The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

It is not rational to believe in God

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 984 times Debate No: 72522
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (1)




I ask that any contender accepts the definition of rationality given by Wikipedia:
In short, rationality implies the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe.

In other words, for belief in a god to be rational, that belief must be justified by sufficient supporting evidence or reason. Of course, what is sufficient is up for debate... bring it on!

- Postscript -

As requested (see comments), I will offer a definition of "God"... I suggest simply that God is a personal god in the sense that Wikipedia declares:

A personal god is a deity who can be related to as a person instead of as an impersonal force, such as the Absolute, "the All", or the "Ground of Being".
And since this now requires the definition of deity, I'll add that too:
A deity is a supernatural being.
I know that this is not a complete definition of deity but I consider it sufficient (and any stricter definition could only make it harder on my opponent).

So, if Con can show that belief in a personal supernatural being is rational, I will concede :)

- Post post script -

lannan13 has personally messaged me and requested that I define God as the following:

God- The sentient, intelligent, and benevolent, personage who is the creator and ruler of the universe and the source of all moral authority; the supreme being who wilds maximal and great levels of power.

I am absolutely happy if that is the God that lannan13 wishes to defend the rationality of believing in. I do not think it rational to believe in that god. Indeed, defending the rationality of this definition will be harder than my original definition! Good luck!


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting.

Is it rational to believe in a sentient, intelligent, and benevolent, personage who is the creator and ruler of the universe and the source of all moral authority; the supreme being who wields maximal and great levels of power, given the evidence?

Firstly, there really is no evidence at all. If there is no evidence, it follows that any belief must be in excess of what the evidence justifies and that is, almost by definition, irrational. This doesn't mean that anybody is foolish to believe, or that they are wrong to believe... but it does mean that the belief is an irrational one.

But here's the real deal-breaker, based on Con's definition: if God is benevolent and maximally powerful, why does he allow palpably evil things to happen when he could intervene to save the torture and death of countless innocents? This is the key problem with Con's definition of God: it makes predictions about what we would expect to see... if the ultimately intelligent, caring and powerful creator-of-everything created, well, everything, then we would not expect to see evil. Thus I contend that quite apart from there not being any evidence for Con's God, there is suggestive evidence against!


Contention 1: The Ontological Argument

Dating as far back as the Saint Anslem, as this argument has been honnored by philosphers on every side of the spectrum. I shall be definding the version of this argument that was made popular by Alvin Plantinga. His model uses the S5 model and thus is immune to the popular arguments against that philospher Kant has made and hence making Kant's argument void. I shall also argue another point made famous by William CriagThe Argument is bellow.

1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists. [1]

Here we can see that we can already see that on face value that it is possible that God exists. Due to this small plausability we can see that at any slight chance proves that there is a God in some reality and hence this reality. In order for Con to disprove God he must show that it is impossible in every possible circumstance. Now as we look at the premise 1 and 2 we can see that God can exist which leads me into my S5 argument.
S5: If possibly necessarily P, then necessarily P [2]
We can see with this applied to the above portion of premise 1 we can see that God can exist simply with their being a possibility and the only way to negate it would be to show that there is no possible way that God can exist in any given circumstance. When we follow this string of beliefs we can see that since God can exist in other worlds he can exist in reality and thus actually exists.
Contention 3: TA Arguement

Here we can observe Saint Thomas Aquinas's theory on teleologic which is the ultamate causes of objects or actions in relation to their ends. This is from the 5th of Thomas Aquinas's theories explaining the existance of God. His theory is bellow.

1. If teleology exists, then an ordering intellect exists.
2. Teleology exists.
3. Therefore, an ordering intellect exists.

