The Instigator
unitedandy
Con (against)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points

Does the Christian god exist?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
unitedandy
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/21/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,286 times Debate No: 13179
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (43)
Votes (6)

 

unitedandy

Con

It seems whenever I try to set one up, my opponents disappear. Anyway, it would be on the question above, with the Christian God defined as a personal creator and sustainer of the universe, who is all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing and all-loving, who takes an interest in human affairs, and is depicted (to a greater or lesser extent) in the bible. This being has also promised salvation through his son, Jesus Christ.

For the debate both of us will have to present a case, and then interact with each others. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS DEBATE IF UNWILLING TO FINISH IT.

I open the floor for the affirmative case.
larztheloser

Pro

This debate, I'm sure my opponent will agree, is complex and has many factors involved. Thus I ask that voters judge this debate on arguments alone. I'm not going to cite sources in this debate as it's a waste of word count, because at the end of the day, this is a philosophical debate taking place in our minds, and not the minds of some other writers. But for this first round, I will list my arguments in simple terms.

For me to prove the Christian God hypothesis I must prove (and my opponent must disprove):
1) The existence of a supernatural entity more perfect than definition allows (to be known hereafter as "God"); and
2) The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

From these two criterion follow all the other aspects of the Christian God that my opponent mentioned with the exception of these two:
1) being the "sustainer" of the universe, which I find unsupported in scripture; and
2) being all-loving. Again, this is not supported in scripture. God hates evil, for instance. To put it in Dawkin's terms, "Goodness is not part of the definition of the God hypothesis, merely a desirable add-on."
Therefore I will not be debating for a God that satisfies these to criterion in addition to those aforementioned.

I thank my opponent for allowing me to start one round in advance and will begin at once. I have four reasons to believe in God, and three to believe in the resurrection.

GOD HYPOTHESIS
1) The Descartes argument. It is impossible for a being to be all-perfect, all-knowing etc and not exist. Therefore such a being must exist.

2) The Lewis Argument. If there was no God to create the universe, then the universe must have been an accident. If the universe is an accident, so is our thinking. If our thinking is an accident, we have no reason to believe it. This is absurd because we have already established the universe exists but cannot establish our existence as a subset of said universe. The only other two options left are nihilism and God.

3) The Pascal Argument. Either God exists or it does not. If we believe it exists, rewards are huge or naught. If we don't believe it exists, rewards are negative or naught. Therefore it is a safer bet to believe it exists.

4) The Kant Argument. Any attempt to refute God that holds any weight relies on logic. Therefore the argument presupposes the existence of logic. Logical truths cannot be proven without reference to God. Therefore any argument against God presupposes the existence of God.

RESURRECTION
1) The testimony of hundreds of people, written down by the best scholars of the day. If the resurrection had been false, surely the Jewish authorities could have lulled this rebellion by simply producing the body of the crucified? There are more sources for the resurrection of Jesus than there are for Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul. It is one of the few narratives from ancient times apparently not to have much legendary development.

2) The fact that many of the witnesses during the immediate period after the death were hostile to Jesus, such as Paul. Many were skeptical, and went on fact-finding missions. We do not have any sources for about 150 years that doubt the resurrection of Jesus and have had any sort of research behind them.

3) The lack of any competing account that really explains the event of the empty tomb and the post-resurrection sightings.

I eagerly await my opponent's case and rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1
unitedandy

Con

Welcome. Rebuttals next round.

Presumption of Atheism

(P1) Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Without such extraordinary evidence, one is justified in weak disbelief.

(P2) The claim that the Christian god exists is an extraordinary claim.

(C1) Therefore, the claim that the Christian God exists requires extraordinary evidence. Without such extraordinary evidence, one is justified in weak disbelief.

This argument relies on common-sense assumptions about the nature of evidence, and although it does not directly challenge the concept of the Christian God, as perhaps the next argument does, it does argue that atheism, with respect to the Christian god (and all others) should be the default position. Furthermore, unless the burden of evidence can be met, one should, so this argument contends, employ the position of weak atheism. But this has to be justified.

As for justifying premise 1, lets begin with an analogy. Suppose I invite you to a dinner party. Before arriving, I phone you to tell you 3 things:

(1) It's roast beef for dinner.

(2) That we will be joined by a former Miss World.

(3) After dinner, we will venture into the garden and have drinks in my UFO.

Clearly, although these 3 statements come from the same source, we would all have, I suspect, higher or lower thresholds of evidence for each one. Again, if I remarked that I had suffered an injury falling off a horse, or falling off a unicorn, the first statement, so I contend, can be accepted with very little or no evidence, because of its mundane nature and frequent occurrence, while the very existence of a unicorn is an extraordinary claim. Would we require extraordinary evidence for a unicorn, or a UFO? I would, and suspect that everyone else would to.

The second part of premise 1 is again illuminated with an analogy. Keeping with UFOs, suppose I phoned a newspaper with an exclusive:

CONCLUSIVE PROOF OF E.T.s, UFO FOUND IN GARDEN!

The world media turn up to find nothing in my garden. Not to worry, I say, the UFO is an undetectable saucer, which can't be seen, touched, or detected in any way whatsoever. Would we be agnostic, believers or sceptics to this mysterious craft? Why?
I contend that those of us who would be sceptics would be in the vast majority, and if there are anyone who isn't, I have a bridge to sell you up in Alaska. In short, we shouldn't be so open minded to the point that our brain falls out. As Richard Dawkins puts it in his program, The Genius of Charles Darwin, anyone who doubts Gravity is invited to jump out of a 10-story window.

Premise 2 can be justified rather easily. If the Christian God exists, then the implications of this are huge, and, I would contend, the single most extraordinary fact about anything. I don't really expect a challenge on premise 2, because I think the implications of it would be disastrous for the Christian, but feel free to attack this if you wish. The conclusion follows from premises 1 and 2, and the acceptance of the argument will necessitate the Christian not just to win the arguments, but win all arguments convincingly, while accounting for all of God's attributes as well. All I can say here is good luck with that.

The WSA Evidential problem of evil (1)

(P1) If there were an all-powerful and all-good God, then there would not be any evil in the world unless that evil is logically necessary for an adequately compensating good.

(P2) There is lots of evil in the world.

(P3) Much of that evil is not logically necessary for any adequately compensating good.

(C2) Therefore, there is no God who is all powerful and all good.

I define evil as:

Anything which causes pain, suffering, disability and death.

I suspect that we can all agree that evils exist and that they are frequent in the world. From the Holocaust to the Tsunamis, both moral evil and natural evil puncture our world. Anyone who doubts this need only turn on a T.V or read newspaper, visit a children's ward or suffer personal loss. Thus premise 2 is self-evident.

For premise 1, we can return to an analogy. When we go to the dentist with toothache, we do so, as rational agents, to prevent pain. The consequent jags and yanking out of the tooth is (in this scenario at least) the only way to prevent the toothache. Thus, we rationally choose to suffer this, first because there is no other way to relieve the toothache (the pain of jags and pliers and is logically necessary) and the result is a relief of the toothache (the adequately compensating good). Therefore, in order for evil to be justified, it must be logically necessary for an adequately compensating good. If a pain-free pill was available (all other things being equal), then the evils of the pain at the dentist would not be justified. There must therefore be no other way to achieve an end, and the end must in turn be worth it. The first part of premise 1 refers to the character of God. If He distributed evil arbitrarily, with no end-game in mind, then, logically, He cannot be either all-good or all-powerful. Plantinga's free-will retreat is both accepted and actually used explicitly in the argument, making it a probabilistic argument, which means that any such arbitrary evil is evidence against Christian theism, which solidifies premise 1, and with the existence of evil established, all that remains is whether there is any such evil.

