The Instigator
Romanii
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
philochristos
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Religious Pluralism vs. Christian Exclusivism

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
philochristos
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/16/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,869 times Debate No: 52709
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (44)
Votes (1)

 

Romanii

Pro

Hello to all!

_______

SET-UP

Pro: Religious Pluralism
Con: Christian Exclusivism

R1: Acceptance
R2: Opening Arguments
R3: Rebuttals
R4: Counter-Rebuttals
R5: Conclusions

_______

DEFINITIONS

-Religious Pluralism: the idea that all major religions are (more or less) equally valid interpretations of a single divine reality

-Christian Exclusivism: the idea that Christianity is the only true religion; that all other religions are false

_______

CONDITIONS

1) For the purposes of this debate, we'll be assuming the existence of an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God.

2) Burden of Proof is shared by both sides, so we will both be providing arguments in support of our own ideology as well as against the opposing ideology

3) Con will object to any definitions or conditions in the comments section, if he wishes to do so, BEFORE accepting the debate

_______

I look forward to a very challenging and insightful debate!
philochristos

Con

I accept! Maybe your arguments be brief, and may the odds be ever in your favour!
Debate Round No. 1
Romanii

Pro

Thanks to Pro for accepting this debate!
It should be quite an interesting one :D

.
.
.

C1) The Law of Non-Contradiction does not refute Religious Pluralism

Many opponents of religious pluralism immediately appeal to the Law of Non-Contradiction to refute it, saying that the contradicting claims of various religions automatically invalidates the possibility of all of them being true.
However, there are a few problems with doing this.
Religious Pluralism does NOT mandate that every part of every religion is true, so just because some parts of two religions seem to contradict does not mean that the two religions are mutually exclusive.

Generally, pluralists explain differences between religions as one of two things:

1. Unnecessary man-made doctrines

2. Different interpretations of the same concept

Number one is self-explanatory. The fact is, a religion may be divinely inspired, but no matter what, it will be altered by the people and cultures who practice it, causing some unnecessary man-made doctrines to become parts of the religion, often for materialistic purposes. Some examples of this include claims to exclusivity (see C4) and most of the elaborate rituals involved in many religions.

Number two is a bit harder to grasp. Seemingly contradictory claims can be explained as different interpretations of the same concept. I've found the classic "blind men and an elephant" analogy useful in explaining this:

Basically, a group of blind men walk up to an elephant and try to decide what it is using the sense of touch; one person feels the trunk, another person feels a tusk, another person feels a leg, and so on. Soon after, the men group back together and compare their observations, only to find that those observations completely contradict each other. They break into ferocious argumentation over who's actually right.
None of them are wrong in what they found, but they lack the ability to see the "big picture" and realize that they are all feelings different parts of the same animal.

In the same way, we can look at some of the differences between religions simply as different aspects of the same "big picture" concept. Some examples that readily come to mind are different versions of the afterlife, or the different ideas of what God really IS.

So, in conclusion, using the Law of Non-Contradiction does not at all refute Religious Pluralism; the differences between religions are acknowledged and aptly explained by a Pluralistic view point.

My other contentions will probably be much shorter than this; I had to devote much more space to this contention because the Law of NC is probably the single biggest argument against Religious Pluralism.

.
.
.

C2) The Universal Nature of Spiritual Experiences

Spiritual experiences/divine interventions have been observed and recorded by people of all religions for as long as mankind has been able to record them [1]. There are two logical ways to look at this phenomenon:

1) All such occurrences are lies, misinterpretations of natural phenomena, coincidences, or neurological effects (i.e. the atheistic perspective)

2) Most such occurrences are actually caused by some sort of divine entity

Which of these explanations is more logical is a subject for an entirely different debate, but Religious Pluralism opts for the latter.
However, Christian Exclusivism dictates that all non-Christian theists are believing in false Gods (or, at least, they aren't worshiping the right God correctly...) and thus, logically, no non-Christian spiritual experiences can truly be divinely inspired.
This is a somewhat illogical assumption to make; one cannot rationally assume that all spiritual experiences/divine interventions throughout history are false EXCEPT for the ones experienced by Christians.
Pluralism clearly has the superior explanation for the universal nature of spiritual experiences.

.
.
.

C3) Christian Exclusivism violates the concept of an All-Loving God

For the most part, the religion one is born into is the religion they end up practicing for the rest of their life.
Meanwhile, Christianity does not really stand out above other religions in any real way significant enough to warrant a change in religion.
Thus, it is not at all the "fault" of the 4.9 billion non-Christians for not choosing Christianity as their religion.
Yet, if Christian Exclusivism holds true, none of those 4.9 billion non-Christians will never achieve Heaven / Union with God.
This is completely and utterly unjust; an all-loving God would not allow for such a massive number of people to suffer such eternal separation for something that is not even their fault.
It is impossible for an all-loving God to co-exist with the grievously flawed situation implicated by Christian Exclusivism.

.
.
.

C4) All Claims to Exclusivity are Man-Made

One might be asking "Aren't Exclusivist Religions also part of the 'equally valid interpretations' that Pluralism speaks of?"

The answer to that is YES.
However, the argument is that those religions aren't necessarily Exclusivist.
In C1, I mentioned that Pluralism explains some of the differences between various religions as being unnecessary man-made doctrines, often added for materialistic reasons.
Since the opposing side of the debate is specifically Christian Exclusivism, I'll be concentrating solely on showing why Christian claims to exclusivity are man-made.

The only real basis for Christian claims to exclusivity is a couple of lines in the Bible claiming that Jesus said faith in him is the only way to Heaven.
However, there is no reason to believe that Jesus actually said those words, as it can easily be shown that the Gospels are not a very reliable sources of historical information:

a) Motive for Fabrication-
the Gospels were written by people trying to spread Christianity; speaking of things like exclusive claims to truth certainly helps increase the appeal of the new religion to potential converts.

b) Internal Contradictions-
the Gospels rarely agree on who said what, where and when, especially around the parts recounting Jesus's resurrection [2]. This, in combination with the fact that the Gospels were written a few decades after Jesus's death [3], shows that the Gospels are not at all accurate sources of information on the details of the events it speaks of.

These two facts, in combination with C3, exemplify the high likelihood of any claims to exclusivity having never been made by Jesus, instead having been manufactured by the writers of the Gospels in order to attract converts and build a power base.

.
.
.

CONCLUSIONS

C1- Religious Pluralism doesn't violate the Law of Non-Contradiction; it accounts for and explains doctrinal differences

C2- Religious Pluralism gives the only logical explanation (other than atheism) for why spiritual experiences are universal

C3- The implications of Christian Exclusivism contradict the existence of the all-loving God that Jesus repeatedly spoke of

C4- All Christian claims to exclusivity are man-made; they are definitely not divinely inspired, especially given C3


I rest my case.

