The Instigator
Skepticalone
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Jerry947
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points

The Christian god exists

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Jerry947
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/2/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,275 times Debate No: 85973
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (43)
Votes (1)

 

Skepticalone

Con

This debate is a direct challenege to Jerry947 per our discussion in the forums. My opponent claimed he could show the Christian god exists. He will have full burden.


Rules
1. No forfeiture
2. All arguments must be according to the definitions provided.
3. Appropriate conduct must be made: no profanity, inappropriate behavior, or trolling.

Definitions

Christian god - God as defined by the Bible
Exists - Have objective reality or being
Show - Display or allow to be perceived


Format
72 hrs/argument, 4 rounds, 10,000 characters
Voting will be select winner and voters must have over 2000 ELO.

*Should my opponent have any issues with definitions or format then it must be addressed before acceptance.

I will send this over to Jerry now so that he may lay out his case. It's been a while since I've debated, so maybe Jerry will take it easy on me. ;-P

I look forward to a lively debate!! Good luck, sir!
Jerry947

Pro

I thank my opponent for creating this debate and I hope we each learn some new things. I will start by defining the word prove so that no one gets confused. To prove something is to"show the existence, truth, or correctness of (something) by using evidence, logic, etc..." (http://www.merriam-webster.com...). And this is what I will do (to the best of my ability) with the matter of God's existence. I will give four arguments for God. The first three will demonstrate that there is a God and the forth argument will show that it is the Christian one.

The Axiological Argument:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

My brief defense of this premise: Objective morals have to come from an objective source and that source can only be God. Nothing/nobody else could produce an objective moral code.

2. Objective moral values do exist.

My brief defense of this premise: Almost all people are aware that murder, lying, stealing, and etc...are wrong. it seems crazy to believe that every person just so happens to have the same subjective opinion on these basic moral principles. There must be some sort of universal moral law that exists.

3. Therefore, God exists.

That is the short version of the argument. Please tell me what problems you have with the argument and I will address them in the next round.

Common objections answered...
Only religion can give the most logical explanation for the origin of morality. Most people have an idea of what is right and wrong. Religious people, most of the time state that morality comes from God. This makes sense considering most people abide by an objective moral code that they expect everyone to know about. And the only way an objective moral code could exist is if a God created it. Objective morality can only come from an objective being (God). Now some people might argue that there is no such thing as objective morality or a real right and wrong. But the people that argue this always go back on their claim a moment later (C.S. Lewis). People try to argue that morality is created by societies. But we also understand that there are societies that have condoned evil practices when in fact people know that the society was wrong. For example, W. H. Auden, a famous 20th century poet, said that "there had to be a reason Hitler was utterly wrong." Auden said this famous quote after going to a theater that showed pictures of the Holocaust. These pictures sickened him and made him rethink his worldview. Before watching these pictures, Auden believed that it was up to the society to decide what was right and wrong. But during his time at the theater he realized that if societies decided what was right and wrong, and if morality is subjective, this would mean that Hitler was justified in everything he did. Well, at least according to that society. And who are we to tell them they are wrong if morality is purely subjective? Therefore, religion gives the best explanation for why there is an objective morality and why it exists.

The Teleological argument:

The world is so complex that there must be a creator. According to Roger Penrose of Oxford University, he has calculated that the odds of that low-entropy state's (state in which the universe began) existing by chance alone is on the order of one chance out of 10^10(123). That number is inconceivable. The odds are so against a life permitting universe that it is like a criminal (representing the universe) is about to be executed by a firing squad (representing odds against life permitting universe) and then the members of the firing squad all miss. People claim that it happened by chance. Christians say that it is ludicrous to think it happened by chance. Why? Because something feels rigged. It is completely logical to believe that there is an intelligent designer especially since everything is so complex. On the other hand, it is crazy to call all of this simple chance.
Source: http://www.qcc.cuny.edu............

The Cosmological argument:

The argument in a nutshell is as follows:
a. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
b. The universe began to exist.
c. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
d. Since no scientific explanation (in terms of physical laws) can provide a causal account of the origin of the universe, the cause must be personal (explanation is given in terms of a personal agent).
God is the best explanation for the existence of the universe. If you have any objections to any of the premises in this argument, see source and see if your objection is listed there. The source gives good explanations to the objections it lists.
Source: https://carm.org............

The Existence of Jesus:

Almost all scholars in our age believe that Jesus was a real person (http://www.is-there-a-god.info......). There are many ancient historians (http://www.gotquestions.org......) that have written about him and we even have writings from the people that knew Jesus (The New Testament). You should have no doubt that Jesus was a real person. The famous historian Josephus for example stated that "Jesus was a wise teacher who was crucified by Pontius Pilate" In other words, we also have proof that Jesus was crucified. The Bible affirms all of this and even explains why Jesus' body went missing from the empty tomb. More on that later...

Jesus claimed to be God and his friends and his brothers claimed that he was God. Josephus tells us that Jesus was a good teacher. But it is a mistake to believe that Jesus was only a good teacher. C.S. Lewis stated that "is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg; or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse." People of the time period indicate that Jesus was a good person and a good teacher...but you can't be these things if you are insane.

Lets go back to the empty tomb. The historian Luke states (chapter 24) that the tomb was found empty by women. How did this happen? The best explanation(http://www.reasonablefaith.org......) is that Jesus was who he said he was and did in fact rise from the dead. People might claim that Jesus never died but this is silly considering that we know he was crucified and that he was buried. No one could survive that process. Others claim that the body never went missing which is ridiculous considering the Romans and the Jews could have merely shown Christians the body and then their faith would be destroyed. And on top of that, there are people such as the New Testament writers that claim they along with 500 other people saw Jesus after his death. Even the brothers of Jesus (who previously disbelieved in the deity of their brother) came to believe that Jesus was God. Think about that for a moment...what would it take for you to believe that your brother (if you have one) was God? Would it take a resurrection? Nevertheless they became Christians.
Sources: http://www.gotquestions.org......
Also used the Bible.

