The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
18 Points

God exists

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Post Voting Period
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after 6 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/23/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,199 times Debate No: 68431
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (117)
Votes (6)




This debate is about the existence of God, specifically, the Christian God of the Bible, Old and New Testament. I will endeavor to show that there is a weightier body of evidence that God exists above my opponent's. This will be based primarily on historical events. You should be familiar with history from secular and Biblical sources.

It is my position that the question of the existence of the God of the Bible is

1. testable: Susceptible to being tested.
With respect to the scientific method, capable of being proven true or false.
2. falsifiable: Falsifiability of a statement is an inherent possibility to prove it to be false. A statement is called falsifiable if it is possible to conceive an observation or an argument which proves the statement in question to be false.
3. Furthermore He does exist. & wikipedia

The threshold of evidence that qualifies as proof is usually subjective person to person, and I don't think anyone is totally unbiased when it comes to this question. That's why I say, "I will endeavor to show that there is sufficient evidence that God exists above my opponent's argument." Rather than "I will prove God exists."

Votes (as always) should be based on debate performance, not which position you believed when you started reading. Otherwise I might as well just take this debate down and make a poll instead.

In this debate, I will show that there are prophesies in the Bible made before the fact, that are too specific to be lucky guesses. To predict the future so accurately requires unnatural knowledge, and the knowledge is claimed to come directly from God, with no competing claims. These prophesies will be compared to what actually happened as recorded by sources outside the Bible. The content of this prediction of the future is substantiated with outside sources. This accurate prediction of the distant future is evidence that God exists and has direct interaction with people.

The evidence I will be presenting primarily involves prophesies in the Bible, and corraborating outside histories. I've got BOP.

R1: Acceptance/introduction

R2: I will show evidence that selected Biblical messages were accurate and detailed about events that are shown by non-Biblical sources to have happened. The predictions will be too accurate to be dismissed as coincidence or likely generalities, as is often the case with fake prophets/fortune tellers. But my opponent may go that way if he/she is able.

R3-5 debate continues.


Your move Pro.

Note to voters there is a 7,000 character limit, so the arguments will be shorter than expected.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting, Envisage.

The first passage starts in Daniel 10:1

In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar;

That is, 537 BC October 539, the Persian king took Babylon...

After introduction and explanation, the prophesy starts in 11.


Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece.

After Cyrus the Great, three more significant kings ruled Persia:

Cambyses 530-522 BC

Bardiya 522 BC

Darius I 522-486 BC

Then the fourth king in this line, Xerxes I led a monumentous failed invasion of Greece, but was known for his great wealth and impressive civil projects. The Greeks never forgot what Darius I did to them.


And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.

(See also Daniel 8 for a more detailed parallel prophecy)

Around 320 BC, Alexander the Great conquered from Greece to India, including Persia, and just as he was heading back from his final campaign of expansion, he died. Having only an infant son post-mortem, an illegitamate son, and a mentally ill half-brother, his kingdom was divided between five generals. One was defeated within 22 years, leaving the four Greek dynasties we know from history.


Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed. After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in and the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in those times.

The kingdoms of North and South are in reference to the position of Israel, in the tradition of all Jewish prophesies I can think of. Syria, to the North, is ruled by the Ptolemic Dynasty, and Egypt, to the South, is ruled by the Selucid Dynasty. The two fight, and in 253BC, Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Antiochus II Theos declare peace. In 252BC, Antiochus from the North marries Ptolemy II's daughter Berenice Phernephorus to cement the peace. But he has to divorce his wife Laodice to do so. In 246BC, Antiochus repudiates his second wife to go back to the first. Laodice takes Antiochus back, poisons him, and arranges for the assasination of Berenice and her whole family.


But one of the descendants of her [Berenice] line will arise in his place, and he will come against their army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display great strength. Also their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt...

In 246BC, Ptolemy III Euergetes, Berenice's brother, avenges his sister in the Third Syrian War. He captures Seleucia and Antioch.

Having become master of all the land this side of the Euphrates and of Cilicia and Pamphylia and Ionia and the Hellespont and Thrace and of all the forces and Indian elephants in these lands, and having made subject all the princes in the (various) regions, he crossed the Euphrates river and after subjecting to himself Mesopotamia and Babylonia and Sousiana and Persis and Media and all the rest of the land up to Bactria and having sought out all the temple belongings that had been carried out of Egypt by the Persians and having brought them back with the rest of the treasure from the (various) regions he sent his forces to Egypt...”


...and he on his part will refrain from attacking the king of the North for some years. Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land.

The war ends in 241. The Fourth Syrian War does not start till 219.


But his sons shall be stirred up and shall prepare for war and shall assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall come on and overflow and pass through and again shall make war even to the fortress [of the king of the South].

The two sons of Callinicus attack the South. Seleucus III Keraunos attacks with mixed results 225-222BC. He is assasinated and succeeded by his brother Antiochus III the Great, who leads a large army to defeat Ptolemy Philopator at Raphia.

Now, to make this debate more readable, I've limited it to 7k characters, and I'm already at 6k+. Daniel 11 continues through v.35 with the daughter of Antiochus the Great, Cleopatra, the intervention of the Roman fleet, the desecration of the Jerusalem Temple by Antiochus “Epiphanes,” and the rise of the Hasidic Jews.

v.36 starts off with another king that is somewhat similar to Antiochus Epiphanes, but not the same. He will also desecrate the Temple, but this is where the prediction of the future that has already come ends. These future events cannot yet be verified with outside sources, so v.36 onward aren't part of this debate.

If my opponent has good reason that I continue with a detailed analysis through 35, or to explain further why 36 isn't included in more detail, I can. But right now, I am satisfied the debate is set well to start, and my point that the prediction lines up accurately with history has been made. I've not yet seen any specific attacks by critics on these passages that involve claims it doesn't describe the Syrian Wars and surrounding history. I have demonstrated these events came to pass as predicted.



