The Instigator
Philophile
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
TheFurryOat
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The Moral Argument for God is Sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Philophile
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/25/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,720 times Debate No: 34962
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (26)
Votes (5)

 

Philophile

Con

The moral argument for God is as follows:

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

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.


This argument seeks to establish that objective moral values are ontologically founded in God's existence. I will be arguing the Con position that objective moral values are not founded in God's existence and that this argument by itself does not successfully establish God's existence.

Rules/Stipulations

Pro will defend this argument and defend it's conclusion that it establises God's existence and ontological foundation for morality. Pro will bear the initial burden of proof.

There will be 4 rounds with 3 days to respond. In the first round Pro will make the case defending the moral argument above and then I will respond.

In the last round, round 5, Con will forfeit that round to make opportunities fair.
TheFurryOat

Pro

I thank Con for this debate and look forward to a lively exchange. I would like to start off by saying that this is not an uncommon topic, so I really do wonder what good will come of debating it once again. Nevertheless, I welcome it, as it seems to be educational.

First, I would ask Con to define "Objective".

Second, I would like him to consider
  • If a moral action requires the belief in a right and wrong
  • If a God explicitly describes what is right and wrong
  • Then those commands are founded upon some other ideas
  • But only a super-natural creature exists before existence
  • Then any idea must come from prime existence.

I hope that my inexperience does not show too blatantly and that what I have said will be considered regardless of my rank.
Debate Round No. 1
Philophile

Con


Thank you Pro for accepting. I was not expecting you to be asking questions in the first round but instead make your argument. This might force me to change the rules since round 1 is wasted just establishing preliminaries.


Let me answer your questions. By “objective” I mean something that is true or factual independently of anyone’s opinion or personal feelings towards it.


On your bullet points I presume that you want me to comment/respond to them but they are not in the form of questions. Let me briefly respond here.



  1. One need not have knowledge of morality in order for their actions to be assessed by others morally, but in order for an action to be assessed morally the belief in right and wrong is required.

  2. The moral argument as I’ve outlined it does not presuppose that God exists, so I’m not sure how this is relevant.

  3. I’m not sure what you mean by this one, please explain in the comments.

  4. Before existence is like saying before time, there is no time before time and there is no existence before existence.

  5. I’m not sure what you mean by this one either, please explain in the comments. If you mean that ideas must come from a prime existence then that negates free will since all of our ideas would originate in some sort of prime being (i.e. God) who controlled us.


If there are any more questions in order to establish preliminaries, please use the comment option to ask me so that we do not waste rounds simply just asking each other questions. Otherwise, please make your case in order to support the moral argument.


TheFurryOat

Pro

Thank you for your response.

Because truth is not objective in all cases, there is forced upon the observer and the observed a want for greater accuracy of identification of perfection, or, the pursuit of provable fact. If a belief is held as factual and is used to measure the observed's morals, and morals are real and independent of the mind, then the measure of the observed's morals is not factual in all cases. If facts are desired, then further tuning of the beliefs are required. This will be incremental and continuous all over until reality has as identity. This can be seen as having foundation in beliefs and made accurate until it becomes fact. Or, because God exists, objective morals exist, by virtue of the lack of proof that beliefs are factual and therefore objectively moral.



Proof:


Let a belief imply other beliefs, let a belief imply God. Let a person use as a property of belief the argument for perfection, or the argument of the objective morals of God as a measure, then moral objectivity is founded upon the belief of God.
Debate Round No. 2
Philophile

Con


Pro has yet to actually deal with the moral argument itself and from his responses I don’t think he’s even qualified to make this debate. Let me critique what he says first then make a counter argument.


Pro is stating that the existence of God would make a moral objective because otherwise we wouldn’t have proof that beliefs are factual. But, belief in God is not factual. It’s a faith based belief. And people who believe in God have different morals. How can we establish one’s belief to be correct? We are ultimately left with the same epistemic problem, that is, how can we know what beliefs are true?


Let’s look at the “proof” that Pro offers.


Pro’s “proof” doesn’t make sense at all and is horribly written. If we let a belief imply God, and let a property of that belief contain the argument for perfection then somehow he concludes “moral objectivity is founded upon the belief of God.” I don’t see how that follows at all logically. First, how can a property of a belief somehow prove moral objectivity is founded upon the belief of God? Is Pro trying to say that the mere belief that objective morality is founded in God proves that it is? Why can’t the disbelief that objective morality is founded in God prove that it isn’t? Pro needs to make a more serious argument.


