The Instigator
Burncastle
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
dsjpk5
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

The problem of evil and the concept of God are irreconcilable

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
dsjpk5
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/8/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,384 times Debate No: 62738
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (28)
Votes (2)

 

Burncastle

Pro

This debate should be impossible to accept. Comment if you want to debate.

I will be arguing that one can not reconcile the problem of evil with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God.

My version of the problem of evil goes as follow:

1) If an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God exists, then there can be no gratuitous evil or suffering in this world.
2) There is gratuitous evil and suffering in this world.
3) Therefore, the tri-omni God does not exist.

I added the word "gratuitous" in order to get rid of the freewill argument right off the bat so we can focus on other refutations.

If you do not believe in the tri-omni God, then DO NOT TAKE THIS DEBATE.

While I have thought about this issue quite a lot, I have never actually confronted my thoughts to exterior criticism, so this debate should be interesting.

EDIT: If you do not believe that evil and suffering exist, then DO NOT TAKE THIS DEBATE (and perhaps take some time to reevaluate your view of the world.

EDIT: It was pointed out in the comments that "gratuitous" may be subject to interpretation, so I will clarify what I mean by it: Not caused by humans.
dsjpk5

Con

I would like to thank Burncastle for challenging me to this debate. It
should be interesting and fun! Let's begin.

Of course, as the instigator, and the one who has made the positive
claim, my opponent has the full burden of proof.

My first contention is as such: In order for my opponent to win this
debate, he has to be able to prove that God doesn't have a good reason for allowing diseases, tornadoes, etc.

Second, I would say that sticking to gratuitous evil does not eliminate
the free will argument. It is because of Adam's free will choice that
physical evil entered the world:

16 Unto the woman he said , I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and
thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire
shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam
he said , Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and
hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee , saying , Thou shalt
not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou
eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall
it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In
the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the
ground; for out of it wast thou taken : for dust thou art, and unto
dust shalt thou return . 20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve;
because she was the mother of all living.

Omnibenevolence:

Since my opponent has not offered a definition of omnibenevolence, I
would be happy to do so now:

"As we think about the goodness of God, we must be careful not to
impose on him our inadequate understandings of what goodness is. In his book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis writes:

By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively his
lovingness; and in this we may be right. And by love, in this context,
most of us mean kindness. . . . What would really satisfy us would be a
God who said of anything we happened to like doing, "What does it
matter so long as they are contented?" We want, in fact, not so much a
Father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven, a senile benevolence who, as they say, "liked to see young people enjoying themselves" and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, "a good time was had by all."

Furthermore, most theists do not believe that God created us merely for happiness in this life but also, and most importantly, for eternal
happiness with him in the next. So his omnibenevolence should be judged neither by our limited human standards of goodness nor by what happens in this world alone.

Putting these things together, we can recognize that an omnipotent,
omniscient, and omnibenevolent creator might have good reasons for
tolerating abuses of human free will that lead to evil and suffering.

We may not know what all his reasons are, but we sense the value of
freedom, including the value of being able to choose good freely rather
than by compulsion.

We can see how his power and knowledge can bring good out of evil in
ways that we, with our limits, aren"t able to comprehend. But in faith
we can say along with St. Paul, "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him." (Rom. 8:28)."[1]

Sources:

1.http://www.catholic.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Burncastle

Pro

As my opponent rightly pointed out, I bear the heavy burden of proof of demonstrating that the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being is irreconcilable with the existence of evil and suffering in this world. In other words, as my opponent puts it:

"[My opponent] has to be able to prove that God doesn't have a good reason for allowing diseases, tornadoes, etc."

I will begin by briefly presenting my contention and will then address my opponent's points.

Why do I believe that the existence of the tri-omni God is defeated by the problem of evil? Well simply because allowing the subject of your unlimited love to suffer when it is avoidable is logically incoherent; if you love someone, then you do not want them to suffer, especially needlessly. Now the obvious response to that, which my opponent has indeed brought up, is "how do you know that God does not have a reason to allow suffering?", which is a good question. Here's my answer:

If God is in fact omnipotent, meaning that he can do literally EVERYTHING (he is limited only by the laws of logic), and is in fact omniscient (knows everything about the future, the past and the present), then it follows that God is necessarily able to achieve whatever goal he has in mind WITHOUT requiring people to suffer. Whatever his endgame may be (salvation or otherwise), he can simply make it happen without ANY requirement. The only possible way out of this would be to claim that suffering IS God's ultimate goal, but that would get rid of omnibenevolence.

I would also like to express some concern regarding this idea that God "allows" evil and suffering (as opposed to being the cause of it). In a model of reality where God created the Universe KNOWING what was going to happen, this God is ultimately responsible for everything that happened (and will happen) since he specifically CHOSE to create this particular Universe instead of another. And by the way, this model of reality is inconsistent with freewill.

Now on to my opponent's points.

"It is because of Adam's free will choice that physical evil entered the world" Let's imagine that Adam and Eve did in fact exist and that the Genesis account is literally true (which it isn't), how moral is it for someone to punish an entire SPECIES for the crime of a single person? Especially when that "crime" is as puny as disobedience? Would and omnibenevolent being really act in such a cruel and unjust manner?

"By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively his
lovingness; and in this we may be right." Yes, that is the definition I'm using.

"And by love, in this context,
most of us mean kindness. . . . What would really satisfy us would be a
God who said of anything we happened to like doing, "What does it
matter so long as they are contented?"" I also agree with that.

"Furthermore, most theists do not believe that God created us merely for happiness in this life but also, and most importantly, for eternal
happiness with him in the next." Glossing over the fact that there is no evidence for an afterlife, what is the point of THIS life (the one we currently experience) if the ultimate goal is to be happy in the NEXT life? Personally, I would want my kids to get the maximum amout of happiness RIGHT NOW.

"So his omnibenevolence should be judged neither by our limited human standards of goodness nor by what happens in this world alone." So we can not judge God's actions? Would God disagree with my assessment of cancer as "evil"? If does disagree, then omnibenevolence goes right out of the window. If he agrees, then he should get rid of it (omnipotence necessarily implies that he can). Given the fact that cancer exists, we are stuck with two possibilities: either God does not WANT to get rid of cancer (making him immoral), or God simply does not exist.

"Putting these things together, we can recognize that an omnipotent,
omniscient, and omnibenevolent creator might have good reasons for
tolerating abuses of human free will that lead to evil and suffering." No, by virtue of being omnipotent, there can NOT be a reason for God to "allow" suffering, unless he WANTS it.

I await my opponent's answers.

dsjpk5

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for being so honest. He has
admitted to having the full burden of proof. This means that all I have
to do in order to win this debate is to show that, besides his
viewpoints, alternative possibilities exist. I do not have to prove my
claims are true. I just need to show they are POSSIBLE.

Below, please find my opponent's comments in quotes, and my
rebuttals preceded by the following: Response:

"Why do I believe that the existence of the tri-omni God is defeated by
the problem of evil? Well simply because allowing the subject of your
unlimited love to suffer when it is avoidable is logically incoherent;
if you love someone, then you do not want them to suffer, especially
needlessly. "

Response: Needlessly... That's the question. Does a cancer patient
"need" chemotherapy? Only if you want the best possible outcome.
Doesa parent of a child with cancer allow that child to suffer the
effectsof chemotherapy? The pain, the weight loss, the hair loss? If
he wantsthe best long term outcome, yes. Sometimes short term
suffering is theonly way to bring about long term happiness.

