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

Ministry to a girl facing execution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/2/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 264 times Debate No: 93067
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




In our story the pastor is making the rounds at the women's prison. He ministers with a little girl who is scheduled to die in the gas chamber for the murder of her father. The girl with the help of her two older brothers poured gasoline over her father's bed while he slept and lit it on fire.

The pastor tells the little girl about Jesus and how he died on the cross for her and the pastor goes on to tell her of the gift of eternal life. If she genuinely repents and asks forgiveness for what she's done God will forgive her and grant her eternal life at His side within his glorious Kingdom.

the little girl asks the pastor. If I repent and ask for forgiveness will I still die at sunrise? The pastor answer Yes it is the law. You must be punished.

The question is did the pastor advise the girl correctly. I say he did.


Hi, good luck with the debate.

Despite picking CON bearski seems to be representing the PRO position in the question of "Did the pastor advise the girl correctly". Therefore despite being PRO, I will take the position that the pastor did not advise the girl correctly. I support this on 3 basis, which in order of importance are:

1 Belief in the supernatural

The pastor puts forward a position that contains several supernatural aspects such as Jesus dying to gift eternal life and the ability to recieve this gift and be wiped away of sin by repenting.

These are religious beliefs that are not based on observable or testable reality. While people may personally have individual faith, no such process has ever been shown to exist.

The Pastor therefore advised her incorrectly because she will not get eternal life for reprenting because such a process (as far as we know) does not exist. If bearski wishes to assert that this process does exist, the burden of proof is on him as he is the one claiming an unobservable undocumented process exists.

2 Repenting is not enough to be gifted with eternal life

Even if bearski proves issue 1, another problem is that the Pastor is not describing the process that takes place in mainstream denominations of Christianity.

Repenting of sins is a common place part of reaching heaven, but not the only requirement. Another key aspect common across almsost all denominations is that you have to accept Jesus as the son of god and your saviour. This is supported by numerous biblical verses. For instance:

Ephesians 2:8-9 'For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.'

Matthew 10:32 '“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.'

Romans 10:9 'If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.'

John 14:6 'Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."'

Due to this, almost every Christian denomination considers acceptance of Jesus as a prerequisite for eternal life.

"We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith" - Anglican Church[1]

"Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ." - Southern Baptist [2]

"Our churches by common consent...teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight." - Lutheran [3]

The Pastor's advice is therefore almost certainly incorrect unless he happens to believe a very minor sect and as per point 1 the beliefs of that very minor sect happen to be right rather than those of all the other major sects or of observable reality.

Indeed if we knew more about the Pastor's denomination it may have been possible to find even more ways that he was incorrect. In Catholicism for instance a mortal sin such as murder requires either the Sacrament of Penance (Confession, which must be done with a Priest or Bishop) which the pastor would not be capable of giving or a very specific form of penance which the girl may not acheive and the pastor does not explani; perfect contrition:

"Perfect contrition. Sorrow for sin arising from perfect love. In perfect contrition the sinner detests sin more than any other evil, because it offends God, who is supremely good and deserving of all human love. Its motive is founded on God's own goodness and not merely his goodness to the sinner or to humanity. This motive, and not the intensity of the act, less still the feelings experienced, is what essentially constitutes perfect sorrow.[4]"

It is a very specific form of contrition which you cannot choose to feel, you either do or you don't and is very hard to acheive.

This is one example of how the pastor may have been even further from the truth depending on the sect in question.

3 She would not be killed tomorrow

The USA is currently the only country in the world that uses the gas chamber to execute people as is referenced in the story.[5] The USA does not kill minors.[6] Hence it is impossible that a little girl held in a womens prison would be due to be executed the next day. Additionally there are various legal mechanisms where even if she was somehow due to be executed she might not end up being executed, such as being receiving a pardon or having her sentence commuted.

The pastor has therefore advised incorrectly when he states she will die at sunrise and that she must be punished.

