The Instigator
christisking
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
andyh
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

It is unreasonable to believe in atheism.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
andyh
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,474 times Debate No: 16164
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (24)
Votes (4)

 

christisking

Pro

This will be my first debate here, and I look forward to many others in the future.

In this Debate I will be arguing that a perfectly reasonable man would not be an atheist. There are three main reasons why.

1) To believe in atheism, one must believe in evolution. Evolution is a theory which has a severe lack of evidence. The chances that evolution are true are very small, thus a reasonable man would not believe it.

2) To believe in atheism, one must believe that all matter, life and energy originated in the big bang. However, what caused the big bang to go off? What caused that source of the big bang to do what it did? What caused that? etc. There has to be something or someone who started the whole chain of matter and energy.

3) There is no reason to be an atheist. If atheism is true, then when both the atheist and theist die, they both will merely disappear and become the same dust. The atheist did not benefit from being an atheist. If God exists on the other hand, then when the atheist and theist both die, one goes to heaven and the other goes to hell. The atheist suffered for being an atheist. So, there is no possible benefit to being an atheist, only a possible harm, so a reasonable man would not be an atheist.
andyh

Con



Welcome to debate.org, and thankyou for posting up a debate that I personally find extremely interesting. Its usual here to state the structure of the debate before the rounds start, (but don't worry this time!), but here i was I imagine the structure will be:


1.Introduction of principal arguments

2.Rebuttals and questions

3.Rebuttals and development.

4.Closing statement/Summary.


My main reasons for for disputing the statement 'it is unreasonable to believe in atheism' are as follows:


1) Firstly this statement makes the huge leap of assumption that atheism denotes a 'belief'. True atheism is however a 'non-belief'. Although there are those (who would be considered 'strong atheists') who affirm that there is NO God, true atheists (and I believe the majority) merely assert that there is no proof of a God, and therefore a belief in one is irrational.

While I understand that this would mean that I too am pro the statement 'it is unreasonable to believe in atheism', I will actually focus on countering your main argument that 'a perfectly reasonable man would not an atheist', while supporting a self-definition as an atheist.

2) I highly dispute your statement that 'to believe in atheism, one must believe in evolution'. Thats like saying that 'to believe in God, one must believe in creationism'. Evolutionists are atheists, but that does not necessitate that all atheists are evolutionists. It is simply incorrect to state so.

3) The argument that 'an atheist does not benefit from being an atheist and therefore being one is not reasonable' makes no sense. Simply because I can imagine in my head a land of milk and honey where beautiful naked women are in plentiful supply, beer flows on tap and I play for England's football team does not make it unreasonable for me to not believe in it. Even if I would only be allowed to take part in this magical world if I had believed in it, it would really be rather hard for me to commit to a belief in it, knowing full well that my brain is telling me that its existence is completely illogical.


Debate Round No. 1
christisking

Pro

Thank you, first of all, for accepting this debate. I hope to learn a lot from this first experience with debate.org. Secondly, thank you for the advice on setting up a structure for the round in round 1, I'll make sure to do that in future debates. Your structure sounds acceptable (I assume that since there are only three rounds, that your 2 and 3 points will be both be this round).

I will start by going back to the points I outlined in round 1:

1) In this point, I am arguing that an atheist must believe in evolution, and that evolution is a poor theory to believe. This corresponds to my opponent's point 2. A man holds one belief or another in order to help explain the world, people, events, etc. so that life will make sense to him. When someone becomes an atheist, they have to in some way explain where life on earth came from. Science tells us that life does not just randomly appear, so it had to have come from somewhere. The only options available to a man are evolution or some creation story from some god. Please present another reasonable option (since we are talking about what a reasonable man would do) for a man to choose and still remain an atheist, otherwise we have to assume atheists are required to believe in evolution. Evolution is a theory which lacks thousands of the transition fossils it would need to be solidly accepted as a scientific fact (despite what the media currently believes).

2) My second point has not been contested yet, and it deals with the question of what is known as the Prime Mover. Scientists tell us and it is obvious in our lives that for something to move it must be pushed by something else. But that other thing would have been pushed by something which would have been pushed by something etc. The only way to reconcile this infinite chain of cause and effect is believe in a God who is outside of the physical world, and who is capable of starting the chain of movement without having been moved himself.

