The Instigator
kwagga_la
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Ockham
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

It is better to believe in the God of the Bible than to be an Atheist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Ockham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/11/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 770 times Debate No: 103926
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

kwagga_la

Pro

My position is as follows: If I believe in God and it turns out God did not exist then I don"t have to face any accountability for my disbelief. If I am right that the Christian God does exist then eternal awards awaits me when I die and still do not have to face any accountability and do not have to face any judgment. If the atheist is right he or she will not have to face any accountability for not believing in God. But should the atheist be wrong he/she will be held accountable and will have to face judgment accordingly. It is therefore my resolution that that it is better to believe in the Christian God than not to believe in Him.

Rebuttals and arguments can be done from the first round. Thanks.
Ockham

Con

The problem with my opponent's argument is that he is starting with a completely arbitrary idea and concluding that since things would turn out best for him if he believed in it and was correct, he should believe in the idea.

To counter this, I invite you to consider the God of Islam. Islam's Hell is arguably scarier than Christianity's hell:

"Those who deny the Book (the Quran) and that with which We sent Our messengers [are] going to know, when the shackles are around their necks and the chains; they will be dragged in boiling water; then in the Fire they will be filled (with flame)." (Quran 40:70-72)

Christians go to hell if Islam is true:

"Whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter." (3:85)

So if the God of Islam exists, then Pro will go to a hell that is arguably worse than Christianity's hell. A Muslim could pose exactly the same wager to Pro that he poses to atheists. In addition, a Muslim could reason exactly as he does and conclude that it is best to believe in Islam, even though Pro thinks the Muslim would nevertheless go to hell for doing so, which means that this must be a very unreliable way of reasoning.

Moreover, since both the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are completely arbitrary inventions, I can just invent a God and be on equal footing with either of them. Therefore, I hereby introduce "anti-God." Anti-God sends you to heaven if you are an atheist, but he sends you to Hell if you accept any religion. And, by stipulation, anti-God's version of hell is worse than either the Christian or Muslim hell (throw in another flamethrower or something). Therefore, by reasoning parallel with my opponent's, it is best to be an atheist.

Hopefully by now you're thinking: "But isn't this all ridiculous? Why not just go by the evidence and accept the conclusion that it points to, instead of believing whatever arbitrary claim has the scariest hell?"

If so, that's my point. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
kwagga_la

Pro

Thanks for accepting the Debate.

Rebuttal:

Con's argument starts with comparing Islam with Christianity to somehow counter the resolution presented that compares Atheism with Christian belief. The argument presented by me is based on whether there is a God or not in the afterlife that will hold one accountable or not based on beliefs determined by a particular view. In this case it is God who requires accountability versus no God and no accountability rather than God versus another God who both demand accountability. Comparing two religions who both believe that God exist to proof that God does not exist because they are inventions is therefore not very logical and a different Debate altogether. Whether the God of Islam or the Christian God exists is immaterial in this Debate because, according to Con who admits it, one or the other will exist (according to the logic of the argument) and therefore a God exists in the end that will require accountability. Comparing Islam, the Christian may be wrong as Con suggests but the Atheist will also be wrong and therefore nothing is disproved in the resolution for this Debate.

As a side note: There are many reasons why people do not accept Islam based on logic and an examination of the tenants of Islam. Con quotes from the Quran but is either unaware or have not studied Islam enough to realize that Allah is believed to be "ALL merciful". An ALL MERCIFUL being that only saves his own devotees is not ALL MERCIFUL. Muslims may teach that Christians are infidels and will burn in hell but that is purely human speculation if Allah is indeed "ALL Merciful". The belief that Allah is "ALL Merciful" therefore makes Con's argument very weak because it is improbable that a Christian or an Atheist will end up in a Muslim hell.

"O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Surah Az-Zumar 39:53)

If Allah does not forgive the sin of unbelief then it cannot be said that he forgives "ALL sins".

Abu Hurairah (RA) relates Rasulullah (SAW) said: "Indeed, before Allah created the creation, He decreed for Himself, "Indeed My Mercy prevails over My Anger." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

"My Mercy prevails over My Anger" is self explanatory.

I mention this to point out that the argument applied to the two different religions is in a different category based on specifics that Con did not take into account. The reasoning may be parallel according to Con but not on par based on logic.

