The Instigator
MailboxVegetable
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
dsjpk5
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

The Christian God was not justified in instrumenting mass-killings in the Old Testament.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
dsjpk5
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/21/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,562 times Debate No: 60741
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (4)

 

MailboxVegetable

Pro

1st round is for acceptance. I've made this debate impossible to accept, so comment if you would like to accept it.

The Bible documents numerous accounts where the Christian God caused, ordered, and/or instrumented mass-killings and essentially genocides. My position will attempt to prove that these instances were unjustified while Con's position should be that every single one of them is justified.

Definition of justified: Having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

Definition of genocide: The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

Definition of mass murder: the act of murdering a large number of people (four or more), typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time.
http://www.princeton.edu...

Unfortunately, both of the last words have an inherently negative connotation to them, but I can't think of other words to describe it euphemistically. If you have any other words in mind, don't hesitate to let me know.

Comment if you'd like to accept, and let's hope for an intelligent discussion!

Addendum: No arguments presupposing the moral perfection of the Christian God are allowed. We are here to determine whether or not the actions in question were justified and/or compatible with a morally perfect God.
dsjpk5

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
MailboxVegetable

Pro

1. The Amalekite Genocide

"1 Samuel also said unto Saul, 'The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.'
2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, 'I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"
-1 Samuel 15:1-3 [1]

In this verse, God essentially tells Saul to kill every last Amalekite man, woman, child, baby, and animal. The supposed reason given by God was because the Amalekites' ancestors attacked the Israelites' ancestors 400-500 years ago before this date. When the Israelites had escaped Egypt 400-500 years earlier and had stopped at Rephidim to rest and gain strength, Amalek and his army attacked the Israelites. The reason he attacked the Israelites was supposedly because Israel was planning to conquer the Amalekites' land, Canaan, and kill them if they would not leave. The God of Israel had promised Israel the Amalekites' land, and the Amalekites somehow had heard of Israel's plan to conquer them. So Amalek led a preemptive strike at Israel while they were weak (an attack that some may consider justified because Israel was planning to take their land and kill them). Israel destroyed the Amalekite forces with the help of God, and then God exacted his vengeance on the Amalekite people 400 years later by telling Israel to slaughter every single soldier, man, woman, child, infant, and animal.

For a modern comparison, this instance would be like Mexico attacking America and slaughtering every adult, child, baby, and animal because the Americans' ancestors attacked the Mexican's ancestors 200 years before in the Mexican-American War of 1846. It would make absolutely no sense to commit genocide because of the actions of a nation's ancestors against your own ancestors. Just like how it would be morally abhorrent and irrational for Mexico to slaughter Americans today as retribution for the Mexican-American War, the exact same can be said about Israel's genocide of the Amalekites.

In addition to this, the moral obscenities of this genocide stand in direct contradiction to a forgiving and loving God. Some Christians argue that the Amalekite adults and culture were evil, and that God had to stop this evil from spreading. Even if it were true that the Amalekites were evil (which we don't know since the only side we've heard is from the mass murderers), that still doesn't give God any good reason to kill innocent children, infants, and animals. Since he is supposedly omnipotent, he could have done literally anything else that would have resulted in no innocent bloodshed (allowing Israel to adopt the children and animals, God taking care of the children and guiding them himself, sending the children and animals to another nation, etc.). But instead of doing anything more merciful, God chooses to show his brutality and power by ordering the slaughter of every Amalekite man, woman, child, and animal. This instance can only characterize God as a megolamaniacal and genocidal tyrant.

In addition to this, God later becomes angry with Saul after the genocide for taking the best of the cattle for burnt sacrifice and taking the Amalekite King, Agag, prisoner. In other words, God was angry at Saul for not killing every living thing. Again, there was absolutely no reason to kill the animals, but God was angry that he didn't immediately.

"7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
10 Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,
11 'It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments.'
...
21 "'But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.'
22 And Samuel said, 'Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.'"
1 Samuel 15: 7-11,21-23 [1]

God rejects Saul as king of Israel because he showed mercy and took Agag prisoner and the best of the cattle for sacrifice. So the moral of the story is that if God tells you to slaughter an entire nation, you better not show any mercy lest you make him angry and punish you. No book with such moral atrocities as this should ever be looked to for moral guidance.

2. God Murders 70,000 Because King David Took a Census.

If you are wondering, yes, you have read that title correctly. King David decided to take a census, and so God decided to kill 70,000 people with a plague as punishment. God didn't want David numbering God's possessions supposedly.

"2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, 'Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.'
...
9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
10 And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
...
13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.
15 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men."
-2 Samuel 24: 2,9,10,13-15 [2]

To summarize: David took a census of Israel. David then apologized to God for "sinning". God offered David a choice whether to let his people starve, be destroyed in battle, or be killed by a plague. David couldn't decide, so God chose for him and unleashed a plague on Israel for three days. 70,000 people died as a result of this plague.

The Bible only lists the men dying as 70,000, but it doesn't list any women or children dying. Although this does not specifically mean that women and children didn't die, we will stick with the conservative estimate of 70,000 men dying. But keep in mind that the plague most likely also killed women and children, since the Christian God has been fond of killing women and children in numerous other verses as well.

So the question we have to ask ourselves is this: Would it be justifiable to kill 70,000 people with a plague because a ruler took a census without your consent as God? The answer that should occur to anyone with moral integrity should be a resounding no. Even if David committed such a grave sin by taking a census (an essentially arbitrary rule laid out by God), how could it ever be justifiable to kill 70,000 of the ruler's people yet not harm the ruler? In fact, David later asks God this exact question when he sees the destruction.

"17 And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, 'Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house.'"
-2 Samuel 24: 17 [2]

This is a very good point raised by David that God completely ignores. David pleads with God to punish him for his own supposed sin, but God ignores it and continues killing. How could it be justified to kill 70,000 people for the crimes of one person? There is no valid logic that could lead from the premise to the conclusion.

Depiction courtesy of www.bricktestament.com
Thus, we have been shown that the God of the Bible is in fact not morally perfect. If there are those of you who still think that the Christian God is morally perfect, I ask you to visit this site: http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com...
It documents every instance where God killed or ordered the killing of someone in the Bible. If you add up all of the specific numbers that the Bible gives for how many people God killed, you end up with 2,821,364 of specific kills. The previously mentioned site also attempts to estimate the number of people God killed where the Bible didn't give specific numbers, and the site estimated that God killed 24,994,828 in the Bible alone. [3] No one knows the number of people he's supposedly killed since then.

Sources:
[1] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[2] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[3] http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com...
dsjpk5

Con

My first contention is that my opponent has no good reasons to claim God is unjust. So far, all my opponent has done is recap stories from the Old Testament without telling us why he/she believes those actions to be unjust. I look forward to him/her making a case for his/her belief in the next round. Maybe then my opponent can tell us why his/her belief is justified.

First of all, since all I could do in round one was accept, I have a lot of catching up to do. The first thing I have to ask is one of authority and duties. Since the Christian God has no one above Him, how can He violate any rules? What if His moral law is only for us? I would argue that since He is the ultimate authority, every action He takes justified if only because of His authority. He can do whatever He wants, and his authority justifies His actions. Notice, I am not claiming His morality is perfect, so I have not violated any rules laid out by my opponent in round one. I am arguing His authority is perfect.

