The Existence of God
In this debate, I intend to discuss and debate the God of the Christian origin. As Con, I will be arguing that God does not exist, and Pro, my opponent, will be arguing that God does exist.
God: A supreme, omniscient, omnipotent, morally perfect being, that is thought to have created and rules the universe.
Theist: Having the belief in a god/gods.
Atheist: Lacking the belief in god/gods.
Creationism: the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, rather than by natural processes such as evolution.
Evolution: the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.
Omniscient: All-knowing, knows past, present, future.
Omnipotent: having unlimited power; able to do anything.
Faith: strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
First round: acceptance only.
Second round: arguments only.
Third round: rebuttals only.
Fourth round: Counter-rebuttals.
Forfeiture is an automatic loss.
My accepting the debate, you accept all the definitions and rules. If you would like to question a rule or definition, please specify in the first round.
Do not limit your duties. E.g. Only proving that there is a possibility that God exists.
Breaking any rules will result in an automatic loss.
Second, omnipotence does not mean God can do whatever He wants. It means He can do anything with the proviso that it is consistent with His nature. God is rational and does not create squared circles or married bachelors.
I'm anxious that we not start out with you having set traps with these definitions of yours.
Thank you (Apokiliptik) for accepting, this should make for an interesting debate. As Apokiliptik’s username is troublesome to type out, we have agreed on a username to refer him as, which is Jon.
As debates in their very nature can lead to heated exchanges, I hope that Jon and I can treat each other with respect and maturity in order to maintain the best debating environment possible.
As the rules specify in the first round, the second round is for arguments only. I will present three arguments in this round that will be the foundation of my side of the debate.
First Round Problems:
When Jon accepted the debate in the first round, he stated two main concerns that he had with the debate.
The definition I provided for Atheism was as follows, “Lacking the belief in god/gods.” Jon did not agree with this, so we have worked together to come up with a new definition that we both agree with. This is, "having the belief that no god(s) exist."
Jon also presented his problem with the definition of omnipotence. After having a long and meaningful conversation about it that lasted about two days. We have made progress, but have sadly not come to an agreement. The disagreement is as follows;
I believe Omnipotence is, “the ability to do all things.”
Jon believes that Omnipotence is, (as he said in our conversation) “maximally powerful in relation to ability (having only the limits of his nature and that He can't do things which are by definition impossible)”
Sadly we could not work this out before the time was up for the debate to start so we will have to start the debate with opposing viewpoints.
In order for a being to possess the title of God, this being must possess the trait of omnipotence. In other words, if a being does not possess omnipotence, this being is not a God. In this argument, I will prove how omnipotence is an impossible trait to possess, therefore making it impossible for any God to exist.
Omnipotence is the ability to do all things. If a being cannot do all things, then that being is not omnipotent. But some abilities are impossible such as; being a married bachelor. Since you cannot be married and be a bachelor at the same time that ability is impossible to possess.
1: God has to be omnipotent, if he is not he is not a god.
2: Omnipotence is the ability to do all things.
3: Since the ability of being a married bachelor is impossible, it is impossible to have the ability to do all things.
4: Omnipotence is impossible.
5: Since omnipotence is impossible, God is impossible.
6: God does not exist.
In my second argument, I will be using the common argument of morality. By definition (as specified in the first round) if God is to exist, he would have to retain moral perfection. Since God is omnipotent, he has the ability to do all things, therefore he is able to stop any immoral actions to take place ever.
Yet many immoral actions have happened and happen every day (e.g. The Holocaust, The Black Death, The Great Chinese Famine, WWII, etc.) yet God did not stop these immoral acts from occurring.
1: God is morally perfect and omnipotent (has the ability to stop all immoral acts).
2: If God exists there should be no evil, immorality, cruelty, etc.
3: Yet there is evil, immorality, cruelty, etc.
4: Therefore God does not exist.
The God of the Christian origin is described through the Bible.
“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.”
