The Instigator
Microsuck
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Con (against)
Losing
24 Points

The Problem of Evil and Hell

Do you like this debate?NoYes+13
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 11 votes the winner is...
Microsuck
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/20/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,198 times Debate No: 22172
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (43)
Votes (11)

 

Microsuck

Pro

Resolved: The Problem of Evil and the Problem of Hell are sucessful arguments against the existence of the Judeo-Christian type God.

Clarification: This debate is not necessarily about a particular religion, rather, it an argument aganist a Judeo-Christian type God who has the three omni-attributes (omnipotence; omnibenevolence; and omniscient).

Rules

A. Structure


1. Acceptance/abstract
2. Opening arguments
3. Rebuttals
4. Rebuttals and closing


B. Acceptance.

1. You must be serious about this debate topic
2. Do not play devil's advocate

C. Behvaior

1. No ad hominems
2. No forfeiting; if you want to concede, don't let the time run out.
3. Please follow the structure of the debate.
4. No trolling; trolling will get you blocked.

Good luck. :-)
KRFournier

Con

I accept.

God

Since this debate focuses on God as revealed in the Holy Bible, I think it's prudent to ascribe to Him all the same characteristics the Bible ascribes to Him. The Westminster Confession of Faith does a great job of this:


There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.

In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. [1]

Definitions

The following definitions are all the primary definitions from each dictionary. These represent a starting point for communication, as some of these definitions might be disputed throughout the course of the debate.


om·nip·o·tent [2]
adj.

  • Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)
  • Having very great or unlimited power. (Collins English Dictionary)

om·nis·cient [3]
adj.

  • Having total knowledge; knowing everything. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)
  • Having infinite knowledge or understanding. (Collins English Dictionary)

Omnibenevolent [4]
adj.

  • Unlimited or infinite benevolence. (Oxford English Dictionary)

be·nev·o·lent [5]
adj.

  • Characterized by or suggestive of doing good. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)
  • Intending or showing goodwill; kindly; friendly. (Collins English Dictionary)

e·vil [6]
adj.

  • Morally bad or wrong; wicked. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)
  • Morally wrong or bad; wicked. (Collins English Dictionary)

Hell [7]
n.

  • The abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan; A state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)
  • The place or state of eternal punishment of the wicked after death, with Satan as its ruler; forces of evil regarded as residing there. (Collins English Dictionary)

Sources

  1. http://www.reformed.org...
  2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  3. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  4. http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com...
  5. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  6. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  7. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Microsuck

Pro

I thank my partner for his opening reply and his clarification. This debate focuses on the Problem of Evil and the Problem of Hell. As I was beginning to prepare for this debate, my biggest trouble was what to leave out. There is so much that needs to be covered in only 8000 characters that it pains me to know that there are just some things I need to leave out.

-->OPENING ARGUMENTS<--

The Problem of Evil

A. The argument map





B. The argument in a nutshell

The argument states basically this:

"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



C. The Argument formulated

  1. If God exists, then he is necessarily omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent (by definition).
  2. If proposition 1 is true, then unjustufied evil will not occur.
  3. However, unjustified evil does occur.
  4. Therefore, it is probable that proposition 1 is false.

If proposition 1 is true, then unjustified evil will not occur.

My partner agreed that we will discuss the God as revealed in the Holy Bible. By my partner's very own definition, he is most wise, most holy, and most gracious, and most loving. Therefore, it is unreasonable that a God who is all these things will allow something that is unjustified to come into the world. Consider the following:


4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.-1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV.

The word translated as "love" is agape; [1] this is the same exact word that is used to define God in 1 John: God is Agape.

Unjustified evil does occur

This is where we beg the question: What is evil? I define evil as unecessary suffering; i.e., suffering that is unjustified. I contend that there are three forms of evil:

  1. Evil brought on humans by nature;
  2. Evil that we bring upon ourselves; and
  3. Evil that we bring upon oneself. [2]
Let's take into consideration some of the evil that has been done:

1) In the summer of 2011, a Norway lunatic Anders Breivik slaughtered many people, including children. At one point, the children found good hiding place. Eventually, there was a man that claimed to be a police officer who told them it was safe to come out. Unfortunately, it was the gunman in disguise and they were murdered. [3]
2) During the 2005 Hurricane Katerina, over 1300 people have been confirmed dead. [4] Likewise, many children have suffered during this terrible disaster as a result of homelessness, loss of life, and loss of family/friends. [5]

