The Instigator
Amphibian
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
JustCallMeTarzan
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points

Power transcends good and evil.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Amphibian
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,149 times Debate No: 6897
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (6)

 

Amphibian

Pro

I would like to argue from the position that there is a Christian god. We follow his various mandates and guidelines in order to achieve happiness and avoid suffering. We have organized religions who's precepts we follow. But after we die we no longer have these rules. On a divine level the rules become what God wants them to be. Good and evil have no say in a scope with omnipotence. So when Lucifer rebelled he was more political exile than enemy of good. The ideas imprinted into our conscious come directly from our experience with an all powerful being. What we believe to be morally correct is only a result of an implied consequence. If God can break a law then it means that there is a power higher than God. That being true, right and wrong would then be decided by the stronger law or personage. Eventually, however, you will find the the absolute power be it God or something beyond. When you find that power you find the motivations for what is right or wrong. Good and evil originate from an all powerful source with an agenda that we cannot possibly understand.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

I stand in negation of the concept that power transcends good and evil.

Transcend: to rise above or go beyond; overpass; exceed; to outdo or exceed in excellence, elevation, extent, degree, etc. (dictionary.com).

Some responses:

>> "I would like to argue from the position that there is a Christian god."

Morality or concepts of good and evil cannot be dependent on God. Morality is authority-independent - even God cannot make it the case the wanton murder is morally acceptable.

>> "We follow his various mandates and guidelines in order to achieve happiness and avoid suffering."

That's interesting, considering following many of his guidelines like proscriptions on premarital sex, killing homosexuals, and no eating of seafood PREVENT one from achieving happiness, and CAUSE suffering.

>> "On a divine level the rules become what God wants them to be. Good and evil have no say in a scope with omnipotence."

Nooo.... if God suddenly smote Paris, you'd consider that to be an evil act, not an amoral act. Furthermore, the conceptualization of God and Satan in terms of good and evil shows the dichotomous relationship is present even in the face of great power, which directly negates the resolution.

>> "So when Lucifer rebelled he was more political exile than enemy of good."

That's very poor reasoning considering he is considered to be evil, not just a political rival. He was cast from heaven FOR being evil, not for being politically powerful.

>> "The ideas imprinted into our conscious come directly from our experience with an all powerful being. What we believe to be morally correct is only a result of an implied consequence."

This is quite obviously false, as there are plenty of cultures that do not accept an all-powerful being, yet have a perfectly acceptable notion of good and evil. What we believe to be morally correct is a function of societal norms working within the framework of the evolutionary capacity for moral judgment.

>> "If God can break a law then it means that there is a power higher than God. "

Which, if God is omnipotent, is a contradiction.... and would indicate that power does NOT go beyond good and evil, which is again in direct negation of the resolution.

>> "Eventually, however, you will find the the absolute power be it God or something beyond. When you find that power you find the motivations for what is right or wrong. Good and evil originate from an all powerful source with an agenda that we cannot possibly understand."

This presupposes the criteria by which good and evil come about is some sort of all-powerful-beyond-god-intelligence that even has an agenda. Obviously this is a very silly notion. Good and evil are simply the terms by which we characterize actions. This does not indicate that there is any sort of ultimate agenda or intelligence or power connected to moral considerations.

*******************************************

Power and good/evil are not related. More good/evil does not equal more power, more power does not equal more good/evil. Power can be EXERCISED in good or evil ways, but this does not indicate that power transcends good and evil.

The burden of proof is on my opponent to show first that power is related to moral considerations and second, that power in some fashion rises above or is beyond the influence of good and evil. He cannot do so.

NEGATED.
Debate Round No. 1
Amphibian

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for debating.

My opponent says that "morality is authority-independent," he uses the example "even God cannot make it the case the wanton murder is morally acceptable."

If this is true then why were the crusades justified in the eyes of those alive at the time? Morality is a concept seeded in the human mind as a means of control. It is not the highest law and good and evil are only the fruits of morality.

