The Instigator
mongeese
Con (against)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
Ninjamommy
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points

The following arguments against the existence of God are valid.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2009 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,653 times Debate No: 10412
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (7)

 

mongeese

Con

Existence - state of existing
God - the Christian God
valid - so constructed that all of the premises are properly sourced to be true, and all conclusions follow the premises so that they cannot be denied without contradiction

All characteristics of the Christian God are to be up for debate.

My opponent will present one to four separate arguments against the existence of God in this round, and they will be debated over in the next three rounds.

I'm looking forward to a good debate here.
Ninjamommy

Pro

This is my first debate, so I will do my best. First, I must note that I have not been asked to argue that God does not exist in any form. Rather, my opponent has asked that I present valid arguments that refute the existence of the Christian God. I am not really very clear on the definition my opponent presented for the word valid. The one I will use for my argument is the one found in the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy: An argument is valid if it is impossible for the premises to be true and, at the same time, the conclusion false.

Secondly, when dealing with the Christian God, I will be referencing the concept as it is presented in the Bible. There is much debate over whether the Bible is the word of God, if it is perfect, if it is to be taken literally or metaphorically. Since each Christian must face these questions as a part of their belief system, and many come to different conclusions, it is difficult to pin down an exact definition of the Christian God in the eyes of his believers. Therefore, the best I can do is look to their Holy Book when constructing my arguments.

Argument #1
The Paradox of Omnipotence

Omnipotence: all-powerful, or possessing unlimited power.

Just for "funsies", here is a paradox that would seem to refute the possibility of Omnipotence:

Can an all-powerful God create a rock that is too heavy for him to lift?

Of course, if he cannot create such a rock, then he is not all-powerful. However, nor can he be all-powerful if he cannot lift said rock. Therefore, no being can truly possess the quality of being all-powerful. The Bible says God is all-powerful (In the�Authorized King James Version�of the�Bible, as well as several other versions, in�Revelation�19:6 it is stated "...the Lord God omnipotent reigneth") . If a being cannot be omnipotent, then the God of Christianity cannot exist as presented in the Bible.

Argument #2
Even if Omnipotence could exist, the Christian God could not possess that quality.

This argument was taken from the wikipedia article on Omnipotence, but it is so succinctly put that I will post it as is. Full credit to the author:

1) If a being exists, then it must have some active tendency.
2) If a being has some active tendency, then it has some power to resist its creator.
3) If a being has the power to resist its creator, then the creator does not have absolute power.

The very act of a God limiting his own power by giving humans the free will to defy him removes the possibility of his Omnipotence.

Were God to exercise absolute power over his creations, his action would negate Free Will. The Bible clearly states that humans have the power to accept or reject God. An all-powerful deity would have the power to prevent his creations from rejecting him, and yet if this power was exercised it would prove that humans do not actually have Free Will. That Christianity presents a God that is Omnipotent (all-powerful) and a humanity that has Free Will is a contradiction that it cannot escape.

The Christian God has been called all-powerful AND has been said to have given his creations the freedom to reject him. My argument has demonstrated that both cannot be the case. Therefore, the Christian God, as presented in the Bible, cannot exist.

Argument #3
Let us examine the argument that the Christian God does exist. In order for an argument to be good its premises must be adequate, acceptable, and relevant to the conclusion. The Bible sets for the premises intended to prove the existence of the Christian God. I will say the the Bible is full of contradictions, inconsistencies, and outright impossibilities. I would argue that it is not a very accurate source for anything. Questions that arise about the validity of the Bible, which contains all relevant supportive evidence for the Christian God, make it a questionable source. Therefore, I would say that it is not adequate in supporting the conclusion that the Christian God does exist. While a lack of proof of existence is not the same as proof of non-existence, there are only two possibilities. If one does not accept that the Bible is adequate in proving that such a God exists, then one must either form the belief that he does not exist, or seek more evidence.

I will ask that my opponent remember that we are not arguing the existence or non-existence of God. Rather, my opponent should remember that their rebuttal should attempt to illustrate how my premises could be true and the conclusion false since we are arguing validity.

Sources
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.amazon.com...
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Con

First, I would like to welcome my opponent to DDO.

Apparently, there is some confusion with my definition of "valid." Basically, it means that firstly, the premises must be proven true through accurate sources, and secondly, the conclusions must logically follow. My opponent got the definition down with the exception of the fact that all premises must be shown to be true, to prevent debates such as this one: http://www.Debate.org...

