The Instigator
jat93
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
Strikeeagle84015
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The "Epicurean paradox" disproves the existence of the biblical God.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/25/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,186 times Debate No: 12413
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

jat93

Pro

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"- Epicurus

If God is defined as - the supernatural being conceived as the perfect and omnipotent and omniscient originator and ruler of the universe; the object of worship in monotheistic religions (as according to http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...) the Epicurean Paradox sufficiently disproves his existence.
Strikeeagle84015

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this chance to debate such a fascinating and interesting topic. I look forward to an interesting and fascinating debate.
Before I begin I would like to say that I am going to be liberally peppering my arguments with Scripture I am not really trying to make a point or looking for a way to debate the scripture more of to just illustrate a point (unless otherwise indicated)
That said let the Debate begin

Introduction
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Now the Epicurean paradox is basically a restatement of the problem of evil which is.
1.God exists.
2.God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good.
3.A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils.
4.An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence.
5.An omnipotent being, who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence.
6.A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil.
7.If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists.
8.Evil exists therefore god cannot
I have four counterarguments to this paradox
1.The "Logical" Problem with the Problem of Evil
2.Free Will Argument
3.Opposition Argument
4.Progression Argument
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1.The "Logical Problem with the Problem of Evil
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2 Nephi 9:28-29
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.[1]
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Now my personal favorite answer the the Problem of Evil is this.
1.If there is no God then there is no absolute morality
2.If there is no absolute morality then morality must be relative
3.If morality is relative then evil is only a stance and thus does not really exist
4.If there is no evil then the entire problem of Evil fails because of the lack of evil which is necessary for points 3-8 in the Problem of Evil
Thus the counterargument is that if there is no God there cannot be any absolute morality. If there is no absolute morality then evil is simply when something is what an individual thinks it should be. So then the problem of evil would become. "God doesn't exist becasue the world isn't the way I want it" which of course is absurd.

Free Will Argument
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2 Nephi 2:27
27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.[1]
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My second argument against the Epicurean Paradox is that God gave mankind free will and he gave them the choice to act as they will, knowing they may use their free will to act contrary to his will. He did this because if we had not free will then we would be simply a world full of moving computer programs without ability to make choice or do as we like, this would means that we would have no choice as to whether or not to have faith, we would not be able to choose whether or not we wanted to love god, and we would have had no choice as to whether or not we want to do good or evil. Now without this choice our entire existence would be for naught because if we never had the choice of whether or not to choose good or evil and be tempted by evil we would never be allowed to progress or further ourselves, we would remain in the same state we did before we came to this earth.
Therefore in summary God gave us free will and the ability to choose good and evil in order for us to progress.

Opposition Argument
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11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.[2]
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My third argument is that if there existed no evil mankind could know no good. It is similar to the old saying "you don't know what you got until you lost it". You really can't enjoy the good times unless you have experienced bad times. For example if you have never gone hungry you can't appreciate what being full is because you have never known otherwise. Now this ties into the Epicurean paradox because God would allow evil to exist because if we never had evil we would never know what good is. This argument is similar in some respects to the Free Will Argument. But basically if we had never experienced sorrow we could never experience joy.

These are my three rebuttals to the Epicurean paradox and I look forward to my opponents response.

[1]http://www.coolcontent.com...
[2]http://scriptures.lds.org...
Debate Round No. 1
jat93

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.
I have presented the Epicurean paradox which I contend successfully negates the existence of God. My opponent has restated and even clarified the paradox. I will clarify it again through an explanation of the problem of evil by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

1. If God exists, then God is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.
2. If God is omnipotent, then God has the power to eliminate all evil.
3. If God is omniscient, then God knows when evil exists.
4. If God is morally perfect, then God has the desire to eliminate all evil.
5. Evil exists.
6. If evil exists and God exists, then either God doesn't have the power to eliminate all evil, or doesn't know when evil exists, or doesn't have the desire to eliminate all evil.
7. Therefore, God doesn't exist. [1]

My opponent has objections that he says discredit the legitimacy of this paradox.

