The Instigator
mongeese
Con (against)
Losing
23 Points
The Contender
J.Kenyon
Pro (for)
Winning
66 Points

The following arguments against the existence of God are legitimate.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/18/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,947 times Debate No: 10516
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (33)
Votes (18)

 

mongeese

Con

First, by accepting this debate, my opponent agrees to the following statements:
For this debate, "God" is taken to mean the Christian God as described by the Bible.
For an argument to be "legitimate" for this debate, all premises must be sourced from an accurate source (the Bible included, being the ultimate authority on the Christian God), and it must be impossible to deny any conclusions without denying any premises leading up to said conclusion, with the ultimate conclusion being, "God does not exist."
All attributes of the Christian God must be sourced from the Bible (New International Version).
Both I and my opponent must follow the debate guidelines to the best of our ability.
Nothing posted in this argument here shows any poor conduct.
The proposed voting guideline should be followed by all voters.

If you disagree to any of the above statements/rules/whatever, do not accept this debate. Instead, you can post which one you disagreed with and why, or post nothing at all, if you so choose.

The debate guidelines:
My opponent will post 1-5 separate arguments against the existence of God in this round.
My opponent and I will debate over the legitimacy of said arguments in Rounds 2, 3, and 4.

The proposed voting guideline:
Spelling/Grammar: Vote normally.
Conduct: Vote based on how each debater follows the debate guidelines and agreed-upon statements, exempting this round, which has been agreed to show no poor conduct.
Arguments: Vote based on whether or not any of my opponent's arguments were successfully demonstrated to be legitimate.
Sources: Vote for whichever person used a more adequate amount of sources. Sources should not merely be tallied up; rather, it should be noted if each debater supported contentions in need of sources with sources.

And with that, good luck to my opponent, and let us begin.

Note: The New International Version of the Bible can be found here: http://www.biblegateway.com...
J.Kenyon

Pro

I thank my opponent for proposing this debate topic. I had been waiting for some time to accept my first debate here, but circumstances (school, tennis, policy debate league, etc.) had thus far prevented it.

In order to empirically disprove the existence of God, one would have to occupy or observe every part of space all at one moment. Obviously, this is not possible to do, unless one were to become God, which is not something many atheists desire to do. However, it is universally accepted that if the definition or attributes of something are self contradictory, it is logically impossible for it to exist (ie. a square circle). My opening arguments, therefore, will concern the self-contradictory nature of the Christian God.

I shall begin with a classic argument. God cannot be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent at once.

"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

The fact that evil exists disproves the possibility of a God who knows that evil exists, has the will to stop it, and the power to do so.

Additionally, omnipotence directly contradicts other attributes of the Christian God such as Holiness, Immutability, Eternality, and ultimately itself, thus making omnipotence paradoxical and therefore impossible, even excepting the contradictions with other divine attributes.

God is Holy, meaning without sin. More than this, Holiness is the inability to sin. (Hebrews 6:18, "it was impossible for God to lie"). If God is unable to sin, than surely he is not omnipotent.

God is Immutable, meaning unchanging. If God desires to change, could he do so? One might ask why God would have the Will to change, since it is seemingly a whimsical desire that God ought to be exempt from. In addition to failing to solve the paradox (it is a red herring argument), this raises another serious question that I will come to later.

God is Eternal. If he wished to destroy himself, could he do so? Then he is not omnipotent.

Finally, omnipotence itself asks: could God create a rock so heavy he couldn't lift it? The Theologians answer no; God cannot do anything that would contradict his nature. This paradox itself, however, is a direct contradiction of God's nature.

Theists often use the Teleological argument (from design), which can be stated as thus:

1.To exist, what is complex and precise requires deliberate planning and manufacture by an intelligent being.
2.The universe is complex and precise.
3.Therefore, the universe was deliberately planned and manufactured by an intelligent being.

Of course, it is not only the universe that is complex and precise, but the God that supposedly created it. Since God, by definition, has no designer, he cannot exist. By changing the form of the argument from modus ponens to modus tollens, we arrive at this result:

1.What is complex and precise requires deliberate planning and manufacture by an intelligent being.
2.God cannot, by definition, have been designed or planned by another being.
3.Therefore, God is not complex or precise.
4.Therefore God cannot exist.

The obvious objection is this argument creates the paradoxical situation whereby the universe itself cannot exist; however, I shall address this in the following argument.

Another common theistic argument is the Cosmological Argument. It has at least one unsupported premise and is logically a non-sequitur as well. Even if we consider it valid, the theist must admit that it is not necessarily a divine, personal God who caused time, space, and matter to exist. A modified argument, however, leads us to the conclusion that on the contrary, God cannot exist.

For every effect there is a cause. Since every thing we observe is caused, we can determine a posteriori that it is impossible for something to be uncaused. This is so well established that many would contend that this is, in fact, a priori knowledge, exemplified by Newton's First Law (in the absence of force, a body either is at rest or moves in a straight line with constant speed), or that it is axiomatic. There must be, therefore, an unending chain of causes. God, on the other hand, is by definition uncaused. One might argue that God exists in a dimension outside of space, time, and matter where the laws of causality do not apply, however this is a fallacy known as special pleading, and thus God does not exist.

