God Does Not Exist
The first round is for acceptance and the definition of God. I would like if, in the first round, my opponent would provide a detailed definition of the Christian God. I ask this because there are many possible interpretations of the Bible. This definition will be the accepted, unchanging definition used in this debate.
Please only accept this debate if you are a Christian.
I accept, a little background information on my beliefs.. I am a protestant Christian who prescribes to the idea of 'Sola Scriptura'.. Meaning, my beliefs are grounded only in the Bible according to the original manuscripts and not later Church additions/doctrines that are ascribed to Catholicism and other less specific denominations/sects.
II. God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.
III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;  the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. 
The Incompatibility of Religion and Science:
Christianity and Evolution are incompatible. The Bible claims that God designed, and created life, in his own image. (although this contradicts your definition, as the definition states that he has no body parts of his own to model us on) Evolution states that simple organic molecules formed, and they evolved from there. Evolution makes a much more convincing explanation for why we are here. If God had designed the eye, it would only be a symbol of his absolute incompetence. The "design" of the human eye is exceptionally flawed. The human eye is built upside-down and backwards. Light must travel through the cornea, the blood vessels in the eye, the amacrine cells, the ganglion cells, and the horizontal cells to reach the light sensitive cells. Humans are the most advanced animals on planet Earth, but our eyes are less effective than the eyes of some comparatively lowly birds. For example, the osprey bird's eyes are a calculated 60 times more powerful than our own. No intelligent God, who clearly favors humans above all other animals, would give the superior eyes to the inferior animal. This conundrum can be explained through evolution: "In the beginning," through random mutations, a simple eye-spot with some light-sensitive cells that informed the organism about sources of light was formed. The organism(s) with this attribute would have had a clear advantage, and it would be much less likely that these organisms would die before they could reproduce, and pass on this attribute. Then it mutated into a recessed eye-spot, where the outward-facing part of the eye recessed, providing the organism with the direction the light is coming from, and then into a deeply recessed eye-spot that did the same thing, but more effectively. The eye then evolved into a pinhole camera eye that could focus an image on a layer of light-sensitive cells, then into a pinhole lens eye that could focus an image, and finally into a complex eye, like the ones found in modern humans and other modern mammals. Each of these types of eyes currently exist on other organisms.(http://www.pbs.org...) Some religious people accept evolution, but the literal interpretation of the creation of humans by God must be accepted, if the rest of the Bible is to be believed. Without Adam and Eve, "original sin" could not have happened, and the entire Bible relies on the concept of "original sin."
The Contradictory Nature of a Traditionally Defined God:
The definition of God you provided states that He is omnipotent, or " almighty." Omnipotence is contradictory"and an objective thing, like God, cannot contradict itself. This argument goes:
"Could God create a stone so heavy he could not lift it?"
If yes: God's power is limited, because He could not lift the stone.
If no: God's power is limited, because He could not create the stone.
Either way, the omnipotent being has proven not to be omnipotent due to the logical contradiction in each example.
Your definition states that god is omniscient, or " His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature." An omniscient God who gives his creations free will cannot exist. If I decide to eat an entire pizza on my own, and God knew that I would eat an entire pizza by myself before it happened, that does not necessarily mean that he caused me to eat it. The problem with this is that if God is all-knowing, He cannot be wrong"if God knew I would eat the pizza, there would be no way that I could decide to not eat it, because if I did, I would prove God wrong.
The "I don't have a name for this argument, but I like it" Argument:
If there is a cause of the universe, that cause must exist outside of the universe. Assuming this cause is a being, this being must be timeless, because as far as we are aware, time only exists within the universe. Thinking and doing require change, and change requires the passage of time. There is no passage of time outside of the universe. A timeless being, that exists outside of the universe, that can think or do anything, is a self-contradictory idea.
Time began at the same time as the universe did, so there was no point in time when the universe did not exist, as time and the universe came into existence at the same moment. The universe has technically always existed, or has existed at every possible point in time. (The word "always" is not defined as an infinite amount of time, the word only applies within the confines of time) If there was no point in time where the universe did not exist, then there was also not interval of time where it could have been caused, or created. If something is as old as time itself, like the universe, it has always existed, and therefore needs no cause, or creator.