Argument #1: The Paradox of Omnipotence

The flaw here is that while God has been sourced as omnipotent, the definition given by my opponent is not necessarily the same as the one used in the Bible. There are, of course, many different meanings of omnipotence [1], as well as many different types [2]. As the Bible uses the word "almighty" frequently, it is quite likely that the Bible uses Omnipotence Type 5, more accurately stated as Almightiness, which is often used as a synonym of "omnipotent." As my opponent's argument relies on the unproven idea of the Bible meaning Omnipotence Type 1, it is not a complete argument, and therefore the conclusion (God has unlimited omnipotence) can be false while the premise (God is omnipotent) is true.

Argument #2: The Paradox of Omnipotence and Active Tendency

This argument, again, relies on the idea of unlimited omnipotence. However, one meaning of omnipotent is "3. 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)." This point is actually stressed numerous times in the Bible, as God is mentioned as unable to break His own word. As another part of God's nature is allowing humans to excersice free will, God's omnipotentness does not contradict humans' free will. Therefore, the premise (God is omnipotent) could exclude the ability of God to restrict free will, and therefore, the conclusion (God is logically contradictory) could still be false.

Argument #3: God Might not Exist

My opponent assumes that I must, in this debate, prove the existence of God. However, the debate is about whether or not my opponent can disprove God. If by the end of the debate, the existence of God is still up in the air, then I win.

Furthermore, my opponent assumes that if the Bible is a poor source (unsourced, while the definition of "valid" requires sources), then one must either disbelieve God or turn to another source. However, this completely eliminates the idea of the Agnostic [3], one who neither believes nor disbelieves in deities. My opponent's unsourced premise (the Bible is an invalid source) could still be true while the conclusion (God does not exist) is false.

I have demonstrated how in all of my opponent's arguments are not logically valid.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Finally, a suggestion to my opponent:
While sourcing any material for arguments, it is suggested to mark where in the argument you used the source with (#), [#], etc., and then list the sources with the corresponding numbers, to easily understand where arguments are sourced.
Ninjamommy

Pro

My opponent is using terms incorrectly. Validity, for the purposes of formal logic, actually has nothing to do with truth. To say that no one can create a "logically valid argument" disproving God is completely incorrect.

Again, the definition of valid from several sources:

Wikipedia: The term validity in logic applies to arguments or statements. A logically valid argument is one where the conclusion follows from the premises. An invalid argument is where the conclusion does not follow from the premises. A deductive argument may be valid but not true. In other words, validity is a necessary condition for truth of a deductive syllogism but is not a sufficient condition
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Cambridge dictionary of philosophy: An argument is valid if it is impossible for the premises to be true and, at the same time, the conclusion false.

Critical Thinking by William Hughes and Jonathan Lavery (My logic class textbook): (pg 186) The term formally valid argument is defined as an argument such that, if it's premises are true, then its conclusion must also be true.

I would challenge my opponent to find a reputable source that agrees with their definition of validity when used for the purposes of formal arguments.

By definition, the following is a valid argument:

Unicorns do not exist
God is a unicorn
Therefore, God does not exist.

or, to be less tongue-in-cheek:

Omnipotent beings can't exist.
God is an omnipotent being
Therefore God cannot exit.

Both of these arguments are equally valid according to the rules of formal logic. Truth does not enter into validity at all.

If my opponent is asking for empirical evidence that disproves the existence of God, then that is another matter entirely. The whole point of faith is belief without undeniable evidence. If we had hard and fast evidence that God did or did not exist, there would be no need to debate the matter.

My opponent has chosen to hide the true question behind an skewed definition of a commonly used logical term. What they truly want to know is: "can anyone disprove the existence of the Christian God empirically?" The answer is: not yet, or else there would be a lot fewer Christians on the planet. But neither has the existence of the Christian God been proven empirically.

The question posed by my opponent is nonsensical. They chose to begin a debate using their own, made-up definition of the word "valid," setting their opponent up to answer a question that is, as of yet, unanswerable by people on either side of the issue. No one would accept this debate if it were properly named: "Disprove the existence of God empirically, or I win."

My opponent is correct- by their definition of valid, no one will be able to formulate a valid argument disproving the existence of the Christian God. As I have illustrated, using the correct rules of formal logic, doing so is quite simple.

This is an empty debate, which was what I hoped to illustrate at the very beginning. I think that if my opponent wins, since we are really debating nothing at all, it will be a very empty victory.