Here for the first part we may see that teleos exists on the basis that there must be intentionality and this exists in the mind. Hence one can see that if teleology truely exists then there must be intellect for it to be grounded to in the end. For this I site Edward Feser who states, "Where goal-directness is associated with consciousness, as it is in us, there is no mystery. A builder builds a house, and he is able to do so because the form of the house exists in his intellect because it is instantiated in a concrete particular object. And of course, the materials that will take on that form also exist already, waiting to take it on." [4]
So ask yourself, does teleology exist? Obvious, does the heart beat and pump blood because it just happens? No, it has a valid purpose of pumping blood to keep you alive. Without teleology there would be no purpose. We can see that from everyday occurance by using this. I mean how else are we to say that a carborator needs replaced if it does not have a purpose? When we observe other things that are inorganic like the Nitrogen and Water Cycle we can see that they too have purpose and are thus teleological by nature. [5]
We can see that since all teleology has to be grounded to a singel being in the universe. It is obvious that this high being has nothing else higher than it and is thus the greatest being in the universe which it would make sense to call this said being God.

Last year scientists have actually found ripples in time and space continum. Now I know what my opponent had brought up and I agree with a lot of it, however, I believe that it actually helps prove the existance of God than disproves it. We can see after the Big Bang there was gravitational strips in the universe that ripped it appart in seconds. [6] We can actually see that a very very simplified version of this is in the Bible.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."- Genesis 1:1

You see, back then they didn't have a large understanding on the universe and how things worked so we can definately see books like the Torah, the Bible, and the Koran to probably not be science text books. If God had shown humans this we can see that they would probably be like Nastrodamus's description of the German Blitzkreig by calling the NAZI panzers Metal beasts or how he wasn't able to describe skyscrapers and such, but you get my point. People didn't have the best information and how things are now and it wasn't until just a couple hundred years ago before we began to make improvements in Space and Science.

Debate Round No. 2


*shocked*. I honestly didn't think that anybody was actually convinced by the ontological argument! I hope that the gaping holes in the argument become apparent to you by studying the following and recognising what's wrong with my reasoning and, by proxy, what's wrong with yours.

1. It is possible that a maximally randy being exists.
2. Therefore in some world
3. Therefore in every world
4. Therefore in our world
5. Therefore, a maximally randy being exists.

By the way, I offer a surgical stitching service for the reasonable price of $20,000 that would protect you from this maximally randy being. Be afraid, be very afraid. I know that I am. Well, I am at least as afraid of my maximally randy monster as I am of your maximally great monster. And you'd have to accept that this super-shagger of a monster, this polyphallic priapic paramour, does exist, at least in some World... that, at least, seems to be the thrust of your assumption of an infinite set of infinite impossibilities in an infinite set of "possible" Worlds (otherwise how do you get from 1 to 2?).

Oh, but I know what your "reasoning" will be... allow me to pre-empt you... I was right about the shagger in steps 1 and 2, but the quality of maximal randiness would not, per se, allow this maximally randy being to cross Multiple-World boundaries. Aha... of course, how silly of me! What was I thinking!? This property of maximal greatness allows all things, even those that are impossible... because, couched in your reasoning is the assumption that "maximally great" equates to "supernatural". It's a sublimely subtle sleight-of-hand.

You start with this slightly odd construct of "maximally great"... on face value, given the original context of our introduction to this concept, we read this as "the greatest that could possibly exist"; then you go on to assume multiple worlds (not necessarily an argument-killer but you're on thin ice)... then you assume not just multiple worlds but an infinite number (go on, try to defend THAT with evidence or reason)... then, the ultimate Seppuku... you make the flawed assumption that something could possibly traverse between multiple worlds... where is your evidence for that? You see, you'd have to prove that in principle it is possible for anything at all to travel between these multiple worlds (AND explain why we see no evidence of this)... but, of course, since you've got an image (is it Yahweh?) of exactly what you mean by "maximally great" and it's supernatural, capable of all conceivable things even if they are not logical, reasonable, practical, natural or have any precedent... and, in fact, it doesn't just cover ability (to cross worlds) but includes such bogus constructs as being the source of moral authority - why, because might is right?

TL;DR: Your definition of "maximally great" makes the assumption that this quality includes the ability to cross the hypothetical multiple worlds that you would have us believe exist (and you would have us believe you are an authority on their actual diversity). Well, there you go... there's the bit that is, as far as the evidence we have so far, impossible... no, I can't PROVE that it's impossible, nor do I need to... you are the one making the bold assumption that we should be convinced by this silly ontological argument on, I may say, irrational grounds!