"1. The "Logical" Problem with the Problem of Evil"

I have a few objections to the following reasoning -

"Now my personal favorite answer the the Problem of Evil is this.
1.If there is no God then there is no absolute morality
2.If there is no absolute morality then morality must be relative
3.If morality is relative then evil is only a stance and thus does not really exist
4.If there is no evil then the entire problem of Evil fails because of the lack of evil which is necessary for points 3-8 in the Problem of Evil
Thus the counterargument is that if there is no God there cannot be any absolute morality. If there is no absolute morality then evil is simply when something is what an individual thinks it should be. So then the problem of evil would become. "God doesn't exist becasue the world isn't the way I want it" which of course is absurd."

- You contend that without God, humans would be so morally lost that they wouldn't have a problem with the brutal rape and murder of a seven year old girl. I wonder if you seriously, realistically believe this. What about people who have not accepted God and his rules? What about people who reject him? Do they not know that raping and murdering a little girl is not a good thing to do?
- This argument puts the God who is wise, rational, and acts on good reasons in serious question. And without those qualities in God, why do his commands obligate? Commands don't create obligations unless the commander has commanding authority. This commanding authority can't be based on the commands themselves. So, in order for God's commands to obligate, he must gain commanding authority from some source other than his own will.
- Lastly - this position puts God's goodness (his perfect goodness, omnibenevolence) in question. If all morality is simply what God wants, what about God's morality? If you say that moral standards are set by divine command, to call God morally good is only to say that he follows his own commands - that he lives up to his own standards. Now, if you are going to quote the bible and "cherry pick" your bible verses, you have to take the others into account as well.

It must be stated that there are indeed many "good" (at least by modern and ancient society's standards) moral teachings in the Bible. Take the Ten Commandments for instance – God prohibits murder, adultery, and thievery, among other things. God even encourages the honor of "thy mother and father." Those are some truly respectable values.

God - "Thou shalt not murder." [2] But....
God - Commits genocide by flooding the earth and destroying everybody alive [3]
God - Sets a plague upon the Israelites and kills a whopping twenty-four thousand of them because a bunch of them had sex with people who practiced a different religion than them (in this case, Ba'al worshipers). [4]
God - Sends two bears to tear forty two children to shreds for calling Elisha a "baldhead." [5]
God - Kills seventy thousand innocent Israelites for David's sin. [6]
God - Kills 185,000 sleeping Assyrian soldiers. [7]
God - "Girls who are not virgins when they get married must be put to death." [8]
God - "Those who pick up sticks on the Sabbath must be put to death." [9]
God - "Blasphemers must be stoned." [10]
God - "Disobedient teenagers must be put to death." [11]
God - "Prostitutes whose fathers are priests must be burnt to death." [12]

And so if God is the sole proprietor of morality, and morality "works" merely because he says it does, he is necessarily a hypocrite as well, doing/commanding all of the above, all the while saying "Though shalt not commit murder." So your "God = absolute moral standard" stance fails because God is hypocritical, does not follow his own commands, and is immoral (not omnibenevolent, perfectly good, or whichever term you choose) even by his own standards.

"2. Free Will Argument"

- This argument fails because if God is omnipotent, he should be able to to prevent evil in a way that does not involve limiting free will. For example, one man could walk up to another man with a gun, pull the trigger and try to murder him, only to realize that the gun had not been set up correctly. This is one example of how an omnipotent God should be able to prevent the suffering that befell an innocent man without compromising the free will of the murderer.

- Furthermore, this "free will argument" does nothing to take care of babies born with horrible diseases or earthquakes that kill millions of people, like the semi-recent earthquake in Haiti. Whose free will would God have been impeding by preventing the earth quake, or the baby born with Tay-Sachs (disease that causes the deterioration of both mental and physical abilities in infants, usually resulting in death by the age of four or five)? Whose free will would God have been impeding by preventing that?

