The Instigator
popculturepooka
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
THEBOMB
Con (against)
Losing
11 Points

The Problem of Hell Redux

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Post Voting Period
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after 6 votes the winner is...
popculturepooka
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,863 times Debate No: 20735
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (22)
Votes (6)

 

popculturepooka

Pro

Introduction

I have already done one debate on this subject but I hope to tackle this issue again. [1]

To reiterate, my position is that the existence of hell - conceived of as eternal, conscious torment (e.g. the "traditional" doctrine of hell) - is, in all likelihood, incompatible with the existence of a God who is conceived of as perfectly good (e.g. just, merciful, loving, etc), powerful, and wise. I think this problem presents a uniquely diffcult issue for that kind of monotheism in general and Christanity in particular; the latter position is the one I will be arguing from.

One's theological or religious persuasion - whether theist or non-theist - does not matter in accepting this debate. The only type of person I hope to debate is someone who is competent and can argue powerfully for the position that the existence of hell and God, within the context of Christainity, are, in all likelihood, compatible.

I accept the burden of proof inasmuch as all the opponent has to do to defeat me is show that my arguments fail to prove their conclusion. If they show my arguments do not prove their conclusion the argument points should go to my opponent. Thusly, my opponent has to show how and why my arguments fail.

Good luck to whomever accepts this challenge.

Rules

Round 1 is for acceptance and clarifications and/or statements of purpose. If there are any more issues that need to be worked out please post them in the comments.

Rounds 2-4 are for argumentation.


Sources

[1] http://www.debate.org...
THEBOMB

Con

I accept this challenge and hope my opponent and I can have an intelligent debate.

I accept my opponents definition of hell and their definition of God.

I will argue, from Christian Scripture, hell is completely compatible with mainstream Christianity.
Debate Round No. 1
popculturepooka

Pro

Thanks to Con for accepting the debate.

Just to make clear the commitments of the traditional (eternal, conscious torment) doctrine of hell I'll use Jonathan Kvanvig's explication:

The Anti-Universalism Thesis: Some persons are consigned to hell;
The Existence Thesis: Hell is a place where people exist, if they are consigned there;
The No Escape Thesis: There is no possibility of leaving hell and nothing one can do, change, or become in order to get out of hell once consigned there;
The Retribution Thesis: The justification for hell is retributive in nature, hell being constituted to mete out punishment to those whose earthly lives and behavior warrant it. [1]

The Proportionality Objection

Obviously, this view of hell is heavily based upon the retributive theory of punishment in moral philosophy. [2] Hell, after all, on this view, is not for redeeming the damned nor is it for deterring other bad actions. It's for retribution; it's because they deserve to be punished. In fact, this is where the doctrine gets most of it's legs or intuitional support from. The basic idea is that God is a just (among other attributes like holy, good, loving, and the like) God and therefore has to punish sinners in hell for their unethical actions here on earth in the after life.

Before even getting into proportionality objection there seems to a deep, fundamental problem - even incoherence - with saying that a loving, merciful God 's sense of justice requires (as many do) him to damn some eternally as philosophers Eric Reitan and John Kronnen have pointed out. [3] Christian theology has always maintained that every single of one us deserves hell because we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Now, why isn't it the case that all of us will go to hell? Because it is said that God will take mercy and show grace to at least some of us and that is because Christ took on our punishments for sins and this was accomplished through the atonement. But, then, how is it supposed to be the case that God's justice requires him to damn some. Obviously it doesn't - so why would God's justice get in the way of showing mercy and love to all of his people and not sending them to a place to be eternally in torment? Obviously this would undermine the "anti-universalism thesis", giving us reason not to assent to that that thesis.

That worry aside, the very theory of punishment the doctrine draws upon actually gives us strong reason to reject the existence of hell when placed alongside the Christian God.

One can easily see how wholly disproportionate this whole scenario is. On retributivism the punishment is supposed the match the nature of the crime. If the punishment is too harsh it is unethical. Likewise, if the punishment is too lenient it is also unethical. Now, how could a finite person ever do something to warrant an infinite punishment? This seems to be a case of being far, far, far too harsh. The math does not not add up. Finite person + finite crime = infinite punishment? Even using paradigm cases of the worst that humanity has ever had to offer - say, Hitler - what he did can't ever merit an infinite, eternal punishment. Even if he gets tortured 4 quadrillion years for every person his genocidial policies affected how does that merit an infinite punishment? At some point this just punishment turns into cruelty and torture and something akin to a twisted sense of sadism. Punishing for no reason is not just. Thus, this argument seems to show that very foundation that the doctrine of hell raises is very shaky indeed; it even seems to refute it. So this undermines the "retribution thesis".