Hello! I am very excited to be participating in this debate and I would like to thank my opponent for giving me the opportunity. I will be presenting a case for the existence of God through the lenses of 'best explanations'.. More specifically, I firmly believe that the Christian worldview is the most plausibly true in the face of all the atheist and other such objections which in my experience, I find to be lacking in explanatory scope.
Nevertheless, I look forward to a thoughtful debate and wish my opponent the best of luck, Lets begin:
Argument from Contingency:
(1). Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
(2). If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
(3). The universe exists.
(4) Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence.
(5). Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God
Definition of Contingent: Occurring or existing only if (certain other circumstances) are the case; dependent on
Now according to premise (1), everything that exists either exists by neccesity of its own nature (I.e. it needs to exist) or it exists contingently. We understand this from our everyday experience, something doesn't just 'exist' without a reason but rather it needs an explanation.
Now premise (2) is playing on our understanding of contemporary Big Bang cosmology.. We have significant evidence that the universe came into being from literally nothing roughly 13.7 billion years ago..
Whatever brought the universe into existence at this point needs to meet some requirements. It must be eternal (since it created time), it must be omnipotent (since it created everything), and it most be spaceless (since it created space).. Its also important to note that this being cannot be an abstract quality but rather an unembodied personal mind since abstract quantities are not causally related to anything. We are thus left, with a few of the characteristics of the Christian God.
The remaining premises are logically airtight, since we know that the universe exists (unless you are willfully ignorant) then the remaining two follow given the validity of the first two premises. This ultimately concludes in God being the best explanation for the existence of the universe in which we inhabit.
Argument from Design:
1). the universe appears fine tuned for intelligent life
2). The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
3). It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
4). Therefore, it is due to design.
Take a few moments to look at some of the universal constants:
* Speed of Light: c=299,792,458 m s-1
* Gravitational Constant: G=6.673 x 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2
* Planck's Constant: 1.05457148 x 10-34 m2 kg s-2
* Planck Mass-Energy: 1.2209 x 1022 MeV
* Mass of Electron, Proton, Neutron: 0.511; 938.3; 939.6 MeV
According to these 4 arguments, we can come to these conclusions:
God is the best explanation for why anything exists at all
God is the best explanation for the fine tuning of the universe
God is the best explanation for objective moral values and duties
God is the best explanation for the historical events concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ
I expect my opponent will either discount the credibility of either given premises above or show how these premises if true, do not logical lead to God as the best explanation. Nonetheless, I look forward to my opponents further rebuttals.
Back to Pro
Definition of a Virtual Particle: A short-lived subatomic particle whose existence briefly violates the principle of conservation of energy. The uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics allows violations of conservation of energy for short periods, meaning that even a physical system with zero energy can spontaneously produce energetic particles.
Here is a good explanation of what virtual particles are: http://www.scientificamerican.com...
1). The first premise is a baseless assertion, and it is untrue at quantum levels. Virtual particles appear in and out of existence without cause.
2). There is no reason to assume this. There is especially no reason to assume that it is the Christian God specifically.
4). Sure, it can be presumed that the universe's existence will eventually be explained.
5). The final assertion relies on premise 1 and 2 being true, and that is not the case.
This is an argument based on a false assertion and a faulty assumption.
Argument from Design Rebuttal:
This argument contradicts the idea of an omnipotent God. You said that, "we see that these values are VERY specific quantities whereby, any change in the slightest to these values would not allow for a life permitting universe to exist." You seem to be underestimating your God. If God is omnipotent, He could create sustainable life in any universe, even one that couldn't sustain life. God would not need to care what the mass of an electron is, as he could still create life whether the electron weighed half, or double, what it actually weighs.
It's interesting that you used a quote from an atheist who actually disagrees with this argument.
