The Instigator
Rakkyosai
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
Alex
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

God is Incapable of Dictating Morality

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,987 times Debate No: 10407
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (4)

 

Rakkyosai

Pro

Actually, I'm going to make a much stronger assertion:

God is incapable of justifiably dictating what is moral and what has meaning, value, and purpose for humans, outside of appealing to a human interpretation of morality, meaning, value, and purpose.

Def 1. I'm just going to use "God" to mean god, goddess, goddesses, gods, or some combination thereof. It could correspond to any religion where that God commands that something is moral or has meaning, value, or purpose. God here could be a creating God, an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, all-present God, or a most-knowing, most-good, most-powerful God. It doesn't matter, the important thing is that it is making a claim about the afore mentioned things and, presumably, holds some seeming "power" or "claim" to these things.

Def 2. By morality, meaning, value, and purpose, I don't mean in a subjective, personal sense. I mean in the sense of, "These things have objective or absolute moral, meaning, value, or purpose." Which, as will be shown, is not only impossible but illogical to argue.

Def 3. By justification, I mean that if I asked you "Why does God say that X is moral or Y has meaning, value, or purpose?" God would have a justification for why X was wrong (or right) or a justification for why Y has meaning, value, or purpose.

Now, if you asked this question to a person, there's are two possible flavors of responses:

Possibility 1: "God says that these things are moral or have meaning, value, and purpose, and therefore they have morality, meaning, value, or purpose."

Presumably, the statement "I have faith in that what God says is true" is not to be found too far from this statement. Unfortunately, the statement "I have faith" quite literally is an admission that "I do not have justification for what I believe." But let's ignore this and move on.

If this is the case, then it should first be noted that in order for this statement to be true, you must first valuate the statement "If God puts value into something, then that something has an absolute value" (e.g. "If God says that X is wrong, then I ought not do X") as being true in the first place. But this is independent of anything that God could ever justify, or, more precisely, be used to justify. This requires you, the human, to make the first "move," so to speak, in order to justify God's morality; you have to put meaning into God, otherwise everything that God says has no justification. Ergo, what God says has no ultimate justifiable meaning, because it requires a human to say, "I agree with this" in the first place. So it cannot be "absolute" in any sense of the word.

Why is this true? Why can't "God says so, therefore it's so" be a justification in and of itself?

This is because of the distinction between descriptive and normative claims. A descriptive claim is a statement which involves a description of the universe "It is the case that all living leafs are green." is a descriptive claim. A normative claim is a claim which deals with what "ought" be the case, an example of a normative claim is "You ought not steal." A descriptive claim cannot justify a normative claim; this the logical fallacy of "is-ought" or the "Naturalistic fallacy." This is to say, you cannot take a description and logically infer something moral or value/purpose-creating out of it.

So if you state that, "God says X is wrong (or right) or Y has meaning, value, or purpose." this cannot, on its own, imply that "You out (or ought not) do X or that you are obliged to find meaning, value, or purpose in Y." To attempt to make this statement on it's own (that is to say, without your already valued "if-then" statement) is an outright logical fallacy.

Why? The statement "It is the case that God thinks that X is wrong (or the Y has meaning, value, or purpose)" is simply a descriptive claim; it is not a normative claim until you formulate, and accept, the "If God says X, then X is good/purposeful/etc". So if it's just a descriptive statement about God's opinion, then as a descriptive claim it cannot be used to justify God's normative claim. So then, it is not the case that you ought or are obliged to agree with God unless you personally give meaning to the idea that God has this power. But this means that God can only be justified by your subjective opinion/value judgment.

(Note: Supposing that God has the ability to judge and punish you doesn't give him the power over "oughts." Hitler said "Humans ought not be Jewish" and had the power to punish Jews for being Jewish (and in fact did punish Jews), but that didn't mean his "ought" statement is justified), it just means he can hurt you if you don't agree with him, which is an ad baculum fallacy, if you attempted to argue this.)

And the second possibility:

Possibility 2: "God says that things are moral or have meaning, value, and purpose, and therefore they have morality, meaning, value, or purpose because of X, Y, or Z reasons."

If this is the case, then we trivially realize that God has no power to justify his statements outside of human interpretation. Just like the statement, "Because God says so," any other justification requires you to already valuate X, Y, and Z as "good things" independently, again, of God. Otherwise, these things could not justify God's opinions in the first place.

Therefore, if you believe that there is a justification for God's statements, you have to valuate the reasons as good in the first place. Which requires human interpretation to justify God's statements. So we are still left with a human value judgment being used to justify God.