The Bliss of the Saved Objection

On any remotely orthodox Christian understanding of heaven it is said to be a place of unimaginable bliss and joy and happiness. This process is viewed as the pinnacle of sanctification - in other words - since our goal in this life (and maybe some more in the next) is to be Jesus-like or God-like. In heaven, people are sin-less, and thus more like God. Now, one of THE defining elements of God is love in Christianity. [4] One could easily surmise that in heaven the saved would have a God-like all abiding love for everyone as God seems to have. If that is the case, the presence of people being in a state of eternal torment seems fundamentally incompatible with the redeemed in heaven being in a state of unimaginable bliss. What loving person can truly be happy while their loved ones are suffering much less suffering forever in unimaginable pain and anguish.

In fact, Paul himself seems to lend credence to this argument. [5] If Paul was that anguished over just considering the fate of his people, how much more would the saved and redeemed and sanctified be anguishing over actually knowing that all of their loved ones are burning in hell? It's often noted then when two people love each other anything that happens to one automatically effects the other. If one is suffering the other suffers too because they hate to see their loved one suffering. Or vice versa. Consider the old adage, "It makes me happy just to see you happy". If that is just earthly love, it should be infinitely greater in heaven. With this in mind seems that one has to give way. The saved could not be in the ultimate state of blissfulness and happiness all the while knowing that those loved ones are suffering eternally. This presents another strong reason to reject the traditional doctrine of hell that is conceived of as eternal, conscious torment. If hell as conceived exists, then heaven as conceived does not. Or, conversely, if heaven as conceived exists, then hell as conceived does not exist. I think the latter proposition has stronger warrant.

To Con.

Sources

[1] "The Strong View of Hell" , in The Problem of Hell, ed. Jonathan L. Kvanvig, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 25
[2] http://www.google.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] 1 John 4:8: " Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
[5] Rom 9:2-3: "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people."
THEBOMB

Con

I thank Pro for his well thought out opening argument and will being.

Arguments:

C1. Hell was never meant from mankind
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." (1) Hell was clearly prepared only for the devil and the fallen angels. Man was never meant to go to hell. So the question implied is why? Why and how did man manage to be able to be banished to hell? We'll have to take a step back to answer this question. Satan, the deceiver, controls the earth. If you do not believe this, Scripture point to this conclusion. (2, 3, 4) So now comes the question of how? How did Satan come to control the Earth? Again, we look to scriptures for that answer. The angel Lucifer was proud (5). Lucifer was tasked with leading all creation in worship of God, but, as time went on Lucifer began to believe this worship should be focused on him, Lucifer, instead of God. (6, 7, 8) Lucifer decided to lead a revolt against God (9) and they ultimately failed. Why? Well, God did not make Lucifer sin but, he already had a remedy in place. (10) Ultimately, Satan and the fallen angels ended up in hell. (11) Hell was prepared for the devil, not mankind.

SubC1a How did man get to hell
God created man with two purposes to. First, subdue the earth and have dominion over it (to bring it back into God's control). (12) Second, to reclaim full control over the heavens, the Mystery. This purpose was kept secret from man (13) until revealed to Paul. But, the problem is, Adam sinned plunging all of man into sin (14) and into the payment for this sin…hell. (15) But, through faith and acceptance of Jesus Christ man can be saved. Man has a choice. Because man is naturally sinful without faith, they go to Hell (something NEVER meant for man to begin with). But, through faith in God and Jesus Christ man can reach Heaven. (16) Ultimately, it was Man's choice to be able to go to Hell, not God's.

C2. God does not want anyone to go to hell nor does God send anyone to Hell
You see, God does not send man to Hell nor does God want anybody to go to hell (17). But, in mainstream Christianity, if a person rejects Jesus Christ, they are rejecting Heaven. If they are rejecting Heaven they are freely choosing, through their own free will (18, 19), to go to Hell. There will never be a person in Heaven who does not want to be there. God died on the cross for man's sins. If a person chooses to reject this FREE gift then they cannot blame anybody but, themselves. It is man's choice whether they go to heaven (by accepting Jesus Christ) or go to hell (by denying Jesus Christ). Somebody in Hell choose to be there through their own life. They cannot blame God.