Since we have good evidence that Jesus was resurrected, and since only a God can do this, and since Jesus claimed to be God (John 10:30), it is true that the Christian God is the one that exists.
Debate Round No. 1
Skepticalone

Con

Thank you, Jerry!

Definitions

First off, my opponent is seeking to modify the definitions provided in the first round. I clearly stated should any modifications be needed, this was to be handled before accepting. Additionally, the word “prove” is not part of the resolution or his quoted words.

The Axiological Argument:

This argument is not for a personal god. The Christian god is personal according to the Bible. This argument does not argue for the god of the Bible anymore than it argues for a god of Hinduism, Islam, or any other religion claiming a personal god.

In the interest of discussion, I’ll point out that premise 1 is faulty. Moral values can be argued for sans a god. For instance, it could be argued that a moral conscience was selected for by an evolutionary process, and this would be supported by a rudimentary morality exhibited in many animals. Perhaps, Pro is not aware of instances where animals attempt to protect or resuscitate other injured, dead, or dying animals:

https://www.youtube.com...

For Pro to explain proto morality, he would need to argue that animals live in fear of a god (and explain why a god would arbitrarily supply values to some animals and not others). Clearly, god is not the best explanation for objective moral values.

The Teleological argument:

Again, this argument is not for a personal god. The Christian god is personal according to the Bible. This argument does not argue for the god of the Bible anymore than it argues for a god of Hinduism, Islam, or any other religion claiming a personal god.

In the interest of discussion, I’ll point out that Pro’s argument for the ‘inconceivable’ odds against the universe we live in, i.e. “a life permitting universe”, is simply using backward logic. The same argument could be made for the particular driver’s license number Pro has. The odds of having that particular 9 digit number are inconceivable!! However, that assumes he was destined to have that particular number. That is a dubious assumption much like assuming life was destined to exist exactly as we know it or that the existence of life was guaranteed.

The Cosmological argument:

This argument fails just as the last two arguments have. This argument is not for a personal god. The Christian god is personal according to the Bible. This argument does not argue for the god of the Bible anymore than it argues for a god of Hinduism, Islam, or any other religion claiming a personal god.

That being said, virtual particles make a fine example to the contrary to the first premise. They pop in and out of existence randomly (even in a vacuum) and we can detect no discernible cause. That alone is enough to make this argument tumble.

Secondly, assuming the universe does have a cause this argument doesn’t explain why that cause must be a singular being as opposed to multiple beings, or a god as opposed to a force of nature. At best, assuming every premise is valid, it establishes a cause but what that cause is we cannot know.

The Existence of Jesus:

Out of the four arguments Pro provides, this is the only one with the potential to “show the Christian god exists”. I have no problem conceding a teacher named Jesus lived in the first century. However, Pro needs more than that to meet his burden. He needs to establish Jesus was a god. This he has not done.

Pro’s sources leaves much to be desired. “Is-there-a-god.info” is run by a believer who admits “I have my own views, and these undoubtedly colour my choice of topics and the way they are presented”. ”Gotquestions.org” is not an objective source of information since the answers are generally provided anonymously and we have no way to determine if the people providing the answers are qualified in any way. The mission statement of ”Reasonablefaith.org” illustrates a Christian bias. "Reasonable Faith aims to provide in the public arena an intelligent, articulate, and uncompromising yet gracious Christian perspective on the most important issues concerning the truth of the Christian faith today”. Additionally, each of the links Pro provided in this argument went to a main page or to a page that did not support Pro's argument.

The New Testament being a source of evidence for a claim in the NT is circular. Jesus as a real person is corroborated from outside the Bible (even though Pro hasn’t presented it), and this is why I acknowledge Jesus as a real person. The empty tomb, Jesus being resurrected, Jesus being witnessed post-death by 500 witnesses, etc. are claims specific to the NT. Pro will need to provide corroboration from 1st century extra-Biblical sources to back these claims. As such, Pro’s assertion “we have good evidence that Jesus was resurrected” is completely overstated.

Summary

Pro's first three arguments have no specific relevance to the Christian god. At best they argue for a theistic god. Jerry's final argument is unsubstantiated. On that, I will turn this back over to Pro.

Jerry947

Pro

"First off, my opponent is seeking to modify the definitions provided in the first round."

I agreed to the definitions provided in round one but I didn't realize that meant I could never define a word again in this debate. That said, I just wanted to make it known that I would be merely showing strong evidence that God exists and it is up to the people to decide on what they believe.

Note: I will be quoting my opponent first and then my response will be underneath the quote.

The Axiological Argument:

"This argument is not for a personal god."

Not true. The argument is for a moral God. And a moral God would have to be kind, caring, and would have to have some sort of contact with his creation (so the God is personal). After all, the things that a person creates reflects some of the attributes that the creator has. So the perfectly moral objective moral law would be a reflection of God's character.

"Moral values can be argued for sans a god."

Subjective moral values could be argued for without a God but those are meaningless since they have no affect on people.

"For instance, it could be argued that a moral conscience was selected for by an evolutionary process, and this would be supported by a rudimentary morality exhibited in many animals."

The problem with that thought is that evolution would make morality an instinct. Charles Darwin himself actually said that morality "is aboriginally derived from the social instincts, for both relate at first exclusively to the community." The problem with this claim is that people have different instincts which would make morality subjective. And again, if morality is subjective, we could never tell people that they are doing something wrong. Another problem with this argument is that morality is usually that thing that decides between which instincts to follow. For example, if a person were to hear a gun shot and a cry for help, people would most likely have two instincts. One would be to run away from danger; another instinct would be to run to help the person. Morality might push a person to choose the weaker instinct, which is to choose to help the person instead of saving themselves.

Plus there are other issues...

For example: "If you say that your standard is evolving and getting better, then can you assert that it won"t evolve into something that contradicts what you believe now, thereby demonstrating that your moral beliefs now were really wrong?" (https://carm.org...).