3) Christianity has been, for the majority of its history, a malevolent religion slaughtering thousands of people. For example, during the protesant reformation, hundreds of Christians died because they were standing up against the Pope of Rome and demanding a reformation in the church. Consequently, they were burned as heritics. [6]

4) During the times of trouble, it often appears that poor people suffer more than the wealthy.For example, when an earthquake hits a poor nation such as Hati, more people die than in a nation such as the US. In the 2010 Hati earthquake, 3 million people were in need of an emergency after the quake. [7]


Charles Bradlaugh responds:

The existence of evil is a terrible stumbling block for the theist. Pain, misery, crime, poverty confront the advocate of eternal goodness, and challenge with unanswerable potency his declaration of Deity all-good, all-wise and all-powerful. Evil is either caused by God or it exist independently; but it cannot be caused by God, as in that case he would not be all-good; nor can it exists hostilely, as in that case he would not be all-powerful. If all-good he would desire to annihilate evil, and continued evil contradicts either God's desire, or God's ability, to prevent it. Evil must either have had a beginning or it must have been eternal, but according to the theist, it cannot be eternal, because God alone is eternal. Nor can it have had a beginning, for if it had it must either have originated in God, or outside God; but according to the theist, it cannot have originated in God, for he is all-good, and out of all goodness evil cannot originate; nor can evil have originated outside God, for, according to the theist, God is infinite, and it is impossible to go outside of or beyond infinity. [7]

| Conclusion |

The world is indeed full of suffering that is not necessarily caused by human behavior and infraction; in fact, the majority of the time, it is caused by mother nature herself.

The Problem of Hell

Definitions:

1) Predestination: Predetermine, decide beforehand; [8] in other words, God decides who is saved and who is not saved.
2) Free will: The ability to choose your salvation.

Formulation
1. If God exists, then he is necessarily just.
2. Hell is an unjust punishment.
3. Therefore, the Christian God cannot send people to hell.
4. However, Christian theology teaches that he does.
5. Therefore, the Christian God is not just.
6. Hence, the Christian-type God is non-existent (due to contradictory properties).

I would like to apologize, but I'm out of room for discussion of this argument. I wish my partner the best of luck and may the best argument win.


Photo Credit


1. The map of the Argument from Evil is found here: http://www.thinkatheist.com...
2. The image seen under "Thank you, Jesus" is found here: http://commonsenseatheism.com...;


Sources
1. The Strong's Concordence Dictionary
2. Maimonadies. The Guide to the Perplexed.
3. Frances, Bryan. The Problem of Gratious Suffering. pp.15
4. http://www.msnbc.msn.com...;
5. http://www.ces.purdue.edu...;
6. Quoted in Paul Tobin's Rejection of Pascal's Wager: A skeptic's guide to Christianity.
7. Fox's book of Martyrs. View the entire book for free at http://www.ccel.org...;
8. Slick, Matt.
What is predestination? http://carm.org...;
9.
KRFournier

Con

I empathize with Pro's struggle to work within the 8000 character limit. It was the very reason I asked for a four round debate, since I was certain we'd approach that limit in every single round. I hope four rounds will invite more DDO readers.

The Problem of Evil

A. The Argument Map

It appears my opponent provides this map as a background to the history of this argument. I do hope he does not intend that this map constitute his argument in this debate, as in so doing, he risks cheating the character limit. If he insists I have to refute this map to win this debate, then I will take that as permission to write a 50,000 character response, capture it as an image, and paste it into my round.

That being said, I see no problem in referring to it throughout this debate to help illustrate his arguments. I do not believe my objections are accurately depicted in the map anyway.

B. The Argument in a Nutshell

Pro's second image breaks my heart. It sadly depicts how some Christians actually live, treating Christ like a cosmic personal assistant. Thought the Church in America has become very inward in many ways, there are also many Christian ministries actively involved in the troubled areas of the world. My church supports missionaries living deep in Mexico despite the increased cartel warfare. We fund a surgeon living in Africa providing lifesaving surgeries to the poor and destitute. Locally, we support The Hope Center, a place where young single mothers can get the help they need to get back on their feet whilst ensuring their children are cared for along the way. We're just one church supporting a handful of ministries. It's not much, but we strive to do our part.