Debate Round No. 1


As to your point #3--- You claim the woman would not be executed is invalid. The scenario presented is a hypothetical one where the stipulated facts are assumed to be true. What the debate question is asking is about the pastor's response to the woman as it concerns the situation as it has been conveyed.
Now if you are going to respond to hypothetical question by refuting the hypothesis then you need to get your own facts right. The gas chamber is no longer used. Hanging is used on rare occasions Most countries with the death penalty use varying forms of this method. Shooting is used on rare occasions in a couple of states. It is also used by other countries usually in one of two variations. The electric chair is also used on rare occasions in the U.S. I don't think it is used elsewhere. The most common method in the US and internationally is lethal injection. Internationally because China uses it for most of their executions and they're responsible for close to 90% of all executions

You further invalidate your response in part 3 by presenting 'facts' which are irrelevant to the situation. The stipulated facts of which and facts which are not in dispute are a teenage girl has murdered her father in a very cruel manner, has been sentenced to death and in all probability has been executed. To claim the pastor is wrong because the facts are wrong is an invalid response.

The girl asks if I repent... will I still die at sunrise. To which the pastor gives a matter of fact and honest response when he tells her 'yes it is the law and you must be punished. Again facts presented as the basis of a hypothetical have to be accepted as true- to refute them on their face as untrue is an invalid response.

Here the pastor makes two points. Both of which are correct. One the woman will die because that is what the law requires; and the second that she must be punished. That she must be punished is broadly true even if one including the pastor disagrees with the specific punishment. For the pastor to have answered her as you would have would be giving her false promise and false hope.

As to Part 1 of your argument. The pastor by sharing with the girl his understanding and beliefs about God, Christ and the afterlife is trying to be reassuring to the girl. Even after you have been gassed there is still something to look forward to - eternal life in God's Kingdom. There are several things which the girl must be capable of knowing. What is going to happen in the next several hours? She is to be punished. How and in what way? She will be executed by lethal gas. Why is she to be executed? For murdering her father. What the pastor is offering is she still has a promise if she can fulfill the requirements for eternal life. None of it means the pastor has to agree with the girl's punishment other than there is little he can do to change it.

As to Part 2 -- my arguments in the paragraph above apply here as well. Further the pastor is not merely telling the woman to repent but to genuinely repent and to ask for forgiveness. Very simple, honest and practical advice


Thank you for your response.

Point 1 - No Supernatural

I think you might have misunderstood my point because what you posted seems to have no relation to my argument.

I make the argument that Jesus is not divine, the afterlife does not exist and that there is no method for eternal life. I put the onus on you to prove that these things exist as they do not mesh with observable reality and their existence is required for your argument to succeed. If you fail to do so then the pastor has advised the girl incorrectly because his claims about eternal life are false.

Whether or not the pastor agrees with the punishment has no bearing on this. What matters is if his claims about eternal life are true.

Point 2 - Not matching Christian scripture and beliefs

Again, this doesn't seem to actually have any relation to my argument. As I have shown, even if a mechanism for afterlife did exist then Christian belief is that sincere repentence is not enough to get eternal life. It must be done in conjunction with accepting Jesus as your lord and saviour.

Therefore "the pastor is not merely telling the woman to repent but to genuinely repent and to ask for forgiveness" is entirely irrelevent as it does not deal with the issue I have raised which is that the pastor never mentions acceptence of Jesus Christ which is a core component of getting eternal life in basically every Christian denomination.

Point 3 - False claims about her being certain to die

This response is on topic so I will address it more fully.

Firstly, to correct you where you have alleged I made a mistake: the US does use gas chambers. Not often but as shown in my previous source it does use them. 5 states currently use the gas chamber, usually as a fallback method if for some reason lethal injections can't be used ( The states are Arizona, California, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

Now moving on, if you want to posit that this takes place in some nation that is completely different from any on Earth currently then you may and that removes part of the objection based on the assumption it is in the USA. However the root of the problem remains. just because the girl has been schedulued to be execvuted tomorrow, it does not mean she will be executed as humanity has agency to make its own decisions.

Whatever nebulous country this takes place in, the pastor is not all-knowing and all powerful. He doesn't know if there'll be a natural disaster tomorrow that will delay the execution for a few weeks. He doesn't know if there'll be a prison break and the girl will escape. Whatever is the authority in charge could have a change of heart and offer commutation of the girl's sentence. There could be a coup and the new regime could be anti-death penalty. A hundred other things could happen.