Next, let me see about answering your questions. I hope
you'll bear with me as I lay some principles that will become relevant
later in the discussion. I want to give you as thorough an answer as I
can.

First, regarding the commands to exterminate particular populations,
these are, indeed, horriffic from a modern-day point of view. Such
commands are incompatible with the Christian age. God does not work that way today.

The question is whether he ever worked that way, and the answer to this
question must be either yes or no. We will look at both possibilities.

Suppose that the answer to the question is yes: God did at one time
command the extermination of whole groups of people. How could we
possibly make sense of this?

It would seem that the point of departure for the discussion would be
this: All life is a gift from God.

Because all life is a gift from God, it is up to God to determine
how much of that gift we receive. Whether he gives us a day or a
century, it is his gift to give, and because it is a gift, it is not
something we are owed. We therefore cannot claim that God is being
unfair if he gives us one amount of this gift rather than another.

In fact, he gives all of us an infinite amount of this gift because,
once we are created, we will endure forever. After the resurrection, we
will all (every one of us) have an infinite amount of physical life
ahead of us. What we are discussing, therefore, is whether some of us
receive an infinite amount of physical life plus a varying amount of
finite physical life as well.

In some cases, such as a person who dies one day after conception,
the person receives an infinite amount of physical life plus one day.
In other cases, as with a person who lives for a century, the
individual receives an infinite amount of physical life plus a hundred
years.

From a mathematical point of view, these two gifts are
indistinguishable. Infinity 1 and infinity 36,524 (the number of
days in a century) are the same. In both cases, a person is given an
unlimited (infinite) amount of life.

Further, we are also given non-physical life even in the space
between death and resurrection, and that is a gift as well, even if we
are not in our bodies at the time.

The question, it seems, is thus not how much life we receive,
because (a) it is all a gift from God that we do not have a claim to
and (b) it is always an unlimited gift, even if there is a temporary
period in which we don't have the use of our bodies.

Instead, it seems that the question is whether we suffer unjustly in
this time. [1]]

Sources:

1.http://jimmyakin.com...
Debate Round No. 2
MailboxVegetable

Pro

"My first contention is that my opponent has no good reasons to claim God is unjust. So far, all my opponent has done is recap stories from the Old Testament without telling us why he/she believes those actions to be unjust."

You are completely wrong here. Here is just one example of my arguments against the justifiability of the instances:
"that still doesn't give God any good reason to kill innocent children, infants, and animals. Since he is supposedly omnipotent, he could have done literally anything else that would have resulted in no innocent bloodshed (allowing Israel to adopt the children and animals, God taking care of the children and guiding them himself, sending the children and animals to another nation, etc.)."

I'm unsure about whether you actually thought that I didn't put up any arguments, or whether you were flat out lying to try to sway voters' opinions. But if you take the time to read my argument, you will know that I did argue against the justifiability multiple times.

" I would argue that since He is the ultimate authority, every action
He takes justified if only because of His authority. He can do whatever
He wants, and his authority justifies His actions."

This is commonly referred to as Divine Command Theory. This theory argues that since God is the most powerful being, this justifies any action he could take including torture, rape, infanticide, etc. In other words, the theory claims that "might makes right." It seems pretty obvious that the possession of power does not make you correct or justified whatsoever.

For example, suppose that in another possible universe, there exists an extremely powerful consciousness that can be considered God. The consciousness is immaterial and the most powerful being in that universe, being able to create anything he desires. Suppose that some time, he decides to create millions of complex life forms. But instead of giving them education, families, or a life that would resemble ours on Earth, he decides to strap them down and torture them for all of eternity. In fact, he decides to make them feel the most incredibly powerful pain that he can, non-stop, and continuing forever. In this instance, he would be the ultimate authority and under what logic you have suggested, would be completely justified in his actions.

Using Con's logic, we could justify any immoral action as long as the action in question is committed by the highest authority in the universe. So because of this, I have to assume that Con would think God would be justified in doing anything. If God were to materialize as a human and then subsequently rape and torture babies for several months before ending there lives and only for his sadistic satisfaction, Con would be forced to say it was justified because God is the most powerful being. I challenge Con to answer whether or not he would think that God creating babies to be raped and tortured by him and then having their existences ended immediately after would be justified.

Thankfully, we don't have to say that God raping and torturing babies would be justified because the logic is flawed. Consider the following logical proof of this theory:
Premise 1: God is the most powerful authority in all of the universe
Conclusion: Therefore, God is justified in taking any action he could desire
This proof is flawed because God being the most powerful being in the universe does not in any way justify any heinous acts he could commit (baby rape, torture, infanticide, etc.) There is no valid logic that could lead to the conclusion. Being the most powerful authority at any given time does not imply that any act you could commit is justified. The justification of a being's actions is completely independent from the amount of power it possesses.

"Next, let me see about answering your questions. I hope
you'll bear with me as I lay some principles that will become relevant
later in the discussion. I want to give you as thorough an answer as I
can."

I'd like to inform the readers that the rest of the paragraphs that Con puts up from this point onward are all completely copied and pasted from his source. None of it is original whatsoever. It seems intellectually dishonest that he didn't put quotation marks around the rest of these paragraphs because many people would assume that those are his original words and that he was paraphrasing. Con wrote the first two paragraphs in his argument, but all of the rest are completely copied without quotation marks. So from this point onward in my argument, I am refuting the arguments of Jimmy Akin and not my opponent's. You can see exactly what Con copied in his source and here: http://jimmyakin.com...

This would not have been a problem if Con had put quotation marks around what he copied.

"Because all life is a gift from God, it is up to God to determine
how much of that gift we receive. Whether he gives us a day or a
century, it is his gift to give, and because it is a gift, it is not
something we are owed. We therefore cannot claim that God is being
unfair if he gives us one amount of this gift rather than another."

So from what I can understand from Jimmy Akin's argument, he is saying that God owns our lives and has property rights over them while we don't. He is saying that since we are God's property, he can do anything he wants with us, including take away our lives. Since Jimmy Akin thinks that God has property rights over us, I wonder if he also thinks that God has the right to rape, torture, kill, and psychologically torture innocent people for God's sadistic pleasure. I wonder how much he would justify. In addition to this, it seems like Akin views our relationship to god almost like a slave-master relationship. He thinks we are God's property and that God can do whatever he wants with his property (this is an identical argument people used for slavery.)

Keith Parsons puts this logic in an illuminating light:
"It strikes me as monstrous to suggest that God would have the right to do anything whatsoever to us. What would give him that right? Surely not his omnipotence, since might does not make right. Is it the alleged fact that God created us? Suppose I were to create a race of sentient androids, fully as capable of suffering as humans. Would I then have the right to inflict capricious cruelty upon them? If Dr. Craig insists that I would, he must be moving in a moral universe that does not intersect my own." [1]
-Keith Parsons in response to William Craig

I argue that God would not have any right whatsoever to kill what he created without a valid reason. Once he creates their lives, although it is a noble thing to do, those people's lives are not his to inflict cruelty on. Regardless of whether you created the life or not, you do not have the right to do whatever you want with another person's life. To do so and to take away happiness from that person is not justified whatsoever. Again, God does not have the right to rape and torture babies just because he created those babies. God should be subject to the exact same moral laws as us and not above his own moral law.