I hope the readers can agree that such emotional imagery serves only to distract us from the purpose of this debate. Christians might be petty, ignorant, apathetic, or even downright mean, but that seems to be possible of any people regardless of belief. We should not allow the feelings generated by such images to poison the well before we've even had a chance to objectively examine the evidence.

C. The Argument Formulated

1. If God exists, then he is necessarily omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent (by definition).

It is true that God has all these qualities, presuming we aren't adhering to interpretations of these terms that render them intrinsically impossible. However, it's worth point out that God is also "most just" by the definition I provided in my first round. Perhaps benevolence implicitly includes justice, and that's fine, so long as we recognize that being just is indeed part of God's definition.

2. If proposition 1 is true, then unjustufied [sic] evil will not occur.

I will agree with this premise. Given God's characteristics, we would not expect unjustified evil to occur.

3. However, unjustified evil does occur.

I contend that this premise has not been properly demonstrated to be true.

Pro defines evil as "unecessary [sic] suffering." I defined it in my first round as "morally bad or wrong; wicked." Like I said, I expected the definition to be disputed, but I will now explain why Pro's definition cannot prove his case.

suf·fer·ing [1]
n.

  • The condition of one who suffers; the bearing of pain or distress; an instance of pain or distress. (The American Heritage® Dictionary)
  • The pain, misery, or loss experienced by a person who suffers; the state or an instance of enduring pain, etc. (Collins English Dictionary)

Pro's definition of evil is ambiguous. How does one objectively determine when suffering is unnecessary? The Problem of Evil is arguing for the reality of God's non-existence, so we need a way to identify real unnecessary suffering. But the term "suffering" involves entirely subjective experiences such as pain, misery, and distress. My daughter is certain she is experiencing unnecessary suffering when I deny her dessert after not eating her vegetables, but it is hardly objective truth.

Consider Pro's four examples of evil. I think just about everyone agrees they are appalling. They all involve intense suffering. But what makes them unnecessary? Pro's opinion? Pro must give us some way of objectively identifying his examples as unnecessary. Author C. S. Lewis writes:

  • My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of "just" and "unjust"? . . . What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? . . . Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. . . . Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple.

In other words, Pro's lack of objective criterion for unnecessary evil means he can only assert, at best, the following premise:

  • In my opinion, unjustified evil does occur.

This, of course, does not reach the desired conclusion. Pro needs objective evil to make his case, but this is problematic for the atheist, as Alvin Plantinga notes:

  • Could there really by any such thing as horrifying wickedness [if there were no God and we just evolved]? I don't see how. There can be such a thing only if there is a way that rational creatures are supposed to live, obligated to live. . . . A [secular] way of looking at the world has no place for genuine moral obligation of any sort . . . and thus no way to say there is such a thing as genuine and appalling wickedness. Accordingly, if you think there really is such a thing as horrifying wickedness (. . . and not just an illusion of some sort), then you have a powerful . . . argument [for the reality of God].

Not only does Pro have an uphill battle when it comes to showing us that unnecessary evil is a reality, but he risks making a case for God's existence in the process.

4. Therefore, it is probable that proposition 1 is false.

Pro has failed to show that Premise 3 is true, and so the conclusion cannot be reached.

The Problem of Hell

Although my opponent was not able to discuss this argument in detail, I will go ahead and state now that it suffers the same issues as the Problem of Evil. Namely, the second premise states that Hell is an unjust punishment. The natural question to that proposition is, "Says who?" Microsuck? America? The Universe? In order for this argument to reach an objective conclusion, Pro needs to show us that Hell is objectively unjust.

Theodicy

The question will surely be asked of me, "How does Christianity deem all suffering as necessary?" Or, "How can Hell be justified?" I will give a brief theodicy, but note that I have already fulfilled my burden of showing the Problems of Evil and Hell to be unsound.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they chose their own answer to the questions "What is right?" and "Who am I?" They revolted against God, essentially saying "we don't need you." If God let them rebel without consequence, he would not be just. So, he gave them one: He cursed the earth. Thus, all suffering is necessary as it is the consequence of saying, "Leave us alone, we can make our own way."

As a result, all humanity inherited both Adam's guilt and corruption. Adam's choice to do things without God meant he would raise his children without God. Consequently, his offspring would then be born in sin, and so on throughout all generations. "But wait, such consequences are not just!" cries the atheist, to which I respond, yet again, "Says Who?"