Regardless of how "impossible" the odds of our universe ending up the way it did are, if they really were impossible, we wouldn't be here to contemplate the odds of our universe existing the way it does. The universe was not created to fit us, instead we evolved to fit the universe. We can use your life as an analogy: what are the odds that your ancestors would ever have met? What are the odds that your ancestors would ever have mated? What are the odds that your parents would have conceived you when they did, so that you birthday could be on the day that it is? What are the odds that the individual sperm that you were created from would reach the egg, instead of all of the other possible sperms that could have? Your life, and my life, is nothing more than a large string of improbable coincidences. Each coincidence seems amazing on it's own, but it only seems amazing in hindsight. No one will ever know what the alternatives could have been. You may say that God guided your ancestors together, but that would mean that we do not have unrestricted free will.
To say that the universe was fine-tuned specifically for us requires the assumption that we're special. It is an arrogant idea, and it is not based on any evidence.
Argument from Objective Morality Rebuttal:
You said that, "There are certain actions and behaviors that are not only socially regressive, they are moral abominations across all cultures, races, and orientations." This is a completely untrue assertion. Different groups of people can, and often do, have disagreements about what is moral. The Spartans regularly practiced infanticide, and Nazis, at least the ones who believed in the Nazi cause, believed that they were helping the world. In both historical civilizations and modern ones in the Middle East, Sharia Law has been, and is used, to determine the fate of lawbreakers. I would like to presume that you do not believe that shoplifter's hands should be cut off, but some people believe that it is the righteous thing to do. The entire argument relies on everyone having the same moral compass.
Morality is an evolutionary consequence. Societies with morals are more likely to survive. You have been taught by your parents about what is, and what isn't moral since childhood.
Argument from the Historical Jesus Christ Rebuttal:
"Disagreeing with premise (1) is the logical equivalent of disagreeing with modern science on the existence of atoms." This is a ridiculous claim, as atoms can be definitively proven.
None of the accounts of Jesus are contemporary. According to the Gospels, He shut down Jerusalem with a parade. He performed in front of tens of thousands of people. He was supposedly very well known, but somehow not a single literate person wrote anything about Him for fifty years or more.
The empty tomb - The Bible cannot even agree with itself when it comes to Jesus' tomb. John said it was witnessed by one woman, Matthew said two women, and Mark said three. Mark and John both said that the tomb was already open when the woman/women got there. Matthew said the tomb was closed, but an angel rolled back the boulder covering it. Mark said a young man was inside. Matthew said an angel was waiting outside the tomb. John said two men/angels were inside. Mark and John say the man/men were sitting, while Luke indicates they were standing. These many contradictions hint towards the idea that the story was perhaps made-up. An event as significant as the empty tomb of Jesus would have surely been documented.
Jesus' Resurrection - Before the story of Jesus, there were many other messiah-like people were were crucified before ascending into heaven. The Ancient God Mithra was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days. December 25 is also the birthday of Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. When the story of Jesus was written, the idea of Crucifixion and subsequent resurrection after three days was already one present in many religions.
If Jesus did exist, his name was most likely not Jesus. The Romans kept meticulous records, so meticulous that we even know how much a pair of sandals cost back then. Jesus was allegedly crucified by the Romans, but there are no Roman execution records with His name on them. You would think that the Romans would record the killing of Jesus, as they hated Him, and they were proud that they had killed Him.
Thanks to my opponent for completing their first rebuttal, we will begin right away:
My opponent starts with the dubious assertion: “The Bible claims that God designed, and created life, in his own image. (Although this contradicts your definition, as the definition states that he has no body parts”
Hebrew root of the Latin phrase for image – Imago Dei – meaning image, shadow or likeness
The original definition of image does not restrict us to only a physical likeness but rather, a likeness in being or attributes... God endowed humanity with explicit free choice, dominion and self-awareness that the rest of creation does not share.
Since humans share in some of the divine attributes declared by God, then it stands logically that we were created in His image. This does not pose a contradiction whatsoever.
