The Instigator
bobr
Pro (for)
The Contender
PRS25
Con (against)

Is there a place for Christianity in Todays World

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/1/2018 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 186 times Debate No: 106300
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (0)

 

bobr

Pro

In today's society full of religious pluralism and reeling on the effects of postmodernists moral relativity, we ask is there a place for Christianity in today's world? I hold that the Christian worldview provides the most fulfilling life here on this planet. More importantly it allows for the forgiveness of sin and provides hope not only now but for eternity. If other religions eliminate the self or conclude there is no soul or it is not eternal, what hope does that provide for man's longing as an eternal being. I would love to hear back on this issue and have a an enriching exchange on the matter. Thanks
PRS25

Con

I will be responding not to my opponent's general position - that Christianity has a place in today's world - but rather to his more defined position in his opening. This does not mean I am ignoring his general premise, only that I accepted this debate based on his more refined position in his opening. Unfortunately, I still need clarification on most of his points before I can substantively respond with any depth. I want to avoid falsely presuming I comprehend what he means, even if I feel like I can.

-Pro's Positions-

"The Christian worldview provides the most fulfilling life here on this planet."

After this contention, he does provide some anecdotal support for this position but he does not address what defines a Christian worldview. I would also argue that his position begs the following questions: What constitutes a fulfilling life? And how do we objectively measure the standards by which any given society, as a whole, is leading a fulfilling life? If the answers to these questions are predicated only on Pro's contention that the Christian worldview is the only way of having a fulfilling life, he will need to expand upon that to provide support for what objective standards we use to measure it. Is a fulfilling life one without war? Disease? Depression? Poverty? Happiness? These are important questions to answer in order to evaluate whether a definition of the Christian worldview provides the most fulfillment.

"It allows for the forgiveness of sin and provides hope not only now but for eternity."

This begs too many questions that that need to be answered because I need proper definitions and qualifications of the meaning: 1) What constitutes sin? 2) Who constitutes as the legislator of what sin is? 3) Why must it be forgiven? 4) Why does the forgiver desire to forgive the forgivee? 5) Does forgiveness of sin improve fulfillment in life? And if so, how? And if how, why? 6) What constitutes hope? 7) What do you mean by eternity (Eternal consciousness? Eternal physical and conscious life?)? 8) Why does being forgiven of sin, and having hope for eternity, equate with a more fulfilling life than other relative worldviews?

"If other religions eliminate the self or conclude there is no soul or it is not eternal, what hope does that provide for man's longing as an eternal being?"

Again, too many questions for me to posit: 1) What other religions are you speaking of? 2) What do you mean by "eliminate the self"? 3) Have these religions concluded that there is no soul, or it is not eternal? If so, which? 4) How does a conclusion that there is no soul, or it is not eternal, equate with hope, as you define hope? 5) How can one that concludes that the soul is not eternal, long to be an eternal being? [Longing to be an eternal being would require the belief in the possibility of eternity; but that isn't the case if you already don't hold that belief] 6) Why does the lack of belief of a soul, or an eternal soul, equate with a measurable scale of fulfillment?

I would provide my own position but I believe that based on Pro's position, I cannot state my position until most of these questions are at least given some attention. I apologize if it sounds like I am deflecting. I just do not want to waste time arguing against the position if I am not clear on what you mean in your own. It would seem fair to both of us to avoid having a disjunctive debate before we get too far into it. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
bobr

Pro

My opponent brought out some pertinent questions, which I will attempt to tackle at a large scale in order to advance the debate.
1)For a quick definition of Christian worldview, we hold there are 4 basic precepts, 1) a Holy God, the malady of sin, God"s provision of salvation and 4) the works of Christ. (1)

2)For the purpose of our debate let"s suppose a most fulfilling life would be founded not on material gain, and the pursuit of power, position, fame or fortune, but one that is genuinely reward-able to the believer by helping his fellow man, serving the community, caring for one another, because he believes he is an heir in eternal life. He still faces everyday challenges yet considers this belief as an heir, his most cherished gift, thereby he considers himself most fulfilled.

3)As objectively measuring the fulfillment, we can take the believer at his word that he is most fulfilled, it may not be measurable to you or I if it is a belief he holds, (the inheritance). Yet we contend his interaction with society and community advances everyone's well being, including his and still provides him with fulfillment.