What is God
Pro is arguing that the Christian God of both the Old and New Testament exists, but what exactly is this> Unfortunately for Pro, the goalposts are not clear, as we do not have many agreed upon attributes. There are 2 concepts of this God which I will present and assess within this round.

Minimalist God
A minimalist God is one with the minimum of attributes to qualify as a ‘God’ in this debate. There is little disagreement that God entails a personal creator God of life & the universe. Thus the Christian God must possess the minimum of these attributes. An extention of this is the notion that God is both all-powerful and all-knowing. IF Pro cannot demonstrate at least this much then he clearly cannot possibly affirm the resolution, as the most basic claims of God are simply unsound. On the flipside, if I demonstrate any of these attributes are false, then the resolution also fails.

Triumphant God
It is not sufficient for Pro to prove a minimalist God however to uphold the resolution, he must demonstrate the triumphant God exists, which possesses most of the attributes forwarded by the Bible. These include the existence and divinity of Jesus, the notion of a human afterlife, God that interacts with reality, etc.

The Bible
The Christian God is defined according to how texts were canonised by people. Thus, even if something special can be demonstrated about one of the Books of the Bible, there is virtually no grounds to expand this to *all* books of the bible, as they were all written independently. Thus, in principle evidence via. prophecy is simply insufficient to give the Bible as a whole (the collection of works) credence.

The Christian God is an aggregation of all the descriptions within the books of the Bible. Yet if another book made the canon, or if a book that is now in the canon did not make the canon, then the definition of God we are debating would change accordingly. This is a problem, since Pro is arguing for a very specific God (the Christian God), thus he must argue that the canon has some sort of special feature about it that gives it uniformity and credence.

I will argue that the canon simply isn’t uniform, thus books tell their own stories, with the only relation between them being historical knowledge of future authors regarding past authors. This being the case we would expect very little forward-referencing, or foreshadowing. Much like when one opens a novel and sees direct references to future characters or events, such as a future villain, we would expect the Bible if it had some special cohesion to give precise foreshadowing over future events.


Book of Daniel Prophecies
Problem in Principle
I could concede everything Pro wrote last round as perfectly genuine, verified and authentic predictions. Pro is still light years away from demonstrating the claim “God exists”, which I have already alluded to so far. At best we would have an unexplained event, indeed predictions come true all the time today, yet we do not attach a divine explanation to them. Because the claim “God exists” carries so much factual baggage with it, it consequently carries a comparable burden of proof, and simply citing prophecies by an author claiming to be Daniel, who claimed to have had true revelations is insufficient to demonstrate this.

Genuine Prophecy
Genuine prophecies need to be:

1. Accurate & precise with events purported
2. Actually made before the facts (predictive)

For point #1, the more accurate and precise the prediction is, the more impressive it is. Me stating “somebody is going to die tomorrow in New York” is not going to be a particularly impressive prediction. However stating “somebody is going to die in an earthquake outside the Empire State Building in New York at 7.13 AM” is going to be spectacular, since it is so much more precise.

Point #2 is obvious, if the prophecies are made after the fact, then they are vaticinia ex extent or “postdiction”. I.e. pseudopredictions that are documented after the fact. Thus Pro needs to provide us with very good reason to believe that the Book of Daniel was composed before the events he claims are prophecies.[1]

Pro has provided no reason to believe that the Book of Daniel was composed before the events he predicts. For the earliest of his prophecies to be genuine, then it must be composed before ~530 BC (Cambyses), and for the later predictions it needs to precede 219 BC (according to Pro’s opening round). However Pro has provided absolutely no reason to accept this outside of a traditional attribution of the text to Daniel itself, which essentially just a bald assertion. Virtually all our pseudohistorical literature would classify as history if it was that simple.

IF the Book of Daniel had an early date, then we would expect the text to be known and reported in literature around those times, either from early manuscripts of the text itself, or in references. Unfortunately for Pro our earliest manuscripts are those from the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date at earliest 125 BCE [2], at least 94 years short of Pro’s minimum requirement.[5]

Furthermore, the Book of Daniel would have been included in the Hebrew Canon of the Prophets if it had been known and revered at that time (200 BCE), yet it was not included in the canon which strongly suggests it was not known at the time.[4] The “Wisdom of Sirach” is the earliest known witness to the Prophets, drawing elements from most of the Old Testament for material, yet contains no reference to Daniel, even though the “Wisdom of Sirach” was composed 200 BCE earliest, 330 years after earliest events Pro purports. Our earliest reference to the Book of Daniel is from “Syllabine Oracles” which does not appear until ~150 BCE.[3]

Pro argues that the remainder of the Book of Daniel [Daniel 11:36 onwards] is not in reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, but this is absurd since there is no transition within the passage, and at no point is a new Kind introduced here. Given that the passage before this is obviously in reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, then the simplest assumption is the remainder is also in reference to him. Yet when we take this approach, clearly these prophecies spectacularly fail. Since the Messianic Kingdom never appeared as describes, and Antiochus Epiphanes fell ill and died in 164. Clearly failing the prophecies made in Daniel 11:40 onwards.[6]

Thus, Pro is arguing via. a hopeless strategy to demonstrate the existence of God, since the conclusion that a text makes successful prophecies does not render God’s existence plausible. Moreover he has spectacularly failed to uphold his BoP for the prophecies of Daniel he is claiming.


Debate Round No. 2


Who is God?

I will make the goalposts clear. If can show that there is something supernatural about the book of Daniel, that makes it concievable directly related supernatural things exist. Like God.

If the book of Daniel is consistent with the rest of the Bible, that is evidence the God of the Bible exists. If these prophesies are true, that shows God knows and controls history for his own purposes. You can't be any more triumphant than that.

If the canon is inconsistent in it's characterization of God, Con should demonstrate this. If there are necessary attributes of God left completely out if the canon if subtracted from, Con should demonstrate this. If there are credible books left out of the canon that introduce conflicting attributes of God, Con should demonstrate this. Otherwise his point about God being a collection of attributes from different fictions should not be taken seriously. Why don't I have BOP here? Con only needs to show a few unrefuted serious flaws to make his point. Not much effort would be needed on his part. If I am correct, and the canon is consistent, I would need to go through every point of consistency in 66 books to make my point. It would be the same burden as “proving innocence,” and impossible in any current debate format here.