And furthermore, this so called gift of life comes at absolutely no cost to God. Whereas most gifts come at some sort of sacrifice from the giver, God does not make any sacrifice in order to give this gift. So he has no reason to take this gift away unless someone is reducing the sum total of happiness. If God was morally perfect, then he would choose actions that maximize the sum total of happiness instead of unjust actions that punish innocent babies for the crimes of others.

"In fact, he gives all of us an infinite amount of this gift because,
once we are created, we will endure forever. After the resurrection, we
will all (every one of us) have an infinite amount of physical life
ahead of us."

I wouldn't call an infinite life of being tortured in Hell a gift whatsoever. And that seems to be where the Amalekites would have gone to since they didn't worship Yahweh specifically. God kills them mostly because they didn't worship him and then resurrects them to be tortured in Hell because they didn't worship him. Eternal torture is the most unjust act one could commit.

"Instead, it seems that the question is whether we suffer unjustly in
this time. [1]]"

2 Samuel chapter 12. David commits adultery with Bathsheba and gets her pregnant, and then sends Bathsheba's husband to the front lines of war to die. So to punish David, God told David's son to rape pregnant Bathsheba in front of David and many Israelites, and then God killed Bathsheba and David's baby with a disease.
"Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
The LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
On the seventh day, that the child died." [2]
If making a baby suffer horribly for seven whole days before killing it isn't unjust suffering, then I have no idea what would qualify as unjust suffering to you.

In Conclusion:
I hope I have shown that
A) God's possession of power does not make any action he could take justified.
B) God does not own property rights over our lives with which he can do anything he wants like the torture of innocent babies.
C) God caused horrible and unjust suffering by sentencing innocent babies to violent deaths by the hands of the Israelites in numerous genocides. Imagine how much having your throat slit or a sword thrust through you by an Israelite would hurt. And then imagine God commanding that to be done to an innocent baby.

Sources:
[1] http://www.patheos.com...
[2] http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com...
dsjpk5

Con

In the first round, I said:
"My first contention is that my opponent has no good reasons to claim
God is unjust. So far, all my opponent has done is recap stories from
the Old Testament without telling us why he/she believes those actions
to be unjust."

MixedVegetable said:
You are completely wrong here. Here is just one example of my arguments
against the justifiability of the instances:
"that still doesn't give God any good reason to kill innocent children,
infants, and animals. Since he is supposedly omnipotent, he could have
done literally anything else that would have resulted in no innocent
bloodshed (allowing Israel to adopt the children and animals, God
taking care of the children and guiding them himself, sending the
children and animals to another nation, etc.)."

Now I say:

Despite his claims to the contrary, my opponent STILL hasn't offered
any evidence why he thinks the actions described in round one are
unjust. Sure, God had other options, but that's not what I asked for.
Simply having a second option doesn't make the first.option unjust.
My.opponent still hasn't told us WHY he believes God's actions are
unjust. With this in.mind, this issue has been dropped. My opponent
had an opportunity to address this issue, but he dis not. Instead, he
tried to change the subject and talk about God's other options. So,
for the remainder of the debate, it is presumed that my opponent has no
good reasons to claim God is unjust.

In round one, I said:

" I would argue that since He is the ultimate authority, every action
He takes justified if only because of His authority. He can do whatever
He wants, and his authority justifies His actions."

MixedVegetable said:

This is commonly referred to as Divine Command Theory. This theory
argues that since God is the most powerful being, this justifies any
action he could take including torture, rape, infanticide, etc. In
other words, the theory claims that "might makes right." It seems
pretty obvious that the possession of power does not make you correct
or justified whatsoever.

Now I say:
How is it "pretty obvious"'? Based on what?

MixedVegatable:

For example, suppose that in another possible universe, there exists an
extremely powerful consciousness that can be considered God. The
consciousness is immaterial and the most powerful being in that
universe, being able to create anything he desires. Suppose that some
time, he decides to create millions of complex life forms. But instead
of giving them education, families, or a life that would resemble ours
on Earth, he decides to strap them down and torture them for all of
eternity. In fact, he decides to make them feel the most incredibly
powerful pain that he can, non-stop, and continuing forever. In this
instance, he would be the ultimate authority and under what logic you
have suggested, would be completely justified in his actions.

My response:
Again, my opponent offers a scenario without explaining WHY he thinks
it's unjust. Is he ever going to offer any arguments?

MixedVegetable:

Using Con's logic, we could justify any immoral action as long as the
action in question is committed by the highest authority in the
universe. So because of this, I have to assume that Con would think God
would be justified in doing anything. If God were to materialize as a
human and then subsequently rape and torture babies for several months
before ending there lives and only for his sadistic satisfaction, Con
would be forced to say it was justified because God is the most
powerful being. I challenge Con to answer whether or not he would think
that God creating babies to be raped and tortured by him and then
having their existences ended immediately after would be justified.

My response:

I've already made my claim. At this point of the debate, I'm STILL
waiting for my opponent to offer a counter argument as to why my claims
shouldn't be presumed to be correct for.the remainder of the debate.

MixedVegetable says:

Thankfully, we don't have to say that God raping and torturing babies
would be justified because the logic is flawed. Consider the following
logical proof of this theory:
Premise 1: God is the most powerful authority in all of the universe
Conclusion: Therefore, God is justified in taking any action he could
desire
This proof is flawed because God being the most powerful being in the
universe does not in any way justify any heinous acts he could commit
(baby rape, torture, infanticide, etc.) There is no valid logic that
could lead to the conclusion. Being the most powerful authority at any
given time does not imply that any act you could commit is justified.
The justification of a being's actions is completely independent from
the amount of power it possesses.

My response:
Fist, my claim isn't that God is the most powerful (although He is).
My argument is that.He is the supreme AUTHORITY, and as such, His acts
are justified based His authority. Next, it seems my opponent is
claiming that there are certain things that God "ought to do", but
that's not accurate. For someone to have things
they "ought to do", one has to have a superior he or she answers to.
But God doesn't have any authority over Him, so He has no duties. And
if God has no duties, He cannot ever be unjust.

In round one, I offered:

"Next, let me see about answering your questions. I hope
you'll bear with me as I lay some principles that will become relevant
later in the discussion. I want to give you as thorough an answer as I
can."

MixedVegetable said:

"I'd like to inform the readers that the rest of the paragraphs that Con
puts up from this point onward are all completely copied and pasted
from his source. None of it is original whatsoever. It seems
intellectually dishonest that he didn't put quotation marks around the
rest of these paragraphs because many people would assume that those
are his original words and that he was paraphrasing. Con wrote the
first two paragraphs in his argument, but all of the rest are
completely copied without quotation marks. So from this point onward in
my argument, I am refuting the arguments of Jimmy Akin and not my
opponent's. You can see exactly what Con copied in his source and here:
http://jimmyakin.com...;

My response: As my opponent admits, I sourced the information. With
this in mind, I was not claiming it was my own original content.
So, I don't see why it's an issue. If I sourced it, it's not
plagiarized. Nowhere in the rules of this debate does it say copying
and pasting is not allowed. Nowhere in the rules did my opponent ever
say I had to use quotation marks. Therefore, I have done nothing wrong.
I am going to continue to do so.

