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

Resolved: God is a logically necessary being.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/5/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 691 times Debate No: 64653
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




I have recently heard a lot about presuppositional apologetics. This is a variety of apologetics which seeks to demonstrates the acceptance of God's existence as a necessary consequence of logical thought. This seemed fishy, so I decided to make a debate on the topic.

There are two slightly different definitions of necessary being that are meant by the resolution. Firstly, a necessary being is one that, by its very definition, must exist. Secondly, a necessary being is one without which logical thought is impossible. Also, in order to qualify as a necessary being in either case, the definition of the being must be free of contradictions.

The burden of proof will be on pro.

Rounds one and two may be used for arguments or, for 2, rebuttals. Round three is for rebuttals only (no new arguments) and a closing statement, which may repeat points made in earlier rounds. By accepting this debate, pro is agreeing to these rules.

Now, I shall begin my argument. It is obviously possible to think logically without belief in God as there are plenty of atheists who think logically. Indeed, many of the greatest minds of our time have been atheists. It would be ridiculous to say that these genii were logically impaired. Secondly, there is no actual being that, by its very definition, exists in reality. This is confirmed by the analytic/synthetic division. The reason why this is so is that a being having a given property is contingent on its existence. Therefore, even if a being's existence were part of its explicit definition, its existence would be contingent on its existence, thereby making any claim that it exists due to this property circular reasoning.

Good luck to my opponent!


Thank you for the debate. I look forward to this. I will note that, presuppositionalists mainly deal with the second kind of necessary being as described by Con. This is shown in the transcendental argument for God's existence. Of course, we will speak of a being that must exist necessarily, but that is not our main concern.

This first section will deal with Con's definition of presuppositional apologetics as well as his first point in his argument.

1. First of all, Con does not give a proper definition of presuppositional apologetics. We presuppositionalists do not claim that one must accept God's existence in order to engage in rational thought. Rather, we assert that God is the necessary precondition that makes logical thought possible. God is the ground and root of logic, because logic is an outflow of how God thinks. Without God, the universe is left to randomness and chance, or strict determinism. I will address these now.
---For the naturalist, the universe is "governed" by chance. Humans are nothing more than a product of time and chance acting on matter. Our brains are like soda fizzing in a bottle, and the "thoughts" that we have are nothing more than a chemical reaction. Chemical reactions cannot be true or false. So what goes on in our brains is not rational thought. Moreover, given the evolutionary assumption, everything we do is aimed at survival, not excluding what happens in our heads. The thoughts would not be true or false thoughts, they would simply be survival mechanisms that help us live (Alvin Plantiga has developed his "evolutionary argument against naturalism," which says that given evolution, all thoughts are simply techniques for prolonging survival. Even the thought "naturalism is true" would not be a true thought, but simply a way of thinking that helps us survive.).
---Now, in a strictly deterministic universe, everything that has or will happened could not happen any other way. This includes our thoughts. Therefore, our thoughts are not true or false, because we have been determined to think them.
Presuppositional apologists claim that the reason that logical thought is possible is because God exists, whether or not one believe he does.
Again, we appeal to the transcendental argument which says that in a non-theistic universe, logical thought would be impossible. If logical thought is possible, then we must be in a theistic universe. So, we have dealt with the first part of Con's argument, and now I will move on to the second.

2. I reject the analytic/synthetic distinction because ironically, there is not a very clear distinction between statements that are analytic and statements that are synthetic. Furthermore, the thesis behind the distinction is neither analytic or synthetic, therefore refuting itself.

As for the ontological argument, I will admit that I share the same concern as Con. Indeed, it seems that if existence is a perfection, then God's existence is contingent on the existence of his attribute of existence. However, I do not believe that existence is a property. For, existence is the ability to have properties. Moreover, I ask that Con will expound on his second argument.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks again to pro for an interesting argument and for clarifying the definition of presuppositional apologetics. I am perfectly content to use your definition, as it obviously this does not affect the meaning of the resolution itself.

Now, let's take a look at pro's claims. Firstly, pro states that "without God, the universe is left to randomness and chance, or strict determinism." However, this does not necessarily imply the inverse, namely that with God, the universe isn't left to randomness and chance or strict determinism. In order for my opponent's statement to have any value, however, the inverse must be true. Otherwise, all of his arguments would apply to a theistic universe. My question to my opponent is this: what is the alternative to randomness and chance or determinism, and why is it not possible for this alternative to be true without God? Without an answer to this question, there is no way to adequately deal with this statement in a meaningful way.