R1 The Proportionality Objection

People in Hell are only in Hell because they choose to be there through their own free will. Even if a sinner converts at the end of their life and accept Jesus Christ they can go to heaven.
SR1 God's love
God does not send anybody to Hell. It is through man's own free choice that they end up in Hell. If a person ends their life not believing in God they will go to hell. Ultimately, it is Man's choice to go to Hell. Furthermore, it is true that Christ died for man's sins and it is true God loves man but, love is a two way path. God loves all people, but, not all people love God. You have to love God back and accept God's love in order to be saved. If you do not accept God's mercy and freely choose to not love God why would God do something you do not want? You do not want to be with God, why would God send a person to be with Him for all eternity, if they obviously do not want to be with Him for eternity? That is what heaven is, being with God for eternity. God loves all man, but, not all man loves and accepts God. God does not force anybody to accept Him, Man consciously chooses whether they want to go to heaven or to hell through their life.

SR2 Proportionality
Here I shall provide a definition of Heaven and Hell. Heaven: being with God (love) for all eternity. Hell: the absence of God and the presence of Satan (hate, fire, death, pain) for all eternity. Heaven = happiness with God. Hell = pain with Satan (for obvious reasons). Once again, man chooses through their own free will whether to go to heaven (by accepting God) or hell (by denying God). God is not going to force a person who denies Him and does not want to be with Him, to be with Him. There is only one other choice in this scenario, Hell.
Now even if you are completely correct and God does send man to Hell (which is not correct), you are attempting to apply human morality and human ethics to something which is indescribable and unknown by humanity. Man was created in Gods image and man's life is sacred from conception to natural death. So basically, if you kill someone you are killing a sacred being. For God, maybe justice is eternal punishment for killing a person. You cannot apply mans ethics and morality to something which is not man. Retribution for murder, for God, is eternity in this situation. But, still, God does not send Man to hell, they choose Hell.

R2. The Bliss of the Saved Objection
Pro's argument is summed up in one simple statement: how can a person truly be happy if their loved ones are suffering? In Christianity, God IS love. When a person is in Heaven, they are not love, nor is their love amplified by any means. But, when they are in Heaven a person is literally with love, God. Being sinless makes you more like God, but, it does not make you God. A person will always be happy in heaven because they are literally with love. God is pure love. (20, 21, 22, 23)
Furthermore, Man will not know what sadness, pain, and anguish is when in heaven. Their memories of pain are erased and all past memories forgotten. "For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes." (24)Man does not remember what troubles them in heaven. Pain troubles man. Man does not know what pain is because of this they cannot "feel bad" for those who are in pain, even if they are loved ones. Heaven is the absence of pain, suffering, and anguish. The only memories man has in heaven is that which brings man joy. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (25) Man remembers happiness, not pain.

Back to you Pro.

Sources:
1.Matthew 25:41
2.Ephesians 6:12
3.Ephesians 2:2
4.Luke 4:5-8
5.Timothy 3:16
6.Ezekial 28:12 –15
7.Timothy 3:16
8.Ezekial 28:16-19
9.Revelation 12: 4, 7-9
10.Ezekial 28:18
11.Isaiah 14:15
12.Genesis 1:28
13.Romans 16:25
14.Romans 5:12
15.Romans 6:23
16.II Peter 3:15
17.2 Peter 3:9
18.Dt.30:19
19.Joshua 24:15
20.Deut. 7:7-8
21. Jer. 31:3
22. John 3:16
23. Heb. 12:6
24.Isaiah 65:16
25.Revelation 21:4
Debate Round No. 2
popculturepooka

Pro

Con basically has three contentions here.

The Free-Will Defense

There are three problems with this defense:

1) As Marilyn McCord Adams has aptly pointed out it'd be entirely irrational, unreasonable, and unethical for God to trust such limited, ignorant, and deception-prone creatures such as ourselves to make decisions regarding our eternal fate - especially since the consequences are so horrible in the case of hell! [1] We start out this life in a state of severe ignorance and helplessness and only, very gradually and very slowly, develop a picture of the world that is influenced by people just as imperfect and non-ideal as we are. This leads to us come up with with "adaptational strategies" (as she says) in order to cope with problems that we cannot really conceive the true consequences of or that we can truly get a handle on. Yet, these ways of thinking are carried on into adulthood either subconsciously or consciously. In any case, we start off in this life as immature, ignorant beings and the "holdovers" from childhood carry into adulthood which effect how we act and think. For God to create beings such as us (with all these setbacks to truly clear rational thinking) and then entrust us to make a decision about our eternal destinies in hell (which is the worse horror imaginable and even then it's scope is beyond our grasp) would be the height unreasonableness and would be immoral to boot. Imagine a parent putting their two year old in a room with perfectly safe, breathable gas but the gas will ignite if a flame is started in the room. Imagine further that there are matches with gaudy (kid-attractive) colors lying in the middle of the room. Even if the parent tells their child not to touch the stove and the child knows to obey their parent the parents are still at fault for putting their child in a situation like that in the first place. They should've known better.

