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It is rational to believe in a god

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 373 times Debate No: 72475
Debate Rounds (5)
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I contend that there is not sufficient evidence to justify belief in any gods and that it is therefore not rational to believe in a god.


There is a sufficient amount of evidence to justify the belief of a God in the following.

To start off, there are the eye witness accounts in the New Testament of the Bible giving quite detailed information of Jesus from many different people giving a similar view on the matter. There is also many accounts and also a decent amount of eye witness accounts of Jesus outside the bible. For example, a roman officer called, Marcus Velleius Paterculus, made an eyewitness account of one of Jesus"s miracles. The account said that Jesus healed a stillborn child by picking the baby up and uttered a prayer in Aramaic to the heavens, which the Roman Officer describes to be "immensus", which means incomprehensible.

Next, there is also evidence if you deeply look at the world around us. It is very complex and isn't something that could have come about by chance, by just a mere roll of a dice. Yes, it is possible for let"s say and artist to come up with an amazing idea by just randomly experimenting, but that idea alone is not going to be very complex and appealing, it is normally just a vague idea of what they want to do, then they carefully design and mold this idea into something complex and appealing. Since saying the universe came by chance is like saying that a watch on the floor just appeared there just suddenly. You wouldn't usually think that, you would think that someone carefully engineered the watch to make it tell the time, people only think that the world came by chance because of how weak and pathetic humans are compared to what a God would be. We can"t comprehend what God would be. Since human"s aren't that powerful, but as we evolve further and further, we may all begin to realize that God isn't actually that power and God is quite reasonably powerful, but we are not at that stage yet, and we can"t prove it, but it is still reasonable. It is still rational to believe in a God.
Another argument against the idea of the universe coming about by chance (just to not waste rounds), is that, for there to be something to come by chance, there has to be something there to create a possibility of something happening. If there was nothing there in the beginning, then the dice wouldn't have been rolled. It"s like saying that a dice can roll on its own, without there being anything being related to that dice. How would the dice be rolled? How would the dice even be made in the first place?

There are many more arguments for why it is rational to believe in God, but I will save them for the other rounds. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting my challenge; I look forward to a lively exchange.

I'm going to take each claim that you've made one at a time but I'll begin by reiterating your claims. Please do accept my apologies and provide me with correction if I have misrepresented your claims or if I have missed any details out (indeed, I'm sure you will).

Pro's claims:

[1] Eye witness accounts in the bible indicate the existence of Jesus, who performed miracles
[2] Eye witness accounts outside of the bible indicate the existence of Jesus, who performed miracles
[3] Marcus Velleius Paterculus witnessed one of Jesus' miracles
[4] The Argument From Design
[5] The Cosmological Argument


[1], [2] and [3]. I'll return to each of these points individually but I'd like to start by pointing out that showing that there was a Jewish mystic 2000 years ago who it was claimed performed miracles would not be sufficient evidence to justify my belief in a god, nor do I consider it rational for anybody else to do so on this evidence alone.

[1] There are not that many eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life in the bible; most of the New Testament was written at least 50 years after Jesus' alleged death. Paul's Epistles are almost certainly the earliest writings in the NT, at around 50AD. Interestingly, Paul does not ever speak of Christ Jesus as if he ever walked on Earth, but rather as a spiritual entity who was not incarnate. I quote here from his earliest writings, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 "May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". Note that he doesn't talk about "second coming", nor about "returning"... I contend that Paul, the earliest of the writers in the NT, did not think of Jesus as a man incarnate.

[2] There are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus outside of the bible (But Pro, please cite some and prove me wrong if you can); there are scant writings that even mention Jesus outside of the bible until hundreds of years later. Some examples include Publius Tacitus (C100AD) and Julius Africanus (C200AD).

[3] That Marcus Velleius Paterculus (a real Roman historian) witnessed a miracle of Jesus' is a recent fabrication by the World News Daily Report - but does a better job of debunking this than I could:

[4] The Argument from Design is as flawed as it is old, although it does have a rough and ready instinctive appeal and seems to remain a favourite of religious apologists. I'd be happy to dedicate some time to debunking the argument, if Pro wishes to fight the point; there are plenty of angles to take when attacking the problem... here are a couple of my favourites:

a) If there were a God, rather than needing 70 sextillion stars and 13.75 billion years, there would only be need of one planet. Rather than having more planets than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth. The only reason this universe needs to be this vast and this old is if life occurs randomly without any intelligent design. If life occurs only by happenstance, then any life that exists should exist in a amazingly vast universe just to allow the chemicals needed to kick up life enough chances to happen to kick up something as complex as life. (from

The universe seems very poorly designed if human life is the ultimate end of an intelligent designer. More than 99.9999999% of the observable universe is extremely hostile to life. Humans have been on Earth for less than 0.00005% of its existence.

b) The argument from design is self-defeating in this way: we start by comparing a rock and a watch, concluding that the watch is non-natural and therefore designed. But if we continue and conclude that life, humans, the Earth and the whole universe were designed then we come to the conclusion that the rock was, after all, designed... oops! How is one to determine what is and what is not designed, especially if you're claiming that everything is designed!?

c) Evolution by natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the complexity of life; no more explaining needs to be done! The story of the rich history of life is writ clearly in the fossil record.

