The Instigator
KingDebater
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Nur-Ab-Sal
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

God does not exist.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Nur-Ab-Sal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,397 times Debate No: 30849
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (15)
Votes (3)

 

KingDebater

Pro

I'll be arguing that God does not exist. Con will be arguing that God does exist. The burden of proof will be shared.

Definitions
God - A maximally great being who created the universe.

Structure
Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Arguments
Round 3/4/5 - Arguments and Rebuttals.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Con

I’d like to thank KingDebater for challenging me to this debate on the existence of God. KingDebater has defined God as a “maximally great being,” and from this I’ll garner he means a being which has the general Judeo-Christian attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, and perfect goodness, which all major monotheistic religions ascribe to the being they understand as God.

Introduction

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor of the Church, is one of the greatest Western philosophers of religion to ever live. In his magnum opus, the Summa Theologiae, Aquinas writes, “there are five ways of proving there is a God.” (ST, 1.2.3) These arguments rely on Aristotelian metaphysics which I will explain as the argument progresses. Out of the Five Ways, I’ll use the first – a simple cosmological argument based on the Aristotelian idea of motion. I’ll then analyze the implications of this argument and show how it affirms the existence of God.

The First Way, or the Thomistic Cosmological Argument

For Aristotle and Aquinas, motion did not mean spatial movement, it meant change. So in order to understand the First Way, let’s analyze the concept of change. However, for the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides, change is nonexistent; for this entails that a state of affairs, such as my microwave oven blaring obnoxiously, must come from another state of affairs, my microwave oven’s silence. To Parmenides, this is impossible – the being of my microwave’s blaring comes from the non-being of my microwave’s silence, but ex nihilo, nihil fit, Parmenides says: out of non-being, no being can come. Aristotle responded to this argument with the distinction between potentiality and actuality – that is, the new state of affairs exists as a potential within the previous state of affairs, until it is actualized by that previous state.

Now, we know that a potential cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist as a state of affairs yet. So only something actual can raise a potential to actuality. In the case of my microwave oven, the microwave oven must exist before it can raise its potential to trumpet cacophony. So what is actualized is actualized by an actual. However, we must stop somewhere – for only can we observe change if something is changing it; thus, an infinite regress of actuals is meaningless and would not be able to produce change. Note, however, that here Aquinas is referring to a hierarchical system of motion, not a linear system of motion. A hierarchical system is one in which potentials are simultaneously dependent on actuals; for instance, a microwave’s potential to be raised three feet in the air is actualized by a three-foot-tall refrigerator, which is in turn actualized by the Earth, and so forth. So Aquinas means there must be a “First Mover” in this sense. Further note that the “First Mover” exists as actus purus, pure actuality, without any potentials, for these potentials would only move the system of motion further back – or, in Aquinas’s words, “we arrive then at a first cause of change not itself being changed by anything, and this is what everybody understands by God.” (ST, 1.2.3)

Analysis

We know by definition that this unmoved mover is devoid of any potentiality. A being of pure act cannot be material, as that which is material inherently has potentials – for instance, to grow warmer, to move, etc. Incapable of any change, by definition, this immaterial being must be immutable and atemporal. We also know that this being is singular, for if there were more, then to distinguish between them there must be some unactualized potentiality – but we know that actus purus presents no potentialities.

Aquinas distinguishes between two forms of power: active power, the ability to act, and passive potentiality, the ability to be acted upon. Thus, as Pure Act, this being has all possible active power; that is, he has all possible ability to act, but no ability to be acted upon. Thus we can derive omnipotence.

Knowledge, in the Aristotelian tradition, consists of three sequential states: the ability to grasp concepts, the ability to form complete statements on those concepts, and the ability to form conclusions based on those statements. We know that a cause can only give what it has itself – for instance, a microwave oven cannot turn our leftovers into chickens, because it simply does not have that ability, while it can heat. As the mover of all forms (in Aristotelian hylemorphism, the form is the pattern of related things; for instance, the form of man is rational animality) this being must have all forms in this immaterial, noetic way. Thus we can derive omniscience.

An objective standard of goodness exists as the extent to which a being actualizes its essence. For instance, a good tree is one which realizes its form of growing out with a great number of branches. Because this being is purely actual, it exists as absolute perfection, having no possible potentiality to be greater.

Hence, there exists an immaterial, atemporal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good being which sustains all in the Universe.

Conclusion

In the First Way, I (or rather St. Thomas, to not take credit) demonstrated that the Aristotelian concept of motion requires there be a First Mover of pure actuality to actualize the potential for change. I then analyzed the properties this First Mover must have as Pure Act, deriving omnipotence, omniscience, and perfect goodness. And, after this long journey, we arrive at the affirmation of the existence of a God in the Judeo-Christian sense.

I’d like to thank Dr. Edward Feser for his book Aquinas, and for his lecture at Our Lady of Mercy, which was very helpful in understanding the relevant parts of the Summa Theologiae.

Debate Round No. 1
KingDebater

Pro

KingDebater forfeited this round.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Con

Nur-Ab-Sal forfeited this round and anathematized KingDebater.
Debate Round No. 2
KingDebater

Pro

KingDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
KingDebater

Pro

KingDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
KingDebater

Pro

KingDebater forfeited this round.
Nur-Ab-Sal

Con

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save.

I who made the stars and night
I will make the darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.

I the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people's pain
I have wept for love of them
They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone
Fill their hearts with love alone
I will speak my word to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.

I will hold your people in my heart...
Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
may ALLAH help us all. i know every body believe him up-to some extent. no body can deny him completely. the presence of atheist here is an example. they are here for the search of truth.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
even i saw. the peoples were not saying their religion. and hiding them. but i can see many use the name of their religion. most of time i saw their defeat. about GOD or other topic.
i must so much thank to ALLAH. that i just said few words. and that made a lot of change.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
i should not say but its true. when i come here on this website. i saw atheist were dominant. but i face a lot of hate. and they were treating like i do not know any bit. but i replayed them with logic. i saw a real change in the whole website. i saw the religious peoples were taking back their respect.
i observed this. i don't know how much its true. but i must also say. in these i was so much connected wit ALLAH. and he was guiding me all the time. i just shared logic. i did not say how i was getting it from ALLAH. first in the beginning i got so much discrimination. but now i am considered as respected. Again thanks to ALLAH. he says in Quran he only gave respect and also gave disrespect. well there is lot to say.
Posted by makhdoom5 3 years ago
makhdoom5
i made him get away. yet here you also won. loll.
Posted by Smithereens 3 years ago
Smithereens
Likewise Magic XD
Posted by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
LOL R2 got me for a second!
Posted by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
Maybe Nur-Ab_Sal is the reincarnation of St. Nicholas. It does seem to be quite the heresy hunter.
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 3 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
Yeah, it was pretty weird. Who knows where that came from?
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
That's the first time I've seen a forfeit message with the extra anathemization bit at the end...
Posted by Nur-Ab-Sal 3 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
I have no idea. This is at least the second time someone has closed their account mid-debate for me.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 3 years ago
Smithereens
KingDebaterNur-Ab-SalTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
KingDebaterNur-Ab-SalTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Fore!!!! Feit
Vote Placed by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
KingDebaterNur-Ab-SalTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.