*shocked again*. I honestly didn't think that anybody was actually convinced by the teleological argument.
I can hardly bring myself to dispute it, so ridiculous is it... *sighs*, it's not even wrong! - Pauli

You're "proving" God by making the assumption (which I firmly reject) that there is an objective purpose. Having made the assumption that there is an objective purpose, you call the holder of objective purpose "God" and rest on your smug posterior. Do you honestly expect anybody rational to be convinced by this "argument"? Your definition of "rational" and mine are clearly at odds.

Your final thoughts amaze me with their flimsiness; you realise, of course, that whatever crazy truth science comes up with (no matter how much it shakes our beliefs and redefines how we understand the nature of reality), you could always apply your smug "but look, the bible fits" argument. Tell me this: what could science possibly discover that you could not smugly declare was already told in "a very very simplified version", namely "God did it!". Sorry to be facetious here, but seriously!? "God did it" is a possible explanation for anything and, you could argue, logically consistent... but there is no evidence to support the idea and what it has in a superabundance of explanatory power, it lacks in rationality, testability, evidence or predictive power.


As promised I will finish the arguments from my last round. Refutations will come next round.

Contention 2: Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument (which I'll start refurring to as the KCA in order to save space) was created by William Lane Craig and is a simple theory that I have bellow.

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause. [1]

The first premise is true by the very laws a physics as it is a law of Conservation of Mass as it shows that Matter cannot be neither created nor destroyed. Meaning that the Universe cannot have been spontanously created as Big Bang opponent Flyod has stated. We can also see that things are not spontanous here. Like why doesn't the Earth suddenly expload? This is because the very laws of Physics binds and restrics nothingness so we can see that for one to question the first premise would be to question regualrity.

Now let us move on to the second premise here which is backed both by scientce and philosophy. Craig agrues using the Brode-Gruth-Velikum Theory that through the use of Red shift which shows that the universe is exspanding we can actually see that the universe, even if it is part of some multi-verse, still had to be created. [1] The philosophical side of this argument is that though many argue that the universe may be infinate the thing is that it is highly unlikely for things to exsist in an infinate chain and are thus had to have a starting finite point somwhere.

Now at this point you're probably asking yourself, okay Lannan that shows that the universe began at a point, but what does this have to do with God? This is that there is nothing known prior to the creation of the universe meaning that it since there is no determining factors to what happened before we must assume that it's personal and uncaused. This can be see by one asking how can a timeless rift be given such a temperory effect of the begining of time? One has to be extremely powerful in order to create the universe if not omnipotent. Thus for this reason God Exists.

Contention 3: Thomistic TA

6. Everything that had a beginning in time has a cause.
7. The universe had a beginning in time.
8. Therefore the universe had a cause.
9. The only thing that could have caused the universe is god.
10. Therefore, god exists. [2]

For the 6th premise we have already found that is true, so let's move on to the next premise.

Now for the 7th premise Ross writes this in support.

"By definition, time is that dimension in which cause-and-effect phenomena take place. No time, no cause and effect. If time's beginning is concurrent with the beginning of the universe, as the space-time theorem says, then the cause of the universe must be some entity operating in a time dimension completely independent of and preexistent to the time dimension of the cosmos. This conclusion is powerfully important to our understanding of who god is and who or what god isn't. It tells us that the Creator is transcendent, operating beyond the dimensional limits of the universe." [3]

Here we can see that there has to be an entity controlling time and something had to come before time. That the entirety of everything had another dimension and this God was in another dimension and created the universe and all the laws of physics that we are still yet to even begin to comprehend. He later to go on to further back this up by providing Biblical verses and stating that it has to be that God has another time dimension and this is one of the reasons that we do not have concrete proof of him yet as we have yet to be able to travel in other dimensions. [3]

Sources in the comments section.
Debate Round No. 3


Well, I can stamp out that line of attack, for a start... I don't even need to go into specific refutations of the flawed KCA (even with WLC's modifications)...

All you could hope to show by that line of [flawed] reasoning is that something supernatural (outside the nature of this universe) caused this universe. Whoop-de-do! You may well have made a good case for deism, but not for theism.

We both stipulated that God was a personal god... and that is not something that your precious KCA argument even tries to address... but go look up WLC's arguments... I'm sure there's one in there that does get to the "personal" bit.

