The Christian/Jewish God (Yahweh) most likely exists outside of peoples imagination.
Debate Rounds (5)
exist-have objective reality or being.
imagination-The ability of the mind to be creative and resourceful.
In order to accomplish this, I will present in each of the next two rounds a reason to believe God exists and then a second reason to believe that Yahweh is the best candidate for that God. In total, these will be four arguments. I will use whatever available space I can to address the arguments and rebuttals of my opponent. Finally, depending on the course of the argument, I will use the fourth round to more fully address my opponents arguments, defend my present arguments, and/or introduce another separate argument, as the situation presents itself. In closing I plan to use the fifth round for closing arguments and a call to action from the voters.
In the interest of brevity, and the fact I have limited time, I will defend a commonly expressed argument for an objective God's existence, namely objective moral values. This argument breaks down into three parts:
1) If a supreme being does not objectively exist, then objective moral values do not exist.
2) Objective moral values DO exist
3) Therefore a supreme being DOES exist.
Most theists and atheists alike accept the first premise. In reference to the second premise, there again are few who would argue that there are no objective moral values. Many of those who think the human conscience and feelings evolved as a product of society are not willing to concede that there is objectively a moral difference between loving a baby and harming a baby. Take the common atheist question, 'If God exists, why is there so much pain in the world and why do bad things happen to good people.' This argument uses objective moral values to question God's goodness, but by its own concession of objective moral values, it's really validating Gods existence, just griping with God's decisions. I don't want to devote as much detail to this as I could because of my current tendency to already ramble. I can address any shortcomings you may raise in a rebuttal.
Secondly, I encourage all readers to examine the accuracy of Biblical prophecy as a testimony to Yahweh being the supreme being. Contrary to many unsound Christians, and some teachings, the bible (and Torah) does not prompt Christians to take faith blindly. Believing comes from one of two sources. In a straightforward way, the first is through experience of the five senses. For example, seeing is believing. Though some philosophers could argue that, I am actually representing a second avenue of belief. As Christians we are to believe through examining others testimonies. This is profound because it means we do not check our brains at the door, but are proactive in examining the Biblical record to see whether it's testimonies about God are verifiable. I think there are many aspects about the Bible that make it unique and testify to its truth, but I shall only choose one here, and that is fulfilled prophecy. Biblical prophets, (i.e. Jesus, Moses, Daniel, etc.) gave both short term prophecies and long term prophecies often in conjunction with one another. This verified to the audience that, at the completion of the short term prophecies, that the long term prophecies could be trusted. Jesus gives prophecy concerning the destruction of the temple saying not one stone would be left atop another. In 70 AD, Romans under Titus Vesputian burned the the temple causing the gold to melt and run between the bricks, which were pried apart by legionnaires. This is important because even the most liberal scholarship dates Mark to right at 70 AD with most scholars believing this prophecy was penned before 70 AD. Likewise Daniel gives specific prophecies concerning the fall of the Babylonians, the rise and fall of the medo-Persians, the rise and fall of the Greeks and the rise and fall of the Romans. Liberal scholars again move the date of authorship from around the 500s BC to closer to 200 BC, though they have no good reason to do so. Why is this done? Because Daniel's prophecies are so detailed and so accurate, they believe it cannot be true prophecy. What often escapes them is that Daniel gives other prophecies concerning the Maccabean age, which comes after 200 BC, and the accounts that Alexander was read a portion of Daniel and marveled at it, and finally that Jewish tradition regarded Daniel as a prophet and not as a historian. Daniel also predicted the exact time frame Messiah would come, coinciding with the life of Jesus. With liberal estimates, that's still 160 years in the least before the life of Jesus. Lay all that aside, there is also something special to Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Exodus 12, and Genesis 22 in how they foretell with detail the death of Christ thousands of years beforehand, though crucifixion was not yet a historical practice. With just an introduction to just a FEW of the meaningful prophecies of the Bible, I think it's clear that it is beckoning readers to examine its prophecies and whether they are historically fulfilled. I think there's good reason to believe they have been and that they testify to the omniscience of Yahweh. As I will try to demonstrate in my next round, we have good reason to believe a historical figure named Jesus, died by crucifixion, and became resurrected from the dead. I think this fact is inescapable, and if so, the prophecies which I mentioned, testify to this, thus giving credence to Yahweh, as does the divine power of the resurrection itself.