"Perhaps, Pro is not aware of instances where animals attempt to protect or resuscitate other injured, dead, or dying animals"

The video you showed me only provided an example of a hippo sticking some kind of dead animals head in its mouth. I don't know how this indicates that the hippo was trying to resuscitate the animal. It seems like humans are trying to see human qualities in animals even though the qualities aren't really there.

"For Pro to explain proto morality, he would need to argue that animals live in fear of a god (and explain why a god would arbitrarily supply values to some animals and not others)."

First you have to prove that animals do have a concept of morality. To me and the majority of people, it is obvious that animals do not have any real sense of morality. On a side note, God made humans in his image and did not make animals in his image. That is why humans are different than animals (in the sense that humans can be moral).

The Teleological Argument:

The first three arguments weren't meant to establish a Christian God. They were meant to establish a God's existence. I have to prove there is a God before I show you he is the Christian one. The Moral argument showed that the God would be personal/moral. The teleological argument shows that God is creative and intelligent.

"This argument does not argue for the god of the Bible anymore than it argues for a god of Hinduism, Islam, or any other religion claiming a personal god."

Not sure if that is true. I can think of many ways to show that those God's aren't personal, moral, and etc...The God I am arguing for must be moral and creative as the past two arguments have showed.

"The same argument could be made for the particular driver"s license number Pro has."

No. I don't think my opponent quite understands the odds. My opponent seems to think like this...

If there is a lottery, someone must win (or having that exact license plate number). I think that is what my opponent is trying to say. The odds are a million to one...but someone still must win. But the problem is that not only does our universe win this lottery and therefore exists, but our universe is also life permitting. For example, if there was a lottery in which "billions and billions of white ping-pong balls were mixed together with just one black ball...and that if it's black you'll be allowed to live; if it's white, you'll be shot" (William Lane Craig). But you have to get the black ball five times in a row (putting the ball back each time) in order to win. Getting the black ball is no more probable then getting the white ball. But it is way more probable that you would get a white ball instead of a black one. So if the black ball is the first picked...and it happens five times in a row, something would feel rigged about it. That is why there is a God.

The Cosmological Argument:

"This argument is not for a personal god. The Christian god is personal according to the Bible."

Not even close to being true. The cause of the universe would have to be timeless (created time), moral (created morality), creative, personal (created people to have relationships), and etc...This God must be all of these things. The Christian God is all of these things.

"That being said, virtual particles make a fine example to the contrary to the first premise. They pop in and out of existence randomly (even in a vacuum) and we can detect no discernible cause."

The problem with your response is that the vacuum is not nothing. So these particles are not coming from nothing. They are in fact coming from something. William Lane Craig states that "the vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy governed by physical laws and having a physical structure." Therefore you cannot claim that something has come from nothing. And besides, if something were to come from nothing, wouldn't that be happening all of the time?

"Secondly, assuming the universe does have a cause this argument doesn"t explain why that cause must be a singular being as opposed to multiple beings, or a god as opposed to a force of nature."

Well, science supports that the universe had a cause. For example, the second law of thermodynamics states that the universe is running out of energy (hence heading towards a heat death). In an eternal universe, it would have run out of energy by now. So since this hasn't happened, we know that the Universe had a beginning. Also, there is the discovery of red-shift in 1929. Basically, this discovery showed us that the universe is expanding which means if you were to go back in time, the universe would shrink and shrink until you got no universe. William Lane Craig says it better, he states that "as one traces the expansion back in time, the universe becomes denser and denser until one reaches a point of infinite density from which the universe began to expand."

As for the multiple God's part of your statement, perhaps this is a good time to use Ockham"s Razor: one should not multiply causes beyond necessity. Aside from that, I choose to believe in one God because Jesus said that there was one God and I believe him. But again, the first three arguments were meant to primary show that there is a God (at least one) and that he is moral, creative, timeless, and etc...

The Existence of Jesus:

"I have no problem conceding a teacher named Jesus lived in the first century."

Good, that will makes things easier in this debate.

"He needs to establish Jesus was a god. This he has not done."

If I show you that he resurrected from the dead, that will show that he was a God (just like he claimed).

"Gotquestions.org is not an objective source of information since the answers are generally provided anonymously and we have no way to determine if the people providing the answers are qualified in any way."

That source merely listed historians that lived during the time period that said that Jesus was a real person. Something went wrong with the link and I don't really know what happened. But that isn't really important anymore since you recognize that Jesus was a real person.

"The mission statement of Reasonablefaith.org illustrates a Christian bias."

Every human is biased. But that doesn't mean that all people have no true to offer. Here is the correct link that gives evidence for the resurrection of Jesus (http://www.reasonablefaith.org...). I honestly don't know what happened to my links last round. Take a look at it. The best explanation for the empty tomb is that he resurrected from the dead.

"Additionally, each of the links Pro provided in this argument went to a main page or to a page that did not support Pro's argument."

Yeah, I officially apologize for that. I really don't know what happened...

"The New Testament being a source of evidence for a claim in the NT is circular."

No it is not. The Bible is composed of independent sources written by the people who knew Jesus. The gospels were written by eye-witnesses of the time period. They claimed that Jesus was God. If you do not believe them, please explain why we should have reason to doubt what they say. As for Jesus' existence, I don't have to provide that evidence any longer since you have already let me know that you don't need to be convinced of this.

"Pro will need to provide corroboration from 1st century extra-Biblical sources to back these claims."

Why? We already have multiple accounts of what happened. Why do you have reason to reject those?
Debate Round No. 2
Skepticalone

Con

Thank you, Jerry!

Definitions:

After reading my opponents responses, it seems clear that we have a misunderstanding of “personal god”.

Personal god - A personal god is a deity who can be related to as a person instead of as an impersonal force, such as the Absolute, "the All", or the "Ground of Being".

https://en.wikipedia.org...

The Axiological Argument:

It is not mandatory that a lawgiver have personal contact with the governed or to be known by name. It might be that this hypothetical lawgiver, due to omniscience, perceived the necessity for moral values and built them into consciousness through any number of ways without directly interacting with humanity. To claim, that a moral law giver must be a personal god simply doesn’t follow from the premises.

