The Instigator
BradK
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
Truth_seeker
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

God's Existence Is Personal Opinion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Truth_seeker
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 630 times Debate No: 60201
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

BradK

Pro

This debate is not focused on God's existence.

This debate is focused on the question, "Is belief in God a personal opinion, or is it based on some sort of observational evidence?" Objectivity cannot be disputed, subjectivity can. A simple example would be that a falling rock objectively falls. Subjectively you can say it's doing anything, you could say it's falling or evaporating, and subjectively I can say it's doing anything as well. But objectively, we have to agree that it is falling. If you or I were to say that it did not fall, then someone might invite us to put our face where the rock would land before it is dropped. If either of us disagreed in the objective question "did the rock fall", we would surely be able to answer it after the rock makes it quite clear by leaving a fat bruise on the forehead.

Enough rambling. Debate is open to anyone who wishes to debate that god's existence is something that must be objectively agreed on, rather than something that can be subjectively agreed on or subjectively disagreed on.
Truth_seeker

Con

my position is that everything is subjective because we can not take any other point of view other than our own and our own senses.that being said, you cannot be completely objective about anything.in the example you gave,we cannot objectively see the rock falling unless human perception is involved. When we consider multiple viewpoints,depending on the context, it probably can be objective.I will argue that while science cannot prove God existence, we can all there are subjective experiences come to the conclusion that he exists.
Debate Round No. 1
BradK

Pro

I find it odd that you would agree that not only God's existence is subjective, but ALL things are subjective. I was also quite shocked to see you say "science cannot prove God existence. we can all there are subjective experiences come to the conclusion that he exists" [sic].

Isn't the debate over right then and there? You have agreed that God's existence is a subjective matter, or a personal opinion. You have agreed that an objective science cannot prove there is a God (and likewise I agree that science cannot prove there is no God). My burning question for you, is how do you intend to win the debate by agreeing with me?

---

So first I will address the idea that "everything is subjective". It's not a new idea, and for me the best response to solipsism, or the "brains in jars theory" is Penn Jillettes's rant on it how "[it's a solid argument, but let's just say there's a real reality out there]". It can't be disproved but of course a hypothesis that can't be disproved, or a calculation that takes infinite steps, or anything of that nature that can't be answered we have no choice but to move on from. Unless you would rather die old looking for an answer to a paradox? The philosopher that spends all his time questioning whether the steak in front of him is real or not will go by the way of hunger. The only way to make progress of any sort is to assume that there is a real reality out there. So let's do that.

I will now argue that objectivity is inseparably linked to evidence. It is apparent that objectivity requires evidence. The scientific method is built upon this idea. We need numbers, data, empirical evidence, quantitative observations, and things like that in order to observe a trend in nature. My proposition is as follows: (an example of an objective claim is that rocks weigh more than balloons of equal volume. A theory is that the force of gravity is proportional to mass). Note: Data and evidence are used interchangeably.

(P1) Trends of nature, AKA scientific theories, come from experimental data
(A) No theories can be induced without data - this follows from P1
(P2) Objective observation is the only way to test a claim or prediction
(P3) Observation requires the accumulation of data in some form
(B) Without data, no one can validate predictions - follows from P2 and P3
(C) No theories that predict future events can be induced without data - follows from A and B

Objective claims cannot be disagreed upon. If they cannot be disagreed upon, two people who happen to disagree must necessarily have some sort of way to resolve their disagreement. A disagreement between two people can only be resolved in the future obviously. And in order for it to be resolved in the future, they must have a prediction that can be tested. Using the example from above, we could be in disagreement on whether or not mass determines the weight of an object. I might say "the more volume it has, the heavier it is". You might say "no, it's the total mass that causes the weight force". This dispute can be objectively resolved with a simple test. We use newton meters to weigh different objects, and record both their volume in cubic meters and their mass in grams. And what will be the outcome of that? I think objectively, we agree that you would have the data to back up your claim.