Con continues to try and apply this comparison by substituting his argument with an anti-god which is puzzling because the end result includes an afterlife with accountability that is not an Atheistic belief. The argument is illogical because this anti-god must be able to exist to have determined where people will go in the afterlife and so Con defeats his own Atheism by his hypothesis. Con then concludes that it is better to be an Atheist but I fail to see the logic in his reasoning. Heaven is a place where the imperfections of this world have been corrected and a life without suffering awaits one as opposed to the Atheistic view that says when we die we cease to exist and do not experience anything. It's LIKE claiming that a 1 star hotel is better than a 5 star hotel.

Con states: "Moreover, since both the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are completely arbitrary inventions, I can just invent a God and be on equal footing with either of them". Whether the gods are inventions or not is immaterial to the argument. Atheism lacks conclusive proof that there is no God out there in the Universe and can therefore also be called an invention. No human has ever traveled the universe to such and extend to be able to say that there is absolutely NO God. No supernatural power intervened on earth to say there is no God as opposed to the claims of the Bible. Of course, no supernatural intervention can even be expected by the Atheist so the Atheist therefore requires PHYSICAL OBSERVABLE proof which can only be obtained by physically searching the Universe to substantiate the claims made. Contrary to Con's statements, that completely ignore history, the Christian religion is supported by historical evidence and not some wild invention as is suggested. Con's invention will therefore be identified as such because it lacks historical evidence. The flying spaghetti monster type argument Con presents fails by comparison based on history and historical evidence.

Con concludes: "But isn't this all ridiculous? Why not just go by the evidence and accept the conclusion that it points to, instead of believing whatever arbitrary claim has the scariest hell?"
Quite a paradox that Ockham (probably a reference to Ockham"s razor?) presents without a simple explanation. Perhaps Con can point out what the evidence is that is referred too and how it will lead anyone to become an Atheist (I assume that is what is implied).

To correct my opponent, the opening line in round one state that this argument is about accountability and not the "scariest hell" as Con mentions. Thanks!
Ockham

Con

My basic criticism in Round 1 was that Pro is "starting with a completely arbitrary idea and concluding that since things would turn out best for him if he believed in it and was correct, he should believe in the idea." I illustrated this point with a couple of examples that were intended to reduce his argument to absurdity, namely Islam and anti-God. I concluded that we should go by the evidence.

Pro responds in four basic ways:

1. My Islam example misunderstands Islam.
2. My anti-God example is inconsistent with atheism.
3. Christianity is supported by historical evidence.
4. Going by the evidence does not lead to atheism.

Let's consider these points one by one.

Point 1 is based on Pro's belief that the Islamic God is all merciful. Even if this is what the Quran says, that only shows that there are contradictions within the Quran, just as there are contradictions within Christianity. Muslims will adopt one side or the other of the contradiction, rationalize the other away, and arrive at different views about the nature of God and the afterlife. Plenty of this goes on in Christianity as well - witness the endless divisions between denominations within Protestantism.

All versions of God are arbitrary inventions, and plenty of them are incoherent. My point with the Islam example is that there is a version of God that some Muslims believe in that would send Christians to hell. These Muslims could pose the same wager to Pro that he poses to atheists.

Point 2 misses the point of the anti-God analogy. All that it is intended to demonstrate is that there is a logically coherent version of God, evidentially on par with the Christian God, that would result in religious people going to hell and atheists going to heaven. There is no contradiction in the idea that God both exists and sends people who believe he exists to hell.

If what Pro is asking for is an explanation of why a God would act this way, one possible explanation is that this God regards it as morally good to go by the evidence, and knows that the evidence we mortals have does not support the claim that there is a God. Such a God might decide to reward people who did not believe in God, and punish those who did.

Point 3 isn't really explained or elaborated on in Pro's post. Is the claim here that the Bible qualifies as historical evidence for the miracles reported in it? But that's not how we treat the miracle claims of any other religion, nor should we. A miracle will always be a less likely explanation of the evidence than that the author was mistaken or lying.

To answer point 4, I need to make a distinction between negative and positive atheism. [1] Negative atheism is the position that there is no good reason to believe that God exists. Positive atheism is the position that God does not exist. In practice, both of these positions amount to the same thing, since neither of them will take the idea of God seriously in deciding what to do, which politicians to vote for, etc.

Negative atheism is justified if all of the arguments for the existence of God that have been put forward are unsuccessful. The only way to demonstrate this conclusively is to review the attempts of religious philosophers to defend theism, which would take more space than I have, although it has been done in the literature on philosophy of religion. [2] In the context of a debate, however, my opponent has the burden of proof to present arguments for the existence of God, which he has not done.