To be clear, I am not advocating subjective values. It is possible I was not clear on that, so hopefully this will help us avoid strawmen.

Pro suggests that emergent morality (due to evolutionary processes) would be instinctual, but that is an oversimplification. Morality can be reliant on instinct – specifically empathy, but it is not itself instinct. It is our continual evaluation of which actions are best for the welfare (what is best for continuing survival) of the relevant community (family, friends, species, other species) and our responsibility to it.

Pro points out an objective morality (not based on the Christian god) might be wrong. This is actually a strong argument for my point of view. Some of the moral values laid out in the Bible are now considered barbaric and immoral such as owning another human (Exodus 21:2-6), forcing a rape victim to marry their attacker (Deuteronomy 22:28-29), or stoning a disobedient/stubborn son (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Empathetic objectivity provides a much better explanation for this change in moral perception rather than a shifting transcendental source.

In regard to animals, prosocial experiments with chimpanzees support the proto-morality I mentioned last round. These experiments involved two chimps separated by a wire mesh with only one chimp having access to tokens of different colors. One color rewards only the token bearer, and the other rewards both chimps. Given the choice between rewarding only themselves or rewarding themselves and another chimp, more times than not, they chose unselfish behavior. When another chimp was not present, more times than not, they chose only to reward only themselves.

http://www.livescience.com...



The Teleological Argument:

Pro seems to acknowledge the god posited in this argument is not a personal god. However, he bears the burden of showing the Christian god exists -which is said to be personal. This argument is irrelevant to his burden.

Jerry suggests I don’t quite understand the odds, and I admit my analogy was not as “inconceivable” as the odds conjectured in his argument. However, the point stands: calculating odds on the assumption of design is meaningless - much like calculating the odds of getting a specific identification number. The probability of this universe supporting life 1 /1, after all we already know this universe supports life.

Ultimately, complexity is not how we determine design. Design is determined by comparison to nature. We have no other nature to compare this alleged 'designed' nature to, and as such, claiming unnatural nature as proof of a creator is spurious.

The Cosmological Argument:

Much like the last two arguments, Jerry contends the Cosmological argument posits a personal god. This is simply not true. The Cosmological argument does not argue specifically for a god, in as much as it argues for a cause which might be a god. To go beyond that and suggest that not only is this cause a god, but it is a personal god is not supported by the premises.

Pro picked at my virtual particle objection to his first premise saying ‘virtual particles don’t come from nothing’. This is a completely irrelevant rebuttal to my objection. His premise was “everything that begins to exist has a cause”, not “everything that begins to exist from nothing has a cause”. My objection stands.

In addressing my objection to his second premise (why not multiple gods or a force of nature as the cause?), Pro chose one being over multiple beings by applying Ockham’s razor. I find this to be reasonable. However, he had no response for how the cause must be a being over a force of nature. My objection stands.

The Existence of Jesus:

Let us recap what Pro and I agree on, and where his argument for Jesus (god) stands.

1. We agree a man named Jesus likely existed in the first century.

2. Pro contends this same man was god, but…

3. Sources and support:

Due to our agreement (see #1) some of his sources are no longer necessary. His remaining sources www.reasonablefaith.org (RF) and the Bible are still problematic due to bias and circularity.

RF is an online apologetic ministry of William Lane Craig (WLC). WLC has confirmed that if given evidence that Jesus never came out of the tomb he would still believe in the resurrection in response to a question asked by Mark Smith. Additionally, he plainly stated in his book Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, “The fact is that we can know the truth whether we have rational arguments or not.” [1] Clearly, WLC’s priority is not to evidence and reason, but to his belief. While all humans may be biased, WLC embraces his bias at the cost of objectivity. As a final point regarding this source, Pro is submitting his source as his argument. However, this is not a debate between Pro’s sources and I – it is a debate between Pro and I. Pro offers no resurrection related arguments of his own and continues to leave his case unsupported.




I pointed out in the last round relying on the NT as evidence for the claims of the NT is circular. Pro claims that the NT represents independent eye-witness sources suggesting that it might be able to be internally corroborated. However, this argument is flawed. The story of the resurrection is mentioned in the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John. Let us start with the synoptic Gospels: they are not thought to be eye-witness accounts nor are they independent from each other. Mark (the earliest gospel) was not a Jew as evidenced by his unfamiliarity with Jewish customs. This leads us to conclude it is unlikely the author of Mark was one of Jesus' disciples as they were Jews. Luke specifically states he has gathered together his story from other people (Luke 1:1-4) – suggesting he himself is not an eye-witness. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke rely heavily on Mark as a source. (Matthew copied 92% and Luke copied 54%). If Matthew and Luke were eye-witnesses, they would not have needed to rely on an account from someone else. Moreover, considering the shared information between these three, we cannot consider them completely independent sources. If they are not completely independent accounts, then they cannot corroborate each other. They represent one source. Secondly, The Gospel of John is thought to have been written around 85AD. Assuming the disciples of Jesus were about his age (~30yo), an eye-witness would need to be older than 80 years of age to write this gospel. Not to mention, nowhere in John does the author identify himself specifically as “John the disciple”. Assuming John was written by an eyewitness (a debatable assumption), that leaves the question, how much corroboration can an anonymous second hand source (the Synoptic gospels) provide to it? I submit little or no corroboration can be had from such a source. For this reason, the story of the resurrection needs 1st century extra-Biblical sources for corroboration to avoid submitting the claim as evidence of the claim.

Summary:

His first three arguments do not argue for the the god of the Bible. As I told him in the comments: Even if he were able to prove a god from these three arguments, we would not know which god he had proved. It looks as though he has focused on the resurrection of Jesus to prove his divinity, but he has provided little or no argumentation of his own and there are still issues with his sources.

It looks like Pro will have the last word in this debate. I ask that he limits all his arguments to the next round since I will not be able to respond to his round 4 conclusion. Let's turn this back over to Pro.

[1] https://books.google.com...

Jerry947

Pro

Good round Skepticalone!