I wish I could've devoted more time and detail to this, but I am hard pressed with my schedule and family to give as much time as I'd like. I hope this will suffice, and I will give two better reasons next round in a similar format.
Thank you for reading,
"If a supreme being does not objectively exist, then objective moral values do not exist.Objective moral values DO exist. Therefore a supreme being does exist."
A. To clarify, it seems like pro says this 100% proves a god exist, but that is not true.
B. They also have no source for their claims. This makes me to believe our debate will be mostly based on logic, which is fine.
C. I do agree with premise one, but will argue with premise two, as I do not believe objective morals values actually exist. If objective morals are just certain moral absolutes, then objective morals do not exist. To almost all people, there is an objective moral difference between harming or caring for a baby. However, people have harmed, babies, obviously. If there are people who believe something different from what is considered objective morals, well then they are subjective morals. For something to be objective, it needs to be grounded in evidence. If I say, Donald Trump is running to be the Republican nominee in the U.S presidential election, then that is an objective claim, as we know there are videos, pictures, statements, and definitions to prove that claim, making it objective. To say that morals are objective, that means you have to prove that morals are absolute, like murder is wrong. Can you prove that? There is a debate going on right now on this site that argues for natural selection, letting the elderly and the mentally deficient die for their lack of contribution to society. Unless you can prove that, yes, murder is wrong, harming a baby is bad, and rape is bad, etc. you can not definitively say morals are objective. We can prove an objective claim, like, the internet does in fact exist as we know it, because we have history and evidence to prove that. Like if the internet is defined as: the global communication network that allows almost all computers worldwide to connect and exchange information. We can prove that through us communicating using information right now, and proof that people have done it across different continents. When you say morals are objective, you need evidence to back up that claim. As without proof, nothing is objective. If I say that the events that took place in the United States on September 11th 2001 were orchestrated by U.S president George W. Bush, and I do not present evidence to back up that claim, it is subjective.
"This argument uses objective moral values to question God's goodness, but by its own concession of objective moral values, it's really validating Gods existence, just griping with God's decisions."
A. Making an admission that you do not agree with children dying of bone cancer across the world does not make that objective, all it does is make that subjective to that atheist . If I say children should not die of bone cancer, that is my subjective belief, because I am not presenting evidence to that. It is a subjective value that most people share.
B. I have heard this argument, and it is used usually not to disprove the existence of a deity, but rather to say why one would disagree with that deity is they exist, and to say why they find the teachings of the Christian God to be self contradictory. Because that is a subjective moral value that they find. Because they recognize if a God exists there would be objective moral values, one of those being killing kids is bad, which is a God specifically Yahweh did exist, would be meaning that killing kids is not a bad thing.
C. If a God exists, and killing kids is bad is an objective moral value they created, and if it is Yahweh, who essentially controls the world like a game board instilled that value in all people and made it fact, and if you kill kids you are morally bad, then he is bad himself, while he is supposed to be all good. However if a God does not exist, then there are no objective moral values. If Yahweh exists, his actions are self contradictory.
"the bible (and Torah) does not prompt Christians to take faith blindly."
A. I know the Bible does at one point say to question everything. But then (correct me if I'm wrong) it implies at multiple points that non believers are sent to eternal damnation. This makes me believe it is saying that you can critical think, but if you do not decide to have faith in Yahweh you will be sent to eternal damnation.
"For example seeing is believing."
A. Seeing-the act of seeing someone or something. Maybe, but there is reason for this, when you see some one or something, your brain processes it. This is an involuntary action. You believe what you see, because that is how your brain works, and you have faith in your brain. You have reason to have faith in your brain, because your brain processes everything you hear, see, or feel.
"Jesus gives prophecy concerning the destruction of the burning temple saying not one stone would be left atop another. In 70 AD, Romans under Titus Vesputian burned the temple causing gold to melt and run between the bricks, which were pried apart by legionnaires."