Although it is very likely she will die, he is still wrong when he proclaims her death tomorrow as a certainty. He has absolutely no way to know that. Indeed bible versus warn against such predictions:

James 4:14 - Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Ecclesiastes 8:7-8 - For he has absolutely no knowledge what will happen, since who can declare to him when it will come about? Just as no human being has control over the wind to restrain it, so also no human being has control over the day of his death. Just as no one is discharged during war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.

Proverbs 27:1 - Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

So based not just on common sense and humanity's natural eagency but also the scripture of his own religion, the pastor cannot predict when the little girl will die. If he had couched it differently then it would have been acceptable ("It seems almost certain you will die, therefore you should repent", etc) then he would have been fine but he expressed it as a certainty he is wrong.

Lastly I would point out that you haven't really made any positive arguments to support your POV, just tried to rebutt mine.

If you don't actually offer an argument of your own as to why the pastor is right as well as rrebutting my bits, it seems like it will be impossible for you to win this debate.
Debate Round No. 2


The basic facts which must be assumed to be true are a 'little' girl with the help of her older brothers murdered her father by pouring gasoline over his bed while he slept and igniting it. The girl was found guilty of murder and sentenced to die in the gas chamber. The night before the girl's execution the pastor minister with her. He advises her to repent and to ask for God's forgiveness. He tells her of the promise for eternal life in God's Kingdom.

In this part of the ministry to the girl the pastor is reaching into his own beliefs about God, about eternal life, about repentance, and forgiveness with the hope it will help the girl come to terms with what she has done and what will be done to her as a result. But to open her to the glorious opportunity for her after she has been put to death in the gas chamber and crosses over into the next dimension.. Will it be with God or will be for eternity in Satan's Pit. The pastor is telling her she still has the choice not to go to Satan's Pit.

My opponent claims the pastors views on the death penalty whether generally or specifically to this case are irrelevant. In fact they are highly relevant. If the pastor were opposed to the girl's execution his response to her could have and maybe should have reflected it. Even if he was unable to prevent the execution he could have given some indication that he would at least make some effort. But my opponent does not deal with that. He imagines bizarre events which of no chance of happening.

When the pastor answers the girl telling her she is to die because the law requires it and she must be punished he is being honest with himself and with her. She poured gasoline over her father and ignited it causing her father to suffer a horrendously hideous death. At sunrise the girl will be gassed for the murder of her father. The pastor doesn't want to give her false hope. As the little girl is breathing her gasps of air the pastor will be satisfied if she has come to accept her punishment and what she did to her father was wrong; and in dong so has repented and asked for forgiveness from God the pastor will know he has served her well.

In closing I want to thank you for participating in this debate and doing it exceptionally well and very respectfully as well. By the way if I was taking the other side I would talk about what the pastor might have, could have, and should have said to the girl instead of or in addition to what he said at the end.


While I thank PRO for his response, I find it somewhat distressing that over 3 rounds he has failed to engage with my argument.

Point 1 - No Afterlife

I presented the argument that the lack of a known afterlife meant that his claims of one were false. While there may very well be religious voters who believe in an afterlife, even specifically a Christian one, I expect that if required to you could give a rationale for your beliefs whether it's the accuracy of your holy book, the holes in science, etc, etc. It's not necessary that I agree with you, but you would be able to offer a reason why you believe your belief is supported. Bearski has not done this. When challenged that the entire idea of an afterlife is false, he has twice completely ignored the issue and not devoted even a single sentence to offering a rationale for why we should beleive there is not an afterlife.

If there is no afterlife then the Pastor was wrong in his claims and advice. As Bearski has offered no defence and doesn't consider this even though it has been pointed out twice, considering "Will it be with God or will be for eternity in Satan's Pit" the only options. I feel on this point alone you must vote in my favour as Pro has utterly failed to respond.

Point 2 - Not correct according to Christian doctrine

Similarily on my second point, that the pastor has advised the girl in a manner incompaitble with Christianity that (If Christianity is true) would surely not save her soul but instead damn her to hell, breakski has again failed to respond. IN R2 he did nearly touch on the issue when he said "the pastor is not merely telling the woman to repent but to genuinely repent and to ask for forgiveness. Very simple, honest and practical advice". Howerver the issue is not whether it is honest simply or rpactical, but whether it actually represents christian teachings and would do what the pastor said even if the christian afterlife was real.