2) An important distinction needs to be made here. This free will defense presumes libertarian free will as opposed to compatibalist free will. [2][3] This defense places way too much value on the "inviolability" of (libertarian) free will. What reason is there to believe that in the supposed "sacrosanctity" of libertarian free will especially when considered next to the doctrine of hell. If God could not get people to accept salvation with the libertarian free will why should he not then get by irrationally choosing that option why should you not interfere with their libertarian freely willed decision? Remember, hell is an irreparable harm and anyone who had an adequate conception of hell would not want to go there. So the only the way they could choose to go there is only through irrationally choosing to go there. If I were to irrationally (maybe due to a mental illness) choose to jump off the empire state building without a parachute for no particular reason I would hope someone I know would stop me and my 'free will' be damned. I would not want them to sit back and say, "Oh, well, you know, that's his choice and I'm going to respect that. Even though in a sane and rational state of mind he would never choose to do that and he has no reason to do it now, I'm going to just sit back and watch it play out." A good friend wouldn't do that. A good God wouldn't just sit back and watch as his creatures freely choose to do irreparable harms to themselves.

3) Similarly to the second point, Thomas Talbott has questioned the very coherence of the notion of a fully-informed, rational person choosing to go to hell. [4] Hell is the worst fate imaginable - in fact, it's even worse than we can imagine. If, as it is said Christian theology, God is truly the source of all that is good (love, happiness, etc) then hell would be separation from the source of all that is good. Now, if a fully-informed, rational person were to consider this hell they'd surely not choose this option for themselves. As he notes that one of the necessary conditions of being a moral agent (and being held for responsible for your actions) and/or a free will agent is a minimal degree of rationality. Obviously an infant is not a moral agent. If someone were to choose an option which they have no reason to do it and a strong reasons not to do they would be in such in a state of irrationality you'd be hard pressed to say they made a "free choice". In the case of hell a fully-informed, rational person would never choose hell; the only way they could do so is in a state of severe ignorance. But if they are in a state of severe ignorance my 1) shows the problems with that option. If they aren't then why would they choose hell except in a severe bout of irrationality? In that case, it wouldn't be a free choice.

The Divine Mystery Defense

Con here just simply contradicts himself. He claims that we can't apply human ethical claims (or by extension any human claim) to God because he is inherently indescribable and unknown. If that is the truly the case, then how is Con talking about God in his previous round as if some things can be known about him? He is deigning to describe how God works (he leaves people to freely choose hell) and also to state some truths about God. If he truly believed that God is absolutely indescribable and unknown he wouldn't accepted this debate because he wouldn't even had a concept of what God really is like. So if Con wants to say something meaningful about God he still has to deal with my objections. All he does is appeal to the 'possibility' that God might condemn people to eternal torment when that is the exact issue in question. It's begging the question.

The Heart-Hardening/Memory Wipe Defense

1) When someone truly loves someone else they'd want to know about the fate of their loved ones. How many times have you heard someone say they want to know what happened to their loved one even if it pains them to know the truth? Con says God wipes the memory would actually seem to lead to a case of where God is deceiving the saved. For one, if their pain involves memories of loved ones he would essentially be erasing memories of loved ones altogether. Yet, plausibly, much of what the former life one has on earth (including, perhaps, the circumstances in which the saved even got saved) revolve around those memories of their loved ones (and considering the biblical edict that we should love our neighbors as ourselves this widens the scope of the problem considerably). In essence, heaven on Con's supposition would be like taking someone taking us to a beach resort in wherein on the other side of the high, high walls lies people anguishing in suffering, poverty and pain. The high walls are there so people at the beach resort don't have to see these folks, because, yknow, that'd "ruin their experience".