"Now the obvious response to that, which my opponent has
indeed brought up, is "how do you know that God does not have a
reasonto allow suffering?", which is a good question. Here's my
answer:If God is in fact omnipotent, meaning that he can do literally
EVERYTHING (he is limited only by the laws of logic), and is in fact
omniscient (knows everything about the future, the past and the
present), then it follows that God is necessarily able to achieve
whatever goal he has in mind WITHOUT requiring people to suffer.
Whatever his endgame may be (salvation or otherwise), he can simply
make it happen without ANY requirement. The only possible way out of
this would be to claim that suffering IS God's ultimate goal, but that
would get rid of omnibenevolence."

Response:

My opponent's claim assumes that all possible strategies are equal in
value. But since we are not God, there's no way we can know that for
sure. It's entirely possible that allowing suffering is the best way
to bring about the greatest number of people to eternal salvation. As
we know from the chemotherapy example, sometimes short term sufferingis the best way to bring about long term happiness.

"I would also like to express some concern regarding this idea that
God"allows" evil and suffering (as opposed to being the cause of it).
In amodel of reality where God created the Universe KNOWING what was going to happen, this God is ultimately responsible for everything that happened (and will happen) since he specifically CHOSE to create this particular Universe instead of another. And by the way, this model
ofreality is inconsistent with freewill."

Response:

FREE WILL AND GOD ARE COMPATIBLE

It is possible that God, existing outside of time, doesn't foresee our
actions, but rather sees everything as happening at the same time. And if He doesn't foresee our actions, it allows for free will to exist.
The following explanation comes from C.S. Lewis in his book Mere
Christianity:

"Everyone who believes in God at all believes that He knows what you
and I are going to do tomorrow. But if He knows I am going to do
so-and-so, how can I be free to do otherwise? Well, here once again,
the difficulty comes from thinking that God is progressing along the
Time-line like us: the only difference being that He can see ahead and
we cannot. Well, if that were true, if God foresaw our acts, it would
be very hard to understand how we could be free not to do them. But
suppose God is outside and above the Time-line. In that case, what we
call "tomorrow" is visible to Him in just the same way as what we call
"today." All the days are "Now" for Him. He does not remember you doing things yesterday; He simply sees you doing them, because, though you have lost yesterday. He has not. He does not "foresee" you doing things tomorrow; He simply sees you doing them: because, though tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for Him. You never supposed that your actions at this moment were any less free because God knows what you are doing. Well, He knows your tomorrow's actions in just the same way-because He is already in tomorrow and can simply watch you. In a sense, He does not know your action till you have done it: but then the moment at which you have done it is already "Now" for Him." [2]

*Back to my opponent's comments:

"Let's imagine that Adam and Eve did in fact exist and that
the Genesis account is literally true (which it isn't), how moral is it
for someone to punish an entire SPECIES for the crime of a single
person?

Response:

This is a common misconception of original sin. We aren't being
punished for someone else's sin. The point is, once sin entered the
world through the free will choice of our first parent, judgment became
possible.

"Especially when that "crime" is as puny as disobedience?"

Response:

All crime is an act of disobedience. When someone disobeyes the law,
that makes their actions a crime. So unless one thinks all crimes
should go unpunished, that's not a good argument by my opponent.

"Would an
omnibenevolent being really act in such a cruel and unjust manner?"

Response:
In my last two responses, I've shown
1. It's not cruel to set up a system of justice, and
2. It's not unjust to punish crimes.

I would also like to argue that as an atheist, my opponent isn't really
in a position to claim anyone, God or otherwise, is "unjust". Here's
why. If God doesn't exist, then there are no objective moral truths.
And if there are no objective moral truths, then my opponent is in no
position to claim someone is doing something wrong/unjust. He may not personally like something, but he really can't say that they're wrong.

My opponent said that he believes being kind means allowing people to do anything they want as long as they are happy. I would argue that
such a philosophy may not always be kind. Would a parent be kind by
letting their children smoke meth because it made their children happy?

" Glossing over the fact that there is
no evidence for an afterlife, what is the point of THIS life (the one
we currently experience) if the ultimate goal is to be happy in the
NEXT life? Personally, I would want my kids to get the maximum amout of
happiness RIGHT NOW."

Response:

Allowing your children to set off fireworks in the house may give them
"the maximum amount of happiness RIGHT NOW", but in the long run, it may provide them long term sorrow if they lose an eye in the process. That's why allowing them to suffer in the short term (by not allowing them to shoot off the fireworks inside) could be a prudent choice.

As for the remainder of my opponent's claims, I have already addressed them above.

New argument:

It has been said that the existence of evil is actually indirect evidence for the existence of God. Let's begin with the definition of evil. If evil is simply "when things are not the way they should be", then that implies that there is a way things should be happening. And that implies a design... which implies a designer. Theists call that designer God.

Sources:

2.http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Burncastle

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response.

"all I have
to do in order to win this debate is to show that, besides his
viewpoints, alternative possibilities exist. I do not have to prove my
claims are true. I just need to show they are POSSIBLE."

I accept that, but I would like to make sure that we agree that my opponent must demonstrate that his claims ARE in fact possible. Asking me to prove that they are impossible would be a fallacious shifting of the burden of proof.

"Needlessly... That's the question."

Yes I agree, it is what it basically comes down to.

"Does a cancer patient
"need" chemotherapy? Only if you want the best possible outcome.
Doesa parent of a child with cancer allow that child to suffer the
effectsof chemotherapy? The pain, the weight loss, the hair loss? If
he wantsthe best long term outcome, yes. Sometimes short term
suffering is theonly way to bring about long term happiness."

An interesting analogy, but it fails for one very important reason: we are not omnipotent, we are limited in what we can do by the laws of nature. God, on the other hand, is NOT limited by those laws and should therefore be able to cure any disease WITHOUT short term suffering. This is the whole point of my argument.

"My opponent's claim assumes that all possible strategies are equal in value"

I am going to need an explanation because I do not understand this sentence. What strategies? If my opponent is referring to the various ways in which God can achieve his goals, then this is false; I am NOT claiming that they are all equal, I am claiming that simply achieving the goal through the sole power of his will would be the best way.

"But since we are not God, there's no way we can know that for
sure. It's entirely possible that allowing suffering is the best way
to bring about the greatest number of people to eternal salvation."

No, it is actually NOT possible that allowing suffering is the best way to achieve salvation for everyone, because that would mean that God CAN NOT find a better way (in which nobody suffers) to achieve this goal, which is in contradiction with his omnipotence. Technically, God should be able to save EVERYONE right now, without needing anything. Once again, this is true UNLESS the suffering is actually part of the goal, but as I said earlier, omnibenevolence would go right out of the window.

"As we know from the chemotherapy example, sometimes short
term sufferingis the best way to bring about long term happiness."

And as I said, the analogy only works when we are talking about beings with LIMITED powers.

"FREE WILL AND GOD ARE COMPATIBLE"

My opponent claims that his version of God is compatible with free will by asserting that God is outside of time and that he sees everything at the same time (the quote from CS Lewis simply repeats this point in a longer version). There are two main problems with this explanation: First, my opponent has not demonstrated that "existing outside of time" is a coherent concept, much less a possibility (which we have agreed he must demonstrate). Second, if, at this very moment, God is seeing what I am going to do tomorrow, then my future is already set and I have no power to change it. Saying that God exists outside of time (whatever that means) does not solve this problem; if it is possible for God to know at the same time what I am currently doing and what I am going to do next, then I have no free will.

"This is a common misconception of original sin. We aren't being
punished for someone else's sin. The point is, once sin entered the
world through the free will choice of our first parent, judgment became
possible."