The obvious objection is that the universe had a definite beginning, however, it would be more accurate to say that space, time, and matter have a definite beginning. They were caused by something apart from them, which, as per the Principal of Uniformity, we must assume, was caused by another, and another ad infinitum.

Having covered generic arguments against the existence of God, I'll move on now to specific arguments against the Abrahamic God by showing contradictions, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies in the Old Testament that negate the possibility of its being divinely inspired.

Pursuing further the argument against immutability, there are several passages in the Bible that contradict each other with regards to God's ability to repent (Numbers 3:19
"God is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of a man that he should repent;" Malachi 3:6 "For I am the Lord, I change not") while other passages show that God does, in fact, repent (Genesis 6:6 "And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart"). In any case, the Bible is self-contradictory. The question of whether or not God can repent is a clear contradiction.

God is stated to be all-knowing. This is well established in numerous verses, but what I am looking at specifically is Acts 24:4 ("and they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men.") and Psalm 44:21 ("he knoweth the secrets of the heart."). If God knows what is in every man's hear, why did he feel the need to tempt Abraham in Genesis 22:1? God should have known in advance what Abraham would do. Additionally, this contradicts another verse James 1:13 which states that God does not tempt man. Only an evil God would ask a father to do that; only a bad father would be willing to do it.

This leads us to the issue of human sacrifice. In Judges 11:29-40, Jepthah vows to sacrifice as a burnt offering the first thing that shall come out of his house to greet him in exchange for victory over the Ammonites. His daughter comes out and he proceeds fulfill his vow. Clearly this is barbaric, as well contradicting Deuteronomy 18:10 "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire."

Finally, it is the default that it must be assumed that no God exists unless this can be proven, or at least shown to be more likely than the alternative. If one were to state that he has in his hand an invisible, immaterial ball, as per Occam's razor one ought to assume that this is not true unless it can be proven (or, as in the existence of God, shown to be more likely than the alternative). As Christopher Hitchens says, "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." Absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence.

I wanted to get into circumstances surrounding the Gospels and the divinity of Christ, but character restraints forbid it. Obviously my Biblical references don't need further citations. My logical arguments are based on reason and axioms, so I did not feel the need to cite them, however I will in the next round if my opponent should so desire.

I'd like to remind the voters that I need win only one of my arguments to win the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Con

Thank you, J.Kenyon, for deciding to debate this with me.

I will divide my opponent's statements up into separate arguments, and then refute them.

1. The problem of evil.

I would like my opponent to source from the Bible where it says that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.

There are many explanations to the problem of evil:

A. Evil is a necessary conclusion of free will, as if one cannot have the ability to do evil, there is no free will. God decided that it was better for everybody to have free will than for there to be no evil in the world.

B. Humans cannot understand the purpose of evil in general, much the same way as an infant views a vaccination as torture rather than protection.

2. God is self-contradictory

One definition of omnipotence: "A deity is able to do anything that is in accord with its own nature (thus, for instance, if it is a logical consequence of a deity's nature that what it speaks is truth, then it is not able to lie)" [1].
This definition would fit most logically with how the Bible describes God, as Hebrews 6:18 indicates. This is the only possible definition of omnipotence that the Bible could mean, as it clearly supports the very definition. Therefore, because God's nature is Holy, Immutable, and Eternal, He cannot destroy or change Himself, and He cannot sin.

As for the problem of the stone, God's nature, like everyone else's nature, would be logical, if one assumes that all things must follow logic, so therefore, God would only be able to do what is logical. Additionally, if God declares a rock to be so heavy that He cannot lift it, then He would be unable to lift the rock and still be omnipotent.

3. Reverse Teleological argument

If my opponent's premises are true, then not only would God not exist, but also the universe, as it is complex and precise. As the universe exists, my opponent's premises must be false, and the entire argument falls apart.

4. Reverse Cosmological argument

My opponent concludes that there must be an unending chain of causes in the universe. However, this would be impossible, as there must be a starting point in time. Allow me to demonstrate with my Parade Analogy:

Say that you and numerous fellow men were marching due north on a completely flat plane at a steady rate of 1mph. You have no clue how long you've been marching, or where you came from. For all you know, you've been marching forever. One day, you and your fellows come across a jet, and you decide to take this jet due south at an amazing speed of 1000mph. The question is, will you come to the starting point of the parade?
The answer must be yes, because the answer cannot be no. If you, with your 1000mph jet plane, never reach any kind of starting location at all, even travelling just short of forever, then how could you and your friends have possibly marched in the opposite direction at a slower speed?

Therefore, the chain cannot be unending, even if we discard space and matter (although we cannot discard time, as time is the medium through which change occurs), and there must be something uncaused (God).

As for "special pleading," it is not entirely fallacious. My opponent would have to prove this case of special pleading to be false in some way, and show that God cannot be in a separate dimension (which is entirely possible), or else he cannot disprove God.

5. The Bible shows God to contradict

For comparing Numbers and Malachi with Genesis, it is clear that differing definitions of "repent" are used [2]. Definition 1 is used to describe man repenting his sin to God, while Definition 2 is used to show God's regrets. Different definitions, no contradictions.

As for Abraham, God tested Abraham, not tempted. Tempt: "to entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain" [3]. As sacrifice to God, commanded by God, is not wrong, it is not tempting. The James verse clearly uses this definition of "tempt," as 14 directly addresses "evil desire." Additionally, the Bible does not state that God didn't know what Abraham would do. He did know, but also wanted Abraham to know what he was willing to do for Him as well.