MixedVegetable said:
This would not have been a problem if Con had put quotation marks
around what he copied.

My response: Its still the same information. Again, I didn't violate
any rule.

I offered:

"Because all life is a gift from God, it is up to God to determine
how much of that gift we receive. Whether he gives us a day or a
century, it is his gift to give, ad because it is a gift, it is not
something we are owed. We therefore cannot claim that God is being
unfair if he gives us one amount of this gift rather than another."

MixedVegetable:

"So from what I can understand from Jimmy Akin's argument, he is saying
that God owns our lives and has property rights over them while we
don't. He is saying that since we are God's property, he can do
anything he wants with us, including take away our lives. Since Jimmy
Akin thinks that God has property rights over us, I wonder if he also
thinks that God has the right to rape, torture, kill, and
psychologically torture innocent people for God's sadistic pleasure. I
wonder how much he would justify. In addition to this, it seems like
Akin views our relationship to god almost like a slave-master
relationship. He thinks we are God's property and that God can do
whatever he wants with his property (this is an identical argument
people used for slavery.)"

My response:
My opponent missed the part of the argument where it mentions that now
is a different time. Asking if God would so now is a red herring.

Keith Parsons puts this logic in an illuminating light:
"It strikes me as monstrous to suggest that God would have the right to
do anything whatsoever to us. What would give him that right? Surely
not his omnipotence, since might does not make right. Is it the alleged
fact that God created us? Suppose I were to create a race of sentient
androids, fully as capable of suffering as humans. Would I then have
the right to inflict capricious cruelty upon them? If Dr. Craig insists
that I would, he must be moving in a moral universe that does not
intersect my own." [1]
-Keith Parsons in response to William Craig

My response: Well you are not the supreme authority, so you have
duties. Comparing yourself to God is not a valid argument.

MixedVegetable says:

"I argue that God would not have any right whatsoever to kill what he
created without a valid reason."

My response: On what authority do you claim to determine what is a
"valid reason"?

MixedVegetable:

"Once he creates their lives, althoughit is a noble thing to do, those
people's lives are not his to inflict
cruelty on."

My response: On what authority does my opponent define what is or is
not cruel?

MixedVegetable:
"Regardless of whether you created the life or not, you do
not have the right to do whatever you want with another person's life.
To do so and to take away happiness from that person is not justified
whatsoever. Again, God does not have the right to rape and torture
babies just because he created those babies. God should be subject to
the exact same moral laws as us and not above his own moral law."

My response:

I will offer an argument later in this round concerning God allowing
suffering to exist and why it is not unjust. But basically, it has to
do with God's ability to compensate us for earthly suffering.

MixedVegetable:
"And furthermore, this so called gift of life comes at absolutely no
cost to God."

My response: Sure it does. God gives us something He isn't required to
give. That's a sacrifice of effort

MixedVegetavle:
"Whereas most gifts come at some sort of sacrifice from the
giver, God does not make any sacrifice in order to give this gift. So
he has no reason to take this gift away unless someone is reducing the
sum total of happiness. "

My response: My opponent is mischaracterizing the claim. The claim
isn't that God takes His gift away. It's that He gives each of us
different size gifts. Some people get an earthly gift of 80 years,
while some only get one of 80 minutes (for example).

MixedVegetable:
"If God was morally perfect, then he would
choose actions that maximize the sum total of happiness instead of
unjust actions that punish innocent babies for the crimes of others."

My response:
God is most concerned about your eternal life instead of your temporal
life. Those who choose eternal life with Him WILL receive the "maximum
sum total of happiness" my opponent talks about.

In round one I offered:

"In fact, he gives all of us an infinite amount of this gift because,
once we are created, we will endure forever. After the resurrection, we
will all (every one of us) have an infinite amount of physical life
ahead of us."

MixedVegetable:
"I wouldn't call an infinite life of being tortured in Hell a gift
whatsoever.

My response:

Those who go to Hell choose to be separated from God. So really, they
get what they want.

MixedVegetable:
"And that seems to be where the Amalekites would have gone
to since they didn't worship Yahweh specifically. God kills them mostly
because they didn't worship him and then resurrects them to be tortured
in Hell because they didn't worship him. Eternal torture is the most
unjust act one could commit."

My response: We don't know the eternal fate of the Amalekites. Nowhere
does the Bible make such a claim. Again, those of them who went to
Hell chose to do so.

"Instead, it seems that the question is whether we suffer unjustly in
this time. [1]]"

MixedVegetable:
2 Samuel chapter 12. David commits adultery with Bathsheba and gets her
pregnant, and then sends Bathsheba's husband to the front lines of war
to die. So to punish David, God told David's son to rape pregnant
Bathsheba in front of David and many Israelites, and then God killed
Bathsheba and David's baby with a disease.
"Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of
the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall
surely die.
The LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was
very sick.
On the seventh day, that the child died." [2]
If making a baby suffer horribly for seven whole days before killing it
isn't unjust suffering, then I have no idea what would qualify as
unjust suffering to you.

My response: Now that I have shown that God is just in the amount of
life He gives us, I will now move on to the issue of suffering. This
last comment from my opponent is a perfect springboard to move on to
the issue of suffering in this life.

GOD CAN COMPENSATE THOSE WHO SUFFER.

Here is where the problem of evil comes in, because it is clear that
God does allow suffering to exist in the world, including for the
innocent. Why he does so is something that we have some theories about
(e.g., that he allows it in part in order to allow a certain kind of
free will to exist in the world), but much of it remains a mystery.

But the fact that God allows unjust suffering does not strike me as meaning that God himself is unjust. It would
mean that he is unjust if he was inflicting it for its own sake. That
would be cruel on his part and thus unjust. But it seems to me that God
can avoid the charge that he himself is unjust if two things occur.

The first is if he is allowing the unjust suffering for a good
cause. We have already mentioned one reason he is thought to allow
this"so that he can allow us to have a certain kind of free will"but
this explanation may not explain everything"partly because we can"t
always be sure of what the good reason is that God is allowing
suffering and partly because we ourselves may not be the beneficiary of
that good reason.

Suppose, for example, that God allowed this to happen: He allows me
to be conceived in my mother and then, one day after conception, he
allows me to die. I never have the ability to exercise free will in
this life, and so I am not the beneficiary of the reason (or at least
the best-known reason) for which God is thought to allow suffering.

That much actually happens in the real world. Some people do die a day after conception. But what happens next?

If it were the case that God allowed me to simply be damned at this
point and suffer in eternity as well as in this life then it would
indeed be possible to charge God with injustice. I was an innocent, I
never got to exercise free will and thus could not choose for or
against God, and to automatically be sentenced to eternal suffering
when I myself was innocent would be to condemn an innocent person to
hell. (I know Calvinists have ways of trying to argue around this, but
I don"t think that they are successful). God would be unjust. Nobody
should inherit an eternal and thus infinite amount of suffering if he
didn"t choose this.