So basically, we are now ALL in position to be judged because of what ONE MAN did? This still seems pretty unjust. What didn't we ALL get the chance to live without being judged?

"All crime is an act of disobedience."

Point taken. Although I would point out that gaining knowledge should not be considered a crime.

"t's not cruel to set up a system of justice"

It very much depends on the system. A system in which one man's action can lead to repercussions that affect ALL humans is an unjust system.

"It's not unjust to punish crimes"

It very much depends on what you consider to be a crime. A system in which acquiring knowledge and not worshipping the leader are seen as crimes is an unjust and cruel system.

"I would also like to argue that as an atheist, my opponent isn't really
in a position to claim anyone, God or otherwise, is "unjust". Here's
why. If God doesn't exist, then there are no objective moral truths.
And if there are no objective moral truths, then my opponent is in no
position to claim someone is doing something wrong/unjust. He may not personally like something, but he really can't say that they're wrong"

I was wondering when that argument was going to come up. The funny thing is, I have already addressed this issue... in the very title of this debate. The contention is that the problem of evil and God are IRRECONCILABLE, meaning that in a mindset where the God I described does exist (such as my opponent's), it is not possible to account for the existence of evil and suffering. This also takes care of the "New argument". As a side not, if my opponent wants to have a debate about God and morality, I welcome the challenge.

"My opponent said that he believes being kind means allowing people to do anything they want as long as they are happy. I would argue that
such a philosophy may not always be kind. Would a parent be kind by
letting their children smoke meth because it made their children happy?"

No, because smoking meth actually leads to UNhappiness.

"Allowing your children to set off fireworks in the house may give them
"the maximum amount of happiness RIGHT NOW", but in the long run, it may provide them long term sorrow if they lose an eye in the process. That's why allowing them to suffer in the short term (by not allowing them to shoot off the fireworks inside) could be a prudent choice."

Again, this analogy fails because my opponent is comparing God (unlimited being) with humans (limited beings).

I would like to remind my opponent to provide some evidence that things he is presenting are in fact possible. For example, the story of Adam and Eve is, as far as we can tell, physically impossible since it violates most of the laws of nature. My opponent also has not demonstrated that it is possible for a mind to exist outside of a physical brain (which is required for heaven to be real).

I await my opponent's response.

dsjpk5

Con

Previously I said

"All I have to do in order to win this debate is to show that, besides
his viewpoints, alternative possibilities exist. I do not have to prove my
claims are true. I just need to show they are POSSIBLE."

Burncastle said:
I accept that, but I would like to make sure that we agree that my
opponent must demonstrate that his claims ARE in fact possible. Asking
me to prove that they are impossible would be a fallacious shifting of
the burden of proof.

My response: Fair enough. That's all I've been doing- showing possible alternatives. There's no need for you to try to prove them impossible. That would be an impossible task for you to accomplish.

"Needlessly... That's the question."

Yes I agree, it is what it basically comes down to.

"Does a cancer patient "need" chemotherapy? Only if you want the best possible outcome. Does a parent of a child with cancer allow that child to suffer the effects of chemotherapy? The pain, the weight loss, the hair loss? If he wants the best long term outcome, yes. Sometimes short term suffering is theonly way to bring about long term happiness."

My opponent said:

"An interesting analogy, but it fails for one very important reason: we
are not omnipotent, we are limited in what we can do by the laws of
nature. God, on the other hand, is NOT limited by those laws and should
therefore be able to cure any disease WITHOUT short term suffering.
This is the whole point of my argument."

My response:

Again, it's possible that the way to bring about the most conversions,
and therefore the most long term happiness in Heaven, is for God to
allowing suffering to take place. I've heard countless stories, for
example of cancer patients "getting right with God" before they die.
Whereas, if they had died instantly, in a car crash, for example, they
wouldn't have had the same chance.

Last round I said:

"My opponent's claim assumes that all possible strategies are equal in
value"

My opponent's response:

"I am going to need an explanation because I do not understand this
sentence. What strategies? If my opponent is referring to the various
ways in which God can achieve his goals, then this is false; I am NOT
claiming that they are all equal, I am claiming that simply achieving
the goal through the sole power of his will would be the best way."

My response:

I was saying that my opponent was assuming that all ways would lead to the maximal best outcome. And I was simply pointing out that only God could know that. As for God using his power to bring everyone to
Heaven, He certainly could, but that wouldn't be something an
omnibenevolent being would do. Here's why: God loves us and wants us to love Him back. Could He force us to love Him? Sure, but that's not real love. Forcing someone to love you is not benevolent. So, He gave us free will. Doesn't everyone agree that having freedom is a good thing? So, because He is omnibenevolent, God gives us the freedom to choose whether we love Him or not.

Last round I said:

"But since we are not God, there's no way we can know that for
sure. It's entirely possible that allowing suffering is the best way
to bring about the greatest number of people to eternal salvation."

My opponent said:

"No, it is actually NOT possible that allowing suffering is the best way
to achieve salvation for everyone, because that would mean that God CAN
NOT find a better way (in which nobody suffers) to achieve this goal,
which is in contradiction with his omnipotence. "

My response:

Sure it's possible that it's the best way. It is if it brings about
the greatest amount of people to eternal happiness. And if it's the
best way, that in no way negates God's omnipotence. The best way is
the best way. Once AGAIN, my opponent is assuming all strategies to
bring about eternal happiness are equal when it comes to potential
outcomes. But this is something only God could possibly know.

My opponent said:

"Technically, God should
be able to save EVERYONE right now, without needing anything. Once
again, this is true UNLESS the suffering is actually part of the goal,
but as I said earlier, omnibenevolence would go right out of the
window."

My response:

I've shown above that forcing someone to love you is not benevolent.

Last round I said:

"As we know from the chemotherapy example, sometimes short
term sufferingis the best way to bring about long term happiness."

My opponent said:

"And as I said, the analogy only works when we are talking about beings
with LIMITED powers."

My response:

Nope. Even if you have unlimited power to choose which strategy to
use, the way that brings about the greatest number of eternally happy
people is the benevolent thing to do. Even if it includes short term
suffering.

Burncastle said:

My opponent claims that his version of God is compatible with free will
by asserting that God is outside of time and that he sees everything at
the same time (the quote from CS Lewis simply repeats this point in a
longer version). There are two main problems with this explanation:
First, my opponent has not demonstrated that "existing outside of time"
is a coherent concept, much less a possibility (which we have agreed he
must demonstrate).

My response:

Whem I referred to God existing outside of time, I was referring to
physical time (the linear, temporal duration we experience in our
physical universe). Physicists and cosmologists almost universally
agree that physical time began at the beginning of the universe.
Stephen Hawking is one of them. The source I provide is one where you must download the pdf version of the lecture, and go to page 2. [ 3]
If physical time began to exist, then in order for God to have created
it, He must exist outside of it.

My opponent said:

" Second, if, at this very moment, God is seeing what
I am going to do tomorrow, then my future is already set and I have no
power to change it. Saying that God exists outside of time (whatever
that means) does not solve this problem; if it is possible for God to
know at the same time what I am currently doing and what I am going to
do next, then I have no free will."

My response:

Again, it's possible that God doesn't experience time in a linear
fashion like we do. The concept of beginnings and endings may not
exist outside of our physical universe. And if that's the case, God
experiences everything as a "now" experience. Therefore the knowledge He has is not something He has predetermined which allows for free will.

My opponent said:

"So basically, we are now ALL in position to be judged because of what
ONE MAN did? This still seems pretty unjust. What didn't we ALL get the
chance to live without being judged?"