As for human sacrifice, my opponent's accusation of "barbaricness" is merely an opinion. Additionally, the verse clearly addresses making a son or daughter pass through the fire. Jepthah first tells his daughter about his dilemma, and she agrees to be a sacrifice by her own choice. He did not make her be a sacrifice; in the end, she chose to be a sacrifice.

6. Occam's razor

As this is a sixth argument, when the limit is clearly five, this can be easily dismissed, and therefore should not be continued by my opponent. However, as I have some characters to spare, I will point out that this argument, assuming indeed a lack of proof while the Bible shows otherwise, could only conclude God's probable nonexistence, or that one should assume God not to exist. Otherwise, one would conclude that the photon did not exist, or that Unununium could not exist, or that the world is flat, in 1000 BC, and be clearly wrong.

With that, it is up to my opponent to defend his arguments.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
J.Kenyon

Pro

I'll start by apologizing for failing to source God's omnibenevolence, I didn't think this was necessary since it is a universally held view that God is good, however, to fulfill my obligation, Psalm 25:8 "Good and upright is the Lord…" I gave two examples of God's omniscience in Acts 24:4 and Psalm 44:21. CON has given his own definition of omnipotence, which for the sake of argument I will accept. The characteristic is linked to the Abrahamic God by Revelation 19:6: "…the Lord God Omnipotent reigns."

Henceforth, I will refer to my six arguments as contentions to differentiate between the major points and the subpoints, which I will refer to as arguments. I am dropping Contention 2 because of CON's excellent rebuttal and because I mistakenly included six contentions when he requested five.

For Contention 1, CON gave two arguments, A and B. I'll start with Argument B. It is CON's burden to prove that evil IS being used for some higher purpose (not merely that it COULD), else his argument is nothing more than a fallacious argumentium ad ignorantium and should be disregarded. Even if this were the case, Biblical ethics are non-consequentialist, meaning the ends do not justify the means.[3] Just because doing wrong serves some higher good does not make it ethical. Torture, murder, rape, abortion, adultery, etc. are invariably wrong, even if one intends to bring about something good through his actions. This establishes the fact that evil does exist; it is not like the vaccine which is good, though the child cannot understand this. Furthermore, if God has control over history (His Perfect Will, or redemptive plan[2]), this contradicts his Argument A that regards evil as a consequence of Free Will, as do several verses I will bring up shortly. Finally, it is absurd to think that various mass murders and other atrocities that have occurred throughout history should be necessary to bring about His Perfect Will. An omniscient God could think of a better way based on his knowledge of human nature. Even if this were not the case, He could have made man in such a way that alternatives would have been possible. Again, the burden to prove that this is indeed the case lies with CON.

This brings us to Argument A. It contradicts Argument B by conceding that evil does exist as a consequence of Free Will, whereas, to use CON's analogy from Argument B, a vaccine is not evil (it only appears that way to the child), in the same way that evil may not, in fact, be evil if it serves a higher purpose (God's Perfect Will). To return to my previous point regarding God's Perfect Will, there are numerous scripture verses highlighting the fact that man does NOT have free will (Romans 8:28-30 "…for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate…" and 9:10-24), as well as a whole body of work by Calvinist theologians emphasizing the fact that Free Will clearly undermines God's Sovereignty[4].

I'm going to skip to Contention 4, since it leads into Contention 3. CON sets up a strawman: "My opponent concludes that there must be an unending chain of causes in the universe. However, this would be impossible, as there must be a starting point in time." Note first that I never use the term "universe," which I take to mean everything that ever has or will exist; I prefer to say space, time, and matter since it is far more accurate and descriptive. Obviously there is no unending chain of causes within space, time, and matter; the chain of causes I was referring to exists outside of them. To quote: "Space, time, and matter have a definite beginning. They were caused by something APART FROM THEM…" Indeed, this has to be the case, just as it would with a hypothetical God, because it is impossible for anything within the bounds of space, time, and matter to cause its existence. CON's argument should be disregarded because it utterly fails to apply outside of time. Additionally, if we apply his objection to God's eternality, it serves as an argument against His existence, since CON claims that infinities do not exist.

This also applies to Contention 3. God is described as the designer who gave complexity to the universe (here it is safe to say universe). My reversal on the classic Teleological Argument is that the complexity of God needs an explanation just as the complexity of time, space, and matter requires an explanation. My answer is that there is an unending chain of complex natural causes (there is no reason why a cause need be a divine, personal God). God cannot exist since he must, as the argument goes, be more complex than the universe to have caused it. His complexity is unexplained since by definition, God simply is. CON again misses the mark completely, since he has voiced no objection to the Principle of Uniformity which I have used to establish the laws of causality outside time, space, and matter while I have fully refuted his argument against the existence of infinities.

For Contention 5 regarding Biblical contradictions, the word "repent" used in Num 23:19 is "vaiyinnachem;" meaning "to be sorry, console oneself." It is the exact same Hebrew word found in Genesis 6:6.[1] The contradiction stands.

Young's Literal Translation renders the verse Dt. 18:10 as "…one CAUSING his son and his daughter…" CON's emphasis on the word "make" is purely semantic. The clear intent of the verse is an unequivocal condemnation of human sacrifice. The implication of CON's argument is absurd and clearly not in line with sound doctrine, since he is basically saying that human sacrifice is okay so long as the victim consents.