So you are open to dispute any of my propositions above, or criticize my logical deductions. In summary, the conclusion is that objectivity can only be applied with the help of data.

---

However, when there is no data, people will form their own beliefs or hypotheses. The most obvious example of this is with religion. I might say "there is no God". A Christian might say "God is the father, the son, and the holy spirit. He is 3 persons in one, 3 entities in one, like water is ice, liquid, and vapor". A Muslim might say "no, there is only one God, there is no God but the one true God". A Hindu might say "No, there are many Gods."

So how do we test these claims? We agree that we can't. No one can die and go to an afterlife, and then come back to life and tell us what happened. We have no evidence there. No one can record the voice of God, and upload the soundclip to Soundcloud or Youtube for everyone to hear, so we have no empirical data on that either. In the absence of empirical data, the existence of God is entirely subjective. It is personal opinion. Some people may lean one way or the other for various reasons or experiences they have. I cannot judge their experiences because I have not had them, and likewise they cannot judge my experiences because they have not had them. There is no shared data between me, and atheist, and a Christian or Jew or Muslim. As I proved above, we can't come up with some sort of test to see if God exists or not because we have no data to base a theory on in the first place.

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That is all I wish to say for round 2. I believe that god's existence is a matter of personal opinion. If it were not, we could resolve all religious disputes and then repurpose all the buildings built to worship the wrong god as coffee shops or warehouses or theatres or any other business. That's not going to happen any time soon, is it? And why not - because belief in god is subjective.
Truth_seeker

Con

Isn't the debate over right then and there? You have agreed that God's existence is a subjective matter, or a personal opinion. You have agreed that God's existence is a subjective matter, or a personal opinion. You have agreed that an objective science cannot prove there is a God (and likewise I agree that science cannot prove there is no God). My burning question for you, is how do you intend to win the debate by agreeing with me?"

You misinterpreted what i meant by experience, i define experience as God in some way or shape revealing himself to you through revelation, miracles, visions, etc. that will prove that he exists. Personal opinion cannot be equal to a supernatural experience.

". It can't be disproved but of course a hypothesis that can't be disproved"

It can be disproved by logic and empirical evidence. It can be rejected if insufficient evidence is found (1).

"I will now argue that objectivity is inseparably linked to evidence. It is apparent that objectivity requires evidence. The scientific method is built upon this idea. We need numbers, data, empirical evidence, quantitative observations, and things like that in order to observe a trend in nature. My proposition is as follows: (an example of an objective claim is that rocks weigh more than balloons of equal volume. A theory is that the force of gravity is proportional to mass). Note: Data and evidence are used interchangeably."

Not necessarily, scientific theories are still subject to the scientists interpretation of them. You subjectively submit to their findings, but not every scientist agrees. For example, a small percentage of scientists do not believe in evolution (2).

"Objective claims cannot be disagreed upon. If they cannot be disagreed upon, two people who happen to disagree must necessarily have some sort of way to resolve their disagreement. A disagreement between two people can only be resolved in the future obviously. And in order for it to be resolved in the future, they must have a prediction that can be tested. "

This cannot always be done. The more complex a theory is, the more chances it has of being argued against. Like the example I gave above. For example, according to the scientific concept of Abiogenesis, there is no standard model for the origin of life. This gives more room for subjective and conflicting views even in science.

To respond your last paragraph, God is just as reliable as a human being. Can you prove to me that humans exist? Scientifically, you can't because not only would that result in circular reasoning on your part, science isn't concerned with existence of beings, but about how they work. Yes, you can observe humans, but that's not proof, it's justsubj ective observations not applied to an experiment. It's an assumption you make. Who is right? It depends on the experience. I had a revelation of Jesus Christ and no revelation of Buddha or any other god. Logically, if the monotheistic God revealed himself to me, he is the only God and revelation is supreme.

If you saw the President of Iraq, but have no proof to back it up, can I doubt it? Yes, but is it valid for you? Yes, therefore I have no say on the matter. You cannot prove to me that anything material exists unless it is brought to my perception.