Quick reminder to Con:
This round is ONLY for opening arguments; no rebuttals until Round 3.
Good luck!


SOURCES
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://agnosticreview.com...
[3] http://carm.org...
philochristos

Con

That was a well-written opening! Let's pause and give that man a hand! Now let's sit back down and refute his arguments. :-)

This is my argument in a nut shell.
1. If religious pluralism is true, then all major religions are more or less true.
2. If all religions are more or less true, then Christianity is more or less true.
3. If Christianity is more or less true, then Islam is more or less false.
4. If Islam is more or less false, then not all major religions are more or less true.
5. Therefore, if religious pluralism is true, then religious pluralism is false.

In other worlds, religious pluralism is self-refuting. Now let me defend these premises.

1. If religious pluralism is true, then all major religions are more or less true.

This premise is true by the definition Pro gave of religious pluralism. He said all major religions are equally valid interpretations of the same divine reality. His use of the word "reality" implies that there is some truth behind these various interpretations. So all religious must be true under this definition of pluralism.

2. If all religions are more or less true, then Christianity is more or less true.

This second premise is true because Christianity is a religion.

3. If Christianity is more or less true, then Islam is more or less false.

One of the essential claims of Christianity is that Jesus is the unique son of God and is equal with God the father. One of the essential claims of Islam is that God has no equal and has no son.

Pro anticipated this argument when he said that "Religious Pluralism does NOT mandate that every part of every religion is true." The problem with his response is that he fails to make a distinction between essential teachings and non-essential teachings. Christians differ amongst themselves on a variety of issues, and so do Muslims. HOwever, there are a few teachings that define what Christianity is and what Islam is such that if you remove those teachings, you no longer have Christianity or Islam, respectively.

For example, if Jesus doesn't return before the great tribulation, then Christianity could still be true. But if Jesus is not teh son of God, then Christianity cannot be true because Jesus being the son of God is an essential teaching of Christianity.

The fact that Christianity and Islam differ in their non-essential teachings does not mean they can't both be true. However, the fact that they differ on essential teachings does mean they cannot both be true. Jesus is either God or he's not God. If he's God, then Islam is false. If he's not God, then Christianity is false. But under no circumstances can they both be true.

4. If Islam is more or less false, then not all major religions are more or less true.

This premise is true because Islam is one of the major religions.

5. Therefore, if religious pluralism is true, then religious pluralism is false.

This follows from 1-4 by the transitive property.

Now, I need not prove that Christianity is true since Pro subscribes to religious pluralism. To be consistent, he must already acknowledge that Christianity is true. If he denies that Christianity is true, then he must deny religious pluralism since Christianity is one of the major religions.

So the only question is whether Christianity is exclusively true.

Pro thinks that the only argument for the exclusivity of Christianity is the explicit statements of exclusivity in the Bible. But that is false. There is also the argument from the law of non-contradiction, which Pro unsuccessfully attempted to address. The essential claims of Christianity are these:

1. There is one and only one God.
2. God imposes moral obligations on people.
3. People disobey their moral obligations.
4. God punishes people for their moral violations.
5. Jesus is the Christ.
6. Jesus died to pay for our moral violations.
7. Jesus was raised from the dead.

If any of these are false, then Christianity is false. But since Pro agrees that Christianity is true (to be consistent with his pluralism), then he cannot deny any of these claims without giving up his religious pluralism.

If Jesus is the Christ, then Judaism is false.

If There is only one God, then Hinduism is false.

If God imposes moral obligations on people, then Buddhism is false.

If Jesus died to pay for our moral violations, then Islam is false.

And those are all the major religions. It follows that if Christianity is true (which Pro must agree it is), it follows that it is the only major religion that is true, and therefore Christian exclusivism is true.

Now let me address one last argument Pro made against the exlusivity of Christianity. He claims that it violates the concept of an all-loving God.

As a side note, In Islam, God is not all-loving. Pro stipulated that "For the purposes of this debate, we'll be assuming the existence of an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God." That very stipulation refutes religious pluralism.

Anyway, the reason Pro thinks Christian exlusivity violates the concept of an all-loving God is that it entails that billions of people will be damned through no fault of their own since they had no control over where they were born or what religion they were born into.

This argument fails for two reasons. First, it fails because the damnation of all these people is not an essential claim of Christianity. He already acknowledge earlier that religious pluralism does not entail that every part of a religion is true. The Catholic Church denies the claim that all non-Christians are damned. So Pro's premise is false.

But even if Pro's premise (that all non-Christians are damned), it would still not follow that people are damned through no fault of their own. Notice the essential claims of Christianity I listed above. The claim of Christianity isn't that people are damned because they didn't convert to Christianity. Rather, the claim is that they are damned because of their moral violations. One does not need to be a Christian (or to even have knowledge of Christianity) in order to know right from wrong. So it isn't true that non-Christians in various parts of the world are damned throug no fault of their own. They are at fault because they know right from wrong, and they do wrong. Everybody violates their moral obligations. Nobody is perfect. If there WERE a perfect person out there somewhere, then that person would not be damned.

So Pro's argument against Christian exclusivity is fallacious on two counts.


Debate Round No. 2
Romanii

Pro

Many thanks to Con for his excellent arguments!
This will take some heavy contemplation to refute...

________________________________

R1) LAW OF NON-CONTRADICTION:
CHRISTIANITY v. ISLAM

Here is the case outlined by Con against Religious Pluralism:

1. If religious pluralism is true, then all major religions are more or less true.
2. If all religions are more or less true, then Christianity is more or less true.
3. If Christianity is more or less true, then Islam is more or less false.
4. If Islam is more or less false, then not all major religions are more or less true.
5. Therefore, if religious pluralism is true, then religious pluralism is false.

His 1st and 2nd premises are accurate, but his 3rd premise is completely false, and thus his 4th and 5th are automatically invalidated.


Case Against Con's Third Premise

"One of the essential claims of Christianity is that Jesus is the unique son of God and is equal with God the father. One of the essential claims of Islam is that God has no equal and has no son... Jesus is either God or he's not God. If he's God, then Islam is false. If he's not God, then Christianity is false."

In my opening arguments, I pointed out that some doctrinal differences between religions can be explained as different aspects of the same concept, and I listed "different ideas of what God really IS" as an example of such a difference.
At its heart, the difference listed by Con boils down to that.^

Jesus is just one of God's three forms according to the Christian theology. The term "Son of God" is more symbolic in nature, signifying origin or close association more than an actual physical relation to God.
So Islam's rejection of Jesus's divinity is basically rejecting one particular form of God; it is a rejection of the Trinity.