Regarding God's decision to "test" Abraham, the Hebrew word "nissah" is used in Genesis while the Greek word "peirezomai" is used in James. Both have the same meaning: "to make proof of, to attempt, test, tempt."[1] Used in both contexts, it is clear that the word is intended to mean "test," rather than to tempt, as in to tempt one to sin. The contradiction stands.

Regarding God's omniscience, CON has not given reason to believe that God wanted Abraham to know what he is willing to do for Him, only that this is a necessary view to hold in order to maintain a Christian worldview, all the while this worldview remains unproven. This is less likely than the alternative since there is no supporting evidence and we can safely assume that Abraham already knows what he is willing to do, as indeed every man does. It is an argumentium ad ignorantium and should be ignored.

For Contention 6, my opponent claims that Occam's razor can't be used because there is proof of God's existence. He does not directly refute my argument, but claims only that the "Bible shows otherwise." This is tantamount to citing "Twilight" as evidence of vampires, or, more pertinently, the Qur'an for the existence of Allah, or the Vedas for evidence of Brahmin. It is CON's burden to show that his source is credible. He goes on to cite such examples as photons, and unununbium, or a flat earth. Occam's razor states that of any number of possibilities that EQUALLY WELL explain a given phenomenon, the simplest is correct. Obviously there is tremendous evidence that photons and unununbium exist and that the Earth is round, whereas CON has failed to prove that God is even a GOOD explanation for time, space, matter, and complexity, let alone BETTER than naturalistic alternatives. CON seemingly has no objection to my contention that naturalism is simpler, so it is all the more important that he prove God to be as good or better of an explanation. All we are left with is an arbitrary dislike for a concept that he doesn't understand.

[1]http://biblelexicon.org...
[2]http://www.comprehensivechristian.com...
[3] "Understanding Ethics." Preston, Noel. Federation Press. 2007.
[4] "Institutes of the Christian Religion." Calvin, John. 1537
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his cooperation in this debate.

My opponent claims that sourcing God as "good and upright" makes Him omnibenevolent. However, that just makes him benevolent (good). My opponent still needs to source omnibenevolence.

As for omniscience, my opponent's quotes only include knowledge of the heart, but of nothing else.

I would like to remind the readers of the burden of proof in this debate: my opponent must construe an argument in which it is impossible for the Christian God to exist, with no wiggle room allowed.

1. The problem of evil

A. My opponent claims that man does not have free will, according to the Bible. However, to analyze my opponent's quote, we need to define "foreknow" and "predestinate."
Foreknow - "to have previous knowledge of : know beforehand especially by paranormal means or by revelation" [3]
Predestinate - "destined, fated, or determined beforehand" [4]
What the author is saying is that God knows what people will do with their free will, and therefore can manipulate things in the universe to end up with people using their free will in a fated way. People still have choices; the choices are merely predetermined. For example, if I knew that you would pick a red pill as opposed to a blue pill, would it really be any less of a choice?

B. My opponent claims that I have the burden to prove this higher purpose of evil, calling it otherwise an argument from ignorance. However, an argument from ignorance is when "a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false or that it is false simply because it has not been proved true" [1]. Nowhere did I say that evil is being used for some higher purpose. I am saying that it could. My opponent, in fact, is the one arguing argumentum ad ignorantium by stating that because I cannot prove evil to be used for a higher purpose, it cannot be true.

My opponent claims that in Biblical ethics, the ends cannot justify the means, sourcing "Understanding Ethics." I would like to know the page number and exact text that is being quoted here, so that we can know that a quote is not taken out of context, and what Bible verses Noel Preston is using to support his claim, as all attributes of the Christian God must ultimately be sourced from the Bible.

Finally, my opponent claims that God has control over history. However, his source for this says, "God has given us free will and full freedom. He never interferes in them. He remains so from then to now" [2]. This contradicts what my opponent says of his source. Free will was not part of His Perfect Will, but rather something extra for humanity, to ensure that it was not just a bunch of robots.

My opponent claims that God could have come up with some better plan. However, he would have to prove that this better plan exists, or else it's just argumentum ad ignorantium.

3. Reverse Teleological argument

My opponent claims that God must have had a cause. However, I have already shown that there must have been a first cause with the Parade Analogy. My opponent claims that an unending chain of causes could occur without time; however, as time is the measure of change, and the medium through which changes and causes must take place, the chain must stop at the beginning of time. There must have been something at the start that was uncaused (for example, God).
Although infinities do not exist, time is not infinite. Time is merely a ray, starting at the first cause, and lengthening to this day. Therefore, His eternality is not infinite, as time is not infinite.

4. Reverse Cosmological argument

My opponent suddenly mentions the Principle of Uniformity, claiming to have used it. However, all he did was put together an argument with the premise, "What is complex and precise requires deliberate planning and manufacture by an intelligent being." My opponent has apparently dropped this premise, as he now thinks that the complexity of time, space, and matter are explained by an impossibly unending chain of natural causes (as the Parade Analogy shows; my opponent makes no argument against the Parade Analogy, conceding his unending chain to be impossible). There must have been a first cause, unexplained by any prior causes. For example, God.