Positive atheism requires that there be good reasons to believe that God does not exist. My opponent has not defined God, so I'll assume he believes in the orthodox conception of God as all powerful, all knowing, and all good. This version of God famously faces the problem of evil. If God is all powerful, all knowing, and all good, we would not expect there to be any gratuitous evil. But there does appear to be a lot of gratuitous evil. Therefore, the reasonable conclusion is that there is no such God.

One last point: Pro says that his argument is about "accountability," not hell. But it is not clear what the distinction is supposed to be here. Accountability in Christianity usually means that Christians (or some other group, like virtuous people) go to heaven and everyone else goes to hell. In addition, Pascal's wager in Christian apologetics typically does depend on the threat of hell contrasted with the promise of heaven. Clearly, Pro needs to explain what he is talking about here.

[1] See Michael Martin's book Atheism: A Philosophical Justification
[2] Good authors to look into include A. C. Grayling, Michael Martin, Graham Oppy, Jordan Howard Sobel, and J. L. Mackie.
Debate Round No. 2
kwagga_la

Pro

Rebuttal:

Con claims that I start my resolution with an "arbitrary idea". Arbitrary according to who? There is a lot of historic evidence for Christianity so Christian belief did not result as a matter of chance or some random process. Perhaps Con should provide the evidence for his speculation. The absurdity here is to say Christianity came about because of chance when in fact it was based on the Hebrew Scriptures that are thousands of years old. Hardly a random process that originated just over 2000 years ago.

It is not my belief that Allah is all merciful, it is a Muslim belief. My belief is that the Muslims and Quran contradicts itself on the issue of salvation or accountability if you will. The general statements made by Con that Christianity contradicts itself should be more specific to the debate. Perhaps Con can substantiate his argument from examples from the New Testament where it contradicts itself on salvation (Using a KJV of course). Keep in mind that a fulfillment in the New is not a contradiction of the Old when it was stated in the Old there would be a New "Testament". Again, I fail to see how "endless divisions between denominations within Protestantism" has anything to do with this debate. After all we are debating the Bible view versus the atheistic view. My opponent so far addressed issues pertaining to different religions and has yet to show why Atheism is better based on the resolution provided. What"s so bad about experiencing a life where suffering ceased as opposed to not existing and therefore not experiencing it? His examples are fruitless because he compares a God with another God when the actual resolution is God and accountability versus no God and no accountability. Two wrongs do not make a "right" but it seems Con thinks it can. It"s like saying it is acceptable for a husband to cheat on his wife when she is also cheating. No it is not, they are still both guilty of cheating.

I have pointed it out already and respond the same based on Con"s rebuttal that if the Quran is true then no Christian or Atheist will go to a Muslim hell, therefore my argument stands that Con"s argument is irrelevant to the resolution.

I understand Con"s reasoning behind the anti-god and my response was that it is illogical to reason for non existence but including accountability (in other words heaven or hell) in the same example. Con says: "There is no contradiction in the idea that God both exists and sends people who believe he exists to hell". This statement is not entirely correct. Within the Christian religion people may believe He exist but add or subtract from what is to be believed to gain eternal life. This is different from the resolution in this debate because the Atheist rejects belief entirely rather than arguing for belief specifics. Eternal life is conditional and not a matter of God overruling himself. If you do what God requires then He promises to be faithful to reward those who comply. As can be inferred I do not believe that this is true of Islam.

The unknown anti-god or rather another God that may exist and have different conditions for rewarding people is again comparing a God with another God and do not apply to the resolution made.

Jesus Christ is proof of God. The word "Christ" is a title given to denote God who came in the flesh. Jesus Christ means Jesus who is God. It was prophesied thousands of years before the actual event occurred in the OT that the Messiah would come and that He would fulfill certain things that will identify Him as such. Con"s answer regarding miracles is based on his perception to try and weaken the historic evidence for it. Since Con reason for evidence, let him then in this case, provide evidence of a historic nature that will counter the historic evidence we know of instead of giving his interpretation and speculation of what actually happened. Con states: "A miracle will always be a less likely explanation of the evidence than that the author was mistaken or lying." The usual explanation for the origin of the universe is the Big Bang. Something out of nothing is a very big miracle. All the laws of nature had to be disregarded and broken in order for the Big Bang to have taken place. So, are they lying about the Big Bang? I have argued against this before in Debates referring to Hume"s arguments and will leave it there for now. Finally, one sided interpretation is usually a fallacy. Why should we ALWAYS believe that "A miracle will always be a less likely explanation of the evidence"? Is there some universal absolute rule for this in the Atheistic mind set? Con states that I rely only on the Bible for historic evidence but this is not a true representation of what I said. We have testimonies from the Bible, Church Fathers and non-believers who attest that Jesus Christ lived. Notice that they refer to him usually as "Christ". The testimonies of believers and non believers make the usual wild speculation of a "conspiracy" quite improbable. I stated: "..Christian religion is supported by historical evidence and not some wild invention as is suggested", I never claimed that only the Bible was my source for historic information.