The Church shares this intuition and concludes, therefore, that this is something God does not do. Nobody will suffer in eternity unless they themselves have chosen it.

What are the alternatives, then?

It would seem that there are two:

1) God miraculously allows such a dying infant to choose whether to
embrace God"s offer of salvation or to reject it. In this case the
child would be in the same state as anybody else. If they end up
suffering in eternity, it is because they chose it themselves and thus
are not innocent. If they end up in eternal beatitude, it is because
they chose it. In neither case would God be unjust toward them, for he
enabled them to freely choose what destiny to embrace.

2) God does not miraculously allow the dying infant to exercise free
will and instead automatically grants the child a positive destiny in
the afterlife. This could be either a positive natural destiny (one
which does not include the full glory of heaven but which is
nonetheless positive, as the speculative state of limbo is commonly
understood) or it could be a positive supernatural destiny (one that
does include the full glory of heaven, as in recent speculations about
the fate of children dying without baptism). Once again, either way you
go, God is not unjust toward the dying infant because his destiny is
positive.

It seems, then, that God is not ultimately unjust as long as he
makes sure that the innocent do not get a raw deal from the eternal
perspective. As long as the innocent person ends up with a positive
eternal destiny then God has not been unjust to that person. Further,
since all eternal destinies are infinite in duration, a positive
eternal destiny means an infinitely positive one. Over the course of
eternity, those with such destinies will receive an infinite amount of
natural and/or supernatural happiness.

This means, as St. Paul says, that "the sufferings of this present
time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to
us" (Romans 8:18).

All of our sufferings in the present are finite and so cannot compare to the infinite beatitude that awaits us.

With these principles in mind, we are able to return to the
situation of the populations that God commanded the Israelites to wipe
out. What could one make of their situation?

First, in any population of human beings, some of them will not be
innocents. Some will be people who genuinely do deserve death (mass
murderers, to take an obvious example). Therefore, in the original
population of Canaan (i.e., the holy land), some of the Canaanites were not innocents.

I am sure that the reader recognizes this, as his question focuses on the suffering of the innocent
Canaanites, and we will discuss these in a moment, but it is proper to
note that some Canaanites had committed sins that were worthy of death.
Probably more than we realize, given the brutal nature of their
cultures.

Further, the Canaanites did have a relationship with God. It
isn"t the case that El (the Hebrew equivalent of "God") was a foreign
deity that they had never heard of. There are passages in Scripture
that indicate that the Canaanites were already familiar with El and
worshipped him. This is the case, for example, with Melchizedek, the
king of Jerusalem who was a priest of El, or Balaam at the time of the
Exodus, who was a prophet of El.

Archaeology confirms this. We have dug up religious texts written by
the Canaanites, and they confirm that the Canaanites did indeed worship
El. The problem is that they didn"t recognize him as the one true God.
They recognized him as the high god, the chief god of their pantheon,
but they also worshipped other gods and goddesses, such as Ba"al and
Yam and Ashera and Anat. Since El was the original, true God, this
suggests that they had departed from the true faith at some point and
become idolaters.

This may shed light on what God told Abraham in Genesis 15:16, which
was that he would not give Abraham and his descendants the promised
land immediately, because "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet
complete."

In other words, the Canaanite culture had not yet become so
thoroughly corrupt (through idolatry or other sins) that God felt a
clean start was necessary. He knew that this time would come"since
from his perspective outside of time he could see that the
Canaanites would become that corrupt"but he was unwilling to have
their culture be destroyed before it reached a certain level of
corruption.

That level of corruption, incidentally, is one the Israelites
themselves brushed up against. Not only did God repeatedly discipline
them in order to wean them away from idolatry (an effort that was
eventually successful, following the Babylonian Exile), but even at the
time of the Exodus itself their corruption reached a point that
Scripture says God was willing to let them all die and start over with
Moses.

How literally this language is to be understood is open to question, but the point that it makes is that the Israelites were not
better or morally superior to the Canaanites. What was different about
their situation was that God was determined to fulfill his promise to
bless the world through Abraham by creating a body of people who would
be vessels capable of conveying his truth to the world and so bringing
his light to all mankind.

God therefore allowed calamities to fall upon those who were
unwilling to cooperate with his grace and become vessels of light and
truth. This happened with the Canaanites. It happened with the Jewish
people in all their trials (including most notably the Babylonian
Exile). And it has happened to Christians as well. The reason that the
Christian community is fragmented and has suffered many setbacks is
that many of us have not been willing to cooperate with God"s grace and
have turned our back on God"s truth.

And yet, through the drama of the last almost forty centuries
(taking us back to the time of Abraham), God has progressively advanced
his program to the point that now fully half of mankind
(counting Jews, Christians, and Muslims) worships the Creator of the
World and the God of Abraham, even if they do not all understand him
perfectly. By the standards of the Old Testament, when the world was
swallowed in pagan darkness, we are living in an age in which the
ancient prophecy has been fulfilled and "the knowledge of the Lord
covers the earth like the waters covers the seas."

This has been with many setbacks and failures, and with the guilty
among Canaanites, Jews, Christians, and others suffering the
consequences of their actions, but through the sweep of history God has
still accomplished his promises of old.

And this sheds light, even if it does not address in particular the
question of the innocent who have suffered, on the overall purpose that
God is pursuing.

Now let us address the question of the innocent.

It is quite true that not all people in the Canaanite culture were
guilty, just as it is true that not all Jews at the time of the
Babylonian Exile were guilty and that not all Christians who have
suffered are guilty. So what of them?

Let"s look back at God"s plan of the ages for a moment. If we begin
with the premise that God wished to create for himself a distinct
people that could carry the knowledge of him to the world then it is
logical for him to give this people a homeland in which he could purify
them from the corrupting influences of the cultures around them. This
is what the Old Testament says he was doing with Israel, and it is what
history suggests has been accomplished, as illustrated by the vast
numbers of humans who now honor the Creator and the God of Abraham.

But if we put ourselves back in time and culture by thirty two or
more centuries, taking us to the time of the Exodus, what would have
been involved in giving the people of God a homeland in which he could
purify them?

It would seem"since there were already humans everywhere
(habitable) on earth"that he would need to remove whoever was already
living in the homeland that he gave them. Since these people would not
want to move, war would result.

War at this time also had a different character than it does now. In
the ancient world, when people were organized in a tribal fashion,
people"s primary loyalty was to their tribe. It was the tribes and the
protection that they gave to their members that allowed society to
function. Consequently, when people from one tribe went after those of
another, it often meant total war between the two tribes. If a person
in one tribe killed a person of another tribe, the tribe of the killer
had to be taken on in a general way. It was usually not possible to
extract just the guilty party for judgment.

