The Christian God is Real
Feel free to start right away, my argument is that the only way believers prove their God is by unprovable assumptions, faith, and hope.
My argument, contrary to Con's, is that there is absolutely no possible way to disprove a god. No one has done it before. The most used argument to contradict this is the fact on evil; because there is evil, there is no loving, faithful God. Well, Christians have developed a way to contradict this argument, by saying it is our choice to believe in this God or not. If you wish to question this, I will go on in a later round with the full details.
But my argument stands; there is no way to disprove that there is a god. I challenge Con to contradict my argument.
But you may ask, "If there is no way to disprove a god, but there is no evidence, why should I believe in him?"
The answer to that question is that there is evidence of an all-powerful God all around us. I will list some of them here:
1. The fine-tuning of the universe
2. The origin and complexity of life
3. The resurrection of Jesus
4. The morality within man
There are much more than what I have listed here. I ask Con to contradict one or more of these arguments and I will also go in-depth about each of the points I have listed.
I look forward to Con's rebuttal.
On the fine-tuning of the universe, I must disagree and say that we do not know that there could be a better situation for the universe to be in. We have only this universe, and cannot compare it to others to say that this one is the best possible universe. If the claim, however, is that humans are perfectly suited for life here, I must also disagree and say that humans have no appearance of having been created to live in this universe. Our existence is not perfect, we cannot live in space, water, fire, extreme temperatures (too hot, too cold), we are subject to deaths by disease, other animals, hunger and thirst. Indeed, we can only live in a small fraction of the world, and an even smaller fraction of the universe. If, for example, gravity changed a little bit on this planet, there is no reason to believe that life could not exist, but it would surely be different to the one we know.
As of the origin and complexity of life, we need only to look at evolution, which explains how simple organisms evolved into more complex forms of life through natural selection and multiple other events and processes including extinctions, mutations, climate change, etc. (Carl Zimmer"s "Evolution, The Triumph of an Idea") As to the origin of life itself, little is know, but there have been experiments such as the Miller-Urey experiment, which provided evidence that the basic building blocks of life can originate from nonliving matter. (Carl Sagan"s "Cosmos") Even if, however, this experiment had failed to prove it"s goal, it is still not proof that links directly to God"s existence, as this claim has still not met its burden of proof, and is not a usable alternative.
As to the resurrection of Jesus, no evidence is presented that such an event ever happened. No witnesses were present that we know of, as all the supposed ones are nameless and even the gospels are anonymous. Even if this had happened, it is still not proof that he was the son of God. We know from recent cases that the human body may appear to be dead because of certain conditions, and apparently become "resurrected" after being supposedly dead. http://www.bbc.com... A case like this may well have been the case with Jesus, because he was not the only person to supposedly have risen from the dead. (Dionysus, Osiris and Ganesha are also examples of alleged resurrections.)
Finally, morality within man is not surprising. We all have a certain instinct that tells us that we are doing something wrong, and I affirm this is a result of evolution as well. We prefer to save members of our kind, because we have evolved to ensure our species" survival. We can also know what is good and bad because of the consequences such actions have on human well-being. Once we became fit enough to survive more easily in the world, we could come up with more complex forms of morality which have evolved with us since we had the ability to think. This is a more plausible explanation to morality in my view, than claiming an unproved supernatural being gave it to us.
I thank Con for his arguments and await his response, recommending that we try to keep as little arguments as possible in order to save time and space, and so as not to bore our readers.
I will first present my case about what the fine-tuning of the universe is.
Scientists these days have been stunned by the discovery of exactly how complex and sensitive a balance of initial conditions must be in order for the universe to permit the origin and evolution of life. If any balance of physical constants and quantities were disrupted by the slightest of margins, balance would be destroyed and life would not exist. For example, a change in the gravitational force or the electromagnetic force by only one part in 10^40 would have not permitted the existence of stars (including our sun), making life impossible. There are many others. This is not all there is to fine-tuning. The ratios in between two constants must be also finely tuned.The probability of a life-giving universe is so minutely small that it is almost impossible for all of this to have happened by chance. Some might say,"Well, there has to have been some universe to have done this. It's like winning the lottery. Someone has to win it." But this argument is flawed. This is an analogy of why this is impossible. There are trillions and trillions of black balls in a box, and one white ball. You reach in and pick up the white ball. You do this a couple dozen times and pick the white ball every time. You have now made a live-permitting universe! Now you can see how this is basically impossible, unless you have an infinite amount of universes. I will not go on with refuting the infinite-universe unless Con decides to challenge it in another round.