As I showed in R1 acceptance of Jesus is required and "to genuinely repent" is not enough. To merely reiterate that the girl would be repenting and offer no explanation for how she could possibly be saved when she has not been advised to accept Jesus means that Bearski has one again completely avoided dealing with the issue raised. Once again, this single issue alone should be enough to gaurentee a vote for me.

Point 3 - Lying about certainty

On the third issue of her execution and wether the pastor is right to say she will die, Bearski misstates the situation. He claims that "[Overhead] imagines bizarre events which of no chance of happening". This is of course clearly untrue. Although unlikely people having their sentences commuted, prison riots, natural disasters and much more do happen. The pastor's claims are untrue.

While this may seem like a technacality, it is an important technacality as the supposed certainty of the girl's death is used to pressure her into following through with what the Pastor wants. Moreover as shown in R2 is is also morally wrong from a religious standpoint as Christian believers should not claim to know the future. As Bearski never gives a reason for WHY these events are supposedly impossible, he has again failed to address my claims.

Overall I think Bearski has failed to comprehend my argument. take for isntance his parting sentence "By the way if I was taking the other side I would talk about what the pastor might have, could have, and should have said to the girl instead of or in addition to what he said at the end." Seeing as I specificalyl did point out what the pastor could have said to the girl instead, for instance informing her of the actual Christian doctrine which would save her immortal soul rather than only telling her a portion of it that alone would condemn her to hell (Point 2).

I would also express my umbrage at Bearski suggesting in R3 that I should have assumed hypotheticals about things like the pastor's potential point of view. I find this very hypocritical when he has unilaterally claimed any hypotheticals I assume about the scenario are wrong without offering ashred of evidence or reason for this (The one exception being his reason that the US doesn't use gas chambers, though this was an incorrect claim as was shown by my sources).

Bearski's claims

Bearski did not provide an argument in R1 and R2 was meant as a rebuttal to my points. Although it is somewhat vague, R3 is the closest Bearski actually comes to presenting a positive argument to support his own position.

His claims seem to rest on "When the pastor answers the girl telling her she is to die because the law requires it and she must be punished he is being honest with himself and with her" and "The pastor doesn't want to give her false hope". However as explained (and never defended by Bearski), the pastor has done both of these things.

He had no evidence or rationale to back up his statements. That's really all there is to say. His posts were fairly long but lacking in useful content.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by missmozart 1 month ago

This is the full resolution as given by the instigator in Round 1 (ie. Con) "did the pastor advise the girl correctly?"

In general, when I was reading Con's arguments, I found myself asking 'what on earth is (s)he even talking about?'

Round 1

Since Con didn't give any arguments, only an introduction. Therefore, I will be mostly referring to Pro in this round.

I thought Pro did a fantastic job here with his/her opening arguments. The structure was certainly commendable for one. Pro successfully shows that the pastor did not advise the girl correctly because repenting at such a late stage after such a devastating action would certainly not be sufficient in order to be forgiven by God. Furthermore, Pro proves that the resolution itself is a flaw since minors in the US cannot be sentenced to death and provides good citations.

Round 2

Con says "pastor makes two points. Both of which are correct. One the woman will die because that is what the law requires; and the second that she must be punished." If I'm interpreting this correctly, Con is basically saying that cannot be forgiven even if she asks for forgiveness. Con has totally confused me here. So the pastor is giving her good advice to as for forgiveness, but she cannot be forgiven anyways?? That makes no sense.

Pro's argument was pretty good like the last. Well done. I'm not going to go into detail about it because I don't think Con's Round 2 post was anywhere even related to the debate.

Round 3

Con continues to contradict him/herself here by saying that the pastor doesn't want to give the girl false hopes because she cannot be forgiven for such a crime, yet if she does repent, she will be forgiven by God. Also, why give Pro advice when the debate is not even over?

Pro's performance was impressive throughout the debate. The points were well-supported and convincing in contrast to Con's. Therefore, Pro gets my vote in this debate. Well done.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by missmozart 1 month ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.