2) Con simply just ignores my point here. I said that an essential part of love is caring for others' well-being. If that is the case, as Christian theology surely teaches, then part of caring for others' well-being would be possessing empathy. It's all well and good to say God is love. It's another thing to say what love is as I have done (partially) and Con has not. So if the saved "cannot feel pain" it'd only be because there are no loved ones in pain for all eternity; not because God somehow shields their feelings of love for their loved ones. Either that or he hardens their hearts to where they start to not feel pain for the suffering of others in which that is morally problematic as well.

Sources

[1] "The Problem of Hell: A Problem of Evil for Christians", Adams, Marilyn, in Readings in the Philosophy of Religion, ed. Kelly James Clark (Broadview Press, 2008), pp 439 - 443
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] "Freedom, Damnation, and the Power to Sin with Impunity", Religious Studies 37 (2001), pp. 417-434.
THEBOMB

Con

I thank my opponent for their response and shall continue.

Before I begin my defense and refutation, I want to bring us back to the actual debate at hand. In round 1, my opponent stated their position to be hell is incompatible with Christianity (1). Christianity is entirely based upon the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. Christians believe the bible is the infallible word of God. Therefore, any scriptural references provided are infallible, according to my opponent's guidelines.

Defense 1: Free-will
Ethics: principles that govern a PERSON'S or group's behavior.
We cannot apply a human ethical system to something which is not human. This is not saying man can know nothing about God because, since this is arguing from a Christian perspective, the Bible conveys truths about God and these truths are what we know about Him. God is not human. You cannot apply human ethics to God nor can you apply human rationality to something non-human. Man chooses their fate quite simply, if they have faith in God and love God, they go to heaven. If they do not have faith in God and do not love God, they go to Hell. God could force man to "love" Him. Would that truly be love? God wants man to consciously choose to love Him. If you choose not to God is not going to force anyone to be with Him. They made their decision. God loves all man, even those who do not love Him back. He will not force anyone who does not want to, to be with Him for all eternity.
My opponent argues God cannot entrust man to make decisions about our own fate. But, I have provided several passages which must be considered INAFLLIBLE for the scope of this debate proving my point. God HAS entrusted man to create their own fate. My opponent continues to apply a human morale scale to something which, most assuredly, is not human. Christianity believes God is not human. Therefore, people cannot apply human morals to God.
People choose their own fate, whether or not this is moral by man's standards has absolutely no relevance when it comes to something which is not man. To God it is moral or he would not do it. God is completely righteous (or justified) in all that He does (2, 3, 4, 5,6). God is completely just when it comes to Hell. He does not sentence people there. Man sentences themselves.
God does not just "sit back" as my opponent suggests, if God had just sat back and done nothing. Then there would be no Bible. There would be no Jesus Christ to save man. There would be no prophets. There is a Bible, Christians believe Jesus Christ did come to save man, and Christians do believe there are prophets.
Furthermore, Man chooses to go to Hell by choosing to deny and not love God. If a rational person does not accept God, they are accepting Hell. Man does have all the facts, God has shown He is true love, Heaven is true bliss, and Hell is true suffering through the Bible. If a person chosen to not love God then they can blame nobody but, themselves. Man has all the tools for their decision. If they decide to not love God, they have decided to go to Hell.

D2.
We cannot apply human ethics to God because God is not human. We cannot make any assumptions about God other than those seen in the Bible. Which God revealed to man. The truths I stated in my opening argument were the ones revealed to man through the Bible. Pro attempting to apply human ethics to God which assuredly cannot be done. God is not human.

D3) Memory
God does not erase memories of bliss, only pain. In heaven, Man does not know what pain is. They cannot perceive pain in any way. They have forgotten what it is. My supposition is the Biblical position, and thus the Christian position, on this matter. You forget ANYTHNIG which pains you going as far as not knowing what pain is and you only know joy. This is supported multiple times in the Bible, my opponents suppositions are not.

Sources:
1. Round 1 of this debate
2. Psalm 33:4
3. Nehemiah 9:7-8
4. Psalm 45:6
5. Psalm 89:14
6. Psalm 97:2
Debate Round No. 3
popculturepooka

Pro

I will now attempt to show the problems with my opponents position; Con has basically replied to almost all my objections with an all purpose response: "you can't apply 'human' ethics to God." I'll call this the "divine immunity" defense. Some might look at this as a convenient away to escape any ethical criticism leveled at the depiction of God my opponent holds to - I happen to agree - but I will go ahead and show the weaknesses of this position. Barring that, precious little has been done to nullify my objections. If this defense fails, his case fails.

