God is Irrelevant in Today's Life
Debate Rounds (3)
I saw your comments and thought I'd offer you a challenge. You read my arguments from the last debate so I'll let you have the first strike.
Foucault has stipulated that God is irrelevant in today's life. I am going to argue that God is indeed relevant. Relevance is a tricky issue as relevancy is judged by individuals. We see the same data but interpret it differently. For instance, most, if not all cultures have an account of a flood of epic proportions. A theist will examine the flood stories and say it means the Genesis account was true. An atheist will point at the same information and say that Christianity is nothing special. This can be applied to most scientific arguments. As far as scientific arguments go, I will only say that the probability of all the factors coming together perfectly and for such a period of time as to sustain life for millions of years is extremely low (http://www.reasons.org...). However if Foucault wishes to pose scientific arguments I will do my best to answer.
In his last debate, Foucault compared believing in God to believing unicorns exist: "If I were to say "unicorns exist, prove me wrong", that would be ridiculous". To use a similar analogy, let's say we are walking through a forest in Ireland and find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. We haven't seen the leprechaun, but we have seen evidence that seems to suggest that he does exist. From a Christian perspective, things such as order and morality point to the existence of God.
Therefore, I am going to focus my argument on the moral implications of a God-less world.
Argument One: Right and wrong can't be right and wrong without God
Many atheists I have talked with have proposed that the society determines morality. This is logically false. If the society determines morality then morality is constantly in motion creating contradictions. For example, alcohol was banned during the prohibition. Was the act of drinking wrong? Certainly not by today's ideals. The same concept can be applied to abortion, the death penalty, or any number of current issues. Who knows? Maybe murder will be morally justifiable tomorrow.
Argument Two: Perceived Morality
Why is it that we can so easily point to immoral behavior and call it out for what it is. My last comment in argument one was a joke, but we all react to blatant murder for one's personal gain as immoral. Christians can explain this phenomena by pointing to God's initial creation of man; we were created both physically and mentally in the image of God. We know morality because God initially created us with his understanding of good, absent of evil. We commit atrocities because after the Fall we lost the ability to restrain ourselves from sin entirely, but we still know what good is to some degree. Atheists will point us to the chemical reactions in our brains and social patterns but this would have troubling implications. It would necessarily mean that our legal system is penalizing those who have no control over their actions. For example, a murderer can't truly be held accountable for his actions if his mind is only doing what nature is telling him to do.
Argument Three: No Reason to be Good
This is an argument that atheists tend to be the most defensive about. When I say an Atheist has no reason to be good, he usually retaliates with something to the effect of, "well if you have to have the fear of God and punishment to be good than you are no better than us peaceful atheists". This is an excuse, not an answer. Atheists have no reason to do good unless it benefits themselves in some way. From the perspective of an atheist, there cannot be imposed on anyone any lasting punishment or reward for one's actions during his or her lifetime. Consequently an atheist can feel free to act in any way that he or she desires without fear of consequences after one's life. The counter to this argument would be that religion also does the same thing, except it promotes immorality with the promise of eternal happiness. However this argument can only be used against Atheists, Muslims, or religions and ideologies that promote warfare or evil for their own expansion. Biblical Christianity specifically says to love your enemies, and never promises reward at the expense of another human being.
I apologize if my initial arguments are not in the correct round, I did not receive an answer to my question in the comments concerning the set-up of the debate.
Lots to unravel here. First of all, there isn't overwhelming evidence for the Genesis flood. The only thing closest to it are melting ice caps over 20,000 years ago. The most basic evidence would be a massive worldwide account of fossils on higher terrains- animals running from the flood. Or geological science showing extreme water erosion. Yet there's nothing of the kind.
But the overlying message in your arguments seems to be that without God, how can there be morality? Then you state an obivous contradiction later on, "Muslims, or religions and idealogies that promote warfare..."
You can't say God gave humanity morals then turn around and cast other religions as having no morals. Especially when those religions (like Islam) share YOUR God. And if you'd like to talk about the wars and immorality of Biblical Christianity, I'd be writing all night.
You say most scientific arguments can be disregarded if one believes differenty. I assume you believe science is a religion in itself. This can't be further from the truth. And the best example to prove this (despite all the electronic gadgets powering our world- provided by science) is to look at science's batting average.