4)Yes he is susceptible to war, poverty, disease and still pursuits happiness, yet his lifestyle doesn"t guarantee the elimination of pain, or the assurance in the this life of surplus. Yet he considers himself most blessed of all men. He still hopes for peace and health, and blessings from the providence of God but regardless of those manifestations he claims complete fulfillment.

5)We believe in the inherent depraved nature of man which requires the forgiveness of sin and can only be acquired by faith in the perfect works of a sinless God incarnate, the person and works of Jesus Christ. This is the forgiveness spoken of. God defines sin, God is the legislator. God as the forgiver desires to forgive the forgivee to allow for a relationship once again with his creation, yet un-holiness cannot dwell in His presence, a forgiving process must take place. And yes forgiveness improves fulfillment of life because the person has recognized his eternal inheritance. The person can live out their life without the sting that death brings with it. Personal relationships with family, and loved ones can be permanently maintained even if temporally interrupted. This is one of the greatest fulfillments in this life.

6)We do believe all mankind longs for a relationship with his God and longs for eternal life. This is the hope and longing we speak of. So to several of your concluding questions, such as Do we mean eternal physical and conscious life? (We do, we believe in the resurrection of both the body and soul and continuation of consciousness), and Why does being forgiven of sin, and having hope for eternity, equate with a more fulfilling life than other relative world views? .....we might ask,

If you do not believe in the eternal soul, wouldn't the person who is set to gain an eternal life be living a more fulfilled life, knowing he is set to gain that. If life holds anything of intrinsic value and worth, love, happiness, peace, relationships, isn't forever as a quantity of it, better than seventy or eighty years of it? I understand that desire requires believing the possibility first, but what if the understanding came with the worldview? If the promise of this inheritance of eternal life was part of the Christian worldview, that one could accept, once one understood that, wouldn't he then reasonably long for it?

In regards to the other religions for the purpose of keeping the debate on track, Buddhism contends, "People cannot satisfy their souls with anything because they do not have souls (i.e. enduring substances) "so the person has no essence; it is only a collection of states called skandas." (2)

I look forward to your commentary, thanks.

(1)Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2011) 40.
(2)Ibid, 573.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bobr 2 weeks ago
bobr
Finally you stated your take on fear in light of your interpretation on ceasing to exist. I agree you with on this point, I see your position and I will expound on my mine. You speak from a mindset of non-existence. I do not. If one believed we are eternal then fear creeps back in. I will not cast at you Christian eschatology as you are an educated person. I know you are aware of the contrasting states should there be eternity. So I will not further the point. You do not believe and so for now you have no fear. I would consider myself a ruined person. When Isaiah was called of God, he was granted a view into heaven of God glorified. At seeing the Holiness of God, he cried out, "I am ruined"for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." I embrace that ruin. For example, if I were in this tragic car accident and glass flew everywhere and I received a deadly piercing of my brain. My brain stops firing, my heart ceases to pump, my lungs do not fill with air and my body expires. But do believe everything I am, who I am, the love I have, disintegrates? Where does it go? So you see, I truly believe in that transition and continuum. Here is the question to much of what I spoke. Do others perceive this eternity and deny it, and if so are they sadly living in fear?

I await your response, it"s been excellent dialogue. Although we have spoken of deep intrinsic beliefs, I would have still contended one"s everyday life is more completely realized with this view than without. Alas, life time constraints, so I send it to you, thanks.
Posted by bobr 2 weeks ago
bobr
So for my last post if it is Ok, I would like to focus on a few of your comments in your last post. You said, "I do not want to live forever." You also stated, "We should embrace life when it ends." You concluded with (my summation) that if one concluded we no longer existed at death then fear along with our existence ceases. So I have nothing more to fear.

So again, if I may, speak on your first two points you can restate your interpretation back as needed. You stated "you do not want to live forever." I would suggest I do not want to live in this body forever. I do not want to live in this world forever. I do not want the pain and suffering, envy and strife and relentless daily pursuit that this life requires forever. I tire, I get ill. But do I want my loved ones and those relationships forever? Absolutely. Would I love an eternity of utopia in a perfect body with all the love I have tasted of this life exponentially more? Yes.

