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Does God exist?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/13/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 995 times Debate No: 37688
Debate Rounds (5)
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I will give my opponent a head start, you may type your argument this round. Good luck. :)


Thank you to my opponent. I’ll be running a series of arguments against the existence of God in the Christian sense. My argument shall take the form of a milk stool: the first arguments shall be against the possibility at all of proving that God exists: the two unique arguments from falsifiability: Kierkegaard case and Ayer’s case. The second crutch will be the argument from evil. Finally, my third crutch is against the possible existence of Christian truths, against both miracles and historicity. This is a large number of cases to get through, so I shall start quickly.

The Falsifiability Cases

Kierkegaard’s case runs simply. God is a being which we cannot understand. He has so many complex properties, and each of them so immense they are unexplainable in the normal realm. His omnibenevolence for example cannot be explained from our merely mortal position. To prove something exists is difficult, but we “reason from existence, not towards existence.” We say “A being exists which is omnipotent, omniscient, etc.”[1] and say this is what we call God, rather than prove God in his entirety. Compare how we prove God to how the judiciary works: “A court of justice does not prove that a criminal exists, but that the accused, whose existence is given, is a criminal”1. In other words, we get things which already exist, and ascribe characteristics to them. God already has an infinite number of characteristics, and we cannot prove there is a spiritual force which has them all. There are numerous deities similar to God, including denominations of Christianity which claim God, yet they are certainly not all correct. For every attribute God is shown to have, there are thousands that are unproven. God requires a leap of faith, making belief itself impossible to justify on any rational grounds.

My second case is from Ayer, which argues God dies “the death of a thousand qualifications”[2], as God is unfalsifiable. Consider when someone tells us that God loves us like a father loves his child. We are reassured. But then we see a child dying of an inoperable cancer. His earthly father is driven frantic in his efforts to help, but Heavenly Father shows no sign of concern. Some qualification is made — God's love is "not merely human love" or it is "an inscrutable love," perhaps — and this is compatible with the claim "God loves us as a father (but of course…)." We are reassured again. But then perhaps we ask: what is this assurance of God's (appropriately qualified) love worth? What does this love mean? It is not a love we mean when we use the term. When one says “God loves”, qualifications are so endlessly given that God’s love is no different from apathy: the idea of God becomes unfalsifiable liturgy, where every event proves his love. If the child dies, he is in heaven, God is great – if the child lives, though, God saves him; God is still great. What can occur to disprove a character of God? Religion, then, becomes “irrefutable because [it is] untestable; and by this criterion are therefore meaningless”[3].

The Case for Evil

The problem of evil is a simple enough argument. Consider you see a woman being mugged and raped in the corner of an alley. Imagine you have a stun gun in your hand, and now how to use it. You have the ability to stop an evil being committed: therefore, we would all agree, we ought to stop that woman being mugged and raped. Yet God, we are led to believe, has the tools to stop evil taking place, as well as the moral righteousness to stop the rape taking place. So why does evil exist? Some respond that God protects our free will, which justifies his inaction. This has three problems: the woman’s free will of course is being infringed upon, so God’s inaction infringes still upon free will. Secondly, if infringing on the free will of the rapist is immoral, then I must allow these atrocities to continue, which is abhorrent and blatantly ludicrous. And finally, this explains moral evils, but not natural evils: why is it that the world has tsunamis, earthquakes, animals that kill us, diseases that plague our existence, dirty water, nuclear radiation, an endless list of destructive ills that maim, torture or kill us, when a God has the power to stop it?

My second “Argument from Evil” is one from technology. Compare the life of a working class woman in Britain or America a thousand years ago to today. The technological and political advances today give that woman so much more freedom and liberty and happiness and general quality of life. So what reason is there not to have granted that woman a thousand years ago – or the first couple – the boons of technology? Free will of course is a moot point here: we had resources to build these technologies, and in a sense of resources we had some, such as fire and wood, but lacked harder metals and the ability to use them. Instead, we spent thousands of years toiling vainly, doing things that took days in the past that take minutes to do now, like manufacturing clothes or working the land. The lack of technological aid implies the inexistence of a God, similar to the existence of the gratuitous suffering of the innocent.