Science has made countless predictions that turn out to be true. Religion has made none. Every time religious leaders make a declaration, science proves it wrong. You say God designed us in His image. Mountains of evidence prove we evolved from primates over millions of years.
Also, the fact that Earth happens to be the only spot in our galaxy able to sustain life is not God. It's a random chain of events starting from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Creatures evolved over billions of years to survive on this planet. There's nothing divine about it. The fact that our atmosphere is 78% nitrogen when we breathe oxygen should make that point.
But lets delve into your arguments.
Number one: If right and wrong can't be decided without God, how is it that every atheist isn't behind bars? I grew up with atheist parents never caring for a religious belief. Yet I donate over 10% of my salary to charities every year. More if you count volunteer hours. How can this be if I have no God? Also, biologists observe countless acts of kindess in the animal kingdom. Mothers protecting babies that aren't their species, predators taking pity on their prey. Does God give them that morality? Or is it perhaps naturally developed by evolution?
Argument Two: God created us with his understanding of good and evil. Then why do most of the 'evil doers' in the world believe they are doing God's will? Hitler engraved "Gott Mit Uns" on every Nazi beltbuckle: God On Our Side. Pope Urban II called for Christian armies to slaughter infidels "As a path to heaven" in the First Crusade.
You say that if commiting crime was a 'chemical reaction' or 'social pattern' than our legal system would be punishing those with no control. This is ridiculous. Human beings (and the animal kingdom) have an evolved brain that can make logical decisions. Criminal acts are a conscious choice to disregard the social standards and conscience in our minds. Not from lacking God. Which is why criminals are overwhelmingly religious. Just ask the pedophile priests. If they're not being hidden by the Catholic Church.
Argument Three: The fact you are moral solely for divine reward would be a tremendous insult to you. I expect you are moral because society (and evolution) has taught you that being moral is for the betterment of everyone. I am an atheist who is moral. I think that when life ends, that's it. Yet for some reason I'm not a criminal.
According to studies cited by Psychology Today, more secular countries have the lowest crime rates, and the more religious have the highest. How can that be if God is the only source for morality?
1. You say there is little evidence for a world-wide flood, however there are several things I could point to, such as the fossils of sea creatures in the Himalayas and other high altitude areas. Other evidence includes multiple layers of strata without erosion or that show evidence of rapid erosion that appear to have been laid down in quick succession. One of the primary pointers that scientists with a Christian perspective like to point to is the Coconino sand layer in the Grand Canyon, which would have taken 300 million years of consistent water current to transport. (https://answersingenesis.org...)
2. You mentioned that if there was a flood that we would see more evidence in the form of animal fossils in high-altitude areas. Fossilized footprints in the Coconino sandstone layer suggest that the animals were attempting to make their way uphill, but were fighting against the current. Anyone who has been white-water rafting could tell you how easily water currents will pull you down. Also it may be necessary to take into account the terrain of the Earth. A pre-flood Earth would have to have been much flatter for the water to rise only 7.5 yards and cover all the "high hills".
3. I never stipulated that science was a religion. There are aspects of science which I do believe take religious undertones, such as its faith in probability and theories. While science has discovered that human DNA is very similar to that of the primates, it takes a leap of faith to say that we are actually evolved from them as our DNA and a great many other things are different. Also science continues to have faith in the "big bang" although it has only hypotheses on how it was started and where it came from. One of the new prevailing theories involves "dark matter" which seems to come from no where, but even dark matter and empty space can be described and is therefore something. But many scientists believe that it was the beginning, even though science can only offer a few observations in conjunction with hypotheses to explain it apart from a divine cause. They can't prove it. This is faith.
4. Here is a list of prophecies I grabbed off the internet, most notably in my opinion is the Daniel 8 prophecy about Alexander the Great. (https://sunandshield.wordpress.com...)
Rebuttals for your counter-arguments
1. You miss-interpreted my point. I mean that right and wrong can literally not exist without the existence of God, not that humans don't have the ability to discern right from wrong without God. Also why would evolution create kindness in the animal kingdom? The very principle of evolution is that predators and prey evolve to be better at killing and hiding respectively.
2. God created us with free-will. We used our free-will to rebel against God. Thus sin was brought into the world, along with all the evils that accompanies it, such as lust for power, which ultimately fueled the crusades and Hitlers genocide. The Bible never endorses pope-lead crusades or a dictator's genocide. The primary calling of Christians is to spread the love of God and the good news of Jesus' death, resurrection, and plan for salvation.