Sources

  1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
  3. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, 1960), p. 31
  4. Alvin Plantinga, "A Christian Life Partly Lived," Philosophers Who Believe, ed. Kelly James Clark (IVP, 1993), p. 73
Debate Round No. 2
Microsuck

Pro

Thank you for a swift response. I'm highly impressed with your arguments and am very glad to be debating you on the problem of evil and the problem of hell.

-->Rebuttal to Theodicy<--

My partners theodicy is basically the doctrine of original sin. However, the major problem is that it is contradicted in the Bible. Indeed, it is unjust to be punished for the sins of Adam and Eve. Says who? Well, if one must appeal to authority, the Bible!

Proposition 1: God is love. (Agape) [1]

Proposition 2: Agape keeps no record of wrong. (1 Corinthians 13:5, "It (love) is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. NIV)

Axiom 1: If proposition 1 is true, then God cannot keep any record of wrong.

Axiom 2: Consequently, God has no ground to stand on to punish those who rebel against him; especially if it is a wrong that was committed by a different person thousands of years ago.

Proposition 3: "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself." (Ezekiel 18:20)

Proposition 4: (Deuteronomy 24:16) - "Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin."

Axiom 3: Consequently, is unjust for God to put the original sin of Adam and Eve upon us.


Conclusion: The theodicy fails because God cannot keep any record of wrong and the doctrine of original sin is contradicted in the Bible.

-->Case<--

I. Problem of Hell

I wish to take a moment to expand on the Problem of Hel that I couldn't finish in the previous round.

Proposition 1: There exists a God who is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent.

Axiom 1: Consequently, this God is able to: (1) Save people from hell; (2) Create a punishment that is not the equivalent of hell; (3) Not create people who is going to hell; and (4) Already knows and purposefully decided who is and who is not going to hell (per the doctrine of predestination).

Contention 1: The porportion argument

Imagine someone who died during the holocaust; for example, Anne Frank. Anne Frank is in hell (at least according to Christian doctrine) because she rejected Christ as her saviour. Likewise, Adolf Hitler is in hell for the same reason. Anne Frank died roughly one month before her killer, Adolf Hitler. Consequently, she has been punished for the same sins as Adolf Hitler for a longer period of time.

Contention 2: Finite sins, infinite punishment?
What crime deserves an eternity of punishment? It is impossible for one to commit an infinite amount of sins because we are finite. Consequently, we are given a far greater punishment than one is warranted.

Putting it all together: Why hell is wrong

My partner is sure to respond, "Who says the above is wrong?" Well, first I wish to argue against the Divine Command Theory (DCT).

I) The dillema

1. Ether (a) The good is willed by God because it is Good; or (b) The good is good because it is willed be God.
2. If 1a is true, then good is independent of God's will.
3. If the above is true, then God is not the creator of good and evil.
4. If 1b is true, then good is contingent and subjective to God's will.
4. If the above is true, there is no objective standards of morality with the DCT.
5. The DCT is false.

So, we go back to the original question: What creates morality (this is very important to the subject of hell and the PoE). I contend that morality has a naturalistic orgin which can be explained from the framework of Evolutionary Psychology - a discipine formally known as Sociaobiology.
In his book, The Rejection of Pascal's Wager, Paul Tobin makes the following notes: [2]

Human Universals Most Likely Evolutionary Mechanism
Affection Expressed and Felt Kin Selection & Reciprocal Altruism
Altruism and cooperation
Attachment Kin Selection & Reciprocal Altruism
Familial bonding and friendship
Classification of Kin Kin Selection
Basis for knowing degree of relatedness
Empathy Kin Selection & Reciprocal Altruism
Moral sense
Distinguishing Good and Bad Reciprocal Altruism
For judgment, distinguishing cooperators from cheaters
Fairness Reciprocal Altruism
For equitable reciprocity
Food sharing Kin Selection & Reciprocal Altruism
For altruism and cooperation
Generosity Admired Reciprocal Altruism
Finding out who can be trusted in transactions
Judging Others Reciprocal Altruism
To ensure that cheats are known.
Prohibition of Murder Reciprocal Altruism
Prevention of the ultimate cheating
Pride Reciprocal Altruism
To enforce the individual's action in his group
Redress of Wrongs Reciprocal Altruism
To make cheating unattractive
Shame Reciprocal Altruism
To prevent individual from resorting to cheating

From the above chart, it is clear that our moral values was brought about by process of evolution.

There is a mathematical formulat to describe this phenomina:

C<BxR

C=Cost of helping
B=Benefit to the recipient
R=Degree of genetic relationship between altruist and recipient.