However, these different concepts of God are absolutely not mutually exclusive.
It is like looking at a circle which has been divided into thirds and choosing between seeing it as a circle or seeing it as three sectors. Is either choice wrong? No; they are both correct.
In the same way, God can correctly viewed as both one AND three.
Islamic and Christian concepts of God are not mutually exclusive at all.

"...there are a few teachings that define what Christianity is and what Islam is such that if you remove those teachings, you no longer have Christianity or Islam, respectively... the fact that they differ on essential teachings does mean they cannot both be true"

This is true, but the example Con has provided of "essential teachings" clashing has been shown to not be a clash at all.
With the central premise of Con's case refuted, his whole case falls apart.
Christianity and Islam can both be true and keep their unique identities according to Religious Pluralism.


________________________________

R2) LAW OF NON-CONTRADICTION
CHRISTIANITY v. ALL RELIGIONS

"If any of these [essential claims of Christianity] are false, then Christianity is false. But since Pro agrees that Christianity is true (to be consistent with his pluralism), then he cannot deny any of these claims without giving up his religious pluralism."

I will show why each of the given cases is false.

"If Jesus is the Christ, then Judaism is false."

Extend the "Case Against Con's Third Premise" arguments.

"If There is only one God, then Hinduism is false."

Hinduism is actually monotheistic. Quote from BBC:
"Contrary to popular understanding, Hindus recognise one God, Brahman, the eternal origin who is the cause and foundation of all existence. The gods of the Hindu faith represent different expressions of Brahman." [1]

"If God imposes moral obligations on people, then Buddhism is false"

I probably should have clarified this earlier, but Religious Pluralism is only talking about THEISTIC religions. Buddhism is considered an atheistic religion by most. While I certainly do think Buddhism has some truth to it, it cannot be grouped in with the theistic religions.

"If Jesus died to pay for our moral violations, then Islam is false."

Extend the "Case Against Con's Third Premise" arguments.

"And those are all the major religions. It follows that if Christianity is true (which Pro must agree it is), it follows that it is the only major religion that is true, and therefore Christian exclusivism is true."

False. None of the essential claims made by Christianity contradict those of any other religion.


________________________________

R3) ALL-LOVING GOD + EXCLUSIVITY

" First, it [C3] fails because the damnation of all these people is not an essential claim of Christianity."

The Bible is the only basis for Christian Exclusivism, so it is natural for the Bible to be the guide to all Exclusivist Christian beliefs.
And the Bible is VERY clear about what happens to non-Christians [2] :

"...the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord..." (2 Thessalonians 1:8)

Exclusivist Christianity DOES preach the damnation of non-Christians.

"...it isn't true that non-Christians in various parts of the world are damned throug no fault of their own. They are at fault because they know right from wrong, and they do wrong."

However, it IS through no fault of their own that they do not accept Jesus as their savior, which according to the Bible is the only possible way to be saved.

"As a side note, In Islam, God is not all-loving."

Con will need to provide some proof of this...


________________________________

CONCLUSIONS

R1- Christianity and Islam's essential claims are NOT mutually exclusive

R2- Christianity's essential claims do not contradict those of ANY religion

R3- Christian Exclusivism DOES violate its own concept of an all-loving God


Good luck to Con with his rebuttals!

To the Voters: please do not penalize Con for his inclusion of a rebuttal within his opening arguments


SOURCES
[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
[2] http://biblehub.com...
philochristos

Con

"To the Voters: please do not penalize Con for his inclusion of a rebuttal within his opening arguments"

Thank you! I guess to be fair, we should also cut Pro some slack for originally including "all major religions" in his religious pluralism, then excluding Buddhism in this round and saying, "all major theistic religions." I was about to jump all over that!

The case against pluralism

Since Pro has conceded most of my premises, my case against religious pluralism boils down to the third premise and whether Christianity being true entails that Islam is false. My argument is that some of the essential teachings of Christainity contradict some of the essential teachings of Islam. Pro's strategy is to reinterpret what Christians mean when they say Jesus is the son of God, equal with God, etc.

But if you pour a meaning into the words that differs from what Christians and Muslims mean when they use those words, then you're just not accurately representing the Christian and Muslim views. And if you're not accurately representing Christian and Muslim views, then you're not really reconciling their views. You're only recognizing a mischaracterization of their views.

To Muslims, Jesus was a great prophet, but nothing more. He was a created being. He is not equal with the God in any sense. In Christianity, Jesus is uncreated. He is equal with the Father. And he is not merely one of three forms of God. That's a heresy known as modalism. Rather, Jesus is a distinct person from God the Father. Not only does that directly contradict the essential teachings of Islam, but it's even an unforgivable sin.[1]

Another contradiction between Islam and Christianity is that in Christianity, Jesus was crucified to atone for sins, but in Islam, Jesus was not crucified at all (Surah 4:157-158).

The case for Christian exclusivism

Since we're limiting ourselves to "all major theistic religions," I assume this just includes Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and islam. Pro has no disputed that Christianity is true (and he can't without conceding the debate), so Christian exclusivism came down to whether Christianity entailed that these other religions are false.

I've already argued that Christianity being true entails that Islam is false, so let's look at the others.

In the previous round, I said that if Jesus is the Christ, then Judaism is false. Pro answered by saying, "Extend the 'Case Against Con's Third Premise' arguments." But nothing he said there is relevant to whether Jesus being the Christ contradicts Judaism, so he hasn't really addressed the argument.

Let me expand on it a little. In both Judaism and Christianity, "Christ" or "messiah" means something specific. It refers to the person who will sit on the throne of David in fulfillment of God's promise to always have a man on the throne of David. In other words, the messiah is the eschatological king. Christians believe Jesus is that person. Jews deny that Jesus is that person. He either is or he isn't. If it isn't, then Christianity is false. If he is, then Judaism is false. They can't both be true. The only way Pro can reconcile them is to distort the meaning of "Christ" so that he's no longer talking about the Christian view or the Jewish view.

Now, let's look at Hinduism. I argued there that Christian monotheism is inconsistent with Hindu polytheism. Pro's response is correct. There is a sense in which Hinduism is monotheistic. In fact, Hinduism is monistic. Not only is Braham the only God, but Braham is the only thing whatsoever. The Hindu worldview is completely different than the Christian worldview. In Christianity, there is a creation and a creator and a radical distinction between them. Many things and persons exist in Christianity. But in Hinduism, these distinctions are illusions since only Braham exists. We are all part of Braham. There is no creation/creator distinction in Hinduism. Rather, all things are one, and eventually, they will all be absorbed back into Brahman. In Hinduism, there's a sense in which we are all God since we are all part of Brahman. But that is not true in Christianity.