Nonetheless I will provide a basic outline of the consistency of God throughout the Bible citing some specific examples:

God is the only real God. Nowhere does he acknowledge the existence of others.

God pursues a personal relationship with humans:

Genesis 3:8-9


Exodus 33:11

Jeremiah 2:32

Matthew 23:37

God is superior to humans in strength and righteousness.

God always upholds his Covenant with Israel.

God promised redemption through the child of a woman.

God requires obedience and mercy above sacrifice.

God controls everything, including history, for his own ends.

Daniel 11:36 and onward

My opponent did not disagree that Daniel chapter 11 through v.35 accurately described historical events corroborated with extra-biblical sources. That allows us to move on to v.36.

There is a gap between the description of the Antiochus Epiphines/rise of the Hasidic Jews and “the king” mentioned in the rest of chapters 11-12. In 11:1-35 the kings were always specified to be a Persian king, the first Greek king, or the king of the South or king of the North among the 4 Greek empires. Antiochus is a king of the North. Then v.35 continues “until the time of the end.”

Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.”

V.36 just says “the king,” not the king of the North, then this and the rest of the events through the end of Ch.12 describe the “end times” in those words.

In Ch.2 and Ch.7 it was already established there would be four important main world powers in history, starting with Babylon, going to Persia, Greece, then a final one of which only one king is ever given any detail. This only described king of the last empire would be the final earthly king, who would be destroyed and replaced by God's rule. The king of the North cannot be the final king destroyed by God, because he is a king in the 3rd kingdom, the Greeks, which are later replaced by the 4th kingdom. The fourth kingdom is the only one described as existing in the end.

Critics cannot have it both ways. If Daniel was just guessing, why would he have so much correct detail about the previous events, then suddenly make no sense? Most critics do not claim Daniel is just a lucky guess. If the book of Daniel was written at a later date and just described what already happened, why wouldn't the events of the following king be described that was known to occur?

The date of authorship

Sirach doesn't mention any prominent Jew that lived outside Israel. He doesn't mention Ezra, Job, any judge but Samuel, King Asa, Jehoshaphat, Mordecai or Jonah. Silence on Daniel in this one book does not mean he didn't exist or do what he said.

Daniel is written with only 15 Persian words and 3 Greek words. If the book were written at a later date, say 160 years into Greek rule of Israel, (Antiochus Epiphanies) one would expect far more Greek words to be used. This is evidence of an early date.

Daniel is included in the Prophets by Josephus.


linguistic objections

Placement in Canon: Canon fire

Jesus Sirach)

A contemporary of Daniel is Ezekiel, who talks of Daniel two or three times.

Several other characteristics of the book indicate an early date, from within the Babylonian and Persian Empires.

Daniel 2:18 uses the title for God “Lord of Heaven.” This would have been offensive to Maccabean Jews, who associated that title with Zeus, who's image Antiochus Epiphanies set up in the Temple.

Belshazzar, final king of Babylon, was lost to history until 1854. The author of Daniel would have had to have been there, or a near contemporary to have known of his existence.

Unless I've forgotten something, I have refuted all of my opponent's arguments, and provided evidence of an early date for Daniel.



Failure In Principle
Pro has so far ignored my major point regarding the use of prophecy in principle to affirm God’s existence. At best we would be left with an unexplained event. Thus I can concede every single one of Pro’s prophetic “facts” so far in this debate, and it would not being Pro any closer to affirming the resolution.

Even if we assume that there really were genuine prophecies in the Book of Daniel, we can still yield more likely explanations for them than God, since God carries so many assumptions:

  1. 1. Lucky guess
  2. 2. Self-selection bias

I am advocating for the stronger postdiction explanation, but even if this fails then these 2 hypothesis would still be more likely. Since attempted prophecies were very common at the time and it’s inevitable that eventually one of these would be precise by sheer chance. Furthermore we have excellent reason to see the successful prophecies biased in the transmission of history over unsuccessful ones, since the successful prophecies are indeed going to be more interesting. This self-selection bias leads to a greater proportion of “successful” prophecies in our textual transmission over “unsuccessful” ones.

Again, both of these explanations are well-within our background knowledge and understanding of the world, which gives it a tremendous advantage over God, which by definition is beyond our understanding of the world, in terms of a priori plausibility.

We can most certainly agree that the majority of “divine prophecies” made are false, either due to post-diction (prediction after the fact), sheer luck, etc. I only need to cite the prophets of other religions that are mutually exclusive with Christianity to affirm that much. Thus we can easily attach a very low prior probability of any given prophecy (before one looks at the evidence) is indeed a true divinely inspired prophecy.

Daniel 11:36 Onward

Will address this fully next round. The Book of Daniel makes “predictions” for events that are frequent and periodic thoroughly the 400 years up until Daniel 11:36, Pro and I are both in agreement on this much, although we disagree on whether or not they are predictions. That being case, if we really assume these were predictions, then we have good reason to believe that the events that follow Daniel 11:40-45would have occurred periodically and consistently after the events under Antiochus Epiphanes. There is no evidence whatsoever of a periodic gap and the remainder of the text is written prophetically. Thus we can assume the remainder of the text really was a prediction, and we have good reason to believe it would have occurred not too far after the events in 11:36 prior. However absolutely no events that are consistent with it have been found.

Thus from an objective approach to the text, it is clear it has failed predictions that we would expect it is making. The simple explanation for this is that these were genuine prophecies by the author(s) of Daniel following postdictions in the prior text. It’s not a case of sceptics having it both ways but using those facts to come up with a likely timeframe for the composition of the text.

Dating of Book of Daniel

Pro’s entire care hinges upon an early dating of the Book of Daniel’s composition. Quite frankly, I am unimpressed by the evidence that Pro has presented.