A. You don't give sources for these, which is fine, but extend that to me too.
B. Yes, that is true, however view this from a logical standpoint. Keep this in mind, if Yahweh is the deity, and knows everything that will happen specifically for all of the march of time, he should get everything right. If he does not get everything right, why didn't he? That would mean he purposely gave some vaguely true information, and some false information, let me highlight some false Bible prophecies.
1) In a prophecy in the Bible, Yahweh explains that Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar, would completely sack and destroy Tyre, and that the land of Tyre would never by built on again, but this never happened. And this was a short term prophecy. There was a 13 year siege on Tyre, but eventually they compromised and accepted his authority without being destroyed. Even when Alexander the Great razed it 240 years later (which was not in the Bible) it still exists today.
2) The Bible states the Nile River would dry up, Ezekiel 30:12 "I will dry up the streams of the Nile and sell the streams to evil men; by the hand of foreigners I will lay waste the land and everything in it. I the LORD have spoken." Despite this, there is not a single piece of recorded evidence that this ever happened. The Nile River, did not dry up. This prophecy was false.
There are plenty more, but I am running short on characters. So I will continue (give more next round.) So I have to ask, if Yahweh knows everything that will ever happen, why are some prophecies somewhat fulfilled, and some false?
Besides prophecies, there are some things in the Bible that have been proven false.
-At multiple points, the Bible eludes to the Earth being flat, or at least not being a sphere. Isaiah 11:12 "And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."-What kind of Earth would have four corners, not a sphere.
"Daniel 4:10-11. In Daniel, the king "saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth" reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth's farthest bounds"-It is only with a flat Earth that this tree could be visible from the farthest bounds, not a spherical one.
-The Noah's Ark story logically does not make sense for multiple reasons.
Construction- The construction of the Ark supposedly took 70 years to make, and used gopher wood in order to make it 300 cubits long by 50 cubits wide, and 30 deep. A cubit is a form of measurement used by Ancient Egyptians. A standard cubit is about 18 feet long. The problem is Noah would not be able to acquire the wood he needed to built it, there was a ship built in 1511 called The Great Michael, which is said to have took "all the wood in Fife" which is a city in Scotland which is known for building ships, and on top of that wood had to be imported from France and other areas in the Baltic Sea to construct this. And it was only a fraction of the size of the Ark, so Noah would have needed tens of thousands of high quality trees to construct his Ark. Even if he could collect all the wood, his Ark would be almost as big as an aircraft carrier, and would not able to withstand the stress of the global ocean and would be too leaky. The largest known wooden boat ever proven to be built had a total length of 450 feet. Even to do this they required iron braces and constant mechanical pumps to start the hull from flooding. However, the Bible does not list any metal components in the construction of the Ark, which would definitely be needed.
Animals-Let's say he could do that, and somehow managed to get 2 of every animal and a years worth supply of specific food for each of them (which he could't) It would be impossible to keep all the meat for the carnivores good without refrigeration. I really do not know how he would have some how separated the predators from each other and had no animals eating each other. Finally, how exactly did he get rid of all that feces?
First you address a cubit in a manner of feet, but really it is in inches. What kind of vessel would Noah need to store his family, and sets of animals from a large-scale flood? In Genesis 6, God tells Noah to use gopher wood and the gives Noah divine instructions for the Arks size. "This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits." In curiosity of the length of a Hebrew cubit, the Biblical book of Ezekiel mentions that there are two cubits, one the shorter, traditional cubit, but also a cubit that is a hand breadth longer than this traditional cubit. Robert B. Y. Scott wrote in The Biblical Archaeologist journal in 1959 that Egypt also used a two cubit system, and the most likely measurement for the Hebrew cubit was 20.4 inches, and 17.5 inches for the traditional cubit. Using the smaller cubit for calculations, the ark measured 437.5 feet in length, 72.917 feet in width, and finally 43.75 feet in height. Because God instructs Noah to build three decks within the ark in verse 16 of the same chapter, this gave the ark a measurement of 95,703.563 square feet and 1,395,676.953 cubic feet, a massive ship indeed! The construction of the ark raises two questions of scientific feasibility.
