The Instigator
likespeace
Con (against)
Losing
16 Points
The Contender
philochristos
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points

God: Is he good or evil?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
philochristos
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,199 times Debate No: 28668
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (27)
Votes (8)

 

likespeace

Con

This debate assumes there is a single omniscient, omnipotent being called "God".
Pro will argue that God is supremely benevolent ("good").
Con will argue that it's at least as likely God is supremely malevolent ("evil").

1. Drops will count as concessions.
2. Semantic or abusive arguments will not be counted.
3. Arguments in comments or that don't follow the format below will not be counted.

Round 1: Rules, acceptance, and/or clarification
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (no rebuttals)
Round 3: Rebuttal of opponent's arguments
Round 4: Defending your original arguments and conclusion (no new arguments)
philochristos

Pro

I accept this debate because it looks short and sweet. Good luck, likespeace.
Debate Round No. 1
likespeace

Con

1. There's great suffering

In Sachsenhausen, mustard gas was tested on Jews. In other camps they were burned or frozen or starved or roasted. Google "Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs" or "Miami Cannibal". There are plagues, birth defects, wars, famines, and disasters.

"By taking one breath in, the people of Pompeii were inhaling a mixture of hot gas and ash causing lungs to fill with fluid, almost like swallowing fire. The second breath would swallow even more ash, and create a wet cement like substance in lungs. The third breath would cause the cement substance to thicken causing the victim to gasp for breath and suffocate. It would have been a slow and extremely agonising death..."

source: http://www.awesomestories.com...

2. Why God allows good?

a. Free Will: So we choose malevolence on our own.

b. Chances for Evil: Saving money, falling in love, and forming a family set one up for greater losses and more forms of evil. We're not omniscient, so we sometimes miss that endgame.
philochristos

Pro

Thank you for coming to tonight's debate. We have a really short word limit, so I'll get right to it.

Since Con is arguing that God is evil, and I am arguing that God is good, we are both presupposing the real and objective existence of good and evil. Otherwise, he'd be arguing that God is evil for him, and I'd be arguing that God is good for me.

There cannot be a distinction between good and evil unless there is a moral law to distinguish them. There cannot be a moral law unless it is grounded in a transcendent personal being like God. If there is no God, then there can be no objective distinction between good and evil. That means the distinction between good and evil depend on God.

By definition, good is what ought to be done, and evil is what ought to be avoided. It follows that God only prefers good and never prefers evil. That means God is wholly good. Since he is the standard of goodness, he is necessarily good and cannot be otherwise.

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2
likespeace

Con

We can define moral law independent of God, as many have done, and I will demonstrate.

As you say, a moral law states what one ought or ought not to do. Is it bad for a baby to drink poison? Yes. Is it good for him to drink milk? Yes. Most will readily agree to these.

An objective moral code can thus be based on natural law. "A living thing ought to do that which helps it to survive and thrive." Poison is good or bad for a baby independent of our feelings, imaginings, or interpretations. From this basic framework, philosophers have derived virtues like Honesty and Justice.

..the distinction between good and evil depend on God.

Your premise is refuted, and thus I reject your conclusion.

It follows that God only prefers good and never prefers evil.

God can murder billions in a rage, then resurrect. His actions have no consequences. Amoral? At the least, His actions may not be a roadmap to follow. Our debate is different--is God benevolent?

I've made the case for malevolence, wishing evil/harm to others.
philochristos

Pro

In the opening round, I argued that God is necessarily good. So we can make the following argument:

1. Whatever God does, he has a morally justifiable reason for doing it.
2. God allows wars, plagues, famines, and disasters.
3. Therefore, God has a morally justifiable reason for allowing wars, plagues, famines, and disasters.

Theodicy is unnecessary because we can deduce that God has a morally justifiable reason without having to know what that reason is. It follows deductively that God has a morally justifiable reason from the fact that God is necessarily good.

Pro's could try to argue that it's not possible for God to have a morally sufficient reason for disasters, etc. But then that would prove that God is not necessarily good, which would mean that God is not the standard of goodness, which means there is no good and evil, which means God is not evil. So if it's impossible that God has a morally sufficient reason for disaster, etc., then Pro's position is undermined.

Debate Round No. 3
likespeace

Con

In support of a malevolent God, I've shown great suffering exists, and explained why a malevolent God might allow limited good to exist.

I 've refuted Pro's claim that objective moral law (what one ought to do) must be based on God, by introducing a well-studied alternative[1].

I've shown the folly of these claims--

"God is necessarily good (does what he ought to)": God may be amoral as his actions lack consequences. He can eat 9,999 twinkies and then win a marathon. Unlike a person, we cannot say whether it's good or bad for him to eat those twinkies.

"God is good (does what he ought to) implies God is good (supremely benevolent)": On a life raft with enough food for only one, killing everyone else to take the food may be what one ought to do, but it is malevolent (wishing harm to others)[2].

Review the terms of this debate. My arguments stand, while his are shattered. If you are fair judge, per this debate's terms, you should vote Con. :)

[1] Wikipedia: Objectivism
[2] TheFreeDictionary

philochristos

Pro

Note: I mistkenly called Con 'Pro' in the last round.