The origin of life as explained from an evolutionary point of view is flawed as in the ways of chance. The Miller-Urey experiment showed the synthesizing amino acids by passing electric sparks through methane gas produced proteins, which could have been the origin of life. It has been proven by Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe that the odds against the required ten to twenty amino acids coming together to form an enzyme is only one chance out of 10^20. Seeing the size of the Earth and the billions of years that could have been passed, this calculation might have been probable. But they also pointed out that there are 2,000 different enzymes made out of amino acids, so all of those to have been formed by chance is a whopping one out of 10^40,000 odds. This added on to the previous analogy of the black and white balls would make the origin of life basically impossible. This argument of the origin of life is seriously flawed in these ways.
Evolution is said to have been the key to the complexity of life. Evolutionary development occurs because of random mutations producing new features, and those features that are advantageous to survival is kept, and the result is us today. This method of explaining the irreducibly complex systems like the eye, immune system, or the blood-clotting mechanisms is not proficient enough by just saying,"Evolution did it". No one has ever stated on exactly how this all happened by random mutation and natural selection.
Con states of the resurrection of Jesus, "no evidence is presented that such an event ever happened. No witnesses were present that we know of, as all the supposed ones are nameless and even the gospels are anonymous". This is a false statement. First off, the gospel's authors are clearly known and recognized even by the community of skeptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Everyone, including the skeptics, all realize that the gospels were written 40-100 years after Jesus' death, still eyewitness material. Archaeologists have discovered more than 24,000 manuscripts in existence, the oldest dating back to the second century. This is the greatest amount of manuscripts produced in existence, trumping the runner-up, The Illiad, with 650. There are other ways to support Jesus' resurrection. Gary Habermas, author of Historical Jesus, has detailed 39 ancient sources outside the Bible for more than 100 facts about Jesus' life, teachings, death, and resurrection.
Morality is something within all of humankind. Even the most devoted atheists are outraged if someone they love is brutally murdered. Why should they? Why not treat them like chemical accidents like they think they are? Why is murder of a human different from a lion killing another lion? Why do we condemn criminals? This is all because of the belief that humans are more valuable than animals and are responsible for their moral actions. People are judged through their choices in life, unlike the lion who killed its own kind. And if the atheist says that morality is just a choice, no one really believes that. For they all know that morality is beyond the subjective, personal choice. We know we are not like animals.
Who made God? by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler
Thank you Pro, for your response.
The universe is so big and old that almost anything can happen on it. The probability of life is incredibly small, yet it has happened. As I mentioned before, we do not know that life can arise in another form with the help of different physical laws, as the life on Earth is the only we know of. Other types of life could well arise out of very different environments. If the physical laws changed now, we would very probably die, as we are adapted to these conditions, but that is not to say that other life-forms could not arise. One example of what we once thought were environments too harsh for animals to survive in include amazing depths in the ocean that contain life in it’s extremely high pressures and cold temperatures. Giant squid, for instance, live up to 1,000 meters deep into the (ocean.http://ocean.si.edu...) Since life arose about 3.8 billions years ago, (http://www.livescience.com...) we know that the possibility does exist that life can arise from nonliving matter rather quickly given the right conditions.
About your box analogy, I think the analogy is inappropriate here, because you started with a premise and ended with a completely different conclusion regarding infinity, which was never mentioned. If other universes indeed exist, and these contain even more planets and stars (perhaps with different physical laws from ours) then life is more than probable to arise at some point, not to say, however, that it arises in every single universe. This goes without the assumption that there are an infinite amount of universes, which is frankly irrelevant to this debate. We don't know that life is a single "white ball" in a box with trillions of "black balls", this is an argument given because we have only seen life appear once, which does not mean it cannot arise elsewhere or is a singularity. It does not even mean that life has a low probability of existing elsewhere either. I don’t see what is impossible or what infinity has to do with this point, and if I have not cleared doubts with what I just said, please elaborate.
“..pointed out that there are 2,000 different enzymes made out of amino acids, so all of those to have been formed by chance is a whopping one out of 10^40,000 odds." The type of life existing today is not the same that arose billions of years ago. Indeed, when life did arise, enzymes would have been seen as extremely advanced compared to what life probably was when it first formed, it most probably was something even simpler. As I said before, all of life did not arise suddenly, most probably one organism at a time, which means you do not need 2,000 different enzymes created by chance, because life appeared with one organism that could change. What probably happened is that over time one enzyme formed from simpler things, and then branched off to different ones not by chance, but by natural selection, which is quite simple: http://evolution.berkeley.edu...