Premise 3 is justified by what historians call an inference to the best explanation, and will I suspect be the main contention of the argument. An all powerful being is able to prevent the evils that occur, and an all good being is obviously willing, so the question becomes, is there always justification for the evils in the world, in the ways described above? The answer, I think, is quite clearly, no. Consider the examples of mass murders, torture, rape and other unimaginable cruelties in Indonesia, under Suharto, in Pinochet's Chile, in Stalin's Russia, Pol-Pot's Cambodia, or in Nazi Germany, and many, many more. What possible reason could there be for this horrendous evil? What compensation can there be for such barbarism? The short-term costs of such evil are so frighteningly high, so intuitively horrific and so apparently unnecessary that to attempt to justify it would is a tremendously difficult and, I suspect, an insurmountable task. Yet there is more.

In conjunction with moral evils, there are natural evils, one of which is described in the following example:

"Many babies each year are born with Down's syndrome. Most of these babies, with normal paediatric care, will grow up healthy. A significant number, however, have intestinal obstructions that will kill them if they do not receive an operation. Without the operation, dehydration and infection will cause these babies to wither and die over a period of hours and days. Today this operation is relatively simple, but not long ago these babies could not be saved . . . This baby (one born in the past with this) suffers for days, then dies." (Sinnott Armstrong,2004, P84)

Again, what possible reason, what possible compensation could explain this natural evil? But it gets far worst for the Christian, because God is both necessarily able and willing to prevent these evils, among countless others, yet they remain, and there are no obvious reasons why this is so. Lets finish with an analogy:

Suppose a politician could have prevented these genocides above, or that a doctor in the past had a remedy to such ailment as expressed by Sinnott-Armstrong, and could do so with no cost whatsoever to themselves or anybody else? What are we to think of such a refusal to act? That their reasoning is above our comprehension, even although we do not no what it is?

The argument is about what it is rational to infer from the evils we see in the world. Retreats to the possible will not do, because almost everything is logically possible, and, after all, this is no
larztheloser

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for his rather simplistic opening statement. I accept that extraordinary claims require all the more proof, but I don't think it's possible for any proof to be more extraordinary than any other. A proof is a proof. With a proof, one establishes certainty. Without certainty, one can only establish probability. My four god-arguments were proofs of the existence of God as I have defined it. My three arguments for the resurrection of Jesus are not proofs and thus only establish a high probability of resurrection. However, if my four proofs of the existence of God are true, then the resurrection of Jesus is no longer an extraordinary claim, and I have met my opponent's criteria for proving the Christian God hypothesis.

I now turn my attention to the problem of evil proposed by my opponent. At the outset, my opponent makes the mistake of confusing the Christian God for some other diety. The Christian God, as I have argued, is not all-loving. God loves humanity, for instance, but does not love some of the things humanity does. That is why I cannot accept the omnibenevolence assumption of the problem of evil.

However, even if I were to accept this assumption, we must ask ourselves - what is evil? My opponent has defined evil as anything that inhibits life in its natural state (not in those exact words, but that's the general rule I can draw out of his examples). I doubt that life is necessarily good. Some people would say, for instance, that causing the death of Adolf Hitler was a good thing. So we sometimes allow a little evil for the greater good in normative ethics. A little pin-prick might cause pain, which under my opponent's definition would be evil. But what if that prick gave a child a vaccination that saves their life later? The prick would still be evil under my opponent's strict definition, but I doubt anyone here would consider that morally objectionable.

I, therefore, propose another definition of evil that is much more robust. My definition of evil is "the absence of good". My definition of good is "having the qualities of God", because under my opponent's model God is supposed to be all-good, remember?

Prima face, the problem with this is the Kant argument I referred to earlier, that it presupposes the existence of God. But put that aside and look at the absurdity of the whole thing. Just because all of creation is not good does not mean God is not good (or loving, whatever). He might be able to make it good, but in its divine wisdom God decides not to make it good. That does not mean it is made bad (the reason I use good/bad is that I can't think of an appropriate antonym for loving, not because I want to subvert the argument). That God chooses not to interfere and let things run their course in some places is not necessarily an undesirable outcome in the long term, even if it causes some pain in the short term. So, in summary, let's lay out the steps one more time:

1) We presume that an all-loving, all-powerful God exists
BUT This is false because the Christian God is not all-loving
2) We presume that the universe is not all-loving
BUT This is false because it presupposes God, leading to a circular argument
AND This is also false because evil is nothing more than the absence of good
3) An all-loving, all-powerful entity would correct the evil in the world
BUT This cannot be known because we do not know the future consequences of any actions, unlike God (presumption of perfect knowledge)
3) Therefore God does not exist
BUT given that all the above are illogical the conclusion cannot stand

Thus the problem of evil is not a valid attack on the God hypothesis. This is, however, the only attack my opponent put forward. I still maintain that, put together, my four proofs of God and my three proofs of Jesus' resurrection are veritable proofs of the existence of the Christian God. And I await any sort of denial of this powerful evidence, or any sort of attack that actually holds some weight.
Debate Round No. 2
unitedandy

Con

Thanks for your response larz and especially the conduct of the debate thus far, and the speed of your rebbutal.

To defend my own arguments, first larz asserts that his arguments are proofs, which undermines my argument. Okay. But these must be tightly grounded, and evade all retreats to the possible. Also, as you acknowledge, it does impact the resurrection argument. I have dealt with that below, but then you say that if God is proven, the resurrection follows. In reading my post, I aim to show that this is not so, and remember, even if it is logically possible that something else caused the resurrection, your case fails. It is and it does.

As for the PoE, you deny the Christian God is all-loving, but surely our Christian readers would disagree? Also, this conflicts spectacularly with the Descartes argument, because perfection would include moral perfection, which would imply both good and love. Second, rather than denying "useful" evils, I explicitly used and catalogued them with examples, such as the dentist analogy. As for his privation response, this is both wrong (because some things are morally neutral, like picking up a chair) and equally problematic (defining "good"). Does he deny either that picking up a chair lacks good, or is good the absence of evil, in a conceptual merry-go-round? He then retreats to the possible, and then plays the mystery card to the argument, both of which fail, because they do not deal with the problem at hand. The motion is the Christian God, and one has to, however painfully, engage with the PoE, and to defeat it, and I feel larz's refusal to do so is rather telling.

Now to the arguments you presented.
1) The Descartes argument - You say that a perfect being must exist, because not to would be impossible. However, perfection is a predicate of existence. Something can't be perfect and not exist because to say something is perfect requires that it exists first. It is begging the question.
Secondly, one could construct this argument for the perfect song, cookie or rainbow. But do we believe these exist? According to larz, they must.
Also, one could argue perfection is subjective. Maybe this fails, but larz doesn't elaborate how. Lastly, this does not distinguish between the Christian God specifically, and any other God, and neither does the Kant argument, so they are, at best, only partially supportive of the motion, even if we could deal with these problems and many others. These damaging criticisms are bad enough, but without them, it is still not clear that the argument even gets us to the proposition at hand, and, regretfully, I have to deem this argument to be a failure in almost every way.