Earlier, I defined good and evil as what ought and ought not to be done, respectively, and showed that the moral law that distinguishes them must be grounded in God.

Con responded that we can ground good and evil in natural law. E.g., poisoning a baby is evil because, "A living thing ought to do that which helps it to survive and thrive," and poisoning a baby does not help it survive and thrive.

Con hasn't grounded morality, though. He's simply inferred a moral conclusion from a moral premise and left the moral premise ungrounded. If there is no transcendent God, then it would not be objectively true that "A living thing ought to do that which helps it to survive and thrive." There would be no "ought" to it at all because there would be no transcendent being to impose that obligation on us.

Since Con's one attempt to refute my argument was fallacious, my argument is unrefuted.

Thank you likespeace, and thank you reader. Please vote.

Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Yes, Con, Firstguy. You know what I mean.
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
>Now you're agreeing with me that Pro has the burden of proof

I was CON in this argument.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
philochristos:

My full(er) statement:

Also, his definitions of good and evil do not conform to what CON stated in round #1 - Good is "benevolence", while evil is "malevolence".

I was so dissatisfied with how PRO argued this that I will give sources to CON as well.

The fact is, CON actually sourced something. The way you argued this, BECAUSE you ignored the round #1 definitions, and because that is also another form of referencing/sourcing as far as I'm concerned, was absolutely horrendous. No offense, I think you're quite intelligent, and if it wasn't for this aspect in this debate, your arguments would have deserved more merit. However, you wholly disregarded the rules set forth by CON. Most people would award 7 points to the other side for that kind of violation. I merely awarded 2 extra, and the fact that CON sourced and you didn't COULD make it justifiable in itself.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
likespeace wrote:
: First, the burder of proof is generally on the person who makes a claim; in this case, both Pro and
: Con were to make a claim. Second, the terms of the debate made it clear that if both possibilities
: ("supremely malevolent" vs. "supremely malevolent) were equally likely, that Con should win.

Now you're agreeing with me that Pro has the burden of proof. Because that's what the burden of proof is: The one with the burden of proof is the one who loses if neither side proves his case.
Posted by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
wrichcirw, you said, "I was so dissatisfied with how PRO argued this that I will give sources to CON as well." You can't give "sources" for arguments. That's what "arguments" are for. Nur-Ab-Sal was perfectly justified in countering your "sources" vote.
Posted by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
Thanks, likespeace. I know you intended this to be a longer debate, but I thought it was interesting and fun trying to get our arguments into so little space.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
Hmm...

I think Nur-Ab-Sal's counter to my source vote is wholly inappropriate.

To me, it was clear PRO did not even read the round #1 definitions. I felt fully justified to award sources to CON, because PRO could not even source the basic contents of this debate.

Will post this in the forums.
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
Congratulations philochristos, and thanks for a respectful, fun, and close debate. :)

It was a good learning experience, and in future debates I will make some changes--allow more characters, state my position clearly in the opening round, and more carefully specify the burden of proof. Thanks also to the voters for explaining what worked or didn't work for them.
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
> "Pro will argue that God is supremely benevolent ("good").
> Con will argue that it's at least as likely God is supremely malevolent ("evil").

First, the burder of proof is generally on the person who makes a claim; in this case, both Pro and Con were to make a claim. Second, the terms of the debate made it clear that if both possibilities ("supremely malevolent" vs. "supremely malevolent) were equally likely, that Con should win.

> there are also many who will assume that the burden of proof is on.. (first to argue)

And now those people have information with which to replace their assumptions. ;)
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
likespeace wrote:
> > But, Firstguy had the burden of proof, and he didn't meet it.
>
> As a point of fact, the Firstguy was Con and did not have a higher burden of proof to meet. Each
> side's obligation was spelled out in the terms of the debate (Round 1):
>
> "Pro will argue that God is supremely benevolent ("good").
> Con will argue that it's at least as likely God is supremely malevolent ("evil").

I'll bet there are people who'll agree with you. But there are also many who will assume that the burden of proof is on Pro (first to argue) unless you specifically say that the burden of proof is shared.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 3 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering wrichcirw's sources vote, which wasn't justified in the comments.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: see comment
Vote Placed by rross 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Since the debate required us to assume a single omniscient, omnipotent god, I can't see how you can argue for an objective moral code based on natural law. Otherwise, loved the debate. Nice structure.
Vote Placed by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Citrakayah
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro bases his entire argument on assuming God has to exist for their to be objective morality. What about the possibility that it is a transcendent property of the universe?
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter richarddong Better RFD Needed
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by richarddong 3 years ago
richarddong
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Reasons for voting decision: good good i guess
Vote Placed by Chuz-Life 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con does a good job of making the case that so much evil and cruelty in the world would seem to indicate that "God is evil." However, Pro is slightly more convincing in his counters by making the case that "good is what ought to be" and that "God is the standard" for goodness. Pro would have been wise to argue to Con that "if you think God is evil by the evidence you provided, consider how much worse this world would be (could be) if he truly was malevolent."