Debate Rounds (4)
Many people ask why someone like me, who came from a Christian home, went to a Christian high school and then went on to spend five years in seminary and become a pastor, a missionary, and an evangelist, would turn his back on the God he spent a lifetime worshiping and serving and give up all faith in the supernatural. The answer is very simple, and I"m about to give it. First, however, let me tell you what the reason is not.
Most people, upon hearing my story, decide (regardless of their own spiritual beliefs or religious affiliations) that I must be mad at God. They tell me I just had the wrong religion, or that I just needed to try their particular name-brand. It"s the one thing religious people of all stripes can actually agree on, and it isn"t even true.
I did, in fact, have a rough time in religion. My formative years of trial and tribulation didn"t weaken my faith in the least. In fact, it was because of these troubles that I spent many nights on my knees praying that I might not be like "those other Christians," and that God would show me the path to becoming his choice servant. It was because of this that I began to take my studies of the Judeo-Christian god very seriously, and it was this in-depth study and reflection that led to my current state of unbelief.
Let me share with you the ten main reasons I found that reflect why I went from a Fundamental, Independent Baptist minister to an ardent Atheist.
Other Religions Exist: I used to believe that only my religion could be right, and that every other religion was wrong. I studied apologetics so I could prove this to anyone I met. Anyone else who claimed to know their religion was true deep in their heart was clearly suffering a Satanic delusion. At the exact same time, I believed a clearly mythological story with blind faith and nothing more to back it up than the fact that I knew deep in my heart that it was true. Then I realized that people fly planes into buildings, run into crowded plazas with bombs strapped to them, and drink poisoned Kool-Aid in the name of their gods. If faith is really the true measure of the veracity of a religion, I was clearly in the wrong church, and should have become a militant Muslim.
Faith is Rewarded to the Same Degree as Disbelief: Once, I would pray daily, often for hours, for every little facet of my life, turning over even the most insignificant little things to the creator of the universe. Sometimes he would answer positively, other times negatively, and other times by seeming to tell me to wait. If I were not praying for what God would want me to pray for, the answer would undoubtedly be no, but if I were asking in faith for something that lined up with God"s will, I would be rewarded. It made me wonder why it was God"s will that certain of my colleagues drove a Mercedes while he wanted me to drive a pale yellow 1988 station wagon.
Then, I came to the realization that if I prayed to God for a given number of things, and I prayed to a rock for that same number of things, the chances are very good that the rock and God would answer roughly the same number of times. Muslims pray to their God, Hindus to theirs, Catholics and Protestants to theirs, Wiccans to theirs . . . and after all is said and done, every God seems to answer in roughly the same proportion . . . unless of course for the 100% rate of failure for such requests as healing an amputee or "moving a mountain."
God Can"t Be Proven: I used to say to the doubters "You can"t disprove God!" That"s true, but it"s true for one very important reason: you can"t disprove something you don"t have proof of. I can"t disprove leprechauns, or Bloody Mary, or ghosts, or Smurfs, or anything that I don"t first have proof of. You can only disprove something by showing how the proof of it is not valid. My entire life once required belief in something that in no way could be proven to be real. This is like turning around to sit down on a chair when you never actually verified that the chair was there in the first place. The worst part about it is that, instead of a slightly bruised bottom, you come out of it with an entire life wasted trying to sit in a chair that isn"t there.
The God of the Bible Can be Disproved: The God of the Bible (and the Koran, and the Book of Mormon, etc.) already has enough going against him" If he were really the author of the Bible, it would probably be much less full of atrocities, contradictions, plagiarisms and absurdities. Considering the only real knowledge we have on the subject comes either from numinous, unverifiable personal experiences or ancient books of mythology which can be proven to be as I"ve just described them (in a word: nonsense), the God which they describe can thus safely be assumed to be fictional.
Religion is, By Nature, Deluding: I did a bit of math and found out that I had read the entire Bible, all sixty-six books of it, all the way through no less than 26 times from the time I got "saved" to my senior year in seminary. In all this time, I read every single word, and yet I never caught how evil God was, I never saw his bloodthirsty acts and his terrible, tyrannical ways or his childish temper tantrums. I never saw the obvious mistakes and contradictions in the Bible. There were so many things in the Bible I just didn"t see until the day I chose to read it with a wary, discerning eye, and then everything came out.