"3. Opposition Argument"

In essence this argument states that good cannot exist without evil because otherwise there would be nothing to compare to good. I beg to differ.

- First of all - does it really? Says who? Imagine a child born who is born with HIV, beaten by his parents, and who dies at age seven because of starvation. The child never knew good, but without the knowledge of good, did the child not know bad? Is it really true that people with what we deem miserable lives - yes, they exist - don't know their "bad" without the knowledge of "good?" If the bad can exist without the good, you can't say it's impossible to see the good without the bad.

- But let's assume that the previous paragraph is nonsense, and we can't know good without knowing bad. In this world, there is much more than only good and evil. There are many steps in between. In fact, rarely is there only good and evil, because most things in this world are neither; They are neutral. Neutral is simply the absence of good. If God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, or perfectly good, then God should be able to create a world with with no evil, consisting of only good and neutral, and he should want to create that world, yet evil still exists. And at the very least, God should be able to reduce the amount of evil - to create a world with a lesser amount of evil. There could exist just enough evil "accomplish its mission" and no serious evil would ever exist - yet it does.

I have maintained that the Epicurean paradox negates the existence of God and have refuted all your objections against it. Epicurus' logic remains rock solid, thousands of years later.

Voters - if you are intellectually honest people, you should vote pro. Thank you, and thanks to my opponent for the debate.

Sources -
[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] Exodus 20:12
[3] Genesis 6:7
[4] Numbers 25: 1-9
[5] Kings 2, 2: 23 – 24
[6] Samuel 2 24: 10-15
[7] Kings 2, 19:35
[8] Deuteronomy 22:13-21
[9] Exodus 35:2
[10] Leviticus 24:16
[11] Deuteronomy 21:18-21
[12] Leviticus 21:9
Strikeeagle84015

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this interesting and informative debate.
Before I begin my final statements I would just like to point out that if God does indeed exist, as we have defined him, then the Human Soul is immortal and will last for all eternity thus making our brief sojourn on this earth not quite as horrible as it seems right now.

So continuing

Pro has presented three rebuttals to my first point I will address each of these in order

His first - point

I believe Pro has misunderstood my first argument. My argument is not that people would not have any morality it is that no one person's morality would be true because without the absolutism represented in God, all things would then be relative including morality. If morality is relative then no person can say their morality is better than someone else's because it is all a matter of opinion. So if there was someone whose morality said that it was okay to rape and murder a seven year old little girl, then you cannot say that what he did was evil because his morality is different than yours and without an absolute morality, that can only be achieved with the existence of god, there cannot truly exist evil only differences in morality.

His second - point

Now this is true, God himself has a moral law that he to must follows otherwise he would cease to be God, however God will only do things for the salvation of man and he is omnipotent and can do anything, however he will only ever do things that pertain to righteousness. Now I don't know exactly what this moral law is because it has not been revealed unto mankind, or at least me. In addition if you don't understand how something God does is something pertaining to righteousness doesn't mean that it doesn't as I highly doubt you are omniscient and able to see and understand all things that god does, no offense.

His third - point
Now I would like to point out first that Pro was the first person to bring in the Bible into this debate not me; however in my opponent has brought forth a slew of Bible verses that supposedly put God's perfectness into question I will address some of the bible verses in a minute but first I would like to point out something.
Pro has decided to judge God's actions and thus assumes that his morality is superior to that of God's. This is absurd for as previously stated I highly doubt that jat93 is omniscient, whereas God is, so it is like a being that posses the mind of an ant trying to judge the actions of a human. It is absurd for the ant cannot even begin to comprehend many of the things that the human does.
But in continuance I would like to address two particular verses as the answers to them can be applied to other verses.
God - Commits genocide by flooding the earth and destroying everybody alive [3]
Now in order to understand this you first have to recognize that all the people on the earth were wicked and there was not a single righteous soul among all the inhabitants of the earth save Noah and his family. Now these people were beyond all chance of redemption and had they continued in their wickedness it would be oh so much worse for them when they were brought before the eternal judgement bar of God. Now it God by smiting them has made it so they no longer have that opportunity to continue in their wickedness and no longer inflict harm upon themselves from the eternal perspective.