Also, in Hinduism, all living things are on a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, but in Christianity, people die once before facing judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Christians believe in a resurrection to eternal life, not a cotinuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. In Hinduism, your next incarnation is determined by how you lived your previous life. It isn't a judgment; it's just a law of nature of sorts. In Christianity, a personal God judges you (or forgives you) for your sins.

So the worldviews of Christianity and Hinduism are irreconcilable. Again, Pro's only hope is to mischaracterize what Christianity and Hinduism actually teach in an effort to reconcile them, but then that's no reconciliation!

Pro's argument against Christian exclusivism

Pro argues that if Christian exclusivism is true, then billions of people are damned through no fault of their own, which is inconsistent with an all-loving God, so the Bible's claims of exclusivity must be false.

I said the damnation of all non-Christians is not an essential teaching of Christianity and that Catholics do not believe all non-Christians will be damned. Pro responded by pointing out that the Bible clearly teaches the damnation of all non-Christians. But notice that Pro is being inconsistent here. On the one hand, he thinks Christianity can be true even if not everything in the Bible is true, which is how he maintains his pluralism in spite of the Bible's claims to exclusivity. But now he's saying that just because the Bible teaches the damnation of all non-Christians that it therefore must be an essential teaching of Christianity. He can't have it both ways. If whatever the Bible teaches is essential to Christianity, then Christian exclusivism is essential to Christianity and pluralism is therefore false. But if it's not, then the fact that the Bible teaches the damnation of all non-Christians does not make it an essential Christian doctrine. Either way, Pro's point of vievw is refuted.

I also pointed out in the last round that it isn't through no fault of their own that non-Christians are damned since they are damned for their moral failures and they do know right from wrong. Pro's response suffers from irrelevance. He doesn't dispute what I just said. Instead he points out that it is through no fault of their own that they don't accept Jesus and gain salvation. He's right, but the comment does not negate what I said.

Pro asked for a source for my claim that God is not all loving in Islam. I'm just going to drop this point because I think I have enough already to make my case.





1. http://www.islamforamal.com...



Debate Round No. 3
Romanii

Pro

Thanks to Con for his arguments!

__________________________________________________________

R1) LAW OF NON-CONTRADICTION

Con's arguments and choice of words are giving me the impression that we are not interpreting the terms "essential claims" and "religious pluralism" the same way.

Let's start by re-stating the definition of Religious Pluralism as given in Round 1:

"the idea that all major religions are (more or less) equally valid interpretations of a single divine reality"

However, Con is consistently saying something along the lines of "all religions are true" when paraphrasing my arguments.
This is not necessarily what Religious Pluralism claims.
All religions being "more or less equally valid" does not mean that "all of them are true"; it means that they all hold roughly the same amount of truth, which is a completely different idea.
They all have roughly the same amount of man-made doctrine (quite a bit), but they all also have a few, core, divinely-inspired truths throughout all of them.

Some religions may be correct in parts where others are wrong, and some parts of the "divine reality" are probably being interpreted correctly by ALL religions (e.g. singular, all-loving, tri-omni God / human nature in general).

Con has been, either knowingly or unknowingly, leading me into the trap of having to sort through the supposedly essential doctrines and dogmas of various religions and attempt to make compromises between them to ensure that all of them can be true at the same time, but, in reality, Religious Pluralism never makes the claim that all of them are sure to be true.

I apologize if this sounds like "semantics" or "shifting the goal posts", but all I'm really doing is clarifying what Religious Pluralism is and is not, since I have just realized that I was beginning to drift away from the original resolution.

Excuse the poor analogy, but if we pretend that a religion is a human, Con is calling its arms and legs "essential claims", but Pluralism is only calling its vital organs (e.g. heart, brain, lungs) "essential claims"...

Basically, what I'm trying to get at here is that only the most essential of a religion's "essential claims" are going to be reflecting the actuality of the divine reality; much of the rest is man-made doctrine, due to the fact that all religions are practiced by and altered by imperfect human beings throughout the ages. Some man-made claims are MADE "essential" over time.

Let's examine the examples provided by Con with this re-established idea of Religious Pluralism.

...........

Christianity vs. Islam

In this particular example, we can still see the idea of "different aspects of the same concept", as asserted last round.

"Pro's strategy is to reinterpret what Christians mean... [To Christians], Jesus is a distinct person from God the Father. Not only does that directly contradict the essential teachings of Islam, but it's even an unforgivable sin"

My apologies for using the word "form"; it seems to have confused what I was trying to say.
I realize that Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons, but the Christian doctrine of the Trinity still recognizes all three of those persons as being aspects of the same God. Quote [1] :

"The word Trinity describes the belief in Christian theology that the one God of the universe is comprised of three persons: the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit."

It is clear that Christians DO believe that Jesus is, in some way, a part of God.
Thus, the circle-divided-into-thirds analogy still does hold up.
Muslims see it as a full circle, ignoring the lines inside; Christians see it as three distinct sectors.

"Jesus was crucified to atone for sins, but in Islam, Jesus was not crucified at all (Surah 4:157-158)."

Jesus not having been crucified is not an essential teaching of Islam; it is a historical inaccuracy within the Quran.
Even the majority of atheists accept the crucifixion as a historical event.

.

Christianity vs. Judaism

"Christ" or "messiah" means something specific. It refers to the person who will sit on the throne of David in fulfillment of God's promise"

Sorry, I seem to have misunderstood the definition of "Christ" as "son of God" last round...

Anyways, here, I will be arguing that the entire concept of a Messiah is a non-essential, man-made claim.

The "promise" that God made to David is recorded in one place and one place only: the Bible, and even within the Bible, that "promise" is based off the testimony of just one man.
Announcing that God himself had made a promise to him about preserving his lineage could easily have been a ploy to increase his political power, or even just something added on for dramatic effect by his biographers.
We have no reason to believe that such a promise was actually divinely inspired.

And before Con begins to claim that I have somehow changed the identities of Judaism and Christianity by calling such a trivial doctrine "man-made", I will assert that Christianity's main claims of Jesus's divinity really aren't all that affected by his not being the heir to Israel's throne, and, as far as the Jews are concerned, this would be just another of the many promises supposedly made by God to them that has never been fulfilled [2].

.