Oh, by the way... I know all of WLC's arguments and I'll refute any that you care to bring to the table to try to justify your belief in a personal god. Why couldn't it just be a random event in something beyond the universe that caused the universe? I mean, if we're conjuring up explanations in the supernatural for what caused the Universe, wouldn't a random event be more likely than an intelligent force with all the complexity that entails? Occam's Razor seems to rule out the personal god thing... I think that if you want to make a watertight case, the onus in on you to rule out all other possibilities. Bearing in mind that we're dealing with purely hypothetical concepts, at this point, us not having any experience with the supernatural... I don't see how you can rule anything out, let alone all other possibilities. We're simply beyond the realms of the rational at this point. Nothing said about the nature of the supernatural can be said to be based in reason.

Oh, here's just ***one*** possible alternative... you need to rule them ***all*** out, by the way..

Another universe very similar to our own formed two supermassive black holes. The two collided, forming our universe.

I'm not saying that that's a great idea, or has any scientific backing... but you would have to rule that sort of possibility out before you arrived the highly speculative and improbable "God did it" position.


lannan13 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Ooh, a free round! Thanks, mine's a double :-)

I recently worked out how to explain clearly the problem with every "proof of God" that I've heard. Here goes:

How do you explain X?
A Something simple, natural and demonstrable
B Something complex, supernatural with no supporting evidence

X often takes the form of:

1. The origin of the universe in the Cosmological Argument
2. The origin of life on Earth
3. The complexity of life on Earth in the Argument from Design
4. The existence of concepts in the Transcendental Argument
5. The existence of consciousness
6. The existence of morality
7. The existence of purpose

How could it ever be rational to opt for a complex, supernatural explanation with no evidence? ESPECIALLY since something simple, supernatural with no evidence must be a preferrable explanation! To do this before ruling out all simple, natural and demonstrable options (especially when some are so accepted by the scientific consensus) cannot be called "rational".

So... there is no evidence of any gods and there are no arguments that withstand the slightest scrutiny. How, then, can belief be rational?

I'd be interested in precisely what Con's take on how you explain the existence of those 7 things (and why Con thinks so). Any irrationality in Con's viewpoint will be adequately displayed in any answer, I feel sure.


lannan13 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
My bad.
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
AndyHood's writing style is hilarious :D :D
Posted by tejretics 2 years ago
Great debate :D
Posted by tejretics 2 years ago
Yep, OUR definition :D [When I said "my", I meant I framed it :p]
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
Round 3 Sources
1. (Craig, William Lane; Moreland, J. P. (2009). The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Oxford: John Wiley and Sons.)
2. (Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1995), p. 14.)
3. ( Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, p. 76.)
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
Note that I took out Contention 2 due to character restraints.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
It was OUR definition of God.
Posted by tejretics 2 years ago
That was my definition of God XD.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
Round 2 Sourcing
1. Oppy, Graham (8 February 1996; substantive revision 15 July 2011). "Ontological Arguments". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

2. Marenbon, M., Medieval Philosophy: An Historical and Philosophical Introduction, Routledge, 2006, p. 128.
4. Edward Feser, "Teleology: A Shopper's Guide," Philosophia Christi 12 (2010): 157

5. David S. Oderberg, "Teleology: Inorganic and Organic," in A.M. Gonz"lez (ed.), Contemporary Perspectives on Natural Law(Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008): 259-79
6. (
Posted by a_janis1 2 years ago
Here is why we see evil:

Evil is the result of free will from we choose to that which does not correspond with God. In order to love Him, God gave us free will. If He had removed the ability to do evil, then He would've removed our free will to openly choose to love Him as well. And if then we were forced to love Him, we would only be slaves. Love through force is not true love. And because God gave us free will to love, through the same free will He also allows us to choose evil. Evil is not something God created. Rather, evil is the absence of good in the same way that darkness is the absence of light.

Evil is the result of our choice. We either choose to love God and do His will, or, we choose to not love God and not do His will (which then is evil).

It is in this freedom that God gave us where we actually see His compassion. He could've enslaved us into being forced to do His will, but that would be the true cruelty.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.