God - Sets a plague upon the Israelites and kills a whopping twenty-four thousand of them because a bunch of them had sex with people who practiced a different religion than them (in this case, Ba'al worshipers). [4]
In this situation these people had openly defied God's commandments, now when a child disobeys a parent punishes them, and remember God does not view death as the end it is simply an intermediary step.

Continuing
Con's first rebuttal to my 2nd point
C.S. Lewis actually has a quote about that
"We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound waves that carry lies or insults. But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them"[1]
So if every time someone attempted to shoot another person and God made the gun not work than this is still infringing upon the free will of the person using the gun. Now if you say that what if God did it only part of the time then you cannot prove that he doesn't do it now and does not sometimes cause a gun not to work.

2nd response to my 2nd argument
I will concede that the free will argument does not answer these things.

3rd argument rebuttal first -
Now my opponent does not realize that honestly this child does not know what starvation is if they never knew what it was to be full. Yes this child had a horrible life but if they really never encountered good in their entire life then they don't know how horrible they have it because they know no other life. Yes from our standards this child had a horrible life but because we have encountered quite a bit of good in our lives, that allows us to realize how bad the child has it.

3rd argument rebuttal 2nd -
All things can be reduced to a matter of principal all principals are either of God or of Satan, there is no neutrality in the eternal scheme of things

I urge voters to vote Con as one of my refutations has passed through strongly and only one needs to.

[1]C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain HarperCollins:New York, 1996 p.24-25
Debate Round No. 2
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by stubs 5 years ago
stubs
The problem of evil has never successfully refuted the existence of God, but Con did not argue well
Posted by brucewilson 7 years ago
brucewilson
For the Con,

Has no one yet mentioned the Philosophy 101 problem of an omniscient god and free will?

The idea goes as follows:

A man stands in front of two doors, both closed. One has an apple behind it and one does not. He is to pick a door, assumedly under the mindset of free will. However, there is an observer who knows which door he will pick. Every time, without fail. The observer is omniscient. He knows everything. He knows what brought the man to those two doors. He knows what will happen next.

The problem is this:

Is the the man truly free to pick a door? Or is it the illusion of free will?

Omniscience requires the absolute knowledge, and even in a world with quantum mechanics and an uncertainty principle, an omniscient being is right about everything every time. S/he knows what will happen and why.

So how can your conception of god, who knows what decisions will be made at all times and where they will eventually lead, co-exist with the idea of absolute free will and not just the illusion of free will?

B-
Posted by ChuckHenryII 7 years ago
ChuckHenryII
Con- your opposition argument is a weak one because evil is the departure from good, not the other way around. Good can exist without evil, but evil cannot exist without the good which it opposes.
Posted by jat93 7 years ago
jat93
which of your refutations has passed through strongly?
Posted by whatledge 7 years ago
whatledge
Which is why I said most criminals and not all. Just like most people the holocaust as evil, but not all. The reason I voted for Pro was because Yahweh does not follow his own objective morality.
Posted by Strikeeagle84015 7 years ago
Strikeeagle84015
Not all the time Hitler killed millions of children but felt he was doing right very few people ever think they ever did something wrong
Posted by whatledge 7 years ago
whatledge
If someone can look at the rape and murder of a chlid, without God, we can't call the act evil? I understand the objective morality argument, but most criminals accept what they did was bad, it was just that they didn't care.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FREEDO 7 years ago
FREEDO
jat93Strikeeagle84015Tied
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Vote Placed by whatledge 7 years ago
whatledge
jat93Strikeeagle84015Tied
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