Christianity vs. Hinduism

(i.e. Abrahamic faiths vs. Eastern religions)

"The Hindu worldview is completely different than the Christian worldview"

This is a great example of different religions looking at the same thing through different perspectives.
The Eastern worldview of the material world being an illusion could be the underlying basis of the Abrahamic worldview of the material world being real.
Unfortunately, my limited number of remaining characters is going to prohibit me from expanding on this analogy, but it is sort of like the Holographic Principle of Quantum Mechanics [3].

"Christians believe in a resurrection to eternal life, not [the] cotinuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth [of Hinduism]"

Another case of looking at the same thing through different perspectives.

In the Eastern worldview, the suffering associated with being entrenched in cycle of reincarnation is "Hell", and the eventual escape from that cycle and union with God is "Heaven", achieved through the removal of sin through moral conduct, prayer/meditation, and faith in God.
In the Abrahamic worldview, humans are constantly sinning and destined for "Hell" anyways, and the only way to get to "Heaven" is through moral conduct, prayer, and faith in God (includes Jesus, if you're Christian).

Are these two systems really all that different?
We have sinful humans who are inevitably headed for/in Hell, with very similar paths to attaining Heaven.
Of course, the details are unknown to me, as I am only human, but this similarity is very strong evidence for the possibility that they are both aspects of the same afterlife system.

______________________________________________________________


R2) ALL-LOVING GOD EXCLUSIVISM

"Pro is being inconsistent here. On the one hand... he maintains his pluralism in spite of the Bible's claims to exclusivity. But now he's saying that just because the Bible teaches the damnation of all non-Christians that it therefore must be an essential teaching of Christianity."

Con has misunderstood the point I was trying to make.
The point was that since the Bible is the only grounds for Exclusivist Christianity, it logically follows that the punishments associated with Exclusivist Christianity should also follow the teachings of the Bible.

The Bible is not the book of Christianity in general; however, the Bible IS the book of Exclusivist Christianity, since the only claims to exclusivity are made in the Bible (of course, that is assuming I have refuted Con's claims that the Law of Non-Contradiction is the basis of Christian exclusivity).

That is my rationale for believing that Exclusivist Christianity, not Christianity is general, dictates the damnation of non-Christians. There is no lack of consistency here.

"I also pointed out in the last round that it isn't through no fault of their own that non-Christians are damned since they are damned for their moral failures and they do know right from wrong. Pro's response suffers from irrelevance. He doesn't dispute what I just said. Instead he points out that it is through no fault of their own that they don't accept Jesus and gain salvation. He's right, but the comment does not negate what I said."

How so?
According to Christian Exclusivism, all humans deserve hell, and the only way to escape that fate is accepting Jesus as savior.
Thus, being Christian is the only way to save oneself, and Con has not disputed my points about why it is not the fault of non-Christians for not being Christian.

So basically, Con concedes that the supposedly all-loving God of Christianity is allowing billions of people to run to their metaphorical deaths and only handing the keys of salvation to a select group of equally guilty people.
How is it even possible for such a scenario to exist under an all-loving God?

______________________________________________________________

CONCLUSIONS

1) The "all religions are more or less equally valid" in Religious Pluralism's definition does not equate to "all religions are true"

2) The Law of Non-Contradiction does not refute Religious Pluralism; all differences are accounted for and explained

3) Exclusivist Christianity is self-refuting because its implications of the afterlife contradict its concept of an all-loving God

...

Also, Round 3 was for rebuttals, yet Con has not responded at all to my C2 or C4 opening arguments (not directly, anyways).

To the voters: Please do not penalize Con for including Counter-Rebuttals within his Rebuttals...


SOURCES
[1] http://www.religionfacts.com...
[2] http://www.reformjudaism.org...
[3] http://worldsciencefestival.com...
philochristos

Con

Relgious pluralism: before and after

My argument in round 2 went like this:

1. If religious pluralism is true, then all major religions are more or less true.
2. If all religions are more or less true, then Christianity is more or less true.
3. If Christianity is more or less true, then Islam is more or less false.
4. If Islam is more or less false, then not all major religions are more or less true.
5. Therefore, if religious pluralism is true, then religious pluralism is false.

In round 3, Pro said, "His 1st and 2nd premises are accurate," but now, he's contradicting himself. Now, he disputes my first premise on the basis that "more or less equally valid" does not mean "all of them are true." I already responded to that in the second round. I defended my first premise like so:

"This premise is true by the definition Pro gave of religious pluralism. He said all major religions are equally valid interpretations of the same divine reality. His use of the word "reality" implies that there is some truth behind these various interpretations. So all religious must be true under this definition of pluralism."

Since Pro has been arguing as if my interpretation of religious pluralism is true, and now he's saying it's false, he has changed the meaning of the term mid-debate, effectively changing what this debate is about. That's not fair.

But let's assume for the moment his new understanding. He said, "it [religious pluralism] means that they [the major theistic religions] all hold roughly the same amount of truth."

This new claim is even more problematic than the original one that he conceded to, and for two reasons:

First, because religious pluralism could be true even if all reigions were completely false. All atheists would be religious pluralists, which is absurd. Nobody uses "religious pluralism" that way.

Second, this new interpretation of religious pluralism is impossible to defend. Let's say, hypothetically, that Judaism was right in about 67% of their interpretations of "divine reality." Pro would then have to show that Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity were also right in exactly 67% of their interpretations of "divine reality." To defend Pro's new interpretation of religious pluralism, he's got to demonstrate exactly how correct each of these religions are in their respective interpretations of divine reality, and he's got to show that they are exactly equal. Good luck with that!

He obviously hasn't done that in this round or in any previous round, so by his new interpretation of religious pluralism, Pro has not carried his burden of proof, and it strikes me as being just about impossible for him to do so.

Now, let's consider my own argument against Pro's new interpretation of religious pluralism. According to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, there is a radical distinction between creator and creation; whereas, under Hinduism, there is no such distinction. This is a major aspect of theism, and since they can't all be correct, either Hinduism is a lot closer to "divine reality" than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, or Christianity, Judaism, and Isalm are a lot closer to "divine reality" than Hinduism. Given how radically different "God" is between Hinduism and the others, it is impossible that they could all have an exactly equal amount of truth to their interpretations of divine reality. So Pro's new interpretation of religious pluralism is plainly false.

Essential vs. non-essential claims

Pro seems to be a little confused about the distinction I've been making about essential vs. non-essential claims. By "essential," I mean definitional to a religion. The essential claims of a religion are what make it that religion rather than a different one. The essential claims of Christianity are what make it Christianity and not some other religion.