The Case Against Christianity

My final case is one specifically against the Christian God and religion. I’ll state here my case against the historicity of prophecy, and then later move on to my case against miracles. The prophecy I’ll criticise though is the inflammatory Ezekiel. He is very entertaining to read, but simply fails to be accurate even the most adamant bibliophile must admit. Ezekiel’s prediction was that the city's destruction would be complete and permanent:

"The merchants among the peoples will hiss at you; you will become a horror, and be no more forever". God, according to Ezekiel, states: “I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers… I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, you shall never be rebuilt, for I Yahweh have spoken,"(emphasis added)(Ez. 26)

He doubly mentions Tyre’s complete permanent destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, yet its falsehood can be verified by a simple visit to your public library. Ezekiel prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyre and that "you (Tyre) shall never be rebuilt" (26:14) and "shall be no more, though you are sought for, you will never be found again" (26:21). History, however, records the fact that Nebuchadnezzar not only didn't destroy Tyre, he didn't even capture it. The New Encyclopedia Britannica 1978 states: “ and in 585-573 (B.C.) [Tyre] successfully withstood a prolonged siege by the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar II”, and Encyclopedia Americana 1984 states: “Nebuchadnezzar II, subjected the island to a 13-year siege (585-572) without success”. The city was only taken by Alexander, hundreds of years later. But even if we are to assume Ezekiel got the name wrong (and catastrophically wrong at that), “The city did not lie in ruins long. Colonists were imported and citizens who had escaped returned. The energy of these with the advantage of the site, in a few years raised the city to wealth and leadership again”[4]. The Bible’s prophecies are bunk.

Secondly, I want to move to Biblical Miracles which are supposedly to have occurred. One of my most favourite miracles of the Bible is Joshua 10, where in the midst of a battle between Joshua and the five Amorite Kings, "The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!"[5] In other words, God stopped the spin of the earth and its spin around the sun.

Miracles like this are common in the Bible. Indeed, they are a central necessity for the Bible to be true. Yet we have every reason to believe that miracles are impossible. As Hume pointed out, a miracle is defined as "a violation of the laws of nature". Miracles are simply without evidence: no miracle has been provided which gives us strong evidence to believe that the laws of nature which we observe every day as holding to be true, have ever been suspended for a single individual or group at a moment of time for no particular reason apart from Divine Will. Indeed, miracles seem impossible because the suspension of the laws of nature is contrary to every fiber of our reason. Moreover, the miracles that seem to arise are only justified by flimsy witness testimony - usually a secondary source at that. We know for a fact that human beings tend to exaggerate, and miracles are usually only found among those who are in a pre-scientific time, by those who would rather believe the fantastical stories than not, yet very rarely are they accepted by those who have no vested interest to believe the miracle took place. Finally, the sheer number of miracles from each different religious group - Christians, Hindus, Muslims, etcetera - all force us to question whether there is anything unique about these miracles at all. For if we accept a miracle proving Christianity, there are many miracles in Islam and Hindu faiths which are equally strnogly (or weakly) supported. When seen with a critical eye, we have no reason to support the existence of these miracles, and therefore cannot accept the God thrown along with them.

With that, I pass over to my opponent for his round. Thank you.

[1] Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments

[2] Antony Flew, Theology and Falsification

[3] A.C.Grayling, The God Argument

[4] Wallace Fleming, The History of Tyre

[5] Joshua 10:13-14
Debate Round No. 1


I would first like to thank my opponent for posting his argument. First, I'll refute his arguments, and give my own arguments.

His first argument seems to me to be a trash on the traits of God, not God himself. This is not relevant to the debate, the debate is about whether or not a God actually exists. He also says that God is complex, therefore, he's improbable. The problem with this is that, God doesn't need to be complex. Something can have complex thoughts, without actually being complex. For example, humans can have thoughts about the universe, which is much more comp;ex than us. Yes, there are things we don't understand about God, however, that doesn't show he doesn't exist. There are lots of things we don't understand.