3) My third point is that atheism benefits you nothing to believe in it whether it is right or wrong. This corresponds with my opponent's argument 3. In the example he gave, he is basically arguing that a reasonable man should not believe in something completely irrational. This is true. However, belief in God is not irrational, it is the most rational belief that you could have. To believe in God and heaven is like believing that the ocean has a bottom. No one has ever explored the very depths of the ocean floor, but we assume that it exists, because it is rational to assume so and the evidence would suggest it. Just so, as my first two points show, it is, at the very least, reasonable to believe in God. If it is reasonable to believe in God, then it is in the reasonable man's best interests to believe in him since not believing will benefit him nothing and possible cost him everything.

I believe that the only unaddressed point is my opponent's point 1. He argued that atheism is not a belief, but rather a non-belief. However, a non-belief is a belief in and of itself. The definition of atheism is as follows:

Atheism - the doctrine or belief that there is no god

Thus, an atheist is one who believes in atheism and atheism is defined as being a certain belief. This being said, an atheist can accurately be said to ‘believe' in atheism, and so the resolution stands firm. The other point my opponent said was that there are strong and weak atheists. However, the difference is miniscule. The strong atheist asserts that ‘there is no God' and the weak atheist merely lacks a belief in God. Even if our ‘reasonable man' were a ‘weak' atheist, being a reasonable man, he would still have to come up with some other theory to explain life's existence as we know it. Thus, all of my previous arguments still apply.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing my opponent's rebutals.
andyh

Con

Thanks for pointing out the 3 rather than 4 rounds - and yes I agree to moving my 2/3 into this one.

I will now deal with the issues you just raised in your round 2.

You stated that if/when someone becomes an atheist, they have to in some way explain where earth came from. However I dispute this point. Atheism is just a non-belief (I will deal with the definition issue later).
It is merely asserting that is irrational to believe in something for which there is no proof. It is not however (although it is often mistakenly considered so) a ratification of any other explanations of how life came about. There is no need for an atheist to present an alternative explanation. It will of course transpire that many atheists would be happy to do so - and many of course will be evolutionists etc, but you mistakenly believe this accounts for all atheists.

You have made the common error that Atheism is a belief. It is not, though is often incorrectly defined as such by many theists. Atheism is in fact a lack of belief. http://www.999ideas.com... Only very few atheists think they can prove that God doesn't exist, and those people shouldn't really be counted as 'atheists' at all, since they make such an assertion that again, is unproovable.

If you are arguing that it is unreasonable to 'believe' in atheism, the you have misunderstood the concept of atheism.
If you are arguing that is unreasonable to be atheist, then you are arguing that in fact it is reasonable and rational to believe in something for which there is no concrete proof.

Again in your final paragraph you use the argument that an atheist must come up with another explanation. But this is simply ridiculous. If I see a ball in the middle of a room, and don't know how it got there - and you explain to me that a flying hippo came through the window and give birth to it. Well, I cannot proove 100% that you are wrong. But would if I cannot give you an alternative theory that I am 100% sure of (though I may be able to suggest some other altertive viewpoints), would it be unreasonable of me to say that your view lacks proof, and thus I have a lack of belief in your theory? No.

I cannot really respond to your argument about that atheism is irrational as there is nothing to benefit from it. I just think this is fundmentally incorrect. Even if something causes you pain, you can acknowledge its truth. Here you seem to be promoting kidding or lying to yourself (if your mind tells you you don't believe), in order to achieve some degree of what you see as 'reason'. This, to me, is a barmy concept.

I look forward to your closing statement.


Debate Round No. 2
christisking

Pro

In this round, I hope to summarize the main arguments, and hopefully prove that it is unreasonable to believe in atheism.

The first issue I would like to address is the question of whether one can believe in atheism or not. If one cannot believe in atheism (since it is a ‘non-belief' supposedly) then I can easily affirm the resolution since it would be very unreasonable to try believing in something that cannot be believed. Thus, for arguments sake, we must assume that our ‘reasonable man' is choosing between believing in a God or in a world without a God.