Sources:

1. http://www.livescience.com...

2. http://www.aboundingjoy.com...
Debate Round No. 2
BradK

Pro

Just as an opener to the final round, I want to distinguish between two things - opinion and fact. Opinions are things that people hold strongly, and tend to hold onto in the face of contradicting evidence. They also tend to seek out evidence that strengthens their opinion (confirmation bias). Facts on the other hand, are fleeting. People have no attachment to facts whatsoever. If it is raining, then you acknowledge right away that it is the case. If it stops raining, you acknowledge it right away. Lets not spend too much time on this I think it's clear.

---

If I claim to have had a supernatural experience, then I don't expect you to believe me unless I can replicate the experience for you somehow. Likewise if you claim to have a supernatural experience, I, as a skeptic, will not be believing you unless I see it for myself in one way or another. No hard feelings.

That's the topic I really want to address though, the idea of "hard feelings". Religious belief is a difficult thing for people to express or convey. It's a bit materialistic and nihilistic to just say "there's no evidence for god, when we die that's it". However this is my belief. I don't expect you to understand it. Likewise I don't pretend to understand the experience of people who have had "God reveal Himself to them". Who am I to judge? If we try to judge each other's experiences, we will get nowhere. Especially on a debate site, trying to debate religious belief. There's nothing to debate; one person has their belief, another person has their own belief, another person has their own belief, and that's the way it is. You can't try and debate that someone who is a Muslim is actually an atheist, or that someone who is an atheist is actually a Christian, that's just preposterous. But that's EXACTLY what people try to do when they say "your belief is wrong and this other belief is better and you just don't realize the truth". Each person is entitled to their own personal opinion. God's existence remains a personal opinion either way, and I vouch for the right for people to have their harmless personal opinions excluded from criticism.

---

Science has a certain level of subjectivity, but I fear you skipped a step. When it comes to interpreting the evidence and CREATING the theory in the first place, there is certainly subjectivity. Interpreting the theory is not subjective though. The models or formulas are very concrete and we can simulate a scenario given a set of inputs on a computer. My question for you, is this: "Is the goal of science to be objective or subjective in reaching conclusions?". ***In other words, is "f = ma" a form of art or a formula?

The scientists out there that don't believe in evolution are a red herring to this debate. Abiogenesis is also a red herring. It's one of the things that science can't answer currently, so of course there's debate and different opinions on it, which is great I hope someday someone figures out exactly how it happened. I would rather draw your attention to things that science has determned for a fact, like Newton's laws or Ohm's law, or the structure of the atom, and that there is NO room for subjectivity in these models. There's no debate on what a volt is, or what a force is, or what mass is, or how big an atom is.

---

If I met the president of Iraq, how does that affect you in any way? You'd only care if it were true or not if it affected you somehow. Which it doesn't.

---

Some questions I would like to ask you to answer:


(Q1) Are there people who concede God exists?

(Q2) Are there people who concede God does not exist?



I will now add a third and fourth question:



(Q3) If someone questions whether or not God exists, does faith or materialistic, numerical, empirical data convince them that God exists?

(Q4) If someone questions whether or not God exists, why do some people end up saying "no"?

Since this is the final round I can't respond to the your answers, but your answers should make it clear that there is no way to reach a consensus on God's existence.

---

If god's existence were not something that is a matter of personal opinion, then there should be some way for everyone to agree on whether or not god exists. It should be apparent from the thousands upon thousands of "does god exist" debates involving people like Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris or whoever, that no one is coming to a consensus on the issue. This means the issue should be left to an individual's discretion. God's existence should be something people decide on for themselves, not something forced down their throat by someone with a different personal belief. If you say "there is a God", does that harm me in any way? No. So why should I care? Why should you care if I say "there isn't one"? Unless you can provide a reason for either of us to care, then my point is clear - God's existence is a personal matter. And personal matters are between the people involved, and that's it. Most people on the internet are not affected in any way shape or form, by other people's beliefs on the internet.