Remember, we are trying to establish that a genuine and accurate prophecy has occurred, something that essentially doesn’t happen, ever today (just take a look at all the failed doomsday prophecies). If we assume the uniformity of nature principle generally held in the past, then we would expect such revelations to be rare/non-existent in the past as well. Thus, they carry a high standard of evidence to fulfil since there is a very low prior probability of a genuine prophecy.

ALL of Pro’s arguments are based on conjectural reasoning (which I will get to later), and none is based on any hard evidence.

We do not have:

  1. 1. Early Contemporaries reporting about the Book
  2. 2. Earlier Manuscripts of Daniel dating

Either of these would have made for very powerful evidence in favour of real prophecies having been made. And to be quite frank, if God really did exist, he would have made access to either of these unambiguously available. This is quite simply not the case, Pro is left relying on dubious and weak conjecture to try to make the evidence fit. My position is that the evidence for any specific date is nowhere near as strong and any would prefer it to be outside of the evidence from then predictions made, which would themselves be strong evidence of a later composition.

Pro’s Positive Case
Pro hardly cites anything to support any of his positive evidences for an early composition. Again I reiterate that I could easily accept all of Pro’s evidences as indeed evidence of an early composition, but they would be pretty crap evidence of an early date, and nowhere near sufficient to overturn the fact that prophecies are extremely rare even if they did happen. Thus is quite plainly insufficient to overturn the low prior probability of it having an early composition.

“Daniel is written with only 15 Persian words and 3 Greek words. If the book were written at a later date ... one would expect far more Greek words to be used."

Why should we expect that?

Has Pro got studies on comparable texts with the average Persian/greek word ratios? Can Pro make an accurate estimation of how many of these words we generally expect to be included in the book of Daniel, especially when considering it was in Arameic and Hebrew?

This is quite frankly, not an argument, made with no evidence to support the presupposition. Even if it was the case that we would generally expect more of these words in the Book of Daniel, that in no way demonstrates it was composed during the 6th century as Pro requires. The evidence quite frankly is flimsy at best. Even if Pro does present evidence here, it almost certainly won’t allow him to fulfil the standard of evidence for us to believe it really was a prophecy over some other explanation.

Furthermore, we perhaps wouldn’t expect any Greek words at all in the script since Greeks did not occupy the area until after Alexander the Great (4th Century BC).

Josephus existed in the 1st/2nd century AD, 3-400 years after the canon was closed. This isn’t evidence of anything.

IF Exekiel mentioned the Book of Daniel, Pro might actually have a good case here, since it would be evidence that this book was composed at that time. However it’s a mention of a person named Daniel.

Thus, it simply is not evidence of an early composition, it just mentioned a person named Daniel. Even if there was a real historical figure named Daniel, and both the Book of Daniel and Ezekiel refer to the same one (a fact that Pro is light years away from demonstrating with any confidence whatsoever), it doesn’t follow that the Book of Daniel which contains the prophecies was composed at the time this “Daniel” is purported to live. It’s simply a non-sequitir.

Debate Round No. 3



Con did not meet my challenge to demonstrate the inconsistancy of God's character in the canon. The question of which god we're talking about is settled.

Lucky guess, 11:36 on

Con is very careful to avoid conceeding that the events written in Daniel accurately describe the events of history. He points to 11:36 on as evidence of historical inconsistancy. Though he ignored it, I did show that the previous prophecies in Daniel indicate a consistant timeline of Babylonian, Medio-Persian, Greek, then Final earthly kingdoms. As soon as we get to 35 and 36, we read, plain as day, the author talking about the End. This final king, for the first time, is not distinguished as North or South, and meets his end at the End of the world, and the start of the reign of Messiah. All Greek kings besides the first are distinguished as North or South. Only one king from the final kingdom is ever given much description in this or the earlier prophecies of Daniel. The only reasonable explanation, even if you don't believe in prophecy or God, is that the author was referring to the same king as Daniel 7:7-11. The description of this king's character are exactly the same. (Dan. 7 vs. Dan 11:36 on) Why would any more Greek kings need to be mentioned? The whole reason Antiochus Epiphanes turned with rage upon Israel and the Jerusalem Temple is that the Roman fleet had intervened to secure it's grain supply from Egypt(168BC). The Greeks were on their way out.

As Con points out in his 2 requirements of genuine prophecy, the prophecy must be accurate and made before the facts. Having a single gap in time does not make any account invalid, prophecy or not. If any of you told Con the story of your life, he couldn't get away with accusing you of lying if you told the story in order, but left out your middle school years and skipped straight to your 3rd year of highschool.

“Even if we assume that there really were genuine prophecies in the Book of Daniel, we can still yield more likely explanations for them than God, since God carries so many assumptions:

  1. 1. Lucky guess

  2. 2. Self-selection bias

Why more likely? What assumptions? The majority of attacks I've seen by scholarly skeptics on the book of Daniel have not involved accusation of a lucky guess, but of a late writing date. Since the account names specific places as points of reference to make it clear what it's talking about, (Dan8:15-22, 10:20, 11:2,8,16,28) and the content is so historically accurate, it is not dismissed as a guess by even the critics who know history. Self-selection bias is out too for the same reason. There is no reasonable question that the author was talking about Persian to Greek rule.

There is no merit to keeping the “lucky guess/bias” argument alive if someone really wanted to get to the bottom of why Daniel is so accurate. The only reasonable explanation is a knowledge of the events described, whether foreknowledge or historical knowledge.

Again, both of these explanations are well-within our background knowledge and understanding of the world, which gives it a tremendous advantage over God, which by definition is beyond our understanding of the world, in terms of a priori plausibility.

An appeal to personal experience and assumption that his knowledge is sufficent to make a posative conclusion on a subject he admits is beyond his understanding. The God of the Bible is the God who reveals himself to those who repent and seek him. I counter by appealing to the explanations that are well within my backround knowledge and understanding of the world that give a tremendous advantage to God over chance in the explanation of Daniel.