There is something about religion that makes it a very powerful force, and that something is its insubstantiality. When something doesn"t really exist, you can make any number of arguments in its favor, and to the believing mind answers can come easily because any answer can easily fit. If you ask me to do something and I don"t do it, I can make up an excuse or give you the facts as to why I didn"t, but in the end there is a real reason why I didn"t do it. When you ask God to do something and he does not, it is easy enough to come up with any excuse for him, and since he doesn"t really exist any excuse fits neatly.
I know so many Christians who can"t see how awful the Bible and God really are, and those that can see it make excuses for it. "That"s just the Old Testament!" they say. "We live under the New Testament!" Yes, but your god still killed 70,000 people with pestilence just because their king counted them. He still had bears disembowel forty-two children for making fun of a bald man. He still made a law that said a woman was to be stoned to death if she was raped and didn"t scream loud enough for someone to hear her. He"s the same God.
We don"t release mass murderers from prison because they "turn over a new leaf," and we wouldn"t suddenly vote back in a violent despot we just deposed because he swore he"d be a little nicer this time around. We shouldn"t worship a monster because he offers us salvation from a pit of fire he himself is threatening us with.
Science is Obviously Better: Science, it has been pointed out, is not perfect and doesn"t have all the answers. However, it does have a method for obtaining answers, whereas religion simply claims answers without having ever done any of the work to get there. Science starts with the idea that we do not know something and then tries to figure it out. Religion starts with the arrogant assumption that we know God exists and therefore must base all our knowledge on that idea.
Once again, religion causes a delusion which stands in the way of readily-available facts and steps around the intellect. This delusion was so strong in me that despite my deep-seated love of science I accepted the pseudo-science of men like Kent Hovind (I even attended one of his lectures in high school), Duane Gish, and Ken Ham without bothering to seek out the truth. As soon as I chose to open my eyes, it became clear to me that the only reason I believed in Creationism was because that"s what I wanted to believe in, and the only reason I didn"t believe in Evolution was because I chose not to see all the available evidence.
The Origins of All Religions are Clear: The first man to invent religion obviously looked up at the sky and said, "I have no idea how all this got here. I made this hut, and this fire, and this wagon, and I tamed this wild dog, and so whatever made the sky must be something very similar to me, only much more powerful." Obviously. God was made in man"s image, not the other way around. He was a creation of humanity from when we couldn"t figure out any better explanation for the difficult questions of existence. When I was less educated and was inundated on every side with religious "science," I believed that the only answers were in God. When I started to see answers to these "unanswered" questions revealed with ease and the evidence for true science piling up while the explanations offered by religion withered away, it became obvious that humanity had surpassed its need for these easy answers and their remaining vestiges were holding back our species.
There"s No Difference: Religion and a Relationship with God are just jargon for the exact same thing. When I was a Christian, I used to use the phrase "Some people have a religion, but what I have is a relationship with Jesus Christ." I also used to throw around the words "Head Knowledge and Heart Knowledge" quite a bit. But in reality, it"s all just fancy ways of saying the same thing: having an emotional, spiritual experience that can"t be quantified logically. It"s faith, either way" it"s believing in something that isn"t real. Some people just get arrogant about it and think that only they have the right answer, and then stupid phrases like the ones above get formed.
Personally, since I"ve become an atheist, I"ve heard this a ridiculous number of times directed back at me. My religion was just the wrong flavor, it all boils down to, and I should have forsaken religion and instead seek out the true power of a relationship with Christ. This is rather upsetting to me, because these people don"t know me, and they don"t know the sleepless nights I spent praying that God would use me in a powerful way. They never saw how I wept over "lost souls." They never listened to my preaching, which I swore didn"t come from me as I was always terrified right before I stepped up to the pulpit and became strong as the words seemed to flow from the Holy Spirit. These people don"t know that I was exactly like them, and the only difference between us is that I dared to question my faith.
Religion is Destructive: Religion creates rifts and divisions in the world. It causes backwards-thinking and halts medical, scientific, and societal progress. It encourages people to be content rather than try to better themselves, and to trust in an invisible friend rather than strive to succeed. It takes away any joy that we might have in our own successes and instead throws them at the feet of an invisible being that had nothing to do with it. It makes people sit idly by and pray rather than stand up and do something themselves. It locks young people in and does everything it can to ensure that they will never even have the opportunity to look in any other direction. This cannot be the will of any supreme being, unless it is stupid or evil.