Alleged contradictions in the ‘traditionally defined’ God:
My opponent gives the well-known ‘omnipotence paradox’ as an example of Gods contradictory nature. He asserts:
"Could God create a stone so heavy he could not lift it?"
If yes: God's power is limited, because He could not lift the stone.
If no: God's power is limited, because He could not create the stone.
Hmm… Seems airtight does it not? Well if you’re dealing with other ‘traditionally’ defined Gods such as Allah from an Islamic conception, then yes there is an irresolvable issue. However, only the Christian God is able to answer this dilemma... and the answer is in fact, yes.
Let’s remember that in the definition provided, the Christian God exists tri-personally or if you will, as a Trinity
Definition of Trinity: “The Christian Godhead as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Now if we look at the attributes and activity of God the Son (Jesus) according to the NT, we see that He is fully God and fully man (Philippians 2:1-11).. HE is the creator of all things (Col. 1:16), His state of omniscience was limited (Luke 2:52).. and he was unable to carry his own cross after being brutally tortured by the Romans (Luke 23:26).
We can then logically substitute the ‘cross’ in this situation for a rock in which, Jesus was unable to lift although still remaining ontological God in nature. So can God create a stone too heavy that He cannot lift? Yes! Does this limit his omnipotence to the point of self-contradiction? No! Since the Christian God is able to humble himself (in form) due to his hypostatic union, He is the only God able to solve this dilemma. Thus, refuting my opponent’s assertion of this being a self-contradictory idea.
The last little bit my opponent brings up is this idea of omniscience and free will. He asserts: “if God knew I would eat the pizza, there would be no way that I could decide to not eat it, because if I did, I would prove God wrong.”
This seems to me a fundamental misconception of Gods foreknowledge which is ultimately dependent of your theory of time in relation to God’s eternal nature. If you believe (like some theologians) that God is essentially ‘timeless’ and not bound by time, then every event whether it be in the past, present or future is manifest before God..
It is like a book, where we are stuck smack dab in the middle and God is the author able to read any part from the beginning to the end.
On the other hand, if you believe that God does inhabit time at a specific point and just looks ahead to see future events, you still don’t have a problem... Neither in these situations do you have issues with God knowing the future and our free will... After all, we all know the sun will rise but that does absolutely nothing to cause it.
The fact is, if for whatever reason you decided to change your mind and not eat that delicious pizza, that would have been the choice that God foreknew. “God knowing what we are going to do does not mean that we can't do something else. It means that God simply knows what we have chosen to do ahead of time. Our freedom is not restricted by God's foreknowledge. Our freedom is simply realized ahead of time by God.”
Temporal Necessity in Causation?
*I think this title is a bit better than the “I like it” argument.
In this section of my opponents opening argument, I’ve taken the liberty of forming his objections into a deductive argument for better simplicity:
(1) Causes must precede their effects in time
(2) There is no time prior to the beginning of time (the origin of the universe)
(3) Therefore, the universe cannot have a cause
Now I’m interested, what makes my opponent think that time presupposes causality? Why cannot one timeless entity (say a #) depend timelessly for its existence on another timeless entity? Why could not God sustain a number in a timeless existence? I’m interested to hear why it is impossible.
When we look at the entire sphere of causality, we see that there are two types: temporal and logical. Immanuel Kant gives a prime example of logical causality, imagine a heavy ball resting on a cushion from eternity past, the physical proximity of the ball and cushion will form a concave depression (indentation) in the cushion that is co-eternal with the ball and cushion... Now if I may ask... What is the cause of this concavity? The ball nor the cushion has temporal priority over the other..
In my opponents view, there cannot be a cause for this causality (since is neither is temporarily prior), this just simply isn’t a valid conclusion however, as a contingent property, the concavity of the cushion begs for a causal explanation! We then have an example of a cause that does not precede its effect in time or rather, in a different manner: logically. If the ball did not exist, the concavity of the cushion would not exist. The ball is logically prior to the concavity, though not temporally prior to it.