Con -" That's interesting, considering following many of his guidelines like proscriptions on premarital sex, killing homosexuals, and no eating of seafood PREVENT one from achieving happiness, and CAUSE suffering"

We have to remember that we are talking about religions who's goal is success in the afterlife more than here on earth. That applies to suffering in hell. I would rather avoid sea food than burn in hell forever.

It is true that power transcends good and evil because absolute power governs absolutely everything. My opponent pointed out that many cultures do not believe in the concept of an omnipotent being and yet subscribe to moral practices. This does not disprove the resolution. It simply shows that our morals are deeply ingrained even if people have fallen away from the Christian god.

Also an evil act and an amoral act are synonymous. Dictionary.com defines morality as "conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct." An evil act is when we disobey God and immoral act the same thing.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

Responses:

>> "If this is true [that morality is authority independent] then why were the crusades justified in the eyes of those alive at the time? Morality is a concept seeded in the human mind as a means of control. It is not the highest law and good and evil are only the fruits of morality."

Simply because it is justified in the actions of those who did it does not make it morally right. Surely you wouldn't suggest that murder is morally acceptable because it's right in the eyes of the murderer.

>> "We have to remember that we are talking about religions who's goal is success in the afterlife more than here on earth. That applies to suffering in hell. I would rather avoid sea food than burn in hell forever."

The only way to make the repression of what man wants palatable is to lie and say that the punishment (or reward) is eternal. Otherwise, nobody would buy into the nonsense that religions sell. For example, if you tell someone that there is a god that will burn them forever if they eat seafood regardless of whether or not they believe in that god... if they are as uneducated as most primitives were in Biblical times, they're probably going to believe you.

>> "It is true that power transcends good and evil because absolute power governs absolutely everything"

This is also obviously false. Hitler had a lot of power, but nobody seriously thinks that the amount of power he had creates any sort of import for whether or not his actions were good or evil.

>> "This does not disprove the resolution. It simply shows that our morals are deeply ingrained even if people have fallen away from the Christian god."

Again, quite obviously false, considering that many of these cultures never knew the Christian God and thus could not have fallen away from a God they were never near.

**************************************************

My opponent has yet to show a correlation between power and good/evil. The only argument he has put forth is: "power transcends good and evil because absolute power governs absolutely everything." I have completely debunked this nonsense with a simple example. Absolute power could easily be used for absolute evil.

If anything, the concepts of good and evil transcend POWER, not the other way around.

NEGATED.
Debate Round No. 2
Amphibian

Pro

If it is not the people themselves who define good and evil who is it, god? And if so why is it god? God is the one who decides because he is the one with the power to decide. Power need no evidence or justification it simply is because nothing can overcome it.

>>"This is also obviously false. Hitler had a lot of power, but nobody seriously thinks that the amount of power he had creates any sort of import for whether or not his actions were good or evil."

Why do you think the Nazi party and the German army followed Hitler? It was because they believed in the cause. When he told them that they had the right to drive out the Jews and conquer Europe they believed him because he had power over them. Thank god he did not have that power over everyone and could be defeated.

>>"Again, quite obviously false, considering that many of these cultures never knew the Christian God and thus could not have fallen away from a God they were never near."

We were all near god before we were born, that is what our morals stem from.

>>"Absolute power could easily be used for absolute evil."

This is exactly my point, if you had that kind of power you could do anything, including define the concepts of good and evil just as Hitler did.
JustCallMeTarzan

Con

Responses:

>> "God is the one who decides because he is the one with the power to decide. Power need no evidence or justification it simply is because nothing can overcome it."

The point my opponent seems to miss over and over again is that considerations of good and evil transcend power, not the other way around. If power transcended good and evil, than an exercise of power would not be able to carry the label of good or evil. Clearly this is not the case. As I pointed out before, even absolute power can be used for absolute evil, showing that considerations of good and evil transcend power.

>> "It was because they believed in the cause. When he told them that they had the right to drive out the Jews and conquer Europe they believed him because he had power over them."

Simply because the Nazi's believed in the same cause Hitler championed does NOT indicate in ANY WAY that power transcends good and evil.

>> "We were all near god before we were born, that is what our morals stem from."

