Reasonable faith is an unreasonable premise.
I will provide arguments supporting that reasonable faith is an unreasonable premise, that is that:
1. such a God that requires faith and
2. such and such reason would prove its existence.
Round are as follows:
R2) Arguments and Rebuttals
R3) Arguments and Rebuttals
R4) Arguments and Rebuttals
I accept, present your case.
In the theological quest for proving the existence for God there are two types of supposed reasoning that are used to support its existence. In this round I will discuss those two types of reasoning and discuss why only one of them is valid and then proceed to indicate that a God that requires faith would contradict the aforementioned valid method of that reasoning, thereby making their attempts to do so unreasonable. This will not disprove the existence of God, but instead prove that the quest for proof is futile. In conclusion, I will declare that speculation on the existence of a faith-based God is only compatible with faith and in turn has no place in the realm of reason.
Define methods of proof
a priori [*] -
Knowledge or justification is independent of experience (for example "All bachelors are unmarried"). An a priori argument is one in which "you can see that it is true just lying on your couch. You don't have to get up off your couch and go outside and examine the way things are in the physical world. You don't have to do any science."
a posteriori [*] -
Knowledge or justification that is dependent on experience of empirical evidence (for example "Some bachelors are very happy"). A posteriori justification makes reference to experience; but the issue concerns how one knows the proposition or claim in question, or better say, what evidences one has to verify the validity of proposition.
Which is valid?
The ontological argument is the only argumentum a priori which teachers have advanced in the field of naturalistic theism. According to this argument the existence of God is certified by the fact that the human mind believes that it does.
If this argument has any validity, it is unimportant. It is only saying that what can be conceived of necessarily must be and then conclusively actually is. If the idea of God as it exists in every man’s mind includes that of actual existence, then one implies the other but the argument doesn’t show how the ideal implies the real.
In addition, a hidden problem of regress occurs for if we have conclusions a priori, meaning that we do not derive it immediately from experience, but from some universal rule (a rule which is itself borrowed by us from experience). Thus we would say of a man who undermined the foundations of his house, that he might have known a priori that it would fall and that he doesn’t have to wait for the experience of its actual falling. But still he could not know this completely a priori. For he had first to learn through experience that bodies are heavy, and therefore fall when their supports are withdrawn.
Argumentum a priori has done little but to provide wild speculation but abstract speculations on necessity have no place in proofs and absurdity arises in talk of proving its existence a priori. Any a priori will regress (much like argumentum a posteriori proofs like the cosmological argument) back through a lineage of a priori statements that are eventually terminated by an original a posteriori origin. And therefore only the latter is sufficient to represent proof.
Now that we understand why it’s only logically valid to consider truths as evident if revealed a posteriori or empirically we can proceed with my next objective. A God that requires faith would contradict the empirically valid methods of reasoning and it is best explained by excerpting Douglas Adams.
In his novel, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams used an imaginary and extreme example of evolutionary intelligent design to make it unmistakably obvious that such a creature was in fact designed rather than by chance in a naturally selective process. Such an extreme example is warranted because of the anti-evolutionists claims that the complexity we see in natural species must have come about by intelligent design and the extreme example provided by Adams should only help a theist with their claims if God was in the business of making any traces of his existence obvious. Here is an excerpt from his book:
 The Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.
Essentially, it is a universal translator that neatly crosses the language divide between any species. The book points out that the Babel fish could not possibly have developed naturally, and therefore it both imaginarily proves and disproves the existence of God but also indicates a contradiction in God’s motives.
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could evolve purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. Quod erat demonstrandum."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
To emphatically conclude, Adams has clearly shown the contradiction. From the example of Babel Fish it is easy to conclude that a God requiring faith would be a paradox if advocates of intelligent design or any theist who meddles with attempting to prove God’s existence were to be successful, in addition it would undermine its [God’s] motives. Faith and reason are therefore incompatible and attempting to take faith anything beyond that [faith] is incoherent, futile and most of all unreasonable.
I just wanted to start off, by thanking my opponent for an interesting argument. However, I think I know where the problem in the argument he presented, lies.
God, Faith, and Reason
My opponent is arguing, that because God requires faith, that any reasoning used to arrive at his existence is contradictory. This, of course, is only true if faith and reason are mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, no reason was given to assume this was the case. God could require faith to arrive at his existence, but it may also be true, that he left evidence of his existence for us to pick up on. This is because it may be true, that the people who come to the conclusion that God exists through faith first, before reviewing the evidence, truly know God. However, the people who require the evidence he leaves, without seeking him through faith first, do not truly know God. God could have set the universe up this way as part of his plan, without contradiction for that reason.