My response:

Again, as I said in the previous round, as an atheist, my opponent is
not able to declare any action unjust/wrong. He may not prefer
something, but cannot truly believe in the existence of objectively
wrong actions.

Last round I said:

"All crime is an act of disobedience."

My opponent said:

"Point taken. Although I would point out that gaining knowledge should
not be considered a crime."

My response:

I'd like to thank my opponent with this concession. As for the
specific sin of our first parents, I don't think we exactly know what
it was. The author of Genesis may have been describing in in an
allegorical way.

Burncastle said:
It very much depends on the system. A system in which one man's action
can lead to repercussions that affect ALL humans is an unjust system.

My response:

Again, my opponent is in no position to claim anyone acts unjustly.

Last round I said:

"It's not unjust to punish crimes"

My opponent said:

"It very much depends on what you consider to be a crime. A system in
which acquiring knowledge and not worshipping the leader are seen as
crimes is an unjust and cruel system."

My response:

Again, I would argue we don't know specifically what sin our first
parents committed.

Last round I said:

"I would also like to argue that as an atheist, my opponent isn't really
in a position to claim anyone, God or otherwise, is "unjust". Here's
why. If God doesn't exist, then there are no objective moral truths.
And if there are no objective moral truths, then my opponent is in no
position to claim someone is doing something wrong/unjust. He may not personally like something, but he really can't say that they're wrong"

My opponent said:

"I was wondering when that argument was going to come up. The funny
thing is, I have already addressed this issue... in the very title of
this debate. The contention is that the problem of evil and God are
IRRECONCILABLE, meaning that in a mindset where the God I described
does exist (such as my opponent's), it is not possible to account for
the existence of evil and suffering. This also takes care of the "New
argument". "

My response:

With all due respect to my opponent, I assert he has NOT addressed this issue. I challenge him to show where he argued that atheists can argue whether an action is objectively wrong/unjust. Simply saying you addressed something doesn't make it so. He one who has made the claim that allowing suffering is wrong in all cases, so I am right to bring up the fact that as an atheist, he can't possibly believe objective
moral truths exist. And as such, he cannot validly argue anyone, God
or otherwise, has done something wrong/unjust. If objective moral
truths exist, then God exists. If God determines what is a moral
truth, then no one has any authority to say God has acted unjustly,
because He is the supreme judge of what is just.

DROPPED ARGUMENT

Also, since Burncastle didn't even attempt to refute my "new argument" from last round concerning the existence of evil being indirect evidence for the existence of God, it should be considered "dropped" and presumed true for the rest of the debate. [4]

Last round I said:
"My opponent said that he believes being kind means allowing people to do anything they want as long as they are happy. I would argue that
such a philosophy may not always be kind. Would a parent be kind by
letting their children smoke meth because it made their children happy?"

My opponent said:

No, because smoking meth actually leads to UNhappiness.

My response:

Ah yes, it LEADS to unhappiness. That implies that in the short-term,
it does provide happiness, but in the long run, leads to unhappiness.
That's why a good father doesn't always allow his children do anything they want. And in the same way, our Father in Heaven acts in the same way. Because in the long run, it's better for us.

Last round I said:

"Allowing your children to set off fireworks in the house may give them
"the maximum amount of happiness RIGHT NOW", but in the long run, it may provide them long term sorrow if they lose an eye in the process. That's why allowing them to suffer in the short term (by not allowing them to shoot off the fireworks inside) could be a prudent choice."

My opponent said:

"Again, this analogy fails because my opponent is comparing God
(unlimited being) with humans (limited beings)."

My response:

No it doesn't fail because regardless of one's amount of powers, the
best way is the best way.

My opponent said:

"I would like to remind my opponent to provide some evidence that things
he is presenting are in fact possible. For example, the story of Adam
and Eve is, as far as we can tell, physically impossible since it
violates most of the laws of nature."

My response:

Before I can respond, I need my opponent to explain how he thinks the
existence of Adam and Eve violates the laws of nature. I contend it
doesn't. People exist.

My opponent said:

"My opponent also has not
demonstrated that it is possible for a mind to exist outside of a
physical brain (which is required for heaven to be real)."

My response:

Some of those who study paranormal activity argue that these activities provide evidence that minds are more than materialistic experience. Please read this article from the Examiner. [5]

Sources:
3 .http://arxiv.org...
4.http://en.m.wikipedia.org...(policy_debate)
5.http://www.examiner.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Burncastle

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response. If it is possible, I would like my opponent to put the quotes from this debates in bold so that they are easier to differentiate.

This is very important: I would like to know what my opponent's view on Hell is. Is it a simple separation from God or is it the "fire and brimstone" version?

"Fair enough. That's all I've been doing- showing possible alternatives."

Asserting that they are possible is not equivalent to demonstrating that they are IN FACT possible. Demonstrating possibility can be done in various different ways, either by pointing to a set of priors or by proving that all the prerequisites are present. My opponent is welcome to demonstrate possibility any way he wants, but he MUST do it.

Regarding the chemotherapy analogy, my opponent said:

"Again, it's possible that the way to bring about the most conversions,
and therefore the most long term happiness in Heaven, is for God to
allowing suffering to take place. I've heard countless stories, for
example of cancer patients "getting right with God" before they die.
Whereas, if they had died instantly, in a car crash, for example, they
wouldn't have had the same chance."

Many problems arise from this:

- If suffering was indeed a requirement for salvation, wouldn't it be equally "distributed" across the world?

- Why are Christians (assuming that my opponent believes in the Christian God) suffering? Aren't they already saved?

- Why would God create a Heaven in which suffering is sometimes required in order to gain a pass? Couldn't he create a Heaven in which NOTHING is required (thereby saving everyone)? I will address the "forced love" objection further down.

- My opponent said that people dying instantly do not have the chance to "get right with God". That being the case, I would ask him to explain fatal natural disasters (tornadoes, tsunamies, volcanoes, etc.) which DO often cause instant death.

- Last but not least: if God is using suffering in order to allow people to "get right with Him", isn't he trying to violate our freewill, but doing it in a way that has less than 100% chance of success AND is evil?

As a side note, I would like to know if my opponent believes that more suffering leads to a better time Heaven.

"As for God using his power to bring everyone to
Heaven, He certainly could, but that wouldn't be something an
omnibenevolent being would do."

I must admit that I am quite surprise that my opponent would concede that God CAN in fact bring everyone to Heaven without any requirement. Fortunately, he gives an explanation:

"Here's why: God loves us and wants us to love Him back. Could He force us to love Him? Sure, but that's not real love. Forcing someone to love you is not benevolent. So, He gave us free will. Doesn't everyone agree that having freedom is a good thing? So, because He is omnibenevolent, God gives us the freedom to choose whether we love Him or not."

This is very weird reasoning; according to my opponent, God is basically saying: "I could bring you to Heaven, but instead I am going to allow you to suffer until you start loving me on your own so that I can THEN bring you to Heaven". Wouldn't an all-loving God send us to Heaven EVEN IF we do not love him back?

"I've shown above that forcing someone to love you is not benevolent."

But allowing them to suffer (sometimes greatly) until they do IS omnibenevolent? Isn't it better to restrain SOME freewill if it ensures that we are not going to suffer greatly?

"Nope. Even if you have unlimited power to choose which strategy to
use, the way that brings about the greatest number of eternally happy
people is the benevolent thing to do. Even if it includes short term
suffering."

Let's say person X gets cancer, what happens?

- Everyone close to that person gets sad.

- The person suffers.

- The person and some people close to them might go bankrupt (depending on where you live).

What results from this?