2) The Lewis argument - This assumes that the universe was an accident, which is unsupported, and I have to say, rather ironic in the same month that Stephen Hawking proclaims to explain the reason behind the existence of universe. As for our thinking, this was the result of evolution, not chance. The processes are different, and do not logically follow from one another. Also, the two options you cite again do not follow, and even if they did, again, how do we know that the God involved is the Christian God? Invoking (only slightly ironically) Descartes' evil daemon would also make this problematic, as regards to our thinking, as would the brain in a vat paradox, which you must solve, as a proponent of logical proof. Again, good luck with that!

3) Pascal's Wager - This does not even provide evidence or proof merely pragmatic reasons to believe in the Christian God. But this does not provide tools to decide how to choose our God. Why not the Muslim God? It creates a false dichotomy between belief and non-belief, when there is a third option - belief in other gods. Also, how can one really believe in something which they don't find plausible? Lastly, this, again at best, provides prudential reasons (even though I highly doubt that), not intellectual ones. As Bart Simpson memorably put it, what if worshipping the wrong God makes the actual God madder and madder? Even prudence fails here by retreating to the possible, which unlike in larz's case, I can do because he claims "proofs" of God, not evidence.

4) The Kant argument - I think are all statements are predicated upon presuppositions, and this is true, even when accounting for logic. Even if I accept that the Christian God could solve the problem (which I categorically don't), then surely God Himself must be subject to logic. Can God be both God and not God Simultaneously? Can He exist and not exist at the same time? Can He make an unmoveable rock? Can He move it? Also, you yourself presuppose logic, but could you prove logic exists? And how would you do it? Logically? Lastly, logic represents, rather than dictates reality, and is a conceptual tool we use for interpreting the world. Things exist the way they do not because they follow logic, but because don't exist any other way. Logic merely informs us of this, and we use it to better discern reality. In any case, it seems to me that God is either bound by logic, and thus not the author of it, or worse, not bound by it, and we still can't account for logic.

As for the resurrection, here's where my first argument comes in, mainly that this requires strong evidence, without which we shouldn't believe it. On top of that, there are counter-facts to this. Firstly, there are many modern-day "miracles" better attested to which we all ignore. The Hindu milk miracle, the sun-dance in Portugal and the conjuring of Sathya Sai Baba to take 3 examples. We don't believe in these, so why believe in something which cannot even hope to ever gain anything like the same evidence? The point about the witnesses disregards the fact that this itself is a claim which must be verified. It is merely reported, by St Paul no less. As for naturalistic explanations, I want to concede that many of these I find absurd, and maybe they all seem so, but this is a flaw only in so far as it is every time I see the bullet-catch trick. I don't seriously consider magic afoot, yet the natural explanation escapes me.

Also, well-known contradictions give this argument far less credibility. The case of sceptics also intrigues me, but we have to remember that Judaism survived Christ, and not be selective and focus on surprising converts, such as St Paul.

Even at their strongest and conceding many points which I am unwilling to give, the arguments still fail. This alone, I think, wins me the debate. My opponent has relied on god of the gaps, question-begged, and redefined God to be unrecognisable. I welcome the response and thank larz again for the opportunity in debating which I do agree is both a complex, but also a very important and interesting topic.
larztheloser

Pro

Again, I must thank my opponent for their response. Just a quick clarification before I go any further, however. That God exists does not show that Jesus was resurrected. It makes it plausible that Jesus was resurrected. Because of this plausibility the level of evidence required to meet the threshold of doubt is lower than that for God. I agree with my opponent that the existence of God does not provide evidence for the resurrection. It only gives the evidence I have presented plausibility.

I'll deal with the major points in this debate in the same order as my opponent. First, on the problem of evil. My opponent asserts that God loves all, and that God is all good. This is a paradox. God cannot love evil and be all good. The Bible is perfectly clear that God is not all loving, for instance, God destroyed the city of Sodom. Moral perfection implies nothing more than perfect morality, which is not perfect love, because in some situations showing love is immoral - for instance, showing love to Adolf Hitler would be immoral, simultaneously showing love to Jews would be logically impossible. Next I'd like to remind my opponent that God is perfectly good. The absence of God's traits ("evil") in the world is perfectly possible, not a conceptual merry-go-round (although I do love the analogy!) You will note my use of the word "possible". My final argument, what my opponent called the mystery card, is again another appeal to the "possible". This means that it is still "possible" for God (or rather my opponent's convoluted version of God) to exist and the problem of evil to not exist. As such the problem of evil is not a proof so long as there exists some doubt. Contrast that with my proofs, where there exists no doubt at all (I'll come to that in a minute). Finally, I should add that my opponent never engaged with my point about how this argument presupposes God.

Second let's talk about the four proofs. Note that none of these are proofs of a "Christian" God. They are proofs of "a" God. The resurrection arguments are evidence that if a God exists, it would be a Christian God. Let's get started...

1) Descartes - My opponent attempts to rebut this, first, by saying that you can't call something perfect that doesn't exist first. Well, yes. That's my argument restated. God does exist first because my opponent said God is perfect. For my opponent to say God is perfect and non-existent is a logical absurdity. Second my opponent longs for a perfect cookie using this argument. Trouble is, a perfect cookie is not perfect because we have defined it as a cookie. To define means, literally, to limit. A cookie would be limited to things my opponent expects of a cookie. But a perfect being cannot be limited. God is the only example of a limitless being, and so the argument applies exclusively to God. Finally, my opponent says omnipotence, omniscience and so on are subjective. If my opponent wants to argue this, he must show me how these things are not universal. It is my sincere belief that if a being is all-powerful to one person, that being will be all-powerful to another person too.

2) Lewis - Here my opponent's answer is that the creation of the universe was not an accident (and neither was our evolution). Therefore it must have happened on purpose. Therefore something must have imparted that purpose. I wonder who my opponent is thinking of? The Lewis argument does actually say that the brain in a vat scenario is possible (nihilism), so perhaps it is not the most watertight argument, but if my opponent accepts that anything in the world is real, then God must be real.

3) Pascal - My opponent has no answer to this one, except to say the Christian God is not proven. No. But the existence of "a" God is proven. The dichotomy is not between the Christian God and all the others. It is between believers in whoever the one true God is and everyone else. I do accept that the proof is pragmatic and based on statistical inference, but that does not make it any less correct.

4) Kant - First my opponent says my argument is categorically wrong for some mysterious reason and then asks me a whole lot of questions. Not one of them actually engages with the argument at hand. Nonetheless I will answer every one of them. God can do anything. God can even microwave a burrito until it is so hot it itself cannot eat it (note to my opponent: the correct pronoun for a non-gendered object is "it", not "he"). And God is even so powerful that it can eat said burrito where previously it could not. God is an absolute standard. God is logical truth. Logic's existence cannot be proven without reference to the absolute standard of logical truth that is God (note how my opponent likes to restate the arguments I give in a different form to try to confuse me). Therefore for logical truth to exist, God must exist. Since you have been using logic you must believe either that your own arguments are false or that God is true, in which case your arguments are false anyway. God is not bound by logic because God is logic, power, knowledge, beauty and so on.