(You can claim that "It just is." but, aside from being dismally unimpressive, this is the logical fallacy of bare assertion, and more or less still is subsumed under the first possibility)

Ergo, God is incapable of justifiably dictating what is moral and what has meaning, value, and purpose for humans, outside of appealing to a human interpretation of morality, meaning, value, and purpose."

Note I: There are several direct consequences of this, most notably the corollary that "There is no such thing as morality outside of human interpretation" and its corollary, "There is no such thing as an absolute or objective morality."

Note II: Actual professional, academic philosophers/ethicists have argued this, considerably better than I, as the absolute logical fact that all morality, meaning, value, and purpose has no absolute justification outside of human interpretation and preference. And this is, by the by, the predominant opinion of the philosophical academic community.
Alex

Con

Before we kick this off, I'd like to thank Rakkyosai for providing the opportunity to debate such an interesting and controversial topic such as this. Good luck, and I hope we can have a good debate.

Now, as we begin we must pay close attention to the attributes ascribed to the God that I am arguing, which is the God of Christianity. My opponent allowed a God of my choosing, that comes with all the attributes ascribed to him, this including but not limited to Omni-Excellence. In this debate, i will be arguing that the Christian God does in fact have the ability to dictate morality.

The two attributes i will be primarily focusing on, are God's omnipotence and God's Omni-benevolance. Meaning, he is infinite in power and authority; AND, all good. (http://dictionary.reference.com...)

"Possibility 1: "God says that these things are moral or have meaning, value, and purpose, and therefore they have morality, meaning, value, or purpose."

"Presumably, the statement "I have faith in that what God says is true" is not to be found too far from this statement. Unfortunately, the statement "I have faith" quite literally is an admission that "I do not have justification for what I believe." But let's ignore this and move on."

Unimportant, we are assuming that the Christian God and all attributes ascribed to him exist.

"If God says that X is wrong, then I ought not do X") as being true in the first place. But this is independent of anything that God could ever justify, or, more precisely, be used to justify. This requires you, the human, to make the first "move," so to speak, in order to justify God's morality; you have to put meaning into God, otherwise everything that God says has no justification. Ergo, what God says has no ultimate justifiable meaning, because it requires a human to say, "I agree with this" in the first place. So it cannot be "absolute" in any sense of the word."

This is not true. Logic dictates that as the creator of the Universe, God has the capability and authority of setting the standards of morality for his creation. Basically, his game his rules.

~~~~~~~~~~
My arguments:
~~~~~~~~~~

As God is the creator and ruler of this known world, which is pre-established along with his Omni-excellence it is absurd for one to think that he could not lay the laws for his creation. As my opponent allowed, God is infinite in power and authority. It is also absurd to say that we must first put meaning into God before he has any justification powers, like i said above his existence is pre-established.

As well, because God is infinite in power and authority, and everything he wants is good and/or moral (definition of benevolent) in that infinite power and authority, he has the power to dictate the moral code for his creation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Presupposition Fallacy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When my opponent says that God does not have the ability to do something by our logic, he is presupposing that God is bound by the same logical chains that we are, which is most definitely not the case, if this were to be true than God would not be omnipotent which contradicts the agreement that was aforementioned.

I await the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
Rakkyosai

Pro

---------------Now, as we begin we must pay close attention to the attributes ascribed to the God that I am arguing, which is the God of Christianity. My opponent allowed a God of my choosing, that comes with all the attributes ascribed to him, this including but not limited to Omni-Excellence. In this debate, i will be arguing that the Christian God does in fact have the ability to dictate morality.

The two attributes i will be primarily focusing on, are God's omnipotence and God's Omni-benevolance. Meaning, he is infinite in power and authority; AND, all good.--------------

Fine fine, no problem.

---------------"Possibility 1: "God says that these things are moral or have meaning, value, and purpose, and therefore they have morality, meaning, value, or purpose."

"Presumably, the statement "I have faith in that what God says is true" is not to be found too far from this statement. Unfortunately, the statement "I have faith" quite literally is an admission that "I do not have justification for what I believe." But let's ignore this and move on."

Unimportant, we are assuming that the Christian God and all attributes ascribed to him exist.------------

I think you have gotten sidetracked by my statement here, this was not necessarily part of the main stream of my argument, so your claims to this as unimportant makes no difference at all to my argument, similarly I have not claimed that God does not (for the purposes of this debate) exist - you have committed a straw-man fallcy by arguing against a point I have either not made or is irrelevant to my main argument.