"No one has ever stated on exactly how this all happened by random mutation and natural selection." There are perfectly logical explanations to this process, and I already named three sources. There are examples in evolution in several animals including moths (which evolved to their environment, changing color) and the evolution of E. Coli strains over time. http://listverse.com...;
You unfortunately missed my point when I said that the gospels are anonymous. I meant that we do not know who Mark, Matthew, Luke and John are, they are merely names written on a piece of paper and are not related to anyone we know of. And again, other writings might claim that Jesus was resurrected, this does not mean that it actually happened, especially when the eyewitnesses are name-less, unknown and wrote their testimonies more than 30 years after the event happened. (I mean eyewitnesses for people who were there at the time and place) You have repeated the same argument twice, so my response is the same: There are writings that say Confucius’ mother was impregnated by a unicorn, this does not mean that it happened. Thousands of Muslim documents claim the prophet flew to heaven on a winged horse, this does not mean it happened, unless evidence is presented that it did.
"Why not treat them like chemical accidents like they think they are?" We know evolution was the process by which we came to life, this does not mean that we follow evolution as a moral code. We know, for example, that we are made up of stardust, exploded stars, this does not mean we will go around exploding stars around the galaxy. We are a bunch of chemical reactions and small cellular structures, this is a fact, so we will treat each other equally because we are the same. What we are made of makes no difference in terms of morality. As mentioned before, we normally don’t mind lions because they are a different species, but I never said that a lion killing another lion (or any animal) would in any way be justified. Technically this does not matter at all TO THE UNIVERSE, but we have an evolved morality, which tells us it is not fair to kill a living thing, because we have evolved to survive on the planet and we know other animals did the same thing, and so there is a price on every life (an effort). How does morality tie to God anyways? Only because the Bible said it was given to us by Him, of course, and this again is not proven, other believers claim it came to be because of another deity or supernatural occurrence. No evidence is given that it was brought to us by a God.
This is not an evolutionary debate, however, and though I have cleared up a lot of misconceptions on the past paragraphs (for the sake of comprehension), you have still not provided any evidence to prove that the Christian God is real. Your arguments are based on missing information, and you use these to point to your God. If I were a Hindu, I would use your same arguments and say it is all proof of Brahma, or I could say it is all work of the all powerful Zoroaster. Presenting a hypothetical figure to explain the unknown does not solve the problem, it only complicates it further. As of so far, any religious believer could use your claims (except for Jesus) to point to their own God, which goes contrary to the topic of this debate (The Christian God is Real). The arguments you have given are used for a deist point of view, and you have shown no relation to the things we don’t know that bind them to the Christian God. As I said in my first argument we need evidence that it was the Christian God, and not just fill in the blanks with anyone's preference. You are using a logical fallacy that goes by the name of the argument from ignorance, which basically says: X is true because you cannot prove that X is false.
Forgive the very large rebuttal, I thank Pro for his arguments, and I await his response.
I will first address the problem of why to pick Christianity over some other religion, for if I cannot disprove that, I cannot prove anything else.
I cannot critique every single religion that is not Christianity. I don't know all of them, or I can't list all of them in here critiquing every single one. Please state one to promote instead of putting it in a vague term of "other religions". But there is one thing in common with all these religions; they are not very clear. Another thing I can do is promote Christianity above all of those so it becomes the best possible choice by far. Unlike what Con had said, the gospels were NOT just "merely names written on a piece of paper and are not related to anyone we know of". We have other documents of these people not only in the Bible. They are not just mere names. We must have a certain amount of trust in these historical figures, or there will be no history whatsoever. How do we know Alexander the Great is a real person? He might just be a fictional story made up by some idiot. No, we don't believe that, because we have evidence of writings and other artifacts proclaiming that he was a real man. Any historian scholar specializing in the life of Jesus can tell you who these people were and give you evidence of who they really were, using actual documents. They were eyewitnesses of Jesus. This cannot be proved false with the information provided.
Now, knowing this, we can say the Bible wasn't just written by an anonymous person. We have 4 different perspectives of the life of Jesus, each unique in its own way written a couple years apart from each other. In these gospels, we can see the life of Jesus from the very start until his resurrection. Before Jesus died, he fulfilled prophecies of the Old Testament. The dating of the Old Testament was thousands of years back from Jesus' life. In the Old Testament, there are many prophecies that are in them, such as Jesus's side being pierced, his resurrection, his crucifixion, and many others. These were all fulfilled by Jesus. There are no other religions in which this happens at this scale. Jesus was predicted by the power of God. This is why Christianity is superior to other religions.