Third and last my opponent has a few things to say about the resurrection:

1) We don't believe in many modern day miracles either. True. The ancient Jews did not believe in ancient day miracles. We know that in Jesus' time, more than fifty people claimed to be the messiah. Many of them, presumably, performed some cool miracles. None raised themselves from the dead and were seen by 500 witnesses. All others were immediately discredited by the skeptics. But all the skeptics who looked into the life of Jesus for the first 150 years converted.

2) The existence of the witnesses is unverified, my opponent claims. True. The existence of the Roman Empire is also unverified. That the whole universe was not created five seconds ago with an appearance of age is also unverified. But these are rational beliefs we can hold. If something is sufficiently well-reported, we can believe it. The existence of hundreds of witnesses is sufficiently well reported.

3) Now my opponent appeals to well-known contradictions. Sadly I seem to be missing out as I don't know what these are. I wish my opponent would elaborate.

4) The existence of Judaism after Christ is true, but then not all Jews could really be bothered investigating this Jesus guy. Their religion had been working fine, and I suspect most of them didn't even care for religion. Those who did investigate tended to convert.

My opponent's lack of a naturalistic explanation further shows that the only rational explanation is the resurrection. My opponent's lack of strong rebuttals to my arguments is equally telling. My opponent's single, simplistic point of his own has fallen. That is why my opponent's case has failed thus far. That is why the Christian God exists.
Debate Round No. 3
unitedandy

Con

Hi larz. Thanks and hope you are well.

First, I have got to say, as much as I admire larz's ability to post a response almost immediately, I do honestly implore you, larz, to take more time to read not just this response, but the debate in its entirety, as I feel you keep missing the thrust of what I am saying. If it helps, look at my last debate to see the PoE unpacked more fully, and try to engage with the individual premises at hand.

Anyway:

In the first paragraph of your response, you admit that your 4 proofs denote " a God", while the resurrection infers that this is the Christian God. However, this is a logical gap that you have to bridge with these 2 separate arguments, rather than merely asserting the case that they are symmetrical. Indeed, if they are proofs, one would expect an axiomatic deduction where no negation is possible. But you haven't provided this, and suspect cannot do so.

Now to the nitty gritty.

1) The Descartes argument - Again, perfection does not prove existence, it merely reflects the nature of something that is existing. Even if it does prove existence, the argument is circular. My opponent avoids my analogies by saying that as soon as one defines them, they are necessarily limited, and therefore not perfect. Well, as if I need a hand, here it is, given by larz. If one cannot even conceive of a being, how can we possibly even debate it? Moreover, this destroys Pascal's wager, because we don't know what to believe! To do so would be to limit the concept of God to a finite mind, and according to larz himself, thus negates perfection. Also, if one wants to follow this logic, I could assert that a perfect gloop exists! What is a gloop? Well, to define it would be to limit it, and as indefinable, it retains perfection, and through this, existence? I think we all know that this is perfect nonsense.

Also, I meant that perfection is subjective, not individual attributes. Larz also kills his own case with "It is my sincere belief . . ." Sincere belief? What happened to rigid and uncompromising proof? He dropped the last part of the charge that this does not help up distinguish between the Christian God and any other God. Now for point 2.

2) The Lewis argument - Larz basically drops this by conceding it is not " the most watertight argument". BUT IT HAS TO BE! IT IS A PROOF! On that alone, the argument fails, but, what the hay, lets go through it. The point about the universe not being an accident is merely an acknowledgement of the beliefs of some physicists (such as Victor Stenger), who believe that "nothing" is unstable, and therefore cannot exist, (if at all) for any amount of time. Incidentally, as he points out, how could nothing exist? If it existed, would it be something? It seems, at worst (for me), we are both left for something unaccounted for. In my case, the universe, in his case, God. But again, this will not do for an argument that purports to be a proof , and larz's acknowledgement of this I think renders it dead. In the case of evolution, this is driven by natural selection, which, simply put, is the tendency for organisms which are most able to survive and reproduce to disperse their genes throughout the population. Not chance. The brain is a product of this.

I have to say, this also creates the fallacy of a false dichotomy, one which we al should be aware of, given Darwin's notion that chance and design are NOT axiomatic statements. Evolution is the alternative. As for accepting reality, I just don't see why I have to accept God with this. It seems doing so would lead me to accept things which are completely out of touch not just of reality as it is currently, but as could be. Agency without a spatio-temporal framework? Disembodied mind? Simultaneous causation? Nope. Don't get it.

3) Pascal Argument - My opponent charges that I didn't answer this argument. I plead not guilty. In fact, my answer was longer than both his formulation of it and his rebuttal - put together! But let me state it again. There are thousands of Gods which exist which are not the Christian God. There is no way for me (or anyone else, I suspect) to just believe, contrary to all thoughts, feelings, reasons and logic. Even then, this is not grounds for belief. I pointed all of this out in my last post. Just refer back to this for all other questions which were neglected. In fact, the philosophy book that I own even calls this, an argument from last resort, such is the contempt for it by mainstream philosophers as an argument for God (1).

4) Kant - Larz says that God can do anything, in response to my series of questions. Really? He can exist and not exist simultaneously? Sadly, even if true, this still leaves logic unaccounted for, as I warned in the last post. How? Well, if logical absolutes exist, THEN THEY ARE ABSOLUTE! Even God can't break them. Alas, how do we know which logic precepts are logical absolutes. Again, refer to the earlier post to see problems I anticipated and which have not been rebutted (such as logic describing reality,).

Again, we are met with god of the gaps, arguments which are unsubstantiated and irrelevant, and rebuttals which ignore or misread subsequent criticisms.

As for the resurrection:

1) This is just false. Honi the circle drawer anyone? Also, the resurrection wasn't seen by 500 people, but 500 people REPORTEDLY had visions of Jesus. Just like lots of people seeing the phoenix lights. This is better far reported than the Jesus visions ever could be, as are the other examples I gave, but do we believe them? No. Is this extraordinary evidence? No.
If larz wants a name of a well-researched contemporary sceptic, Josephus does nicely.

Contradictions include:

The reports of the women at the tomb
The day jesus died
The ripping of the curtain
The death of Judas
And many, many others.

As well as proclamations of zombies and the story of Jesus' birth being highly doubtful.

My lack of naturalistic explanation is only evidence in so far as it is for the the magic bullet. Do we believe this? Can we explain it? I'd love to hear it.

The PoE is perhaps worst of all dealt with, I am sorry to say. My opponent still hasn't provided a definition of good, if evil is the absence of this. Also, retreats to the possible and mystery card reinstatement is making the same mistake. The PoE in its evidential form must be tackled, rather than hand-waved away, simply because your arguments are labelled proof, and mine are not. As for assuming God exists, of course I do, and then I see how the data applies to this hypothesis. It does not. Go back again and read it, and show me how, in the example provided, soon to be dead children suffering is adequately necessary for an adequately compensating good. Such a weak response to perhaps the greatest philosophical problem, is, I fear, the rule, rather than the exception, and this is the primary reason for non-belief in general. You must show that this IS wrong. In fact, with your case being a logical one, you must show that evil as described and God are not only logically compatible, but that all evil which exists can be rectified with the God hypothesis. Even the possibility of "rogue evil" destroys larz's case. Such are the burdens of logic proofs in the philosophical arena!