Faith is Required for Reason
It seems strange to think that faith and reason are some how at war with each other, when faith is required for evidence to mean anything. For example, lets say of of your family members comes in and says they were just at Burger King, and you see a Burger King bag in her hand, and she was only gone for twenty minutes, just enough time to get Burger King. There are three pieces of evidence for the theory "Family member A went to Burger King":
1) Testimony of going to Burger King
2) Burger King bag in hand
3) Timing consists with theory
It would be reasonable to conclude, that the family member in question went to Burger King. However, one would have to have faith that the family member was telling the truth for 1) to mean anything. Also, one would have to have faith that she didn't just pick up a random Burger King bag off the street and walked in the house without you knowing. Also, even if the timing was consistent, you have to have faith that even though it's consistent with other scenarios, this one is the one you are going to go with. You cannot use reason to show that reason is reasonable, that would be circular. Thus, faith is required for reason, so to claim that they are mutually exclusive is without warrant.
God may require faith, however evidence for him could still exist for some divine purpose. It could be true, that only those who come aware of his existence through faith first, before evidence, truly know God. Those who don't, do not truly know God. This could be all part of some plan, meaning that the notion my opponent is claiming is contradictory, isn't. Also, faith is required for reasoning to begin with. For these reasons, I believe I have successfully knocked my opponent's argument down.
I’d like to let my opponent know that the gratitude he expressed is mutual and I thank him for accepting my challenge, brave as it may be, for I think my claims are reasonably irrefutable.
A God that Requires Faith
To clear something up, I’d like the voters to recognize that both myself and Con seem to have an agreement that I am arguing that any reasoning used to arrive at God’s existence is contradictory if such a God requires faith. Con then goes on to give examples of how one must use faith to do tasks and provides a story of a family member’s alleged Burger King trip. While I agree it does exemplify faith in general, it fails to indicate evidence or proof (however true) for a God requiring faith’s existence. After consenting that our discussion was about a God that requires faith, Con quickly forgot the implications of that and then softens my definition God requiring faith and uses an example that has nothing to do with that.
Allow me to throw a logic sequence together for you, I’ll call it the faith argument:
P1: It is possible that God has not left a trace of evidence that proves its existence.
P2: If it is possible that God has not left a trace of evidence that proves its existence, then there is no verifiable evidence that proves God’s existence.
C: God has not left a trace of evidence that proves its existence.
Consideration of Application
I gave an example of the foundations of a house, and how one might know a priori that it would fall but went on to show how this is not absolute (or pure) a priori because he had first to learn through experience that bodies are heavy, and heavy things fall with no support. This became especially relevant to my argument as I went on to say “Argumentum a priori has done little but to provide wild speculation, but abstract speculations on necessity have no place in proofs and absurdity arises in talk of proving its existence a priori.” In layman’s terms, when it comes to proofs about big questions regarding existence, we need evidence. This is why, after so many tries the God question is just that, a question. It has not graduated to the status of theory and because it is unfalsifiable it can’t even be considered a hypothesis.
Then what happens if real evidence is found?
For this section I want to restate the story I told about Babel Fish. It was clever of Douglas Adams to use it as an example. It is unmistakably obvious that such a creature was in fact designed rather than by chance in a naturally selective process and is therefore undebatable empirical proof! The Babel Fish considers that God actually does exist and in doing so proves that if he did, there would be no need for faith. If there was undeniable proof then you wouldn’t have to have faith, cause you would know it to be true. You would have a reason.
It seems strange that my opponent insists that his argument is irrefutable, when I already refuted it in the last round. In my God, Faith, and Reason section, I showed how evidence and reasoning which would lead to God's existence, would not contradict the idea of a God that requires faith. It seems he only rebutted the Faith is Required for Reason section.
Why My Opponent's Argument Fails
A God that requires faith to truly be close to God, could still leave evidence that humans can use to reason that he exists. One who had faith all along and stumbled upon the evidence after, could be closer to God than one who didn't believe until evidence arose. This could all be part of God's plan, and my opponent has failed to show how this is contradictory.
This syllogism is presented:
"P1: It is possible that God has not left a trace of evidence that proves its existence.
P2: If it is possible that God has not left a trace of evidence that proves its existence, then there is no verifiable evidence that proves God’s existence.
C: God has not left a trace of evidence that proves its existence."