Christians Don"t Really Get Persecuted: One of the halls in my dormitory was named after a missionary who died a martyr"s death in Romania. The truth of the matter was that he fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a tree. I used to put on a play in my college drama team about the missionaries to the Auca Indians who were murdered for sharing the Gospel, and then found out they knew they were in danger because the Aucas killed any outsiders who entered their village. I also used to do a play about the missionaries who were martyred with the China Inland Mission during the Boxer Rebellion, and then I found out that the Chinese were persecuting and killing Christian missionaries because they were persecuting and killing ANYONE who was a threat to their national cultural heritage (and the Christians were doing a great job trying to make sure the Chinese became just like the White Devil).
The truth of the matter is that Christians get EXACTLY what they want, and they get it because they keep saying that they are a persecuted minority who don"t get anything that they want. The truth is that they are one of the most powerful groups in the world, especially in America, and the most powerful political party in the United States is nothing more than their soap box.
"OH NO!" they say, "people are trying to get prayer taken out of schools! People are trying to get the Ten Commandments out of courthouses! People are trying to get the Bible and Creationism out of the classroom! We are SO PERSECUTED!" The truth of the matter is that a few (and I mean a VERY FEW) people of good conscience in this country who understand the precepts of separation under which the country was founded know that those things don"t belong there, and are fighting to get them removed. It"s us, the nonbelievers, who are having the hard time, it"s us who are persecuted, it"s us who are the minority.
When you go to try to get a new job, and someone says "He"s a good, Christian man," you have a much better chance of getting the job than when they say "He"s an atheist" about me. When parents hear an atheist is dating their daughter, it"s like they just heard it was a Satanist. You try closing a big deal when your clients find out you don"t believe in God. Any Christian who says he is persecuted is simply repeating back rhetoric he"s heard from his pastor, unless he"s a missionary, in which case he"s most likely being persecuted because he showed up on someone"s doorstep and told them that everything they know is wrong and they need to be more like him in order to be accepted by God.
Evil Exists in the World: My favorite argument for the nonexistence of God comes from Epicurus: "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
I"ve heard so many people say "God allows us to have free will. If we do evil with the gift of free will, it isn"t God"s fault, but our own." That makes me want to do evil to the people who say worthless, thoughtless garbage like that. Is it really a little girl"s free will to be kidnapped, molested, raped, tortured, murdered, and left on the side of the road in a plastic bag? Is it really a woman"s free will to choose a man because he seems to be a good Christian only to find out that his spirituality has caused him to repress perversions that lead to his arrest for molesting children? Is it the free will of all those precious children who die of leukemia, or AIDS, or SIDS, or who are born into the world handicapped or diseased at no fault of their own? Whose free will was that?
Or was it just God"s will, because somewhere somebody had a lesson to learn from a little boy being born without hands and feet, or a little girl being born in a country where they practice clitoral disfigurement?
I once desired to be God"s primary servant, and now I don"t believe in him at all. All it took was for me to choose to open my eyes and critically examine my beliefs. I know that argument and debate rarely does any good, because both sides often start out set in their ways and firm in the idea that they cannot be wrong, with the sole interest of changing their counterpart"s mind rather than learning something new for themselves. The solution to this is to question one"s own beliefs, one"s own safety zone, with a critical, apprehending eye. I set out to find God, and found that he wasn"t there. I contest that anyone who chooses to seek truth on their own, by questioning their own deep-seated beliefs like I did, will inevitably find that they may not be as true as they once thought.
Second I want to apologize because I often come off as sarcastic and sardonic when debating atheists, mainly because I cannot take the atheist position seriously. So I am sorry ahead of time.
Also, I am unaware of any structure for this debate as none was set forth. I am going to assume in posting rebuttals and arguments in this first round, that I am not breaking protocol.
I also will purposely skip over some of my opponent's points, not because I do not have an answer for them, but rather because I have limited room to type and I want to hit the most important first. I will try to cover the other points in the next round.