Second, since Pro failed to even address the moral argument or back up any of its claims, let me throw a softball at him to see how he can handle it. One counter argument to the moral argument is called the Euthyphro Dilemma. It was posed by Socrates 2,400 years ago. It asks, “Is something moral because God commands it, or does God command it because it is moral?


The person who believes objective morality is founded in God here has two options. If something is moral because God commands it, then morality is arbitrarily decided by God. God could command that we murder our children or own slaves and it would be good – merely because God said so. The actual commands would be meaningless and we’d have no way to gauge whether something is morally good or not except on whether it was commanded by God. This would be a “might makes right” ideology.


In the other option, God is merely a messenger who alerts us to what is right or wrong independently to whether God exists or not. Morality is not decided by God, God is simply the enforcer of what is naturally right or wrong.


Neither option is particularly appealing to the theist. The first option makes morality simply dependent on God’s opinion at any given time. He could command that murder and rape are good, then change his mind and command that they are wrong. The second option turns God merely into a messenger, who one might say is redundant, and at best can only serve as a medium by which natural truths are known. The ontological foundation of God would exist independently of him.


Now the Euthyphro Dilemma has been around for over 2000 years and theists have had plenty of time to respond to it. One common objection is to say that God is good – he is the absolute standard by which good is measured and founded. But is this a successful refutation of the dilemma?


If God is the standard of goodness, by what means can we know this to be true? So we can ask, why is God good? The theist might say God is good because he is intrinsically loving, compassionate and fair. But then all we have to do is reformulate the Euthyphro Dilemma accordingly: Is God good because he is loving, compassionate and fair, or is being loving, compassionate and fair good because God is good? If you pick the former, then the attributes God has that make him good exist independently of God and are merely descriptive terms applied to God, if you pick the latter then how can we possibly know that being loving, compassionate and fair is good? It can’t simply be good because God is good, because then the word “good” is meaningless. There has to be a reason why we call something good. So what characteristic comes first – God’s goodness, or his being loving, compassionate and fair? The theist is in a squirm here. He cannot simply define God as being “good” without justification. Goodness has to be justified descriptively. But if those descriptions are warranted, then they imply goodness for epistemological reasons that are verifiable due to their intentions and effects. And thus the source of goodness would exist independently of God.


So which way is Pro going to choose?


But there are even more problems with defining God as the source of goodness.


First, defining God as the source of “good” is mere theological wordplay. It doesn't demonstrate that “good” cannot exist independently of God. Even if goodness is an essential property of God, it is a property that can apply to other things independently of God’s existence. Just think of how being hot is an essential property of fire – fire must be hot, it cannot be cold. But “hot” can apply to many other things independently of fire. For example, microwaves cause things to be hot and so does friction.


Second, take for example the biblical story of Abraham who God commands to sacrifice his son (Gen 22:5-12). Most Jews, Christians and Muslims agree that it would have been immoral for Abraham to have decided on his own to sacrifice his son for God and what made it moral was solely determined by God’s command. Also in the Old Testament, God commands the Jews to exterminate the Midianite peoples (except for the young virgin girls) and he awards the Jews their property (Num 31:2-18). Most Christians at least think it would have been immoral if the Jews had decided to take upon this genocidal conquest on their own, but here again God’s commanding of it makes it moral for the Jews to physically commit these acts.


What these two examples illustrate, is that if something is immoral on its own and only becomes moral if God commands it, or vice versa, then the sole factor separating the morality or immorality of the action, is God’s command. This also means that God cannot be following an absolute and non-arbitrary morality: If something is morally good because God commands it, it must also be morally good if you do it on your own, because otherwise if performing these morals on your own wouldn’t be good unless God commands it, it means you take the first horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma - that something is morally good because God commands it.


So if Pro wants to argue against my position he has to argue for a very strong case demonstrating how the God is the objective ontological foundation of morality, that refutes the arguments I gave above.


TheFurryOat

Pro

Here is a perfect example of my argument. The belief of Con forces Pro to continuously improve Pros arguments until whatever is fact comes to light. However, for Pro to reach fact does not require the existence of Con, only that the ideas of Con exist. Or, that the force behind ideas like Cons are believed by someone. So again, the existence of God or Gods here is arbitrary, though for the sake of the argument I will say that he exists. Overall it does not matter whether or not he exists, what matters is only the fact that the belief of the existence of a God or Gods forces creatures such as humans, who are interested in the pursuit of truth, to refine whatever belief they hold until it becomes factual. Now, the beliefs of a person are what is used to measure another's morals, as Con pointed out. And if someone is interested in the truth he will refine his own beliefs and in turn his judgement of others until he reaches as close to an objective truth as possible, or an objective morality based on the faulty morals of the observed. Though, I feel that a commenter was correct in saying that this argument may be waste of time if Con prefers an argument requiring an answer to why God lets a baby burn, then I cannot do anything. It is better to question what can be answered quickly, that way you have more time to learn.