With all problems rebutted, and my argument, I would argue, strengthened, I would only ask larz to take more time, and dare I say, more space to argue his case.

Kind regards, unitedandy

1) Mastering Philosophy. Anthony Harrison-Barbet
larztheloser

Pro

At my opponent's humble request, I have spent some extra time considering this reply. I'd like to thank my opponent for all his responses and will move on to my rebuttal in my usual order.

First, then, the problem of evil. Here my opponent contends the following:
1) That I haven't defined "good." You will note that directly after I defined "evil," I also defined "good" as "having the qualities of God." I do not understand why my opponent refuses to accept this definition.
2) My opponent thinks that since his argument is not a proof but a problem, he doesn't need to deal with any mystery cards in the argument. In order to win this debate, unfortunately, my opponent must not only prove my arguments wrong, but also prove conclusively that the Christian God does not exist.
3) Next my opponent admits presupposing God, but claims a reductio ad absurdium case. OK. The problem is that this is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about my opponent's holding of absolute values of good and evil. This is not possible to prove without reference to God. Therefore the argument relies on God.
4) Now my opponent runs his "adequately compensating good" case, as if I had made it. That's what his previous opponent did, and I think he is confusing me for him. Rather it is my contention that it is uncertain whether there is sufficient good to offset the problem of evil, and this uncertainty means that the argument, at best, does not provide evidence for anything.
5) My opponent challenges me to show how evil and God are logically compatible. I have already done so. In three ways, in fact!
a) I have shown that the Christian God is not all-loving, therefore the problem of evil is void.
b) I have shown that perfect love and perfect good are logically incompatible and thus the critical assumption of the problem of evil breaks down.
c) I have shown that the argument presupposes and thus requires the existence of God.
6) Finally, aside from a whole bunch of mean assertions I choose to ignore, my opponent says I must actually defeat the problem of evil with logic in order to win. First of all, I don't! This is because if I can pick holes in your argument, your argument fails. But nonetheless, I'd like to know what's so illogical about my arguments? They might not all lead to the conclusion that God is real (though one does), but they all lead to the conclusion that the argument does not challenge the existence of God at all. Therefore given that you cannot show God does not exist, and I have shown he does, I win the debate.

Now to my substantive contentions. Before I do, allow me to add a quick note on how the two relate to one another, logically, like my opponent challenged me to show.
1) IF I prove God exists
2) AND IF I prove the resurrection exists
3) THEN there is a very high probability God caused the resurrection (who else?)
4) AND THEN the Christian God is real.
Once again, all my resurrection arguments are appeals to probability (I've already conceded this). However, when the probability of a Christian God is higher than for all other Gods, it is safe to say the Christian God exists. Let's move along...

Descartes
1) My opponent claims that perfection reflects the nature of something existing. Once again, thanks for restating the argument. So when you defined God as perfect, that reflected the nature of something existing.
2) My opponent claims a circular argument. Not at all. Perfection implies existence but not vice versa, so some things exist that are not perfect.
3) Next my opponent questions how God is debatable if it is perfect. I'd argue that by virtue of its perfection it is debatable. One can debate perfection philosophically as much as one can use the concept of infinity in a maths problem. I agree that our minds are finite and thus cannot conceive of perfection, and that's why your problem of evil case fails. But my cases are not about the nature of God but rather the necessity of God, something that does not require us to look into the nature of perfection.
4) Yes, a perfect gloop does exist. I prefer to call it "God," but if you want to call it gloop then that's up to you.
5) Now my opponent thinks perfection is subjective. Once again he needs to justify how for his argument to hold any weight. Where I offered a sincere belief it was only in response to an unjustified argument that my opponent has changed.
6) Finally, yes I did drop the last part of the charge that this God is not necessarily Christian. I'm not proving the Christian God, I'm proving a God. Same goes for all arguments below.

Lewis
1) The argument is proof that if anything in the world exists, God exists. It does not prove the premises, and that's why I said it's not perfectly watertight. My opponent does not deny the premises and thus the argument must be correct.
2) If nothing is unstable and created the universe, the universe and evolution were blind watchmakers. Therefore there was no purpose, therefore the universe was an accident, therefore Lewis was right.
3) My opponent asserts Lewis does not account for God. Actually, the conclusion does. Right about where it says "God exists."
4) On the notion of a false dichotomy, I don't see how purpose / no purpose is a false dichotomy. Either something has a purpose or it does not. There is no middle way.

Pascal
1) No, it's not an argument for the Christian God. Again, it's for the one true God.
2) My opponent claims disbelief on the grounds of reason and logic. God is not contrary to all reasons and logic. See my arguments. And contrary to my opponent's assertions, this is legitimate grounds for belief.
3) It also appears my opponent owns a very poor quality philosophy book. I'll bet it was written by athiests.
4) Yes, I have dealt with all this before (except #3). I'd wish I didn't have to say the same thing over and over because my opponent doesn't read my case properly.

Kant
1) God (not whoever "He" is) can exist and not exist simultaneously, if it so chooses. God can break logical truth because it is logical truth - it is not "bound" by it in the traditional sense of the word. Thus everything that God does is logical. Thus we know which logical truths are accurate, so to us, logic is absolute.
2) That is all my opponent has to say.

So we are not left with the God of _________, but rather a perfect God. This is all entirely relevant to the moot and substantiated. I've double-checked and am 100% confident I have responded to every single one of my opponent's criticisms.

Resurrection:
1) Honi did in fact achieve a following, but it did not last beyond his lifetime. Simple explaination why - he did not get resurrected.
2) Josephus was not a skeptic of Jesus. He was a historian, and never said one skeptical word about Jesus. This is probably because nobody, including him, cared about the Christian cult. On phoenix lights, I believe that the people that saw them saw something, although I doubt their conclusions. My conclusions are, however, undoubtable.
3) The contradictions do nothing to disprove the critical events. Major details are agreed on, minor details were "filled in" by the gospel authors. Other stories have been later added. But everyone agrees on the resurrection. Everyone agrees Jesus died, rose again and was seen by a whole bunch of people. That's all I need to prove.

Cool. That is all. Vote pro.
Debate Round No. 4
unitedandy

Con

PoE

First, larz says that the good he defines is having the qualities of God. This leaves one wondering how anyone could make any moral judgements at all. Nothing has the qualities of God, except God, while making this judgement requires us to define, and, thus larz, limit God, according to you. So morality is out the window. This leads to real-life moral relativism, as we cannot know God, or even comprehend these qualities. In fact, how could we know rape for example, is wrong on this definition? Does larz really want to argue the Christian case while holding practical moral relativism? Really? To say God = good and good = God is just utter meaningless. One might as well say, God is God. And as this is indefinable concept, we might as well grow gills and walk backwards into the sea. This is just utter semantic gobbledegook.

On his second point, if the PoE is left unchallenged, it taints one's whole concept of God as morally perfect. If his best hope to deal with this is to hack off God until it becomes much less than even a philosopher's God, but mere pantheism, then it's pretty successful as an argument in my book. I would wonder how many Christians would recognise larz's Christian God? As for proving that the Christian God does not exist, proof is your framework, larz, not mine. Especially when one just defines God as above logic. THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED THE EVIDENTIAL PoE! It uses an inference from the best data we have. Incidentally, if I did use the logical PoE, you would no doubt say, God is above logic. Indeed, you have already done so. When we play by your rules, you negate them as when convenient to you, and then criticise me for it. As for moral absolutes, I believe in objective morality, not absolutes. To try and reason them would lead to a book length response, so let me just indicate which moral philosophy I hold. Actions are underpinned by desires, and we can gain objective morality by this, hence Desirism.