- The person MIGHT accept God and get saved, but might also not.

- Some of the people close to that person might LOSE their faith in God (if the person dies), thereby losing access to Heaven.

This seems to be rather badly thought out.


Now we move on to freewill. I would like to point out to the audience that even if I manage to prove that freewill is incompatible with an omniscient God, that does NOT mean that God does not exist (it would simply mean that, if God exists, we do not have freewill).

"Whem I referred to God existing outside of time, I was referring to
physical time (the linear, temporal duration we experience in our
physical universe). Physicists and cosmologists almost universally
agree that physical time began at the beginning of the universe.
Stephen Hawking is one of them. The source I provide is one where you must download the pdf version of the lecture, and go to page 2. If physical time began to exist, then in order for God to have created it, He must exist outside of it."

Here my opponent is simply arguing for a beginning of time, which I accept. But arguing for a beginning is NOT an argument in support of existence outside of time. My objection to this concept is the fact that existence is a TEMPORAL concept; if you exist now and... now, then you have existed for 2 seconds. And by the way, the fact that time began to exist at the Big Bang is actually a good objection to the claim that God created the universe (because there would be no need for a cause).

"Again, it's possible that God doesn't experience time in a linear
fashion like we do. The concept of beginnings and endings may not
exist outside of our physical universe. And if that's the case, God
experiences everything as a "now" experience. Therefore the knowledge He has is not something He has predetermined which allows for free will."

I am going to make this a simple as I can: Either God knows what I am going to do or he does not, these are mutually exclusive. If God does know it, then we do not have freewill. If God does NOT know it, then he is not omniscient. If God's NOW is equivalent to my FUTURE, then he knows NOW what my FUTURE is like, thereby killing freewill. Whether or not he's the one who has predetermined my future is irrelevant, determinism is destructive to freewill. Arguing for a special perspective on time is a dishonest apologetic (appealing to something no one understands in order to hide from the objections) and does not help my opponent's case.

"Again, as I said in the previous round, as an atheist, my opponent is
not able to declare any action unjust/wrong. He may not prefer
something, but cannot truly believe in the existence of objectively
wrong actions."

I am pretty sure I already addressed this, but I'll do it again. My supposed inability to account for justice or morality is IRRELEVANT to the topic of this debate since this is about whether or not it is possible to RECONCILE one's idea of justice and morality with one's belief in the existence of God. Even if I was a pure moral relativist (which I am not), it would make no difference; the question is whether my OPPONENT, with HIS view on morality and justice, can reconcile them with God. As I said earlier, I phrased the debate that way precisely to avoid having to address the moral argument, but I would gladly accept any challenge regarding this issue (on another debate).

I would now like an answer to my objection.

"I challenge him to show where he argued that atheists can argue whether an action is objectively wrong/unjust. Simply saying you addressed something doesn't make it so."

I NEVER argued (and do not intend to argue) what atheists can and can't account for because it is IRRELEVANT to this debate.

"He one who has made the claim that allowing suffering is wrong in all cases, so I am right to bring up the fact that as an atheist, he can't possibly believe objective moral truths exist. And as such, he cannot validly argue anyone, God
or otherwise, has done something wrong/unjust.
"

I admit that I was simply assuming that my opponent agreed with the fact that suffering is evil, perhaps I was wrong. If I was in fact right, then the question is: Can my opponent RECONCILE this fact with the existence of God?

I really like this kind of objection because, to me, it really seems like an admission of defeat. The intellectually honest answer would have been: "As an atheist, you can not account for these things. That being said, here is why God allows this: ...", but that is not what my opponent said.

"If objective moral
truths exist, then God exists. If God determines what is a moral
truth, then no one has any authority to say God has acted unjustly,
because He is the supreme judge of what is just."

I would gladly accept a challenge on this topic, but the short version of my answer is: If God determines what is moral, then morality is NOT objective, it is subjective to God and we can disagree with it all we want. If I do not recognize God's authority, then his existence does not solve a single issue.

"Also, since Burncastle didn't even attempt to refute my "new argument" from last round concerning the existence of evil being indirect evidence for the existence of God, it should be considered "dropped" and presumed true for the rest of the debate."

Granted, I may have glossed over this argument too quickly, but I did so because it does not seem relevant to this debate. I will correct that mistake right away: My definition of evil is actually "the set of things which decreases general well being".

Regarding the meth analogy, my opponent said:

"That's why a good father doesn't always allow his children do anything they want. And in the same way, our Father in Heaven acts in the same way."

I do not recall my opponent ever saying that God PREVENTED us from doing anything, he simply ALLOWS some things. Same goes for the fireworks analogy. If God actually PREVENTED us from doing something, wouldn't he be violating our freewill?

Since I am short on characters, I will address the Adam and Eve question as well as the article from the Examiner in my next round.
dsjpk5

Con

I want to thank my opponent for his continued honesty. He has conceded that he dropped my claim that evil is indirect evidence for the existence of God.

MORE DROPPED ARGUMENTS:

In the previous round, my opponent admits that he dropped my claim that Adam and Eve truly existed. He also didn't respond to my claim that a mind can exist outside of a brain. This means that my claims are
presumed true for the remainder of the debate. [4]

I don't know how my opponent wants me to "demonstrate"'my claims are possible.... Become God and save more people without suffering??? I'd be happy to as soon as he becomes God and save more people without suffering!

Last round I said:

"Again, it's possible that the way to bring about the most conversions,
and therefore the most long term happiness in Heaven, is for God to
allowing suffering to take place. I've heard countless stories, for
example of cancer patients "getting right with God" before they die.
Whereas, if they had died instantly, in a car crash, for example, they
wouldn't have had the same chance."

My opponent had several issues with this. Below you will find his concerns preceded with a -. After each of his concerns, you will find my response.

- If suffering was indeed a requirement for salvation, wouldn't it be
equally "distributed" across the world?

No. Again, evils are not something God "distributes". It's something
He allows to happen.

- Why are Christians (assuming that my opponent believes in the
Christian God) suffering? Aren't they already saved?

Salvation is a two sided coin: Justification and sanctification. The sanctification part is a process where we're made holy. This sometimes involves suffering. Romans says 5:3-5:"3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

- Why would God create a Heaven in which suffering is sometimes
required in order to gain a pass? Couldn't he create a Heaven in which
NOTHING is required (thereby saving everyone)? I will address the
"forced love" objection further down.

He could, but wouldn't BECAUSE He is omnibenevolent. Forcing someone to spend eternity with you is not benevolent.

- My opponent said that people dying instantly do not have the chance
to "get right with God". That being the case, I would ask him to
explain fatal natural disasters (tornadoes, tsunamies, volcanoes, etc.)
which DO often cause instant death.

Again,these exist because of the sin of Adam. And it doesn't necessarily take years to be reconciled.

- Last but not least: if God is using suffering in order to allow
people to "get right with Him", isn't he trying to violate our
freewill, but doing it in a way that has less than 100% chance of
success AND is evil?

No. Influence does not equal coercion.

On the issue of benevolence, Burncastle said:

"God is
basically saying: "I could bring you to Heaven, but instead I am going
to allow you to suffer until you start loving me on your own so that I
can THEN bring you to Heaven". Wouldn't an all-loving God send us to
Heaven EVEN IF we do not love him back?"

My response:

No He wouldn't. Forcing someone to love you isn't benevolent.

My opponent said:

"But allowing them to suffer (sometimes greatly) until they do IS
omnibenevolent? Isn't it better to restrain SOME freewill if it ensures
that we are not going to suffer greatly?"

My response:

Not if suffering, in the long run, brings about more happiness.