Our morals stem from GOD?!?! Are you kidding?!?! If our morals stem from God, then one would expect us to hold people who offer their daughters to be raped to be righteous men (Lot), and to stone homosexuals on a regular basis (Leviticus 16-22), as well as offering animal sacrifices as a sweet savour to the Lord (Leviticus 1-9). Furthermore, where did morals come from BEFORE people began believing in God???

>> "This is exactly my point, if you had that kind of power you could do anything, including define the concepts of good and evil just as Hitler did."

Are you suggesting that if someone has a lot of power, they can redefine good and evil?? Are you insane? This would suggest that if someone has enough power, they could redefine a bachelor to be a married man. This is simply false, and a completely ridiculous notion.

***************************************************

My opponent has offered no substantive rebuttal. He has failed to address my points, and seems to suggest ridiculous notions in defense of his position, including:

1) Those with power can redefine words, ideas, even moral terms.
2) In spite of evidence to the contrary, our morals come from God.

Again, if anything, the concepts of good and evil transcend POWER, not the other way around.

NEGATED.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by dtclark2188 5 years ago
dtclark2188
On the second point, you are wanting me to play your language game. In other words, your first criticism already contains the presupposition that morality that is binding on human beings ought to be binding on all rational creatures. However, this 'ought' simply does not exist, or, at the very least, I deny that it has any meaning outside of the human experience. Certainly, under our current understanding of morality, coercion of a consciousness is considered immoral. However, this is once again based solely on your innate physiological makeup and your socioeconomic position. If you were a conscious ant, and the only way to survive would be to sacrifice your self-determination, then the 'moral' thing to do for an ant would be to sacrifice his/her self-determination. This is why I think moral terms should be tossed aside in favor of terms that are measurable to some extent. In other words, decide on shared goals and then decide what methods are best for achieving those goals instead of playing the moral game.
Posted by dtclark2188 5 years ago
dtclark2188
Fair enough semantic point on the word rape. However, if we breakdown rape and discard the moral import, would it remain an immoral act if we deemed it not to be? So, rape is forced sexual intercourse. Now, instead of the word rape meaning immoral forced sexual intercourse, let us assume that it means moral sexual intercourse simply for the reason that it is forced. This is not unthinkable, and, therefore, your semantic point is moot.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
>> "Therefore, a being who is powerful enough to change the conscious thoughts and even the subconscious thoughts and desires of an entire species (namely humans) would be able to make anything 'moral.'"

Isn't that act of coercion in and of itself immoral??

>> "Tell me Kenny, if all of mankind thought that rape was the only morally acceptable way to reproduce, then wouldn't it be moral?"

No - the concept of it being immoral is couched within the concept of rape.
Posted by dtclark2188 5 years ago
dtclark2188
Tarzan, I think you are wrong in this debate. If human beings define what is morally acceptable, then an all powerful being could certainly change their perceptions of what is good and evil. We only view wanton murder as morally reprehensible because it would be a disadvantage evolutionarily to wantonly kill other members of your species. Therefore, a being who is powerful enough to change the conscious thoughts and even the subconscious thoughts and desires of an entire species (namely humans) would be able to make anything 'moral.' Tell me Kenny, if all of mankind thought that rape was the only morally acceptable way to reproduce, then wouldn't it be moral? Your only hope at winning this debate is that Amphibian framed the debate from a Christian God's perspective, who did things in the Bible that you see, and most of modern society perceive to be immoral.
Posted by Amphibian 5 years ago
Amphibian
I am an atheist but I like to argue both sides.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
..... except that amphibian is an atheist on his profile...
Posted by meespr 5 years ago
meespr
no, that is not what you see. What you see is a Christian claiming that God makes the rules and we're not always going to understand those rules.
Posted by NItEMArE129 5 years ago
NItEMArE129
You can't debate this. Literally. Because you can't support that power transcends good AND evil. It's one or the other.
Posted by JBlake 5 years ago
JBlake
Do I see a christian claiming that something may be more powerful than their omnipotent god?
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by saamanthagrl 5 years ago
saamanthagrl
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Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by jjmd280 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by bookwormbill111 5 years ago
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