As for presupposing the existence of God, this is what induction requires. To throw this out would be disastrous for pretty much any important topic, and if one wants to try and prove anything beyond all doubt, then we can't believe anything about history, much of science, the existence of other minds, or much else. Now, I should say that Christianity doesn't usually lead here, but in this case, it does. Larz defends is use of the mystery card and the retreats to the possible as viable arguments. But these are not valid arguments with induction. I think this alone is symptomatic of his wholesale misunderstanding of the problem, because of the assumption that this is the logical PoE, and not the evidential PoE.
As for privation response, this does not work because there are AMORAL actions.

e.g. Does sitting on a chair have moral value? No

But by your definition, because it lacks good, then it is by default, evil. This is absurd. Especially when you consider fleshing this out to conform to the attributes of God. Anything which occupies space is therefore evil, because it is contrary to the attributes of God. Absurd. Anything which is finite is evil here. Absurd. Anything which acts within time is evil. Absurd.

Again, no real engagement with the problem, except to redefine God as good, make repeated mistakes about the nature of the arguments structure and almost blaspheme with the lack of content found with larz's God. Things which lack so much content usually do so because they also lack existence.

On the quick note, the point here is that appeal to the supernatural is just as easy for me. Take the resurrection. Maybe a rival God caused mass hallucinations. Totally ridiculous, but not logically impossible. To make a case built on logical axioms, one must arrive at an inescapable, unavoidable conclusion, not merely a highly probabilistic one, which is why using proof is such a double-edged sword. ANY retreats to the possible leave any such dependant arguments as useful as a cat-flap in an elephant house. This, as well as doubting every step of how you get there means your case is not only under threat, it is irreversibly damaged, and all because you went for proofs from the outset.

1) Descartes - Perfect is just a word, not a magic bullet, but if so, let's all join the Plato society for perfect triangles. If I say something is perfect (conceptually), but doubt that it exists, I am implicitly doubting its perfection, as an actual existing entity. The criticism I keep bring up that merely restates his argument is pretty much the exact same as the one used by Kant. Yep, that guy. Such an example would be that $100 dollars is conceptually valid whether it exists or not. This does not matter, it means the same. Existence is a separate issue. Also, perfection is and can only be in reference to nature, rather than existence.

2) Lewis - My opponent says I don't deny the premises. Sorry, what premises? There are no premises. If we were to set it up as a syllogism, it would be an invalid one, because the conclusion doesn't logically follow. Even if it does, I reject that the universe and our thinking are accidents. In the case of our thinking, I wouldn't say that because we the lack of purpose makes us doubt our thinking. If the process involved required us, at least to some extent, to experience reality as best as we can in order to survive, then we should see this as representative of reality, using all our analytical tools to subvert error. Incidentally, if you don't doubt your perception in some cases, then you perhaps should. Take a rock. We know that it is made up of largely empty space (in terms of protons, neurons and electrons), yet we experience it as solid. I noticed also you didn't want to comment on how agency without a spatio-temporal framework, a disembodied mind or simultaneous causation make sense. Good call.

4) Kant - Okay. Larz says here that God can be both existent and non-existent at the same time. Come again? Wow. Because it is not bound by logic. Well, then as I warned, logic is still unaccounted for. But worse than that, logic is de facto inferior to illogic, necessarily, because, in your own worldview, God is perfection, and logic is merely an inhibition. It is not of the qualities of God and is thus the privation of God and good. LOGIC IS EVIL EVERYONE! As I said before, Wow. There are many other point which you just ignored, so I'll simply list them:

Logic is a conceptual tool we use to describe reality
How do we determine, on your own view, what constitutes a logical absolute?
We still can't account for why logic exists, nor could we using logic

On the resurrection, there are many who have a following long after they are dead. Mohammed. Joseph Smith. Nostradamus. Do we seriously believe it because of miracles? Josephus was a JEWISH scholar, one who mentioned Jesus (as Christians know) and did not believe. Everyone agrees on the resurrection? Well, most scholars actually think that there is insufficient evidence to mount such a case, according to Gary Habermas, but hey, Bart Ehrman, Robert Price, Richard Carrier and many others don't agree with you. You also dropped my symmetrical case, which was crucial to my defence. Nothing you said was extraordinary evidence, but, if it was, it's raining miracles, because we have more evidence for the hindu milk miracle, etc.

To sum up, I'd like to thank larz for the debate. It's been a pleasure. But the poor presentation of his arguments, appeals to gaps, dropping of crucial points, and the fact that he chose to rely on proofs lost him the debate. His reduction of the God hypothesis to such an extent makes me feel that most Christians will see his God as unrecognisable. In closing, i would ask these questions, if no for any of these, vote con:
Do you think one can categorically prove such a being?
Can it exist/not exist simultaneously?
Is the case for Jesus really better than modern day miracles?
larztheloser

Pro

I'm very sorry. Given the rather harsher tone of my opponent's final round, I hope I haven't frustrated or angered him. I have enjoyed this discussion, and actually, having debated with a great many believers and atheists, this opponent is one of the most respectful I have met. I'd like to do a few rebuttals, and then quickly sum up my case.

From the outset, I said I would prove a God, and show that this God is more likely to be the Christian God than any other. I have done so. Logically, one could think of totally ridiculous scenarios in which the God is not the Christian God. But this still means the Christian God is the most likely, and it is a valid conclusion to say it exists. It does not mean my case is "irreversibly damaged".

My opponent had only one objection to all of this - the problem of evil. In his final speech he gave a remarkable rant filled almost completely with new arguments that he doesn't have the space to substantiate properly. I think my opponent actually meant to create the topic "That the problem of evil negates God." Nonetheless I shall respond to all of his points.
1) My opponent notes that God is limited to being good and is thus not perfect. On the contrary, God's goodness is limitless. God chooses to exercise its good over its evil. Why? I don't know. Ask some omniscient guy.
2) My opponent questions how we can ascertain the morality of any given action (such as rape) given our finite minds. Simple. Read what I said last round.
3) Well done to my opponent for noticing God=good. That's been my contention since round 1. It is also true that God is God. There is nothing illogical about this. If I say rock=silver, and that rock=rock, what's so illogical about that?
4) God, as I have said, is morally perfect but not perfectly loving. It allows evil to happen. The book of revelation has a list of punishments God delivers to evildoers. I suggest my opponent read it.
5) My opponent shifts the burden of proof on to me. Tacitly he therefore concedes that the problem of evil is not a proof.
6) Then my opponent concedes that all this argument is based on his own moral philosophy (which he cannot justify).
7) My opponent appears to have misunderstood induction - drawing out a rule from a line of cases. If all of the cases are uncertain (what my opponent calls the "mystery card") then the rule must be uncertain. There is nothing illogical about that, and the argument is perfectly valid under induction.
8) Sitting on a chair has moral value. Right now it is good that I'm sitting on a chair as it gives me some rest. Potentially, sitting on an electric chair could be bad. If something does no good or bad then it's a waste of time and therefore bad by default. There are therefore no amoral actions.
9) Yes, finite things are evil. The more infinite they are, the more good they become. That is not absurd - the Christian view is that the wiser you are, the more good you do. That's what the book of Proverbs is about.
10)"no real engagement with the problem" - if that were true, my opponent would have responded to all of my criticisms of his original problem. I have engaged much more than he has.
11)I am accused of redefining God as good. No. God has always been good. That was my consistent definition.
12)Apparently I "make repeated mistakes about ... the argument's structure." The structure is irrelevant here. The content is relevant. All your content has been rebutted.
13)And then apparently I "almost blaspheme." I'm going to require that my opponent backs this one up. Needless to say I am VERY well versed in the Bible.