My opponent's second case is about the problem of evil and suffering. This seems to only be an argument against the Christian God, not a deist God. Now, I'm a Christian, but the debate is about God, not about Christianity. However, I will still respond to this argument. According to scripture, God has morally sufficient reasons to allow suffering. Humans have free will, so things like children in Africa; isn't God's fault. Now, natural disasters. The bible also says that these things came into the world as a result of sin. The new world will be even better.

As for my opponent's last argument. The debate isn't about Christianity.

Now, I'll give a few arguments for the existence of God.

The Cosmological Argument from Contingency: Whatever exists has an explanation of its existence, the universe exists, therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. Let's look at premise one: whatever exists has an explanation of its existence. Either something exists necessarily, or it has a transcendent cause. God is not exempt from this premise, God exists necessarily , his non existence is impossible. Now, picture yourself running in the woods with your friends. You see a ball on the Forrest floor, you stop and look at it, your friend says: don't worry about it, it's just there, it has no explanation. You would either think he's crazy, or you'd think he wanted you to keep walking. Picture that ball the size of a house, it wouldn't change the fact that it had an explanation, picture that ball the size of the whole universe, it wouldn't change the fact that it had to have an explanation of its existence. Now, the universe can't exist necessarily, because the universe began to exist. The fact that the universe is expanding and running out of usable energy proves the universe had a beginning. Now, the second premise is obviously true, the universe exists. The third premise: God is that explanation, is also true. The cause of the universe must exist outside of time and space. The cause of the universe must be: timeless, space less, immaterial, and powerful. This sounds a lot like God.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument: The cosmological argument goes as follows: whatever begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist, therefore, the universe had a cause, the obvious cause is God. Is the first premise true? Logic tells us that it is impossible for something to come into being uncaused. Have you ever seen a horse come into being uncaused? No. Why? Because things don"t come into being uncaused. Believing something can come into existence uncaused is worse than believing in magic. Thus, the first premise is true. Is the second premise true? Did the universe begin to exist? Atheists have said for a long time that the universe is just eternal, and uncaused. But there are good scientific reasons to think that the universe began to exist. For example, the universe is expanding. This means that something had to start the expansion. The universe must have come into existence from a point. This means that the universe had a beginning. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that the universe is running out of usable energy. If the universe had been here forever, it would have run out of energy by now. This follows that the universe had a cause. Let"s examine what that cause was. Since the universe can"t bring itself into existence, the cause must be outside of time and space. The cause must be: timeless, space less, immaterial, and powerful. Something like God.

A fine tuned universe: Scientists have been shocked by the fact that the conditions of the universe have been finely tuned for life to exist. To give an example of this, if the rate of expansion of the big bang was changed by as little as 1 and 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 life wouldn't"t exist. If the atomic weak force was changed by 2% life wouldn't"t exist. This fine tuning can only be due to either physical necessity, chance, or design. Now, it can"t be due to physical necessity, because the physical constants are independent of the laws of nature. Now, could it be due to chance? The problem with this alternative is that the odds of the fine tuning occurring by chance is so incomprehensibly great that they can"t be reasonably faced. It is more likely that the stars will arrange themselves tonight to spell your name, then for the fine tuning to have occurred by chance. Thus, this gives us a designer of the universe.

Humans have the ability to see and appreciate beauty in all areas of life. This ability does not have its roots in evolution, for evolution is driven by survival, and the ability to see and appreciate beauty is not necessary for survival. Since the origins of beauty are not to be found in nature, we must look above and beyond nature (to the divine) to explain it.

Humans have the ability to behave morally. Scientists have put this down to our genes behaving selfishly, doing things because of such tactics as the belief in reciprocal benefits the subject and the object helped by the subject, good behavior towards one"s family to ensure the survival of one"s genes. These theories fly in the face of evidence that this is not what encourages most decent people to behave morally. Moral behavior of humans cannot be explained in evolutionary terms, so we must again look beyond the natural world to find our answer for it. Also, moral behavior is exactly what we would expect if God existed.


Thank you. I'd like to remind everyone that the debate is about, not a god or a deity, but God. No reference was made to deism, but instead a God with a capital G, referring again in almost all circumstances to the Christian deity. My opponent even references biblical scripture in his arguments! We ought to sensibly ignore this attempt to lower the burden of proof by my opponent, and instead hold him to the debate topic he created: there was clearly no intention before acceptance of whether a deity exists, but instead a specific deity of God.