I would like to define reasonable and reason. Reasonable: agreeable to reason or sound judgment. Reason: sound judgment. Thus, a ‘reasonable' man will rely on sound judgments, which by the definitions does not require him to have 100% proofs of anything. He merely needs to make the best choice of beliefs (i.e. 70%) from what is presented to him. Like I said last round, it is reasonable to believe in the bottom of the ocean even though we haven't seen it.

Next, I would like to define what exactly a ‘belief' is. Belief: confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof. So, a belief does not of necessity have to be provable.

Now, let's see what our reasonable man would think when he considers my point 3. He would see that he has a choice between believing in God or not believing in God. Being rational, he would want his belief to have the best chance possible of coinciding with the truth. He would realize that if he does not believe in God, that there must be some scientific and natural way that world came into existence.

This is the question of the purple hippo that you proposed. However, if there is no alternative to the purple hippo having put the ball in the room, then the rational man, even though it is against his first instincts, would have to believe that the purple hippo existed since there is no other alternative. In this debate, I have shown two reasons why the alternatives to God are impossible (evolution lacks evidence and there had to be a Prime Mover). As the con, since you did not rebut these points, you allow me to assume that my arguments are true. Thus, in this case we can see that there is indeed no alternative than to believe in the purple hippo (who would be better described as a man with an invisibility cloak) since no other alternative has been presented by my opponent.

So, what does this mean to the debate round. If the reasonable man were presented with the arguments in this debate, he would have to assume that there is no solid ground for atheism, and he would also realize that it in his best interests anyways to believe in a God since this view point gives him a chance at eternal happiness. Thus, I am not promoting lying to one's self as you claimed I am. I am merely suggesting that if there is substantial room for doubt in atheism (as has definitely been proven in this round) then any reasonable man would accept the existence of a God as in his best interests and as the closest guess he can make of the truth.

I would like to thank andyh for a very interesting debate, and I look forward to his summary of the arguments presented through the past two rounds.
andyh

Con

While Pro hopes to affirm the solution merely through Pro's own misunderstanding of what atheism is, I hope that those viewing this debate will see that was has really been argued here is whether of not atheism can be considered 'reasonable'.

Pro's whole argument is based on the idea that if you cannot explain something, the only 'reasonable' solution is to merely accept what someone tells you, however irrational it may appear. This is ridiculous.

Pro also seems to suggest that you must be 100% sure of something. If you do not believe in God, then this necessitates a 100% sure belief in the nature of the world. Here, he is again incorrect. Many atheists have other ideas, with different strengths of confidence in these ideas. Almost no atheists would say they are 100% sure about any definitive argument.

Again Pro suggests that it is unreasonable not to believe in God as if you don't and it ends up it is all true, then eternal happiness will be denied to you. Again, ridiclous. Lying to yourself therefore based on a possibility of benefit is justified.

Crucially, pro also seems to suggest that belief in God is a matter of choice, something you can switch on and off. That if I was to be reasonable, I could suddenly decide to believe. This again, is simply a falsity. What is 'reasonable' changes from one person to the next, as they will have had different experiences and different ethical and moral values.

Lastly I would like to point out that Pro also seems to have decided that all who don't believe in God will be denied eternal happiness. If there was another round I would ask him i he considers that all that are not of his particular religion would also be denied eternal happiness, whether he considers others of different religions to equally be 'unreasonable' since he considers his God to be the one true God, and how he can possibly speak for God and say that atheists will be denied eternal happiness. Perhaps if God is real and I have led a God life, he'll let me into the magical land of milk and honey.
Debate Round No. 3
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
The devil was not created evil. Like mankind, the devil had free will, and thus chose to sin against God. God, in his infinate wisdom, knows when it is best to call us from this life to the next. Those who died as tornado victims have been called from this life so that they might enter thier eternal life.
Posted by wizkid345 6 years ago
wizkid345
god created the dervil (if hes real) and what about the people who died in the tornado, dont look like a warning to me it looks more like a perminent eviction
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
Our loving God created no evil when he made the world. Man introduced evil and thus suffering into the world when he sinned in the garden of Eden. A loving God can allow suffering for multiple reasons. First, God knows that the greatest happiness we can ever have will be found in heaven. When he sends suffering to nonbelievers and those weak in faith, it is often a call to realize that they are weak and need to rely more on God, and thus return to the path towards heaven. For those already believing, it is a call to rely more on God who is the source of true peace and joy even in this life.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
Intelectual_Perplexion,
Thank you for confirming my belief in God. If nothing else, religion removes the immorality which universal atheism would necisarily bring upon society (name calling being an example). If you don't have an answer to the historical issues we are discussing, I understand that you are not a historian. Personally, I'm not willing to make science my god by believing that some day it will have all the answers, such as where mater came from. Science is not a worthy god because it is not worth risking the loss of a potential eternity in paradise. Geocentricism is a poor analogy to theism. geocentricism was commonly accepted, but there were other alternateive explanations to the structure of the universe, they just weren't commonly believed. Can you give an atheistic explanation of the sponaneous imergence of mater or the first moving molecule with current science?