“We can most certainly agree that the majority of “divine prophecies” made are false...”

Not within the canon of Scripture. Con should show false prophecies within the Bible to demonstrate this point.

...we are trying to establish that a genuine and accurate prophecy has occurred, something that essentially doesn’t happen, ever today (just take a look at all the failed doomsday prophecies). If we assume the uniformity of nature principle generally held in the past, then we would expect such revelations to be rare/non-existent in the past as well.”

Large, extinction level meteor strikes don't happen today. Assuming the uniformity of nature principal held in the past, we would expect such disasters to be non-existent in the past as well. Except we have large meteor strike evidence. And I am presenting accurate prophecy evidence now.

We do not have:

  1. 1. Early Contemporaries reporting about the Book

  2. 2. Earlier Manuscripts of Daniel”

We have in Ezekiel, a reference to a very wise Daniel that at the same point in time he arose to governorship in Babylon. Which other Daniel would Ezekiel have been refering to? Surely we'd have record of this other significant Daniel, known for his great wisdom and rightousness.

Most ancient libraries have a tendancy to cease to exist. The earliest manuscripts from 500 BC for most things don't exist, unless written in stone or clay. But in the book of Daniel we have clues that insist on an early date. Daniel knew of the obscure Babylonian king Belshazzar, (forgotten until 1854) who's last desparate act before the Persians overran the city was to party and praise a large collection of gods and sacred things, native and captured, and the capture of Babylon occurred without resistance.

Daniel 5:1-4

tektonics link, (pt4)

Daniel 5:30

The fact is, the book of Daniel contains a number of intimate details (see link above britannica) only expected from a contemporary or near contemporary of the era. If the book did not contain prophecies, especially uncannilly accurate ones, the book would be considered a generally trustworthy account of the times, even if copied. An intricate knowledge of Persian beuracracy and satraps and legal proceedures (king not above law Daniel 6:15), the Babylonians worshiping native gold idols, the timeline of kings and punishments use by respective empires, (lions-Persia, fire-Babylon), properly structured royal decrees (Daniel 4 pt3) are among a few of the relevant details that can be found at the prior link. All the evidence stacks up in favor of an early date, and only arguments of silence and insistance of a higher bar of evidence can be made for a late date.

All insistance on a late date is based on the bias and assumption that prophecy cannot exist. But weighing the book by the standards put against any other historical manuscript, and leaving out motive to disprove it for philisophical reasons, the book is judged to be most likely from the time it says. This makes the prophecies pre-date the events predicted. They are too accurate and precise to be labeled lucky guesses. Either the biggest fluke in history, or evidence of the God of Daniel intervening in history.



I never argued that the Bible was inconsistent (although that is easily done), only that consistency is insufficient to depict the Bible in its entirety. Remember, there are major claims about God that are not depicted in Daniel, for example the Triune nature of God, as in the Holy Spirit and the Son. Moreover Daniel makes no reference to God’s power, nor his agency as the creator of the universe. At best Pro can only demonstrate that something with foresight that would be labelled a “God” was responsible with what we observe in the Book of Daniel.

Dating of Book of Daniel
I will spend the rest of this round discussing this and tie up other loose ends next round so that Pro may respond to the most important points in his closing. My arguments for other naturalistic explanations are entirely an “even if” case. Even if Pro demonstrated real prophecies then he still fails.

Indeed, as I have iterated throughout this debate. Pro’s entire case fails if he cannot demonstrate an early authorship of the Book of Daniel with good confidence.

Ezekiel’s reference to a Daniel =/= evidence that the Book of Daniel had an early authorship. There is a difference between an early authorship of a book and the early existence of a human. Last month I watched the film “Abraham”, with President Abraham depicted as a vampire slayer. Clearly we can demonstrate we good confidence that a president named Abraham existed via various meant, but this in no way demonstrates this film was created in the 1700s! (P.S. that film was awesome). Pro is using exactly the same reasoning with his Ezekiel reference.

Lord of Heaven
Daniel 2:18 uses the title for God “Lord of Heaven.” This would have been offensive to Maccabean Jews, who associated that title with Zeus, who's image Antiochus Epiphanies set up in the Temple.”

First, this is terrible evidence even if true. Offensive things get published all the time, while they may be published less frequently, they still exist. I only need to go as far as Prophet Muhammad satire that exists today to demonstrate that much.

Furthermore, one is not committed to the notion that the Book of Daniel was composed by one person, or in one work. Current scholarly consensus is that the Book of Daniel probably had several authors. A big point to note is that Daniel chapters 2-7 are written in Aramaic, and Chapters 1, 8-14 are written in Hebrew. The portion that contains the “offending sentence” is written in a different language to where the prophetic statements are made, which by itself is strong evidence of an independent authorship of that verse. Thus the “offence” argument wouldn’t apply to that part.[

Lastly, Maccebean Jews don’t recognise Zeus as “Lord of Heaven”, and the image was described as “abomination that makes desolate”, which is a portrayal of Antiochus as blasphemous, thus it is the hijacking of the title that Jews would have found offensive, rather than the title itself.

“Belshazzar, final king of Babylon, was lost to history until 1854. The author of Daniel would have had to have been there, or a near contemporary to have known of his existence.”

To understand Pro’s argument one needs to fill out the missing assumption:

1. ???
2. Belshazzar was lost to history until recent times
C. Therefore the author of Daniel would have had to be near-contemporary

Pro’s argument mandates a leap of logic to tie the observation to the conclusion. I have no idea what that leap in logic is, as I see no relation between its current-day knowledge and knowledge at the time after Belshazzar. 2,300 years is much longer than 300. Also Belshazzar was known to other people such as Xenophon in works that date to (died 355 BC).[] The very fact that Belshazzar was not well-known, despite being allegedly the last ruling king when Babylon was conquered is excellent evidence against Belshazzar ever being a king.