--------------"If God says that X is wrong, then I ought not do X") as being true in the first place. But this is independent of anything that God could ever justify, or, more precisely, be used to justify. This requires you, the human, to make the first "move," so to speak, in order to justify God's morality; you have to put meaning into God, otherwise everything that God says has no justification. Ergo, what God says has no ultimate justifiable meaning, because it requires a human to say, "I agree with this" in the first place. So it cannot be "absolute" in any sense of the word."

This is not true. Logic dictates that as the creator of the Universe, God has the capability and authority of setting the standards of morality for his creation. Basically, his game his rules.-------------

Prove it. Show this logic of yours, I have gone to the effort of having constructed a comprehensive argument showing how God cannot dictate objective morality, I would appreciate something that makes an attempt at refuting my argument instead of relying on an implied meaning behind a semantic-linguistic term.

Can you show this logic? If not then I suggest you recant this and try a different approach, so far you have refuted nothing of my argument.

--------------As God is the creator and ruler of this known world, which is pre-established along with his Omni-excellence it is absurd for one to think that he could not lay the laws for his creation. As my opponent allowed, God is infinite in power and authority. It is also absurd to say that we must first put meaning into God before he has any justification powers, like i said above his existence is pre-established.---------------

All you've said is that something I have said is absurd, you have shown no reasoning, no backup, no rationalisation, no logic, no definition, all you've said is that it's absurd... Justify this or recant it, saying it's absurd is not a valid form of argument.

It is not a question of existence, it's a question of omnipotence, I have given leash for any definition of God you like but my arguments show that the attributes attributed to God are not tenable, for this debate to continue you must either show a fault in my reasoning, or show

----------------As well, because God is infinite in power and authority, and everything he wants is good and/or moral (definition of benevolent) in that infinite power and authority, he has the power to dictate the moral code for his creation.---------------

God can dictate whatever he/she likes, my argument is that whatever God does dictate as moral must be justified in human terms in order for whatever he/she says to be moral. You have done as I thought you would and try to rely on a linguistic definition of omnipotence that doesn't actually work as my argument shows - try attacking my argument instead of trying to posit an argument of your own that relies on presupposed definitions.

------------------When my opponent says that God does not have the ability to do something by our logic, he is presupposing that God is bound by the same logical chains that we are, which is most definitely not the case, if this were to be true than God would not be omnipotent which contradicts the agreement that was aforementioned.---------------

I haven't actually said this in the first round at all. Another straw-man fallacy, however as you raise the issue of God and the 'chains' of logic - The burden of proof falls to you to show how God is not subject to the 'chains' of logic as it is you (the theist) that has claimed that God is not subject to the laws of logic. Please do so or recant your assertion.
Alex

Con

I'm exhausted, why do i wait until past one in the morning.

"It is not a question of existence, it's a question of omnipotence, I have given leash for any definition of God you like but my arguments show that the attributes attributed to God are not tenable, for this debate to continue you must either show a fault in my reasoning, or show"

When you allowed A God that is Omnipotent you are saying that it is possible and that it is sound. If you did not think that this was the case then you could have said that it is not possible, in which case we could have argued that. But in the first round you allowed a God that is omnipotent, that allows me to assume that he is in fact omnipotent.

"God can dictate whatever he/she likes, my argument is that whatever God does dictate as moral must be justified in human terms in order for whatever he/she says to be moral. You have done as I thought you would and try to rely on a linguistic definition of omnipotence that doesn't actually work as my argument shows -

The resolution reads "God is incapable of dictating morality" You just said that he can dictate whatever he likes, which is true and affirms the resolution. Or your extensive resolution:

"God is incapable of justifiably dictating what is moral and what has meaning, value, and purpose for humans, outside of appealing to a human interpretation of morality, meaning, value, and purpose."

When you say "outside of human interpretation or morality..." what then are you referring to? There is nothing relevant to this debate besides God and Human, nowhere in the resolution does it say anything along the lines of "God is unable to force humans to believe what he says is moral" Even if that were the case, that is indeed possible.

"try attacking my argument instead of trying to posit an argument of your own that relies on presupposed definitions."

You didn't post an argument, you posted a response to what could have been my argument. Anyways, in a debate both parties are able and supposed to present our own arguments, especially based on definitions that we already agreed upon.

"I haven't actually said this in the first round at all. Another straw-man fallacy, however as you raise the issue of God and the 'chains' of logic - The burden of proof falls to you to show how God is not subject to the 'chains' of logic as it is you (the theist) that has claimed that God is not subject to the laws of logic. Please do so or recant your assertion."