"After reading my opponents responses, it seems clear that we have a misunderstanding of "personal god"

By personal, I mean "mean endowed with rationality, self-consciousness, and volition"the usual sort of qualities associated with being a person" (William Lane Craig). This is what I meant by personal. So I guess our definitions are slightly different.

"It is not mandatory that a lawgiver have personal contact with the governed or to be known by name."

That is true but a moral God would have had to do something about the state humanity is currently in. An amoral God would ignore humanity and do nothing for them. But a moral God would care and love his creation. So the creator of an objective moral law would have to be objectively moral as already stated.

"It might be that this hypothetical lawgiver, due to omniscience, perceived the necessity for moral values and built them into consciousness through any number of ways without directly interacting with humanity."

When a person is making a car, they cannot put doors on it without directly interacting with it. I would think that the creation of humans would be similar. If there is a God that created an objective moral law, he would have to directly put this law into every human being. Romans 2:15-16 actually does say that the Christian God wrote the moral law on humans hearts.

"To claim, that a moral law giver must be a personal god simply doesn"t follow from the premises."

In the case of the moral argument, the concept of God involved in the argument is "that of a personal being, since moral values, if they exist, reside in persons, not in inanimate things, and since only a personal being can be a source of moral duty by issuing commands to us" (William Lane Craig). So it makes sense to claim that God is personal.

"It is our continual evaluation of which actions are best for the welfare (what is best for continuing survival) of the relevant community (family, friends, species, other species) and our responsibility to it."

I would agree with that statement. I was merely explaining how Darwin explained morality. Our morality is the thing that helps humans decide which instincts to follow. So if my opponent isn't arguing that morality is an instinct due to evolution...how can you argue that morality comes from evolution? And why didn't my opponent answer my questions about morality for the evolutionist? Evolution would certainly make morality subjective.

"To be clear, I am not advocating subjective values. It is possible I was not clear on that, so hopefully this will help us avoid strawmen."

You indicated that morality came from evolution which would in fact make it subjective. I proved that in the last round.

"It is our continual evaluation of which actions are best for the welfare (what is best for continuing survival) of the relevant community (family, friends, species, other species) and our responsibility to it."

Since when does evolution give people moral responsibilities? And why does a person's subjective opinion on what is best for the society make it best for society? Hitler believed that he was killing people for the greater good and according to evolution...this was the way he evolved. What makes him wrong?

"Some of the moral values laid out in the Bible are now considered barbaric and immoral such as owning another human (Exodus 21:2-6), forcing a rape victim to marry their attacker (Deuteronomy 22:28-29), or stoning a disobedient/stubborn son (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)."

My opponent first needs to state how he can objectively state something to be immoral. If he can't, then his comment is meaningless. But just for the record, the thing about marrying the rapist was beneficial to the victim since the victim would have never gotten married (due to being a non-virgin) in that time period.They would spend a life alone and they would die without any children. The law actually helped the victim as you should see. There are examples in the Bible where a rapist (who didn't marry victim) has ruined lives (David's daughter was raped by her brother). Also, in the rapists who choose married women to be raped were put to death as recording in Deut. 22.

As for slavery, we are talking about people who sold themselves into slavery in order to pay off debts. These people were considers members of the family (Lev. 22:11), set free after six years (Ex. 21:2), given gifts to help them survive once freed (Deut. 15:14), and etc...It should also be noted that God freed thousands and thousands of slaves in the book of Exodus.

As for the boy...http://www.gotquestions.org...

"Empathetic objectivity provides a much better explanation for this change in moral perception rather than a shifting transcendental source."

Empathy really just makes us think about the real right and wrong which still doesn't answer the question. Where do we get the idea of right/wrong from? And you never answered my questions (just added two).

If you say that your moral standard, whether social or personal, is evolving and getting better, then by what non-subjective standard do you judge that it is getting better?
If you say that your moral standard, whether social or personal, is evolving and getting better, then how do you know it is getting better without committing the logical fallacy of begging the question by saying that things are getting better because they are evolving?
EVOLVING STANDARD If you say that your standard is evolving and getting better, then can you assert that it won"t evolve into something that contradicts what you believe now, thereby demonstrating that your moral beliefs now were really wrong?
EVOLVING STANDARD If your moral standard is evolving and can contradict itself, can that system of moral determination be true since it can produce self-contradiction? (https://carm.org...).

You haven't provided an objective source of morality but still seem to say it exists. I argue that it could only come from a moral and a personal God which makes sense as I have discussed at length.

"Pro seems to acknowledge the god posited in this argument is not a personal god. However, he bears the burden of showing the Christian god exists -which is said to be personal. This argument is irrelevant to his burden."

I understand why my opponent doesn't see this argument arguing for a personal God. However, this argument does establish that the creator is intelligent which means he is endowed with rationality, self-consciousness, and volition. So this argument can be used for a personal God. And again, I fist have to prove that there is a God before I prove it is the Christian one.

"Ultimately, complexity is not how we determine design. Design is determined by comparison to nature. We have no other nature to compare this alleged 'designed' nature to, and as such, claiming unnatural nature as proof of a creator is spurious."

No one is claiming that nature is unnatural. I am claiming that natural is complex. But your objection does nothing to show that the universe is not rigged in our favor which makes my point still remain valid.

"Much like the last two arguments, Jerry contends the Cosmological argument posits a personal god. This is simply not true. The Cosmological argument does not argue specifically for a god, in as much as it argues for a cause which might be a god."

God is the only possible cause of the Universe. The cause must be eternal (created time), omnipresent (created space), moral (created moral values), intelligent/creative, and etc...Nothing else but a personal God could do all of this.

"His premise was 'everything that begins to exist has a cause', not "everything that begins to exist from nothing has a cause". My objection stands."

If virtual particles begin to exist, the cause is the physical vacuum. If you are arguing that the particles are nothing (and don't being to exist), then my point about everything beginning to exist (and having a cause) remains valid. If nothing exist and doesn't have a cause, that doesn't refute my first premise.

"However, he had no response for how the cause must be a being over a force of nature. My objection stands."