Furthermore, again one is not committed to the notion that Daniel was singularly authored, indeed scholarly consensus is that the Book of Daniel originated from Aramaic folktales (Ch 2-7) that were extended by Hebrew revelations (Ch 1, 8-12). Thus the Arameic chapters would have had earlier roots anyway. Moreover there is a drastic change in style from chapters 1-6 to 7-12, as the latter was written in a strictly prophetic style, while the former regards dreams and allegories, which together with the language gap is strong evidence of multiple authorship.

Ironically the Book of Daniel’s references to Belshazzar amply demonstrate the author(s)’s unfamiliarity with Babylonion history. The cylinder and other sources describe Belshazzar as son of King Nabonidus, yet the evidence that Belshazzar was ever a king is lacking. Book of Daniel actually claims Belshazzar is Son of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 5:18). King Nabonidus is not even related to King Nebuchadnezzar!

More interestingly, Nabonidus is not even mentioned in the Book of Daniel which would be expected IF it really was written contemporary since it was Nabonidus, not Belshazzar that was the last King of Babylon before Cryus of Persia conquered it.

Darius the Great is mentioned as conquering Babylon in (Daniel 5:31) yet we know that Cyrus the Great was actually the emperor that conquered Babylon. If the author(s) were truly contemporary then it would be impossible to get these mixed up given that these were extremely well-known emperors at the time.

Detail of Book of Daniel
Pro again only makes an intuitive argument here. That the level of detail can only be expected of something contemporary, again what is Pro’s evidential support for this claim? Furthermore, only could run an identically parallel argument for the Antiochus Epiphanes portion and state the detail within chapter 10-11 mandates a contemporaneous composition. The author clearly has his facts straight regarding the events of the 2nd century.

Moreover, again one is not committed to singular authorship of the book. Thus origins from folktales of the Aramaic portion would go a long way to explaining some of Pro’s observations.

Summary of Pro’s Positive Case
That’s it. That’s Pro’s entire care. Five reasons why we should believe that the Book of Daniel really was authored early. Quite frankly, I am unimpressed. Even if we assume that all of Pro’s points were in fact valid, and do in fact increase the likelihood of an early authorship. Does it sufficiently meet the burden of proof to overturn the low prior probability of a real prophecy? Almost certainly not.

Like I mentioned in the previous rounds, having hard evidence of early composition WOULD have made an excellent case for early authorship (early manuscripts for example, dated with radiocarbon or by palaeography – the study of ancient handwriting), Pro has spectacularly failed to provide these and is left resorting to conjectural arguments with dubious presuppositions that don’t even make for a strong inductive case by themselves.

Debate Round No. 4


What god are we talking about again?

For the sake of any reasonable investigation, questioning what god a Jew in an accepted piece of Hebrew canon is talking about can only be done for contention's sake. It's his ancestors' God, the all powerful all knowing personal God who laid down the Covenant which was broken by Israel resulting in the Captivity. (Daniel 2:20-25, 9:4-8) As for the triune nature, this was obvious throughout the OT if you knew what you were looking for.

But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.

Exodus 33:20

But throughout the OT, we see God appearing as the “Angel of the Lord” in person, sometimes in flesh. (Judges 13, Gen. 3:8, Gen. 18, Exodus 33:11)

Jesus said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” and “before Abraham was born, I am!” God is clearly the Angel of the Lord whenever he shows up visibly. Jesus is God but visible. Jesus is the the incarnation of the Angel of the Lord. (Hebrews 1:3) Again, even if you don't believe God, the consistency of the text is clear. The Spirit of God is mentioned throughout the OT and NT. When Daniel speaks, he only affirms and doesn't contradict the rest of the OT. By affirming the other OT prophets who prophesied by the Spirit, Daniel affirms the Spirit. (Dan.9:2)

Dating the Book


If you follow the timeline of Daniel, it spans a long period of time, about 60 years. Different accounts would have been written down at different times, under different Empires. In this case, one chapter is sometimes written to a different audience than the next. This is not indicative of a different author, especially considering the long time span, but a collection of accounts of one man's long life. Daniel 4 was certainly addressed to a more general audience than much of the rest of the book. Daniel 1-2 would have been of more interest to Jews than Gentiles, and the prophecy about world events would be equally of interest to both audiences. p.3


King Belshazzar was not actually the king of Babylon, and is not related to Nebuchadnezzar, so my opponent claims, but Ch.5 calls him king, and the Queen Mother in 5:10,11 calls Nebuchadnezzar his father. Contradiction? A little historical research shows the Bible is accurate here. Numerous primary and verified sources (Herodotus, Nabonidus Cylinder, Cyrus Cylinder, Xenophon's Cryopaedia) tell us that:

  • King Nabonidus tended to leave the job of king up to his son while he pursued his hobbies.

  • The title “King” was still bestowed upon Belshazzar while he held the job when his father was gone.

  • The word for “son” used in 5:22 could also mean “descendant” or “successor.”

Absence of Nabonidus

  • Short answer: Yes. That's what he was known for.

  • Also another argument from silence. If you told Con the story of your life and included your grandmother and your cousin, but not the uncle from which the cousin came, Con could not say you were lying because you left out your uncle.

  • Daniel's purpose is not to give an exhaustive account of the succession of Babylonian kings.

  • Daniel appears to have been called up from retirement in Ch.5, so he may have had few or no royal duties after Nebuchadnezzar left the throne.

  • Belshazzar gives the highest honor he can to Daniel at the end of 5, making him the THRID highest ruler in the kingdom. Why not second? Because Belshazzar is already 2nd after Nabonidus, with no authority to anyone raise higher.

Darius the Mede

Daniel does not say Darius the Great captured Babylon. It does not even say who captured it, aside from the Medes and Persians. It says Darius the MEDE became king over Babylon. Babylonian Berossus and Greek lexicographer Harpocration tell us that

  • There were “King Darius'” long before Darius the Great.

  • A Median king Darius who took control of Babylon was associated with Cyrus the Great's conquest of Babylon.