Burncastle said:

"In the cancer example:

- The person MIGHT accept God and get saved, but might also not.

- Some of the people close to that person might LOSE their faith in God
(if the person dies), thereby losing access to Heaven.

This seems to be rather badly thought out."

My response:

Not if it's the best way to bring about the most salvations. The family members may also begin to realize how short life is, and how preparing for the next life is more important.

On the beginning of time, he said:

"Here my opponent is simply arguing for a beginning of time, which I
accept. But arguing for a beginning is NOT an argument in support of
existence outside of time. My objection to this concept is the fact
that existence is a TEMPORAL concept. "

My response:

Existence is only a temporal concept for things that begin to exist. God has always existed. Even before the creation of physical time.

He said:

"And by the way, the fact that time
began to exist at the Big Bang is actually a good objection to the
claim that God created the universe (because there would be no need for
a cause)."

My response:

No it wouldn't be a good objection. The Big Bang could have simply been the process He used to create the universe.

He said:
"Either God knows what I am
going to do or he does not, these are mutually exclusive. If God does
know it, then we do not have freewill. If God does NOT know it, then he
is not omniscient. If God's NOW is equivalent to my FUTURE, then he
knows NOW what my FUTURE is like, thereby killing freewill. "

My response:

Or a third option: Linear progression of time doesn't exist outside of our universe. In that scenario, there is no past or future, only now. So the knowledge God would have wouldn't be of the future.

On the issue of objective moral truths, Burcastle said:

"I am pretty sure I already addressed this, but I'll do it again. My
supposed inability to account for justice or morality is IRRELEVANT to
the topic of this debate since this is about whether or not it is
possible to RECONCILE one's idea of justice and morality with one's
belief in the existence of God."

My response:

First, it's not irrelevant. In order for someone to say something is unjust/wrong, they must have a basis for doing so. I have shown my opponent does not, so his arguments in this issue are invalid. Second, I HAVE been showing how God and the existence of evil (gratuitous or otherwise) can be reconciled.

He said:

"I admit that I was simply assuming that my opponent agreed with the
fact that suffering is evil, perhaps I was wrong. If I was in fact
right, then the question is: Can my opponent RECONCILE this fact with
the existence of God?"

My response:

Yes, that's what I've been doing.

He said:

"If God determines what is moral, then morality is NOT
objective, it is subjective to God and we can disagree with it all we
want. If I do not recognize God's authority, then his existence does
not solve a single issue."

My response:

That's not accurate. The one who creates the rules has the authority to decide what the rules are. When driving a car, it's not up for debate what a stop sign means. You can say it means "go", but you'd be wrong. You'd be wrong because the authorities who put it there get to decide what it means, not you.

He said:

"My definition of evil is actually "the set of
things which decreases general well being".

My response:
I don't accept this definition.

Regarding the meth analogy, my opponent said:

"I do not recall my opponent ever saying that God PREVENTED us from
doing anything, he simply ALLOWS some things."

My response:

I'd be happy to re-word my comments: A good father allows his child to suffer less happiness by keeping meth away from his son because in th long run, it will bring his son more happiness.

Burncastle said:

"Same goes for the
fireworks analogy. If God actually PREVENTED us from doing something,
wouldn't he be violating our freewill?"

My response:

When a father hides the fireworks, he's not violating his child's free will.

I look forward to my opponent's response.

Sources:
4. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...(policy_debate)
Debate Round No. 4
Burncastle

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response.

"He has conceded that he dropped my claim that evil is indirect evidence for the existence of God."


Have I? What I recall doing was giving my opponent my own definition of evil, which does NOT necessitate the existence of a God.


"In the previous round, my opponent admits that he dropped my claim that Adam and Eve truly existed. He also didn't respond to my claim that a mind can exist outside of a brain"


As everyone can plainly read in my previous round, I did not conceded either of these points; I was simply out of characters. I will address them now:


Adam and Eve: For the Earth to be 6000 years old, every known decay rates must be erroneous and our current light speed value must be erroneous.


Article from the examiner: Unfortunately, the article does not tell us about any evidence that would indicate that minds can exist outside of brains, it simply says vaguely "this person has made some research that supposedly leads one to think that it is possible". Without having the evidence, I can not assess this case (and neither can my opponent). On the other hand, there are very good reasons that would lead one to believe that minds are products of the physical brain: We can alter your mind by damaging your brain, we can reset your memory, some people acquire more than one personality after brain damage, etc.


"I don't know how my opponent wants me to "demonstrate"'my claims are possible.... "


With all due respect, that is not my problem; my opponent's inability to demonstrate possibility after we have agreed that he must actually do it is his problem.

"My opponent had several issues with this. Below you will find his concerns preceded with a -. After each of his concerns, you will find my response."

Regarding the issue of "distributed suffering", my opponent said:

"No. Again, evils are not something God "distributes". It's something
He allows to happen."


But in my opponent's model of reality, God created a Earth in which he KNEW that these things would happen, so he is ultimately responsible for them.


Regarding the issue of Christians suffering, my opponent said:


"Salvation is a two sided coin: Justification and sanctification. The sanctification part is a process where we're made holy. This sometimes involves suffering" (and quotes Romans 5: 3-5)


The problem here is that the quote he gave is literally telling us that suffering is actually a GOOD thing ("we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance") which, if it is true, would mean that God actually SHOULD torture people in addition to letting natural suffering occur, which is ridiculous.


Regarding the issue of a requirement-free Heaven, my opponent said:


"He could, but wouldn't BECAUSE He is omnibenevolent. Forcing someone to spend eternity with you is not benevolent."


Ah, this is interesting: my opponent is equating "Heaven" with "spending eternity with God". If heaven is indeed limited to that, then why would he care so much about sending us there? Wouldn't it be WAY more benevolent to prevent all the suffering and then let us live eternally without him then allowing us to suffer just so we can be by his side? What if I do not want do be by his side, can he prevent MY suffering then? Or is God so arrogant that he actually believes that being by his side is worth a lifetime of suffering?

Regarding the issue of instant death, my opponent said:


"Again,these exist because of the sin of Adam. And it doesn't necessarily take years to be reconciled"


Then we are back to the unjust system; people are being killed (sometimes by the hundreds) for the crime of ONE MAN. Does my opponent believe that this is just? And I was not arguing about something that takes "years", I was specifically talking about INSTANT death.


Regarding the issue of "violating our free will", my opponent said:


"No. Influence does not equal coercion."

Influence through suffering IS coercion. What could possibly be my opponent's definition of coercion if it does not include that? Whether or not God is causing that suffering is irrelevant, the fact remains that he can prevent it and chooses not to, making him responsible (analogy: by-standers as just as responsible as the bully if they do not act, especially if they CAN act).


Regarding the issue of "going to Heaven despite not loving God", my opponent said:


"No He wouldn't. Forcing someone to love you isn't benevolent."


It would seem that my hypothesis was correct; my opponent's view of Heaven is indeed limited to "living with God and loving God"­. That being the case, my objections remain the same: Why does God care so much about us being eternally with him and if I do not want to be with God, can I be exempt of suffering?


"My opponent said:

"But allowing them to suffer (sometimes greatly) until they do IS
omnibenevolent? Isn't it better to restrain SOME freewill if it ensures
that we are not going to suffer greatly?"

My response:

Not if suffering, in the long run, brings about more happiness."


Hm, it seems that my opponent is assuming that happiness is a necessary component of "living with God and loving God", which seems weird. I, for one, would not be happy to live with God, especially if his character is accurately described in the Bible. Moreover, can one really be eternally happy when there are still people (sometimes close to them) suffering on Earth? Or does God make it so we do not care about anyone (except him) anymore?