The argument for the disbelief of someone with respect to a God is unnecessary, as long as there are beliefs, there will be improvement. In other words, because the beliefs of someone require probability, someone will improve that probability to a math that is strong in it's predictions and accuracy.

Though, I do believe we are arguing two different topics. I cannot take a survey of the population to determine every persons moral code. I can assume that a moral code is based off some beliefs. I can also assume that those beliefs may or may not require the existence of a God. I can also assume that some beliefs are refined till they approach a natural belief or as close to fact as a belief will ever come. Then, whether or not he "commands it because it is moral" or "is moral therefore he commands it" is unnecessary. When a dog commands his owners to give him food, he may or may not get food. You cannot base a logical proof that seeks accuracy and precision, on probability.

One of the issues with relying on ancient philosophers is the tendency to become stuck in that age. As such, when Socrates ask his question it is out of an urge to know what God requires him to do, when moderns ask that question it is out of speculation. An issue with religious philosophy is it's inherent silliness. A person knows what is moral by instinct. A person saves another's life on impulse, not because it is the right thing to do, but because they must. It is the same with killing. Morals are what defines these impulses. It does not matter then whether or not God exists, only that someone believes he does when they are not using their morals and perhaps, are using their intelligence. In other words, morals are not what a person does, they are only what they think they should do, and because a person rarely if ever does what they think they should do, it is a belief.

The tone of a proof is not serious nor is it jokingly made. It is an observation of what the author sees and what the logic says, or could say, the author is not so sure anymore. I have no doubt that my writing is poor, this doesn't matter, as long as my point is made then my writing is complete. I'll leave it to the philosophers to make it pretty.

Debate Round No. 3
Philophile

Con

Pro says “God or Gods here is arbitrary, though for the sake of the argument I will say that he exists.” That sounds to be like he is conceding the argument. I’m not sure if Pro is aware of this, but he is supposed to be defending the moral argument that I outlined above in round 1. He has yet to even address a single part of it. Instead he has chosen to write overly convoluted ramblings that make little sense about morality. I don’t think he is prepared for this debate.

My whole argument against the moral argument is that God is not needed; he is redundant and arbitrarily placed by certain people who feel the need to use him to have power over others. I’ve never mentioned anything about babies burning or why God allowed it, so I’m not sure why Pro brought that up.

The moral argument addresses one specific question: Is God needed to have objective morality? I would like Pro to answer this question as best he can and defend it. It seems to me from his writing that he’s agreeing with me that God is not needed and is irrelevant to the discussion. If that is true, he’s conceding and I win.

Perhaps a few direct questions will help.

To Pro, please answer the following:

1. Are you a Christian?
2. Do you think morality is subjective or objective?
3. If subjective, why?
4. If objective, why?
5. What (if any) ontological foundation exists for morality?
6. Is it true that if God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist?
7. If God's commandments constitute our moral duties and what is right and wrong, and you think they are not arbitrarily decided, they must then be in accordance with what positively benefits human beings such as love, compassion and empathy. If this is so, wouldn't these things also be objectively good in the absence of God? If not, please explain why.

I wouldn’t say that Socrates’ question is stuck in any age. When one asserts that morality is founded in God, I think his question is a very relevant one to ask in response. One thing I did notice is that Pro failed to answer the question and dismissed it as “silliness.”

So I want to remind Pro that his position is to argue that the moral argument is sound, which he has failed to do and which he accepted this challenge knowing he would have to defend.

The moral argument says:

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

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

I would like to see Pro directly defend this argument and each premise and make a good case why its logic is sound and that it is true. If Pro cannot do that, he is not upholding his end of the bargain that he agreed when taking this challenge. Can Pro do it? Or will he concede?

TheFurryOat

Pro

I will argue no more, my argument has flown over your head. You have not taken the time to consider what I've written and you've continuously misunderstood it. I have already answered every question. You have not given me the courtesy of reading my answers patiently and as such you have missed the points I have made. To continue this debate would be pointless, you seem to either be having this debate to stroke your ego, not to determine any fact. Read closely.
Debate Round No. 4
Philophile

Con


I have already responded to your argument. I dissected it in the round 3. But if you’re going to say, as you did, that “it does not matter whether or not [God] exists,” then that pretty much concedes the argument that this debate is centered around. You may have other things to say, but the main point of the moral argument is that God is necessary to establish objective morality. I disagree. You essentially agree with me on that – and that is the whole purpose of the debate. So how can I continue debating someone who agrees with me on the main issue of this debate?