Bias in date interpretation

Much of Con's argument is based on the assumption that God does not interact with man. In the case of an investigation into whether God interacts with man(prophesy), this assumption gets in the way. The proper way to investigate a claim is to leave the claim be, and first verify everything else lines up. If there are no major discrepancies in everything besides the claim in question, the claim should be given more weight. Con argues many times that a far greater burden of evidence than what I've given is required to overcome his assumptions that God does not exist. As I stated in R1, the tremendous bias most people will bring to this debate on either side requires that we weigh the arguments against themselves, and not artificially weight one side with our prejudices.

I have demonstrated that:

  • What we believe is irrelevant against/for the evidence in the case of an investigation.

  • Daniel lines up with what we know of history, and what we would expect from a document of that age.

  • The historical prediction could not reasonably have been a lucky guess, and is too specific to be self-selection bias.

  • The God of Daniel lines up with the God of the rest of the Bible.

If the historical prediction was accurate, and all evidence is that it was made before the fact, this is evidence of a supernatural event, as definite foreknowledge is not possible through natural means. This supernatural event lines up with, and is taken credit for by the God of the Bible. This is evidence of the supernatural, specifically, God interacting in human history.

Con has argued:

  • Con's assumption that God doesn't exist is appropriate to take into account in weighing evidence in a debate about the existence of God.

  • Con's disbelief requires greater weight of evidence upon Pro's case.

  • Credibility and number of similar historical occurrences have a prerequisite correlation. (It most likely did not ever occur unless it has occurred several times)

  • There are many false divine prophecies in the Bible, (but he won't tell us which ones they are).

  • Because Daniel does not give enough specific detail about arbitrary events during his supposed life, he is not to be believed.

  • A collection of multi-lingual accounts from a long period of time in a diverse and unstable period in history by an educated man is evidence that the accounts were fabricated later.

  • An original copy is required for verification of ancient documents.

  • (Unsuccessfully) Daniel is riddled with historical inaccuracies.

I have demonstrated ABOVE MY OPPONENT'S ARGUMENTS, that God exists.

If you believe in God, but you don't think I did a better job with my arguments, voting for me won't help your cause. It will just encourage further bad arguments.

If you don't believe, but you recognize Con did not make sound arguments, voting for him will only encourage further bad arguments.



I have definitely had fun in this debate, win or lose. Babylonion & Persian history is quite fascinating, not to mention textual criticism. I will again spend most of my time on the dating of the Book of Daniel. Although this debate is regarding God’s existence, the actual fulfilment of prophecies is certainly going to be more interesting anyway.

Date of Book of Daniel

Uniformity of Book of Daniel
Pro concedes at the very least that the Book of Daniel was not intended to be uniform, it would be very strange to have a book half-written in French, and Half in English, with a French First Chapter, a Chunk of English, followed by a chunk of French, moreover when there is a divide halfway through that changes the genre from science drama to science fantasy, it’s pretty clear some mish-mash has occurred. Pro gives an apologetic argument for how it’s *possible* for it to be uniform, but this is essentially squaring the circle. The very fact it’s written in different languages, and has a massive break in writing style (which doesn’t even align with the language shift) between chapters 6 and 7 is black and white evidence in favour of multiple authorship. It’s not proof of multiple authorship, but it certainly renders that explanation much more plausible.

When making an inference to the best explanation, evidence against a hypothesis is weighted, from an unbiased, objective analysis of the text, the hypothesis that it had multiple authors when one considers those two facts immediately becomes more plausible than it would have been if it was written in a uniform style and in one language.

Thus, if we have good reason to believe that the Book of Daniel was not authored in one uniform composition, then a lot of Pro’s arguments for an early dating become irrelevant or dubious.

Book of Daniel’s Author’s Familiarity with History
I have a feeling that Pro has his facts confused. To make things explicit I have provided a table of my case against the author’s familiarity of Babylon times:

I will address the rebuttals catgorically

1. Son of Nebuchadnezzar
Pro appeals to possibility, and gives a very unusual interpretation of “son” in this instance, which makes absolutely no sense since:

1. Belshazzar is not even related to Nebuchenessar, thus he could not have been a successor at the time Nebuchadnezzar ruled.

2. There were three rulers that rules between Nebuchenessar and Nabonidis (Amel-Marduk (Son of Nebuchedessar), Neriglissar (Son in Law), Labashi-Marduk (Son of Neriglissar), there was simply no way Belshazzar was regarded as a Successor during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.[]

This debate isn’t about what is possible, but what is probable. Just going through Daniel 5 turns up a plethora of references to Nebuchenessar as Belshassar’s father:

Daniel 5:2
While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.

Daniel 5:11
There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.

Daniel 5:18
O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor.”

Daniel 5:13
“Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah?

If the author of Daniel was really contemporaneous, then there would have been no way to get this confused. It’s pretty black and white from an objective reading of the text that the author thought Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar.

Belshazzar the King

Pro provides no evidence that Nabonidis was an absentee, nor any evidence that this was a regular occurrence. Moreover, there is no evidence that suggest that Nabonidis was ever absent when Babylon fell to Persia. Moreover, Con attempts to disregard my argument that Nabonidis was never mentioned, but ignores that IF the author really had contemporaneous knowledge, then we would definitely expect Nabonidis mentioned if Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned, since Nabonidus was the reigning king at the time.

An objective analysis of the evidence concludes that the author lacks knowledge of Nabonidis, with both the faulty genetic lineages and complete absence of any mention to Nabonidis. The fact that the author positively affirms false conjecture (Belshazzar the Son & King) based on his mistaken knowledge (of Nabonidus) is very strong evidence that the author didn’t know what he was talking about. A comparibly strong hypothesis can be forwarded that the author probably thought Nabonidis was Nebuchadnezzar, or Belshassar.

Darius The Mede
Daniel does not say Darius the Great captured Babylon.”

I beg to differ:

Daniel 5:30-31 “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.”

There is no break in the text, the author clearly intended these verses to be directly related.