"P1: It is possible that God has left a trace of evidence that proves its existence.
P2: If it is possible that God has left a trace of evidence that proves its existence, then there is verifiable evidence that proves God’s existence.
C: God has left a trace of evidence that proves its existence."
I agree that something cannot be known by using purely a priori. To know a priori that a bachelor cannot be married, you must first have had experience to know the meaning behind the words "married" and "bachelor". The problem, is this does nothing to save Pro's argument. A God that requires faith to get close to him, could still leave evidence of his existence for some unknown divine purpose. Pro has not shown how this is contradictory, and has just assumed that faith and reason are mutually exclusive, without any real justification. God may very well require faith, but maybe the evidence he leaves that proves his existence, isn't there to prove his existence, it just does prove his existence. This evidence, which could be used to reason God exists, could be there for a deeper purpose, even if it is true that to truly know God, requires faith.
Then what happens if real evidence is found?
"It is unmistakably obvious that such a creature was in fact designed rather than by chance in a naturally selective process and is therefore undebatable empirical proof!"
Lets say I granted that. How exactly, does this contradict the notion of a God that requires faith?
"The Babel Fish considers that God actually does exist and in doing so proves that if he did, there would be no need for faith."
This is why the argument from Pro fails. I already showed that God could have left evidence that proves his existence, for a different purpose than to prove he exists, even if the evidence does prove he exists. This is analogous to how flowers don't exist so humans can look at them and think they are pretty, even though that's what flowers do. Things can do things, even if that wasn't there purpose. You are assuming that God necessarily left the evidence that proves he exists, for the purpose of proving he exists. God could simultaneously require faith to actually get close to him, even if there is evidence out there that just so happens to prove his existence. Since this is true, and this conclusion contradicts my opponent's hypothesis that a God that requires faith and evidence for his existence are incompatible, then the hypothesis in question is false.
"If there was undeniable proof then you wouldn’t have to have faith, cause you would know it to be true. You would have a reason."
I already showed why this conclusion is false. If you came to know God existed because of this Fish, then this means you didn't have faith in God to begin with, meaning it's possible that they person in question reviewing the fish and coming to the conclusion of God, doesn't really know God, and just knows of God. However, for someone who has faith, the evidence could be the reward, and that person would actually know God. We simply do not know God's plan if he exists. It could be true, that God left things on Earth that prove his exists as a side effect of such thing, but the purpose of said thing were not actually to prove his existence.
Since Con insists that I prod his God, Faith and Reason section, so be it. Although I did think that I did sum up my thoughts on that in my final sentence of the last round. I mentioned that if there was undeniable proof, then you wouldn’t have to have faith because you would know it to be truth, you would have reason. This is to say that evidence would eliminate the premise of faith. For if you had evidence, you would know it! I’m not sure what to make of Con’s mentions of how one might know god but not know God. I suppose I could understand this to be similar to when a significant other might say, “oh you love me, but you don’t love me. If that is the case, I can’t really see how that even deserves a response. On DDO I think we are subject to proper definitions of words. Here is a definition in case there is any confusion:
know - be aware of through observation.
Con seems to think that the syllogism I showed him represents some sort of proof that there is no evidence. It isn’t meant to show that God doesn’t exist and that isn’t what this debate is about anyway. I am just showing the simple logic that shows that if God had not left evidence, then there isn’t any. Con’s parody only helps my case and I don’t disagree with it for if God has left evidence, then there would be some, I just think that there would be none to be found if the God required faith. Besides, such a God would be sure to not accidentally leave any traces behind. Even the dumbest crooks take care to wipe their prints from the scenes of crime. Surely a faith requiring God is more careful than that.
On the Babel Fish
The first part that Con mentioned was completely misunderstood. I’m bringing this up not to object to what he is saying but to point out that I feel like we had an honest misunderstanding here. When I mentioned “undebatable empirical proof!” I wasn’t using proof to refer to my arguments in the claim that A God that requires faith is a contradiction. I was saying that for the purposes of the story of the Babel Fish, the existence of the Babel Fish is undebatable empirical proof of God’s existence. That is why (when I first introduced the story) Douglas Adams says that the arguments both proves and disproves God’s existence.
As for the second objection where Con says that God could have left evidence that proves his existence, for a different purpose than to prove he exists, I have already provided a sufficient objection to this notion. If God requires faith then this particular part of his creation would have been important enough to not make a mistake by leaving evidence lying around. I agree that a God that doesn’t require faith might leave evidence around for what Con calls a “divine purpose” but once again, Con forgets... this God requires faith.