This tribal reality shaped the mentality of the people of the day
such that they thought in terms of total tribe-on-tribe conflict. They
did not have the experience that we do of relying on a strong, central
government to carefully investigate matters and punish only those who
were personally guilty. For them, since the whole tribe could be
counted on to come to the defense of the guilty, the whole tribe was
complicit in the offenses of the guilty and it was legitimate to make
war on them all.

This is one of the reasons that we today have so much trouble in
parts of the world where society is still organized along tribal lines.

And it is one of the reasons why God had so much trouble dealing with the whole of the world thirty or more centuries ago.

In other words: In working with the early Israelites, God was dealing with a blunt instrument.
He wasn"t working with a people who had already been broken of their
tribal mentality and who were used to distinguishing those who were
personally guilty from those who were fellow-members of the guilty
party"s tribe.

This may shed light on why God allowed a total tribe-on-tribe
warfare situation to result, because this was what the people of the
day understood. The development and purification of their ideas about
collective versus individual guilt and innocence had not yet taken
place.

The fact that God needed to shield the Israelites from idolatry adds
a further consideration here. If God allowed remnants of the Canaanite
culture to survive then this would tempt the Israelites"even more than
they were already tempted"to embrace polytheism and ruin their ability
to convey the truth of God to the world.

All of this deals with what God could have done if he had a way of making sure that the innocent were ultimately taken care of. It sketches a possible
reason for why God commanded what he did in the Old Testament, but this
theory is no good if it still results in the innocent"or even one innocent person"receiving a raw deal. If even one person gets the short end of the stick with God then God is acting unjustly.

So what about it? Given his commands in the Exodus, could God make
sure that all of the innocent Canaanites who suffered would come out on
the plus side?

Yes.

As we noted, all life is a gift from God, and it is his choice how
much of it we get. Further, he gives us all an infinite amount of life,
and no one will suffer in eternity without choosing this.

Suppose that there was a Canaanite child who was four years
old"young enough to still be an innocent, but old enough to experience
the horror of watching her civilization killed around her before being
killed herself.

From a purely human perspective, that is HORRENDOUS. My heart is SICKENED at the thought of what such a child would go through.

But is God"who is infinitely powerful"INCAPABLE of making it up to this child?

No, he is not incapable of making up to her the sufferings that she experienced on earth, however horrible they were. If he gives her an infinite amount of happiness (natural or supernatural) then that more than makes up for the finite
amount of unhappiness that he allowed her to suffer in this life. And
if he assigns her a positive destiny in the afterlife, an infinite
amount of happiness will be hers.

I know that if I myself were in her situation"if I
experienced a horrible, devastating, but still finite amount of
suffering in this life"and then God gave me an infinite amount
of happiness in the next that I would count myself fortunate. I would
say with St. Paul that"no matter how horrible they were""the
sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory
that [has been] revealed to [me]."

As long as God makes sure that I receive more happiness than
unhappiness as an innocent then I cannot claim he was being unjust with
me, and as long as God compensates the innocent for the sufferings that
have come to them in this life then I do not see the grounds for him
being fundamentally unjust. [1]
Debate Round No. 3
MailboxVegetable

Pro

"Despite his claims to the contrary, my opponent STILL hasn't offered
any evidence why he thinks the actions described in round one are
unjust. Sure, God had other options, but that's not what I asked for.
Simply having a second option doesn't make the first.option unjust.
My.opponent still hasn't told us WHY he believes God's actions are
unjust."

God was unjust in sentencing innocent babies to violent deaths because they were innocent. What is so hard to understand about that? God had every other available option that WOULD NOT result in innocent bloodshed. But what did he do? He chose to command thousands of innocent babies and children to die violent deaths when he could have easily avoided it. THAT is what makes this action unjust. There is no good reason that could justify violently killing innocent babies when you could easily do otherwise. God simply had no reason to slaughter babies. Punishing a baby for the sins of the society it was born in is not justified because the baby is innocent of any crime. I hope you finally understand why killing innocent babies is unjust.

In round 2, I said:
"I challenge Con to answer whether or not he would think that God creating babies to be raped and tortured by him and then having their existences ended immediately after would be justified."

Con responded:
"I've already made my claim. At this point of the debate, I'm STILL
waiting for my opponent to offer a counter argument as to why my claims
shouldn't be presumed to be correct for.the remainder of the debate."

Con has completely ignored the challenge I issued when he was responding to it. So I challenge Con again to answer whether or not he would think that God creating babies to be raped and tortured by him and then having their existences ended immediately after would be justified. I argue that creating babies to be raped, tortured, and then killed only for your sadistic satisfaction is not justified whatsoever because there is no good reason to do it. Do not ignore this again, Con. Answer this challenge, or else everyone will know that you are side-stepping debate.

In Round 3, Con said:
"As my opponent admits, I sourced the information. With
this in mind, I was not claiming it was my own original content.
So, I don't see why it's an issue. If I sourced it, it's not
plagiarized. Nowhere in the rules of this debate does it say copying
and pasting is not allowed. Nowhere in the rules did my opponent ever
say I had to use quotation marks. Therefore, I have done nothing wrong.
I am going to continue to do so."

Your refusal to put quotation marks around sentences quoted from other people is completely immature. This is a simple spelling and grammar rule that you have refused to follow of your own accord, so I hope the voters will judge you accordingly.

In Round 3, Con said:
"Fist, my claim isn't that God is the most powerful (although He is).My argument is that.He is the supreme AUTHORITY, and as such, His actsare justified based His authority."

How does authority justify action? The amount of authority a being possesses and the justification of its actions are two completely separate things.

[1] The definition of justified once again: Having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason.
[2] The definition of arbitrary: not planned or chosen for a particular reason; not based on reason or evidence.

Keeping the definition of justified in mind, you are saying that God's "good reason" for ordering the violent deaths of babies is because he is the most powerful authority. God being the most powerful authority has absolutely nothing to do with the justification of his actions! If God makes an arbitrary decision to kill babies, and he just so happens to be the most powerful authority, that still doesn't negate the fact that he made an arbitrary decision. God needs a reason to kill those babies other than his authority, or else his actions shall be branded arbitrary and unjustified. Con needs to provide justification for the slaughter of babies other than God's authority because authority does not negate the arbitrary nature of a decision.

My opponent continues to say in Round 3:
"Next, it seems my opponent is
claiming that there are certain things that God "ought to do", but
that's not accurate. For someone to have things
they "ought to do", one has to have a superior he or she answers to.
But God doesn't have any authority over Him, so He has no duties. And
if God has no duties, He cannot ever be unjust."

I never claimed that God has things he "ought to do." For the purpose of this debate, God needs a good reason to slaughter innocent babies or else his actions will be branded arbitrary. I am not even positing objective morality; I am only saying that God needs a legitimate reason to have his actions consider justified. This is completely in line with the definition of justified. So far, all of your arguments have been trying to prove that God has the right to kill people arbitrarily. But even if God did possess the right to kill humans arbitrarily, that would not negate the fact that those killings are arbitrary. Since arbitrary is the opposite of justified, this would leave the resolution standing that the Christian God was not justified in instrumenting mass killings in the Old Testament.