Should they like to re-word the debate question to open the topic up to actual discussion regarding the premises of an argument against the existence of God, I would happily accept.
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Con

I will first say that yes, I did construct the definition of "valid." However, it was only to ensure a debate with an actual purpose. If my opponent did not like my definition of "valid," and is unwilling to debate under such a definition, then she should not have accepted this debate. If she did, then she should not be complaining. She made the choice to accept the resolution and the definition used to describe the resolution.

My opponent's definitions of "valid" are not relevant to this debate. We are debating about valid arguments, with valid meaning "so constructed that all of the premises are properly sourced to be true, and all conclusions follow the premises so that they cannot be denied without contradiction." The point was to ensure that arguments that would ordinarily be considered valid, but not sound, such as the unicorn argument, would have no place here, which they still don't, both violating this debate's definition of "valid" and the requirement for the arguments to be posted in Round 1.

My opponent then asks for empirical evidence. However, sources do not have to be empirical. The first source used would likely be the Bible. Then, if one could put together an argument from pure logic, that's fine, but if the statement "The definition of this-or-this is that-or-that" is ever needed, an appropriate source would be used.

"My opponent is correct- by their definition of valid, no one will be able to formulate a valid argument disproving the existence of the Christian God."
I agree with this statement. However, there are many people who disagree, even with my own definition, as shown in this debate:
http://www.debate.org...

My opponent thinks that the debate is more aptly titled, "Disprove the existence of God empirically, or I win." It would be more appropriately named, "Sourcing all premises, logically conclude that the Christian God does not exist, or I win." People have attempted this, and will always attempt this.

"This is an empty debate, which was what I hoped to illustrate at the very beginning. I think that if my opponent wins, since we are really debating nothing at all, it will be a very empty victory."
Actually, my opponent was doing perfectly fine just a round ago. She merely had to defend her own arguments. The only thing that came in conflict with my own definition of "valid" was stating that the Bible has contradictions without actually sourcing such contradictions. So, a victory in this debate would not have been empty had my opponent chosen not to drop this debate like a rock.

We can still continue this debate, which would be best.
Ninjamommy

Pro

I am not the kind of person who quits a debate. I think I see what you were looking for when you posted the topic. However, there are correct terms to procure the debate you were seeking without having to create your own definitions. This was more akin to challenging someone to a boxing match, then stating that it will be fought with knives instead of gloves. I could say that I define Logic for the sake of this argument as "Tasting of cotton candy" but that doesn't make it a good definition and I feel you are going to meet with miscommunication issues when you go to a debate forum and mess with common debate terminology.

Anyway- let the fun continue.

According to your 2nd round argument:
"Apparently, there is some confusion with my definition of "valid." Basically, it means that firstly, the premises must be proven true through accurate sources..."

First, the Bible is considered to be the primary authority on the Christian God. However, it cannot be proven to be an accurate source. There is the major problem of translation, as has been illustrated by the confusion over the definition of the word "Almighty." In English, the meaning of "All" is pretty clear in its finality. It is not the same as "some" or "most." The second you put a limit on something, it is no longer limitless. Whether debate is raised over faulty translation, or failure for the Bible to define its own terms, we are forced to speculate heavily on what the Bible "means" and that includes as a reference to the nature of God.

So, I am not sure I am going to be able to find any accurate sources from which to retrieve my arguments, since they are all based on a book that has so many potential inaccuracies (even if the inaccuracies are due to mistranslation).

Secondly-
We're not talking about something crazy impossible here. According to your argument: "This point is actually stressed numerous times in the Bible, as God is mentioned as unable to break His own word. As another part of God's nature is allowing humans to excersice free will, God's omnipotentness does not contradict humans' free will."

The important statement here is that God ALLOWED humans to have free will. It was rule that he made up himself. God created the rule, and yet, by this statement I am also to understand that God cannot break that rule.

Breaking rules is not impossible. It is not the same as saying a man is a donkey, or someone created a rock to heavy to lift and then lifted it. If there is any question, watch five year-olds play tag. They create and break their own rules all the time. You're argument is that an ALMIGHTY God cannot do something that any human child does all the time: set his own rules and then break them. This limitless power is sounding more and more limited. So again:

Power cannot be both limited and limitless.
The Christian God is said to be all powerful (Almighty) according to the Bible
The Christian God's power has limits according to the Bible
Therefore the Christian God cannot exist as described in the Bible.