5. The Bible shows God to contradict

My opponent's claims as to what Hebrew words were used in the Bible are sourced in a general website. I would like a more specific sourcing of the exact web page that gave this information.

The NIV translation (remember, this debate centers entirely around the NIV translation) for Num 23:19:
"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind."
The word "repent" does not even appear.

For Gen 6:6:
"The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain."
Again, no "repent."

My opponent then cites Young's Literal Translation, but this debate centers around the New International Version, so this is irrelevant.

The clear intent of the verse is not what my opponent claims (how can he prove that it is what he claims?), but rather the idea that none should force their own blood into human sacrifice.
According to the Bible, human sacrifice is okay if the victim consents. That's all there is to it. My opponent cannot prove otherwise.

As for "test," my opponent's source is still vague and unclear. I have already shown the connotations of both verses to be different. One addresses temptation to do evil desire, while the other is merely the testing of whether Abraham was willing to do as God commanded of him or not, with no evil desires involved. These two different contexts and connotations can exist separately with no contradiction. God tests faith, but does not tempt into sin.

My opponent again dismisses what I say concerning God's omniscience as argumentum ad ignorantium, but I have already shown that it is only my opponent that can commit this fallacy, given the structure of the debate.
My opponent claims that Abraham already knew that he would be able to sacrifice his son for God. However, there are many instances in which people think they would be able to do something, but wouldn't do so in reality. For example, a person might think that he would take on more pain to spare someone else from pain, but when the time comes, he decides that he cannot bear to choose to bear any more pain, like Wilson Smith in 1984 (Book III). Abraham, however, proved to himself that he was willing to sacrifice his son if necessary.

6. Occam's razor

My opponent is quite badly misrepresenting Occam's razor.
"Occam's razor states that of any number of possibilities that EQUALLY WELL explain a given phenomenon, the simplest is correct."
The simplest is not necessary correct, but rather, preferably assumed.
"In the scientific method, Occam's razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic, and certainly not a scientific result" [5].
"There are many examples where Occam's razor would have picked the wrong theory given the available data."
Occam's razor is far from definite. It is merely a probability tool.
My opponent says that there is evidence of photons, unununium, and a round Earth. However, in 1000 BC, such evidence was unheard of, yet those things still existed.
To conclude this point, Occam's razor has never disproved anything, and cannot disprove anything.

In conclusion, in all of my opponent's arguments, there are explanations as to why the sourced premises can be accepted, while the conclusion denied, without contradiction.

1. http://philosophy.lander.edu...
2. http://www.comprehensivechristian.com...
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
4. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
J.Kenyon

Pro

God is the superlative form of all that he is. God is the most holy, the most powerful, etc. Goodness is defined as the absence of sin or evil. In this sense, no man is "good" because there is no man who has not sinned. Romans 3:10 "there is none righteous, no, not one." The character of God stands in stark contrast: Psalm 16:2 "in God there is nothing but goodness; and our goodness extends not to Him." John 3:20 "…for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." Although "omniscient" and "omnibenevolent" do not appear in the Bible (since both come from the Latin, while the Bible is written mainly in Hebrew and Greek), for that matter, neither does "trinity," yet all three are universally accepted attributes of God that can easily be deduced.[1] In any case, "omnibenevolence" aside, the argument still stands for a God in whom it is said there is to be found "nothing but goodness." Since CON has not contested the logic, the argument should be pulled to the PRO side.

Argument A
CON contradicts himself. If something is destined or fated to happen, than any agent involved obviously has no choice in the matter. Here, CON fails to understand the difference between Free Will and Free Agency[4]. He has also ignored my point about how Free Will compromises God's Sovereignty (citing John Calvin). If God is not able to control individual actions, then he is not omnipotent. CON argues that He could have granted Free Will, however this contradicts the passages and evidence I have cited. Additionally, to do so would contradict His nature. As CON argues in his first rebuttal, "A deity is able to do anything that is in accord with its own nature." As with sin, God is not able to do anything that contradicts His nature, therefore He could not delegate away Free Will.

Argument B
CON misunderstands my point. I have not stated that his contention that evil is being used for a higher purpose is false because it is unproven, I am stating that it is his burden to prove that it is true. Saying that it "could" be true is not an argument. Anything "could" be true; the earth "could" have been created five minutes ago by a whimsical pink unicorn, but this, like CON's contention, is merely an unproven (not to mention extremely unlikely) possibility. To put it in formal logic:

Where S is a subject, sp is a skeptical possibility, and q is a knowledge claim about the world:

1.If S doesn't know that not-sp, then S doesn't know that q
2.S doesn't know that not-sp
3.Therefore, S doesn't know that q

S is the debater and sp is the "evil is being used for good" hypothesis. Q is the actual explanation (which could be SP, since we don't know Q).

This is incorrect. I have already pointed out that Christian ethics are non-consequentialist, therefore, even if evil is being used for good, it is still evil, therefore evil exists (therefore not SP), therefore, given God's other attributes, He does not exist. My source comes from page 40 of Noel Preston's "Understanding Ethics," as CON requested. Since this has been his only objection, the argument should be pulled to the PRO side.