What Con needs to do is prove that God did have a legitimate reason to slaughter innocent babies when he could have easily avoided it by choosing any other more merciful option. But Con hasn't done that; he has only tried to prove that God has the right to kill innocent babies (which is an entirely different matter in itself). So, I challenge Con again to give reason for why God specifically chose to slaughter innocent creatures instead of showing them mercy. If he cannot provide legitimate reason for why it was the best option to kill those innocent creatures above all other options, then we must assume that God's actions are arbitrary and unjustified.

Con said:
"As long as God makes sure that I receive more happiness than
unhappiness as an innocent then I cannot claim he was being unjust with
me, and as long as God compensates the innocent for the sufferings that
have come to them in this life then I do not see the grounds for him
being fundamentally unjust."

Unfortunately, this still says NOTHING about God's reason for making people suffer. The fact that God can give people immense happiness after they suffer in an arbitrary decision still says nothing about God's reason to make them suffer in the first place. If you can choose to give people ultimate happiness, then why would you ever make them suffer in the first place? Con hasn't given a reason throughout this whole debate.

And if God decided to arbitrarily order the slaughter of an innocent child, the fact that he gives the child immense happiness after he/she suffers has nothing to do with God's reason for making the child suffer in the first place. If a billionaire decided to rape a small child who lives in poverty, but then subsequently give her millions of dollars afterward so that she is actually extremely happy for the rest of her life, that still wouldn't take away the fact that the billionaire had raped her without offering any reason whatsoever.

And such is the case with God. It doesn't matter that he can supposedly compensate us for unjust suffering on Earth, the suffering by definition was arbitrary and unjustified. The ability to give someone infinite happiness after you commit a horrible injustice to them does not take away the fact that it was a horrible and arbitrary decision. Con has not delved into God's reasoning for making people suffer this entire debate; he has only tried to prove that his God didn't commit such a bad crime. Con still needs a reason why God ordered the slaughter of innocents.

I refer you to the following Bible passages that specifically include God murdering children:

[3] Exodus 12:29. God killed, intentionally, every first-born child of every family in Egypt, simply because he was upset at the Pharaoh.

[4] Joshua 8. God commanded the deaths of 12,000 men, women, and children of Ai.

[5] 2 Kings 2:23-24. The prophet Elisha, was being picked on by some young boys from the city because of his bald head. The prophet turned around and cursed them in the Lords name. Then, two female bears came out of the woods and slaughtered forty-two of the young boys.

[6] Lamentations 2:20-22. God gets angry and mercilessly torments and kills everyone, young and old. He even causes women to eat their children.

[7] Joshua 6:20-21. Genocide takes place at Jericho where God again orders innocent children and babies to die.

I challenge Con to provide legitimate reason for why God had committed these mass-killings and slaughtered innocent children along with civilians. If Con does not succeed in providing legitimate reason for why genocide and the slaughtering of infants was the best option in all of the mentioned cases, then God's actions shall be named arbitrary, and the resolution shall stand that his actions were not justified or marked by a legitimate reason.

Sources:
[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3] Exodus 12:29- http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[4] Joshua 8- http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[5] 2 Kings 2:23-24- http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[6] Lamentations 2:20-22- http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[7] Joshua 6:20-21- http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
dsjpk5

Con

Before I begin my rebuttals, let's keep one thing in mind... Despite my opponent's attempts last round to shift the burden of proof, the burden of proof is on HIM. He is the one who is the instigator of this debate, and HE is the one making the positive claim. He could have made.the resolution "God was just..." and taken the Con position. But he did not. He made the resolution "God is unjust" and took the PRO position. So the burden of proof is on him. I do mot have to prove God is not unjust. He.has to prove God IS unjust. I would assert that God's supreme authority gives Him legitimacy in all His actions.

Lat round, pro said:

"God was unjust in sentencing innocent babies to violent deaths because
they were innocent."

Our Lord Jesus was sinless too. And yet His death brought salvation to
the world. This is evidence that death and suffering can bring about a
larger good, an is therefore not unjust.

Last round pro said:

"Con has completely ignored the challenge I issued when he was
responding to it. "

Thi is absolutely false. I already answered that question. If God is able to compensate those who suffer and for with an infinitely greater amount of happiness, His actions cannot be said to be unjust. Remember, life is a gift, so we are in no position to claim our gift should be of a certain amount. God is not required to give us life in the first place. And if He has no requirements, He can't be unjust.

Last round, pro said:

"How does authority justify action? The amount of authority a being
possesses and the justification of its actions are two completely
separate things."

If you have the ultimate authority, then no one has the authority to tell you that you did something wrong (unjust). If one has no responsibilities they cannot do something that violates those non existent responsibilities.

Last round, pro said:

"[1] The definition of justified once again: Having, done for, or marked
by a good or legitimate reason.
[2] The definition of arbitrary: not planned or chosen for a particular
reason; not based on reason or evidence."

That is not accurate. Nowhere in the agreed upon definitions did pro ever offer one for the word "arbitrary". Therefore, I never agreed to that definition, or even the use of the word "arbitrary". And I do not accept it now. It is patently unfair for pro to try to redefine the terms of the debate at this point of the debate. I HOPE THE VOTERS CONSIDER THIS WHEN VOTING ON CONDUCT.

Last round, pro said:

"I never claimed that God has things he "ought to do."

THIS DEBATE IS BASICALLY OVER. Pro just admitted that God doesn't have anything He "ought to do". This is basically a concession that God cannot be unjust. Here's why: If , as pro admits, God has no responsibilities, none of His actions can be unjust. Pro may have preferred God do something else, but remember, having more than one option doesn't make the chosen option unjust. For example, I may have several choices on how I get to work. I could walk, ride my bike, take a bus, or drive my car. Now, if I have a responsibility to get to work by a certain time, and my commute is 30 miles away, it would be unjust for me to walk if I only had an hour to get there. On the other hand, if my boss didn't care when I came in, it would not be unjust for me to walk. One could say that another way is preferable to THEM, but they couldn't say I was wrong/unjust. Maybe I did it for a good reason (exercise). Also remember, my opponent has the burden of proof to show God was unjust since he is the instigator, and has taken the Pro stance.

Con said:
"As long as God makes sure that I receive more happiness than
unhappiness as an innocent then I cannot claim he was being unjust with
me, and as long as God compensates the innocent for the sufferings that
have come to them in this life then I do not see the grounds for him
being fundamentally unjust."

Last round pro said:

"Unfortunately, this still says NOTHING about God's reason for making
people suffer. The fact that God can give people immense happiness
after they suffer in an arbitrary decision still says nothing about
God's reason to make them suffer in the first place. "

Again, I never agreed to the use or definition of "arbitrary", so it is unfair for Pro to try to change the resolution at this point of the debate. This argument of Pro's should be disregarded.

Last round pro said:

"And if God decided to arbitrarily order the slaughter of an innocent
child, the fact that he gives the child immense happiness after he/she
suffers has nothing to do with God's reason for making the child suffer
in the first place. If a billionaire decided to rape a small child who
lives in poverty, but then subsequently give her millions of dollars
afterward so that she is actually extremely happy for the rest of her
life, that still wouldn't take away the fact that the billionaire had
raped her without offering any reason whatsoever."