I agree it’s not right to go on any further. You seem to want to debate something different than I do, so I do not understand why you accepted this debate since I clearly said whoever accepts this debate will have to defend the moral argument. If you want to debate another topic in the future that is different from this one, feel free to challenge me, but I don’t want to debate other things in this debate, I like to stick with the topic.


Just put in a comment for round 5 so we can end this debate.


TheFurryOat

Pro


My Thoughts on Con and the Argument

In this debate, I have been faced with strong counter-arguments from Con that at times left me clueless. I thank Con for his efforts and I must say that it was worth my time to debate Con. My argument was that because God's existence or lack of existence is unable to be determined, the determination of whether or not a God is responsible for objective moral values and duties would be what was needed to win this debate.


Why the Moral Argument for God is Flawed, or in Need of Clarity

Since no man can prove or disprove the existence of God, no conclusion should be established that would have it's foundations resting on the existence of a physical God. However, by allowing the theoretical existence of God, one may say that objective morals and duties developed out of a lack of objectiveness and responsibility to begin with. Then because God can be shown to have an impact, even if he does not physically exist, he can be shown to theoretically exist. This was not the desired result, but it does tell how objective moral values and duties exist and why they exist.

My Thoughts on Con's Argument

I argue that Con has not shown that God does not exist, but that he only believes he does not exist. I offer this as proof that my argument has more merit due to the fact that the connection between an abstract God and objective moral values and duties has been shown to exist. I say again, Con has only established that he disagrees with my argument, not the existence of a God(s) or the connection between morals and God(s).


The Mechanics of My Argument
In essence, I applied a continuum that is akin to Socrates thoughts on belief and knowledge. I used this continuum and drew an analogy that relied on beliefs and science. If you ever are looking for a book to read, I'd recommend Pierre Simon-Laplace's book on statistics. In it, Mr. Simon-Laplace's equates probability with ignorance. I realized that because probability is a reliance on guesses, it is belief. This is the information I used to understand how belief can become fact over time. The truth of this information can be seen in modern science's pursuit for greater precision and accuracy in measurements.



I do not know what the original morals were like, or whether or not someone is born with them. I do know that by supposing the existence of God as thought, when a physical God cannot be confirmed nor denied, allows something to measure with.

I will now show the continuum I made use of.

The Logic Supporting the Mechanics


Belief is the absence of fact, it must be of less value than fact. Opinion is the mixture of knowledge and belief, this places it 2nd on the continuum, and fact is nature, making it the greatest of them all.

So to make it easier to remember, think of belief as 1st degree information, opinion as 2nd degree information, and fact as 3rd degree information.

The analogy begins when the first man, or first humans, use 1st degree information because of the lack of 3rd degree information. The judgement of another's morals then would also be 1st degree information, because the observer has no other information. The morals are not objectively identified yet, and 1st degree information says that there must be someone greater than man, who controls all of nature, this will be the first humans thought process. As time progresses, man acquires new tools through adversity, this leads to 2nd degree information, while at the same time, the measure of another's mans actions become 2nd degree as well. Because it is only 2nd degree, there is still a belief in a higher power. However, because there is no way to know whether or not an absent God exists, the thought of him must still be strong and guiding, or of fear of retribution for wrong-doing. As more time progresses, and tools are invented to measure phenomena and objects more accurately, so too will morals be measured more accurately. This is where the belief into fact continuum lies. That because there is a lack of 3rd degree information, there is a want for it. If beliefs imply a God exists, and also facts exist, then a lack of 3rd degree information will lead to an abundance of 3rd degree information over time, having as foundation the existence of an abstract God.


This is my argument. Again, because there is a belief in the existence of God,and because a concrete God can not be proven to exist or not , there will be a progression from beliefs to opinions to facts, this will continue until a concrete God is found to exist or not, having as the guiding light, the mechanics of the universe. Then because he cannot be proven or disproven, the closest to existence there can be for a God is in thoughts. By letting the abstract existence of God be cause for improvement in objectiveness, then the moral argument for God becomes,

If improvement cannot be imagined, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Objective moral values and duties do exist
Therefore, improvement exists.

Again, because a God(s) cannot be proven to exist or not exist, the moral argument of God is no more than an argument of what can be right or wrong and why. It is then sufficient to show that because God may be imagined to exist, whatever is done is done to be more like him. Hence objective moral values and duties exist because God exist.