Regarding the "cancer" example, my opponent said:


"Not if it's the best way to bring about the most salvations. The family members may also begin to realize how short life is, and how preparing for the next life is more important."


And yet I'm pretty sure that the most usual scenario is a LOSS of faith, not a gain, but I'll leave it to the audience to decide.

In response to my comment about the incoherence of "existing outside of time", my opponent said:

"Existence is only a temporal concept for things that begin to exist. God has always existed. Even before the creation of physical time."

Where did that come from? How could my opponent possibly conclude that existence is a characteristic that applies only to things that begin to exist? Does he have anything to compare, or perhaps a set of things which are in fact eternal that my opponent can study? No. In his worldview, only God is infinite and this argument becomes a fallacy of special pleading.

"The Big Bang could have simply been the process He used to create the universe"

But Occam's razor deals with the God hypothesis because God is NOT required to create a Universe (look up Sean Carroll vs. William Lane Craig debate on youtube).

On the issue of free will, my opponent said:

"Or a third option: Linear progression of time doesn't exist outside of our universe. In that scenario, there is no past or future, only now. So the knowledge God would have wouldn't be of the future"

There is no third option, either God knows or he doesn't, these two options are mutually exclusive. HOW God knows my future is irrelevant and so is his perception of that future, if he knows it, I do not have freewill. As a side note, I find it pretty amusing that I managed to get my opponent to argue against the validity of prophecies.

"In order for someone to say something is unjust/wrong, they must have a basis for doing so. I have shown my opponent does not, so his arguments in this issue are invalid"

What my opponent is consistently failing to understand is that my ability to account for justice is absolutely irrelevant in my argument; my argument is that my OPPONENT CAN NOT RECONCILE (WITH HIS VIEW ON JUSTICE) THE EXISTENCE OF EVIL WITH THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. I am baffled by the fact that this seems so hard to understand.

"Second, I HAVE been showing how God and the existence of evil (gratuitous or otherwise) can be reconciled."

Actually, he has completely avoided to do so for the following issues:

- So basically, we are now ALL in position to be judged because of what
ONE MAN did? This still seems pretty unjust. What didn't we ALL get the
chance to live without being judged

- A system in which one man's action
can lead to repercussions that affect ALL humans is an unjust system.

"The one who creates the rules has the authority to decide what the rules are. When driving a car, it's not up for debate what a stop sign means. You can say it means "go", but you'd be wrong. You'd be wrong because the authorities who put it there get to decide what it means, not you."

The law is not analogous to morality, and labelling God's moral pronouncements "laws" is simply a semantic trick. Moreover, laws are not absolute, they change over time, that is how we got rid of slavery despite it being sanctioned by God (I had to put that in there). If my opponent wants to have a debate on the objectivity of God's laws, I would gladly accept the challenge.

"He said:

"My definition of evil is actually "the set of
things which decreases general well being".

My response:
I don't accept this definition."

I didn't expect him to. We each have our own definition of what is good and what is evil, this why morality is ultimately subjective. For what it's worth, I don't accept my opponent's definition of evil, which is basically "that which God does not approve of".

"I'd be happy to re-word my comments: A good father allows his child to suffer less happiness by keeping meth away from his son because in th long run, it will bring his son more happiness."

So what happens if the child actually has the meth in his hands? Taking it away from him at this point would be violating his freewill, but it would still be the moral thing to do, wouldn't it?

I thank my opponent for this very enjoyable debate!

dsjpk5

Con

Before I begin this final round, I wish to thank my opponent for a very
charitable and interesting debate.

DROPPED ARGUMENTS

Although my opponent didn't use the word "dropped", he did admit at the end of round four that he didn't address two of my arguments in round four. Well, as my unbiased source shows, that means he dropped those arguments and as such those arguments of mine are to be presumed true for the remainder of the debate. It's too late for him to try to refute them now. Debate protocols don't allow it. I too have the same character limits that he had, and yet, I was able to refute every argument he has made in each subsequent round.

Burncastle said:

"Adam and Eve: For the Earth to be 6000 years old, every known decay
rates must be erroneous and our current light speed value must be
erroneous. Article from the examiner: Unfortunately, the article does not tell us
about any evidence that would indicate that minds can exist outside of
brains, it simply says vaguely "this person has made some research that
supposedly leads one to think that it is possible". Without having the
evidence, I can not assess this case (and neither can my opponent). On
the other hand, there are very good reasons that would lead one to
believe that minds are products of the physical brain: We can alter
your mind by damaging your brain, we can reset your memory, some people
acquire more than one personality after brain damage, etc."

My response:

These are responses to arguments of mine that my opponent conceded/dropped by not responding to them when he had the chance. Since they were conceded by him, no further response from me is necessary.

DEMONSTRATE

As my opponent admitted in round two, he had the "full burden of proof" in this debate. Also, in round three, my opponent agreed with me that if, besides my opponent's views, other alternatives were possible, then I would win the debate. His had one caveat. I couldn't ask him to prove the possibilities I offered to be impossible. I have not done so. But now my opponent has tried to play a semantics game by alleging that showing and demonstrating in a debate are somehow different concepts. He has not offered a source for this argument, but I will now "show" everyone that there is not any difference. Let's first start with the definition of "demonstrate"

1. to make evident or establish by arguments or reasoning; prove:
to demonstrate a philosophical principle. [6]

So here we see that in order to "demonstrate" alternative possibilities exist, I only need to use arguments. I don't need to do anything else. This is exactly what I have done. And it's the main reason I have won this debate.

Pro said:

But in my opponent's model of reality, God created a Earth in which he
KNEW that these things would happen, so he is ultimately responsible
for them.

My response:
That's not true. For example, if I could see the future, it wouldn't follow that I am responsible for what happens.

Regarding the issue of Christians suffering, pro said:

"The problem here is that the quote he gave[from then Bible] is literally telling us that
suffering is actually a GOOD thing ("we rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance") which, if it is true, would
mean that God actually SHOULD torture people in addition to letting
natural suffering occur, which is ridiculous."

My response:

It doesn't necessarily mean that. One thing it does mean is that God is able to bring about a good result from a painful experience. For example, His son Jesus was executed despite being innocent. However, His death brought about the opportunity for all of us to be saved. Whatever TEMPORARY pain we experience in this life, God is able to compensate us with ETERNAL and UNLIMITED joy in the next life. This is yet another way suffering and a benevolent God are possible.

Regarding the issue of a requirement-free Heaven, pro said:

"Ah, this is interesting: my opponent is equating "Heaven" with
"spending eternity with God". If heaven is indeed limited to that, then
why would he care so much about sending us there? Wouldn't it be WAY
more benevolent to prevent all the suffering and then let us live
eternally without him then allowing us to suffer just so we can be by
his side? What if I do not want do be by his side, can he prevent MY
suffering then? Or is God so arrogant that he actually believes that
being by his side is worth a lifetime of suffering?"

My response:

Again, God doesn't give us suffering. He tries to bring good out of it.
He doesn't force anyone to do anything.

Regarding the issue of instant death, my opponent said:

Last round I said:

"Again,these exist because of the sin of Adam. And it doesn't
necessarily take years to be reconciled"

My opponent said:
"Then we are back to the unjust system; people are being killed
(sometimes by the hundreds) for the crime of ONE MAN. Does my opponent
believe that this is just? And I was not arguing about something that
takes "years", I was specifically talking about INSTANT death."

