The Instigator
daniel_t
Pro (for)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
Nails
Con (against)
Losing
23 Points

God's wants/needs are unknown and unknowable.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 12 votes the winner is...
daniel_t
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,755 times Debate No: 10280
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (52)
Votes (12)

 

daniel_t

Pro

The participants in this debate must accept the assertions that:
* God exists and "is intelligent and free and distinct from the created universe." [1] (i.e., no Nature as God concepts.)
* Knowledge requires "conformity of thought with reality." [2]

There are many who claim to know God's desires (e.g., see [3],) but these claims exist as revelation [4] which is specifically defined as supernatural intercession by God and as such holds no means of independent or even subjective verification. In the special case of Biblical revelation, all such revelation is hearsay, and as such cannot be considered as knowledge of God's wants.

Therefore, all claims to know God's wants, needs, or desires, are suspect whether they are positive or negative. For example, we cannot know what God thinks of homosexuality or the eating of shell fish, but rather only what the writers (including the various copyists) of Leviticus thought of those topics. We cannot know what God thinks of the world, despite the claim of John 3:16.

[1] http://www.newadvent.org...
[2] http://www.newadvent.org...
[3] http://www.religion-online.org..., http://godwants.org..., http://www.godtalkstoyou.com..., and http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.newadvent.org...
Nails

Con

Thanks to Pro for the debate, and good luck.

Want: to have strong desire for/to wish or demand the presence of [1]
Need: a condition requiring supply or relief [2]

A simple syllogism will suffice to sum up my position.

I. Wants and needs, by definition, are things we seek to obtain for ourselves.
II. God is omniscient and omnipotent, having the power and knowledge to obtain anything at will.
III. From I & II, God obtains all of his wants and needs.
IV. God has control over the universe.
V. From III & IV, we only need to observe the universe around us to see Gods wants and needs manifested.

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[2] http://www.aolsvc.merriam-webster.aol.com...
Debate Round No. 1
daniel_t

Pro

I think Nails for accepting my challenge in this debate.

Con's syllogism fails for two reasons:

1) As Con rightly explains (in item I of his syllogism,) wants/needs are what God *seeks to obtain*, not what he *has already obtained*. The current state of the universe tells us nothing of what God desires, only what he has fulfilled.

For example, if I am in a maze, according to Con's syllogism I can surmise that God might have placed me in the maze, but I cannot use that fact to determine if God currently wants me to turn left or right.

2) Even given the above, not everything in the current state of the universe necessarily defines what God wanted. For example, a bird starts from a tree limb. If a down feather drops from the bird at that moment, the dropping feather is not necessarily what God wanted, it may simply be a random event that God cared nothing about.

In summation, Con is incorrect. The current state of the universe does not allow us to know God's wants/needs, nor even necessarily what he wanted or needed. Thus my position still stands, God's wants/needs are unknown and unknowable.
Nails

Con

========
Argument 1
========

"wants/needs are what God *seeks to obtain*, not what he *has already obtained*"

So he agrees that wants/needs are things that we seek to obtain. (Premise I)
He also agrees that God is omnipotent and omniscient. (Premise II)

Thus Conclusion (III) follows. If we seek to obtain our wants/needs and God knows and has the power to obtain all of his wants/needs, then by definition, he obtains them.

I can't say that I want X and, when I could obtain X, I instead forego it for Y. I instead would (by the definition) want Y.
Humans don't obtain their every want and need because we do not have the knowledge nor power to. God, however, has both the knowledge and power to achieve any possible want and need.

However, PRO uses an example of a maze:
"if I am in a maze, according to Con's syllogism I can surmise that God might have placed me in the maze, but I cannot use that fact to determine if God currently wants me to turn left or right."

As I stated, we can determine Gods wants/needs from the current state of affairs. In the given example, we can know that God wants PRO to be in a maze. Once PRO turns left or right, we then know that God wanted him to turn left or right.

========
Argument 2
========

"a bird starts from a tree limb. If a down feather drops from the bird at that moment, the dropping feather is not necessarily what God wanted, it may simply be a random event that God cared nothing about."