I just want to point out that Con reasons that because Christians belief the bible is infallible that means that any scriptural references are infallible. That is a simple matter of logic. One doesn't follow from that premise is that any use of scriptural references is infallible; one may be simply misusing or misinterpreting scripture. The scripture may be infallible but the interpreter is not. Additionally, simply appealing to sometimes ambiguous scripture isn't going to do the work Con wants it to; he must support his interpretations and answer philosophical objections.


The Divine Immunity Defense

I want to note the contradiction that has been running through nearly all of Con's rounds. On one hand, Con tries to say 'human' rationality and ethics don't apply to God. On the other hand, he attempts to reason about God from scripture; this a paradigm case of human rationality applying to God no matter how limited humans' rationality is. Additionally, he argued that my ethical objections don't work because ethics only applies to humans in this case. But look at what Con has been arguing - he's saying that God would be moral and just if he did condemn some to eternal, conscious torment. These pronouncements are ethical and moral judgements. If Con were thoroughly consistent Con would not be using moral and ethical statements to describe how God acts because, remember, Con thinks 'human' ethics don't apply to God.


Con appeals to dictionary definition of 'ethics' in order to show that 'human' ethics doesn't apply to God. I suspect his reasoning relies on an equivocation because ethics talks about a PERSON'S behavior. An essential claim to Christianity is that God is a PERSONAL being. [1] So even on that definition we could say that we can talk about ethics in relation to God. Only if Con equivocates and says that person = human being would his argument even get off the ground. It may be that all human beings are persons but it doesn't follow from this claim that all persons are human beings.


The biggest problem with this divine immunity approach is the following: it strips moral terms of all their meaning when applied to God. Every Christian wants to say that God is good, just, fair, etc. If we say God is good there has to be something we mean by that otherwise we are just speaking incoherent nonsense and gibberish about God.

As J.S. Mill (an atheist) astutely writes:

"To say that God's goodness may be different in kind from man's goodness, what is it but saying, with a slight change of phraseology, that God may possibly not be good? To assert in words what we do not think in meaning, is as suitable a definition as can be given of a moral falsehood. Besides, suppose that certain unknown attributes are ascribed to the Deity in a religion the external evidences of which are so conclusive to my mind, as effectually to convince me that it comes from God. Unless I believe God to possess the same moral attributes which I find, in however inferior a degree, in a good man, what ground of assurance have I of God's veracity?"

Similarly, Eric Reitan (a Christian) writes:

"Consider hellists—by which I mean those who think that God consigns some of the creatures He loves to an eternity of excruciating torment, torment that does them absolutely no good. While some hellists seek to offer a 'theodicy' of hell—that is, an account of why such divine activity is compatible with the goodness of God—others retreat behind the cloak of divine mystery. They point out that God’s ways are not our ways, that divine goodness transcends our comprehension, and that it is therefore simply presumptuous for anyone to question the (supposedly clear) biblical teaching that God expresses his perfect goodness in part by subjecting some creatures to unremitting anguish more extreme than we can possibly fathom.

...

In short, if we shroud God in total mystery, the claim the God is good becomes compatible with any motives or behaviors or commandments we might possibly attribute to God. But if that is right, what are we saying when we say God is good? If saying this about God is compatible with asserting simply anything else about God--if nothing is either implied or excluded when we say it--are we really saying anything at all?" [3]

Both put their finger on an important problem. They both point out that for us to even consider God good we need to mean something when we say the word "good". If categorically unethical and evil things - like either torturing or allowing people to damn themselves forever - are considered "good" you've simply stripped the terms of saying anything significant. Saying that God's goodness is infinitely greater than ours (a true claim) is not the same as saying God's "goodness" is completely different than ours (a false claim).

David Baggett and Jerry Walls (two proponents of a sophisticated moral argument for God's existence) stress that God's goodness must be "recognizable" in order for our ascriptions of good to make sense. [4] If God can perform those unethical and evil things - like I have maintained the doctrine of hell is (which as gone virtually unchallenged - then God is not "recognizably good".

Additionally, even the bible seems to tell against the latter proposition. Paul writes, "when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them." (Rom. 2:14-15) This seems to show that we have at least some grasp on moral truths and this presumably comes from God.

The Free-Will Defense

Here Con just repeats his assertions that human beings would choose a fate of eternal, conscious torment without interacting with my arguments I set forth in round 3. Extend my arguments.