My response:

Then we're back to Pro being unable to call something "unjust". And even someone who dies quickly may still have enough time to be reconciled to God.

Regarding the issue of "violating our free will", Pro said:

"Influence through suffering IS coercion. What could possibly be my
opponent's definition of coercion if it does not include that? Whether
or not God is causing that suffering is irrelevant, the fact remains
that he can prevent it and chooses not to, making him responsible
(analogy: by-standers as just as responsible as the bully if they do
not act, especially if they CAN act)."

My response:

Coercion requires FORCING someone to do something. On the other hand, if you influence someone, they can still choose whatever they want. But don't take my word for it, let's look at the definition of "coerce":

Coerce: "to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion; exact" [7]

Regarding the issue of "going to Heaven despite not loving God", Pro said:

"It would seem that my hypothesis was correct; my opponent's view of
Heaven is indeed limited to "living with God and loving God"". That
being the case, my objections remain the same: Why does God care so
much about us being eternally with him and if I do not want to be with
God, can I be exempt of suffering?"

My response:

Again, God doesn't give anyone suffering. Suffering exists because of the sin of Adam.

On suffering, Pro said:

Moreover, can one
really be eternally happy when there are still people (sometimes close
to them) suffering on Earth? Or does God make it so we do not care
about anyone (except him) anymore?"

My response:

It's not possible to be unhappy in Heaven. And yes they care, but they don't despair, because they know God's mercy and justice will prevail.

Regarding the "cancer" example, my Pro said:

"I'm pretty sure that the most usual scenario is a LOSS of
faith, not a gain,..."

My response:

Pro didn't offer any evidence for this, so it should be rejected as baseless.

Pro said:

In response to my comment about the incoherence of "existing outside of
time", my opponent said:

"Existence is only a temporal concept for things that begin to exist.
God has always existed. Even before the creation of physical time."

"Where did that come from? How could my opponent possibly conclude that
existence is a characteristic that applies only to things that begin to
exist? Does he have anything to compare, or perhaps a set of things
which are in fact eternal that my opponent can study? No. In his
worldview, only God is infinite and this argument becomes a fallacy of
special pleading."

My response:

I think Pro misunderstood my argument. I was saying that existence is temporal ONLY for things that begin to exist. If God created physical time, then His existence must be eternal.

On God possibly creating the universe.via the Big Bang, Pro said:

"But Occam's razor deals with the God hypothesis because God is NOT
required to create a Universe (look up Sean Carroll vs. William Lane
Craig debate on youtube)."

My response:

That's irrelevant as to whether God did create the universe and how He did it.

On the issue of free will, Pro said:

"There is no third option, either God knows or he doesn't, these two
options are mutually exclusive. HOW God knows my future is irrelevant
and so is his perception of that future, if he knows it, I do not have
freewill. As a side note, I find it pretty amusing that I managed to
get my opponent to argue against the validity of prophecies."

MY response:

Sure there's a third option. I showed that last round. Outside of our universe, "the future" may not exist since linear progression may not exist. And I never said anything about prophecy.

On God being unjust/wrong, Pro said:

"What my opponent is consistently failing to understand is that my
ability to account for justice is absolutely irrelevant in my argument;
my argument is that my OPPONENT CAN NOT RECONCILE (WITH HIS VIEW ON
JUSTICE) THE EXISTENCE OF EVIL WITH THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. I am baffled
by the fact that this seems so hard to understand."

My response:

I've refuted this argument several times. As an atheist, Pro is unable to call anything unjust/wrong.

Again on the subject of being unjust, Pro said:

"- So basically, we are now ALL in position to be judged because of what
ONE MAN did? This still seems pretty unjust. What didn't we ALL get the
chance to live without being judged

- A system in which one man's action
can lead to repercussions that affect ALL humans is an unjust system."

My response:

See above.

On the objectivity of God, Pro said:

"The law is not analogous to morality, and labelling God's moral
pronouncements "laws" is simply a semantic trick."

My response:

I disagree, but would he feel better if I called them orders?

Pro continues:

"Moreover, laws are
not absolute, they change over time, that is how we got rid of slavery
despite it being sanctioned by God (I had to put that in there). If my
opponent wants to have a debate on the objectivity of God's laws, I
would gladly accept the challenge."

My response:

Even if God changed (He doesn't), His authority still makes His decisions objective. And since my opponent didn't offer any evidence concerning his slavery claims, they should be rejected as baseless.

On his definition of evil and me rejecting it, Pro said:

"I didn't expect him to. We each have our own definition of what is good
and what is evil, this why morality is ultimately subjective. For what
it's worth, I don't accept my opponent's definition of evil, which is
basically "that which God does not approve of"."

My response:

I argue that objective morality is self-evident. We all know that rape is wrong regardless of opinion. But notice how Pro says he believes morality is subjective. This is proof he is not able to say anyone is unjust/wrong. If morality is not objective, then no action is wrong, just unpopular.

"I'd be happy to re-word my comments: A good father allows his child to
suffer less happiness by keeping meth away from his son because in th
long run, it will bring his son more happiness."

On free will, Pro said:

"So what happens if the child actually has the meth in his hands? Taking
it away from him at this point would be violating his freewill, but it
would still be the moral thing to do, wouldn't it?"

My response:

The son could get more, so no.

SUMMARY OF THE DEBATE:

1. Pro didn't even attempt to refute all my claims, but I did refute all of his, so the "better arguments" vote should go to me.

2. Pro had no sources. I had several, so the votes for reliable sources should go to me.

3. My opponent agreed that if I showed there could be other possible alternatives than the ones he espoused, that I would automatically win the debate. I did that.

Please vote Con.

Sources:
6.http://dictionary.reference.com...
7.http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 5
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Burncastle 2 years ago
Burncastle
It was indeed a difficult subject, slightly harder than I had anticipated :P
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
This was a very interesting debate. I appreciate my opponent taking on such a difficult subject!
Posted by Burncastle 2 years ago
Burncastle
Oh, sorry for misunderstanding. You can disregard that part of my argument then.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
I believe the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old, and at some point in the history of the Earth, God chose two of His creatures, gave them rational souls, thereby making them our first parents. I would assert that the Bible makes no mention of how old the Earth is.
Posted by Burncastle 2 years ago
Burncastle
You believe in Adam and Eve AND an old earth?
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
Just saw this question of yours. But it looks like you guessed correctly. Heaven is experiencing God for all eternity.

I also wish you would have asked me if I believed the earth is 6,000 years old. You seem to have a confused believe regarding my position.
Posted by Burncastle 2 years ago
Burncastle
Ok. Another question (sorry about not asking in the debate): Define Heaven briefly. You can do it at the start of your next round or in the comment section if you do not want to waste character
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
I believe Hell is the eternal separation from God.
Posted by Burncastle 2 years ago
Burncastle
No problem, I get the same problem when I use my tablet.
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
Thanks for the response this round. As far as your question goes, unfortunately my tablet doesn't allow me to bold my comments (as far as I am aware). My apologies.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by daley 2 years ago
daley
Burncastledsjpk5Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro simply misunderstood what omnipotence is. Omnipotence simply means "all powerful," it doesn't mean "being able to do ANYTHING." That would be inconsistent with Christian theology, because even Christians believe there are things God cannot do, like God cannot lie. He can't do things contrary to his nature. Con had better arguments on the whole which were not clearly refuted by Pro
Vote Placed by 1Credo 2 years ago
1Credo
Burncastledsjpk5Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate was a good read. Arguments go to Con as he was more convincing in showing that there is no issue between the problem of evil and God. Pro was unable to carry the burden of proof for the resolution. Sources also go to Con.