Well...the force would have created nature since nature is apart of the universe. Your objection just had its legs cut off (this is meant in a humorous way).

"Clearly, WLC"s priority is not to evidence and reason, but to his belief. While all humans may be biased, WLC embraces his bias at the cost of objectivity."

The problem here is that the evidence does support his view and he can sate facts objectively. He always admits when something is just an opinion of his. The fact is that the evidence does support an empty tomb. His bias is no different than the atheist that rejects God no matter what the evidence is. Nevertheless the facts support what he says on the resurrection of Jesus.

"Let us start with the synoptic Gospels: they are not thought to be eye-witness accounts nor are they independent from each other."

They are thought to be eyewitness accounts (for the most part). Anyone who says otherwise hasn't read them. Matthew and John were eyewitnesses. The other two were surrounded by by other disciples who were eyewitnesses. I with have to go more into this in the last round due to character limits. See this link for info: https://carm.org...

That last paragraph you made never established why anything was circular. You merely stated some (not all) correct facts about the disciples. You never even explained why first century non-biblical sources are needed. Why would people who didn't know Jesus be better than the people who did know him or be better than the people who knew people who knew Jesus?

I will mainly focus on Jesus in the last round. I hope my opponent is okay with this. I don't see the point in dropping all arguments since that would leave me with nothing to do.
Debate Round No. 3
Skepticalone

Con

Thanks, Jerry!!


The Axiological Argument:

Pro’s definition of “personal god” leaves him falling well short of the god proclaimed in the Bible. A “rational, self-conscious, volitional being” and a being which is available for a personal relationship with any human (as Jesus is claimed to be) or who has been revealed to mankind are not synonymous. Additionally, he explicitly states the being he argues for might not “have personal contact with the governed or to be known by name” This is an admission the “Axiological argument” is not specifically arguing for the god of the Bible. As I stated last round, “if Pro were to prove a god by these argument we would not know which god he had proved”. This should be viewed as a concession by Pro on this point. Should the reader agree with my appraisal, then the rest of my response under this heading may be skipped.

Premises - Pro is misrepresenting my argument by claiming I am advocating a subjective morality. Evolution provides the necessary framework for determining what is good. Instead of ‘good’ being defined as some mysterious supernatural quality, ‘good’ becomes identical to certain natural states. With this view ‘good’ can be determined empirically, rather than by intuition, and as such, is objective. Incidentally, the barbaric Biblical values mentioned last round can be shown to decrease well-being, and it is through this type of realizations that we are moving away from these things rather than by the whim of a transcendental being.

Slavery and rape-marriage is a degradation of humanity (Pro conceded the ‘son stoning’ with no argumentation of his own, and his source was literally defending against my interpretation with “Yes, but”. Not to mention, I already attacked this source for anonymity in rnd2) For what it’s worth, Pro’s narrative of the ‘slaves were treated as family’ and were to be released after 6 years is only true for Israelite slaves. Non Israelite slaves could be beaten, so long as they didn’t die within a couple of days (Exodus 21:20-21), and kept for life and willed to children as property (Leviticus 25:44-46).

Moving on – My opponent suggests a morality which could be wrong is not objective (I’m not sure how he avoids this objection himself considering the problematic Biblical values already mentioned). However, he is making the assumption that objective morality is equivalent to absolute morality. Objective morality is simply a method for determining right and wrong without being dependent on opinion. Pro also questions how we have any responsibilities under ethical naturalism – Reciprocity, for one. If individuals wish to benefit from society, then they’re going to need to contribute to it in some way. Reciprocity increases societal cohesion, and societal cohesion increases the overall well-being of the group.

Finally, Pro has given no defense against, or an explanation for, proto-morality as demonstrated in the prosocial experiments. These experiments support a natural morality built on characteristics derived from an objective source (our shared evolutionary heritage).

The Teleological Argument:

The teleological argument could be used to argue for any number of gods. It is just as reasonable to say it argues for Zamba [1] just as much as it argues for Jesus, which is to say – not reasonable at all.

Pro claims “natural is complex” and I think this is meant to propose that the complexity of our universe suggests a creator, but this is simply an unsupported assertion. To establish this I could ask,” what level of complexity demands a designer and how was this determined?” The answer would be arbitrary.
We could look at this in another way. It stands to reason that designers are much more complex than their designs. If complexity demands a designer then who or what designed the designer?

The Cosmological Argument:

I realize this is repetitive, but this argument is irrelevant to the Christian god since it could be also used to argue for other gods. If the argument is not specifically arguing for the deity of the Bible, then it does nothing to build up Pro’s case. Additionally, it seems he views arguments for god similar to Legos and he can build whatever god he arbitrarily desires by stacking them together. However, each argument petitions for a limited set of characteristics. It is a non sequitur to claim the cause of the cosmological argument is also a moral lawgiver and/or designer, or that the designer is also a moral lawgiver, etc. etc. The premises from one argument does not carry over to other arguments.

Jerry claims the physical vacuum is the cause of virtual particles, but this is like saying water is the cause of waves. It is a nonsensical answer. The truth is we don’t know what causes virtual particles. We only know that they exist. The same can be said for an unstable nucleus emitting radiation. There is no known cause. So to say that “everything that begins to exist has a cause” is not something we can claim with certainty.

The Existence of Jesus:

Pro argues that the evidence supports William Lane Craig so, essentially, objectivity is unimportant. I assume the stories of the resurrection in the Bible are the evidence Pro speaks of (Pro hasn’t presented any arguments of WLC about the resurrection). This is the problem that I mentioned in my very first round of argumentation. The claim of the resurrection being submitted as evidence of the resurrection is circular. Assuming John is an eye-witness account (assumed for the sake of the argument), there are no other eye witness accounts to corroborate it within the Bible. The synoptic Gospels are not eye witness accounts (explained below). So, the Bible cannot provide evidence for the resurrection because it is the claim of the resurrection, and your conclusion can not be built into your premise. In summary, there has been no evidence submitted for the resurrection, only claims of it, and without evidence Pro's case has no teeth and his preferred advocate (WLC) without objectivity has no credibility.