The Heart-Hardening/Memory Wipe Defense

Here again Con just repeats his assertions without interacting with the point I made about love essentially involving caring about other loved ones' well being.

Thanks to Con nonetheless for debating and thanks to the bystanders for reading.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.humanities.mq.edu.au...
[3] http://thepietythatliesbetween.blogspot.com...
[4] http://books.google.com...
THEBOMB

Con

I have mentioned human ethics cannot be applied to within this debate before round 3. "You are attempting to apply human morality and human ethics to something which is indescribable and unknown by humanity" (1). Instead of making these brand new arguments, and yes they are new as neither these sources nor these arguments were seen in rounds before hand, he has decided to take it upon himself to argue this point in the last round. Since I now must refute these arguments to keep my case intact it cannot be abuse as my opponent is the instigator of the new arguments.

D1. The Divine Immunity Defense
As my opponent aptly pointed out, if I can defend this one premise my opponents case is refuted and mine upheld.
The alleged contradiction running through my debate is not a contradiction. I have stated over and over again that God does not have to follow human rationality or human ethics for the simple reason, He is not human. In other words, God's rationality is not the same as man's rationality. I can reason God has these attributes because the scripture is God's way of telling man about Himself. The only things man knows about God is contained in Christian scripture. Scripture says God IS just, in all He does. God IS good, in all He does. Passages of the infallible Christian Scripture blatantly state this. Under what authority can my opponent argue this is incorrect? Therefore, according to Christianity, anything God does is completely justified…to God, but, no necessarily to man. Gods reasoning and rationality is beyond human comprehension. Who is man to say anything God does is unjustified when the infallible word of God, given to man by God, says the exact opposite; God is justified in all He does? God would be moral if He Himself condemns man to hell (which is inaccurate) simply because God is just in every action He does.

Now as for my opponent's claims about a personal God, in Christianity, God is considered to be personal for two reasons, one, God interacts with man several times throughout the Old and all throughout the New Testament. Two, God created the universe for a personal reason. He had a desire to create the Universe. A person is a human being as the evident definition of a person is defined as being a human being. God can have personal intentions, God can act personally (showing anger, etc.) But, this does not mean God is a person, God is not human, thus, all taking of application of human aspects to God are invalid.

According to Christian Scripture, God is good and all He does is good. This is blatantly stated in Scripture. Since according to Christianity, everything God does is good. Creating Hell is good.

So far we know, God does not send man to hell. They freely choose to go. The crux of my opponents argument is basically, how can a loving God create Hell?

To answer this, I refer back to my initial argument, Hell was not meant for man and man choose to freely enter Hell by their own free will. (1) You see in order to have free will there must be both Heaven and Hell. Mankind needs to have a choice, otherwise how can they freely choose what to believe? If there is no Hell, there is no free will. There needs to be a choice in the matter.

My opponent cites David Baggett and Jerry Walls to make their point. But, my opponent is citing them out of context. I will provide the entire argument they make. "His goodness must be recognizable for our ascriptions of goodness to Him to remain meaningful, BUT there could still arise occasions where it isn't easy to see the goodness of what He commands. In fact, it would seem that some of God's commands might in a real sense involve something morally bad. We are all familiar with circumstances where the only available moral choices are in some way bad…the badness of an action does not nessesarily entail it's wrongness." (2) My opponent cites them out of context, in reality, my opponent is claiming Hell is a bad place. But, according to Mr. Baggett and Mr. Walls, something which is "bad" does not make it immoral or wrong. Something which is "bad" can in fact, be the "good" choice. Hell is a good choice. Hell is not necessarily unethical or evil, as my opponent claims, its creation is good. There are two choices, create Hell to banish Satan and Satan's follower's for all eternity or allow Satan to stay in heaven potentially ruling over the earth. The question is would you prefer God to rule or Satan to rule? Personally, I prefer a good ruler rather than an evil and rationally so does everyone. Furthermore, Hell upholds the doctrine of Free-will, which is held over all other doctrines. God gave man free will. Thus, it is man's choice about their fate. This is completely ethical as God gives man the tools they need in order to make a decision about their eternal fate. God sent prophets, God even sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to save mankind. Man has everything it needs to make an informed decision. Through the infallible bible they know heaven is eternal bliss and Hell is eternal suffering. They have all the tools they need, if a person chooses to ignore these tools, then they can only blame themselves.