[5] Everybody's favourite apologetic position: The Cosmological Argument.

Again, I'd be very happy to elaborate on this deeply flawed argument, but I'd ask that you consider reading what the excellent counter-apologetic site Iron Chariots has to say:

However, for those who cannot be bothered, I'll offer my simple rebuttal here: If your explanation of how anything came to exist at all is that "God created it" then who created your God? Your explanation, ultimately, fails to answer the question at all; in fact, it begs a far more complex problem!

"It's no use, Mr. James " it's turtles all the way down." - J. R. Ross, Constraints on Variables in Syntax 1967


TheNameLad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I understand that there are many theists out there who do believe in a God... and I understand that many of them are at least superficially convinced by such arguments as the cosmological argument. I'd ask, in the spirit of fairness, though, that you judge this debate on whether my opponent shows any truly rational reasons to believe in a god.

I mean, my opponent's [1] and [2] arguments could as easily be applied to Mohammed, I would think... so I have good reason to doubt that these arguments really convince anybody... if they do, then there's inconsistency in application of the criteria which is, of course, irrationality.

Argument [3] was just factually wrong. It was a brilliant example of how people accept and believe what they want to accept and believe without due examination of the evidence, though... perfect irrational thinking in action!

Argument [4], from design, is logically self-defeating.

Argument [5], the cosmological argument, has many flaws... I mean, if we are to accept that something could exist outside the universe and then accept that as the explanation for the universe, why could we not have any other thing (personal god, impersonal god, random fluctuation, etc)... indeed, if there is anything outside of causality and time in this universe, surely the easier explanation to believe is random fluctuations in a semi-ordered state, not some super-entity with a mind all their own... surely *that* requires more explanation again... at the very least, one must conclude that the cosmological argument is not convincing.

I await any justification for the belief in any god being rational... i.e. in line with the available evidence or logical deduction. So far, I think that I've shown all of the evidence and logical deduction of my opponent to be wanting.


TheNameLad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


A very large number of theists, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim, accept that there is no measurable evidence for God. The only exception to this that I know of is personal revelation. But, different people's personal revelations disagree with each other, and they can't all be right! This ought to be sufficient reason to dismiss personal revelation... it is not reliable enough to be trustworthy.

Believing is possible without good reason, it's just tough... we see this struggle play out in Theists the World over. Even the late Mother Teresa wrote frequently to her superiors complaining that God did not answer her prayers and talk to her directly or give her any evidence that he was there. Her superiors wrote back telling her how lucky she was to suffer in this way, since her suffering allowed her to share some of Jesus' divine suffering.

My contention is simple: to believe takes faith and, as such, comes not from reason.


TheNameLad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


I'm going to offer what I think is the best argument to show that there is no evidence of God:
Theists are not shouting about it.

Seriously, does anybody here think that if there were any actual evidence in support of a god the theists would be quiet about it? No, it would change the World... investigating that evidence would be the most important intellectual pursuit that Man could engage in.

Have no doubt on this point: there is no evidence of any god.

All we have is a collection of logically fallacious arguments that are used to post-rationalise... and all of those fail for the simple reason that they boil down to this:

Standard form of deistic/theistic rationalization::
But how do you explain X?
Answer A: something simple, scientific and testable
Answer B: something complex, supernatural and untestable

All we need do is substitute X for anything that theists think might not have a compelling answer already... whatever is at the very edge of human knowledge... wherever there are gaps... this is the God of the Gaps

We can put "the origin of the universe", "the origin of life" or "the complexity of life" into X and arrive at, roughly, the Cosmological Argument, the Watchmaker Argument and Creationism. None of these are rational, and each of these asks us to accept a complex, supernatural answer with no supporting evidence. We'd be better to answer "don't know" to any of these questions (although the third is clearly answered by natural selection) than to jump to such rash conclusions.

How could it ever be rational to answer any question with "something supernatural and fantastically complex for which there is no evidence"?

For now, I rest my case.


TheNameLad forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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