When it came to the existence of God, my opponent gave some textbook rebuttals with a sarcastic tone. Here are some quick responses:

Descartes
1) Perfect triangles - don't exist any more than perfect cookies. Sorry Plato.
2) My opponent doubts that God is perfect. Trouble is, that was the definition he gave of God in round 1.
3) Here my opponent says that because he can visualize $100 as conceptually being $100, he must have $100. That's nonsense. It's got nothing to do with my argument anyway, which is that if God is perfect it exists.
4) "Perfection is and can only be in reference to nature, rather than existence." I didn't say God was perfect in existence. I said God was perfect and therefore exists. Serious, serious difference.

Lewis
1) The premises my opponent did not deny were the existence of reality. If reality exists, God exists.
2) My opponent now changes his mind again and says we have a purpose. Therefore, under the argument, something must have imparted that purpose.
3) I didn't respond to his point about "agency without a spatio-temporal framework, a disembodied mind or simultaneous causation" because it doesn't make sense. In case some voters are confused by the buzzwords, though, that's a philosopher's way of saying "You can't do anything unless you have time plus space, unless your brain is sitting in a vat somewhere and unless something else is doing it too." That sentence barely makes sense because prima face, none of them relate to one another. My opponent should have explained this argument rather than just use one sentence that is incomprehensible to most.

Pascal
1) Oh, what happened here? My opponent ignores Pascal entirely. The mathematician must be feeling very proud that his argument has trumped my opponent.

Kant
1) Obviously this one is my opponent's favorite. First he says logic is still unaccounted for. Well, let me prove logic, given that God exists: God exists, God is logic, therefore logic exists. I would have thought this simple deduction obvious by now?
2) My opponent confused himself by missing that he had inserted a triple negation into his argument. The conclusion that reads "LOGIC IS EVIL" should correctly read "ILLOGIC IS EVIL." This is a bit hard to explain but anyone with a background in formal logic will side with me.
3) The first of the points I supposedly ignored - "Logic is a conceptual tool we use to describe reality." That's not an argument, that's an assertion. There is no onus on me to rebut that. If it were true then logic would be unprovable.
4) The second - "do we determine, on your own view, what constitutes a logical absolute?" I totally rebutted that!? Right where I used your rape analogy! God TELLS us what constitutes a logical absolute.
5) "We still can't account for why logic exists, nor could we using logic" - yes we can. See my Kant-rebuttal #1.

Jesus' resurrection
1) My opponent thinks I've used the following argument. I have not, so there is no need to rebut that. Jesus rising from the dead is the only recorded miracle that all skeptics who had good information believed.
2) Josephus did not believe, but neither did he doubt the resurrection. Indeed in Josephus' writings it even tells of the resurrection as if it were historical fact. Josephus even includes the "three days" figure. And that's despite Josephus being a Pharisee!
3) "Everyone agrees on the resurrection" - everyone who lived back then does. There is no competing account or explanation, even after 2000 years of skepticism.
4) I did respond to the "symmetrical" case in my little note.
5) I don't have extraordinary evidence for Jesus' resurrection. But given that I've proven God exists, it's not so extraordinary an event after all. Many more people doubt the Hindu milk miracle than doubted Jesus' resurrection back then.

In closing, I've proven that a God exists, that the problem of evil is irrelevant and that Jesus was, in all probability, resurrected. Therefore it is far more likely for the Christian God to exist than not. QED. I thank my opponent for this fun debate, and implore you one more time to vote pro.

God bless, Amen.
Debate Round No. 5
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
CONTINUED FROM BELOW

As to babies going to heaven, I interpret the verses differently. 2 Samual 12 says David will go to his son, not that his son is in heaven (how do you know David didn't go to hell?) or that all children go to heaven. Even so I'm inclined to think David wasn't being prophetic here, given that he's whining because his first-born son just died, just lamenting a fantasy. In Luke 18, Jesus says "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these [children]." That doesn't say anything about any other children, and it's not clear whether Jesus is talking about the earthly kingdom of God or the spiritual kingdom of God. I'm inclined to think it's the earthly because Jesus was talking about earthly blessing in context. Besides, if people who don't know about God are saved, it's logical that you should keep God a secret and tell nobody so that people stop going to hell. I prefer the other reading - Jesus is the only way to salvation (Acts 4:12), therefore if you have never heard of him then tough luck.

"God didn't answer my prayer"
"He did, just not how you wanted him to"
"Then He wasn't listening very hard, was He?"
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
@startrekfan1324 - "Can you make out an if-then statement chain of how you reasoned that my position denies that bad things happen to good people?"
1) Bad things happen to good people
2) God causes all bad things
3) Therefore God is bad to good people
Doesn't sound like justice to me. So I was guessing you'd deny my first premise. Now upon looking at it again, maybe you think that God really IS bad to good people, but we don't know what its plan is - then that would be a denial of the common understanding of justice, ie you say that God is unjust. So that position doesn't make sense.

"Whosoever believes in him" - sorry, when I said loves the "world", I meant "humanity" as a collective, not all people. Saying God loves all people is saying God loved all those millions he slew - can't remember the passage but early in Joshua it says that God fought alongside Israel - and did other bad things to. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned (my favorite verse), and Job 34:11 says God gives all what they deserve (ie it is a just master). Now either God changed this or it did not. If God did, God is no longer just, and therefore you're wrong. If God did not, I'm right.

The "evil = not of God" argument is really old (WAYYY predating Christianity). I struggle with it because it denies the existence of good, where good is a determined quality of God. You will note that in this debate I used a slight variation on that argument, evil=not good, good=God. I still don't really like this case because it's kind-of circular and presupposes God, just as cold presupposes heat (so you're making the same mistake as "Einstein's" teacher if you make it). But I admit I sometimes fall back on it because it can confuse debaters who haven't heard it before.

I'll continue in a second comment.
Posted by startrekfan1324 6 years ago
startrekfan1324
Just not how you wanted Him to" I ran out of words. I'll gladly clarify.
Posted by startrekfan1324 6 years ago
startrekfan1324
@larztheloser
I have other evidence for God. That is just part of my self-explanation for the lack of evidence. I explain things like this for myself,
I like to consider myself a fairly liberal Christian, at least compared to a lot of my family from the south U.S., and I try use reason and logic to justify my beliefs.

I completely agree about the debate. It also makes atheistic fundamentalists that act like total (insert expletive) to anyone who believes in a religion, justified and the "persecutions" thereof.

Can you make out an if-then statement chain of how you reasoned that my position denies that bad things happen to good people? Just wanted to see your thought process.