Pro asserts the synoptic Gospels are of eyewitnesses, and “anyone who says otherwise hasn’t read them”. Bart Erhman is a New Testament scholar and I think it is safe to say he has read the Gospels many times. Yet he concludes the gospels are not eyewitness accounts. [2] The same can be said for Robert Kysar, Raymond Brown, Jonathan Bernier, and most New Testament scholars as explained by Matthew Ferguson:

The traditional authors of the canonical Gospels — Matthew the tax collector, Mark the attendant of Peter, Luke the attendant of Paul, and John the son of Zebedee — are doubted among the majority of mainstream New Testament scholars. However, the public is often not familiar with the complex reasons and methodology that scholars use to reach definitive and well-supported consensuses about critical issues, such as assessing the authorial traditions for ancient texts. [3]

“Why would people who didn't know Jesus be better than the people who did know him or be better than the people who knew people who knew Jesus?”

This is a very good question. Let’s say, hypothetically, you’re accused of murder. You have two witnesses that can verify your alibi, but you can only choose one. The first is a neighbor you don’t really know who can verify you were arguing loudly with your girlfriend at home. The second is your now ex-girlfriend you were arguing with because of your infidelity. (She hates your guts). The neighbor is more likely to stick to the facts because he has neutral feelings for you. He is a disinterested witness. Your ex, on the other hand, might get you sent to prison by not sticking to the facts! The neighbor is a more credible witness even though your ex knows you much better. This works in reverse too. The disinterested witnesses, i.e. the contemporaries of Jesus who were not followers, have nothing to gain by embellishing the facts. The disciples of Jesus are the ‘anti ex-girlfriend’, if you will. They are passionate about Jesus, and they are more likely to embellish the events.

Conclusion:

The axiological, teleological, and cosmological arguments do not argue for any revealed god. In fact, at most, they argue for a deistic god. As far as Pro’s final argument, he has left it utterly unsupported with poor sources and no evidence. What’s worse is that he hasn’t really provided me much in the way of his own words to refute. In conclusion, the full burden is on Pro and he has not bore it.

I asked Pro to present any and all arguments he had in round 3, but he declined. Keep in mind that I will not have the opportunity to rebut any new arguments by Pro, and I feel they should be discounted. Also, since Pro has the burden, he will need to do more than address my objections – he will need to overcome them. If the voters feel Pro and I have made equally compelling cases, then I get the win due to Pro’s burden. Pro must make a better case to win. That being said, I wish Pro the best of luck and send this back over to him!

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...(god)

[2] http://ehrmanblog.org...

[3] https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com...

Jerry947

Pro

"Pro"s definition of "personal god" leaves him falling well short of the god proclaimed in the Bible."

Not at all. I have established that God is personal. You are asking for something more than this. Now, you also want me to show that he has relationships with people.

"A rational, self-conscious, volitional being and a being which is available for a personal relationship with any human (as Jesus is claimed to be) or who has been revealed to mankind are not synonymous."

You asked me to argue for a personal God and I did. In this last round for you are asking me to show you that this God has relationships with people. I will do my best to address this later on in this round.

"Additionally, he explicitly states the being he argues for might not "have personal contact with the governed or to be known by name"

I said that a lawgiver doesn't necessarily have to have relationships with the people he creates. But the creator of the objective moral code isn't just a lawgiver, he has to be 100% moral as I have already showed my opponent in previous rounds. So a moral God would have to be involved with his creation and to not just let them suffer.

"As I stated last round, "if Pro were to prove a god by these argument we would not know which god he had proved". This should be viewed as a concession by Pro on this point."

Uh no. That was something you said. My arguments show a personal God and they show that he is moral.

"Pro is misrepresenting my argument by claiming I am advocating a subjective morality. Evolution provides the necessary framework for determining what is good."

I understand what you believe. But believing that evolution provides us with the means to decide what is good is subjective whether you realize it or not. I have gone into great detail already with this and my opponent still ignores everything I said on the matter. He still hasn't answered the four questions I asked him.

"Slavery and rape-marriage is a degradation of humanity (Pro conceded the "son stoning" with no argumentation of his own, and his source was literally defending against my interpretation with "Yes, but". Not to mention, I already attacked this source for anonymity in rnd2)"

My opponent has literally ignored what I said about rape and about slavery. Hopefully the voters will realize that my opponent just keeps asserting things and never actually refutes any points I make. I never conceded anything about son stoning. But because I take a lot of time addressing every point my opponent makes, I didn't have enough characters to address the matter. My source was fine, my opponent just doesn't trust anything a Christian says.

The verse from Exodus my opponent mentions was for all slaves including non-Israelites. My opponent just didn't read the Bible. In other words, all slaves were considered members of the family and etc...For the record, exodus 21 mentions a restriction on slavery. God didn't say that slaves could be beaten, but that if they did beat their slaves...they would be punished. And my opponent still has said nothing about the fact that God free thousands of slaves in the book of exodus.

"These experiments support a natural morality built on characteristics derived from an objective source (our shared evolutionary heritage)."

I found those experiments very confusing. I don't see how that proved that animals were moral/immoral. Like I already said, my opponent seems to see traits in animals that aren't really there. For example, (https://www.google.com...) this article shows an example of a killer monkey. I can guarantee no one yelled at the monkey for being immoral. It is completely illogical for people to see morality in animals when they so clearly operate on instinct. Humans are different.

"To establish this I could ask," what level of complexity demands a designer and how was this determined?"

That wasn't even the entire argument. This is another example of a case where my opponent ignores my main point. Life feels rigged in our favor as I established in round one. My opponent never argued against this and therefore my point remains valid.

"If the argument is not specifically arguing for the deity of the Bible, then it does nothing to build up Pro"s case."

The argument argues for a personal, timeless, all powerful, moral, creative being. The God of the Bible is all of those things so I don't know why my opponent keeps saying that this argument doesn't argue for the God of the Bible.

"The truth is we don"t know what causes virtual particles. We only know that they exist."