Conclusion of my Argument


To reiterate, because science progresses from less accuracy and precision to the greatest accuracy and precision that is possible at the time, and because this trend may be applied to other areas of knowledge where information is applied, then it can be shown that all objective thought comes from having no objective thought to begin with. And in turn, no morals or duties to begin with, only a belief that what is right or wrong must be learnt through observation and analysis, and in turn, the imagining of an abstract entity that is more perfect than man is. Again, because God can not be proven or not proven to exist, the abstract existence is sufficient to connect objectiveness and responsibility with the existence of a God. Thank you.


I thank Con again for this debate and would like to let him know I choose this debate because I thought it would help me write with more clarity with respect to my subject.
Debate Round No. 5
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
This was such a slaughter. Pro had no chance...
Posted by TheFurryOat 3 years ago
TheFurryOat
Hey PhiloPhile, sorry for ruining the debate. I can't rationalize what I did, but I do know it has to do with arrogance, so again, I'm sorry.
Posted by TheFurryOat 3 years ago
TheFurryOat
Or is the venom founded in your belief that I am a theist and therefore must be wrong?
Posted by TheFurryOat 3 years ago
TheFurryOat
I'm curious, did you actually understand my argument? Or were you more concerned with appearances? I only ask because you never refuted my argument, you refuted, it seems, what you thought I was arguing, which was that because there are facts there must be beliefs which means there must be a God. Superficially this is my argument, an in depth reading would reveal this to not be the case as I say many times that it requires only the existence of an ABSTRACT God(s) to establish either fear or envy, and in turn CAUSE improvement, and in turn CAUSE beliefs to morph into facts over time BECAUSE a God would be at the top of whatever humans are working towards. Never once did I intentionally imply that this MUST be the way, only that it COULD be the way. If I'm wrong about this establishing the existence of an abstract god by means of these reasons then I will be quiet.
Posted by TheFurryOat 3 years ago
TheFurryOat
Ha! Get it?
Posted by TheFurryOat 3 years ago
TheFurryOat
Then you say to post a comment. I can't deal with contradictions.
Posted by Philophile 3 years ago
Philophile
Yes to forfeiting the round. I clearly said that in the rules.
Posted by TheFurryOat 3 years ago
TheFurryOat
No, didn't cheat, you asked me to post a comment in the last round. So I posted a comment.
Posted by Philophile 3 years ago
Philophile
Oh so your saying you're an open cheater and proud of it? I'll keep that in mind for the future.
Posted by TheFurryOat 3 years ago
TheFurryOat
I don't think it'll make a difference though, if anybody does vote, they will vote for you.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by ModusTollens 3 years ago
ModusTollens
PhilophileTheFurryOatTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not seem to have even a basic grasp of the concept of evidence.
Vote Placed by Torvald 3 years ago
Torvald
PhilophileTheFurryOatTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I was very hesitant to give a full house to Con. However, examination of my reason rings sound. Convincing arguments is the most obvious, as, even a brief reading of the debate shows that Pro was floundering, and Con coolly rebutted every argument, with none of his own refuted. Spelling and grammar goes to Con because in many cases, Pro's writing was extremely difficult to understand, a stringing together of words that made sentences but not sense. Reliable sources goes to Con for giving direct examples from the Bible, complete with reference, while Pro did not give any kind of sources or examples. Conduct, finally, goes to Con because of Pro's round 4 outburst about his arguments flying over Con's head, and it merely being an issue of stroking Con's ego. Having read this, I perceived no egomania on Con's part, merely a collected use of logic, with comparatively little coloration by his presumably atheist or agnostic beliefs. Pro is not to be blamed, it was an uphill debate.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 3 years ago
MrJosh
PhilophileTheFurryOatTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to CON because PRO accepted the debate and then didn't follow the agreed upon format. Arguments go to CON because PRO didn't appropriately address the question at hand.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
PhilophileTheFurryOatTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con effectively conceded. Con ended up arguing that *belief* in God is necessary for social evolution to determine objective morality. That concedes Con's argument that the *existence* of God is not proved by the moral argument. Pro was difficult to understand, while Con came across more clearly.
Vote Placed by Skeptikitten 3 years ago
Skeptikitten
PhilophileTheFurryOatTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Con for Pro violating the agreed upon format of the debate by not posting his real argument until the fifth round. Pro's grammar was poor enough in many cases to impede the reader's comprehension of his meaning. Pro never addressed most of Con's arguments, and in fact seemed to be arguing a different debate for most rounds.