This equation tells us that as long as the cost to the altruist is less than the benefit to recipient times the degree of related between the true, the act of altruism makes sense. [3]

Conclusion: Morality is nothing more than our evolutionary instincts working together. These same ideas were found in other animals as well. Asking "why should one be moral" is the equivalent of asking "why should one feel hungry." Paul Tobin once again hits the nail on the head: "Moraity is a part of human nature and...an effective adaptation. Why should we forego morality any more than we should put out our eyes? [4]


Conclusion


Based upon the values that humans share via evolution and instincts, we can determine what is right and what is wrong.

II. Problem of Unecessary Suffering (evil).

I. The argument map

The map is simply a visual aid to the readers, to me, and to you. You do not have to rebut the entire map!

Once again, I'm out of time and room.

-->References<--


1. Strong's Concordence.
2. http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net...;
3. Ibid.
4. http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net...;
KRFournier

Con

Theodicy

Pro's rebuttal commits the fallacy of high redefinition. [1] He takes our very broad definition of round 1 and cherry picks one attribute in an attempt to show an inconsistency. It is true: God is love. However, it is also true: God is not just love.

To say that God is love is to say that He is the standard of love, just as he is the standard of good and just. He is the answer to the question, "What is love?" It does not necessitate that God exhibits love and only love in every circumstance. God can be the standard of love even when he chooses not to pardon the wicked. Paul does not say God keeps no records of wrongs in 1 Corinthians 13. Love keeps no records of wrong. Pail implies there is a choice in the matter, especially given the greater context of the chapter. God can practice love or justice and still be the standard of both.

Even so, God does erase records of wrongs, not only through the blood of Jesus Christ, but also in the Old Testament in the very same chapter of Ezekiel quoted by Pro himself:

  • But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (Ezekiel 18:21, ESV)

This just shows how badly Pro has taken Ezekiel out of context. God was rebuking the use of a proverb that insisted on the punishment of fathers for their sons' iniquities and vice versa. God was correcting their bad theology, reminding them that everyone is punished for their own sins.

The doctrine of original sin, on the other hand, stems from the curse. Is it fair that we all are under Adam's curse? If Adam was in charge of the earth and humanity, then yes. Just as a teenager is unable to take advantage of her driver's license because her brother wrecked the family car, we are unable to avoid sins. Sin is not damaging to just ourselves, it affects all others around us. When I sin, it teaches my children to sin. I sin because I am corrupt. The consequence of sin is that it corrupts my children. Thus, they will sin, and so on. That is the natural consequence of Adam choosing to be his own master. Thanks to Ezekiel I take comfort that God will not irrationally punish my daughters for my sins.

Pro also quotes Deuteronomy out of context. This is a book of Israel's laws, prohibiting them from executing sons for their fathers' law breaking and vice versa. This has nothing to do with the character of God whatsoever. This is just poor scholarship on Pro's part.

My opponent should apply proper hermeneutics if he wishes to use Christian theodicy to advance his case.

The Problem of Hell

Pro argues that hell is a punishment disproportionate to the crime and that no amount of finite sins deserves infinite punishment.

Per my definition of hell in round one, hell is a "state of separation from God." Hell is merely the continuation in the afterlife of one's state in this life. Hell is, by definition, exactly what rebellious sinners are asking for: existence on their own terms, without God. Hell is not out of proportion because it's not about the tally of sins but about the state of rebellion as a whole. The fact that it is eternal is also appropriate since there are two choices for eternity: hell or heaven. If there is only heaven, then God is not just. If there is only hell, then God is not loving.

What about the "lack of evidence?" The Bible teaches that everyone knows God exists in their heart. Maybe that doesn't meet Pro's standard of justice, but if it meets God's standard, then it matters little. The question is: what makes Microsuck's standard of justice the standard?

Fairness is getting no less than what you deserve. Since Adam's revolution against God, we all are separated from God. We are in partial hell even now with God's partial separation. Evil and hell are bedfellows. Both exist because we want to be our own masters. Thus, we all deserve to have what we want for all eternity. So, yes, going to hell is fair for us all. It is grace—indeed, Agape love—that allows even one of us to enter into heaven. God shows abundant charity in inviting rebels into his kingdom. This leaves us with a critical choice. We can complain about how God reigns and reject him based on our fancies about what is just, or we can accept his utterly free gift of Heaven.