Some of these should be obvious. The word, "Christianity" comes from the word, "Christ." So if you don't have Jesus being the Christ, then you don't have Christianity. Jesus being the Christ is an essential claim of Christianity. That's why it's inconsistent with Judaism, which denies that Jesus is the Christ. The denial of Jesus being the Christ is essential to Judaism. That's why Jews universally reject Messianic Judaism is a contradiction in terms. Once a person comes to believe Jesus is the Christ, they are no longer Jews; they are Christians. So Judaism and Christianity are irreconcilable. And that's just one example of what makes them irreconcilable.

God as creator is an essential claim of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and that contradicts the essential claim of Hinduism that all is Brahman. Monism is essential to Hinduism. It's what all the yogas are about--they are different methods of becoming one with Brahman. If you don't have monism, then you don't have Hinduism.

I have not merely been pointing out that these religions are irreconcilable in the periphery details (or the "arms and legs," as Pro put it), but rather, they are irreconcilable in their essential claims--the claims that make these religions what they are.

Christianity vs. Islam

Pro seems to accept my correction on the Trinity, but leaves the contradiction between Christianity and Islam unresolved. In Islam, Jesus is not God, and to call him God is blaspheme.

I also pointed out that in Islam, Jesus was not crucified. Pro claims this is not essential to Islam and that the Qur'an is mistaken here. But the universal Islamic view on the Qu'ran is that they are the words of Allah himself. This view stems from the first of the five pillars of Islam--that there is one God and Muhammad is his prophet. The prophethood of Muhammad is based on the fact that the Qu'ran was revealed to him. Muslims have an even stronger view of divine inspiration than even the most conservative Christians have about the Bible. The truth of the Qu'ran is essential to Islam, which means every word of it must be true. So the claim that Jesus was not crucified is an essential claim of Islam. And since it contradicts the essential claim of Christainity that Jesus was crucified, the two religions are irreconcilable.

Christianity vs. Judaism

Here, Pro claims that Jesus being the messiah is a non-essential claim. But in reality, it is THE central claim of Christainity. As I said earlier, it's where the word "Christianity" came from. If Jesus isn't the Christ, then Christianity is false. So yes, it is an essential claim. It's THE essential claim.

Christianity vs. Hinduism

Pro trivializes the difference I pointed out between the Christian worldview and the Hindu worldview when it comes to the creator/creation distinction. He doesn't really argue against it, though. The external world is either an illusion, or it's not. There's either a distinction between creator and creation or there's not. Either everything is part of God, or it's not part of God. One cannot reconcile Christainity with Hinduism without either abandoning the law of non-contradiction or else doing violence to what each religions actually claims.

I also pointed out the distinction between the continuous cycle of birth and rebirth in Hinduism with death and resurrection in Christianity. Pro attempts to reconcile these two views by equivocating on the words, "heaven" and "hell." But I did not use these words. The issue isn't heaven or hell. The issue is what happens after you die. Being resurrected and being reborn are completely different things.

The distinction here can be further emphasized by pointing out that in Christianity, the body that dies is the same body that rises in the resurrection. That's why Jesus' tomb was empty. But if reincarnation is true, like in Hinduism, then each soul had multiple bodies. We would have to believe that each of those bodies rises in the resurrection, and one soul animates them all at the same time, which is absurd. Neither religion would accept that view. It negates the Christian claim that people die once, then face judgment, and negates the Hindu view that people escape the cycle of birth and rebirth by being absorbed back into Brahman. They are radically different worldviews.

I predicted at the beginning of this debate that Pro would attempt to reconcile these religions by equivocating on the various words they use to explain their claims, and that's exactly what Pro has done. If you equivocate on words, you're not really reconciling anything. You have to deal with what these various religions actually mean by the words they use. Christians and Hindus mean radically different things when they talk about the nature of reality, God, life, and death.

Christian exclusivity

Christian exclusivism is simply the belief that Christianity alone is true. It has nothing to do with whether non-Christians are going to hell or not. A person could be a Christian exlucsivist even if they thought everybody was going to heaven. So Pro's claim that Christian exclusivism entails that only Christians are going to heaven is just false. The Catholic Church is a living example of this. They claim to be the only legitimate Christian church, yet they deny that only Catholics are saved.

Pro originally disputed that God is all-loving on the basis that people suffer punishment through no fault of their own. I don't get the impression that Pro has understood the simple point I've made. If you know right from wrong, and you do wrong, then you are at fault. The only way you could NOT be at fault is if you didn't know right from wrong or your action was an accident. Whether everybody has access to a pardon or not is irrelevant to whether it is their fault that they are punished for their sins.

Think about it for a second. Every now and then, the President offers some people a pardon. Does it follow that everybody who stays in prison and who didn't get a pardon is in prison through no fault of their own? Of course not! They're in prison for their crimes! If they did those crimes on purpose, then they are at fault, whether they were offered a pardon or not.

Debate Round No. 4
Romanii

Pro

This round was originally only for conclusions, but given that the structure of the debate has already been broken by Con with his misplaced and misdirected rebuttals and counter-rebuttals, I will be using this round to counter the points brought up by Con in round 4.

.
.
.

R1) Definition of Pluralism

"...now, he's contradicting himself. Now, he disputes my first premise on the basis that "more or less equally valid" does not mean "all of them are true." I already responded to that in the second round. I defended my first premise..."

I do apologize for my lateness in objecting, but I must point out that Con was the one to first misconstrue the definition of Religious Pluralism to support his own arguments, and the objections I brought up ARE valid, according to the definition given in Round 1. Also, it's not like I'm doing it in a way that Con doesn't have ample time to fix his arguments; he had all of last round to do so.

"First, because religious pluralism could be true even if all reigions were completely false. All atheists would be religious pluralists, which is absurd. Nobody uses "religious pluralism" that way."

True, but one of the conditions of the debate was the assumption of God's existence, which invalidates the possibility of atheism being a form of Religious Pluralism.

"To defend Pro's new interpretation of religious pluralism, he's got to demonstrate exactly how correct each of these religions are in their respective interpretations of divine reality, and he's got to show that they are exactly equal. Good luck with that!"

I would like to call attention to the "more or less" in "more or less equally valid". I do not need to show that all religions have the exact same amount of truth to them. Some religions ARE truer than others.

.
.
.

R2) Law of Non-Contradiction

Messiah

Con has simply re-asserted that the concept of a Messiah is essential to Christianity, ignoring my arguments showing how little Christianity and Judaism's core claims are affected by the concept's absence.

"Once a person comes to believe Jesus is the Christ, they are no longer Jews; they are Christian"

False. There is more to Christianity than believing that Jesus is going to be the heir to David's throne; having such a position does not imply any sort of divinity whatsoever. Jesus's divinity and his actual teachings are much more central to the religion of Christianity. The concept of a Messiah is not an essential claim.