The first concerns information given in the early verses of Genesis seven. Noah used this massive amount of space to carry two of every kind of land animal and seven of every clean
animal; Is it possible to fit the amount of animals qualified in that description into the ark? Well, according to the animal qualifications, there was no need to store fish, marine creatures, mollusks, marine mammals, many amphibian creatures, nor many arthropods or protozoans. Also, it is unjustifiable to argue that all the current species, varieties, and sub-varieties were present on an ark 4,359 years ago. Taxonomist Frank Lewis Marsh explains in his book Evolution, Creation, and Science that "more than five hundred entirely distinct colors, tints, shades, and combination all developed from a single kind of sweet pea since 1700 the changes that dogs have undergone which furnish us with over two hundred distinct breeds today, all of which have developed from a very few wild dogs."
Using the calculations of Ernst Mayr, a renowned taxonomist and one of the 20th centuries leading biologist, only about 17,600 species (or approximately 35,000 to 37,000 animals total) of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians qualified to need shelter on an ark.
So could an ark of such a massive size actually survive a deluge? Four physics graduate students at the University of Leicester tested this exact theoretical scenario. The students tested the buoyancy of the ark at an empty capacity using cypress wood (the probable equivalent in density to gopher wood), with each panel of the ark measuring 0.2 meters in width. Therefore, this hypothetical ark had a mass of 1,200,000 kilograms, which would sink to a depth of 0.34 meters in sea water; the ark at maximum possible capacity would contain a mass of 51,750,000 kilograms; these students cited that, "with the average sheep weighing 23.47 kilograms, the ark could support the weight of 2.15 million sheep we believe the ark to be of sufficient buoyancy." As a side note, concerning the logistics of the ark, although the flood narrative makes no mention of the use of metallurgy during construction, Genesis four does mention that in the centuries preceding the flood, forging all implements of bronze and iron, was a common practice. In conclusion, both considerations of the ark portion of the flood myth are indeed plausible.
Now in reference to deficiencies my opponent believes are present in premise 2 of the moral argument. Firstly, the examples he gives of Trump and the Internet are what we know as natural facts. These are facts not up for debate, they are facts about what is. They tell us about what things are like. For example they tell us that a certain object can cause pain but they do not tell us whether they should cause pain. Moral facts are not natural. Moral facts have an intentional nature to them, and involve a judgement. Believing that adultery is wrong ought to call a person to not commit this act, or instead commit an act that we morally believe is good. Natural facts like mathematical laws do not want, call, or command people to act in a certain way. Now what is the best example of something that wants us to do something, calls us to do something, or commands us to do something. It is a person, and moreover a transcendent, objective person to the effect that moral laws are transcendent and objective. If you believe a moral law against cold blooded rape and murder will always be wrong morally, and will always be wrong for any person, then you believe in objective moral values and should follow the deductive reasoning of the moral argument to premise 3, that an objective, transcendent, moral being is what gives these moral laws their nature. In lay terms, Gods goodness is the foundation for believing that certain actions are always good and others always bad.
In the reasoning of my opponent, all actions are relative to the person doing those actions, perhaps the biological result of evolution within a society. To say this, essentially, is saying actions like rape are not socially advantageous, and therefore taboo, but they are not objectively wrong. Michael Ruse, a noted proponent of evolutionarily developed morals, himself wrote the those who say it is "morally acceptable to rape little children is just as wrong as the man who says two plus two equals five." Some things we all know are morally wrong, as well as other things morally good. Atheists like Peter Singer and Mark Houser wrote an article which finds that morality across cultures are startlingly similar, whereas if my opponent is correct, morals would be subject to each cultures taboos or relative to each persons belief. Imagine the moral diversity if there was a different moral code for each person or even each culture; thankfully Singer and Houser illuminate this is just not the case. We as humanity agree far more than we disagree about what is a moral or immoral action, and we ought to expect that if we believe a moral being imprinted his nature on his creation. The number of atheists who hold that all morals are relative, as my opponent espouses, is quite few. Ironically, it is often these who appeal to an objective moral value in others to get them to deny God, for example, crimes committed under the banner of religion like the crusades. Here's where push comes to shove. I believe there are objective moral facts. People who fly planes filled with humans into buildings filled with humans which then collapse on streets filled with humans are not just practicing social taboos, they are a moral abomination which no person should ever do. If my opponent wants to dig his heels in and say murder, rape, child abuse are not objectively wrong, and likewise that love, and helping others is not objectively right, then he may do so, but my appeal would then extend to you, my audience. If you believe these are wrong or right for everybody,, then I believe you have good reasons to believe in a moral, transcendent God.