As mentioned before, the aim of the resolution is to compare specific beliefs with each other to determine which belief is better to hold. You go by what is stated to determine what gives the best options to you or is more advantageous to you. Accountability is the cause that has two effects. Therefore the primary concern is regarding the probability and reasonableness of the proposed cause. My point here was that you seem to say that the effect was determining the cause which is not the case. It"s more a question of emphasis I suppose. In Pascal"s wager the emphasis is on someone who MUST wager. Although he believed in the Christian God he reasoned for a God in general where accountability based on specifics where not the emphasis. To compare this argument with another "Christian" view (for instance the Watchtower Society) the specifics will change a bit. To explore the reasonableness further of what Con propose let"s take the law as an example. Does going to jail or not determine the law or does the law determine whether you go to jail or not? Notice that the originator of the law is also not the emphasis. There is a threat of jail but that is quite reasonable and acceptable within all societies but when it comes to God somehow it becomes unreasonable. Usually the people who are guilty of transgressing the law and face the consequences will have a problem with the law but the law remains regardless. Is it logical to tell a Judge: Jail is a bad place therefore you should not have a law that can send people there? Is it logical to tell a Judge: A human made the law and all humans are not perfect therefore the law is also not perfect and should be discarded? The threat argument made by Con and many other Atheists all of the sudden seems to be very unreasonable. If no God exists, then sending someone to jail for life is the same as God sending people to hell for an eternity, but the Atheist apparently do not care about the fate of people who has to serve life sentences and will even agree they deserve it (depending on your moral standards of course).

It is interesting how you word the negative atheism definition. Theist arguments are logical and hold merit because it complies with the rules of logical arguments. The actual structure however does not determine "successful". Based on individual perception the argument will be "successful" in convincing someone or not. I have stated that there is historical proof for God. This is quite different from philosophical and scientific arguments. The Debate resolution does not require me to prove God exists for the proposition to be more logical than the Atheist view because the argument recognizes that the Bible view could be wrong. However, keep in mind that the atheist has a 50/50 chance of escaping accountability where as the Bible believer is 100% safe whether right or wrong compared to the Atheists position.

I believe in a God who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. However, I find that these concepts are usually differently defined by an Atheist than what I perceive it to be. It is definitely a Debate on its own and not applicable to the present resolution. Lastly, I would like Con to answer the following question to demonstrate the absurdity of his supposed problem of evil relative to existence. Here is the question: Since you believe God does not exist, then in the absence of God, why does evil exist?
Ockham

Con

Pro claims that Christianity cannot simply be the result of "chance," because it is very old. I'm not sure what this argument is supposed to show - at any rate, it is very weak. I'm not claiming that Christianity is the result of chance, I'm claiming that it is the result of cultural evolution, like any number of other religious beliefs. Parents indoctrinate their children into the beliefs that they accept, and these change over time. [1]

One issue on which the Bible contradicts itself is the death of Judas. Did he hang himself or fall down and have his guts burst out? It depends which verse you choose to focus on. Apologists have come up with various stretched excuses for this but none of them really hold water from an impartial point of view. [2] Therefore, the Bible contains contradictions just like the Quran does.

But even if the Bible contains no contradictions, this is really irrelevant. There is no evidence for the Christian God, so all I have to do is come up with some version of God that would send Pro to hell if it existed. The Islamic God clearly fits this description.

Pro has tried to argue that the Islamic God would not send him to hell, but this is directly contrary to the verses I quoted before:

"Those who deny the Book (the Quran) and that with which We sent Our messengers [are] going to know, when the shackles are around their necks and the chains; they will be dragged in boiling water; then in the Fire they will be filled (with flame)." (Quran 40:70-72)

"Whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter." (3:85)

I don't think there can really be any doubt that the Islamic God would send Christians to hell, given these verses. If the Quran says anything, it says that non-Muslims go to hell.