Now I want to pose 4 points that cause problems for the atheistic view:
1. The Atheist cannot account for morality
2. The Atheist cannot account for existence
3. The Atheist cannot account for rationality
4. The Atheist cannot justify a need to disprove the existence of God
I provided links to only the first three points because the forth, is a personal belief of mine. I would hope that my opponent could provide answers to my four points, because if he cannot, his arguments already made, really bare no relevance. I will also try to back up my four claims in this.
First let's examine my opp's claim that other religions existing denies the existence of God and makes a good argument for atheism. I too study apologetics and as my opponent went to seminary, I admittedly, probably am not as well versed as he in apologetics. However all we have to do to disprove this claim is look at the sub title: "Other religions exist". I have to ask, how is this proof that Christianity is wrong, that God does not exist, and that atheism is right? This is shown numerous times in the bible. For example Galatians 1:6-10: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel" not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Look at the first line. Paul is referring to the Galatians practicing some other religion. Christians do not deny there are other religions. We just refer to them as false religions. I suppose a Muslim would say the same thing about Christianity and especially Judaism. For my opp to say that other religions being in existence nullifies the Christian religion is quite asinine. Christians do not deny the existence of other religions, but rather say there is only one way to God, through Christ
Next my opp claims that faith is rewarded to the same degree as disbelief. He uses prayer as an example. Now, I must admit that I am not the biggest proponent of prayer, but even I cannot deny what the bible says in 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance This verse alone can conquer not only the claim that prayer does not work, but also provide an answer to the question of evil, which is a big argument atheists bring up
God cannot be proven: This is a BIG category mistake that atheists and agnostics alike make all the time: God cannot be seen therefore he cannot be real. This is officially where I have to call into question whether my opponent really went to seminary or not. I could easily have called this claim into question in any previous paragraphs, but chose to wait until this point. You see, the question I have is where in the bible are there claims that God was a physical being? I will go ahead and answer that question but I still want my opp to answer in his own words as if I never provided the answer. Answer: No where. The bible in no way shape or form speaks of God being physical, but rather transcendent. Let's define transcendence, transcendent and transcend
Transcendence- the quality or state of being transcendent
Transcendent- going beyond the limits of ordinary experience
Transcend- to rise above or go beyond the normal limits of 
Does God meet the criteria for being transcendent as defined above? Absolutely. Examples would be Moses and the burning bush. Jacob Wrestling with God. God manifested himself into the burning bush and the old man whom Jacob wanted to be blessed by. God went beyond what is considered normal by physical, human standards and manifested himself into these other things. My opp and any other atheist will probably continue to argue wanting physical proof of God, but it is just foolish for him to do so.
As an aside, and kind of a nitpicky one, it must be pointed out that my opponent claims Bloody Mary does not exist. I present this.
The God of the Bible can be disproved. How exactly is that so? In order for that to happen, the Bible must be unequivocally proven to be a work of fiction. It cannot be as God Himself cannot be proven false. If the Bible is the inspired word of God, you must first disprove the existence of God. And you cannot do that without committing the category mistake of asking for physical evidence of God. And if you commit said category mistake, you are committing a semantic or ontological error. Likewise in order to disprove God, you would need to prove the Bible to be false. You basically are running in circles now.
My opponent goes on to call God evil. This reverts back to my claim that the Atheist cannot account for morality. What is evil? How is it defined? Who defined it as such? Certainly not man. Are morals subjective? Would my opponent say cold blooded murder is moral? What about child molestation? If he is not going to say those things are moral, then why not? I know what his course of action is. He is going to make an argument that God killed thousands of people and that still makes God evil. But he will not have a concrete answer, instead dodging the bullet and continue to be accusatory toward God. This does not work.
Science is obviously better. My opponent seems to not know much about science. He seems to not know the history of science. Many classical scientists, inventors, mathematicians, etc., believed in God. In looking at the source provided, there is a who's who of great thinkers. Copernicus, Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Galileo, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, even to an extent Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin (please note the phrase "to an extent"). Then you have Richard Dawkins, who's claim to fame is writing books making fun of Christians. Compare the contributions and tell me who you are in better company with.