The debate is based on what God can and cannot due, so you did say what God cannot do. By this definition of Omnipotence you are saying that he indeed has the ability to do everything and everything, logical boundaries ignored simply by the definition of impotent.

"If this is the case, then it should first be noted that in order for this statement to be true, you must first valuate the statement "If God puts value into something, then that something has an absolute value" (e.g. "If God says that X is wrong, then I ought not do X") as being true in the first place. But this is independent of anything that God could ever justify, or, more precisely, be used to justify. This requires you, the human, to make the first "move," so to speak, in order to justify God's morality; you have to put meaning into God, otherwise everything that God says has no justification. Ergo, what God says has no ultimate justifiable meaning, because it requires a human to say, "I agree with this" in the first place. So it cannot be "absolute" in any sense of the word."

This is what you must prove, you cannot just simply say it.

"So if you state that, "God says X is wrong (or right) or Y has meaning, value, or purpose." this cannot, on its own, imply that "You out (or ought not) do X or that you are obliged to find meaning, value, or purpose in Y." To attempt to make this statement on it's own (that is to say, without your already valued "if-then" statement) is an outright logical fallacy."

God can state that it is immoral, that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't do it it means it would be immoral if you did it though.

"All you've said is that something I have said is absurd, you have shown no reasoning, no backup, no rationalisation, no logic, no definition, all you've said is that it's absurd... Justify this or recant it, saying it's absurd is not a valid form of argument."

It is absurd because as the creator of the universe and everything in it, that includes morality. Without him morality wouldn't exist, he created it and therefore dictates it. All human are alike, and therefore cannot tell each other what is good and what isn't good to do. That is why we look to a higher power, or in this case the highest power who happens to be the one who created us, and the codes we should follow.
Debate Round No. 2
Rakkyosai

Pro

The purpose of my allowing a God that is Omnipotent was to allow you to understand the contradiction that my argument presents to the understanding of God's Omnipotence. If I were to be pedantic about it I would have presented you with a simple paradox - but this would not be productive as far as the debate is concerned as the point I am arguing is God's ability (or lack thereof) to justifiably dictate morality.

So, for the purpose of preventing this issue from further clouding the debate - A linguistic claim that God is Omnipotent (theistic understanding) does not grant the ability for God to dictate morality to humans, this is the crux of the argument of the first round. A theistic claim supporting God's Omnipotence must either show fault with the reasoning I have given in the first round, or present an equally valid and sound sequence of rationalisation that shows that God can. Essentially what I am saying is that a claim that God is Omnipotent does not make God Omnipotent, there are plenty of paradoxes to show how Omnipotence is self-contradictory, but I am aiming to challenge the theistic understanding of Omnipotence from the view point of God's ability to dictate morality - which I think I have effectively shown God is uncapable of doing. God being Omnipotent is definitely not a 'sound' assertion.

I have presented a challenge that proves this, can you either present an argument that shows I have not done this (taking into account what I have just written), or present an argument that shows that God can indeed dictate morality external to human interpretation (and therefore objective)?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When I say "outside of human interpretation or morality" I am referring to objective morality. In other words 'act X is wrong irrespective of human interpretations of what right and wrong is'.

"The debate is based on what God can and cannot due, so you did say what God cannot do. By this definition of Omnipotence you are saying that he indeed has the ability to do everything and everything, logical boundaries ignored simply by the definition of impotent."

I think your missing the point - I have shown a sequence of resoned logic that shows that God cannot do X, you have claimed that God can do X, but have shown no justification, no backup, no reasoned argument other than a semantic claim to definition. A linguistic claim that God is omnipotent does not grant God omnipotence. The argument I present in the first round shows the fallaciousness of God's claimed omnipotence relative to God dictating morality. You are trying to assert that omnipotence is by definition capable of allowing God to break the boundaries of logic, you must now show this is the case using reasoned rationalised thinking, or recant it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"If this is the case, then it should first be noted that in order for this statement to be true, you must first valuate the statement "If God puts value into something, then that something has an absolute value" (e.g. "If God says that X is wrong, then I ought not do X") as being true in the first place. But this is independent of anything that God could ever justify, or, more precisely, be used to justify. This requires you, the human, to make the first "move," so to speak, in order to justify God's morality; you have to put meaning into God, otherwise everything that God says has no justification. Ergo, what God says has no ultimate justifiable meaning, because it requires a human to say, "I agree with this" in the first place. So it cannot be "absolute" in any sense of the word."

This is what you must prove, you cannot just simply say it."