Pro says I cannot use Islam to support my case, because I am comparing a God and accountability to another version of God and accountability. It should be obvious by now that Pro is just missing the point of my argument when he says this - I don't know why, since my argument is very clear and simple. He is offering Pascal's wager as a reason to be a Christian, when someone from another religion could make the same wager to him and he would have to abandon Christianity by his own reasoning. The logical conclusion to draw from that is that Pascal's wager isn't a reliable way of deciding what religion to believe in.

Pro commits the same mistake with respect to my anti-God example, so I'll just repeat that the example is logically coherent and evidentially on par with the Christian God. That is all I need to establish for the analogy to work. The Christian God will send me to hell if he exists, but anti-God will send Pro to hell if he exists. The two outcomes cancel out, leaving us with no reason to choose one rather than the other.

Here's the argument formally:

1. Two outcomes with opposite utilities (e.g., +1 and -1) and an equal probability of occurring cancel out.
2. The Christian God and anti-God have opposite utilities.
3. The Christian God and anti-God have an equal probability of existing.
4. Therefore, the two possibilities cancel out.

Premise 1 follows from the axioms of rational choice theory, specifically the definition of expected utility. Premise 2 holds because the Christian God will send you to hell if he exists and you make one choice, whereas anti-God will send you to hell if he exists and you make the other choice. Conversely, each will send you to heaven if they exist and you choose correctly. Finally, premise 3 is true because there is no evidence for either.

Pro says that there is evidence that Jesus Christ lived. Well, maybe, but that's hardly evidence for Christianity. There's obviously a huge leap between believing that Jesus was a real person and believing that all of Christianity is true. I think this is a very weak argument.

A miracle will always be less likely than a natural explanation because it is a violation of a law of nature. The laws of nature are generalizations that all of our experience supports - almost by definition, there is nothing that we have more evidence for than the laws of nature. This means that a miracle would have to be overwhelmingly well supported in order to overcome the evidence for the law of nature that it contradicts. However, no miracle report actually meets that high standard of evidence, including the miracles in the Bible. They always happen in the distant past, where we cannot check them, and they tend to happen in primitive and credulous times and places. Therefore, the rational conclusion is that the miracles in the Bible did not happen.

I'm not sure what Pro's point is with the jail analogy. I haven't argued that sending someone to hell is unjust (although I do think that), I've merely argued that Pascal's wager is not a good reason to become a Christian.

Pro did not provide evidence for the existence of God, and he has the burden of proof in a debate, so negative atheism would be justified at this point. He also did not really provide a rebuttal to the problem of evil, so positive atheism would be justified. This contradicts Pro's claim that the evidence does not lead to atheism. (On atheism, evil exists because the universe does not care about us and has no problem causing us pain and suffering, or even death.)

[1] https://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
kwagga_la

Pro

Rebuttal:

1. I did not say Christianity is not a result of chance because it is old. I was pointing out it was foretold in the OT thousands of years before it happened. Foretelling something will happen by various persons is hardly by "chance". The fact that the Jews do not accept Christianity because they think the Messiah did not come yet makes it unlikely that this came about as a "cultural evolution". The Jews who are the most likely to be subjected to the next phase of "evolution" who believes in the OT rejects Christianity. A cultural revolution is usually specific to a particular culture. In this case Greeks, Syrians, Ethiopians etc. became Christians and not one specific culture. People died for what they believed because they were convinced what they believed was the truth.

2. I asked for a relevant contradiction based on salvation requirements. Judas and how he died is therefore not relevant to this debate. Secondly, there is not even a contradiction with Judas, but if Con wants to, we can debate this some other time.

3. Con states there is no evidence for the Christian God although there is historical proof. I asked for
historical proof from him to counter that which exists but he failed to give any.

4. Con states: "A miracle will always be less likely than a natural explanation because it is a violation of a law of nature. The laws of nature are generalizations that all of our experience supports - almost by definition, there is nothing that we have more evidence for than the laws of nature". As pointed out the big bang theory contradicts all the laws of nature and is therefore evidence that these laws can be violated if true. If not, evolution cannot be true either. I repeat myself because Con did not refute what I stated.