Life has more of an elaborate design than something that would happen just by chance, as you have stated. For life to happen, there has to be energy, liquids, and others. If there are none of these, life cannot exist. It would not just be a different form of life; life would NOT exist. These are the factors I have relayed into my analogy to the black and white balls; life is almost an impossible feature that will only exist under perfectly balanced conditions.
Morality, according to Con, is the recognition of every life because there is price on every life (an effort). If there is an effort on every life, why not just kill off the old people since they are just taking up space and not putting any effort into society? Why do we love others so much? This love is above just recognition for his effort. Morality ties to God because we are different from animals. We don't only have an "evolved morality" that is a little above animals. Animals do not feel as we do; they cannot love or feel other feelings like humans can. Because God created us as moral beings in the likeness of Him, we can love, make decisions, and have character.
Thank you Pro for your arguments
“Animals do not feel as we do; they cannot love or feel other feelings like humans can. Because God created us as moral beings in the likeness of Him, we can love, make decisions, and have character.” The notion that animals cannot love or have other feelings is preposterous; it is observed every day. What is the difference between human friendship and the friendliness a loyal dog expresses to its owner? How is the panic a zebra feels when being chased different from our panic when we are in an extremely hard situation? How does a mother chimpanzee’s love for her daughter differentiate from that of human mothers to their children? When these animals will do all they can to keep their children alive, and we do the same thing, I cannot see the difference. You have again failed to give evidence that relates God to morality and merely given another groundless claim.
“why not just kill off the old people since they are just taking up space and not putting any effort into society? Why do we love others so much?” I did not say that they are giving an effort NOW, I said, and I quote, “because we have evolved to survive on the planet and we know other animals did the same thing, and so there is a price on every life (an effort)”. You have straw-manned my argument to say that they are not doing an effort now, and so we should kill them, when I clearly said that they did an effort by evolving and fighting for their own lives, and this is what gives their lives value. This has nothing to do with the debate at hand anyway. Love is a good position to have with someone else, and I take a quote from Bertrand Russell’s “Why I Am Not A Christian”: “For this reason, love is better than hate, because it produces harmony instead of conflict between the wishes of said people. When there is love between two people, these win or lose together, but when they hate, the success of one is the failure of the other. “ You again use the “I don’t know, therefore God” logical fallacy with morality. Even if we did not know this, it does not mean God is real, because it hasn’t been proven He exists!
“If there are none of these, life cannot exist. It would not just be a different form of life; life would NOT exist.” I have refuted this argument numerous times, and I will say it one last time: no one (no matter how intelligent they are) can tell you that life cannot arise in different conditions than those of this universe. This is simply because we have not found any other universes that have different physical laws, and we can not know that life could not arise in different conditions. This is yet another logical fallacy by the name of the black swan fallacy, which means that the one using the fallacy affirms something based on past experiences, rejecting different possibilities.
As a matter of fact, we don’t even know what the first life form WAS, and we don’t know how exactly it originated, so it is not possible to make an accurate assessment about what can and cannot create life when we know so little.
“We have other documents of these people not only in the Bible.” Name them and show reliability
“Any historian scholar specializing in the life of Jesus can tell you who these people were and give you evidence of who they really were, using actual documents” Name this evidence and actual documents and show reliability.
“We must have a certain amount of trust in these historical figures, or there will be no history whatsoever” Pro says we should trust certain historical figures or there will be no history, yet fails to give a criterion to choose which ones to believe in. Alexander the Great met and had contact with people we know and there are testimonies of people we know that can give accurate information on what he did and when he did it. There was even a city with his name at the time he conquered it! (Alexandria)
“They were eyewitnesses of Jesus” We don’t know! I have been forced to repeat myself twice now: we don’t know who these men are, and whether or not they were even more than one person using several names. The Bible doesn’t even claim that Mark was an eyewitness, for example, and he does not appear to be one. Adding supposedly real quotes does not make a source reliable.
The gospels are imperfect, they contradict each other, and are not reliable sources. Many examples are present such as contradictions in Jesus’ birthplace. Matthew claims that Joseph and Mary were living in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Luke says they lived in Nazareth and were in Bethlehem for a census.
The women reported the resurrection to others: Matthew 28:8
The women told no one about the resurrection: Mark 16: 8 (The bible)
Only Matthew and Luke mention the virgin birth.