You stated, "We should embrace life when it ends." Do I want to have my last day, today? No. Unfortunately we don"t what day that is. I do not believe most people want to die 30 minutes from now in a tragic accident. We would all like to think of the natural progression of life. When that time comes do I want to pass on beliefs and words of encouragement to my children, loved ones? Yes. Do I want to pass on words of wisdom I may have harvested throughout life? Yes. Do I hope to have inheritance for them and have built a life of memories to laugh about and rehash, yes. Do I want to awake tomorrow and wrap my arms around death? No.
Posted by bobr 2 weeks ago
bobr
First thank you for recognizing some "very good arguments" and some logical reasoning to my beliefs. You have been a most respectful debater of which I have thoroughly enjoyed. As well you make excellent points. I would agree with your contention on the multiple flavor of worldview. While I admit to not having sampled them all, I have made effort to be educated on the surrounding views. Obviously I come back to chocolate, lol, (You know I believe the Scripture of Jesus stating, "I am the way and the truth and the life." (Jn 14:6)). I agree with you that Muslims as an example profess a belief in eternal life. A famed contemporary theologian (R.C. Sproul " who just passed away) once discussed coming to Christianity with a previously devout Muslim. One of the topics was what do Muslims do with their sin and guilt? As part of their theology they get closer to Allah by good works. They fail and feel the weight of their spiritual deficiency. When they fail they simply try harder. But the concept of "theism" " yes. The concept of eternal life " yes. But a savior who paid the ultimate and purest sacrifice to satisfy a Holy God " no. Do you see how given a different vehicle we could branch many ways on this topic? But I would still continue making a case for best worldview.
Posted by PRS25 2 weeks ago
PRS25
[If life holds anything of intrinsic value and worth, love, happiness, peace, relationships, isn't forever as a quantity of it, better than seventy or eighty years of it? I understand that desire requires believing the possibility first, but what if the understanding came with the worldview? If the promise of this inheritance of eternal life was part of the Christian worldview, that one could accept, once one understood that, wouldn't he then reasonably long for it?]

Interesting point of view. I would say that it could logically follow that many, if not most, people hold the forever prospect as a possibility that makes life fulfilling. As I stated just previously though, I don"t hold that to be logically consistent with my worldview, but I think it"s a very good argument. The second premise you have sounds a little too speculative to me. This is because the "what if" question actually begs another question: Is it possible for the understanding to come through something other than a worldview (i.e.-spiritual experience, out of body experience, etc.)? The last part of your argument is logical and I would agree that for someone who gets fulfillment out of knowing if eternal life is real, and the Christian worldview could sufficiently explain this to that person, that this person could reasonably long for it. I believe that that is fair to say but I do not think that it substantiates the claim that it sufficiently can (mostly due to it being an assertion).
Posted by PRS25 2 weeks ago
PRS25
[This is the hope and longing we speak of. So to several of your concluding questions, such as Do we mean eternal physical and conscious life? (We do, we believe in the resurrection of both the body and soul and continuation of consciousness), and Why does being forgiven of sin, and having hope for eternity, equate with a more fulfilling life than other relative world views? .....we might ask, If you do not believe in the eternal soul, wouldn't the person who is set to gain an eternal life be living a more fulfilled life, knowing he is set to gain that.]

The problem with this statement is not the content but I think the form. You have created a false assumption about the level of importance one places on having an eternal soul. From my personal perspective, I do not want to live forever. I find the finite nature of life and death to be something that should be embraced more; not because a new life is born out of the first, but because we shouldn"t only embrace the pleasurable aspects of life while alive, we should also embrace life when it ends. We avoid this due to the fear we place on non-existence, yet the irony in this fear is that embracing this fear is wasted on literally nothing. This is a hybrid of an argument I"ve been working on that is sort of an extension of an argument I heard elsewhere, so hopefully it makes (some) sense: We can only have fear of death but not fear of birth, since we did not exist before birth. If there is no fear to be had once we die, since we have no memories post-death, then what can actually be feared anymore? (Note: work in progress).
Posted by PRS25 2 weeks ago
PRS25
[We do believe all mankind longs for a relationship with his God and longs for eternal life.]

I would argue that this is simply a proposition of something to be true, and requires more than just the assertion. My position would be that many in mankind long for this relationship and eternal life, and my justification for this position/proposition is the evidence of literature in religious institutions and the proclamations I have heard many people make. For this to cover all mankind, I would find this to be a great BoP to avoid leaping inferences.
Posted by PRS25 2 weeks ago
PRS25
[...And yes forgiveness improves fulfillment of life because the person has recognized his eternal inheritance. The person can live out their life without the sting that death brings with it. Personal relationships with family, and loved ones can be permanently maintained even if temporally interrupted. This is one of the greatest fulfillments in this life.] - Couldn't fit it all on here.