Falsifiability Cases

I'd firstly point out that my case is not a trash on God's traits, but simply pointing out God has in short an infinite number of them: his omnipotence, omnibenevolence, immanence, transcendence, eternality, omniscience, omnipresence, position as creator, position as judge, moral source, and trinitarian nature are all essential to God's being. And this ignores the historical events such as Adam & Eve, Noah's Ark, and Jesus' Resurrection, which are again essential to His existence. Now, I do not expect my opponent to demonstrate each event and trait as existing: this is unreasonable for a debate format. What I would expect, however, is an understanding of my principle: I claim it is impossible a priori to prove all these traits, as some of them (such as trinitarianism) are wholly unfalsifiable, and there are multiple divine forces which are all possible and compatible with my opponent's evidentialism.

My case from Ayer I'll move into Flew in order to make a point about "complexity". As Flew noted[1], a theist may begin with what seems like simple qualities of a deity, but qualifies them incessently towards meaningless. A death of a thousand qualifications occurs when there becomes no difference between an existing deity and non-existent one. Similarly, let us note my opponent's simplicity or non-complexity of God. God is not complex, yet has complex thoughts, and commits to complex actions. So complex, in fact, we cannot understand him.

My opponent then states that humans are not as complex as the universe, yet we understand the universe. Therefore, a simpler being can understand a more complex thing. What I'd point out is that we do not understand the universe at all: we barely understand a scrap of it, and most of our cosmologies are known to be flawed. However, it is of course true a simpler being can understand something more complex. However, to be capable of understanding is immensely complicated in itself: any being which is capable of complex thoughts is necessarily complex. God's love, additionally, is more complicated than anything, due again to incessant qualifications. I'd enjoy a comparison from my opponent to explain what God's love is like (for example, is it like a father loves his son or a man loves his dog?), and how we'd be able to tell that he does not love us. God's properties are so confusing and nonsensical, his existence becomes a quagmire for us to reasonably discard.

The Case of Evil

Towards my problem of evil, my opponent's argument was clearly addressed. To claim that a child dies of malaria in Africa is a result of his free will is equivalent to saying it is free will that when I jump off of a thirty story building I don't sprout my wings and fly away! She has no free will! She cannot make any rational choice to not become diseased: she is lucky if she can get access to clean water and edible food, yet alone the medical attention to prevent malaria. Unless my opponent is arguing disease can be cured by mental power and believing hard enough, then it doesn't even address the issue.

Moreover, God sustaining a world of sin as a result of the act of two humans' curiosity thousands of years ago, whose existence is classed as dubious among all but the most erring theologians, is ludicrous to say the least. Ignoring how this world constantly interferes with the free will of an individual, my opponent is in short now having to argue that the punishment for not following God's commands is the world sprouting from nowhere tsunamis, volcanos, and fault lines - which seem to quite clearly have always existed on this planet - while any ignorance of God's commands later on resulted in apathy. At best, this deity is arbitrarily evil, at worst demonstrates my opponent's banality in pushing responsibility away from us to morally improve this world, but instead leave it be, as we'd otherwise be thwarting God's plans for our better future. My opponent's necessary conclusion is that the world not only is in such shambles, but ought to be as well.

And finally, I expect my opponent to pick up my theological arguments against God also. This is a major case refuting his existence if left untouched. This goes the same for my technology case.

The Cosmological Arguments

My opponent is not wrong in that objects we find in the woods ought to have an explanation: for they do. A tree, for example, comes from a seed. Both the contingency [though my opponent has proposed a teleological argument under its name] and kalam arguments are essentially the same:

P1 - Ex Nihilo, Nihilo fit (out of nothing, nothing comes)
P2 - Therefore, there must have always existed something: a first cause
C1 - That first cause is God.

Now, the argument has flaws with the first premise that can be questioned scientifically: virtual particles are commonly cited to counter the intuitive principle, alongside radioactive decay as uncaused events causing things to exist[2][3][4]. Craig responds "that virtual particles aren't really coming from nothing, but rather a preexisting quantum vacuum."[4] The key word here is preexisting: a singularity could plausibly exist based around similar principles of this vacuum, which has existed since the beginning of time. It requires no cause exterior to itself, but simply the instability of itself causes the beginning of the universe.