Pro’s Positive Case
Pro didn’t address my rebuttals to his five points in favour of an early dating, so I will stand on what I have said so far, and extend my previous comment, that Pro’s case for an early dating is unimpressive.

Summary of Dating
Because of the author(s) of Daniel’s lucid knowledge of 2nd century history, and dubious knowledge of 6th century history, as well as the lack of any hard evidence for earlier manuscripts/mentions, then an objective conclusion is that the Book of Daniel was clearly not written in the 6th century.

Philosophical Points
Low a priori probability of real prophecy
Pro didn’t deny that genuine prophecies are a rare even if they are true and exist, thus from both our positions, if we take a random prophecy, then we have a lot chance of it being genuine given perfect knowledge. Thus, Pro has a large burden to climb in this debate to affirm a genuine real prophecy. Pro attempts to vindicate the Bible but this is a black and white case of special pleading, all claims are assessed independently.

Yes, large extinction events don’t happen today, although they have happened in the past. But again, because they are so rare, then any claim for a specific extinction event (say, one that happened in 50,000 BC) has a very low chance a priori of being correct.

I wish I had more space, but I will let my case stand.

Debate Round No. 5
117 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Skynet 3 years ago
Please understand the existence of militant Athiesm has been well known and well documented:
Why would the position with the least reason for morality be without violence and intolerance?
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
NathanDuclos. 3 points to Con. Removed because: failure to explain *why* Con's arguments were more convincing. The RFD merely states *that* Con was more convincing.

Reasons for voting decision: I seriouslly wish I could speak like con writes. . . Well job, amazing and the argument was on every point. . .
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
SirTinyHead. 7 points to Con. Removed because: obvious votebomb.

"Reasons for voting decision: Pretty dang good."
Posted by Gwydion777 3 years ago
Props to Pro because he tried. I see many holes in the con's arguments, but of course, this isn't my debate.
Posted by crswong888 3 years ago
Sorry, correction on my last line

*who/what it is.
Posted by crswong888 3 years ago
Unfortunately, for anyone who seeks to argue the existence of god, any relative empirical evidence contains multiple agents for the cause of such phenomena. Any argument regarding gods existence is almost always dismiss-able within logical reasoning. Of course, no one can argue the non-existence of god, not simply because the existence of after life or the origins of the universe have not been confirmed, nor because there is no way to prove that the reality we exist in is nothing but an illusion, but because there is indeed many reasons to believe that god truly does exist. Many of which have been addressed by pro. Thus this most notable conflict of human thought which has been raging since the dawn of recorded history will most likely never settle. Even if it were to, the side that argues pro typically does not lie on empirical data which will give them reason still, to believe in God. In conclusion, those who reside on the con side of this enigma will always present the more sufficient case. Your God is aware of this, which is why the first commandment is to believe and worship indefinitely. This also why in much of recorded history people have been tortured and killed for what they believe in. The only religious (or non-religious) party that has never committed such cruel and unjustifiable acts of murder is the atheists. The ethnocentric component of religion is the most putrid one. I do not rule out the possibility of the god, but I am content with my disbelief of every god man has claimed existence of. In my opinion, if there is some type of ultimate ruler of the Universe, nobody knows who/he is - for now.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
Vote bomb by taburkasaurusrex deleted (7 points to pro, RFD: "god does exist")
Posted by Skynet 3 years ago
Most people will read more into their favored side in this type of debate. The underlying reasons for this are the same reason that there is so much "unproductive" fighting in the religion forum. There is too much personally at stake for most voters to admit the other side might have a case. Even if Envisage has a stronger case in this debate, it's clear from the votes that unclarifying bias is a big problem atheists are not immune to, as he has recognized the poor quality of most of the votes for him so far. I too made mistakes in this debate, but we have votes by a person who obviously didn't even read my side, and people who have read more into my opponent's argument than is there, or completely missed his main points.

There are nuggets of good criticism in some of the votes, however.
Posted by Toxifrost 3 years ago
Attention yoloswag132854 not all atheists believe in the Big Bang Theory. Also to answer your question it is simply because of a lack of evidence for such beings.
Posted by yoloswag132654 3 years ago
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by GamrDeb8rBbrH8r 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con made convincing points about when fulfilled prophecies are and are not evidence, the dating of Daniel, etc. Pro simply spewed ex culo arguments and assumptions and ignored some of Con's points.
Vote Placed by Toxifrost 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were extremely weak and just relied upon using prophecies to prove the existence of god and con repeatedly showed why such arguments would not hold up. Con provided good sources and factual data to back up his arguments while pro just used the bible. GG Con wins.
Vote Placed by debate_power 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con pinned the burden of proof on Pro, which Pro could not fulfill. Con successfully showed that valid prophecies, by themselves, should not be considered ample proof for a creator god. Pro more or less ignored this contention and stuck to the same argument, with the "supernatural" variation. Con also went a step farther, arguing against Pro's claims about the Bible. The main selling point to me, though, was Con's arguments about Pro's burden of proof.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: con wins because: -He got to frame the Burden of Pro -He put sufficient doubt within pro's arguments, especially through the strong fact that just because the bible/prophesy speaks it, it sometimes does not come true -the "Conjectural reasoning of pro" [which weakened pro's arguments] -And of course the massive room for interpretation in the passages about david. Good try tho pro, you nearly gained back your footage over the rounds!
Vote Placed by Siladheil 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Although Skynet brought forth an entirely different way to debate the existence of god through the prophecies in the book of Daniel, I have to agree with Con. The evidence brought forth by Con was clearer to me than by Pro. After I hypothetically bomb a small country into oblivion in Africa and then write a prophetic book about it dated to a year before the bombings took place, that wouldn't mean that the actual prophecy of my book was accurate. The idea that vague prophecies coming true leads one to believe that the Christian God does exist, I felt that Con had the better arguments. Best of luck to both of you in the future and I certainly hope to see a rematch of sorts.
Vote Placed by Skepticalone 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.