problem of evil is for evil to be a creation by God. However most theists gasp at that notion, and anytime I put forth a conception of God that does not include omnibenevolence in some form I'm often occused of creating a straw man.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
Sorry for all the posts about my own views. I have been spending too much time in correspondence with Sagey :P
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
I mean how can you tell people the everything god does is good, then turn around and tell parents who have a child born with a fatal genetic disorder, or with a child that was ran over, ..well, it's all part of god's will. What? doesn;t make sense. If some one really wants people to draw strength from god and not a feeling of betrayal tell them the truth. God made the world with certain rules. God doesn't break the rules he made. This world is F***ed up. As you go through life s**t happens. In fact if you are a believer this world of man and devil will hate you and mess you up when it can. If you want your prayers answered more, do more of God's will because that's how God and us can change this world.

But so many people want to sit on the couch eating cheese burgers and imagining there god is waiting for them in some land of pink unicorns and shoots rainbows from his mouth. Wake up. God allegorically has a sword from his mouth.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
SeeksecularismmypatronusisaseaurchinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Mhykiel 2 years ago
Mhykiel
SeeksecularismmypatronusisaseaurchinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I would have liked to have seen Pro's arguments come to fruition. Con presented his arguments in a cohesive thread. I think everything else was fair. Pro apologized for the withdraw and so I did not deduct for conduct.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
SeeksecularismmypatronusisaseaurchinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not mount a strong rebuttal to Con's argument. The excuses for God only registered as excuses and not valid reasons. Besides, Free Will is an illusion and cannot be used as an excuse for anything.