Social standards are just that, not right and wrong. Should the homosexuals be stoned? ISIS thinks so; they have different social standards. So is it right for them to stone them and is it right for us here in the US to allow it? If so than right cannot truly be right. It creates contradictions as all societies has different social standards.
This seemingly contradicts my statement concerning humanity knowing right and wrong because we were created in God's image, but even ISIS has to justify their actions so they don't believe themselves to be monsters. They say Christians are standing in the way of Allah (who is NOT our God!).
3. I'm sure you act morally even though you're an atheist. Many people, including Atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindi, and more share basic Judeo/Christian values such as the common belief that thievery and murder are wrong. But only Christianity in accompaniment with basic logic can give a correct moral code and a reason to abide by that code. Just because you are a good person doesn't mean that you have a reason to be a good person other than your instincts (which I believe to be from God).
You cite a few examples claiming to prove the Genesis flood, but real scientific evidence comes from multiple independent sources. All the links you pasted have the same Christian bias. If the worldwide flood actually occurred as little as several thousand years ago, we would be tripping over evidence.
Ironically, biologists are tripping over evidence when it comes to evolution. And just so you don't make this mistake again with other debaters: humans and chimpanzees share 98.8% DNA. Here's a link to the Smithsonian's website: http://humanorigins.si.edu...
And Christianity and Islam share the same Abrahamic God. It's troubling that as a Christian you aren't aware of this...
And as neither of us are astrophysicists, I'll let NASA prove the Big Bang to you: http://science.nasa.gov...
Scientific consensus is achieved when you publish your findings and no one can prove you wrong. And scientists do try. To prove a theory like evolution or the Big Bang (which is not a hypothesis) a majority of scientists must support it. Climate Change is suppported by 97% of climatologists. Reporters actually located the 3% who disagree and found they had connections to Russian oil companies.
There is no faith when it comes to science. There are only facts. When facts change, the science changes. The same cannot be said of religion. And that's the biggest difference.
Moving on, social standards are based on right and wrong. That's the whole point. Different societies have different standards, which we can debate which is more just. But you can't deny the facts. The more religious a society, the higher the rates of crime.
Finally, it seems we've come to the crux of our debate: You believe moral instincts are from God. Obviously I can't disprove that. It's called a non sequitur. Like, what if I said that moral instincts come from my invisible friend Tony? A scientist would ask for my proof for which I'd say there is none. And that scientist would start laughing.
In order of your arguments:
The similarity of human DNA to existing primates means nothing. House cats and man share about 90% in common DNA wise. A cow shares about 80%. Even the fruit-fly shares 60% even though they do not resemble men in any way. (http://genome.cshlp.org...)
I too am equally concerned about your belief about Allah and God being one, especially as you worship neither ;).
In seriousness, there are indisputable differences between Allah and God. Allah promises 72 virgins and rivers of alcohol for martyrs. Yahweh promises eternal life in perfect communion with him. Allah does not have a son. The core belief of Christianity is that Christ is the son of God and is God.
As far as the big bang goes, I would not say that the math behind it is flawed. It is possible that when God spoke the universe into existence he did so in a way that resembles an explosion, although I can not say for sure. As before I can only say that there had to be something that started the bang, as well as matter already around to do so.
For hundreds of years Darwin was considered the heretic. Just because the majority support a certain point of view doesn't make it so, it's called the "argumentum ad populum" fallacy.
I have no problem with facts. Most scientists are atheist or interpret facts with an atheistic perspective. We know humans and monkeys have common DNA, but scientists take it a step further claiming that because our DNA is so similar we must have evolved from them. This is not true science. Fact must be based on observation, not a hypotheses of an observation.
(On a related note, how funny would it be if one day man could be tried for killing a monkey as if he had killed another human, but with "science" and politics this may not be that far away, we have already seen a that a dog can inherit a man's fortune).
Crime rates and religion may go hand-in-hand, but that does not mean that religion incites crime, rather poverty incites crime and religion. If the law-breakers read the Bible they would know it condemns their actions. The Bible condemns murder, thievery, adultery, tax-fraud, and more.
My arguments have been directed at the proof of God-created moral instincts. There may not be any physical proof, but there are alternative perspectives which I have pointed out about morality which do not hold water, including Atheism.
Thanks for the debate. I enjoyed it. Good luck on your next one.
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