As a final word, I'd like to end on this - if we continuously bicker about whose religion is better, we'll end up frustrated and no further ahead of where we started.

And of course thank you for engaging in the debate.
Truth_seeker

Con

"If I claim to have had a supernatural experience, then I don't expect you to believe me unless I can replicate the experience for you somehow. Likewise if you claim to have a supernatural experience, I, as a skeptic, will not be believing you unless I see it for myself in one way or another. No hard feelings."

That's the topic I really want to address though, the idea of "hard feelings". Religious belief is a difficult thing for people to express or convey. It's a bit materialistic and nihilistic to just say "there's no evidence for god, when we die that's it". However this is my belief. I don't expect you to understand it. Likewise I don't pretend to understand the experience of people who have had "God reveal Himself to them". Who am I to judge? If we try to judge each other's experiences, we will get nowhere. Especially on a debate site, trying to debate religious belief. There's nothing to debate; one person has their belief, another person has their own belief, another person has their own belief, and that's the way it is. You can't try and debate that someone who is a Muslim is actually an atheist, or that someone who is an atheist is actually a Christian, that's just preposterous. But that's EXACTLY what people try to do when they say "your belief is wrong and this other belief is better and you just don't realize the truth". Each person is entitled to their own personal opinion. God's existence remains a personal opinion either way, and I vouch for the right for people to have their harmless personal opinions excluded from criticism.


You imply that an experience is not personal opinion, but has the highest form of truth value in the human perception.Would you agree that first-hand observation of the big bang at the moment it's happening is much more accurate than inductive reasoning and evidence based on modern observations thousands of years after the event? I think you would. Evidence is given because we cannot replicate those experiences (humans, accidents, trees, etc.) and thus need some level of accuracy, however experience cannot be refuted and is logically the most accurate assertion. The only thing is that it is personal, but not an opinion.

"My question for you, is this: "Is the goal of science to be objective or subjective in reaching conclusions?"

Essentially, the goal cannot be objective if you are expected to subjectively use the scientific method to reach scientific conclusions ONLY within the realm of science, not reality.

"If god's existence were not something that is a matter of personal opinion, then there should be some way for everyone to agree on whether or not god exists."

It is up to God to show himself to us since we clearly lack the capacity and the knowledge to even see or prove God. Just like it is up to you, people, aliens, and other beings to manifest themselves to us in order to reach a logical conclusion of their existence.


Thank you for this very interesting debate
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by BradK 2 years ago
BradK
@lannan13 There were also some points that I made that Truth_seeker didn't address. What points are you referring to that you think I didn't rebut?
Posted by Nitwit 2 years ago
Nitwit
This connects to human right. People have the right to believe what they want to and it shouldn't be anyone else's job to tell an individual whether a greater being exists or not, and if they should believe that or not.
Posted by Palmo10 2 years ago
Palmo10
Oh but do you know that the pro would lose once the con starts giving evidence of God?
Posted by BradK 2 years ago
BradK
Sorry, I didn't specify any rules for round 1. I'm okay if you use some opening arguments in the first round.
Posted by Truth_seeker 2 years ago
Truth_seeker
Is first round acceptance?
Posted by BradK 2 years ago
BradK
The reason I want to have this debate... and I do sincerely apologize for another god debate, is that if I win then we can just all leave this "does god exist" nonsense alone.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
BradKTruth_seekerTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro gets spelling and grammar due to Con's lack of capitalization. Con's points about the Big Bang and the fact that it didn't seem like some of his arguments were fully rebutted so con wins arguments and he also used sources so he also gets that point.
Vote Placed by mishapqueen 2 years ago
mishapqueen
BradKTruth_seekerTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's point about the Big Bang persuaded me to vote for him. Otherwise, I might have had to tie it. This debate was a little bit confusing, but very interesting.