Similarly, there are not many Christians these days that adhere to a literal 7 days of creation. In fact the only denomination I can think of that believes that is the 7th day Adventists. Personally I devised what I call the domino effect. In this theory I challenge atheists to explain creation of the universe. Start at the Big Bang and work your way down explaining each event that caused the last. At some point, even the smartest scientific minds could not explain the creation of the universe. This leaves logical cause for a creator. You cannot have a book without an author.
Finally there is my opp's claim that Christians are not persecuted. I find this to be the most ridiculous and the most offensive. And I don't get offended often at all. This simply is not true. My opp asserts that in America, Christians are not persecuted. While this is heinously untrue, he acts as if Christians do not live anywhere else in the world, which is false. Another fallacy he makes is the assertion that Christianity is the biggest religious movement in the world. Islam is the largest religion in the world AND the largest religion in the US. The only source to claim Christianity is the largest religion in the world is CBN BUT they also make the correct assertion that Christianity is the most persecuted world wide. Countries like China, Turkey, Iran among others persecute Christians without provocation. The notion that Christians are not persecuted is ridiculous. As I am running out of room, I will have to continue this section as well as hit other points my opp made in the next round. I will also post sources for China, Turkey, Iran in round 2
While consciously pursuing your spiritual development is commendable, joining an established religion such as Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism is one of the worst ways to go about it. In this article I"ll share 10 reasons why you must eventually abandon the baggage of organized religion if you wish to pursue conscious living in earnest.
Since Christianity is currently the world"s most popular religion, I"ll slant this article towards Christianity"s ubiquitous failings. However, you"ll find that most of these points apply equally well to other major religions (yes, even Buddhism).
1. Spirituality for dummies.
If you have the awareness level of a snail, and your thinking is mired in shame and guilt (with perhaps a twist of drug abuse or suicidal thinking), then subscribing to a religion can help you climb to a higher level of awareness. Your mindset, however, still remains incredibly dysfunctional; you"ve merely swapped one form of erroneous thinking for another.
For reasonably intelligent people who aren"t suffering from major issues with low self-esteem, religion is ridiculously consciousness-lowering. While some religious beliefs can be empowering, on the whole the decision to formally participate in a religion will merely burden your mind with a hefty load of false notions.
When you subscribe to a religion, you substitute nebulous group-think for focused, independent thought. Instead of learning to discern truth on your own, you"re told what to believe. This doesn"t accelerate your spiritual growth; on the contrary it puts the brakes on your continued conscious development. Religion is the off-switch of the human mind.
Leave the mythology behind, and learn to think for yourself. Your intellect is a better instrument of spiritual growth than any religious teachings.
2. Loss of spiritual depth perception.
One of the worst mistakes you can make in life is to attach your identity to any particular religion or philosophy, such as by saying "I am a Christian" or "I am a Buddhist." This forces your mind into a fixed perspective, robbing you of spiritual depth perception and savagely curtailing your ability to perceive reality accurately. If that sounds like a good idea to you, you"ll probably want to gouge out one of your eyeballs too. Surely you"ll be better off with a single, fixed perspective instead of having to consider two separate image streams" unless of course you"ve become attached to stereo vision.
Religious "truths" are inherently rooted in a fixed perspective, but real truth is perspective-independent. When you substitute religious teachings for truth, you mistake shadows for light sources. Consequently, you doom yourself to stumble around in the dark, utterly confused. Clarity remains forever elusive, and the best answer you get is that life is one giant mystery. Religious mysteries, however, arise not from what is truly unknowable; they arise from the limitations of trying to understand reality from a fixed frame of reference.
A more intelligent approach is to consider reality through a variety of different perspectives without trying to force your perceptions into an artificial religious framework. If you wish to learn more about this approach, read Spiritual Depth Perception.
3. Engineered obedience training.
Religions are authoritarian hierarchies designed to dominate your free will. They"re power structures that aim to convince you to give away your power for the benefit of those who enjoy dominating people. When you subscribe to a religion, you enroll in a mindless minion training program. Religions don"t market themselves as such, but this is essentially how they operate.
Religions are very effective at turning human beings into sheep. They"re among the most powerful instruments of social conditioning. They operate by eroding your trust in your own intellect, gradually convincing you to put your trust into some external entity, such as a deity, prominent figure, or great book. Of course these instruments are usually controlled by those who administrate the minion training program, but they don"t have to be. Simply by convincing you to give your power away to something outside yourself, religion will condition you to be weaker, more docile, and easier to control. Religions actively promote this weakening process as if it were beneficial, commonly branding it with the word faith. What they"re actually promoting is submission.