A. We have some opinion on everything we know. I want to win this debate. I want to pass my final exam. I want not to go to school tomorrow. Once I have knowledge of something, I cannot have complete indifference towards it.

For example, if I know that a tree is about to fall in a forest with noone around to hear it, I can't be completely indifferent as to whether it makes a sound. My desire to see a common cliche disproved might outweigh my desire to continue to use the cliche or vice versa. Knowing that the tree will fall in the forest with noone around to hear it, I can't be indifferent of whether it makes a sound. Indifference only comes from a lack of knowledge.

Because God is omniscient, he either wants X or wants Y in every scenario. As per Conclusion III, these wants are always fulfilled, thus we can conclude that if a feather drops from a bird as it starts from a tree limb, that God wanted it to be so.

B. As per Premise IV, God controls the universe. Therefore, every action within said universe is necessarily dictated by God. We can then conclude that is impossible for a feather to drop from a bird as it starts from a tree limb, unless God wills it to be so. If the feather does not fall from the starting bird, we can then know that God willed that it was so.

=======
Conclusion
=======

"In summation, Con is incorrect. The current state of the universe does not allow us to know God's wants/needs, nor even necessarily what he wanted or needed. Thus my position still stands, God's wants/needs are unknown and unknowable."

Corrected:

In summation, Pro is incorrect. The current state of the universe not only allows us to know God's wants/needs, but also (knowing history) what he wanted or needed. Thus my position still stands, God's wants/needs are known and knowable."
Debate Round No. 2
daniel_t

Pro

Argument 1:

"If we seek to obtain our wants/needs and God knows and has the power to obtain all of his wants/needs, then by definition, he obtains them."

Whether or not God obtains what he seeks is not at issue. What is at issue is whether or not we can *know* what He seeks to obtain.

"As I stated, we can determine Gods wants/needs from the current state of affairs. In the given example, we can know that God wants PRO to be in a maze. Once PRO turns left or right, we then know that God wanted him to turn left or right."

But once I turn left or right, that is no longer what God is *seeking to obtain*, thus it is not what he *wants*. As I showed and now Con has confirmed, we cannot determine what God wants or needs, what He is seeking to obtain, by the state of the universe, we can only determine what God has already obtained.

Argument 2:

A: "We have some opinion on everything we know."

This is simply not true; humans are capable of not caring about the outcome of a particular event. For example, I know that Tiger Woods, the golf pro, had an accident over the weekend and he could be charged with careless driving. I don't care what the outcome of the police investigation is; I don't want him to be charged with careless driving, nor do I want him to escape such a charge.

Even if I were to accept Con's assumption that humans must have an opinion on everything they know, God (by definition) cannot be held to such a limitation.

B: "As per Premise IV, God controls the universe. Therefore, every action within said universe is necessarily dictated by God."

Again, Con seeks to limit God's omnipotence by making it impossible for Him to let something happen without his conscious effort. This cannot be done by definition.

Although I applaud Con's attempt, I'm sure you can see the flaws in Con's argument as easily as I have. The current state of the universe does not inform us of what God is seeking to obtain only what he has obtained.
Nails

Con

========
Argument 1
========

"Whether or not God obtains what he seeks is not at issue."
"But once I turn left or right, that is no longer what God is *seeking to obtain*"

It seems to me that PRO's argument is based on 'want' and 'have' being mutually exclusive. They aren't. The point is that all God wants, God has. There is nothing he seeks to obtain but cannot obtain. He is not *seeking to obtain* anything that he does not already have.

Wants/needs are not necessarily things that exist in the future. For example, I want to debate and I am debating right now. We often invision wants/needs as future events because we cannot currently obtain them, e.g. I want a Ferrari, but, as God can obtain anything and everything that he so desires, none of his wants/needs remain unfulfilled to later be granted in the future. All that God currently wants with the universe, is; all that he doesn't want, is not.

========
Argument 2
========

A. "I don't care what the outcome of the police investigation is; I don't want him to be charged with careless driving"

My opponent contradicts his original claim, in the same sentence no less. He has no opinion, but he doesn't want him to be charged with careless driving. This just exemplifies the point I originally made, that we have some opinion on everything.