5. Con uses a typical argument that is directed against Pascal's wager that is irrelevant to this Debate. The argument of "which God" is not what the resolution asks for and by accepting the Debate Con should argue the resolution. Con states that another religion can make the same wager against me and he is right. This will require a different formulation of the specifics of the argument as I mentioned before and IS NOT WHAT THIS DEBATE IS ABOUT. If I wanted to argue against another religion in this Debate I would have included it in the resolution, BUT I DID NOT. In fact, I have started the same Debate against Islam as well and directed it specifically against Islam instead of Atheism. The resolution must be adjusted because the specifics are not the same. This applies to the "anti-god" as well. The "anti-god" argument fails because it is stated: "3. The Christian God and anti-God have an equal probability of existing". The Atheist view does not include any possibility of a God existing and again IRRELEVANT TO THIS DEBATE. I also pointed out that Con"s example is self contradictory because the non-existent "anti-god" can only cause someone to go to hell is he or it EXISTS. Basically, the argument compared with what Con presents above in step 1 to 4 proves himself wrong.

6. Con quotes from Islam and I do too and all it shows is that there are contradictions within that religion regarding salvation which I stated from the start when it was mentioned. Two wrongs (Christianity & Islam) do not make a right (Atheism) as Con would suggest. It is a fallacy to think the opposing view must therefore be automatically correct. All merciful is self explanatory regardless of what a Muslim or Con thinks.

7. I said the evidence for Christ is evidence for God and not Christianity per se.

8. The jail example was mentioned because you incorrectly said my argument was based on hell rather than accountability.

Conclusion:

I am not missing the point of Con's argument; I am saying it is IRRELEVANT to this Debate"s resolution. Con has not dealt with the basic claim that the Christian view is better than the Atheistic view. There was no argument presented by Con to deal directly with this claim by showing how the Atheistic view can be better. The argument is based on probability and as mentioned leaves opens the possibility that the Christian view can be wrong and the Atheist right. Therefore Con's concern whether I have to prove God exist is quite irrelevant.

I state again as before: "The atheist has a 50/50 chance of escaping accountability where as the Bible believer is 100% safe whether right or wrong compared to the Atheists position". Con has not dealt with this in any way so far and is the crux of the mater.

I can see Con put thought into his replies and probably did some research (I suspect) and would like to commend him for that. I am more than willing to Debate Con on the Problem of evil or the existence of God should he wish to do so. Perhaps Con can answer my question in the last round because I am curious: Since you believe God does not exist, then in the absence of God, why does evil exist?

Thank you for taking part in the debate and I wish you all the best!
Ockham

Con

This is the last round of the debate, so I'm going to focus on the points that are most relevant to judging the debate.

First, I would like to point out that my opponent never linked to any sources, whereas I did, so I think it is clear that the points for sources should go to me.

As far as the arguments go, my opponent has rested his case on Pascal's wager, which I have parodied with the Islam and anti-God analogies.

One reason these parodies are relevant is that it is a basic principle of critical thinking that if a line of reasoning can lead to two or more mutually exclusive conclusions, then that line of reasoning is invalid. If Pro's argument in round 1 is a good argument for being a Christian, then my Islam parody is a good argument for being a Muslim, and my anti-God parody is a good reason for being an atheist. So either everyone should simultaneously believe in all three of Christianity and Islam and atheism, or Pascal's wager fails.

My anti-God analogy is relevant for an additional reason, which is that it cancels out the alleged threat to atheism from Christianity. I presented this formally earlier, as follows:

1. Two outcomes with opposite utilities (e.g., +1 and -1) and an equal probability of occurring cancel out.
2. The Christian God and anti-God have opposite utilities.
3. The Christian God and anti-God have an equal probability of existing.
4. Therefore, the two possibilities cancel out.

Pro seems to have completely missed the point of this argument, because he responds by saying that it's irrelevant (which it obviously isn't - it's just a variant on a standard rebuttal to Pascal's wager) and that an atheist cannot consistently believe in anti-God (which is an irrelevant point I've already addressed).

To his credit, Pro has tried to address premise 3 to some extent, but he has not met his burden of proof for the claim that the Christian God is more credible than anti-God. He has never presented an argument for the existence of the Christian God - all he has done is gesture vaguely at unspecified "historical evidence." In the context of a debate, this is inappropriate, because I do not know what he thinks I need to refute, and I do not have the time or space here to write a book refuting everything anyone has ever thought supported the existence of the Christian God. He is Pro, so he is supposed to have the burden of proof to present the evidence required to defend the resolution.