You were trying to use virtual particles as something that happened without a cause. This would have refuted my statement about everything existing has a cause. Now my opponent says that we don't know what caused these particles which is basically a concession (don't know if it happened on purpose) that the particles do have a cause. Therefore the first premise of my cosmological argument still remains valid.

"So to say that "everything that begins to exist has a cause" is not something we can claim with certainty."

Things do not come from nothing. It is illogical to say that things can come from nowhere. So I have no idea why my opponent would say something like this. Until my opponent can name something that begins to exist and doesn't have a cause...then my statement remains valid yet again.

"The claim of the resurrection being submitted as evidence of the resurrection is circular."

My opponent has stated this many times but has never proved it. A circular argument is one that assumes what it is tying to prove. My opponent never states why the Bible commits this fallacy. For example, the gospel writer John didn't say that Jesus was God because he thinks he is God. But John argues (21 Chapters) that because Jesus did miracles (which he witnessed), because Jesus died and rose again (which was unexpected), and etc...that Jesus must be fully God. Nothing about this is circular.

No one ever claimed the resurrection as evidence of the resurrection. My evidence of the resurrection is that many people in the time period wrote about the resurrection taking place and my opponent has provided no reason to discredit what they say.

"Assuming John is an eye-witness account (assumed for the sake of the argument), there are no other eye witness accounts to corroborate it within the Bible."

We don't have to assume anything. Matthew and John were both disciples of Jesus and they were there when Jesus was murdered. They were eyewitnesses.

"So, the Bible cannot provide evidence for the resurrection because it is the claim of the resurrection."

No. The Bible is the evidence for the claim that the Resurrection happened. We have two eyewitness accounts by the disciples of Jesus and Mark/Luke were surrounded by the people that were there at his death. They recorded what happened and my opponent has provided no reason to ignore what they said.

"In summary, there has been no evidence submitted for the resurrection, only claims of it, and without evidence Pro's case has no teeth and his preferred advocate (WLC) without objectivity has no credibility."

I have given plenty of evidence for the Resurrection. I talked about the conversions of Jesus' brothers, I talked about the empty tomb, and mentioned Biblical evidence. My opponent has not refuted any on these things. William Lane Craig is a Christian, but that doesn't mean he can't analyze evidence like the rest of us. The link I provided showed that the resurrection was the best explanation for the empty tomb. And since my opponent has not showed me another explanation...it seems that my opponent concedes that the resurrection is the best explanation.

"The traditional authors of the canonical Gospels " Matthew the tax collector, Mark the attendant of Peter, Luke the attendant of Paul, and John the son of Zebedee " are doubted among the majority of mainstream New Testament scholars. However, the public is often not familiar with the complex reasons and methodology that scholars use to reach definitive and well-supported consensuses about critical issues, such as assessing the authorial traditions for ancient texts. [3]"

Matthew was a disciple of Jesus and was present at his execution, Mark knew someone that was there, Luke knew people that were there (Peter), and John was present at his death. Your quote does nothing to show that majority of Bible scholars believe that they were not eyewitness accounts. You merely showed that a few atheist Bible scholars do not believe this is the case.

"They are passionate about Jesus, and they are more likely to embellish the events."

How do you embellish the resurrection of someone? You can't fake something like this. Remember Jesus' brothers? They were not Christians until after Jesus was resurrected. What would it take for my opponent to believe that his brother was God?

So it wasn't just his disciples that spoke about him this way, it was people who weren't his apostles (Luke/Mark) and his own family members who were also there at the execution.

Conclusion:
a. My first three arguments establish that he is a personal God, and my opponent could not refute these arguments.
b. My last argument was supported by the Bible and a link that explained that the resurrection was the best explanation for the empty tomb. My opponent in response ignored everything I said and claimed that the Bible was circular and that my source being written by a Christian wouldn't be accepted by him.

Since my opponent pretty much ignored everything I wrote on evolution/Jesus, he should not win the debate.

PS: Also, he didn't even make a case. He just tried to refute what I wrote.
Debate Round No. 4
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Skepticalone 2 months ago
Skepticalone
Those were devil's advocate debates, Wolfy. :-)
Posted by wolf24 2 months ago
wolf24
con has another debate on this topic. and he says God does exist. Now hes con. make up your mind skepticalone.
Posted by Jovian 9 months ago
Jovian
Pro's failure to recognize how an appeal to NT to prove NT would be circular, that just made my eyes BLEED. If any religion could use their holy book as an epitome of truth, then ALL religions would be true. I know that some people reading this will think "But all religions point to a god, so they are all true!", but sorry, it makes no sense at all that the Earth was both dropped by a cosmic rooster (Yazidi), and created by a man in the clouds shouting (Christianity), and sprung out of Chaos (Greek mythology), and being moved by own will out of a big cloud (Islam). So, no, they are not simultaneously true.
Posted by Skepticalone 9 months ago
Skepticalone
Thanks, WF.
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
whiteflame
Next on my list, guys. Hopefully have an RFD posted late tomorrow.
Posted by Jerry947 9 months ago
Jerry947
Maybe another time. I am kind of busy and I am trying to finish two other debates. Plus I recently got challenged to another debate.

But I would love to hear your case against the Christian God in the future.
Posted by Skepticalone 9 months ago
Skepticalone
Jerry, if you'd like for me to make a case against the Christian god - I'm game for another debate. You can be the instigator. ;-)
Posted by Jerry947 9 months ago
Jerry947
Sort of...but you really didn't have to do much in this debate. I pretty much had to do all the work since I had the full burden. So I think it is a mistake for someone to say that we made equal cases.

But...I get what you are saying.
Posted by Skepticalone 9 months ago
Skepticalone
I presented a case against your case.... Let's not get into semantics. ;-)
Posted by Jerry947 9 months ago
Jerry947
I know. But you said we had equal cases. That isn't true since you never presented a case. You were merely trying to refute a case in this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 9 months ago
whiteflame
SkepticaloneJerry947
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Given here: http://www.debate.org/forums/religion/topic/82466/