Religions strive to fill your head with so much nonsense that your only recourse is to bow your head in submission, often quite literally. Get used to spending a lot of time on your knees because acts of submission such as bowing and kneeling are frequently incorporated into religious practice. Canine obedience training uses similar tactics. Now say, "Yes, Master."
Have you ever wondered why religious teachings are invariably mysterious, confusing, and internally incongruent? This is no accident by the way " it"s quite intentional.
By putting forth confusing and internally conflicting information, your logical mind (i.e. your neocortex) is overwhelmed. You try in vain to integrate such contradictory beliefs, but it can"t be done. The net effect is that your logical mind disengages because it can"t find a pattern of core truth beneath all the nonsense, so without the help of your neocortex, you devolve to a more primitive (i.e. limbic) mode of thinking. You"re taught that this faith-based approach is a more spiritual and conscious way to live, but in reality it"s precisely the opposite. Getting you to distrust your own cerebral cortex actually makes you dumber and easier to manipulate and control. Karl Marx was right when he said, "Religion is the opiate of the people."
For example, the Old Testament and the New Testament in the Bible frequently contradict each other with various rules of conduct, yet both are quoted during mass. Church leaders also behave in direct violation of the Church"s teachings, such as by covering up criminal and immoral activities by their own priests. Those who try to mentally process such glaring contradictions as coherent truth invariably suffer for it. A highly conscious person would reject membership in such an organization as patently ridiculous. So-called divine mysteries are engineered to be incomprehensible. You aren"t meant to ever make sense of them since that would defeat the whole purpose. When you finally wake up and realize it"s all B.S., you"ve taken the first step towards freedom from this oppressive system.
The truth is that so-called religious authorities don"t know any more about spirituality than you do. However, they know how to manipulate your fear and uncertainty for their own benefit. How nice of you to let them.
Although the most popular religions are very old, L. Ron Hubbard proved the process can be replicated from scratch in modern times. As long as there are large numbers of people who fear the responsibility of their own power, religions will continue to dominate the landscape of human development.
If you want to talk to God, then communicate directly instead of using third-party intermediaries. Surely God has no need of an interpreter. Don"t fall into the trap of becoming a mindless minion. It"s a mistake to think that turning off your neocortex and practicing mindless "faith" will bring you closer to God. In truth it will only bring you closer .
My opponent seems to be writing what he thinks are informative articles against Christianity rather than debating. That is just what it seems to be to me. Never the less I will continue to refute his claims.
What is the basis for the claim that one's mindset remains incredibly dysfunctional if you subscribe to a particular religion? This is the second round my opponent has made without citing any sources to back his claims up.
My opponent's 2nd and 3rd point is basically the same. He also seems to be attacking religious people. "Mindless minion training", "Sheep".
I still would like to see my opp's sources on all his claims, Engineered obedience training in particular. We all can admit that there are cults out there who brainwash their adherents. But to lump ALL religious movements, Christianity in particular, is pigeon holing. We all know that not ALL religious groups brainwash. My opp should know that true Christianity, does not brainwash. He should know how hard it is to keep up with the tenants of Christianity, as he was once a Christian and even in seminary.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a small group in my church and we talk about how hard it is to do the things God tells us to do. No one, by any means was brainwashed or conditioned to do anything. Romans 3:23 states: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This is an acknowledgement by Paul that Man is not perfect, or brainwashed or conditioned to do anything God says. In fact, we often times do the EXACT opposite.
My opp asserts that God does not listen directly to prayer and there must be an intermediary to receive such prayers. He is referring to Catholicism. Which falls under Christianity if you ask most people. However this method of prayer is not true for Protestants. Look at the Lord's Prayer: Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.
You are praying DIRECTLY TO GOD! There is no intermediary.
My opp seems to have over looked or refused to answer my questions I posed in round one. So I will pose them again sans the sources already provided in round one:
1. How does the atheist account for existence?
2. How does the atheist account for rationality?
3. How does the atheist account for morality?
4. What reasoning does the atheist have for needing to disprove the existence of God?
5. Where in the bible does it state that God is a physical being?
I can understand the preaching in round one, but in round two it continues. There were no refutations of my arguments. No answering of my questions. Just preaching the atheist gospel. He even abandoned the topic at hand "science vs" there was no science mention in round two. Just preaching. I guess I can no longer question his seminary teaching
1. Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.