Since Pro never specified what "historical evidence" he thinks I need to refute, I assumed he was referring to the miracles in the Bible, which I rebutted with Hume's classic objection to the argument from miracles. [1] I'll quote the paragraph I wrote explaining this argument earlier, since it's pretty critical:

"A miracle will always be less likely than a natural explanation because it is a violation of a law of nature. The laws of nature are generalizations that all of our experience supports - almost by definition, there is nothing that we have more evidence for than the laws of nature. This means that a miracle would have to be overwhelmingly well supported in order to overcome the evidence for the law of nature that it contradicts. However, no miracle report actually meets that high standard of evidence, including the miracles in the Bible. They always happen in the distant past, where we cannot check them, and they tend to happen in primitive and credulous times and places. Therefore, the rational conclusion is that the miracles in the Bible did not happen."

Pro's only rebuttal to this is that the Big Bang theory "contradicts all the laws of nature." He provides no evidence for this claim, so I reject it out of hand. The Big Bang theory just says that billions of years ago all matter in the universe was compressed into a very small area, followed by a rapid expansion. This claim isn't in conflict with any of the laws of nature.

At the end of his most recent post, Pro writes: "The atheist has a 50/50 chance of escaping accountability where as the Bible believer is 100% safe whether right or wrong compared to the Atheists position." This only shows that he does not understand my arguments. The Christian is no more or less safe than the atheist. If the atheist is wrong and the Christian God exists, then the atheist will go to hell. However, if the Christian is wrong and anti-God exists, then the Christian will go to hell. Both the atheist and the Christian are in the same position - the probabilities cancel out, as I said above.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Pro for an interesting and civil debate.

[1] http://www.bartleby.com...
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by kwagga_la 12 months ago
kwagga_la
@ QueenDaisy If you would like me to explain what should be seen as self contradictory then please feel free to challenge me to a debate :-)
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
""Today just about everyone accept dark energy or matter as a fact because of scientific theories"".....Yes because of science... There is no "god-science". Only story telling.
Posted by Debating_Horse 1 year ago
Debating_Horse
Interesting!
Posted by kwagga_la 1 year ago
kwagga_la
@Canis The ancient Greeks, who were religious, believed there must be a building block or fundamental particle on which everything else is build. Today we call that particle the atom and technology made it possible to detect it. If the Greeks and scientists of the last 100 years followed your reasoning they should have rejected the idea and abandoned the search of a fundamental building block. Today just about everyone accept dark energy or matter as a fact because of scientific theories, the truth is no one has ever observed it. Should we abandon the idea as well? I have nothing against science but it is time people wake up and distinguish the foolish interpretations made in the name of science. Believing in something not seen is the definition of faith in the Bible. It is therefore ridiculous when "science" is used to try and belittle faith when there are scientific theories that can also not be observed.
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
Well no gods do exist what we know of...If we believe in what we do not know of...We will give our life and waste our time to what we do not know of.. We can not waste life and time to what we know of...And as everyone will know of... We only have one life
Posted by kwagga_la 1 year ago
kwagga_la
I think I will start the same Debate but directed at a Muslim.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
its hard not to nod your head to good music, unless you are forced to listen to it
Posted by missmedic 1 year ago
missmedic
You presume that belief is a choice, it is not. If it were a choice, I choose to not believe in a god that would never punish me for not believing in god. The Christian god has to many descriptive failings, contradictions and limiting attributes to be a "god". You can't know for sure if any gods exist and, even if they do, they don't seem to care about us enough to justify worrying about them. The more you know the less you believe...............
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
any religion goes in that case.. even santa
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by QueenDaisy 1 year ago
QueenDaisy
kwagga_laOckhamTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Neither side had any notable conduct issues. While pro made some minor grammar errors, (e.g. "too" instead of "to") these did not hinder the flow of their argument. Con did throw a source in at the end, but they didn't really use the source to help their argument- they just sort of threw it in at the end in the hope of points. Con won the arguments points because of their "anti-god" argument- once they asserted the possibility of the existence of a deity who rewards disbelief while punishing belief, Pro had to either convince us that the Christian god is considerably more likely to exist than anti-god, or that the two are comparably likely but that the Christian god's punishments for disbelief are much more severe than anti-god's punishments for belief, and Pro failed to do this. Meeting Con's anti-god point was necessary to validate the motion, and Pro failed to do so.