The Dilemma

I agree that if "good is willed by God because it is good," then good is independent of God. However, it is utter fallacy to say that if "good is good because it is willed be [sic] God," then morality loses its objectivity. This reasoning commits the fallacy of equivocation. In P4 Pro writes, "If 1b is true, then good is contingent and subjective to God's will." The term subjective here means "particular to a given person;" [2] in this case, God. However, in the next premise, the conclusion is that morality is therefore subjective in the philosophical sense, meaning "existing only as perceived and not as a thing in itself."

The problem here is that Pro completely ignores the fact that anything subjective to God is made objective because He is both universal and invariant. Just because something is subjective to Him does not make it suddenly subjective to the cosmos, especially considering that he transcends our cosmos. Only by accepting Pro's sleight of hand can such conclusions be obtained.

Sociobiological Ethics

Paul Tobin's exercise in explaining human ethics within the purview of evolution hardly sets the stage for the kind of objective system of morality needed to show that God objectively does not exist. There are four problems with this.

First, this ethical system only deals with moral assessment, not moral obligation. The chart shows how fairness, sharing, etc. might have evolved due to social pressures, but absolutely nothing about that chart indicates that one ought to be fair or share. Yet the Problems of Evil and Hell demand a system of objective moral obligation for these arguments to show that God is really unjust.

Second, even if we extend this moral system to include some kind of hidden moral obligation such as "one is morally obligated to advance the social unit," it still cannot be applied to the Problems of Evil and Hell because the truth of this moral system is wholly contingent upon the truth of God's existence. If God exists, then Tobin's evolutionary explanation of societal ethics is categorically false. As a result, it begs the question for this debate.

Third, this moral system is entirely inadequate. Imagine a poor individual on the brink of starvation who mugs an individual for money. Tobin's ethical system condones the man's behavior because the cost of altruism is too high for the starving man. Even incarceration is not too great a cost because prisoners get three meals a day in the slammer. Yet, in real life, no one would condone the man's behavior. Not the courts. Not society. I daresay, not Microsuck. What we have is an arbitrary moral code that attempts to sidestep the critical issues facing the Problems of Evil and Hell.

Fourth, this system focuses on altruism, costs and benefits. But I criticized the Problem of Evil for needing an objective way of determining real unnecessary suffering. Tobin's chart never mentions suffering at all, so Pro has not responded to the most damning evidence against the Problem of Evil.

Pro's Burden

In the previous round, I argued that Pro needs to objectively demonstrate real unnecessary suffering in order to argue that God really doesn't exist. In this round, I am arguing that he needs to objectively demonstrate that Hell is really unjust and not just some kind of personal opinion on the matter. Until we get real answers to both critical questions, then no amount of pontification over theodicies can save his position.

Sources

  1. http://www.fallacyfiles.org...
  2. http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Debate Round No. 3
Microsuck

Pro

I thank my partner for a fun debate. This has been, perhaps, one of the best debates I've done on this site; you have shown great conduct throughout this debate and I thank you for that. Because it is the final round, I'm not going to go deep into the rebuttal; rather, I'll make a few quick notes.

1. Fallacy of Equivocation

My partner has accused me of the fallacy of equivocation.

Pro's rebuttal commits the fallacy of high redefinition. He takes our very broad definition of round 1 and cherry picks one attribute in an attempt to show an inconsistency. It is true: God is love. However, it is also true: God is not just love.

Pro is straw manning my possition. I argued that because of God's attribuites, he is self-contradictory (incoherent). Hence, the argument is as follows:

1) Anything with contradictory attributes cannot exist.
2) God has contradictory attributes.
3) Therefore, God cannot exist.

Because we are only debating the PoE and hell, this is irrelavent for now. However, the whole argument was that because God is agape, He cannot keep any record of wrong.

2) Out of context.

My partner accused me of bringing the quote out of context.

But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (Ezekiel 18:21,


What I was arguing was, via Ezekiel 18, the doctrine of original sin (which is my partner's theodicy) is contradicted. He has not refuted that; and in fact, only added to my argument.

Those are two points I felt was necessary for this round. As a closing remark, I thank my partner for participating in a scholarly debate with me.

This debate has concluded.
KRFournier

Con

Thanks to Microsuck for his time and effort. I hope the readers found this debate enlightening.