B. "Con seeks to limit God's omnipotence by making it impossible for Him to let something happen without his conscious effort."

I do not enjoy semantics, and that is all that this is, PRO playing off the definition of 'omnipotent.' It's the same thing as "Well, I dare God to create a stone so large that he can't lift it!" Either way, his semantics game doesn't work.

If God decides that he wants something to happen without his conscious effort, it still takes his conscious effort in making the decision.

To PRO: Good debate
To voters: Vote CON
Debate Round No. 3
52 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mangani 6 years ago
Mangani
I've actually not insulted you. I gave you advice on how your current attitude will affect you in life. Pointing out you are hard headed is an observation. Pointing out you are a know it all is an observation. Pointing out you ignore reliable information through pride in your own perceived intelligence is an observation. Everything else is advice based on these observations. If you continue down this path, that is quite likely how you will turn out. All you have to do is take a look at some of the older debaters who exhibit the same attitudes, and ask them when was the last time they had a date that didn't involve a virtual world.
Posted by Nails 6 years ago
Nails
How does insulting me do that?
Posted by Mangani 6 years ago
Mangani
You letting my vote stand without crying about it.
Posted by Nails 6 years ago
Nails
What are you trying to accomplish?
Posted by Mangani 6 years ago
Mangani
I knew you'd argue you do well in school, but I didn't think you'd go as far as to justify that notion with an irrelevant claim to 4th place in the Geo Bee! Yay!?

Again, you prove my point. I can render as many personal observations as I wish. This is not a debate, and I am making justified observations. You are full of yourself, and I picture you eating a huge meatball hogie in a video game chair playing World of Warcraft and marrying your online elvin girlfriend while yelling out "I'm the best".

Intelligence does not equal wisdom, and your lack of modesty prevents you from seeing logic. You can memorize all you want in school and get straight A's, but in the long run you'll have very few friends, very little advancement in your employment, and you will be a virgin for a very, very long time.
Posted by Nails 6 years ago
Nails
"I'd be curious to know how bad you do in school. I bet you'll argue you do well, but I don't think you're learning much."

Let's just make unfounded personal attacks, shall we?
Believe it or not, I actually do well in school. I guess this is the best I can do to verify it: https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com...
Posted by Mangani 6 years ago
Mangani
Nails, are you seriously going to continue your circular argument? You are simply arguing with me the same thing you were arguing with Pro. What part of Pro's response does NOT say your argument is irrelevant to the premise? In fact he AGREES with your assessment that what has been acquired is evident of what he has wanted, but that assessment does not answer the questions: what does God want and need?

I'd be curious to know how bad you do in school. I bet you'll argue you do well, but I don't think you're learning much.
Posted by Nails 6 years ago
Nails
"Pro's arguments are solid for his premise. You didn't even bother arguing his premise,"

The point I made was in no way irrelevant. Assuming the 3 premises in R1 are true, I negated the resolution. PRO didn't argue the relevance/validity of the syllogism, he attacked the truth of the premsies. There is no basis in the debate to say that my argument was irrelevant. The same goes for einshtoin's vote about God not being a child.
Posted by Mangani 6 years ago
Mangani
I understand EinShtoins angle. LMAO! He's saying Pro's position, basically, is irrefutable because God doesn't HAVE "wants" and "needs". Hence his statement "like a child".

Nails, you are hardheaded as all hell. Do you really think voters are going to just agree with you because you say so? The arguments are there for us to read and examine. Obviously, if even one person disagrees with you, there is the possibility of others disagreeing. And obviously if there is even one person who feels you don't understand the position, there is the possibility of others feeling the same way. You've done nothing to make me agree with your arguments. Pro's arguments are solid for his premise. You didn't even bother arguing his premise, and when he called you out on it, you didn't refute it. Do you get it yet???
Posted by daniel_t 6 years ago
daniel_t
Nails, Manganis reason for voting against you is the exact same argument I used during the debate.

You confused present tense (what we currently know to be true) with future tense (what we think God wants to have come to pass.)

As for EinShtoin, he's a wild card. At least we know he voted, but what about all the votes that gave you points, but didn't bother posting a comment saying why?
12 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
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