Some one who refuses to believe anything about a controversial topic either doesn't care or refuses to accept the truth. If an atheist refuses to believe anything of the emergence of the universe or the existence of God, then he doesn't care (which is a mistake since eternal hapiness could be hanging on the line) or he has an alternate reason not to believe.
Posted by wizkid345 6 years ago
wizkid345
I was just watching the news about the tornados in the states and the one guy said something very humerousehe said "I dont have an answer for the people asking why god did this but i do know god loves us, because the bible tells me so". Maybe you can tell me why a kind loving father would do this, unless he isnt real of course and that tornados just happen (with the corect sercumstances)
Posted by Intellectual_Perplexion 6 years ago
Intellectual_Perplexion
Oh, and stop talking about atheism like it is a belief system. It is not. It is merely the rejection of all of the prehistoric explanations of the universe which have no reason to be in modern society.
"All religions have something right, and that's that all others are full of sh*t"
Posted by Intellectual_Perplexion 6 years ago
Intellectual_Perplexion
This is my last post, since you are honestly ignorant beyond repair. I won't even merit your arguments about the Crusades and Inquisition by responding, because you are flat out wrong. Religion is a mental deficiency of the weak. You are un-evolved and scared. The fact that our perception of the laws of matter doesn't yet explain the source of matter, doesn't mean that god is the only possibility - just how geocentric belief of the past didn't prove earth was the center of the universe.
Please read a book.... and not the Bible.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
wizkid, God by definition has no begining. The argument runs like this; since we have never seen something come from nothing (and that is a serious violation of human reason) then we have to assume that there was always someting. Was that something matter or God? It couldn't be matter because of my point #2 that the laws of kinetic energy tell us that it doesn't make sense for the answer to be matter. Thus, the answer must be that there is a God who started it all.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
Intelectual_Perplexion,
When I said 'preserve civilization' I was refering to the monastaries where all of the science and engineering of the Roman empire was preserved durring the barbarian invasion and consequent caos. The crusades were chiefly wars fought to prevent the muslims from invading anymore of Europe (as they had been doing for the past couple decades) and it was given religious context to help get volunteers. The Inquisition only executed a small handful of the people they tried, and these executions chiefly happened to those who purposely took a position in the government which was restricted to Catholics to preserve unity in the government, and then refused to believe Catholic doctrine (be careful not to just read secular biased sources). The witch hunts were one of the greatest atrocities of its time, but it had nothing to do with the people's Christian beliefs. Rather, it was due to the superstitions of the people and their lack of knowledge of Christian love. I hope that I have been informed enough to answer your questions properly.
Posted by christisking 6 years ago
christisking
andyh, could you not just take the major modern religions (since if God wants to be known, he would make it possible) and use them for comparison. This would mean that there are only about four religions that you now have to compare to eachother and to atheism in order to make a decision.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
christiskingandyhTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Very weak argument from Pro, but baffling response from Con.
Vote Placed by Lionheart 6 years ago
Lionheart
christiskingandyhTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It's not unreasonable for any human to believe in Atheism. Given the lack of evidence to prove any existence of The God or any Gods, it is actually more reasonable to be an Atheist. We know through science that there is an ocean bottom, therefor it is reasonable to believe in it even though I have never seen it. It is proven. And even in the beginning a man walks into the ocean from the shoreline and can clearly see that the ocean does have a bottom and must, or the water would fall in to a void
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
socialpinko
christiskingandyhTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's an idiot.
Vote Placed by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
christiskingandyhTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had horrific arguments and couldn't come up with any except for the silliest arguments of them all.