Fallacy of Equivocation

I was not creating a straw man of Pro's argument. I am well aware he was arguing for an inconsistency in the definition of God. I was arguing that the inconsistency he was after was only valid if God is redefined to no longer have any other attributes besides agape. Pro was after this:

P1. God is love
P2. Love keeps no records of wrongs
P3. God keeps records of wrongs
P4. God cannot both be love and keep records of wrongs
C. Therefore, God cannot logically exist

My rebuttal directly challenged the hidden fallacy of redefinition behind the first premise. The only way for this syllogism to work is if the first premise is understood as, "God is merely love." I can prove this by the impossibility of the contrary. Let's use our complex definition of God and see what happens:

P1. God is most loving, most good, most just, most wise, etc.
P2. Love keeps no records of wrongs
P3. God keeps records of wrongs
P4. God cannot both be love and keep records of wrongs
C. Therefore, God cannot logically exist

By inserting an abbreviation of our more complex definition of God, you can now see that premise 4 fails. There is no longer a contradiction because our most loving God is also most just, and so keeping records of wrongs does not contradict his attributes.

Hence, the syllogism succeeds if the fallacy of redefinition is employed and fails when the proper definition is in place.

Out of Context

I did indeed show that Ezekiel and Deuteronomy do not contradict original sin by showing that there are two different issues at stake here. The reason I claimed Pro was taking things out of context was because he was applying Ezekiel—which is about holding people responsible for their own sins—to original sin—which is the concept of us being unable not to sin.

To put it simply, I will not be held accountable for Adam's sin any more than I will be held accountable for my daughter's sin. However, I will inevitably sin because of the consequences of Adam's sin. So I suffer because of Adam's sin, but am I being punished for his sin? Not according to Scripture, even if I feel that is the case. This is precisely what I was driving home when I said, "Sin is not damaging to just ourselves, it affects all others around us." A child of an alcoholic suffers not because they are being punished for the sins of the father, but because sin—by its nature—is destructive.

There is no contradiction between the curse brought about by Adam's fall and the passages in Ezekiel and Deuteronomy. Pro may not like the idea of The Fall, but he has failed to show that the Bible is internally inconsistent.

The Problem of Hell

Pro did not provide us with an objective standard of justice, so the Problem of Hell is not sound.

The Problem of Evil

Pro did not provide us with real unnecessary suffering, so the Problem of Evil is unsound also.

Conclusion

I empathize with Pro's position, I really do. Even as a believer, I am angry at the horrific wickedness and suffering in this world. My passions, however strong, do not constitute proof of anything other than this: I have a conscience. Deep down, I know all this suffering is wrong. So does my opponent. It has to be wrong. Not by public opinion, or even my opinion. We feel in our gut that some things are just downright evil.

It is that conscience that the Bible refers to when saying that in our heart of hearts, we know there is a God. For, if there is no God, then that inner sense of real evil is just an illusion. Atheists try to appease that inner voice by appealing to sociobiology and the like, but it never works in practice. If our genes were predisposed to evil, would the nonbeliever still know deep down that it is evil? Is there any excuse for the atrocities in this world, genetic or otherwise? That is what Platinga meant when he said, "If you think there really is such a thing as horrifying wickedness (. . . and not just an illusion of some sort), then you have a powerful . . . argument [for the reality of God]."

Pro is on to something. Hell is an awful, appalling punishment. Evil is real and sickening. And only the Christian can say so with any real confidence.

Debate Round No. 4
43 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by errya 4 years ago
errya
Wow, this was an awesome debate! If I could vote I'd give the victory to KRFournier.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
dang this was close
Posted by baggins 5 years ago
baggins
@ Fool

Normally I would have voted 3:0 based on arguments. I made it 4:1 since it was a good debate from both sides. Don't take the individual items seriously when I vote (unless I say so in RFD).

IMO, the purpose of RFD is to ensure that the person voting on the debate has read and understood the debate, and to provide a feedback to the debaters about the aspects judges were looking at. In that regard, I think my RFD is complete. On other hand it is unfeasible for me to show for each point that the refutation was good enough for the debate.

While I love debating, I see it as pointless to debate on votes about debates. In case you feel strongly on the issue, consider framing your own resolution.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
The Fool: And that is justice! ;)
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@ @KRFournier
The Fool: They are all positive claims. Missing things could only be negative claims. Youve been exposed!! remember you also had the fake sincerity lines after each one so had to have put thought into it. You have been exposed!!
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@KRFournier
The Fool: So how does it feel to be naked on the internet? ;)
Posted by KRFournier 5 years ago
KRFournier
You're right, he did vote. I overlooked it. And you're also right that you didn't give Pro spelling, so my bad.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
The Fool: I don't get it. Why do you do you say this?