In reference to his conclusion that God broke a moral law, I'd have to address a specific example he has in mind, but I hypothesize that he is putting this event on the same scale as a cold blooded, senseless murder. If the action God commands, brings about considerable good, we must factor that into how moral or immoral the action is. After all we have talked about moral values, and values, such as in color values, extend all the way from dark to light with many shades in between. A doctor who tells a patient she has cancer is not solely trying to ruin her day and make her feel bad, but is weighing the fact that acting expediently can save her life, even if the news immediately saddens her.
The second argument I will be defending is one I'm sure is familiar to many on this site, including my opponent, and namely the Kalam Cosmological argument. It is presented as follows:
"The kalam cosmological argument is an exercise in positive apologetics aimed at proving that God exists. It may be formulated as follows:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause." - (reasonablefaith.org)
I use the moral argument and the Kalam argument because they are straightforward. Atheists do no back away from the claim this universe had a beginning, hence premise 2. The reason this argument has had such efficacy in recent years and in modern philosophical scholarship is that it argues necessarily that the universe must have a creator which caused it to be. Anything that has being MUST have a cause. Even in our own lives, the things that exist have caused. For a cheap example, I caused my peanut butter and jelly sandwich's existence when I put it together. (Not arguing I atomically put it together)
I have not enough space to address the bodily resurrection of Christ here (the Noah section was quite lengthy), so I will use round 4 to address prophecy briefly, debate the merits of the Kalam argument briefly, and discuss the validated historicity of Christ's resurrection. I can imagine the moral argument has had enough attention to devote any more of the limited space I have in each round.
SocialDemocrat forfeited this round.
Jesus, himself claimed to be a member of the Godhead. There are many reasons why this helps us understand God. If God were Unitarian, as Islam and Judaism believes, then I find it difficult to believe God could be all loving. In the time before the creation, God could only be all loving if there were other members of the Godhead with whom perfect love was exchanged. The relationship whereby Jesus and the Father were both God, and shared a relationship helps me understand how God could be all loving, even during the times when there was no creation to love.
Regardless, Jesus claimed in the Bible, that under the authority of God, he would take the death sentence that the sins of every person required, so that he could offer forgiveness. And by that authority he would rise again after three days. Now whether or not you believe these claims, I think it's unmistakable that if Jesus really did rise from the dead, it would be the source of divine power, and furthermore, divine validation that the Jewish God is the God of the universe.
So here are three points universally accepted by most New Testament historians:
1) Jesus' tomb was discovered empty by a group of his women followers.
The late Austrian resurrection specialist Jacob Kremer wrote that "By far most exegetes hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements concerning the empty tomb."
2) Many individuals and groups of people saw Jesus alive, after his crucifixion. Some of whom were not followers of his teachings.
German critic of the resurrection Gert L,demann (sic) believes "It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus" death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ."
3) Many apostles believed in the resurrection of Jesus despite having no reason to. Jewish people, historically in the time of Christ, believed Messiah to be a political revolutionary, not a humble, slain victim. They believed he would be King over Israel and not lying in a tomb. Not to mention that Jewish tradition does not substantiate the idea of someone raising from the dead after just 3 days, before the end of time. In spite of these issues, many Jewish disciples believed that Jesus was God, and died for that belief.
N. T. Wright, an eminent British scholar, concludes, "that is why, as a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him."