As CON has stated, even if we ignore my prior points regarding non-consequentialism and Free Will, God foreknew the events that would take place in the world prior to their occurrence. If we consider that no evil existed prior to creation (this includes all beings, both spiritual and physical) and God foreknew the results of His creation, then He knowingly created evil, which contradicts His Holiness (Isaiah 6:3 "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD.")[2]. This is where my argument against the Perfect Will comes from. It is simply, a bad plan. CON claims that all things can be predestined, yet Free Will remain intact. If this is true, then it is possible for God to predestine the course of human history in such a way that it would be without sin and thus not needing redemption. This explanation of evil is nothing but a post hoc attempt to patch up deeply flawed theology.

Contention 5
CON requested that I give the specific page for my claims. Biblos.com/genesis/6-6.htm. The same pattern of "/book/chapter-verse.htm" holds true for every book and every verse in the Bible. I cited this as evidence supporting my interpretation of the NIV verse. CON has given no objection other than sourcing, however, it was only stated that attributes of God had to be sourced in the NIV (which I have since complied with); there was no such restriction on soteriological arguments, in which case a literal interpretation should obviously be preferred over one modified by a translator. The same applies to the argument regarding human sacrifice. I only cited the YLT as evidence supporting my interpretation. One cannot reject this any more than one could reject CON's arguments on the grounds that the debate centers on the NIV, not Webster's Dictionary! Since these have been his only objections, this argument as well should be pulled to the PRO side.

Having covered all my specific arguments against the Christian God, I think it can safely be said that I won the debate. For the sake of argument, I will now cover my generic arguments against the possibility of a creator God.

Contention 3
I used the teleological argument – that complexity requires an explanation – and that God is uncreated so his complexity is unexplained. Whatever created the universe had to have some explanation for its complexity. The teleological argument, rather than establishing God as creator, establishes God as highly improbable since he is by definition an unexplained complexity. The paradox of existence more aptly applies to God. If God is wholly satisfied in His person – perfect and unchanging, what gave Him the Will to create? Wants, needs, and desires are purely animal attributes. Surely, God cannot be lonely and in want of company? What can be a companion to God? Man would be to Him as a termite is to man. God is, as I stated earlier, the superlative in all that he is. He is the ultimate in terms of complexity, intelligence, etc. A great deal of complexity complicates a model of existence unnecessarily; to suppose that uncreated natural causes (a collision of dimensions or some other phenomenon) created time, space, and matter is far more likely. The argument from simplicity tips the scales in PRO's favor since any question as to what caused the causer applies equally well to God. God opens the door to a great number of unanswered questions.

Contention 4
I did indeed use the Principle of Uniformity in my first round arguments. The uncaused causer need not be God; as I have shown in my previous arguments this is highly unlikely. At the Plank level (the smallest known unit of matter) it can be shown that time does not exist.[3] Time then, should be used in the metaphysical sense: to indicate the action of causation; when any change takes place anywhere in all of existence. PHYSICAL Time, (time as we know it is a physical phenomenon tied directly to matter) space, and matter began at the singularity as the first action of causation. It could not, be said that anything "caused" this interdimensional cause, since, as CON claims, causality implies time and time did not exist. If anything DID, cause them, it would be, as I established, in the metaphysical sense of time.

Contention 6
With Occam's razor, as with any logical tool, the conclusion is only as valid as the premises. If one defines God as banana cr�me pie, one could argue thus:

1. God is banana cr�me pie
2. Banana cr�me pie exists
3. Therefore God exists

This is no more an argument against the validity of the syllogism than CON's argument against Occam's razor. Given incorrect premises, one will arrive and an incorrect result. CON has not contested my premises, so the argument should go to PRO.

[1]tecmalta.org/tft140.htm
[2]pbministries.org/books/pink/Attributes/attrib_08.htm
[3]discovermadiscovermagazine.com/2007/jun/in-no-time
[4]dictionary.com
Debate Round No. 3
mongeese

Con

I would like to thank J.Kenyon for this debate. It has been rather challenging.

Argument A
I would like to clarify what is accused to be a contradiction. People have choices. God knows what these choices are and what choices will be picked by the people through their own choice. God can therefore take advantage of this free will by controlling everything else to make certain events happen to fit His own plan. Therefore, predestination and free will at the same time.
To differentiate free agency from free will, my opponent merely points to a dictionary, as if expecting me to open it up for him. However, if he wishes to show me to make an error in my explanations, he should be the one to open the dictionary, not me.
As for John Calvin, he is not the Bible. He was merely a politician pushing his own political agenda. Anything cited by John Calvin should instead be cited here directly.
Finally, my opponent claims that there is something in God's nature that would prevent delegation of free will. However, there is nothing in God's nature against this. Additionally, because God promised free will to all people, he can no longer take it back, as this would contradict his nature. However, by the given definition, God would still be omnipotent.

Argument B
My opponent claims that I have a burden to prove something in this debate. However, as outlined by the agreed-upon statements, my opponent must completely disprove the existence of God. I shall put it into a syllogism:

E is "God does not exist." A is a proposal in which God does not exist. a is a counter-proposal that also might be true as opposed to A.
1. If A, then E.
2. If most likely A, then most likely E.
However, A must be proven to carry it out. Let me put this into an analogy:
Guy A says, "The world is flat."
Guy B says, "But the world might be round."
A: "But it doesn't look round. Can you prove that it is round?"
B: "Not yet, but..."
A: "Then I shall dismiss your speculation as unproven, and declare my own unproven propostion to be true!"
In this, the hypothesis that the world is round is not proven, and looks completely off, but turns out to be true.