KFournier: Johnnyboy didn't even vote.

The Fool: ITs right here on the list!!! what are you trying to pull!! We can see it. It as clear as it gets? There is not even a way to hide that he voted. We dont say such things for no reason. What is your intention?

Edit:
The Fool: Your are over acting on the sincerity bit. I mean no offence but no one is that thankful and greatfull. You pour it on to much. And you know exactly what I mean. Thats is the best part.

Oh give it a break already:
-I don't mind putting up with your comments when they are directed at me, but you're getting out of hand
-Thank you, Fool. It's helpful to see where you're coming from (yeah okay I am sure you are thankfull)
-Man, I worked really hard to format my arguments and check my spelling. (I hadn't even given pro spelling, so this is all fake sincerity)
-I would like to apologize, but I'm out of room for discussion of this argument. I wish my partner the best of luck and may the best argument win.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@RFournier
Report me all you want. I haven't broken any Rules. I just honeslty want to know. I really want to know if my reasoning is off. We are aloud to talk here. That is not against any rules. I said its not about changing anything I just want to know what was Reason? YOu certaintly made sure I give every detail and I did didnt' I? Clearly and justly NO? ;) I answered right away. And I think everybody who votes should be prepared to do the same. I mean if you are sure of yourself why are you so bothered.

The Fool: Your are over acting on the sincerity bit. I mean not offence but now once is that thank full and greatfull. And you know exactly what I mean. That is the best part.
I don't mind putting up with your comments when they are directed at me, but you're getting out of hand.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@baggins
The Fool: All those ten refutations. Surely you must have 1 example out of such a big mass. There is so many to choose from. I mean why did you give pro the conduct? There was no bluntly Direct examples of why Fournier misconducted. If you are using my example then its means he failed to refute the argument. What is you example?
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 5 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro pointed out that eternal punishment for finite crimes is not only unjust but unloving as well. Pro also made convincing argument regarding morality stemming from natural causes which Con was unable to refute.
Vote Placed by IFLYHIGH 5 years ago
IFLYHIGH
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Sorry that I'm changing my vote. I'm changing because after futher investigation, I see as much VB for Micro as i did KRF. I will let KRF keep two points for a a fierce defense of his arguments.
Vote Placed by baggins 5 years ago
baggins
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments...
Vote Placed by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Refer to comments
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's defense of original sin and the purpose of hell were both lacking convincing scriptural backing, and were instead to be upheld using rather weak analogies. This is unfortunate given that both positions are counter-intuitive and unjust on the face. Without additional explanations for these two concepts, Pro's classification of hell and evil as unjust stands, even when using the most streamlined evolutionary take on moral standards. Arguments to Pro. All else equal.
Vote Placed by johnnyboy54 5 years ago
johnnyboy54
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Great job by both Pro and Con. It was a fascinating read. Con superbly defeated Pro's argument about original sin. Also showing the God was not only Agape, but also just was a great move and gave con no room to counter. Con also showed that unless Pro could objectively prove that suffering, evil and hell were unnecessary or unjust, then his argument fails. Pro could not prove that they were unnecessary or unjust. In conclusion, con refuted all of pro's arguments and negated the resolution.
Vote Placed by LibertyCampbell 5 years ago
LibertyCampbell
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: The P.O.E. arguments were centered around the definition of God. KRFournier's definition of God (Does anyone ever read it?) is sufficient to rebute the PoE, but if Pro's definition was used instead, then he would have won. But Pro allowed for Con's definition. The PoH was based around the concept of hell, and again the definition of God. Microsuck used a different concept and definition than KR blah blah, same conclusion as above. Uniform text; grammar to KR. Conduct; KR for being more friendly
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: comments
Vote Placed by THEBOMB 5 years ago
THEBOMB
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's theodicy on the POE carries through the case. Con successfully refuted Pro's attacks, namely with POE and the POH.
Vote Placed by WriterDave 5 years ago
WriterDave
MicrosuckKRFournierTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: The principle of induction gives us prima facie reason to take Pro's examples of apparently unnecessary evil as actual unnecessary evil unless there is a specifically applying reason to either believe otherwise or to believe that the principle of induction fails. Con provided neither. Other points go to Pro to counter-VB the previous vote.