I think that this is true, insofar as it is true to those who embrace this faction of Christianity. I know the debate is about whether a Christian worldview can provide the most fulfilling life, and my Con position is to refute this notion, but I am not discounting that the beliefs you have outlined provide this fulfillment. I am only discounting that it can be universally claimed without accounting for all other worldviews. Here"s an example: If you go into an ice cream parlor and every time you go in you get chocolate, yet you have never tried any of the other 30 flavors, this may be your favorite flavor but it is also the only flavor you have tried. So it would be a true statement to claim that chocolate is your favorite flavor when you get ice cream, but that changes once you state that it is the BEST flavor. Once you"ve stated that it is the best in the parlor, you have made a truth claim that would require you to have knowledge of what the other flavors taste like. Since you have not tried any other flavors, you cannot actually state this with any objectivity " based on the structure of your position. Also, even if you had tried every other flavor, but then others have competing opinions about which ice cream is the best, you run into an issue relating to how one can verify the truth value of these divergent claims. Either one flavor is the best, no flavor is the best, or the best flavor (if it exists) cannot be discerned with any type of measurable objectivity.
Posted by PRS25 2 weeks ago
PRS25
[Yes he is susceptible to war, poverty, disease and still pursuits happiness, yet his lifestyle doesn"t guarantee the elimination of pain, or the assurance in the this life of surplus. Yet he considers himself most blessed of all men. He still hopes for peace and health, and blessings from the providence of God but regardless of those manifestations he claims complete fulfillment.]

I believe this is the evidence you are providing to substantiate your proposition that the Christian worldview provides the most fulfillment. If I am misrepresenting your position, I apologize. If I were to summarize what you"re saying, it sounds as if you are saying that regardless of the strife or continued strife one experiences in the Christian worldview, his fulfillment is satisfied by his life embracing the Christian worldview. I would say that this is true for Christians, in that they use God as the "light at the end of the tunnel" when things are bad. Even if this is true, a similar argument could be made for those within other religions. For instance, Islam is very similarly constructed on this level. Muslims hold that their trust and faith in God (Allah) is the ultimate "light at the end of the tunnel", and they trust in God when things are bad. A Muslim would therefore hold an almost identical claim of complete fulfillment.
Posted by PRS25 2 weeks ago
PRS25
[As objectively measuring the fulfillment, we can take the believer at his word that he is most fulfilled, it may not be measurable to you or I if it is a belief he holds, (the inheritance). Yet we contend his interaction with society and community advances everyone's well being, including his and still provides him with fulfillment.]

I would almost agree with this, except that it sounds as if you are saying that there is an objective way of measuring fulfillment, yet it"s possible that one cannot measure it. It would make more sense to me if you framed it in a manner that says, "Objective measurablity holds the possibility of not being measurable due to the possibility of one not being capable of objectively measuring it." Both possibilities are not necessarily problematic, and could hold quantitatively different probabilities of truth, so I think that would comport with my position as well if that"s the case.
Posted by PRS25 2 weeks ago
PRS25
I have to do this in sections due to character constraints

[...let"s suppose a most fulfilling life would be founded not on material gain, and the pursuit of power, position, fame or fortune, but one that is genuinely reward-able to the believer by helping his fellow man, serving the community, caring for one another, because he believes he is an heir in eternal life. He still faces everyday challenges yet considers this belief as an heir, his most cherished gift, thereby he considers himself most fulfilled.]

The only part I would disagree with is that it is not necessarily a proper presupposition that it is most likely that most people hold a belief that he is an heir in eternal life, and that it would be a common prime mover for his actions. It may be true for some people, and even a majority, yet it still seems too loosely applied. Essentially, the ideas surrounding a most fulfilling life, in my view, would be one whereby you and I both agree on common desires and actions that could be safely presumed to apply to most, if not all people. I think that belief in an heir to eternal life, not the hope for eternal life, is primarily constrained to a theistic/religious view of fulfillment, and cannot be necessarily applied universally as you"ve described. But I do not hold that it isn"t a characteristic of fulfillment that people hold, only that it is too specifically tailored to the theistic worldview, which you could potentially use as not only your proposition that the Christian worldview provides the most fulfillment, but also as evidence to meet your conclusion. I guess it"s just worrisome since it runs the risk of being constructed in a circular manner (i.e.-the proposition is used as evidence for the truth value of the proposition).
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