I think I’ve sufficiently explained my arguments and they follow through. Con makes nice objection about how there could be evidence for such and such reason but none of those reason’s hold up when faced with a God that requires faith.
"I think I’ve sufficiently explained my arguments and they follow through. Con makes nice objection about how there could be evidence for such and such reason but none of those reason’s hold up when faced with a God that requires faith."
I have already stated why this argument is wrong, so I do not really feel like repeating myself. However, I will. God could require faith to truly know God, and there could still be evidence that proves he exists, without contradiction. If one discovered this Fish you speak of tomorrow, it would in no way contradict the notion of a God that requires faith to truly know God. The Fish that proves God's existence may prove God's existence, but that doesn't mean it was put there to prove his existence (he would have another purpose for it). For example, If you look at a nest, you could bring it to a lab and prove conclusively that birds exist. Does this mean the next exists, just to prove birds existence? No, the nest exists for a different purpose, it just so happens to prove birds exist.
My opponent is acting like I'm somehow forgetting the fact that the God in question requires faith. This couldn't be further from the truth. One could come to know of God's existence in a factual sense through this Fish alone, through no faith, but that doesn't mean:
1) It was put there to prove God's existence
2) Being aware of God's existence, and knowing God are the same
When someone claims that a God requires faith, they are speaking directly about his purpose. God has a purpose to have people come to know him through faith. Even if this Fish proves he exists, that doesn't mean the people aware of this discovery truly know God. However, if God's purpose isn't to prove his existence with said Fish, and the Fish just so happens to do that as a side effect (like a nest would prove birds exist, even though that's not it's purpose), that would in no way contradict the notion of a God that requires faith
For these reasons, the resolution has been negated.
1) My main argument is that a theist that tries to reason God's existence is contrary to a God that requires faith.
2) Con's main objection is that evidence may not have been put there with the purpose of proving God's existence and any side effects of that proof could just be there.
3) My final objection to that is that an omniscient God that requires faith wouldn't make such oversights.
In light of number 3 I will make one final point about Con's objection in reference to a bird's nest. He argues that a birds nest does not exist for the sole purpose of proving they exist. I agree with that, if bird's somehow went extinct in the future and some future generation found no evidence of bird's existing except for the birds nest then I would still say that the bird's nest isn't there for the purpose of proving the existence of birds. The bird's nest purpose is for housing and nesting birds right? This is a bad example because bird's shouldn't be thought of as having the foresight to not leave birds nests around because humans might discover them. A God that requires faith on the other hand is not like that. A God requiring faith would have the foresight to this and leaving around evidence would be contrary to it's objective of requiring faith.
In any case, I've enjoyed this debate with Con and I'd like to apologize to him for not having the foresight to know that this debate didn't need to be so long. See what I did there?
I thank my opponent for this debate, as it has been interesting. However, lets put the nail in the coffin shall we?
"A God requiring faith would have the foresight to this and leaving around evidence would be contrary to it's objective of requiring faith."
This is basically the just of my opponent's objection to my rebuttal to his argument. The problem, is it makes two very unjustified assumptions:
1) There is a reason why God would want to not leave evidence around of his existence
2) Evidence of God's existence contradicts the notion of a God that requires faith
The problem with my opponent's objections here, is that I already took care of them in the earlier rounds. My opponent has given no reason to think that a God that requires faith, is incompatible with evidence for God's existence. It seems my opponent arrogantly states it as if it is a self-evident proposition, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. If one actually reads throughout the debate, you will not find one good supporting reason why evidence of God's existence is logically contradictory to a God who requires faith. The Earth could be flooded with evidence of God's existence, and it wouldn't mean that a God who required faith didn't exist because even though those things could prove his existence, that wouldn't mean the person who discovered the evidence, would truly know God without faith. This notion from my opponent is a non-sequitur.
Since my opponent:
a) Did not support the notion that evidence for God is incompatible with a God that requires faith
b) Delved into a non-sequitur based on an unjustified assumption
c) Assumed that "A God that requires faith" meant "a God that requires faith to know he exists", instead of "A God that requires faith to know God on a more personal level", without specification.
....Then it is clear that he did not meet his burden of proof.
a) Showed that something could prove God exists, even if it wasn't it's purpose
b) Showed that evidence of God could still exist, even if a God who required faith did, because God requires faith to know God, not know of God.
...Then it is clear that I met my burden of proof. The resolution has been negated.