If you follow the indented quote above you'll find that it is a form of logical proof, it has premises that are justifiable, it follows a valid logical model, it has sound reasoning and sound conclusions. I have therefore proved it, I'm not sure why you couldn't see it as reasoned logic but hey... it's your job to disprove it.

"God can state that it is immoral, that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't do it it means it would be immoral if you did it though."

God would have to justify why it is immoral in human terms and similarly God stating that something is immoral requires human beings to put meaning into God as a something that dictates morality, either way, God is subject to human interpretation, which is part of my original assertion.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"It is absurd because as the creator of the universe and everything in it, that includes morality."

Do you realise you are opening a proverbial 'can of worms' with this statement (theodicy). I don't want to get embrioled in that, it would detract too much form the current debate, so... With this statement you are asserting that morality exists external to humans and is therefore objective in nature. I have asked you to prove this and you have not done so, please do so without the usual semantic-linguistic claim. If you are to prove this you must show morality is not subject to human interpretation.

"Without him morality wouldn't exist, he created it and therefore dictates it."

Irrelevant, I am not claiming that either God or morality do not exist, what I am claiming is that:
"God is incapable of justifiably dictating what is moral and what has meaning, value, and purpose for humans, outside of appealing to a human interpretation of morality, meaning, value, and purpose."
Besides, you are implying that being the creator automatically makes you the dictator of it - this contradicts human free will. If you are to assert that humans have no free wil, then God is directly responsible for all actions humans do, this makes any definition of morality pointless and means that ANY human act is as act of God and inherently moral, however, as there is a 'code' as you call it, there must be free will.

"All human are alike, and therefore cannot tell each other what is good and what isn't good to do."

I could write a 'War & Peace' sized book on the fallaciousness of this claim. As such I'm going to let the voters decide on the validity of your statement as it is not the purpose of this debate to comment on the human condition. I ask only that the voters consider the consequences of my opponents assertion.

"That is why we look to a higher power, or in this case the highest power who happens to be the one who created us, and the codes we should follow."

Not all of us do look to a higher power, there are those of us who believe that human beings are capable of being good without having to rely on a metaphysical entity as a crutch to support us to be 'good'. What about people who existed before God's dictates of morality (as you would have it)? or are you going to assert that polytheists are worshiping the different aspects of God in their own way? Either way it makes absolutely no difference at all to my argument, you havent proven God can dictate morality outside of human interpretation. As such I would urge the voters to vote pro as my opponent has not refuted any part of my argument at all and as such it stands.
Alex

Con

Alex forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Alex 7 years ago
Alex
I apologize i thought i had more time and my seattle trip took far longer than i expected. My first forfeit ><
Posted by Rakkyosai 7 years ago
Rakkyosai
Ok, "Polytheism is better than Monotheism", definition of 'better' provide in opening argument.
Posted by Alex 7 years ago
Alex
Let me know the resolution before you take the time to write out a debate.
Posted by Rakkyosai 7 years ago
Rakkyosai
Lets get this one out the way first... I will issue chalenge in due course after this one is finished. I look forward to your second round input.
Posted by Alex 7 years ago
Alex
Which debate is this?
Posted by Rakkyosai 7 years ago
Rakkyosai
A quick question for my opponent, would you be interested in debating another issue with me, one I think you are uniquely qualified for as a believer in one God?
Posted by Rakkyosai 7 years ago
Rakkyosai
Just so that you know, part of round 2 is going to show how God (irrespective of claims to omnipotence) is subject to logic. I should point out now that the burden of proof falls to the theist to prove how God is not subject to logic, as it is the theist that claims God is omnipotent. If you are going to argue that God is omniptent based on a linguistic argument on the definition of omnipotence then I would hope that having been warned you would now show a valid system of rationalised logic to back up your (potential) claim that God is not subject to logic.

This will be an interesting debate.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 7 years ago
GeoLaureate8
*Edit: logical contradictions
Posted by GeoLaureate8 7 years ago
GeoLaureate8
Pro, I agree that the properties of God are contradictory, but the rock argument has already been shown to be invalid. Omnipotence doesn't require that he can perform logical fallacies. You can't say God is not all-powerful just because he can't create a square-circle.
Posted by Alex 7 years ago
Alex
Furthermore, when you conceited to a God that is omnipotent you are agreeing that such a thing is possible, so what i said below doesn't really matter, but anyways.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Korashk 7 years ago
Korashk
RakkyosaiAlexTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by numbany 7 years ago
numbany
RakkyosaiAlexTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Alex 7 years ago
Alex
RakkyosaiAlexTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by InquireTruth 7 years ago
InquireTruth
RakkyosaiAlexTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03