Trinity

"Pro seems to accept my correction on the Trinity, but leaves the contradiction between Christianity and Islam unresolved. In Islam, Jesus is not God, and to call him God is blaspheme."

Con has ignored my analogy...
By rejecting Jesus as God, all Muslims are really doing is rejecting one of God's "forms"; they choose to see him as the full circle and ignore the existence of the sectors.

Quran

"But the universal Islamic view on the Qu'ran is that they are the words of Allah himself... The truth of the Qu'ran is essential to Islam, which means every word of it must be true... So the claim that Jesus was not crucified is an essential claim of Islam"

This would be one of the "arm" doctrines I spoke of earlier; something that seems like an essential claim on the surface but really isn't. The Quran is just a book written by Muhammad's followers to record his teachings. If one takes a look at how the Quran was compiled [1], there is no doubt that there was plenty of room for error; it was basically a couple of Muhammad's followers who'd supposedly memorized everything he said reciting it 10 years after he died...
The Quran's absolute truth is not an essential claim of Islam.

Nature of Reality

Again, Con just re-asserts that the Eastern world view of monism is incompatible with the Abrahmic world view of creator/creation, ignoring the argument that God "being everything" could be the underlying basis of his creation.
In other words, God could have created his creation out of himself, and then that creation could have been interpreted by humans as either something separate from God (the obvious truth) or as a part of God (the underlying truth)- both interpretations being truthful in their own sense.

Afterlife

Here, all Con did is switch paradigms on me.
I was looking at the two afterlife systems from the broader perspective, which revealed that the two systems are actually really similar in terms of the default fate of humans and their methods of salvation.

Con ignores all that and goes back to the idea that dying once and being judged is different from eternally being born and dying until eventually escaping.

Allow me to point out, though, that Eastern religions also have a concept of judgement after death; the soul undergoes judgement after every life, being sent to heaven (unity with God) or hell (next life), depending on how they lived life.
So really, all we are looking at is a difference in the number of chances being given to a soul, and Christianity does NOT necessarily preach against having more than one chance at attaining Heaven; in fact, the very existence of an all-loving God almost mandates "second chances" being given.

.
.
.

R3) Omnibenevolence and Exclusivism

"Christian exclusivism is simply the belief that Christianity alone is true. It has nothing to do with whether non-Christians are going to hell or not. A person could be a Christian exlucsivist even if they thought everybody was going to heaven."

Not so.
The only reason to believe Christianity is the true religion (after refuting the Law of NC arguments, that is), is that the Bible says so, and the Bible also dictates that all non-Christians are to be damned. Thus, logically, Exclusivists must believe that all non-Christians are to be damned.

"Whether everybody has access to a pardon or not is irrelevant to whether it is their fault that they are punished for their sins."

However, it is VERY relevant to the fact that the one giving out the pardons claims to love all human beings equally.
It is simply unjust and hypocritical, no matter how one looks at it. It is impossible for a perfect God to exist in a world where Christian Exclusivism holds true.

.
.
.

CONCLUSIONS

1) While they may have been made late, my objections to Con misconstruing the definition of Religious Pluralism are valid and are not "unfair" in any way.

2) The Law of Non-Contradiction does NOT refute Religious Pluralism; all supposed contradictions between religions have either been shown to be between non-essential, man-made claims, or shown to be nothing more than different aspects of the same idea

3) The implications of Christian Exclusivism do, indeed, contradict the concept of an all-loving God.

.

Note:

Con has dropped C2, the contention made about the universal nature of spiritual experiences supporting Religious Pluralism over Christian Exclusivism; Con cannot respond to this in his next argument either because I would never get a chance to make a counter-rebuttal. Thus, Con has conceded C2.

On that note, Con may not bring up ANY new points in his next argument, as I will not be getting a chance to respond to them.

.

Thanks to Con for a great debate! It was really fun defending this aspect of my religious views for the first time :D
And also, thanks to the voters for taking the time to read such a lengthy debate!

Good bye to all!

.

SOURCE(S)
[1] http://islam.about.com...

philochristos

Con

The changed meaning of religious pluralism

Pro has a misunderstanding of what I think is unfair. Pro is under the impression that I'm objecting because he waited until late in the game to object to my first premise, but that isn't the issue at all. Pro didn't simply wait to object to the first premise. Rather, he conceded my first premise! By conceding my first premise, he was implicitly agreeing with my interpretation of religious pluralism. Now he claims that I miscontrued religious pluralism when he himself agreed with the supposed misconstrual. By once having agreed with my interpretation of religious pluralism, and now taking issue with it, Pro has effectively changed the meaning of "religious pluralism" in the middle of the debate and therefore changed what this debate is really about. That's what I'm calling unfair. It isn't fair to operate under one definition of religious pluralism, then once that construal is refuted, switch definitions and pretend like your point of view hasn't been refuted.

My strategy for showing that religious pluralism is false is to show that the various religions contradict each other in their essential teachings. Originally, Pro attempted to show that they did not contradict each other in their essential teachings, so he was again implicitely agreeing with my understanding of religious pluralism.

His new definition entails that each of the major theistic religions is correct by "more or less" the same amount, regardless of how much that amount is. In fact, they could all be completely wrong, and as long as they're wrong by the same amount, religious pluralism would still be true.

I spelled out what Pro would need to do to defend this new definition of religious pluralism. He'd have to tell us exactly how true each religion was and show that they were exactly equal in the amount they got wrong and the amount they got right. He responded by appealing to his "more or less" clause. Well, exactly how much is "more or less"? He doesn't tell us. This just waters down his definition of religious pluralism even more. If it turned out that Christianity was right about 67%, and Islam was right about 45%, Pro could say, "Well, I only said 'more or less,' not 'exactly'!" Pro's religious pluralism has died the death of a thousand qualifications. It's basically reduced to meaninglessness. I think it's fair to say it's been refuted.

But even if Pro meant something meaningful by "more or less," he still hasn't carried his burden of proof. He hasn't even shown that the various religions have approximately the same amount right and the same amount wrong. Where in the debate did he ever tell us just how true each of the religions are? Nowhere! Pro hasn't so much as attempted to defend his new definition of religious pluralism.

Jews and Christians

I've attempted to show that Christianity and Judaism are irreconcilable because they differ on whether Jesus is the messiah. Pro doesn't dispute that they differ on this issue. He just denies that Jesus being the messiah is essential to Christianity. I think my case is overwhelmingly stronger than Pro's, and he hasn't really done anything in this round to overcome my argument. I'll just leave it to the voters to decide.