I also present this link as an excellent source on the issue of prophecy you raised in regards to Tyre. This is yet another example for the supremacy of Biblical prophecy and Yahweh:
"Ezekiel began his prophecy by stating that "many nations" would come against Tyre (26:3). Then he proceeded to name Nebuchadnezzar, and stated that "he" would build a siege mound, "he" would slay with the sword, and "he" would do numerous other things (26:7-11). However, in 26:12, the pronoun shifts from the singular "he" to the plural "they." It is in verse 12 and following that Ezekiel predicts that "they" will lay the stones and building material of Tyre in the "midst of the waters." The shift in pronouns is of vast significance, since it shifts the subject of the action from Nebuchadnezzar (he) back to the many nations (they). Till and others fail to see this shift and mistakenly apply the utter destruction of Tyre to the efforts of Nebuchadnezzar."
Likewise, concerning the Nile, it is a prophecy that is slated for the future during the period known as the "millennial reign of Christ." Literary indications from the bible help us interpret this prophecy in this way. I will drop another reference link here.
As I expected, those phrases you bring up to argue that the earth is flat are Hebraisms, or Jewish expressions of the day. We have expressions in our day so we should be understanding of the language gap. That being said, the bible does teach the earth is round! The bible says the earth is a circle, which is the same word for sphere in Hebrew. (Isaiah 40:22)
It also says when Jesus returns, some will be sleeping at night, while others are working during the day. This is fully in line with the spherical concept. (Luke 17:34-36)
In the year 1806, the French institute of science listed 80 historical, archaeological, geographical inaccuracies of the bible. By 1940, not a single inaccuracy remained substantiated.
At this point, I would like to discuss how historically, throughout the late 1800s and 1900s, archaeologists thought the Bible was wrong about Quirinius, Pontius Pilate, and the Hittite culture. In instances like this, we now know that Pilate is in fact a historical figure as the "Pilate stone" carvings were uncovered in 1941. Same with the Hittites, in 1876 George Smith discovered they were a real people. Now not only do we know that the Hittites were real, there is an entire chair of the university of Chicago dedicated to studying their culture. Concerning Quirinius, many argued that the biblical dates did not coincide with his time as Governor, but we know now he served two separate terms and that the Biblical account is correct.
We have good reasons to believe the Bible is at the forefront of historical records.
Once skeptic, Sir William Ramsay, "a late-nineteenth-century archaeologist, started out his career convinced that the Acts of the Apostles had been produced in the middle of the second century, a hundred years after the events it purported to describe. On the basis of his archaeological discoveries, however, he was gradually compelled to reverse his views. 'Luke's history,' he wrote, 'is unsurpassed in respect to its trustworthiness,"
and "Luke is an historian of the first rank"
who "should be placed along with the very greatest.'"
I understand the importance of a contradiction with a religious text, I just use this space to be wary that we don't go out of our way to try and discredit scripture. If we examine it honestly, it has proved this far to be quite reliable.
It's unfortunate my opponent didn't have the opportunity to respond this round, but I still had plenty to respond to in this round without any new content to assess. I did however enjoy researching some of his claims about biblical prophecy, and believe they actually work in favor of Yahweh as the true God of the universe.
As always, thank you for reading.
SocialDemocrat forfeited this round.
I proposed four arguments in the course of this debate: two in defense of a God's existence, based on morality and based on causation at the beginning of the universe. My opponent only addressed the moral argument, for which I responded to his concerns. Likewise, I proposed two arguments for why that transcendent being should be viewed as Yahweh, based on fulfilled prophecy and the resurrection of Christ from the grave. He raised a few concerns with prophecy which I addressed, and provided in-text or hyperlink citations to each point. The second argument again went unaddressed.
I commend my opponent for a thought-provoking debate at the beginning, however I must implore you to vote 4SCOREand7 (PRO). Even if you don't share the same persuasion of opinion as I do on this issue, I strongly feel that I provided the better argumentation in this debate, answered every concern of my opponent, and raised unanswered concerns. Aside from this, the CON position forfeited two rounds.
Thank you for your time,
4SCOREand7 Romans 5:8
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