Many examples showing God's design could be given, possibly with no end. But here are a few:
The Earth...its size is perfect. The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth's surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.3 Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.
The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth's position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.
And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.4
Water...colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You'll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:
It has an unusually high boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.
Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.5
Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.
Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.
Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.
Ninety-seven percent of the Earth's water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.6
The human brain...simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard. Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands.
The human brain processes more than a million messages a second.7 Your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. The brain functions differently than other organs. There is an intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people.
The eye...can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages -- simultaneously.8 Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain -- the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.
2. Does God exist? The universe had a start - what caused it?
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.
Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion...The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."9
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light."10
The universe has not always existed. It had a start...what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.
3. Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn't change -- on earth or in galaxies far from us.
How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?
"The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence."11
Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."12
4. Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell's behavior.
All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It's made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!!
Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.13
Why is this so amazing? One has to ask....how did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person's body should develop.
Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
5. Does God exist? We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.
I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don't believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people...to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded. To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.
I didn't realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn't escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God's existence, my prayer began with, "Ok, you win..." It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.
The earth is a perfect size.
The earth is located at the right distance from the sun
The Moon is the perfect size and distance from the earth for it's gravitational pull.
The moon creates important ocean tides,
Water is colorless odorless and without taste and yet no living thing can survive without it.
The human brain simultaneously processes an amazing amount of info
The eye can distinguish among seven million colors.
All this he seems to just be stating yet in the very first sentence, he states he will be "arguing for both sides". He says there are many different examples of God's design. I'm not arguing there. However, I am SUPPOSED to be arguing for God. My opp is not. He has defeated himself. Next:
Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light.
The universe has not always existed. It had to start... what caused that? SCIENTISTS HAVE NO EXPLANATION FOR THE SUDDEN EXPLOSION OF LIGHT AND MATTER
Of course they don't! The argument is self defeating. SOMETHING would have had to cause all that to happen. That something: God
Points 3 and 4 are basically the same. Everything is programmed a certain way, and operates by uniform laws of nature.
You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.
Exactly my point. My opponent seems to agree with me now.
In my opp's final point he totally takes a born again Christian stance. He totally abandons his atheistic stance and there is no point to the whole debate now. He does not have any justification for this socalled role play of being the born again Christian role. It baffles me.
So my opponent has half answered, maybe just a third answered the question of how does an atheist account for existence. there still are four questions left:
1. How does the atheist account for rationality?
2. How does the atheist account for morality?
3. What reasoning does the atheist have for needing to disprove the existence of God?
4. Where in the bible does it state that God is a physical being?
Honestly I have little hope that my opp will answer any or all of these questions in the final round
Don't worry I don't judge you becouse your Christian most of my feins ae and they now I'm atheist the only reason I made this debate is I love debating so heras my second argument it's about evolution hoe you enjoy it
Charles Darwin grew up embracing the "intelligent design" thinking of his day"William Paley"s renowned argument that the design of a watch implies there must have been an intelligent watchmaker, and so design in the universe implies there must have been an intelligent Creator.1 Concerning this, Darwin wrote, "I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley"s "Natural Theology".2 I could almost formerly have said it by heart."
Nevertheless, Darwin spent most of the rest of his life attempting to explain design in nature without the need for any purpose or a guiding intelligence. He labelled himself an agnostic, and gave us his "Religious Belief" in his Autobiography,4 written in 1876 when he was 67
Darwin asserted that different species originated by the extremely slow process of evolution. However, he knew that Genesis taught that God had created plants, animals and man by separate sudden commands. Both premises could not be true. So either his theory or Genesis was in error. Which? He wrote:
"I had gradually come, by this time [i.e. January 1839, when he was 29"Ed.], to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos [sic], or the beliefs of any barbarian."4
Concerning "the miracles with which Christianity is supported", he wrote,
"[T]he more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,"that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,"that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,"that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses;"by such reflections as these " I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation."4
Comment: Christianity is indeed a religion of miracle. From the creative acts of God recorded in Genesis 1, through the miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egypt in Exodus, to Christ"s many miracles in the Gospels, and the disciples" miracles in Acts, we see a God at work who is greater than our imagination can devise. He who brought everything into existence by His spoken word (Genesis 1) is certainly later able to legitimately vary what happens in His creation by the exercise of His will.