Many small, untrue statements are also mentioned, including Matthew 4: 8
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
Unless the world is flat, you cannot see all the countries or kingdoms of the world. The biggest mountain on Earth (Mount Everest) is not big enough to see half of the world, so this is a false story. Pro does not need to respond to every contradiction, these are merely used to point out that they are imperfect. Even if these were real men, it does not mean that what they say is real, for most of what they say is false or made-up.
“Before Jesus died, he fulfilled prophecies of the Old Testament” There are millions of Jews (who follow the Old Testament) who will disagree and say that Jesus was not the Messiah, he was just a prophet. Jews believe the Messiah is yet to come. Isaiah is vague about who the man to come would be. He only mentioned the conditions in which it would happen, he did not make the incredibly small effort of mentioning the Messiah’s name. If anyone else follows the things written by Isaiah, he could technically be called the Messiah. Nostradamus, for example, wrote that a man in a blue robe will come to Europe from the Middle East and bring about great destruction. Any powerful enough Arab who reads this could meet the criterion, this does not mean that he was the man predicted to come or that the prophecy was real.
“I cannot critique every single religion that is not Christianity. I don't know all of them, or I can't list all of them in here critiquing every single one. Please state one to promote instead of putting it in a vague term of "other religions" Pro has made no attempt to answer my question. I have not asked that he critique every religion, nor have I implied it, I have merely said that several religious believers will claim that their religion is the right one based on your arguments: the fine-tuning of the universe, the origin and complexity of life, morality… Once again I state that his argument merely points to missing information, and can be used to point to any character desired. I will put forth another example in case the point is not obvious: I am a Hindu, I rely on old texts to justify my beliefs, and I see things I can’t explain in the universe. I see the world around me and say: “What a marvel! Thank Brahma, for it must have been him who fine-tuned the universe, created life, and gave me my superior morality. And who can deny that Krishna existed, therefore Brahma is real!” I ask the reader to consider what the difference between my argument and Pro’s is.
We do know who the gospel writers were, who Paul was, who Peter was, and all of the other New Testament writers (besides Hebrews). Con, in saying that "We don"t know!" has stated a common misconception that someone who has not dug deep into history could make. We have so much evidence; it is just that Pro is not willing to look. We have evidence of Jesus from Tacticus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, the Babylonian Talmud, and Lucian (http://www.bethinking.org...). These are hard evidence of the existence of Jesus. Now, it is just a preposterous way of thinking that the gospels were written by random anonymous persons. First of all, Con provides absolutely no evidence to disprove who the gospel writers are; only that "they might have been written by someone else".
We also have evidence from the early church fathers Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius, who all name Matthew as the author of the gospel attributed to him.
For Mark, evidence comes from Papias, who said,"Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in the exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterward, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could." This can be found in the writings of Papias.
Luke's authorship also is supported by Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Gregory, Nazianze, and Jerome.
John's authorship is supported by Irenaeus and Polycarp (according to Eusebius).
Matthew and John were eyewitnesses and disciples of Jesus and had written down their memoirs about the life and resurrection. Mark and Luke collected information from others and STILL ended up with a very similar story about Jesus' life, even though they had not witnessed it.
Jesus could not have tried to fulfill the old prophecies, over 300 of them, all by himself. Some were out of his control, like how his clothes would be divided up and that he would be pierced in the side. It is literally impossible for Jesus to try and fulfill all of these prophecies. http://www.accordingtothescriptures.org...
"The notion that animals cannot love or have other feelings is preposterous". This idea is the one that is preposterous. Animals have only the instinct to do something. If I give a dog something to eat, on instinct it would mark me as a potential food giver and give to me what is conceived as "love." God gave animals the instinct to protect their young; how would they reproduce of they didn't? But this is just but an instinct and cannot be expressed like the love in between humans.
I will say one last thing about the fine-tuning of life; as of now, there is absolutely no way of proving that life can arise without energy and the perfect amount of other physical constants. This is a mere speculation with absolutely no evidence supporting it. From our perspective, we know that life can only happen with the perfect physical constants or we would never be here today. This is the most logical way of thinking that believing just a mere assertion without any evidence.
This is all I have to say. The resurrection of Jesus is written by reliable, non-anonymous people. The fine-tuning argument t shows that life could have only commenced with certain requirements, and those requirements were met on Earth. The origin of life points to God because something cannot come out of nothing. Morality in man could not possibly be made by evolution; the fact that humans contemplate about God means that God had implanted the thought into our minds.
Now, I probably did not win the arguments for all of these points, but that is for you, the voter or reader, to decide.
I thank my opponent and all of the readers for joining me to this debate. I wish all of you a good day, and this is all for me.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||3||0|