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; “
God, described by the Bible is thought to be perfect. Something is rendered perfect when it has no imperfections. Anything that is an extension of its being has to be perfect. Yet God makes mistakes/imperfections. Evidence of this is,
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (1)
(Repent: to feel regret or contrition) (2)
The Bible is a credible source to use to envision God, because according to the Christian culture the Bible is written by their God.
Since God regrets his decision on making man, he feels he has made a mistake and regrets making man in the first place. Yet God doesn’t make mistakes, God is perfect and has no imperfections.
1: According to Christian culture, God is perfect. (evidence of this is cited above, Bible)
2: God should not have regrets because he is perfect.
3: God is therefore not perfect because he has done an imperfection.
4: The God of Christianity is contradictory.
5: God does not exist.
I conclude that the God of the Christian origin does not exist because of the reasons provided above.
I look forward to the arguments that Jon will bring up in his next response. I’d like to wish Jon, and anybody reading this the best of luck, thank you!
Apokiliptik forfeited this round.
I am very disappointed for I had looked forward to an interesting debate, but sadly that has not happened. As the rules say, a “Forfeiture is an automatic loss.”
All of my arguments are extended.
God is the creator of all material and spiritual existence. God is the being who is eternal, all mighty, and all knowing. Another attribute of the being God is that He exists as three persons. The one being God exists in an eternal relationship. One of the essences of God and this relationship is love. (1 John 4:8 "The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.") When God made people; He wanted people who could be free to choose Him and enter into a loving relationship with Him. This implies that they can reject him and go their own way. Goodness (Morality) is whatever is consistent with God's will. God is the source of all existence and this would include parameters like goodness. God is incapable of doing something immoral because God is incapable of acting against His own will. The moment He tries to act against His own will, that is His will. God is the owner of all things in a very complete sense. If God destroys something or allows it to be destroyed it cannot be said that God is doing something wrong. Isn't God free to do what He wants with His own things? God's parameters for goodness need not be feared. They are controlled as it were by God's nature. They come out a certain way because of who He is. God is love. We can know that God doesn't have bad intentions in what He does or allows.
Modern scientific thought tells us that it appears that some 13.8 billion years ago, all of time, space, and energy, which then led to matter, erupted into existence at a single point.
(http://www.space.com...) The source of this ultimately would seem to have to be a source that is not constrained by time and space. It also seems that it has to be a personal agent or you go backwards into a chain of infinite regress. If it's a impersonal force then it would be a repeating one. How do you get a universe that has an arrow to time coming from an impersonal source that doesn't have one. Further observation of the Universe shows us that many properties of the Universe are "Fine tuned".(www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpIiIaC4kRA)
Upon investigation it seems that a Creator was involved in the mechanics of the Universe. This implies a mind behind the Universe. This supports the idea of a personal Creator of the Universe and not merely an impersonal source.
I warned Hayd not to base arguments off of semantics. The danger is that all someone has to do is undermine your definition of a word and your argument collapses. Hayd wants to use his own definition of omnipotent and ignore how it's actually used in theology. Building an argument based on a caricature of someone's beliefs is called a "Straw man argument". Here is how the word "Omnipotent" is actually used in theology:
"God is all-powerful and able to do whatever he wills. Since his will is limited by his nature, God can do everything that is in harmony with his perfections." ((Thiessen, Henry, Lectures in Systematic Theology. (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), p. 82.) Contradiction would be, by definition, not in harmony with God's perfections. Thus Hayd's argument fails.
People commuting acts of evil is not evidence of God being less than morally perfect. It is only evidence that God let's people make choices and doesn't generally interfere with them. I believe that the greatest good from God's perspective is not that there above all be minimal suffering. I believe that God's first principle of greatest good is that there be maximum possible freedom. Minimal suffering is good but it isn't ultimate. This being the case, God will allow moral evil in order to respect human freedom. If the reader has watched Star Trek at all he or she has heard of the "Prime Directive" this is the Star Fleet principle that they should not interfere the affairs of civilizations or in the internal affairs of non member worlds. Star Fleet believes this because greater harm is done by interfering and disrupting the natural evolution of a society. God wants free relationships with His created beings. This requires that He respects our choices. Generally He does.
Finally, the passage in Genesis that Hayd criticizes is another example of basing an argument on semantics as you will see. Hayd uses the King James Bible. The trouble with this is that the usage of various words has changed in nuance since the 17th century. This is a modern rendering of the relevant portion of the passage: NASB Genesis 6:6 "6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved [a]in His heart."
Hayd stresses the word "Repent" in the KJV which is here rendered "Sorry". Hayd wished to say that the word means to make a mistake but that's not the Hebrew word used here. The Hebrew word for mistake is "The Biblical Hebrew word for mistake is: shagag and it means: error (5), mistake (1), unintentionally (14).
The Hebrew word in the text is: nacham and it means: to be sorry, console oneself.
This passage can equally, in my opinion, be understood to mean that while God was fully aware that free people would make these choices and end up in this state, the time had arrived that God's heart was fully broken by it and it was now the appropriate time to carry out judgement. God did not make a mistake; nor was He caught by surprise. It's also important to realize the language is used about God that is not always philosophically and theologically correct. Here are two examples.
The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
"I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know."
Does God actually need to go and see something? No. These things are stated this way for cultural and figurative purposes.
“Hayd, I tried to contact you be email to tell you that the server has been down and I've been locked out of the system for days. You can call that a forfeit if you want but it would be a bit dishonest.”
I posted my Round 3 response before reading your email. After I had posted I checked my email a while later and saw your message, I apologize. I would like to tell Jon, and anybody reading this that Jon is hereby forgiven for forfeiting in Round 2.
Since the Round Structure was messed up because of the forfeit, we will move everything down a round. I will post my rebuttals of Jon’s arguments, and Jon will post his rebuttals of my arguments in Round 4. The counter rebuttals part will be deleted.
I will take this rebuttal paragraph by paragraph.
I read this entire paragraph five times, looking for how this proves that the God of Christianity exists. I could not find anything for that does this. Evidence of this is,
The concluding sentence of the argument was, “We can know that God doesn't have bad intentions in what He does or allows.” This does not prove that God exists, only shows that he doesn’t have bad intentions. Even this is false and I will show why,
“God is the creator of all material and spiritual existence.”
According to the Christian culture yes, but we are debating whether or not this is true, so you cannot make this statement. This statement is only true when you can prove that God exists, since you have not done that yet, this statement isn’t true yet.
“When God made people; He wanted people who could be free to choose Him and enter into a loving relationship with Him.”
Why did God want this? How did you know that God wanted this?
“Goodness (Morality) is whatever is consistent with God's will.”
This is God’s will, yet I believe it is immoral. Unless you believe that this is a moral thing to do then Jon is wrong.
"The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords." (Hosea 13:16 NLT)
“God is the owner of all things in a very complete sense. If God destroys something or allows it to be destroyed it cannot be said that God is doing something wrong. Isn't God free to do what He wants with His own things?”
This is not the way at all to morally justify God killing people. This just made me sick to my stomach that a person would actually think this.
Jon’s first paragraph is defeated.
In Jon’s second paragraph, he uses the Creation argument. Stating that, “Modern scientific thought tells us that it appears that some 13.8 billion years ago, all of time, space, and energy, which then led to matter, erupted into existence at a single point… Upon investigation it seems that a Creator was involved in the mechanics of the Universe.”
This is called a God-of-the-Gaps argument. I found that GotQuestions.org gave a good explanation of it,
“The ‘God-of-the-gaps’ argument refers to a perception of the universe in which anything that currently can be explained by our knowledge of natural phenomena is considered outside the realm of divine interaction, and thus the concept of ‘God’ is invoked to explain what science is, as yet, incapable of explaining. In other words, only the ‘gaps’ in scientific knowledge are explained by the work of God, hence the name ‘God of the gaps.’ ” (1)
It is not logical to assume that the God of the Christian origin started the Big Bang when an infinite number of other things could have started it (E.g. Zeus, Ra, Hera, Buddha, etc. for infinite). This is why what Jon said is a logical fallacy.
Jon’s second paragraph/argument is defeated.
Jon’s third paragraph was a rebuttal. This gives Jon the advantage in the entire debate now. Since I only got to post my opening arguments in round two, I would have nothing to rebut. But since Jon posts his response after mine, he would be able to post a rebuttal on my arguments as well as post his own arguments; which gives him an advantage throughout the rest of the debate. This is why I specified Round 2 for arguments only. Since Jon forfeited Round 2, it would be courtesy to only post his arguments, and no rebuttal to keep the debate fair, but he has failed to do that. Now I am at a disadvantage for the rest of the debate, which should be penalized in the voting section. I will still have to post counter-rebuttals though, so here they are.
“I warned Hayd not to base arguments off of semantics… Hayd wants to use his own definition of omnipotent and ignore how it's actually used in theology.”
So starting off, Jon accuses me of using semantics because of using my own definition of omnipotence. This is not my own definition; I can give you tons of legitimate sources that support “my definition.”
“the quality of having unlimited or very great power.” (Google) https://www.google.com...
1. “almighty or infinite in power, as God.”
2. “having very great or unlimited authority or power”
“having complete or unlimited power” (Merriam Webster) http://www.merriam-webster.com...
“Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.” http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
“Having unlimited power or authority” Webster’s New World Dictionary 2nd College Edition
These are only a few, I could go on, but I believe that my point was made. Now that the first part of the accusation was defeated, I can move onto the second. Jon accuses me of ignoring how omnipotence is used in theology. Omnipotence in theology is used exactly how I used it, evidence of this is,
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147:5
“The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.” Job 11: 7-11
“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ ” Matthew 19:26
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jerimiah 32: 27
My definition is upheld and Jon’s isn’t. Jon’s rebuttal/accusation is defeated.
In this paragraph Jon does another rebuttal. He attempts to defeat my argument against God about morality. He does this by proposing that, “I believe that the greatest good from God's perspective is not that there above all be minimal suffering. I believe that God's first principle of greatest good is that there be maximum possible freedom. Minimal suffering is good but it isn't ultimate.”
I will defeat this two ways; one there is actually a lack of freedom in the world (E.g. Isis control, strict laws, etc.) and two; that since God is omnipotent, he could be doing both, yet isn’t.
Jon’s rebuttal is defeated.
In this paragraph Jon says that using King James Bible isn’t a good choice. It is not right that Jon gets to choose which Bible to use and not to use in accordance to his arguments. Jon cannot just defeat my argument by switching to a different Bible.
I am out of room, so I will make this brief. This has been a fun debate, I wish Jon the best of luck and Vote Con!
"Why did God want this? How did you know that God wanted this?"
Actually I went to a great deal of trouble answering that in the first paragraph. Then my counterpart went on to assert:
"This is God"s will, yet I believe it is immoral. Unless you believe that this is a moral thing to do then Jon is wrong."
But this is not argument; it's dogmatic assertion. My counterpart then makes reference to an OT passage:
"The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords." (Hosea 13:16 NLT)"
My counterpart does not understand that exaggeration was common in this era when speaking of dealing with enemies and my counterpart exaggerates the importance of the wording. This commentary by Paul Copan:
"Yes, Joshua uses ancient conventional warfare rhetoric. Many other ancient Near East military accounts are full of bravado and exaggeration, depicting total devastation. Ancient Near East readers knew this was massive hyperbole and not literally true.6 Interestingly, Deuteronomy 7:2"5 uses words like "utterly destroy" right next to "you shall not intermarry with them" (NASB). As we have seen, the chief concern is destroying Canaanite religion not the Canaanite people." (http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org...)
While this is in reference to a different passage it still applies. Secondly in warfare where you are removing a people you wouldn't make the mistake of leaving offspring behind. They will grow up to be avengers of their fathers. At the time what would have been the killing of a few thousand people; over the years, would turn into the killing of tens of thousands of people. Each new generation would rise up to strike out at the Israelites and they would have a renewed conflict on their hands. Further more these people were known for engaging in religions that featured things like infant sacrifice. These were violent and corrupt pagan cultures.
Now this was my comment:
"God is the owner of all things in a very complete sense. If God destroys something or allows it to be destroyed it cannot be said that God is doing something wrong. Isn't God free to do what He wants with His own things?"
And my counterpart responded with this:
"This is not the way at all to morally justify God killing people. This just made me sick to my stomach that a person would actually think this."
This borders on a personal attack and I think my counterpart should be penalized for it during voting.
What I was saying was simply that God cannot be held to the same kind moral accountability that we are because we don't own other people or this world and God does. God is the source of all existence and has a right to things above and beyond what we do. I cite Job as precedent:
Job 1:21 "He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.""
As to point two:
My counterpart is quite mistaken. The Kalam Cosmological Argument is not a "God of the gaps argument". A gaps argument makes God a working part of the theory. I cite big bang cosmology only to establish that the universe did indeed have a beginning. The theory stands on its own with absolutely no reference to God at all. The KCA then goes on to infer from the implications of that theory that there is a Creator. The real problem as I see it; is that atheists wish to restrict any consideration of an ultimate cause of the Universe's existence to material causes alone. They invoke the term "God of the gaps" as a distraction from the very real and vexing issue of where exactly the Universe ultimately originated.
As to the accusation that the KCA can provide evidence for the existence of other entities; to the best of my knowledge I am not required to eliminate other possibilities but merely to provide evidence for the possibility of my own conception of a Creator. If my counterpart wishes to get into a discussion about which God specifically in regard to the KCA then we would need a separate debate. I'll be glad to do that but that's for another time.
As to point three:
Here Hayd actually makes a lethal error:
"the quality of having unlimited or VERY GREAT power." (Google) https://www.google.com......
1. "almighty or infinite in power, as God."
2. "HAVING VERY GREAT or unlimited authority or power"
The careful observer will notice that two of this definitions support my claim. The definitions provided make the point that omnipotent doesn't mean ONLY the ability to do anything but can ALSO simply mean very great power. Now once again my counterpart attempts to use Scripture but fails in the attempt:
"Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." Psalm 147:5
(This passage supports my claim not his and the comment about "No limit" is in reference to God's knowledge.)
"The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress." Job 11: 7-11
(Here again, the verse supports my claim not Hayd's)
"But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." " Matthew 19:26
(In this case my counterpart takes the passage out of context. Jesus is talking about it being impossible for man to save himself and then says the above statement.)
"For nothing will be impossible with God." Luke 1:37
(Once again Hayd takes a verse out of context. What it actually says in toto is:)
Luke 1:36-38 "36"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37"For nothing will be impossible with God." 38And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her."
It's obvious this passage is not meant to be understood as a definition of a fundamental attribute of God but rather a response to the doubts of the person spoken to.
"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32: 27
(Finally this. It's true that is a direct statement about God's character. However if we apply the same rules to reading the Bible that we do to other literature this problem clears it self up. For instance if I told you it was "Raining cats and dogs outside" you wouldn't expect k-9s and felines to be falling from the sky. Why hold the Bible to a standard you don't hold your own language to. Let's look at the full context of the verse:)
Jeremiah 32:26-28 "26 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 27 "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" 28 Therefore thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am about to give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will take it."
God is talking about a military victory that seems impossible to Jeremiah. This passage is not claiming that God can make squared circles or married bachelors.
As to point Four:
My counterpart seems to not understand what "Freewill" is. Freewill is the ability to choose or choose otherwise. When the whole of humanity exercises it, it can have the effect of limiting the choices of others. Hayd cites things that a very much a product of freewill. Isis and laws are a product of the choices of human beings.
As to point Five:
My counterpart doesn't do me the courtesy of acknowledging the true gravity of my response to his claims. He merely mentions that I point out that there are flaws in using the KJV and ignores the fact that I demonstrated from the Hebrew in the text that he was wrong.
I would ask that the voter reads both sets of arguments carefully and makes a decision based on the data provided and not on prior prejudice.
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