This is a great example in displaying how the concept of causation is logically coherent outside the bound of a temporal framework. My opponent is falsely concluding that there is only one form of causation which the atheist philosopher Alexander Pruss concludes is ‘unconvincing’ while remarking: “apart from full or partial reductions of the notion of causation to something like Humean regularity and temporal precedence, …there is [not] much reason to suppose that the cause of a temporal effect must even be in time.”
Now to answer my opponent’s assertion: “If there was no point in time where the universe did not exist, then there was also not interval of time where it could have been caused, or created. If something is as old as time itself, like the universe, it has always existed, and therefore needs no cause, or creator.”
This seems to be a dubious play on words, He uses ‘always existed’ as term to define time within the bound of time which is terribly misleading since we understand (as my opponent himself claims) that time had a beginning… It is a finite property that is subject to the same laws of causality as everything else and needs a valid explanation for its existence… It seems that my opponent is suggesting an infinite regress... But nonetheless, we must object that a timeless entity did in fact, because the universe since there is no point ‘in time’ where this cause had the opportunity.
Overall, my opponent will need to show how it is impossible for simultaneous causation to occur outside the bounds of temporal necessity which we have not seen so far.
Let’s keep in mind the following solutions to my opponent’s objections:
A). Evolution poses more problems for the atheist
B). the Christian conception of God solves the omnipotence paradox
C). foreknowledge holds no causal relationship to free agents
D). their are models concerning causation outside the bounds of temporal necessity
My opponent said, "the creation narrative does not restrict us to the 6 literal days as my opponent would object. Genesis 1 is open to a wide variety of interpretations and one is by no means barred to the literal interpretation." If evolution is accepted, Eve did not exist. If Eve did not exist, she couldn't have eaten the apple, and 'original sin' would not exist. The entire Bible relies on 'original sin' existing.
My opponent stated, "They found that their are 10 steps within the course of human evolution that are so improbable in their reality that before they could happen, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and the earth would be incinerated." You cannot make a probability claim when you only have a sample size of one. This also assumes that evolution is an entirely random process and based solely on probability. While genetic variation may be random, natural selection is not. An organism's ability to survive is directly related to it's inherited traits.
Final Rebuttal 2:
"He was unable to carry his own cross after being brutally tortured by the Romans (Luke 23:26). We can then logically substitute the cross in this situation for a rock in which, Jesus was unable to lift although still remaining ontological God in nature." Jesus being unable to lift the cross only furthers my point. Just because God supposedly existed in human form, that does not mean his omnipotence would be limited in that form. If it did, he would not be omnipotent. The cross cannot be logically substituted: if Jesus could not carry the cross, he was either not omnipotent, although that contradicts your definition, or he was putting on a show for the people around him.
Final Rebuttal 3:
"Imagine a heavy ball resting on a cushion from eternity past, the physical proximity of the ball and cushion will form a concave depression (indentation) in the cushion that is co-eternal with the ball and cushion." The cushion with the ball on it is not similar enough to the universe for this analogy to be used effectively. In the analogy, the cushion with the ball on it has existed eternally, but the universe has not. Time presupposes physical causality because nothing physical exists eternally. The universe is purely physical except for abstract things, like numbers. Numbers do not pose a problem though, as they are not real, but are instead a measurement system used to describe things that do exist.
My opponent said, "He uses 'always existed' as term to define time within the bound of time which is terribly misleading." I was using the term 'always existed' correctly. The Oxford English definition of always is: 'At all times; on all occasions.' The Oxford English definition of existed is: 'Have objective reality or being.' If my opponent has a quarrel with the dictionary definition of a word, I would suggest he/she should speak to Oxford University about it.
My opponent concludes by saying that the universe has a cause, yet there was no point in time where this cause could have taken place: "But nonetheless, we must object that a timeless entity did in fact, because the universe since there is no point 'in time' where this cause had the opportunity." My argument stated that the universe does not need a cause and that there was no point 'in time' where it could have been caused. My opponent failed to rebut the first point, and he/she actually agreed with the second point.
I would like to thank my opponent for accepting and participating in this debate with me.