Darwin"s arguments are philosophically bankrupt. He supposedly knows that all miracle reports are false because he knows that the laws of nature are fixed. However, he can know that the laws of nature are fixed only if he knows in advance that all miracle reports are false. So he is arguing in a circle: he dismisses the miracles by dismissing the sources; but he dismisses the sources because they contain miracles.
He also invokes intellectual snobbery by assuming that Jesus" contemporaries believed in miracles out of ignorance. However, Joseph (Matthew 1:19) and Mary (Luke 1:34), for example, knew very well how babies are made"needing both a man and a woman, although they did not know certain details about spermatozoa and ova. They questioned the announcements of the Virginal Conception because they did know the facts of life, not because they did not!
Also, miracles are properly considered not as breaks in the laws of nature, but additions to them. So to disprove miracles, Darwin would need to prove that nature is all there is, with no God capable of acting outside the normal laws by which he upholds it (Colossians 1:15 ff.)
3. Darwin resented the biblical doctrine of future judgment
"I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine."4
A sin against an infinitely holy God is infinitely serious.
Comment: If Darwin had read his Bible as well as he had read Paley, he would have known that it says: "The Lord is " longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). In fact, by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die for sin (John 1:29), God the Father provided the way of escape from everlasting punishment.
Darwin also fails to show why the punishment is unjust, relying instead on the fallacy of argument from "outrage". However, a sin against an infinitely holy God is infinitely serious. God"s perfect justice requires that either the finite sinner must endure punishment for an infinite duration, or an infinite Substitute must bear the punishment we deserve. This is fulfilled by the God-man Jesus taking upon Himself the sins of the world (Isaiah 53:6).
"If the truth of this conclusion be granted [i.e. that there is more happiness than misery in the world], it harmonises well with the effects which we might expect from natural selection. If all the individuals of any species were habitually to suffer to an extreme degree they would neglect to propagate their kind " ." He then added that many sentient beings "occasionally suffer much. Such suffering, is quite compatible with the belief in Natural Selection, which is not perfect in its action " ." He continued, "A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to suppose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time?"4
Comment: Darwin"s views on suffering were highly personalized through the death of his 10-year-old daughter, Annie, in 1851, which "destroyed Charles"s tatters of belief in a moral, just universe" and "chimed the final death-knell for his Christianity".9 But Charles, suffering and death are integral parts of your theory of evolution.
God originally created a perfect world, where there was no violence or pain or death (Genesis 1:29"31). When this sinless world was marred by the rebellion of the first man, Adam"s disobedience brought an intruder into the world"death (Genesis 2:17, cf. 3:19). However, now, because of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we all can be restored to a right relationship with God and enjoy peace with Him.
This sad outcome for Darwin shows the baneful danger of compromise with the concept of millions of years. Darwin"s main opponents in the Church had views very much like today"s "progressive creationists", who believe that God created species over millions of years. But this view entails that God had created the germ that killed Annie as a deadly pathogen. This contradicts the biblical teaching that death is "the last enemy" (1 Corinthians 15:26) and "the wages of sin" (Romans 6:23). This teaching implies that God had created the germ as a beneficial agent, and that it became deadly only after the Fall.10
Hope you joy my argument bye
Anyway, My opp still failed to answer many of my questions. The one he did answer, he did not have adequate enough an answer. This is how atheists operate. But this is unlike anything I've ever seen. He totally skips over my questions in favor of pulpit preaching and low level college lectures. Not to mention his grammar and spelling have been pretty bad too. My opp essentially conceded my points by never once attempting to refute them.
His speeches, while somewhat informative, fall flat. his science is self refuting as you just simply cannot have a book without an author. That is what atheism, science, secularism, etc. claim. It just makes no sense.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Phoenix61397 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument fell apart in the last two rounds. He ignored con's arguments and argued against himself in the third round (it was entirely copy-pasted). His spelling and grammar fell apart at the end as well.
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