One sentence down, a lot to go. You claim that in a naturalistic worldview, humans are nothing more than time and chance acting on chemicals. This is false. When six protons, neutrons, and electrons come together, they are not "merely time and chance acting on fundamental particles;" they are an atom of carbon, completely distinct from its constituent parts and with different properties. Secondly, you claim that thoughts are "nothing more than a chemical reaction." This is also not the case. Just because thoughts are the result of a chemical reaction doesn't mean the thought itself is a chemical reaction. In the same way, although a letter appearing on a computer screen may be the result of a string of ones and zeros, it is distinct from those ones and zeros. This is a subtle distinction, and often an unnecessary one, but treating a thought as ontologically equivalent to a chemical reaction is fallacious. Saying that zeros and ones can't produce a word is all well and good, but the minute we start talking about letters, that reasoning is invalid. In the same way, saying that chemical reactions are neither true nor false is all well and good, but a thought is distinct from these reactions and therefore can be true or false. Indeed, the ability to distinguish true from false is a valuable survival skill, so evolution confirms our ability to reason. It simply doesn't make sense to ignore the human ability to think rationally simply because it is a result of natural processes.

Next, we'll take a look at determinism. You claim that because an outcome can be predicted with one hundred percent accuracy given enough information, rational thought is impossible. This is a non sequitur. Just because there is only one way an thought may come into existence doesn't mean the thought carries no intrinsic truth value. Let's look at an example. When I enter in 1+1 into my TI calculator, it will always return two. This is a deterministic process. However, the statement 1+1=2 is a true one. Therefore, a mind can produce/discover truths in a deterministic universe.

Now, let's look at the analytic synthetic distinction. This distinction states that there are two kinds of claims: a priori and a posteriori claims. A priori claims have a truth value unconnected to the real world, which follows from their definitions. For example, 1+1=2 is an a priori truth because it follows from the definitions of one, the plus operator, the equals sign, and two. However, synthetic, or a posteriori, claims are based on observable truths or the real world. For example, the Theory of General Relativity is an a posteriori truth, because it is deduced from observation and doesn't follow from its definition. The existence of God is a synthetic claim which involves a being that actually exists. Therefore, God's existence doesn't follow from its definition. The statement that there are analytic and synthetic claims is an analytic one as it follows from the definitions of analytic and synthetic, so pro's point is null and void.

My opponent is very insightful in recognizing that existence cannot be a property in the traditional sense of the word. The only reason why I called it a "property" is that it is commonly referred to as such in normal discourse. As the great philosopher Immanuel Kant once said, "Existence is not a predicate." [1] This is the deeper reason why the Ontological argument fails.

Thanks again for watching this debate to the online audience, and to pro for an interesting dialogue. I look forward to next round




In my reading of the analytic/synthetic division, I have come to the conclusion that I do not know as much about as I thought. From what I do know about, I reject it's validity on the basis of it's own terms. That being said, I have decided to drop this debate, though I am willing to participate in this debate in the future as I intend to learn more about the analytic/synthetic distinction. I still hold to the logical necessity of God, as I believe he is the necessary precondition for anything, even the ability to have this debate.

So I respectfully forfeit with the most sincere apologies to my opponent as it seems he was looking for a great debate. Hopefully, he may come across someone who shares the same position as me, but who will be able to speak of these things in much greater detail.
Debate Round No. 2


There is no one I respect more than the person who admits they simply don't know as much as they thought. Thanks for this debate, and good luck in future ones.


djdipretoro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by djdipretoro 2 years ago
NoMagic, if you want to get a more detailed response to what you said, message me. But you seem to have misunderstood what I said. I said that without God you either have a) randomness/chance or b) determinism. However, we don't have randomness or determinism. We have regularity. The question I am dealing with is "can we give an account for why there are physical laws?" I maintain that is a person is simply saying that the laws are determined without giving a reason why (or even if they do) then they can't give reason to what they observe. I say that the best accounting for the regularity of nature is that God has made it that way. I agree that nature has no ability to act randomly. But I think that because God is controlling nature.
Posted by NoMagic 2 years ago
Pro's opening argument, comment withing, "Without God, the universe is left to complete randomness, chance or determinism." Randomness or chance are direct opposites of determined systems. This is a contradiction. A random universe would be more likely if a mind controlled it. Nature has no ability to behave randomly. Physical laws of the universe are determined, which points to naturalism over a mind.
Posted by Raistlin 2 years ago
Awesome. As a Christian myself, I think these are the kinds of debates we need. Good luck!
Posted by djdipretoro 2 years ago
Just a heads up, my arguments will probably submitted at the last second. I am very busy right now, but I am extremely interested in this topic. This should be a good debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Full concession by pro