If God is truly all powerful, then he must have the ability to change his mind about the rules of reality that he set forth. If he does not have this power, then he is not all powerful. If he has the power to GIVE humans free will then he either:
A. Has the ability to take free will from them (in which case, it isn't really free, but ours only because of God's arbitrary whim)
or B. Doesn't, in which case he is not all-powerful.

So again, I say that the Christian God cannot exist as laid forth in the Bible. His powers are either too limited to grant him the title "Almighty" or his promise of free will is as empty and useless as an incorrect definition of valid. ;)
Debate Round No. 3
mongeese

Con

I tend to give words special definitions to make the debate's purpose more understandable. To go by my opponent's example, I would challenge somebody to a boxing match, but before anything else, I'd clarify that it would be with knives instead of gloves. If the person I challenge thinks a boxing match with knives would be cool, we'd carry on, but otherwise, he'd decline. Such can be applied to this debate. Although, I probably would not define Logic as "Tasting of cotton candy," and nobody would accept a debate if I did. I use the correct definition of "valid" elsewhere, but to prevent cheap arguments in this debate, a new definition of "valid" was necessary.

As for the Bible as a source, it is naturally the most accurate source on the Christian God for this debate, being the Christian holy text. My opponent's confusion from "Almighty" assumes "mighty" to relate to being able to do something. However, "mighty" would more accurately be "strong." Therefore, the word would more accurately be "all strong" or "stronger than anything," as implied by the Omnipotent Type 5, Almighty [1].
The speculation on the implications of the Bible are actually part of the debate.

My opponent's argument about free will centers, again, on the idea that the Almighty has no limits. However, this goes about the wrong implications of "Almighty." It does not assume limitless power, but simply more power than anything else. Additionally, one meaning of omnipotence specifically restricts a deity's capabilities by the rules that it sets for itself. Therefore, God is Almighty, but still restricts himself, and continues to follow the definitions of "omnipotent" and "Almighty."

"So again, I say that the Christian God cannot exist as laid forth in the Bible. His powers are either too limited to grant him the title "Almighty" or his promise of free will is as empty and useless as an incorrect definition of valid. ;)"
Both pieces of this contradiction are false.
"Almighty" does not require a complete lack of limits on what God can do.
A promise of free will is still free if given away freely. Just because my opponent claims that God may have the power to take back free will, does not mean that it isn't currently free will.
Therefore, no contradiction, and no reason not to exist.

As this was the only argument that my opponent carried over from Round 1, I have nothing more to address. There is no contradiction. Vote CON.

And thank you, Ninjamommy, for your first debate on DDO. Good luck on your future debates.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Ninjamommy

Pro

My opponent illustrates both of my previous points perfectly:

Because the Bible did not define its own terms, we are speculating about the definition of the term "almighty." This is the adjective in the Bible that theologians argue grants God "Omnipotence." But Omnipotence, as we are told to understand it means "all powerful." Thus, we are to understand that might is synonymous with power for the purposes of understanding God.

It is very convenient that my opponent and his sources get to re-define these words to avoid the problems that philosophers have brought up for the concepts that these words embody. The Bible makes no such clarifications. That is why I am calling it an inaccurate source. First of all, as stated in the previous arguments, yes, it is the Christian Holy Text. However, it was not written in English and there is always information lost with a translation especially when the words being translated are from languages that are either dead or almost unrecognizable today. Therefore, since we cannot have a truly accurate translation of Biblical texts, we cannot have a perfect representation of the nature of God. We are forced to speculate. Because of this, I hold that the English Bible is a questionable source on the Christian God.

Secondly, my opponent has said, "It (the supposedly intended definition of almighty) does not assume limitless power, but simply more power than anything else. Additionally, one meaning of omnipotence specifically restricts a deity's capabilities by the rules that it sets for itself." This is a contradiction.

I have clearly illustrated that human beings are perfectly capable of setting their own rules and then breaking them. Are we then to understand that we have that power, but our creator does not? If this is the case, then God does not have "more power than anything else."

My opponent has also stated, "A promise of free will is still free if given away freely. Just because my opponent claims that God may have the power to take back free will, does not mean that it isn't currently free will." But he has held through his entire argument that this is not the case, that God does not have the ABILITY to break that promise. However, it is a mistake to think that "currently" having free will is really free will at all.