Muslims and Christians

I showed that Christians and Muslims differ on the question of whether or not Jesus is God, which is essential to both religions. Pro claims I ignored his argument, but what I really did is dismiss his argument as irrelevant. By the law of excluded middle, Jesus is either God, or he's not. It cannot be both. If Pro is going to say Muslims just don't see Jesus as one of the "forms" of God, then what could that mean except that Muslims deny Jesus is God, which is the very thing I said? Of course they don't see God the same way Christians, do! That's why I said their views are irreconcilable.

I pointed out that the divine origin of the Qur'an is essential to Islam. Pro denies my claim on the basis that the Qur'an may not be divine after all. But whether it is, in fact, divine is irrelevant to whether the belief and teaching that the Qur'an has a divine origin is essential to Islam. If Pro thinks it's not an essential doctrine in Islam, then he just doesn't understand Islam.

The reason the centrality of the Qur'an is relevant is because it states that Jesus was not crucified, which makes the non-crucifixion of Jesus an essential teaching of Islam, whereas the crucifixion of Jesus is an essential teaching of Christianity. Therefore, they can't both be true. Islam and Christianity are irreconcilable because they differ on their respective essential doctrines.

Hindus and Christians

I pointed out that Hindu monism is irreconcilable with the creator/creation distinction in Christianity. Pro claims I ignored the possibilty that God created the world out of himself, supposedly reconciling the two views. But this does violence to what each religion means. Pro isn't reconciling Hinduism and Christianity. Rather, he's misconstruing the views of each, then reconciling the misconstrual. In Hinduism, all is God, and all appearance of distinction is illusion. In Christianity, there is a radical distinction between created things and the one uncreated God, and this distinction is not an illusion. The world actually came into existence. it wasn't made out of God. It is distinct from God. In Hinduism, each person has Atman (the God within), and each person is God in some sense. In Christianity, we are mere creatures. We are not God in any sense. We're not even part of God.

I also pointed out the differences between beliefs about the after life in Christianity in Hinduism. In Christianity, people die once, then are physically raised from the dead, then face a final judgment. In Hinduism, they die, are reborn, then die again in a continuous cycle until they eventually escape the cycle and are absorbed back into Brahman. Pro again tries to reconcile these two views by misconstruing them. Being reborn in Hinduism is not due to the judgment of a personal God, but simply the result of how the previous life was lived. There is no judgment in Hinduism, and Brahman is not a personal God. And there is no rebirth in Christianity. There is resurrection. And since it's a resurrection of the body that died, reincarnation is impossible. I explained why it's impossible in the last round, and Pro ignored that argument. Pro equates the Christian "hell" with the Hindue "rebirth," but this is a misconstrual of what these religions mean by "hell" and "rebirth." Another difference Pro ignored is that in Hinduism, there is no forgiveness. A person must work off their karma in each life. They can only escape the cycle by working off all their karma. In Christianity, we can be forgiven for our sins and have a resurrection to eternal life. And in Christainity, we remain distinct persons whereas in Hinduism, all personal distinctions cease when people are absorbed into Brahman.

Christian exclusivism

Pro argues that if one is a Christian exclusivist, then one is logically obliged to believe that all non-Christians will be damned. His reason is that the only reason to be exclusive is because the Bible is exclusive, and the same Bible says all non-Christians will be damned. But neither of us have argued in this debate that all statements in the Bible are essential to Christianity. So the fact that one statement in the Bible is essential to Christianity doesn't entail that every other statement in the Bible is essential to Christianity.

Since Christian exclusivism has to do with the exclusive truth of Christianity, and not with whether only Christians get saved, the question of whether only Christians are saved is irrelevant to the question of whether Christianity is exclusively true.

Earlier, Pro argued that God was unjust because he condemned people for what was not their fault. I showed that people are condemned for their wrong-doing, which is their fault. Pro seems to have dropped that argument and brought up a new one that is related. Now, he's arguing that God is unjust and unloving since he doesn't offer a pardon to everybody.

But pardons are not the sorts of things that are owed. If somebody does wrong, they deserve punishment. A pardon is an act of mercy and grace. It's something given in spite of sin, not because the recipient earned it. The fact that God punishes people for their sins is no strike against God's justice. In fact, giving people what they deserve is the very meaning of justice. If God's justice is to be called into question, it shouldn't be because he punishes people, but because he lets some people off the hook. Pro argues that since God didn't let everybody off the hook, then he doesn't love everybody equally. But who said he did? The Bible certainly doesn't make that claim. Neither does Islam or Judaism. Pro thinks this is some strike against God's perfection, but he hasn't shown that perfection requires God to offer everybody a pardon.

Conclusion

Since Pro has failed to defend either of the definitions of religous pluralism in this debate, and he has failed to refute Christian exclusivism, Pro has not carried his burden of proof. I believe that I have shown both construals of religious pluralism to be false, and I have shown Christian exclusivism to be true, so I have carried my burden of proof. Now it's up to the voters to decide.

I apologize for the length of this debate. I very much appreciate anybody who reads the whole thing, especially if they vote as well. I'm lucky if I get one vote on even my short debates these days.

Thank you, Romanii for an interesting debate!


Debate Round No. 5
44 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
...Why would anyone tweet this debate -_-
Posted by Aithlin 2 years ago
Aithlin
2 tweets...
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Haha yeah :D
Posted by PeacefulChaos 2 years ago
PeacefulChaos
We can do it after our One Piece debate :)
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
@PeacefulChaos:

Of course I'd want to debate this with you!
I've actually been looking for more people to debate this with lately.
Hopefully it will go better than this time -__-
Posted by PeacefulChaos 2 years ago
PeacefulChaos
I wouldn't mind playing devil's advocate against you, Romanii (if you ever want to debate this topic with me).
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Yeah, that's true :P

I'm thinking about challenging iamanatheistandthisiswhy...
Posted by philochristos 2 years ago
philochristos
We'll see. But in the meantime, why not take what you learned from this one and try to beat somebody else? There's only so much you can learn from debating me. Somebody else will probably come at you from a different angle.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Lol Raisor's RFD was so convincing that even I agree I lost XD
I'm not sure that anyone else will vote on this debate, and if they are coming from an objective stand point, I doubt they'll vote for me, so I can safely assume that I've lost this one.

I can understand not wanting to debate this again any time soon lol. Maybe in a few months or something...
Posted by philochristos 2 years ago
philochristos
The only reason you lost the first time is because you forfeited. We still have 13 days left of voting on this debate, so you haven't lost yet. I don't know if I'll want to debate this again or not. Definitely not any time soon, though.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Raisor 2 years ago
Raisor
RomaniiphilochristosTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments