The Instigator
racontour
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Mangani
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points

The Existence of God

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Mangani
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,112 times Debate No: 10782
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)

 

racontour

Con

To begin, I'd like to state that the existence of a god is a positive and thus the burden of proof falls on the shoulders of the apologist (this does not have to be empirical, but please make your case) . Furthermore if we approach god from the Judea-Christian perspective (I expect to keep it on those terms, but you may be able to convince me otherwise if you can intrigue me enough with a novel idea) there are various traits that create contradictions; God is said to be omniscient, omnipotent, ubiquitous, and omnibenevolent. Some of these traits are self conflicting: An omniscient god would know how to create a problem he could not solve, and an omnipotent god would be able to construct something he could not destroy. An unsolvable problem would render the god not omniscient, but the inability to render the problem would indicate a lack of omniscience from the start. The omnipotence problem follows the same. These traits also create contradictions when merged: An omnipotent god could render himself ignorant or he is not omnipotent. An omniscient god could know evil and how to exploit it, and an omnipotent god could carry through with it, but omnibenevolence would restrict this. Contradictions simply do not exist. Furthermore, a proponent of God would have to deal with the age old problem of evil. For this I'll simply quote Epicurus: "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?" I don't think I could put it any better, except to add that the actions of God himself is demonstrably evil. Simply consider the fact that he creates people that he (being omniscient) knows will reject him, that he does nothing to change that (he's omniscient, so he certainly could), and he unjustly punishes them for the crimes he doomed them to commit in the first place.

I'd like to reiterate that the existence of any god is a positive claim and that it is up to my opponent to make the case for the existence thereof. I eagerly await a retort containing such a case.
Mangani

Pro

First of all I would like to thank my opponent for presenting this debate.

I have taken this debate for my opponent's sake. From his first round argument I get the impression that he thinks belief in God is a positive notion, the existence of God would be positive, yet he has not been presented with arguments that would justify his existence. I will present those arguments to him. Though my arguments will not be from a Judeo-Christian perspective, I do believe that the God I believe in is the same God of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jesus (Judeo-Islamo-Christian). Because my opponent has not presented a formal format to the debate, I will simply take his main concerns and address them as contentions. My arguments will point to biblical sources, but I must point out that my philosophy is based on science, and not religion, therefore my interpretation of statements will be from the context of a society void of science and the scientific method in comparison to generally accepted science. All my biblical sources will be from Young's Literal Translation.

I. Omniscience
1- There are various definitions for omniscience. None appear in the bible. I will, however, attempt to present theological perspective, and compare it to science.
a. 1 : having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight : possessed of universal or complete knowledge (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
2- The simple theological definition for omniscient is "all knowing". This theological belief is based on several passages: 1 Sam 2:3- For a God of Knowledge is Jehova; 1 Kings 8:39- Thou hast known, Thyself alone, the heart of all the sons of man; Matthew 6:4- thy Father who is seeing in secret Himself shall reward thee manifestly; etc.
a. There is no literal statement in the bible suggesting that "God would know how to create a problem he could not solve". This notion does not conform with the literal definition of omniscience, nor does it conform with the origins of God's omniscience in the bible.
3- From a scientific perspective, I stand largely with philosophers such as Alan Watts who believe that consciousness is universal. All consciousness is an adaptation, evolution, and manifestation of the nuclear (of the nucleus) consciousness of the Universe. A quick description of this philosophy shows that the Universe must be conscious for various reasons. Science observes that atoms at one point became conscious of each other, and formed symbiotic relationships in forming the first single celled organism. Evolution led to sensitivity to light. This sensitivity evolved into eyes, while other traits also evolved, etc. etc. until we reach the current highest state of evolution of universal consciousness which is manifested in humans- we are aware of ourselves, we are aware of others, we are aware of the universe, we rationalize our existence, etc. Some theorize that the next stage of evolution of this Universal consciousness is total awareness, in which all conscious beings are tapped into the energy that sustains consciousness in the first place. Christians call this energy "the Holy Spirit". Buddhists refer to the state of "nirvana" in which Japanese Buddhism refers to the first step as "satori". In Hinduism this is referred to as "moksha".

In short, God is all knowing because his is the energy which sustains all life and consciousness. Universal energy and consciousness is of him, and it is him. The Universe is aware of every action- this is Newton's third law: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". There is not a pebble thrown into a pond that does not have a set of consequential reactions- however minute we might view them.

II. Omnipotence
Now that I've presented my first contention, the rest will be much simpler. I believe this issue to be trivial, and historical arguments have been convoluted by doctrine, theology, personal bias, etc. I will simply present that God, as the Universal energy, is the source of all energy in the universe. He is "all powerful" because all energy originated with him. The empirical Law of Conservation of Energy states that "energy can neither be created, or destroyed". My opponent states that an omnipotent being "would be able to construct something he could not destroy". This is not true considering a logical definition of omnipotence. I will not present theological definitions because I do not think them logical. A rational definition for omnipotence, understanding how the universe actually works, can be simply- that from which all energy originates.

III- Omnibenevolence
This is another concept I thoroughly reject. A truly "all powerful" God would not possess inherently human traits like weighing whether or not a human action is good or evil. Good and evil does not exist anywhere outside of human consciousness, and is a manifestation of a lack of adherence to societal moral laws. God does not belong to any "society", nor is he capable of human actions, thoughts, desires, etc. Because God is incapable of, say, raping a child because he is a pedophile (God has no age, no sexual organs, no sexual desire, no mind to corrupt, etc.), this action cannot be considered by God as "evil". Evil is a purely human concept. Ecclesiastes 3:19-22; Eccl 8:14; Eccl 9:11; These and Ecclesiastes as a whole, though written from a religious perspective, provide a basic philosophy that we do not and cannot know what God wants. We know the seasons, we learn weather patterns, etc., we sow, we reap, and we live life accordingly. Though the word "evil" is mentioned several times, it is in the context of what man does unto man, and what man wants for himself that he cannot take beyond his physical life. Evil is a condition of exclusive to humans, period. There is no punishment of "souls". When you die, your energy returns to the Universe... ashes to ashes, dust to dust, consciousness to consciousness.

I expect my opponent will have some questions, arguments, etc., so I will stop here, and await his response. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
racontour

Con

Before I begin I must express a deep gratitude to Managi for participating in this debate. As it was duly noted in the comments, my opponent is starting debate with a series of disadvantages; this debate was started by myself with not only an argument against his side, but it also placed the burden of proof on my opponent (placing the burden of proof on the positive is a matter of logic, not some tool of sophistry). And he has performed most gallantly. This is clearly an important topic, so thank you Managi for participating in this discussion.

Perhaps the most striking thing about my opponent's argument is that he is arguing different characteristics for God than I had anticipated. As I had made allowances for such changes with the caveat that it be intriguing, which it definitely was, I have no "moving the goalpost" type complaints to make, but I would certainly like to further engage in this issue with a couple of points. Though the idea of god that we are discussing now is no longer of the Judeo-Christian tradition, there are a few passages from the most common reference about god (at least within the U.S.) that would almost certainly imply absolute, unbounded power and infinite knowledge. �

Job 37:16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge? Psalms 147:5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Mathew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God. For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

These don't say that he is almighty, but say that his knowledge and power are without limit, that they are infinite. However this point is admittedly still moot, and should, regardless, not allow us to become to distracted from what has become the meat of the debate.

The first major contention made as a positive proof for the existence of god is that the universe is conscious, that it must be conscious. I see no particular reason for this to be so, and I'm afraid that your support for this idea has left me no more persuaded.

"Science observes that atoms at one point became conscious of each other, and formed symbiotic relationships in forming the first single celled organism."

This statement, which appears to be the lynchpin of your pantheistic (if I may call it that) view of god, seems to be a flawed perspective on the theory of abiogenesis. The way I see it is that this could be one of two fallacies. If framed as "many actions are the result of conscious decision making ergo this action is also the result of a conscious decision", then it is an instance of proof by example. If I don't try to read into it, I can only describe it as begging the question. Regardless, there are numerous explanations for abiogenesis, none of which call upon the proteins that formed the first organisms to be aware of each other. If we regress down to the formation of simple molecules, there is no need called upon for the atoms to be conscious of each other. Also, planets, stars, asteroids, and other such artifacts of the universe are extremely complex, involving numbers of atoms interacting together on scales that are unimaginably large, but most will never support anything that is self-aware. Where do they fit in? Why is it that such a tiny fraction will ever lead up to the phenomenon of life? It seems to work much more nicely to attribute life and the forces that lead up to it to undirected natural causes. The phenomenon of sentience is merely the result of the increased survival rates and progeny that it allows the species that attains both it, and the parts that lead up to it.

At this point I believe that we are in agreement that the attributes that most people in our society hold to be true about God are illogical, and you have presented a new view of God in its place. I await further reasoning as to why belief in this God is preferable to a more naturalist view of the world. From what in nature does it make most sense to infer that he or she or it exists?

Thank you again very much for participating in this debate.
Mangani

Pro

First off, racontour, the name is M A N G A N I. Thank you.

I will first take some of my opponent's statements, and give my response:

"almost certainly imply absolute, unbounded power and infinite knowledge"
-You cannot possibly be a translator of Koine Greek, Ancient Hebrew, etc. to make a qualifying statement such as "almost certainly imply". Your understanding is based on your philosophy, education, experience, and what you have been taught about religion or the bible in the past. In order to grasp the intended meaning in scripture, you must read it with the understanding that it was written in the context of societies hundreds and sometimes thousands of years ago, and in languages no longer used, especially not to the degree they were in their time. If you apply an objective interpretation of much of the bible you would realize it is not much different than some of the claims I've made.

What is absolute, unbounded power and infinite knowledge? Indeed Job is a philosophical book with at great message and lesson. One of those messages is that we do not dictate the nature of life. My opponent cites Chapter 37 verse 16 which is basically Job being challenged regarding his lack of knowledge of science. The speaker asks if Job possess flawless knowledge. He asks if Job is privy to the knowledge of he who possesses perfect science. Indeed perfect science is that which we cannot change regardless of our attempts. That which we cannot overcome; that which we cannot contradict- the empirical sciences that every scientists wishes to know. Job's friends believe only God knows what we do not.

For the quote on Matthew, the claim is not so scientific, nor is it the "unbounded power" that my opponent suggests. The context speaks of salvation. Jesus says it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle (this is a livestock term, not a sowing needle) than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. The apostles were astonished and wondered who, then, could enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said for men this seems impossible, but with God all things are possible. I think the context is clear. And now the contentions...

I. Omniscience
"The first major contention made as a positive proof for the existence of god is that the universe is conscious, that it must be conscious."
-My opponent misstates my contention. Let me re-post my last paragraph in my first contention: In short, God is all knowing because his is the energy which sustains all life and consciousness. Universal energy and consciousness is of him, and it is him. The Universe is aware of every action- this is Newton's third law: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". There is not a pebble thrown into a pond that does not have a set of consequential reactions- however minute we might view them.

Now let's examine what my opponent said about this...

"I see no particular reason for this to be so, and I'm afraid that your support for this idea has left me no more persuaded."
-My opponent doesn't seem to understand my argument. My intent was not to provide a persuasive reason to believe in God in presenting this contention, rather I was giving a more proper interpretation of omniscience, as it is misinterpreted by both believers and non-believers alike. The point was to simply show how scripture and science can reconcile the concept of omniscience.

"The way I see it is that this could be one of two fallacies."
-You cannot simply say "fallacy" and expect the definitions to fall in place for themselves.
"If framed as "many actions are the result of conscious decision making ergo this action is also the result of a conscious decision", then it is an instance of proof by example."
-First of all I didn't make an inappropriate generalization. In fact, I didn't generalize at all. I simply interpret scientific reactions as awareness. Regardless of what you call the various reactions and interactions dictated by science, you would have to acknowledge that the human consciousness is a sophisticated organization of either A- supernatural thoughts, energies, etc. embodied in a "soul" which returns to God when we die, or B- a natural complex organization of chemical, electrical, and thermodynamic reactions embodied in the brain which turns to dust, eventually, after we die. In either case, no matter what language we use, the subject of our chosen description is the human consciousness. I am simply proposing that if we consider every physical action and reaction with the same importance we consider the complex actions and reactions that are collective known in both science and religion as our consciousness, it soon becomes evident that we are simply a more complex expression of universal physics.
"If I don't try to read into it, I can only describe it as begging the question. "
-Hardly.
"there are numerous explanations for abiogenesis, none of which call upon the proteins that formed the first organisms to be aware of each other"
-What is awareness??? If molecules are excited when temperatures rise, or can cause temperatures to rise with their excitement, are the molecules, then, not known as "thermo-sensitive"? Just think about our senses and how they work. Is each of our senses not a simple set of instructions that even non-living molecules can follow? The difference is we compare each sense at a higher rate, and have evolved our senses to be processed into more complex reactions like making the statement to a neighbor "it's cold out". If the molecules in your body are not aware of each other, how are you aware of this debate? Either you believe in a spiritual consciousness, or a purely scientific one- I simply believe they are one and the same.

My opponent has agreed that the next two attributes: Omnipotence, and Omnibenevolence are not relevant to this discussion. I do not agree that the attributes are "illogical", however, as I showed in my contentions they are perfectly logical, but dependent on interpretation. God is all powerful because all energy is of him, and God is all "good" because everything that happens is in accordance with his natural laws.

"I await further reasoning as to why belief in this God is preferable to a more naturalist view of the world. From what in nature does it make most sense to infer that he or she or it exists?"

-I didn't imply that "belief in this God is preferable" to anything. Belief in God is an individual choice. My opponent presented a debate in which his Round 1 argument gave the impression that he would like to believe in God, but hasn't been convinced because of the attributes he presented. I have shown how those attributes are #1- dependent on interpretation, #2- not absolutely necessary for the existence of God, and #3- much different in their original context than understood in modern churches.

I also didn't say it makes sense to "infer" he, she, or it exists. I have presented unequivocally two things: energy exists, and this energy is in everything. I believe this energy to be 'God' in the sense he has always been referred to in nearly every religion. Every religion has attributes that ultimately describe the various laws of science- even if that explanation is presented in fictitious matter and from a position of ignorance.

Even though my position may sound more scientific than religious, it is personal choice, experience, and societal expectations that lead one to label some things as religious, and others as scientific. I do not see a separation between the two, other than a self-imposed one. I believe scientists are the 'robotic' priests of the original religion of curiosity. They are robotic because they have imposed upon themselves the standard of pure logic and adherence to objectivity which can leave their lives empty. Science fulfills me spiritually because I believe my energy, soul, and consciousness are one with that of the universe... no matter how robotic the ultimate truth
Debate Round No. 2
racontour

Con

racontour forfeited this round.
Mangani

Pro

Thank you for the debate. Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by pwnunoob 6 years ago
pwnunoob
wow you guys both just voted for yourself lol
Posted by Floid 6 years ago
Floid
I think its a little silly to pick the topic of debate, frame the debate, and then go "but the burden of proof falls on you".
Posted by racontour 6 years ago
racontour
I agree with you, but I was hoping to see some stabs at it. Many people do believe that there is some sort of a god, and I would like to see exactly why that is. I think I'll add something about not needing to be empiric in approach, or change the word "proof" to a softer phrase like "make a case for". Thanks for the input!
Posted by Frodobaggins 6 years ago
Frodobaggins
Sort of a fail debate IMO.

A much better debate would be: The existence of God is likely vs unlikely whereas the burden of proof would fall evenly on both Pro and Con.

By making a "God exists" debate you're only enticing those to enter a trap. It's impossible to prove that God exists as it is impossible to prove that God doesn't exist.

A better debate then the one I previously suggested would be to argue that the universe has a finite beginning (First Mover >infinite being< exists) vs an infinite beginning (expansion and contraction of the universe occur backwards infinitely)
Posted by racontour 6 years ago
racontour
You could say I'm a wondering minstrel of sorts... Or a trip involving a radar-beacon, but that's less fun.
Posted by racontour 6 years ago
racontour
I sincerely hope that my tone was not overly hostile. I harbor no malevolence towards anybody who disagrees with me. I look forward to some new insights on the topic!
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
Raconteur?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Floid 6 years ago
Floid
racontourManganiTied
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Vote Placed by pwnunoob 6 years ago
pwnunoob
racontourManganiTied
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Vote Placed by racontour 6 years ago
racontour
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Vote Placed by Mangani 6 years ago
Mangani
racontourManganiTied
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