This does not mean the beginning of time, however, as the Kalam postulates. The above gives a scientific objection to the cosmological arguments, but here is a philosophical one: the beginning of time is nonsensical. As Grunbaum argued[5], at the beginning of time, or t=0, God would have had to create the universe. What this means is that, at the very first moment, god's first act was to cause the universe. Not only this, however, but also that the intent to cause, the cause itself, and the event, was simultaneous. Unlike the sculptor who intends to make his sculpture, then starts to craft it, and then later finishes it, God does all of this at one moment. Yet it is just as intuitive, if not more so than ex nihilo, nihilo fit that a cause must precede the effect! However, even if we make sense of the notion that there was no time where matter did not exist, then we have, in short, an eternal universe.

Two more objections: firstly, my opponent states the cause of the universe must be powerful. In what sense, though? I'd remind you that my opponent stated that a complex thought can arise from simple beings. Similarly, surely, a powerful event can occur from a weak being: a man cannot blow up a building alone, but can develop the tools to do so. Gravity is in fact very weak (it can barely do anything!) but what it does, it does well. Similarly, God can be akin to Plato's demiurge, or Aristotle's primus movens: the first cause of the universe, and nothing else: impersonal, immanent, and inactive.

Fine Tuning

My response to this case is a two-step: first, the universe is badly tuned. Second, the impossibility of life is exaggerated greatly, and has reasonable secular explanations.

Firstly, the universe is rather badly tuned. Think about the universe for a moment. It is vastly empty: only a percentage of a percentage of the universe contains oxygen we need to breathe. Even less of that is planets. Only a percentage of planets are capable of supporting life. Indeed, we are living on a planet with hundred-foot tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, super-volcanos capable of destroying all life, earthquakes murdering thousands, and more. If God designed the planet, why did it take so long for him to develop sentient intelligent life? He instead left it to an incredibly painful process of evolution - both biological and cultural. This was wrought with so much gratuitous suffering, war, violence and evil that it is only a moral monster that would prefer it over simply creating a 21st century technologically westernised world (if not more advanced). Finally, why so much bacteria specifically seeming to target and kill human life? His "chosen people" surely suffered horribly at the hands of easily preventable diseases like smallpox and malaria, yet he chose still to create these beings.

Secondly, and briefly, there are many secular explanations. Just Six Numbers is an example of this: it takes the lead of the anthropic principle, and include pointing out multiple explanations each plausible hypotheses similar to the fine tuning hypothesis, such as the multiverse or the necessarily existing universe. The fine tuning argument from befuddlement has no simple answers, but the simple answer of god creates more problems than it solves.

The Moral Argument

This is simply another unfalsifiable argument. Just as morality is "what we would expect if God existed", similarly my opponent points out we'd expect it in a godless universe. I think my opponent is trying to claim that atheists must believe in a naturalist explanation of morality. To be clear, I'm not a moral nihilist. Morality can exist quite easily without God, and my opponent must show that they are incompatible to argue this line. With that, I pass over. Thank you.

1 -
2 - Reply To Professor Craig (1995) Graham Oppy
3 - A Big Bang Cosmological Argument For God's Nonexistence (1992) Quentin Smith
4 - Craig, Kalam, and Quantum Mechanics ... (2013) Aron Zavaro
5 - Some Comments on William Craig's "Creation and Big Bang Cosmology" (1994) Adolf Grunbaum
Debate Round No. 2


I'm going to have to fore fit the debate. I have too many debates going at once.


Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3


tala00131 forfeited this round.


Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 4


tala00131 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: zzz...ff
Vote Placed by MysticEgg 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Not a vote bomb; read on and find out why. My opinion - as an atheist - was not swayed, particularly because Pro forfeited. Also, because of the forfeit I must give conduct to Con. Spelling and grammar were not perfect, but good. Not worth awarding points to. Arguments clearly go to Con, he gave clear and thorough refutes and arguments, whereas straw men seemed to be Pro's first choice. Lastly, sources to Con because Con used more. (Obviously, Pro used zero sources.)