My opponent claims that Christian ethics are non-consequentialist. However, I have already asked for a proper citation of an actual Bible verse rather than a modern book, which my opponent has not provided. Therefore, this entire claim should be disregarded.

My opponent claims that Holiness requires the Holy to not create evil. However, this is unsupported. Additionally, God did not necessarily create evil, but people who could be evil, because they could also be good. God decided that it would be BETTER to have people choosing to be good or evil than all people being good.
If God set up human history so that it could not have sin, then free will is not being put into effect at all, which is what God does not want.

Contention 5

My opponent claims that he has sourced his arguments correctly. However, my problem was that he sourced an entire website for one word in one verse. I asked that he source the exact webpage with the verse and translation. My opponent has declined to do this, instead citing an entirely different website, Biblos. However, the exact translation of Numbers 23:19 is "Nor a man God lie a son of man repent has He said Nor do spoken Nor make." Obviously, a literal translation is very messy, and cannot be deciphered. A grammatical translation, like the one provided by the NIV (around which this debate centers), is more appropriate.

As for my opponent's translations, even if we give him the verses to be true without proper source, he has still violated the rule that he must use the NIV. He claims that his argument is not about God's attributes; however, that means that he is not disproving God. He is merely disproving the possibility of God having done certain things on the basis of them being contradictory. If he wants to use them to disprove God entirely, he must call them attributes, and in that, he must use the NIV.

Contention 3
My opponent claims that the teleological argument makes God improbable. However, it should be pointed out that it also makes the universe improbable, and yet the universe exists.
As for why God created, I don't know. The Bible doesn't say, and my opponent is free to speculate.
My opponent claims a collision of dimensions could create time. However, such a collision would have to be a change, and time is the medium through which change occurs, so time would have to have started before such a collision.
Eventually, by the end of the paragraph, my opponent turns this contention into Occam's razor, which is explained in Contention 6.

Contention 4
My opponent's link about Plank levels is broken. Here it is: http://discovermagazine.com...
Now, this only claims that time might not exist; at the very least, we do not have the ability to record time with such small mass. However, just because we cannot record it does not mean that it cannot exist. The article itself suggests being agnostic about the whole thing, and agnosticism cannot disprove anything except gnosticism, which is irrelevant.
My opponent claims that a singularity is the first action of causation. However, could God not have been the supernatural force behind this singularity?
Finally, my opponent doesn't even end this contention with a disproof of God, only saying that God would have to have done something in the metaphysical sense of time, which is perfectly possible. In conclusion, this contention doesn't even really try to disprove God, but instead to make Him seem unlikely. However, the ultimate conclusion need not be "God might not exist," but "God does not exist."

Contention 6
This seriously does not make any sense. I have cited that Occam's razor is not a logical principle, and that Occam's razor would have been wrong in certain situations. My opponent's premise entirely relied on the idea that Occam's razor can disprove things; I have shown that it cannot. My opponent does not contest my sources or my conclusions; however, I have contested his major premise, that Occam's razor is actually useful. It isn't.

I have shown all of my opponent's arguments to fall short of his goal, "God does not exist."
Vote CON.
J.Kenyon

Pro

CONTENTION 1

Argument A
CON completely misunderstands the conflict between Free Will and Predestination. They are mutually exclusive concepts; one must be true, and the other must be false. As I pointed out, CON confuses Free Will and Free Agency. I cited the dictionary to support my claim and CON has not contested it other than to say that I didn't directly post the definitions here. Character restraints forbade it, I did, however, source my claim.

John Calvin was basing his views on the principle of sovereignty found in numerous Bible verses (297 in all!).[1] CON had, in all of his arguments, ample space to critique this position, but has not elected to do so. As per CON's definition of omnipotence, God cannot delegate away His sovereignty; it is part of His nature, just as God cannot lie or sin or create a being more powerful than He is, even if He wanted to (though one could argue it would contradict his nature merely to want to!).

Argument B
CON completely misunderstands my syllogism; I am not asking him to PROVE the existence of God, I am asking him to DISprove my (fully sourced) contention that Christian ethics are non-consequentialist in nature. I gave the name of the book, the author, the publisher, and the page number; CON's only objections have involved sourcing, however, given my full documentation, this is nothing short of ludicrous. CON claims that he doesn't have to prove anything in this debate, but what his statement comes down to is basically "I don't have to counter any of your points." If CON cannot prove that it is even POSSIBLE for evil to used for good, he clearly loses the argument.

As a sidenote, in addition to missing the mark completely, CON's syllogism is a very poor analogy and misunderstands the burden of proof.[2]

Regarding the ability for a Holy, sinless being to create evil, I fully sourced my claim. CON has not offered any argument and his objections should be disregarded.

I believe I have clearly won this argument and disproved the existence of the Christian God, which is sufficient to win the debate. The vote should go to PRO.

CONTENTION 5

I cited www.biblexicon.com for my textual arguments. Character restraints forbade my inclusion of every page for every claim, however, CON was free at any time to verify them. The Bible Lexicon site directed my passage search to the affiliated biblos.com. There is no problem with sourcing.