Two things. Again, the definition of "arbitrary" was never agreed upon, so all arguments including such a concept are to be disregarded as unfair. Second, the analogy is not valid. Millions of dollars is not equal to INFINITE happiness.

Also, assuming that the babies who died were innocent, their death BROUGHT THEM THEIR SALVATION. This would be a "good" reason to bring about their death. Here's why: Our life here on Earth is temporary, but our soul will live FOREVER in eternity somewhere. Being benevolent, God could end our temporal life here on Earth at a time when we could die in a state of eternal bliss for all eternity.

THAT WOULD BE A GOOD REASON FOR GOD TO END THE LIFE OF INNOCENT BABIES.

WHAT IF THE COMMAND TO KILL IN THE OLD TESTAMENT WERE NOT LITERAL?

If this were true, Then God didn't do the actions described in the Old Testament, and therefore could not be considered unjust for something He didn't do.

It thus seems to me that if we make the
assumption that God did give the commands to wipe out the Canaanites
that this would not prevent him from making it up to the innocent
Canaanites who suffered and thus he would not be unjust toward them.

But suppose that he didn"t do this. We mentioned earlier the question
of whether God ever gave this kind of command, and we said that the
answer to this question is either yes or no. To this point, we"ve been
considering what if the answer was yes. But what if it was no?

In this case the commands found in the Pentateuch concerning the
Canaanites would not be meant to be taken in a literal sense. We know
that the early history in Scripture contains symbolic elements as well
as literal ones, and these commands would then turn out to be symbolic.

Presumably, they would symbolize things like the need to be totally
separate from pagan culture, of how radically incompatible the pagan
lifestyle is with faith in God. On this theory the books of the
Pentateuch would have reached their final form some time after the
events they describe, and these stories about wiping out the Canaanites
(which the Israelites did not actually fulfill; there were still
Canaanites living later) were included to teach the later readers how
they must reject paganism, and that the original audience was meant to
understand the nature of these stories as cautionary tales from which
they were to draw a moral lesson (i.e., don"t be pagan; stick with God).

If this is the case then God never did command the extermination of the
Canaanites and we, because we are not familiar with the way literature
was written at this time, tend to take as literal something that was
never meant to be literal. (It"s certainly not the first time that"s
happened!) It is just that because we live in such a different age and
because our literature works so differently that we don"t easily
recognize which parts are literal and which are not.

It thus seems to me that, either way one goes (assuming that the
commands were literal or that they weren"t), a rational account can be
offered that shows God was not acting unjustly. [1]
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
That was quite the interesting/fun debate mailbox. Let me know if you have any other religious debates you're interested in.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
And I also don't have to accept any definitions.outside of round one.
Posted by MailboxVegetable 2 years ago
MailboxVegetable
@dsjpk5, I had already used the word arbitrary once in round 2, and you didn't object to its use there. I had also used the concept of having no reason for an action (the definition of arbitrary) multiple times throughout the debate. The defining of words that directly appear in the resolution is strictly reserved for round 1, but both parties are free to define any terms they use that doesn't appear in the resolution. You had the equal chance and opportunity to define any word you had used that didn't appear in the resolution. You are confusing the rule that specifies words appearing directly in the resolution shall be defined in round 1.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
Blsderunner, I said His authority made being unjust impossible. The resolution spoke of being just, not moral. You are injecting that into the debate. Notice, I'm not trying to sway your vote. If you didn't find my compensation piece compelling, that's fine. Assuming of course, you realize my opponent had the bop.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
dsjpk5, you argued that his authority allowed him to do whatever he wanted and make it moral--that, or your argument for his authority was irrelevant to the motion, and it clearly wasn't. If he can do whatever he wants and it's moral, you're supposing that "the moral perfection of the Christian God" stems from his authority--that is, everything he does is perfectly moral because of his morality, when you said "how can He violate any rules?" -- this is something that was explicitly against R1 framework. You may feel free to disagree, but the claim that it's "false" to say so is unwarranted, and unjustified.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
Mailbox, that is irrelevant. The settling and defining of words is done in round one.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
I am fine with some of blade runner s comments, but it is absolutely false to claim I argued for a morally perfect God. I specifically argued about his AUTHORITY, not His MORALITY. I also NEVER claimed any action of Gods was unjust. That's a presupposition on the bladerunners part.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
Oh, and I forgot to append:

As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
Posted by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
In R1, Pro outlined that: "No arguments presupposing the moral perfection of the Christian God are allowed. We are here to determine whether or not the actions in question were justified and/or compatible with a morally perfect God."

The majority of Con's argument did so presuppose--the argument that he has divine authority is such an argument.

Con also argued that infinite restitution made any immorality justified--I did not find that compelling whatsoever.

Con also argued that there are circumstances when an unjust action brings about a greater good--about THAT, Con would have the BoP to show it was the case here.

In the end, Pro needed to spend more time justifying the actions he was arguing as immoral as immoral--he flatly asserted it. But, while Con did object initially, he eventually conceded the prima facie wrongness. He conceded it in R2, when he noted that "these are, indeed, horriffic from a modern-day point of view.". He also did when he ran the argument that the evil can cause a greater good, or that infinite restitution invalidates immorality. By running those cases, he admits that the actions would otherwise meet the criteria for immoral, and tries to argue against them based on those reasons. Unfortunately, those reasons were insufficient to make his own case.

This was a narrow victory, largely because Pro really needed to spend more time justifying that which is unjust and connecting it to the actions under consideration, but Con's rebuttals violated the R1 rules limiting argument types, and those that did not do that were uncompelling to the motion. Arguments, narrowly, to Pro. Sources also to Pro. I was tempted to award conduct for the unquoted copy/paste, but he did at least cite the source. That said, Pro offered more and more reliable sources that related to his case, so sources to Pro as well.
Posted by MailboxVegetable 2 years ago
MailboxVegetable
@dsjpk5 definitions relating to the resolution. You had the equal chance and opportunity to define any word you used that didn't appear in the resolution.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 2 years ago
TrasguTravieso
MailboxVegetabledsjpk5Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: "If you have the ultimate authority, then no one has the authority to tell you that you did something wrong (unjust)." This clinched the debate for me. If we are to say if an action is justified or not, we must be in a position to judge; we are not in a position to judge God, who is Supreme Judge. Therefore, even if it were objectively speaking wrong for Him to do it (which it isn't) we cannot make that determination.
Vote Placed by 1Credo 2 years ago
1Credo
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was unable to shoulder the burden of proof in showing that the Christian God was not justified in instrumenting mass killings in the OT.
Vote Placed by daley 2 years ago
daley
MailboxVegetabledsjpk5Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to Pro because Con plagarized and accused Pro of not giving reasons for his position which he did. But Pro failed to show why his version of morality was correct in the first place, to make it a standard to which God had to live up. He simply appealed to the accepted views of morality today as if these were above God's standards, which couldn't be the case if God existed. He also misunderstand Con's argument that God's authority and not his power gives him the right to dictate right and wrong. I partially agree with this, but Pro did a poor job at rebutting this argument.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
MailboxVegetabledsjpk5Tied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.