If God does have the power to retract free will at any time, then the promise of free will is empty. That is like saying the government promises you a right to a trial by jury, but only for now and it can take away that right at any time, for any reason, just because it feels like it. As you can see, such a freedom is not really free at all. It's more of a permission. Without the choice, without free will, tenants of Christianity fall flat along with their description of God because their idea of choice is illusionary at best and nonexistent at worst.

Vote pro, making up definitions, be they the definition of "valid" or the definition of "omnipotent" and "almighty," cannot make up for the problems at the heart of this dilemma. In summary- the words in question are translated and thus, un-realiable. Since the Bible did not define it's own terms, we are forced to speculate heavily on the nature of God. However, once we begin this speculation it is clear that God is either not as powerful as Chrisitans would have us believe, or his promise of free will is an illusion. Either way, he cannot exist as described by Christianity.

Thank you for this debate, and good luck.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
I didn't think I did anything that would drive someone away. I stated everything about this debate in the first round, no cheap shots. Whoops.
Posted by Maikuru 6 years ago
Maikuru
Ninjamommy closed her account. Why'd ya have ta driver away, mongeese? Why'd ya have ta driver away?
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
I think it is valid for he instigator to propose specific definitions for a debate that are then accepted as a condition fo debate. Technically, it could be something weird, like for "the purposes of this debate the "up" shall mean "down." The practce is not usually a good one, but I think Pro's definition of "valid" is reasonable.

The conventional, long accepted, Christian definition of God is omnipotent, omniscient, and good. That God is conclusively disproved by the Argument from Evil and the Argument from Non-Belief. (see the book by Drange). So Con was angling to trap the opponent by coming up with an unconventional definition of the Christian God that distinguishes "unlimited omnipotence" from "omnipotence." Rather than being tricky, Con should have proposed a debate in which his contention was specific. The point of the trap seems to be to transfer the burden of proof.

The result was a mess, attributable to con's attempt at being tricky. There was little progress on the arguments, so I think that is a tie. Conduct and sources to Pro.
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
I already defined God as the Christian God, which naturally leaves the Bible to use to find out what attributes God has. I clearly mentioned that attributes of God would be up for debate.
Posted by daniel_t 6 years ago
daniel_t
mongeese, you set the bar too high in my opinion. Ninjamommy had to come up with an acceptable definition of God *and* prove that He doesn't exist. No acceptable definition of God would be easy to disprove. If it was, it wouldn't be acceptable.

As she said in the debate, if she had understood what you were requiring, she wouldn't have accepted the debate, and since she is new around here, I'm giving her a pass and not voting.
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
Oh, and daniel_t, what makes putting more things up for debate bad?
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
I can appreciate your winning the Arguments category from some voters; however, there is a Sources category which requires the use of reliable sources. We both sourced the Bible, but I used types of omnipotence to support my argument as well. We both naturally used each other's arguments to construct our own.

Conduct and Spelling/Grammar seem neutral, so a vote for either person would need justification.
Posted by Ninjamommy 6 years ago
Ninjamommy
I am confused, I did not realize that the point of the argument was to have more sources. I thought the point was to create an argument against the existence of God that met with your definition of valid. I cited my sources, when used, and attempted to use Logic when appropriate. Often, my source was your own argument. The second condition- that the argument not contain any contradictions, I feel I met. I don't think I contradicted myself, all though it would be helpful if someone pointed it out if I did.

I also thought I organized my arguments fairly clear language, again if that is not the case please give me tips on how to be more clear. I am in school studying philosophy and writing and so I am using these forums to practice organizing and evaluating arguments.

The voter needs to decide whether they feel I gave an argument that met with your qualifications for validity. If they feel I did, then I don't see where you arguments are relevant at all since the debate was simply over whether or not such an argument could even be constructed (and not over whether or not it could be refuted). Either I was successful in doing so, or I was not. I welcome feedback from readers.
Posted by daniel_t 6 years ago
daniel_t
This debate is so mired in semantics as to be nonsensical. I'm not talking about the word "valid" mongeese did provide a definition for the word even if it is not standard. I'm talking about the word "God" which mongeese specifically said was "up for debate."

I hope that Ninjamommy doesn't give up on this site just because of this one bad experience.
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
Just curious, who gave PRO seven points, and could they please post an RFD?

I gave myself Arguments, as I outlined in my own Round 4, and Sources, as PRO failed to source one argument and used fewer sources overall while I used multiple to explain omnipotence.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
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Vote Placed by ErodingEthos 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Ninjamommy 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by daniel_t 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by atheistman 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by mongeese 6 years ago
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