Romans 2: 14 address the problem of how man can condemn those who never heard of Jesus Christ to Hell. To put it simply, first, God does not condemn anybody. Second, whether you go to heaven or hell is your own decision. "if you disobey the truth that you have, even though you have never heard of Moses or of Christ, you perish, not because you didn't hear of Moses or of Christ, but because you have disobeyed truth that you already know -- that is the whole point. If you know of Moses and of Christ, and you still disobey the truth, you perish also" (3)

Thank you Pro for participating. And thank you judges for reading.

Sources:
1.This debate round 2
2.http://books.google.com...
3.http://www.preceptaustin.org...
Debate Round No. 4
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
IF you are taking those scriptures to serious sources of truth. Yes
Posted by THEBOMB 2 years ago
THEBOMB
@THE_FOOL

Are you saying I'm a fundamentalist Christian, by any chance?

(I'm not going to argue against your RFD...)
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Its a problem on DDO all together.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
@epicuriousluxurious
The Fool: they are called Faith Votes, they are not only bias but completly irrational.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
I am always confused that people mix secularism with atheism. Secularism is there to provide a fair ground between people with differring views. That is no clash between a regular Thiest and secularism.

Its because in America the you have Fundementalist Christainity, That is most religious people in Canada and other westarn countries have non-fundementalist Christianity. That is most of the Bible is not taken as stricty and as seriously, as in people tend to be more likely to lean toward rationality when they two contradict. PCP is more like those Christians, they are much more tolarent. There is no creationalist or people trying to make logical arguments about supernatual entities, or treading on the turf of science and Laws, but rather they believe it as a theraputic and spiritual matter. They tend to pick and choose parts of the bible they agree with. The Fundementalist problem is mostly in America and amoung a good portion of Muslim nations.

. Are religious but are much more tolarent and rational, like PCP is. Where most are Religious but not Word for Word in the bible re
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
So my method to judging this argument is to grant for the sake of argument God exist, in the form in which the debaters would agree. And then based from this accepted foundation judge the more rationally coherent arguments. From, this point on PCP provided well thought out rational attempts to defend the argument, where the Bomb, relied on scriptures who's certainty have to be taken of faith, and not reason. Lines like this are quite problematic for any rationalist,

The Bomb"You are attempting to apply human morality and human ethics to something which is indescribable and unknown by humanity"

In that if in unexplainable, then there is no way to evaluate its truth without relying on faith.
As with sources, I can't make it, make sense that scripters are any sort rational reliability, the information is taken from here say from a mysterious unknown writer. That wouldn't fly as a reliable source in any other possible context, thus why the special pleading in this context.
Posted by popculturepooka 2 years ago
popculturepooka
I suspect I have a very different of what being a Christian or being religious entails than you. Lol I didn't think I sounded secular at all. o_O

But I do do "normal" Christian stuff like go to church and help out at charities and the like. *shrug* Don't know what to say.
Posted by socialpinko 2 years ago
socialpinko
It's not even the idea as much as it is the style of language you use. You're very secular in your style of writing, you don't recycle phrases like "salvation through the grace of God" or stuff like that whereas your opponent appeared to only understand that type of language. You appear to be the least religious Christian I've ever come across.
Posted by popculturepooka 2 years ago
popculturepooka
Lol, in some respects I am. In others I am not. In this respect where the majority view of Christians in general -at least here in the west - is that some will be in torment forever I certainly am not the norm.
Posted by socialpinko 2 years ago
socialpinko
For some reason I keep forgetting that PCP is not in the norm as far as Christianity goes.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by The_Fool_on_the_hill 2 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
popculturepookaTHEBOMBTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Read comments.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
popculturepookaTHEBOMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pros argument of why would a good god burn people over won the debate for him, con never refuted the argument aka didn't shoot it down. Con also had more sources all being from scripture, and I think the bible when talking about god is a good source.
Vote Placed by wiploc 2 years ago
wiploc
popculturepookaTHEBOMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
popculturepookaTHEBOMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sorry Bible isn't a source I learned that the hard way I think COn wins by a hair this was a fun debate
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 2 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
popculturepookaTHEBOMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con used more sources and the majority of them were from scripture. I think he won it with the free will argument.
Vote Placed by HmblySkTrth 2 years ago
HmblySkTrth
popculturepookaTHEBOMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro spelled out serious problems with hell, and Con did not address them. The only defense Con gave is that humans cannot understand God. That is not an answer. It is appeal to authority, which is a fallacy. It is also a form of circular reasoning.