"Whosoever believeth in him." Can the world believe in something? It is a planet, a non living thing, in and of itself. In that sense, I interpret, that it is implying that Humanity is what he loves.
Love doesn't mean omnibenevolent, at least from our viewpoint. I really dislike arguments like, "Who created God?" or "Why is there evil?" I like an article I read somewhere that attributed a quote to Albert Einstein, but I don't believe he said it, in that he was in a philosophy class with an atheist professor and the professor was using the "evil" argument. The student asks,(paraphrased) "Is there such a thing as cold? Or darkness? If cold existed, there would be no absolute zero. Cold is the absence of heat, darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God."
God cannot be judged by our standards because he is all-powerful and all-knowing. We all want good things to happen, but God gives us what we need, not what we want. He doesn't give us what we deserve. He shows that through Jesus.

Christ said preach the gospel. It comes down to God if people have never heard of him. He makes the call. Babies too young to follow any religion go to Heaven. (2 Samuel 12:23; Luke 18:16) Why not those who don't know about God?

"God didn't answer my prayer!" "He did. Just not how yo
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
@startrekfan1324 - I argue both ways. I think this sort of civilized religious discussion is important. We should be able to discuss everything freely with open minds. Otherwise both religious fundamentalism and religious persecution (for want of a better opposite to "freedom") are legitimized. All should be free to practice and leave their faith, and all should know the facts about it. That's my view anyway. And don't worry, I'm a hard guy to offend. (: - religion doesn't have to deny reason and logic, and I think it's a shame that it does so often!

I'm guessing that for you, then, the very lack of evidence is your evidence for the existence of God? That's very cool, but it would have to be a rather poor plan. The lack of evidence for God has created more atheists than the evidence for God has created Christians. I guess I expect more of God to accept that.

John 3:16 is an example of God loving the world, not all the people of the world. The first great schism in the Christian church revolved around who could be baptized (Galatians 2:11). This shows it was not until after the death of Jesus was the old testament interpreted as applying to those beyond God's "chosen people," and for a short period the kingdom of Judah (the new testament was not yet written). God appears unjust to other races for the sole stated reason of advancing his own chosen people. 2 Chronicles 15:13 says: "Whoever does not seek the God of Israel should be executed." If this is God's plan, it's very racist against the Native Americans who had no way of knowing about a minor desert tribe an ocean away. I don't think this is compatible with omnibenevolence. But obviously this is a debatable issue. (:

And then there is always Ezekiel 14:8-21 - whenever bad things happen, God did it! Your position therefore denies that bad thins happen to good people. I have other examples too but not the word count to write them all.
Posted by startrekfan1324 6 years ago
startrekfan1324
@larztheloser
(My posts might sound opinionated. "In my opinion, etc. is meant to be implied)
I know it sounds like flawed reasoning, but *I* understand what I mean. :) I meant to say that God may have left evidence for himself, but I think he may have meant for Humanities faith to be strengthened through the doubt that he left. Again, it may sound like, "Christian wacko talking about sky-people again. Smile and nod. Smile and nod," but It's just my thoughts. And you, then again, as an atheist, probably considers religion a denial of reason and logic. (Just an assumption and generalization. 1001 apologies if any offense is taken by anything I say in the future, or anything in the past. Just covering my butt.)

I meant that he never got angry (I don't accept any non-canonical scripture as of right now. My opinion may change) and never got upset without good reason.

John 3:16 "And God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." To me, that doesn't sound like a color-blind racist. (No clue where you are going with it, but, take a little, give a little) It sounds like a God that loves his Creation, man, and want's more than anything to be with it.

God does everything for a reason. The Tsunami's and Earthquakes and deaths in childbirth are horrible tragedies, but God has a plan. We don't understand it. We aren't meant to.

It is pretty rare that I get to discuss religion with a non-Christian and neither one of us gets into fits of rage, both finding themselves completely justified.

P.S. Out of purely academic interest, why would an atheist like yourself take the pro-God position on a debate like this?

I only nominally support Pro because I'm Pro God. You both seem even up on conduct and what not.
Posted by unitedandy 6 years ago
unitedandy
Thanks guys for reading and voting
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
@startrekfan1324 - Actually Jesus had a habit of getting very upset (money changers), but not angry (unless you believe the Gospel of the Ebonites). Jesus was fond of debate (in the Socratic form that was common at the time) and never stumped by a question, answering it quietly and with as much honesty as he could (a trait which led to his death). He defended the God he believed in, apparently with a very authoritative style. Surely then the best emulation of Jesus is not to get upset about a topic, but to answer it?

If you accept there is no evidence of God in this world, you must not accept the hypothesis. That would be irrational doctrine. I beg to differ. There is evidence for and against God in this world. We all need to weigh up our choices. With no evidence free will is pointless, and going to heaven or hell becomes a lottery if God is true. I choose to reject God, in doing so rejecting the little evidence I have for God and holding to the greater evidence I have against. It's not a cop-out on your part, it's a denial of the reason and logic you believe God gave you.

I think justice is subjective. It's hard to claim the Boxing Day Tsunami or the deaths of women in childbirth are God's delivery of justice. Not all that happens in this world is just and fair, and this is the evidential problem of evil. I prefer to turn to scripture. Humanity is not humans. Creation is not humans. Nowhere does the bible say God loves all people. Therefore God is not all loving by default. God picks his favorites like a racist yet color-blind school teacher (this analogy is not meant to be read superficially).

Thanks for your nominal support though!
Posted by startrekfan1324 6 years ago
startrekfan1324
@larztheloser - That Isn't what I meant to imply. I meant to imply that God would exist upon a higher dimensional plane. With different logic. I am a very religious person, and I try to be as logical and reasonable about this topic as possible. I am sort of of the opinion that God purposely put no empirical proof that he exists in the world. He gave us free will, and he wanted us to have faith in Him. It may just sound like the typical Christian cop-out, but its kind of my thinking. Not essentially, just a little Back-Of-The-Mind thought.

I'd like to comment on the "not all-loving" bit. I think that It could have been better said as that He is just. He loves all humanity, but is just towards sin and sinners. But rather than giving us what we deserve, Hell, He showed us Mercy, through the death of Christ.

When ever this kind of debate gets volatile, I try to remain as calm as possible. If I got mad, It would unravel my entire argument and discredit me in the process. I don't think that I could call myself a decent Christian if I can't follow one of its main principles, emulation of Jesus. E.G. Getting upset over nothing.

I would vote pro but my account wont let me confirm it.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
larztheloser
@startrekfan1324 - if God cannot subject to the logic of this dimension, then it is perfectly unknowable. If it cannot be known, it cannot be believed in. I think Christian apologetics has done more for Christianity than any other Church movement, including the reformation, because it involves acceptance that faith is based on knowledge and reason. There is no other way to believe in God. That's why you should care.

I also hate it when this topic becomes a scream-fest. When it does I walk away. Before then, it is my obligation to defend my beliefs and hold an open mind. I'm not afraid of a topic if I hold an opinion on it. If my opinion cannot be defended it is not right that I keep it.

I also don't think it should be a premise that God cannot be omnipotent etc. Only with rational proof will I accept the impossibility of God. I've tried to steer away from that course in all my religious debates, because ultimately tautology is self-destructive.

I hope this answers some of your thoughts. Take them as you will. It's not too late to vote pro.
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Vote Placed by dprieto2 6 years ago
dprieto2
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