The YLT obviously comes out very messy to one not familiar with Hebrew grammar, however, for clarity in specific NIV passages, it is very useful. This point aside, I used the YLT for clarity on a verse regarding human sacrifice; Dt. 18:10. CON quotes the YLT translation of Num. 23:19, so he is essentially trying to refute an argument that I never made. For Num. 23:19, I cited Biblos' transliterated Hebrew word "vaiyinnachem," meaning "to be sorry, console oneself." It is, as I have stated previously, the same Hebrew word found in Gen. 6:6. The contradiction stands.

CON claims that I have only proven that "God couldn't have done certain things." How is it that the Bible is the absolute source for God's attributes but not God's actions? This is certainly a change in CON's approach; he took the time in previous rounds to attempt to refute my contention, it is only in the last round that he makes this argument. If anything, this only highlights the fact that I have clearly won this point as well.

CONTENTION 3

CON's argument regarding time is self-contradictory. To create time would be an action; as per his own reasoning, action is impossible unless some medium for it already exists. This creates three possible scenarios: a) time is eternal, in which case CON's objections to this argument, as well as the reverse cosmological argument are void; b) physical time is only a reflection of metaphysical time (I will expand on this in my next contention), or c) nothing exists (solipsism), obviously if nothing exists, that includes God. Clearly CON's premises are flawed and the argument should go to PRO.

CONTENTION 4

My link to Discover Magazine was indeed broken…my argument was written hastily in the last hour and a half I had to post it since I had spent the weekend over Christmas with family.

If time MIGHT not exist, this shows that CON's objection is not wholly founded. In any case, what the article says is that time certainly does not exist at the plank level and might not exist even for larger objects. If time does not exist at the plank level, yet activity is still possible, this disproves CON's assertions. Some other medium for action existed prior to the singularity, this is true for both naturalistic and theistic models. This I referred to as "metaphysical time," that is, time as a concept, both a medium of action and an unceasing, one directional flow. Obviously, we do not know what the laws governing nature were prior to the singularity; we can only speculate at present. As per the Principle of Uniformity, we must assume that whatever caused the singularity had a cause of its own. God, on the other hand, had no cause and also violates the Law of Parsimony by unnecessarily complicating the model.

CONTENTION 6

CON attempted to disprove the validity of Occam's razor with an out of context quote from Wikipedia and an absurd counter example.

Occam's razor is highly useful, although as I said, like any logical device, the conclusions one draws from it are only as valid as the premises.

In addition to empirical justification, it can also be shown deductively to be valid, as the late philosopher Jerrold Katz explains: "If a hypothesis, H, explains the same evidence as a hypothesis G, but does so by postulating more entities than G, then, other things being equal, the evidence has to bear greater weight in the case of H than in the case of G, and hence the amount of support it gives H is proportionately less than it gives G."[3]

In a word, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." – Carl Sagan

I thank my opponent for his patience (I went right up to the last minute for some of my posts) and an interesting debate (my first on this site). I thank the audience and the voters. I have authoritatively disproven the existence of the Christian God as well as the possibility of a mere "creator God" and strongly urge a PRO vote.

[1] http://www.biblegateway.com...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://psychology.wikia.com...
Debate Round No. 4
33 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by daniel_t 4 years ago
daniel_t
Sorry, what is the difference between "outside our realm of understanding" and "ultimate ignorance"? It seems to me that if you are ignorant of something, then you don't understand it and if it is something that can never be understood as you assert, then that is a pretty ultimate level of non-understanding.

Don't worry, many if not most people's conception of God is "ultimate ignorance." Which is why they invoke God whenever something they don't understand is under discussion (e.g., the beginning/source of the universe, evolution, whether little Timmy will die of leukemia, and who is going to win the super bowl.)
Posted by miketheman1200 4 years ago
miketheman1200
@daniel_t uhhhh. no im saying that IF god did exist, it would probabley be outside of our realm of understanding. I also highly doubt it would be the christian god.
Posted by daniel_t 4 years ago
daniel_t
@miketheman1200: In other words, God is Ultimate Ignorance. Got it.
Posted by miketheman1200 4 years ago
miketheman1200
such a silly debate. If there is a God, do you really believe that it could be defined with science or disproven using logic? Of course not, because if God existed, it can be asumed that it would live outside the spectrum of what we consider scientifically (sorry for spelling, tired and lazy) and logically possible.
Posted by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
CON, the instigator, is challenging the contender (PRO) to prove that God does not exist. So yes, I was attempting to prove a negative.
Posted by KPAX 7 years ago
KPAX
I am finding the introductory statment difficult to grasp. Is Con for the argument "god does not exist?" and asking pro to prove a negative? or stating that god does not exist now prove that god does exist?

I had trouble the statement as unclear so I rather stumbled through the following debate. Maybe it's just a personal problem.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
1. John Calvin claims that according to the Bible, people have no free will.
2. John Calvin backed up his arguments with verses.
3. According to the Bible, people have no free will.

I think there's a flaw here.
Posted by SexyLatina 7 years ago
SexyLatina
J.Kenyon: Whatta guy.
Posted by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
Looking back, I can see how it would get confusing. I didn't organize on points A and B well. I pointed out that man doesn't have free will for argument A and I thought I gave a sufficient answer to the theodicy (vaccine analogy), but I mixed them up; I grouped them together as one argument.
Posted by J.Kenyon 7 years ago
J.Kenyon
So yes, now I recognize the difference between a theodicy and a defense. I also think I won the point about Biblical contradictions.
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